Wednesday, August 27, 2008

last week of August

The seasons are starting to change, we can feel it in the nippiness creeping into the mornings and the evenings, the way that the days have become shorter, the occasional glimpse of a maple that has turned prematurely red. We've moved our meals into the house from the bistro table on the front porch, partly to accomodate our busy olympic viewing schedule in the last two weeks, but also in an attempt to keep the toes of little margot warm as we eat. We can also tell that the summer season is moving towards autumn because this is the time of year when we are starting to get tired and worn out. Its easy in June when the mornings are still so light to hop out of bed and harvest for an hour or two before market, but once late august hits, and the mornings are getting light later and they are cooler, it takes more effort to get the feet on the floor and get going.

What better way to refresh than to take a vacation, but what, you say, farmer's can't take a vacation in the summer!? True enough, it is almost impossible, but thanks to Mark and Pat, Harold, and Sarah, we were able to get away! Thanks so much for the help in allowing us to have our first 2 consecutive days off of work since March! With the help of the above mentioned crew and a birthday gift to matthew, we were able to enjoy a day on the beach in Ocean City, NJ as well as a chance to see matthew's parents and grandfather. It was amazing to have a whole day with nothing to do but sit on the beach, bodysurf in the waves, walk the boardwalk, and read in the shade of the pier. WOW!

Of course the down fall of taking time off is playing catchup, so we returned and jumped right in again, harvesting beans and cherry tomatoes until dark on monday, harvesting all day on Tuesday until the share delivery, and setting aside all day wednedsday for harvesting as well. Matthew had a friend named Matt who was visiting as well on monday night and tuesday, so he was sucked right into the harvesting fray as well. If you read this matt, thanks to you, too!
your farmers as you haven't seen them before!

Its a bittersweet week for us as well, as i write this we have just returned from putting Sarah and Margot on a bus back to Asheville, NC. The great news is that they are moving here and will be returning with the other third of their family in a few days. The sad news is that we have become so used to having the two of them around that we will miss seeing their lovely faces each and every day. Sarah was a huge help to us and we can't thank her enough for all the beans she picked, dishes she washed, and meals she cooked for us. Margot put lots of smiles on our faces and when she stood in front of our booth munching on a cucumber, we knew they'd sell like crazy. I know we'll miss having them right here, but their new spot in Mecklenberg will be way closer than the old one in North Carolina, so that took the ache off of our hearts as we watched them pull away on the bus.

For anyone who still has edamame from last week, sorry we never got the cooking directions posted, just in case, take pods off of stalks, boil whole pods for 7 minutes. Salt and squeeze beans into mouth, discard the pods. ENJOY all the health benefits of soy beans and a delicious taste, too!

Don't forget to add the 27th of september to your calendars for a CSA cooking event!

This week's share:

PYO beans, and cherry tomatoes

next week's expected:
potatoes, garlic, edamame

Ginger Kale:
I bunch kale, cut into strips
2 T oil
1 T butter
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T minced fresh ginger root or 1 tsp dried ginger
Lime juice from one fresh lime/bottled equivalent
Freshly ground pepper
Steam kale until slightly wilted, heat oil and butter in skillet, add garlic, onions and ginger, sauté until onion is soft. Toss in kale, cover and cook on low until kale is tender. Toss in lime juice and pepper to taste.
From from asparagus to zucchini

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce from cooking light

Crunchy breaded zucchini spears are delicious dipped in a summery sauce of roasted red peppers. The sauce is a zesty embellishment for grilled meats, too.

Sauce:3 medium red bell peppers
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup (1/2-inch) cubed French bread baguette, crusts removed
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked almonds
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large garlic clove

3 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup egg substitute
Cooking spray
1. Preheat broiler.
2. To prepare sauce, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper halves and tomatoes, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten bell peppers with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop, reserving any liquid.
3. Combine bell peppers, reserved liquid, tomatoes, and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.
4. Preheat oven to 400°.
5. To prepare zucchini, cut 1 zucchini in half crosswise; cut each half lengthwise into 8 wedges. Repeat procedure with remaining zucchini. Combine breadcrumbs, panko, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dip zucchini in egg substitute; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place zucchini on a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat zucchini with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with sauce.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 6 zucchini sticks and 1/4 cup sauce)CALORIES 170 (30% from fat); FAT 5.6g (sat 1.3g,mono 2.5g,poly 1.3g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 3mg; CALCIUM 107mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.4g; SODIUM 434mg; PROTEIN 8.4g; FIBER 3.9g Cooking Light, JULY 2008

have a great week! Liz and Matthew

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fourth week of August

The morning crew of stargazers Those are some long beans!

What a great week its been! Not only is it nice to come in at the end of the day and be able to enjoy the spirit and excitement of the Olympics. But right here in our own backyard this weekend we experienced exitement and the spirit of people coming together during our annual stargazing event! What a great turnout we had for the pot luck with four tables full of people eating good food and talking good talk! It was nice to sit back and listen to the din of people getting to know each other and catching up with old friends. We had a great clear night to lay out and have a campfire. Many people mentioned that it was their first time ever sleeping out under the stars with no tent above them. The bane of the tentless camper is dew, which can soak blankets and people in them, but between pieces of plastic, tarps, shower curtains, table cloths, a few tents, and a bivy sack, we all managed to have a nice night out. The moon was quite bright, but regardless, a few shooting stars were glimpsed. The campfire was small and cheery and s'mores were enjoyed around it as well as some late night "notdogs" and quite a few songs -- ranging from Kumbaya to Brittany Spears. Our youngest attendees went on a bug hunt and proved that little eyes are sharp by spotting lots of insects even in the darkness. I feel safe in saying that a great time was had by all! Thanks to all who made it out to the event, we really enjoyed having you all up to the farm!

Septembers event is looking like it will be held on the 27th, so put that into your calendar's now. We will have a cooking event since we haven't yet had one this year. Maybe a peirogi making day which has been a hit in the past, or perhaps depending on the basil supply at that time, we could make pesto to send home and freeze. The details are not finalized, but we wanted to get it into those busy schedules now. If there is a cooking idea you'd like to explore, please let us know, we'll through it into the consideration pot.

The tomatoes have finally started picking up a little, but boy has it been an especially long wait this year! The plants had been looking so great and disease free for a long time, but this week, after all the moist days we'd been having, they are beginning to look less hale and healthy. They still should last longer than in the past, but to see them is not as inspiring a sight as it was two weeks ago when it was five and a half feet of pure green leaves with fruits in between. Now, the bottoms of most plants has yellowed leaves with brown spots. Next year we will have to manage the plants a little differently in order to try to avoid the two dreaded diseases that we always seem to come up with-septoria and early blight.
This week's veggies:
PYO beans
PYO cherry tomatoes

Seasonal Recipes: Thanks to Laurie for this great new squash recipes this week, another one will be up next week!

Zucchini Patties (like potato pancakes, with zucchini instead)
2 cups grated zucchini
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup all purpose flour (whole wheat works)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt to taste
2 T canola or vegetable oil

in a medium bowl, combine all but the oil together. Stir to distribute evenly

heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drop zucchini mixture by heaping Tablespoonfuls and cook a few minutes on each side, until golden.

Quick Savoy Cabbage and Celery
2 t extra virgin olive oil
3 small cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced and cut on the diagonal
6 cups shredded cabbage
pinch of salt
umeboshi vinegar
heat oil in wok or skillet, cook garlic for 5 seconds, and celery and stir-fry vigorously for 30 seconds ( i dont' know either how you stir fry vigorously, What is it like to stir fry without vigor?)
add cabbage, mix with celery and cook for about 1 minute, sprinkle on salt, cover and cook for 2 minutes, check to see if burning after 1 minute and adjust heat as needed
test cabbage, it should be light, bright green and slightly crunchy, serve hot with a splash of umeboshi vinegar.
from greens glorious greens serves 3-4
i guess that's it for this week, happy eating!
liz and matthew

Monday, August 11, 2008

3rd week of August

garlic drying in the green barn tall tomatoes in our new cages
sarah and margot in one of the "tomato tunnels"

good bye cucumbers...
Today was one of those days where we were outside harvesting until 9:00. That was even with Sarah offering her help. It was nice to have a dry afternoon to pick beans and tomatoes, since it was too wet to pick them on friday and too busy throughout much of the weekend (we try avoid picking those plants when the leaves are wet since diseases spread much more quickly on wet leaf surfaces). Since we had missed a harvest on our beans, there were LOTS to pick and it made it tough to get it all of the harvesting done. We got some tomatoes for the shares but with this cool, rainy weather most of the tomatoes really just seem like they would rather stay green. This weather has been so strange, what a cool, wet august! I seem to remember having warmer day back in March than we have had this month.

Any way not totally related to the weather, but the cucumbers are dying and dying fast. I have included a photo and the damage is somewhat evident, but they are going to be all dead much sooner than i would have imagined.

That's not to say that there are no crops that love all the rain we have been getting. One thing that we grow that really enjoyed all the rain is our garlic. All of it has now been harvested and is hanging now. They grew much bigger than we've gotten them to before - especially the German Red.

One product of all this rain is plenty of mushrooms. We have been enjoying taking a couple walks through the woods with Margot and inspecting (though not touching!) all the wild mushrooms that are popping up. They come in pretty much every color: purple, yellow, orange, red, white, black, brown. We took a walk through the Finger Lakes National Forest and saw mushrooms practically every step of the way. If you get to take a walk through some nice hardwoods, make sure you look down occasionally to avoid walking past or on top of these beautiful specimens.

Speaking of the Finger Lakes National Forest, if you are coming up to the farm for the next CSA event, an overnight on Saturday the 16th, stop by the national forest for an all day acoustic music celebration of New York State's only national forest's 25th anniversary.

This weeks Vegetables:
Sweet Onions- great raw fine or cooked, too
Summer Squash

PYO Beans
PYO Cherry Tomatoes

Next Week's (Expected) Vegetables:
Summer Squash

PYO Beans
PYO Cherry Tomatoes

Green Goddess Dressing:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk (you can sour milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice per cup of milk)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
3 T chopped scallions (sweet onions would work)
2 T water
1/2 t salt
1 t chopped garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley
pinch of ground cardamom

Blend all ingredients together, shake and enjoy on salads, cucumbers, or sandwiches.

Oh NO, Not more Beets!:
1 T butter
2 beets, grated
1 carrot, grated
3 cloves of garlic
175ml orange juice (2 T?)
seasoning of your choice

Sauté the garlic in the melted butter for a few minutes.Add the rest of the ingredients and cook stirring over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Serve Immediately
From Riverford organic vegetables website
We wanted to welcome our newest CSA member who arrived just this week, Phoebe was born on 8-8-08, congrats Sarah, Harris, and Theo!
Have a great week! Liz and matthew

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

2nd week of August

garlic harvest! matthew and Harold loaded up! pulled and waiting to go in

One of many loads
It has been a busy and full week as it so often is around here. So busy in fact, that i am almost two days late in writing the newsletter. This past week has been full of the lovely smell of lots and lots of garlic! We have pulled about 3/4 of our garlic and have it all drying in the green barn on tables. It is quite a lovely site to look over all of the bulbs hanging upside down with their stems hanging through the table, i'll have to take a photo of it and post it next time.

In between the garlic pulling, we've been doing lots of other harvesting as well, we currently have an almost unprecidented three beds of beans being picked all at one time and it seems that we are either picking beans, squash, or (just starting to be) cherry tomatoes every time we turn around. I am so glad that Sarah and Margot are here right now and are helping us out so much. Margot enjoys feeding the green bean duds to gemnini and the dog sure enjoys getting the hand outs so it works out for all involved.

One thing that we will not be picking a lot of soon is cucumbers. We had our first experience this week with a mysterious disease, that turned out to be downy mildew and its an experience that i wouldn't have minded skipping. Last week Matthew commented that some of the cucumber plants were looking bad and then before we knew it, 5 were looking bad, then ten, then half the row, and it was spreading fast! Apparantly downy mildew comes in on storms from as far away as the midwest and then spreads through out the field. We were afraid that it would spread to our two other beds of cucumbers and so we pulled out the diseased row. But, it turns out that it has already spread to the other cucumber plants and so now we are just waiting for death to take them, it may take a week or weeks, but they are surely toast at some point. We'll have them as long as we can provide enough for the CSA, but it seems this year may (again) be a wash for cukes for us. We do have some more plants in the greenhouse waiting for a spot in the field, and we will try to keep them isolated in our other field, but even if those plants do survive, it will be several weeks before they are producing. We learned that currently the strain that is traveling around doesn't affect other plants in the cucumber family (we were especially worried about our winter squash, melon, and summer squash plants) so at this point we are willing to just watch the cucumber plants die.

We picked some delicious peaches this week at Silver Queen farm in trumansburg. I spent some time today canning them up for the winter not to mention we devoured 2 delicious peach cobblers this week. a few more weren't ripe and we look forward to some fresh peach pie in a few days once they soften up. Still in season are blueberries and raspberries. So if you want to you pick, then get on out to enjoy some local fresh fruit.

here is the scoop on the next csa event that we will be holding. It will be a community rather than an agriculture related event. It will be August 16th into the 17th. we'll have a campfire, make smores, maybe play some music, lay out and look at the stars and hopefully see some shooting ones.
Each year the Comet Swift-Tuttle's tail intersectsEarth's orbit in mid august and tiny bits of cometdust hit Earth's atmosphere traveling 132,000 mph.Going that fast, even a smidgen of dust makes a vividstreak of light--a meteor--when it disintegrates.Because Swift-Tuttle's meteors fly out of theconstellation Perseus, they are called "Perseids."
More details in an email soon, but here are the basics, arrive any time after 7. We will be eating dinner around 7:30, if you'll be here at that time, bring some food to share, or come fed later.
We have a telescope, and while it will not help see meteors,there are several planets that we could gaze at. If you live in a city at all, and have not spent anytime outside after dark, where it is really dark, in awhile, you are invited to be reaquanited with the night sky. There are lots of stars up there!! And they are gorgeous! Even if you didn't see a single meteor, the plain old stars are a breath-taking view. It will be a great time for kids, too, so please bring them on up! Hope you can make it. A breakfast of homemade granola, with fresh seasonal fruit will be available. RSVP to the email to let us know how many to plan for.

This week's share:

Pick Your Own cherry tomatoes, and beans!

Cabbage and Kale Saute:
1 T Butter
2 onions diced
2 ½ cups water
6 cups coarsely chopped kale
4 cups cabbage, shredded
Salt to taste
Umeboshi vinegar or lemon juice to taste

Heat butter over medium heat, add onions, and sauté for 10-15 minutes until soft. DON’T BURN
While onions are cooking, boil 2 cups water, add kale, cover and cook 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
When onions are tender, stir in cabbage and remaining water. Cover and cook 6-8 minutes. Stirring occasionally until cabbage is tender but still bright in color.
Stir in kale and heat through. Season to taste with salt and vinegar/lemon juice.

Here is the raw blueberry pie recipe from last month's CSA event.
Crust: 2 cups almonds
1/2 cup dates, pitted and soaked

Filling: 5 cups blueberries
2 bananas
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey or honey flavored rice syrup

For Crust:
1. In a food processor, grind the almonds until fine.
2. Add the dates and blend until smooth.
3. Remove from processor and pat down into a pie plate.

For Filling: 1. In a food processor, combine 4 cups of blueberries, 2 bananas, and 1 1/2 Table spoons of honey or rice syrup. Blend until smooth.
2. Remove from food processor and add in 1 cup of whole blueberries.
3. Pour into crust.
4. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Enjoy!