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

2015 Summer, week 8

Summer 2015 – September, Week 8

What’s in the Box:

Red & White potatoes, Italian zucchini, Crookneck squash.
Broccoli, Carrots, Sweet onion, Bell Pepper, Cucumbers,
Escarole, Spinach, Apples, Flowers

Dear Members,

PLEASE TAKE ONE BUNCH OF SUNFLOWERS

Thank you to those of you who said hello at the Tilth Fair.  It was a great chance for Mike and I to see so many familiar faces and connect with new people too.  Natty focused her good time on running everywhere and climbing trees.

Please note that the potatoes are unwashed. White potatoes particularly seem to bruise with handling, so we have elected to send them unwashed so that they keep better for you.

I went a little crazy on recipes this week.  Hopefully this will inspire you in the kitchen.  I’m also hoping it will inspire me!  So many ideas, so little time…

Yours,

Heidi
Zucchini Latkes
Adapted from: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/zucchini-latkes/print

3 medium zucchini, shredded (about 4-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
2 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, grated (be careful with grating if you have sensitivity to onions-I usually cry)
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Oil for frying

Sour cream and basil, optional

Toss the zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze zucchini dry. Stir in the eggs, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, pepper and remaining salt.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into oil; press lightly to flatten. Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream and garnish with a sprig of basil. Yield: 16 latkes.

Sautéed Potatoes and Sweet PeppersAdapted from: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/7633-sauteed-potatoes-with-sweet-red-peppers

Farmer’s note: this recipe originally calls for a non-stick skillet.  I don’t own one, as I’m a fan of cast iron, but you may need more oil if using a cast iron skillet-the potatoes will definitely want to stick.

1 ¼ pounds potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large sweet red pepper, seeds and veins removed, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Add potatoes to a saucepan with just enough water to cover.  Add salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the potatoes, and cook over medium-high heat, shaking the skillet and stirring occasionally so that the potatoes cook evenly. Cook for about 5 minutes until they begin to brown.

Add the pepper, onion, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring until the potatoes are nicely browned.

Add the butter. Cook for a few minutes, shaking the skillet and/or stirring. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Escarole and Beans
Adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/82078/escarole-and-beans/

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large head escarole, roughly chopped
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
16 ounces cannellini beans, undrained
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in escarole, turning to coat with oil. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until tender.

In a separate skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic. Pour in beans with juices, and simmer until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in escarole and parsley; simmer 10 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Apple Spinach Salad
Adapted from: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/spinach-apple-walnut-salad

1 medium apple, cored, cut into large dice
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 bunch spinach, trimmed and washed
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

Toss apples with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Place spinach in a large bowl; remove long stems and bruised leaves. Whisk together remaining juice, olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and ground pepper to taste. Toss spinach with apples and dressing. Divide between four bowls. Top with cheese and walnuts.

 

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

2015summer_week6

Summer 2015 – September, Week 6

What’s in the Box:

Green & yellow, wax beans, Austrian Crescent potatoes, Chioggia beets,
Zucchini & Summer squash, Cucumbers, Green onions, Lettuce,
Pears, Flowers

Dear Members,

PLEASE TAKE ONE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS

The bad news: this is the last of the lilies

The good news: this is the last of the lilies!!!

We always wonder if people tire of lilies. We at the farm get overrun every year at some point. We have several long beds of lilies which all start out innocently enough sending up a precocious blossom here and there to get our attention before that variety blooms in earnest. We plant several varieties intended to bloom in succession, thereby giving us a long season of these gorgeous and fragrant flowers. However… Every year there is this ramp up in production with a crescendo of several varieties blooming at the same time. Lilies to the left of us, lilies to the right of us, lilies all around us! Every year I have to give a pep talk to the people cutting the lilies. It goes something like, “Don’t let the lilies rule your life, don’t let them get the better of you.” If a person tries to keep up, and get every breaking bloom they are at risk of going mad, and if heaven forbid they succeed in keeping up, the lilies then take over every square foot of refrigerated space on the farm. It is always a bittersweet farewell. We do have sunflowers just starting to come on, and the snapdragons are blooming like crazy.

In more exciting news: IT RAINED!!!

It rained nearly 1 ½ inches over the weekend, precipitation that was sorely needed.  This doesn’t negate the drought entirely, of course, but it takes the immediate pressure off some of our irrigation needs, and reduces the stress that the plants have been enduring these past weeks.  I can almost feel them relaxing…or maybe that’s me.  As much as I love a warm, dry Autumn, the rain was truly welcome. Among other things it takes the pressure off field cultivating as it is just a bit wet out there right now. The rain also brings with it a much more moderate ambient temperature and that helps lower the anxiety around harvesting everything right now, before it blows. Though the farm is still a bit of a runaway train, the vibe is much more relaxed than it was a week ago. I think we all feel that, farming or not, this rain has relieved a lot of pressure.

Included in this week’s delivery are Chioggia beets. Named for a fishing town near Venice, they are an Italian heirloom dating back to the early 1800s and introduced to the U.S. before 1865. Their uniquely beautiful flesh has alternating red and white concentric rings that resemble a bull’s-eye. Truly beautiful if cut in cross section, they will retain this unique feature if baked whole and sliced just before serving.

Also included this week are Austrian Crescent fingerling potatoes. They originated in South America but where introduced to this country by European settlers. They are delicate and cook quickly. I like them best pan fried or roasted gently with green onion. I think the simpler the preparation the better, and usually toss them with a good quality olive oil and just a bit of salt and pepper before baking them in a toaster oven.

Enjoy!

Heidi

2015summer_week4

Summer 2015 – August, Week 4

What’s in the Box:

Broccoli, Turnips, Baby bok choy, Zucchini
Green cabbage, Lettuce, Snow peas
Chives, Nectarines
Snapdragons

Dear Members,

PLEASE TAKE ONE BOUQUET OF SNAPDRAGONS

As you can imagine, it’s a busy time of year for the farm.  Everywhere we turn, something is begging for attention, water, trellising, fertilizing, cultivating…  The field is full of vegetables and lots of other opportunists, or what we refer to (rather unkindly, I suppose) as weeds.  Weeds are weeds by our definition: they’re growing somewhere that we haven’t planted them, and where we don’t want them to grow.  They compete with our crops for water and light, and provide us with an abundance of extra work through the Summer.  We try to take care of the weed pressure before it’s a problem, by getting the weeds out while they’re tiny, or, when that fails, by removing weeds before they go to seed.  Inevitably, there’s a time of year where the weeds seem to be winning the race, and we’re all just plain tired.  That time for us is right now.  Weeds, weeds, in all directions.  Too bad they aren’t more delicious…

The good news is that in the end, we seem to do all right, if not triumph, and we will all happily cross that finish line this year.

We’re excited to send you broccoli with today’s share. With such a hot July, I wasn’t sure if the broccoli would mature nicely, but it has finished with flying colors.  The cabbage is also cute and sweet, and will make a great salad.

We have added organic nectarines from Central Washington.  They are a bit firm (they bruise terribly when they’re fully ripe, and they don’t last long), so leave them at room temperature to allow them to ripen for best flavor and texture.

I’m adding a few recipes and heading back to the field to finish my day.  Enjoy!

Heidi

 

2015 Summer, Week 3

Summer 2015 – Week 3

What’s in the Box:

Bunched beets, Baby bok choy, Sweet onion, Summer squash,
Red Chard, Nectarines, Basil, Snow Peas,
Flowers

PLEASE TAKE ONE LILY BOUQUET!

Dear Members,

Finally a little burst of Summer today, with more to come soon.  The cool mornings and evenings really give the vegetables a chance to thrive, and things are looking healthy and strong in the field.

We are excited to have snow peas in today’s boxes, as well as baby beets, basil, and the first taste of Summer squash.  The organic nectarines are also a treat that we are thrilled to have.

Our surviving lettuces are growing beautifully in the field, and with the right conditions, will be harvestable in a week or two.  If you didn’t receive our update this Spring, our lettuce, peppers & tomatoes (if you can believe it) were the most beloved Spring treat for mice and slugs who must have made their way into the greenhouse from miles around.  I imagine tiny posters hung up in the mouse community, inviting them to the feast…improbable, but it certainly felt that way this Spring, as thousands of seeds were dug up and disappeared in the night.  At any rate, the lucky survivors are coming along nicely, and we’ll have some beautiful greens to share soon.

Yours,
Heidi

summer17

Summer 2014 – Week 17

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Cauliflower, Leeks, Napa Cabbage, Gold Potatoes,
Kabocha Squash, Jimmy Nardello Peppers, Eggplant,
& 1 Bouquet of Flowers.
Small shares:
Cauliflower, Leeks, Savoy Cabbage, Beans,
Gold Potatoes, Kale, Kabocha Squash,
Jimmy Nardello Peppers & 1 Bouquet of Flowers.
Family shares:
Spinach, Leeks, Beets, Savoy Cabbage, Tomatoes,
Kale, Gold Potatoes, Kabocha Squash,
Jimmy Nardello Peppers & 1 Bouquet of Flowers.

 

October 9, 2014

Please take 1 Bouquet of Flowers

Dear Friends,

While the weather has become warm and summery once again, the contents of this week’s box sing of the hearty goodness of fall.  As I write, the temperature outside is nearly 80, but I find myself thinking of all of the various soups which could be made with this week’s vegetables!  Creamy Leek and Potato, Sweet Pepper-Tomato Bisque, Hearty Cauliflower and Cabbage Soup…

While speaking of veggies, I’d like to mention two of the items you will find in your boxes.  The first is Kabocha squash.  Kabocha squash is an Asian variety of winter squash, also known as a Japanese pumpkin.  It has an exceptionally sweet flavor and can be used interchangeably with pumpkin in both sweet and savory dishes.  This squash is full of antioxidants and is surprisingly low in starch.  The seeds are also delicious roasted and salted (at 200º on a lightly oiled cookie sheet for about 20 minutes—stirred occasionally).  These are high in Omega-6 and other healthy oils, and great eaten as a snack or sprinkled on any of the soups—the ones mentioned above or in the recipes given below.

Jimmy Nardello Peppers are our other notable addition this week.  The Jimmy Nardello originated in Routi, a small coastal town in Southern Italy.  It was bred in the late 1800’s by Guisteppe Nardello who then brought this heirloom pepper to the United States.  These peppers are known for their sweet creaminess as a frying pepper, but lend their delicious flavor to any dish they are added.

In the theme of winter cooking, I would also like to remind you of our Winter Share, and especially our upcoming Holiday Boxes.  These boxes are a great way to share your appreciation of organic produce with family and friends who might not yet realize the benefits to locally and lovingly grown vegetables.  These large holiday boxes shine with the best of our harvest and speak of the quality of our produce.  It is with great honor that we offer them for your family gatherings to share with the ones you love.  Please follow the link and consider signing up for your Winter Share, which includes our Holiday Boxes in November and December, plus 10 deliveries from January through May:

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

Thanks again and have a wonderful week!

-Emily

From Galilee – This little bouquet marks the end of the fresh flowers.  You can put it in water to be enjoyed fresh for several days.  The statice will continue to open a little.  The extend its beauty, you can then hang it up to dry as recommended for the bouquet from a few weeks ago.  Happy fall!

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