Our Blog: The Hoot
Thank goodness today's rainstorm is missing us for the most part. When we woke up at 5 am the forecast was for .87”, yet now it is reading .1". What a relief! Yesterday we began to harvest garlic. We were able to get 4 of the fourteen beds. This morning after packing the box truck with CSA’s and wholesale for city, the crew headed back out to continue the harvest. At this rate, it may take all week, maybe a part of next week to finish. Because it’s been so wet and we weren’t able to get into the fields to cultivate the weeds are 2’ taller than the garlic, so we can’t use an undercutter. We did attempt but it’s just binding up. This means that each head of garlic is getting pulled by hand. This has not been as easy as you would think having the ground be so soft. We are having trouble pulling the bulbs that are beginning to rot at the neck; the leaves just pull off and the bulb is left in the ground, so then you have to use a fork… Yikes! Harvesting garlic always makes you hungry, as the whole time you are working it smells like someone is cooking dinner. So the crew is coming out of the field ravenous, tired and very wet!
In your box this week:
Small: Beets, Carrots, Chard, Garlic Scapes, Head Lettuce, Kale, and Summer Squash
Large: Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Chard, Cucumbers, Garlic Scapes, Head Lettuce, Kale, Kohlrabi, Scallions, Summer Squash, Sunflower Sprouts (these need to be eaten pronto; they don’t have much staying power like pea shoots)
Recipe of the week:
Thanks to C, who is a market CSA member this week’s recipe is a link to all sorts of ideas. She sent this to me after over hearing some of our market staff talking about their lack of experience eating and cooking Kohlrabi. Have a ball! We made Kohlrabi fries for the first time last night. They were delicious, with just a little salt, pepper and olive oil.
Enjoy your share!
Your Farmers, Aeros, Chris, Cedar, Cyan, Krystal, Greg, Emily, Jodo, Jessica, and Garett
We all have every toe and finger crossed on this farm hoping the weather does an about face and dries up. This weather has been pretty crazy and it has certainly had it’s effects on some crops. The worst pressure we’re seeing is disease in field tomatoes. It’s starting to spread, which is a bummer b/c we haven’t harvested a single tomato from the field at this point. The good news is we’re aggressively treating the situation and I have faith we’ll be alright.
The added effects from excessive rain are the disease pressure and loss of fertility, namely nitrogen washing out. We’re off-setting fertility issues by feeding fish emulsion through driplines. It’s amazing how well vegetables respond to this. Although most of our vegetables look content, we’re at a precipice. The rain has to stop to give the vegetables the opportunity to breath and discourage the many kinds of disease we manage every year, although the disease usually arrives much later. These next 2 days are supposed to be dry. I’m tired of tip toeing around thinking I’m jinxing myself. So, Bam! I said it! Dry!
In your box this week:
Small:Beets, Broccoli, Chard, Garlic Scapes, Head Lettuce, Kale, Onions, Peas, Radish, Scarlet Queen Turnips, and Summer Squash
Large:Beets, Broccoli, Head Lettuce, Onions, Radish, Scarlet Queen Turnips, Summer Squash, and Sunflower Sprouts
Recipe of the week:
Roasted Garlic Scapes Take the scapes and put them in a lightly oiled roasting pan, top with salt (kosher or seas salt works best but any will do). Put the loaded and covered pan in a hot (425 °F) oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are beginning to turn brown. serve as a side or main dish. Tastes like roasted garlic but creamier. You can also grill them. They are both very nice. If you happen to be grillin' this 4th of July try scapes on the grill.
Some of you may be wondering what to do with the Scarlet Queen Turnips. Well these are delicious salad turnips. They are twice maybe even three times the size as regular white hakurei salad turnip. They are big and juicy and this goes for the greens as well. Very delicious sauteed up with some onions! The salad turnips you can shred or slice into a salad or a slaw and then they are also delicious steamed and mashed as well as roasted or grilled.
Enjoy your share!
Aeros, Chris, Cedar, Cyan, Krystal, Greg, Emily, Jodo, Jessica (just now returning from last year's crew), and Garett still rocking out on tour.
Thank goodness for a little bit of sunshine this week. Thanks to the sunny days we were able to do come cultivating and kill some of the weeds that were beginning to get a little out of hand. We were also able to get out into the fields yesterday evening to do some discing in order to prepare the fields to plant our fall crops. Then after the sun had set, and we had a quick pizza party to pull the crew through the long day push we were able to plant out some more head lettuce and Kale. We are looking at more rain in the coming weekend. Can you believe it? We have heard bleak predictions that this summer will be like that of 2009 and maybe even cooler! Yikes! This was our first season and it was a cool one.
On a lighter note! The turnips are super juicy and the greens are very lush!
In your box this week:
Small: Broccoli, Chard or Kale, Escarole, Garlic Scapes, Kohlrabi, and Turnips
Large: Beets, Broccoli, Chard or Kale, Escarole, Garlic Scapes, Kohlrabi, Napa Cabbage, Peas, Turnips, and Zucchini
Vegetable of the week: Broccoli
Broccoli is listed on the World’s Healthiest Foods Website whfoods.org This website has a good recipe listing. If you are ever stumped on how to prepare something or if you just want to know a little more about the food you are eating. Here is there lisiting on broccoli: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9
Recipe of the week: Broccoli Herb Soup
This week for the first time in my life I finally sautéed up some kohlrabi. We usually just peel it, slice it, salt it, and eat it raw, but now I’m on a new kick! Slice up an onion into half moons put them in a skillet with either coconut oil or butter, and also add Kohlrabi that it cut into matchsticks at the same time. Wow! It’s delicious. I’ve added this to the top of plain pizza as well as an addition to cooked greens.
Enjoy your share!
Chris, Aeros Cedar, Cyan, Krystal, Greg, Emily, Jodo, and Garett (who is currently off the hill working his magical musical touch on tour with his band Edhochuli)
Rain! Rain! Rain! At this point, it would be very good for all crops if the rain would stop for a while. This is way too much and has essentially halted our ability to do anything that requires a tractor. In extreme rainfall events like this one, there can suddenly be wet zones in fields that usually aren’t problems but are now soup. During this dry May, we were hurting for rain and then when we finally get it we’re entirely saturated. It would be great if there is some in between like after rain we find we’re pretty wet or with relatively dry conditions we get some rain, but not much we can say, “We’re a little dry.” Let’s all hope we get entirely out of this weather pattern this next week for good!
This past week has been crazy! One of our farm hands has been having recurring gout! Seems terrible. Chris is being treated for Lyme’s Disease, which had him laid up this past week. On top of that, we have had too much rain and no ability to use tractors in the fields. Luckily, the vegetables already in the fields look great. They’ll be supplying us for quite a while. By July, we’ll need to get back into the fields so let’s hope everything mellows out here.
Strawberries are finished for the season! I really enjoyed them. I hope you all enjoyed them, too.
In Your Box this week:
Small: beets, broccoli, swiss chard, escarole or peas, garlic scapes, head lettuce or radish, and kohlrabi.
Large: beets, broccoli, swiss chard, cilantro, escarole or peas, garlic scapes, head lettuce or radish, kale, kohlrabi, sweet peas, radish, and scallions
Roasted Beets and Broccoli http://fromaliceskitchen.blogspot.com/2011/01/roasted-beets-and-broccoli.html
Raw Beet and Kohlrabi Slaw is the best! Just clean your beets and peel off the skin of kohlrabi with a sharp knife and then grate them. You can toss these grated beets and kohlrabi in any sort of dressing you like. Sometimes we do a little toasted sesame oil with apple cider vinegar, or other times balsamic vinegar with some mustard and honey, then again a sure hit is also fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice, some dill or cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
Chris, Aeros, Cedar, Cyan, Greg, Krystal, Jodo, Emily
I was preparing for the morning and figuring we had to get a good amount of tractor work done today anticipating some wet weather over the weekend. I couldn’t have had the thought for a couple minutes when the only cloud in the state carrying rain, according to the ever accurate weather radar, dropped an enormous amount of rain on the farm for the past 5 minutes. Hmmm. This is a similar phenomenon when we work with the long sheets of floating row cover we use to protect our vegetables from insects. There’s no doubt these 14x200ft sheets resemble a kite in their ability to catch wind. It can be a still day in the field. A great day to deal with row cover. Yet as soon as you bend at the hips and reach towards it, the wind always picks up a little bit.
The farm is doing well. The vegetables look great! We have nothing to report on the negative for crops. Well, deer, of course. They like head lettuce. We try to plant enough and we bait an electric fence with JIF peanut butter to deter them. The fence works ok and keeps them out for the most part unless they really want to get inside. When people seem surprised they’re getting through the fence and damaging vegetables, my new response is, “Dude! These things evolved with cheetahs! This fence is a fancy tickle machine for them!” Coming Soon: Sugar Snap Peas for everyone, Hopefully more strawberries, kohlrabi, cabbage, beets.
In your box this week:
Small: arugula, broccoli, cilantro, garlic scapes, head lettice, kale, strawberries
Large: arugula, broccoli, cilantro, chard, garlic scapes, escarole, head lettice, kale, kohlrabi, sweet peas, strawberries, sunflower sprouts
Recipe of the week:
Garlic Scape and Cilantro Pesto
~10 garlic scapes, cut into small pieces (about 1-inch)
▪ 1 bunch cilantro, large stems cut off
▪ Juice of 1/2 lime
▪ 1 cup cashews, toasted (or nuts of choice)
▪ Extra-virgin olive oil
▪ 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
freshly grated kosher or sea salt, to taste
Blend the garlic scapes with a few glugs of olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and cashews, and continue to process, adding additional olive oil as needed to bring the mixture to the desired consistency. Pulse in the Parmesan cheese, and season with salt, to taste. If the mixture seems too bitter, add additional lime juice and/or salt. (Salt and acids tame bitter tastes in food.)
Season 2015 is just about in full swing! The journey from last season, through winter and early spring, seems like a long one. It made us very grateful for the first greens of the year. It made us so grateful for warm weather! I still can’t get over wearing short sleeves outside! Pretty amazing! Now a diversity of vegetables are coming to fruition.
Its nerve wracking anticipating the first CSA pack day. 2 weeks ago you could have asked me what was going to be available and I’d have said, “Not really sure…” There are so many different vegetables almost ready for harvest, but they need 1-2 more weeks yet.…. BUT NOT STRAWBERRIES!!! Yeehaw! Eating strawberries this season is like running into your best friend on a fishing trip who had been lost at sea. Eating strawberries is like suddenly realizing that you do, in fact, have the wrench you need to work on your broken tractor 2 miles from your farm and 1 mile off the road. Some of these strawberries are big like apples and super sweet. Honestly, we’re super excited about vegetables this year and I’ve already promised myself that I’m going to eat more vegetables than most people I know. We do have a nice share for everyone this week. On a side note, if you’re not friends with us on facebook, you should friend us so you can check out some of our farm action photos.
For those of you that requested extra strawberries and did not receive them or your full order, you will receive them next week. We will send you an invoice at the end of strawberry time for the total amount of extra pints you received. Enjoy!
Your Farmers, Chris, Aeros, Cedar, Cyan, Jodo, Emily, Ben, Greg and Krystal
In this week’s share:
Napa Cabbage, Spring Garlic, Head Lettuce, Pea Shoots, Spinach, and Strawberries
Arugula, Broccoli, Napa Cabbage, Spring Garlic, Head Lettuce, Kohlrabi, Pea Shoots, Rosemary, Spinach, and Strawberries
Recipe/Who Cooks Idea of the Week:
Ok, so I don’t have a recipe, but I’ve got an idea! Raw Napa Cabbage! Napa Cabbage makes for a yummy sweet crunchy salad! If you have never had it raw, just take a nibble and you’ll see what I mean. Cut in some fresh strawberries and pea shoots and your in for a delicious treat. You can eat this spinach raw too , but I think that Napa raw is way more of a treat. This spinach is excellent braised with the spring garlic and a little olive oil. We mostly eat pea shoots raw in this house. If you cook them; through them in the last minute of cooking to wilt them.
We hope that you have enjoyed the CSA season. It was a beautiful and wild season this year. With the lingering winter that gave the season a slow start and then a summer that was not too warm and a fall drier than ever, we made out pretty well. The strawberries and tomatoes were delicious. We worked with no drastic crop failures, and pretty good vegetable yields all around, I'd say the hardest we were hit by this year was deer pressure and voles… Ok. Maybe there were some modest crop losses. The early season broccoli and cabbages were eaten upon planting by voles. 1 hour after planting the vegetables were gone! The voles were living under the bio plastic we use in the fields and they were giddy when we slipped those fresh transplants in the ground. So we lost a lot of early starts, but we fed a lot of voles and their families. Kharma is on our side!
Our crew this year was our best yet. They were mature and got to it when we had to harvest, plant out and pack. No complaining or dragging their feet…well almost none of it anyways. AND this made for a relatively easy year. Work was still work and we all felt tired but that was pretty much the extent of it. We really appreciated everybody and their contributions. They’ll all be missed as most of them are leaving this weekend to farm in the bahamas. Actually, I don’t know where they are going. But it would be cool to farm down there for the winter. Thanks Crew!
We want to apologize for not having a get together on the farm this year. We thought the pig roast was a great idea, but that idea went with the fire of the slaughter house. We thought a Halloween hoopla would have been fun, but arranging it became a little hard to plan last minute. It’s always hard to get people out here for potlucks and the like. We totally understand that everyone is just as busy as we are. One reason we encourage people to try the market CSA is b/c we get to see you! We don’t like to miss out on meeting the people that support our farm. We, also, have an open door policy so you all can come up to the farm and see what it’s all about when it’s convenient for you. It’s likely we’ll plan potlucks on the farm or in the city next season.
In your box this week:
Small: Bok Choi or Senposai, Carrots, Watermelon Radish, Kohlrabi, Head Lettuce, Leeks or Onions, and Rutabaga
Large: Bok Choi, Delicata Squash, Watermelon Radish, Carrots, Broccoli, Onions, Senposai or Kale, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Mustard Greens, Head Lettuce, and Rutabaga
Recipe for the week:
Kohlrabi< In our house it mostly gets eaten raw. It gets peeled and then sliced and dashed with salt. I recently found an article that the Huffington Post that gives several ideas of what to do with Kohlrabi. I hope that you all have enjoyed these Idea recipe postings. They help me to be more imaginative with my cooking. I hope that they are inspiring for you too!
May you all have a beautiful fall, and don’t be a stranger. If your craving Who Cooks For You Farm food, come and visit us at one of our three different markets in the Pittsburgh area. We’ll be selling at the Markets until the week of Thanksgiving. And you get a 10% discount too! Please come to market and introduce yourself if we haven’t already met. Here’s a link to the find more info about the exact locations of the markets. http://www.whocooksforyoufarm.com/pgh-farmers-market
Saturday mornings from 9- 12. Monroeville Lions
Sunday mornings from 9-1 Squirrel Hill
Monday afternoons from 3- 7 East Liberty
Also we’ll be selling a few things to the East End Food Coop in the next months, like pea shoots, salad turnips, and carrots. So if you still need your WCFYF food fix, you can find a little of our stuff there for a little while. Come late December into February we hibernate a little. Although we’ll give you all a shout out around the New Year to get you thinking about the upcoming season and a reminder to take advantage of our early bird special.
Thanks for your support and healthy appetites!
Your Farmers, Chris, Aeros and the Who Gang; Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garett, Joe and Jess
Yesterday Chris went down to Pitt’s campus to talk to students at an event called Pitt Food Day. The point of our presence was to address the lack of youth we witness at farmer’s markets. It feels like a bit of an emergency to encourage youth to participate in our food culture. To encourage students to come to markets, we’re offering students with a student ID 10% off of our produce. It feels like the right thing to do.
We’re in the process of clearing out the fields entirely! I have a tiny window of opportunity to get a cover crop on the remaining fields. We have to dig carrots, top watermelon radishes and cut kohlrabi. Harvests like this are not so daunting in large part to the barrel root washer we purchased last year. It makes washing this many vegetables relatively easy. Aeros and I remember washing bulk vegetable harvests for many hours besides the harvest itself. Now it takes about an hour to do comparable washes. Woah!
The final CSA drop is next week.
In this week’s box, you’ll find:
Small: Napa Cabbage or Kale, Purple or Orange Carrots, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Bagged Young Mustard Greens, Watermelon Radish and Bunched Radishes or Salad Turnips.
Large: Napa Cabbage or Kale, Purple or Orange Carrots, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Bagged Young Mustard Greens, Watermelon Radish, Bunched Radishes or Salad Turnips, Bunched Beets, Broccoli or Swiss Chard, Delicata Squash, Garlic and a Head of Tatsoi.
Mustard greens are usually not at the top of most grocery lists, yet they are delicious nutritious and seasonally appropriate. We’ve been eating them regularly wilted with just about anything. If you decide to eat them raw, you’ll get the spice associated with mustard greens. If they’re wilted, they are very mild with great flavor.
Chris’ parents visited a couple weeks ago and, during lunch, brought out 2 bunches of radishes from the fridge. They sliced them and sprinkled salt and olive oil on them. Maybe this is a no-brainer and how everyone prepares radishes, but they were delicious!
Enjoy your share!
Chris, Aeros, and the Who Gang; Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garett, Joe, and Jessica
In the past, we’ve had difficulties growing nice looking cauliflower. We’ve been able to grow big happy cauliflower. The problem we’ve had is keeping a nice big white vegetable like cauliflower white in the field. It seems like when the getting is good little dark spots appear and ruin the beautiful white vegetable. The nutrition is there. The flavor is there. The dark spots are there, too. Instead of a vegetable we can offer our customers, we eat it or compost it. It seems to me to be a bit finicky so we tried our hand at growing Romanesco. Romanesco proved that it is resistant to the cauliflower spots! This was the goal and it was a good success. When compared to a traditional cauliflower, its texture is described as being far more crunchy, it’s flavor is not as strong, being delicate and nutty (wikipedia).
We finally had our first freeze last weekend. It got mighty chilly, down to 28º. So get excited for some very sweet greens to come!
In your box this week:
Small: Delicata Squash, Fennel, Head Lettuce, Potatoes, Radishes, Turnips, and Romanesco
Large: Nappa Cabbage, Delicata Squash, Fennel, Garlic, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Green Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Rosemary, Turnips, and Romanesco
Recipe of the Week:
We get a lot of questions about Fennel. How do I prepare it? What should I do with it? Here is a selection of 25 recipes that Martha Stewarts has collected. To wet your pallet. http://www.marthastewart.com/286398/fennel-recipes/@center/1009854/winter-produce
I usually braise ours, or eat it raw in a salad, but I think I’m going to try to do a bake next. Here is something I’ve had on my to do list and have yet to try. Hopefully this happens this week. We are always trying to figure new ways to eat vegetables for breakfast. Maybe you are too!
Fennel Orange Muffins
1 medium seedless orange
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated fennel
2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Heat Oven to 350º. Oil muffin tin. Puree orange in blender, then combine with eggs, oil, sugar, vanille, and fennel in a bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt, then gently fold into wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Spoon into muffin cups; bake 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown, Makes 8 – 12 muffins.
This is the point in the season I like to call the nitty gritty. It’s the point at which the cold settles in and the vegetables just deal with it…and get beat up by it. It’s the point at which we eat cold hardy vegetables lots of which end up roasted or in a soup pot. We start to see a limit in the diversity of the vegetables we harvest. We really enjoy fall! The season slows down for us. It’s time to crank up the oven and prepare soups and pies and slow roasts…all the things hard to justify doing when it’s 80+ degrees.
Fall to us is a very cozy time. Yesterday we harvested for a couple hours. Then the farmhands washed the produce. It was a beautiful morning. There was a bit of sun and chill together and I felt a slow growing urge to go to the local apple orchard to get apple cider and drink it hot. I didn’t think I could justify the time, but then I remembered I had to send out soil samples to get analyzed. The orchard is 10 minutes from the post office….yesssssss!!! I bought a couple gallons and some apples. I cruised home and warmed it up. We all sat around holding our mugs sipping constantly until finished. I realize that I’m going to go overboard for a bit and beat this hot apple cider thing into the ground b/c I’m trying to justify some hot apple cider with every moment I should be drinking water or I have a chill or I’m going somewhere. “Wouldn’t it be nice to walk with a warm cup of apple cider?” It’s so easy to justify and it’s incredibly delicious. The only shred of reality that restrains this desire is knowing with every large cup of cider, I consume a weeks worth of apples…in minutes!
Some employees of the East End Food Co-op visited the farm a couple days ago. All the visiting employees had never been to a vegetable farm so we had a lot to talk about. We work with the co-op throughout the seasons where we offer them vegetables such as salad turnips, radishes, pea shoots, head lettuce (when we have an abundance), sweet peppers, tomatoes, etc. The point is that we made a nice spicy vegetable soup for everyone make with all the random roots and greens and onions occupying the vegetable drawers.
I know everyone knows how to prepare winter squash. I’d like to share how we prepare the delicata. We cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Put a little water and butter in a covered dish and bake at 350-400 degrees for about 1 hr and 20 minutes. This way the skin is delicate and edible. The seeds of all the winter squash are edible too and especially delicious. The fiber of most squash seeds are not quite as rough as the pumkin. They are delicious dry roasted in the oven. Pull apart the seed from the inner webbing and spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Place into a 350º preheated oven for 15 minutes and stir. They might be done after 10 minutes, or need another 10. They should be golden and crunchy!
In your box this week:
Small: Carrots, Delicata Squash, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Green Peppers, and Potatoes
Large: Bok Choi, Broccoli Raab or Kale, Carrots, Delicata Squash, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Green Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes and Turnips
Recipe of the week: Potato Leek Soup
I use the recipe from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters (Makes 2 quarts: 4-6 servings)
Trim off the root and and the tough upper greens from: 2 pounds of leeks
Cut the trimmed leeks in half lengthwise and slice thin. Rinse in a bowl of cold water. Lift the leeks out of the water to drain.
Melt over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot:
3 tablespoons butter
Add the leeks along with:
2 thyme springs
1 bay leaf
Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add: 1 pound yellow potatoes, peeled, halved or quartered, and sliced
Cook the potatoes for 4 minutes, then add:
6 cups of water
Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender, but not falling apart, about 30 minutes. When done stir in:
1/3 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
Do not boil one the cream is added. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste. Remove the bay leaf and thyme before serving.
-Garnish with fresh-ground black pepper and some fresh chives. -For a heartier soup, use broth instead of water
-Remove the bay leaf and herb sprigs and puree the soup before stirring in the cream.
-Omit the cream, puree the soup before serving, and garnish with a pat of parsley butter.
Your Farmers, Chris, Aeros and the Who Gang; Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garett, Joe, and Jessica