DIGGING DEEPER

Farm NewsLetter 06/06

NL 06 June

Laura’s Letter
What’s in the Share
ZF Summer Camp Article
Berries Article
Work Party Dates
Recipes: Fennel

Several months ago I was nominated by the Slow Food convivium in Portland to be part of the US delegation to the international Slow Food Conference, called Terra Madre. Last week I received the exciting news that I had been selected, along with 6 other farmers & chefs from Portland, to attend the conference in Turin, Italy in October. I feel extremely honored to be chosen and I am really excited about going!

Terra Madre is a unique event that brings together over 1500 food communities from 5 continents. At the event there will be over 5000 farmers, breeders, fishermen and traditional food producers, 1000 cooks and 200 universities represented. We will all meet for 4 days, to share experiences and discuss the development of a new concept of agriculture- good, clean, fair food for everyone

My relationship with Slow Food Portland started last winter when John Taboada, from Navarre asked me to do a talk with him called “CSA for a Restaurant.” The event sold out and I was really impressed with the audience’s enthusiasm and the lively discussion we had afterward. The members of Slow Food Portland that I met that afternoon, and in the months since, really care about food and the people who are behind it.

Slow Food International, founded in Italy in 1986, is an organization, whose aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenization of modern food and life. Through a variety of initiatives, it promotes gastronomic culture, develops taste education, conserves agricultural biodiversity and protects traditional foods at risk of extinction. It boasts over 80,000 members in over 100 countries.

Slow Food Portland, is one of more than 100 local chapters of Slow Food U.S.A., each called a “convivium,” that carry out the Slow Food mission on a local level. Slow Food Portland is the oldest convivium in the country (1991) and still among the largest. The members of Slow Food Portland — more than 500 to date — are a diverse group of food enthusiasts with a curiosity about food traditions and heritage, local artisanal products, sustainable agriculture and the protection of the biodiversity of our local and global food sheds. Members include home and professional chefs, caterers, growers, vintners, restauranteurs, food educators, and lots of ordinary people and families that like to cook and eat and know where their food comes from. More info available at slowfoodportland.com

Slow Food Portland is hosting two more events to raise money to send the delegates (including me!) to Italy in October. Save the Date:

Monday June 3rd at Nostrana: An afternoon conversation with Heritage Foods founder Patrick Martins. Cost $10. Space is limited so call today to sign up 503-234-2427. Heritage Foods is a non-profit organization formed in 2001 as the sales and marketing arm for Slow Food USA. It is dedicated to celebrating regional cuisines and products. Afterwards you’re welcome to stay for dinner at Nostrana if you want to.

Sunday July 23rd at Nostrana: Wine Tasting

Fennel, Onion, Orange & Walnut Salad
From Vegetables, By James Peterson

2 fennel bulbs 1 small onion
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup olive oil 3 navel oranges
salt & pepper

Pull off a small handful of the green frizzy fennel fronds and reserve. Cut the rest of the stalks where they join the bulb and discard or reserve for broth or grilling. Peel the outer fibers off the fennel bulbs with a paring knife or peeler and trim a thin slice off the root ends.
Slice the fennel bulbs crosswise as thin as you can with a vegetable slicer. Immediately toss the slices with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Slice the onion as thin as you can- a vegetable slicer is best for this- and rub the slices with teaspoon salt. Drain the slices in a colander for 15 min and then grab them up in your hand and squeeze as much water out of them as you can. Put the onion in the bowl with the fennel.
Toast walnuts on a sheet pan in a 350* oven for about 15 min or until they darken slightly and smell fragrant. Reserve.
Cut the flesh of the orange away from the peel and the skin. Toss rounds or wedges or orange very gently with all other ingredients. Coarsely chop the reserved fennel fronds and sprinkle over salad.

Italian Bean, Parsley, Fennel and Lemon Salad
From Vegetables, By James Peterson

This lemony little salad makes a delicious antipasto at an Italian dinner or a lovely side dish at any outdoor summer meal. It’s delicious with fennel, but you can also substitute celery, cut into 1/4” cubes.

2 cups cooked cannelloni beans
2 shallots
juice of 2 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 small fennel bulb
3 Tblsp chopped parsley or basil

In a bowl combine the beans with shallots, lemon juice and olive oil. Cut the fronds off the fennel where they attach to the bulb. Keep a few for garnish. Peel the stringy outermost membrane off the fennel bulb with a vegetable peeler and slice the bulb croswise into paper-thin slices with a vegetable slicer, then add the slices to the beans.
Chop the parsley just before serving so it doesn’t loose flavor and add to the beans and fennel. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss gently and serve at room temp.

Fennel Salad Notes (JP)
From Vegetables, By James Peterson

Fennel is delicious in salads, but must be shaved into very thin slices or it becomes difficult and monotonous to chew. A vegetable slicer is almost essential, and the fennel must be sliced only just before serving or it will turn brown and loose some it’s aroma and crunch. The best flavoring for shaved fennel is extra virgin olive oil and a little lemon juice, but you can also add shavings of authentic Italian Parmesan cheese. Fennel’s subtle flavor and refreshing crunch make it easy to combine with other ingredients to come up with interesting improvised salads. It’s great with potatoes, mushrooms, thinly sliced raw artichokes, baby leafy greens and even truffles.

Your share this week may include:
Beets Just little ones this week, but beautiful colors- deep crimson red, golden yellow and dark pink & white striped.
Broccoli The heads are pretty big now, but still sweet & tender.
Baby Carrots Need I say more!
Chard I often sauté the whole batch of chard and keep it in the fridge so it is ready at a moments notice to add to pasta, frittata, polenta…
Fennel This was a vegetable that took me awhile to warm up to, but now it’s one of my favorites. Shave it raw into salad with fresh orange, roast with root veggies or slice into a gratin.
Kale Red Russian has a pretty red blush through the veins, and Toscano is a savoy or crinkly dark green leaf.
Lettuce Heads Time for more summer salad!
Spring Onions They are getting a bit bigger, but you can still use the whole thing- greens and all.
Mustard Greens A traditional southern favorite, this green is spicy when raw but mellows when cooked.
Parsley Our first picking of this flat leaf Italian variety. It is really tasty, and we’ll have more through out the summer.
Peas The perfect sweet snack!

Coming Soon… Cauliflower & Savoy Cabbage!

BERRIES!
We are at the start of the season for amazing berries. Oregon has long been famous for producing high quality berries. In 2005, there were over 2300 acres of strawberries, 3500 acres of blueberries and 10,000 acres of caneberries planted throughout the state. Among that we find an increasing number of organic and sustainable producers.
Starting in June, local organic strawberries and raspberries should be widely available in the stores, farmers markets and at u-pick farms. Not far behind are blackberries, loganberries, marionberries, boysenberries, currants, blueberries and more. Get to Farmers Markets early as supplies of the berries, especially as they first come into season, are often limited. Try to get to u-pick farms early in the morning too. Berries picked at the peak of flavor are extremely perishable so keep the berries cool (but not cold) until you use them.
Check the labels on the fruit or at the farm and ask what various adjectives- natural, sustainably grown, no spray- mean. Buying certified organic assures you that no synthetic fungicides, pesticides, or herbicides have been used on the crop. However, small local farms may be using organic practices without going to the expense of being certified. I’m not going to try and solve the Organic vs Local debate here. Suffice it to say- if you ask you may find the best of both worlds, and you might meet some nice farmers along the way.
On select Tuesdays this season we will be offering cases of Ayers Creek Farm organic berries for sale. As different varieties come in to season, you will be able to pre-order cases of fruit the week before and pick up your fruit the following week. We hope to offer several varieties of raspberries, blackberries, and currants through the summer. There will be a sign-up sheet up at pickup, and probably an email notice as well. Ayers Creek Farm is run by Anthony and Carol Boutard and is located just outside of Gaston, Oregon. On roughly 100 acres they raise an amazing variety of crops, from grains to legumes to fruit. The varieties that they grow are chosen for their flavor, nutritional value and adaptability to the soil and climate of their farm. We are really looking forward to collaborating with them this season.
Additional Resources:
The only u-pick organic (but not certified) strawberry farm I know of is Square Peg Farm at 6370 NW Evers Rd., Forest Grove, OR 97116. Call in advance about hours and availability 503-357-1214
There is u-pick info at the Peoples coop website www.peoples.coop
To find certified organic producers contact Oregon Tilth at www.tilth.org .
For info about local farmstands and upick berries check out www.tricountyfarm.org
Find a farmers market near you at http://www.oregonfarmersmarkets.org/

The Farms:
Laura’s Farm (and house) 6632 SE 47th Ave, Portland
Zenger Farm 11741 SE Foster Rd., Portland www.zengerfarm.org
Luscher Farm 125 Rosemont Ave., West Linn

Work Parties are happening the 1st Saturday of every month from 1-5pm, followed by a Potluck BBQ 5-7pm
July 1st Zenger Farm: Trellising, Planting & Harvest Party
August 5th Luscher Farm: The Big Potato Dig
September 2nd Zenger Farm: Garlic Planting Party
October 7th Luscher Farm: Pumpkin & Squash Harvest Party

ZENGER FARM SUMMER CAMP 2006
“Connecting kids to the food they eat”.

Zenger Farm, located in Portland’s historic Lent’s neighborhood, is offering a series of summer camps connecting school-age kids with the food they eat. Zenger Farm is a one-of-a-kind working urban farm promoting sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship and local community development.
Each weeklong camp will provide kids with a unique opportunity to get their hands dirty working in the Kids’ Garden and helping our farmer tend her fields. Campers will pick snacks from heirloom fruit trees and harvest vegetables for lunch. And at the end of the week, families will be invited to join their child for a farmhouse lunch and see first-hand what they’ve learned throughout the week.
Zenger Farm welcomes up to 15 kids from the greater Portland area to make up each weekly
session. Camp days will run from 9am to 2pm, and a nutritious snack and lunch will be provided everyday. Boys and girls, ages 6-8, are invited to attend the week of July 17th through July 21st. Boys, ages 9-12, are invited to attend the week of July 31st through August 4th. And girls, ages 9-12, are invited to attend the week of August 7th through August 11th. The cost of a weeklong session is $200.
To find out more about Zenger Farm, go to www.zengerfarm.org. Sign up by May 31st to ensure a space for your child. To register, contact Sara Cogan, Youth and Family Programs Coordinator with Friends of Zenger Farm, at (503) 282-4245, or sara@zengerfarm.org.