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!