Tuesday, July 7, 2020

BGF NEWS - JULY 7, 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 6

In this week’s box:

Beans: Empress, Fortex and Golden Goal
Basil: Genovese or Italian Large Leaf
Baby Fennel:Perfection
Chinese Pink Celery
Head Lettuce: assorted varieties
Green-top Onions: Red Carpet
Kale: asst.
Summer Squash: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)

and at least one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Cucumbers: Suyo Long
Okra: Bowling Red & Candle Fire
Snap or Snow Peas

For those with the Egg option [Full shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: Lemon basil, ginger mint & savory

Featured Recipes:  
Roberta's Roasted Onion Tops ** see recipe below
BGF Favorite Pesto **see recipe below
BGF New Favorite Kale Salad **see recipe below

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00"

Guess I should have kept my mouth shut last week when I commented on how we'd been so lucky with the regular rains. This week we are lucky to have the irrigation system all in place because we are running it nearly nonstop.
Amid water breaks for crew and crops alike, we've gotten some big projects well underway. All of the tomatoes have been pruned and trellised with at least two levels of strings, more will be added weekly as the tomatoes continue to grow. 

Our other big task is the garlic harvest. We've gotten all of the Music variety harvested and hung in the barn to dry. We are about 1/3 of the way through the whole garlic crop and plan to have the rest of it out before it rains again (hopefully soon!).

We spent some time this week clearing spent crops and getting ready to plant cover crops in those areas. This is a great opportunity to feed our soil and  keep the weeds from inundating those beds. As the summer progresses, the cover crops will be tilled in and fall crops will be planted there.

As I mentioned in last week's newsletter, we are starting to see the more of our summer crops ripening. We harvested the first couple of cucumbers this week as well as a handful of okra and the very first ripe tomato. So we will start sending a few of those items out in boxes this delivery...except for the tomato...we split that 4 ways among the crew and ate it! We are still a few weeks from having any significant numbers of these crops, so we'll all have to be patient.

A little detail on your produce this week:

Basil hates the cold and will turn black with exposure. Keep long stemmed basil in a glass/vase of water on your counter top (out of direct sunlight). Stems that are too short (trimmings/tops) should be placed in a plastic bag or clamshell, with a dry paper towel. Then put inside of a paper bag (for insulation) and put in the warmest part of your refrigerator (usually the door) or on the top shelf towards the front.


 Fresh beans are an easy "store."  Just leave them in their plastic bag and keep them in the produce drawer.  Can last up to 2 weeks.

Broccoli & Cauliflower:
 Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, 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/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

 Store upright in a glass of water, loosely covered with a plastic bag, in the refrigerator.

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, but 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.

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, or run them through your food processor for a new riff on pesto!

Green top onions:  not the pencil-thin scallions, but nearly grown (though not-yet-cured) onions are an early summer treat. Keep sweet mild onions in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a week or two, but beware the fatal moisture accumulation that causes them to spoil. To prolong their storage, wrap in a paper or cloth towel before storing in plastic. Also, don't just toss the tops, several years ago a CSA member taught us a great recipe to use them! See recipe below.

Okra: These lovely, dark red, horn-shaped vegetables are a warm weather treat. Extremely cold sensitive, store in their plastic bag in the warmest part of your fridge, or place the plastic bag in a small paper sack and store in the crisper drawer and use within the week. Traditional southerners will cut into rounds, bread in cornmeal and fry, but our favorite version is our dear friend Annie's method, "All I do is rinse off the pods and lay them in a saucepan with a little water in the bottom. Ten to fifteen minutes is all it takes...twenty if the pods are really big and "woody" feeling. I put salt on them and eat as finger food. It reminds me of young sweet corn."

Peas: best kept in a plastic bag or glass container in your refrigerator. Use within a week.

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. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go!

A few other details: All of 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.  

** NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.

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 on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or share your recipes, experiences and questions with other BGF members 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 Luci, Indigo & Sky)

Indigo, Luci & Sky

Roberta's Roasted Green Onion Tops

Use scissors to slice the tops uniformly so they cook evenly. Then coat the tops with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Cook at 350 degrees for 10 - 20 minutes depending on the size and how crispy you want them. 
We eat them as appetizers with cheese or use as an ingredient in eggs etc

Recipe Source: CSA member Roberta P.

Blue Gate Farm Pesto

2 Tbs Sunflower seeds-toasted (can substitute pine nuts)
2 cloves Garlic (garlic lovers can add more) green garlic or garlic scapes are also good.
2 c. Basil (any variety, a mix is particularly nice)
1-2 leaves Sorrel (optional)
½ c. Olive oil
6-10 oz fresh tomatoes,
1 tsp Salt (if using pre-salted sunflower seeds, can reduce salt amount)
½ c. Parmesan cheese, fresh grated (not the stuff in the can)

Place sunflower seeds and garlic into food processor then pulse several times. Add basil and sorrel, drizzle with half of oil. Pulse several times.  Add remaining oil, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and salt if desired.
Pesto should be stored for a week or less in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  If storing longer, freeze in snack-sized, zip-top bags (about 1 1/2 TBS per bag), pressed flat. Once frozen, they can be stored upright in a larger plastic bag. To use a little, just break off the amount needed and return the rest to the freezer.
Also, if we are making a large batch for the freezer, for best quality, we omit the cheese and seeds. Freeze as is and then add those items in when we are ready to use.

BGF New Favorite Kale Salad

⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 to 4 lemons)
 Kosher salt
1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife, peeled and left whole
10 to 12 ounces washed and dried kale leaves, thick stems removed (weight after trimming)
1 can tuna or salmon in water, drained
1 c. garbanzo beans
1-2 tbs salted roasted pumpkin seeds
1-1-2 oz Lost Lake Farm feta
1-2 tbs dried cherries

In a bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add garlic cloves and set aside to steep.
Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons: gather a large handful of leaves, bunch together tightly, and use the other hand to slice into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. This need not be done very precisely or neatly; the idea is to end up with a kind of slaw. (Recipe can be made up to this point 1 day ahead. Keep kale and dressing refrigerated separately.)
Place chopped kale in a very large bowl. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for dressing and salt and add more as needed, tossing to coat thoroughly.
Top with tuna/salmon, garbanzo beans, pumpkin seeds, feta & cherries.
 Serve within 1 hour.

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