Tuesday, July 27, 2010

5th CSA Pick-Up

Another Tuesday CSA pick-up has come and gone and what a lovely weather day it was. A few scattered showers, overcast and a swift breeze made for a great harvesting day. The veggies are all doing really well and everything is growing like crazy. The snap peas are almost done and I'll be picking them for the last time for Thursday's pick-up. The green beans are now ready and I just will not have time to pick both veggies.
This weeks pick-up includes:

Carrots - these sweet orange treats keep getting bigger every week. The variety this week is called Napoli and they are awesome. We have been steaming lots of carrots and they don't get much sweeter than Napoli's.

Beets - by far our best beet year ever. I've been quartering or halving them and sticking them in the steamer with potatoes and carrots. When the fork goes through them easily out them come and into my belly, yum

Snap Peas - Enjoy your last feed for this year of snap peas, oh how I will miss the sweet crisp crunch of the snap peas

Lettuce mix/Lettuce head - The large shares have lettuce mix while the small shares have a lettuce head. The current lettuce mix patch is almost done and I am waiting for the next patch to catch up. There might be a few weeks of no lettuce soon but hopefully not for too long.

Onions - We are now harvesting the onions grown from seed. The previous onions were from sets.

Spinach - The large shares have spinach this week and enjoy it as soon it will be gone until the fall weather arrives. These large leaves would be best steamed or sautéed in a stir-fry.

Zucchini/Summer Squash - You may have gotten green or yellow zucchini or papaya pear summer squash in this weeks share. They are nice and small so enjoy in a stir-fry or why not try a foil barbecue package with potatoes, onions, sliced zucchini, butter, salt and pepper.

Potatoes - 3lbs of newly dug superior potatoes, with the dirt still attached. They should be kept in a dark cool place until you are ready to use them and you should poke a few holes in the bags also.

Summer turnip - One of our members mentioned last week that she loves to roast almost all of her veggies including the summer turnip. We have been enjoying it steamed but we hope to try it roasted soon. She sure made it sound super yummy. A simple splash of olive oil, salt and pepper mixed with other farm fresh veggies and into the over to roast.

Rainbow Swiss Chard - Looks like a mix between beet greens and rhubarb. A very pretty addition to your dinner plate. Simply steam as you would spinach.

I snapped this picture last night after the showers. Now if only there was a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Happy veggie eating!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

4th CSA Pick-up

It was another very hot CSA harvest day today on the farm but everything got picked and delivered to Charlottetown on time. The large shares are very full this week, the bins were so full it was hard to close the lids. This weeks shares include the following farm fresh veggies: lettuce mix, lettuce heads, chinese cabbage, green cabbage, beets, baby carrots, onions, summer turnip, dill, cilantro, snap peas, spinach, garlic scapes and summer squash. (note, not all veggies included in both shares, large and small shares vary week to week)

Cilantro - Chop and add into sour cream for a light refreshing veggie or chip dip. Close the bag that the cilantro came in and store in the fridge.

Dill - Awesome with salmon or haddock, or chopped into sour cream and served with new potatoes, yum. If you store the dill in a glass of water it will keep very well that way.

Baby carrots - The greens should be snipped off and the carrots put into a plastic bag in the fridge

Marinated Lemon Carrots
11/4 lb. small whole carrots with tops
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup coarsely chopped shelled unsalted pistachios nuts

1. Trim tops of small carrots to 1 inch long.
2. Steam carrots to just tender crisp.
3. In small bowl, combine lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cardamom; whisk in oil.
4. Add cooled carrots, toss to coat. Cover and marinate in fridge for 4 to 24 hours, tossing once or twice.
5. To serve, transfer carrots to serving bowl. Sprinkle with pistachios (I was not overly found of the pistachios so I would just leave them out next time)

Beets - The greens are getting big so just chop them off and store the beets in a bag in the fridge

Chinese Cabbage - Try using the chinese cabbage as a main ingredient in your salad this week, I think you'll like it.

Green Cabbage - Our earliest cabbage yet to grow here on the farm. This variety is called Parel and its weeks ahead of the other varieties.

Cabbage Fruit Salad
4 cups shredded cabbage
2 medium oranges, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 medium red apples, chopped
1 cup seedless red grape halves
¼ cup dried currants or raisins
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, oranges, apples, grapes and currants.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar and salt.
Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, stir dressing and pecans into salad.
If you don’t want to make the dressing, just use purchased coleslaw dressing.

Onions, the greens are still good so chop them up and add into scrambled eggs, a salad or a spagetti sauce.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce - One of the most beautiful leaf lettuce heads we grow. It always impresses me with its looks and taste. Yummy

Snap Peas - Many CSA's do not offer peas as a part of the share due to the time commitment of harvesting them but we really like them and want to share with our members. Just snap off the stem end and eat them, pod and all. This variety is called Super Sugar Snap and they are sweet and tasty.

Summer Squash - Our summer squash is just starting to ripen and the large shares got to enjoy the first of the season's harvest. Pictured above is green zucchini, papaya pear and flying saucer. They are great chopped into a salad or added into a stir-fry.

Summer turnip - One of our most asked for vegetables this season, so this week the large shares have 2 and the small shares each got 1. You will notice a few "track" marks on the outside of the turnip, just peel them away and enjoy. Great cooked or eaten raw.

The garden is looking very good this year, things are growing very well and we are quite pleased with everything so far. We still have a few problem areas that are in need of weeding including the rutabagas and the latest planting of carrots but overall we're very happy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Making time for "life"

I find it hard not to work all the time, it's a bit of a family trait that has been lovingly passed down. There are always a dozen projects on the go that need my attention but I have decided this summer to try and take time to enjoy the Island's weekend festivals and events and natural beauty like the beach. Yesterday afternoon after a few hours of work on the farm and the babies nap we attended the Kinkora Somerset Festival antique tractor pull and we had a great time. This afternoon after a few hours of tomato trellising and weeding we headed to Lower Bedeque to my grandparents cottage to introduce the boys to the big blue ocean. Jake headed right on in like a trooper and was loving it until a wave started pushing him around. Ben was much more timid but after a few minutes he also was enjoying the warm water. We had a great time. I can't wait to take them back.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Third CSA Pick-up

It was a hot hot hot harvest day today here on the farm. The black flies were so bad that I had to wear bug pants and jacket and it felt like I was breathing through a plastic bag. I had been lucky the last two weeks that the harvest days ended up being cloudy and cooler so I didn't need to worry about the veggies wilting but today with the high heat and sun out in full strength it wasn't taking long for the freshly harvested vegetables to start wilting. So there was alot of running around from the field to the wash station to cool the veggies right away and then directly into the cooler to try and retain the fresh qualities that we require for veggie pick-up day. This weeks share includes: lettuce head, baby beets, baby carrots, arugula, tatsoi, onions, cilantro, kale, radish and spinach.

Sweet, summer onions

Baby beets

Farm fresh baby carrots


Boston Bib Lettuce

Zucchini are in full blossom

View of the growing garden

Recipe Ideas

Spinach Strawberry Salad
4 cups packed torn fresh spinach
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
½ cup finely diced red onion
¼ cup slivered almonds
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Curry Salad Dressing
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon curry
In a large salad bowl, toss together the spinach, strawberries, mushrooms, onion and almonds.
In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients: shake well. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and serve immediately. Serves 4.
The dressing is tangy. If you prefer a milder one, raspberry vinaigrette or poppy seed would work well.

Fresh Beet and Cilantro Salad

One bunch of beets
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
Juice of one lemon
1 garlic clove or 2 scapes, chopped
¼ cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar shopping list

Wash beets and slice. Place sliced beets in pot, add enough water to cover. Add sugar and salt and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat and cook on a medium simmer until they are just fork tender – between 5 -10 minutes depending upon how thickly sliced the beets are. Drain.
Place cooked beets into bowl and cool completely in the refrigerator. Once chilled, take out and add lemon juice, chopped garlic, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, vinegar and stir till combined. Add additional salt if necessary and serve. Keeps well in fridge.

Pasta with Greens and Feta

olive oil
2 chopped onions
2-3 cups (packed) greens (kale, spinach, tatsoi or any combination thereof), coarsely chopped
penne, shells
feta cheese, crumbled
pepper, salt and parmesan cheese to taste

Heat olive oil and cook onions over med. heat for 10 minutes. Add greens, stir until greens begin to wilt. Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat. Cook pasta, drain, then add along with feta to the sautéed greens. Mix to combine, season with salt* and pepper to taste, then serve hot accompanied by parmesan cheese.

*the feta is salty already, so you may not need additional salt

The arugula can be a "i love it" or an "i hate it" green. It can be quite spicy and is best mixed with other greens like lettuce or spinach or one of our favourites, served on barbecue steak.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

2nd CSA Pick-up

I just got home from the second Charlottetown CSA pick-up. I really enjoy the pick-ups, getting to see everyone and chatting about their favourite and not so favourite vegetables. The grab box got a lot of use today, switching beet greens for chard, onions for chinese cabbage, radish for turnip and so on.

This weeks shares included lettuce mix, spinach, Chinese cabbage, Joi Choi, summer turnip, green onions, strawberries, red radish, beet greens, swiss chard and strawberries. The large and the small share do not always have the same items, we try to mix it up a bit every week to keep from getting the same things every week. The grab box works well that way as people can swap otherwise unwanted veggies for those which they know they would enjoy.

Most of the strawberries in the shares this week are from Hughes Hills Farms in Kelly's Cross. I picked them yesterday for the Charlottetown shares and will be picking on Thursday for the Summerside shares. I thought our strawberry patch would be fine for another year of picking but I'm afraid the dear old patch has come to an end. The berries that are there are very small and seedy, I picked for over an hour and only got 6 boxes and that was from 8 rows, so needless to say it was slow going. I had planted new plants last year but we had to get our septic system replaced and the construction machinery that was here basically drove over all our plants and killed them, what a bummer!!! So off I drove to Gary and Kelly's organic strawberry patch and picked away the remaining boxes that I needed for today's pick-up. Gary and Kelly Hughes grow certified organic strawberry's and they have a u-pick so if your looking for more berries they have a great patch with o-so tasty berries. Normally the philosophy of a CSA is to share with the members only the produce and fruits which you have ready at that time, but since Strawberries were on our original list and I know people love them, so I decided to bend the philosophy a bit to be able to have strawberries, even if it is only for 1 week.

Recipe Ideas

Mushroom, Mustard Swiss Chard

2-½ Tbsp olive oil
1 large bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves, garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp plain or Dijon mustard
½ lb mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, finely shredded, including stems

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Sauté the green onions and garlic for 2 minutes until softened and tender. Add mushrooms and cook 4 – 5 minutes more. Add the chard, cover and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until chard is tender but still crisp. Mix in mustard and heat 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir and serve immediately.

Lori's Joi Choi stir-fry
"put about 2 TB of olive oil in a skillet and heat. chop choi roughly and add to the hot pan. Stir fry for a few minutes, until just the choi is tender. Remove from heat. Add a good splash of soy sauce and a few drop of sesame oil and serve. So good!"

Summer turnip

Summer turnip is really nice eaten raw or you can also steam or boil until soft. It is very similar to the fall rutabaga's we eat just a little sweeter and much prettier.

Add sliced strawberries, toasted almonds, sliced green onions, cubed feta or goat cheese to a plate of spinach and lettuce mix and voila, an instant supper masterpiece

Beet Greens

The beet greens are getting on the large size so you will want to cut away the stems from the greens. Some bunches had some tiny beets there so you might be lucky enough to have some baby beets for supper as well.

Farm News
Things are going very well here on the farm, we had our first CSA open farm day on Saturday and it was great to see everyone who came out. We are looking forward to hosting at least 1 open farm day per month. The weeds are pretty much in control except for the top section which is currently under attack by cornspurry and pig weed. I started the daunting task of hand weeding the beets today after harvesting for the CSA and the weeds are thick!!!! But with a little elbow grease and hopefully the babies nap well I should be able to get the worst of it cleaned up this week.

The peas are just starting to flower which is very exciting news for pea lovers, we have both snow and snap peas, yum. The potatoes are looking awesome this year and the superiors are flowering and are looking like in a few weeks we will be able to include them in the boxes. The early carrots (Nelson, Napoli and Morkum) are all looking really good and I enjoy snacking on the odd carrot that I find big enough to munch on.

Hope this finds you well and eating your greens!!