Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week 16: "Plant a little garden, eat a lot of Peaches!"

Beans and beets!
Hi there!  This is our 16th box of the season.  It's an odd combo of foods, but maybe some of you (like me) have some produce holding over, like some basil, an onion and some carrots or tomato. . .

This week's box:  a full pound of green, broad and long thin beans.  The length of time for cooking them works out because some are flat-ish and some are round but thin, so go ahead and let them be mixed for cooking if you want to!  The beans and. . . yes, beets. . . are from Yonder Farm.  Watershine says it's the nicest beets of the season, with beautiful lush tops, so enjoy!  You mightn't get beets again this year!  (no promises, though :))

JC Kauffman, owner of Filaree Fruit, gently selects the ripest peaches.

BEET~~ Beta vulgaris~~  Very versatile, cooked or raw.  High in nutrients, vitamins A & C, also the carotenes.  If you use the beet greens, you'll also get generous portions of Vit. C, calcium, and iron.  Tremendously long storing, sweet and delicious, and colorful (use as lipstick!). If you grow to enjoy beets, you are in luck.  They are available much of the year.  1st baby beets of season in June, hearty throughout the season, finishing at late frost.  After harvest, will retain their integrity for 3 months, or longer if stored properly.  ~no need to peel, just scrub clean (trace minerals lie just below skin)
~grate into most any salad, cooked or raw  ~cube into veggie soups or stew  ~serve sliced, steamed beets at room temp., tossed in olive oil with dash of salt and pepper, or use a simple vinaigrette
~to bake, cut off leaves and wash roots.  Bake at 350 d. for 1-2 hours or until easily pierced.  Rub off skins and cut off roots.  Serve whole or sliced.  ~~beet chocolate cake  ~young beets can be enjoyed tossed raw into a mixed green salad (we'll  get you some of that next week!)  ~try beet greens steamed or sauteed or in any dish calling for a mild, tender green such as spinach.  STORAGE TIPS:  beet greens best used fresh, as wilt quickly  ~store greens wrapped in a damp cloth or in a plastic bag in a drawer of the fridge  ~to maintain firmness of roots, cut off leaves and stems 1-2 inches above the root crown.  Store in a plastic bag or tupperware and refrigerate in the hydrator drawer.

Perfect Red Haven peaches sit in a box, waiting to be packed. 

From Asparagus to Zucchini,  A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce

2 TB olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 med. Beets, quartered, sliced ¼” thick
2 med. Carrot, sliced ¼” thick
tamari sauce (or soy, braggs, shoyu)
beet tops, fresh spinach or chard

Heat oil in skillet.  Add cumin; cook about 1 minute. Add beets and carrots; fry until tender.  Remove from heat, sprinkle on some tamari, serve. 

Variation:  save the tops.  When the beets and carrots are tender, add chopped greens, cover and cook until soft.  Toss mixture, sprinkle with tamari, serve.  Makes 2-4 servings.  

Peach trees glow in the early morning sun at Filaree Fruit.  JC remarked that he feels like he lives in a tropical land when he picks peaches.
Also in the box:  cucumbers and garlic from 8th Street Greens.  The garlic is Music Pink, 1 big and one medium size.  It's a nice spicy porcelain variety, not easy to peel but fun to slice the big cloves.  I'm looking forward to growing very amazing garlic next year.  I can feel the good crop happening already!  I'm going to fertilize perfectly, water perfectly, weed most excellently and harvest at just the right moments!  Ya with me? !!!  The full shares also get ½ pound salad.  The peaches are small fancy Red Havens from Filaree Fruit.  

JC sets his organic peaches in a waiting, padded box.

Next week's box might be plums, potatoes, carrots, salad, summer squash... and I keep hopin' for melons.  This week's fruit share:  extra peaches, a ½ pint of blackberries, some Santa Rosa plums (Bartella's, certified organic)  and some nectarines with dimples.  The dimples make them #2s (Bunny Laine, certified OG).  But the dimples with my smile make me a fancy :)  I bring you all your baskets of food on my birthday...  it's a good job to have, and I feel grateful for this life.

Best to you  ~~Shannon                                              


Friday, August 19, 2011

Week 15:

Elliot Phillips packs this week's boxes in the washing room of 8th Street Greens.

Hello CSA folks!  Just been out floppin' irrigation lines around, rototilling bolted greens and previously rototilled beds, prepping for yet another salad planting.  Gonna plant 5 or 6 100' beds tomorrow, instead of the usual 3 or 4 beds.  Each bed gets planted with 5 or 6 rows of seeds.  Lettuce, herbs, mustards, spinach and Asian greens like bok choy.  I'm a gonna go for 2 beds of spinach tomorrow.  I'm obsessed with trying to grow spinach all season long.  It's hard, because sometimes it does well in the middle of summer with high heat, or certain patches do well but not others, so I just keep on trying, using seed, giving customers spinach semi-promises I can't keep, wasting weeding time and money, you get the point.  But farming is a bit of a science:  observation, recording, re-do after re-do of experiments, investment in different tools for trial and error.  I seem to have the strawberry thing down pretty good—getting about 3 flats a week now.  Call if you want any for a party, or to preserve.  They are definitely sweet things.

The greens are going to a wedding this week-end and we've got a special order for the farm to table dinner event at Bluebird Grain Farms in Winthrop.  It's hosted by the Washington Water Project to honor Okanogan Farms.  This Sunday at 5:00.  Proceeds from the benefit are to enhance the project's salmon-safe work with farms in Okanogan County.  It feels really good to have been contacted by a Methow caterer to provide for a Methow event.  509-881-7690 if you're curious about going.

This week's box:  4 oz of just lettuce (triple rinsed), 3 bulbs of Inchelium Red Garlic! (yes, it's small for Inchy.), and 1 bag of Thai Basil – all from 8th Street.  Carrots, another Walla Walla onion, and a tomato from Yonder Farm.  And donut peaches from Bartella's Orchard, 3rd year transitional (almost certified organic!), they are #2s.  The full shares get extra of the foods, plus a small bunch of chard.

Fruit option:  2 lbs peaches, 1 pint of strawberries, 2 shells blackberries (Bunny Laine).

Tomato, Mozzarella & Thai Basil Crostini
Bon App├ętit   June 2011 
Makes 12 servings

Sesame oil and rice vinegar spin the caprese eastward.
12 slices seven-grain or sesame bread
1/2 garlic clove
2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes (or slabs of heirloom tomato from Yonder)
1 small shallot (or sweet onion), minced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sliced fresh mozzarella
Thai basil leaves

Preparation:  Grill bread slices and rub with garlic clove.
In a bowl, combine tomatoes, shallot, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Season with sea salt and pepper; let sit for 15 minutes.
Put sliced fresh mozzarella on toasts. Spoon tomato mixture over mozzarella and garnish with Thai basil leaves. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Here's to Good Food!                                                                                                        ~~Shannon

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Week 14: Glad for Gleaners

Hello everybody!  Here we are in the thick of summer, high river still and the Omak Stampede this weekend.  ~~Yee Hah~~ We'll start cleaning garlic this afternoon.  We're still hacking away at and mowing weeds, eating lots of yummy fresh foods and enjoying the socials. 

(All photos by Shannon Gilbert this week)

Lots of gleaners, hard at work! Wonderful to have volunteers!

The gleaners were just here.  A big thank-you to the Food For All program of Community Action.  The gleaner co-ordinator Sarah and some of the volunteers were here this morning to do a last harvest of lettuce before I rototill it in next Monday.  They were here a few weeks ago and gleaned lots and lots of greens!  It's so nice that they can take advantage of our extra food.  It helps the food bank clients access fresh, local produce and helps the gardeners and farmers share their abundance without donating it to the compost and feeling wasteful of energy and perfectly good food. I read the article in the Methow Valley News about The Red Shed Farm project and agree with Kelleigh McMillan that when inspiring low-income folks to eat fresh farm foods we should be offering the best to them, not the culls or old stuff.  That idea confirms my gratitude in accepting EBT (food stamps).  I'm hoping more people take advantage of that option with 8th Street's CSA next year.

Empty boxes were soon filled up with so many helping hands.

This week's box:  is a bit of a repeat, not at all what I had planned for this week, but we'll appreciate it anyway!  A smaller bag of original greens and Marketmore slicing cucumbers from 8th Street; red beets, summer squash and a walla walla onion from Yonder Farm; blueberries (what! Blueberries!?) from Bob and Loreen Stout (I picked them early one morning and couldn't help but share with you!  Enjoy! I've given you a blend of the 3 types he has). The apricots are from Filaree Fruit.  About 4 weeks ago I told J.C. I wanted the Rival apricots for the CSA so here they finally are!  We get mostly rivals, which have the strong pink blush, and a bit of Perfection and Goldrich in there as well.  I usually only put apricots in the boxes once per season, but this year just isn't the same as others, what can I say!  Who wants things the same, anyway. . .

Bob Stout tends his blueberries, one of the biggest jobs being to keep the birds off the fruit!  The owls help, as well as shiny ribbons, cannon shots and his pellet gun.

Next Week:  carrots and peaches!  I know, I already said that last week. . . (and maybe green beans!)
Fruit option:  Early Red Haven peaches, extra apricots and a full pint of blueberries!
The cheese:  This week is from Pine Stump Farm.  Carey said it would be either her gouda or her mozzarella.  Their website, which you can link from the sidebar on the right, lists food and wine pairings for the different cheeses she makes.

We grilled up some T-Bones from Oberg Brothers this past week-end--  yum!  My man Caleb sliced up some beats (1/8-1/4” thick) and threw those on the grill as well.  Those were super good, they sweetened and were delicious with a little piece of Larkhaven's feta.  Also, I halved some apricots, drizzled balsamic vinegar on them, and grilled those as well.  Delicious!  Summer squash and sweet onions are also good on the grill! 

Fun trip up to Esther Briques winery this past week-end.  Our friend, co-farmer, photographer Phoebe Webb got her short film into the TumbleWeed Film Festival.  So, we all traipsed on up there to view it and sample the local wine.  In case you haven't caught on yet, Phoebe made 8th Street Green's blogspot and takes the artful photos for us.  Her film, “You Might Need It Some Day,” captured the beauty of her Grandmother's old stuff that she'd been packrat-ing for 50 years.  The dresses billowed on the clothes line, the hand saws myriad were propped on the garage door and filmed, the hats-a-plenty were modeled by her grandma and mom, the old piano plunked the sound-trak.  It's fun, that after viewing 10 films, only a few repeat in my head, and Phoebe's is one of those!  It must of sounded in my heart and made an impact in my mind, the beauty of young recording elder and the beauty of old well-made stuff!  You might need it some day, whether a good ol' tractor like Phoebe photographed at my place last week or a pretty dress to wear to the local winery!  Thanks to Phoebe for her dedication to the blogspot!                          All the Best!  And remember to eat yer beets!!!                                          ~~shannon

Photographer Phoebe Webb loves pea blossoms and her generous friend Shannon!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Week 13: Summer is Here!

Summer is finally here on 8th Street Greens!

This week's box:  Herb Salad and basil or cilantro, whichever you did not get last week, from 8th Street.  If you got cilantro this week, you get a cucumber (either a classic slicer or an asian variety), some from Yonder some from 8th Street.  If you got basil this week, you'll have summer squash in your box, from Yonder Farm.  Also from Yonder:  sugar snap peas, hopefully filled out and sweet.  Truly the last of them:)  and a tomato.  The apricots are “Perfections.”

Cucumber and cilantro are delicious together in nori rolls or fresh spring rolls.  It's a great idea to make a batch of wraps before the work week, then eat them for a couple of days.  A cool, refreshing summer snack, full of nutrients but light on the belly.  Put some pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce on it and you've got electrolytes!

Summer squash is delicious lightly sauteed in butter or olive oil, with basil added at the end and maybe a little salt and freshly sauteed garlic (leave the cloves whole or chop it) and some balsamic vinegar.  Use it as a side dish or to top pasta, along with some raw tomato.

The fruit share gets:  2 lb of apricots (“Perfection”  We're calling the grade 1 1/2s, because they're not quite as nice as fancies but not as blemished as #2s.  Watershine, the OPMA representative who does the marketing, networking, taking of orders for all the OPMA growers, said these apricots have some russet and blemishes.) They taste like perfection but aren't A+ perfect:)  The 2 lbs of peaches are Early Red Haven from Filaree Fruit.  We'll all have peaches in our box next week!  The strawberries are from 8th Street.  I guess berries are about done at Bunny Laine. . .  bye bye my blueberry loves.  Glad I have some of you in the freezer!  My family has been living off ½ flat of blueberries per week—they sure do take care of us!  Next year, I'd be happy to get any of you extra blueberries each week.  And Bunny Laine would be happier to bring me several flats a week!  Blueberries are just right, but so are succulent peaches!

Elliot Phillips weeds a bed of strawberries at 8th Street Greens.

If anyone wants a box or more of Early Red Haven peaches for canning, drying or bulk fresh eating, call or email me by next Monday.  Prices vary for fancies, small fancies, #2s, or canners.  Red Havens are cling-pit.  The semi-cling “freestone” are the Suncrests, which won't be until early September this year.

The drying shed filled to the brim with garlic.

The garlic is all in the drying shed.  We'll start cleaning it next week.  I just rototilled a lot of ground yesterday, prepping for more salad successions (only 2 more for the season!) and for cover crop.  We planted lots of greens and herbs this morning and are doing an 80 pound greens harvest tomorrow!

Shannon keeps her seeds organized and safe from the rain and sun in a file box. Genius!

Shannon spreads nitrogen-rich fertilizer by hand onto a long bed.

Shannon skillfully seeds a bed with yet another succession of salad greens.

Looking forward to making pesto soon.  We'll have lots of basil starting next week.  If any of you would like to order a pound or two, call me.  I'll try to figure out a recipe for pesto that uses a 1 lb of basil ratio.  A pound of basil looks like a gallon of milk, regarding size of bag.  When making pesto, we just always improvise the ingredients into the food processor. . .  oh yah!  I made a yummy strawberry/raw ginger/fennel bulb smoothie yesterday, with ice cubes, rice milk, a dash of lime and agave nectar.  Yum!  Try it, you might like it!!!  It's so worth it to motivate and follow through on one's food ideas, with all this delicious seasonal food at our foot tips---root tips---finger tips.

Best to you all!  ~~shannon