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


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Super Moon Glow

The farm environment is always rich and keeping us very in touch, on our toes.  Life is never boring and to see this year's super moon from the fields has been a sight to behold.  So the moon reaches its closest proximity to earth for the year and we also get to witness the Perseids meteor shower, bathed in full moonlight.





The topic of the full moon and how it affects people, animals, plants and specifically water, which we are made of in large measure, has been floating around the farm dinner table.  The phenomena that accompany any full moon are a signal as to how deeply entwined we are with our environment and how we treat our landscape means a lot for how well being is expressed in us.  This matters at Echollective and we are happy to see a growing number of people seeking consciously grown local food.

It is not all sky gazing out here, though! A lot of hard work goes into every step of bringing food from the farm to your kitchen table.  We do our very best to provide our CSA members with bounty for much of the year and this week's bounty is carrying strong, even as we still rebound from all of that rain.  Our work with Green Share helps to fill a couple gaps and this week we may have a few surprise offerings from them added to the following list:

Shiitake Mushroom
Basil  
Leek
Cucumber
Kale and or Cooking Greens
Kennebec Potatoes
Candy Onion
Red Onion
Turnips
Zucchini
Summer Squash
Garlic 

The following recipe from Savvy Vegetaran is a lovely way to use the Shiitake!

Easy Soba Noodle Stir Fry Recipe with Shitake Mushrooms


  • 1 8 oz pkg buckwheat soba noodles
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 inch strip kombu seaweed
  • 4 shitaki mushrooms, stems removed
  • Stems from shitake mushrooms,chopped
  • 1 leek
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli (1 stalk)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tbsp green curry paste
  • Optional: tsp tamari soy sauce to taste
  • Optional: Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Dulse flakes or toasted crumbled nori for garnish
  1. Boil two quarts water to cook the noodles
  2. Make stock with two cups water, mushroom stems and kombu, simmer 10 minutes, set aside to cool
  3. Heat a large sauté pan or wok on medium
  4. Cut off the tough top of the leek and the stem end. Wash carefully, getting out the soil between the leaves. Slice in thin rounds
  5. Slice the mushrooms in thin strips
  6. Slice the zucchinis in 1/4 inch rounds
  7. Cut broccoli head in small pieces, peeling and slicing the stem
  8. Increase heat and sauté the leek, zucchini, broccoli and shitaki in oil + water as needed for 5 minutes
  9. Blend the stock, tahini, arrowroot, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and green curry paste
  10. Add to the sautéed veggies, with optional soy sauce and pepper. Simmer gently while the noodles cook
  11. Lower heat on cooking water, simmer soba noodles 5 minutes or until tender, drain and rinse briefly with cold water (so they don't stick together)
  12. Plate noodles immediately, ladle over veggies & sauce, sprinkle with dulse flakes or toasted and crumbled nori
Compliments of: http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/vegetarian-recipes/soba-noodles-tahini-veg-sauce.php

We look forward to seeing all our CSA members this weekend at market, along with our growing tribe of loyal shoppers. 

See you soon!
Your Echo Team Farmers




* 1-2 Zucchini, washed and sliced * 1 cup frozen peas * 4 cups whole milk * 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth * 1 3/4 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)* * 2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 medium) * 1 1/2 cups dry white vermouth * 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes * 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream * 3 tablespoons olive oil * 1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (such as crimini, small portobello, and shiitake), stemmed, caps cut into wedges * 3 large shallots, sliced (about 3/4 cup) * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided * 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme - See more at: http://newrootsorganics.com/recipes/main_dish/polenta_with_zucchini_mushrooms_peas_and_leeks#sthash.r6Z6vr8O.dpuf




* 1-2 Zucchini, washed and sliced * 1 cup frozen peas * 4 cups whole milk * 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth * 1 3/4 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)* * 2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 medium) * 1 1/2 cups dry white vermouth * 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes * 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream * 3 tablespoons olive oil * 1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (such as crimini, small portobello, and shiitake), stemmed, caps cut into wedges * 3 large shallots, sliced (about 3/4 cup) * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided * 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme - See more at: http://newrootsorganics.com/recipes/main_dish/polenta_with_zucchini_mushrooms_peas_and_leeks#sthash.r6Z6vr8O.dpuf




* 1-2 Zucchini, washed and sliced * 1 cup frozen peas * 4 cups whole milk * 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth * 1 3/4 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)* * 2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 medium) * 1 1/2 cups dry white vermouth * 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes * 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream * 3 tablespoons olive oil * 1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (such as crimini, small portobello, and shiitake), stemmed, caps cut into wedges * 3 large shallots, sliced (about 3/4 cup) * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided * 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme - See more at: http://newrootsorganics.com/recipes/main_dish/polenta_with_zucchini_mushrooms_peas_and_leeks#sthash.r6Z6vr8O.dpuf


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What is CSA? And What Has it to do with Rain? Or Garlic?

Mid-summer is this mixture of beauty that we get to experience through teaming life on the farm and those who support us, as we strive to maintain food coming from our farm to your table.  Yes, we face weather, critters and the human condition... every day!   Bridging that gap between farmers and those who work their very own difficult schedules is a commitment we work hard for.  Life is beautiful and this is evident in our continual relationships of community supported agriculture.  We love you gals and guys!





It has been really great to have families come out to participate in garlic harvesting and we look forward to inviting more out for a some fall planting fun.


You have all continually shared in the bounty and the occasional lull, as weather sometimes knocks on our farm door in unsuspected ways.  You ride with us, through lack or down pouring of rain.  We have been busy with cover crop this week and also digging up some deluxe potatoes that will have you grounded and sustained in one meal flat.  Introducing the Kennebec.  Thank you for caring for your taste buds... we enjoy this to no end.

Want to know a bit more about these epic potatoes? Seattle has the beat on them...

http://www.seattlemet.com/eat-and-drink/nosh-pit/articles/kennebec-the-new-it-potato-june-2012


They will be coming soon!

So we have another box full of goodies for you this week and hope that our members are becoming increasingly familiar with how many of these plants are staples to the home kitchen.  May you also enjoy the surprise now and then.  We are so excited to continue providing for your developing staple kitchen of local food and also to introduce you now and then to plant friends that needs more exposure.  Garlic scapes have really become a whirling dervish to the Iowan plate this summer and it makes us smile.

This week:

Shiitake Mushroom (protein packed!)
Collard Green (way more worth your time than you may think)
Basil (just the smell alone...)
Leek (subtle and perfect with potatoes in so many ways)
Kale (revered all season on our farm)
Red Potato (delicate and perfect for quick summer roasting)
Candy Onion (pickling anyone?)
Red Onion (salad and sandwich necessity)
Turnips (see wikipedia... just kidding)
Zucchini (makes a great pasta substitute with marinara)
Summer Squash (slice on the bias and put on the grill with sea salt and cracked pepper)
Garlic (we are just getting started...)

Leek and zucchini/summer squash pair really well together.  If you choose to add a bit of shiitake mushroom, welcome to the advanced class!  Really, it is easy... just slice the head and add to the following recipe, with or without walnuts.

Grilled Zucchini and Leeks with Walnuts and Herb


 Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise with some root attached
  • 2 large zucchini (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems

Preparation

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toast walnuts in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Chop very coarsely. Toss warm walnuts with garlic, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Brush leeks and zucchini with remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables, turning often, until tender and charred in spots, 5-8 minutes for leeks, 8-10 minutes for zucchini.

Transfer vegetables to a cutting board. Trim roots from leeks and cut leeks and zucchini into bite-size pieces. Add vegetables and parsley to bowl with walnuts and toss to combine; season vegetables with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.


http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Zucchini-and-Leeks-with-Walnuts-and-Herbs-51239690

In my opinion, lemon juice never hurts... but I suppose my years in Southern California and my deep love for lemon sort of sneaks its way in as a luxury here in my homeland of Iowa. Got lemon?  Got rain?  Use it! And scapes are always a power packed, quickly diced addition to any meal.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for sustaining your fork with local food from our farm!  We love being connected with you in this way.

Much love,
Your Echo Team





Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summertime Neighbor Sharing

This past week has been busy with garlic picking and curing, along with the many other farm operations that support our presence at farmers markets, New Pioneer, HyVee and you can find our produce on the menu at several great local restaurants including Motley Cow, Trumpet Blossom, Salt Fork Kitchen, Cobble Hill, Palisades Cafe and Kirkwood Hotel's Class Act.  They are all doing really amazing things with fresh Echollective veggies right now.

The sunflowers are in full bloom with many buds yet to open and the bees from our hives are busy going in for some honey love. We have had some of our CSA work-traders out in the garlic fields! It is so nice to work alongside CSA members and get to you know you better.





Our neighbors at Green Share Organic CSA are beginning to trade with us some of their bounty as we have a lot of onions to share with them.  Feel free to check them out!

http://greensharecsa.com/GreenShareCSA/Home.html

This week is the big downtown Cedar Rapids market and, as usual, you will find us there on 3rd street near the main stage, across from Zins.  As a reminder, Cedar Rapids CSA members will be picking up there. 

CSA boxes this week offer:

Garlic Scapes (good with practically every dish!)
Turnips (great roasted with potatoes or added to a potato mash)
Parsley (perfect for cold dishes like tabbouleh)
Kohl Rabi (thin round slices make great raw chips to dip in salsa and/or guacamole!)
Collards (great cooked or used as a raw wrap)
Broccoli (another great cold salad addition on hot days)
Red onions (small but mighty)
Candy onions (shiny and sweet)
Red potatoes (getting a lot of compliments on these)
Basil (caprese salad favorite when fresh)
Zuccini and summer squash (add turmeric to this steamed for a seasonal anti-inflammatory dish)
Leeks! (potato and leek soup with our garlic... heaven)
Rosemary (lovely added to said soup or with a potato/turnip roast)
Thyme (compliments rosemary very well and pairs great with fish)
Garlic (what much of the fuss is about. powerhouse herb)

We love to hear about how you are preparing your box goodies so please pass along to us anything you would like to share!  On facebook or via email.

https://www.facebook.com/echollective.farm?fref=ts

echollectivecsa@gmail.com

Here is a lovely potato and leek soup recipe, which you can add red potatoes to for a slight variation using yours from your box! 

Compliments of:
http://pinchmysalt.com/a-hearty-potato-leek-soup-recipe-for-the-last-days-of-winter/ 

3 tablespoons butter
3 leeks, thinly sliced*
1 medium or large onion, chopped
6 – 8 russet potatoes, thinly sliced**
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or enough to barely cover potatoes)
1 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

1) Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat then add onions and leeks. Cook, stirring, until onions are limp and just slightly brown.

2) Add sliced potatoes to saucepan then pour in enough chicken broth to just barely cover the potatoes. Continue cooking over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Using a potato masher, mash and stir potatoes until desired consistency is reached. As you mash the potatoes and the soup thickens, turn down heat and stir frequently with a large spoon to prevent scorching on the bottom.

3) Add one cup of heavy cream (or more if you desire) and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook 15 minutes more over low heat, stirring frequently, then remove from heat and serve.

Notes: *Make sure to clean leeks thoroughly and slice only the white and light green part of the leeks. **You don’t need to peel the potatoes as the peels add to the rustic texture of the soup. But make sure to scrub them thoroughly and remove any obvious blemishes before slicing. Although we always make it with chicken broth, this can easily become a vegetarian soup by simply using vegetable broth instead.

< More tutorial is available on the website >


As always we are happy and honored to be your farmers!

Wishing you a joyful mid-summer,
Your Echo Team