Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Week 4 6-8-2011

Week 4

A sad note: The spinach crop has failed due to a sudden fungus/ leafminer problem. We may rescue and harvest what is left.

This week’s vegetables-This probably the last week of large quantities of greens so enjoy! The season will move on into carrots,summer squash, onions, cucumbers, and basil.

Make sure to wash veggies before cooking or eating! I like to use a large bowl to swirl the veggies around in.

Radish- I love them grated and dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then marinated in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer.

Sugar Snap Peas- They aren’t blue ribbon beauty peas, but they just barely survived the heat wave, so we are thankful for the harvest.

Baby Lettuce mix-

Head lettuce- We think this is the last week of head lettuce. The heat is adversely affecting their growth.

Swiss Chard-

Poc Choi- Try cooking with the Sugar Snap Peas!

Red Russian Kale- See recipes below

Parsley- see Parsley hummus recipe below

CSA Newsletter: Weeds in the Garden and Organic Principles

In the garden this week the weeds grew. It is amazing how we turn our back on the weeds for a week or two and they are suddenly knee high! In some ways the dry, hot days have been helpful. They make the weeds grow more slowly and die more easily when hoed out. In the paths of the big field we had planted a clover cover crop. In some areas it has done well, outcompeting weeds and blooming nicely (the blooms help attract beneficial insects). But in others the clover didn’t take as well and the weeds quickly filled the void (nature does not like bare ground). No the weeds are kind of like a cover crop as long as we don’t allow them to seed, so we mowed them all down. Many weed seeds can survive for up to 7 years in the soil without germinating. This is called the weed seed bank. Every time you till seeds are brought to the surface to grow. This is like a withdrawal form the bank. If you allow the weeds to seed this is like a deposit. Unlike most accounts, this is one where you don’t want to make any deposits. Overtime, if no plants go to seed we can reduce the number of weeds we have to contend with.

Depleting the weed seed bank is the primary weed control strategy available to organic farmers. In the short term we can weed, cultivate, and mow. But in the long run that is time consuming and tiresome. By eliminating the seeds we can prevent a problem before it occurs. Weeds are such a challenging problem that even farmers who have reduced or even eliminated pesticide use cannot imagine giving up their herbicides. This has led to some confusing labeling in the marketplace. Is “pesticide free” the same as “chemical free.” In either case is the farmer still using chemical fertilizers? (because the fertilizers don’t typically come into direct contact with the plant many farmers will say “chemical free, except fertilizers”). There are responsible and irresponsible ways to use many of the chemical tools at our disposal at farmers. But, as confusing as this sounds, never assume that a broad statement like “chemical free” means the vegetables were raised in anything like a balanced organic system. Always ask.

At Bluebird Farm we raise all of our produce following the organic standards for fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and all other growing techniques. In addition we strive to work with the ecology of the soil, our plants, and insects instead of against them. We work to establish patterns that encourage our vegetables instead of discouraging weeds. We try to increase beneficial insect populations instead of eliminate pest insects. In other words we are trying to build a positive ecological system of growth rather than a negative system of suppression.

Vegetable Recipes

Fettucine with sausage and kale

Recipe from Shiloh at Tumbling Shoals Farm in Wilkesboro, NC. We both have stands at the Hickory Farmers’ Market, and she sends her vegetable customers over for our ground Country or ground Italian sausage for this recipe! She says this recipe is how she gets her farm customers “hooked” on kale! It’s certainly an all-star vegetable in this awesome recipe!

Makes 4 servings
A quick hearty Italian dinner. I prefer to use whole wheat spaghetti, but the fettucine is great too!

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound hot turkey or pork sausages, casings discarded and sausage crumbled
1/2 pound kale, tough stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 pound or less dried egg fettuccini pasta
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 ounce finely grated pecorino romano cheese plus additional for serving

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned, 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, blanch kale in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove kale with a large sieve and drain. Return cooking water in pot to a boil, then cook pasta in boiling water, uncovered, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander. While pasta cooks, add kale to sausage in skillet and saute, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 5 minutes. add broth, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water to skillet, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and thin with additional cooking water if desired. Serve immediately with additional cheese on the side.

Gourmet, March 2006

Indian-Spiced Kale & Chickpeas

We love Indian vegetarian dishes! This dish goes well with chicken and lamb for a meal with meat. The chickpeas add a great texture and a source of protein to this recipe. You may experiment with different ratios of spices to suit your tastes.

From EatingWell: October/November 2005, EatingWell Serves Two

Chickpeas make this exotic dish a terrific player in any vegetarian menu.

4 servings, about 3/4 cup each | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds kale, ribs removed, coarsely chopped (see Tip)
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala, (see Ingredient note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale and cook, tossing with two large spoons, until bright green, about 1 minute. Add broth, coriander, cumin, garam masala and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in chickpeas; cover and cook until the chickpeas are heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.


Per serving : 202 Calories; 5 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 1 mg Cholesterol; 32 g Carbohydrates; 9 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 415 mg Sodium; 499 mg Potassium

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1.5 vegetable, 1 very lean meat, 1 fat

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: A 1- to 1 1/2-pound bunch of kale yields 16 to 24 cups of chopped leaves. When preparing kale for these recipes, remove the tough ribs, chop or tear the kale as directed, then wash it--allowing some water to cling to the leaves. The moisture helps steam the kale during the first stages of cooking.
  • Ingredient Note: Garam masala, a ground spice mixture traditionally including coriander, cumin, cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom and cloves, is commonly used in Indian cooking. Find it in the specialty-spice section of large supermarkets.

Parsley Hummus with Whole Wheat Pita Chips

Marie’s notes: This is a recipe that represents the parsley hummus that I make with my food processor. I assemble all of the ingredients, whip up a batch of hummus, and stick the food processor in the dishwasher. Voila! Healthy, quick, and economical hummus for snacks and lunches. We like to include hummus in wraps and sandwiches.

I never use a recipe for hummus; I use approximate ratios. The hummus that I make does not have any sour cream in it, but it has a total of 5 or 6 tablespoons of olive oil instead. Sour cream is not traditionally used to make hummus.

(Makes about 1 1/2 cups hummus, recipe adapted from Parsley Hummus in The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh.)

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped parsley (pack parsley into half-cup measure, then chop in food processor)
1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2-3 garlic cloves)
1/4 cup sour cream (I used low-fat sour cream)
3 T tahini sauce
1 1/2 T lemon juice
2 T sesame oil
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. salt (or less, this seems like a generous amount of salt, so add salt to taste)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or hot sauce
1 T water (more or less, depending on how thick you like it)
3-4 pieces whole wheat pita bread, cut into triangles
olive oil, for spraying pita and baking sheet

Preheat oven to 450 F. Drain chickpeas (garbanzo beans) into a colander placed in the sink, then rinse until no more foam appears and let the water drain off.

Put parsley and garlic into bowl of food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade. Process about 1 minute, until parsley is well chopped. Add drained chickpeas and process 1-2 minutes, until beans are mostly smooth. Add sour cream, Tahini sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, olive oil, cumin, salt, and cayenne or hot sauce. Process until mixture is very smooth. Test thickness and add a bit of water if you'd like it to be a little thinner.

Cut whole wheat pita into triangles. Spray baking sheet with olive oil, then arrange pita triangles in a single layer. Spray top of chips with olive oil. Toast chips 4-5 minutes, then turn and toast 1-2 minutes more. (Watch them carefully at the end because they can get too brown rather quickly.)

Serve hummus with pita chips. Can also be served with cauliflower, celery, carrot sticks, or red bell pepper strips.

This printable recipe from

Posted by Kalyn at 8:17 PM

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