Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Greetings from the farm,

***Some business first…Quick reminders!*** Please read the email newsletters for tips and information on caring for your veggies and cooking them. Let us know through email if you have your #1 recipes or ideas that you’ve had success with! We love community meal ideas!

Please reuse all of those plastic grocery bags and pack all your leafy greens in them before your place your veggies in the fridge. Tie them shut with a small bit of airspace around the veggie to make a humid “greenhouse”. Leafy greens like lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard should be great for 5-7 days this way.

Basil likes to be placed in a small glass of water on the counter like a bouquet. It DOES NOT like the COLD fridge very much. You may pluck leaves off and zip into a baggie with lots of air. This bag may go into the fridge with some minor cold bruising.

This week’s cucumber is the first, but I have a few notes on it! Some of the cucumbers got too big-they exploded with the rainstorm we got and developed a bitter skin! Our delicious heirloom cucumber variety, Emperor Alexander, (very thick with yellows and greens) developed a bitter skin. PEEL THOSE BABIES REALLY WELL! WOW! Without the skin, the cuke shows off its great flavor! Next week’s cuke’s will not be so bitter if I can help it.

I often say that farming has similarities to gambling. When it comes to money, neither William nor I are the gambling type, but imagine connecting the factors involved in planning, seeding, watering, weeding, biological monitoring, insect encouraging, disease prevention, harvesting, post harvest handling, all of these factors contributing to the growth of the cucumbers in your CSA box. Wow! I might call myself a garden gambler. This time those silly cukes got too big overnight! There are so many connected paths and cycles in the garden and around the farm. In the annual eating cycle, we have cycled back to summer cucumbers. My menus and eating habits change with the season and I welcome that cool, refreshing crunch after a 6 month break. In terms of garden planning, on paper, we hope to produce cucumbers until the first week of October. What actually happens goes back to so many factors and good ole chance. Here’s an interesting seasonal food fact; the common restaurant salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce doesn’t happen very easily in the garden. Tomatoes and cucumbers both love summer weather, and well, lettuce hates hot summer weather. We have started to harvest some of the last lettuce we have in the garden. Hopefully it will hold out with this sizzling hot weather.

Last week we harvested about 20 zucchini and squash. This week the zucchini, “zukes” and squash has produced enough for the CSA. Unfortunately, last week we had a tiny zuke and squash scare- We had squash vine borers, larvae that burrows into the vine’s stem and quickly kills the plants from within. I believe our remedy worked and this week is the beginning of a great harvest.

What’s in your box?

Lettuce- baby heads, lettuce will be out of season soon

Swiss chard

Tat soi- (Bok choy’s mini cousin), stir-fry the leaves whole or you may cut the leaves off of the plant and mix with lettuce for salad

Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage, this will be out of season soon

Zucchini (straight Gold and Green varieties)

Squash, (Yellow Crookneck, round Scallopini squash)

Scallopini squash


Garlic, Fresh, strong, and flavorful! This garlic is not cured or dried, keep in a cool, dry place!


· Sauté olive oil, onions, garlic, and Swiss chard stems on medium low for about 6-8 minutes. Add squash and zucchini, sauté 4-8 minutes. Add chopped basil and chopped Swiss chard leaves the last minutes. Toss with angel hair pasta and parmesan cheese.

· Basil: Chop and add to salad dressing.

· Extra Basil?: Chop basil and throw into a freezer bag- Save for pesto or toss frozen basil into dishes at the end of cooking to add flavor through the winter.


I have a hard time following a recipe word for word. The other day I served a version of this recipe with bok choy, Muddy Creek Mushrooms’ wonderful shiitake mushrooms, and soba noodles. I thought it was best as cold dish the next day! Feel free to substitute or add other items like mushrooms, Napa cabbage, and pork. I also added garlic.

*use your head of Tat Soi (cousin of Bok Choy)

serves 4

4-5 Tbs. Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2# extra firm organic tofu, drained 15 minutes, sliced very thin
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 bunch organic broccoli, cut into florets
3 organic carrots, peeled and cut into rounds on a bias
1 head bok choy, stems cut into matchsticks, leaves roughly chopped

Teriyaki Sauce- you may purchase your sauce or make your own- see steps at end of recipe
Stir-fry steps:

1. In a largish saute pan, heat the sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the tofu and saute on each side for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Transfer tofu to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

2. Return the pan with the sesame oil still in it to the stove. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened. Add bok choy stems. When they begin to soften, add the broccoli and carrots.

3. When broccoli and carrots are al dente(tender crisp), add bok choy leaves and stir. Cook for 30 seconds. Then, add the sauce, and just as it begins to thicken, remove from heat. Toss tofu into the pan, stir it all around, and serve with steamed brown rice.


Combine 1 cup water, tamari, brown sugar, garlic and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup of cold water and add to sauce.

Stir constantly to allow the sauce to thicken.

If the sauce is too thick add a little water or tamari to thin.

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