Summer CSA, Week 12

No need for witty banter or endless anecdotes about potato bugs. This week has been a whirlwind of excitement and organized chaos.

When Janaki starts out the day on Monday saying “It’s going to be a big week” you know we are in for a wild ride!

Thankfully our farm crew is loaded with young blood. We are the next generation of farmers, we are full of energy and excitement.

As the summer winds to an end the cultivating season does as well. We shined up the cabbage field. Pulling weeds, wheel hoeing and spot hoeing.

This week also saw lots of trailer loads of vegetables. The potato washer came out of storage after Patricia and I tucked it away so nicely. The pack shed is a professional game of Jenga now.

We loaded and unloaded carrots, potatoes and onions all week long. With lows getting into the high 40s dare I say it, we are all thinking about fall.

The Food Farm made an appearance at the State Fair! Janaki, Annie, Truman and Ellis along with many other cast members of the Food Farm crew made the pilgrimage down to the great Minnesota get together. Truman and Janaki made it on stage to talk about good food alongside Tom Hanson from the Duluth Grill.

Work around the farm went from zero to 100 real quick this week. We all know the further into the season we get the more work and the faster the pace. However I don’t think anyone was ready for it to happen this fast!

I personally love the fast paced energetic days. The go-go-go feeling keeps you on your toes. I love thinking about the people picking up their CSA boxes and smiling after seeing the beautiful vegetables waiting for them to enjoy.

As always from a fantastic farm crew,

Tiffany


In your CSA box: Beans, Broccoli, Basil, Carrots, Cilantro, Cucumbers, Garlic, Lettuce Mix, Onions, Red and Hot Peppers, Potatoes, Parsley, Tomatoes, Zucchini

Perfect Potato Salad

  • 1 lb red potatoes
  • 1 fresh small onion
  • 2 tbs parsley
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2-4 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 2 spoon fulls of dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Cube potatoes and steam until fully cooked. This takes about 20 minutes but keep watch. Potatoes are easy to over cook. Also boil water to cook corn. Once water has come to boil place corn cobs in water for 4 minutes.

Chop onion, celery and parsley. Cut corn from cob. Rinse potatoes in cold water to cook them down. Place potatoes in large bowl for mixing. Combine onions, celery, corn and parsley to potatoes.

Add mayo and Dijon mustard to mixture. Add extra mayo as necessary and salt and pepper to taste.

Tomato Peach and Cucumber Salad with Pistachio Vinaigrette

  • For vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup roasted pistachios

    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 tbs white wine vinegar
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    Ground pepper

For the salad

  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 peaches
  • 1/4 cup mixture of mint and basil

For vinaigrette roast pistachios for 5-10 minutes in oven at 350 degrees. Transfer all but two tbs of nuts to food processor (save 2 tbs for garnish!) combine olive oil, wine vinegar and 1/2 cup of water to food processor as well. Mix until smooth. Also add basil, salt and pepper to mixture until smooth.

For salad slice tomatoes into large slices of using large tomatoes. Peel cucumber and chop into slices. Peel peach and cut into 1/2 inch wedges. Layer tomatoes, cucumber and peaches onto plate. Drizzle with dressing and top with pistachios!

Summer CSA, Week 10

The smell of new babies and milk weed is in the air. Fresh cabbage, new potatoes and a delightful week of rain.

Above is a photo Janaki took harvesting kale in the pouring rain for Monday’s share box last week!

Janaki took a hiatus from the farm this week while the rest of us tried to fill his shoes. Also Karin greeted us with her baby boy!

We are entering the tomato season. Outside tomatoes are starting to ripen and the greenhouse tomatoes are taking off. If you are wondering what to do with all the tomatoes in your box…..you should try sun drying them!

I experimented with sun drying tomatoes in my car this weekend. It worked great. I would recommend using slicers because cherry tomatoes take twice as long as slicers do. Also place them on parchment paper. If you place them directly on tin foil them will likely stick.

The sun gold tomatoes were not completely dried after 12 hours in the car. The slicers and Juliet’s that I cut into 1/4s were!

To minimize strange looks and bugs avoid driving your car with tomatoes on the dash board.

With gratitude and grace we thank you for finding creative ways to eat tomatoes, greens mix and all the other delightful veggies we put in your box week after week.

From a smiling farm crew,

Tiffany


In your CSA box:

Green Beans, Cilantro, Cucumbers, Dill, Greens Mix, Lettuce, Onions, Snap Peas, Green Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, NEW Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini


Turmeric Roasted Potatoes with Green Beans

  • 4 cups potatoes chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 lb green beans chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs finely chopped basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbs turmeric (for some spice in life!)
  • Salt and pepper

Place oil in pan on medium heat. Once pan is hot place potatoes in pan. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and add green beans, herbs and spices. Cook uncovered for another 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately for maximum deliciousness.

Tomato Tart

  • Use your favorite pastry dough recipe or buy some ready to bake stuff at the co-op
  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced thin
  • Fresh chives to garnish
  • Salt and pepper

Prepare dough and place in refrigerator for later. Slice tomatoes into colander, sprinkle salt over them and let them rest for 10-15 minutes.

Roll dough out into a 14 inch round circle. Spread olive oil over it and the ricotta cheese. Add the garlic and place sliced tomatoes on top. Fold over the edges to keep everything in place.

Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes and enjoy!

Summer CSA, Week 9

Fort Minor sang it best:

This is 10% luck

20% skill

15% concentrated power of will

5% pleasure

50% pain

100% reason to remember the name

Leptinotarsa decemlineata…..aka the potato bug

I haven’t decided if we should be “remembering the name” of the potato bug or the name of the fantastic farmers who have fought bravely in the fight to protect the potatoes. Nevertheless, perhaps all names should be considered.

This summer our farm crew has been fighting the good fight. So that we all may enjoy potatoes, not just in a week or two but through the long cold winter months.

Some interesting facts brought to you by the University of Minnesota Extension Office:

  • Potato bugs feed off of leaves; if left alone they will likely completely defoliate a potato plant
  • They spend the winter 5-10 inches underground, plotting their mischievous plans for the spring
  • They prefer temperatures in the mid 80s, allowing the larva to complete metamorphosis in 10 short days

Potato bug removal is 10% luck-because sometimes they can be sneaky and hide in the leaves. It is also 20% skill because we are trained experts in our profession. It is 15% concentrated power of will because the good fight has been a never ending story. It is 5% pleasure because there is satisfaction in a 5 gallon bucket of bugs. There is also 50% pain because it’s difficult to be hunched over for many hours.

I believe I speak for everyone who works and volunteers on the Food Farm when I say we are happy to do whatever it takes to protect these veggies. You deserve the best produce in a CSA box.

Speaking of protecting veggies, the fencing is going up across the road! Janaki, Garrett and I started to unroll fencing on Friday. The season of bounty is upon up; plenty of vegetables, plenty to do, and plenty of irrigating.

From a beautiful busy farm crew-

Tiffany


In your CSA box:

Basil – Green Cabbage – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Kale – Lettuce – Green Onion – Snap Peas – Green pepper – Hot pepper – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Garlic Parmesan Roasted Snap Peas

  • 3 cups sugar snap peas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss peas in olive oil to evenly coat. In separate bowl combine bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic. Add the panko bread crumb mixture to the peas and toss until evenly covered.

Arrange peas on greased baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

  • 1-1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of one large lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 cup grated zucchini

For the glaze!

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bread pan and set aside.

In large bowl whisk together dry ingredients; flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another bow combine sugar and lemon zest. Add olive oil, lemon juice and eggs until smooth.

Combine dry ingredients to wet mixture. Fold in Zucchini last. Add mixture to bread pan. Bake 40-45 minutes.

Summer CSA, Week 8

The agate; a treasure to find for north shore residents. We scavenge gravel pits and construction sites looking for those glossy banded rocks. We look with bent necks along the shores of Superior. And each time we come across an agate it’s an exciting surprise.

Some believe agates should go back where they were found, perhaps for the next person to find the joy. Others hoard them in jars around their homes or in the cup holders of their cars.

Our radionics padawan Garret, refers to them as energy boosters. Walking around the farm it’s common to find them piled up waiting to put a smile on someone’s face.

The last two weeks have been a collective effort to weed the 3rd and 4th planting of carrots. With burnt knees and blistered knuckles we damn near completed all 39 beds worth. By the time you read this we might have finished the last seven rows.

Sam and Garrett enjoy tucking agates between carrots. Someone will find it along the way and put it in a row next to them for someone else. Little energy boosters.

Medieval folklore suggests farmers in Europe believed agates could protect their dairy cows.

To prevent milk from spoiling during lightening storms they would hang agates inside barns. This had the added benefit of keeping the witches away from riding their cows at night. A witch will not enter a building protected by an agate.

Agates were also fastened to equipment to ensure a healthy productive crop.

As much as I’d love to see a witch riding a cow, I’d rather have a glass of unspoiled milk.

From a witch weary farm crew,

Tiffany


In your CSA Box: Broccoli – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumber – Dill – Napa Cabbage – Green Onion – Peas – Green Pepper – Jalapeño Pepper – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Cucumber and Napa Cabbage Coleslaw

  • 1/4 cup Cilantro
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 1/2 large Napa Cabbage
  • 1/2 cup peanuts-roasted
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder or some scapes if you have them from last week
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup peanut or canola oil

Chop cucumber and Napa cabbage into thin elongated slices. Dress with cilantro roasted peanuts. Combine peanut oil, lime juice salt sugar and garlic powder to drizzle over slaw.

Summer CSA, Week 7

This week I’ve been thinking about life in miniature.

What would life be like as a carrot? What does a potato bug think about?

When a human is thundering towards you, hunched over and wielding a bent steak knife as a carrot, I would be terrified. Standing at a height of no more than 4 inches tall carrots line up in rows. They stand together through wind whipping across a field, giant rain drops, humans with knives, and absent minded deer.

I imagine those little carrots are scared out of their minds by all the gigantic things that could hurt them in this world. But I also imagine those little carrots working through that fear, talking to each other with their little voices and radiating confidence. The more confident the carrot the tastier it is, obviously.

However I do not think that same theory applies to a potato bug. Do not eat potato bugs, gross. We spent a lot of time with potato bugs this week. Leaving much opportunity to mull over the possibility of them being some sort of indestructible super bug.

So what does a potato bug think about? Their whole world is around a couple of potato plants. Until they are adults they can only inch along like slugs. So do they chit chat with their friends while munching and destroying precious potato leaves? Do the adult bugs whisper sweet nothings into each others ears?

I don’t imagine a potato bug being afraid of much. They seem like simple minded creatures. Worry is low on their list of priorities. The potato bug is more into socializing, gluttony, and hibernation.

Seeing the world through a miniature perspective is a helpful reminder of how lucky we are to not be so mini. The wind across a field won’t blow us down. I cannot be shaken off a plant and put in a 5 gallon bucket.

That is pretty cool.

From a larger than life farm crew,

Tiffany


In your CSA box: Basil – Beets – Broccoli – Carrots – Cauliflower – Cucumbers – Garlic Scapes – Lettuce Mix – Green Onions – Zucchini – and a few surprise tomatoes!


To throw everyone for a loop I went with sweet treat recipes.

Zucchini Brownies

  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil or Olive Oil
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded Zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oil, sugar, vanilla in medium bowl.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl.

Combine flour mixture to sugar mixture. The batter is crumbly.

Stir Zucchini into batter. Batter should now be moist and thick.

Place batter into 8 x 11 inch baking dish.

Bake 25-30 minutes. Or until brownies are firm on edges of dish.

Flourless Orange Cauliflower Cake

  • 1-1/2 cup cooked puréed cauliflower
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2-1/2 cups ground almond meal
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a spring foam baking pan. This is a sticky cake you need a spring foam pan.

Purée cauliflower and combine eggs. Mix until fully combine. Add sugar, zest, almond meal, corn starch, extracts, salt and baking powder.

Bake in prepared pan for 50-60 minutes or until set. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Sprinkle cake with powdered sugar and orange zest once completely cooled and serve!

Summer CSA, Week 6

What a week!

The weather is scorching hot and vegetables are growing like crazy. The bounty of food we harvest everyday takes my breath away.

You want to know what else takes my breath away? More or less out of primal hunger …LUNCH and how good everyone on the Food Farm is at cooking! It’s kind of a job requirement.

Each day someone on the farm crew is designated to make lunch. And each day the arrangement of vegetables grows more and more impressive. On a hot, hot day caring for cabbage or carrots it is so wonderful to eat a cold salad with cold dressing and drink a glass of ice cold water.

So the salad bar has become a staple during lunch. It is common place to lay out a cornucopia of choices so we can all free range. Shredded turnips or beets, chopped cucumber and carrots, sun gold tomatoes and a pile of greens mix. Of course one cannot survive the rest of the day purely off of a salad.

Sam likes to bring bread he made over the weekend. He is an incredible baker and the bread does not last long. Jane makes kombucha and a delicious hard boiled egg. Teri often dazzles us with a quinoa dish she prepared the night before. She sometimes will even bring homemade ice cream! I constantly want to make cookies. And Garrett made an impromptu tofu beet salad this week that was stellar. Oh and Patricia likes to bring watermelon or mango from her backyard.

The possibilities of what to do with a refrigerator full of vegetables can be overwhelming. Attempting to create a new and exciting dish to please the masses can be challenging. Luckily out here when we file in for lunch no one is picky and we are all purely grateful food is made and it’s time to relax.

When food tastes this good who needs fancy sauces and spices. Wash that carrot off and start munching!

Above is Garrett, who landed a hitchhiker while hoeing in the squash field. Also in the squash field are a lot of rouge milkweed plants. Bless their hearts they didn’t realize they were growing in a field so now Janaki will have to drive around them when cultivating. Thankfully everywhere you look around the farm is milkweed. And if you look close enough you might find a caterpillar enjoying their lunch.

From a lunch happy farm crew

Tiffany


In your CSA box:

Broccoli – Carrots – Swiss Chard – Cucumber – Napa Cabbage – Garlic Scapes – Green Onions – Lettuce


Spring Rolls!

You can make spring rolls with so many different ingredients. Now that napa cabbage is ready though mmmmmm they sure sound delicious.

Thinly slice into small elongated pieces

  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Napa Cabbage

You could also add

  • Avocado
  • Rice Noodles
  • Tofu
  • Beets

The list goes on and on….

Place hot water in a bowl or cake pan, submerge one spring roll rice paper at a time for about 20 seconds. Take out and apply vegetables, roll like a burrito. Don’t forget to tuck the ends in!

Add a tasty peanut sauce for dipping and you’ve got yourself a delectable summer meal.

Garlic Scape Hummus

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup chopped garlic scapes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a food processor pulse scapes, lesson juice and salt

Add chick peas and blend, adding olive oil as you go

Top with herbs and spices such as dill and sumac

Summer CSA Week 5

Here comes summer

Here comes summer

Chirping robin, budding rose

Here comes summer

Here comes summer

Gentle showers, summer clothes

Here comes summer

Here comes summer

Whoosh–shiver–there it goes.

–Shel Silverstein

I was laid up for a few days this past week recovering from a tick born illness. When I came back to work on Wednesday I felt like I’d been gone a week!

The tomatoes in the green house are taller than I am. The cucumbers have become wildly prolific. All the row cover is off the cabbage and the broccoli are beautiful.

This season is what I live for. The warm air when the breeze blows. The sweltering heat when the sun is high in the sky. Sun burnt shoulders and tan faces. Bare feet in warm fields.

Summer can fly by in the blink of an eye if you aren’t careful to pay attention. We all get caught up in the work, because we are farmers and can’t help ourselves. There is a mile of cabbage to weed. There are tomatoes to trellis and boxes to wash. There is grass to mow and sunscreen to apply and water that needs to be drank.

I have to remind myself to pay attention, to stay conscious of what’s going on around me. Sam started harvesting a ton of cucumbers each day. I noticed that. But I had to pay attention to see it. The sun golds started turning yellow. I bet a I’ll get to eat a handful in a few days.

Dave planted basil in every nook and cranny of the green houses. But you have to look down for just a second to appreciate that.

We farmers do a special kind of dance. We all have different roles to play, different songs to sing. I like to imagine us from a birds eye view. Little objects floating around the farm, accomplishing so, so much.

From a tender loving farm crew

Tiffany


In your CSA box:

Carrots – Beets – Cucumbers – Broccoli- Green Onions – Romaine Lettuce – Garlic Scapes!


Broccoli Fritters

  • 8 oz broccoli including stem cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (if you’re into that)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne

Steam broccoli until tender. Drain excess water and pat dry. Toss broccoli in flour and cayenne. Combine egg to broccoli, then the cheese. Mix completely.

Place pan on medium heat. Add oil. Divide mixture into fourth and spoon into pan in patty form.

Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes

Asian Cucumber Salad

  • 4 cups VERY thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add cucumber, onion, red pepper and sesame seeds to medium bowl. Set aside

In small bowl mix rice wine vinegar, honey, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and salt.

Add dressing to veggie mix, serve immediately raw let sit in fridge for a while to let the flavors meld