Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Harvest Week 1: A Touch of Fall

Are you ready for a fall garden harvest? 
Our vegetables are grown with love using organic methods.  No synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides.  As a Bluebird Farm CSA member, you are a steward of local farmland and you are actively investing in a local source of food that is outside of the industrial food chain.  We’re growing for you!  We couldn’t farm without you. Community Supported Agriculture starts with our farm members.
Your CSA boxes will be ready every Wednesday from now, Oct 2nd until Nov 20th. (8 weeks) The fall growing season is highly variable for us farmers, since cold weather could swing through at any time and start to slow down some of our vegetables.  Your CSA shares are approximately an average of $15 per week of vegetables, but some weeks will have more vegetables and some weeks will have less depending on the amount we can harvest.  This week the box is about a $20 size.  We think the 3 November boxes will be on the smaller size.


Pigs in the pasture
The chicks have their eggs halfway open.

We hatched some eggs in an incubator and got to watch them work their way out through the observation window.  The female chicks will be next year's layer hens.
Hard work!

Drying off and napping

Chicks are moved to a warm brooder box after they have dried and rested.

We still have delicious and flavorful tomatoes in our 3 high tunnels.  Our plants are slowing down in production, but they are healthy, vigorous plants so we will have tomatoes to harvest until a frost kills the cold sensitive plants.  The cherry tomato plants are really slowing down right now- so no cherry tomatoes this week.  High tunnel perks: By preventing rain from splashing on the leaves of the tomatoes and the soil around the plants, we naturally control blight (a common fungus) from reducing the tomato crop and potentially killing the plants.  A bit of clever engineering prevents the use of chemical fungicides.  No toxic residue on our crops. 

Washing veggiesWe’ve got wonderfully fresh vegetables for you.  Just remember to rinse or soak your veggies before preparing or cooking.  I have a large bowl that I fill with cold water to soak and swish veggies around it before cutting them up or spinning the salad greens dry. I also have an awesome little salad spinner that stays full in the fridge with my washed baby lettuce and arugula mix. (My salad spinner has a solid top and body like a Tupperware container.)

Farm Fresh Harvest
Bok Choy- Eat it raw or cook with vegetables.  This is a crunchy Asian green that is perfect with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, pork, ginger and any Sweet and Sour type sauce.  The stems have a sweet crunchy flavor and the leaves have a very mild tender taste.  Chop the stems and cook them the same length as peppers and onions.  I usually add the chopped leaves in the last 3 minutes of cooking to “wilt” them!
“Salanova” Lettuce mix- This gourmet mix of 6 different types of leaves has great flavor and texture.  The plants are actually a special type of miniature head lettuce that grows to a small lettuce “ball” that is about 6x6 inches in size.
Arugula- Pair it with sweet dried cranberries, honey mustard dressing, and toasted walnuts.   For those of you who think it a little too spicy raw, try this.  Make an arugula pesto with walnuts. Check out this blog post!
Radish…”French Breakfast” Radishes- This type of radish is wonderfully shape for easy kitchen preparation.  It also has a wonderful flavor and is a bit more mild than other varieties of radishes. In France, these radishes are a favorite in the morning- they a small piece of butter and dip into salt.  Try it!
Tip: grate, slice, or chop and add salt and olive oil.  Let marinate for about 5-10 minutes before eating.

Hawkuri Asian Salad Turnips-(Hawk-er-eye) These sweet, crunchy Asian turnips are wonderful sliced, chopped, or grated like a slaw.  I even eat them like an apple.  (They have just enough natural sugar in them to give me a little energy boost for a snack.) I also prepare them like the radishes above.
Bell peppers- Crunchy and Sweet!  The cooler nights are slowing the peppers down.  We’ll miss them when they go.
Tomatoes- The tomatoes have full ripe flavors since we grow them under the hoophouse, which keeps the rain from watering the flavor down.

Bok Choy:     Asian Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
Peanut Sauce-
Sauté 4 garlic cloves and 1 chili (or 1 teaspoon chili powder) over medium heat in a medium pot for 4 minutes.  Then add 1 cup water, ¼ cup soy sauce,  1/3 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy), and 2 teaspoons brown sugar.  Stir vigorously to combine.  Thicken sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally.     Makes about 1 ¼ cups of sauce
Stir Fry Vegetables: Add any veggie that you’d like. The possibilities are endless.
Saute 1 onion and 2 carrots over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add chopped bok choy stems and cook for about 3 minutes. Turn up heat to medium high heat and add a splash of water. Add roughly chopped bok choy leaves and stir. After about another minute of cooking, lower heat to medium and pour peanut sauce over veggies. Cook over medium heat until some sauce absorbs or vegetables are done to your liking.
Serve over soba noodles, basmati rice, or brown rice.

Late Summer Bruschetta
 (from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
2-3 large tomatoes
1 crunchy sweet pepper
1 medium sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Small handful fresh basil, chopped (optional)
Crusty bread (like baguette)
Shredded mozzarella or grated parmesan (optional)
Chop the vegetables into a midsize dice.  Combine with garlic 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, and optional basil.  Slice baguette down the middle and lay the two sides cut side up.  Brush with additional 1-2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle on cheese, if using.  Broil bread for several minutes until bread or cheese browns a bit.  Top the sections (you may cut them smaller, if desired) with some of the vegetable mixture.  Makes 4 servings

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