Thursday, August 27, 2009

Week Thirteen: Rainy harvest

Hello everyone!
Yet another great week at the farm. This week's harvest contains tons of delicious summer delights. We're getting sweet corn for the first time this week. Farmer Paul says it's not been a really good year for corn, but we should get a few ears for the next week or two. On the up side, it's been a TERRIFIC year for the melons, and there are even more this week! I'm going to continue to send these sweet treats home as they are-because how can you go wrong with melons, right?-but if you're finding them overwhelming, some of my cookbooks have very intriguing melon soup recipes that you might consider trying. (Just ask).
On Monday I visited the farm with my dear friend Anna and was so happy to have the chance to show her around and walk the fields in the sunshine. Tuesday was another glorious day. We thinned the turnips (yum!) and finished weeding and thinning the bok choi. In the afternoon we did our VERY LAST planting of the season, planting out the lettuce we transplanted last week. Then we headed into the main crop tomatoes for the first really big tomato harvest of the year. The tomatoes are looking gooooooood, but we continue to need more heat to get the big harvest we really want. Wednesday, as you may have noticed, was rather rainy. In spite of rain coat and rain trousers, I got quite soaked while picking Swiss chard and basil. Fortunately, we'd done a lot of the work in advance and were able to finish our harvest work a little early. We also had some great help from a pair of cheerful members, Nate and Jennifer.
This week's share:
Tomatoes- 4 1/2 lbs
Hot peppers - 3
Lime basil - 24 tips
Potatoes - 1 box
Garlic - 1 bulb
Sweet peppers - 3
Kale - 1/2 lb
Swiss chard - 1 1/2 lb
Summer squash - 6
Sweet basil - 12 tips
Corn - 4 ears
Lettuce - 2 heads
Green onions - 5
Cucumber - 1
Parsley - 1 bunch
Cantaloupe - 1
Watermelon - 1

And the Menu:
Pizza - my dad makes this all the time, so consider it a house recipe. We'll basically follow the sauce from Moosewood (you might get extra sauce). We hope you'll enjoy this delicious treat!
Stuffed Swiss Chard Leaves - I found an attractive stuffing here. Yum!
Kale and Potato Soup - a classic from Laurel's Kitchen p. 160
Courgettes (Zucchini) with Garlic and Lemon - this light substitute for mashed potatoes is very tasty. From Boxing Clever p. 127
Dog Days Salad with lettuce, cucumber, and sliced zucchini
A taste of fresh sweet corn and a watermelon and cantaloupe.

Bring a big bag for this haul!
See you Friday...
Photos: 1. Jars of zucchini pickles all ready to go! 2. Cynthia dishing up the green beans, herbs, squash, and tomatoes 3. Last week's to do list with everything checked off!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Week Twelve: Halfway time

Hard to believe we're roughly half way through the 2009 season, isn't it? In some ways it's difficult to imagine that we have so much more to go, and in others it seems like time is just flying. As usual at this time of year, we're having some staff-summer-vacation-combo issues, but I'm stoked about the two last-moment volunteers who will be joining us in the kitchen tomorrow. Let's hear it for Jason and Marissa! Yay! This month has actually seen a crazy assortment of great folks stepping into the kitchen, so I want to take this moment to thank everyone who's been working with us so far. Here goes: The Kitchen regulars: Michelle and Cynthia and Becky: these ladies never stop and give so much! Early season regulars: Blair and Eliza: we miss your company and thank you for your hard work and ideas. August guest chefs: Nell who helped with fritters and potato salad, Nitya the hard worker who brought us that Indian feast, Megan who gave us two great weeks, Jana who brought us so many tales from Grand Rapids (and did all the work for last week's oriental green beans and greens), and now Marissa and Jason. Also, we have our newest regular: Jake, who is a master dishwasher and carrot washer. In September we will be rejoined by Julie and Amanda, great cooks from last year. Hooray for the cooks!!!
It's been a good week out at the farm, as usual. We were busy despite the heat weeding and thinning the fall crops, especially the asian greens. We're always looking ahead at the farm, it seems! Anne also shared some delicious pickled zucchini with the apprentices.....guess what we'll be having this week.... Paul reports that it's looking like a good year for melons and we should be getting corn very soon.
This week's bountiful share:
Carrots - 1 lb
Tomatoes - 1 1/2 lbs
Hot peppers - 3
Cucumber - 2
Melon - 1
Greens - 1 lb
Sweet peppers - 3
Summer squash - 6
Choice: 1 lb green beans OR 2 baby heads of cabbage (we chose both!)
Sweet basil - 5 tips
Parsley - 1 bunch
Lime basil - 10 tips

Tabouli Everyone's favorite parsley vehicle since Anne told us to make the parsley bunches TWICE as big this week! From Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd p. 104
Cabbage Salad with Thai-style Fresh Herb Dressing from From Asperagus to Zucchini p. 44
Prizewinner Green Beans with Tomatoes and Herbs from From Asperagus to Zucchini p. 23 This deceptively simple dish has indeed been a prizewinner with CFK members in the past.
August Soup Another delicious combination of all the vegetables we have on hand. From The Community Farm Cookbook 2001 edition p. 57
Zucchini Pickles - like Bread and Butter pickles, but with squash! from The Ball Blue Book of Canning p. 53
and, a special treat: Zucchini Bread needs no explanation. from The Community Farm Cookbook 1994 edition p. 71

We have our work cut out for us, it seems!
See you Friday.
Photos: 1. Michelle shows off chard stained glass. 2. Know your hot peppers! 3. Nancy gathers her basil and parsley. 4. Nikki grabs a cucumber.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Week Eleven: Gazpacho Time!

Sorry for the late-in-the-day post! It's been a busy week around the farm and the kitchen.
Tuesday was a fun day out at the farm because my dad joined us for a day of work. My family is a member of the farm independent of my work there, so my dad had to get his volunteer hours in just like any other member. He had so much fun picking tomatoes in the fields and gossiping about Montcalm county with Kristin (Montcalm is where Kristin grew up and where our family has had a second home for over ten years, so it was fun for them to swap stories). After a delicious farm lunch, my dad took off and the rest of us stayed around to transplant the last lettuce of the year, eat the first melon of the year, and begin thinning the napa cabbage. Truly, a season-straddling moment!
Wednesday was another great harvest day--a golden morning. However, the harvest is almost overwhelming. Cynthia and I were completely exhausted by the time we had loaded the car with 18 shares worth of veggies. Yikes! Way to go, Mother Earth.

And here it is:
Green Beans - 1 lb
Melon - 1
Potatoes - 2 lbs
Green onions - 5
Garlic - 1 bulb
Swiss chard - 1 1/2 lbs
Cucumbers - 3
Tomato - 1 lb
Carrots - 1 lb
Sweet peppers - 3
Lettuce - 2 heads
Hot peppers - 3
Summer squash - 6
Sweet basil - 7 tips
Parsley - 1 bunch
Dill - 1 bunch
Lime basil - 10 tips

This week's menu is:
Gazpacho - when the days are so hot, there's only one thing everyone wants to eat.... gazpacho, a chilled veggie soup! Seems like every cookbook I own has a version, so mine is some kind of combo (I actually made a comparative chart back in 2007 when I made gazpacho for a wedding shower). Mostly it's like the Moosewood version.
Zuccanoes - Stuffed Zucchini from Moosewood p. 120
Megan's Own Mashed Potatoes Supreme - Last week our newest cook Megan told me about her favorite way to make mashed potatoes...yummy!
Oriental Green Beans with Kale - tastiness from The Community Farm Cookbook p. 47
Zucchini and Swiss Chard Soup - a new recipe from this blog, I like anything that uses this combination of vegetables right now!!
The Livin' Is Easy Salad with lettuce and grated carrots
also, everyone will get a tomato and a melon and maybe one other special fresh item surprise!
See you tomorrow...!
Photos: 1. Megan stirring last week's Sambar 2. Dosa on the griddle, and everything on the stove in the background. 3. Mary and Cynthia working on packaging the Dosa 4. All that Raita in its tubs 5. Gorgeous potatoes and tomatoes in the sun. 6. Cynthia feels like Rosie the Riveter after loading the van. 7. Mary with lots of food

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Week Ten: Nitya's Indian Feast!

It's been another good week out at the farm. Irrigation made our weeding job on Tuesday a lot easier--they'd run the drip lines for a while which made the ground soft enough to pull out weeds. We were working on the basil and eggplants and peppers out in Heron, the field my co-worker Kristin likes to call Mordor. This is part of Kristin's involved Lord of the Rings analogy for the farm. Heron is the farthest field from the barn and usually baking hot, and the ground is often dry and hard and difficult to work with. Nonetheless, it grows some beautiful veggies, so it can't REALLY be like Mordor! Wednesday's harvest went well and we've got quite a bounty of good things once more.
Last week we had Nell Wiener join us as guest chef for her sister Eliza's last day of working with us. We had a really fun day together making the Arugula Potato salad and zucchini fritters. Nell reminded me that we made practically the same menu when she joined us last year (pictures). She told me she liked the potato salad so much she made it for herself afterwards and that she remembers that making this potato salad is what she was doing when she heard the news of the stock market collapse last fall--somehow "Economic Collapse potato salad" doesn't have the ring I was looking for with recipe names, though.
This week I'm excited to welcome Nitya Sethuraman as our guest chef! She's a member of the CFK and has been looking for an opportunity to teach me more Indian cooking. I'm very excited about the menu we have planned.

Here's the harvest:
Cabbage - 1 head
Garlic - 1 clove
Tomatoes - 1 box
Potatoes - 2 lbs
Carrots - 1 bunch
Swiss chard - 1 lb
Cucumber - 4
Sweet basil - 6 tips
Summer squash - 4
Lettuce - 2 heads
Hot peppers - 2
Lime basil - 5 tips
Sweet peppers - 2
Green onions - 5

the Indian part of the menu is
Sambar - a delicious combination of veggies, lentils, spices, and coconut
Raita - cucumber-yogurt-spice
Dosa - vegetables wrapped in thin pancakes=Indian burritos!

The Irish part of the menu is:
Colcannon - this dish is always a CFK hit--a traditional combination of potatoes and greens. Plus, there's a fantastic song about it!

As always, there will also be a lovely green salad (Dancing Along Salad) of lettuce and other tastiness and we'll be sending home a cucumber and a tomato. Yum!

Photo explanations: 1. All (clean) hands on deck to mix last week's zucchini fritters 2. CFK ladies and guest chef Nell make the fritters. 3. Frittering away! 4. Mixing the gorgeous potato salad.