Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hello from the farm,

No two seasons are the same...your farmers have been coping with mud and squish since last Thursday. It's a challenge to stay ahead of the weeds and transplanting when the fields are like pudding. Fortunately, much of the fall seeding in the greenhouse was scheduled for this week, so the pumpkins, butternuts, acorn squash, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and even Brussel Sprouts are planted for fall harvest. Woohoo, great job Del, Law Reh, and Elizabeth for planting about 180 trays in three days. 

The kiwi vine and pergola in the rain. The pergola
was an Eagle Scout project.

Herb beds looking great thanks to Kim's handiwork

Many Hands make Light(er) Work:

The Homefields ( story began about twenty years ago when five families had the dream and vision for a farm that would be a CSA farm with a picturesque living arrangement for their six adult children with disabilities. They formed a nonprofit, put in a lot of sweat equity, secured grants and readied the two homes and the farm for a CSA operation. Homefields invited Goodwill ( to come and operate the farm program on the property.   They also invited Community Services Group ( to staff the two homes on the property. 

In short:
Homefields: founder, owner, and landlord
Goodwill:  operates CSA farm program
CSG: staffs the two group homes on the property

Field Forecast:

The mud patty report indicates that condition are suitable for many superb patties to made from this fertile soil.  Despite copious amounts of rain, the crops look great!  The potato field is wonderful and the broccoli is starting to form small heads.   The "hot crops" like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and melons are showing good growth and should be ripening mid-July.   Blueberries are looking good.

Purple Potato flowers--some will make tiny "tomato" seedpods

Ideas for the harvest:
Snow peas: these flat-podded peas are eaten "hull and all" except for the stem. They are wonderful lightly steamed, boiled or in stir fry, even good raw.
Salad mix--great with grated cheese, olive, vinegar, standard salad fixings

Kale/Collards: we like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and sautee them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Bok choi--the joy of choi, this Asian vegetable seems to have been invented for the stir fry and peanut butter based sauce. Like it's cousin, the Napa cabbage, it is a mainstay when making spicy Korean kimchee--see recipe below.
Garlic scapes: these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm--see pesto recipe below.
Cilantro--this increasingly hankered for herb is central to salsa and a variety of world culinary dishes. It's great on a sandwich or what have you.

Kim Chee Recipe:This Korean spicy "sauerkraut" of a sort is outstanding. It is enjoyed in Korea and Japan. I like to get it from the Viet My Asian grocery across from McCaskey High School--the brand they carry is Kimchee Pride from NYC and my favorite of the kimchee I've purchased.

1 large head Chinese (celery or Nappa) cabbage
Salt--non iodized is preferred
4 green onions,including tops--optional.  (regular onions are too strong in my experience)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 dried hot red chili (about 2" long), crushed
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1. Cut cabbage into pieces, 1-inch long and 1-inch wide.
2. Sprinkle 2 Tbs salt on cabbage, mix well, and let stand 15 minutes.
3. Cut green onions in 1-1/2 inch lengths, then cut lengthwise in thin slices. Wash salted cabbage three times with cold water. Add the onions,garlic, chili, ginger, 1 Tbs salt and enough water to cover. Mix well.Cover and let stand for a few days.
4. Taste mixture every day. When it is acidic enough, cover and refrigerateup to 2 weeks.

Garlic Scape Pesto: 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4lb fresh garlic scapes
1/2 c. olive oil
Salt to taste

Puree scapes and olive oil in blender until smooth. Stir in Parmesan and lemon or lime juice and season to taste. Serve on bread or crackers. --courtesy of Mary Jane's Farm

Bully for Bok Choy

Isa Chandra Moskowitz has this to say about bok choy: " It looks like a cute little vase made of green leaves, and the flavor and texture is that of a very sweet, juicy white cabbage. We try to find reasons to eat as much of it as possible, not just a piece or two tossed in a stir-fry. So with that in mind, this is our favorite way to quickly prepare bok choy on a weeknight…"

Baby Bok Choy with Crispy Shallots and Sesame Seeds

1 lb bok choy

2 small shallots, peeled and sliced into very thin rings

1/2 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 Tbsp peanut oil, or other cooking oil

1 Tbsp mirin or apple juice

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds

Slice off the stubby base of the bok choy from the white, thick bottoms. Slice the white stems away from the leafy tops. Wash stems and chop into 2 to 3 inch chunks, and set aside. Wash the leafy part of the bok choy in a large bowl or salad spinner. Shake off excess water and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and sauté for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. If there is no oil left in the pan, drizzle in extra oil. Add grated ginger and stir fry for about 15 seconds. Add the bok chow stems and sauté them for 2-3 minutes. Add the leafy greens and stir fry for about 2 minutes until the green leaves start to wilt. Add the mirin and soy sauce, stir briefly, and cover the pan. Steam for 2 more minutes, then remove lid. Stir for about 30 more seconds and remove from heat. Top with fried shallots and roasted sesame seeds and serve.

 We hope you are enjoying the fresh food adventure from the farm!  Seasonal eating is a lot fun.
See you soon,

Your farmers

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