April Field Walk (a few days early)

It was beautiful on the farm yesterday and I had a free moment so I shot another video field walk. I did manage to get the potatoes and spinach in by the end of the day. Also, not in the video but in a remote spot, we fertilized and cultivated the garlic yesterday and it’s looking good too.

March Field Walk Video

Here’s the first field walk video. I’m hoping these will give our CSA members, and anyone else who’s interested, a little insight into what happens behind the scenes. The harvest photos show the beautiful results, these videos will probably show some of the work, successes and even set backs that go into getting to the harvest.

Video Update

Our first video update for the farm! My goal is to get one or two of these out each month. Look for a field version some time next week.

 

Week 26/27

 

img_2456The final share is here!  This last share is a whopper that hopefully many folks will be able to use some of as part of Thanksgiving celebrations.

  • Butternut squash
  • Parsnip
  • Carrots
  • Turnip
  • Beets
  • Cippolini onion
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Collards (or kale for some Thursday folks)
  • Lettuce (1 red and either 2 mini romaine for Monday, or 1 small red for Thursday)
  • Spinach

Cippolini onions are milder and sweeter than your average yellow onion and are great for roasting and caramelizing.  More info here.  The turnip in this week’s share is called “Wonnegold” and is from Adaptive Seeds.  It’s a lovely golden turnip with a bit of a radish-y flavor.

Savoy cabbage is new in the share this week.  You could make a slaw or kraut with the turnips.  Or cook it along with the collards or kale for a big mess of greens.  Spinach is another item we haven’t seen for a while.  It’s flavor is nice after some of the cold nights that we’ve had this fall, which bring out the sweetness in almost all the vegetables still in the field.

I’m glad that our carrots lasted until this final share.  We had just enough to keep them going in each share this fall.  It was nice to balance out the sad lack of carrots we had in the summer.  A lot of our crops seemed to be just the right amount actually.  We are pretty much giving out everything that’s left this week!

Thanks to everyone who’s been involved in the farm this year!  All the CSA members, all the Cully Farmers Market folks, our amazing crew – Josh, Martin, Matt Ives, Sam, Mark!  None of this is possible without all of you!  All the best this winter to all of you.  Keep in touch, and eat well.

-Matt

Week 24/25

This second to last CSA share is a big share as there is no share pick-up next week.  The final share will be the week after that, which should also be a large share like this.

  • German Butterball potatoes
  • Celeriac (celery root)
  • Parsnip
  • Shallots
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Escarole
  • Swiss Chard
  • Parsley
  • Arugula

German Butterball potatoes are esteemed for their excellent flavor and texture.  They are versatile and do well baked, mashed, fried, and roasted.  Celeriac (aka celery root) is a crazy looking vegetable very closely related to celery (the tops look very similar), but bred for its edible root.  It can be eaten raw or cooked and there is more info & preparation ideas at the bottom of this post (and as always check cookwithwhatyouhave.com).  Escarole is a kind of chicory so see last week’s post on chicories for details.  Some of the escarole heads have a bit of “tip-burn” on the leaf edges.  If you find it, just pull off those parts and use the rest of the leaves.  Parsnips get sweeter when cooked – try them roasted with other root veggies, mashed with potatoes, or in a pureed soup with other veggies.  In the arugula planting there was a weed that looked very similar to arugula.  We tried to get it all out but it’s possible you may find a little bit of it in there – it’s not poisonous or anything, just doesn’t taste like much.

The colder weather brings a sweetness to almost every vegetable that’s still being harvested from the field.  Do you notice the difference?  I definitely taste it in the carrots, parsley, and arugula.  Cold-tolerant plants make a sort of anti-freeze that involves sugars when the weather turns cold, and this is responsible for the taste difference.

If I were looking to use a lot of these veggies quickly and easily I’d do a roasted root dish (can add any winter squash from last week as well – see recipe below), or a soup that could include any or all of these – leeks, shallots, garlic, potatoes, celeriac, carrots, and parsnips.

ON CELERIAC, FROM THE KITCHN.COM:

Celeriac is a pale-yellow, dense, knobby (some say even ugly) root; it’s roughly the size and shape of a grapefruit. Like most root vegetables, celeriac is excellent in stews and soups, and makes a perfect a gratin — with or without the addition of potato. It also makes an amazingly silky purée. Left raw, it can be grated into salads, as is the case in its most well-known dish, céléri remoulade.

It requires a fair amount of peeling to reveal its creamy-colored flesh. To peel, simply lop off the top and bottom so that it sits flat on your cutting board and work your knife down the sides to remove the knobs and roots. Occasionally you may have to take out a few rougher spots with a sturdy peeler. Use the flesh right away or put it in acidulated water to prevent discoloration.

RECIPE IDEAS:

Roasted Root Vegetables from Greta’s Kitchen – Serves 6

  • 3 pounds various root vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, beets, rutabaga, turnips, parsnips, celeriac, and daikon radish, peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh or dried thyme, to taste (optional)
  • Grated ginger, to taste (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Place all of the cubed veggies in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan (you should have about 8 cups).

3. Mix the olive oil, soy sauce, and maple syrup. Add the salt and pepper, as well as the thyme and ginger. Season according to your mood.

4. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 to 55 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetable cubes. The vegetables will be tender, and a fork should easily pierce the largest vegetable cube in the pan. Be careful when you’re removing the foil so as not to get a steam burn.

— Greta Sikorski, Featherstone Farm, Rushford, Minnesota, as appears in Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe

QUICK CELERY ROOT SALAD

CELERIAC AND APPLE MASH

 

Week 23

  • Sugarloaf chicory (Thursday folks may get another kind of chicory)
  • Delicata Winter Squash
  • Kale
  • Arugula (a bit spicy!)
  • Watermelon Radish
  • Leeks
  • Tomato
  • Yellow Onion
  • Carrots

Chicories represent a broad spectrum of salad crops related to lettuce but are more cold tolerant and have a bit more bitter edge to them.  Among them are radicchio, escarole, frisee, and sugarloaf (this week’s featured chicory).  As cold temperatures approach, chicories like many crops sweeten up a bit.  We did get a light frost last week so I hope the chicories have a bit more sweetness to them.  Either way it’s time to eat them, so how does one approach that?

My general suggestions for eating all chicories is to give them a good 20 minute soak in cold water (even ice water!) to take some of the bitterness out, chop finely, and dress with a citrus-y vinaigrette.  You can also cook chicories by braising, roasting, grilling, saute-ing, or putting them in soups.  There’s a good explanation of chicories and many recipes here (remember you have to use your login info if you aren’t already logged in): http://www.cookwithwhatyouhave.com/category/chicory/

I like to slice the sugarloaf in half lengthwise, rub it with olive oil and salt, and throw it on the grill.  Cooking brings out the sweetness!

Also new this week is delicata winter squash, possibly my favorite because it’s so easy to use.  Like any winter squash you can roast it, but with delicata the skin is delicate enough to be edible as well, so you can also slice it and saute it in a pan.  Nice for when you don’t feel like turning on your oven!  But if you are turning on your oven, go ahead and roast your leeks, onions, and carrots in there as well.

Watermelon radish has a beautiful red, mild center, but make sure you peel that skin off unless you like spicy tough things!  Speaking of spicy, the arugula this week has a bit of spice to it, just so you know.

In the field news this week, we have plowed up a new spot for garlic in a nearby neighbor’s big backyard.  We have garlic rust very bad in the soil at the farm so garlic just doesn’t do well there at all.  I try to move it around the neighborhood each year instead.  Garlic will be planted soon – maybe next week!  I got some beautiful seed garlic from Whistling Duck Farm in southern Oregon.

Josh and Martin pulled most of the irrigation out of the field yesterday as well.  Now the only field clean-up work left really is taking down a few more trellises, and getting a bit more cover crop into beds that are open.  Our cereal rye & vetch mix doesn’t germinate very well after mid-October but I have some annual ryegrass and phacelia that supposedly germinates well any time of year, so I’m excited to try that as a cover crop mix.

Til next week, Matt & the crew

Week 22

It’s the end of summer for real now folks, the tomatoes are coming down.  After harvesting the good-looking green tomatoes, Matt and Sam removed the plants from the trellis string.  After this photo they took down the trellises as well, so the field is looking quite different.  Though we could have left them in, tomatoes ripen very poorly in this kind of weather and their flavor is also not very good.  However, the green tomatoes are delicious.  Stay tuned to the end of this blog post for some green tomato ideas.  I haven’t decided whether to leave the tomato plant debris as a mulch on these beds for the winter, or chop them up with the mower, work them into the soil, and seed these beds with cover crop.

In the share this week:

  • “Rose Gold” Potatoes
  • Green Tomatoes
  • Red Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Onions
  • Asian Daikon Radish, with some leaves
  • Parsnip
  • Green “Nevada” lettuce
  • Collard greens

According to Wood Prairie Farm where we bought some of our seed potatoes this year, the “Rose Gold” potato is “the best of the red-skinned golden-fleshed potatoes. A mildly dry potato that is perfect baked, steamed or in creamy soups. Unsurpassed taste.”  There is quite a bit of damage on them so you will have to cut out the bad spots.

Green tomatoes: There are a lot of things you can do with these including frying them or making salsa or relish.  Recipes at the end of the post.

The red tomatoes are from the hoophouse.  This variety “Matina” is small but I think has good flavor and seems really productive.

The “Bora King” radish has a spicy skin but the interior seems mild.  This is our first year growing it.  Would be good pickled, kim chi, slaw, or salad.  The leaves are edible too, though you may want to pickle or cook them as they’re a little hairy!

Parsnips are another first in this share for this season.  I love parsnips roasted with other root vegetables.  Here are some ideas from Bounty From the Box:

• Parsnips are a delicacy when prepared with cheese, butter, and cream in concoctions like vichyssoise, au gratins, and creamy soups.

• Parsnips make an interesting substitute for potatoes. Try them deep-fried, mashed, or baked; in soups and stews; or on their own as a side dish.

• The light sweetness of parsnips makes them dynamite with fruits like apples, oranges, cranberries, dates, and figs.

• Baking and roasting caramelize the parsnip’s natural sugars, bringing out its delicate flavors gloriously.

• Use parsnips as a filling for pasties and pies, along with other root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.

• Try parsnips as a surprise vegetable in curries; the mild, sweet flavor is a nice foil for the spice.

• Coconut, ginger, honey, and parsnips are an unexpectedly delicious combination—try them as a cake, as a mashed or whole vegetable side dish, or as a creamy soup.

• Slice crisp, raw, sweet parsnips into long thin strips and serve with dips or dressing for a light snack or appetizer. Good with carrot and celery sticks too! (Note that young, tender, very fresh parsnips are best for eating raw—older, larger ones not so much.)

• Parsnips have an affinity for the sweet spices we associate with fall and winter desserts: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice.

RECIPES:

Green Tomato Salsa Verde: http://montanahomesteader.com/green-tomato-salsa-verde/

Fried Green Tomatoes – This 1 minute video shows you how: http://www.southernliving.com/food/how-to/fried-green-tomatoes

Roasted Parsnips (and you can add pretty much any root veggie and winter squash and have a delicious roasted veggie fall festival!  I like to cut veggies into ~1/2-3/4″ inch cubes for this.  Cooking time may increase with other veggies…):

Like other root vegetables, parsnips are simply divine roasted, which concentrates and caramelizes their natural sugars. Place peeled, cut parsnips in a shallow pan, toss them with oil (try coconut oil for a pleasant change) and seasonings as desired, and bake in a 400°F oven for 30 to 45 minutes, turning them at least once or twice during the cooking process. They are done when browned and tender when pierced with a knife; cooking times vary widely, depending on the size and condition of the parsnips.  – From Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe