Home Grown Tomatoes

11:05 AM Unknown 9 Comments

"It is difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts
while eating a homegrown tomato."

~ Lewis Grizzard

So far as we know, this has just not been a great year overall for home grown tomatoes with traditional growing methods in the mid-West.  Our tomato season has definitely been a trying one.  Yet, our Sungold cherry tomatoes are somehow flourishing and we are thrilled to have them for our CSA members!  We have rebounded from the early frost temps and this week is to be a warm and fairly dry one, so this translates into lots of cherry tomatoes.

Our winter squash is coming along nicely and the Easter Egg Radishes have been really beautiful and very popular.  All leading to the autumn CSA!  Next week is the first one of eight so if you have not signed up yet please contact us.

This week's CSA Box:

Red Onions
Diakon Radishes
Bok Choy
Sungold Tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes
Rosemary or Thyme
Lettuce Mix

A great way to use the potatoes and radishes is in this roasted salad I have adapted from Noble Pig.

Roasted Radish & Potato Salad

1 lb. radishes, trimmed and quartered (reserve greens or use spinach/arugula)
1 lb new potatoes, quartered
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Salt and black pepper to taste
(you can use your herbs from your box just as easily for a slight adjustment)

Preheat oven to 425o F with a large baking sheet inside.

Toss radishes, potatoes, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl to coat.  Transfer mixture to hot baking sheet in oven.  Roast until golden, 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting. 

In the meantime, wash radish greens in several changes of cold water and spin dry.  For the vinaigrette whisk together vinegar, 3 Tablespoons oil, Dijon, parsley and dill in a bowl until combined; season with salt and pepper.  Stir radish greens into roasted radishes and potatoes and add vinaigrette.

Via http://noblepig.com/2011/04/roasted-radish-potato-salad/


Thanks again for farming with us!  Keep your eyes open for information coming soon about our fall garlic planting event the weekend of October 25-26!  Fun farm times ahead.

"Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes,
what would life be like without
home grown tomatoes?
Only two things money can't buy,
That's true love and home grown tomatoes."

~ John Denver Home Grown Tomatoes

Fortunately, here at Echollective, your money CAN buy home grown tomatoes!  Or for CSA membership, we offer a portion to be paid by work trade which gives you the opportunity to connect with the land and the people out at the farm while supporting your local food needs.
Have a great week, folks!
Your Echo Team


The Care of Earth

9:21 AM Unknown 0 Comments

"The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope."

~ Wendell Berry

As summer winds down, we are excitedly putting together the final two weeks of summer 2014 CSA at Echollective, that is if the grasshoppers do not scarf it all down!  They multiplied in droves this week and are really taking a lot of pleasure from the Bok Choy.  

These next couple of weeks we are busy tweaking the switch from summer CSA to fall CSA.  Many of you have already set up for that and the time is drawing near, like now, to get on the fall list so you don't miss the first week's box.  We begin the first week in October and run for 8 weeks.  

This week is the last downtown Cedar Rapids market so it would be a great time for you CR folks to submit for yours right when you pick up your box, as next week the pick up will be at Greyhound in NewBo City Market. (Thanks again Greyhound Deli!  You people rock.)
If you have not done a CSA membership with us, please contact us for more information on how to get started.  It is easy and totally worth it.

Another important mention:

SEED GARLIC!  The time is now.  If you are interested please contact us at echocsa@gmail.com!
This week's CSA box:
Red Onions
Diakon Radishes
Summer Squash/Zucchini
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Green Beans
Sweet Peppers
Bok Choy
(And we have a few hopeful surprises.) 
Here is a really flavorful and easy way to serve bok choy.  The sesame oil is a must!

Sautéed Bok Choy Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (from 1/2-inch piece)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 pounds bok choy (about 2 medium bunches), cleaned, ends trimmed, and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salt (optional)
  1. In a large frying pan with a tightfitting lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the bok choy and, using tongs, fold it into the garlic-ginger mixture until coated, about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and water, cover, and cook until steam accumulates, about 1 minute. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are just wilted, the stalks are just fork tender but still crisp, and most of the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and season with salt if desired.
Via: http://www.chow.com/recipes/28071-sauteed-bok-choy 

Thank you for farming with us.  We look forward to a beautiful harvest season with all of you and wish you the very best of the coming season.

Your Echo Team


Seeking High Ground

11:20 AM Unknown 1 Comments

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.” 
~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories


So we got flash flooded this week and have experienced insane amounts of water and hail damage.  Our fall greens have really taken a hit and it is hard not to be a little discouraged but we are plugging away at saving everything we can.  We will keep you updated on progress and hopefully still have plenty to offer at markets and for CSA this week.  
This week's CSA should include:

Kale or Cooking Greens
Red Onion
Summer Squash
Diakon Radish
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Sweet Peppers
We will do our best to make good on these but may be a little off due to the weather.
Weekly recipe!

Chickpea Succotash with Lemongrass

  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
  • 1 large tomato (1 lb.)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut into ½-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • ½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (½ tsp.)
  • ¾ cup cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup fresh corn kernels
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1. Trim and discard tough base and skinny top leaves of lemongrass stalks, then peel away tough outer layers. Crush inner white stems with mallet or rolling pin, then finely chop. (You should have 1 Tbs.) Transfer to small bowl, and cover with 1/4 cup boiling water. Set aside.

2. Halve tomato through middle, and scoop seeds into strainer set over bowl. Press juice from seeds, then discard seeds. Set juice aside, and dice tomato flesh. (You should have 2 cups.)

3. Heat oil in large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add squash, ginger, and garlic, and sauté 3 minutes without browning. Stir in chickpeas, corn, diced tomato, lemongrass with liquid, and tomato juice, and season with salt and pepper (if desired). Cover, increase heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, or until tomatoes just begin to soften. Stir in basil.

Via http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/chickpea-succotash-with-lemongrass/

We wish you all the best with this unpredictable and gnarly weather as we navigate it ourselves with hopes for a bountiful fall harvest.  Thank you for farming with us!

Your Echo Team


By All These Lovely Tokens

7:25 AM Unknown 0 Comments

"By all these lovely tokens 
September days are here, 
With summer's best of weather
 And autumn's best of cheer."
~ Helen Hunt Jackson

As summer winds down, we are ready to start talking fall CSA with you all.  The weather is beginning to reflect that awesome transition time, of summer merging with autumn.  We still have a bit of summer CSA to go yet so will begin the first week of October which will last for 8 weeks.  The cost for a couple's box is $20 a week and for families it is $30.  Please let us know if you are interested so we can be sure you are ready come the end of this month.  You can email us at:
You can also call Derek at 319.325.3910 or Jessica at 319.409.4028!

We are certainly ready for abundant squash here at the farm and as much as summer blesses us with so much bounty, fall weather and joy are something we look forward to, along with the privilege to continue working with our CSA members.

This week's CSA box will include:

Cooking Greens
Kale Bunch
Red Onion
Candy Onion
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Summer Squash
Diakon Radish
(Always possible element of surprise.)
Here is your weekly recipe which includes a few of your box items! Compliments of: 

Fried potato, peppers and eggplant (patate, pepe e melanzane fritti)



  • 185 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 5 mm wedges
  • 1 small eggplant 
  • 2 medium red capsicums (preferably corno di toro – bull’s horn), cut into 2 cm strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced 
  • 6 basil leaves
  • salt
  • crusty bread, to serve


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the potatoes. Fry until lightly golden, then remove from the oil and place on a warm plate. Keep warm.

Peel and finely slice the eggplant (it is best to do this just before cooking so it doesn’t go brown) and add to the pan along with the capsicum. Stir-fry over medium heat until just soft, then return the potatoes to the pan and stir everything together.

Move the ingredients to the edges of the pan to create a gap in the middle. Add the garlic to the gap and fry for 5 seconds until it releases its aroma, then add the tomato, basil and salt to taste and stir for 10 seconds. Serve with crusty bread.

Enjoy!  And thanks again for another week of farm goodness with us.

Your Echo Team