CSA Newsletter Week 16: September 7th, 8th and 11th

10:14 PM derek 0 Comments

Hi fellow CSA'ers!

It's getting a tad bit chilly out there, especially early in the morn and/or late in the evening. Hope you're all enjoying the warmth of the midday sun and soft subtle breeze. Things have been moving steadily along for us here at echollective.

This week in your box you'll find:
Cherry Tomatoes
Green Beans
White Potatoes
Hot Peppers
Tulsi Basil

This week let's make VEGGIE SLOPPY JOES! I like this recipe because it gives me a chance to clear out my veggie bin, as any combination of veggies will do! The two key ingredients are tempeh and tomatoes. Aside from that, feel free to add something new or leave something out. And most of all enjoy!

What you'll need:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped (red, green, orange or yellow)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 eggplant, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of chilli powder
2 8-ounce packages of tempeh
1 lb of tomatoes, blanched
1/4 cup of ketchep
1/4 cup of dijon mustard
1/4 cup of fresh parsley and fresh cilantro leaves
1-3 hot peppers, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until soft (about 7 minutes). Add the bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, garlic and chili pepper and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Next, crumble the tempeh into the pan. Add the blanched tomatoes, ketchup, dijion mustard and 1 cup of water. Mix well. Simmer, stirring occassionaly, until heated through. Should take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Then stir the parsley and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on toasted kiaser rolls.

Bonus! This sloppy joe mix can turn into a great base for some tasty chili. Just add some beans and reheat the leftovers! Wah'la! Dinner in minutes.


CSA Newsletter Week 15: August 31st, September 1st & 4th

6:42 PM derek 1 Comments

Hahlo Fellow CSA'ers!

Hope you're all enjoying the gradual shift into autumn. This week you'll be receiving the last basil of the season. We're now planting fall cover crops to feed the soil, as well as erecting more greenhouse space here in Iowa City. More excitement will ensue.

This week in your box you'll find:

Green Beans
Cherry Tomatoes
Hot Peppers

Hope you enjoy!

Here's an easy, incredibly flavorful soup that tastes best just barely warm. This recipe makes 4-6 servings and it takes about 45 minutes to make from start to finish.

3 T olive oil
1 medium onion minced
3 cloves of garlic minced
4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 pound of zucchini, diced
3 1/2 cups of vegetable stock, or water

Heat oil, add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add potatoes, 1½ c liquid, salt, and pepper, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer about 25 minutes, until potatoes are cooked.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes, until zucchini is tender.

Let the soup cool for at least an hour, then serve warm.

This soup can be served hot or cold, or somewhere in the middle.

Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, 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!

Notes The original recipe calls for this soup to be served cold, but I find that it's not nearly as good chilled. It also loses flavor if you refrigerate and then reheat it, so try to serve it the same day you make it.


CSA Newsletter Week 14: August 24th, 25th & 28th

6:47 PM derek 0 Comments

Hello all! Hope you're enjoying the gentle cool breeze that's been rolling through Iowa. Sure does make for great weather! The festivals went well last weekend. Thanks to all who stopped by to enjoy some all organic vegan deliciousness! Much appreciated.

This week in your box you'll find

Sweet Peppers

Hot Peppers

Heirloom Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes

Fingerling Potatoes



Pasta with Veggies Recipe

This recipe is easy, satisfying, and packed with healthy veggies. You can vary the veggies based on what is fresh or what you have on hand. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

•1 pound organic pasta

•4-6 tomatoes, blanched

•1 Tbs Olive oil

•Sweet Peppers, diced

•1-2 small onion, diced

•1 zucchini and 1 eggplant, sliced

•1 clove garlic, minced

•1 tsp dried oregano

•1 tsp dried parsley

•Ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta.

Use a large non-stick skillet. Add olive oil and heat over medium heat for 1 minute. Add veggies and garlic and sauté until veggies are tender but not mushy. Add tomatos once blanched and peeled along with the remaining spices. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbly. Serve over pasta.

Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, 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!


CSA Newsltetter Week 13: August 17th, 18th and 21st

7:47 PM derek 0 Comments

Hello Fellow CSA'ers

Well the heat has finally ceased, at least a little! What a welcome treat to feel the first whispers of fall upon the soft iowa breeze. Things are still busy, busy. You can find us at the Sand in the City event taking place in downtown Iowa City this weekend, August 20th-22nd. For more information copy & paste http://www.summerofthearts.org/festival-menu/sand-in-the-city/about.aspx. We will also be in Chicago for the Hideout's Block Party hosted by Mad Decent Records. For more information on this event copy & paste http://www.maddecent.com/blog/mad-decent-block-parties-are-coming-for-you. Stop by and see us at either of these events!

This week in your box you'll find:

Heirloom tomatoes
Green Beans
Fingerling Potatoes

Recipe of the Week
Chop up the peppers, eggplant, zucchini, green beans and potatoes- all about the same size. Then chop some onion and garlic. Put it all into a piece of tinfoil and cover it with olive oil. Wrap it up and toss it on the grill. Let it cook for about five minutes and flip it over. Let it go for another five minutes and then remove from the grill. Let cool for five minutes and enjoy! Happy summer!

Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, 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!


1:17 PM derek 0 Comments

CSA Newsetter Week 12: August 10th, 11th and 14th

Hahlo,Hahlo! We're deep in heat of it all- gardening, farming, festing! August is a busy, busy time. Hope that you're all enjoying the many joys of summer. Don't forget to stay hydrated!

This week in your box you'll find:







Tulsi Basil


Heirloom Tomatoes

Ratatouille Recipe

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 eggplants, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add eggplants and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Saute peppers and zucchini for five minutes or until soft. Mix in tomatoes and onion-eggplant mixture. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender and flavors have blended, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Stir in basil. Season ratatouille generously with salt and pepper. Serve cold, warm or hot. Enjoy!

Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, 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!


CSA Newsletter Week 11: August 3rd, 4th & 5th.

10:20 PM derek 0 Comments

Hi all!

August is upon us! Hope you're all enjoying these sweet sweaty summer months. Work on the farm and in the garden has been steady and prosperous. Everything is looking mighty delicious! Can't wait to share it with you! This week, along with a list of what you'll be getting, I'm also posting storage tips- so that you can get the most out of the food we bring you!

This week in your box you'll find:

Cabbage: Store in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator.

Peppers: These keep better when refrigerated, though you can keep them in a paper bag at room temperature if you'll be using within a day or two.

Tomatoes: Never refrigerate tomatoes, unless they're overripe- even then it's usually best to keep 'em out at room temperature or just eat 'em.

Potatoes: Keep 'em cool, moist and dark in a paper bag. Don't store in potatoes in plastic bags or in the refrigerator. Use within a few days of purchase.

Eggplant: If you're going to use in a day or two store at room temperature, otherwise place in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator crisper.

Kale: Should be wrapped in a damp paper towel, placed in a plastic bag and kept in the crisper.

Zucchini: Keep in a plastic bag in the warmest part of the refrigerator.

Garlic: Keep garlic in a cool, dark and dry place, not too close to the stove. Some people braid and hang, others may keep in a cupboard or pantry of sorts.

Beets: If you're going to keep beets longer than a day or two cut the greens off and store separately in open plastic bags in the crisper. This will make both the beet and the greens last longer.

Basil : Cut the stems at an angle under running water, wrap in wet paper towel, place in a plastic bag and store in the crisper

Tulsi Basil: can be stored like the basil above or dried and used in teas. This particular type of basil has a clove-like flavor that tastes great as an addition to both hot and iced tea.

For more information about tulsi basil and the numerous health benefits it provides, check out http://hinduism.about.com/od/ayurveda/a/tulsibenefits.htm



CSA Newsletter Week 9 July 20th, 21st & 22nd

7:27 PM derek 0 Comments

Hi all!

Apologies for missing last week's newsletter. Summer is in full swing! The annual garlic fest went very well. Thanks to all who turned out, much appreciated!

This week you'll find the following in your box:


Keeping it short and sweet this week, folks. Much to do! More soon. . .


CSA Newsletter Week 7 July 6th, 7th and 10th

10:16 PM derek 0 Comments

The summer sun is a'shining! Perfect timing for our annual Garlic Fest this weekend July 9th thru the 11th. We will be out on the farm morning, noon and night starting friday am up until sunday eve. Please join in the fun and festivities as we celebrate the blessings bestowed upon our bellies this year. This event is sure to be both rewarding and relaxing. We will be picking and hanging garlic during the day, then shift into eating/enjoying food and fine company in the evening. You can bring a dish to share, your camping gear and whatever else your heart desires. RSVP echocsa@gmail.com if you're planning to come out, need directions, have any questions, etc. . .

In your box this week you'll find:
  • Basil. Can be stored for winter months. Easy to do, and easy to use. Just pick leaves and chop. Then toss it into the food processor with a small amount of salt and some olive oil (just enough to keep it moving). Then place the mixture into ice cube trays and bag. Can be stored for months. This works equally well for other herbs too!
  • Mint. Delicious in some homemade Lemonade or Iced Tea
  • Parsley. A great garnish that can enhance the flavor of any soup, salad, stocks and sauces.
  • Chard. A tender green that can become even more delicious when briefly sauteed with garlic and olive oil. Takes just minutes!
  • Kale. Great in stirfrys and soups.
  • Garlic (first of the year). Store new garlic in a dry, dark place with ample air. Do not cover or keep in a bag.
  • Turnip. Try turnip au gratin w/chard.
  • Shallot. Can whip up a tasty shallot vinaigrette in just minutes!

Shallot Vinaigrette Recipe

* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

* 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh shallots

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1/4 teaspoon pepper

* 2 teaspoons of Dijon style mustard

* 6 tablespoons olive oil

* 1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a blender, add the first 5 ingredients. While blender is running add the olive oil and continue blending. Lastly, add the lemon juice and presto! A delicious addition to your favorite salad.

Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have any other questions or comments. We love hearing from you!




CSA Newsletter Week 6

4:04 PM Mandy 0 Comments

June 29 and 30, July 3

Pickins may look a bit slimmer this week, but they're still just as fresh and nutritious. Enjoy them while we have them!

Don't forget the garlic party, coming up next weekend (July 9th-11th)! We encourage you to drive out and pitch in at least a couple of hours-- we could really use some extra hands on deck. RSVP echocsa@gmail.com if you're planning to come out.

In your box this week:
  • Parsley.
  • Mint. Pairs nicely with tart summer fruits-- currants, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. Fluff some couscous and mix in currants (fresh or dried), fresh chopped mint, and pine nuts.
  • Basil.
  • Garlic scapes.
  • Kale. How about kale and potato hashbrowns topped with jerk sauce?
  • Chard. Make a delicious quiche with chard, scapes, mushrooms, and chevre. Younger leaves have a more pliable texture and can be used for stuffing with rice or pasta and veg. If sauteeing chard, watch it closely because it tends to turn gritty when cooked too long.
  • Beet. Cooled, roasted beets mixed with hazelnuts and pieces of avocado and grapefruit, tossed with yogurt, mint and honey, or tossed with leaf lettuce and a balsamic vinaigrette--mm.
  • Turnip. Turnip fries! (May have to save a couple weeks worth of roots to do this...)
  • Shallot.
  • Peas, broccoli, and bok choy will be added to boxes as they become available.

Turnip Fries

6 or so Echo turnips
2 T olive oil
1 T shoyu
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of sea salt
pinch of cayenne

Preheat oven to 425F. Cut turnips into round or half-round pieces, 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Whisk together other ingredients, and toss turnips until well coated. Spread turnips on an oiled baking sheet or dish. Cook 40-45 minutes, or until golden.

Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, 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!


CSA Newsletter Week 5

9:49 AM Mandy 0 Comments

June 22, 23 and 26

Rain, rain go away! This week we are quite ready for the summer sun to shine. Stagnating muddy conditions on the farm are just no good for any of our vegetables. Nor are flash floods-- yikes!

Reminder on the annual garlic harvest and party (just about 2 weeks away): we'll be pulling and hanging garlic on July 10th and 11th. We can also use help getting things started on Friday, July 9th. Camping is available. We'll potluck, cook, and have fun Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday for brunch. RSVP echocsa@gmail.com if you plan to come out.

In your box this week:
  • Basil. Here's a wacky idea: make a stack of savory waffles, adding chopped basil to your mix. Serve aside eggs and other breakfast-type dishes. Need a new waffle recipe? I've featured my favorite below.
  • 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.
  • Kale. Add just a leaf or two of kale to a fruit smoothie, and give a nice boost to the nutritional content. (The flavor of kale mixes especially nicely with sharp, tangy kiwi and apple juice, or with blueberry and apple juice.)
  • Lettuce.
  • Garlic scapes. In Korean cuisine, these are traditionally pickled in tamari.
  • Turnip. Boil and mash with potatoes to give an earthy flavor to a familiar dish. Chop and cook them in hearty soups or stews. I plan on saving up some turnips from my boxes and making a shoestring turnip kraut-- mm, fermented veg.
  • Peas. Make a delicious salad tossing your sweet snap peas with steamed and cooled quinoa, toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh diced scapes, chopped parsley and a simple balsamic-olive oil vinaigrette.
  • Beets. Don't forget to use the greens on your beets! Try putting some, chopped fine, atop a homemade pizza.
  • Napa cabbage. Speaking of ferments-- napa and turnips are both good candidates for a spicy kimchi. They could also go together in a coleslaw.

Derek washes broccolini.

Mandy's Oat-Quinoa Waffles with Basil

1 C rolled oats
1/2 C quinoa flour (grind your own in a high-powered food processor or blender, or buy the already milled product)
1 T olive oil
1 C milk or soy milk
1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2-3 T fresh chopped basil

Grind the oats in a food processor until they become a coarse flour. Mix oat flour, quinoa flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add oil, milk, lemon juice, agave nectar, and mix until just blended (still a bit lumpy). With a light touch, mix in the chopped basil. Pour onto waffle iron. On my waffle iron, this recipe usually makes 2 very large, fluffy waffles. For other irons, it may make more. These are super yummy topped with chevre and served with eggs.
I use quinoa flour first because it has such a fine nutritional profile, and second because it lends a moister consistency and a tastier, nuttier flavor compared to whole wheat pastry flour.



CSA Newsletter Week 4

3:46 PM Mandy 0 Comments

June 15, 16 and 19

Love those fresh herbs! As days get longer and we near the summer solstice, plants are concentrating more and more of their energy in vegetative growth-- producing strong leaves, stems, and shoots. After the solstice, plants put relatively more energy into blossom, fruit, and seed production. Culinary and medicinal herbs harvested for their leaves are usually at peak potency leading up to the solstice. In ancient lore, mid-summer's day was the day slated for harvest of (leaf) herbs to be dried/preserved or made into medicines.

The annual garlic harvest approaches! The dates for the celebratory work-party and potluckin' shin-dig are July 10th and 11th this year. Mark your calendar. We pick and hang garlic while the sun shines and enjoy food and fellowship in the evenings. Camping is allowed. Musicality and merry-making are encouraged. It's always a wholesome friends-and-family affair, and we hope you'll feel comfortable joining in. Please RSVP echocsa@gmail.com.

In your box this week:
  • Parsley.
  • Kale.
  • Salad Mix.
  • Basil.
  • Mint.
  • Scapes.
  • Bok choy.
  • Turnip.
  • Fennel.
  • Beet.
  • Peas.
  • Napa cabbage.
  • Head lettuce.
Let us know if you are ever short an item in your box. We will usually have extra of that or something similar at the market, and it's easy enough to just make it right on the spot.

Louis talks about weeding the taters.


Fennel and Mushroom Salad with Mint

1 large fennel bulb (or 2 smallish)
3/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, halved if large, then thinly sliced
scant 2 tsp dijon mustard
2 T white wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar will work, too)
3 or 4 garlic scapes, minced
1/4 C olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 T fresh mint, chopped
fennel tops, chopped

Remove fennel stalks, if attached. Quarter the bulb lengthwise and cut away the core. Remove the outer layer if it is thick and fibrous. Slice the bulb crosswise as thinly as possible. Transfer to a bowl and add the sliced mushrooms. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, and scapes. Slowly whisk in olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinaigrette to salad along with mint. Toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Chop a couple of wispy fennel tops, and add as a garnish.
-adapted from Fresh from the Farmers Market by Janet Fletcher

Happy Herby Solstice Pesto

1 bunch basil
1/2 bunch parsley
4-5 garlic scapes (or 2 garlic cloves)
salt to taste
1/3 C olive oil
1 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 handful toasted nuts (pine nuts or walnuts) or seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)
1 whole bok choy (butt end cut away)

Rough chop basil, parsley, scapes, and bok choy. Process all ingredients together in a food processor (fitted with s-blade) until a paste forms. (Leaf herbs should be mostly indistinguishable from one another).

Thistle in flower. So pretty, but watch out!

Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, 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!


CSA Newsletter Week 3

4:02 PM Mandy 0 Comments

June 8, 9 and 12

This week's bounty includes several new items to try, and new flavors to savor. We'd love for you to share your own recipes with us, perhaps in the comments area here on the blog, or on the new facebook page. :)

Let the curly garlic scapes in your boxes gently alert you that our Annual Garlic Harvest Party approaches: this year, July 10th and 11th. Please join us out at the farm. We always combine garlic picking and hanging with the enjoyment of great food, music, and fellowship. And we usually get a good head start on the garlic harvest! (Directions will follow in a separate blog post.)

In your box this week:
  • Fennel. Leaves and stalks can be used for flavoring. The bulb is crisp and has a licorice-y flavor that fades a bit when cooked. Store plant whole if you plan to use within a couple of days; otherwise, remove stalks to keep bulb from rotting.
  • Beets. Toss thin slices with some olive oil and fresh mint and then throw into a salad with some toasted nuts. Beets are yummy juiced with ginger, apple, and lemon. And they're nice paired with one of a variety of herbs-- mint, parsley, basil, fennel, to name a few.
  • Head lettuce.
  • Salad mix. Look at those pretty greens and purples!
  • Bok choy. Create your own braising mix by tossing bok choy with kale and some of the greens from your beets and turnips.
  • Peas.
  • 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, stir-fries, scrambled eggs... Scapes store well for weeks in the fridge, but used fresh is always best!
  • Napa cabbage.
  • Kale. I love kale cut (across the leaf) into long, skinny strips, water sauteed, squeezed, and then drizzled with tahini and topped with raisins. Find a raw kale salad recipe below.
  • Basil. Does not store well in the refrigerator. If you plan to use it within a day or two, keep in a dark place at room temperature, in an unsealed plastic bag. For longer-term storage, basil can be frozen. Chopping and freezing (with a little water) in ice cube trays as "basil ice cubes" works well. Or, you can make a pesto and freeze that.
  • Turnips. Delicious braised in butter. They pair great with peas-- blackeyes stewed with turnip roots and greens are hard to beat.
Jess picks arugula.


Roasted Beets in Fennel Oil

3/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar
2 T olive oil 1 1/2 lbs. small beets
1 T sea salt
1 T thinly sliced garlic scape

Heat the fennel seeds and oil in a skillet over low heat until oil is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool, then strain seeds out of oil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put beets into a baking dish with 1/4 C water, cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil, and bake until a knife slips in easily. Cool slightly, then peel. Cut into quarters, or if very small, in half. Toss pieces with reserved fennel oil, season with the salt, and top with the scapes.

-adapted from Fresh from the Farmers' Market by Janet Fletcher

Raw Kale Salad

4 C sliced kale
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 T fresh orange juice
2 T olive oil
1 T flaxseed oil
1 T shoyu
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne
2/3 C shredded carrots
1 C peeled cucumber, julienned strips
1/2 C sesame or sunflower seeds
1/3 cup shredded nori pieces

Rub the kale leaves with the sea salt for a minute or so. Add the 1 tsp olive oil, and rub the leaves again. Add the lemon juice, and rub the leaves a third time. (This method of preparing raw kale makes it more digestible.) Whisk together the orange juice, 1/4 C olive oil, flax oil, shoyu, cider vinegar, and cayenne, to make a dressing. Toss kale with carrots, cukes, seeds, nori, and dressing.
-adapted from a Cafe Gratitude recipe

Rows and greenhouse, with bio-d truck.

Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, 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!


2010 CSA Week 2 Newsletter

12:02 PM Mandy 0 Comments

June 1, 2 and 5

The weather's sure heating up at the farm! Our tomatoes, beets, and garden herbs are loving these sunny 90-ish days; the spring greens, not so much. Thanks to smart planting (greens near and in-between pea rows), though, we still have spinach, and some arugula hanging in there, too.

Potato and onion plants are growing strong these days, but we really could use a few more hands to catch up on weeding around them while they're still young! Work trade, anyone?? Also, if you have skills in the art of rain-dancing, now's the time to put those to use-- for the sake of the brassicas (broccolini and kale) and lettuce, we implore you! Just a wee shower daily (or a bit of cloud cover) would be very nice.

In your box this week
  • Salad mix. Add some fruit to your salads this week. Lettuce, strawberries, chevre and walnuts or pecans, doused with a simple balsamic vinaigrette-- mm...
  • Head lettuce.
  • Radish. These are starting to get spicy!
  • Asparagus. Makes its last appearance for the season.
  • Baby bok choy. Crisp and refreshing.
  • Arugula.
  • Green garlic. Scapes on the garlic plants are growing tall now, and we'll start harvesting them soon.
  • Shallot. Shallots make sauces and dressings divine. Try out the below recipe, for drizzling over stir-fried veggies and rice, smothering baked tofu pieces, or coating lightly steamed asparagus spears.
  • Broccolini.
  • Spinach. We love spinach and fruit smoothies! Find one of Mandy's favorite smoothie recipes below.
Pretty pea blossom


Health-related tidbits:

. Did you know that lettuce contains more silica than most other common veggies? Silica is essential to the body, as it helps us utilize calcium and is key to the health and regeneration of bone and connective tissues.

Radishes. Eating radishes regularly is one strategy for preventing viral infections like the flu and the common cold. They also help in clearing the sinuses and pleghm. And they relieve indigestion.

Spinach. Spinach is rich in iron and chlorophyll, and builds the blood. For maximum iron absorption from spinach, eat along with vitamin C-rich foods.
-excerpted/paraphrased from Paul Pitchford's Healing with Whole Foods, 3rd ed.

Uri harvests lettuce.


Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce

3 medium shallots, unpeeled
1" cube of fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 C smooth peanut butter
3 tsp honey
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or freshly squeezed lemon juice)
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 T shoyu
1/4 C boiling water

Roast the shallots in their skins on a lightly oiled cookie sheet in a 375-degree oven, until the shallots are just beginning to ooze. Put aside to cool (about 10 minutes), then peel shallots and chop in a food processor with the ginger. Add the rest of the ingredients, and process until smooth. This makes a light sauce for drizzling. For a creamier sauce, substitute a few tablespoons flax oil or coconut milk for the boiling water.

Spinach-Strawberry-Avocado Smoothie

6-8 plump ripe strawberries
2 handfuls washed spinach
the flesh of 1 ripe avocado
the juice of 1 lemon
the juice and flesh of a young coconut (see co-op produce isle)
2 C water
2-3 T honey or agave nectar (depending on ripeness of berries)

Crack the young coconut, pour off the coconut juice into a blender, and then split the coconut in half to scoop out the white flesh. Add this flesh, along with the rest of the smoothie ingredients, to the blender, and let 'er rip. Blend until the spinach and coconut are well incorporated (no small pieces noticeable). Add a bit more water if you like a looser consistency. Young coconut flesh varies in texture, so vary the water component of the recipe according to the thickness of the coconut flesh. This recipe makes between 4 and 6 8 oz. smoothies.


Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, 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!


Urb Garden Catering

2:24 PM Mandy 1 Comments

Have you heard about Echo's summertime sister operation? This is one sweet gal you've gotta meet!

Urb Garden Catering is Farmer Derek's food-making and vending enterprise, which serves up 100% vegetarian and organic food at summer festivals in our area. The Urb Garden, so named in 2005 and formerly called Veggie Vibes, has been a steady partner in local festivity and conviviality since 1999.

The full menu always features thirst-quenching fruit smoothies, roasted red pepper hummus and veggie wraps (often referred to as "walking salad"), and a savory warm vegetable and legume curry dish with whole grains. During weekend-long fests, the lunch menu includes a second warm, protein-rich dish as a special, such as barbeque tempeh and red beans over whole grains, or tempeh kalamata pasta salad. Shade-grown, fair-trade, organic coffee and herbal teas are available as well, to perk up a brisk morning or a windy evening.

Urb Garden prides itself on its wholesome, some might say eclectic, vegetarian fare. Yes, we know it's true that at fest folks revel in the consumption of "street food" -- fried fatty goodies, sugary treats, various things on-a-stick. Yet, Urb Garden is vigilant about offering a different kind of indulgent option to the festive public -- plant-based, healthful, balanced food, made from scratch with flair by people you probably know. This is food that sustains while it pleases the senses, and helps you beat the heat and dance the night away.

Urb Garden consciously makes a place for local organic produce on the menu, and farmers in the kitchen! Derek says he started this whole food vending biz as an extension of his growing activities. Several key ingredients are actually grown by Echollective farmers-- the crisp, refreshing leafy greens on the hummus/veg wraps, the delectable onions, potatoes, garlic and greens in the curry. Farm crew members turn up on the Urb Garden team often and are happy to chat about what's happening in the field and what the weather's throwing at them this time.

This year, Urb Garden has already begun whipping up the yummy food action at the Marion Arts Festival. And the fun will continue at Iowa City's Summer of the Arts events (Jazz Fest, Arts Fest, Sand in the City), the Midwest Renewable Energy Conference, Organic Valley's Kickapoo Country Fair, the Illinois Renewable Energy Conference, Pitchfork Music & Media Fest in Chicago, Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival, and of course at Echollective's annual Garlic Fest/Party out at the farm in July!

See ya there!



2010 CSA Week 1 Newsletter

10:38 AM Mandy 0 Comments

May 25, 26, & 29

We are having a bustling Spring already. This week marks the start of our CSA deliveries, which will run weekly through the first week of October. Hooray!

Members scheduled to pick up boxes on Wednesday should find us at the Iowa City Farmers Market in stall number 101. If your pick-up day is Saturday in IC, find us in stall number 105-106. Don't forget, good people-- save and return your boxes to us! Also, if for some reason you cannot pick up a box during the CSA season, please let us know in advance. We still plan to donate boxes not picked up at all to the Johnson County Crisis Center Food Bank.

In your box this week:
  • Salad mix. This week's mix contains mostly lettuces. Look for the mix to change according to what's ready on picking days.
  • Asparagus. Early warming events this spring caused our asparagus to get an early start and then feel frost. As a result, we may only have asparagus available for this week's box.
  • Radish. We grow 3 types of spring radish -- French breakfast, Easter egg, and Royal. Which is your favorite?
  • Shallot. These have spent 9 months in cold storage and are still so yummy!
  • Bulb leek. We grow many varieties of leek. This one often turns up in chefs' secret recipes.
  • Head lettuce. Its form is balanced with its function.
  • Green garlic. We aim to provide garlic every week, for your health and pleasure!
  • Bok choy. Derek says, "I eat bok choy every day." Try it as a side dish with breakfast, fresh with minty dressing or lightly sauteed. Or, try the recipe below for Bok Choy Miso.
  • Spearmint. Used fresh or dried hanging upside-down, this mint has so many uses. Infuse it in tea, incorporate it into jellies, chop it and add to dressings and sauces. It adds a sparkle to lemonades!

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.


Bok Choy Miso Soup
1 onion (or same amount of shallot), diced
1 bulb leek, diced
1-2 green garlic plants (whole stalk), diced
2 carrots
1/2 C radish, chopped
1 large or 2-3 small bok choy bunches
4 C water
1/2 C coconut milk
2 T miso paste

Saute the onion, leek and garlic until translucent. Add carrots and radish, then water and coconut milk. Cook until carrots are the texture you prefer. Add the bok choy, chopped horizontally, and cook until it wilts in the soup. Turn off the heat. Pull aside 1 C of the broth, and dissolve into it the miso paste (add a touch of honey if you like, too). Pour the miso broth into the other broth. Enjoy!

Please contact us if you can't identify something in your box, 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!


Greenhouse greens: come and get 'em!

4:42 PM Christy 2 Comments

Hungry for your spring greens?? Pre-order with Derek (@ echoCSA@gmail.com) by Thursday: We're selling bags of mixed-baby spring greens..... $8/lb. Kales, collards, bok choi, and spinach-- very tender and yummy!! Pick up at our house Saturday morning 10-noon.

Remember these pictures from the beginning of February?? These greens have been happily growing, and now they're ready for you to eat them!
And there's more:
And more:
And more:
My oh my, I love spinach!!! I think I'm going to have to make another pan of spanikopita...


Spring Starts!

5:30 PM Christy 0 Comments

Mei Qing Bok Choi sprouts


These little sprouts are growing visibly bigger every day!


First Watering of Winter

5:04 PM Christy 0 Comments

Come on in and take a peek at the greenhouses.

We took an adventure out to the greenhouses to visit, and water some plants-- their first watering since November. They've been sleeping cozy in their greenhouse tucked in with an enormous blanket for insulation... okay, if I was a little kale plant out there, I'd probably be shivering under my blankie. Except on those sunny days when it gets 80 degrees in there...

The plants seemed pretty happy to get a drink.

The baby was very happy to play in the mud and get dirty!


2010 CSA

1:53 PM Christy 0 Comments

Echollective CSA 2010 Season
We're now signing up folks for our 2010 CSA! This year, we will be serving the Iowa City area, and also (hopefully!) the Des Moines area and the Quad Cities. Information on our CSA follows:

IOWA CITY: Shares are delivered to the Iowa City Farmer's Market on Wednesday and Saturday for 20 weeks starting the end of May. An alternative pick up time may be possible, just contact us. In addition to the delicious, fresh picked vegetables; we will e-mail a newsletter with updates/stories from our farm, and seasonal recipes featuring our delicious produce.

CEDAR RAPIDS: We need at least 10 customers to make this delivery location possible. Contact us if you'd like to sign up! Pick-up day and location are currently unknown/flexible.

DES MOINES: We need at least 10 customers to make this delivery location possible. Contact us if you'd like to sign up! Pick-up day and location are currently unknown/flexible.

QUAD CITIES: We need at least 10 customers to make this delivery location possible. Contact us if you'd like to sign up! Pick-up day and location are currently unknown/flexible.

About our Farm:
Echollective Farm is a farming enterprise located 25 minutes from Iowa City. A cluster of farmers, interns, and volunteers cultivate 14 acres with a wide array of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and hay; and steward 20 forested acres including a creek. We've been farming for 9 years at Echollective, always using organic and sustainable practices. You already know our produce from New Pi Co-op, Iowa City's finest restaurants, and of course the downtown Iowa City Farmer's Market.

We select varieties of our vegetables based on their flavor, nutritional content, and uniqueness! Vegetables at supermarkets are selected for their uniformity and their ability to be shipped long distances. You'll taste the difference in our produce! By supporting local farms, you help to support agriculture and sustainability in your own community. In years of flood/drought, our shares may be smaller; in years of bounty our shares will be bigger. Our CSA project is part of Echollective's broader mission to support and educate the public about: sustainably & locally produced food; renewable energy; and green building construction. We also conduct hands-on workshops; host internship programs; and harvest & market products that make our community healthier.

More about Community Supported Agriculture:

What IS Community Supported Agriculture???
"CSA is a relationship of mutual support and commitment between local farmers and community members who pay the farmer an annual subscription fee. This helps to cover the production costs of the farm. In turn, members receive a weekly share of the harvest during the local growing season. The arrangement guarantees the farmer financial support and enables many small- to moderate-scale organic and/or bio-intensive family farms to remain in business. Ultimately, CSA programs create "agriculture-supported communities" where members receive a wide variety of foods harvested at their peak of freshness, ripeness, flavor, vitamin and mineral content. “ www.wilson.edu.csacenter.org

Questions... comments??? We'd love to hear from you!!!
For general farm questions, CSA membership contact Christy at: echoCSA@gmail.com 515-201-5593

To sign up for our CSA, please complete the following information and email to echoCSA@gmail.com
Sign up information:
Family subscription
(produce for a family of 3-5 for 20 weeks)= $600

Couples' subscription
(produce for 2 for 20 weeks)= $375

We ask that you pay ½ the fee upon registration, and ½ at the beginning of the season.

Pricing a problem? We also have a work-trade option. Ask for details!
We also barter! We are also in application to accept EBT (food stamps!)!!

Family (Names of all members including children)____________________
Phone #_______________________
Alternate #_____________________
Home Address_________________________
Please sign up by the 1st day of Spring-- space is limited! If you'd like to sign up after, please include a $30 late fee.
Send payment with the above form to:
Echollective CSA
1003 Ginter Ave
Iowa City, IA 52240