January 25, 2010

26 Jan

On Saturday the blue skies started to appear after a week of stormy weather. The water quenched our thirsty soil and has encouraged growth of many seedlings around the farm. Our farm crew has worked with intensity in preparation for this rain (sowing seeds and planting seedlings) and in the midst of the storm to harvest for your CSA week. When I clomp through the muddy CSA area, it is a good reminder of the work our crew had to do to harvest in the rain. Thank you for braving the weather and coming to pick up your share this week.

Last week Toby and I traveled to Assilomar State Park to attend the Eco Farm Conference. It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by 1600 like-minded men and women, whom are all connected to organic sustainable agriculture. It was inspiring to meet veteran organic farmers in their 80’s who have been caring for the land and their customers long before “organic” and “green” became words of the 21st century pop-culture. I have 20 pages of notes and reflections I kept while at the conference which is of course too much to pass on to you. Instead a few highlights for me regarding Food and Farm Justice:

1. Francis Moor Lepay spoke of her most recent idea she calls, “Liberation Ecology.” She said that the we must make a fundamental change in how we see the world. Our society acts off the fundamental premises of “lack,” not enough goods (food or parking spaces) and goodness (kindness and support). She called us to have the courage to start from a different premise, the premise of “possibility,” let it infuse the way we see. Human beings are plenty good enough and as we align with nature, we can feed the world even with our leftovers. There is enough. We can shift our “spiral of powerlessness” to start the “spiral of empowerment.”

2. Wes Jackson explained a 50-year Farm Bill that he and Wendell Berry wrote for the New York Times that added larger, more sustainable end goals: protect soil from erosion, cut fossil fuel dependence to zero, sequester carbon, reduce toxins in soil and water, manage nitrogen carefully, reduce dead zones, cut wasteful water use, preserve or rebuild farm communities.

3. Barbara Finnin (City Slickers Farm), Nikki Henderson (People’s Grocery), and Anim Steel (the Food Project) discussed the importance of youth in our vision for planting the future of agriculture. They spoke about community activism and developing ways to get fresh organic produce in communities where there are more liquor stores than grocery stores. Each are working on this mission of health accessible food for everyone as well as establishing local jobs, partnerships between local organizations.

4. Gary Hirshberg from Stonyfield Farm Organic explained our need to correct a fundamentally flawed relationship between humanity and the earth. We have been living under the myth that he earth is the subsidiary of our economy, the earth has infinite resilience, that there is such a thing called waste, things don’t exist if it doesn’t come out on an accounting balance sheet. Organics is a solution, the truth to each of these myths. But unfortunately, organics is still only 3.5% of agricultural production. Gary urged us to consolidating economic power and use it as political power to put pressure on our congress people to stop subsidizing the parts of our industry that are making people and our planet sick.

Community Building and Upcoming events:

Look forward to the re-opening of the Farm Stand next Monday, February 1st! Please stop by next week and spread the word.

CSA Carpool/pick up share: contact CSA member and volunteer Stephanie Christoff at skchristoff@gmail.com for more information or click on this link https://fairviewgardenscsa.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/csa-carpooling/

Sneak Peek: spinach, kale, lettuce, baby bok choy, carrots, beets, cauliflower, and apples

Recipes (all recipes from CSA member Jane Higa and my mom’s cookbook: Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen):

Tom’s Mom’s Harvard Beets with Beet Greens

Ingredients:

2 bunches of beets with plenty of nice greens

¾ cup fresh orange juice

¾ cup water

3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons toasted, skinned, and finely chopped hazelnuts (you can try other nuts if you want)

  1. Separate the greens from the beets. Discard the stems and wash thoroughly and dry the beet greens. Peel the beets, cut them in half, and thinly slice them into half-moon shapes 1/8 inch thick.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the orange juice, water, brown sugar, vinegar, and zest. Once the sugar has melted add the beets to this mixture and cook, covered until tender, but still retaining a little crunch, about 20 minutes. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and simmer a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, then cook the greens until wilted, about 3 minutes, stirring in the garlic halfway through. Season with salt and pepper.

On the plate: Arrange the wilted beet greens on 6 salad plates. Arrange the beet slices over the greens. Garnish each salad with toasted hazelnuts.

Chilled Miso Spinach

1 pound spinach, washed well and stemmed (since you don’t have a pound of spinach in your share try this miso vinaigrette on your kale as well)

For the miso vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon light miso paste

½ teaspoon soy sauce

¼ cup peanut oil

½ teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the spinach (or kale… remember that you need to cook kale a little longer) and cook until it is wilted, about 1 minute. Drain the spinach and immediately plunge it into a container of ice water. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and chop it finely. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, miso, and soy sauce. Whisk in the oils. Toss half of the vinaigrette on the spinach and let sit for half an hour to marinate.
  2. (read on or see below for a more simple way to serve this dish) Squeeze the vinaigrette from the spinach. Put a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface and spread with the sesame seeds. Form a log of spinach and place it in the center of the bed of seeds. Roll up the spinach in the wrap, twisting the ends and tying them in knots. You should have a log about 1 inch in diameter. Chill the log in the freezer for a half and hour.

On the plate: Unwrap the log and slice it into eight 1-inch-thick slices. Drizzle each slice with some of the remaining vinaigrette and serve. Another, simpler way to serve this dish is to dress the cooked, chopped spinach with as much vinaigrette as desired and serve it in small mounds, sprinkled with the sesame seeds, either warm or cold.

Japanese Pickles (for those who have left over cabbage… try this one)

For the pickling brine:

6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons water

4 ½ tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

  1. Mix the vinegar, water, sugar, and ginger together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. For picked red cabbage, thinly slice enough red cabbage to make 1 cup, using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Place the cabbage in a heatproof, non-reactive container (stainless steel or Pyrex) and pour the boiling pickling brine over it. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Drain before using as a garnish (or side dish, like my grandpa did).

A step ahead: The picked cabbage will hold for a week, refrigerated and covered.

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