Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Feeling a bit like summer!

"Nature" is what we see--
The Hill--the Afternon
Squirrel--Eclipe--the Bumble bee--
Nay--Nature is Heaven--
Nature is what we hear--
The Bobolink--the Sea--
Thunder--the Cricket--
Nay--Mature is Harmony--
Nature is what we know--
Yet have no art to say--
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.

by Emily Dickinson








The insects are many among us on our days farming now.  We are grateful for the winds, which keep the gnats at bay and cool our skin as things heat up. So far, our insect friends have not done too much damage to our crops and we grateful for that. The sing for us into the evening and for that, we are also grateful after a quiet winter and friendly spring.  Summer is almost upon us.

This week's CSA share is beautiful with lots of greens and even some shiitake mushrooms!  We know our members love those. The radishes are super yummy and have been flying off the market table as well.  Much more to come but for this week:

Variety of Greens 
Green Garlic
Leeks
Asparagus
Spring Mix
Bok Choi
Radishes 
Mint or Rosemary
Shiitake
Lettuce Head

Here is a fun recipe to try with your Leeks and Shiitake

Quinoa with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms

  • 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 cups thinly sliced leek (about 2 large)
  • 4 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preparation

Combine broth, water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 3 tablespoons parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Remove from heat; keep warm.
Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek; sauté 6 minutes or until wilted. Add mushroom caps, bell pepper, and wine; cook 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Place 1 cup quinoa in each of 4 shallow bowls; top each with 1 1/4 cups vegetable mixture and 2 tablespoons walnuts.

Compliments of:

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/quinoa-with-leeks-shiitake-mushrooms

Thanks again for farming with us!!!
Echo Team

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hello Frost!

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” 

~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring




 

We are facing frost again this week and have our tomato plants tucked into the soil of our new hoop houses, hoping they stay strong.  Otherwise, most of our other plantings should be hardened off well by now and after last night's frost look like they may be better off for it.  Our asparagus is very well established by now, has weathered many a frost and the crown's are producing lots of really beautiful spears.  

We often hear from folks that they prefer the skinnier stalks and worry about the large ones being too woody.  We can attest that this is not the case with our asparagus, as we have both sizes and all in between.  No matter the size, they get woodier at the bottom of the grass stem.  It is not dependent on size.  Preference is preference but we would like to clear up this popular myth.  Size doesn't matter.

Now for our CSA members, here is what you will be receiving this week:

Spinach
Green Garlic
Asparagus
Arugula
Bok Choi
Radishes
Mint
Red Lettuce Head
Braise Mix (Cooking Greens)
Perhaps a surprise or two 

For your weekly recipe from the farm, you can try a salad using much from your market picks.

Roasted Asparagus, Avocado and Arugula Salad

  • 1 bunch (about 1 lb) asparagus (choose thicker, larger stalks if possible)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp honey or agave nectar
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4 cups arugula (about 5 oz.)
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. After you clean your asparagus, make sure to pat it totally dry before proceeding. Slice the tough stalk ends from your asparagus (1-2 inches at the bottom of each stalk).
  • Place the asparagus on a baking sheet; I foil line my sheet for easier cleanup. Drizzle the stalks with 1 tbsp olive oil, then rub each stalk with your hands to evenly coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper—freshly ground black pepper is best. Place prepared asparagus into the oven and let it roast for 12-15 minutes till the toughest parts of the stalks are tender and the leafy tips are starting to get crispy.
  • While the asparagus is cooking, place the pine nuts into a small skillet over medium heat and toast them for a few minutes till they turn golden brown and aromatic. Be careful, stir constantly, and keep a close eye once they start to brown—they can go from brown to burned very quickly. Once they’ve turned golden, pour them into a small bowl and reserve.
  • When the asparagus has finished cooking, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut each stalk into 4-5 pieces each. Discard any overly tough ends that did not get tender during roasting.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, 1 tbsp lemon juice, basil, honey and a pinch of salt. Vegans can sub agave for the honey in the dressing, or leave it out. As you whisk the mixture rapidly, very slowly drizzle in the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil till emulsified with the juice mixture. Reserve dressing.
  • Cut the avocado into small cubes. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ tbsp lemon juice to keep it from turning brown.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, roasted asparagus, toasted pine nuts, avocado and dressing. Toss gently till the ingredients are well mixed and the arugula is evenly moistened by the dressing. Season the salad with additional salt to taste, if desired. Serve.
  • This salad is easily doubled for a crowd, and can be partially made ahead for easier serving. Roast the asparagus and toast the pine nuts in advance, and juice the citrus for the dressing, then store in airtight containers till ready to serve (refrigerate the asparagus and juices for up to 24 hours before serving). Just before serving, slice the avocado, whisk the dressing and toss the salad. It tastes best at room temperature, so if you’re making some elements ahead, be sure to take them out of the refrigerator and let them return to room temp before tossing the salad.
This recipe is compliments of:

http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2013/03/roasted-asparagus-avocado-arugula-salad/

You can also mix in some of the red head lettuce with the arugula for something a bit more hearty on the leafs and could play with mint and radishes too.

We want to thank all of our CSA members and market shoppers for being such an important part of keeping local, consciously grown food sustainable.  You rock!

Much love,
Your Echo Team

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

To Market, To Market...

"I would like to see people more aware of where their food comes from. I would like to see small farmers empowered. I feed my daughter almost exclusively organic food."

~ Anthony Bourdain






Hello, folks!  We are swinging fully into market season and love seeing all your friendly faces at market.  May we say that you are beginning to look well fed by your local food already?  It simply brings a glow to the face. Summer CSA is underway and this week is a special one.  Not only do we have lots of vegetables for you, we are offering eggs from a close neighbor for an additional purchase.  They will be on a first come first served basis.

This week's haul will include:

Spinach
Green Garlic
Asparagus
Spring Mix
Bok Choi!
Radishes
Head Lettuce
Braise Mix (Cooking Greens)

Need some cooking inspiration?  Here is any idea from the farm.

Spinach and Bok Choi Braise

  • 3 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced green garlic
  • Half pound fresh spinach, soaked in water to clean, drained, excess water squeezed out, large stems removed and discarded, leaves roughly chopped
  • Half pound bok choi, leafed
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (I use Nama Shoyu... yum!)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (toast yourself or purchase toasted ones)
1 If you haven't already toasted the sesame seeds, do that first. Heat a stick-free skillet on medium high. Add raw sesame seeds and use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir. The seeds may make a popping noise and jump up, almost like popcorn. They will toast very quickly, so stir constantly until they begin to brown and smell like they are toasted. Remove from pan into a separate bowl as soon as they are done.
2 Heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the green garlic. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, add the spinach/choi and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is completely wilted. Turn the heat to low.
3 Stir in the sugar and soy sauce. Remove from the heat. Add salt to taste. Serve hot, warm, room temperature, or cold, drizzled with the remaining sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
I adapted this from an original recipe online, compliments of:

Happy cooking!
Echo Team











Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Asparagus, Green Garlic, Lettuce... Oh, my!


“Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of Creation.
(pg.99, "The Body and the Earth")” 

~ Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays








The time is finally here! Our CSA members receive their first week of abundance from Echollective Farm and we could not be happier to send the love off to your tables.  We have been dancing with the wild prairie weather and staving off hungry deer and rabbits.  So far, fortune has mostly been on our side.  The farm is doing well with lots of good stuff growing.  This last rain topped us off so we are a little concerned about the amounts of rain we may be getting throughout the week.  Otherwise, all is well and we are working hard to offer lots of fresh food to hungry locavores.

Farmers markets are ramping up really look forward to seeing everyone's smiling faces for another season.  

This weeks CSA pickings will include:

Green garlic
Asparagus
Spring mix
Arugula
Radishes
Head lettuce
Turnips
*always the element of surprise as well*

The asparagus is super fresh and goes really well with green garlic in soup, along with some fresh farmers eggs!

Asparagus Soup with Green Garlic and Eggs

1 pound asparagus
5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1 bulb spring garlic, separated into cloves if cloves have formed, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup pasta or rice, cooked, or 4 to 6 slices toasted Italian bread (optional)





1. Break off the woody ends of the asparagus stalks and combine them with the stock or water and the garlic in a soup pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes. Using a skimmer, tongs, or a slotted spoon, remove the asparagus stems and discard. Season the broth to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the asparagus into 1-inch pieces and add to the broth. Simmer 8 to 12 to minutes. It should be very tender and fragrant, but still bright green and not mushy.
2. Just before serving, beat the eggs, cheese, and parsley together in a bowl. Have the soup at a bare simmer. Making sure that the soup isn’t boiling, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture. Stir well and whisk back into the soup. Whisk constantly over very low heat for 3 minutes, then ladle into bowls and serve, with a spoonful of pasta or rice, or a slice of toast in each bowl if desired.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: This soup must be served right away.

Compliments of:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/20/health/nutrition/20recipehealth.html?_r=0 

See you all at market!



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

You, As a Food Buyer...


“You, as a food buyer, have the distinct privilege of proactively participating in shaping the world your children will inherit.” 

~ Joel Salatin



It is that time of year again already, to start the shaping of a new farm season here at Echollective and CSA membership is a big part of that planning process.  With many of our past members chomping at the bit, we have begun to accept membership applications for 2015 and applying is really easy.  Applications received on time really helps us to plan our growing according to demand.  For those of you who may not know quite how CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) works, check out Local Harvests description.  It is very thorough:  http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Otherwise, kick off 2015 with us, your local farmers, and be a part of Echollective!  If cost is an issue, we do also offer work trade for a portion of your membership and you get to dig in and get your hands dirty!  If you are wondering what might be on the menu each week, take a look through our archived blogs from May - September of 2014.  We weekly send this blog out as a newsletter to our members with farm news, weekly box contents, farmers market updates and recipes.

All in all, CSA with us is not only an opportunity to participate in the sustainability in being a part of locally grown food but also supports our efforts at stewarding 35 acres of forested land, along with the 14+ we farm vegetables, herbs, perennials and cover crops with.  Your participation helps us to conserve prairie grasslands and habitat, as humans who care and are committed to them.  By supporting us as your local farm of choice, you are supporting sustainability in agriculture in your own community.  Thank you!


“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”  

~ Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution