Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Week Three: Yonder Farm

Hello~~ Just rototilled and prepped all the beds for another salad, spinach and herbs succession. We plant those every 2 weeks to keep the greens young and tender throughout the summer. I also prepped to transplant our squash, pumpkin, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. I'm experimenting this year with a small lima bean and kidney bean planting —so curious how that will go!
Heads of lettuce grow in one of the many greenhouses on Yonder Farm.

This weeks box has more original salad blend but with pea shoots in it too! and green garlic from 8th Street. What!!! More green garlic, what the heck!? I know, but it's so yummy and we have lots of it, and. . . I got a loose version of a recipe from Watershine, who brought a tasty fresh green garlic pesto spread to a potluck. So, chop the tender green garlic parts (and whites) into 1” pieces and whir them in a blender, add olive oil and salt. There you go, a savory bright green simple pesto for bread or noodles. I think it would be awesome with cashews or pine nuts in there, too. This could probably freeze well, either use ice cube trays, then release the frozen pesto cubes into a ziploc baggie, or re-use yogurt type “tupperwares” and drizzle more olive oil on top to preserve the bright green in the freezer. Though, with basil pesto, I often skip the oil seal, and it preserves just fine.

Also in the box are baby beets with their glorious tops! These bunches of beautiful vegie are all about the beet greens and the baby roots are just a tasty little bonus. They're from Yonder Farm.

Bruschetta with Sauteed Greens
Bon Appétit | March 1998 cuisine: Italian yield: makes 4 servings (recipe found on Epicurious
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon plus 12 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic[[or green garlic from last week]
8 ounces greens (such as Swiss chard, spinach, or beet tops), stems removed, leaves sliced
4 6 x 3 x 1/2-inch slices country-style white bread, toasted, each slice cut in half crosswise
Grey Celtic salt (also called gros sel or gray salt) or other salt
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir 15 seconds. Add greens and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Place toasts on platter. Drizzle 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over each toast. Top with greens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Amber harvests beets with delicious green tops at Yonder Farm.
Beet tops are also good in marinara with pasta, chopped for a simple broth soup or many other ways like their relation, spinach and chard. If you ever see a “blister” on a leaf of this family, tear it out and discard. It must have escaped our careful observation... a pest could be inhabiting the blister.
The rhubarb is from Michael Pilarski. It's exciting to have it in the CSA for the 1st time ever! I remember picking rhubarb on misty, fog-laden mornings in Chimicum, back when we lived on the Olympic Peninsula. I worked on Gunning Farm by a rushing salmon creek, with compost piles made of shrimp and fish parts. My co-worker would turn them with a backhoe! Here's Michael's quick rhubarb sauce recipe: put some water in a saucepan, cut the rhubarb in chunks, boil then simmer 20 minutes, add honey or sugar (or agave) to taste. Good drizzled over ice cream (cold sauce), yogurt, granola, in or on pie, eat plain, or freeze for later.

The starts are from Watershine, a special package put together just for 8th Street's CSA. It is 4 different flowers from Yonder Farm: the Lupine, Bee Balm, and Gruppenblau (old German salvia) are all perennials and the Stocks are annual, a fragrant treat for this year. The hummingbirds and bees will love them!
All the Best! ~~Shannon

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Week Two: Purple and Green

Hey there CSA folks! We are now 35 shares and growing. Lucky for 8th Street the greens love the rain. We have a handful of bread shares and 10 folks signed up for cheese! If any Okanogan Valley shareholders are curious about Back Country Coffee they can now buy some at Main Street Market in Omak or sample it while at One Drop Coffee Shop in Tonasket. It's Caleb's and my favorite local coffee and it's 100% organic and fair trade, such a pleasant bonus! Nothing like fresh (weekly) roasted coffee brewed in your morning-time kitchen (or rainy afternoon office).

Yes, new this year, Shannon (me) has finally allowed 8th Street Greens to fly into the interwebs of the internet... we'll try to stay rooted though. I've been wanting to share pictures with CSA members for several years now. Thanks to Phoebe Webb, film school graduate, we now have a semi-professional blog site featuring the farm all-stars (people and crops), additional recipes and the weekly newsletters. So, shareholders and acquaintances alike can subscribe and get an email when the updates happen or just search it here-n-there. Our blog site can be part of the education that our Okanogan County community needs. It seems that some of us small-scale farmers are accidentally competing for the same customer base, but if the thousands of Okanogan County residents grocery-shopped more locally, seasonally and healthfully, us farmers would be sittin' pretty and I'd be property-shopping!

Until Shannon gets her dream property, 8th Street Greens continues to "grow it the healthy way" in this soil she's been stewarding for 10 years. A weeping crab apple tree looks over the greenhouse and freshly disced soil.

This Week's box has Original Salad Blend and Green Garlic from 8th Street. We need to harvest the green garlic before it toughens up. Head Lettuce, either green or red loose leaf, from Yonder Farm (Watershine has sold the Filaree Farm name with the orchard and garlic so has re-named her row-crop operation as Yonder Farm! Yonder Farm is located in the same fields as Filaree was, so the food continues to be 30 years certified organic!). The storage potatoes are Viking (purple, good fryers) and Yukon Gold (excellent steamed, boiled and mashed, or good any way). They are from Sutton Farm out of Tonasket and grew in soil that is stewarded in an environmentally friendly way.

Pictured is the standard share with no added options.

The following two recipes would be good to keep around, as they are basics for regular use.

Wilted Greens with Basic Dressing
Aioli is good on sandwiches, with fish and chips, or with herbed potatoes or other foods.
Ingredients: 1/3 C. olive oil; 4 garlic cloves (or green garlic), minced; ¼ C. cider vinegar; 1 ½ 1b mixed tender greens (beet, mizuna, mustard or mesclun)
Preparation: eat oil and garlic in small saucepan over moderate heat until fragrant, approx. 1 minute. Stir in vinegar and immediately pour over greens. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Serve right away. Serves 10-12 (Note: you receive ½ lb greens in your box, so you may want to decrease this recipe)

Aioli Sauce
Ingredients: ¼ C. extra virgin olive oil2 TB chopped green garlic; ¼ tsp. Coarse salt; ¾ C. mayonnaise, divided; 2 tsp. Fresh lemon juice
Preparation: Blend olive oil, garlic and salt in processor until garlic is minced. Add 2 TB mayo and blend well. Transfer to small bowl; whisk in remaining mayo and lemon juice.

Spinach and Green Garlic Souffle from Epicurious

3/4 to 1 cup minced green garlic, about 5 small heads
1 cup cream or half-and-half
1 thyme sprig

The Soufflé
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for the dish
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch spinach, stems removed, or 12 to 16 ounces loose, young spinach leaves
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups milk
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 scant cup (about 4 ounces) mild goat cheese
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 6-cup soufflé dish or gratin dish and dust it with a few tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese.
2. Put the garlic, cream, and thyme in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring slowly to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes.
3. Wash the spinach well, then wilt it in a skillet with the water clinging to the leaves. Tip it into a colander, press out the moisture, then finely chop.
4. Melt the 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour, and cook for 1 minute while stirring. Whisk in the milk and stir until it thickens. Add 1 teaspoon salt, then stir in the goat cheese and remaining Parmesan. Turn off the heat and stir in the egg yolks, spinach, and the garlic-cream mixture. Season with pepper.
5. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form firm peaks that are just a bit on the soft side. Fold the whites and base together. Scrape the batter into the prepared dish and bake until golden brown and set, about 25 minutes for a gratin dish, 30 minutes if using a soufflé dish.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

First Box of the Season

Greetings! Welcome to the 2011 growing season here in the Okanogan! This is 8thStreet Green's 6th CSA season. We started our CSA in 2003. This spring has been cold but it seems we're on track with growing food, so here we go!
This first newsletter is mostly a “how-to” reading about general operations of our weekly CSA delivery.

Communication: I only have a landline home telephone. I check it at break-times and lunch and evening. For quick response call me. We prefer “business hours” so we have night time off. For non-urgent words, you may email me, i've been checking it more-n-more regularly, though I still love ink on paper. It's fun when we get letters in our returned boxes:)

Schedule: Box-packing begins at 8 a.m. in Okanogan. We load the car at ~10:30 and drive north to Tonasket with round 1 of deliveries. Along the way we will deliver to Omak locations (Breadline and Main Street Market), hoping to have boxes conveniently available for lunchtime hour pick-ups. I then drive back to Okanogan and pick up round 2 for delivery. I will drop off Okanogan doorstep deliveries, then head over the mountain to Twisp (The Local) and Winthrop (The Community School). I should be to Winthrop by 3:00. On-farm pick-up boxes are available by 2:00. You park up top and walk down to the cooler or you can drive down if you need to. Please, always drive slow and watch out for our toddlers, especially if you are arriving later. If anybody needs a different drop-off location let me know.

Boxes: The precious boxes... I have 3 rotations of boxes purchased for you. The 300 boxes I just bought cost $599! So, it adds up and we love to have them returned! I leave a box of food for you, you take it home, when you get the following weeks box of food you leave your empty box there for me! Later, there will sometimes be little boxes inside the big box, we like to get those back, too!

Payment: You will get a receipt for your CSA purchase. If you paid in full, done deal! If you're making 3 payments, I will let you know via newsletter when they're due, July 1st and Sept. 1st. You will send me a check in the mail, then I will put a receipt in your box.

We are currently 25 shareholders! I'm still accepting memberships, probably on into June. We had rave reviews last year, but sign-ups are low so far. I was hoping to grow the CSA this year, but now i'm hoping to make it to 60 like last year! Thank-You to all of you who advocate for local foods, enjoy small business and love the seasons!

This box, for those who have chosen the options, also includes Larkhaven Farm's Whitestone Feta and The Okanogan Bakery's OK Multigrain bread.

This weeks box has Salad and Spinach from 8th Street Greens. Both have been triple- washed. We serve it up right out of the bag. Whether you wash it a 4th time or not is up to you. The spinach with a red stem is called “Bordeaux.” The green garlic is also from 8th Street. Use it like green onions; in soup, on salad or in stir-fries. The apples are “Cameos” and “Fujis” from River Valley Organic's (George and Apple Otte's) fall crop. They're still quite tasty for fresh eating. The head lettuce is mostly “Black Seeded Simpson” from Yonder Farm.

Here's to a great 2011 season!!! ~~Shannon

Heather helps out on harvest day, working fast to keep the delicate greens fresh.

A full bucket of greens sits at the end of a row.

 photo credit: Zak Scott
Shannon pours Nutri-Rich into the mix of OMRI Certified fertilizers, which also includes Nature's Intent (nitrogen, protein, chicken manure), K-Mag (calcium and magnesium), Epsom Salts, and Kelp.

 photo credit: Zak Scott
Shannon uses the tractor to spread organic fertilizers into the field. The funnel can hold 500 lbs and Shannon applies 2,500 lbs per acre.

Zak gently slices tender greens for this week's CSA box.