Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Care of Earth

"The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope."

~ Wendell Berry





As summer winds down, we are excitedly putting together the final two weeks of summer 2014 CSA at Echollective, that is if the grasshoppers do not scarf it all down!  They multiplied in droves this week and are really taking a lot of pleasure from the Bok Choy.  

These next couple of weeks we are busy tweaking the switch from summer CSA to fall CSA.  Many of you have already set up for that and the time is drawing near, like now, to get on the fall list so you don't miss the first week's box.  We begin the first week in October and run for 8 weeks.  

This week is the last downtown Cedar Rapids market so it would be a great time for you CR folks to submit for yours right when you pick up your box, as next week the pick up will be at Greyhound in NewBo City Market. (Thanks again Greyhound Deli!  You people rock.)
If you have not done a CSA membership with us, please contact us for more information on how to get started.  It is easy and totally worth it.

Another important mention:

SEED GARLIC!  The time is now.  If you are interested please contact us at echocsa@gmail.com!
So...
This week's CSA box:
Kale
Potatoes
Red Onions
Shallots
Garlic
Leeks
Diakon Radishes
Summer Squash/Zucchini
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Green Beans
Sweet Peppers
Bok Choy
(And we have a few hopeful surprises.) 
Here is a really flavorful and easy way to serve bok choy.  The sesame oil is a must!

Sautéed Bok Choy Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (from 1/2-inch piece)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 pounds bok choy (about 2 medium bunches), cleaned, ends trimmed, and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salt (optional)
  1. In a large frying pan with a tightfitting lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the bok choy and, using tongs, fold it into the garlic-ginger mixture until coated, about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and water, cover, and cook until steam accumulates, about 1 minute. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are just wilted, the stalks are just fork tender but still crisp, and most of the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and season with salt if desired.
Via: http://www.chow.com/recipes/28071-sauteed-bok-choy 

Thank you for farming with us.  We look forward to a beautiful harvest season with all of you and wish you the very best of the coming season.

Kindly,
Your Echo Team


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Seeking High Ground

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.” 
 
~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
 

 

So we got flash flooded this week and have experienced insane amounts of water and hail damage.  Our fall greens have really taken a hit and it is hard not to be a little discouraged but we are plugging away at saving everything we can.  We will keep you updated on progress and hopefully still have plenty to offer at markets and for CSA this week.  
This week's CSA should include:

Kale or Cooking Greens
Red Onion
Shallots
Garlic
Potatoes
Summer Squash
Leeks
Diakon Radish
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Eggplant
Sweet Peppers
Basil
 
We will do our best to make good on these but may be a little off due to the weather.
 
Weekly recipe!
 

Chickpea Succotash with Lemongrass

  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
  • 1 large tomato (1 lb.)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut into ½-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • ½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (½ tsp.)
  • ¾ cup cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup fresh corn kernels
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1. Trim and discard tough base and skinny top leaves of lemongrass stalks, then peel away tough outer layers. Crush inner white stems with mallet or rolling pin, then finely chop. (You should have 1 Tbs.) Transfer to small bowl, and cover with 1/4 cup boiling water. Set aside.

2. Halve tomato through middle, and scoop seeds into strainer set over bowl. Press juice from seeds, then discard seeds. Set juice aside, and dice tomato flesh. (You should have 2 cups.)

3. Heat oil in large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add squash, ginger, and garlic, and sauté 3 minutes without browning. Stir in chickpeas, corn, diced tomato, lemongrass with liquid, and tomato juice, and season with salt and pepper (if desired). Cover, increase heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, or until tomatoes just begin to soften. Stir in basil.

Via http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/chickpea-succotash-with-lemongrass/

We wish you all the best with this unpredictable and gnarly weather as we navigate it ourselves with hopes for a bountiful fall harvest.  Thank you for farming with us!

Your Echo Team




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

By All These Lovely Tokens

"By all these lovely tokens 
September days are here, 
With summer's best of weather
 And autumn's best of cheer."
~ Helen Hunt Jackson

As summer winds down, we are ready to start talking fall CSA with you all.  The weather is beginning to reflect that awesome transition time, of summer merging with autumn.  We still have a bit of summer CSA to go yet so will begin the first week of October which will last for 8 weeks.  The cost for a couple's box is $20 a week and for families it is $30.  Please let us know if you are interested so we can be sure you are ready come the end of this month.  You can email us at:
echocsa@gmail.com
You can also call Derek at 319.325.3910 or Jessica at 319.409.4028!

We are certainly ready for abundant squash here at the farm and as much as summer blesses us with so much bounty, fall weather and joy are something we look forward to, along with the privilege to continue working with our CSA members.





This week's CSA box will include:

Cooking Greens
Kale Bunch
Red Onion
Candy Onion
Eggplant
Peppers
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Leeks
Potatoes
Summer Squash
Zucchini
Diakon Radish
Garlic
Shallots
Basil
(Always possible element of surprise.)
Here is your weekly recipe which includes a few of your box items! Compliments of: 

Fried potato, peppers and eggplant (patate, pepe e melanzane fritti)

 

Ingredients

  • 185 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 5 mm wedges
  • 1 small eggplant 
  • 2 medium red capsicums (preferably corno di toro – bull’s horn), cut into 2 cm strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced 
  • 6 basil leaves
  • salt
  • crusty bread, to serve

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the potatoes. Fry until lightly golden, then remove from the oil and place on a warm plate. Keep warm.

Peel and finely slice the eggplant (it is best to do this just before cooking so it doesn’t go brown) and add to the pan along with the capsicum. Stir-fry over medium heat until just soft, then return the potatoes to the pan and stir everything together.

Move the ingredients to the edges of the pan to create a gap in the middle. Add the garlic to the gap and fry for 5 seconds until it releases its aroma, then add the tomato, basil and salt to taste and stir for 10 seconds. Serve with crusty bread.

Enjoy!  And thanks again for another week of farm goodness with us.

Your Echo Team

Friday, August 29, 2014

Precious Life

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
~ Mary Oliver

We have the privilege of getting up close and personal some of the more inconspicuous members of the Echo Team out here on the land we farm.  From frogs and spiders and praying mantis to volunteers and workers, it is a broad spectrum of wild and precious lives that make this farm work.  Of course, our CSA members are a very big part of the team as well and we very much appreciate you all!



This week's CSA box includes, with perhaps some subtle variations:

Cooking Greens
Kale
Red Onions
Candy Onions
Shallots Garlic 
Potatoes
Eggplant
Peppers
Basil
Zucchini
Summer Squash
Leeks 
Diakon Radishes
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

Not sure what to do with diakon? "Raw daikon root is a white fleshed radish that has a very mild taste and is very low in calories, coming in at around 6 calories per ounce. Because of the multitude of benefits it gives, daikon is considered a superfood. It contains large amounts of enzymes that aid in fat and starch digestion as well as high levels of vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium. It also contains other phyto-nutrients that fight cancer. The extract from the seed is also a powerful immune booster and cancer fighter." More information at:  http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-daikon.html

Here is a great way to use them with your summer squash and zucchini too!

GRILLED DAIKON WITH PEPPERS AND SQUASH

1 daikon root, peeled
2 summer squash, leave skin
2  peppers, any color

Marinade
2 Tbsp.  olive oil
2 Tbsp  balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp dried herbs of your choice
1 tsp  crushed or chopped garlic
1 dash  Worcestershire sauce

Slice daikon into 1/2 inch slices. Slice squash on 45 degree angle into
1/2 inch slices. Remove seeds from peppers and slice into large spears.
Combine all ingredients with marinade and let sit for five minutes.
Heat grill to medium high heat.
Spread vegetables out evenly across grill and cook for two minutes,
turn everything over and grill two more minutes.

Compliments of: http://www.wordenfarm.com/recipesdaikongrilleddaikon.html 

Thanks for choosing to work with us with your wild and precious lives!
Echo Team

 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Did Someone Say Rain?

"Eating is an agricultural act."

~ Wendell Berry

Lately, we have been looking around daily saying to each other, "And where is this rain we keep hearing so much about in weather reports?"  We have been doing the farmer scramble to prepare for fore cast rains that are not arriving.  One good result is that we have a lot of onion varieties and shallots out of the ground, as to avoid them getting rain soaked.  A more challenging circumstance is that we are farmers in need of a little rain now!

What a dance it can be sometimes, a crazy beautiful one, that can feel like swimming an impeded stream at times.  Then, there are other times when we get to see robust shallots fly off the market table as we share in the joy of our market customers excitement.




CSA members will soon be cooking with these beauties.

As for this week, boxes include:

Leek
Eggplant
Peppers
Cooking greens
Kennebec potatoes
Candy Onions
Red Onions
Summer Squash
Zucchini
Basil
Rosemary
Thyme
Garlic


For a quick and easy dish, chop eggplant and potatoes into small cubes and roast.

Toss with oil of your choice, chopped garlic and onion, chopped rosemary and thyme.

Place on oiled baking sheet or on parchment paper.

Heat at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from heat and sprinkle with fresh basil, letting it warm with the hot dish for a few minutes before serving.

From farm to fork, farm laughter to market table smiles and stories, we so appreciate serving locals and thank all of you for another week, albeit a hot and dry one, of growing and eating good food.

Thank you!
Echo Team