Monday, July 23, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 24 July 2012 - Delivery #6

Hi everyone!

Below is a photo of what we did yesterday afternoon.  A neighbouring farmer came and cut and baled the hay in our pasture, and we helped load the wagon and stack it for the sheep's winter consumption.  This was the first load of four, which is why we were still smiling!  Stacking hay is hard.  Those bales that look all soft and cuddly in this photo are actually plotting to kill us, one hay splinter at a time.  We quickly changed out of the shorts and donned gloves as necessary.  We're still finding hay everywhere (in the bed, in our hair, even in the ice cube tray!). 
Previously we have bought in hay, so it was very satisfying to be harvesting the grass that our land produces for the animals who live here!

It's been a crazy week and we are glad to have our Lisa back (her parents came to visit and she enjoyed a quick vacation).  Everything in the fields looks great, and we are even starting to harvest a small amount of tomatoes, which means they aren't far from your plate!  We have such abundance that we are opening up some more full shares in our CSA, so if you know someone who is envious of the beautiful baskets you're receiving each week, send them our way!

A couple of notes:
Mid-Season Survey:
I thought it would be a good idea to get some feedback from everyone as to how you are enjoying the CSA so far.  I made up a quick little survey, and I would love if you could take 5 minutes to fill it out.  Also, if there's any major issues, please let me know so we can have an opportunity to rectify things before the season goes any further.  Since every pick-up location is different, certain locations may have different issues than others and it's a tough thing for us to find out.  So, you have to tell us!  I'm always happy to get emails with both compliments and suggestions.  Feel free to voice anything in the survey, or by emailing me directly.
Here is a link to the survey: (It's only 10 questions!).

Farm recycling: I have been super impressed with all of you who return your egg cartons faithfully (Thanks!), and it gave me an idea of some other things you can send along in your bags that we would be happy to make use of:
-(clean) plastic shopping bags
-twist ties
-fiber containers from berries/tomatoes
-any egg cartons

Egg and Flower Shares:

Here's a photo of what you can expect to see if you sign up for a flower share.  Camelia's bouquets are gorgeous, and I'm certain you all deserve to treat yourselves to flowers for 5 weeks!  It's a steal of a deal, at $35.  Also, flowers are something that you don't necessarily think about as something you should be putting on your environmentalist hat about, but you should: many of the commercial bouquets available to consumers are shipped from all over the world, and there's nothing local, sustainable, or environmentally friendly about them.  Fortunately, ours are something beautiful that you can feel good about, too!

Here's what some of our CSA members have said about our eggs this year:
"The Happy Hen eggs are awesome!" -JB
"...the eggs last week were SO yummy!" -AM
"...the eggs are sooo scrumptious" -RB
"The eggs last week were just wonderful." -SD
"nothing has ever been as much fun and as good as these eggs." -MH

Exciting news on the farm is that our new hens are starting to lay in earnest, so we will be ready to accept more egg shares as soon as you want them.  $25 gets you 5 weeks of delivery (not on consecutive weeks, but usually every second week or so).  Also, if you already have an egg share and would be interested in signing on for another, we can accomodate that, too.  Just send me an email to let me know you are interested in an egg ($25) or flower ($35) share, include a cheque in your bag return, and we will make sure you share in our delicious eggs and beautiful flowers!

And now, what you have all been waiting for...
What's in your bag this week:
Head Lettuce
I "googled" "leaf lettuce recipes" for you this week and came up with a great idea- why don't you wrap something interesting in it!  My search returned such delectables as "Korean spicy pork lettuce wraps", "Chicken salad lettuce wrap"; and I'm sure you could use ingredients other than meat and come up with something exciting.  My celiac friend in Calgary was always so excited when she would go to a restaurant and they would do something creative, like wrap her burger in a lettuce leaf rather than just serving it without a bun (Celiacs need a meat delivery device, too!).  Or, just keep eating that salad, like I know you are faithfully doing!

Just when I think I've run out of things to tell you about chard, I have my awesome CSA members to fall back on.  Here are some recipes that other members have sent me that they have used for the chard (We do love when you share your recipes with us, too!).  Thanks to A.C. and S.M.!


(From the Trout Point Lodge Cookbook.  Our member subbed new potatoes instead of the pasta, and said it was amazing!)

RECIPE: Swiss Chard with Orange Zest and Garlic
Serves: 4  Preparation Time: 15 minutes
2 bunches Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated and diced
2 shallots, diced (I guess you could use the Scapes here)
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 orange, zested* and juiced
1 pinch allspice
1 pinch chipotle chili flakes
1 tablespoon Fig Vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Saute the shallots, garlic and Swiss chard stems in a hot, dry stainless steel pan (or Salad Master Pot if you are fortunate to have one!) for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the orange zest and juice, allspice, and chipotle chili flakes. Deglaze the pan with vinegar; add the chard leaves and steam for 3 more minutes.
* The zest of an orange or other citrus fruit is the outermost, colored skin that contains flavorful oils. Use a grater to take off just the colored part, not the white pith.

Poultry herb blend
You don't need to use these herbs for poultry, I just call it a "poultry blend" because all of these herbs are the traditional taste of Thanksgiving.  You've got a few sprigs of thyme, oregano, and sage in a nice little bundle. 
I've often wondered why they put such food-centered holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas in the fall and winter.  We've got such great tasting stuff right now, who cares if it's not quite that time?  Roast a chicken, invite all your friends and relatives, and be thankful for the bounty!  Or, use these herbs to season your chard or potatoes or beets... you get the idea!

Green Garlic (1)
Green garlic is a seasonal treat, so enjoy it!  If you love it, we can sell you a bag for $10 (it will keep quite a while in the fridge).

It may not be that exciting, but it's essential for all that cooking you're doing, so we have an onion for you this week!  Use the tops in your salad or stir-frys, too!

If potatoes tasted this good all year long, I think I could live off of them.

Jon swore he hated beets, but he had only ever had them boiled, and once Lisa and I were a little more creative with them than that, he has decided he likes them.  We put them in with our "roasted root vegetable medley" (Potatoes, beets, carrots, rutabaga, etc)- toss in a bowl with oil and garlic and bake at 400 degrees until tender and brown.  Lisa adds beet to pretty well everything, including hummus: So, don't be afraid to experiment!
I'm going to share something very special with you folks right now- it's my Mom's recipe for borscht!  It may not be something you can make exclusively with the items in your basket this week, but rather something to aspire to.  Really, we throw in any veggies we have available, so your basket this week is a good start at least.

RECIPE: Stephanie’s Ukrainian Borscht
1 lb. Beef or pork bones with some meat on
3-4 quarts water
2 t salt or to taste
½ t ground black pepper
2 medium onions, chopped
½ C diced or shredded carrots
1 C diced or shredded potatoes
1 t dill weed (finely crushed FRESH stems and leaves)
2 T white vinegar
1 C shredded cabbage
½ C green or yellow wax beans
¼ C peas
4-6 medium beets shredded or chopped (when fresh leave some stems on)
1 can pre-cooked white beans
1 can crushed tomatoes
½ pint half and half cream or any sweet cream

(Meat is optional, but good for flavor) 
Boil bones in the water (skimming) until meat falls off, cut up and return to pot.  (If the bones are very fatty you may want to remove the fat or wait until the next day when the soup has cooled and remove it then).  Add salt and pepper, and other ingredients (except cream) in order given.  Be sure to add vinegar before beets or the soup may turn orange (does not affect taste).  Boil until vegetables are tender.  Turn heat off and add sweet cream (do not boil).  Serve.
Note: If you want to freeze some soup, don’t add the cream.  Just put in a plastic container and add the cream after you bring it to a boil.
- I don’t measure anything exactly—that’s what makes it unique.  If you don’t have soup bones, boil some round steak chopped in little pieces or ground beef.   

Here's a guest spot by Lisa, telling you all about the round friend in your bag:
Cabbage is an interesting vegetable, as it is also considered a medicinal plant due to an amino acid it possesses called glutomine, which has amazing anti-inflammatory properties.  I'll try to keep this short, as I could really ramble about cabbage forever, but first I'll tell you what you can do with your cabbage (if you even need any suggestions, maybe some of you are cabbage enthusiasts as well out there). 
Cabbage is delicious sauteed with butter and garlic (what isn't), or steamed (if you're keeping it light).  It is also easily incorporated into cold salads (grated or sliced thinly with grated beets, a little optional minced garlic, raisins, lemon juice, balsamic and olive oil, makes a simple delicious salad), and even delicious in omelets (as I learned when I was a very poor student last fall).  Or if you are feeling like dabbling in lacto-fermentation (it's not as crazy as it sounds), you can make sauerkraut.  Sauerkraut can really be made out many different vegetables, but cabbage works best because it contains a lot of water.  You could begin with any other leafy greens (beet tops, swiss chard, or garlic or ginger) as well.  You chop up the cabbage, put it in a stainless steel or glass bowl/crock, sprinkle sea salt on top (I'm not a measurement person, but a fair amount), then using a mallet, potato masher, or whatever you have on hand, proceed to squish the cabbage until water starts to come out. You'll be surprised at how much liquid will appear. Put a plate (or something that fits over the cabbage in the bowl) over the cabbage, with a weight on top (I use a rock), and put it in a cool, dark spot. Leave for at LEAST three days, checking it every day. If you find any spots of mold, don't worry, just scoop it off. The cabbage will begin to ferment. Don't be scared, taste it every day, you'll notice the change. When it suites your tastes, put it into a mason jar or container (preferably not plastic) in the fridge. It will keep for a long time.
Back to cabbage being an anti-inflammatory (it's also high in vitamin c): it works amazingly as an impromptu poultice; it really does wonders. Next time you hit yourself on the thumb with a hammer, bruise a cabbage leaf (roll over it with a rolling pin or wine bottle) and wrap your thumb in it. You might be surprised.

Full Shares also get:
Once we stop sending all of our zucchinis to our CSA members, we are going to have a zucchini BBQ party!  They are fabulous on the BBQ- just grill until tender, flipping as necessary, and a bit of asiago cheese on top to finish it off makes this dish.  They're a great veggie for shish kebabs, too.

These beaut's are considered a "baby leek", and are tender and sweetly similar to an onion... but different!  I sauteed one up with shredded cabbage and it was really, really delicious.  You could also make potato leek soup with what you have in your basket this week, which was Jon's suggestion for the newsletter after he picked them.  Potatoes and leeks really have a special relationship; they compliment each other very well.  This soup would also be great cold, as it's hard to imagine eating soup on some of these hot days we've been having.
RECIPE: Creamy Potato Leek Soup
1/2 cup sliced leek, washed well
2 cups chicken broth
4 medium potatoes, cut in 1" cubes
1 onion, diced
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Bring broth to a boil and reduce to medium.
2 Add leeks, potatoes, and onion.
3 Simmer, covered, 25-30 minutes.
4 Add seasonings and cream.
5 Simmer 5 minutes more.
6 Slightly mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.
7 Serve with salad and crusty bread.
8 A snap to make, but tastes gourmet!

Salad Mix
Our salad mix is gorgeous: it's got so much variety that all it needs is dressing.  Enough said!

Thanks for loving what we do and being a part of our farm.  Enjoy your baskets this week!

PSST!  Don't forget to fill out your Mid-Season CSA Survey!

Teri Dillon

Watershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901
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