Tuesday, June 24, 2014

BGF News 6/24/14

Blue Gate Farm News – Volume XXIV, Number 4    June 24, 2014

In this week’s box:
Baby Beets with greens
Chard: Bright Lights Mix (a little beat up this week, but tasty nonetheless)
Garlic Scapes
Head Lettuce: Crisp Mint or Green Towers romaine
Peas: Snap AND Snow (our pea beds are exploding, so you get to enjoy the ridiculous bounty)
Tapestry Salad Mix
and one of the following:
Broccoli (the up and down temps are causing funny shapes, but still delicious flavor)
Summer Squash: 8 Ball (round, green), Golden Glory (yellow zucchini), Patty Pan (lt. green, dk. green or yellow, round scallop) or Slik Pik (lt. yellow, long)
For those with the Cheese option: Robiola & Black Pepper Chevre
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: lemon basil, tarragon & peppermint

Featured Recipes (see below):  Summer Garden Pasta
Braised Whole Baby Beets
Pasta with Swiss Chard Bacon and Lemony Ricotta

Precipitation since last week: 1.69”

What’s up on the farm?

Another busy week has gone by and there has been lots happening on the farm this past week. The most important news is that our waiting and watching is finally over. On Saturday, our alpaca "herd" grew by one when the new baby was (finally) born. We're pretty sure it is a little girl, creamy white in color and as cute as they come, all long spindly legs and big eyes. It is such fun to see her out in the pasture with her mom. We haven't decided on a name yet, but probably something to do with summer as she was born on the summer solstice. You can see photos on our Facebook page and we hope to have more up on the blog this week.

Our other big event of the week was hosting a field day at the farm for Practical Farmers of Iowa. We had more than 45 people on the farm on Sunday to learn about building a walk-in cooler and about local pollinators. The day started with a tour of the farm and culminated with a potluck supper. In between there was lots of good information exchanging and learning. The weather cooperated nicely and it was a good day. This event was the impetus for making progress on the walk-in and lots happened in the week leading up to it. The concrete pad was poured on Wednesday and construction began on Thursday. Sean & Jill's dad worked hard and fast and got to a great stage in the build so that the field day attendees could really see the internal design and construction. It is an exciting project to see taking shape!

The balance of the week has been more of the normal work of the farm. Much weeding, cultivating and harvesting and trellising was done and things are looking quite good. As always, there is the occasional exception. The salad is really starting to show the stress of the recent heat. So this is likely the final delivery of salad mix until fall. We hope to have head lettuce available for future deliveries, but high temperatures may put a crimp in that plan as well. The garlic scapes are also wrapping up and this is probably their final appearance in the box for the season. Never fear, there is much garlicky goodness to follow in its other forms.

Just a quick reminder to try and remember to return your CSA box each week. This past week we had a pretty high percentage of forgotten boxes and while we understand that things happen and boxes get misplaced or plans change, it does slow down our packing progress when we have to make up temporary boxes and bag produce for multiple members. Do remember that there is always the option of bringing a bag along with you and just unloading your box at the pick-up location. A number of our members do this and then they never have to remember to return their boxes.

Upcoming Event: CSA member Ice Cream Social- Sunday, July 13th from 2 – 5pm at the farm. Come on out for an afternoon filled with fresh country air, homemade ice cream and farm-fresh desserts. We will be sending out an email next week to gather RSVP’s for this event, but we wanted to give you time to get it on your calendar. We hope everyone can join us!

Just a reminder, we have set up a new Facebook page for CSA members. You can find it here: Blue Gate Farm Community. If you have a Facebook account we encourage you to post recipes, photos and questions about your weekly produce box adventures. If you don't have an account, don't worry, you can still see/ read anything on the page, but you won't be able to post anything. We will keep an eye on the page and try to answer questions in a timely manner, but really this is to encourage the "Community" aspect of CSA and to provide you all a venue to share and connect with each other.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Beets: Cut off greens, leaving an inch of stem. Refrigerate the unwashed greens in a closed plastic bag and use with your chard mix. Store the beet roots, unwashed, with the rootlets (or “tails”) attached, in a plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks, but their sweetness diminishes with time. Just before cooking, scrub beets well and remove any scraggly leaves and rootlets. If your recipe calls for raw beets, peel them with a knife or vegetable peeler, then grate or cut according to your needs baby/young beets usually don't need to be peeled.

Broccoli: Wrap broccoli loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak broccoli, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and
wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Summer Squash/Zucchini: Refrigerate unwashed zucchini and summer squash for up to a week and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel. Before using, rinse zucchini and summer squash under cool running water to remove any dirt or prickles; then slice off the stem and blossom ends. Slice the vegetable into rounds, quarters, or chunks according to the specifications of your recipe. Summer squashes and zucchinis can be used interchangeably in recipes.

A few other details: Your greens will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  For those of you who are new to our salad mix, yes you can eat the flowers. 

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 http://beyondthebluegate.blogspot.com/ and on Facebook (just search Blue Gate Farm) and “Like” us or hit the new CSA page at Blue Gate Farm Community

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 & Indigo)

Summer Garden Pasta

Small bunch young beets, assorted colors with greens
1 tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp garlic, minced or garlic scapes, chopped
1 cup fresh beans or peas, stemmed and snapped
2 tbs Dried Tomatoes, chopped
Feta or parmesan cheese. crumbled/shaved
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
Penne pasta

Prepare pasta according to directions.
While pasta is cooking, separate beets from greens (discard stems), cut beets into quarters or eighths and
cut beet greens into a chiffonade.
Place dried tomatoes into a small heat-proof dish. When pasta is about half done, take 2 tbs of pasta water and pour over dried tomatoes to re-hydrate.
Place olive oil, garlic, beets and beans into a sauté pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Remove dried tomatoes from liquid (reserving liquid) and add tomatoes to sauté pan along with beet greens. Cook until greens are wilted and bright green.  Remove from heat.
Place pasta in a serving bowl, add sautéed vegetables and feta cheese. Sprinkle with reserved water from dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, toss gently to coat.

This recipe serves two as a main dish, but is easy to multiply to feed any number.

Recipe source: Blue Gate Farm

Braised Whole Baby Beets
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1/4 cup butter
2 lbs beet thinnings or whole baby beets with their greens (washed well and patted dry)
2 cups fresh chicken broth or roasted chicken stock
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp cider vinegar

Melt butter in a skillet over a moderate flame. When it froths, neatly place beet thinnings into the skillet so that all the root tips rest in one direct and the greens in the other. Sear in butter until the greens are wilted. Pour two cups chicken broth or chicken stock into the skillet, cover, and simmer until roots become tender – about ten minutes.
Turn off the heat and transfer the beets to a serving dish using tongs. For best presentation, lay the beets together so that all the beetroots rest at one end of the serving dish with the greens resting at the other. Sprinkle with fresh chopped mint and dress with cider vinegar.

Recipe Source: http://nourishedkitchen.com/

Pasta with Chard, Bacon and Lemony Ricotta

1 lb corkscrew macaroni
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped (or garlic scapes)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup ricotta cheese (or chevre)
1 lemon, juice and zest of
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, add salt and cook the pasta al dente.  While the pasta cooks, preheat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the olive oil and bacon, and cook until the bacon crisps, about 3 minutes.

To the bacon add the garlic, onions, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until the onions are lightly caramelized.

Add the chopped Swiss chard, toss to coat, and wilt the chard down. Then turn the heat up to high and add the chicken stock. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta with the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Place ¼ cup of the ricotta mixture in the bottom of 4 bowls. Set aside.

Add the lemon juice to the Swiss chard. Drain the pasta well and toss with the greens for a minute to let the juices absorb into the pasta.

Turn the heat off and add the grated Parmesan cheese and toss to distribute. Serve immediately, dishing it up on top of the ricotta cheese. Stir before eating.

Recipe Source: www.food.com

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