The Heat is On

8:47 AM Unknown 0 Comments

The heat and humidity has officially arrived with the approaching Summer Solstice this weekend.  And with it come the storms.  We managed to pick lots of garlic scapes in a rocking rainstorm and they are pure heaven added to just about any meal!  They can be used in so many ways.

Another Iowa garden favorite is flushing.  Sweet peas.  We have been really busy picking these peas in the hot sun and fighting the urge to eat them all ourselves!  They are plump, crisp and super sweet.  No worries though, we are all about sharing.

On the topic of sharing, the summer CSA action is going along pretty smoothly.  One small hitch that could use a little oiling...

If you are a Wednesday pick-up, please do your best to pick up on Wednesday and the same goes for Saturday pick-ups.  We understand that things do come up and try to accommodate everyone.  If it becomes an absolute must that you need to switch your pick-up day for the week please let us know in early in the week.  We cannot intuit this and during the busy growing months we are hard at work in the fields most of the time, with little time or attention to give to last minute fire hoops.  Thanks so much in advance.

Wondering what to do with peas and scapes?  Here is a great recipe:

Spinach, Pea and Garlic Scape Soup

This soup would be fab with a swirl of crème fraîche, I think.
canola oil, for cooking
a big dab of butter
an onion, peeled and chopped
a couple garlic scapes, chopped
a handful of fresh chives
a salad bowl full of fresh spinach leaves
a heaping cup of frozen green peas
1 L chicken or veggie stock
a splash of cream

In a large saucepan, heat a drizzle of oil with a dab of butter over medium-high heat. Cook the onion for a few minutes, until soft. Add the garlic scapes and tear in the chives, sprinkle with salt and cook for a few more minutes, until everything is soft.
Add the spinach and peas and cook until the spinach wilts. Add the stock and bring to a simmer; cook for 20 minutes, or until all the veggies are nice and soft.
Season with salt and add a splash of cream. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender (or transfer in batches to a regular blender) until smooth. Serve warm. Serves 4.
Compliments of:

Another great recipe of the vegan variety:
(You can add garlic scapes to this easily as they are good with just about anything!  Just thinly slice on the bias, like the scallions and add raw or after a quick flash in the pan. - Jess)

Soba Noodle Salad with Sugar Snap Peas

1⁄2 pound soba noodles
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1⁄4 cup tamari soy sauce
2 teaspoons light miso
6 tablespoons sesame oil
2-1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus additional for garnish
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 carrots, cut into thin strips
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
2 cups sugar snap peas, cut in 1/8-inch strips on bias
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste


Cook the noodles in boiling salted water until al dente. Rinse with cold water, drain, and allow to dry slightly

To prepare the dressing, stir together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and miso. Whisk in the sesame oil, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.

Toss the carrots, and scallions in the dressing. Pour the dressing over the pasta and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. The salad is ready to serve now, or it may be held, covered, under refrigeration.

Makes 8 servings.

Compliments of:

Once, again, thanks for another week of Iowa farming with us.  We our honored to be your farmers and absolutely love what we do.

~Echo Team


No Better Season to Get to Know Your Farmers than NOW

10:14 PM Unknown 0 Comments

We had our first downtown Cedar Rapids farmer market of the season and it was so much fun.  We sold completely out of Lamb's Quarter, which says quite a bit about our Cedar Rapids neighbors.  You are ready to sustainably rock some culinary exploration, you local foodies!  We LOVE being your farmers.

We received a lovely report on how well our asparagus has fared from farm to fork, from one of our Cedar Rapids CSA members, Toni Page Harding:

"We snacked on the radishes while I baked the asparagus last night.  So good! Drizzled with a butter, balsamic and soy sauce. :) "

This is likely to be our last week for asparagus so if you are a CSA member, treasure your bundle!  If you are coming to market, lace up your sneakers.  It will be the final spread of this seasonal stand up and out.  We are tucking in the beds and settling them well for next year.

Our Iowa City Market was slamming from the ringing bell and this week we are ready to keep it coming to our tried and true beginnings.  As always, we will be there.  You will also find us at the NewBo outdoor market on Saturday from now until the next big downtown market, for the Cedar Rapids area.


We are dedicated to our CSA members, farmer market friends/shoppers and New Pioneer patrons.  It is a continual blessing to serve our local community that way.  Our passion for this is still going strong, as we grow and have added Hy-Vee to our customer base.  You can now, yes, right now find us in Cedar Rapids and Marion Hy-Vee stores!

Please don't be a stranger because we treasure the face to face connections that make us who we are, with more diversity to offer.  But in a pinch?  When us farmers are busy in the fields?  You can now find us at Hy-Vee too! 

 CSA boxes this week will include:

Varietal Kale
Lettuce Head
Garlic Scapes
Collard Greens
Lamb's Quarter
* And often the element of surprise *

What to do with Scapes?  Have FUN!

Pesto is a really easy and simple way to work with this amazing flavor.


Makes about 1 cup

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you'd like)
About 1/2 cup olive oil
Sea salt

Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).  Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you'd like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt.

If you're not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juiciest.


Thanks again for farming with us.  It is an honor to serve you.

Your Echo Team


Cottonwoods Blow, Mustard Greens Rule and Mint Refreshes!

10:21 PM Unknown 0 Comments

The air is full of cotton-like snow fall and as the Cottonwoods release their tiny cloud seeds to the sky, Echollective farmers and plants adjust to a warm June beginning.  It is a very fruitful week and we have a lot to offer to our CSA members and farmer market shoppers!  The skies have been pure magic to farm the land under.

We will be at our usual Iowa City locations this week and in Cedar Rapids, this will be the first week of the Downtown Farmer's Market!  Please click on this interactive map to get a leg up on how to navigate your way through.

We are spot 131, across from Zin's on 3rd Street.  For our Cedar Rapids CSA members, do not hesitate to reach out in order to make sure you know where to go to get your box this week, as we will not be at NewBo.

You can anticipate asparagus, turnips, radishes, braising or cooking greens, spinach, bok choi, mint, mustard greens, rapini and a lettuce head in your collection this week.

One of these exciting additions to your box this week is mustard greens!  Hmmm... not sure what to do with them?  Just think kale and then get excited because mustard greens are actually a big show!  Great article/recipe by Cooking Light:

You will also find a bundle of fresh mint in your box.  There are many things to do with this potent and healthy herb.  But the Mojito is king.  We offer a few variations with this next link but chose to highlight the Spiced Ginger Mojito as ginger is a big favorite amongst the Echo Team, in food and drink.  After getting the summer squash in the ground, we can definitely recommend this lovely thirst quencher, with FRESH LOCAL MINT, via Echollective!!! 

Spiced Ginger Mojito


Preparation method

  1. Place the mint, sugar and lime into a sturdy tall glass and mash (muddle) with the end of a clean rolling pin.
  2. Add the spiced rum and a scoop of crushed ice. Mix thoroughly with a tall spoon and top up with ginger beer.
  3. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a thin slice of fresh ginger.

    Thanks again for farming with us!  We love being your farmers.

    Your Echo Team