Week #20; Our first Food Safety review

From left; Beth; Michael Barta, Dept of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP); Steve.  Not in photo, Claire Strader of UW Extension.

We had our first, unofficial farm inspection under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  “Unofficial” because DATCP offers elective visits with an inspector, a chance to examine our farm without the pressure of an official inspection.  The inspector promises to take neither notes nor photographs.  It’s strictly informational.  Our visit was with DATCP inspector Michael Barta, as well as Claire Strader of UW Extension, who attends these meetings to offer resource support.

FSMA is a big deal for vegetable growers.  It’s a federal law intended to prevent outbreaks of food borne illness like E. coli and salmonella on lettuce, melons, etc.  The final law was years in the making.  Steve and I took FSMA training sessions this past winter and came home with intimidating 2-inch binders of detailed information.

We made two important decisions related to food safety when buying our farm in 2001.  First, we knew we wanted a farm with a good underground water supply, and therefore invested in a deep irrigation well.  Using surface water (lake, river) for irrigation can contaminate your produce.  Second, we chose to avoid all raw manure because of the human pathogens it often carries.  Therefore, no livestock, no using the neighbor’s manure, only using soil fertility amendments that we know are free of human pathogens. 

The visit went very well.  Claire and Michael’s first comment on entering our pack shed was “This is so clean and well organized.”  What a great start!   It was the middle of a busy work day and I silently thought “Actually, this is pretty messy.”  We worked through Michael’s list of topics, eliminating surface water and raw manure as issues right away.  They looked at our coolers, pack shed, produce containers, toilets, and fields.  We talked a lot about hand-washing and hidden sources of germs.  They identified a few things that need attention.  We have to do a better job documenting food-safety trainings that we hold for employees.  Apparently, we need a back-siphon preventer on our well.  There are record-keeping details that need attention.  

Over the past month, I prepared as if this were the official inspection, writing up protocols, holding training sessions with the crew, re-thinking some aspects of our pack shed.  When in doubt, my motto is always “Stun them with over-preparation.”  Honestly, I don’t know how else to function.

Now Steve and I are going to kick back and have a cold beer to celebrate.   Beth

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #20, Oct. 3/4, 2019
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Satina yellow potatoes, 3.5 lb
Leek(s), 1 – 1.25 lb
Green beans, ~3/4 lb
Red frying peppers, 4
Green (or green/red) bell pepper, 1
Orano snack pepper, 1
Broccoli OR Carnival acorn squash (by site)
Yellow onion
Parsley, 1 bunch
Jalapeno (HOT)

No tomatoes!  They took a nose-dive because of all the rain.

Next week’s box will probably contain sweet potatoes, green cabbage, green beans, yellow onion, poblano chiles and more.

CauliflowerStorage: Cover and refrigerate.  Should store for up to two weeks.

Yellow potatoes – These are good all-purpose potatoes, grown by our friends at Driftless Organics.  You will receive one of these varieties: ‘Wega’ (oblong and waxy looking) or  ‘Malou’ (round and a little lighter color of yellow).

Green beans – These are some of the best beans of the year.  That’s typical as we move into fall weather.  Beans grow nicely with cooler nights and less stress.  We’ll have more beans for you next week.  Storage: Keep in the paper bag but cover the entire paper bag with a plastic bag.  It’s a good system.  Left in just paper, the beans will wilt in your fridge.  With the second layer, they don’t wilt, nor do they rot in contact with the plastic bag..  Alternatively, move them into a closed container of your own.

Leeks (look like big scallions) – We love leeks, one of our favorite fall crops.  These alliums have a milder flavor than onions.  Nonetheless, they can be used in recipes that call for onions.  To wash, split the leek lengthwise, from the green tops about halfway to the base, leaving the base intact.  Rinse well under running water, separating the layers to flush.  If necessary, split the leek further if soil has penetrated more than halfway down the leek.  Shake dry.  Leeks are generally eaten cooked.  They can be sauteed, steamed or roasted.  Intact leeks will store 2 to 3 weeks if covered loosely and refrigerated.  The outer leaves will yellow.  Just peel them off and discard.  The inner leek layers will be fine.

Carnival acorn squash (for a few sites) – Another beautiful speckled acorn squash.  Use soon.  They are good now but will not store for long.


Visit our 2019 Recipe Log or our 2018 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics
Lemony Cauliflower Pasta with Bacon
Mashed Potato Puffs
Leek Sweet Pepper Crostini
Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes
Cauliflower Leek Blue Cheese Soup
Veggie Korma
Grilled Steak with Grilled Peppers and Leeks
Slow Braised Sweet and Hot Pepper Lentils

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Chicken and Cauliflower Paprikash



Adapted ever so slightly from the amazing Joshua McFadden Six Seasons cookbook

Takes 45 minutes
Serves 4 easily

1 pound potatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 red frying peppers, seeded and cut into juienne strips
1 leek (white and pale green parts only), cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 ounces ham, diced, optional
8 eggs
1/2 cup finely diced fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely grated Parmsan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put the potatoes in a stock pot and cover with water. Add a couple heavy pinches of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut into small bite-size chunks.
  3. Melt butter in a large heavy, oven-proof skillet (a cast-iron works great if you have one) over medium high heat. Add the peppers, leeks, onion and ham. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until the bell peppers have softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes to the skillet.
  4. Crack eggs into a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt, many twists of black pepper, parsley, and the shredded parmesan. Whisk until the eggs are nicely blended. Pour the eggs over the veggies.
  5. Reduce pan heat to medium and let the eggs sit for 2-3 minutes then carefully slip the spatula around the edges of the eggs, releasing them from the pan (allowing more liquid to flow underneath). Let the new layer of egg cook a bit and then repeat the process a couple more times, about 4 minutes. The top will still be runny but much of it will be set.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk ricotta lightly with salt and pepper so it’s more of a fluffy consistency. Dollop heaping spoonfuls of ricotta over the eggs in six or seven spots. Transfer to the oven to finish cooking, about 5 minutes. Let the frittata rest and then serve warm in wedges.

Adapted from the Dining In Cookbook

Takes 20 minutes
Serves 2 for a meal or 4 as a side

1 pound green beans
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
1 jalapeno, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided
Pinch sugar
Kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly  ground black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, cook your green beans for 5 minutes then drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. While you wait for the water to boil, you can do a few other things. First toast almonds (either in the oven or on the stove). Then in a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons vinegar with jalapeno, garlic, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt.
  3. In another small bowl, combine yogurt, tahini, water, remaining vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Once your beans have been blanched and cooled, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it glistens. Toss the blanched green beans in there and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook over medium high heat, stirring every minute or two until most sides of the green beans are a little charred (about 10 minutes).
  5. Serve by spreading yogurt mixture over a shallow bowl and topping with green beans. Sprinkle with quick pickled jalapenos and almonds before enjoying. Season with flaky sea salt (or more Kosher salt) and more freshly ground pepper before serving.


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