Thursday, October 13, 2011

Week 23: Pumpkin Time

Sugar Pie Pumpkins rest in a wheelbarrow at 8th Street Greens.

Hello CSA Shareholders!  Wow, the end of the CSA season. . . what to focus on for this newsletter?  It's been a quick growing season this 2011:  I feel uncertain that it's really done.  Of course, it's not actually.  There's seed garlic to pop and plant, cloves to plant close for green garlic this spring, Barter Faire to pack for-attend/vend (garlic, pumpkins, leeks and J. Chokes)-and unpack from, discing the fields and cover-crop to plant, things to clean-up and put away, and strawberries to keep picking!  I still need to clean the tool shed that I never got to this spring!  Yes, it's raining on Monday again, interesting. . .I heard cranes flying overhead at 9 pm last night, Eisa and I gazed up into the full-moon light to look at their silhouettes, alas, we only heard them.  They sounded very different than the daylight call, I think it was just a few cranes, cold maybe, looking for the rest of the flock already hunkered down for the night.

Photo by Shannon Gilbert

This week's box:  will also be heavy to deliver!  The fall bounty it contains:  medium-baby leeks and a pumpkin from 8th Street Greens.  I planted a succession of leeks this early summer.  It's my 1st year ever growing leeks.  I now know that to grow big leeks we will plant early successions only!  They are yummy and a new treat for the CSA this year.  The Small Sugar Pie Pumpkin has excellent meat for baking.  Turn the oven on 300 d.  Put a pan in the oven on the rack under it, so as to catch any overflow. Prick it with the tip of a knife or a fork and bake it for about 1 ½ hour.  Push it to check for tenderness. Let it cool.  Gut it and scrape the squash meat from it's skin.  Or, carve the skin from the flesh.  Mash it.  Add a little water if necessary. Now you have pumpkin puree ready for soup, cake, bread or pie! Go savory or go sweet with it.

Go sweet with it! Tis the season for perfecting your favorite pumpkin pie recipe.

Field crew member Heather helps her son, Colin, heft the pumpkin he picked out at 8th Street Greens.
The parsnips are a delicacy to be savored.  It's their first ever appearance in our CSA, though Watershine is a long-time grower of them.  On me-n-my-kids' electric golf-cart farm tour with her last week, she demonstrated trying to dig one up and achieve getting the whole thing!  Holy Cow!  It's like 2 feet long, with a tail tapering off into the depths of the lush, rich soil it's been growing in since spring.  And the tops!  Their about 2' tall as well!  They're out there digging hard this week, unearthing the sweet parsnips.  Parsnips are sweet fried up with butter, maybe adding apples too.  Maybe a little brown sugar or syrup drizzled at the end to make sweet crunch in the pan.  Or they're good baked or roasted, as in the chicken recipe from last week.  The cabbage is also from Yonder Farm, sweet and crisp fall cabbage- a wonderful success for this area.  It's hard to start cool-weather starts in the August summer heat – but they did it! Thank-You Yonder Farm!!!  

Watershine hangs out with her chicken friends one summer evening on Yonder Farm.
It's been a great season.  The apples are small fancy Liberties from Filaree Fruit.  Those Tiny Fancy Spartans from last week are so delicious – and it actually took me 12 bites to eat one, so they're not just  the 2 bite apple that one might think:)  The fruit shares:  receive extra apples, pluots again (Dapple Dandy) and Red Sterling Grapes from Bartella's Orchard.  I think it's so cool to be providing table grapes in the CSA.  And that they're being grown in the Okanogan. 

Some more friends, Thea and Stella,  stop by to pick out their Sugar Pie Pumpkins.

My Mom and Dad just attended Mary Lassila's memorial.  Paula, of the Breadline Cafe, provided a reception and my Dad was raving about the little egg-salad sandwiches with grapes (cut in half) on them!  Wow – what a combo – egg salad and grapes.  Sounds yummy.  And Mary was such a supporter of local foods.  She was one of the first lovers of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes back in 2003 when I first brought them to the Okanogan Farmers Market.  I had to convince people they were ripe.  She believed in me and took them home.  The next week she raved about them, giving me her classy smile and sharing with me that she ate them all like candy while watching a movie at home.  She bought 2 pints that week, a regular Market grocery shopper!  Cheerleaders are an important part of our life and she was one.  Thanks, Mary.  The Okanogan Market Customers are a tough sell, but getting better from what I hear! The more we educate about health and quality, the better for us all. We might join the F. Market throngs next year, we'll be growing so much food. . .  Look for my brochure in the mail 'round March.  I'll be sending an email as well, around April. 

Shannon's breakfast table filled with all local bounty!
Pumpkin pie from 8th Street's pumpkins, sausage from Larkhaven Farm, bread from the Okanogan Bakery, and eggs from a neighbor's chickens.
 A big THANK-YOU to all the stores and restaurants for their support.  Also, the drop-off locations who all generously donate their establishments to help their community and my business:  CCC of Tonasket, Main Street Market, The Breadline Cafe, Reinbold Law Office, Thomson's Meats and The Winthrop Community School.  They all deal with our boxes so kindly:)

Well, folks, Best to You and Yours!  In Good Health for the winter season. . . 

~~Shannon and Family and                                                                                                                                                                                             the 8th Street Crew    

Week 22: Rainy Days

A rainy, cloudy day on 8th Street Greens.  Photo by Shannon Gilbert.

Hey there, everybody!  This is our 2nd to last box for the 2011 CSA season!  It's a rainy Monday again.  Used the morning for paperwork.

photo by Shannon Gilbert
This week's box:  is gonna be heavy to deliver.  We got some salad in there and Jerusalem Artichokes from 8th Street Greens.  The sunchokes are in bloom right now, but we're going to dig them for you tomorrow anyways.  We might be digging through mud—it'll remind me of my days farming on the Olympic Peninsula.  I've given you each 1.5 pound of the chokes.  They have an incredibly distinctive flavor.  A couple years ago a friend made choke-beet soup with some broth and milk or coconut milk.  There may have been sauteed onions or garlic in there.  It was more beets than chokes.  It was a pureed soup that was delicious.  I tried to find a recipe of it but, alas, didn't. does have several Jerusalem Artichoke soup recipes that you could look up. 

Shawn digs up Jerusalem Artihokes, which go well in the recipe below. Photo by Shannon Gilbert.

Roast Chicken with Parsnips, Golden Beets, and Jerusalem Artichokes with Beer Pan Juices
Bon Appétit  | October 2010
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active time: 1 hour, Total time: 4 hours 10 min

The secret to a roast chicken with crispy skin and tender meat? Salting the chicken and letting it sit for at least a few hours.

Ingredients:  1 4-to 4 1/2-pound chicken
4 large fresh sage leaves plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, divided
3 fresh thyme sprigs plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
3 fresh rosemary sprigs plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 2 1/2-inch-diameter golden beets, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces
8 to 10 ounces Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes), scrubbed, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 cup lager or pale ale

Preparation:  Tuck wing tips under chicken. Starting at neck opening, gently loosen skin from breast of chicken. Slide 2 sage leaves, 1 thyme sprig, and 1 rosemary sprig under skin of each chicken breast half. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt inside chicken cavity and insert 1 thyme sprig and 1 rosemary sprig into cavity. Sprinkle outside of chicken all over with 2 teaspoons coarse salt. Place chicken, breast side up, on plate. Let stand uncovered at room temperature 2 hours or cover and chill overnight.

Position oven rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place chicken in center of prepared sheet. Place beets in medium bowl. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon chopped thyme, 1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary, and 1 teaspoon chopped sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes in another medium bowl. Add remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon chopped thyme, 1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary, and 1 teaspoon chopped sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Arrange all vegetables around chicken on sheet. Roast chicken and vegetables 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken thigh registers 165°F and vegetables are tender, turning vegetables occasionally, about 50 minutes longer.

Shannon roasted tomatoes and garlic, then pureed and froze the sauce. A great way to preserve heirloom and slicing tomatoes! Photo by Shannon Gilbert.
Using tongs, tilt chicken to allow juices to drain from main cavity onto baking sheet. Transfer chicken to platter. Arrange vegetables around chicken. Place baking sheet over 2 burners. Add beer to baking sheet and boil until pan juices are slightly reduced, scraping up browned bits, 3 to 4 minutes. Season juices to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer juices to small pitcher. Serve chicken and vegetables, passing pan juices alongside.

Also in the box is Cylindrical Beets and a Red Kuri “kubocha type” winter Squash from Yonder Farm.  The apples are from Filaree Fruit.  The Fruit Share gets extra apples, pluots and more Concord Pears.  I'll hand write the variety of apples when I find out! 

All the Best!  ~~Shannon    p.s.:  parsnips (never before in this CSA), will be in your box next week!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week 21: Pine Stump Farm

Carey Hunter leads her milking goats from pasture to their evening pen at Pine Stump Farm.

It's a Beautiful rainy Monday morning here at 8th Street Greens.  The weather is finally matching the time of season.  The smell of dampened sage and dust is lovely.  My kids are so cute in their rain coats.   The salad has really slowed its growth.  The lettuce misses the longer days of sunlight.  I planted extra for the fall season but it still isn't enough.  The quail ate my last planting of greens.  There's some little stubs re-growing, but it's sparse.  Those little buggers!  We are cutting the salad for the stores and restaurant orders only, yet again going light on the little plants.  However, the field is abundant with chard, kale, and the bok choy family of greens.  Providing the CSA with stir-fry greens instead of salad gives the plants time to grow for next week, in the hopes of putting it in your box once more.  Also, we must not be hard on us harvesters.  When we are “scrounging for greens”  it stretches into a very long morning and can feel tough on the knees and backs. 

This lucky doe got to keep her glamorous horns.

Thanks to all the harvesters this year.  We've gone through several crews this year, due to their own life schedules they come and go.  But they've all been wonderful folks with strong bodies and good smiles and a love of healthy clean food!  I've survived training, and training again, and training again.  I think it makes the business less economically sustainable and gives me stress from uncertainty, but at least we're staying reliable.  A Big Thank-You to Heather!  She wins The Stead-fast Harvester Award of 2011.  She's been here, without fail, every Wednesday morning by 6 am or so, since early May.  And thanks to all the box-packers, who so intelligently work the “rubiks cube” that is packing, every Thursday morning.  They figure out my lists, I ask how I can help, then they get it done and then I go zooming off on deliveries – to Tonasket then Mazama, yee hah!  There's actually only ever one packer, plus me, but yes, we've been through a few this year because of college and stuff.

Carey noticed this doeling kneeling too much, and promptly trimmed it's hooves to make the goat more comfortable.

So, I tried to find Eggplant but didn't find any farmers with enough so you get tomatoes one more time.  I'll be planting lots of eggplant next year.  Along with many other crops.  Summer squash, even!   I miss growing all the pretty food.  Eggplant makes such an amazing flower and fruit.  It is Truly Captivating in its appearance. 

This week's box:  braising greens (rinsed 3 times) and garlic from 8th Street Greens; carrots, #2  tomatoes and sweet peppers from Yonder Farm; and Dapple Dandies from Bartella's Orchard.  
Fruit Share:  extra Dapple Dandies, Concord pears from Bunny Laine and Canadice Sweet Grapes from Bunny Laine.  The cheese this week is from Pine Stump Farm. 

This week's chesese from Pine Stump Farm: Aged Gouda.

I've sure been enjoying my kale bunch.  It sits as a bouquet, on the kitchen counter in a canning jar of water, all perked up and crisp.  I use a few leaves as needed in a fry of potatoes, leftover rice, or bowl of soup.  It's quite convenient and watches sentinel over our good health.

Pine Stump's herd is a mix of many different breeds of goats. 
Phoebe, the photographer for the blogspot, went on a tour of Carey and Albert's farm (Pine Stump).  She took photos of and visited with the goats who give the milk to make the cheese.  So if you wanna see cute pictures of cute goaties, check it out!  And a “thank-you so much!” goes out to CSA shareholders Kathy and Parker for hosting a sweet and savory dinner for myself, Chuck and Samantha (also shareholders) and Phoebe.  Parker chef-ed up a delicious meal from his and Kathy's  ½ share produce CSA box and Chuck's full share box with fruit and cheese.  Phoebe took photos.  Kathy made a delicious pear and apple tart.  I was wishing I had brought crackers from the Okanogan Bakery for the black pepper and garlic chevre.  Then we would have had a 100% local meal, the wine was even from Lost River. I'm hoping the blog will help enlist CSA members for the 2012 season, as they'll be able to see the radiant food on display via the pictures.

This goat gets her evening meal after working so hard to give us cheese. She eats fresh hay made by Albert, Carey's husband, under the farm's namesake trees.
Well, folks, I hope you're all doing well.  The pumpkins are looking good and Watershine says the Red Kuri squash will be ripe for next week's box.  AND, you might just get beets one more time! :)

Best  ~~shannon
Carey is not only a goat herder and cheese-maker, but she also teaches therapeautic horseback riding classes. She is standing in front of some artwork that is built into the side of her home.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Week 20: Fete your Farmer!

This week, CSA members Kathy Larsen and Parker Parsons generously hosted a dinner party for Shannon, our wonderful and hardworking farmer.  Below are photos and descriptions of the delicious meal Parker prepared with the food from this week's CSA produce. Friends Chuck and Sam (also CSA members) came to lend a hand and the fruit and cheese from their full share box.  We are so grateful for Shannon, and the opportunity to celebrate her good work and good food.

Shannon points out Okanogan on the Washington State map, where all of the bounty on the table was grown. (See newsletter at the bottom of this post for list of this week's produce).
Leeks from 8th Street Greens are chopped up in preparation for a sauteed leek, cilantro, and sour cream sauce.

Parker made a rich salad with corn from Yonder Farm, onions, lentils, and morel mushrooms that he and Kathy foraged themselves.

The cold salad of the night was a corn, peach, tomato, pepper, and onion salsa with a habañero sauce that was to die for! I will try to pry the recipe off Parker for you all.

Simple roasted Viking potatoes with Sunny Pine's chevre was the perfect dish for an evening on the cusp of fall.

Shannon enjoys the mild evening with good food, good friends, and good wine.

Kathy made a rustic tart with Cortland apples and pears, and of course, whip cream. 


Hello everybody!  This weeks box marks the seasonal change into fall. . .  potatoes, kale, and leeks.  Included is some delicious sweet corn from Yonder Farm.  I'm so thankful she offered it to us and that it's so tasty with potatoes.  I can taste the blend already:  steamed and smashed potatoes, a bit of chopped kale that you add at the end, creamy leeks sauteed in there, spicy peppers chopped to tiny bits and a sprinkle of cilantro at the end.  If you've got remnant sweet pepper from last week, throw that in there too.  Especially  red peppers for their beauty which compliments the green kale.  Any sliced steak, mushrooms or some hamburger in the fridge?  Yum!  Dinner!!!  And good lunch the next day, too!

The leeks, kale (or mizuna – good with fish and stir-fries), serrano and super chile peppers, and cilantro is all from 8th Street Greens.  The huge Viking Potato (it's possible you'll only get one) is from Bunny Laine.  The other purple potatoes are from Sky's Field.  I hope they cook similarly. The Bartlett Pears are from Bunny Laine.  Fruit Share:  Sun Jewel Melon (thin, edible peel like cucumbers) from Yonder Farm, extra pears, Cortland Apples “the salad apple” cuz doesn't brown easily, from Filaree Fruit and a German Stripe Heirloom Tomato from 8th Street (I claimed fruit status for tomatoes this week :))
I'm curious what will turn up in next week's box.  We're hoping for eggplant, tomatoes one more time, carrots, pluots and salad.  There's only 3 more weeks of our CSA so I wanna make sure to get all the crops represented!  We're so thankful for the extended summer we've had!

Happy Fall Equinox!!!

Salsa Mexicana
Bon Appétit  | May 2003
yield: Makes about 2 cups

Variations of this fresh tomato-based salsa show up on restaurant tables all over Mexico, where it is called pico de gallo.

Ingredients:  1 1/4 pounds plum (or cherry or any) tomatoes, cut in half (or quartered or chopped)
1/3 cup chopped red onion (or cipollini or walla walla)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 serrano chiles, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation:  Seed and dice 10 tomato halves; transfer to large bowl. Place remaining tomatoes in blender; add onion, lime juice, chiles, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Add cilantro. Pulse just to mix in cilantro. Pour tomato puree into bowl with diced tomatoes. Stir to blend. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

The serrano peppers are dark green, some going to red,  and smooth.  The super chile are yellow, some going to orange and red.  The super chiles are spicier than serranos.

The leeks have been growing since March.  It's my first time with a farm who grows leeks. . . a learning experience that went pretty well.  Some are small so we put 2 in your box.  Most of them sized up well, however the succession, still growing, is still small and we won't do a late succession next year.  But you will get baby leeks in your box in a couple weeks!  We love farm class!                 Best  ~~shannon   

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Week 19: Salsa Time

8th Street Greens
846 8th Ave S.
Okanogan,  WA  98840

These peppers at Yonder Farm stayed warm in the spring months under these hoops, which were covered by cloth. Now they are big and juicy because of their early advantage.
Hey there CSA folks!  I've included my address in the header again which makes it easier  for shareholders to get their 3rd payments in the mail! :)  Thanks to those who have paid, sorry I haven't yet deposited the checks.  We've been very busy harvesting, still weeding, packing boxes, looking for workers for the fall (darn that school thing!), swimming before the season is gone, and preserving food like mad!  Last year I didn't preserve much but this year we are into it again!  So far we've dried nectarines, strawberries and grapes.  We freeze most of our cull strawberries, about a gallon a week.  We sell about 3-5 gallons a week.  So, 1/3-1/5 of our picked crop is cull.  That's typical for organic farms.  Many organic farms plant more than necessary just to meet the pest's demand and still have some good food for the people's demand!  With our frozen strawberries I'm hoping to make jam this November once the busy time calms down.  We also make lots of smoothies and juice and popsicles.  I've frozen spinach, beets, peas, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches and green beans.  Now, I'm trying to get salsa done.  

Chris happily hauls a box of peppers back to Yonder Farm's new Agriculture building.
We've not canned salsa for several years and last winter we missed it.  One thing i've been doing is making a big batch of salsa on the week-end, keeping a quart or so in the fridge, the family eats a quart or so right away:), and then freezing a quart or 2.  Frozen salsa works out all right.  This year i'm using tupperware type things instead of zip bags (for salsa). I share all of this with you in the spirit of inspiration!!! 

Fresh produce turns into....
(photo by Shannon Gilbert)
...delicious salsa! (Salsa and photo by Shannon Gilbert)
Yonder Farm currently has canner and paste tomatoes (#2s, no open wounds) by the box, 20-22 lbs, for 1.00/lb!  I will get it for you and drop it off with your CSA box for a $3.00 communication/hauling charge.  Just call!  I can also deliver onions, garlic, cilantro, basil, peppers, etc.

Photo by Shannon Gilbert
This week's box:  2 lbs. of Suncrest Peaches from Filaree Fruit.  The grade is a blend of #2s and small fancies.  He saved them for us from last week's picking, which he could have sold out of to other stores and CSAs on the west side.  There's a 1200 member CSA out of Olympia called Helsing Junction CSA.  They buy a lot of fruit through the Okanogan Producers Marketing Association.  There's no fruit in their standard produce box, fruit is only available as an option, which is typical.  But we live here in fruit country!   ½ lb. Sweet Peppers, ½ lb. Green beans and a Cippollini Onion from Yonder Farm.  I love the Cippollinis.  You can make braids with them to help them store all winter. And a small bunch of chard and ½ pint of cherry tomatoes from 8th Street Greens.  We'll get salad into the boxes again next week.  4 boxes left after this one!  The Fruit Share gets:  extra Suncrests, Jupiter donut peaches, Santa Rosa plums and some strawberries.  All repeats, but the last of peaches and plums.  Next week we'll probably get some Bartlett pears.

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Onions
Gourmet, November 2007
by Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez
(You'll need to ½ this recipe cuz I gave you small bunches of chard.)

Italians are crazy for dark leafy greens of all kinds, and Swiss chard is a particular favorite in the fall.

Ingredients:  3 pound green Swiss chard (about 2 large bunches)  
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Preparation:  Cut stems and center ribs from chard, discarding any tough portions, then cut stems and ribs crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Stack chard leaves and roll up lengthwise into cylinders. Cut cylinders crosswise to make 1-inch-wide strips.
Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onions and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, covered, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add chard stems and ribs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until stems are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add chard leaves in batches, stirring until wilted before adding next batch, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl.

· Chard can be washed, dried, and cut 2 days ahead and chilled in sealed bags lined with dampened paper towels.
· Chard can be cooked 4 hours ahead and reheated over low heat on stove or in a microwave oven.

Such beautiful produce makes a farmer's hands rough.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week 18: Stupendous Celery Stalks!

Hello CSA folks!  Hope Labor Day weekend treated you all well.  I spend Monday working, as lots of laborers do.    My family went to Conconully for the day, to play, whilst I get things done.  And what did I do at 8th Street?  Harvested celery!!! 

Boxes lie ready to receive celery in a well-mulched row.
Photo by Shannon Gilbert

This week I share my celery experiment with you!  We lost about 1/3-1/2 of the transplants while they were tiny.  Probable reasons for the loss:  buried in the weeds, rotted stems, we couldn't find it while weeding and accidentally pulled it, poor root system at transplant but we planted it anyway (always hopeful, folks!), or a bird or slug munched it.  But the surviving celery grew most excellently and the success drives me to plant a lot of celery next year!  With landscape cloth as mulch for less weeding!  There were lots of pests this year:  earwigs, grasshoppers, slugs and others.  They like the celery habitat.  I rinsed the crop but you need to wash it.  I planted enough for you to each get one, and have extra for special orders and ourselves, however, with the losses we don't have a lot.  So, we cut them in half and you each get half of one in your box. Some grew big and heavy, others grew smaller. 

Celery flowers are beautiful enough to be put in a bouquet.
Photo by Shannon Gilbert

I made chicken soup the other day and trialed the celery.  The stalks are sweet, stronger than we're used to from the store, and crunchy and juicy.  The leaves are pungent and bitter.  However, a friend got some of this celery and said she made delicious pesto with it.  One of the celery varieties reminds us of parsley.  It is dark green and grew differently, making several smaller stalks and clumps of side shoots out the base of it, like miniature celery bunches.  The other variety is yellower, smaller and without side clumps. I DO have about 7 more to harvest so call if you'd like to order a couple for storage, either in the fridge or the freezer.

Shannon leans a giant celery plant.
Photo by Shannon Gilbert

“Food historians” tell us that celery was first developed and cultivated for the king of Persia around 2000 BC.  Revered in ancient times as rare and highly medicinal, celery now piles high in the supermarket and is a staple.  Despite celery's common appearance, it is not easy to grow.  Its special soil and water requirements can prove challenging.  However, proper growing conditions and a fresh local source can yield celery superior in taste and texture to conventionally grown celery.  Celery is 94% h2o, but does contain vitamins A, C, B-complex and E with a host of minerals.  As might be expected from its texture, it is also high in fiber.  Supposedly, chewing celery uses more calories than the calories obtained from the vegetable itself!

A neatly sliced celery stalk.
Photo by Shannon Gilbert

*refrigerate asap or will go limp.  Wrap in damp towel or in plastic bag and store in drawer up to 2 weeks.  Retain maximum crispness by storing stems upright in a container with an inch of water. 
*for long-term storage celery can be frozen.  Slice, then spread on cookie sheet and place into the freezer.  When frozen, pack them into an airtight container or bag and return to freezer.  Celery pieces will be soft when thawed and best used in soups and stews.  *celery leaves can also be dried.”     …from Asparagus to Zucchini

A completely local, fresh, and in-season meal! Chicken noodle soup.
Photo by Shannon Gilbert

I tend to think soup is for winter.  But a few days ago the most delicious chicken noodle soup happened from our fridge.  My eyes widened as I realized that all the ingredients were fresh and in season and that it should be made this season. . .   I heated olive oil on low-med. Did a quick infusion of dry basil and marjoram into it, then sauteed walla walla onion, celery, carrot, sweet peas, corn and garlic in the gently hot oil.  Added chicken pieces from the whole roasted chicken, then ladled broth into the sautee from the bones that had boiled for hours.  Lots of Celtic Sea Salt for tasty broth.  Then ladled this mixture over bowls of cooked ribbon noodles.  It was rich and we slurped it up.  Apparently it was just the summer medicine our family needed!  I've held sugar snap peas in the fridge for a month now, gradually dwindling the 4 pounds as we appreciate them in food concoctions or eating them whole. 

In the box:  1/3 pound herb salad (enjoy the basil cuz the cool nights change its quality!), 1 heirloom tomato from Yonder Farm (Brandywine, deep red) or one (German Stripe, orange-red-yellow) from 8th Street Greens.  A melon (Petite Gris “little grey,” French Charentais or Orange Honeydew) from Art Heinemann, certified organic fields, in Tonasket. The cherry tomatoes are from 8th Street and the Weddles (Black Cherry, deep red),  cert. Organic,  in Tonasket.  Those who did not get potatoes last week get the Ozettes this week, and those who didn't get the cherry tomatoes have them now.  The garlic is German White, a milder but tasty garlic,  from 8th St.  The cukes are a bonus from 8th Street. 

Fruit Share:  Santa Rosa plums (Bartella), a pint of late season raspberries (Bunny Laine) and Jupiter Donut Peaches (Bartella). 

                                                                                          Best  ~~shannon

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Week 17: Indian Summer

Heyo!  Here it is September 1st and here we are with our 17th box!  Well, 2 of us are moving, but last week we got 2 new sign-ups!  New folks:  please visit the blogspot for our Intro to the CSA letter, the first of each season.  The main point of it is:  please return boxes!  Everybody:  we are out of the medium size green boxes!!!  Where have they gone?  I bought 500 of them ($77.) 2 months ago and they're gone!  Please return all little and medium green boxes to me! Thanks!  So many of you are awesome about returning all the boxes, thank you!   Also, cheese folks,  please return the ThermaFreeze coolers.  They are re-usable.  If it's punctured, I will notice and quit using it or cut out the bad spot. Thanks to those of you who have been returning them.

This week's box:  looks super yummy in my mind's eye:  1/3 pound original blend salad from 8th Street, some of you get cherry tomatoes (Bing Cherry, Black Cherry and Sun Golds) from 8th Street and some of you get Ozette Potatoes from Sky's Field.  Next week, we'll reverse who gets potatoes and tomatoes.  The carrots and Walla Walla onions are from Yonder Farm.  The sweet corn is from Bunny Laine.  The Santa Rosa plums are from Bartella's Orchard, #2s, certified organic.

Cheese share gets Larkhaven Farm's "Grate Tomme," an amazing grated hard cheese.
Fruit Share:  2 lbs of Santa Rosa Plums, 2 lbs of Summer Red summer apples from Filaree Fruit and a melon from Art Heinemann who's fields are in Tonasket, certified organic.  I've heard the legend of his melon crop for years but have never eaten any.  Looking forward to receiving them this Wednesday, it'll be a surprise to see which varieties he provides.  Hoping to get 50 melons from him for everybody next week.  The weather's about to cool, though.  The melon crops are not fond of cooler nights.  But we're all planning on an Indian Summer, yes?! 

Traditional Native American 'three sisters' crop: corn, beans, and squash.
Gorgeous yellow squash flowers! Photo by Painted Sky Warrior

Speaking of an Indian Summer, our friend Sky has planted a beautiful field of the traditional Native American 3 sisters crop. . . corn, beans and squash.  Maize, for drying, storage and grinding, will be forming its gorgeous colors soon, as I've been watching their tassels dance in the breeze.  Painted Sky Warrior planted Painted Mountain corn and Mandan Bride corn.  He also planted Garbanzo, Adzuki, Pinto and Black Turtle Beans, from the four corners area of the Southwest. The field is bordered by winter squash plants. 

Garbanzo beans!
The north part of the field houses delicious potatoes:  All-Blue, All-Red and Ozette.  The Ozette are a slow-food seed-save crop.  The Makah people of Western Washington had the potato land in their territory about 200 years ago and they loved it and preserved its seed in their gardens each year since.  I told Sky about the Ozette seed being more readily available now, as Slow-Food International had encouraged it's widespread preservation, and Sky found some to plant from Dave's Potato Seed in Washington.  I'm so excited to eat some!  Michael Pilarski has been growing them in small quantities, but never enough to put in the CSA.  Now we get to! 

Painted Sky Warrior grows 3 varieties of potatoes and 9 different beans.

So, I'm glad Sky presented the opportunity for me to loan field space to a beginner farmer.  He's built the soil up nicely, using all organic amendments and peat from Bonaparte and fish emulsion for the nitrogen-demanding corn and beans.  He's also mulched the potatoes with hay from Albert Roberts.  So, I didn't have to cover-crop and water, and he's had the opportunity to experiment and learn about growing his own crops!    And thanks to Jim and Sherry, 8th Street Green's neighbors, for the use of their field for a 3rd year! 

Sky shows the inside of seed pods from his Purple Peruvian Potatoes. He wants his potatoes to cross polinate in order to create a new variety that will be climatized to this area.

Most folks snip off the flowering buds from their potato plants. If you don't, these seed pods may develop.

(Wow!  Those green beans from Yonder Farm were amazing.  We ate them pan-steamed with a little salt, then sprinkled shredded parmesan on them.  Yum!  I want more!)
~~A prune is a dried plum;   Prunes used to be dried on the tree and in the sun like raisins, but nowadays they are dried in forced air tunnels heated by gas, this gives a more uniform product.      
~~The Japanese plum should be called the Chinese plum because the Japanese imported the fruit 200 to 300 years ago from the Chinese that had cultivated the fruit for thousands of years. The Japanese spread the fruit allover the world and so it became the Japanese plum.     
~~Plums stimulate the bowel movement. Its skin contains a substance that is responsible for that effect. If you peel the fruit you won't be bothered with the well known side effects of this lovely fruit. 
~~Plums are high in carbohydrates, low in fat and low in calories. Plums are an excellent source of vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and fiber. Plums are free of sodium and cholesterol. Like all fruit plums contain a substantial amount of vitamin C.                                                                                         

And here we are, school is back, the season begins to change, and so does the food. . . best!  ~~sh.