Wednesday, June 5, 2013

CSA Week 4: Eating from the Garden

View this newsletter in an easy to read format with pictures in the CSA blog
~Please make sure to bring back your empty boxes so we can reuse them~ The boxes are high quality, waxed boxes to ensure that your produce stays fresh…and they are pricy.

Freezing Kale- It’s been a cool rainy spring, and the kale has been heavily producing this yummy, nutrient-rich veggie.   See recipes below…Cooking from the garden is obliviously very seasonal, you can freeze kale for mid-summer and the middle of winter (the times of year kale is not in season) With some frozen kale on hand, you can add some greens to a meal in the summer months when leafy greens are not growing in the garden or quickly throw together a kale soup in the winter months.
…Here’s a great blog for freezing kale.
…Here’s some kale ideas from Cooking Light

Farm Fresh Harvest
Parsley- “What do I do with parsley?” Almost any meal tastes better with a couple of tablespoons of minced parsley sprinkled over the top or cooked in.  Well, for starters, parsley freshens breath, is great for digestion, and is packed full of iron.    A sprinkle of chopped parsley doesn’t make the meal taste like parsley; it makes the meal’s flavors more balanced. Check out recipes below.
Baby Lettuce mix- We grow a mix of different delicate and tender baby lettuce varieties.
        ~Add to sandwiches. Make a baby salad and hummus wrap.
Radishes, Baby “French Breakfast” This variety is easy to slice or grate. It is milder than other types. (The radishes are a little spicier this week since the weather has warmed up.)
        ~Do you think radishes are spicy? Much of the spiciness is a volatile, aromatic flavor that will dissipate once you slice or grate the radish.  I make sure to dress the sliced or grated radishes with a bit of salt, olive oil, and sweet white balsamic vinegar and let them marinate for at least 5 minutes before serving.
-Head lettuce- Green or Red Buttercrunch (The best lettuce! Try using the leaves as a fun wrap for sandwiches or egg salad.  Also works well as a wrap for tabbouli
Dill- Adds a lively, fresh flavor to your creations.
~ Add to any potato dish, really.  Great with eggs: Add to lentils, greens/lettuce salads, egg salads, frittatas, fried egg sandwiches. Add to any salad. See a salad idea in the arugula section.
Hakurei turnips- These smooth white salad turnips are sweet! Slice and eat raw in a salad. They taste like a mix between a carrot and a radish.  Sprinkle a bit of sea salt and olive oil over the chopped or sliced turnips and marinate for 5-10 minutes before using in a salad.  You can also try sautéing them lightly- you still want to keep the crunch.
 “Red Russian” Kale- red-purple stems, light green leaves.
“Dinosaur” or “Laccinato” Kale flat leaves, a Italian heirloom variety. Great flavor, very tender and mild!  This heirloom variety is tender with small, sweet stems.  This is the first year that we’ve been able to harvest enough for our CSA members…groundhogs and rabbits will waddle past other types of kale and vegetables just to eat this tasty variety!
Swiss chard Large shares only this week

Coming soon…
Sugar snap peas
Summer squash

On the farm
This past week has been a whirlwind.  It feels like we are finally hitting our rhythm-in June!  We have three great helpers on the farm helping us to make sure all the crazy tasks we do actually get done.  If you pick up at the farm be sure to say hello to Amanda, Jodie, and Thomas.  They are a big part of why your boxes are full of fresh veggies this season.
Spring, hay mulch, and tomato hoophouses.
Even though it’s been warm the past two weeks we are still feeling the effects of the cool, wet spring.  Squash and cucumbers are a bit late in producing right now.  It was with great excitement that we finally planted the season’s sweet peppers.  They will be later than usual, but they look great!  Just today we spread three big round bales of hay as mulch on the tomatoes in our tomato hoop houses.  The hay helps to moderate soil temperature and moisture which makes the plants much happier.  The hay also blocks weeds and cools the soil (a positive as the summer heats up).  The hoops will keep rain of the leaves of the tomatoes reducing fungus problems and preventing fruit cracking.  We look forward to juicy tomatoes in July (like the peppers they are a few weeks later than last year).
China and ”Big Pig”
On the livestock side several national and international events this past week confirm the need for small scale, chemical free, pasture based livestock operations.  Virginia (with lots of production in NC) was home to the largest pork producer in the world-Smithfield.  I say was, because Smithfield is in the process of selling itself to Shuangui International Holdings Ltd. for $4.7 billion.  This move will combine the top two pork producers in the world under a single company under Chinese control.  Smithfield is responsible for such retail brands as: Cook's Ham, Gwaltney, John Morrell, Krakus Ham, Patrick Cudahy, Smithfield, and Stefano's, among others.  Read more here
Fugitive Genetically Modified Organisms
A second disturbing find was the discovery of unapproved, supposedly unreleased, GMO wheat in a farmer’s field in Oregon.  This highlights one of the major problems with GMO’s-corporate creation, control, and ownership that is entirely opaque, under-regulated, and entirely profit driven.  It is no small thing to design crops to be resistant to herbicides at the genetic level.  It encourages the use of herbicides and long term effects on the environment and humans are largely unstudied.  We should all remember that it is only in the last 20 years that we have all joined the experiment of eating GMO soy and corn (and now about 80% of both crops in the US are GMO).  This is not a particularly long time span to see problems in human populations.  To believe that there is no danger simply because we have not seen (or more likely correlated) a problem with GMO’s is naïve.  Read more here

It is also unsafe to believe that Monsanto and other ag giants act in our best interests.  There have been a number of laws and proposed laws passed nationally and at the state level known as Ag gag laws.  These laws make it illegal to expose dangerous practices at industrial agriculture and biotech companies.  One example, known as the Monsanto Protection Act, essentially grants Monsanto immunity from legal action.  It would allow the company to proceed with GMO crops in the field even if there is pending legal action.  In other words, they could do what they want.  Read more here

Veggie tips: 
·         Store your greens and head lettuce in plastic bags in your crisper drawer to keep them hydrated and fresh.  
·         Place herb stems in a little glass of water to keep them hydrated and fresh.
·         Remember to wash and swirl veggies in a bowl of cool water to clean the field dirt before eating.  
·         We like to store a washed head of lettuce in a salad spinner in the fresh for easy access to washed lettuce.

From Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine, Abourezk
Marie’s comments in italics…
Go ahead and switch the recipe up a bit!  I recommend adding sweet peppers and cucumbers with feta cheese and basil. You can also use curly kale instead of parsley! Yep!

½ cup bulgur wheat (I’ve used cous cous before too)
½ cup water
4 cups finely chopped ripe tomatoes
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
2 large bunches parsley, about 5 cups finely chopped (1 large bunch is plenty! Chop parsley very fine- almost to a fluff) You can also use curly kale instead of parsley!
1 cup chopped onions
1 tbl dried mint flakes

1.        Rinse the bulgur, drain and then add ½ cup of the water and let stand for 15 minutes.  Place the bulgur in a large mixing bowl, then add the tomatoes and lemon juice.  Chop the parsley (very fine-almost to a fluff).  Place on top of the bulgur and tomato mixture.  Add the onion, mint flakes, and the oil and mix thoroughly.
2.        Tabbouli can be prepared a couple hours ahead of time if you wish.  Simply leave out the oil and lemon juice dressing until you’re ready to serve.  Adding the dressing too soon makes the parsley wilt and creates too much liquid in the bottom of the salad bowl.
3.       In the Arab world, tabbouli is scooped up and eaten with lettuce leaves, rather than with silverware.  Putting each serving of tabbouli inside a lettuce or a cabbage leaf rather than displaying them in a flat dish is a very tempting presentation.  Or, for an elegant looking and tasting hors d’oeuvre, cut cherry tomatoes in half, remove the center, and fill them with tabbouli.

Parsley Hummus with Whole Wheat Pita Chips
Marie’s notes: This is a recipe that is very similar to 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 veggie 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

1.  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.
2.  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.
3.  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 

Tangy Honey Dill Salad dressing

½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup good grainy Dijon mustard
2-6 cloves garlic (depending on personal tastes)
½ tsp salt
5-6 grinds black pepper
1 bunch dill, stems removed
2 tablespoons honey
 1 cup extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil

Combine the vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, dill, and honey in a food processor.  
Start the machine and, with the motor running, gradually drizzle in the oil.

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.
Indian-Spiced Kale & Chickpeas
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.

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