Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 CSA Newsletter Week 1 - June 1, 4

Tomatoes are flowering in the field, and the first week of CSA deliveries is heeeeerrre! Members can come down to the Iowa City Farmers Market weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays and pick up veggies at the Echollective stall. Deliveries run for 20 weeks. This means you'll have veggies through the second week of October, barring unforeseen weather events. Some pointers on picking up:
  • Bring shopping bags or a box with you, as we will have a "buffet style" table set up for CSA where you will pick your own veggies. We will have empty boxes ($1 deposit on those this year) available if you forget your bags.
  • Do come on the day you set as your pick-up day when you signed up.
  • Remember to bring the balance of your subscription cost this week when you pick up. If you need to find out what you owe, you can use the Small Farm Central site to do that (http://echollectivefarm.smallfarmcentral.com/members/statusemail). Or, call Derek (319-325-3910) or Mandy (319-400-0987) to find out. Remember that work trade is an option for payment-- see below for details.
  • If for some reason you cannot pick up, please let us know in advance.
**Check it out: CSA members get $1 off super-yummy breakfast burritos at Local Burrito (at the market on Saturdays)!**

Veggies this week include:
  • Bok choy: A stir fry standard, also yummy grilled. Makes scrumptious pesto (see recipe below).
  • Radish: Nice sliced thin on salad, or drizzled with butter.
  • Nettle: A wildcrafted item full of vitamins and minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, vit Bs and vit A), it packs a sting while it grows and retains some of that sting until it is either cooked or dried. Should be prepared like other dark leafies, steamed, sauteed, or simmered. Works nicely in curries, soups, and sauces. Mix it with your braising greens. A nutritive, cooling tea can be made by infusing nettles with mint and/or lemon balm.
  • Bunch spinach
  • Arugula: Delicious raw in green salads or added to pesto.
  • Green garlic: Dice finely and whisk into a simple balsamic vinaigrette and dress your salad greens!
  • Head lettuce
  • Asparagus: Grill, stir fry, or steam.
  • Mint
  • Cilantro: Chop and add raw to bean salads or relishes. You can make very tasty pestos with cilantro (see below recipe).
  • Turnips: A great addition to soups.
Storing radishes: Remove the greens (since they draw out moisture otherwise), and refrigerate in an open plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Try to use within 1-2 days.

Cooking with green garlic: These are new garlic plants that have sent up their shoots but have not yet formed bulbs. They have the characteristic aroma of garlic, but they have a milder taste than mature garlic cloves. You can use the white and pale green parts of the plant (most if not all of what has been provided). Try it sauteed in scrambled eggs or with asparagus. It is also delicious grilled. Incorporate some finely diced pieces into mashed potatoes. Add it to the broth for a delicate spring vegetable soup (pea soup with green garlic is also nice). Green garlic should keep refrigerated about as long as green onions, though if your plants have young bulbs forming on them, those bulbs may keep a bit longer.

Using asparagus: Try to use your asparagus very soon, as it loses sugar and moisture after harvest and goes limp. (Cold storage won't delay this process.) Use it before the butts of the asparagus spears begin to look dry, shriveled, or cracked.

Some pesto recipes... I find myself making spreads and pestos out of a variety of Echo veggies when I need to clear out space in my fridge for fresh veg. Toss pesto with hot pasta, or spread on wraps, crackers, or chips. Pesto can be nice with eggs and waffles.

Cilantro Miso Pesto
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro (3 ounces)
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, sunflower seeds, or hulled hemp seeds (or a combo of these)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white miso, mellow white miso or sweet barley miso
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
Chop garlic and cilantro in a food processor until minced. Add other ingredients and process until well blended.

Bok Choy Pesto
  • 2 cups bok choy, cleaned & chopped
  • 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese, grated (or sunflower seeds + couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast, for vegan option)
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • small splash of toasted sesame oil
  • pinch of salt & pepper
Pulse bok choy, cashews, garlic, and ginger in a food processor until ingredients are chopped and combined. Drizzle in olive oil while food processor runs, making the pesto. Add salt, pepper, and sesame oil and pulse a few more times. Done!

Spinach and cilantro.

* * *
& in the spirit of CSA...

Here's a hopeful call for more members to volunteer for distribution/delivery at market! This is an easy way to meet and help out your fellow CSA members, while deepening your commitment to the local food network. If you have older kids bring 'em along and introduce them to the world of food and marketing. If you are interested in setting up and running the CSA pick-up table, email echocsa@gmail.com.

We need help on the farm, too. Things are really bustling in the field, so folks interested should call and come on out!! Volunteer or work off the remaining balance on your share, and learn more about how we grow your food. Set something up with Derek by phone or email. We try to get people out to the farm for 4-hour sessions on busy days but will work with your schedule too. For work trade, half the cost of a couple-size share can be traded for 6-7 4-hour blocks of work. This week we've been extra busy getting fresh salad greens to school kids in the ICCSD-- part of our farm-to-school efforts-- and we need big help with weeding!

* * *

Jes and Randall's Wild Foods Walk & Potluck was held May 15th. After a stormy morning, the sun came out and blessed this springtime Sunday stroll 'round the farm! We identified many plants-- cleavers, nettles, sweet cicely, fiddleheads, and more-- talked about their nutritive and medicinal qualities, and discussed how they could be prepared in the kitchen. We went through the woods, too, to find solomon seal and some others. Potluck goodness included a chickpea dandelion salad, chai with burdock and dandelion root, and candied violets. Thanks to all who came.

**We'd love more input on and involvement with future events out at the farm -- potlucks, field days, and Garlic Fest are upcoming.**

Here are some photos from the blissful walk...


Some of the group who gathered. Caroline is collecting some plants for her hat.

Liliona, having a happy good time on the walk.

Selah with her wind-mohawk, and Mandy.

***
Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!
echocsa@gmail.com
(319)325-3910

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Dandelion+Love=Food
There are so many tasty ways to prepare dandelions. Really who knew that such delicious dishes could come from my LAWN :) The dandelions in the photos are form Echolective and were scrumptious!
Here are a few ideas for how to eat dandies:

The unopened buds are delicious tossed in a little melted butter or coconut oil. Because they can get pretty soggy in a frying pan, I think it's better to toss them in the oil and salt them and then roast them on 400 in the oven.

I made a delicious carrot, dandelion root, ginger curry. Here is my recipe:
3 large carrots
1 cup dandelion roots
2 TBS ginger root
1/2 large onion
1/2 tsp marjoram
2-3 TBS butter or coconut oil
1/2 tsp garam masala/ curry powder

Dice carrots, onion, dandelions and ginger. Melt the oil. Cook the onions first, when soft ad the ginger, marjoram and garam masala. Immediately add the carrots and dandy roots. Add water if needed to keep from burning. Saute until tender.

Dandelion greens are great in salad and cooked. I quite enjoyed them in quiche and an omelet.

Finally here is a link for a good dandelion flower burger! Yum! http://fat-of-the-land.blogspot.com/2008/04/dandy-burger.html