Monday, August 27, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 28 August 2012 - Delivery #11

Red sun at 6 am this morning

Hi everyone!

It was great to see those of you who made it out to the Growing Green Sustainability Festival in Bridgewater this past Saturday!  It was a busy event, and because of it I thought this would be a good opportunity to explain why we are a sustainable farm.  First and foremost, we don't rely on chemicals for fertilization, weed, or pest control, and use organic methods that are far less resource intensive and healthier for the earth, including using human power rather than tractor power wherever possible.  Another thing that makes us a sustainable farm is our connection to the community: at the farmer's markets and even more so through the CSA, which you are so importantly a part of.  Being connected to local markets and people who care about local food puts us in a position to produce food outside of the conventional food system, without which a small farm would not possibly be viable.  You see, we couldn't compete with the economies of scale operating in big business, so by having people like you who appreciate the freshness, seasonality, and locality of our produce over the grocery store we are making great progress towards a more sustainable food system.  To quote our 2012 brochure: "Only 12% of the food we eat is grown in Nova Scotia.  The average distance food travels before it reaches Nova Scotian supermarkets is 4,000 kilometers".  So as you can see, you, our valued CSA members, help make us a sustainable farm! 

Moving the turkeys to a fresh pasture this afternoon. 

We are fortunate to have our friend James from Calgary visiting and WWOOFing for the next couple of weeks.  He worked with us in our previous jobs, so comes with a wealth of produce post-harvest handling and quality control standards, but of course is totally new to the hands-on farming part and so far seems to be loving it!  He especially gets along well with the chickens, and has even done some chicken and turkey "wrangling".  Tomorrow we are taking a tourist retreat so he can see the Bay of Fundy.

Here on the farm we are working on a re-vamped irrigation system since the pond went dry and we now have a snazzy new drilled well.  It's still being figured out, but in the meantime we are able to run the irrigation lines, which is essential, especially for the greenhouses and other covered growing areas. 
The two chicken flocks became one last week, which not only makes egg collecting easier, but also will help break the parasite cycle on some mites that are affecting the chicken's feet.  They will all return to the coop in a couple of months for the winter, but for now will enjoy the second growth of grass coming up in our recently hayed field. That brings up a note that we should still be able to squeeze in a few more egg shares, as some of yours are finishing up.  Email me if you would like 5 more dozen eggs for the remainder of the season! 
Some other residents that are thoroughly enjoying the fresh grass are our flock of sheep, which is now up to 9 with the 4 new lambs so fat they are hard to tell from their mothers!  I actually can't believe how fast they grow, from earlier in the season when I was able to hold them in my arms!  I am including a photo of both, so you can see the difference!

This little lamb I'm holding is now almost the same size as his mother!  He is second- or third- in from the right of the photo above.

We tried to take a photo of me holding him now, but since there was no way we were going to be able to catch him, Lisa helped me get an "action shot"!  If you believe it, the one I'm holding in the photo from May 1 is the same one that is shown from the side in the front center of this shot (with the little dark mark below his eye). 

In your basket this week:

Shelled Beans
These are a very special item that I doubt many of you will have seen before: Fresh shelled beans!  Thank goodness for our shelling crew, which was led by James and helped out by all of us: We thought you might be scared off by the shells, which look rather ratty when they start to dry down.  It is just a handful, but you can throw these beans right into your stir-fry, soup or sauce, or just lightly steam them to take out that slight starchy taste and put them in a salad.  We couldn't help but eat them raw as we shelled them, and they're delicious!  I made tomato sauce last night with our supper and threw some beans in: what a treat to not have to soak them overnight and then boil them for hours.
Our friend Susan who comes to work for her share on the farm helped shell them and was intrigued to make the connection that "beans" and "green beans" are the same thing, just picked at different maturities: The green beans you've been getting up until this point are essentially the immature pods of the shelling (or "dry") beans you see in the bulk department.  Of course, they're different varieties, and the ones in your basket have beautiful colours and speckles, but they are basically just a mature green bean.  As Susan, who is a nutritionist, noted: these have a lot more iron, too!

I have run out of things to tell you about beets, so I took a couple of pages from Sandor Ellix Katz book (literally!) Wild Fermentation, a well-known how-to for any type of fermented live culture foods.  Attached to your newsletter this week is a couple of his recipes for beets, if you're interested in trying something new with yours.
(And make sure you eat the tops, arguably the best part!)

Green Onion
I'm glad we don't give you green onions every week, as cleaning those babies is a lot of work, but they are a great fresh taste for all of the things you are going to cook this week.   

Braising Mix
What we are dubbing "braising mix" this week contains chard, kale, arugula, and pea tendrils.  Chop and stir-fry or steam them all together, or use the different bits for various dishes.  If I were presented with a beautiful mix such as this, I would sautee the greens all together and garnish with pea tendrils for a really stunning side dish.

Herb Blend
I am a huge proponent of fresh herbs, but since even I wouldn't know what to do with an entire bunch of sage, we gave you three different herbs that go well together or can stand alone.  Sage is a strong flavour and goes well with poultry and in stews and soups.  Oregano goes great with tomato dishes as well as red meat.  Thyme also goes well with beef, pork, chicken, or fish, and is a great flavour in soups.  The three together are best friend to chicken dishes, especially classic roast style.  They are all very easy to dry, which can be done by hanging in a shaded and dry, dust-free area in your house.  Once they are fully dry, store in an airtight container to preserve the flavour, for fresh flavours all winter long!

I could stare at our tomatoes all day and not get bored!  There's big ones, little ones, funny-shaped ones, ones with ribs, fuzzy ones, brightly-coloured ones, ones with stripes: but no doubt about it, they're all BEAUTIFUL! 

We thought we'd give you one last zucchini before the winter squash takes over.  The going joke on the farm is: Why do city people lock their doors when they visit the country? To prevent their cars from being filled with zucchini!  I hope you're not sick of it, but if you are, you can freeze it.  What I do is refer to my favourite zucchini loaf recipe, and then grate it and freeze in the portions I need for the recipe (mine calls for 2 cups, but yours might be different).  I hope when you do refer to your favourite zucchini loaf recipe that you just make some instead!  (And if you felt the need to share with us, too, we can definitely help you out with that part!)

Full-size Shares also get:
Head Lettuce
This is a true miracle at this time of year.  As I explained last week, it is very hard to grow lettuce in this heat, and what we did grow successfully was munched by a bunny.  Well, he didn't find this patch, and though the heads are small, we thought we'd give you the beginnings of a salad.

Cucumbers are a heat loving crop and need warm nights to grow, and a couple of nights this past week I've awoken in the night to pile on more blankets, which tells me they may be near the end.  Enjoy this taste of summer, while it lasts!


Though my favourite part of each week is writing the newsletter, I do get a little tired of writing about the same things again and again.  So this is fun: Just in!  PARSNIPS!  For those of you who have never seen one before, they look a bit like white carrots, and we've left a little of the tops on so you can see how fresh they are (we would have left more, but they wouldn't have fit in the bags!).  My favourite thing to do with them is mix them in with my carrots in my favourite carrot recipe.  I've given it to you before, but here it is with the parsnips edited in:
RECIPE: Glazed Carrots and Parsnips
1 pound carrots and parsnips, sliced
1/2 C chicken stock
2 T butter
2 T honey

Put everything in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until carrots and parsnips are cooked and the sauce coats them.  Sprinkle with a fresh herb of your choice just before serving.

They add a complex and exciting flavour to the recipe above: the spiciness of them is accentuated by the honey, and it looks really beautiful with all the colours, too.  I have made this with just parsnips, and it was equally delicious.
If you decide to do something else with them, know that you do want to peel them with your trusty vegetable peeler, and remove the tops.  You can boil them and mash them with potatoes or on their own, you can throw them in with a roast or into your soup pot: they do make a truly delicious soup.  Jon suggests you roast them in the oven at 400 degrees with a bit of olive oil until they start to brown.  Later in the season they get sweeter, but they are the first taste of fall nonetheless. 

I was just saying this morning how much I love autumn and how excited I am to start crunching on leaves around the farm.  It makes me feel like a little kid as though it's time to go back to school, but of course we will just keep plugging away and harvesting and by the time the first frost hits will have hopefully put away enough stores for winter and then will start on the end of season field clean up.  But here I go getting ahead of myself: including this week, you still have seven beautiful baskets of produce coming your way to fill your fridge, your table, and your tummies with delicious, local food.

One of our favourite kittens, who answers to many names including: Mittens, Mr. Bojangels, Bo, Buddy, and Baby Harley.  He is the right mix of friendly and hunter, thus a perfect farm cat.  And we think he's pretty handsome, too!

Thanks for doing your part to support sustainable farming on the South Shore!

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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Monday, August 20, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 21 August 2012 - Delivery #10

Hello everyone!

My grandma gave me her electric typewriter, which she got a couple of years before she got her first computer (and she was the first person I knew with a computer!).  As I put the first exclamation point in your newsletter I thought of how happy I am that my computer has one: My typewriter does not!  I'm sure I couldn't convey how excited I am about all our great produce if I didn't have an exclamation point.

The sunset we got to look at while packing your bags tonight!

As I'm sure you know, CSA baskets are also referred to as "farm share" programs.  By sharing in a part of our farm, you get to enjoy the many rewards (our beautiful harvest, updates and photos from the farm, being connected to your food, supporting a local farmer, etc), and occasionally the less desirable outcomes (such as the effects of weather/climate, crop failures, and other bumps along the way).  Whenever possible, we will do everything we can to correct our shortcomings (I'm talking about your sub-par potatoes last week!), and are glad that you stick with us on the crazy journey of growing your food.  Once more, our apologies for last week's potatoes, and we've sent along a replacement this week, which I know you will find up to the quality you expect from Watershed Farm.

On that note, I thought I'd send along an update about how the fields are making out this year.  As you know, it's been a hot and dry year, which has posed some challenges for us, but overall I hear it has been a much better growing year than last year (we don't have much to base it on, this being our first year farming in Nova Scotia).  Us, and nearly every other farmer I know have had trouble growing lettuce in this heat (and we also have a bit of a rabbit problem in some places, which hasn't helped).  We do keep planting and plan to have our great salad mix return to your bags later in the season, as well as head lettuce and hopefully some stir-fry mix and/or arugula. 
I have never had to deal with striped cucumber beetle before, and they are also, quite the pest.  It seems like in complement to the fantastic climate and growing conditions in Nova Scotia, we also have a great deal more pests: so I suppose it evens out!  They carry a bacterial wilt in their gut, so it's not only that they chew on the plants, they actually cause them to wilt and die eventually, too... a double whammy!  Anyhow, they've gotten a few of our cucumbers and winter squash, and they seem to like the zucchini, but you shouldn't notice a difference in your share of the harvest.
We're (finally) getting a handle on our weeding again, which always gets out of hand once there's lots to harvest: harvesting tends to always take priority.  A lot of our beds are now turning over to late plantings of cool-season crops, so you may see a repeat of radishes, spinach, peas, et cetera in your later bags (no promises!).  Working with a limited amount of space, some beds get turned over up to 3 or 4 times in a season, which makes our little space a very productive one!  We're learning which fields are better for early-season crops, which have fertility issues, and which are-- as we call it in Manitoba-- "turbo-dirt".  Of course there's loads of things we would do differently next season, but that's just part of growing on a new piece of land.
As we speak, a number of people are out working at putting in a drilled well on the property.  I'm not 100% sure how it all works, but I know that it will at least solve the water shortage problem for the people and animals living on the farm.  Also, our irrigation pond went dry last week, which is a bit scary in the middle of the season, so hopefully there will be a way to tap into that well if not this year, then next. 

Apples basking in the setting sun.  I feel this is a good metaphor for our farm right now: green on top of green, on top of green!

Overall, we've been having a very successful year at Watershed, which I'm sure you were able to gather from the produce you've been eating! 

One last thing before I get to the good stuff: It is Lisa's birthday in a couple of weeks, and she's looking for a recommendation for a great bed and breakfast: Let me know if you know of one!

In your basket this week:
You can't live without this if you are Ukrainian, Italian, German, East Indian, Hungarian, Spanish, et cetera...  I'm pretty certain it's a universal Yum! to all cultures. 

We're giving you all the makings of one of my favourite salads this week- tomatoes, cucumber, basil (add your peppers and throw in some feta and olives to make it Greek if you're a full share!).  I'm pretty sure fresh basil is one of the favourite herbs of most people, and that you have a million different things planned to do with it- tomato sauce, chopped on top of pizza, in your salad, pesto... dare I go on?  We grow a variety of different types, the most striking being the purple, which you may have in your bag. 


There's just no substitute for farm-fresh tomatoes.  We want to send them to you every possible time that we can, because I know how far superior they are.  Because we grow so many heirloom varieties, I hope you get a different mix from one week to the next.  A note on storing them: fresh tomatoes should only be stored in the fridge as a last resort (as in, you're going away for the weekend and you can't take them with you and you think they won't make it 'til Monday).  Otherwise, keep them in the paper bag we send them to you in, or in your fruit bowl (though watch out for fruit flies).  Most of ours are picked perfectly ripe, so they should stand at least a few days, and you should always eat them in order of ripest first.  With most of the heirlooms, you can't go on colour, so it's the (gentle) squeeze test to find out if it's ripe (I once yelled at a woman at a farmer's market who was squeezing our tomatoes too hard... so please be gentle!).  An unripe tomato will have virtually no give, but a ripe one will give ever-so-slightly when squeezed. 
Also, to cut your ripe tomato, you're going to need a serrated knife, like a bread knife.  Jon thought he was the only one who knew this, until Lisa and I told him that we think it's general knowledge.  But just in case you didn't know, it makes it much easier to get picture-perfect tomato slices!  And please, for my sake, DO marvel at how beautiful your tomatoes are on the inside as well as the outside: a lot of the heirlooms have coloured marbelling throughout, or complex lobes of seeds and meat that are really truly gorgeous.

The weather gods will not let us have lettuce, so this is a good substitute for now.  Lisa stayed home the other night to make sauerkraut; I'm quite certain she's secretly a 90 year old lady!  However, we discussed today that the fermented veggies must be doing her a lot of good: she's been experimenting with adding some former no-no's back into her diet, with much success.  Like it or not, it's good for you, and sometimes that's just enough to make you want to eat it.  If Lisa can find time to make sauerkraut, you can too! 
Or, you can do what I did for supper tonight, which was "lazy cabbage rolls":  Basically, I made some rice, sauteed some chopped cabbage, made a fantastic tomato sauce out of our heirloom tomates, and layered the three into a casserole dish, and baked at 350 until the edges start to brown (I've seen this made other ways, but this was the amount of lazy I felt like being tonight).

Again, rainbow bunches with tops on, if you're so inclined to devour those, too.  Our white carrots are actually very beautiful and delicious: I used them in Jon's birthday carrot cake a couple of weeks ago, with no complaints (though, who among us would dare complain about cake?!).  I think it's particularly interesting (from a farming point of view) to see the varietal differences in the carrots: our orange ones lag behind those beefy white ones by quite a bit (they were planted at the same time).  However, I'm sure most of you are just excited to see a trio of colour on your dinner plates, and that's okay, too!  Lisa said these are the best-tasting carrots we've had yet, so see if you agree!

I wanted to tell you something really exciting about onions, so of course I consulted wikipedia.  I learned that when an onion is cut it's cells are broken, which releases a gas that is an eye irritant and causes tears to form.  Some ways to prevent this from happening (other than wearing goggles, of course!) are: cut the onion under running water or in a bowl of water, chill or freeze the onion, use a sharp knife which will damage less cells and release less gas, or avoid cutting the root off until the very end, as more of the enzymes that release the gas are concentrated in the root.  The first thing I always do is cut the root off first, so perhaps I will change my strategy after learning this! 

What's fresher tasting than a cucumber in mid-summer?  It pairs so well with your basil and tomatoes, or you can make a traditional cucumber salad, which is really just sliced cucumber and very thinly sliced onion, with a creamy dressing.  We had one tonight with supper, and Lisa and I made a lemon-poppyseed dressing to go with it that was delicious.  For something different, you can liven up your water with some slices floating amongst the ice cubes.

Leeks are one of my favourite members of the onion family, especially small ones.  Those big ones are good for big pots of soup (or clubbing people!), but these are nice little guys that are just perfect for a stir-fry or salad or sauteed with your potatoes.  The correct way to slice a leek is to remove the end (very end part where the roots are), cut the top where the greens darken, and then slice length-wise (the long way) in half so you can wash and remove any sand or dirt from the leaves at the top.  Then you lay flat on a cutting board and slice away.  You can use the tops, too, they are a more fibrous texture and might go better in soup stock or must be sliced very thinly.

Full-size baskets also get:

This is the first fruitful result of a later season planting of radishes.  They are very spicy, reflecting the heat that they endured to grow in.

We're excited to be shipping you the first of our pepper harvest!  There's a few different ones that may greet you in your full-share bag: a purple sweet bell, a yellow banana that has mild heat, and some spicy green ones.

Filet beans (the very skinny ones in your basket this week) are one of our true stars of the harvest this season.  They are a pain in the butt to pick, overshadowed only by how excited everyone is to see them, and how quickly they fly off the table at the farmer's market, thus making it all worth it.  I can see why people get excited over them: they are truly a gourmet item!

A bride walked down the aisle on Saturday with flowers from Watershed Farm: What an honor for us!

Hope you have a great week and enjoy all the bounty in your basket!

Teri Dillon

Watershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901
Follow us on Facebook
Check out the new Watershed Farm blog!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 14 August 2012 - Delivery #9

Hello everyone!

This is delivery #9, which means we have officially reached the half-way point of our CSA!  I can't believe it; it feels as though we've just begun, and I don't feel half-way worn out yet!  I get asked a lot when the last CSA delivery is, so I (finally) looked it up: October 9.  That's when your Tuesdays will get a lot less exciting!

This weekend we have been fortunate to have Lisa's friend Sarah visiting us from Montreal; here's a photo of the two of them with a loaded table at the Lunenburg Farmer's Market on Thursday morning!

Thanks, Sarah, for all your cheerful help!

One piece of housekeeping for the members of Halifax - Mid East Food Centre pick-up.  This group seems to keep getting bigger, and since the bags are not in an ideal location (usually under the exhaust from a stand-up cooler) and Salaam has been very kind in not minding thus far, we thought we'd stay one step ahead and see if anyone would be willing to switch to Nurtured (2571 Robie Street) pick-up instead.  The hours are shorter (1-5), but if you can make it work we'd really appreciate it.  Email me and let me know if this is a possibility for you!

Just a reminder to wipe out your bags before you return them if possible: we had to wash a few that were getting smelly this week!

A rare moment when everyone was working in the same part of the field: Lisa and Sarah picking cucumbers, workshares Anna, Kyle, and friend Carl picking beans, and Jon weeding (and myself, photographing!).

One of the hazards of the job!
The other day, Jon and I heard a loud scream from one of the greenhouses.  We yelled "You okay?" and because she laughed as she responded, we knew Lisa was alright.  She had gotten tangled in a spiderweb, which although it sounds like a girlish thing to scream about, I think it totally justified when the spiders look like this:

This is a "Writing Spider" a.k.a. "Corn Spider" or "Garden Spider".  It's known as a Writing Spider because the middle of its' web contains a zig zag of spider threads that almost look like writing.  The zig zag is to warn and deter birds and small animals from running into the web: though some of these are big enough I think a bird would be just an appetizer!  Lisa and I hate them and Jon is busy relocating them throughout the fields.  Apparently their bite is harmless, but I don't want to get close enough to find out.  They are fascinating enough that I took photos of this one and even looked it up on Wikipedia!

The chickens were kind enough to pose for me the other day: I ended up with some great shots and thought I'd share them with you!  3 out of 4 of these chickens are busy laying eggs for the egg shares, some of which are winding up now-- which means that if any of you want to sign on again (or for the first time) we should be able to squeeze in 5 dozen in the next 8 weeks.  Email me if you're interested!

One last note: we have four young roosters that we would love to get rid of.  Most still need a little bit of growing until they're fit for the soup pot, so if you or someone you know needs a new a new guy in their lives, let me know!

In your basket this week:
Here's a recipe that makes use of your potatoes as well as your weekly herb (have you noticed we send you a different herb every week?  It's because we think herbs are great, people don't use them enough, and fresh farm herbs are far superior!)
RECIPE: German-Style New Potatoes
1-2 lbs baby potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1  Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 15 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate).
2 Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
3 Add potatoes and sauté until crisp and golden, about 7 minutes.
4 Season with salt and pepper.
5 Transfer to bowl.
6 Sprinkle with parsley.

We're sending you an abundance, because we're guessing that you love fresh cucumbers as much as we do!  Seriously, we've been eating them every day, and I think I even saw Lisa and Sarah eating them for breakfast!  Our standby is a cucumber and tomato salad, with balsamic vinegar.  Simple, but so fresh and delicious!  If you want to get fancy or you have guests coming over, how about a cucumber slice on a cracker with some cream cheese or goat cheese?  I even love cucumbers on my sandwiches- much heartier than plain ol' lettuce!

We thought it was going to rain on us picking blueberries, but the weather held and the ridiculous humidity maintained.  We hope you are not yet tired of berries, but if you are, throw these in the freezer for those February blues!  The man who owns the farm where we pick gave me some good instructions: If you are going to have blueberry pancakes, make your pancakes plain and then heat maple syrup with blueberries in it.  It keeps your pancakes from being soggy!

At the beginning of the season, I love beans just steamed with butter on top.  By the second month of eating beans, I feel the need to be a little more creative.  Try steaming your beans until perfectly tender, and then throwing them in an ice bath (cold water with ice in it) to stop the cooking process.  They are interesting cooked but served cold.  I love throwing them in salads, like tomato-cucumber salad or potato salad.  If you have a can of beans in the pantry, or the patience to cook some dry beans, why don't you make a four- or five- (or more!) bean salad.

I used to think parsley was boring, but now I know it's just underrated.  Parsley is such a great, fresh taste, and when it's fresh from the farm it's never wilty or bitter, like I remember from previous encounters with this herb.  It shouldn't be confined to just a garnish, either!  It adds great flavour to soups, stocks, salads, stir-frys; basically anything you can think of!  It can even be used to freshen your breath, after you consume that garlic and onion in your basket!

YAY!  I'm so happy to be sending you the first of our tomatoes this week.  We've had some, but not enough to supply all of our CSA members yet, so this week you are getting an assortment of full-size and cherry-size heirloom tomatoes.  If you're wondering what makes a tomato an "heirloom", it's basically an open-pollinated (non-hybrid) tomato whose fruit has fallen out of favour with conventional, large scale growers for various reasons (generally they have thinner skins so do not ship long distances well, are usually less productive and do not produce uniform fruit- all the things favoured by the boring grocery store shelves). 
These are the delicious tomatoes you had as a kid but can't seem to find anymore!

Here's a brief introduction to some of the tomatoes you may meet in your bag:
Sungold (orange, round)
Yellow pear
Red grape
Red cherry
Black cherry (pale maroon with dark shoulder)
Green doctor (yellowish-green and round)
Matt's Wild Cherry and Currant Tomato (pea-sized and red)
Sunkist Slicer (BRIGHT orange, round)
Orange Blossom (orange, round)
Cherokee Purple and Black Krim (purply/green, eliptical or round shape)
Indigo Rose (black shoulder, orange bottom)
Speckled Roman (oblong red with green/yellow stripes)
San Marzano Roma (oblong red)
Moneymaker (red, round)

Onion accompany all the great things you're cooking this week!

Full-size shares also get:
I couldn't get my head around kale when I thought of it as a leaf, but when I thought of it as more like broccoli, somehow, it made sense.  It's heartier than any other leaf you can eat, and more nutritious, too!  As I've said before, I enjoy it best raw, chopped finely with a tangy vinagrette.  And lots of nuts and seeds!

I love how sweet and mild leeks are compared to onions.  That being said, you should feel free to substitute them in recipes that call for onion.  A lot of people who can't stand onion go for leeks; they'd be great sauteed with your kale and some garlic!


We'll be having a garlic festival at the end of October that all you garlic lovers should attend!  In addition to learning all about garlic, we'll also be showing you how to plant, and teaching you different harvesting, storage and cooking methods!  More info on this to follow; for now, enjoy our delicious juicy garlic!

Our turkeys have taken to the trees at night, which makes them hard to put away but funny to watch when it's not me who has to do it!

Watershed Farm hosts workshops from time to time and there is one coming up that some of you may be interested in attending.  If you grow vegetables in your own gardens or are interested in doing so, this is an opportunity to hear from one of Canada's leading lights in organic agriculture, David Cohlmeyer.   Please help us spread the word by sending on the attached flyer to anyone you can think of who may be interested.

Have a great week!

Teri Dillon

Watershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901
Follow us on Facebook
Check out the new Watershed Farm blog!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 07 August 2012 - Delivery #8

Hi everyone!

First and foremost, I want to say a big and public "Thank You" to our apprentice Lisa, who manned the ship so that Jon and I could sneak away for a few days to P.E.I.  I got to meet Jon's new niece Maevey and see his sister and brother-in-law, and we ate multiple lobsters and had a great time!  I hope all of you are enjoying your summer, and get to enjoy your own vacations (and I hope your vegetables come along for the trip, too!).
Just because I think she's the cutest thing ever, here is a photo of Jon, Maevey, and I.  She and I had just met, and I look rather crazy in this photo, so I'm not too sure what she thought of me!

Man, was it hot today!  I hope the rest of you got to enjoy the long weekend and go to the beach.  I was picturing you at the beach, as we harvested and packed your baskets, and wishing I could join you!

Just to let you know, sometimes CSA members order specific items by emailing me, and we think that is just fine!  If you are interested in purchasing a specific item, or you have company coming and would like to ensure that you have extra produce on hand, let me know via email and we can set it up to come along in your bag.  Did you know that you're our favourite customers, and you take priority over everyone else?  We appreciate that you are supporting our farm, and that makes us want to bend over backwards for you!

A photo of our turkeys, who are getting more and more ugly ("beautiful") by the day!  Here is one of the males realizing he's a male... Yes, they really do that!

Here's the great stuff we're sending you this week:

Following the first delivery of carrots this season, I had a number of emails about "Carrot Top Soup", since so many of you exclaimed over how beautiful the tops were.  So, today I will share a recipe for carrot top soup which uses all parts of your bunched carrots, sent to me by one of our CSA members:

Carrot Top Soup

6 small to medium carrots with tops and roots
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons white rice
2 large leeks, white parts only
2 thyme or lemon thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons chopped dill, parsley, or celery leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
Pull or pluck the lacy leaves of the carrot greens off their stems. You should have between 2-3 cups, loosely packed. Wash, then chop finely. Grate the carrots or, if you want a more refined-looking soup, finely chop them. Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the carrot tops and carrots, rice, leeks, thyme, and dill. Cook for several minutes, turning everything a few times, then season with 1 1/2 teaspoons slat and add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the rice is cooked, 16-18 minutes. Taste for salt, season with pepper, and serve.

I will offer the brief disclaimer that I have not tried this soup yet, and that there is some debate over whether they are toxic or not (I believe them not, as described in this great website all about carrots).  There's a TON of recipes on this website that make use of the tops in all sorts of creative ways, please let me know if you have success with any of them.  Carrot tops are my bunnies' favourite food!

I have this great cookbook called "People Friendly Food" that the following recipe comes from.  It's a collection of allergy-free recipes (gluten-, soy-, dairy-, egg-, and nut-free) put together by one of the owners of the company I worked for in Calgary.  It was my first introduction to cooking for allergies or intolerances, something that just continues to become more prevalent in today's society.  I'll bet there's more than a few of our CSA members that have foods they are allergic to, intolerant of, or just plain want to avoid: Our Lisa has a number herself, so it's very handy to have a few more tricks up one's sleeve in the kitchen.  Even just knowing all the different hiding spots of the evil gluten monster is a task: I tried to avoid gluten once.  It lasted a week.  It was hard!
That being said, here is a great beet recipe which is pretty simple and does not contain any of said high-allergens.  Caramelized onions are what makes this so great, and luckily you also have an onion in your bag which is just begging to be caramelized!
RECIPE:  Beets with Caramelized Onions
Perfect for a pot-luck or when you have guests.  Tastes even better the next day.
2 medium onions, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

6 medium beets, roasted and diced

Saute onions in olive oil until dark golden brown (about 20 minutes).  Combine dressing ingredients together in a blender until emulsified.  Mix onions, beets, and dressing together and serve.

Serves 6.

I am embarrassed to say that I still haven't gotten a chance to try the chard pasta recipe from the last time we sent you chard, but I did get a lot of great feedback, so it is still on my mental list of "things to make".  It's too hot to grow spinach right now, so if you are stuck with what to do with chard, treat it as you would spinach... and yes, some people do enjoy it raw (I am not one of those people!).  I really like chard with eggs, and I found this recipe for a crustless quiche that uses your swiss chard, and your egg share if you have one.
RECIPE: Crustless Quiche with Swiss Chard
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 bunch swiss chard
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
4 eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2 Wash and dry swiss chard. Cut off the very ends of the stems. Roughly chop (leaving stems intact) the chard.
3 Add onion and Chard to the oil and saute until stems are tender (do not overcook). Add salt & pepper to taste.
4 Meanwhile, grate 2.5 cups of cheese. Use whatever varieties you want/have. Be creative! I used Swiss, Cheddar, Parmesan, and Cojito.
5 Whisk eggs. Add milk and cheese. Fold in the onion/chard mixture. Add salt & pepper to taste, if necessary.
6 Pour into a greased pie dish.
7 Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and no liquid seeps when you poke it with a knife.

I asked Jon what I should say about cabbage this week and he said, "Why don't you put in a recipe for coleslaw?  People on the East Coast love coleslaw!".  I thought that was fitting, as we just returned from P.E.I. where I enjoyed my first "lobster supper".  I don't know if they have them in Nova Scotia, but this was an absolutely perfect experience for our vacation.  I ripped apart my first lobster and thoroughly enjoyed every last bit, as well as all-you-can-eat mussels, seafood chowder, rolls, pie, salad, and coleslaw!  I actually don't have a "tried and true" coleslaw recipe, so I won't patronize you by pulling one off the internet-- These are the kind of thing that are passed through the generations, I think!  Please enlighten me with yours, if you have one!

, by Lisa
Mint is one of those deliciously cool herbs. With this crazy heat lately, it seems like a good time to throw in some mint. If you are lucky enough to own a blender or food processor (I say this because I usually move around a lot, and sometimes find myself blender-less, furiously mashing chickpeas with a fork to make hummus, anyways... ), I would recommend throwing some yogurt, mint, lemon/lime juice and honey in there to make mint Lassi, a delicious Indian drink. Nice to have with spicy meals, or just to sit and sip in the sun, or even for breakfast. Or if you're feeling more/less adventurous, try slicing up some cucumber, garbling (crushing) some mint, adding ice and club soda/sparkling water, honey, lemon/lime juice (and rum/vodka if you fancy) for a lovely, refreshing twist of a mojito. Or you can always make a nice cup for bed-time tea with it; mint helps with digestion and insomnia, as well as sore throats. If you happen to get your hands on some peaches from the valley (so good), make a simple mint sauce to pour on top of some sliced peaches, just add a cup of water, a good bunch of chopped mint, and honey to taste. Cool, and serve. If you are running out of ideas of what to do with zucchini, make a simple salad with grated zucchini, olive oil, lemon juice (and zest) and some chopped up mint. If you don't get around to using your mint, you can dry it by hanging it upside down someplace out of the light (with good air circulation); or make some ice cubes, and put a mint leaf in each one.

Depending on the size, you will receive 1 or more cucumbers in your bag this week.  If you happen to get a few small ones, know that those are some of the best tasting, and great for snacks or hydration on-the-go (I'm not kidding: sometimes when I'm thirsty in the field but don't want to walk all the way to the kitchen to get a drink, I just eat a cucumber!).  We hope this will be the start of a fruitful cucumber harvest, so expect to see them in your bags for the next while.  I'll bet you'll be so glad to meet them they won't make it to the fridge!

Our broccoli is delicious, and you must know that we think the stem is the best part.  This isn't your typical grocery-store broccoli-- the heads are smaller-- and you should think of it as a supplement to your dinner veggies rather than a stand-alone item.  It would be great cooked alongside your carrots, and if you're a full share it can be added into your stir-fry mix, or cooked with your beans.

I'm certain that you have all seen an onion before.  If you do end up making some caramelized onions, they are absolutely fantastic on pizza.  I usually add some brown sugar when caramelizing to make them extra delicious.

Full-size shares also get:
Stir-fry Mix
This will be the end of the stir-fry mix for a while, so savour these succulent asian greens!

I love beans, especially when they're so fresh they squeak when you bite 'em!


I told Jon to pick yellow ones, so that there's no confusion of "is this a cucumber or a zucchini?".  However, we didn't have enough yellow ones, so if you are at all confused, please do email me!  A general rule is that a cucumber will not have a stem and a zucchini has a stem on one end.   

I'll leave you with a photo of what's just hatched on the farm this week!

Thanks for being our favourite customers!

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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