2015 Summer CSA Share

Summer 2015 – September, Week 10

What’s in the Box:

Green, Yellow, and Roma Italian beans
Austrian Crescent potatoes
Swiss Chard
Beets
Cucumbers
Crookneck Squash
Sweet onions
Cherry tomatoes
Thyme

 

Greetings Friends,
Mike here! In the office by dim light hustling to finish the notes I promised to write this morning then promptly forgot about. Ooops.

Fall is officially here and we will soon be saying good bye to the summer squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. We have bumper crops of all the fall favorites, and frankly this is my favorite time of year to eat out of the field. You can still have a ripe tomato, or scrounge a little basil, and the cabbage and other cole crops are huge and lush. The greens are not stressed by hot days, and the potatoes have been in storage just long enough to sweeten up a bit.

On the subject of Fall, please remember that because of our late start this season, if you purchased the summer share, you will be receiving the two holiday deliveries; one in late November, the other in late December. These are usually offered separately. We will be marketing these ‘holiday’ shares to others outside our Summer membership. So, if you receive an offer to purchase them, kindly disregard it. You are in like Flynn. These two deliveries are among my favorites. They are a bit larger than our usual weekly deliveries, and the fall and winter vegetables are soooooo sweet after a frost.

When I looked over the contents of this week’s box I got hungry for pasta. I have included a recipe for Pasta Primavera, I cannot stress strongly enough what a great catch-all dish this is. You can use nearly any vegetables that are in the fridge. I love a plate of Pasta Primavera especially with a good sharp cheese; and it’s easy, and it’s fast, and if you do it right you only have two pots to wash! I enjoy cooking, especially for friends and family, and few recipes garner so much praise for so little effort.

Enjoy!
Mike

 

Pasta Primavera
A few things you should know:

Water and Salt: Always add a big pinch of salt to the pasta water and do not skimp on the amount of water used to cook pasta. I use about a gallon/pound and probably a big tablespoon of salt. Heat the water to a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook UNCOVERED. Use tongs to stir it occasionally and after about 7 minutes start checking it by pulling a strand out and cutting it. In cross section you will see a white core indicating that it is not quite done, as this core vanishes your pasta is ready. Al dente pasta will have just a hint of white in the center. For this dish, because you are going to cook the pasta a bit more, you will want a noticeable but barely so white core.

Sautee: Vegetables while the pasta cooks. Have them all prepped and ready to go before you drop the pasta in the water. If you are sharp and focused you can do this while the water heats. I have used just about every vegetable imaginable, but this week’s box has some of my favorites.

Slice one of the onions paper thin. Snap the stems from the beans and cut into bite size pieces. I especially like the Roma beans for this dish. Cut summer squash into bite size chunks. Thinly slice a good handful of chard leaves. Strip about 3 tablespoons of thyme from its stems. You can use anything that sounds good… anything. I have used beets, rutabaga, turnip, you name it. The traditional Italian vegetables are always a hit.

Sautee: the vegetables in olive oil in a large cast pan while the pasta is cooking; when they are tender turn off the heat.

Scoop: And here is the secret… scoop a mug full of the starchy pasta water off before draining the pasta. Pour this into the pan of vegetables and simmer to create a light sauce. At this point add the thyme and thinly sliced chard and sauté until the chard is just wilted.

Toss: Add the pasta to the pan of vegetables and toss as you would a salad using the tongs over medium heat for a few minutes. Add more pasta water if necessary. You can also toss this all in a large bowl if your pan isn’t large enough.

Stir: In some butter or olive oil and a generous handful of grated sharp cheese; quality counts on the cheese.

Toss again and you are ready for the plate. When you serve this dish serve it hot. Grab a healthy tong-full, hold it over the plate and lower it slowly as you turn the plate and the tongs in opposite directions. This will leave a pyramid of pasta Primavera.

Throw: A few grape or cherry tomatoes, washed and halved, on top of each plate.

Serve with grated cheese and coarse salt.

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 15

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Broccoli, Beans, Corn, Mizuna, Tomatoes, Anaheim Peppers
Cherry Tomatoes & 1 Bouquet of Flowers
Small shares:
Broccoli, Beans, Mizuna, Eggplant, Napa Cabbage, Corn,
Anaheim Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes & 1 Bouquet of Flowers
Family shares:
Broccoli, Beans,Mizuna, Eggplant, Napa Cabbage, Corn,
Anaheim Peppers, Red Leaf Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes,
1 Bouquet of Flowers
Please remember to take: 1 bouquet of Flowers

 

September 23, 2014

Dear Friends,

The sunlight is golden these days, less intense.  Sunset is creeping in earlier each day.  By the calendar and all of our senses it is autumn and while we are nearing the end of many of our high-summer crops like tomatoes, cucumbers and beans, they are not gone yet!  We are still opening Summer’s gifts and that realization causes me to really savor one more bite of cucumber salad and to smile with the juicy ‘pop’ of one more cherry tomato.

As with all things seasonal we must meet the challenge to be mindful of transitions, to truly taste the sun soaked produce of summer even as we look forward to what fall has to offer.

It is all hands on deck here at the farm.  Harvesting, planning, packing, curing – so much to do!  This is a heady time of transition: Cooler nights can slow a crop’s growth and as Summer squash begins to give way to autumn’s broccoli and Napa cabbage, beets and carrots and cabbage are on the rise!

Even as you savor your favorite tastes of late summer remember to lock in the next season’s delights.  Our 2014/2015 Winter Shares are now available and now is the time to take advantage of our very best pricing.  Whether planning to stock your own larder or making out your holiday gift list be sure to use the coupon code from last week’s email to secure the very best deal!

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

-Emily

Summer 2014 – Week 13

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Corn, Kale, Beets, Green Cabbage,
Cherry Tomatoes, Italian Basil,
Garlic & 5 Stems of Sunflowers
Small shares:
Corn, Kale, Red Chard, Green Cabbage,
Beets, Cherry Tomatoes,
Lemon Cucumbers, Italian Basil,
Garlic & 5 Stems of Sunflowers
Family shares:
Corn, Kale, Beets, Green Cabbage,
Cherry Tomatoes, Snow Peas,
Edamame, Italian Basil,
Garlic & 5 Stems of Sunflowers
Please remember to take: 5 Stems of Sunflowers

 

Dear Friends,

Autumn is rapidly approaching. Harvest; harvest season, the Harvest Moon, (tonight), turning a corner, shorter days, cooler nights and mornings, golden light, quiet afternoons with the kids in school, change… You feel it too, right? Forget words. Follow that primordial urge to store the bounty of summer for winter. Can, freeze, dry; a little or a lot. One small bunch of herbs hung to dry in the kitchen, one pint of basil pesto in the freezer, one quart of peppers in vinegar. Just do it. This winter when you look at it, when you taste it, when you can recollect the long days of August without words, you’ll thank me.

Now get crackin’

Reminder: There are still seven deliveries left in our Summer season CSA after today’s. We also offer Fall and Winter deliveries; One delivery in November and one in December, with an eye toward entertaining and family gatherings, and then two deliveries/month January through May. We will be sending out more information in the next week or so and will prioritize our existing customers when filling these programs.

Now seriously, put something up!

Mike

Summer 2014 – Week 14

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Butterhead Lettuce, Fennel, Onions,
Cherry Tomatoes, Beans, Corn & 1 Drying Bouquet
Small shares:
Butterhead Lettuce, Fennel, Onions, Cherry Tomatoes,
Snow Peas, Corn, Eggplant & 1 Drying Bouquet
Family shares:
Butterhead Lettuce, Fennel, Onions, Beets, Beans,
Cherry Tomatoes, Peppers, Corn, Eggplant &
1 Drying Bouquet

 

September 18, 2014

Dear Friends,

Fall is in the air a little early this year – changing light, a light frost, bringing in the squashes.  This past week, while cutting sunflowers, I was blessed with the sight of several tiny frogs basking and hunting in the fall-like sun 4 feet off the ground on sturdy sunflower leaves.  Their green-bronze calmness was a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of harvest, bunch, wash, pack, label, transport that is the standard rhythm here on the farm.  Both amaze me equally.

Since it is the time of year to stock up for winter, this week I have chosen to make a bouquet for you to DRY.  You will find it IN your box.  It is made from Ornamental Millet, Statice and Lavender.  To preserve it, you should hang it up in a dry place out of direct light for 2 weeks.  Then it will keep its color and lovely scent (the millet smells a bit like curry and maple syrup…) for years to come.  It is a bouquet best viewed from the “top”, so once you have dried it, I suggest placing it on its side in a bookshelf, china cabinet, desk organizer or basket of other summer memories.  I trust you will find the perfect place!

Enjoy the precious fall air,

Galilee – the “flower girl”

PS: Look forward to forthcoming information about signing up for our holiday and winter season CSA! The Email to current members will be going out this week!

Summer 2014 – Week 11

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Lettuce, Eggplant, Green Peppers, Purplette Onions,
Artichokes, Corn, Cherry Tomatoes, Zucchini, Lemon Cucumbers,
Cucumbers & 5 Stems of Sunflowers.
Small Share:
Lettuce, Eggplant, Green Peppers, Purplette Onions,
Artichokes, Beets, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Lemon Cucumbers,
Cucumbers & 5 Stems of Sunflowers.
Family Share:
Green Cabbage, Eggplant, Green Peppers, Beans, Corn,
Purplette Onions, Artichokes, Beets, Cherry Tomatoes,
Cucumbers & 5 Stems of Sunflowers.
Please remember to take: 5 Stems of Sunflowers

 

Dear Friends,

This week I would like to talk about the flowers.  We include flowers almost every week, either as individual stems or bouquets.  The flowers are beautiful and sometimes quite unique, but in the midst of all the vegetables, they sometimes get overlooked.

This year at Boistfort Valley Farm, Galilee is our Florist Extraordinaire.  A longtime farmer and certified teacher by trade, Galilee says flowers have always been a part of whatever she is doing; in 2004 she helped start a CSA especially for flowers.

“Flowers are not food, but they are food for us, in a way.  They are beautiful to look at and make our homes more inviting…”  Food for the soul, I might add.

Here at the Farm, Galilee harvests the flowers each week, and arranges them to accompany the boxes.  This takes some expert decision-making on her part, careful forethought on what will be in bloom tomorrow, later in the week, and next week.  Which comes to a tricky issue:  It is very difficult to transport flowers in full bloom.

“Flowers are delicate.  When they are fully open, they get bashed-up,” Galilee says.  “While the blooms are closed, or partially closed, they are still taking up water.  Any slight damage in the handling or delivery will heal as the water is brought up through the veins in the process of the flower opening.  If the flower is damaged while already open, the water is no longer flowing throughout the flower, and therefore will not heal.”

This is partly the reason that you, the customer, often receives closed flowers along with your box.  The other reason is longevity; we want you to be able to enjoy your blooms for as long as possible, as well as experience the opening of the flower for yourself.

As for the vegetables in your boxes this week, you will find a medley of sun-loving treats.  These can be included in a variety of sauces, salsas and relishes as well as the recipes below.  The ‘Spaghetti with Burst Cherry Tomatoes’ makes for a mouth-watering dinner.  Oven-roasting the tomatoes brings out their depth and sweetness.

Enjoy your vegetables and flowers this week, as well as the sunshine!

-Emily

Summer 2014 – Week 10

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Lettuce, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Eggplant, Green Peppers,
Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon Cucumber, Peaches &
1 Bouquet of Flowers
Small shares:
Lettuce, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Eggplant, Green Peppers,
Cherry Tomatoes, Green Onions, Lemon Cucumber, Cucumber,
Peaches & 1 Bouquet of Flowers
Family shares:
Lettuce, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Eggplant, Green Peppers,
Cherry Tomatoes, Green Onions, Beets, English Shell Peas,
Cucumber, Peaches & 1 Bouquet of Flowers


Please remember to take: 1 Bouquet of Flowers

Dear Friends,

“Eating with the fullest pleasure –pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance –is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world.  In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.”

–Wendell Berry

This week marks the halfway point of our Summer CSA season.  While the long days of sun and warmth seem endless, in just a few weeks, we will be feeling the first creeping traces of autumn—twilight coming a bit early, a foggy chill in the morning air.

In the meantime, however, we are still enjoying the abundance of High Summer.  Sweet tomatoes, juicy peaches, and sharp bell peppers all hold reminders that the season is at its fullest.  And it is in this vein of thought that the above quote comes to mind—the celebration and gratitude of our closeness to the earth, both  as farmers and as eaters…For as Mr. Berry also proposes, “Eating is an agricultural act.  Eating ends the annual drama of the food economy that begins with planting and birth.” 

So, whether we are the farmer walking the field, or the CSA member preparing the vegetables from the box, we are all participating in this great agricultural cycle.  Thank you for being on this journey with us.

One further note before the recipes:  We are still taking new members for the 2014 Summer season.  If you know of anyone interested in a CSA, please spread the word.  Thanks…

-Emily

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