It has been an exciting week! Saturday was Harvest Fest at Bayfront Festival Park. It was great seeing all of you that stopped by our booth. We have also had a new crew member join the gang and an old crew member move on to great new things.
A note about peppers: The large pointy red peppers are a SWEET pepper variety named Carmen. The smaller yellow pointy pepper are a HOT pepper variety.
In your share this week:
Green Beans – Carrots – Celery – Cilantro – Cucumber – Garlic – Onion – Red Pepper – Green Peppers – Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Tomato – Zucchini
Congrats to our former crew member, Emily, who is moving on to a great new job in her field. Emily has been with the Food Farm for two years and wrote last year’s newsletters.
This beautiful key lime pie was made in Emily’s honor by Charlie, a fellow crew member.
A great morning for spiders!
The first spider is a funnel-weaver spider with in her name-sake funnel web beautifully outlined in morning dew. This spider was found next to our celery rows. The picture doesn’t do justice to the unique 3D tunnel structure this spider builds. The second spider is a black and yellow argiope, also called a black-and-yellow garden spider, which may be the largest web-building spider in the northern United States. She was a big one! She was found feasting on a fly in her web that spanned one of the green bean paths. (We made certain not to disrupt her.) Many think because this spider is so colorful and large it must be dangerous, but in reality, they are shy and rarely venture off their webs. We appreciate these spiders eating the more annoying bugs for us!
Last week was a big week for the Food Farm crew: we harvested our long awaited garlic! You’ll find more pictures and descriptions of that process below. We also brought out the carrot harvester, which is efficient but requires many hands to run smoothly. Boxes are filled with high summer bounty. New this week you’ll find green peppers and GARLIC! The garlic in the box this week is “green” or not yet cured. It should be left out on the counter with good ventilation so it does not mildew.
Would you like to come see the farm at peak season? You’re in luck! We are hosting a farm tour and pizza dinner on Saturday, August 27th! Come by the farm at 2612 County Road 1, Wrenshall from 4:00pm to 6:00. We’ll be serving pizza hot from our wood fired oven and giving farm tours. Free for all to attend, we’d love to see you!
In your share this week:
Basil – Beets – Cabbage – Carrots – Cucumber – Dill – Green Garlic – Green Pepper – Green Onion – New Potatoes – Parsley – Tomato – Zucchini
What am I looking at?
This is a swarm of honey bees seen near the farm hives recently. When a hive gets large enough it splits into two distinct colonies. During this process, part of the hive leaves as a swarm to find a new home. These swarms are often very docile because they are not guarding honey or a queen, but always be careful around bees, especially if there there is a chance you could be allergic.
Cucumber and Tomato Salad
From Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean
Cucumber (peeled, seeded and cut into pieces)
2 large tomatoes, seeded and cut into pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and black pepper to taste
small handful of fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, dill, cilantro) chopped
Put cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to make a dressing. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Sprinkle with the herbs and add feta if you like.
We have garlic AND basil in the box this week. The only option is to make pesto 😉
2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely minced.
With the machine running slowly dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
Add the cheese and process very briefly, just long enough to combine. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
– Sights around the farm: tractors, sprawling fields, and farm house hydrangeas.
New in the box this week we have tomatoes and basil; the perfect pair. Now we really know it’s summer! Janaki has taken a well earned vacation with his family this week. The farm crew is happy to hold down the fort here in Wrenshall. We’re still planting fall brassicas, weeding young plants, and looking forward to the coming preserving shares.
In your share this week:
Basil – Broccoli – Carrots with Tops – Cucumber – Kale – Lettuce – Green Onion – Snap Peas – Tomato – Zucchini
Guess what vegetable these baby plants will grow up into!
Scroll to the bottom for the answer.
Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Tahini Dressing
4 cups chopped kale
1 ½ cup chopped cucumber
1 ½ cup snap peas trimmed
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup quinoa (or 1 cup cooked quinoa. Raw quinoa will give you 3x as much cooked quinoa)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
1 tablespoon warm water
1 teaspoon agave nectar (can substitute with honey)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook Quinoa – If you are starting with cooked quinoa, skip to step 3! Rinse raw quinoa for 30 seconds in a fine mesh colander. Drain well.
Combine the rinsed quinoa and 2/3 cups water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat a bit to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Season with a pinch of salt. Allow to cool completely.
Make the Dressing – In a small glass bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini, water and agave nectar. If the tahini is difficult to whisk, microwave the mixture on HIGH for about 10 seconds. Salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble the Salad – Place the kale in a colander and run warm water over it while massaging the leaves until the kale softens.
In a large bowl, combine the kale, cucumber, snap peas, tomatoes and quinoa. Toss with the dressing. Serve.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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)
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
Cook quinoa according to package directions and add ½ teaspoon of salt to the water.
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.
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).
Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
Prep the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, pepper and parsley.
Add all ingredients (cooked quinoa, onions/garlic, vegetables, parmesan) to a large mixing bowl and toss well with the vinaigrette.
Optional: refrigerate for 30 minutes-1 hour before serving (or enjoy right away!).
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,
In your share this week: Green Beans, Green Cabbage, Carrots, Cilantro, Cucumbers, Sweet Onions, Parsley, Red and Hot Peppers, Red Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini
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
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.
Toss together lettuce, beans, shallots and tomatoes in a large bowl (or four small bowls). Top with feta and walnuts.
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.
2 cloves garlic
2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
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.
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,
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
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.