August 31, 2009

31 Aug

After a week of heat I have enjoyed a weekend of relaxing at the beach and cooling off. I also had the opportunity to watch Julie and Julia a wonderful film about two women who explore their love for food with boldness and curiosity. Both characters were not originally chefs, but decided to pursue a dream because of their passion for food. It reminded me of many of you, faithful CSA members, who come every week to pick up their bags of produce and go home for a new cooking experiment. If you ever need some encouragement and a good laugh, this is a good movie to watch while you are cooking dinner.

For the past five months Fairview Gardens has had six amazing Apprentices working along side our staff, helping us in the midst of our busiest season and walking along side us during the dramatic staff changes. We are so grateful for all of their hard work. I have asked the Apprentices to write a narrative about their experience at Fairview for our CSA members. I will be sharing them with you over the next few weeks.

Hope you enjoyed last weeks share and made some great guacamole.

With a love for food and cooking,

Jen Corey

Marketing Manager

A message from a Fairview Apprentice: Why I Grow Food

After spending my late teens and early 20’s exploring the wild as a skier and commercial fisherman, I arrived in Santa Barbara to attend UCSB and was keen to address the challenge of how humans can live more responsibly within the natural environment. Throughout my studies I kept returning to a critical point of intersection between humans and nature- agriculture. Upon graduating, I worked as a consultant for renewable energy and agro-forestry projects in India and Brazil. After experiencing both the kindness and poverty of many small farmers juxtaposed with massive industrial agriculture operations that exported food to the U.S. and Europe, I returned to California with a new mission- to find out how to grow food that benefits the land, farmers, and consumers.

I became an apprentice farmer at Fairview Gardens to learn about commercial organic farming, and specifically how to make organic farming economically viable. Fairview is a unique farm, nestled right in the middle of suburbia while retaining a feeling of old California. One of my favorite parts of working here is arriving early in the morning and walking the farm as the sun rises. Enjoying the stillness and ever changing plants, animals, and soil is a wonderful way to wake up. Farming is hard work. Most days I come home tired and covered in mud, but I always feel satisfied that my work has been of benefit to the world. Later this fall, I am moving to Guatemala to help a friend with an organic farming and forestry business. I feel very fortunate to be bringing new knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm from my experience at Fairview.

The land, farmers, and friends that make up the Fairview Gardens community will remain fondly in my thoughts. As CSA members, all of you support a vital part of our community and our world. Thank you for choosing to know your farmer.

All the best,

Will Marsh

Sneak Peek:

Small Share

Corn

Cherry Tomatoes

Peppers

Summer Squash

Carrots

Lettuce

Potatoes

Green Beans

Large Share

Corn

Cherry Tomatoes

Peppers

Summer Squash

Carrots

Lettuce

Potatoes

Green Beans

Garlic

Flageolet Beans (Boil with onion, garlic, and herbs for 20minutes. Do not add salt until the end. Serve as a side or in a burrito, stir fry, or soup.)

Recipes:

Pan-Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad (from CSA member Elizabeth Teare; from Mark Bittman’s column in The New York Times August 19, 2009)

1/4 pound bacon, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

4 to 6 ears corn, stripped of their kernels (2 to 3 cups)

Juice of 1 lime, or more to taste

2 cups cored and chopped tomatoes

1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped

2 fresh small chilies, like Thai, seeded and minced

Salt and black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, more or less.

  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to render fat; add onion and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes, then add corn. Continue cooking, stirring or shaking pan occasionally, until corn begins to brown a bit, about 5 more minutes; remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Drain fat if you wish.
  2. Put lime juice in a large bowl and add bacon-corn mixture; then toss with remaining ingredients. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings.

Rajas con Queso (from CSA members the Richard and Helen Banuelos; from Sunset, JULY 1997)

In Tijuana, Ludmila Dye first tasted roasted chili strips and onions blanketed with melted cheese. It was an easy concept to duplicate, and she loves to serve it as a quick lunch or appetizer. The heart-shaped poblano chilies are sometimes labeled pasillas.

3 fresh poblano chilies (about 10 oz. total)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 onion (about 1/2 lb.), sliced
1/4 pound sliced jack cheese
4 to 6 warm corn or flour tortillas (6 to 7 in. wide)

  1. Place chilies in a broiler pan and broil about 3 inches from heat, turning as needed to char and blister on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Let cool. Pull off and discard stems and seeds. Cut chilies into thin strips.
  2. Meanwhile, in a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir butter and onion often until onion is limp, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Mix chilies with onions and lay cheese slices on the vegetables. Cover and cook over low heat until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
  4. Scoop hot cheese mixture into tortillas. Fold to enclose filling, and eat.

Yield:  Makes 4 appetizer servings

Burnt Carrots with Goat Cheese, Parsley, Arugula, and Crispy Garlic Chips (from Epicurious | July 2009 by Francis Mallmann Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way)

Carrots are like a quiet but secretly remarkable child who doesn’t attract much attention. Most often they’re simply what you throw into a soup or a braised dish to “add a little sweetness.” But it’s because of that inner sweetness that they’re so suited to charring on a chapa. The sugar caramelizes and produces a delicious crust. They are tossed with nutty garlic chips, peppery arugula, and creamy goat cheese.

Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 medium carrots (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
2 bunches arugula, trimmed, washed, and dried
6 ounces Bûcheron or similar goat cheese, sliced 1/2 inch thick

4 cloves garlic (sautéed till golden)

Preparation:

To make the vinaigrette, pour the vinegar into a small bowl and whisk in 5 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut the carrots crosswise in half, then cut the halves into thick rough sticks. Toss in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a chapa or large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the carrots in a single layer and cook, without turning, until they are charred on the bottom and almost burned, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn with a spatula and cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes more, adjusting the heat as necessary, until they are crunchy on the outside and tender within. Transfer to a tray. Wipe out the skillet, if using, and set aside.

Combine the parsley and arugula on a large serving platter and toss lightly with half the vinaigrette. Place the carrots on top.

Reheat the chapa or skillet to very high heat and coat with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. Immediately add the slices of goat cheese: be careful—the oil may spatter. As soon as you see the cheese blacken on the bottom, remove the slices with a thin spatula and invert onto the carrots. Toss the garlic over the salad and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.

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