Wednesday, October 2, 2013

BGF News 10/1/2013

Volume XXI, Number 18    October 1, 2013

In this week’s box:
Basil: Genovese or Large Leaf  (probably the final hurrah)
Braising Greens: Tatsoi & Mizuna
Cabbage: Gonzales (mini, green), Storage 4 (large, green) or Super Red
Eggplant: one last time!
Leeks: Carentan
Sweet Peppers: Ace (green/red), Golden Marconi (long, pointed, green/yellow), Islander (purple/orange) or      Sunray (green/yellow)
Sweet Potatoes: Beauregard
Tomatoes: asst, see descriptions in the 7/30 newsletter
and at least one of the following:                       
Broccoli florets
Broccoli Raab
            Mini Bell Peppers (in plastic bag)         
            Okra: Burgundy
            Tapestry Salad Mix
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: lemon basil, garlic chives, sorrel

Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Garlic Rosemary Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Roasted Cabbage with Lemon
Braised Mixed Greens
Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

Precipitation in the past week: 0.08" (better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick)

What’s up on the farm?

Warm days, cool nights and some occasional rain, I guess fall is really here. With that, come some other season-specific markers. We are starting to see flights of geese moving across the skies. They're not all headed the same direction yet, but they are definitely on the wing, as are the pelicans, which are always fun to see flying high overhead. The trees are just starting to change around here. Mostly some light yellows showing, though there is the occasional shock of red where a Virginia Creeper vine has climbed a tree and is singing out in all its scarlet glory. Our chores have changed with the season as well. The chickens are going to bed at a very civilized 7:15 now, as the sun sets and aren't rising until nearly 7am. This allows us more flexibility in the evenings and to actually eat breakfast before doing morning chores. Many people are dismayed at the diminishing daylight hours, but we celebrate it!
We spent a number of hours last week harvesting sweet potatoes and what a harvest it was, the best yield we've had to date. The crew even found a moustache-shaped tater amongst the crates, you can see the evidence on the farm's FaceBook page. So today you get to say your first hello to the sweet potatoes. They have cured for about a week, so they should be all ready to enjoy. We plan to send them out to you again for the final delivery, so go ahead and enjoy these soon. You also get to try out your hellos on a new braising green mix. Mizuna & Tatsoi are both Asian greens that are mild and really shine as a lightly cooked greens mixture, but can be enjoyed raw as well.
And now for the goodbyes…this is likely the final appearance for the basil and eggplant. They are both very sensitive to cold and the coming temps will do them in. They've had a good run this year and we hope you have enjoyed them. The okra is also about to call is quits. Since mid-summer we have sent okra out to nearly the whole CSA membership, but not quite. We are still hoping to get some to everyone, but these tropical crops are living on borrowed time.

Speaking of time, most of ours right now is focused on harvesting and Farm Crawl! The weather is supposed to be perfect on Sunday, a crisp, clear fall day and we will be ready! We hope you will pack up your friends and family (but leave those "fur-kids" at home) and come Crawl with us!

Farm Crawl is this coming Sunday, October 6th from 11am-5pm.  Details can be found at

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.

The Winter CSA is scheduled to start on Tuesday, November 5th. For those of you new to the group, we offer a separate season extension for the months of November & December.  The schedule is a little different as we do bi-weekly deliveries, with a larger produce volume at each delivery.  This works well because the cool weather produce has extended storage ability.  There will be a total of four deliveries spaced every other Tuesday on the following dates: 11/5, 11/19, 12/3, 12/17. Delivery locations will be the same as they are now. The base membership for produce is $240.  Add-on options include: eggs @ $16 (four deliveries) and preserves @ $12 (two deliveries).  We have to limit the number of members we can accommodate for the Winter membership due to significant challenges provided by the weather.  We will open the sign-up period to our veteran Winter CSA members first and then any open slots will be made available to current CSA members on a first come-first served basis.  If you have participated in the Winter CSA in the past, you have until Tuesday, October 15th to send us an email indicating your interest and option choices

A little detail on your produce this week:
Sweet Potatoes: Keep unwashed sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard or cool basement, and use them within two to three months. Do not store in the refrigerator; cold temperatures can darken sweet potatoes and adversely affect their taste. Scrub sweet potatoes gently before cooking. Peeling is a matter of preference. If you will be puréeing or mashing sweet potatoes, bake or boil them whole and then remove the skins. Our favorite way to eat them is the simplest, just bake until soft, split open and top with butter, cinnamon, honey and a pinch of salt. Delightful!

Broccoli Raab (rapini): Although it has broccoli's name, broccoli raab is not related to broccoli. Lots of broccoli-like buds appear here and there but a head never forms. The stems are generally uniform in size (hence cook evenly) and need not be peeled. Clean it as you would other greens, removing the bottom portion of the stems which appear tough (sometimes the stems are tougher than other times depending on the age of the rapini). They stems can be removed up to where the leaves begin, and sautéed before adding the leaves to the pan. This vegetable is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium. To maintain crispness, refrigerate, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag or wrap for up a week. The leaves, stems, and flower heads are cooked (broil, stir-fry, braise, saute, or steam) and eaten just like regular broccoli and have a flavor similar to broccoli but much more pungent. It is quite tasty with a nutty flavor and has a slightly bitter taste.

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)

Garlic Rosemary Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Crispy baked sweet potato chips brushed with garlic-infused olive oil and sprinkled with fresh rosemary and sea salt.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 medium sweet potato, very thinly sliced (using a mandoline slicer or food processor is best)
1 tsp. rosemary, minced
coarsely ground sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position rack in the center of oven.
Whisk together olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Brush two baking sheets with half of oil mixture. Place potato slices on sheets in a single layer and brush tops with remaining oil. Sprinkle with rosemary and salt.
Place baking sheets on center oven rack. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until edges begin to curl and brown. (Note that the baking time depends on the thickness of the chips--even a slight difference in thickness can impact the time, so keep an eye on them!) Allow chips to cool completely on baking sheets.
Notes: Make the garlic oil mixture before you start slicing the potato for a more intense garlic flavor.
Recipe Source:

Roasted Cabbage with Lemon
Makes 3-4 servings as a side dish

1 medium-sized head of green cabbage
2 T olive oil
2-3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used 2 T for the cabbage in these photos, but next time I'd use even more lemon)
generous amount of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
lemon slices, for serving cabbage (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F. Spray a roasting pan with non-stick spray or olive oil.

Cut the head of cabbage into 8 same-size wedges, cutting through the core and stem end. Then carefully trim the core strip and stem from each wedge and arrange wedges in a single layer on the roasting pan (leave some space around them as much as you can.)

Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice (use the larger amount of lemon juice if you like a lot of lemon like I do.) Then use a pastry brush to brush the top sides of each cabbage wedge with the mixture and season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Turn cabbage wedges carefully, then brush the second side with the olive oil/lemon juice mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Roast cabbage for about 15 minutes, or until the side touching the pan is nicely browned. Then turn each wedge carefully and roast 10-15 minutes more, until the cabbage is nicely browned and cooked through with a bit of chewiness remaining. Serve hot, with additional lemon slices to squeeze lemon juice on at the table if desired.

Recipe Source:

Braised Mixed Greens

1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for finishing
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, 1 slivered, 1 halved
1 lb greens, such as chard, broccoli rabe, spinach, kale, washed and chopped
A few leaves or a few handfuls of sorrel, 5 or 6 lovage leaves or a handful of chopped cilantro and parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ cups cooked beans (borlotti, cannelloni, etc), home cooked or canned
3 to 4 slices chewy country bread
Shaved parmesan or crumbled gorgonzola

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the onion starts to soften a bit, after 3 or 4 minutes, add the slivered garlic. Cook for a minute more, then add the greens and any herbs. Season with ½ teaspoon salt. 2. As the greens cook down, turn them in the pan to bring the ones on top closer to the heat. Once they've all collapsed, add ½ cup water or bean broth, lower the heat and cook. Partially covered, until tender. Depending on the greens as long as 20. Just make sure there is some liquid in the pan for sauce. When the greens are done, add the beans, heat them through, then taste for salt and season with pepper. 3. Toast the bread and rub it with the halved garlic. Arrange on plates and spoon on the greens and beans. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with the cheese, if using, and serve.
Serves 3 – 4

Recipe Source:

Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

1 pound pasta, whatever shape you like (but chunky ones will match up better with the rabe)
1 bunch broccoli rabe, heavy stems removed, remaining stems and leaves cut into 1- to 2-inch sections (I attempt to match my pasta in length)
1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more or less to taste
About 1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt (or more to taste)

To serve: Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Bring a huge pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. Drain rabe and pasta together and pour into serving bowl. In the same pot or a tiny one, heat the olive oil with the garlic, pepper flakes and Kosher salt over moderate heat, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes lightly golden. Pour mixture over pasta and toss to evenly coat. Shower with freshly grated cheese and eat at once.

Recipe Source:

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