Archive | February, 2010

February 22, 2010

22 Feb

A note from our Farm Manager, Toby McPartland:

If you have walked around the farm recently or shopped at the newly re-modeled farm stand, then you have seen the beautiful work of Martin Camp, better known around the property as Marty. For a while now the farm has been short on funds, but the need to maintain and improve the infrastructure continues to grow. Thankfully for us, Marty enjoys spending time at Fairview Gardens, and generously offers his expertise on carpentry, plumbing, big-tree work or listening to one of my crazy ideas.

Marty and his wife Lisa joined the CSA shortly after they moved to Goleta from Boston last year. I think the Fairview-Marty relationship really blossomed on the day that Marty saw our decrepit washing-station and asked if we wanted a better system for washing vegetables. Since then Marty has improved our washing station, renovated the Stand, fixed broken windows at the historic farmhouse, and removed the dead Sycamore tree that was a danger to the front of the house for many years.

We are so grateful for all his help, and want to share his talents with the CSA community. If you need assistance with plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, cabinet making, furniture making, or any other such project, then give him a call. He is a Fine Carpenter with many years of experience. You can contact Marty at (978) 815-3796 to discuss rates and projects. We highly recommend his craftsmanship.

Sincerely,

Toby McPartland, Farm Manager

Sneak Peek: chard, kale, lettuce, oranges, lemons, cilantro, beets, and bok choy.

Recipes:

Sesame Beets

This recipe takes over an hour, but you really only need to work for 15 minutes. The rest of the time, the beets are roasting or cooling.

1 pound beets
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (use black sesame seeds if you can find them)
2 Tablespoons of green garlic
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
salt and black pepper

Cut off beet greens, and peel the rest of the beet. Wrap in foil. Roast beets for 45-60 minutes at 400°. You’ll know the beets are done if you can pierce them easily with a fork. Let beets cool for a 1/2 hour, then slice into thin rounds. Toss with the other ingredients. Enjoy!

Chard Rolls
This recipe is a great vegetarian meal, a delicious way to use up leftover rice, and also great for potlucks. I adapted this recipe from a recipe called Swiss Chard Rolls Two Ways, from the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals, by the Moosewood Collective.

Note: You can save yourself time by serving this meal as a casserole, instead of rolling the chard leaves with filling. If you’re not going to make the rolls, then cut up the chard leaves and add them to the mushroom mixture, just before you add the rice. Then proceed with step 4.

12 large chard, Swiss chard, or Rainbow chard leaves
1 cup of garlic greens (or onion), diced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil or butter
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 Tablespoon dry sherry
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dill
pinch of thyme (optional)
1 cup cooked brown rice
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup walnuts
5 artichoke hearts (optional)
1/4 cup of tomato sauce or homemade ketchup (optional)
1/2 Swiss Cheese (optional)

1. Blanch the greens. Remove and discard the stems and any tough ribs of the chard. Blanch the leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes, until pliable. Set aside.

2. Prepare the filling. Saute the green garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the celery and the marjoram. Cook for 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Stir in the mushrooms, sherry, soy sauce, dill, and thyme, and simmer until the mushrooms are tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice, lemon juice, walnuts, and artichoke hearts. Preheat oven to 350°. Spry a 9 x 12 inch dish baking dish with oil or cooking spray. Set aside.

3. Prepare the rolls. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling in the center of each chard leaf. Fold the sides of each leaf towards the center, and then roll it up from the stem end to the tip to form a neat little package.

4. Finish. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the baking dish (or just put the whole mixture into a baking dish if you didn’t make the rolls.) Pour the tomato juice over the rolls, sprinkle with Swiss cheese, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until heated through.

Cilantro-Peanut Stir Fry Sauce

I have used this sauce for years and love to put it over quinoa and stir-fried (or steamed) vegetables.

½ cup of peanut butter
½ – 1 bunch of cilantro, washed (stems are okay)
¼ soy sauce
1- 2 Tablespoons honey
Juice of ½ lemon or lime
¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoons ginger (optional)
2 Tablespoons water

Process all these ingredients together in a food processor. Pour over cooked vegetables and rice or quinoa.

Borscht

16 Feb

Borscht (Beet Stew)

My grandmother’s parents immigrated from the Ukraine to Colombia before World War II, and they brought this recipe with them. I hadn’t eaten this soup in many years, but I could feel my family all around me as I ate it (with sour cream, of course).

My Grandmother's Borscht. Photo: MGomez.

SERVES 4 -6

1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 cup beets, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups beef stock
2 cups cabbage
salt and pepper
juice of ½ lemon
2 springs fresh dill

Melt butter in a large pan over a gentle heat and slowly sweat the beets, onion, carrot and garlic, turning the vegetables over in the butter. Add the stock to the pan, season with a few grinds of pepper, bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Garnish with sour cream, plain yogurt and some fresh dill.

February 8, 2010

8 Feb

Come visit the new Farm Stand!

Fresh air, blue skies, and warm sunshine welcomed me to the farm this Monday morning. It is a joy to work on this farm and I am treasuring each day here at Fairview Gardens. I asked Toby, the Farm Manager, to write you update about our farm from his perspective. He walks the fields each week, observing the soil our crops, and leading our crew to grow the high-quality produce you enjoy.  I appreciate his transparency and hope you do as well. Please email me with any questions or concerns.          – jen

Here is a note from Toby:

Dear Friends,

We have received a lot of rain so far and it looks like we still have more storms coming in the not so distant future. The ground is soaked and our heavy clay soils will retain much of these rains for months to come. Expect really sweet tomatoes this summer, even sweeter than last. We should be able to semi-dry farm our tomatoes which means that their roots will sink deep into the soil and will not require much supplemental watering. Having spent almost my entire life along the Central Coast, drought has always been the norm; this year’s rain is quenching for our thirsty land. I am definitely not complaining about all the water we are receiving, but I want to explain to you the challenges of our weather for me as the Farm Manager.

The balance of managing biological systems, finances, customer relations and staff management is a constant learning experience for me as I am young in my career. When we have a day of heavy rain, I know that the ground will be soaked and too wet to work for the entire next week. The main people who are affected by this are our Farm Crew. On the last two pay periods, the Farm Crew only received about 20 hours of work and that we all know makes raising families challenging. The periodic rains we continue to receive means that the pay checks are going to continue to be very small and I worry for the health of the many families that rely on this farm for their well-being. I find it quite ironic that when the organic farmers are without work that the other family members employed by Taco Bell down the street are most likely the ones getting the family through these slow times.

Last week as I walked our fields I worried; we are experiencing shortage of food ready to harvest and I have not seen our production this off since I arrived here over two years ago. A number of factors have stacked up leaving us with another three to four weeks of struggle at Fairview. Three months ago, mice did a significant amount of damage in our greenhouse and ate two different successions of plants: broccoli, fennel, lettuce, romanesco and kohlrabi. Each item was planned to be harvested now for the CSA. Then a couple of weeks ago birds mowed down a bed of radishes and arugula. The following week, we missed a planting due to soil that was too rain soaked to be planted in. We will keep you updated on how the weather is affecting the farm this winter. We ask that you hang in there with us as we navigate this time of plentiful rain and low crop production and trust that we will be back on track with more of our produce soon. In the mean time, please enjoy the produce we use to supplement the CSA share from other local farms that, like us, care about providing great organic produce for our community.

Sincerely,

Toby McPartland, Farm Manager

Sneak Peek: Winter greens (chard/kale/collards), red cabbage, green garlic, avocados, cauliflower (large share only), oranges, fennel, and green leaf lettuce

Recipes:

Homemade Vegetable Broth (from CSA member Paige Chase. Please click on the link for helpful photos that go along with the recipe http://veganyumyum.com/2008/10/homemade-vegetable-broth/)

Makes about 10 Cups of Broth

Minimalist Broth
2-3 Tbs Olive Oil
1-2 Large Onions, chopped
1 lb Celery, Chopped
1 lb Carrots, washed but unpeeled, chopped
3 Whole Cloves Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
10 Whole Black Peppercorns
2 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Low Sodium Tamari
1 Gallon Water

I also added, because I could
2 Parsnips, chopped
2-3 Tbs Tomato Paste (or one or two tomatoes)
A few Sprigs Rosemary (parsley is more traditional, use a lot!)
1 Head Broccoli (a strange but decent choice)
1 Sweet Potato (another odd choice, whatever)

You might also have or want to use
Any fresh veggie scraps from other meals, leeks, mushrooms, celery root, potatoes, peppers, turnips, any greens, zucchini, fennel

You see what I mean?  If it’s clean and fits in the pot, it can go in.  Minimal chopping, no peeling, just in the pot it goes!

Heat a large stock pot with some olive oil in the bottom.  I chop my way through the vegetable list as I’m cooking–so once the onion is chopped, add it to the pot, then do the celery, the carrots, etc, adding each thing once it’s chopped up a bit.  When you’re out of stuff to add, pour in the water, turn up the heat and cover.  It should only take you about 20 minutes to chop everything and get it in the pot.  From then on out it’s easy street.

Cook for 1 hour, turning the heat down a bit once the whole thing starts boiling. I finish my broth by adding salt/tamari/soy sauce to taste and letting it simmer uncovered for another 20-30 minutes to concentrate the flavors. Strain the veggies out into a large pot. I further strained it through cheesecloth into a pitcher. The pitcher makes it easy to pour some of the broth into ice cube trays for easy storage. Ice cubed size chunks of broth make for easy defrosting and easy recipe additions. The broth will keep about a week in your refrigerator, and two good months in your freezer. 

Fennel: has three parts, bulb, stalk, and leaves. The bulb is most popularly used, but you can use the stalks for adding to your veggie stock/soup and the leaves add a nice zip to a salad. A few ideas for using fennel: sauté with garlic and onion, thinly slice and add to a salad with your avocados and oranges, mix with mint and Greek yogurt as a Mediterranean dip, or cook with fish.

Baked Fennel (If you don’t like the strong flavor of fennel, try this recipe based on one I found at http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Fennel-with-Parmesan/Detail.aspx)

Ingredients:

1 fennel bulb sliced about ¼ inch thick
1-2 potatoes sliced about ¼ inch thick
1 leek sliced about ¼ inch thick
2 cloves garlic thinly sliced or crushed
1 tablespoon butter
1- 1½ cup crème fraiche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt
A handful of roughly chopped parsley
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
¼ cup bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Melt butter in a large skillet and sauté fennel, potatoes, leeks, and garlic about 5-7 minutes. Stir in crème fraiche and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer into a shallow baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top has browned. The fennel and potatoes should be tender to a fork.

Green Garlic is young garlic that is harvested before a bulb begins to form. It smells and tastes wonderful and can be used instead of garlic or green onions in any dish. Try in stir-fry’s, on pizza, in pasta with parmesan, and as a pesto.

Green Garlic Chutney (from http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/382285)

Take green garlic, chop coarsely, and throw it in the food processor with a big bunch of cilantro (approximate ratio two to one cilantro to green garlic), about a quarter cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, squeeze in the juice of a lime, add a chopped and seeded jalapeno or two, a tsp. of sugar, 1/2 tsp. of salt, and a tsp of ground cumin. Grind it all together until it forms a coarse paste, and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. Try it with roasted chicken or as a dip for lavash bread.

February 1, 2010

1 Feb

February 1, 2010

Please check back later this week for a letter from Toby McPartland, Farm Manager.

Sneak Peek: carrots, cilantro, kale, broccoli romanesco, navel oranges, radishes, parsley, cauliflower, and arugula (large share only)

Recipes:

Roasted Cauliflower (from http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roasted_cauliflower/)

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower (You can also try this recipe with your romanesco.)

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced

Lemon juice (from 1/2 or a whole lemon)

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Toss in the garlic. Squeeze lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If the oven hasn’t reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.

2 Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Bread-and-Butter Radishes (from Regan Burns at http://www.chow.com/recipes/10909)

Ingredients

1 bunch red radishes

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup granulated sugar (can also use brown sugar)

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon yellow or brown mustard seed

1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seed

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 medium dried bay leaf

Directions

1.  Rinse radishes and trim off their leafy tops. Holding the stem end, thinly slice radishes with a mandoline or a sharp knife. When you get close to the stem, stop slicing and discard the end. Place radishes in a heatproof, nonreactive bowl, and set in the refrigerator while making the brine.

2.  Combine red wine vinegar, sugar, water, salt, mustard seed, coriander seed, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.

3.  Remove from heat and let pickling brine cool for about 5 minutes. Remove radishes from the refrigerator and pour brine over them. Let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes; cover and refrigerate. Use to top burgers, sandwiches, or anything else that needs a little tarting up.

Pickles will last in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days. 

Broccoli Romanesco Soup (inspired by Julia’s Soup from http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/broccoliromanesco.html):

Ingredients

1 head broccoli romanesco (can also use cauliflower), chopped into florets

1 onion, chopped (can use leeks, bunching onions, or green garlic)

A few cloves of garlic, minced

Olive oil or butter

Vegetable broth

Milk or cream (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat olive oil or butter in a heavy pot or dutch oven. Sauté onions and garlic until onions begin to caramelize. Add broccoli romanesco and continue mixing ingredients on medium heat until romanesco begins to brown. Add broth and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until romanesco is tender to a fork. Blend till smooth. Use broth, milk, or cream to change the consistency of the soup if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil and a hearty wedge of bread.