Thursday, September 25, 2008

Week Sixteen: Time for Fall crops!

Hello everyone!
I'm back from Sacramento (great wedding, fun times with family, etc) and it looks like all the CFK workers did an amazing job with last week's ambitious menu. I hope you're all doing well and enjoying the gradual change of seasons. This Wednesday harvest morning was still summer-y warm, but you could sense the change of season in the crops and the feel of the morning. We were talking a lot about the Fall Festival (coming up on Oct 4) and the Grand Finale harvest (scheduled for Nov 1)--fall is here; winter is coming. We haven't had a frost yet, so we're still enjoying summer crops in abundance--basil, eggplants, and pepper, but we're beginning to clear the fields of those kinds of things. The fall crop of kale is beginning to come in and I think we'll be having broccoli and cabbage very soon. At the same time, new things are in evidence-- a broody chicken has hatched an egg and the farm now has a sweet baby chick. While washing the basil I rescued a gorgeous praying mantis--she's probably just getting ready to lay her eggs. On the whole it's great to be back after my break.
Here's the harvest for the week:
Choice of 1/2 lb potatoes or 1 eggplant
Hot peppers - 1 plant (!) (more hot sauce...)
Oriental greens (arugula, mizuna, or tatsoi) - 1 bunch
Choice of 1 bok choi or 1 bunch of turnip greens
Kale - 1/2 lb
Winter squash - 1
Basil - 1 plant (!)
the last Lettuce - 1 head
Garlic - 1 head
Eggplant - 1
Sweet peppers - 6
Jack-o'lantern pumpkin

Vegetarian Groundnut (peanut) Stew from Simply in Season p. 207
Turnip Greens with Misa sauce from Farmer John's Cookbook p. 91
Eggplant Nicoise from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd p. 405
Pesto from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd p. 267
**hey guys, I don't usually do the same recipe week after week (or even more than once, if you haven't noticed) but pesto is so great, it keeps really well in the freezer, and makes for a delicious taste of summer all winter long, so I thought no one could have too much. Plus it's by far the best thing I've ever heard of to do with huge amounts of basil, so I hope you'll forgive me. Enjoy!**
The End of the Summer Salad with the last of this year's lettuce and oriental greens
Folks who didn't get a pumpkin last week will get one this week! :-)

See you Friday!
Photo explanations: 1. Mary visiting the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco 2. Baby chick! 3. Bug-found-on-food-of-the-week: praying mantis 4. Beautiful Kristin shares beautiful raspberries 5. Freshly extracted honey is available for sale at the farm. 6. My car is full of vegetables

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week Fifteen: Green harvest

This week is a HUGE harvest of green things, so look forward to so many different ways to prepare greens. I'm actually writing from a coffee shop in Sacramento, California where I'm visiting family for my cousin's wedding (yes, I always go away for weddings!) but I've left the CFK work for this week in the capable hands of Claire, Cynthia, Michelle, and our newest workers, Julie and Becky. They've got their work cut out for them but I'm sure they'll do a great job.
It's been a good week at the Farm. The fall crops are thriving after a rainy weekend. Despite the heavy rains, the crops were not damaged and though some fields are too wet to work in, the Farm is doing well. On Tuesday we began digging the sweet potatoes as well as picking hundreds of sweet peppers and eggplants. Wednesday was a glorious morning--the perfect temperature for a harvest. The great thing about working at the Farm is seeing the seasons change gradually: summer doesn't shift abruptly to fall. It's more like gradual shading. With the last harvest of melons and the beginnings of the Asian green crops it's finally beginning to feel like fall to me. And it should be a good one!
This week's (green-heavy) share is:
Potatoes (sweet and white) - 2 lbs
Summer savory - 1 stem
Turnip greens - 1 bunch
Basil - 1 big branch
Bok choi - 1
Oriental greens (arugula, mizuna, tatsoi) - 1 bunch
Swiss chard - 1 lb
Sweet peppers - 6 (!)
Eggplant - 1
Lettuce - 2 heads
Diakon radish - 1
iffy Melon -1
baby Jack o'lantern - 1

And the menu will be:
Pesto from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd p. 267 (Same as last week, but who could have enough of this basil-y treat??)
Saag Aloo (Potato and turnip green curry) from Gaia's Kitchen p. 58
Eggplant Salad from Farmer John's Cookbook p. 178
Chard Cheese Bake from Laurel's Kitchen p. 192
Crunchy Bok Choi Salad from From Asperagus to Zucchini p. 33
Equinox Salad with lettuce, arugula, mizuna, and tatsoi
your choice of the LAST little melon or a baby jack-o-lantern!

Enjoy and have a good week!

Photo explanations: 1. Winter squash and Chard being prepped at the CFK last week. 2. Flowers for wreath making and a beautiful harvest of eggplants and peppers share the barn space 3. Jack-o-lanterns arranged for pick-up 4. Mark your calendar for the Fall Festival, Oct 4! 5. Monarch chrysallis found on a turnip green. Note the gold speckles. 5. Sunflowers outside the barn 6. Farmer Paul shares a moment with Maeve, one of the youngest farm members. :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Week Fourteen: Falling into Autumn

Well, ready or not, Fall seems to be upon us. I hear it's going to be hot again in the next week, but we can't avoid the fact that it's already mid-September! Somehow the summer has slipped away again and we're back to chilly harvest mornings and fall crops. This Monday we did one of my favorite farm tasks--harvesting winter squash! This job is a bit scratchy and hard on the hands, but it's also great fun tossing the squash from hand to hand out of the field and into the wagon. It's like a game! Farmer Anne says my throw has improved from last year :-). One fun aspect of the task this time around was getting to use our new solar-powered tractor to pull the wagon we loaded the squash onto. It's so quiet and pleasant to be around with its electric motor. Wednesday's harvest morning started off quite chilly but we gradually took off our outer layers and by afternoon it seemed positively hot in the fields.
This week's harvest was:
Choice of 1 lb tomatoes or 2 summer squash
Pears - 1 box
Swiss chard - 1 lb
Bok choi - 1 lb
Eggplant - 1
Melon - 1
Hot peppers - 3
Sweet peppers - 4
Garlic - 1 bulb
Basil - 1 (large) branch
Damaged winter squash - 1
Plus, I spent some time in the u-pick tomato patch picking tomatoes to be used in recipes in the coming weeks!

And the menu will be:
Pesto from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd p. 267
Ratatoille from Moosewood p. 119
Creamy Choi Soup from Farmer John's Cookbook p. 80
Winter squash and chard and sweet pepper curry from Sundays at Moosewood p. 303 (Thanks to Suzanne for the gift of the cookbook!)

We're beginning to develop rather a backlog of hot peppers, so I'm planning to try making our own CFK Louisiana Hot Sauce. Hopefully this will be nice and spicy!

That's it for now. See you Friday!
ps. sorry, no pics this week. We'll try for next week!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Week Thirteen: Back to School

Well, this week was back to school for students from kindergarten through grad school. At the CFK, though, it's just another week of summer with crops rolling in. We had Labor day off on Monday, but were at the farm for another busy harvest morning on Wednesday. While picking basil, chard, and tomatoes we talked about how much we need rain.... hopefully some of the rain we got in Ann Arbor on Wednesday also fell on the Farm! Anne the farmer says the drought has meant that the weeds have also not been growing as much, which is good because it means that when it's too hot and we can't work in the fields, there's also not as much work to do!
This week's beautiful share is:
Potatoes - 1 1/4 lb
Sweet peppers - 5
Eggplant - 1
Yellow cherry tomatoes - 11
Hot peppers - 3
Chard - 1 1/4 lb
Summer squash - 2
Corn - 2 ears
Melon - 1
Parsley - 1 bunch
Summer savory - 1 sprig
Rosemary - 1 sprig
Basil - 8 tips
Tomatoes - 5 lbs

And the menu will be:
Georgian Chard with corn and peanuts from Greens Glorious Greens p. 124
Tomato Sauce (house recipe)
Roasted eggplant and pepper salad from
Courgette (zucchini), Potato and Coriander pie from The Boxing Clever Cookbook p. 116

That's about it!
See you on Friday!
Photo info: 1. Bob the farm cat is ready for his close up 2. Beautiful ingredients for last week's stew 3. Red and yellow tomatoes