CSA Newsletter, Week 5 - June 29 and July 2

10:14 AM Mandy 0 Comments

Wishing for the summer sun now... we are hungry for the ripening of fruit and the fattening of garlic bulbs! Peas are done, and potatoes are starting to bloom--the first ones may make it to market next week. And over just a few rows, the Practical Farmers of Iowa are initiating the post harvest phase of their study on weed control in asparagus.

* * *
Garlic harvest fest next weekend!

July 8-10, at Echollective Farm (879 Echo Ave., Mechanicsville, Iowa)
An all-day, multi-day work party.

Pick, clean, and trim garlic for as long as you please.
All are welcome, the more the merrier. Bring some potluck vittles, gloves, hat, sunscreen, music makers. Wear your workin' shoes. Camping overnight is fine, with notice. Please RSVP echocsa@gmail.com.

* * *

Volunteers, please? We need some more happy helpers at market for July. Let us know if you are available for an hour or two on a Wednesday (4:40pm-'til) or Saturday (7:00am-'til) to help set up and staff the CSA table.

On the table:
  • Beets: these are fabulous grated raw in salads, wraps, and even pasta dishes. Toss hot pasta with a bit of coconut oil plus grated raw beet and fresh chopped basil.
  • Cabbage
  • Basil: not quite enough yet for a big batch of pesto, but it is refreshingly sweet and flavorful. Chop for garnish on a variety of dishes.
  • Garlic scapes
  • Onion
  • Parsley: throw a handful of fresh, chopped parsley into whatever vegetable dish you make near the end of cooking it. It adds a refreshing zing.
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli: you can make your own braising mix with a few leaves of broccoli, a few of beet, and double that amount of kale leaves. Chop the mix very fine and steam, and you have the filling for a mixed green quesadilla.
  • Zucchini
  • Peas
  • Other items, to be determined on picking day

Foraging tip of the week:

Yum-- it is berry season in Iowa! Service berries are deliciously sweet this year, so scout out bushes on your walks and outings. Service berry is a tall bush popular in landscape plantings. Also, check along roadsides, alleys, and creek banks for mulberries and gooseberries. I have even found a few nice early raspberries already, but I'm not telling where!


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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

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CSA Newsletter, Week 4 - June 22 and 25

9:41 AM Mandy 0 Comments

Firefly summertime evenings on Echo Ave. There are onions bulbing and a more varied assortment of zukes fruiting. A new walk-in is going in. This week's crazy weather challenge: the covering on one of the hoops took flight during some incredibly windy storms. The hoop is fixed up, but plants inside got bogged down a little. Wet weather is also complicating some of our succession plantings. Our working group from Americorps was just getting comfortable and digging in when they had to leave for Joplin, Missouri.

Thanks to volunteers helping with CSA veggies at market! You are a big help. We have many more days in July and beyond when we will need folks to stock and staff the table. Even if you only have an hour or so to lend a hand, we need ya on set-up (7:00ish on Saturdays or 4:30ish on Wednesdays). Find a sign-up list down at the market table on the CSA clipboard.

Garlic harvest festival is right around the corner-- July 8-10. It's an all-day, multi-day work party at Echollective Farm (879 Echo Ave., Mechanicsville, Iowa). Pick, clean, and trim garlic for as long as you please. All are welcome, the more the merrier. Bring some potluck vittles, gloves, hat, sunscreen, music makers. Wear your workin' shoes. Camping overnight is fine, with notice.
Please RSVP echocsa@gmail.com.


On the table this week
:
  • Garlic scapes
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Parsley
  • Other items, yet to be determined
***
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

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Farm Photos

12:23 PM Mandy 1 Comments

I posted some new photos from the farm! Follow the "Photos" link below the header to view them.

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CSA Newsletter, Week 3 - June 15 and 18

12:22 PM Mandy 0 Comments

Steady rain on the farm this week has bolstered lots of vegetative growth and somewhat easier weeding! Freshly weeded and mulched potatoes are looking beautiful. Hat tip to our very wise farmers for companion planting the taters with catnip, to keep flea bettles off their leaves. Focus turns now to summer crops and repelling insects-- interplanting eggplant and peppers with alliums, planting lots of zucchini to ensure plenty of healthy flowers and, later, fruit. Tomatoes are brimming with flowers. Sweet cicely seeds have come ripe and sweet. Oriole nests abound. In the woods, folks are spotting big patches of deer mushrooms... Summer solstice approaches.

potatoes, mulched and hilled up

Big thanks to CSA folks for the help on the farm and at market. Farmer/foodslinger Derek says, "Free coffee and burrito at Local Burrito for volunteers!" If you're interested in volunteering for markets, find the sign-up sheet on the CSA clipboard down at market, and mark a slot.

See those scapes on the market table? The beginning of garlic harvest is just a few weeks away! Stay tuned for info on the Garlic Fest. And feel free to get involved in the planning. I am busily brainstorming designs for a garlic stalk/leaf labyrinth. If anyone has ideas, please shoot 'em our way (echocsa@gmail.com).

On the table:
  • Garlic scape. The seed pod of the garlic plant, which curls as it grows tall and then slowly uncurls. They are most succulent when still curled, with an asparagus-like texture and a mild garlic flavor. Harvesting the scape helps the plant to concentrate growth energy in the bulb. Scapes can be diced and added to salad dressings, soups, sauces, marinades, stir-fries, scrambled eggs. They can be sauteed in oil or butter to accompany potatoes... Scapes store well for weeks in the fridge, but used fresh is always best! To preserve them for longer, scapes can be pickled. Check out this lovely recipe: http://www.washingtonsgreengrocer.com/blog/pickled-garlic-scapes-flowers-coriander-lavender-and-black-pepper.htm.
  • Head lettuce. What to do with so much lettuce? Throw a handful of leaves into a mixed berry or berry-banana smoothie. Lettuces can be full of vitamins A, K, C and folate and manganese as well. Try the lettuce soup recipe below.
  • Asparagus
  • Bok choy, the last of it for a while.
  • Mint
  • Oregano. Add whole oregano leaves and diced scapes to chickpea or other bean salads.
  • Turnip
  • Dandelion
  • Broccoli. The leaves are great sauteed or steamed along with dandelion, beet, and/or kale leaves. (All cook in about the same time.)
  • Kale
  • Peas-- sweet, crisp, and yummy! Try a garlic scape and pea stir-fry.
  • Beets
  • Salad mix. Toss some finely chopped dandelion leaves, peas, mint, and grated beet with your salad mix, and dress with a scape-balsalmic vinaigrette.
***

Recipes

Lettuce Soup
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely diced (or 4-5 scapes)
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 head of lettuce, washed and cut into thin slices or several handfuls green lettuce
  • 5 cups of water (0r broth)
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh basil (or the same amount of oregano or of beet, broccolini, and dandelion leaves, chopped)
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Add onions and sprinkle with a little salt, reduce heat to medium and saute until onions become translucent. Then add the garlic cloves and saute for a minute or two.

Add the water and potatoes and some salt and pepper. If you have thick, tougher lettuce leaves, add now as well. If you have thinner, tender lettuce, simmer for ten minutes, then add. At this point, simmer for about another 7 minutes, then add the quarter-cup of chosen fresh herbs (or greens). Simmer until everything is soft and add vinegar or lemon juice. Then blend in a blender! Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

zukes flowering and fruiting

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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

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CSA Newsletter, Week 2 - June 8, 11

8:47 PM Mandy 0 Comments

Mad heat! Summer zukes and tomatoes are flourishing, while the Spring choy, lettuce, and other greens bolt and flower. New brassicas are coming up now, and broccolini is likely just around the corner. Garlic scapes are nearly ready for market, and garlic harvest is just a month away.

**A massive hail storm Tuesday night destroyed Echo's greens! Many crops, like the garlic, broccoli, and kale, will make it through or bounce back. Other crops may have been damaged so that they do not produce well. Take care to eat the veggies we deliver to you this week soon, as some of them may have some bruising and therefore will not store well. The farmers are doing all they can to continue delivering food to market.**

Want to lend a hand in the field or just drive out to tour the farm? Saturday afternoons are great for that, or really any day except Friday. Call (319)325-3910 or email echocsa@gmail.com, to make plans. The address is 879 Echo Ave., Mechanicsville.

On the table this week:
  • Bok choy
  • Radish: a bit past their prime, our pretty red radishes are starting to taste spicy.
  • Nettle: the hairs on the underside of the leaves are the part of the plant that can still sting sensitive folks a little even after harvest, so take care when handling. See more info on nettle and cooking ideas in last week's letter. If you don't feel adventurous enough to cook nettle, it makes a great compost starter or compost tea.
  • Bunch spinach: spanikopita is this week's idea for assorted dark leafies greens like spinach and nettle (see below recipe).
  • Arugula
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Red head lettuce
  • Asparagus: may be the last of the asparagus this year
  • Spearmint: make a simple syrup (see below recipe) and mix into fruit juices, lemonades, iced teas, smoothies, or cocktails.
  • Purslane: most people weed it, so why not eat it? Purslane is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (more than some fish oil supplements and more readily available to the body), vitamins E, A, and C, and many necessary minerals. The mucilaginous leaves are lemony and crisp. Chop or add whole leaves to salads. Added to the sauce near the end of cooking, it gives a slightly sour flavor to curry dishes. South Indian recipes often include it. Could be added to potato salad or cucumber-tomato salad.
  • Plus more....will be determined by weather patterns
***

Recipes
...Enjoy!
Spearmint Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan. Add mint leaves. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer syrup to a small metal bowl and let sit until cool, about 10 minutes. Use warm, let cool to room temperature, or store covered and chilled.

Mixed Greens Spanikopita (adapted from an awesome recipe blogged by Organique Gal)
  • 3-4 quarts (total) chopped dark leafy greens (fresh young nettles, spinach, arugula, purslane)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • basil, oregano, marjoram and thyme to taste (2-3 tsp of each should work)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 c provolone, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 package frozen phyllo, thawed
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled

Thaw phyllo. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan.

Filling: Prep nettles by rinsing in a colander and trimming stems off. Use gloves if you are sensitive to nettle stings. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add nettles, press them down, and cover to cook for 3-4 minutes, until nettles are just shrinking down. Add other greens, cover to cook 3 more minutes. Add herb seasonings. Pour this saute into a large bowl. Add ricotta cheese, provolone, and 2 eggs, and mix well.

Roll thawed phyllo out, and place phyllo under a damp dish towel on the stack to keep the phyllo moist. This is important, and you must work quickly with it as it can get dry and brittle and is hard to work with if exposed to the air too long. Place a layer of phyllo on the bottom of the pan and brush lightly with butter. Place another layer and do the same. Repeat this process until you have used half the phyllo. Pour filling over the phyllo, and sprinkle crumbled feta on top. Repeat layering phyllo until you have used the rest in the package. Cut spanikopita in diagonal pieces before baking.

Bake in oven for an hour. Top will be golden brown. Serve with a fresh wild herb salad, french bread and a hearty red wine.

***

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

0 comments: