Thursday, July 5, 2012

A warm hello from your farmers!

July, along with its warmth, brings some new crops for us to harvest.  There will be sweet tender baby carrots, new potatoes and fantastic tasting beans, and even some garlic is ready.  It's very dry, so we've been drip irrigating and we are grateful to have a strong well.  Our solar powered picking cart broke on Tuesday, but we've got it back in working order, the eggplants are starting to ripen, and the tomato plants look fantastic.  The soil has been receiving compost and cover crop treatment for a long time, and continues to get better and better, reducing pest damage and disease, creating higher nutrient levels in your food, and allowing for better drought tolerance.

Aren't Carrots Orange?

We've got young carrots in the harvest this week, and they are a rainbow of colors, textures, and flavors.  Thanks to the Dutch, who popularized and standardized the carrot as orange in the 1600s, we all expect carrots to be orange, but they ocurr in many colors from white to orange to red to purple.  Our favorite one here is usually the magenta-colored Dragon variety if we pick one.  We like them all. Try the different colors and see which anthocyanins suit your palate best.

Spotlight on Kim Stoltzfus:

Position at the farm: Distribution Hostess
Number of years working for Goodwill: 3 years
Favorite thing to grow at the farm: sungold tomatoes
The animal she most connects with is: the great blue heron
Favorite kind of music: bluegrass
What she wanted to be when she grew up: a marine biologist
Her favorite place that she has visited: the Redwood Forest, where she camped with
her family last summer
Kim’s family includes: her husband Jesse, and children: Isaiah, 10 and Maia, 8
She has a pet cat: named Tough Mama and is in the market for a Lab puppy
Something Kim can’t live without is: the support of her friends and family
One of Kim’s hobbies is: pottery
Advice she would give to others is: take it one day at a time
Alternative languages: sign language
Favorite thing about the farm: the kids

Interested in a Fruit Share from North Star Orchard?

We are a pick up site for fruit shares from North Star Orchard, growers of outstanding varieties of heirloom and modern apples, pears, plums, Asian pears, peaches and more. For more information go to:  Begins in August.

Suggestions for the harvest:
Potatoes: this fresh new potatoes are excellent!  One has a red interior. They are all good. My favorite summer treatment is a Lebanese style potato salad with just olive oil and herbs.  
Carrots: these fresh carrots are like candy, just to pop in your mouth and eat raw or add to salad, etc.
Beans: wow, not what you find in the store.  Most of us are partial to the Roma variety which flat--all of the them are great. Boil and steam till just tender, or roast in the oven oil--super!
Eggplant: coat with oil and soysauce and grill, or bread them and fry.
Lettuce heads: salads, sandwiches
Chard: use in lieu of spinach in babaganoush, salads,
Scallions: these mild onions are great anywhere onion is needed
Cucumber: these cucumbers are outstanding!  Makes an off-season cuke seem inedible. My favorite way to use cucumbers is a salad with tomato, onion and garlic with olive oil. See simple refrigerator pickle recipe below that I made with my 6 yr old daughter. Takes about 10 minutes to put together.
Beets: these can be grated raw into salad or roasted
Napa cabbage: use for kimchee or anywhere cabbage is needed.
Broccoli: a salad with raisins, nuts, and onions, bacon pieces, is excellent.
Kale: sautee until crispy with onions and butter, Remove the rib and stem first!
Collards: same as kale

Easy Garlic Dill Pickles from A Couple Cooks
1 quart mason jar with lid
3-4 pickling cucumbers
3 cloves garlic
8 sprigs fresh dill
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
2/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup water


Quarter the cucumbers into four slices each, lengthwise, or cut into 1/4-inch chips. Cut the garlic cloves in quarters.
In an extra mason jar or covered container, combine coriander seeds, sugar, kosher salt and vinegar. Tightly close the lid and shake vigorously until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add 1 cup water to the mixture.
In the clean mason jar, tightly pack the sliced cucumbers, sliced garlic, and sprigs of fresh dill.
Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers. Tap the jar on the counter to release any air bubbles and top off the jar with extra water if any cucumbers are exposed.
Place the lid on the jar and screw on the ring until it is tight. Leave the jar in the fridge for 24 hours before tasting. The pickles last up to one month refrigerated. Yield: 12 pickle quarters.
Nutrition Information: These are very low in calories (less than 10 calories/pickle). Other than a few grams of carbohydrate and about 1/3 gram fiber, these contain some sodium. I have no idea how much brine is absorbed, so I haven’t a clue on the sodium content. However, many pickle recipes call for WAY more salt that this recipe.
Result: Many dill refrigerator pickle recipes were disappointing, but this recipe is a keeper. These come together in 5 minutes or less and are ready in 1 day…can’t beat it! Simple ingredients and clean, fresh flavors. These dill pickles have lots of crunch and the perfect balance of vinegar, salt, and garlic! Enjoy!


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