Thursday, January 23, 2014

BGF News 10/15/2013

In this week’s box:
Beets: Chioggia and/or Golden
Braising Greens: Osaka Purple Mustard, Senposai & Collards
Garlic: Northern White
Kohlrabi: Eder (green) and/or Koolibri (purple)
Storage Onions: Copra
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 one of the following:                      
Broccoli florets
Broccoli Raab
            Mini Bell Peppers (in plastic bag)         
            Okra: Burgundy
            Tapestry Salad Mix
For those with the Cheese option: Lemon Curd Chevre & Basil Feta
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: lemongrass, anise hyssop & pineapple mint
For those with the Honey option: one bottle liquid honey

Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Slow-Roasted Peppers in Balsamic Garlic Glaze
Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes  
Kohlrabi Greens with Toasted Sesame Oil and Soy Sauce

Precipitation in the past week: 0.12"

What’s up on the farm?

Well here it is, the final delivery of the 2013 Summer CSA season. Every year it seems these 20 weeks go by faster and faster. In that time we've tilled, sowed, transplanted, weeded, mowed, tried new crops and tilled under failing ones. We've had fields that were too wet, too dry, too weedy and very nearly perfect for vegetables production. We've tried new varieties of crops and retired those that just weren't performing well and now we are looking forward to starting it all over again for next season (after a little winter's rest.)  We hope you have enjoyed our veggie adventure together this year and if you aren't joining us for the Winter Share, we will look forward to seeing you again next Summer! We will be starting the signup period for the 2014 season in early December, so you can anticipate receiving an email from us about that time. We want to take the opportunity to thank you all for being an important part of the BGF family and for helping to make it possible for us to raise and provide our members and customers with fresh, chemical-free produce. Our members are the core of that plan. We also want to thank The Next Chapter in Knoxville and Ritual Café in Des Moines for offering us a "home away from home" and a convenient place to deliver your produce. We hope you will show them the same generosity they have given all of us. This is a perfect embodiment of Buy Fresh, Buy Local!

The kohlrabi in your boxes this week is a little goofy, but we wanted you to have a chance to try it. We had an entire spring crop that just never did much, finally as we were ready to clean out that bed last week, we discovered that a number of the heads had finally sized up a bit so we harvested all of the usable ones yesterday and then added some from the new fall crop to them, so everyone will receive a couple of older heads and at least one new one. It will be easy to tell the difference just by looking at the skin and leaves, which is which. The older ones will want to be peeled before using, the fall bulbs will require no such attention before using.

The garlic is also a little special this time around. Due to the conditions when we harvested (rock hard, dry soil) we had a fairly high number of heads that were damaged this year. Generally there is one clove on the head that was scraped or stabbed during digging, making it unfit for sale. Normally that is "family garlic" or what we use in our house and offer to the crew. This year there is A LOT of it, way more than we can use, so in the interest of stocking you up for the weeks ahead, we've decided to send it out in this final delivery. You will find 2 undamaged heads and several with "issues". Use the damaged heads first, simply discarding the damaged clove and use the blemish-free heads for storage. This should extend your garlic stock a bit and keep us from wasting  it.

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.  Veteran Winter CSA members have until end of day today to sign up and then any open slots will be made available to current CSA members on a first come-first served basis. If you haven't previously participated in the Winter CSA and would like to join us, please send us an email indicating your interest by Monday, Oct 21.

Upcoming events:
Downtown Des Moines Harvest Market (indoors at Capitol Square) 11/22-23 and 12/13-14.
A great opportunity to stock up on fresh produce, gifts and supplies for the holiday season.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Kohlrabi-Its almost like a fleet of alien spacecraft landed in the fields—green and purple orbs growing lightly on the soil, antennas splayed in all directions. If we left them there long enough, they might actually levitate. These oddities are in fact fellow earthlings and relatives of broccoli. Kohlrabi initiates know what a treasure these outlandish vegetables are in the kitchen. Their sweet crunch is excellent cooked or raw. If you plan to use it soon, wrap the whole unwashed kohlrabi— stem, stalks, leaves, and all—in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, remove the stalks and greens from the bulb and use them within a week. Store the bulb in another plastic bag in the fridge and use it within two weeks. Rinse kohlrabi under cold running water just before use. Unless the skin seems particularly tough, kohlrabi does not have to be peeled. Just trim off the remains of the stalks and root. Grate, slice, or chop kohlrabi as desired. We like the bulb sliced and eaten raw with a bit of salt. Don't forget about the leaves though, they are delightful cooked with garlic and olive oil or made into pesto.

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)

Slow-Roasted Peppers in Balsamic Garlic Glaze

3 ripe (red, yellow, orange) peppers, sliced into generous bite-size pieces
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Sea salt & cracked pepper

Heat oven to 300 F

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce.

Meanwhile, place sliced peppers in an oven proof dish.  Sprinkle with garlic slices and top with well whisked balsamic glaze.  Add a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked pepper.

Roast peppers for 1 hour, turning on occasion.  Turn oven up to 375 and roast for another 10 minutes or until peppers are sizzling and just beginning to char.  Remove peppers from oven and allow them to cool slightly before serving warm.

Recipe Source:

Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes    

Yields: 6 servings

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon     3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (optional)

1.         Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pour the oil into a 9x13 inch baking dish, and place in the oven until hot, about 5 minutes.
2.         Add potatoes to the oiled dish, and bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, turning after 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
3.         After the 20 minutes is up, remove the potatoes from the oven, and sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture. Stir to coat. Return to the oven, and roast for another 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and golden brown. Stir potatoes as necessary to allow them to brown evenly.
4.         Remove potatoes to paper towels to drain, then transfer to a serving dish, and sprinkle with lime juice.

Recipe Source:

   1        large bunch kohlrabi greens
   1        tsp. toasted sesame oil
   ~       Good-quality soy sauce, to taste
   ~       Shichimi, to garnish (see note)
  1. Tear the leaves away from tough ribs and stems. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the kohlrabi leaves, and boil until tender, 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the age of the leaves. Fish out a leaf and taste it after 1 minute to determine cooking time.
  2. Drain the greens in a colander and push on them with a spatula to remove as much water as possible. Roughly chop the cooked greens and place them on a serving plate. Toss with the sesame oil and soy sauce to taste. Sprinkle with shichimi and serve as a side dish with rice and steamed fish or a meat stir-fry.
Shichimi is a Japanese condiment made from sesame seeds, nori seaweed, and red chile flakes. It is available at most Asian grocery stores, or you can substitute toasted sesame seeds and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Recipe Source: unknown

No comments: