Archive | November, 2009

November 16, 2009

16 Nov

This is your last week of your 2009 CSA share. Last weekend I took time to reflect on my year at Fairview, how the farm has changed, and how grateful I am to be a part of this farm. I want to share my joy with you because you are also a part of this farm, a huge part, and I am thankful for you as well.

This week I want to celebrate our farmers, the men and women who throughout the year grew us an abundant amount of food. This food sustained us, fed our friends and family, and fueled us with good health. I would like to express my gratitude to Chava, Javier, Manuel, Cesar, Luis, Jose, Manuel Jr., Ricardo, Jorge, Erik, Fancy, Lauren, Connor, Julian, and Toby. I want to say thank you to wives, partners, children, parents, and friends who support and care for our farmers each day through the ups and downs of working on a farm. We are a community here on this farm; together during the cold mornings and the scorching summer afternoons; together in weeks of abundance and weeks of shortage; together with the gophers and the field mice who eat our crops; together enjoying the sunshine and the rain as it nourishes the soil that will soon become our dinner.

For the last week, our farmers have been preparing beds for your strawberry harvest next summer. It is an incredible labor intensive task, done by hand. It involves cover cropping and tilling, building tall deep fertile beds, laying black plastic and irrigation tape to keep the soil warm and the berries off the group, punching holes (about 2000) in the plastic one by one, placing wet cuttings in each hole, and covering each with soil. I want to honor them and the strawberry harvest by telling you how the process of growing strawberries is incredibly labor intensive. We do not have machines planting strawberries, we have farmers. We have farmers who grow us these juicy red bulbs of mouthwatering joy, also known as strawberries. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, please give thanks for your farmers and their families.

I will be sending email updates about the farm and the farm’s produce during our break. If you would like to be removed from the list please let me know. We will miss you at the farm, but hope to see you at the farmer’s market on Saturdays. Mention you are a CSA member for a 10% discount!

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2010 CSA season. You will save $85 or $117 for signing up for the full year before Dec. 5th.

With gratitude and thanksgiving for you and for our farmers,

Jen Corey, Marketing Manager

Sneak Peek:

Small Share

Carrots

Turnip  

Spinach

Cilantro

Lettuce           

Kale

Winter Squash 

Bunch Onion

Popcorn (mystery solved, scroll down)

Large Share

Carrots

Turnip

Spinach

Cilantro

Lettuce

Kale

Winter Squash

Bunch Onions

Popcorn (mystery solved, scroll down)

Garlic

Recipes:

Popcorn (try #3):

Toby, our head farmer, has also been our test chef and it wasn’t working. Well, the mystery has been solved; all you need to do is use oil that gets hot enough to pop the kernels. I made a batch of awesome popcorn on my lunch break today. Here were my steps:

  1. Popped out kernels.
  2. Heated vegetable/canola blend oil in a good size saucepan on high heat.
  3. After three minutes I put three kernels of popcorn in the pot. (They popped and shot straight out of the pot. Be careful)
  4. Poured the rest of the popcorn in the pot and stuck a lid on it.
  5. Gave it a couple shakes to make sure it didn’t burn.
  6. The popping slowed after two minutes, so I turned off the heat and let it sit on the burner. It kept popping for another minute or so and then it was done.
  7. Enjoy.

Fun seasoning variations:

  1. Parmesan with cracked pepper and other dried herbs is nice and savory
  2. Sugar for kettle corn
  3. Furikake (my favorite) which is a Japanese seasoning you can get in the Asian section of the grocery store.

The following are recipes from Simply in Season: Recipes that celebrate fresh, local good in the spirit of More-with-Less. It is a great cookbook and I recommend it.

Nutty Pumpkin Bread (contributed by Lisa Mast, pg. 178)

Yeilds 2 loaves or 48 mini muffins

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 cup wheat germ

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)

½ teaspoon each ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves (optional)

Mix together in a large bowl and make a well.

2 ½ cups pumpkin or winter squash (cooked and pureed)

4 eggs (lightly beaten)

½ cup oil

½ cup pecans or other nuts (chopped)

1 cup raisins or dates (chopped; optional)

Add into the well and mix just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into 2 greased 9X5-inch loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven at 350F until toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean, 50 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen edges and turn the loaf out onto the rack to cool completely before slicing.

Muffin variation: Pour batter into greased mini-muffin tins; bake about 10 minutes.

Turnips (autumn, winter page 27)

Serving suggestions:

  • Slice or julienne young turnips and eat raw with a dip or peanut butter.
  • Add shredded raw turnips to salads.
  • Bake turnips with sweeter root vegetables like carrots and parsnips.
  • When boiled and then pureed with a potato, turnips make a delicious low-starch alternative to mashed potatoes

Green Surprise Dip (contributed by Teresa Dutchersmith; page 224)

A yummy addition to vegetable sticks, crackers or tortilla chips. Kids like it too!

1 cup steamed kale, Swiss chard, or spinach

1 cup plain yogurt

1 cup cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)

¼ mayonnaise (can also use veganaise)

2 cloves garlic

½ onion (chopped)

1 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste

½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Puree in a blender or food processor

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November 9, 2009

9 Nov

This week marks my year anniversary of working at Fairview Gardens. It has been a life changing year for me and I have been thankful to be a part of your lives through our CSA program. For you, this week marks the second to last week of the 2009 CSA year. I will miss being a part of your weekly routine and seeing you every week. We are starting to look forward to 2010 and Toby, the farm manager has written you a letter to explain some changes we are making for next year. I would love to here your feedback so please email or chat with me when you come to pick up. I am attaching a registration form for 2010 CSA and will also have them available for pick up over the next two weeks.

Beginning (already) to look forward to another bountiful CSA year,

Jen Corey, Marketing Manager

A message from Toby:

Dear Friends of the CSA,

We are making some changes for the 2010 CSA season and would like to share our reasons with you. The CSA model is still a fairly new way of marketing produce and we are continually looking for ways for improvement, both for you and for the farm. I have been fortunate to work for three CSA farms and have learned a lot about what worked well for each operation and what did not. We always appreciate your feedback, so please keep it coming.

The CSA model began as a way to provide the farmer with payments early in the season to help with the farmer’s cash flow. For example, we are spending $3000 this week on strawberry plants that need to be purchased and planted now, so you can receive them in your shares through out the coming summer. In the past we have set up payment plans for member, but by paying in installments we do not receive the season’s money up front and instead receive it spaced out over many weeks and sometimes not at all. Our administration cost was very high this past year as a result of needing to track down member’s that owed us money, resulting in the farm taking a huge hit, by spending lots of time, energy and thus money. Especially considering the economic realities of today, we can not afford to have any accounts receivable.

We understand the economic realities are not unique only to us and that you are greatly affected as well. We are going to offer a major discount for members that pay for the entire 42-week season up front. We understand that many of you may be unable to pay for the full year at once, so please look at the option to sign up for individual seasons as a payment installment option.

Each week we price out your share so that you receive at least $20 or $36 worth of produce, depending on whether you are signed up for a small or large share. It takes a significant amount of our time for us to plan each week’s share, write and coordinate the newsletter, set up and break down the displays, bookkeeping, etc. and these are costs that the farm has always accepted, but can no longer afford. For this reason, we are including a $15/season administration fee for those signing up for individual seasons. We understand this is a change from what you have experienced in the past and truly hope you can understand our reasoning. We are not including the $40 fee for volunteering in 2010.

Due to many staff changes this year, we did not host as many festivals and gatherings on the farm as we would have hoped for. This will change in 2010, as we would like to see us all get together more often.

When you support the Fairview Gardens CSA in 2010, you will also be supporting some other farmers in the region. Fairview will continue to grow the majority of the share, but will at times purchase crops such as broccoli, oranges, melons, apples and avocados from our friends’ farms nearby (all certified organic). This exciting new collaboration comes after many of you have shared a desire for more fruit, which we are limited with on our 12 acres. Produce that comes from other growers will be clearly labeled.

Another way that we plan to reduce our administrative costs is to switch from 4 seasons to 3 seasons, thus reducing the number of times we sign people up and take in money. Look forward to three-14 week seasons. The current 46 week season is exhausting for the staff and farm crew. By reducing the total number of weeks, we believe the quality of each share will greatly improve.

Please feel free to contact Jen (or me) if questions/suggestions/comments arise. We really appreciate your continued support and the beautiful project that we are all sharing in together.

Sincerely,

Toby McPartland, Farm Manager

Fairview Events:

What: Farm-Style Movie Night showing of “King Corn”

When: Thursday Nov. 12th at 6:45pm

Bring: chairs, blankets, dinner

Where: up by the Fairview farm house

Cost: Free!!!

What: One of our CSA members Cynthia Daddona, author, TV personality and host of RomancingTheTable.com, will be signing her #1 NY Times About.com culinary travel gift DVD “A Greek Islands Destination Cooking Class DVD” filmed in Santorini, Greece. 

Where: at CSA pick up outside the farm stand

When: Tuesday November 10th from 2:30 to 5:30pm

Why: Partial proceeds go toward Fairview Gardens. This makes a great holiday gift.

For information about the DVD signing event at Fairview: see attached flier.  

For more info on Cynthia’s work and to see a video filmed at Fairview about our farm and CSA program: go to www.RomancingTheTable.com

Pre-used Paper Needed: We could be using “pre-used” or “scratch paper.” I am asking CSA members, to collect paper at home and work that has only been printed on one side and donate it to the farm.

Sneak Peek:

Small Share

Kale

Lettuce

Winter Squash

Arugula

Radish (check out the risotto and radish recipe below)

Garlic

Bunching Onion

Herb

Popcorn, beautifully braided by Farm Crew members Cesar and Manuel

Large Share

Kale

Lettuce

Winter Squash

Arugula

Radish

Garlic

Bunching Onions

Herb

Popcorn (let’s try it again)

Green Beans

Summer Squash

Recipes:

For those who wonder the difference between winter and summer squash I thought I would let you know. Both are in the Cucurbitaceae family and grown in the warmth of summer. Those we call “summer squash” should be eaten soon after harvest, during the “summer time” and include zucchini, yellow crookneck, and patty pan. The other group called “winter squash” can be stored and eaten throughout the winter. These include, pumpkins, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and kabocha. With this being said, if you are building up with winter squash, store it and enjoy during the month when the farm is resting from CSA.

Arugula-Pistachio Pesto (Bon Appétit | April 2009 by Tori Ritchie)

Yield: Makes about 1 1/4 cup

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove, peeled
3/4 cup finely grated Asiago cheese (Parmesan works too)
1/3 cup unsalted natural pistachios (try cashews!)
4 cups (packed) baby arugula
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup olive oil

Preparation:

Finely chop garlic in processor. Add cheese and nuts. Process until nuts are finely chopped. Add arugula, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and peel. Blend to coarse paste. Blend in oil. Season pesto with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if desired. Transfer to bowl. Cover and chill up to 3 days.

Romano Risotto with Radishes (Gourmet | September 2009 by Andrea Albin)

Yield: Serves 8 (first course) or 6 (main course)

Ingredients:

For risotto:
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (48 fl ounces) (veggie brother works too)
2 cups hot water
3/4 stick unsalted butter, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound Arborio rice (2 1/2 cups)
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

For radishes:
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound trimmed radishes, julienned
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

Accompaniment: extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Preparation:

Make risotto:

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons butter in a 4-to 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onion, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Stir 1 cup simmering broth into rice and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, about 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, 18 to 22 minutes. Thin with some of remaining broth if necessary (you will have some left over). Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoon butter.
Prepare radishes:

Whisk together vinegar, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss radishes with dressing and chives. Serve risotto topped with radishes.

Popcorn (try #2):

This corn is harvested when the kernels are hard and dry. Pop out kernels. Heat oil in a good size saucepan. If you put a few in the pan, you will know when its ready because 2 will pop and then you can throw the rest in. Cover your pan, giving it a shake regularly so it doesn’t burn. When the popping slows down, you will know they are done; about 3 ½ minutes.

Fun seasoning variations:

  1. Parmesan with cracked pepper and other dried herbs is nice and savory
  2. Sugar for kettle corn
  3. Furikake (my favorite) which is a Japanese seasoning you can get in the Asian section of the grocery store.

November 2, 2009

2 Nov

Dear Friends,

This week I feel like I have so much to share with you. I went to the first course of the Carbon Economy Series (http://www.carboneconomysb.com/) put on by Quail Springs and Orella Ranch. Dr. Elaine Ingham taught “Soil Food Wed and Compost Tea Technologies” and I was thrilled to spend my weekend learning from this incredible expert in soil biology. For those of you who do not know, my life’s goal is to be a farmer. Every farmer I speak to tells me that the most important part of farming is “growing your soil.” They do not say, “take care of your soil” or “water your plants” they say, “grow your soil.” I learned this weekend that people most often say “grow” because there are living organisms in the soil that have a symbiotic relationship with our crops and orchards. These organisms fight off disease, feed root systems, and produce the nutrients that we enjoy through our produce. I saw them in a microscope, watch slides of the positive effects of good biology in our soil, and listened to hours of lecture that thrilled my mind. Compost is not just about waste reduction, it is about growing our soil so that we bring healing to an otherwise broken biological nutrient cycle.

There are three more courses in the series: ZERI training with Gunter Pauli, Pathways to Relocalization Training with Joel Salatin, and Sustainable Land Management with Kirk Gadzia and Darren Doherty. I will be attending the course with Joel Salatin, but encourage all of you to look into these classes by clicking on the link above. They are a fabulous opportunity to learn from world renowned teachers in our own hometown. It is hard to pass up.

I want to also tell you that we are going to have a Farm-Style Movie Night next week on Thursday after CSA. We will projecting a documentary titled, “King Corn” (http://www.kingcorn.net/) on the side of our Farmer’s Market truck and invite you to bring blankets and friends. See below for more details and other events of the week.

See you this week,

Jen Corey

Marketing Manager

Fairview Events:

What: Farm-Style Movie Night showing of “King Corn”

When: Thursday Nov. 12th at 6:45pm

Bring: chairs, blankets, dinner

Where: up by the Fairview farm house

Cost: Free!!!

What: One of our CSA members Cynthia Daddona, author, TV personality and host of RomancingTheTable.com, will be signing her #1 NY Times About.com culinary travel gift DVD “A Greek Islands Destination Cooking Class DVD” filmed in Santorini, Greece. 

Where: at CSA pick up outside the farm stand

When:  Thursday November 5th from 2:30 to 5:30pm

Tuesday November 10th from 2:30 to 5:30pm

Why: Partial proceeds go toward Fairview Gardens. This makes a great holiday gift.

For more information: go to www.moderndaygoddess.com or open the attachment.

Volunteers Needed: We are looking for volunteers with carpentry skills to work on a small job here at the farm. It can be completed in an estimated two Saturdays. We don’t have a date set yet, but hope to soon. Please email your name, phone number(s), and skills to our Board President, Adrianne Davis at adrianne_a@cox.net. Thank you in advance for your support and help.

Pre-used Paper Needed: We could be using “pre-used” or “scratch paper.” I am asking CSA members, to collect paper at home and work that has only been printed on one side and donate it to the farm.

Sneak Peek:

Small Share

Green Beans

Peppers

Lettuce

Winter Squash

Summer Squash

Arugula

Radish 

Garlic

Bunching Onion

Large Share

Green Beans

Peppers

Lettuce

Winter Squash

Summer Squash

Arugula

Radish

Garlic

Bunching Onions

Kale/Collards

Shelling Beans

Recipes:

For those who wonder the difference between winter and summer squash I thought I would let you know. Both are in the Cucurbitaceae family and grown in the warmth of summer. Those we call “summer squash” should be eaten soon after harvest, during the “summer time” and include zucchini, yellow crookneck, and patty pan. The other group called “winter squash” can be stored and eaten throughout the winter. These include, pumpkins, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and kabocha. With this being said, if you are building up with winter squash, store it and enjoy during the month when the farm is resting from CSA.

Winter Squash and Chicken Stew with Indian Spices (Bon Appétit | November 1995 http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Winter-Squash-and-Chicken-Stew-with-Indian-Spices-876)

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil
6 chicken thighs, skin removed (if you don’t eat meat, feel free to omit)
1 1/3 cups chopped onion (try using your bunching onion)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (I like a little more curry and something spicy…)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut or acorn squash
2 cups 1-inch pieces peeled russet potatoes
1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth (veggie broth is okay too)
1 14 1/2- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation:

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven; sauté until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, and cinnamon; stir 1 minute. Return chicken to pot. Add squash, potatoes, broth and tomatoes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro. (I liked it topped with cashews and yogurt)

Haricots Verts with Herb Butter (Gourmet | November 2007  Melissa Roberts http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/reviews/Haricots-Verts-with-Herb-Butter-240576)

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 lb haricots verts or other green beans, trimmed

Preparation:

Stir together all ingredients except haricots verts with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until combined well.

Cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 6 quarts water), uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes, then drain. Toss with herb butter.
Cooks’ notes:
Herb butter can be made ahead and chilled, covered, 3 days or frozen, rolled into a cylinder in plastic wrap and kept in a sealed bag, 1 week. Haricots verts can be trimmed 1 day ahead and chilled in a sealed bag lined with paper towels.

Jamie Oliver Honey and Lemon Juice Dressing (http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/honey-and-lemon-juice-dressing)

• 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon good honey
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix everything together in a bowl and season to taste.