September 16, 2015

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Zucchini – Avoid storing zucchini in plastic, which can trap moisture and make the skin slimy. Either leave zucchini loose or place it in a paper bag.

  • Nubia Eggplant – They are delicious in thick slices simply brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and herbs and baked, or go all out with the Eggplant Parmesan! Its mellow, refined flavor pairs perfectly with a blend of ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses,topped with tomato sauce.

  • Young Batavian Lettuces - Lettuce was first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians who turned it from a weed, whose seeds were used to produce oil, into a food plant grown for its succulent leaves, in addition to its oil-rich seeds.

  • Rainbow Chard – The star of this week’s recipe!

  • Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers - These peppers can be used fresh in salsas, dips, salads, pickled by themselves or in relishes, and as an ingredient in stews, soups and marinades. They can also be grilled. This European pepper is a tapered cylinder that is yellow to start, changing from orange to red as it matures.

 

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

 

Vegetable Forecast

Rainbow Chard, Catalogna Chicory, Head Lettuce, Zucchini, Eggplant

 

News

There are still tickets left for the Slow Food dinner on the farm!  Join us September 26th for chance to see our new headquarters, and, the chickens!

From the field:

Fall crops

We’re headed to an early fall this year as transition back to a steady supply of bunching greens and head lettuces.  In about a month or so we’ll see the return of broccoli and cauliflower.  And we’re experimenting with more varieties of chicory this year.  Unfortunately, this is looking like difficult year for our carrots, but we’ll try our best to get some up at least for our CSA members.

While we don’t have any numbers to back it up with yet, the white plastic mulch experiment does seem to be reducing our water usage and producing a happier cool weather crop in spite of the latest heat spell.  We are still having to hand weed through the holes in the plastic once before the crop puts up a canopy, but so far it’s a net time saver up to this point.  The big unknown is how difficult it will be to remove and turn over the beds, but we’ll find out once this first lettuce crop is done.

The chickens are loving the sprouted barley cover crop.  Next we plan to cycle them through the edge of the field where some of our peppers are finishing up so they can seek and destroy a major pest of the farm: the Bagrada bug.  This pest is new to our area as of last year and is potentially catastrophic to all of our brassica crops.  Our chickens seem to be the best hope from keeping their populations in check at the moment.   We’re starting in the pepper field because the Bagrada bug likes to overwinter in wild mustards, then seek refuge in the solanaceous crops until the brassicas return.  We hope they don’t breed too fast before the weather cools and their activity slows.  They have been known to decimate organic brassica fields in Southern California.  This type of patient strategizing is the better alternative to spraying the field with poisons, which you are encouraging by supporting our farm!


Recipe

Sauteed Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts  (Serves 4) 


Fall into fall!  We’re not totally there yet, weatherwise, but this is a simple greens dish to put together as a dinner side staple.  Thank you to Martha Stewart for the recipe!


  • 2 bunches (about 1 1/2 pounds total) Swiss chard, stalks cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (keep stalks and leaves separate)

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/3 cup golden raisins

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


Wash chard, leaving some water clinging to stalks and leaves; set aside. In a large saucepan with a lid, toast the pine nuts over medium-high heat, shaking pan to brown evenly, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from pan; set aside.

In same saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add stalks, and cook until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add leaves, raisins, and garlic. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until tender, 6 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pull lid back slightly, and tilt pan to pour off water. Stir in vinegar and pine nuts; season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Pics of the Week

These lucky girls get moved at sunrise every other week.

Chickens aren't ruminants, and don't derive much of their nutrition from pasture grasses, but they do enjoy munching and exploring for bugs.  It does provide a whole lot of enjoyment!