November 12, 2014

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Broccoli At room temperature, harvested broccoli will convert its sugar into a fiber called lignin.  The more time spent at room temperature, the more lignin is produced and the more fibrous your broccoli becomes!  Keep your broccoli refrigerated to extend its longevity!
  • Acorn Squash Make squash rings!  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut the unpeeled squash crosswise into 1/2-inch slices and place them on a cutting board. Using a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter slightly larger than the seed center, cut out the seeds from each ring and discard.  Place the squash rings on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Dot each ring with butter and season to taste. Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar over each ring.  Bake the squash for 15 minutes. Turn the rings over, dot with more butter and sugar, and bake until tender, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Serve hot.
  • Green Curly Kale The star of this week’s recipe!
  • Rainbow Chard Fill a large pot with 12 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Add 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water; return to a boil. Add chard and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Drain and immediately transfer to ice-water bath; drain again.  Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add chard, 2/3 c of raisins, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice and cook for 15 seconds; season with salt and serve immediately.
  • Green OnionsScallions are considered younger than a green onion because they should not have a bulb, while green onions should have a miniature bulb.

Egg Shares include eggs from our certified organic, pasture-raised, happy hens.

 

Don’t forget – you can always add extra items to your order at our Online Market.

 

Vegetable Forecast

Cauliflower, Salad Mix, Broccoleaf, Rainbow Chard, Cabbage

 

News

We’ve been working on carrots to carry our CSA us through winter and this week we want to share with you the effort involved in raising an organic carrot crop. 

Typically with most crops produced organically, weeds are one of our biggest challenges.  So we have several techniques we use to reduce weed pressure and ensure a healthy crop, with the main goal being to keep the crop relatively weed free until it reaches a point of maturity where weeds will not affect it.  At that point, the focus becomes managing our weed ‘seed bank’ and protecting the long-term health of our fields. 

Organic Nelson Carrots.  See pics below for the process of how we grow organic carrots.

Carrots are particularly challenging because they take a long time to germinate – about 2 weeks.  They also grow slowly at first.  And their foliage does not provide much of a canopy that shades out further weed growth.  So we have to employ multiple strategies to keep the weeds at bay.

We start by shaping beds and pre-irrigating to flush the first set of weed seeds in the soil.  Then we use a technique called ‘stale bedding’ to kill that flush of weeds without disturbing the soil so much as to bring up a new set of weed seeds.  This crucial step get us off to a manageable start. Next, we direct seed the carrots into the soil, timing irrigations to minimize water use, prevent soil crusting, and yet keep the topsoil moist enough to sprout seeds. 

About 10 days after seeding – depending upon soil temperatures and weather conditions – we monitor the rows very carefully.  About 1-2 days before we think the carrots are about to emerge, we pass over the beds with a propane torch to kill the next flush of weeds that have sprouted since the initial stale bedding and seeding. The torch does not burn the weeds; it simply steams them with a quick pass. 

After another 10-14 days after the carrot seedlings have slowly emerged, we pass over the beds with our electric cultivation tractor to cut out the weeds in between the rows while they are still young, but late enough that we won’t dislodge or bury the carrot seedlings.  Depending on conditions, another pass may be necessary with hand hoes.

Last, once the crop is beginning to set a canopy we make one more pass by hand to remove any perennial weeds in-row that will go to seed before our carrot crop is harvested. 

Once those carrots have reached maturing in another 45-60 days, again depending upon weather, we then pull them, wash them, bunch them, and chill them before delivering them fresh in your CSA boxes or for pickup at the farmers’ market. 

Phew!  Savor those crispy sweet roots next time you take a bite.  And take a look at the Pics of the Week for a glimpse into the carrot growing process.

 

Recipe

Chili, Lemon, and Herb Roasted Tofu with Kale and Pine Nuts (Serves 2)

Thank you to The First Mess for this recipe!  The blogger learned this tofu roasting technique from Bryant Terry, the amazing eco-chef, food justice activist, and author of books like The Inspired Vegan.  If you don’t know him, get to know him!  A delicious way to use your kale…

  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 package organic firm to extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 in cubes
  • 1 bunch kale, leaves removed and torn into 1.5 in-ish pieces
  • small handful of pine nuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the lemon zest, sliced garlic, chili flakes, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in the bowl of a mortar and pestle. Grind it up until a dry paste is achieved. Add the lemon juice and oil and grind until mixture is unified.

Pour about half of the oil and lemon juice mixture into a large bowl. Toss it with the cubes of tofu very gently. Place onto the parchment-lined baking sheet in one tight section. Roast for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and gently toss the tofu cubes with a fork or spatula. Place back in the oven and roast for another 10 minutes.

Toss the kale with the remaining oil and lemon juice mixture in the large bowl. Remove the tofu from the oven and place the kale on most of the remaining space of the tray. Roast for 10 more minutes. Place pine nuts on the tray and roast for another 2-3 minutes, until tofu is quite browned, kale has wilted and crisped a bit and the pine nuts are golden.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Pics of the week

Growing organic carrots. (Click the pictures to enlarge.)

Shape beds and pre-irrigate.

About 2 weeks later: Stale bed.

Seed Carrots.  The best crops have dogs to guide the way.

Here, 11 days later, flame any weeds that have a head start before the carrots emerge.

Once they're up, use our electric tractor to cultivate in-between rows (Beets shown here).

With an eye towards the long-term management of our soils, we make a pass to hand pull any perennial weeds.  In another couple weeks these carrots will be established and the canopy will shade out any further weed development.