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Newsletter
Summer Share #5  
June 23 - 29, 2015

 

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Green bean blossoms.

Table of Contents 
 (Click on the links to go directly to an item or scroll down.)


 

Aidan & Bindi riding in the truck through the field.

Calendar & Reminders

There will be a farmers market in both Spring Green and Richland Center this Saturday even though it is July 4th.

July 26th,1 to 4pm - Farm Party.

Sunday, September 20 - Bike the Barns Event. 
http://www.csacoalition.org/news/2015-bike-the-barns/

All produce is soaked, sprayed off or dunked in cold water to remove dirt and to cool it down. However we recommend washing the produce in your box before eating or preparing it. If you don't have one - you may want to pick up a salad spinner for washing and spinning greens. They are relatively inexpensive.  My sister calls it a "game-changer" if you eat lots of lettuce! 
 
Please remember to return your empty white wax box or black plastic box each week. If you'd rather not have to remember it, you can bring your own bag/box to the drop-site, change out your produce and leaving the box there.

Previous editions of our newsletter are on our Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Fine-Homestead/145013635612327

This Week's Box

Please note: This is the produce we harvested and packed for Thursday's shares. The Saturday and Monday boxes will be similar but may change depending on produce availability.
 

Full Share:  (Black Box)
Baby Leaf Salad Mesclun (Mix) - 1/2lb Mix of green & red mild leaf lettuces. See recipe in this newsletter.
Broccoli - 1 medium to large or 2 to 3 small heads See recipe in this newsletter.
Pac Choi - 3 baby heads
Choi or Choy means "vegetable" in Cantonese and bok or pak means "white." The white base or bottom has a vase-like shape and is juicy, crisp and mild, more similar to celery than cabbage. The rounded green leaves on top have a mild cabbage flavor. Can be eaten as baby size (more tender) or full size. Separate stems and leaves as leaves cook quicker. See recipe in last week's newsletter. 
Kale - 1 bunch Dinosaur, Tuscan or Lacinto, this variety of kale goes by many names. A share member reports that the stems are tender right now so you can skip cutting them out of the leaf when preparing which gives you more kale to eat!
Cabbage - 1  Tender, thin, crisp, peppery-sweet leaves.
Baby Beets - 1 bunch 
Fennel - 1 bulb with fronds See information & recipe spotlight in this newsletter.
Walla Walla Onion - 1 Referred to as sweet or mild onions are at their best raw or lightly cooked. These onions do not store as well as storage onions so use within a couple weeks and keep in a cool, dry place with good circulation.
Cilantro - 1 bunch Small, leafy bunch of herbs.
See recipe in this newsletter.


Half Share:
Baby Leaf Salad Mesclun (Mix) - 1/4 lb  Mix of green & red mild leaf lettuces. See recipe in this newsletter.
Broccoli - 1 medium to large or 2 to 3 small heads See recipe in this newsletter.
Pac Choi - 3 baby heads Choi or Choy means "vegetable" in Cantonese and bok or pak means "white." The white base or bottom has a vase-like shape and is juicy, crisp and mild, more similar to celery than cabbage. The rounded green leaves on top have a mild cabbage flavor. Can be eaten as baby size (more tender) or full size. Separate stems and leaves as leaves cook quicker. See recipe in last week's newsletter.
Kale - 1 bunch Dinosaur, Tuscan or Lacinto, this variety of kale goes by many names. A share member reports that the stems are tender right now so you can skip cutting them out of the leaf when preparing which gives you more kale to eat!
Garlic - 1 bulb
Cilantro - 1 bunch 
Small, leafy bunch of herbs. See recipe in this newsletter.

Coming Soon:

Basil, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Peas, Green Beans

*** Feel free to contact us with any questions on the contents of your box or for ideas of what to do with them. We are happy to talk "food" with you! ***

On the Farm . . . what's happening this week in words and pictures 

Baby zucchini, green tomatoes, and basil all growing in the field will soon be making an appearance in your CSA box.

There isn't anything exciting to report on the farm - more of what you'd expect. Vegetables continue to grow, we continue to monitor field needs for weeding, watering, and possible problems such as insects or disease as well as plant crops for late summer and fall.
 
So instead of talking about that in more detail, I'd like to talk about food and preparing it. My disclaimer is that I am no food expert. I am a person who is striving to eat healthier so as to have more energy and to model good habits for my children. Take my advice as someone who is learning, and who is aware that many of you know more than I on this subject. I welcome any thoughts or advice you would like to contribute. In fact if you would like to offer a "guest column" to further our collective knowledge or to expand the conversation of our food journey this summer -  it would be super exciting! (I know, I have revealed the 80's Valley Girl influence on my vocabulary choices that I still struggle with. Oh well.) 

It is the beginning of July, and the fifth week of CSA shares; summer is here! That is great, but I realize it may also mean the excitement of being a CSA member is wearing off. If that is true for you, I wish to encourage you in your quest to better your eating habits and/or to support habits you've already established.

Author and chef, Mark Bittman, of the New York Times wrote an article for the October 2014 edition of Time Magazine called
The Truth about Home Cooking. (You have to sign in to read the whole article - check the library if you'd like to read it) One of his main points in the article is that anytime you prepare whole food at home, you are eating healthier. You will consume less sodium, less MSG and other additives, and you can control your portions better. That is very powerful. One more time  - anytime you prepare your own food, you are eating healthier.

I find when my family gets busy and leaves food preparation to the last minute, we are vulnerable to bad food choices. When one of us (probably no surprise that at our house it is usually me) spends a little time making a plan for the upcoming meals, we eat better and less food ends up going bad in the fridge. That is my first piece of advice - start making plans, even if it is just planning one meal per day. I've found that even that ends up multiplying as it generates a certain amount of leftovers to be used for other meals. 

Here are some other ideas that continue to help me. Hopefully they will help you also:

 

  • It is a good idea to have a few staples on hand. Think about the items you use a lot and keep them around for last minute meals. Here are some examples from my kitchen - lemons, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, sea salt, pasta, eggs, dried pinto and black beans, and brown rice. Here are ideas from Mark Bittman http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/dining/07mini.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  • You don't have to prepare fancy food! Nothing replaces simple whole foods in nutrition and flavor. If a recipe seems too complicated, try paring it down or pick a different one.
  • You can't go wrong with a salad or with adding greens and sliced vegetables to a sandwich, wrap or pita.
  • Steaming or sautéing vegetables for a few minutes retains much of their nutrition, doesn't take long and is an easy clean-up.
  • If you like scrambled eggs or pasta - bingo! Almost any vegetable can be added to either one. Slice or chop the desired greens or other vegetables and sauté or braise them  in a little oil or butter while scrambling the eggs or to add to the cooked pasta. The secret is that tougher vegetables require a few minutes longer that more tender ones. You can't go wrong. Optional ideas are to add cooked sausage, crumbled bacon, ground beef, or chicken. Add soy sauce. Make a cold pasta salad by adding balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and voile - a last minute dinner is served!
  • Don't stress if you don't feel you are a great cook. You will get better the more time you spend in the kitchen. The more meals you prepare - the more comfortable you will be with sensing when greens are wilted the right amount for you, or when something is about to burn, etc. Before you know it, you will be an expert in your kitchen -really.
Can't you picture it - soon you will be inviting friends or your partner into the kitchen for a glass of wine while you nonchalantly sauté a mouth-watering pan of delectable food. There will be jazz music playing in the background, and the conversation will be intellectually stimulating . . . wait, I'm dreaming.

Even if your reality is similar to mine - you'll be stirring your creation while setting the table and calling, "Dinner's ready" to the kids outside, you will be eating healthier and will feel better in many ways. 

Now start planning - what are you having for dinner tonight?

Stacey


 

Vegetable Spotlight on Fennel

(Information from Farm-Fresh and Fast and Four Season Farm Gardner's Cookbook)
 

Fennel is an Italian import enjoyed by Thomas Jefferson in his gardens at Monticello. There are two types of fennel plants. Leaf fennel is grown as an herb with fernlike foliage, yellow flowers and tasty seeds. The bulb type, generally called Florence fennel, has been bred to widen at the bottom into a swollen mass of overlapping stem bases.

Its mild, slightly sweet black licorice-like flavor is more pronounced when served raw, but mellowed by cooking. Although most often used for its white, bulbous lower stem, its feathery leaves and thin green stems should also be saved. The fronds can be added to salads, used as garnish or as a herb. The green stems and any tough outer layers of the bulb flavor broths, roasted poultry or fish (discard before serving).

Small bulbs are best for raw use in salads, but larger, older bulbs can be used if the toughest outermost layers are removed and the interior ones thinly sliced (wash thoroughly and cut out any brown parts as you go). This is easy to do if you stack several of the curved layers, cupped together, grasp them at the top, and slice the bases thinly with a mandoline (available at Asian food stores - perfect for slicing vegetables thinly) Mature ones are also delicious roasted, grilled or braised. Fennel is one of those versatile vegetables that can enhance many dishes quite apart from those where it is featured alone.

To enhance fennel's characteristic licorice flavor, cook it with crushed fennel seeds or an anise-based liquor. Fennel can even be used in desserts. Serve fresh slices with soft goat cheese, figs and dessert wine, or candy it to serve alone or in lemony desserts.

Salad with Fennel and Oranges
(Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook)
1 head soft-leaf lettuce or the equivalent amount leaf lettuce
 1 medium-size fennel bulb, trimmed and scrubbed
2 oranges
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely shredded

1. Rinse and dry the lettuce leaves. Arrange on a platter or individual salad plates.
2. Quarter the fennel bulb lengthwise, and then cut out the core from each quarter with a large sharp knife. Break the overlapping pieces apart, and nesting them two at a time, slice crosswise on a the fine blade of a mandolin or on a box grater. Distribute over the lettuce.
3. Cut off the ends of the oranges and stand them on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, peel them from end to end, removing both peel and bitter pith. Slice the oranges crosswise into rounds and distribute over the lettuce and fennel.
4. Separate the onion slices and scatter them over the salad.
5. Combine the oil and vinegar in a small glass jar, and whisk or shake to blend thoroughly. Pour over the salad.
6. Sprinkle salad with salt and pepper to taste, and finally with the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Spicy Quinoa Salad With Broccoli, Cilantro and Lime
(New York Times)
Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups steamed broccoli florets (about 1/3 of a crown), steamed for 4 to 5 minutes then separated into smaller florets
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds (to taste)
  • 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons minced serrano or jalapeño chili (to taste)
  • ¼ cup split red lentils, soaked for 2 hours or longer and drained (optional)
  • 1 ounce crumbled feta cheese (1/4 cup)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pureed
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, broccoli, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, minced green chile, red lentils if using, feta and freshly ground pepper. Toss together.
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup whisk together lime juice, salt, and garlic. Add olive oil and whisk until amalgamated. Add to salad and toss together well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  3. Put hard-boiled eggs through a sieve and sprinkle over salad. Season if desired with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving with a few slices of avocado.
Native Americans full Moon names were created to help different tribes track the seasons. July's name is the Full Buck Moon as bucks begin to grow new antlers at this time. It is also known as the Rose Moon, the Hot Moon or the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.

Whatever the name it sure looks beautiful over the trees lining Byrds Creek.

Solar Harvest Group Buy for Farms and Residential Homes
 

Dear CSA Members,

We are excited to tell you about the Solar Harvest Group Buy being organized by the FairShare CSA Coalition and H&H Solar.  Solar is abundant, renewable, and can help you become energy independent.   Now is a great time to join the Solar Group Buy AND take advantage of other cost-saving incentives for solar power!  Learn about all the incentives in the Solar Harvest Brochure.  Anyone can join the group buy!

When you join, you not only save money, you also help the CSA farm movement!  For every system installed, H&H Solar will make a set donation to Fairshare’s grower education program which provides valuable programming for CSA farmers throughout the region and does important work connecting us (farmers) to you (eaters) and vice versa.  

There were 10 solar systems installed as part of the 2014 solar group buy.  Collectively, these systems saved over $17,500 in installation costs and H&H made a matching donation to FairShare.  Seven farms in the coalition now have solar power and those systems are doing very well.  See one system in action and surpassing projected energy production just 7 months after installation at this post.

Join the clean energy revolution, support a local business, and make a donation to Fairshare CSA Coalition.  Now your home’s energy can be produced by the sun, just like your veggies!  Click to learn more about Fairshare’s Solar Group Buy 2015.  

Thank you!

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