2015summer_week9

Summer 2015 – September, Week 9

What’s in the Box:

Cauliflower
Carrots
Broccoli
Pearl onions
Cucumbers
Kale
Arugula
Treviso radicchio
Pears
Flowers

Dear Members,

Happy Equinox!  In my book it has already been Autumn, as evidenced by foggy mornings, early sunsets, and apples dropping by the bucketful from our old trees.  These apples make the best juice and applesauce, but aren’t the scabless, beautiful, shiny apples that you find in every grocery store and most farmers markets.  These are a bit more humble in appearance, with their scars, bites, and bruises telling the story of the season.

The apples remind me that it’s time to get canning, storing, freezing, pickling for the Winter months.  It’s tricky to do when the season is so full, but I have managed a couple batches of applesauce, and usually talk my mom into freezing some vegetables for us, and making some fruit leather for Natty’s lunches.  I will often undertake just a little extra while I’m cooking dinner.  It doesn’t take much time to steam a couple handfuls of green beans and toss them on a cookie sheet in the freezer.  In the dead of Winter, when I’m browsing in the produce aisle, I’m glad for that extra little bit of work to put our fresh veggies in the freezer.

In today’s boxes, you’ll find our first cauliflower of the season.  We have tried for years to produce pest-free cauliflower, and have reduced our growing season to Autumn only, when the aphid pressure is generally lower.  Alas, the aphids are still with us.  If your cauliflower has pests, cut it into florets and soak it in room temperature salted water for about 20 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly and prepare.

The Treviso is a type of radicchio, and radicchio is indeed bitter.  Mike has insisted for many years that we grow it, along with a few other Italian vegetables, because it reminds him of his childhood and how all his complaining about things he didn’t like to eat turned into a rather earnest liking of them.  If you absolutely cannot handle bitter greens, try roasting it!  It becomes milder and sweeter with cooking.

Enjoy!
Heidi

2015summer_week7

Summer 2015 – September, Week 7

What’s in the Box:

Roma beans, Red Cabbage, Sweet onion
Garlic, Green Kohlrabi
Zucchini & Summer squash
Cucumbers, Gold Chard
Arugula, Mizuna, Basil, Peaches
Flowers

Dear Members,

Please take one bouquet of flowers

As I sit down to write to you all this morning, I can’t see a thing outside the window.  It stays dark a bit later each morning, and makes it a little more difficult to roll out of bed and greet the day… or the almost day, as it were.  The rain seems to have slowed us down and delivered Autumn all at once, making for an unusually quick shift in our mental state.

If you haven’t noticed yet, we farmers loooove to talk about the weather. It’s not just that we’re boring, or that we don’t seem to have any hobbies because all we manage to do is farm mostly (although I’m not saying either of those things is necessarily untrue).  Honestly, weather dictates so much of our business that we just can’t get around talking about it.

I’ll spare you my diatribe on Spring, and how rain can slow us down, or drought, and what that means for us, and focus on rain right now.

Rain means certain veggies are happy, and others mold.  It means we shift the harvest to get the most sensitive things in before they get wet (or we harvest them later to deliver them extra fresh), we take longer to harvest, wash, and pack the veggies, we contend with a different set of circumstances.

Autumn means that we often work on the edges of day, and sometimes in darkness.  We have to be more careful about plans for each day, and we try to spread out tasks so that we aren’t working until 8pm. By necessity, we start later.  You can’t see much in the field in total or even semi-darkness.

All this to say that weather means a lot around here.

And that your veggies soaked up all that beautiful rain, and might not last quite as long as they did when they didn’t get rained on.  Specifically, please forgive us if the Roma beans don’t hold up as well as they should.

Now, for those of you who made it through all that, (or maybe you just skipped it) come see us at the Tilth Harvest Fair this weekend!  The fair is this Saturday from 10am to 4pm at Meridian Park in Seattle (behind the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98103).  Find more information about the fair and what’s on the schedule here:http://www.seattletilth.org/special_events/harvestfair2015

Yours,

Heidi

Summer2015_week1

Summer 2015 – July, Week 1

What’s in the Box:

Yellow potatoes, Sweet onions, Cilantro, Gold chard, Purple & green kohlrabi, Arugula, Radishes, Lilies

Dear members,

PLEASE TAKE ONE BOUQUET OF LILIES!

Finally! Our first delivery day! Thank you for participating with us!

It has been a long road this season, but we are pleased to finally get underway. The fields are looking full and promising, Fall and Winter crops look strong. I have posted some photos on Facebook, and hope to get them onto our website shortly as well.

Two notes on the lilies:
1. If your cat likes to chew on your flowers, please keep them up and out of range-lilies are toxic to cats. I have kitties and mine aren’t interested in the lilies, but best to mention it!

2. As soon as your lilies open, pull the anthers to keep them from dropping pollen.

I still have lots of work to do before the deliveries go out tomorrow morning, so I’m including a few recipes and sending these notes out to you now as a reminder. Remember your delivery tomorrow! And thank you!!

Yours,

Heidi

Potato Salad with Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette
Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2002
Recipe found at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-salad-with-toasted-cumin-vinaigrette-106617

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds new potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon salt

4 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled, coarsely chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped sweet onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 heaping tablespoon chopped seeded drained pickled jalapeño chilies from jar, 2 tablespoons liquid reserved

Toast cumin seeds in heavy small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Cool. Using spice grinder, coarsely grind cumin seeds. Transfer to medium bowl. Whisk in lemon juice, then oil.

Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Place potatoes in large pot. Add enough cold water to cover. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Boil potatoes until tender when pierced with skewer, about 8 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large bowl. Add eggs, green onions, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño chilies, and 2 tablespoons chili liquid. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Yellow Chard with Feta
Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Roasted-Swiss-Chard-with-Feta/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Thumb&e11=chard&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Recipe&soid=sr_results_p1i2

1 bunch yellow chard – leaves and

stems separated and chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces feta cheese, broken into ½ inch pieces

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

Toss the chard stems and onions in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and spread onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until the chard stems have softened and the onion is starting to brown on the corners, about 15 minutes.


Toss the chard leaves with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle the leaves over the stem mixture, then sprinkle with feta cheese.

Return to the oven, and bake until the stems are tender, the leaves are beginning to crisp, and the feta is melted and golden, about 20 minutes.

Roasted Kohlrabi
Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Print/Recipe.aspx?recipeID=203975&origin=detail&servings=2&metric=false

2 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut kohlrabi into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut each of the slices in half. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi slices in the olive oil mixture to coat. Spread kohlrabi in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally in order to brown evenly.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven to allow the Parmesan cheese to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Summer 2014 – Week 16

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Carrots, Celery, Delicata Squash, Cherry Tomatoes,
September Fuji Apples & 1 Bunch of Flowers
Small shares:
Carrots, Celery, Delicata Squash,  Tomatoes, Arugula,
Italian Parsley,  Cherry Tomatoes,
September Fuji Apples  & 1 Bunch of Flowers
Family shares:
Carrots, Celery, Delicata Squash,  Arugula, Cauliflower,
Italian Parsley,  Cherry Tomatoes,
September Fuji Apples & 1 Bunch of Flowers

 

September 30, 2014

Please remember to take: 1 bouquet of Flowers

Dear Friends,

Here we are, sixteen weeks into the summer season.  As the season has progressed, I have been continually struck by the level of dedication, care, hard work, and coordination involved in bringing a box of CSA vegetables to your table.

This is the beauty of the CSA model.  You, the consumer, have the opportunity to KNOW the farmer, the work, and the process which provides the food you eat. With this in mind, I would like to acknowledge our team here at Boistfort Valley Farm; the hands that bring you your weekly boxes.

Our Field Crew begins work at 6:00 each morning.  They spend most of their days harvesting; cutting greens, picking tomatoes and pulling root vegetables.  They work with a careful eye and a skilled hand.  Directed by Jesus, our field manager, they have their work down to an art, harvesting for quality, quantity, uniformity, and aesthetics.

Our Pack Shed Crew works equally hard, as they process everything the field crew harvests.  They wash and weigh the produce, and pack each box to our standards of excellence.

Joey has diligently delivered your boxes all season, persevering through some crazy Seattle construction and constant traffic conditions. He is supported by a wild card team of local farm supporters like Hannah and Darrin who pick up a CSA delivery here and there, drive our wholesale deliveries, and do markets.

There is Galilee, whose beautiful bouquets brighten our boxes and Nile, our experienced mechanic and farm hand.  Bj processes your orders, runs our office and answers your calls.  And Mike, owner and farmer, plans, directs and oversees this whole process. All cogs in the wheel of Boistfort Valley Farm. None of this possible without you and the faith you place in us to put the fruits of our labors on your table.

Bravo!

-Emily

A reminder: There are only two days left to take advantage of the Winter CSA promotion offered only to current customers. Get yours and or buy one for a friend or family member! To sign up now take a look at our website for easy ordering and never hesitate to contact us with questions!

http://boistfortvalleyfarm.csaware.com/2014-2015-winter-share-nov-may-C5635

Summer 2014 – Week 9

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Beans, Cucumbers, Red Potatoes, Zucchini,
Artichokes, Cherry Tomatoes & 1 Bouquet of Flowers.
Small shares:
Red Potatoes, Turnips, Zucchini, Cucumbers,
Green Peppers, Artichokes, Cherry Tomatoes & 1 Bouquet of Flowers.
Family shares:
Beans, Red Potatoes, Zucchini, Turnips, Cucumbers, Arugula,
Artichokes, Cauliflower, Cherry Tomatoes & 1 Bouquet of Flowers.

 

Please remember to take: 1 Bouquet of Flowers

Dear Friends,

As I write this, the morning air is already hot and the sky hazy.  The weather forecasters are predicting mid-nineties today.  This time of year is known as the ‘dog days of summer,’ and for the farmer, it presents challenges which mark the realities of our work.  The long days of high temperatures take their toll on all of the vegetables, even the heat-loving plants.  We irrigate frequently to keep things fresh and lush.  Insect populations are also at their peak this time of the season.  Needless to say, we are working especially hard to maintain the abundance and quality you see in your boxes.

And on this note, your boxes reflect the high summer varieties of produce.  The cucumbers and squashes are abundant and beautiful this time of year.  The peppers, eggplant and tomatoes are just starting to ripen.

Here at the Farm, we have tried many varieties of vegetables and often grow some of the best tasting, though less familiar ones.  One example of this is our striped zucchini, better known as Italian zucchini.  These keep a little better than the green ones which everyone is so used to seeing.  Many of us think they have a better, nuttier flavor than the green variety.  They also hold up better in cooking, which makes them a great addition to sauces, pastas and stir-fries.

Another example of this is our snap beans.  We grow 3 varieties here—yellow, green and purple.  Which ones end up in your boxes depend on the ripening time and abundance of each crop.  They all have that good ‘ol beany flavor, though each is slightly unique with  its’ own very individual qualities. We hope that your experience as members of Boistfort Valley Farms’ CSA program, will give you a chance to expand your palate and explore varieties of vegetables you may not otherwise find at the supermarket.

We are already on Week #9 of our 2014 Summer Season but there are a few shares available.  Tell your friends!  Have a great week and enjoy the warmth of summer!

-Emily

Summer 2014 – Week 4

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Lettuce, Chard, Fennel, Red Radishes,
Garlic Scapes & 1 Lily Stem.
Small shares:
Lettuce, Arugula, Chard,Fennel,
Red Radishes, Garlic Scapes, Mint,
Cilantro, & 1 Lily Stem.
Family shares:
Lettuce, Arugula, Chard, Fennel,
Red Radishes, Garlic Scapes, Parsley,
Cilantro, Kohlrabi, Mint & 1 Lily Stem.

 

 

Please remember to take: 1 Stem of Lilies

Dear Friends,

Now that we are entering the balmy days of summer, new varieties of vegetables and herbs seem to be ripening on a daily basis.  Many of these are quite unique and worth mentioning for those who are new to them….Garlic Scapes, Arugula and Fennel, to name a few.  And to solve this problem of “What is THIS in my box?” I am beginning a weekly Facebook post entitled, ‘Weekly Veggie Catalog.’  This identifies each item in your box and provides a bit of history, nutrition information and preparation tips about it.  (Also, if you have not yet ‘liked’ us on Facebook, please do so!)  www.facebook.com/boistfortvalleyfarm

Along these lines, here is the link to our “Recipes” page on the Boistfort Valley Farm website.  This also includes recipes and information for each vegetable.  www.boistfortvalleyfarm.com/recipes

One of these distinctive vegetables I mentioned earlier is Fennel.  Fennel is a graceful-looking plant originating in the Mediterranean.  It has a long and rich history.  The Ancient Greek Athletes used Fennel to stave off hunger during their fasting and training periods.  It is recorded that the Battle of Marathon during the Persian Wars (490 B.C.) was fought on a field of Fennel.  Later, Fennel seed was included as one of the key ingredients in Absinthe and enjoyed by the 18th Century Europeans.  Today, we use the Fennel bulb for cooking and in salads.  Both the bulb and the feathery leaves impart a sweet, refreshing flavor to salads and stir fries.  The roasted Fennel dish below looks amazing!

As always, we hope you enjoy your produce this week.  In next week’s box, we anticipate including the first carrots of the season.

For interested friends and family, please remember that it is not too late to sign up for a farm share.  We consider ourselves fortunate to provide your family with the bounty of our farm.

–Emily

One note on the included flowers:  When taking your lilies, please be gentle with the ones you are leaving for other members.  They are easily damaged from excessive handling.  Thank you!

Summer 2014 – Week 1

What’s in the Box:

Lettuce, Arugula, Purple Mizuna OR Garlic scapes, Baby Bok Choy,
Red Radish, AND STRAWBERRIES!

Small shares also include:
Tatsoi & more strawberries!!

Family shares also include:
Tatsoi, Amethyst Radish & even more Strawberries!!!

 

 

Please remember to take:
Family share: three pints of strawberries
Small share: two pints of strawberries
Petite share: one pint of strawberries

A few notes about pick up:

Please be sure to find your name on the sign-in sheet, double check which share size you signed up for, and take the correct share size. If you take the wrong size it means someone else will also end up with the wrong size.

Double check the sign-in sheet for other items that you should take. Delicate items like flowers and berries never go into the boxes — we put them alongside so that they aren’t damaged. Your sign-in sheet will tell you how many to take.

Please return any clean, reusable CSA boxes to us next week when you pick up your share. If your box is ripped, or the cat decides to make it his new home, please recycle it instead.

Remember that our site hosts graciously open their homes for us to make these deliveries. As you can imagine, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by a giant stack of boxes toppling over when you open your front door. Please feel free to (carefully) break down your boxes and flatten them to make storing them easier. Also, please honor the pick-up times listed. If you find that you cannot pick up your vegetables during the times listed, please contact us.

If you have any questions, call or email us!

About today’s boxes:

Our strawberries are called Shuksan: a classic berry with wonderful flavor, you can expect them to hold up for less than 24 hours. They aren’t the super berries that you see in the grocery store — these little berries will break your heart if you don’t eat them right away. But their taste is unlike anything you will find on the grocery store shelf — unless you shop at your local co-op.

This has been a challenging spring to manage the CSA. We got onto the fields earlier than usual and seeded a first planting of everything in April; beets, carrots, greens. Then we were hit with driving rains that pelted the freshly planted beds. These plantings either crusted over to a point that none but the hardiest sprouts could penetrate, or were simply washed out. In some cases our beds sat underwater for days. As a result we tilled in almost two acres of abysmal plantings and reseeded as early as possible. I was tempted to document this phenomenon but opted to just put it behind me. In the mean time our strawberries ripened a full two weeks ahead of their regularly scheduled harvest date. Ughh.

One of my steadfast rules is ‘never qualify’, but this spring I must make an exception. We have thought and met and thought and projected and talked and met and talked some more here at the farm, and though we have always started the program and ran straight through the season without interruption we have concluded that the option of suspending deliveries for one week will allow us to best serve our customers. This is not a cancellation or exclusion; we will simply deliver this first box, which will allow us to get you a taste of our locally famous Shuksan berries along with a selection of spring greens. Then, rather than inundate you with a second delivery of the same greens, we will take a one week hiatus. One week later, the week of June 22nd, when we provide a second delivery, our selection of greens will have expanded and we can include fresh garlic and other selections with our beets, carrots, and peas to follow.

We will remind everyone via email of the specifics of this untraditional delivery schedule and I invite you to call or email if you have any questions. I want to thank you for your kind understanding of the nature of farming, and apologize in advance for any confusion this might create. Please know that we value our customers and take seriously our obligation to provide the quality and quantity you deserve. Rest assured we are not diminishing the value of your CSA experience but rather responding to a crazy spring and prioritizing the experience that is eating a fresh local berry.