Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BGF News 7/8/14



Volume XXIV, Number 6    July 8, 2014

In this week’s box:
Cabbage: Early Wakefield
Potatoes: Mountain Rose
Purslane
Scallions
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)
and perhaps of the following:
Beans Mix (Carson-yellow & Maxibel-green filet)
Broccoli (the up and down temps are causing funny shapes, but still delicious flavor)
Cucumbers: Suyo Long (long, bumpy) or Diva (smooth, English-type)
Eggplant: Orient Express (dk purple, long & slender)
and anything else we can find to add in

For those with the Cheese option: Robiola, Basil Feta & [BONUS!] Cheesemaker's Choice Chevre
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Lettuce leaf basil, oregano & par-cel

Featured Recipes (see below):  Grilled Zucchini Burgers
                                                     Purslane Potato Salad
Purslane & Basil Pesto

Precipitation since last week: .98”

What’s up on the farm?

Well, we should start out today with the declaration that we can't complain too much about the recent weather. We have had too much rain, but not nearly as much as many places and we have seen none of the severe weather that many areas experienced. That said, we have indeed had more rain than many crops are pleased about and some are starting to show their opinions on it with yellowing leaves, slowed growth and even a few losses in some of the lower areas. We are also starting to get behind on sowing new crops because the soil is just too wet to work. But again, that said, most of the crops are doing pretty well so far. We are starting to see the first few ripening cherry tomatoes and the eggplant, cukes, beans and peppers are right on the edge of really starting to produce. The summer squashes are probably the happiest of all, which is a nice change after the past 2 seasons of lack-luster performance by them and we are very pleased to be sending out the first of this year's potatoes this week. We are seeing the end of many of the early season crops, especially in the greens family, but we hope to have some variety of them back in the boxes before too many weeks pass. As the boxes aren't quite as bountiful as we would like this week, we are including an assortment of whatever we have available today. So you may find something in your box that isn't on the list above. Don't worry, it won't be anything that is hard to identify.

Progress continues on the walk-in cooler and the final stages are in sight. What a huge change that will make to our ability to harvest and store large volumes of crops at one time. It may not sound like a big deal, but I assure you it will be like getting to take a vacation for us, midseason!

Many of you have continued to follow our slow progress on naming the new baby alpaca. We are happy to officially introduce you to "Suvi" which is Estonian for "Summer" and we hope you will all come and say hello to her this Sunday at the CSA Ice Cream Social.

Speaking of which… CSA member Ice Cream Social- This coming 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 today to gather RSVP’s or in Des Moines you may tell Jill when you pick up your box today. 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:
Scallions: (green onions) are best kept upright in a glass with about 1" of water in it, more like flowers than vegetables. Loosely cover the tops with plastic and you will be amazed at how long they will keep. We like to throw a handful of chopped scallions into nearly any savory dish, right near the end of the cooking time.

Beans: Store in their plastic bag in your crisper drawer and use within a week for best quality.

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.

Potatoes: Store in their paper bag at cool room temperatures and wash right before using (potatoes don't like to be washed straight out of the field, so we have to apologize for the extra soil they are carrying). Use in the next two weeks as these are fresh, uncured potatoes and will not store for a long period of time.

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)


Grilled Zucchini (or eggplant) “Burgers”
(2 servings)

Eight Ball or other zucchini, sliced in slices 1/2 to 5/8 inch thick.
1/2 cup your favorite Italian salad dressing
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
1 -2 tsp. Italian seasoning (optional)
4-6 fresh basil leaves
2-4 slices provolone cheese
Crusty bread or large rolls

Cut zucchini into slices, making sure the slices are the same thickness. Combine salad dressing with garlic and herbs, if using. Put zucchini slices into ziploc bag, pour in marinade and let zucchini marinate 4 hours or longer, can be as long as all day.

To cook zucchini, preheat grill to medium-high.

Place zucchini on grill. After about 4 minute, check for grill marks, and rotate zucchini a quarter turn. Cook 3-4 more minutes on first side.
Turn zucchini to second side, place 1-2 basil leaves on top side and cover with provolone. Cook about 4 minutes more, or until zucchini is starting to soften quite a bit, with the outside slightly charred and browned. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot on bread or rolls.

This recipe is also tasty with eggplant.
Recipe Source: BGF, adapted from http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com

Purslane Potato Salad

Serves 4-6

In a medium pot, boil 5 cups chopped potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside to cool. In a bowl, mix 1 cucumber chopped into half moon slivers, 1 cup purslane leaves and buds (flowers and stalks are edible as well, if you choose), and 1 cup chopped scallions with greens. Add potatoes and mix well.

In a small, wide bowl, whisk 1 egg yolk until smooth. Drip in, whisking constantly, 1 cup olive oil, making sure to add slowly enough to keep mixture opaque. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1-2 finely chopped Serrano peppers. Mix well. Spoon over potato and vegetable mixture (there may be some spicy mayo leftover; it will keep in the fridge for at least a week, if not longer), adding several tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar and fresh ground pepper and salt to taste. Toss well and serve at room temperature.

Recipe Source: www.diaryofalocavore.com

Purslane & Basil Pesto

4 Cups Purslane
2 Cups Fresh Basil
1 Cup Roasted Pine Nuts
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Honey or Agave Nectar
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper 

Place all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until smooth.  Use this wonderful pesto in pasta... risotto, as a spread in sandwiches or as a dip for some crudite.  Enjoy!

Recipe Source: http://fergiesbites.blogspot.com
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