Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BGF News 9/24/13

Volume XXI, Number 17    September 24, 2013

In this week’s box:
**all new rain freshened vegetables this week!**
Cipollini Onions
Hot Peppers
Peaches: native white Iowa peach
Tomatoes: asst varieties, see descriptions in the 7/30 newsletter
Turnips: Hakurei (white) & Scarlet Queen (pink)
and perhaps one of the following:         
            Broccoli florets
            Mini Bell Peppers (small, sweet, red, yellow & green) bagged to differentiate from hot peppers        
            Okra: Burgundy           
            Tapestry Salad Mix

For those with the Cheese option: Cheesemaker's Choice + bonus "hiccup cheese"
For those with the Egg option [full & half]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Sweet basil, savory & oregano
For those with the Honey option: choice of liquid or comb

Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Farmhouse Turnips
Beans 'n Greens, Italian Style                                    
Braised Bok Choy

Precipitation in the past week: 1.33”  YAY!

What’s up on the farm?

Obviously the big news from the farm in the past week was the rain! We received 1.1" last Thursday, along with some rather alarming winds and a few bits of hail. When all was said and done, the rain was perfect, the winds were mostly non-damaging and the hail was negligible.  We had a lot of peaches on the ground and the salad mix was a bit beat-up, but well worth the beautiful rain. Between the rain from the past weekend and Thursday's storm we had 1.5" all together and it has made a huge difference already. The new crops we had sown are all germinating well and the earlier crops are putting on nice growth, even the grass is greening up. The dogs weren't so excited about the storm and got to ride it out in the back porch, although after one particularly impressive clap of lightning Luci found her way to the living room. She is pretty sure she would make a great house dog, we are not convinced.

We have been processing (peeling, pitting, halving, freezing) pears and peaches like mad people this past week and are finally feeling like we have an adequate stock of fruit for our jamming purposes, (also known as "The Freezers are Full!) However, we still have one peach tree that is just now ripening, so we decided to share a little taste with the membership this week. These are the small, white peach that is native to Iowa. They are not the same as the big, succulent, golden beauties from warmer states, but we enjoy them nonetheless and we hope you will too.

So what else is up on the farm this week? Autumn is truly in the air! The trees are starting to show their fall color and the birds and other wildlife are indicating that the seasons have indeed changed. We hear lots of turkey and pheasant calls and have seen the Bob White quail start to "covey-up". Many of our summer birds have already left for warmer climes and many of our year-round flocks are changing into their winter plumage.

We've had several visitors touring the farm recently and we also picked up some students from Central College who are volunteering at BGF for their Service Learning courses. It is the 3rd year we have worked with Central students and faculty and we are huge fans of this program. If you visit us during Farm Crawl, you will have the opportunity to meet some of these friendly, enthusiastic folks.

The end is near! We have recently gotten several questions about the end of the summer CSA season. We anticipate the final delivery will be Tuesday, Oct 15. We will be offering Winter CSA shares that will begin bi-weekly deliveries on Tuesday, Nov 5th. Details on that next week.

Farm Crawl is just 12 days away! Sunday, October 6th from 11am-5pm.  Details can be found at
Every year we invite CSA members not only to come out and tour the farms, but also to be part of the BGF team. So here is your chance for 2013. In the past, individuals/families have helped out with greeting visitors, sharing information, helping out at the chickens, parking and other various tasks. And, even better, you can still "Do the Crawl"! We are asking for volunteers to come for a two hour shift, so there is still time to visit the other farms. If you (and/or your family) would be interested in helping out at the farm please let us know. 

A little detail on your produce this week:

Peaches: these little beauties are very fragile and will go from not-quite-ripe to over-ripe in a heartbeat. You can speed ripening on the countertop or slow it in the refrigerator. Their flavor is best at room temp or slightly cool, but not cold.

Cheese Share members: Lois had a stray mold visit a recent batch of robiola so her "hiccup" in production is your gain as she sent the batch to be distributed to you. You will likely find some blue mold on the robiola, you can enjoy it as is, or scrape the offending spots off. It is a perfectly safe mold, just not one that normally belongs on this type of cheese.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us at our blog at and on Facebook (just search Blue Gate Farm) and “Like” us.

That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 

Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue & Luci)

Farmhouse Turnips
modified slightly from a recipe in the cookbook "Greene on Greens"
serves 2 generously or 4 as a side dish

3 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, minced
1 bunch turnips, with greens
about 1/2 C tomato puree or finely chopped fresh tomatoes,
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
[if not using turnip greens, use 1 to 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley]

Cut green tops from turnips and set aside. Trim top and root away from turnip bulbs and scrub (no need to peel), then cut into half-inch wide slices, then cut the slices into sticks, kinda like french fries.

Go through the turnip greens, discarding any discolored leaves, and coarsely chop the rest for use in the recipe.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion; cook 5 minutes. Stir in the turnips, tomato, sugar and allspice. Mix well. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Stir the chopped greens in for the last 3 minutes or so of cooking, so that they wilt but still keep their color. [If not using the greens, just mix in the chopped parsley at the end, or sprinkle on top when serving.]

Recipe Source:

Beans 'n Greens, Italian Style
Serves 2

1/2 lb Chicken Italian sausage
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion or some leeks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped or some sliced green garlic
1 bunch broccoli raab, chopped, or the leaves of kale, chard, beet, turnips greens or a combination, chopped
2/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Hot pepper flakes or 1 hot pepper seeded and minced

Put sausage in a large, heavy skillet. Add ½ cup water, cover and put over medium high heat. Cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 to 6 minutes longer, until water evaporates and sausage is light browned and has no pink in the center. Lower heat when water evaporates completely and turn sausage once or twice to brown evenly. Set aside. When cooled slightly cut into I inch pieces.
While sausage cooks, put oil in a 12 inch sautepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until softened slightly. Add greens and stock. Increase heat to high. Add beans, salt & pepper to taste and hot pepper flakes, if desired. When mixture comes to a boil, stir well, cover and reduce heat to medium. Add sausage pieces. Cook about 4-5 minutes.

Recipe Source: adapted from

Braised Bok Choy (or Endive, Escarole or Radicchio)
Adapted from "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman
Serves 4

1 tbsp. olive oil
4 bok choy, trimmed at base and cleaned
¼ C minced prosciutto or dry-cured ham (optional)
½ C chicken, beef or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. lemon juice or white wine vinegar

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium or large non-stick skillet that can later be covered.
Add the bok choy and cook, turning once or twice, until they begin to brown.
Add the ham, stock, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over the lowest possible heat, turning occasionally, until very tender, about 20 minutes (or up to 45 for endive, escarole or radicchio).
Drizzle with lemon juice or vinegar and serve.

Recipe Source:

No comments: