Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BGF News 8/21/12

In this week’s box:
Beets: Chioggia & Golden
Greens Mix: Kale, Mustard & Kohlrabi
Hot Peppers: Wenk's Yellow Hots & Georgia Flame
Kohlrabi: Winner (green) & Kolibri (purple)
Sweet Onions: Ailsa Craig
Tomatoes, slicers
…plus whatever else we can find to add to the fun!

For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: basil: Genovese/Large Leaf , garlic chives, anise hyssop

Featured Recipe(s) (see below):  Sweet Onion Dip
Creamy Sweet Onion Balsamic Dressing 
Garlicky Greens
Precipitation in the past week: .5"

What’s up on the farm?

Well the adventures just keep coming. To start we have to say a very special thank you to our crew and to the Beebout parents for taking over last weeks CSA harvest and delivery. My parents mentioned how very nice everyone was as they picked up their boxes.  I can't imagine what I would have done, had our "team" not been there to help us out. The story that transpired was that Sean had come home from the hospital Monday evening following recovery from his 2nd surgery. He was weak, but seemed ok until he fell in the house on Tuesday morning while I was out working with the crew. When I returned to the house to check on him, I found him on the floor and in pain. Call the nurse, call the ambulance, head back to Des Moines Mercy. No new injuries found but Sean felt he was too weak to return home, so the next morning he was admitted to our local hospital (Knoxville) for rehab. Unfortunately he developed some additional post-surgery complications on Saturday and got to take another ambulance ride back to Mercy, where he is now, getting a heavy duty course of antibiotics.

So I have been away from the farm for much of the past week, but progress continues regardless.  Sean's mom and brother #3 have been visiting this week and helping out with of all sorts of projects big and small. The little bits of rain we've gotten over the past couple of weeks have encouraged the weeds to grow again, so weeding has been on the list this week. We've also got most of the remaining fall field crops sown and transplanted including: kohlrabi, broccoli raab, beets and broccoli. Many of the sowings done in the past 2 weeks are up and looking pretty good despite the dry conditions. The recent much cooler temperatures have been a great help in this, as with the comfort of the crew. The tomatoes, peppers, okra and eggplant however, are less than thrilled with the 50° nighttime lows, so while the plants still hold lots of fruit, the ripening has slowed dramatically. The challenges of 2012 continue, but we will just keep moving forward (slowly at times) until we work through it. Thank you for all your patience!

A little detail on your produce this week:
 Kohlrabi: This crop was mostly a failure, with just a small number of bulbs germinating and developing, but because it was in the farthest garden, we never got around to tilling it under, so when we happened to look at it this week, it appeared there was just enough to give everyone a taste. Our favorite way to eat it is just sliced, and stored in cold, lightly salted water. You can also grate it and serve with other salad greens. 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.

Sweet Onions: Store just like other onions, but they don't tend to keep quite as long, so use them in the next several weeks. How about a homemade pizza with tomatoes, sweet onions and finely shredded greens?

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures?  Follow us at our blog at and on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm.

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)

Sweet Onion Dip
Makes 2 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 Vidalia onions (1 pound total), finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
Potato chips, for serving

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, combine onions, sour cream, cream cheese, vinegar, and chives; season with salt and pepper. Chill dip until slightly thickened, about 1 hour; or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. Serve with chips.

Recipe Source:


Creamy Sweet Onion Balsamic Dressing

 6 2-Tbsp Servings

1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 diced sweet onion
1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
Blend all ingredients in a small blender or magic bullet.

Recipe Source:

Garlicky Greens
(think of it more as a condiment to add to other dishes, than a side dish)

A big bundle of any cooking greens

Separate the leaves from the rigid stalks if you’re using greens like kale or chard. You can chop the stalks and add them to soups, braise them, or use them for making broth. If your leaves are quite large, you can chop them very roughly — just one or two passes of the knife.
Mince a good amount of garlic. I like about three or four big cloves for about two pounds of greens.
Find your biggest skillet and place it on medium-low heat. Add a tablespoon or two of some kind of fat. Olive oil, butter, rendered bacon fat — your choice. Bacon fat goes well with collards and butter makes spinach especially silky.
Toss about a clove’s worth of garlic in the skillet and let it bubble for a few minutes, until just starting to turn golden. Then add a few big handfuls of greens and a pinch of salt. You can really pile them on, as they’ll wilt quite a bit. I can usually get about a third of a 2-pound batch in the skillet at one time.
Stir and toss with tongs until just wilted. This will only take a minute or two for spinach, much longer for hardier leaves like kale. Remove the cooked greens to  container and let them cool while you repeat the process for the rest of your greens: more oil, more garlic, more greens.
Once the greens are cool, you can pack them up in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. They’ll stay good for about a week, but you’ll probably have used it up by then.
  • Eat them as-is, heated up, as a side dish for any protein.
  • Mix into any pasta dish.
  • Make a gratin: mix with b├ęchamel sauce, top with cheese, and bake.
  • Add to stir-fries.
  • Add to soups and ramen.
  • Add to sandwiches and wraps.
  • Use them to top pizza or focaccia.
  • Make eggs florentine: stack a toasted English muffin, a big spoonful of whatever greens you’ve got, and a poached egg, and top with hollandaise.
  • If all else fails, a piece of toast with a good amount of greens, a slick of olive oil, and perhaps a piece of cheese makes a hearty lunch.
Recipe Source:

BGF News 8/14/12

In this week’s box:
Basil: Genovese or Italian Large Leaf
Fennel-bulb & greens
Scallions (final for the season)
Sweet Peppers: Ace (green to red), Islander (purple to orange), Golden Marconi (long, green to red)
Tomatoes, slicers (see descriptions below)
            and perhaps ONE of the following:
Bean Mix: Empress & Carson, Eggplant: Orient Express (long, thin, purple), Broccoli: Packman, Okra: Bowling Red or Mini Bell Pepper Mix

For those with the Cheese option: Chive Chevre and Robiola di mia Nonna
For those with the Egg option [full and half]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Basil: Red Rubin, sorrel, parsley

Featured Recipe(s) (see below):  Fennel Egg Salad
Chicken with Fennel and Tomato
Purslane Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes
Mexican Purslane Stuffing
Precipitation in the past week: 0.5” (we are still very short on rain totals, but this did help!)

What’s up on the farm?

Most years as we get to the 10th/11th deliveries, I think holy cow, how can we be half way through the season already. This year has been a little different and as I filled in the delivery number, I thought, wow, how can we only be halfway through this season? That said, things do seem to be looking up. We have gotten a bit of rain and the break in temperatures has been simply amazing. We continue to clear and prep spent beds and sow seeds for fall crops. So far we have seeded: spinach, turnips, broccoli raab, kale, mustard, choi, arugula, head lettuce and salad mix. Yesterday's cool, overcast weather even prompted us to get the first round of fall transplants into the garden. Transplants have included: cabbage, Brussels sprouts and Chinese cabbage.

Some of our earlier, long-season crops that had been struggling have finally given up the fight, the zucchini and cukes are among these and while we still have a few late sown high tunnel cukes that are making an effort, I'm afraid they aren't going to amount to much. The patty pan squash have started blooming again, so we may seem some small production out of them yet this season, as long as we keep getting at least a little rain.

You will probably notice a slight decline in the number of tomatoes in your box this week. The plants are fine and still covered with green fruit, but you will recall a newsletter last month where we warned that because of high temps causing sterile pollen, there would be a break in tomato production down the road? Well, here we are. So don't be too alarmed, the tomatoes are fine and will pick back up again, they just took a little hot weather vacation.

As everyone knows this has been one heck of a crazy season, even without our personal "adventures". Weather, politics, the nightly news, it is a crazy world we live in. To add to the craziness here on the farm, we are seeing a number of perennial plants blooming out of season. Flowers that normally bloom in September/Oct. are now flushing with blooms, goldenrod, cup plant, sneezeweed, mums and asters are blooming. The asters are the most alarming, as the "old-timers" called them "frost-flower" and tradition said that the first frost would come a couple weeks after the first asters bloomed. I don't really think that we are due for an August frost, but it certainly is an indicator that we have had one weird run of weather and how knows what to expect for the fall & winter.

The Tall Farmer update: the short version of the story is that Sean was released from the hospital yesterday (Monday) and is tucked safely back on the farm in his own person hospital bed. Here's hoping that the fresh air, fresh food and plenty of rest will lead to a speedy and full recovery.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Fennel: Cut off the stalks where they emerge from the bulb. To use the feathery foliage as an herb, place the dry stalks upright in a glass filled with two inches of water, cover the glass loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. The unwashed bulb will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least a week. To use, remove any damaged spots or layers. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and check the inner core. If it’s tough, remove it with a paring knife. Fennel should be washed carefully, because dirt can lodge between the layers of the bulb. Chop or mince the leaves.
Not much else new in the box this week.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures?  Follow us at our blog at and on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm.

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)

Fennel Egg Salad

6 large eggs (not too fresh or they will be hard to peel)
1/3 c. finely chopped fennel stalk
2-3 tbs. chopped fennel leaves
2-4 tbs. finely chopped sweet red onion (or scallions)
4 tbs. mayonnaise
1 ½ tbs. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Place eggs in saucepan and cover with cold water, Bring to boil. Turn off heat. Cover pan tightly and set timer for 9 minutes. When timer goes off, drain eggs and immerse them in ice water for 10-15 minutes. Peel and quarter eggs; place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, 8-12 times. Add remaining ingredients; pulse until ingredients are well blended, 3-6 more times. Use as a sandwich filling, a spread for crackers, a cold sauce for chilled asparagus, or a garnish for tossed green salads. Makes 2 cups.

Recipe source: From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-fresh Seasonal Produce

Chicken with Fennel and Tomato
Serves 4 
6             plum tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and cut in 3/4-inch pieces
2             fennel bulbs (10 to 12 ounces each), halved, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise, fronds reserved
½   cup dry white wine
 Coarse salt and ground pepper
 4           boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each)

 In a large, deep skillet, combine tomatoes, fennel, and wine; season with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on top of vegetables, allowing as much space between pieces as possible; season with salt and pepper.

Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet, and simmer gently until chicken is opaque throughout, 15 to 20 minutes.

Slice chicken breasts, and serve on top of vegetable mixture; garnish with reserved fennel fronds.

Per serving: 323 calories; 3.2 grams fat; 54.7 grams protein; 12.4 grams carbohydrates; 4.7 grams fiber
Recipe Source: unknown
Purslane Pasta With Cherry Tomatoes:

• 6 cups of cooked pasta.
• 3 cups of raw and fresh Purslane leaves
• 2 cups of cut in half cherry tomatoes
• ½ cup of green onion, minced (or shallots)

For Dressing
• Half cup of olive oil
• ¼th cup vinegar (better try your favorite herbal vinegars )
• 1 clove of garlic
• pinch of salt
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon of honey
• 2/3 cup of wild green, sorrel or parsley ( fresh and chopped)
• Prepare the dressing with all the above by whizzing all the above in a food processor or in a blender.

Procedure to be followed
• Add pasta, cherry tomatoes, Purslane and onions in a bowl
• Add the dressing and let it sit for whole night in a fridge.
• Very good to serve in cold.
Additionally you can add cheese, pepperoni or something else which you would prefer in your pasta to make it variable endlessly.
Based on a recipe from Prodigal Gardens

This is a home-type dish that is as simple to prepare as "scrambled eggs with..." but much more nutritious. Serve as a side dish, a brunch main dish or as a filling in tortillas and pitas.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium-size ripe tomato, chopped (not skinned)
1 hot pepper, finely chopped, or freshly cracked black pepper, according to taste
2 to 3 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 egg beaten
Set aside a few raw springs of purslane for garnish. Steam or blanch the rest until tender-crisp (three to five minutes). Drain thoroughly, transfer to a plate covered with several layers of paper towels and blot dry.
In a large pan, saute garlic and onion in vegetable oil until soft. Add tomato and chile, and saute until the mixture becomes sauce-like. Season with soy sauce. (If you aren't using the chile, add freshly ground black pepper.) Saute until mixture is warm and the flavors marry.
When ready to serve, add the beaten egg to the warm mixture in the pan and mix gently. The egg will bind the mixture loosely but should not harden into scrambled eggs. Garnish plate servings with reserved sprigs.
YIELD: 4 servings

Recipe Source:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BGF News 8/7/12

In this week’s box:

Beets: Chioggia &/or Golden
Chard: Bright Lights
Cherry Tomatoes Mix
Leeks: King Richard
Tomatoes, slicers
Watermelon: Moon & Stars (green w/ yellow spots, red flesh) or Cream of Saskatchewan (striped w/ white flesh)

For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Basil: Lemon/Lime, garlic chives, oregano

Featured Recipe(s) (see below):  Swiss Chard Wraps
Risotto with Leeks and Beet Greens
Watermelon Agua Fresca
Precipitation in the past week: 1.60 ” (.6” on Sat and 1.0” the previous Sunday)

What’s up on the farm?

I hardly feel qualified to address what’s been up on the farm for the past week, as most of my attentions have been divided between funerals and hospital rooms, in fact I am writing today’s newsletter from the ICU where Sean is healing from his liver surgery, after which the surgeon declared him disease-free! We hope to have him back up on the 8th floor in the next day or so and back at the farm 7-10 days from now. Maybe I should have had the farm crew write this part of the newsletter, regardless, we have gotten some nice rain in the past 10 days or so. Not enough to make up for the deficit (we’re about 7” below average for the season) but enough to make the crops, chickens and the farmers feel a bit better about things.  The crew harvested all the remaining onions, shallots and potatoes over the past week, while trying to keep up with the crazy tomato production. As the mid or long season crops are finishing up, we are re-prepping the gardens and sowing a number of fall or cool weather crops. Among those already sown include: turnips, beets, choi and carrots. The weeds have also appreciated the recent rains, so we will have to attend to those in the coming week as well. We were very pleased to have missed our first farmers market in 8 years, as this Saturday’s storms wreaked havoc with the tents and wares of many of our friends. From the windows in the ICU, it looked pretty wicked out there!

Early in the season our melons were doing so well, it was the best looking crop we’d ever had, but the lack of moisture and hot temps were really hard on the vines. Most of them are dying back, so the harvest is now or never. We did not get enough for everyone to have a whole melon, besides some of them were so huge that we couldn’t get them in the box anyway, so some of you will be receiving half of a large melon, wrapped in plastic. Please note that one of our varieties has white flesh, so don’t be dismayed if yours isn’t the standard red, our experience is that the flavor is out of this world. Please put them (cut or whole) straight into the fridge as melon is very perishable.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Watermelon: Handle watermelons carefully. When harvested at their peak ripeness, they can crack or split easily if bumped. Refrigerate watermelons right away. (Watermelons do not ripen off the vine and do not impart a ripe smell.) Cut melon should be covered in plastic wrap, and chunks or slices should be kept in an air-tight container. We suggest eating melons within a week.

Leeks: Loosely wrap unwashed leeks in a plastic bag and store them in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for at least a week. Cut the leek about 1 inch above the white part, where the leaves begin changing from dark to light green. (Save the unused greens; they’ll give great flavor to your next vegetable stock.) Fan the leaves under running water to dislodge any dirt collected there, then pat thoroughly dry. You can julienne a leek by cutting it lengthwise, or slice it crosswise. If you want to clean a leek that you will be cooking whole, make a slit down one side to within an inch or two of the root end. Then spread the leaves under running lukewarm water to clean the leek. During cooking the leek will stay whole. For a quick supper idea, leeks, tomatoes and chard will make a wonderful quiche!

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures?  Follow us at our blog at and on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm.

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)


Large tomato, sliced and cut in half
9-10 Swiss Chard leaves, at least 9 inches
1/2 cup of Mozzarella cheese, grated
2 tablespoons of Olive oil
1 teaspoon of Onion flakes
1 pinch of Salt and pepper

Steam Swiss chard for a few minutes. Do not overcook. Open leaves and brush on olive oil lightly. Put tomato slice in center of leaf - top with pinch onion - salt and pepper and one tablespoon cheese. fold leaf around tomato - this will hold together well.
Put on grill until hot - can turn once. Works best if you use a 2 sided grill that holds food in place. This can also be cooked in oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes on a cookie sheet.
I've tried goat cheese, but mozzarella works best, and a little feta is good also.
I've put squash, corn, eggplant, tomato and basil leaves and fold like a burrito.

Recipe Source:

Watermelon Agua Fresca
Serves: 4
5 cups fresh, seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
1/2 cup water
2 T. sugar or agave, or to taste (optional)
Juice of 2 fresh limes or to taste
Lime slices

Puree first 4 ingredients in a blender
Pour into ice filled glasses and garnish with lime slices

Optional add-ons:
fresh mint
fresh basil
sparkling water

Recipe Source:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

BGF News 7/31/12

In this week’s box:
Basil: Genovese or Italian Large Leaf
Cherry Tomatoes
Garlic: Northern White
Kale Mix
Potatoes: Purple Viking
Tomatoes, slicers
            and ONE of the following:
Eggplant: Orient Express (long, thin, purple), Summer Squash : Patty Pan (fluted), 8-Ball (round), or Sebring (long, yellow, Broccoli: Packman, Okra: Bowling Red or Mini Bell Pepper Mix

For those with the Cheese option: Herb Lemonade Chevre, Classic Feta & mystery bonus!
For those with the Egg option [full and half]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Basil: Red Rubin, tarragon & mountain mint

Featured Recipe(s) (see below):  Lemon Garlic Oil with Herbs
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Baked Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges

Precipitation in the past week: 0.40 ”

What’s up on the farm?

Finally a bit of rain and a breath of fresh air and cooler temps! We are still about 5" short just for this month, but the rain shower was certainly a welcome change and we hope it is a sign of better things to come.  This past week we spent mornings in the field weeding and harvesting, the too-hot afternoons found us in the barn cleaning and sorting garlic. We also managed to dig the remaining potatoes in the south garden, some of which are appearing in your box today. This is a new variety for us (replacing Caribe which wasn't available) so we hope you'll let us know what you think of it. It is supposed to be good for baking, mashing and salads.
We are getting some really nice basil out of the recent crazy weather (who would have guessed?) and we wanted to pass along the suggestion by CSA member Donna M. whose family enjoyed BBT's a couple weeks ago, replacing the traditional lettuce in a BLT with basil. We haven't tried it yet, but it sounds amazing! We've been eating LOTS of pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil, feta and chicken sausage dressed with balsamic and garlic olive oil.

We are still tending the new cucumber transplants with hopes that they will survive and produce by the end of the season, but the older plants have just about given up. There are a few survivors in the high tunnel, but they are not long for the world, as the cucumber beetles have moved in with a vengeance. We finally gave up on the chinese cabbage this week and pulled them out to become chicken feed. They were so damaged and failing that we were just prolonging the inevitable by continuing to dump water on them. We already have the fall crop started and hopefully they will do as well in the late season as they did last year. The onions have started to dry down in the field and now that we've gotten the garlic out of the packing shed, we can harvest the onions and hang them to finish curing for storage.  While not many things have flourished this season, it was certainly the Year of the Allium (onion family). The shallots will come out next and then we can start focusing on the leeks.

Our Des Moines members will see two of our farm crew at the pick up this week. Kelsey and Chelsea have taken over the farm management and delivery duties while we attend Sean's Dad's funeral. We doubt that you will even notice our absence, but in the event that you need to reach us, feel free to call my cell 641/203-1709. And we'll do whatever we can from a distance. Also, this Friday is Sean's next (hopefully last) cancer surgery so we will be focusing on that for a bit, but we will be around, even if we are a little less "visible".  Again, call or email if you need to reach us. If you are interested in Sean's progress during/after surgery or wish to send him a message, you can follow his Facebook page at The Tall Farmer.

Finally thank you for your many kind words and support during this crazy, challenging season. What an honor to raise food for such a wonderful group of people.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Garlic: This is now fully cured, so just store on the counter for short term and in a dark place with good air circulation for long term storage. Keeps for 3-5 months.

Not much else new in the box this week.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures?  Follow us at our blog at and on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm.

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)

Lemon-Garlic Oil with Herbs

This dipping oil is equally good with bread or drizzled over sliced tomatoes, grilled summer squash, or just about any grilled meat or fish.
Yields about 3/4 cup.

2 small lemons
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tbs. minced garlic
Two 3- to 4-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

With a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the lemons in strips. Remove any white pith from the strips of zest, if necessary.

In a small saucepan heat the lemon zest, oil, garlic, and rosemary over low heat until the oil just begins to bubble, 3 to 5 minutes. The garlic should not brown, or it will taste bitter. Transfer the mixture to a small heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature. Remove the zest and rosemary sprigs with a fork or tongs. Stir in the parsley.

You can make and refrigerate this dipping oil (hold the parsley) up to a day ahead. When ready to serve, bring it to room temperature and stir in the herbs.

Recipe Source:  Fine Cooking 93, pp. 43

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

tomatoes - as many as you got
balsamic vinegar
brown sugar
olive oil
salt/ pepper

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut tomatoes in half, sideways, leave the stalks on. Lay them out on baking tray, with pip side showing up. Drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over brown sugar. Throw in some garlic cloves, and thyme.

Bake at 160C for around 90mins or until tomatoes start to shrivel. Added bonus, this dish will make your house smell like your in Italy.

So what do you do with red and yellow tomatoes, You slow roast them, and enjoy them in a salad, on cous cous, on toast, add it to eggs and toast for breakfast, or serve them as a side for dinner.

Recipe Source:

Baked Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges

6-8 yukon golds, (or other baking potatoes) cut into wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons dried grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
smoked paprika seasoning (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a baking pan, place the potato wedges. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano, dried grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir them together by hand to make sure the potatoes are coated evenly with the oil and the seasonings.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes (it might take a little longer depending on what size potatoes you use) or until the wedges are cooked and slightly crispy.
  4. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and smoked paprika seasoning if desired.
Recipe Source:

BGF News 7/24/12

In this week’s box:
Chard: Bright Lights
Bell Peppers: Ace (green to red), Islander (purple to orange) or Golden Marconi (long, pointed, green to yellow)
Hot Peppers: Wenk's Yellow Hots (small cream to orange/red) & Georgia Flame (small, pointed green to red)
Onions: Gold Coin (cippolini-style)
Sorrel: French
Tomatoes, slicers
            and ONE of the following:
Eggplant: Orient Express (long, thin, purple) or Listada de Gandia (striped white & Purple), Summer Squash : Patty Pan, Broccoli: Packman, Cucumber: Suyo Long, Okra: Bowling Red,  Mini-Bell Pepper Mix (red, chocolate, green & yellow) or  Cherry Tomatoes mix

For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Basil: Genovese/Large Leaf, oregano & thyme
For those with the Honey option: 2 bottles of liquid honey (Spring honey-light amber) & (Fall honey (dark)

Featured Recipe(s) (see below):  Bhindi Masala
Fresh Garden Salsa
Fresh Tomato Sauce
Precipitation in the past week: 0.00 ”

What’s up on the farm? 

It's our annual Salsa Box (or sauce box if you prefer).
We have had no relief from the dry conditions in the past week. So though we continue to irrigate, we are starting to see increasing stress in many of the crops. The beans are the most notable victims, but we also lost the whole bed of napa cabbage this past week. It looks as though they just melted into the ground.  Things are starting to look pretty serious for a number of other crops. New sowings aren't germinating as the soil temps are too hot, and older crops are starting to give up in the heat. We hope to be able to continue to deliver bountiful boxes for the foreseeable future, but we want to be clear that conditions for crops other than tomatoes and basil aren't looking very good. If we don't start getting some rain and cooler temps, we may have to cancel some deliveries in the coming weeks. We don't anticipate that to happen next week though, we harvested a couple varieties of very nice potatoes today that will likely appear in your delivery next week, along with basil and newly cured garlic (and whatever else we can find to include in the boxes!)

We were able to start sowing seeds in flats for fall transplants, including cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and chard. These we wrapped with white plastic and put into a shady area. Three quarters of the seeds had germinated in 2 days (that is crazy fast!), the remainder came up in 4 days (still faster than normal). Now we just have to try to keep them adequately watered and cool until it is time to plant them in the gardens. Hopefully we will have some good rains before that time, or our productivity will continue to suffer. 

Honey Share: We found that we had a small amount of fall honey remaining after the winter so for those of you with the honey share, we decided to offer you the unusual opportunity to compare the colors and flavors of spring vs. fall honey. So this installation you will receive one bottle of each, which counts for 2 deliveries of honey.  We hope you enjoy comparing the difference between them. We find honey to be similar to beer in that light colored honeys are lighter in flavor, darker honeys are more robust. Some people find that they prefer one over the other for cooking vs fresh-use, so experiment a bit and let us know what you think. For the remaining 2 deliveries you will have your choice of liquid or comb honey.

Our friend Amy sent us a great looking fresh tomato sauce/salad recipe this week, you can check it out on her blog at

Finally, this coming week will be a rather crazy one at the farm. Early in the week we will be attending the funeral of Sean's dad, so you will likely see the faces of a couple of our farm crew at the Des Moines pick up. Then Friday is Sean's next surgery, so if you are looking for us at market on Sat, we likely won't be there. If you need to reach us this week, you can call Jill's cell at 641/203-1709 or send us an email, but don't be surprised if there is a delay in responding. We hope to be in recovery mode by the following week.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Hot Pepper-store in a loosely closed bag in the produce drawer. Note: The Georgia Flame peppers have very sweet flesh, but the seeds and membranes are fiery. So include them if you want the heat, exclude if you don't.
Onion- these are partly cured. To store, tie tops together and hang in a cool, dark place until all greens are brown and dry. Then they can be trimmed and stored like regular storage onions in a (cool, dark place with good circulation). Cippolini onions are mild flavored and can be stored in good conditions for 4-6 weeks, sometimes longer.
Sorrel-store in a closed plastic bag in the produce drawer, bright, lemony flavor that we like to add to salsa and pesto recipes
Mini Bells- These little miniature bell peppers are sweet and mild. They are perfect for adding little pepper rings to pizzas, pastas and egg dishes, not to mention stuffing with delightful things like goat cheese! Store in a plastic container in the fridge for a week or more

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures?  Follow us at our blog at and on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm.

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)

BHINDI MASALA--South Indian Okra

Blanch 11/2 pound red or green okra in boiling water for 5 minutes. Cool briefly in ice water and wipe dry. With the point of a small sharp knife cut a slit in the side of each okra.
2Tbs. ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin.

With a small spoon put about 1/4 tsp. of the spice mixture in each okra. You should have about a quarter of the mixture left. This much of the preparation can be done as much as 3 hours ahead; refrigerate okra until cooking time.
Just before serving, heat 2 tbs. each butter and shortening in a frying pan over medium heat; add the okra and stir-fry about 7 to 10 minutes adding the remaining spice mixture and more butter and shortening as needed. Spoon the okra into a warm serving dish.

Recipe Source: CSA membe r Mary CB-C

Fresh Garden Salsa
2 to 3 medium tomatoes, finely diced (or 10 to 12 mini tomatoes, what ever you have
½ cup white onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed (and set aside) and diced
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS minced sorrel
1 TBS each of the following: chili powder, cumin, cilantro, oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all of the ingredients. If you are a spicy kind of person, add leftover jalapeno seeds to add more of a kick.
2. Serve in your favorite way of eating salsa and ENJOY!

Recipe Source: adapted from

Fresh Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Chez Pim
Makes about 2 cups of sauce
2 lbs. fresh, ripe garden tomatoes
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped; or none at all
1/4 c. olive oil, you can use less or barely any at all
salt to taste
1/2 Tbsp. of balsamic or sherry vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
Put a large pot of water on to heat.  With a sharp knife, make a cross mark at the bottom of each tomato.  When water is hot, add the tomatoes and let sit for just a minute or so, until you can see the skin come a little loose at the cross mark.  Remove the tomatoes from the hot water and give them a quick rinse in cold water.  (You can leave the hot water in the pot if you're going to make pasta to go with the sauce.  Add salt, bring to a boil.)  With a small knife, peel the skins from the tomatoes - they should slide right off.  With the tip of the knife, cut around each green crown and remove it.
Over a medium bowl, squeeze the tomatoes, crushing the pulp with your fingers to break it up into small chunks.
Add olive oil and garlic to a large skillet.  Heat over medium heat until garlic just starts to sizzle, then add tomatoes (keep the bowl handy) and a big pinch of salt.  Cook for a few minutes, until you can see the pulp breaking down and releasing the juices.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the chunks of pulp and put it back in the bowl, leaving the juices in the pan.
Continue cooking the juices until they thicken and are no longer watery.  Add the pulp back to the pan, as well as the vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper (and a little more vinegar if you think it needs it).
Recipe Source: