Wednesday, July 2, 2014

BGF News 7/1/14

Volume XXIV, Number 5 –  July 1, 2014

In this week’s box:
Basil: Genovese and/or Italian Large Leaf
Garlic Scapes (the final "e-scape" of the season)
Head Lettuce: Oakleaf- Bronze Arrowhead or Romaine-Crisp Mint or Green Towers (last of the head lettuce)
Kale mix: Red Russian, Toscano & Beedy's Camden,
Pac Choi: “Win-Win”
Peas: Snow or Sugar Snap
Summer Squash: 8 Ball (round, green), Golden Glory (yellow zucchini), Patty Pan (lt. green, dk. green or
            yellow, round scallop), Slik Pik (lt. yellow, long) or Lemon (small, lemon-shaped, yellow)
Turnips: Hakurei & Scarlet Queen
and possibly one of the following:
 Broccoli (again, a little funny looking, but tasty)
Cucumbers: Suyo Long (long, bumpy) or Diva (smooth, English-type)
Eggplant: Orient Express (dark purple, long & slender)
For those with the Egg option [full & half shares]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Red Rubin basil, lemon thyme & anise hyssop

Featured Recipes (see below):  Veggie Mac & Cheese
Sautéed Turnips with Butter and Sugar
Broccoli with Asian-Style Dressing

Precipitation in the past week:  2.80” 

What’s up on the farm?

It really feels like we spent most of the past week dodging weather bullets. While we got plenty of rain and more wind than we would like, we were very lucky to miss all of the severe and damaging weather that was rampaging across the state. And while we have a few areas in the gardens where plants look stressed from too much rain, we know other farmers whose whole fields are under water, so we are counting our blessings! All of us are looking forward to this week with its cooler temperatures and more stable weather pattern.

The wet soil conditions for most of the week kept us from doing much soil cultivation, but it was a great week for hand weeding and the crew spent much of their non-harvesting time rescuing the crops in Plot VI from the invasion of weeds. If feels like any time not spent weeding was spent harvesting peas! While not quite the truth, it certainly felt like it, but that time is mostly past. We will continue to get peas for a while but the big Pea Fest is done for the season. It appears that the summer squashes are taking over where the peas left off. The cucumbers and eggplant are just on the edge of really taking off, which is exciting as this is probably the earliest that we've ever harvested those two crops.

The animals are ready for a break in the rainy weather too, except possibly Indigo who LOVES tromping through mud puddles and can simultaneously drink, run and splash mud at a high rate of speed. The baby alpaca (still no name) continues to do well and is keeping us all entertained while she practices running and jumping in the pasture. It's amazing we are getting anything accomplished as it is so much fun to watch her.

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!

A little detail on your produce this week:
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 a 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.

Cucumber: Store unwashed cucumbers in a sealed plastic bag in the vegetable crisper bin for about a week. Keep cucumbers tucked far away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus—these give off ethylene gas that accelerates cucumber deterioration. You can do a lot of fancy things to the skin of a cucumber, and when it is young, fresh, and unwaxed, it really only needs to be thoroughly washed. However, if the skin seems tough or bitter you can remove it; if the seeds are bulky, slice the cucumber lengthwise and scoop them out.

Eggplant: Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild. Many people like to peel, salt, and drain their eggplant to draw out any bitter flavor; however, bitterness develops only in eggplant that has been stored for a while, so with farm-fresh specimens this is generally not necessary. Many recipes call for salting in order to make the vegetable less watery and more absorbent—much like draining tofu. Salting is not an essential step, but it can greatly enhance the taste and texture of your dish and is well worth the extra effort. The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

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.

Leafy 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 and on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or 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)

Veggie Mac & Cheese (without the “mac”)

2 tbs olive oil
2-3 cups sliced summer squash (1/4” slices)
2 tbs green onions or garlic, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 tbs chevre cheese (we especially like chive or pesto flavored)

Pour oil in sauté pan. Add garlic and summer squash. Saute 1-2 minutes and add green onion. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes until squash are cooked through, but still firm. Remove from heat and immediately stir cheese into squash. Serve hot.

Recipe source: Blue Gate Farm

Sautéed Turnips with Butter and Sugar
Serves 4

3 tbs. unsalted butter
1-2 tbs. sugar
1 pound turnips, scrubbed, halved and cut into ½” wide wedges
¼ c. water
Freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter and sugar in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until sugar begins to color slightly. Add turnips, salt lightly, and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally, for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Add water, raise heat to medium-high and cook, tossing until the turnips are tender and the water has evaporated, coating the turnips with a light glaze, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper and serve hot.

Recipe Source: From the Farmers’ Market by Richard Sax & Sandra Gluck

Broccoli with Asian-Style Dressing
Be careful—this can be addictive. You may not want your broccoli any other way after trying
this recipe. For variety, try adding matchstick size strips of steamed carrots or daikon.
Serves 2 to 4

1 medium head broccoli
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil (optional)

Separate the florets from the stalk; break into smaller florets. Cut the stalk into 1-inch lengths and then into matchstick-size strips.

Place the broccoli in a steamer basket set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water and cover. Steam for 5 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a bowl.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir until well combined. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and mix well.

Recipe Source: The Real Dirt on Farmer John Cookbook

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