Thursday, January 23, 2014

BGF News 12/3/2013

In this week’s box:
Beets: Chioggia (red) & Golden
Chard: Bright Lights Mix
Cabbage: Storage 4 &/or Super Red
Potatoes: German Butterball
Radish Mix: Cherryette, Easter Egg Mix and/or Icicle
Spinach Mix (open top bag): Space, Cardinal, Olympia & Tyee
Sweet Onions: Gold Coin
Tapestry Salad Mix (zip-top bag)
Tatsoi (dark green leafy rosette)
Winter Squash: Butternut (from our friends at Pierce's Pumpkin Patch)
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)

Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Rice Fried Vegetables
Steamed Greens with Balsamic Butter
Maple Glazed Beets & Greens

Precipitation in the past month: Rain- 0.75"
                                                   Snow- 1.50" 

What’s up on the farm?

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mother Nature for her very kind consideration as we harvested for this week's delivery in unseasonably warm weather, especially since it is book-ended by unseasonably cold conditions! Our harvest and prep for the indoor farmer's market a week ago wasn't nearly so pleasant as we were racing the snow, sleet, ice and below freezing temps to get the vegetables in and keep them from freezing. While we did get lots of crops harvested, the ensuing single digit temps finally did in most of our remaining crops in the fields, the spinach, tatsoi and some of the salad mix are the hardy survivors out there but most of the rest of today's delivery was either harvested and stored before the ice (cabbage, potatoes, onions) or came from the high tunnels. Even the protection of the tunnels couldn't combat such deep, early cold and we lost a good amount of our radishes (and some of the chard) as they are in the northern-most high tunnel bed. You are getting a cute little bundle of radishes this week, little because that is all that survived, the chard fared a little better.

Speaking of survivors, every year we hope that some of the crops that challenge us, namely in the squash family will survive the onslaught of insects and produce a good crop. This past year we had pretty good luck with some of our squashes, enough so that both the Summer and Winter CSA's got to have squash once, which is better than we have had some years, but we had hoped for better. This past week we were chatting with our friends & neighbors the Pierce's of Pierce's Pumpkin Patch and they mentioned that they had quite a bit of squash left from their bumper crop. Ah  ha! So as we have done once before, we purchased some of their surplus to share with our members. This is conventionally-raised squash, not chemical-free, but the Pierce's are responsible with their chemical-use and we feel comfortable eating their products, in fact this is where we buy all of the squash for our own use as we never have enough of our own. So use it as you will, we think it is delicious and hope you enjoy it.

We have been doing a few things besides dodging the cold weather for harvesting. The alpaca shed has two new windows, much to the appreciation of Boris & Abby. The wood-cutting season has begun in earnest and will continue as a weekly outing through next March, at least. The chickens and alpacas have moved to their winter pasture locations and tomorrow we will start stripping all the low tunnels from the fields. We are also prepping for the remaining holiday markets and hosting visitors as they come thorough visiting family and friends.

Upcoming events:
First Annual Artisan Holiday Bazaar, Sunday 12/8, 11am-5pm
3108 49th St, Des Moines. In Beaverdale, between Douglas and Hickman (private home, public event). We'll be there (with all our non-perishable products) along with a bunch of other craftspeople and artists.

Downtown Des Moines Winter Market (indoors at Capitol Square) 12/13-14.
A great opportunity to stock up on fresh produce, gifts and supplies for the holiday season. We'll be on the ground floor near the Nolan Plaza exit, stop by and say hello!

A little detail on your produce this week:
Beets- Separate roots from tops. Store each in a plastic bag in the produce drawer. Roots will keep for a month or more and are delicious just sliced raw, but also tasty roasted. Leaves are a tasty cooked green very similar to chard.

Winter Squash- Store winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation for up to a month, depending on the variety. Once squash has been cut, you can wrap the pieces in plastic and refrigerate them for five to seven days. To make it easier to prep winter squash for your recipe, try the prebaking method: pierce the squash to allow heat to escape while it is in the oven, then bake the squash whole at 350° F until it is just barely tender to the poke of the finger, 20 to 30 minutes. This softens the shell and makes cutting and peeling much easier.

Leafy Greens (chard, tatsoi, beet/turnip tops, ect) - Store in a plastic bag in the produce drawer for up to two weeks.

Potatoes & Onions - store on the counter for short-term use. For longer storage, keep in a cool, dark place with good air circulation (garages and basements can be a good choice).

Cabbage- Very tender and sweet. Wrap in plastic and store in the produce drawer. Enjoy as you would any cabbage, but we particularly like them "leafed out" (pulled apart into their individual leaves) and then either spread with peanut butter and rolled up for a quick energy snack or even better, sauteed in butter until slightly wilted, then sprinkled with a touch of sea salt. YUM!

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)

Rice Fried Vegetables
Serves 4

In this vegetable fried rice reversal, the vegetables are dominant and the rice secondary. Feel free to substitute, add, or augment the vegetables—just don’t subtract.

1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil or peanut oil, divided
3 large eggs, beaten
3 green onions, chopped (¼ cup)
3 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
4 cups chopped fresh broccoli
½ lb. chopped asparagus or green beans
1 medium carrot, cut in thin slices on the diagonal (½ cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
4 cups chopped kale, collards, spinach, or Swiss chard
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. sriracha chile sauce
1 ½ cups frozen peas, thawed
⅔ cup toasted sliced almonds

Heat small skillet over medium heat 1 minute. Add 1 tsp. oil, and swirl to coat pan. Wait 30 seconds, then add eggs. Tilt pan in all directions to let eggs flow to edges, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, lifting cooked eggs to allow uncooked eggs to flow underneath. Flip omelet, and cook 30 seconds more, or until dry, but not browned. Transfer to plate, and cut into strips.
Heat large, deep skillet or wok over medium heat 1 minute. Add remaining oil and swirl to coat pan. Add green onions and ginger, and sauté 5 minutes or until onions are soft. Stir in broccoli, asparagus, carrot, and garlic, and stir-fry 8 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Fold in kale with tongs. Cook 2 minutes, or until kale is bright green and slightly wilted. Stir in rice, soy sauce, egg strips, and sriracha chile sauce. Serve topped with peas and almonds.

Recipe Source:
Maple Glazed Beets & Greens

1 bunch of beets (I used 3 beets total)
olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or more if you’re feeling saucy)

A word of caution: beets stain. everything. So be careful – paper towels are your friend when handling them.
Trim stems from beets, leaving about 1 inch on (so you have something to hold onto when removing skins later). Separate leaves from stems and reserve for later then give beets a good scrubbing. Admire their brilliant color.

Drizzle each beet with olive oil and wrap up with aluminum foil.

Be generous with the aluminum foil so your poor little beets don’t bleed through in the oven and leave a lovely stain on your favorite oven mitt….

Place beets in oven and cook at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until tender (poke a skewer in to check).  Remove from oven and let cool. Carefully unwrap each beet and use a knife to gently scrape off the skin. Chop beets into cubes.

Roughly chop or tear the reserved greens and add to pan heated with olive oil and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add in chopped beets, followed by maple syrup. Cook for another 2-3 minutes then remove from heat.

Plate up: Simply place on plate, step back & let the gorgeous colors of the beets speak for themselves.

Recipe Source:

Steamed Greens with Balsamic Butter
The recipe makes far more balsamic butter than you'll need for the spinach, so save the rest for another use, such as spreading on roasted salmon or braised endive.
Serves 6

1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-3 bunches Tatsoi or other greens (chard, choi, turnip greens), washed and trimmed

1. Combine the vinegar and wine in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and reduce by half. Remove from the heat and add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until all the butter is incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Steam the spinach for 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted; use tongs to toss the leaves so they wilt evenly. Transfer to a serving bowl.
3. Spoon one-third of the balsamic butter over the spinach and toss to mix. Taste, adding more butter if needed (reserve the rest for another use).

Recipe Source: Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century by Amanda Hesser.
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