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In Your Share (Oct 3rd edition)

By Laura

Time to sign up for the winter share if you haven’t done so already! And put our next Volunteer Day on your calendar – Oct 21st at Luscher Farm

We managed to get a nice bit of cover crop seed planted between rain storms last week. The crimson clover is already germinating and should make some good green growth this fall. This is one of my favorite cover crops because it is versatile and beautiful! Don’t confuse crimson clover with red clover which actually has pink flowers and runners which make it hard to kill once it gets established in your garden. Crimson clover grows well in the cool fall weather and will protect the soil from erosion and compaction caused by the rain over the winter. The growth really takes off in the spring and if left  to flower it attracts a million beneficial insects to the field. It is a legume so if tilled in after it reaches maturity it can contribute up to 125lbs of nitrogen per acre too. We bought our seed from directly from Jim Bronec at Praying Mantis Farm in Canby. Naomi’s Farm Supply and Portland Nursery also both have a good selection of cover crop seed if you what to try some in your garden.

This week your share may include…

  • Cilantro: These are tiny little bunches, but they’ll make a nice addition to salsas or southeast asian dishes.
  • Daikon Radish: These look really good! I like to grate them raw into salads, but they make a mean pickle too. This recipe is easy & awesome with Bánh Mì, the spicy Vietnamese baguette pork sandwich.
  • Eggplant: The long skinny asian varieties are tasty and more productive for us than the traditional italian vareities. Most of what you see in the share will be the dark purple Orient Express and the pink Orient Charm. These varieties can be used exactly as you would use the regular eggplant. I’ve posted one of my favorite recipes for a simple spanish eggplant salad here. Last Sunday’s NY Times magazine had several nice  variations on the eggplant theme here.
  • Fennel: The mild anise flavored bulb is very versatile – it can be shaved into salads and is also great in gratins. Today I grated it into a salad with the napa cabbage, lots of cilantro, and jicama with a lime vinagrette. It went great with the burritos I made for the farm crew lunch. More ideas here.
  • Napa (Chinese) Cabbage: We’ve had a bumper crop this year and these nice big heads are the grand finale!
  • Peppers, Anaheim:  These peppers have just a hint of heat and they really shine in traditional southwest and mexican cooking. I made some great corn & roasted chile salsa last week. This is a good recipe for stuffed peppers and once you have the basics you can get creative and come up with lots of variations on this theme. In this taco filling recipe from Rick Bayless I use anaheim chiles as a substitute for  fresh poblanos.
  • Peppers, Green: These are nice thick walled sweet bell peppers.
  • Peppers, Jalapeno: Time for salsa!
  • Tomatoes, Stupice: These small early tomatoes continue to be tasty and productive throughout the season.
  • Tomatoes, Heirlooms: This is probably the last week of red tomatoes. We have Brandywine, Moskovitch, Azoychka, German Striped, Black, Zapotec Pleated and more varieties to chose from. The rain has caused many to split so take them home and eat immediately!

Coming soon… Green Tomatoes!!

In Your Share (Sept 19th edition)

By Laura

This could be the peak of the tomato season!! Keep you fingers crossed for some sun so we can keep picking for a few more weeks.

This week on the farm we’re just trying to keep up with all the harvesting! Summer crops are still going strong but we also need to bring in the storage crops like potatoes, onions, dry beans and popcorn. In fields that we have finished harvesting we plan to start seeding cover crops soon.

This week your share may include…

  • Basil: You can chose from several varieties this week. Thai basil has green leaves with purple stems & flowers – it’s minty fragrance adds a distinctive flavor to many southeast asian recipes. Genovese basil is all green and the classic variety of traditional italian pesto. Purple basil can be used like the Genovese but I also sometimes showcase the intense dark purple color by adding some leaves to summer salads.
  • Corn: Some of our sweet corn has crossed with the popcorn we are growing nearby. We have tried to pick only the good ears, but if you see a few pink and purple kernals or if it tastes a bit starchy you’ll know what happened. Sorry about that – next year we’ll be planting them much further apart!
  • Eggplant: The long skinny asian varieties are tasty and more productive for us than the traditional italian vareities. Most of what you see in the share will be the dark purple Orient Express and the pink Orient Charm. These varieties can be used exactly as you would use the regular eggplant. I’ve posted one of my favorite recipes for a simple spanish eggplant salad here.
  • Fennel: The mild anise flavored bulb is very versatile – it can be shaved into salads and is also great in gratins. More ideas here.
  • Mizuna: This is one of my favorite asian greens as it is very mild and can be used in salads or sauteed.
  • Peppers, Anaheim:  These peppers have just a hint of heat and they really shine in traditional southwest and mexican cooking. I made some great corn & roasted chile salsa this week. This is a good recipe for stuffed peppers and once you have the basics you can get creative and come up with lots of variations on this theme.  I often use Anaheim’s to substitute for regular green bell peppers in recipes too.
  • Peppers, Jalapeno: Time for salsa!
  • Summer Squash: The much maligned courgette will produce obscenely large fruit if you turn your back on it this time of year. We harvest regularly so you always have a wide variety of shapes and sizes to choose from. Take larger ones if you want to make zucchini bread. The smaller fruit can be steamed whole.
  • Tomatoes, Stupice: These small early tomatoes continue to be tasty and productive throughout the season.
  • Tomatoes, Heirlooms: This week may be the absolute peak of the tomato season! We have Brandywine, Moskovitch, Azoychka, German Striped, Black, Zapotec Pleated and more varieties to chose from. Some are beautiful, all are incredibly flavorful!

Coming soon… Sweet Gypsy Peppers and Tomatillos!!

In Your Share (June 27th edition)

By Laura

The 4th of July is coming up this weekend and just wanted to let you know that we’re not going to do our usual Farm Work Party. Your next opportunities to volunteer on the farm will be Friday July 22nd & Saturday August 6th. Hope you can join us then!

I made baked polenta for the crew lunch this week with lots of sauteed onions, garlic and greens. We had it with a baby lettuce salad and baguettes with radish butter.

This week your share may include…

  • Arugula: This is so good right now! One of my favorite things at Nostrana’s is this super simple salad they make with flank steak & arugula.
  • Cilantro: Everyone thinks it’s just for tomato salsa, but in fact cilantro is also used all over southeast asia. I went back to Pok Pok a few weeks ago and it was – as always – extraordinary! Their recipe for Spicy Citrus Dipping Sauce makes inspired use of cilantro.
  • Joi Choy: Slice the thick stems and saute them for a minute before adding the rest of the greens. An essential ingredient in stir fry and soba noodle salad, but more versatile than that. I used them with baked polenta today and they would also be great in Shareholder Dave Culpepper’s Green Soup.
  • Green Garlic: We planted these small garlic cloves last fall especially for spring harvest. The lighter green bottom of the stalk is the most tender part. The upper stem has good flavor but is not as tender so plant to cook it longer or use it for soup stock. The whole plant has a nice mild garlic flavor.
  • Garlic Scapes: The flowering stalk of the garlic plant is tender when it first emerges and begins to coil. Later the stalks straighten and bloom with beautiful purple or white flowers. When eaten raw the flavor is quite sharp, but after cooking it is much milder. There is a bit of rust on the ends so you can snip that part off.
  • Kohlrabi: They look like an alien space ship! But they are in fact a very mild easy to use cousin to broccoli. Peel the outer layer off and the sweet crunch center can be eaten raw, steamed or sauteed. Not surprisingly, it tastes similar to the broccoli stem. The greens are great too – use them like you would kale or collards.
  • Lettuce Mix: The salad this week is a beautiful mix of baby lettuces.
  • Peas: Hip Hip Hooray for peas! These are sugar snap peas which means you can eat the sweet crunchy pods too.
  • Radish: These cute little red radish bunches are sill going strong. The round red variety is Cheriette and the elongated red and white variety is French Breakfast. Tops are good to eat too – saute them with choy or turnip greens. I mentioned it up above, but I can’t recommend enough this recipe for radish butter. The crunchy zing of the radish adds a freshness & beautiful red color to the butter. Spread on good bread with a pinch of salt – yum!
  • Spring Onions: These onion sets were planted in February when we had a short but lovely bit of dry weather.  The green tops and any flower stems poking out are edible too.

Coming soon… Fava Beans!!

 

In Your Share (June 6th edition)

By Laura

We had a great work party this weekend – THANK YOU to everyone who came and helped us plant tomatoes, weed fava beans and seed popcorn : ) We got lots done and had a fun time too. Here is the schedule for the rest of the summer work parties & volunteer days. Hope to see you out at the farm!!

This week I think I’ll make my favorite sesame & soba noodle salad. It would be great way to use all those greens – napa cabbage, mizuna, mustards, raab and even radish tops would be a fine substitute for the more traditional choi. The green garlic & spring onions will go well with it too. Try my recipe here or another variation from CookWithWhatYouHave.com

This week your share may include…

  • Carrots: Same as last week just a bit bigger thanks to all the sunshine. The variety is Nelson, which is sweet and versatile growing well in spring, summer, & fall.
  • Fava Leaves: These are my new favorite addition to salad! They have an interesting complex flavor – sweet, nutty, with a hint of artichoke – seriously!
  • Mixed Brassica Greens: Your choice of Mizuna, Mustards or Spring Raab bunches.
  • Green Garlic: We planted these small garlic cloves last fall especially for spring harvest. The lighter green bottom of the stalk is the most tender part. The upper stem has good flavor but is not as tender so plant to cook it longer or use it for soup stock. The whole plant has a nice mild garlic flavor.
  • Lettuce Heads: These beautiful heads came from our new high tunnels. The high tunnel is a very basic greenhouses with metal hoops and a single layer of plastic covering. It just keeps the rain off and raises the temperature a few degrees. This one doesn’t even have sides on it right now, but the lettuce inside is weeks ahead of the lettuce outside. Varieties are both loose leaf types –  Tropicana  and New Red Fire.
  • Napa Cabbage -Wonderful baby heads are perfect cut in half & grilled or put under the broiler with a dash of olive oil.
  • Radish: These cute little red radish bunches are the first of the season. The variety is Cheriette and I’ve been impressed with their smooth bright red roots and not too spicy flavor. Tops are good to eat too.
  • Sweet Spring Onions: These sweet Walla Walla type onions  were planted last fall and grew well over the winter. The green tops and any flower stems poking out are edible too. Good on the grill or as a pizza topping.

Coming soon… Onion Scapes!!

 

In Your Share (May 30th edition)

By Laura

Everyone is invited to join us for the Work Party this weekend!! We’ll be at Luscher Farm on Sat June 4th working from 1-5pm followed by a potluck BBQ. You can drop by anytime and there will be projects for people of all ages and abilities. Come out for a fun day on the farm!!

  • Arugula: This is the best time of year for perfect tender tasty arugula salad – yum.
  • Carrots: These are tiny this week but growing fast. The variety is Nelson, which is sweet and versatile growing well in spring, summer, & fall.
  • Chard: I have very fond memories of picking swiss chard from my parents garden and making Swiss Card Bisque with my mother and grandmother. Here is the old fashioned original recipe. This chard was planted last season, survived the winter and grew back nicely this spring. On Sunday, I was on the tractor until dark and hadn’t given a thought to dinner. I sauteed onions, green garlic and heaps of chard then put it over pasta with a bit pa parmesan. It was fast, easy & yum : )
  • Green Garlic: We planted these small garlic cloves last fall especially for spring harvest. The lighter green bottom of the stalk is the most tender part. The upper stem hs good flavor but is not as tender so plant to cook it longer or use it for soup stock. The whole plant has a nice mild garlic flavor. Good on the grill or as a pizza topping. I think these (and the leeks for that matter) could easily be adapted to the Barcelona tradition of calçotada.
  • Lettuce Heads: These beautiful heads came from our new high tunnels. The high tunnel is a very basic greenhouses with metal hoops and a single layer of plastic covering. It just keeps the rain off and raises the temperature a few degrees. This one doesn’t even have sides on it right now, but the lettuce inside is weeks ahead of the lettuce outside. Varieties are both romaine types –  Coastal Star (green) and Outredgeous (red from Frank Morton)
  • Pea Shoots: We’re still waiting for the pea pods to mature, but in the meantime we can enjoy the tasty shoots. These are the greens from the pea plant they have a sweet pea flavor similar to the pods. They are good in salad or can be sauteed too.
  • Radish: These cute little red radish bunches are the first of the season. The variety is Cheriette and I’ve been impressed with their smooth bright red roots and not too spicy flavor. Tops are good to eat too.
  • Sweet Spring Onions: These sweet Walla Walla type onions  were planted last fall and grew well over the winter. The green tops and any flower stems poking out are edible too.

Coming soon… hakuri salad turnips!!

 

In Your Share (May 23rd edition)

By Laura

We were quite happy for the sunshine and got lots more stuff planted. We even turned the irrigation on, but then the rains returned. This week we’ll hopefully be planting tomatoes and winter squash!

  • Cauliflower: This is my favorite time of year for cauliflower! These varieties wrap their leaves tightly around the head to protect it then they burst forth in all their perfection. Cameron & Maystar are the varieties we are picking this week. Try Kelly’s Cauliflower Carpaccio and Lane’s Cauliflower Risotto.
  • Chard: I have very fond memories of picking swiss chard from my parents garden and making Swiss Card Bisque with my mother and grandmother. Here is the old fashioned original recipe. This chard was planted last season, survived the winter and grew back nicely this spring.
  • Green Garlic: We planted these small garlic cloves last fall especially for spring harvest. The lighter green bottom of the stalk is the most tender part. The upper stem hs good flavor but is not as tender so use it for soup stock. The whole plant has a nice mild garlic flavor. Good on the grill or as a pizza topping. I think these (and the leeks for that matter) could easily be adapted to the Barcelona tradition of calçotada.
  • Leeks: These were planted last fall and have grown well over the winter. They are not huge, but they have nicely blanched stems that can be used to replace onions in almost any dish. The darker green tops are not as tender, but they make a fabulous soup stock. Here is a recipe specifically for making leeks into calçotada, including the yummy romesco dipping sauce.
  • Parsley: This variety is aptly named Survivor and was created by one of my favorite local seed breeders Frank Morton at Wild Garden Seeds. Frank has spent years developing varieties that are specifically adapted for our region and for organic systems. Read more about why that matters here.
  • Pea Shoots: We’re still waiting for the pea pods to mature, but in the meantime we can enjoy the tasty shoots. These are the greens from the pea plant they have a sweet pea flavor similar to the pods. They are good in salad or can be sauteed too.
  • Sweet Spring Onions: These Walla Walla type onions  were planted last fall and grew well over the winter. The green tops are edible too.
  • Cherry Tomato Starts: We’ll grow lots of slicing and heirloom tomatoes on the farm and you can grow your own cherry tomatoes! We have several types of cherry tomato starts for you to choose from this year. We give out the plants because these are so easy to grow in your garden or even in a pot on our deck.

Coming soon… onions scapes & baby lettuce heads!!

 

In Your Share (Jan. 3rd edition)

By Laura

Happy New Year!! The freezing weather this week has made for a challenging harvest. Nice to see the sunshine and not have to slog in the mud, but burrrrrrrr it is cold out there!

This week your share may include…

  • Beets: We chipped these Winterkeeper beets out of the frozen ground. What an amazingly hardy variety this is! In December we covered some of the beds with floating row cover and I think that did help keep them a few degrees warmer. Unfortunately the row cover also made for VERY good field mouse habitat so I’ll apologize in advance for any nibbles you may see around the edges.
  • Brussel Sprouts: This has been a great season for sprouts. The variety is Diablo this week.
  • Collard Greens: These still looked great despite several days of below freezing temperatures. The variety this week is Top Bunch
  • Kale: These were a bit wilted when we picked them, but will spring back to life quickly if you give them a dunk when you get home. I put the wilty ones in some soup today and the flavor is still quite sweet. But I think they’ll last longer if you rinse them and store in a plastic bag in the crisper of the fridge.
  • Onions: Yellow Copra & Red Zepplin are the varieties this week.
  • Potatoes: The red potato Desiree is a versatile enough for almost any kind of cooking. It is pinkish red with creamy light yellow flesh and makes a good general cooking potato. This website had an interesting way of describing potatoes on the continum from waxy to floury.
  • Dried Herbs: A nice selection of bay leaves, sage, thyme or rosemary. Thanks to Linda at the Rogerson Clematis Collection for sharing their herbs with us this summer!
  • Winter Squash: This week you’re getting a French heirloom squash called Melonette Jaspée de Vendée. It’s the first time we’ve grown it, and I liked it’s smaller size and sweet flavor. It was also fairly productive especially given that last summer’s season started so late. It is a round buff-coloured (jaspée; after the crystalline stone jasper) fruit covered with a cantalope type netting. The texture is similar to a spaghetti squash. I cut them in half & roasted it cut side down on a cookie sheet with a bit of olive oil. We quartered the cooked squash and thought the flesh was sweet enough to serve with just a bit of salt & pepper.

Coming soon… Sprouting Broccoli!

In Your Share (July 19th edition)

By Laura

This week your share may include…

  • Collard Greens: The heat wave kicked these into high gear! Big tender leaves are good sauteed or chop them into slaw.
  • Fava Beans: Yum! A bit of work, but worth the effort. This is a good article about favas including tips on shelling and recipes.
  • Garlic: These are still not completely dried down so the cloves are plump and juicy. The variety is Music.
  • Kohlrabi: Don’t be afraid! Never before have you met such a versatile vegetable. Peel off the outer skin and inside you find a sweet treat – imagine a cross between Jicama & Broccoli. Good raw with dip or grated on salads. Want to cook it – they’re good roasted or sauteed. And they’d make a fabulous fritter!
  • Lettuce Heads: Huge tasty crispy sweet heads of romaine lettuce this week. The green is Costal Star and the red, Outredgeous, was bred and selected right here in the PNW for organic production by Frank Morton at Wild Garden Seeds.
  • Spring Onions: The bulbs are getting bigger and these Red Tropea have nice big greens on them too.
  • Potatoes: These Yukon Gold’s are so new the tender skins have hardly set.
  • Rosemary: Goes great with roasted new potatoes!
  • Summer Squash: All shapes, sizes and colors! Brush lightly with olive oil and grill…
  • TOMATOES!! Despite the miserable spring, our early tomatoes are right on time. Couldn’t have done it without those hoop houses! We’ve trialed lots of early varieties, but Stupice -originally from Czechoslovakia – is by far the best tasting one we’ve found.

Coming soon… walla walla onions!