DIGGING DEEPER

Farm NewsLetter 11/12/07

Week of November 12th, 2007

Winter Pickup Dates:
SE Portland Pickup:11/13, 12/4, 12/18, 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 2/19, 3/4, 3/18, 4/1, 4/15
Luscher Farm Pickup: 11/15, 12/6, 12/20, 1/10, 1/24, 2/7, 2/21, 3/6, 3/20, 4/3, 4/17

Great News this week! At long last we have signed a contract with the City of Lake Oswego to continue farming at Luscher Farm for another 3 years. Many of you worked tirelessly for months to make this happen and we will all continue to enjoy bountiful baskets of beautiful veggies thanks to your efforts! In pursuit of this goal the Friends of Farming group was formed and in addition to helping secure the lease, they have several other initiatives in the works. The group has actively engaged the other partners at the farm and is working increase the number and scope of educational opportunities available at Luscher. It would be great to see more kids there! They have also started work on a Sustainability Plan for the farm. If you are interested in helping with either of these projects feel free to contact me.

The Natural Step (www.ortns.org) has been a valuable tool for working on the Sustainablilty Plan and the Oregon chapter is hosting a breakfast with Josh Hinerfeld, CEO of Organically Grown Company (OGC) Tues. Dec 4th. “When it comes to food we often ask ourselves how do we weigh different attributes of our food choices: organic, fair trade, locally grown, lowest carbon footprint, least packaged and processed? Ideally, we look for food that meets all of these values.” Should be an interesting conversation about how organic farms and distributors are working towards true sustainability.

Last week we were able to finish seeding the last of the cover crops for the winter. I bought a disc this fall and used that to prep the soil. The action of the discs is less invasive than the rorotiller, but still stirs up the soil enough to uproot most of the weeds and incorporate some of crop residue. It worked great on crops that were already starting to break down and didn’t have much residue. It did NOT work as well on the winter squash field and I spent quite a bit of time trying to pull partially disked unripe pumpkins, hubbard, and other very hard skinned squash out of the equipment. Live and learn.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and we’ll see you in 2 weeks!

Quote for the Week: “There is no bad weather only bad gear.” Emmet, farm apprentice
Weather: Cold but sunny
Thanks to everyone for all your help!
Your share this week may include:

Beets This week we harvested the beautiful Italian heirloom variety called Chioggia. It is pink on the outside and striped red & white on the inside. If you really want to shake things up at Thanksgiving try making Barbie Mashed Potatoes –add a few beets or just a bit of the water you boiled them in to your mashed potatoes and turn them Bright Pink!
Broccoi Tasty and sweet – Packman is the variety this week.
Carrots Nelson has been and continues to be a great carrot variety for us this year.
Celery This is a crop we hope to have more of in the future. The stems are thick succulent, tender and sweet! And the leaves are tasty too.
Redbor Kale For the farm lunch today I sautéed this deep purple crinkly kale and put it onto pizza and in my very biased opinion it was awesome.
Yellow Onions We seem to be having trouble with our storage onions this year. Copra usually lasts through March, but it is starting to go bad already. If your onion is a little soft or browning on the outer layers just peel these off and use the good center part. I hope to discover what the problem is soon and I’ll let you know what I find out.
German Butterball Potatoes Whoever named these should win the potato marketing prize. These have slightly russeted yellow skin and sweet yellow flesh.
Pie Pumpkins Time for more pumpkin pie. Do not forget to roast off the seeds as this variety Snack Jack has incredibly tender tasty hulless seeds.
Rutabaga These are a cousin to the turnip and have a similar purple crown but the interior is a creamy yellow. Rutabagas, also known as Swedes, are more cold hardy than turnips and tend to keep better though the winter. “Mash them, scallop them, fry them, soup them, stew them…” from the 2007 Fedco Seed Catalog and I heartily concur!
Sweet Dumpling Squash This squash is very similar to the Delicata but has a squat acorn type shape. The dark orange stripe, however small, tells you it has reached full maturity and therefore will have that characteristic sweet rich flavor

Pumpkin Pie, American Woman’s Cookbook (circa 1943)
I got this cookbook from my grandmother. It is definitely an antique, and I don’t use it on a regular basis, but I do break it out every once in awhile to make a good old-fashioned recipe. This is one of the first, and still one of the few I have ever seen that actually calls for mashed cooked pumpkin to make the pie rather than the canned stuff.

1/8th teaspoon salt 1 2/3 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar 1 1/2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice* 1 pie shell
2 eggs slightly beaten

Sift dry ingredients together and stir into eggs. Add milk and pumpkin. Line pie pan with pastry and pour in filling. Bake in very hot oven (450 degrees) for 10 minutes; reduce temperature to slow (325 degrees) and bake 35 minutes more until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Makes 1 9-inch pie

* use 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger instead of pumpkin pie spice

Mashed Rutabaga with Onions
By Diana Rattray
From Southern Cuisine

Rutabaga and chopped onions are cooked together then mashed with butter.

INGREDIENTS:

* 1 rutabaga, diced (about 4 to 6 cups diced)
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

PREPARATION:
Cook rutabaga and onion in a small amount of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash; add butter, salt, and pepper. Mash rutabaga and onions well.
Mashed rutabaga with onions serves 4 to 6.