Monday, August 6, 2012

A Whiff of Autumn...

Greetings all!  Hope you are well.

A lot of changes are happening here in the workdays at Echollective CSA.  We are switching our gears slowly as we approach the fall.  It's still a ways yet as August has only begun, but when it comes to organic farming, you gotta plan and think ahead!  A few cool nights here and there (it got down to the 50s last night!), as well as some brisk morning breezes, have already given me that whiff of autumn...makes me feel like fall is coming on.  I love that feeling! 

Speaking of Autumn: Echollective Fall CSA is open for sign-up on our online site through Small Farm Central!  Like to participate in our Fall CSA?  You can sign up as you did for our Summer CSA by clicking the tab above, "CSA Signup," and following the prompts.  Remember, if you are already a member you can renew your membership and receive special offers/discounts!  There will be more Fall CSA info to come!  Sign up now, the sooner the better...during Fall we take a smaller amount of members...the early bird gets the worm!

CSA has been going really well for us, and we hope really well for all of you, but we would like to make a quick statement regarding our CSA pickups.  We do our best to accommodate folk's schedule changes; people have to go out of town, or things just happen so that you can't make it to pick up your veggies, and we understand that.  If you cannot pick up a Wednesday and must pick up a Friday or Saturday, or vice versa, we are willing to take a note of it and get your veggies to you.  For the most part, things have been going smoothly when people switch-up.  However, we ask that you also accommodate us on that account...recently we had several CSA members arrive unannounced and asking for a box.  For reasons I will explain, we can't do that!  If you would like to make a pick-up change, please contact us in advance!  If you show up at random and ask for a share, we will say no, because this is unfair for other members.  Each day before CSA pickup, we only pack the exact amount of each share for folks who are officially signed up for that pickup, or who have arranged with us beforehand (whether by phone or email) that they will be picking up then instead of their usual day.  Let's say someone shows up asking for a box on a day we didn't plan to get them one, and we give them one from the shares we packed.  Obviously, this means that some other CSA member won't get their share, or not get the selection that all the other members received.  Basically, doing this doesn't work and is unfair to other CSA members.  Again: if you would like to switch days, we're alright with it, just let us know in advance!  If for whatever reason you couldn't contact us and you show up wanting a share, we will ask you to come back at the end of the market and you can choose from what we have leftover, or you can arrange to pickup up another share next market.  That is the most we can do.  Doing anything else would be giving certain members preference over others.  Sorry...there are no "preferred" CSA members.  You are all important!

The transition to Fall happens slowly so we've got to start early, which involves getting on top of a variety of things at this time.  Starting seeds that take a while to germinate and mature to a pick-able stage in the ideal peak of fall is especially important!  If we snoozed, we'd lose; our veggies would be ready to harvest at a wintery time when frost could damage them or worse, compromising appearance, flavor...or both!  (Of course some veggies taste delicious after a kiss of frost: spinach, kale and broccoli especially!)

This is also a time when we need to get our greenhouses, both permanent and temporary, together and ready.  You may remember in previous newsletters from the winter when I talked about our "cats," short for "caterpillars", our pet name for our temporary moveable high-tunnels.  Well, we are taking apart the pieces of our cats in their old fields from this past winter in preparation for moving them to their new fields for season extension.  They do us a great justice keeping our winter greens alive during the snowy winter.  Not to mention our permanent greenhouses/high tunnels!  They must be fixed by this winter.  Due to a combination of mishaps and several intensely windy storms, our greenhouses have had all their plastic ripped off throughout the season!  Our hot season crops are basically nestled in the skeletons of high tunnels...but no matter.  We are actually relieved and assured that if we actually had intact plastic over our structures, our eggplants, peppers and tomatoes would not be setting fruit and their growth tips would have fried.  It would be so hot in there!  So it is actually a good thing.  The wild storm that passed through our area just this last Saturday tore away the last of it, while blowing about a huge mess of farm equipment and dumping an inch of rain on us.  Don't worry, we are more grateful for the rain than resentful about having to pick up some mess.

Lots of fall seeds have already been sewn in flats as well as broadcasted out in our fields, many of which have already sprouted and are doing well.  There will be a lot of beets, both golden and red this fall!  Several flats as well as an entire field have been planted that will be filled with rows upon rows of them!  We are taking care to water them diligently, although the rain from Saturday gave us a good head start.  Bok choi, red choi and cilantro have sprouted, along with several lettuce varieties for our fall and winter salad mixes and head lettuces!  New Red Fire, Ruby Sky, Cherokee, Magenta, Coastal Star...mostly reddish-pink with green types of lettuce, having such pretty names to boot.  There are even more on the way, some mostly green varieties.  A planting of choi, arugula, and kale are already sprouting out in our fields.  A new round of sugar snaps have already been sewn for fall CSA.  A couple cooler weather broccoli strains have been planted indoors to start along with napa cabbages, dandelions/chicory, ruby red and several other colors of swiss chard!  We have a lot to look forward to, and we've gotten a good head start...we're working hard to water and protect our young seedlings from the intense, dry heat.  However, it's looking optimistic that we will be having some rain in the forecast sometime soon to give us a hand.

Our big squash fields are looking and doing great, they are already sending up flowers and producing fruit!  Looks like it may not be the end to our production of Yellow Zephyr squashes and zucchini...and it looks like we'll have cucumbers after all!  There will also be many other different summer and winter squashes to choose from.  In the meantime, tomatoes and basil are producing well, and eggplants and peppers will be picking up their numbers real soon.  We are rich in potatoes and garlic!  We've been pulling out so many potatoes from our fields, so you all will be getting TWO varieties in your share this week, including our Adirondack Blue potatoes!  Not only are they a strange color but they are the healthiest of potatoes, chock full of anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants!  They are also responsible for the potato's blue color.  Well, the potatoes are actually more purple looking in my opinion but that's not important.

Look forward to the good stuff, and we'll be seeing you!

 CSA shares this week:
  • Motley Kale bunches (three varieties: Lacinato/Dinosaur, Winterbor, Redbor)
  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
  • Blue Potatoes
  • Red Potatoes
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • A Surprise Choice!  (just you wait...)


Recipes

Blue Potato Honey Mustard Salad  (homecooking.about.com)

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds blue potatoes, each one cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 large sweet white onion, diced
  • Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Boil blue potatoes in salted water until just tender. Drain thoroughly and toss with green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and sweet onion.

Whisk together honey, Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, celery seeds, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour over vegetables and gently toss to combine.

Blue Potato Honey Mustard Salad may be served warm or cold.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings  


Baked Kale Chips  (chefinyou.com)

Ingredients
  • 1 bunch (about 8 oz) Lacinato kale - see Tips
  • 1.5 to 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
Tips
 
1. Kale - I used what is referred to as Lacinato Kale which has large leaves than the other variety. It is also known as Tuscan kale, Italian kale or aptly Dinosaur Kale. If you cannot find this variety, you can also use the curly Kale for this.
Other Seasoning Ideas : Roasted Garlic tastes great along with these. Or toss it with Garlic flavored Olive oil. Truffle Oil would probably give it a great gourmet touch. How about adding comfort to these by way of sprinkling some Parmesan Cheese? Do share your ideas as well in the comments section for me to give those a try :)
Method
 
1. Preheat Oven 300F.  Wash the leaves well.
2. Dry them with paper towels. Or those who have the Salad spinner can use it.
3. Tear the leaves from the hard stem and hard ribs.  You can be meticulous and tear the leaves in uniform pieces or do a rough tear.
4. Add in oil.
5. Toss them well until coated. I personally found a little more than 1 tsp of oil perfect. But you can add upto tbsp of oil.
6. Arrange them on Baking sheets making sure not to overlap.
7. Bake them for around 15-20 minutes or until crisp. Cool them for few minutes before enjoying these crunchy health bites.  They get pale green from the dark green once baked. Make sure to bake a huge batch, since it will get over pretty fast.


 Garlic-Rosemary Mushrooms  (www.eatingwell.com)
   
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce bacon, (about 11/2 slices), chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake (stemmed) and portobello, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

Preparation

  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost dry, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour in wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

*************
 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! 


No comments: