Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week Seventeen: Transition to Fall

You can tell that the seasons are turning, despite the warm weather we've been having the past few days. Out at the farm we're beginning to see the end of summer crops like tomatoes and summer squash and melons (positively the last of those this week). As crops finish, the beds where they were have been tilled, and the fields are beginning to look empty and bare for the winter. In one field, all that's left is a bed of turnips, standing alone in an expanse of rich, brown earth.
Over the weekend a large crew of cooks processed 8 bushels of farmer's market tomatoes so that we'll have them for the Long Winter Kitchen program. On Tuesday I drove with Rena of Locavorious to the freezer warehouse she uses near the airport. It was quite an adventure to see a freezer twice the size of Home Depot--let me tell you that 200 qts of tomato sauce seem like a lot in my kitchen and nothing at all in the scope of that place! After visiting one end of the food system--where massive quantities of frozen food are shipped around the country on pallets--it was a pleasure to return to the farm and spend an afternoon harvesting peppers. Wednesday was another busy harvest morning--we had so many heads of broccoli to bring in it took many trips with the garden carts to transport them all.
This week's season-transformational share:
Broccoli - 2 heads
Cabbage or Cauliflower - 1 head (we chose both)
Eggplant - 2 (!)
Hot peppers - 4
Choice: small box summer squash or small box tomatoes (we chose both)
Kale - 3/4 lb
Basil - 1 plant
Assorted oriental greens (mizuna, tatsoi, arugula) - 1 bunch
Parsley - 1 bunch
Green onion - 1 bunch
Lettuce - 3 heads (!!)
Brussels sprouts greens - 2
Fennel - 1 plant
Sweet pepper - 4
Melon - 1 pc (positively the end of these rockstars!)

And the menu--
Cream of Broccoli Soup from Moosewood p. 23 (and vegan version from this site) simply the best way to devour so much tasty broccoli!
Cavolfiore Sauce from Moosewood p. 163 Pasta al Cavolfiore is a family favorite. Now you can enjoy it too! yum!
Pesto - I know you need more of this.
Roasted Eggplant-Pepper Salad I haven't tried this recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd, p., but it uses so many of our ingredients this week I have no doubt it will be delicious!
If that doesn't use up enough eggplant, I may make Baba Ganouj as well.
Remember a few weeks ago when I said I'd make Melon Salad with Lime? Well, I'll really do it this time!
We're also going to try a recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living: Kristin's Green Pate is my farm colleague's adaptation of a treat from Martha. We're making a few surprise substitutions, but this is a tasty delight.
Fall Festival Salad with so much lettuce, scallions, mizuna, and tatsoi. Yum!

Phew! Must go get to work on this ambitious menu!!
See you Friday
Photos: 1. Ricardo, Nikki, and Anne hang out the Fall Festival Banner 2. Locavorious' pallet in the freezer warehouse. I wish the photo could show how cold it was in there! 3. Broccoli!!! 4. Kristin shows off the broccoli.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Week Sixteen: Cool and Spicy

The weather this week has been so interesting! Tuesday was positively hot out at the farm. Like last week we picked tomatoes and more winter squash, bringing in a heroic harvest of acorn and butternut squash that give us all something to look forward to as we move into fall. After harvesting, we turned to weeding the leek patch, or rather, the paths in the leek patch! The weed galanzoga had grown so large that it was a bit like charging through a jungle and I kept expecting to meet dragons in the form of tomato horn worms who were busy eating the purslane. Fortunately, the leeks are looking fine despite the weeds. Maybe there is something in this beneficial weeds business! Wednesday was surprisingly chilly. I hadn't expected the cold front to descend on us so soon, but fortunately had some warm clothes to put on at the farm. My dad came out to the farm with us to do some more of his volunteer hours, and we all had fun bringing in a bountiful harvest of kale and other treats. He found it hard work, though, and was quite ready for a nap by the time we got home. We had other visitors at the farm, including Lisa Sullivan who told us tales over lunch about meeting Evo Morales, president of Bolivia.
This week's bounty is:
Tomatoes - 4 lbs
Summer squash - 1
Choice: Broccoli OR cabbage - 1 (we chose both!)
Kale - 1 lb PLUS 1 bunch
Hot peppers - 4
Eggplant - 2
Oriental greens (arugula, mizuna, and tatsoi) - 1 bunch
Sweet peppers - 4
Lettuce - 2 heads
Parsley - 1 bunch
Orchard fruit - 1 box
Basil - 1 plant
Melon - 1 piece
Green onions - 1 bunch

And the Menu:
Red Red-hot Vegetable Chili - a favorite from Hollyhocks and Radishes p. 28
Pesto - promised last week but not delivered. yum yum!
Eggplant Shu Mai - We won't make the dumplings since the filling alone is unbelievably delicious. I had some at a dinner party earlier this summer and have been dying to share it with you. We'll basically follow this recipe.
Coleslaw with Apples I'll be adapting a non-mayo dressing for this cabbage salad from Greens, Glorious Greens p. 71 and From Asperagus to Zucchini p. 45
Greens in Peanut Sauce from Simply in Season p. 195
Equinox Salad with lettuce, Oriental greens, and sweet peppers
If there's time we may also make Salsa, but I don't want to promise anything after last week's craziness!
Finally, everyone will get what may be the last of the melon for the season.

Also, I want to announce that I will be having a cooking demonstration at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market next Saturday, Sept 26 at 10.30. Be there!
Finally, check out our newest program, the Long Winter Kitchen.

I guess that's all! See you Friday.
Photo explanations: 1. Julie shows off an unusual tomato 2. Lotus purees a HUGE bowl of soup. 3. The late shift, Becky and Jake, are shocked by the number of dishes we've left for them. 4. Mary, Becky, Lotus, and Megan staff the CFK table at the Homegrown Festival 5. Parsley, squash, and peppers ready for distribution.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week Fifteen: Back to School

Well, the school year's come around again. Students are back and suddenly we're reminded of just how quiet it's been around this town over the summer! Out at the farm, however, it still seems pretty summer-y, since we're still getting plenty of classic summer crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and basil. All the same, on Tuesday we experienced the full scope of this kind of strange season we're in--the weather has been so cool and wet all summer that we spent the morning harvesting a huge number of tomatoes and the afternoon picking the first of the *winter squash*! It was a weird combination, but an excellent day's work. It poured in the morning, so I was feeling raindrops dripping off my nose as I picked tomatoes, but seeing the amount we brought in -- 8lbs per share!--made it all worthwhile. Then the winter squash harvest is always one of my favorite tasks. After picking the squash and piling them in the field, workers make a chain and toss the squash hand to hand to the tractor. It's fun for me because I get to enjoy throwing and catching, which I never did as a child.
We won't be eating those winter squash for a few weeks. In the mean time, we have plenty of the bounty of summer to enjoy!

This week's share:
Eggplant - 1
Basil - 1 branch
Potatoes - 1 box
Kale - 3/4 lb
Swiss chard - 3/4 lb
Sweet peppers - 3
Summer squash - 3
Lettuce - 2 heads
Garlic - 1 head
Parsley - 1 bunch
Hot peppers - 3
Orchard fruit - 1 box
Tomatoes - 8 lbs (!!)
Watermelon - 1
Cantaloupe - 1

And the menu ---
Lasagne an adaptation of all the best of the Moosewood recipe and suggestions from my co-workers at the farm (chard! eggplant! summer squash! yum!)
Marinated Tofu and Vegetables from Simply in Season p. 141
Curried Vegetable Bisque from Simply in Season p. 240
Kale Chips - this is always a popular way to dispose of kale, but I've never done it for the CFK before. Hopefully you'll enjoy!
We will also probably make Pesto if we have enough basil left over from the other things.
I'm also considering making a tasty melon salad as a change from the fresh melons we've been having... though it's hard to imagine what might improve these sweet treats.
And, of course Back to School Salad with lettuce.


Photos: 1. Potatoes and peppers in the distribution area 2. A harvest of blossoms 3. So many stuffed chard leaves!! (from a few weeks ago)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Week Fourteen: Watermelon and Cantaloupe!

Firstly, I was featured on last week! Read Jen Haines' excellent article here!
It's been another good week at the farm. These cool mornings have been deceptive--we workers start the day in multiple layers and wind up scattering sweatshirts, socks, scarves, and warm hats around the fields as the day warms up. On Tuesday afternoon we visited the hay field to dig the last of the potatoes. As we worked, we noticed a cloud of dragonflies hovering in the air over the field. It was so magical to be surrounded by these fluttering wings--kind of like being accompanied by fairies. On Wednesday we started very early on our big harvest. We picked whole lime basil plants and brought in Napa cabbage thinnings. Unfortunatley, due to the cool weather this summer we are not getting a good sweet corn harvest this year. On the other hand, we aren't seeing much of the tomato blight that many local farms are getting, so that's good. Also this week, some of the other apprentices helped with the melon harvest--so many large watermelon and cantaloupe that a *tractor and wagon* were required to bring them all in! Hope you're hungry for summer fruit... :-)

This week's bounty
Choice of 1 eggplant or 4 ears of corn (we chose a combo)
Edamame - 3 plants
Potatoes - 1 box
Sweet peppers - 3
Lime basil - 1 plant
Napa greens - 1 1/2 lb
Pears (from our orchard trees!!) - 1 box
Parsley - 1 bunch
Cantaloupe - 2
Lettuce - 2 heads
Radishes - 3
Sweet basil - 7 tips
Garlic - 1 bulb
Summer squash - 2
Hot peppers - 3
Watermelon - 2
Tomatoes - 6 lbs

With all that bounty we'll be making:
Victoria's Stir Fry - my Chinese buddy's favorite stir fry sauce on napa cabbage, radishes, and peppers.
Herb-Roasted Potatoes - from The Boxing Clever Cookbook p. 165
Ratatouille - Classic summer stew of deliciousness from Moosewood p. 119
Lime Basil Pesto - we're adapting the classic Moosewood recipe (p. 74) by using cashews to balance the unusual lime basil flavor.
Kristin's Hot Pepper Chutney - fellow farm worker Kristin learned this spicy-sweet condiment recipe while WWOOFing in Ireland. Yum!
Tomato Juice - summer, straight up.
Solidarity Salad with Edamame Happy Labor Day.
Also, everyone will be getting a watermelon AND a cantaloupe as well as just a taste of sweet corn.

See you Friday!

Photos: 1. Happy Farm Workers after a morning of harvest: Ricardo, Kristin, Mary, Paul, Katharina, Anne, Nikki 2. A wagon-load of watermelon 3. Nothing wrong with these tomatoes! 4. Pears 5. Thank you, Dani, for putting together our pizzas last week!!