Week #11, Food Safety Inspection!

DATCP inspector Michael Barta reviews our hand and tool-washing arrangements, and a pile of paperwork and record-keeping.

We passed our first official inspection under the Federal Food Safety Act (FSMA), following a preliminary ‘walk through’ last year.  The inspection went well!  We passed!

FSMA is a big deal for us and for other 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.  Some of the early versions were awful, eg telling us to eliminate (ie kill) all wildlife. 

We started the process in a secure position, the result of two decisions Steve and I made when setting up our farm.  
1.  We do not use any surface water for irrigation, for example from a pond or creek.  Our deep irrigation well is much less vulnerable to contamination than surface water.  
2.  We don’t have any livestock on the farm, not even a flock of chickens.  Dealing with raw animal manure on a vegetable farm is tricky.  It can be done but brings a lot of risk.

Complying with this federal law has been intimidating at times.  I was given the training manual at left when taking a grower training two winters ago.  Compare that with the condensed version at right that we work from now.  

COVID-19 has forced changes for our farm, all of which benefit our food safety program.  Some of the changes were simply better organization.  I set up this tool washing station in our outdoor washroom and everyone immediately adopted it.  Defined storage for each tool, central storage for cleaning and sanitizing supplies, rubber gloves for everyone, color-coded pails (blue = sanitized, red = dirty).  I should have done this years ago.  Beth

We are hiring.

We have several openings for farmhands to replace crew members who are returning to school or pre-pandemic careers.  We offer valuable work, outdoors in a safe, friendly environment.  Plus you get to take home lots of healthy produce.  Please spread the word.  Learn more at http://bit.ly/TipiJobs .

Keeping basil fresh

As usual, I encourage you to store your basil at room temperature in a glass of water, just like a bouquet of flowers. Cold temperatures damage basil, and it will blacken in the fridge. However, I neglected to tell you that big, branched stems should be cut into small stems, to avoid wilting. A big stem like in the photo could wilt.

Look at the photo and you’ll see that we can get five stems from this plant. Wet the plant, then cut free the bottom two stems (below my thumb), then the next two stems up the stalk (above my thumb, one is hidden). Cut the main stem just above that. Put all the stems in water. You’ll have a few loose leaves to deal with but most leaves will still be attached. Use a sharp knife or shears!  

If your basil (or any greens) are already wilted, try submerging in a basil of water.  For basil, submerge just a few minutes in room temperature water.  For kale, lettuce or spinach, submerge for 15 minutes in cold water.  I hope this helps.

This week’s basil stems are less heavily branched but we’ll send big stems again in the future.  Beth

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #11, July 30/31, 2020
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Sweet corn, ~10 ears
Green beans, ~1/2 lb
Tomatoes, plum or slicing, 2 lb
Pepper, 1 small red bell or frying pepper
Zucchini/squash, maybe 1
Broccoli, 1 or 2 heads
Cucumbers, 1 or 2
Walla Walla onion 
Basil, 1 bunch
Some sites get red watermelon.  Some sites get muskmelon.  Some sites get a Korean melon.

Next week’s box will probably contain tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, melon, and other summer crops.

Sweet corn – There are far fewer bugs than last week.  Yeah!  This is a really nice batch of corn this week.
Watermelon – These are red, seeded melons.  If uncut, watermelon can be stored at room temperature for a week.  Refrigerate once it’s cut.
Muskmelon – Some are ripe and ready to eat.  Some need to ripen a day or two on your kitchen counter.  Keep at room temperature but refrigerate if not eaten within 2 – 3 days.
Korean melon (yellow, oblong) – These unusual melons are sweet and crisp, reminiscent of a good honeydew.  This new variety ‘Torpedo’ is an improvement over previous varieties. They are ready to eat. Refrigerate.


Visit our 2020 Recipe Log or our 2019 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 101
Broccoli Tomato Basil Salad
Tomato Cucumber Corn Panzanella
Tomato and Melon Salad with Basil Oil

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 202
Quinoa Veggie Bowl with Broccoli, Tomato, Sweet Pepper and Feta
Black Bean and Veggie Enchiladas 
Summer Squash and Tomato Sandwiches with Basil Mayo

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Roasted Fish with Tomato with Basil


Serves 2 generously.
Takes 25 minutes.

3 pieces bacon
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
10 twists black pepper
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
4-6 corn tortillas (we’re obsessed with the new Bandit Tortilleria in Madison!)
Sour cream, optional
Hot sauce, optional

  1. Prepare your bacon however you like. We always lay it out on a baking sheet and place it in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 400 degrees and the timer for 15 minutes for regular or 20 minutes for thick cut. Generally, this gets us perfect crispy (but not burnt) bacon every time. Drain on a paper towel and reserve for later.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add garlic, zucchini, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until the zucchini has dried out and begun to caramelize a bit, but is no where near close to burning or blackening. The garlic should also smell fragrant. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Roughly chop bacon and add to zucchini and garlic.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and milk until smooth.
  5. Add eggs to zucchini mixture and scramble gently with a spatula. We like to scramble our eggs over low heat. It will take about 10 minutes but they will be soft and tender every time. They won’t need constant attention. While you slowly scramble the eggs, feel free to prepare your sweet corn salsa (recipe below).
  6. To serve, warm tortillas however you like (dry skillet, microwave, toaster oven). Add eggs and top with salsa. Feel free to add sour cream or hot sauce if you desire. Devour immediately.

Sweet Corn Salsa
2 ear corn
1 pound diced tomatoes
1 colored pepper, finely chopped
1/2 Walla Walla onion, finely chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 twists black pepper

  1. Using a knife, remove the kernels from your ear of corn. You do not need to cook the sweet corn. It is milky and creamy when eaten raw.
  2. Combine corn and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Toss gently to combine.



Makes 1 quart

2 cucumbers, roughly chopped
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/3 cup lemon (or lime) juice
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water (or fizzy water), divided

  1. Combine cucumbers, basil, lemon juice, sugar and 2 cups water in a food processor or blender until cucumbers are finely chopped.
  2. Strain into a pitcher or large mason jar. Add remaining water and shake or stir to combine.
  3. Drink immediately or chill before stirring.


Serves 2-4
Takes 20 minutes

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed and halved
1/4-1/2 Walla Walla onion, sliced (as much or as little as you want is great!)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Flaky sea salt, to taste

  1. In a large skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add broccoli florets and cook about 10 minutes, until tender and charred in places. Season with salt.
  2. In a medium saucepan or kettle, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, add green beans and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine warm broccoli, cooled beans and onion. Toss with sugar, rice wine vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  4. Add roasted peanuts, sesame seeds and salt right before serving.


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