Monday, July 28, 2008

Fourth week of July

cleaning scallions
picking raspberries
sarah and margot at the blueberry farm
matthew filling his bucket.

Its been a busy and full week here in Hector. By far the most formative event of the week has been the arrival of Matthew’s sister, Sarah, and her daughter- our niece, Margot, who is three. We are extremely thrilled to have them visiting us for several weeks from North Carolina! It has been refreshing (and tiring) to see the world of a vegetable farm through the eyes of a child. We’ve been able to find lots of fun things to do including going to the Hector fair, harvesting raspberries, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes, going sailing, and picking blueberries at Glen Haven farm winery in Trumansburg and from our neighbors bushes right across the street. Which reminds me to say that you-pick blueberry season is upon us, be sure not to miss it! There is a u-pick place in Big Flats on Route 352, the one in Trumansburg where we went, and a place in Pennyan as well.

The other big event this week was to get our refrigerated truck back from the shop, it is repaired, inspected, and ready to roll to market when we need the room. It is so nice to have it back since in its absence, we were keeping produce cool to the best of our ability in a cool room in our house, which meant a lot of carrying bins of produce into the house and out depending on if it was cooler inside or outside or if we were going to market that day. We managed that way, but it is surely nice to be back in our routine of not schlepping produce into our house. (It is nice to have a little bit of separation between work and home life, even if its only a 20 foot difference.)

Share holders are often asking us, "so how's it going?" and to be honest, its going pretty darn well right now. We have been having plenty of rain (though right on the edge of too much), and a decent amount of sun. Our tomato plants are the tallest we've ever grown and so far are showing no major signs of tomato diseases(which some years they have been by now). Our squashes are pumping them out right now, and the cucumbers have just started up in earnest. We've been digging the nicest potatoes we've ever grown and except for a few flops, things are looking nice, a little weedy, but nice.

Every year, we have had a few duds, and it turns out that for some reason, our kale and collard greens beds were a total bust this year and it was a satisfying job to mow them down to nothing this week and be done with looking at plants that weren’t doing anything, beyond being devoured by flea beetles. Besides mowing down unsuccessful plants, at this time of year we spend a certain amount of time mowing the grassy paths between our growing beds, pulling weeds, lots and lots of time harvesting, and just a little time planting succession plantings of different things. We will begin harvest of one of our favorite crops this week on Wednesday. So if you have the garlic itch, give a shout and come yank some out with us!

ITS TOMATO TIME! We have been eating our first few tomatoes this week and we believe we’ll get enough this week to send at least one home to you! There will be more when we have more, don’t worry. We enjoyed a delicious meal the other night of a locally baked seedy batard, a bread with a delicious mix of seeds on the outside, topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, and basil, yum! Doesn’t get much easier than that to make a meal!

Pick your own items at the farm. There are green, yellow, and speckled beans for picking as well as cherry tomatoes (just starting, come later in the week for better picking). There are also flowers in the flower garden as well as lots of dill. Come on up and pick a few quarts. Please let us know before the first time so we can show where to pick, then come anytime during the day/week, with one caveat- please don't pick beans when their leaves are wet as it can spread disease.

We're always trying to think of how the CSA is going and how we can improve it and we think we may have come upon a way to do so. We'd love your feedback on the idea for next year. Rather than giving a set share, we see that some other CSAs give a choice out of several things. For example, for shares that pick up at the market, rather than we dictating the share, we could have a sign that says, pick eight items and then a list of what we have, some items we would still save off the table for the CSA and people would have more input into what they get in their bag. I'm not sure quite how this would manifest in Elmira, since for that pickup, we just harvest what we need and bring it. If you have a feeling either way about this idea, we'd love to hear from you. Comment through the comment button, email, or mention it us in person when we see you at the pickup.

This week's share
Lettuce mix

PYO green beans
PYO cherry tomatoes

next week's expected share....

potatoes, tomatoes, chard, cabbage, tomatillos, eggplant(?)

Seasonal Recipes:

Fettuccine With Squash Ribbons: from follow the link for more recipes

Use a sharp vegetable peeler to make thin squash ribbons, about a half-inch wide. Peel, then rotate the squash so strips are about the same width. Stop when you hit the rough seeds. The hot fettuccine and sauteed grape tomatoes will heat and slightly soften the squash.

Makes 4 servings
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 ounces whole-wheat or regular fettuccine
Cooking spray
3 fully cooked chicken sausages, preferably spinach and feta or sun-dried tomato flavor
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
3 medium zucchini, trimmed, skin removed and peeled into thin ribbons
3 medium yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, skin removed and peeled into thin ribbons
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil
Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and add fettuccine. Cook according to package directions. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta-cooking water and drain.
Meanwhile, coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium. Add chicken sausage and cook, turning often, until golden brown on each side. Transfer to a cutting board. Allow sausage to rest for a few minutes, then thinly slice on the diagonal.
Add olive oil to skillet and turn heat to medium-low. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook 3 minutes, or until skin is no longer taut. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Deglaze skillet with about 1/4 cup of reserved pasta-cooking water, loosening any bits from the bottom of the skillet. Remove from heat.
Off the stove, add the zucchini ribbons to the empty pasta pot, followed by the tomato mixture, the drained pasta, the sliced sausage and about three-quarters of the basil. Toss well to combine. If pasta appears dry, add enough of the reserved cooking water to coat the pasta so it looks moist, but not wet.
Divide among 4 bowls and use a vegetable peeler to shave thin pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano over pasta. Sprinkle with remaining basil and serve immediately.

Monday, July 21, 2008

zucchini recipe from Saturday

Tuscan Zucchini Pie from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

2 medium zucchini (12 oz)
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup milk mixed with 1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp finely chopped garlic
3 scallions, thinly sliced (green and white both)
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Trim the zucchini ends and then cut crosswise into 1/8 inch rounds. Put in a bowl, sprinkle about 1/3 tsp salt over the top, and set aside for 30minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.Put the eggs in a bowl and beat them well. Add the flour and beat it in. Add the milk and water mixture and beat it in as well. Now add the garlic,scallions, about 1/3 tsp salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix well. Arrange the zucchini slices without overlapping in the bottom of two 8-inchnon-stick cake or pie tins (or spray them with Pam if not non-stick). Youwill probably be able to make 2 layers in each tin. Stir the egg mixtureand pour it evenly over the 2 pans. Drizzle 1 Tbs oil over each pie, put pies in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot, with another 1/2 Tbs of oil drizzled over each pie. Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as an appetizer.

Fourth week of July

harold picking scallions

(right) mike and graham picking rocks
(above)Laurelyn, julie, garrett, and evelyn twining tomatoes

We are pleased to say that the CSA event on Saturday went on despite the heat and humidity being quite high. We twined tomato plants, we picked up rocks (not glamorous, but helps keep our equiptment from being beaten up and would have taken us most of a day to do), we feasted on zucchini dishes!, and we even played a little bit of bocce ball amid the rain drops that were falling. We had grilled zucchini spears topped with rosemary, dill, and parmesan cheese, a crustless quiche with enough zucchini in it to almost be like a crust (tasty!), pasta with swiss chard and carmelized onions, and pasta with pesto/zucchini sauce. We were all glad to see that one attendee was brave enough to bring dessert, but that he choose to make a raw blueberry pie that blew us all away, rather than a zucchini pie! I hope to post that recipe and others that we enjoyed at the pot luck some time soon.

We've been making due this week without our refridgerated truck this week but think that we will have it back before too long-- both for its normal job of keeping our produce cool here at home and soon for its new job of going to market with that produce in it.

Our friend, Steve, farms in Pine City and he had a pretty major hail storm this week. We've been sending him good vibes as he waits to see what will recover from the damage and what will prove too pummeled to come back.

Garlic harvest time is just around the corner and we want to invite anyone who is interested in helping with the harvest and curing process to do so. We will soon have a posting to let you know what date we plan to start the harvest.

This week’s vegetables:
Lettuce Mix
Summer Squash/Zucchini
Fresh Garlic
PYO Beans

Next week’s (expected) vegetables
Swiss Chard
Summer Squash/Zucchini
PYO Cherry Tomatoes
PYO Beans

Collard Greens and Carmelized Onions:
1 Bunch Collards, sliced into bite sized strips
1 T olive oil
1-2 onions, sliced into thin crescents
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
In a skillets heat oil and add onions, cook on medium for 15 or 20 minutes until golden and sweet. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil 2-3 cups of water in a pot with a lid, add collards, cover and cook on high for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Greens are done when they turn bright green and are tender, don’t over cook!
Add greens to onions and garlic, season with salt to taste, drizzle with more olive oil if you wish, and serve.
From greens glorious greens

Quick and Easy Grilled Kale:
This recipe is good on a stovetop or outdoor grill
olive oil to brush grill
1 bunch kale
2 T white wine vinegar (herb flavored is nice)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat grill to medium high. Wash and chop kale
Brush grill or foil covering grill with olive oil and add kale. Using metal tongs, mix greens to allow them to cook, about 1 min. Add vinegar, salt and pepper and cook 2-3 more minutes until wilted and tender.
Serve immediately.
From greens glorious greens

have a superb week! Liz and Matthew

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

3rd week of July

mark and reeder terri and lydia
onions on biomulch
car's getting full! Time for the truck to run!

This is typically the time of year when all of our large expenses are behind us and the majority of the money we will live on for the rest of the year is rolling in through the farmers' markets. Well, it looks like that idea will take a hit this week. We took our refridgerated truck in to get inspected for the first time in a couple years as we are planning to get it back on the road. We expect in a couple weeks we'll need it to replace our Volvo as a market vehicle (see photo above). Well, it wasn't as easy as we hoped. The garage came back with a list of things that need to be repaired in order for it pass inspection. The first garage we took it to gave us a quote of $1700. Needless to say, that is a bit more than we were hoping to pay - we were thinking maybe $25 for the inspection. But it wasn't a complete surprise since it hasn't been driven in a couple years and even then very little. So we took the truck to another mechanic whom we like who quoted us a much more reasonable price on the same repairs and we should be able to pick it up it in several days. But in the interm, we are without our refridgeration unit, so we will be making due best we can.

Friday, July 11th, was the first time we had our working shares out in full force to help us with the harvesting. We are happy to say that we are very satisfied with the help we got! We are looking forward to the harvest help for the next ten weeks, too! Not only were the additional hands for harvesting was a great help and it was also nice to have such wonderful company. Hopefully they all had as nice a time as we did. It was great to see smiles even when the rain started, we'll have to get Harold's picture next week, he had to go before we thought to get the camera out.


Our next CSA Work Day will be this saturday the 19th. We will start at 4:00. We have two jobs we would like to work on. Both of them are probably likely to make CSA members around the world groan, but they do need to get done and many hands do make the work easier. First there are many vegetable beds that need to be weeded. And if weeding is not your thing we have many rocks that need removing from the field. As we have been tilling this year, we have been picking the big rocks from the beds and placing them in the paths for later removal. Now's the time! We'll keep the work time limited and then want to have a potluck dinner. Bring a zucchini or squash dish, the challenge will be to see how many different ways we can eat it! An email reminder will be sent later in the week. We also have bocce ball and badminton to really make it a fun picnic atmosphere, and the raspberries are ready for people to graze on, the flower bed is just starting, so there could be some bouquet picking, too- come on up!

We also would like to let you know that soon we will be harvesting garlic. We probably won't start until next week with the first variety. And then our other variety is usually ready 1-2 weeks later. When it is ready to harvest, we will put out an invitation to anyone who might like to help with the harvest. Its really, really fun to pull those beauties out of the ground!

This week's vegetables:

Zucchini/summer squash

Next week's (expected) vegetables
Salad Greens
Fresh garlic
PYO Beans
Recipe ideas:

Pan Fried 8 balls
round 8 ball shaped squash
Cornmeal mixed with your favorite Herb blend
Egg, beat with a little milk and Salt and pepper

Slice the squashes in ½’ thick slices. Dip into egg mixture. Dip into cornmeal mixed with herbs such as Italian seasonings or Mexican herbs. Place in a shallow layer of oil and cook a few minutes per side OR just spray pan with fine layer and cook a few minutes per side. Also can be grilled or broiled briefly.

Creamy Pesto salad Dressing:
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 small clove garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-3/8 cups water
grind nuts in blender until fine, add other ingredients, blend until smooth.
Grilled Radicchio
Radicchio is a colorful salad green with a mildly bitter flavor. It can be cut raw into salad or used in any way that red cabbage is used. It is also tasty grilled and brushed with a with a light dressing. It will lose some of its brilliant color on the grill, but the flavor will be great!
Quarter the raddichio heads, down to the base, keeping the base intact.
mix up vinagrette (see below), set aside for later
Heat grill, brush raddichio with oil and grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until base is tender when pierced with a fork.
while on the grill, brush with dressing serve immediately or at room temp.
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T. Extra virgin olive oil
1 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 t dijon mustard
salt to taste
3-4 drops melinda's hot sauce to taste
have a great week, hope to see you on saturday! matthew and liz

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hi CSAers,

We've had a very busy and fun week with both Liz's and Matthew's parents visiting. We are fortunate that they enjoy coming here and they give us lots of help with farmwork. So we have gotten a lot done- including weeding, setting up for garlic drying in the new greenbarn, cutting more firewood and working to clear out another section for vegetable growing so in the coming years we can have some fallow sections in our crop rotation. Plus our house even got a good cleaning. And we got the refridgeration unit on our truck is operational again. All that and plenty of badminton and bocce playing!

We also had someone visit us last week whom we had been expecting for quite a while - a representative from the gas drilling company. He handed us a lease to sign and answered all of our questions. We are still unsure about what to do and we need to do more research and talk more with our neighbors, but we are leaning towards not signing. It sounds like the company works with many different types of farms with these leases and they can put in a lot of different requirements in the lease so as not to destroy our farm. But we still don't think it would work for us. For if they decided to put a well on our property that would mean a lot of digging, cutting and trucks rolling through our fields and woods, perhaps right over our vegetable beds! Not what we had in mind for our farm and homestead. Is $5000 plus possible royalties worth all of that destruction and uncertainty for us? It certainly doesn't seem like it. Its a decision that we haven't had time to work through in the past few days, but we will start considering more seriously. If any of you have experience with this type of thing or know anyone who does, please let us know. We would love to hear others' experiences - good or bad.

The birds with their nest in the orchard have fledged as have the barn swallow in our carport. So our cat will no longer have the parents yelling at her and divebombing her every time she goes outside. Its nice to see the babies swooping and diving about the yard as they quickly learn all the trick of flying.

And we got a nice downpour last evening as we were picking beans with Matthew's parents in the hoophouse. Overall a great week! Hope yours was, too! Here's the share...

This weeks vegetables:

Swiss Chard

Last night we had boiled beets just sliced on top of our salad, and everyone agreed that it was quite a tasty addition. Just boil until the beets are easily pierced with a fork , (cover with cool water) then slip the skins and slice. Toss on top of salad. The greens were nice cut into small pieces raw and put in the salad, too.

Squash Casserole: from AARP magazine
1-2 Summer squash chopped coarsely or shredded
2 T butter
1 T or more grated onion
1 egg
1 bouillon cube
1 Cup Shredded cheddar (or more)
1 C. plain yogurt or sour cream
Dash of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Top with bread crumbs or crushed chips
Mix all ingredients, top with paprika and chips. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. YUM!

Creamy cole slaw from food network. com
1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
2 large carrots, finely shredded
3/4 cup best-quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons grated onion, sweet is nice
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired.

The details for the 19th aren't quite nailed down yet, since it is still a few weeks away, its hard to know what will be the most pressing this far out, but please put it on your calendar and plan on coming, i'm sure there will be good food, no matter what else happens. Strawberry season is winding down and cherry picking is on, don't miss out on fresh local fruit! Freeze it, juice it, jam it, and stuff yourself with it right now, too!

Have a great week! Matthew and Liz

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

a few more recipes

so when we went out to harvest, we realized that the share should include broccoli as well. I won't put a recipe for that this week, but realized that i needed a basic beet and pesto recipe. Here they are:

Beets (without greens) will keep for up to three months in the crisper drawer, so please do not feel you are lost if at some point this season, you have lots of beets kicking around! Beets are extremely versitale and can be used in either savory or sweet dishes. We have a recipe for a beet chocolate cake, the beets adding an interesting back ground color and vitamin a, c, and carotenes stealthily to a nice desert.

We often grate beets raw into a salad or slice them thin into a stir fry. To cook beets: remove tops and boil until you can pierce with a fork (15-40 mins.). You can then rinse with cold water and slip the skins( I wrote that just because I love the ring that slip the skins has, and they do just slip right off when you wipe them with your fingers (under cool water) but most of the trace minerals are right under the skins, so save the time and leave them on if you like, we do.)

Cooked beets can then be diced into salads, marinated themselves, or added to soups or stir fries for quicker cooking time. And don’t be afraid to experiment with this delicious and nutritious vegetable.

Balsamic Beets and Beet Greens:
¼ cup toasted walnuts (375o for 5-7 mins)
Bunch of beets with greens
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt or vegetable seasoning to taste
1 Vidalia or red onion, sliced into half moons

Steam beets for approximately 30 mins, peel beets under cool water by rubbing the skin off, quarter beets and cut into ¼ inch slices. Put in bowl and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar and salt and set aside.

Sauté onions for 3 mins. add sliced beet greens and cook, covered for 5-7 until wilted. Add dressed beets and heat back up. Serve on a platter garnished with toasted walnuts.
From greens glorious greens cookbook

Basil pesto recipe:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced (garlic scapes can be used)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

blend all ingredients in a food processor to make a greenish paste, toss with pasta, spread on bread, or in sandwiches, yum~! This pesto freezes well as well. We put it in our ice cube trays, once it is frozen solid, we put it in a ziplock bag and enjoy it year round one cube at a time. Some recipes say to freeze without cheese because it freezes better, but we haven't had a problem freezing it with cheese already included.

I would be remiss to forget to mention (again) to remove the tops from your carrots and beets to keep them from getting limp in the fridge! The dry air of the fridge sucks moisture out of the roots and up through the leaves. Take the tops off and store seperately the ones you'll eat, and put both things in a bag.

Basil does not keep well in the fridge, it can turn black if its too cold. Trim the bottom a little, and store in a jar of water on the counter. Sorry i didn't mention that in the first writing of the newsletter!

hope that catches everything i forgot up! Liz