Winter 2014 – May, week 1

What’s in the Box:

Bulk carrots*, Leeks*, Dry beans*,
Oregano*, Yellow onions, Purple kale,
Yellow finn potato, Gala apples & Honey
*From our farm

Dear Members,

Here we are, already into May, our second-to-last box of the winter subscription coming to you this week.  At the farm, we are moving headlong through spring.  Under last week’s sunny skies our second large transplanting of the season took place.  Lettuce, celery, and the brassica starts (broccoli, kohlrabi, and kraut cabbage) all went into the quickly warming ground.

You will find two special features in your box this week, along with a lovely assortment of vegetables and apples.  The first of these is a jar of The Woogie Bee Honey, made by our resident honey bees, and packaged by the folks at The Woogie Bee.  I find this honey to be delightfully flavorful.  (On a side note: Being a lifelong sufferer of hay fever and summer allergies, I eat a spoonful of The Woogie Bee honey every morning, from mid-February through the summer season.  I have been doing this for about 4 years, and barely notice the symptoms of my allergies anymore; just one more reason to love local honey!)

You will also find a bag of dry Teggia beans, which we are very excited to offer.  Teggia beans are a bush bean of the French shelling variety.  We produced a crop of them last summer, harvested them with their plants, and set them in the greenhouse to dry.  These beans have a delicate, creamy flavor. They pair well with this week’s oregano, cooked until tender and finished with a drizzle of olive oil.

As we are nearing the end of our winter season’s subscription, I’d like to remind you to sign up for your summer boxes.  They are delivered weekly and will begin mid- to late June.  Thanks so much!

-Emily

Winter 2014 – April, week 2

What’s in the Box:

Bulk carrots*, Leeks*, Curly Kale*,
Rhubarb, Red radish, Yukon potatoes,
Rainbow Chard, Oyster mushrooms,
Red dandelion, Cameo apples
& Tayberry Jam
*From our farm

 

Dear Members,

Today is Earth Day.  We are enjoying a combination of both sun and rain here in the valley, typical of our Pacific Northwest spring.  This is a season of change; we are reminded of this as the sharp breezes and cold showers are warmed by bright sun breaks.  It is in this transition of winter-to-spring that seedlings thrive, reveling in the steaminess of the newly-turned ground and satisfying our long-standing anticipation of the days to come.

At this time of year in the kitchen, we are in transition as well.  We are just beginning to enjoy the fruits of new-things-growing, while still holding ourselves over with our winter fare.  In this week’s box, the sturdy, cold-hardy standbys of leeks, kale, carrots and potatoes are spiced up by glimpses of the freshness of spring—dandelion greens, rhubarb and oyster mushrooms.  This week especially, greens are exploding in our area, and in our boxes, adding a lushness to the mix.  In MY kitchen, I have been adding shredded kale to everything — from salads, to curries, to pizza.  As this is quickly becoming redundant, I am looking forward to trying Rachel’s recipes this week.

In this week’s notes, I would also like to introduce myself.  My name is Emily and I have recently joined the Boistfort Valley Farm team as our Sales and Outreach representative.  I grew up in the valley, next door to the land which is now the farm.  I find it a bit nostalgic to think that the fields I ran and played in as a kid now hold the vegetables that nourish my family as well as yours.

Emily

Winter 2014 – April, week 1

What’s in the Box:

Bulk carrots*, Dry beans*,
Leeks*, Parsnips*,
Yellow onions, Shallots,
Russet potatoes, Collards,
Shiitake mushrooms,
Crimini mushrooms,
Baby bok choy
& Fuji apples
*From our farm

 

Dear Members,

One of the best things about our temperate climate, in my book, is how easy it is to use the outside grill all year long.  (Even when I haled from colder climes I used the grill in snowy weather but it did inspire a little head shaking from the neighbors.)  This is one of the most satisfying times to use the grill because it is often warm enough to stand outside and take in the changes to your yard and garden while being cool enough to inspire the need for a hearty warm meal.  What a coincidence that the end of winter vegetables grill and roast so beautifully!

The aroma of roasting shallots and onions may be one of the best appetizers on earth – or perhaps mixed into a skillet of collard greens to flesh out that verdant smell.  Of course, a pot of beans would go well with those greens…maybe a little cornbread?  Well, before I wander off behind my taste buds, remember, just as when you roast in the oven, the leftovers may have the best flavor, so don’t hesitate to make plenty so you have some for soups and stews and to dress up that cold weekend sandwich.

We have a little time left before all those showy above ground vegetables take center stage so fire up the grill (or the oven) and enjoy some ‘fruit of the earth’ for supper.

-Bj

Winter 2014 – March, week 2

What’s in the Box:

Bulk carrots*, Leeks*, Parsnips*,
Curly kale*, Chives*,  Thyme*,
Red & yellow cipollini onions, Yukon potatoes,
Cameo apples, Black Sheep Creamery cheese
& Daffodils*
*From our farm

 

Please take 1 cheese & 1 bunch daffodils.

Dear Members,

On November 4th, 1803 Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to David Williams: “The class principally defective is that of agriculture. It is the first in utility, and ought to be the first in respect. The same artificial means which have been used to produce a competition in learning, may be equally successful in restoring agriculture to its primary dignity in the eyes of men. It is a science of the very first order. It counts among it handmaids of the most respectable sciences, such as Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Mechanics, Mathematics generally, Natural History, Botany. In every College and University, a professorship of agriculture, and the class of its students, might be honored as the first. Young men closing their academical education with this, as the crown of all other sciences, fascinated with its solid charms, and at a time when they are to choose an occupation, instead of crowding the other classes, would return to the farms of their fathers, their own, or those of others, and replenish and invigorate a calling, now languishing under contempt and oppression. The charitable schools, instead of storing their pupils with a lore which the present state of society does not call for, converted into schools of agriculture, might restore them to that branch qualified to enrich and honor themselves, and to increase the productions of the nation instead of consuming them.”

Word.

Mike

Winter 2014 – January, week 2

What’s in the Box:

Bulk beets*, Bulk carrots*,
Bulk purple carrots*, Leeks*,
Parsnips*, Yellow cipollini onions,
Purple fingerling potatoes,
d’Anjou pears, Gala apples
& St. Lucia Coffee
*From our farm

 

 

Dear Members,

Here’s hoping you have held on to some of that garlic, maybe even hung a bunch of our thyme in the kitchen where you can get it down for this week’s recipes. I love to cook, and I know I have said it before, but that is why I got into farming in the first place. Okay, right, first and foremost I love to eat therefore I have learned to love to cook. Nothing makes a great cook out of a fair one like the use of fresh local ingredients. I am thinking about cooking as I write because over the past few years there are two words which, for me, have become joined at the hip; baked and fruit. I probably did not bake an apple or pear until I was in my forties. My advice? Don’t wait that long, or if you have, don’t delay in trying it. I have included a very simple recipe for baked pears, but encourage anyone with a sense of adventure to try this: http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2013/10/ricotta-filled-baked-pears.html

We are still busy here at the farm. We are down to a skeleton crew with only two men in the field, and Rachel is often alone in the pack shed. We do try to cross train everyone and the field crew is generous with their time in helping Rachel when she needs it. Darren Johnson has taken the hot seat as our delivery driver, and has settled in well. I have traveled with Darren in an old mini-van full of children ranging in age from 14-5, he is a calm and capable driver and we are pleased to have his help. Say hi if you get a chance. Heidi and I have been working on the seed order and planning for next season. Then there are all the other year end responsibilities; taxes, compliance issues, and the like keeping Bj and me busy in the office; never a dull moment.

I so hope you are enjoying your deliveries. If so please talk us up and know that it is never too late to join for the remainder of the winter deliveries, nor too early to subscribe to our summer 2014 season. Our advertising will go out in early February. Current members will be able to join through the website by February 1.

Mike

 

A note about the Santa Lucia Coffee Roasters’ coffee included in your CSA box. St. Lucia is a local coffee roaster in Centralia, Washington, and we hope you love their coffee as much as we do. www.luciacoffee.com

Elegantly smooth and sweet, Finca Vista Hermosa embodies the essence of Guatemalan coffee. Exquisitely balanced you’ll find juicy orange citrus, bakers chocolate and hints of passion fruit in every cup. Family owned and operated the Martinez Family firmly believes: “if you can’t do it well, don’t do it at all.”  A 2007 Cup of Excellence winner, this exclusive testament to Guatemalan coffee is one worth experiencing.

Winter 2014 – January, week 1

What’s in the Box:

Bulk chioggia and red beets*,
Bulk carrots*, Bulk purple carrots*,
Garlic*, Rutabaga*, Acorn Squash*,
Leeks*, Parsnips*, Yellow onions,
Austrian Crescent potatoes,
Bosc pears, Braeburn apples,
& Black Sheep Creamery cheese
*From our farm

 

Please take 1 cheese.

Dear Members,

I have to admit, when I opened the notes to begin writing I was delighted to find that there was so little room left once the recipes were included. Some days I just have more to say than others. I do hope you all enjoyed the holidays and that your transition back to the grind or the life or just getting the kids back to school and into the routine again has gone smoothly. The house still smells mildly of frankincense and myrrh, and I am happy to report that my annual jigsaw puzzle (this year a 1500 piece Springbok) is on schedule for completion. I set out a puzzle every year on the dining room table and endeavor to complete it before starting the seed order on the same table. The puzzle comes out after the plates are cleared from Christmas dinner, and must be finished in enough time to complete the seed order by January 15th. I am going to be pushing it but I’m confident. I love the annual jigsaw; a concrete and hopeful metaphor. I start by turning all the pieces over, then attempt to identify all the edges, then construct the outline, then separate by color and texture, then begin to fit the puzzle together, one piece at a time, sometimes quickly sometimes slowly, until the image begins to take shape, eventually matching the perfect picture as it appears on the box top. More things in life should be like this.

Enjoy this deliveries add-on; Black Sheep Creamery’s Tin Willow Tomme. Tomme is a type of cheese produced mainly in the French Alps, and is traditionally a bit lower in fat than other more ‘full’ cheeses. Brad at Black Sheep identifies it as a bit milder by comparison, and an excellent cheese to pair with fruit and a red wine for an appetizer. Check out Black Sheep Creamery on the web at www.blacksheepcreamery.com .

Mike