February Winter CSA

Greetings fellow food lovers,

It has been awfully chilly the last few weeks around the farm. Normally, we run around in circles and light veggie scraps on fire to stay warm every morning. We’ve also been curating a new dance routine to really turn up the heat in the packing shed. This helps us pack your veggies faster and also keeps our toes from freezing. Although I am just kidding, I often wonder during these cold midwinter stretches, “Why do I live somewhere that if I stayed outside too long, I would die?” On the other hand, the long winter can be a nice break from all of the summer work we do at the farm, and I love that we have real seasons in the Northland.

Speaking of the Northland, we had a great time seeing our community at Wild State Cider last week for our annual rutabaga giveaway. In case you missed it, this event had a unique twist this year: rutabaga curling! I can’t think of a better way to take advantage of this unique vegetable (aside from, you know, eating it). Plus, curlers can really sweep you off your feet. Our friends helped make a wonderful video with some highlights from the event which you can find on our Facebook page or by clicking this link: https://fb.watch/b8eTjlvrps/.

Make sure you sign up for your summer shares if you haven’t already! These spots tend to fill quickly. More of this information can be found right on our website. Let us know if you have any questions. Throughout these recent times of uncertainty in our food systems, the importance of local farms has really been brought to light. Community Supported Agriculture has given all of us stability and the ability to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. Our crew at the Food Farm continues to take this responsibility seriously and we appreciate our members and your support!

By the time I write the next newsletter, I expect we will have seen warmer days (by warmer days I mean anything above 20 degrees), and we’ll be starting up greenhouse work and seeding onions! Oh, and remember: organic vegetables make the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts.

Stay warm,

Emily

Your CSA farmers love you!

In your shares this month:

Beets – Carrots – Green Cabbage – Parsnips – Baby Red and Russett Potatoes – Onions – Garlic – Delicata Squash

Mulligan Stew (The Soup and Bread Cookbook, B. Ojakangas)

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat cut into 1″ cubes (or substitute beans for a vegetarian version)
  • 4 medium thin skinned potatoes, yellow or red, washed, unpeeled and quartered
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 4 small onions, quartered
  • 1 (1/2 lb) rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup red wine or water

In a 4-qt soup pot, combine the meat and cold water to cover and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes, carrots, onions, rutabaga, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Simmer, tightly covered, over low heat until the meat is tender, about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

In a cup, mix the flour and wine/water until smooth.  Stir into the stew and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to thicken the stew. 

Kalldolmer (Danish cabbage rolls)(Danish Food Cookbook)

  • 3/4 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice or 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 12 cabbage leaves (large)

Mix meats, rice/bread crumbs, onion, milk, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Rinse a large cabbage head and remove about 12 large leaves.  Drop the leaves into boiling water for a few minutes to soften them.  Drain the leaves.  Place about 1/4 cup of meatball mix into the center of the leaf and wrap it like a package.  Brown in a frying pan and then place seam side down in a 9″x13″ baking pan.  Pour the tomatoes over them.  Bake 350F for about an hour.

Summer CSA Week 16

Howdy food sharers,

This past week was the week of squash. To be honest, I’ll probably never see that much squash again in one place. On Wednesday we harvested around 8,000 pounds of Delicata alone. As much as it feels like it will never end when we are in the middle of harvesting, the end results are very satisfying to look at. 4 tons of Delicata sitting on drying racks is a sight for sore eyes (and arms). It is also very funny to be using old bakery racks as storage racks. They sure do get the job done though.

Delicata are not the only variety of squash we are growing this year. The others include: Winter Sweet, Acorn, Kabocha and Sunshine. To be honest I think I would name my pet after these squashes. Maybe not Delicata though… I sometimes think that squash is such an interesting crop so I decided to do a little research to spice up this newsletter. Here are some fun facts about squash:

  • The name “squash” comes from a Native American word “askutasquash” which means “eaten raw or uncooked” which is….ironic. Or at least I have always cooked my squash.
  • Squashes are some of the oldest crops. Some estimates are at 10,000 years old. 
  • The regions of Mexico and surrounding Central American countries are where squash is originally thought to come from. 
  • We grow both summer and winter squash here at Food Farm. Summer squashes are harvested when they’re immature and their skins are still soft. For example, zucchini is a well-known summer squash. Winter squashes are harvested when their skin is hard, making them suitable for long term storage.

Pretty soon your summer CSA will be over and your household may start to accumulate more and more squash. Pumpkins will be on their way to you soon. Jack-o-lanterns will be carved. Pies will be baked. Although this is the beginning of the end of our time being your summer farmers, we still have a LOT to get done on the farm before freeze-up. Best of all, the autumn equinox is on Wednesday. According to the MN DNR Fall Color Finder, between 10-25% of our trees in the area are turning color. Fall has quickly become my favorite time of the year since I started farming.

I’m keeping this newsletter short and sweet, just like our acorn squash.

Thanks for tuning in,

Emily 

In your shares this week: Arugula – Beans – Carrots – Cucumbers – Red Russian Kale – Leeks – Onions – Parsley – Peppers – Potatoes – Acorn and Sunshine Squash – Tomatoes – Zucchini

Chinese Chard with Almonds by TasteofHome

Ingredients

1 bunch chard (about 1 pound), chopped (the Red Russian Kale this week is tender enough to use in place of Chard)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large sweet red pepper, cut into strips

1 large tomato, diced

1 small red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

3/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Dash crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 in. of water to a boil. Add chard; cook, covered, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; set aside.

In same saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pepper, tomato and onion; saute until pepper is crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Stir in next five ingredients; add cooked chard. Cook and stir until pepper is tender, 3-4 minutes ; add lemon juice. Top with almonds.

Kale and Leek Gratin by Food & Wine

3 pounds kale, de-stemmed

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

5 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Salt

3 garlic cloves, minced

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour 

1 quart whole milk

1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Freshly ground pepper

Directions

In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the kale in batches until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain, squeeze dry and chop it.

Heat the oil in the pot. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until tender, 7 minutes. Uncover, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the kale, season with salt and remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour over moderate heat to form a paste. Gradually whisk in one-third of the milk and cook, whisking, until the mixture starts to thicken. Repeat two more times with the remaining milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking often, until thickened and no floury taste remains, 15 minutes. Whisk in the cheeses and the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Mix the sauce into the leeks and kale. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Summer CSA Week 14

This week was a big week for our dear friends the alliums. Alliums are a genus of plants that include onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots. Onions! Enough to make a grown man cry. To say that these crops are the very backbone of savory dishes in the Midwest is an understatement. Not only do they provide great flavor and texture to our food, they also make the air smell great when you harvest them for several hours. And what do you say to a small onion that has helped you? Thanks shallot. We also started to sort out seed garlic which involves picking out the most perfect heads of garlic to use for next years garlic crop. This process, over the course of years, helps us yield the best looking heads of garlic to give to our dear members and the community.

Soup season is just around the corner, unless you’re like me and believe soup shall not be limited to colder weather. Either way, I feel compelled to throw in a decent soup recipe in these newsletters each week. They’re great for many things but amazing for using up random veggies in your fridges. Great for budgets and your stomachs. This may very well be the beginning of canning season for your household, for which soup is a fantastic candidate. Our dear friend the leek has been patiently waiting it’s arrival in your shares. And you had better believe there’s a soup recipe in this newsletter whose sole intention is to use a decent amount of leeks. Personally, I think the leeks this year look way bigger than last years. This is probably due to the warmer temperatures we have been experiencing.

This weekend you’ll find the Food Farm crew at the Sustainable Farm Association’s annual Harvest Festival at Bayfront Park in Duluth. Have you been wishing to have just a few more heads of broccoli this year? Perhaps you’re wishing for some more tomatoes? Fear not, as we will likely have a wide variety of food available to you. My favorite thing about these festivals as a consumer is seeing the value added goods that people create. Every year there is something new to try and it’s even better knowing it’s local. The annual Harvest Festival is a fun and great way to connect producers directly to consumers. Aside from these newsletters, there are only a handful of ways in which we are able to directly connect with our share members and the general public. We hope to see all of you there! We’ll be there from 10am – 4pm.

Some exciting news from our newest farm hens, they’ve laid their first eggs! These relatively tiny eggs will not be included in the egg shares yet. However, they are a reminder that these chickens play a valuable role on the farm. They provide our members with food and our fields with fertility. Plus they’re cute and full of personality – what more could you ask for in your coworkers?!

If anyone has a soup recipe suggestion, please do not be shy. We must all prosper in the richness that is liquid food.

Your local soup enthusiast,

Emily

In your shares this week:

Broccoli – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Garlic – Greens Mix – Leeks – Onions – Hot Pepper – Red Peppers – Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini

Bumble bees are fond of our bean plants and their flowers. I call this photo: “Bumble Bean”

Potato Leek Soup from Tasty

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large leeks, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs potato, cubed
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
  • hot sauce, to taste
  1. Melt butter on medium heat in a large pot. Add the chopped leeks and stir until coated with butter.
  2. Cover the pot and lower heat, cook for around 10 minutes until the leeks have softened.
  3. Increase to medium-high. Add garlic, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, then add vegetable broth, water, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  4. Lower heat and cover pot with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and easily speared by a fork.
  5. Uncover and remove thyme and bay leaf.
  6. Use an immersion or countertop blender to blend the soup until smooth.
  7. Stir in chives and hot sauce (optional).
  8. Allow to cool 2 minutes and serve

Cucumber Avocado Salsa by To Simply Inspire

  • 1 large cucumber peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 avocado finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped and seeded
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 tablespoon fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 c reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the first six ingredients and gently toss
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and salt.
  3. Pour over cucumber mixture and gently toss to coat.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.

Summer CSA Week 13

Every day was super eventful on the farm this past week. The crew adjusted the solar panels along the driveway to match the sun’s fall position in the sky. We are also gearing up for the fall harvesting that will be happening soon, especially for the storage crops. On Wednesday we harvested about 13 tons of carrots – all before lunch. It’s days like those that really make us realize the impact we have on the local food system. Also, not to scare anybody but there are at least 30 more tons (hopefully) that still need to be harvested before late October. And those are just the carrots. Our list of things to do seems like it should be getting smaller but let’s be honest – it’s definitely going to get bigger.

Early this week we said a heartfelt goodbye to Karin who has been the backbone of the farm crew for 7 seasons. She will be deeply missed, but we all wish her the best of luck with this transition in her life. In her honor we built a huge shrine with some parts we found laying around in the barn and it’s just outside the pack shed so she is never forgotten. It doubles as a second bucket-drying rack. Just kidding – that’d be weird. But truthfully, she deserves the recognition for being so cool.

As many of you probably experienced this week, the air quality was very poor from the wildfires burning north of us. As a farmer, I never realized how much I had been taking good air quality for granted. Luckily, wearing a mask helps a lot. There was some rain at the end of the week (yay!) that helped improve the air quality. As a bonus we got to finally experience some autumn-ish weather that the storms brought with them – cool breezes and chilly mornings. Rain also gives us all some excitement knowing that our veggies will be that much happier.

Our newer hens have been adjusting nicely to their new home in the last month. They live on the far side of the farm in a mobile coop that gets moved every few days. This ensures the field they are in is getting an equal distribution of fertilization from the chickens. Earlier this season Farmer Janaki taught us that the fields that have had chickens rotated around in them are significantly more fertile than their non-chicken bearing neighbors. This is just another way the Food Farm builds soil and improves soil quality. What that means for our share members is more nutrient dense veggies.

Thanks for reading my first newsletter, I am excited to carry on this task.

Emily

In your shares this week:

Cucumber – Zucchini – Potatoes – Carrots – Hot Peppers – Red and Green Peppers – Onion – Dill – Tomatoes – Greens Mix – Beans – Beets

Zucchini Lasagna from PBS

  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 1 – 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or about 4 pounds of fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fennel seed, crushed slightly to release the flavor
  • 1 tsp. ground oregano
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • For the Cheese Filling:
  • 1 pound of ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • For the Vegetables:
  • 2 to 3 medium-sized zucchinis, no bigger than 4 inches diameter (or 4 to 5 small zucchinis)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard or spinach (about 4 cups, chopped)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour (can be gluten-free flour)
  • A dozen or so fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella (about 1 pound)
  1. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise to between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Use a mandolin if you have one, it will help you slice the zucchini faster and in perfect consistent slices. Otherwise, slicing with a knife is fine too. Place the slices on a clean towel and pat the zucchini very dry. Rub 1 Tbsp of olive oil onto an extra-large baking sheet (or 2 smaller ones) and place the zucchini slices in a single layer. Roast in a 375F oven for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. If using fresh tomatoes, deseed the tomatoes (if you wish remove the skins). Bring the tomatoes to a boil and add the minced garlic, chopped basil, crushed fennel seeds, ground oregano, olive oil, sugar, and salt to taste. Simmer until thick and reduced. It’s important to use a thick lasagna sauce in this recipe because the lasagna can otherwise be on the soupy side without the pasta to soak up the extra liquid as it bakes.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté the onions for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking. Once the mushrooms are soft, add the chopped swiss chard. When the chard is cooked, remove from heat and drain any juices (save these for great soup stock). Add 2 Tbsp flour to the mixture and mix well to incorporate.
  4. Oil a 9 x 13 inch lasagna dish and spread about one third of your sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of roasted zucchini to cover the tomato sauce. Add the ricotta and parmesan cheese mixture and spread evenly. Add another layer of zucchini slices. Add a second round of tomato sauce and spread evenly, followed by the vegetable mixture and half of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Add a last layer of zucchini slices followed by the third and last round of tomato sauce. Place the twelve basil leaves on top of the sauce and sprinkle the rest of the shredded mozzarella on top. Pro tip: place a baking tray on the rack beneath the lasagna pan to catch any bubbling juices from falling to the bottom of your oven. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350F until the cheese is melted.

Cucumber Tomato Salad from Spend With Pennies

  • 2 cucumbers (sliced)
  • 2 large tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 onion (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon of dill
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a boil and toss well.

Summer CSA Week 11

I am sure I have said in newsletters of yore that recipes aren’t really my thing. Finding them for the newsletter – I just do the laziest thing which, depending on what I’m looking for, is either just googling “spinach recipes” or whatever, or going to a couple of my go-to sites for ideas and seeing what they say. Recipes aren’t really my thing, but I do like pretty pictures of food, and being forced to look up new ideas for the newsletter does help me snap out of a rut (re: last week’s zucchini fritters comment).

A lot of the way I cook (when I’m not “cooking” eggs and toast) feels like just throwing what I have lying around together, often in one or two pots and then eating all of whatever it is in a bowl. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts as a “meal”- the Midwest concept of what a meal is has imbedded itself in my brain. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts unless there’s meat (duh) and two sides (one being potatoes) and dessert. I’ll skip the glass of skim milk at dinner… but thanks for offering.

With shares like this week’s especially, I feel like all the food is just waiting to be chopped up and eaten together. I do recommend cooking the potatoes first. All these veggies would be great in a grain bowl for example. Is that so 2017? 2017 BCE? I just made a salad that is not unlike the quinoa chickpea salad below, but instead of a mustardy dressing, I used a huge scoop of fresh basil-pesto in the dressing. So good.

You also don’t have to chop all the veggies and mix them all together this very night. So much chopping! So much time! No matter what I do, I don’t feel like I get any faster at processing whole veggies and working with any whole food takes time. You’re allowed to cut a zucchini in half, cover it in cheese and store bought sauce and roast the living daylights out of it. You can even call that dinner. No milk and no meat, no problem!

All of this is partially a pep talk to myself to get me to do something with the cauliflower in my fridge before another one ends up there!

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Basil – Beans – Cabbage (Monday), or Cauliflower (Thursday) – Carrots – Cilantro – Lettuce Mix – Melon – Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – Red Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Zucchini Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ¾ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, or you could use seasoned
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

FOR THE NOODLES
2 medium zucchinis, zoodled with a spiralizer (or…https://topwithcinnamon.com/lazy-girls-zucchini-spaghetti-no-fancy-tools-required-with-peas-creme-fraiche-and-pesto/)

Your favorite pasta sauce


Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.
Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Using your hands, gently work all the ingredients together, careful to not overwork the meat.


Using a two tablespoons, scoop meat into individual balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Once all is scooped, form the meat into balls. Freeze 20 of them in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and place 10 of them onto a plate to set aside to cook.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil.


Once the oil is hot, carefully place the meatballs into the skillet and let brown on one side then turn with tongs. Continue cooking until meatballs are all cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.
For the zoodles, you can either just blanch them in hot water and add sauce on top along with the meatballs or you can throw them into the same skillet and cook them until softened and pour sauce on top along with the meatballs.
Serve warm!

The meatball mixture makes roughly 30 meatballs. They freeze really well and I love having the ability to pull them out of the freezer during busy work weeks! 🙂

Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Summer Veggies!

From the Crowded Kitchen

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced (1 small onion)
  • 2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 1 cup finely chopped spinach (or any leafy green)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, finely diced
  • ¾ cup grated carrot
  • ¾ cup finely diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 14.5 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed well
  • ¼ cup grated vegan parmesan (or regular)

VINAIGRETTE:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoon maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and add ½ teaspoon of salt to the water.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, add olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 
  3. Once the quinoa is done cooking, transfer to a bowl to cool slightly (you can place in the fridge or freezer to speed this up). 
  4. Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
  5. Prep the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, pepper and parsley.
  6. Add all ingredients (cooked quinoa, onions/garlic, vegetables, parmesan) to a large mixing bowl and toss well with the vinaigrette.
  7. Optional: refrigerate for 30 minutes-1 hour before serving (or enjoy right away!).

Summer CSA Week 13

I love the little chill in the air that we have in the morning and evening now. On the farm, we’ve put in our time with some very hot and humid days! -and it’s good for a break.
Ever since I can remember I have loved this time of year, mostly. Knowing school was starting back up wasn’t usually the best part, but even the settling back into routine ended up being good for me as a kid. And as an adult, I think I always started college semesters off feeling strong and hopeful and organized (even if it ended in panicked 3am paper editing  by mid-December).

This year it feels like the shift back to school for kids and adults, and all those that teach or work with/around them is clouded in a troubling unknown. Whether you have or know children in school (however it looks), or you work with or around students in some capacity, we wish you the best as you start this next school year.
I know so many people have wondered and dreamed about what it would be like to send a child to Kindergarten one day, or to pack up for college… none of us would have dreamed this up to add to the list of worries along the way.

I think we’re all pretty sick of so many aspects of life feeling harder, or sadder, or more complicated and divisive than normal (show of hands for who thought there was more than enough of that to begin with…). I hope that there are bright spots in the midst of all of it for you as well, whether it’s been family time, or new habits or getting outside more.

As we move forward as a country with so many returning to school, I hope that in your home (regardless of connection to a school, after all, we’re all connected in this) the dinner table, or maybe breakfast table, can be a place were connection is found, worries heard and validated, and wholesome sustenance consumed to see you through incredibly challenging days.

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week: Green Beans, Green Cabbage, Carrots, Cilantro, Cucumbers, Sweet Onions, Parsley, Red and Hot Peppers, Red Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini


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Green Bean Salad

From The Leek and the Carrot

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half if large (about 4-5 cups)
1 head washed lettuce, thinly sliced
1 large shallot or onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt, for serving

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 4 minutes then rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a towel.
  2. Toss together lettuce, beans, shallots and tomatoes in a large bowl (or four small bowls). Top with feta and walnuts.
  3. Whisk sherry vinegar with dried oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic. Once combined, whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. Drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with a little extra flaky sea salt right before serving.

Parsley Pesto

2 cloves garlic

2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley

Course salt

1/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

2/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a food processor place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese. Process until they form a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste adjust your seasoning if necessary. Great with pasta, poultry, vegetables and rice.

Summer CSA Week 9

I was blathering on to my one-year-old over breakfast this morning, trying to describe the taste of the cucumber sticks he was eating. I seem to be driven by this need to cram as many adjectives into his first years as humanly possible. I think perhaps it will backfire someday, but I’m not sure how.

Anyway, the cucumber.
I was informing my son, that though I prefer most fruits (especially) and vegetables (generally) at room temperature, cucumbers are one I love right out of the fridge.
Cool, as they are generally thought of, they taste like the feeling of walking through the woods and noticing that there must be running water near by because of the coolness in the air. Maybe even such a small spring it’d be hard to pin-point, but the feeling in the air is still there.
He also got a short lesson in evaporation over breakfast, and I’m sure he understands it quite well now.

When my sister and I were kids, she was the reader. She always had her nose in a book, and read very, very fast. Like, the sixth Harry Potter book in a day kind of fast. But I’d watch her sometimes skipping whole pages at a time. She said it was “just” description, and she didn’t have the patience for that. I’m sure Tolkien was rolling in his grave.

I hope this week you can find ways to notice how things taste and feel and sound and smell and to be present in the here and now. Plenty of times (and reasonably) the here and now can be stressful, or boring. But even so, there can be a lot that’s worth pausing for and noticing.

We’d be lucky if you thought our veggies this week were some of those things!

For the farm crew,

Karin

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In your share this week:

Green Beans – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Lettuce Mix – Green Onions – Green Peppers – Kale – Jalapeno Pepper – Tomatoes – Zucchini


 

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette

From The Smitten Kitchen

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

Filling:
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

Glaze:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

 

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Pico de Gallo

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 medium jalapeño ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 ½ pounds ripe red tomatoes (about 8 small or 4 large), chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (about 1 bunch)
  1. In a medium serving bowl, combine the chopped onion, jalapeño, lime juice and salt. Let it marinate for about 5 minutes while you chop the tomatoes and cilantro.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and cilantro to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste, and add more salt if the flavors don’t quite sing.
  3. For the best flavor, let the mixture marinate for 15 minutes or several hours in the refrigerator. Serve as a dip, or with a slotted spoon or large serving fork to avoid transferring too much watery tomato juice with your pico. Pico de gallo keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.

Summer CSA Week 2

Welcome to the early CSA season… you will be seeing many types of greens as these first weeks go by. If you are anything like me you may have a particular kind of excitement for tomatoes, snap peas and cauliflower, but sometimes greens can feel hard to use up, or use well. So, don’t feel bad if this is you- because it’s not just you! Here are my tips on using greens:

Making a point to eat greens earlier in the week while they’re still crisp makes them more enjoyable, and cleaning, storing and preparing them well is also key.

When you pick up your share and get it home, things like head lettuce, pac choi and kale bunches can benefit from a little trim off the bottom and a soak in cold water for a minute. Afterwards, dry them off a bit and put them into a bag with a flour sack towel (if you’ve got lots of tea towels, great, if not, I would highly recommend a 2-4 pack of flour sack towels to use this season). These steps will become more important as the temperatures go up.

Cut greens like our greens mix or loose lettuce mix shouldn’t get wet until right before use, and typically don’t need to be washed since we grow these in greenhouses to avoid rain splatter. You could leave the bag open in the fridge for an hour to cool them off, but don’t forget to fold the top back over or the greens will dry out.

All greens, including Napa cabbage, need to be stored in a plastic bag to avoid drying out and going limp. Same for broccoli and cauliflower. This is a great use for the bags we send some items in that don’t need to be kept in there to stay fresh (i.e., potatoes, tomatoes and snap peas because you’ll eat them all at once)

If you have a way to change the humidity of your fridge- they (and all the veggies in there) would appreciate being fairly humid.

The way I like to clean greens that might be dirty like head lettuce, spinach, kale (and cut greens only if they need it) is using a salad spinner. I’d recommend getting one if you don’t have one. Before I got one, I’d dunk greens in a large pot of water (this is not a time to skimp on water use!) 2-3 times (until it’s clear and grit free) spinning  the greens between each dunk outside in a towel. It was very satisfying, barbaric looking and worked fine. With a salad spinner I put my torn up greens in the basket, fill the base with water and gently agitate, lifting the basket of greens out, spinning, and re-rinsing 2-3 times. I always take the greens out of the water, then dump the water. If you just pour the wash water back through or over the greens into strainer you are just adding all that dirt back in. Maybe that’s obvious to you all, but I’ve seen some crazy stuff with how people “wash” greens!

I’m writing this because grit in greens is a pet peeve of mine. We do our best to clean and cool greens before they get packed in boxes, but the system is never perfect, especially if we have to harvest in the rain.

If using greens up is a struggle, I can’t tell you how amazing it is that most of them cook down to hardly anything at all. And if a pile of steamed spinach isn’t your thing, cut it up in to tiny pieces and put it in any sauce for pasta or other veggies, put it in eggs, just keep putting it in stuff! And don’t hold back on adding seasonings and dressings if that’s what helps you enjoy them. A spritz of lemon juice on bowl of fresh kale isn’t enjoyable for everyone–it’s OK in my book to load up on parmesan cheese and olive oil.

I hope some of these tips might help if you’re new to our Farm, or even if not. It’s nice to start off the season staying as on-top of the share as we can, and finding ways to creatively remove ourselves from the predominant culture of convenience.

Enjoy the food.

For the Farm crew,

Karin

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In your share this week:

Kale – Head lettuce – Green onions – Radishes – Spinach – Turnips


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Turnip Dhal

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2-4 turnips
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne (to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • fresh lemon juice and rice for serving

 

  1. Mince the garlic. Peel and dice the turnips. Wash the tomatoes and dice them as well.
  2. Add 3-4 tbsp water to a pot, add the garlic and curry leaves and sauté for 2 min.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 min. Then, transfer the diced turnips to the pot, stir and cook covered for 2-3 min.
  4. In the meantime, rinse and drain the lentils. Add the lentils, spices, water and coconut milk to the pot and bring to a boil. Then, simmer slightly-covered on low for 17-20 min.
  5. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and brown or basmati rice. Store leftovers in the fridge. As the dhal may thicken in the fridge, add a bit of water when reheating it on the stove.

Summer CSA, Week 14

Much of this week was spent conversing around the carrot box. Filling an infinite amount of bags. Some for you, our trusted CSA members. Some for the co-ops and some for Harvest Fest.

I met many a wonderful faces at Harvest Fest this year. I was lucky enough to stand next to John Fisher-Merritt most of the afternoon. To my perception everyone knew John and those who didn’t found themselves buying peppers from him. After he sliced them a sample with his pocket knife of course.

This week I listened. Chose to speak less and absorb more. I gathered from my listening around the carrot box and reading this or that before bed that we are Earth.

Everyone that I talk to and experience daily knows this. Everyone that went to Harvest Fest knows this. Perhaps even those who disagree with us understand this as well.

We are Earth. Everything we created came from Earth. Everything we use today is derived from Earth.

This very broad statement can send you into a head spin. It can make you think of all the ways humans are ruining Earth and causing her pain. Or you can think of all the ways humans can be kind to the Earth and show our appreciation everyday.

Talking nice to the carrots as we put them in their bags. Telling the beans they are growing great and we are happy to be harvesting them in the rain. Listening to the coyotes and wolves roam in the distance. Choosing in any certain moment not to add your own two cents but rather to absorb what others have to say.

We are Earth. Our journey with Earth to grow and evolve has not always been beautiful. But I’m grateful.

I’m grateful someone invented a carrot harvester and that we used it this week. I’m grateful the mini-Food Farmers went back to school and are enjoying learning! I’m grateful the new laying hens are starting to lay little eggs.

But most of all I’m grateful I get to spend each day working with people who make me smile and laugh.

From an Earthly farm crew,

Tiffany

P.S. The Thyme would enjoy it if you hung it in a place in your kitchen with airflow. Maybe a window or such. It would enjoy making your kitchen smell lovely and not being in your refrigerator.


In your CSA Box:

Yellow Beans, Carrots, Cucumbers, Leeks, Onions, Green Pepper, Hot Wax Pepper, Potatoes, Thyme, Tomatoes, Zucchini


Zucchini Muffins

  • 2 Small zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop zucchini into small pieces and purée in food processor. Combine zucchini purée with sugar, eggs, vegetable oil. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Combine wet and dry mixtures together. Add chocolate chips for pazazzz.

Line a muffin pan with cute liners or grease. Place batter in pan and cook 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Roasted Carrot Soup

  • 1-1/2 pounds of carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and cumin two cooking sheets. Enduring the veggies do not crowd each other roast carrots, onion and garlic for 25-30 minutes.

Working in two batches add half the veggies to a food processor. Add half the tomatoes and purée until smooth. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Add both batches into a large pot. Add basil and remaining salt. Bring to a simmer and let sit for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Summer CSA, Week 12

No need for witty banter or endless anecdotes about potato bugs. This week has been a whirlwind of excitement and organized chaos.

When Janaki starts out the day on Monday saying “It’s going to be a big week” you know we are in for a wild ride!

Thankfully our farm crew is loaded with young blood. We are the next generation of farmers, we are full of energy and excitement.

As the summer winds to an end the cultivating season does as well. We shined up the cabbage field. Pulling weeds, wheel hoeing and spot hoeing.

This week also saw lots of trailer loads of vegetables. The potato washer came out of storage after Patricia and I tucked it away so nicely. The pack shed is a professional game of Jenga now.

We loaded and unloaded carrots, potatoes and onions all week long. With lows getting into the high 40s dare I say it, we are all thinking about fall.

The Food Farm made an appearance at the State Fair! Janaki, Annie, Truman and Ellis along with many other cast members of the Food Farm crew made the pilgrimage down to the great Minnesota get together. Truman and Janaki made it on stage to talk about good food alongside Tom Hanson from the Duluth Grill.

Work around the farm went from zero to 100 real quick this week. We all know the further into the season we get the more work and the faster the pace. However I don’t think anyone was ready for it to happen this fast!

I personally love the fast paced energetic days. The go-go-go feeling keeps you on your toes. I love thinking about the people picking up their CSA boxes and smiling after seeing the beautiful vegetables waiting for them to enjoy.

As always from a fantastic farm crew,

Tiffany


In your CSA box: Beans, Broccoli, Basil, Carrots, Cilantro, Cucumbers, Garlic, Lettuce Mix, Onions, Red and Hot Peppers, Potatoes, Parsley, Tomatoes, Zucchini

Perfect Potato Salad

  • 1 lb red potatoes
  • 1 fresh small onion
  • 2 tbs parsley
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2-4 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 2 spoon fulls of dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Cube potatoes and steam until fully cooked. This takes about 20 minutes but keep watch. Potatoes are easy to over cook. Also boil water to cook corn. Once water has come to boil place corn cobs in water for 4 minutes.

Chop onion, celery and parsley. Cut corn from cob. Rinse potatoes in cold water to cook them down. Place potatoes in large bowl for mixing. Combine onions, celery, corn and parsley to potatoes.

Add mayo and Dijon mustard to mixture. Add extra mayo as necessary and salt and pepper to taste.

Tomato Peach and Cucumber Salad with Pistachio Vinaigrette

  • For vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup roasted pistachios

    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 tbs white wine vinegar
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    Ground pepper

For the salad

  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 peaches
  • 1/4 cup mixture of mint and basil

For vinaigrette roast pistachios for 5-10 minutes in oven at 350 degrees. Transfer all but two tbs of nuts to food processor (save 2 tbs for garnish!) combine olive oil, wine vinegar and 1/2 cup of water to food processor as well. Mix until smooth. Also add basil, salt and pepper to mixture until smooth.

For salad slice tomatoes into large slices of using large tomatoes. Peel cucumber and chop into slices. Peel peach and cut into 1/2 inch wedges. Layer tomatoes, cucumber and peaches onto plate. Drizzle with dressing and top with pistachios!