Farm Newsletter

Week #13, The derecho missed us.


We are very fortunate that Monday’s derecho skipped our farm on its path of destruction across the Midwest.  We were close to the edge of the storm, which left us 2.2 inches of rain and this beautiful rainbow.   The day before, the weather forecast predicted 0.15 inches rain, so this was quite a change.  We welcome the rain but worry for the Iowa’s farmers who had 10 million acres of crops damaged or destroyed.  What a loss.

Tossed Melons


You cannot choose to join our melon harvest crew; you have to audition.  Auditions are held at lunch.  Billy tosses a melon to random people to check their reflexes.  Once the melon is dropped and cracked, auditions are over and they eat the melon.  
Above, Steve (out of view) chooses ripe melons, then tosses to Billy (in back), who tosses to Maggie on the wagon.


Maggie washes the melon and …


… tosses to Anna who puts it in a bin.  

Once we’re done, Steve goes in the house to lie down on the floor a bit and stretch his back.  It’s a big job.  Beth

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #13, August 13/14, 2020
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Sweet corn, ~10 to 11 ears
Green beans, 1.3 lb
Slicing & plum tomatoes, ~3 lb
Red Summercrisp lettuce
Red frying pepper, 1
Cucumbers or pickles
Walla Walla onion
Basil, a few sprigs
By site, orange watermelon OR muskmelon.

Next week’s box will probably contain tomatoes and other summer vegetables.

Sweet corn – This planting is the ‘Vision’ variety, the same as last week.  We hope you enjoy it.  We think it is a terrific variety.

Pickles – Some people get normal slicing cucumbers, some get Silver Slicer cukes, some get pickles.  Of course, pickles can be used for refrigerator pickles but are really great as a crisp salad cucumber too.

RECIPES

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

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 101
Parmesan Corn on the Cob
Pepper and Watermelon Salsa
Composed Salad with Tunafish and Boiled Eggs

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 202
Corn and Wild Rice Fritter
Garlic Basil Marinated Veggie and Fruit Kebabs
Tofu, Green Bean, Bell Pepper Stir Fry with Rice

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Summertime Paella

RECIPES FROM LAUREN


SWEET CORN, WALLA WALLA, & BASIL PIZZA
Makes 1 pizza
Serves 3-4
Takes 45 minutes

1/2 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3 ears sweet corn
1/2 Walla Walla, finely chopped
1/2 batch favorite pizza dough (or 1 store-bought pizza crusts)
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. While you wait for the oven to preheat, prepare you basil sauce. Combine basil, garlic, lemon and salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine then add olive oil and slowly incorporate.
  3. Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Once boiling, cook corn for 3 minutes.* Rinse under cold water.
  4. Use a knife to remove kernels from ears. Place in a medium bowl along with onion.
  5. When oven is pre-heated, roll out crust and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Spread basil sauce on pre-baked crust. Top with sweet corn mixture and shredded cheese. Finish with red pepper flakes. Bake for 10-15 minutes longer until crust and cheese are golden brown.
  7. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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SWEET CORN POLENTA WITH GRILLED TOMATOES
Takes 30 minutes
Serves 4-6

2 pounds tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons butter
2 ears sweet corn, kernels cut off cob (no need to cook first!)
1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup polenta (also known as corn grits, cornmeal or polenta; I’m obsessed with this polenta from my friends at Meadowlark Organics)

  1. Preheat your grill to medium high heat. Alternatively, if you don’t have a grill, preheat the broiler of your oven.
  2. In a medium bowl combine tomato slices with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss gently to combine. Place on preheated grill. Grill for 10-15 minutes until blackened on both sides. Remove to a bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, get your polenta going. You can easily walk away from your grilling veggies for 5 minute intervals to do this inside, but if you have a burner on your grill, by all means use that to make the polenta!
  4. In a large stock pot or sauce pan, melt butter. Add corn, pepper, remaining salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until beginning to soften (about 5 minutes). Add in water and milk. Increase heat to medium high and wait for mixture to just begin bubbling. Stir once or twice with a whisk while waiting for it to bubble to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Pour in polenta slowly, whisking while you pour them in to create a smooth texture. Reduce heat to a low simmer and continue whisking every couple minutes to keep the mixture from clumping or sticking. When polenta looks creamy and consistent, it’s ready! It can cook very quickly, about 10 minutes. If they cease up while you prepare other parts of your meal, just cook them over low heat and add more milk until they have the desired consistency.
  6. Add about a half cup of polenta to a large bowl, top with tomatoes.

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LATE SUMMER GREEN BEAN SALAD
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Serves 4
Takes 20 minutes.

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half if large (about 4-5 cups)
1 head washed lettuce, thinly sliced
1/2 Walla Walla onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2-3 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt, for serving

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 4 minutes then rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a towel.
  2. Toss together lettuce, beans, onion, and tomatoes in a large bowl (or four small bowls). Top with feta and walnuts.
  3. Whisk sherry vinegar with dried oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic. Once combined, whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. Drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with a little extra flaky sea salt right before serving.

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Week #12, Tomato care


Another spectacular sunset.  What a joy.


Ripe (top) and less ripe tomatoes (bottom).

Tomato care, Basil care

This week’s tomatoes will hold better than last week’s.  We were late to recognize problems in our earliest planting.  We have stopped harvesting the problematic varieties, and have minimized washing to avoid bruising.  You might need to wash some of your tomatoes but we think it’s worth the effort to help keep them in better condition.  The cooler temperatures this week help a lot too.

Steve and I were trying to figure out how we missed these issues at harvest last week.  Then we realized “Oh, we were in a food safety inspection that day.”  

Tomatoes retain their best flavor and texture when stored at room temperature, no lower than 55oF.  However, you should refrigerate your tomatoes if they are fully ripe and you don’t expect to eat them right away.  It is better to sacrifice a little flavor and texture than to lose your tomatoes to rot.  Also, fully ripe tomatoes are less sensitive to chilling injury.

As usual, we pack a mix of ripe and less-ripe tomatoes so you can stretch them through the week.  The top tomatoes in the photo above are ready to eat.  The bottom tomatoes can ripen at room temperature for a few days.


(Left) I encourage you to spread your tomatoes on plates so you can watch them.  Eat first the ripest ones or any showing flaws.  The yellow arrow shows small inconsequential flaws that will grow with time.  Eat now.

(Right) Expect to wash your tomatoes.  We handle the ripe tomatoes as little as possible to avoid bruising. The purple arrows show leaf residue bits stuck to the tomato.  Wet the tomato and the residue will come right off.


This week’s basil is a branched stalk that needs to be cut into smaller stalks (at the arrows) before putting into a jar of water and storing at room temperature.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #12
– Weekly shares
– EOW/  purple
– Sampler/ sun

Green beans, 1.5 lb
Carrots, ~2 lb
Slicing tomatoes, ~3 lb
Lettuce, Summercrisp
Zucchini, probably 1
Red peppers (bell or frying), probably 2
Walla Walla onion
Basil, 1 medium bunch
By site, cucumber OR pickles OR broccoli OR eggplant
By site, muskmelon OR watermelon.

Next week’s box will probably contain tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, melon and more.

Basil – I realize that we have sent a lot of basil this summer but it is lush and beautiful so we’re happy to share it. Please freeze any extra. You’ll be glad to have it in winter, or even later this season.

Muskmelon (for some sites) –  Some melons 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.

Watermelon (for some sites) – These are red, seeded melons.  If uncut, watermelon can be stored at room temperature for a week.  Refrigerate once it’s cut.

Korean melon (for some sites; yellow, oblong) – These unusual melons are sweet and crisp, reminiscent of a good honeydew.  This new variety ‘Torpedo’ is an improvement over previous varieties.  The melon is ready to eat if the color is rich yellow and the melon is pleasantly fragrant.  If there’s a tinge of green, ripen the melon at room temperature for no more than three days.  Refrigerate once ripe.

Cucumbers (for some sites) – We now have both normal and Silver Slicer cucumbers to share.  We’ll scatter the Silver Slicers among the boxes as they are ready.  They are medium-sized white cucumbers with thin skins.  They can be used interchangeably with slicing cucumbers in recipes, or mixed together.  However, their best use is as a snack.  Hand these to the kids on the ride home from picking up your CSA box.  There’s no need to peel them.  As usual, store all types of cucumbers in the warmest part of your fridge.


Typical slicing cucumbers (top) and smaller ‘Silver Slicer’ cukes (bottom).

RECIPES

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

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 101
Carrot Apple Muffin
Grilled Green Beans
Black Beans with Vegetables and Yellow Rice

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 202
Grilled Zucchini and Tomato Lettuce Wraps
Soba Noodles with Shrimp, Carrots, Pepper and Green Beans in Lime Peanut Sauce
Roasted Carrot White Bean Dip with Basil

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Penne with Green Beans and Tomatoes

RECIPES FROM LAUREN


GREEN BEANS WITH BUTTER & ALMONDS
Takes 20 minutes
Serves 1-4

1 teaspoon neutral cooking oil (I love hazelnut oil if you happen to have it, otherwise plain old Canola will do just fine)
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup almonds, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Flaky sea salt, optional 

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet. As usual, cast-iron is best. Add green beans, turn the heat up to medium high and cook for 5 minutes, until the beans start to blacken in place.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water, turn the burner down to medium, and cook until no water remains, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking 2 minutes longer than add your almonds. Cook until mixture smells nutty and almonds are toasted, about 2 minutes more.
  3. Remove the pan from heat. Add butter and swirl the pan until it melts. Serve immediately. Season with flaky sea salt.

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BUTTER BALSAMIC ROASTED CARROTS
Takes 30 minutes
Serves 2 as a side or 1 as a meal

2 bunches very small (almost baby) carrots or 1 large bunch carrots (ideally with greens)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  1. Remove carrot tops and set to the side for Carrot Top Chimichurri. If using very small carrots, you can leave them whole and halve the ones that are more “small” then “very small” lengthwise. If using a larger bunch, halve small carrots lengthwise and/or quarter the largest ones. The smaller the better. We want these beauties to get very tender.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat in a large heavy skillet (cast-iron is preferable). Add carrots and season with salt. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until carrots are just beginning to char in places.
  4. Place in oven and roast for another 10 minutes, until carrots are very tender and charred in more places.
  5. Add maple syrup and balsamic. Toss to combine, making sure any juices that are collecting at the bottom of the pan are coating the carrots as best they can. Roast additional two minutes until sauce caramelizes.
  6. Serve carrots warm with chimichurri sauce.

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BASIL BALSAMIC BLT
Takes 30 minutes
Serves 4

8- 12 pieces of bacon (less if thick-cut, more if thin)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
Handful of additional basil leaves
1/2 head lettuce
8 slices toasted bread, preferably sourdough
1 pound tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Flaky sea salt

  1. Lay bacon flat on a baking sheet (in a single layer) and place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 400 degrees and set the timer for 20 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your bacon, it should be perfectly cooked after 20 minutes. It will take a bit longer if thick-cut. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together mayo, garlic and basil.
  3. Spread mayo mixture on all slices of toasted bread. Top half of the slices with 3 or 4 lettuce leaves followed by a few basil leaves, press it down slightly and then add bacon (2-3 slices per piece of bread). Add 1-2 thick slices of tomato followed by a drizzle of balsamic and pinch of sea salt. Top with remaining pieces of toast. Enjoy!

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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.

RECIPES

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

RECIPES FROM LAUREN


ZUCCHINI BREAKFAST TACOS WITH SWEET CORN SALSA
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.

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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.

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CUCUMBER BASIL AQUA FRESCA

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.

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BROCCOLI & GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH PEANUTS
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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Week #10; A Good Week


This was a good week, following difficult times after a lightning strike two weeks ago.  We’ve gotten almost everything repaired, including the expensive controller for our irrigation well.  We held our breath on that one.  Once the controller was fixed, we could test the pump and fortunately it was not damaged.  We still need to get electronics for our solar array fixed but have not yet been able to line up someone to do the repairs.  (photo credit Ari P-K)


There’s been plenty of rain for most crops, except our young carrot plantings.  We seeded a sequence of carrot fields right before the lightning strike.  The carrots need steady moisture to emerge.  Usually we irrigate lightly for 12 days.  This year we had to rely on rain as it took over a week to get the irrigation well running again.  So far the fields look fine because there was enough rain to keep the tiny seeds moist as they germinated. (photo credit Ari P-K)


We harvested almost our entire garlic crop over the past week.  There’s still a few hundred bulbs to pull.  We dry the garlic upstairs in our well-ventilated barn, laying the stalks on overturned wooden bins.  The masked bandoleer is neighbor/employee/friend Karen who helps with garlic every year.  She grows seed garlic on her farm, so I rely on her expertise as we harvest our garlic crop.


We have to say goodbye to employee David (left, harvesting your basil with Ben).  David returned to work for us during the pandemic, but now is leaving for a job in his field (wine making).  We were glad to have him back – he’s worked for us several times over the past ten years, when he’s been available between other adventures.

The basil is growing extraordinarily well this year so we’re sending another nice bunch.  We usually overplant in anticipation of losing some to to disease.  Instead, it is unexpectedly lush.  We’ll continue to send it frequently.  If it’s too much, freeze some for winter.  You’ll be glad you did.


All our farm work is so much easier in the cooler weather!  Zoe brings in the bean harvest.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #10, July 23/24, 2020
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ purple
– Sampler/ sun

Sweet corn, ~8 ears
‘Caraflex’ cabbage
Green beans, 3/4 lb
Cherry tomatoes, 1 pint
Tomatoes, a few slicing or plum tomatoes
Cucumbers, 3
Green bell pepper, 1 small
Walla Walla onion, 1 large
Basil, 1 bunch
Each site gets globe eggplant OR broccoli OR zucchini OR extra corn.

Next week’s box will probably contain sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes and other summer crops!

Sweet corn Now it’s summer!  Some ears have bugs at the tip.  I suggest cutting off the tips before shucking the corn.
Storage. Sweet corn is best when fresh, so we encourage you to eat it asap. Store in the refrigerator, in the husks if you have the room, or husked in a plastic bag.
Cooking.  It is quicker to steam sweet corn than to boil it.
1.) Stand ears of corn upright in a tall pot. Put one inch of water in the pot.
2.) Bring the water to a boil. If the corn is cold when you begin cooking, steam for 5 – 6 minutes. If the corn starts at room temperature, steam for 4 – 5 minutes. The cooking time will vary somewhat depending on how many ears are in the pot. Pay attention to how the corn smells. The scent changes once the corn is ready. Another clue: water will bead on the corn until it is cooked. Don’t overcook it.

‘Caraflex’ cabbage – This is the same type of cabbage we sent three weeks ago.  This ‘salad’ type is great for slaws and raw salads but handles light cooking too.

Green beans – Store in the warmer part of your fridge.

Tomatoes (plum or slicing) – Store your tomatoes at room temperature to preserve flavor and texture.

RECIPES

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

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 101
Corn Pudding
Roasted Chicken and Cabbage Dinner
Green Bean Salad with Basil and Pine Nuts

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 202
Caramelized Corn with Basil
Roasted Caraflex Cabbage with Gruyere
Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Corn

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Composed Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

RECIPES FROM LAUREN


RUNZA

What the heck is runza you ask? Well, officially, it is the state dish of Nebraska. But closer to home, it is a dish I grew up with when my mom had extra cabbage in her garden. It’s essentially a German-style calzone packed full of ground meat (traditionally beef, but here I used pork because it’s what I had on hand), cabbage, and onions. I know making your own dough can seem intimidating but give it a try. It’s easier than you think.

Makes 8 runzas
Takes 2 hours

Dough:
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2-1/4 teaspoons active yeast
Pinch sugar + 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 eggs; 3 for dough, 1 for egg wash
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided + more for dusting counter
12 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 Walla Walla, diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 head cabbage, shredded
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage

  1. In a large bowl, combine water (it should be warm but not hot), yeast and sugar. Whisk gently to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes until it bubbles, rises and smells yeasty. Add 3 eggs and whisk to combine. Add half the flour and beat with a spoon until totally incorporated. Add butter, remaining flour, sugar and salt. Stir until just combined and then let rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Once rested, dust counter with flour and knead dough for 5 minutes until tight and smooth. Transfer the dough to a clean, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm space for an hour (until doubled in size).
  3. When the dough is about 20 minutes from finished, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and start on the filling. In a large heavy skillet (or Dutch oven), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add ground pork, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Break up meat with two forks, cooking for 5 minutes until browned. Add onion and pepper. Cook 5 minutes more. Add butter and remaining salt to skillet. Get it a stir so the butter coats all the meat and veggies. Add cabbage along with dried herbs and let wilt gently over medium low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. At this point, your dough should be risen. Grease two baking sheets. Divide into 8 pieces.
  5. Re-dust counter with flour and roll out dough into a rough 8×4-inch rectangle. Scoop 3/4 cup of cabbage mixture into the center. Fold in the two long sides of dough so they touch then pull the other edges into the center until you form a sealed dough pocket with the meat in the middle. Place, seal side down, on the greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and cabbage mixture.
  6. Beat last egg in a small bowl until smooth and brush runzas with egg mixture.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate pans and bake 15 minutes longer until golden brown. They may crack, but you shouldn’t worry too much if they do. It just means you over-kneaded the dough and they will still taste amazing.
  8. Serve with ketchup or some variation of a spicy special sauce.

**Pro tip: My mom often cuts a slit in the side of the fully baked runzas when she is reheating them and adds a slice or two of cheese.
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SWEET CORN RISOTTO WITH CORN COB BROTH & CHERRY TOMATOES
Adapted barely from a genius recipe from Susige at Food52
Oh my, oh my this dish! This is hands down one of the most tasty things I’ve ever consumed (and I live a pretty decadent and delicious life). I love really any combination of corn, peppers, onion and garlic but something about this risotto just sings on another level. I think the corn cob broth is the real game changer. Don’t skip this step if you can help it. It adds a little time (but also can be left alone while you get things done around the house). Also don’t omit the quartered cherry tomatoes on top. It’s a simple thing but it adds the acidity and brightness that the rich creamy risotto needs. 

Takes 90 minutes (1 hour active cooking time)
Serves 4-6

5-6 ears sweet corn
6 cups water
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, divided plus more for seasoning
5-6 garlic, divided
1/4 cup butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 cup minced basil leaves
1 pint cherry tomatoes (or diced tomatoes), quartered

  1. Husk ears of corn. With a knife, remove kernels from corn and set aside in a small bowl (hopefully there is 1-2 cups). In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, combine water and corn cobs (sans kernels) and 2 teaspoons Kosher salt. Smash 3-4 garlic cloves with the blade of your knife and remove the skin. Toss into pot.
  2. Bring corn cob broth to a boil and then immediately reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer slowly for an hour. Then keep warm on very low heat to add into the risotto.
  3. After the corn cob broth has been simmering for about 30 minutes, begin your risotto. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with olive oil in a large saute pan (with tall sides) over medium heat. Mince remaining 2 garlic cloves and add to pot along with black pepper and remaining teaspoon Kosher salt. Cook until garlic is very fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Cook over very low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Turn heat up to medium low. Add rice and cook for 2-3 minutes until it has absorbed any fat from the pan. It should look slightly puffed.
  5. Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until the rice has absorbed all the wine.
  6. By now your broth should be nicely reduced to 4 cups of liquid. Remove the corn cobs with tongs. If you feel ambitious, run the back of a knife against the corn cob to get every yummy morsel of corn off the cob and into the broth. Toss the garlic gloves into the pan with the rice.
  7. Add three ladles of broth to the rice and stir. Let simmer gently, stirring occasionally until broth is absorbed by rice. Then add a couple more ladles of broth. Continue this process of adding broth, stirring occasionally and letting the rice absorb the broth until you’ve used all the broth and the rice is tender but not mushy. It should take about 20 minutes. (If you use up the broth before the rice is cooked enough to your likely just add a little more warm water).
  8. Remove pan from heat. Add reserved kernels, remaining three tablespoons butter, Parmesan cheese and basil. Stir to combine then cover and let sit for five minutes.
  9. Serve warm with quartered cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt.

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CREAMY CUCUMBERS

Serves 2-4 as a side (though I am known to eat the whole bowl for dinner)
Takes 15 minutes (but gets better the longer you let it sit)

3 cucumbers, cut into 1/8-inch slices
1/2 Walla Walla onion, halved and sliced
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Dill, optional

  1. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers and onions.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayo, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper until smooth. Pour over cucumbers and onions and toss gently to combine. Garnish or season with dill (if you like).
  3. Serve immediately or chill for an hour to let the flavors really meld together.

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Lightning strike


Charlie Davis and his son Caleb came to repair our farmyard well.


This is the inside of the well controller. It is not supposed to have the rainbow/galvanized look.  That’s the result of the lightning surge.

There was a lightning strike nearby on Thursday night.  No one was hurt but many electronics were damaged.  Here’s the list so far:
– farmyard well controller
– irrigation well controller
– solar array controller
– a thermostatic control for one cooler
– pump for our diesel fuel tank
– controls for a mixer we use to prepare greenhouse potting mix.

That’s a lot.  If we hear Steve cursing, then we know he has found more damage.  We are crawling our way through repairs.  Water was off in the house and farm buildings for less than a day because our well repair guy is terrific.  Charlie Davis (Southcentral Well & Pump) returned our call on Thursday night, tracked down a replacement controller early Friday, and was at the farm by 11:00 am.

Steve fixed the cooler compressor and the diesel pump (more cursing) but the irrigation well and solar array remain unresolved.   An electrician has declared both controllers as ‘dead.’  These are specialized and expensive parts but we have insurance.

Honestly, I kind of lost it on Thursday night.  This is a complicated year and suddenly we had no water and so many essential farm systems were damaged.  We filled buckets at the neighbors (thank you K & J!) and took bucket baths.  Charlie’s quick reply helped.  We opened a few beers and went to bed early.  Beth

Basil

We are sending a substantial bunch, as the basil grew well this week.  If you don’t expect to use it all within one week, you should freeze some.  Chop finely by hand or in a food processor.  Mix with a little olive oil, and press firmly into a shallow freezer container.  Once frozen, you can break off pieces when you need them.  No need to thaw; just throw a frozen chunk into your tomato sauce or salad dressing.  Full disclosure, basil blackens when frozen so keep that in mind when using it.
Storage:  Basil deteriorates if stored in the refrigerator.  It is best stored at room temperature with the cut ends in water, for example in a jar or vase.  Treat it like a flower.  Give the stem a fresh trim and change the water every day or two.
Basil forecast:  We think this will be a good basil year.  Keep your fingers crossed.  We’ve settled on a favorite disease-resistant variety, to avoid the disease that has ended our basil crops early the past few years.  I think we’ll have a steady supply during tomato season.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #9, July 16/17, 2020
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Carrots, 1.25 lb
Green kale, 1 bunch
Zucchini &/or summer squash, 1 or 2
Cucumbers, 3
Walla Walla onion, 1 or 2
Green bell pepper, 1
Broccoli, 1 or 2 small heads
Basil, a generous bunch
Fresh garlic, 1 bulb

– We have 1 pt cherry tomatoes for a few sites.  We’ll distribute cherry tomatoes to all the sites as they ripen in the coming weeks.
– Each site gets something from this list: globe eggplant OR a few plum tomatoes OR a small bag of snap peas.
– Remember, all boxes at a site are identical.  Do not touch or open other members’ boxes.

Next week’s box will probably contain cucumbers, zucchini, Caraflex cabbage, basil and more.

Carrots – These were smaller than expected at harvest.  We’ll let the field grow for a few more weeks before harvesting again.

Walla Walla onions – These fat onions are sweet, crisp and very mild.  Wonderful raw or lightly cooked.  Try cutting into wedges, threading on a skewer and grilling.  Do not try to fry these onions – it doesn’t work because of their high water content.  
Storage:  It’s OK to store at room temperature for up to one week.  Otherwise, refrigerate.

Fresh garlic – The garlic you receive this week is freshly dug and uncured.  The cloves are very crisp and pungent.  You will find that the wrapper papers on each clove are still crisp but peel off readily.  You should refrigerate this head of garlic.  It won’t spoil at room temperature but the clove wrappers become difficult to peel as they dry.  We expect to dig our garlic crop over the next week, then will cure the bulbs for a few weeks.  We’ll send more garlic once the curing is finished.
Storage:  Refrigerate fresh garlic.

Eggplant – For best flavor, store eggplants at room temperature for 2 – 3 days.  If holding for longer than three days, store in the warmest part of your refrigerator.  Eggplants do not store well for long periods of time.  Many recipes instruct you to salt and drain eggplant “to remove bitter flavors.”  Eggplant this fresh is not bitter so you can skip the salting step.
There are many ways to use versatile eggplants.  Here are a few ideas:
– Roast in the oven or over coals to cook and smoke your eggplant, then transform into baba ganouj with lemon, tahini, and garlic.
– Cut in 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices, peel, and rub with a little salad dressing (I use Newman’s balsamic dressing), then grill slowly until soft and smoky.  At this point, you can cut into cubes to make eggplant caponata with chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, olives, capers, olive oil and red wine vinegar.
– Use the grilled cubes in casseroles or to top pizza.  
– Add thin, grilled eggplant slices in grilled cheese sandwiches.  Use hearty bread – this doesn’t work well with soft sandwich bread.  


See?  The cucumbers already look better, with less beetle damage.

RECIPES

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

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 101
Baked Eggplant Fries
Pasta Sorta Gricia
Basil Oil Grilled Crostini with Goat Cheese

LOCAL THYME/ Cooking 202
Creamy Polenta with Eggplant and Zucchini
Chicken Noodle Soup with Cannellini Beans and Kale Pistou
Basil Cucumber Buttermilk Dressing

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Olive Hummus, Basil, Cucumber, Zucchini, Carrot Wraps

RECIPES FROM LAUREN


KALE PEANUT SALAD
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Depending on the season, I change up the veggies I use for this salad. The kale and the dressing are the powerhouse part of this meal and the rest is easily substituted so don’t worry if you don’t have any scallions or radishes on hand at the moment. I always use an onion of some kind– sometimes scallions as listed here, but at other times it’s thinly sliced yellow onion, leek or shallot. I usually use a root vegetable as well– sometimes radish, sometimes carrot, occasionally beets. Then I’ll add another veggie or two, again whatever I have on hand, cucumbers and bell peppers of any color are great. Really anything you like raw on a salad will work just fine.

1-1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts, divided
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound kale (or collards), ribs removed and very thinly sliced
1-2 cucumbers, seeded and sliced
1 Walla Walla onion, thinly sliced

  1. In a food processor, combine 3/4 cup peanuts, oil, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and red pepper flakes. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  2. In a large bowl, combine kale with the dressing, using half at first, tasting and adding more as you like. I often use the full amount for a pound of kale but you may not want to.
  3. Top with cucumber, onion and remaining 1/2 cup nuts. Serve right away or store for 2-3 days in your fridge. The kale can stand up to being dressed in advance.

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INDIAN-SPICED CARROTS WITH YOGURT
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 2-4 (as a side)
Takes: 45 minutes

½ cup Greek yogurt, divided
1 tablespoon curry powder (preferably hot curry powder)
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound carrots, unpeeled, tops trimmed, cut in half if large
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix together ¼ cup yogurt, curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 minced garlic clove, and olive oil in a large bowl until smooth.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Add carrots and toss to coat.  Roast on a baking sheet in a single layer, turning occasionally, for 30 minutes.  You’ll want them to be lightly charred in spots and very tender.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, remaining garlic clove and remaining ¼ cup yogurt in a small bowl.  Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Place cooked carrots on a platter (along with any crunchy bits left on the baking sheet).  Drizzle with yogurt mixture.  Serve warm.
  4. Or skip the platter and put all the carrots and yogurt on one plate and dive in (without sharing!).

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BROCCOLI PESTO QUICHE

Makes 6 servings
Takes 1 hour

1 pie pan lined with pie dough (from scratch or store-bought)
1 cup finely diced broccoli
1 Walla Walla onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar or Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half, whipping cream or milk
1/4 cup prepared pesto (recipe below) or 1/2 cup finely chopped basil if you’re feeling less ambitious
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prick bottom and sides of crust and line with foil. Bake in preheated oven 8 minutes, remove foil, and bake another 8 minutes. Reduce oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Toss broccoli, onion, peppers, cheese and flour in a bowl. Spread mixture over bottom of crust. Whisk remaining ingredients in the bowl. Pour filling into crust. Bake until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.

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Basil Pesto:
3 tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts or almonds)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 garlic clove
2 cups basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
Pepper

  1. Combine pine nuts, Parmesan and garlic in a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle. Process until finely ground. Add basil and process 20-30 seconds longer until combined. Remove to a small bowl and fold in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 1/2 cup.

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