Thursday, July 10, 2008

2nd Week of July

A Week at the Farm
It’s July...the humidity kicks up and the rainfall is fickle, dumping down in some places and skipping others. It’s a bit dry here, so we continue to irrigate - water is the most critical "nutrient." The strawberry season has faded away and the blueberry crop is looking splendid for this week. If you lift the netting to pick blueberries, please tuck it back down around when finished to keep the birds from getting in under the netting: they like the blueberries even more than we do! The hot weather crops are starting to appear, eggplant now, and before long tomatoes and peppers. We’re experimenting with different methods of onion curing, so they will soon be a part of the harvest as well as garlic, which may be in this week’s share.

I’d like to introduce some more of the faces behind the food here at the farm:
  • Brad has worked here for several years and does precision hoeing, tackling weeds in emerging crops that most of us can’t even see yet. He is also a skilled harvester, both in picking crops and cutting salad greens and spinach.
  • Glenn is the only original trainee from that very first harvest season way back in 2000. He is appreciated for his contentment and enthusiasm for life and people just as much as his tireless work ethic. You’ll find him cheerfully greeting everyone on Fridays at the distribution area.
  • Scott C. starts out very early in the morning to get the bus from E-town to Lancaster and then to the farm. Also a veteran trainee, he is a fountain of geographical knowledge and world trivia in addition to the great work that he does here. He is skilled at transplanting and great at pretty much everything. More introductions to follow next week…

Home gardening workshop
Saturday, July 12, at 10 am (July 19 raindate)

Pruning, composting, patio gardens, vermicomposting, organic gardening, & natural pesticides/herbicides, presented by Tom & Susan Smith, Master Gardeners, from the Lancaster County Extension Center. Not yet signed up? Please email me or call 717-871-3110.

Serving Suggestions for the Harvest

  • Beets: excellent grated raw in salads, roasted coated with olive oil, or steamed til tender. Make pickled beets and red beet eggs.
  • Eggplant: slice and put on the grill or skillet—brush with olive oil and soy sauce.
  • Swiss Chard: see recipe below.
  • Cucumbers: great with diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, and olive oil.

Did you know?

There are 16 macro and micro nutrients necessary for healthy plant growth. Chemical fertilizers usually contain only N-P-K: Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium When you see fertilizer that says 20-10-10 for example, it means is contains 20 percent Nitrogen, 10 percent Phosphorous, 10 percent Potassium (Potash).


Scott’s Chard Attempt Recipe

Ok, so I’ll admit it, Bright Lights chard is beautiful, but I didn’t grow up eating chard and hadn’t yet found a way that I really enjoyed it until this past weekend. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Sautee the diced chard stems in olive oil until somewhat tender, then add chopped onions and minced garlic and sautee further.
2. Add the chopped chard greens and stir occasionally until tender.
3. Sprinkle with turmeric and red pepper to taste, stir well.
4. Allow to simmer a few minutes so flavors can blend. Taste, adjust if desired.
5. Eat as a side or serve over rice

Additional Recipes--starring eggplant or cucumbers
Looking for summer meals? Try a Middle Eastern Mezze Platter. You will want your favorite hummus, pita bread and veggies for dipping like cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, lettuce and carrots. Then try Babaganoush (eggplant spread) and/or Tabouli to complete your meal.

Babaganoush from The Candle Café Cookbook

Makes about 4 cups
Hint: be careful not to make too smooth in the food processor. Should be fairly chunky.
4 small eggplants
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced, or scapes
½ cup sesame tahini
½ cup vegan mayo or mayonnaise
½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and score the flesh with a small knife. Place cut-side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake until the eggplants are very soft, about 30 to 40 minutes.
3. When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, place the halves flesh side up and , using a small spoon, scrape out and discard as many of the bitter seeds as possible. Scoop out the rest of the flesh into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
4. Add the olive oil, garlic, tahini, Mayo, salt and pepper and process, being careful not to make the mixture too smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. The Babaganoush can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
5. Transfer to a bowl and serve with pita crisps or flatbread.

Tabouli (Wheat and Parsley Salad) from Extending the Table

Serves 4 to 6
1 cup cracked bulgur wheat
3 cups boiling water
1 ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ fresh mint, finely chopped
½ cup green onion, minced
1 small cucumber, chopped
3 firm tomatoes, chopped
1 ¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice

1. Cover bulgur wheat with boiling water and let soak several hours. Drain wheat thoroughly after soaking several hours.
2. Mix the herbs, onion, cucumber, tomato, salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice together. Toss with other ingredients, cover and chill.

Serving tips: Traditionally served with romaine lettuce, with the lettuce used as a utensil.
This salad may be prepared a day in advance, but do not add lemon juice until just before serving.

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