Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stuck In A Rut...Season

It's that time of year...the leaves are almost gone from all the trees, and our stands of forest out here are thin and bare.  The cold season comes heralding an age of new perspectives.  We're looking at the skeleton of the woods as it returns to dormancy during the coming months.  The corn is cut and threshed from off the ground, and we now see the shape of the land for what it really is.  Bird song is heard less and less, while we see large raptors such as hawks and bald eagles a whole lot more.  And the deer...oh, the deer!  It is time for their rut season.  They pass through much more often nowadays, commonly seen at sunrise and sunset in small groups.  Their increasing presence is breathtaking. 

Their increasing presence is also a big pain in our collective butts.  Ever seen the heart eaten out of a perfectly beautiful head of lettuce?  Damn those deer!  Sometimes we don't care how pretty they are, or  how much we respect them otherwise.  They can be a devastating effect on our crops.  On the plus side of things: deer taste delicious.  Some efforts may be taken here this winter to do some deer hunting when the season opens, and perhaps we can teach them to steer clear of us a bit while also feeding ourselves with local venison.  Right now, our property to them is seen as this idyllic oasis, free of guns and bows, lushly covered with the most delicious and nutritional food a deer can find at this time of year.  They love to munch on our lettuces especially.  If we have lettuce in large amounts, they will practically leave everything else untouched, but we have also found signs of them dining on beet greens, spinach, pea shoots, chard, and even various Brassica/Cruciferous sprouts.  Some mornings we come out and our plants look perfectly cropped, like a lawn mower came through and chopped off all their tops and we think to ourselves "hmmm...only the cold, calculated methods of some white-tailed killer could be responsible for this mess."

But still....I deeply enjoy those quiet times at the crack of dawn, glimpsing them grazing on a foggy morning.  I sure would hate to see them ALL go....

It's not only the deer that are plaguing us.  With Grant Wood Market cancelled, we are still trying to figure out where we are going to sell all this food!  We spent the last few months growing tons and tons of food expecting to sell it all to our faithful Iowa City customer base.  We are officially (kind of?!) going to appear at the New Bo this weekend.  At least we're trying to!  We received a strong invitation from New Bo, then when we gave them the official "yes" we heard no response back.  So it is sort of up in the air, though we think you can expect to see us there (if you're attending, that is.)  We are very interested in the Mt. Vernon market, it sounds as if they'll have us.  We are also still fond of having our classic Farm Stand in front of Derek's house, although we'll be sorely missing having a spot somewhere downtown!  We are looking into that as well.  We've received many suggestions from folks, all of which have been very helpful.

In other news...our Iowa City Farmer's Market downtown CSA pickups, as some of you may know, are ending this week!  As a matter of fact, they end today!  If you are a Fall CSA member please contact us immediately to switch to a new pick up date.  They will be the following:

-Tim's Daycare/Kirkwood School for Children.  Fridays.  1107 Kirkwood Court.  Pickup lasts approx. 4:30 PM-5:30 PM.  Please email us if this pickup works for you.

-Derek's House.  Saturdays.  1003 Ginter Ave.  Pickup at about 2 PM, subject to change throughout season.  Please email us if this pickup works for you.

Note: We may be able to provide a Saturday morning pickup if we have enough people who absolutely need it.  Shares would be dropped off at Tim's Daycare on Friday and stay overnight for you to pickup on Sat. morning. 

Garlic planting has started, and continues!  We're a little late on it, and the rush continues to get it in the ground before the end of November!  We've still got a lot left to go.  If you're interested in helping and learning about garlic planting contact us!  We could use a few volunteers here and there!

Anyways, I should add "sorry" that this newsletter is a day late.  Many of you have already picked up your share today and it'll be a total surprise this week for you Wednesday people.  But don't worry Saturday people (soon to be other-day people), we've got a preview for you!  Either way, we have a LOT of stuff for you this week, along with some new things you didn't see previously!

Enjoy the Fall CSA fare while it lasts.  See you at market!

On the table this week:

  • Mixed Baby Kales
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Spring Radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Turnips (Red, White, Gold, or Purple Top)
  • Winter Radishes
  • Daikon Radishes
  • Bok Choy
  • Beets
  • Winter Squash
  • Yukina Savoy (Tat Soi)
  • Head Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cilantro

 Recipes

Aztec Couscous (homecooking.about.com)

Couscous takes on a Latin flair with black beans, corn, jalapeno, cilantro, and cumin for a tasty vegetarian side dish.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1-3/4 cups black beans or 1 (15-ounce) can
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
 
Preparation:

Place couscous, cumin, and salt in a large heatproof bowl or storage container and pour 1 cup boiling water on top. Cover tightly and let sit until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. If the couscous is not quite tender, add an additional 1/4 cup of boiling water, cover, and let sit for a few minutes longer. Fluff up with a fork.

Toss in the black beans, corn, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. Mix in the olive oil and enough lime juice to give the salad a puckery edge. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe Source: Lorna Sass' Short Cut Vegetarian : Great Taste in No Time by Lorna Sass (Wm Morrow)


Beet Risotto  (www.marthastewart.com)

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, heated
  • 1/2 recipe Basic Roasted Beets, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions

  1. In a heavy medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring often, until golden brown and soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add rice; stir to coat. Stir in wine; cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth; simmer, stirring, until almost all is absorbed. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding more, about 25 minutes total.
  3. Stir in beets, butter, and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Baby Kale, Mozzerella and Egg Bake (www.kalyn'skitchen.com)

(Makes 6 one-dish meal servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)

Ingredients:
 

  • 5 oz. mixed baby kale or chopped kale leaves
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
  • 1 1/2 cup low-fat grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional, but good.  You can use any seasoning blend that tastes good with eggs instead of Spike.)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions: 

 

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Spray an 8 1/2 inch by 12 inch glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or nonstick spray.  

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the kale all at once, and stir just until the kale is wilted, about 1 minute for baby kale or 2-3 minutes for chopped kale.  Transfer the kale to the casserole dish, spreading it around so all the bottom of the dish is covered.  Layer the grated cheese and sliced onions on top of the kale.

Beat the eggs with Spike Seasoning (or other seasoning mix) and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  (I use only a tiny pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.)  Pour the egg mixture over the kale/cheese combination, and then use a fork to gently "stir" so the eggs, kale, and cheese are evenly combined.

Bake about 30-35 minutes or until the mixture is completely set and starting to lightly brown.  Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting.  (The egg bake will settle down some as it cools.)  Serve hot.  This is good with light sour cream.  I also like a little Green Tabasco Sauce sprinkled on the top.

This can be cut into individual servings to keep in the fridge and microwaved for a quick breakfast during the week.  Don't microwave longer than 1-2 minutes or the eggs can get slightly rubbery.
 
 
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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! 


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