Friday, December 30, 2011
Contact Derek to get in on next week's share: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (319)325-3910.
What to expect:
Braising Mix (Kale, tokyo lettuce, pac choi, chard, etc.)
Again, no market this week. The next market will be January 7th. So you will not find your box there. If you participate in CSA, your share will be delivered to you!
We hope you all had a nice, happy, relaxing vacation or holiday with family or friends. We sure did! See you next week!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Our official Fall CSA ended last week. Big "Thank you's!" out to all of you who participated in Fall CSA! We are continuing a week-by-week basis CSA through the winter. What with all the exceptionally warm weather, we've still got lots of veggies! If you would like to sign up for a week's worth share, contact us: email@example.com or call (319)325-3910.
What we might have for you:
- Salad mix
- Braising mix
- Vitamin greens
- Daikon radishes
- Maybe more: just ask
A reminder to you all that our 2012 season CSA signup will be coming soon....look out! It usually happens in January, but we will let you know!
Grant Wood Farmers Market still continues, come on out and visit our booth for some tasty veggies. Get them while you still can!
Besides our usual protection and weekly harvests of our plants, we've had a few other projects and happenings hereabouts. I just finished my first herbal salve for treating arthritis inflammation, and an herbal cough syrup for colds and flu. Perimeters and plans have been set up to build a few new permanent structures here, and more work is being done on our haybale barn/farm home. A film crew might be coming in sometime soon to film us doing a few things, such as setting up our "cats" or moveable greenhouses. I believe it will be featured on an Iowa City public television station in a weekly show about sustainability. This winter might harbor a time for our resident mushroom-farmer Will to possibly grow some Japanese gourmet mushroom varieties.
Winter is also an excellent time for birds, especially on our property, for some reason. I think there must be something just a tad bit magical about our land, because it seems that a lot of awesome birds take "refuge" out here....and surprisingly rare ones. Our resident birdsman Randall has identified a local "merlin," a little bird of prey that looks much like a peregrine falcon, except with a red chest and hardly larger than a dove. Apparently these birds are incredibly rare. Along with a merlin, there have been rough-legged hawks, several bald eagles and the occasional golden eagle! Several weeks ago I saw two trumpeter swans fly over our house. There are also several pileated woodpeckers that have moved into our woods, quite uncommon as well. Randall also says to look out at suspect white spots out in the country and fields-- take a second look. They might be migrant snowy owls from far north! If you are ever interested in bird watching, our place is a hot spot. We also have lots of common flying critters, like chickadees, cardinals, meadowlarks, bluejays, finches and nighthawks.
See you next week, and once again, happy holidays!
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!
Friday, December 16, 2011
Last week of Fall CSA! Pick up your shares at the Grant Wood Farmer's Market, in the Grant Wood Elementary School gymnasium. However, fresh, tasty produce will be available there at the Farmer's Market for everyone to buy!
What to expect:
- Vitamin Greens
- Braising Mix
- Daikon Radishes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 quart chicken stock (optional)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
- 1/2 cup light cream
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
2. Carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender, or use a stick blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Once the soup has been pureed, return it to the pot and stir in wine and cream. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper; simmer gently for 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped chives.
- 2" square piece konbu (dried sea kelp)
- Pinch salt
- 9" piece daikon, peeled, trimmed, and cut crosswise into eight 1"-thick rounds
- O cup white miso
- 3 tbsp. sake
- 2 tbsp. mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tbsp. dashi
- 1" piece ginger, peeled and grated
2. Put miso into a medium pan set over another medium pan of simmering water over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until paste loosens, about 1 minute. Gradually add sake, then rice wine, stirring until smooth. Add sugar and egg yolk and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick and creamy, 1–2 minutes. Stir in dashi and ginger.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer daikon, one of the cut sides up, to 8 small bowls and discard cooking liquid. Spoon some of the miso sauce on top of each piece of daikon, spreading it out with the back of the spoon to cover top of daikon completely.
Enjoy, and we'll see you at the Farmer's Market!
Thursday, December 8, 2011
As you probably know, snow is here to stay this time, clinging to the ground and to the top of our greenhouses and cats, which may actually come in handy adding a little extra insulation. Yep, our vegetables are still alive and kickin'. No worries. In the past week, we have covered all and even double covered a few of our rows inside the cats and greenhouses with plastic and Reemay, giving them even more protection. If you don't know what Reemay is, it's a white, perforated, soft and cloth-like material that can be used to cover and protect plants from frost while still allowing them to breathe. Inside our greenhouses and cats, it looks like you're walking through a white, puffy tunnel!
We here at Echollective would like to send a big warm THANK YOU to our Summer CSA members for giving us such a successful season! We couldn't have done it without you, and we hope that everything has been tasty and nutritious. To those of you who are still sticking with us through Fall, and into winter...an even bigger thank you for your loyalty! To all of you, we hope to be growing for you again in spring!
Speaking of which, a reminder to you all that our 2012 season CSA signup will be coming soon....look out! We will also be putting together a survey for all of you, so we can receive some of your feedback to help us out in Summer 2012!
As for Fall CSA, unfortunately, there will be no CSA shares this week...farmer Derek is off to Colorado by train for a mini vacation. Expect him back in a week and a half. However, there's a chance that a little vegetable stand might just randomly pop up at a little festival called What A Load Of Craft...and there's a chance it may have something to do with us....oh, these are just whispers on the wind!
As it gets colder, the challenge of keeping our vegetables warm, happy, and alive will get harder. We're all bracing ourselves for tomorrow night, when it will get the coldest it has yet. All of us pull on a few layers nowadays before heading out, and most of us are wearing coveralls almost all the time. We heat big pots of water to put in with the vegetable wash water, so our hands stay nimble. Although we'll be starting our spring seeds real soon, the ground will be too frozen and temperatures too discouraging for little babies to want to sprout and flourish, even in the greenhouses. All we can do is struggle to keep the ones we're now tending alive as long as possible 'til spring. We're close to done with covering all our planted garlic with mulch. Hurry, before the ground and garlic freezes!
It's more than obvious with the ringing of shots from our woods that deer season has begun. A couple guys are out here on our property for hunting visits, trying to take down a buck on our much-frequented game trails. Local veggies are a boon, but so is local meat! A few of us here talk about making our own little hunting party. Venison for the winter would be wonderful, the thought of it makes all of us lick our chops. In the meantime, we've been slurping on our home-made stew with delicious chunks of goose-meat, from live local geese gifted to us from our neighbors at Hue Hill Farm. We thank the geese, who had long, happy lives, for feeding us. We also thank you, farmer Jean Donohue, for taking care of them and providing us with several scrumptious meals! Oh, and of course, thank yous to Will and Randall, my fellow employees, for doing the hard, challenging work that comes with meeting face-to-face with the living animals you decide to eat-- it is truly a deep, intimate experience, and requires much respect to do it properly.
Sorry, no venison or geese in our CSA shares! Yet.....? Stay warm and see you next week!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
The weather's been getting steadily colder and the frosts have begun, but we've been able to hold our own using greenhouses and our made-on-the-farm contraptions we call "caterpillars," or "cats" for short. These house our big brassicas (kale, tat soi, bok choy, arugula, etc.), spinach and lettuces, as well as some little babies on the way. All this talk about cats can get confusing...kitties! Where? "Hey...we're not that kind of farm." We piece-meal these cats together from scraps and materials we've salvaged, found, and sometimes bought (at prices much less than a full-blown greenhouse). They work just like greenhouses or cold frames. We've spent many days getting the cats in place, and moving them once they're empty to house new vegetables. Without them, we wouldn't be able to keep growing our produce as far into the cold weather as we now do. It's quite a scramble to get them together so we can provide food in winter, and as the weather gets colder, who knows how far we can go! At least it hasn't snowed yet. The only thing we don't have under cover right now are our daikon radishes...pretty darn hardy! We've pulled out some enormous ones.
Speaking of ACTUAL cats, our barn cat Macy gave birth to a litter! Sadly, most of them did not make it, but we've got one little roly-poly fat fuzzball Survivor who has been getting stuck in shelves and knocking over entire piles of boxes already. Still cute as all get-out, but steadily getting to that annoying teenage cat phase where she will attack anything and everyone.
We had a little Thanksgiving at the farm, a splendid affair, a lot of it using Echollective produce of course. Our feast consisted of apple-vegetable stuffed roasted pork tenderloin, roasted vegetables, home-made cornbread, salad (with our beautiful Cherokee lettuce) and home-made cheesecake for dessert. We hope your Thanksgiving was just as decadent! Happy Thanksgiving, a bit late!
In spite of winter's quick approach, Fall CSA continues! Just a few weeks left, folks.
FALL CSA MEMBERS: come on and pick up your member shares out at the Iowa City Grant Wood Farmer's Market! Farmer Derek will be there with your selections.
SUMMER CSA MEMBERS (WHO ARE NOT FALL MEMBERS): if you're still jonesin' for veggies, come by the Grant Wood Farmer's Market! Last chance to get some tasty, local organic produce before winter hits hard!
On the table this week:
- Vitamin Greens
- Braising Mix
- Sweet Peppers (still!)
- Hot Peppers (still!)
- Daikon Radishes
Japanese-Style Sour Pickles
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/6 carrots
- 7 oz. water
- 1 1/3 tsp. soy sauce
- 5 oz. daikon radish
- 2 2/3 tbsp. vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- Sliced ginger (optional)
Combine vinegar, water, salt, sugar and soy sauce. Add sliced ginger and stir slowly until sugar is dissolved. Cut cucumber, daikon and carrot into strips. Put vegetables in a jar and pour the mixture over them.
If you would like to do the live-fermentation version of this, simply omit sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce from the recipe. Mix 2 tbsp salt with 1 qt. of water, then submerge the veggies in this mixture. Place something like a lid or jar on top of them to keep them submerged, and let sit for a couple weeks. Make sure to put veggies and mixture in an opaque container, and make sure it is not airtight! Check sporadically to make sure there is no mold growing on top. After two weeks, taste and test.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cut into half-inch strips
- 2 large yellow bell peppers, cut into half-inch strips
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped basil
- 1 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
- toasted Italian bread to garnish, optional