Someone Else's Farm

October 07, 2010

Week 16 List

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , — M @ 09:04 AM

Here’s what we’re supposed to get this afternoon:

  • Cortland apple
  • Arugula
  • Purple eggplant
  • Red potatoes
  • Cherry Belle radish
  • Buttercup squash
  • Carnival squash
  • Tatsoi
  • Cherry tomato

I really hope the prediction about eggplant is correct. We haven’t gotten any all summer, and it’s feeling as though summer is over.

October 03, 2010

Catching Up

In other words: Week 13, Week 14, and Week 15 List, Suggestions, Haul, and What We Did With Some Of Our Good Stuff.

You’ve already seen the list and suggestions for Week 13. Here’s what we got, in the rain:

Broccoli, carrots, tomatillos, apples, tomatoes

Lemon basil, tomatoes, grape tomatoes

  • Macintosh Apples: half a dozen.
  • Lemon Basil: a big bunch.
  • Italian Flat Leaf Parsley: a bunch.
  • Baby Carrots: a baggie, the real thing, little tiny carrots that are that size and not cut down from big ones!
  • Cherry Belle and Easter Egg Radish: nope, although we weren’t sure at first.
  • Early Hakurei Turnips: a bunch. They look like little white radishes, which is why we were so confused.
  • Patty Pan, Zucchini, or Yellow Crook Neck Squash: two zucchini.
  • Tomatillos: a bagful.
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: four biggish ones.
  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes: Not sungolds, but a pint of red grape tomatoes.

This came just as work started to get crazy for me. Probably the most notable thing we did with the produce from this week was a pasta dish that Casey concocted, with a sauce of tomatoes, zucchini, and parsley and lemon basil.

Week 14’s list, and what I picked up on 23 September:

Peppers, turnips, tomatoes, apples, greens, squash

apples, turnips, greens

  • Macintosh Apples: four apples.
  • Green Italian Basil: I wish, but no.
  • Green Kale: a big bunch. Of course.
  • Red Potatoes: a net bag full of spuds a little larger than salt-size.
  • Acorn Squash: three of the tiniest I’ve ever seen.
  • Patty Pan Summer Squash: no.
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: a bunch of smallish plum-shaped tomatoes, two large red bashed-up tomatoes that were unsalvageable, and a green zebra or something similar.

And also a bunch of peppers, some jalapenos and some sweet orange and pale yellow varieties. And for good measure, two batches of leeks from another farmer’s market vendor. Leeks grow in dirt, in case you wondered.

The newsletter suggested this week that we make kale with apples and mustard, sauteed baby patty pan squash with basil and feta, and linguini with basil, kale, and tomatoes. We did none of these. Casey concocted another fresh tomato sauce for pasta, which did not have kale in it but did contain peppers and (shhh!) an anchovy, which worked very well.

The Macs from these last two weeks, I made into apple butter. I’m not a fan of mushy apples, and I couldn’t think of anything else to do with these but they were taking up more fridge space than I could afford to give them. So I rinsed and stemmed them all, cut them into quarters, tossed them into a pot with a splash of water and the juice from a leftover lemon half, and let them cook until they were mush. (It didn’t take long.) I then ran the cooked apples through the food mill to get rid of the skins and seeds. If I’d wanted applesauce, I would have stopped here, but then I would have had to put it into jars and process them right then and there, and I probably wouldn’t have finished that until way too late at night. So instead, I put the applesauce in the slow cooker (there was about 3 quarts, based on the markings of the bowl I ran the food mil into), added sugar (both brown and white), cinnamon, nutmeg, and a couple of whole cloves until it tasted defiantly sweet and spicy, cocked the lid of the slow cooker just slightly ajar, and let it cook on low overnight, stirring whenever I thought of it. By morning, the applesauce had cooked down quite a bit and turned brown, and there was a rather thick skin on top. I stirred the skin back in, and let it cook another couple of hours. (The skin broke down and cooked in until I couldn’t detect any pieces of it. The cloves must’ve broken down, because I couldn’t find them.) During the last bit of cooking time, I sterilized four half-pint jars and simmered the lids to match. I had enough apple butter to fill the four jars plus a little more to eat on waffles right then and there. I processed the apple butter-filled jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. All four jars sealed, so we’ll have apple butter for the winter.

And finally, Week 15, the most recent pickup, again in a drenching rain:

garlic, greens, squashes galore, apples, peppers, turnips, radishes

greens, greens, garlic, peppers, squashes, apples

  • Cortland Apples: four.
  • Arugula: a bunch.
  • Collard Greens or Brussel Sprout Greens: a bunch of collards, I think.
  • Garlic: four heads.
  • Green Peppers: three.
  • Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers: three, that didn’t taste very hot.
  • Jalapeno Peppers: a handful of tiny ones. I hope that means they have some heat in them.
  • Cherry Belle Radish: a bunch.
  • Hakurei Turnips: a bunch.
  • Delicata Squash or Spaghetti Squash: we got three pale green pattypan squashes and another of what looks like the carnival squash from Week 12. Nothing looked like either delicata or spaghetti squash.

The newsletter noted that they grow lots of greens because “we need them and most folks love them.” As I’ve said before, we enjoy greens, but not in the quantities we’ve been getting them. Maybe it would be better if we had a bigger household. But they did give us a suggestion for traditional southern-style collard greens with a ham hock or smoked turkey leg, or cooked in soup, and an idea for using collards (and sweet peppers and cabbage and a few other things) raw as a wrapper with julienne-cut vegetables and a nut pesto inside. And the turnips can go into miso soup. I could go for that, and it’s definitely turning into soup season.

We have a baguette and both Brie and Vermont Butter & Cheese Company Cultured Butter, to go with the radishes. For the turnips, I’m thinking a Korean-style pickle, to eat with dol sot bi bim bop this winter. All the tomatillos and many of the jalapenos will probably become mole verde, which will go in the freezer for later.

September 16, 2010

Week 13: list and suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 15:25 PM

It’s raining. I really hope it dries up before we go downtown tonight, to pick up this week’s share! We’re supposed to get:

  • Macintosh Apples (Knapp Farm) (probably my least-favorite apple variety, but oh well.)
  • Lemon Basil
  • Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Baby Carrots
  • Cherry Belle and Easter egg Radish
  • Early Hakurei Turnips
  • Patty Pan, Zucchini, or Yellow Crook Neck Squash
  • Tomatillos
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

Loving the herbs on the list. If we get the basil and the tomatoes, I may need to get some fresh mozzarella for salad in the near future. And if we get parsley, I can add some to the salad that went with yesterday’s mujadarah!

Hakurei turnips are one that I’ve not heard of before. Fortunately, we got suggestions for using them, and their greens in the newsletter, which says, “Hakurei turnips are mild in flavor and hold incredibly well in stews and soups…. Hakurei turnips are milder and sweeter than purple top turnips, and are best eaten raw. They taste a little bit like very mild horseradish.” The turnip recipe suggestions  are for a gratin and a chicken salad. The greens recipe is an Asian-style treatment with citrus. And as far as non-turnip recipes go, we got one for a summer squash, tomato, and basil risotto.

Finally, there was a note in the newsletter that chickens will be available soon. I am eager to try their chickens. The first one, we’ll simply season and roast, so we can really taste it. (The carcass will then become soup!) After that, we’ll figure out what to do with others we get. We’re also contemplating the turkeys that will be available come holiday time.

September 08, 2010

Week 12: List and Suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 16:53 PM

We got a lengthy newsletter this week. First, the best guess list of what we’ll pick up tomorrow:

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard Greens (Oy! Three kinds of greens again?)
  • Yellow Onions
  • Sweet Green Peppers
  • Hot Pepper Mix (Frying, Hungarian Hot Wax, Jalapeno)
  • Cherry Belle Radish
  • Carnival Squash (maybe this is what we got this week?)
  • Tomatillos
  • Heirloom Tomatoes

The newsletter also contains a number of notes of interest.

One note is that their greens are doing well. I’m really not sure how I feel about this. I understand that big batches of greens help to “bulk out” our shares, and make it look like we’re getting lots of stuff each week. However, I would happily go with a smaller amount of stuff if it meant getting less of the dreaded greens. I understand that they’re very healthy, and I understand that they grow well. I almost wish I still had pet guinea pigs, who would go wild over such things. But if there were one vegetable type that I were doomed to eat in vast quantities each and every week, greens wouldn’t be it. Apparently most of Oswego feels the same way: over the last few weeks, as we’ve walked up and down the farmer’s market on Thursdays, we’ve taken note of the number of vendors who sell greens. And they must not be big sellers here, as there’s only one vendor that typically has them—Grindstone Farm, one and the same with the CSA. So either nobody else is growing them, or everyone has discovered that they just don’t go here so there’s no sense in bringing many of them. I could certainly deal with getting a bunch or two, every other week or so. I think between what we’ve stored in the freezer and what we’re still going to get, I’m greened out for at least the next year.

Another note is that there are more potatoes to come. I like potatoes.

Looks like we’re starting in with the second crop of some vegetables. We’re anticipating more beans when they’re ready. And I hope the radishes come; my mother-in-law will be visiting and I want to make her a radish sandwich.

I’m waiting to see the prices on turkeys and chickens. We opted not to reserve a hog this year, as we don’t have enough freezer room. If we had, I’d happily give our greens to our hog.

And finally, there was a note about the quality of the tomatoes, as I noticed last week. The issue they face is a common one: if they let them ripen all the way before picking them, they get beaten up on their way here, and don’t last more than a day or so. Back in the days when my family had a garden, we’d pick the tomatoes as they ripened (if the groundhogs didn’t get to them first) and use them almost immediately. I guess this is one of the issues when tomatoes have to travel even a few miles, and when they’re delivered only once a week. Too bad it’s not practical to have a three-times-weekly CSA delivery, to help spread out some of the produce.

We got recipe suggestions this week. One is an Asian-inspired recipe for mizuna with chicken or tofu. It looks like a pretty standard stir-fry: The protein is velveted and set aside, the vegetables get stir-fried, a sauce gets added, and the protein is returned to the wok at the very end.

There’s a recipe for a cooked salsa verde. It, too, looks pretty standard. I prefer to use homemade cooked salsas as a sauce for other cooked things, and make raw salsas to eat with chips. This one could work nicely on grilled meats.

We got a fish recipe this week, for tequila-marinated mahi mahi with avocado-tomatillo sauce and grilled tomatoes. I was pleased to see that U.S.-caught mahi mahi is either a “best choice” or a “good alternative” according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I was also pleased to see a mustard green recipe, which would probably work with other greens as well. This one looks fairly standard, braised with bacon and shallots. Boiled egg and cranberries are suggested as a non-pork substitute. I’ll take the bacon, although I could see where cranberries might be nice, sort of like a suggestion of the classic spinach with raisins and pine nuts. I’ll take dried cranberries over raisins any day.

And finally, a vegan recipe for winter squash/garlic ravioli. (I guess you can get pasta sheets that are made without eggs around here?) I could totally see doing this when I’m in the mood to make something fiddly, but I’d use egg pasta, and real butter instead of vegan spread.

We’ve gotten lots of rain lately. I hope the beans appreciate it.

September 02, 2010

Week 11 List

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , — M @ 09:10 AM

No suggestions again this week. This afternoon, we’re supposed to pick up:

  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale
  • 1 bunch mizuna
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 3 lb gold potato
  • 1 lb spaghetti squash
  • 0.5 lb tomatillo
  • 2 lb heirloom tomato
  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomato

No eggplant on the list, even. I wonder if this means we won’t get any this year, since we didn’t get it when it was on the list. I’m a little surprised by the absence of zucchini also, and can’t quite believe that the zucchini season is officially over already? I’m disappointed at these omissions because without zuke and eggplant, both of which I feel like should be in profusion at this time of year, I can’t make ratatouille. I might just have to remedy that by supplementing our share with some produce from the farmer’s market.

I hope the big tomatoes are in better shape this week, so we can actually eat them. An earlier message said that Tuesday people would get the cherry tomatoes and Thursday people would get patty pan squash. We pick up on Thursday, so either their plans changed between messages, or we’ll get patty pan squash instead of cherry tomatoes. I guess we’ll find out later today!

August 26, 2010

Week 10: List and Suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: — M @ 10:30 AM

This afternoon, I will ride my bike downtown and pick up:

  • Green Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Purple Eggplant
  • Red Kale
  • Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Bunching Onions
  • Antohi and Jalapeno Peppers
  • Zucchini Squash
  • Heirloom Tomatoes

I am grateful that watermelon is not on the list for this week. Even a small watermelon does not fit well on a bike. And I have no clue what an antohi pepper was. Unfortunately, this week’s newsletter didn’t say anything about them. And I am hoping it is not raining when it is time for me to go downtown.

The newsletter did say that the brassicas are transplanted, so I guess the never-ending march of the kales will continue. The newsletter also lists the kinds of tomatoes they’ve planted: Debarao, Yellow Brandywine, Muskovich, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Brandywine, Prudens Purple, Rose, Valencia, Striped German, Zefa Fino, Juliet, New Girl and Sun Gold Cherry. It would be nice if they told us some distinguishing characteristics of each, or at least provided a link to a Web page with pictures or descriptions, so we’d know what we’re getting.

For recipe suggestions this week, we got a Spicy Bean Salsa and an Italian Ribollita. (What other kind of ribollita is there, by that name? Just askin’.) The salsa uses canned black-eyed peas and black beans, and gives the option to use canned corn (which is sacrilege to me, this time of year) or fresh cut-off-the-cob. The next item is given as chopped green bell or antohi pepper, so from that, I infer that antohi peppers are green and sweet. I can’t imagine why the recipe calls for a can of diced jalapenos, especially when we’re getting fresh ones this week, unless that pickled flavor is somehow important. This recipe can use either tomatoes or tomatillos, or a combination. I tend to prefer my tomatillos solo, and would probably use just tomatoes in this. This is a no-vampire recipe, as it asks for 6 cloves of garlic, chopped. I’m not quite sure what olive oil, garlic salt, and ground pepper are doing in a salsa like this. And the rest is just standard salsa stuff: cilantro, lime juice, cumin.

The ribollita is a strange suggestion for this week, because it doesn’t use much of what’s going to be in this week’s share and because it’s more of a winter dish, a way to stretch the soup to feed everyone the second night. The recipe calls for 10 (5-inch) zucchini; It’ll be interesting to see just how much zucchini we get this week. In this case, for this recipe, I think a mass measurement would have been more useful. The recipe will also use a bunch of kale and an onion (again, nothing more specific for measurement on either). The other vegetables in the recipe are not in this week’s list: carrot, celery, potatoes, leek, Swiss chard(!), Savoy cabbage, and finally, 3 Tbsp tomato puree, the most specific measurement in the batch. I’m also not a fan of the construction method the recipe prescribes, where bread is layered with cooked soup overnight and then reheated. I’d rather add pieces of bread just before reheating, because I think the texture is better. I think for this, I’ll stick with Marcella Hazan.

August 18, 2010

Week 09: list

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , — M @ 10:29 AM

Tomorrow’s box is supposed to include:

  • Watermelon, Sugar Baby, 1 melon
  • 0.5 lb Green Beans
  • 1 bunch Chard, Rainbow
  • 1 lb Cucumbers
  • 1 Bunch Kale, Green
  • 1 Head Lettuce, Red Leaf
  • 1 Bunch Onions, Bunching
  • 0.5 lb Peppers, Green
  • 0.5 lb Tomatillo
  • 1 lb Tomatoes, Mixed Varieties

Casey gets to pick this one up by himself, as I’ll be at a conference in Boston. I’m excited to see tomatillos on the list, and hope we get them!

No suggestions this week yet. Maybe everything here is self-explanatory?

August 08, 2010

Week 08: list and suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 11:17 AM

aka Greens, Greens, and More Greens. According to this week’s newsletter, the share is supposed to contain:

  • Blueberries
  • Green or yellow beans
  • Rainbow chard
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Dino kale
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Bunching onions
  • Zucchini squash
  • Sungold cherry tomatoes

Sigh: both chard and kale. Again. The newsletter also notes that they seeded their fields for fall: kales (plural), collards, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and “exciting new greens.” At this point, greens of any sort fail to excite me. There’s also a note that the winter squashes are doing well, so I can at least look forward to those. I wonder how well they’d go with cooking greens, which seem like they’ll never end.

The newsletter says, “Greens can be intimidating at times.” I long ago ceased to be intimidated by greens, and am now just sick and tired of them because, it seems, there’s only so much you can do with them and they all seem to taste alike, except that some are stronger-flavored, tougher, and in need of longer cooking than others. There is a new suggestion for greens this week: dice them, marinate with vinegar, as much cayenne as you can tolerate, crushed garlic cloves, sliced green onions, and grated ginger, for a fresh kimchi. They also suggest using collards and kales in soups that can be a quick and easy meal now, or frozen for later. That would be great, except that:

  1. I’m not really looking for hot soup when we’re in the middle of summer, and more often than not this year it’s been hot and sticky.
  2. I have enough other stuff in my freezer that I really don’t have room for soup. I’d rather use my precious freezer space for homemade stock that I’ve boiled down and concentrated so it takes less room, allowing me to make soup (or sauce, or just add flavor to other dishes) quickly and easily.
  3. If soup’s so quick and easy, why would I bother putting containers of it in my freezer anyway? I can make a quick and easy soup in the time it would take me to defrost already-made soup!

I’m at the point where I wish I had a compost heap to toss the greens in, because I really don’t want to eat any more of them for a little while. Or that somewhere in town would take them off our hands. I’m starting to think that for the next two weeks or more, the farm should take their entire harvest of greens to a soup kitchen and where someone who really appreciates them could have them. I’d happily take home a smaller amount of stuff for the privilege of not having to take home greens for a couple of weeks. They’ve been dominating my refrigerator of late, at least until they wilt down enough that they use less space and are not the first thing I notice when I open the refrigerator door. If I wanted to make a horror movie right now, I think I know what the big scary bad guy would look like.

We’ve been starting to see lots of fruit in the farmer’s market. Maybe the CSA farm could trade some of their greens for peaches, cherries, apricots, nectarines, or even some of the early apple varieties. Or tomatoes. It seems almost criminal to me not to have tomatoes included in a share in late July or any time in August.

Another suggestion relates to that other perpetual summer player, zucchini: grating some in with eggs, cheese, and ham. The newsletter comments that zucchini is versatile. This, I agree with. I wish greens were as versatile. And I wish they would swap the amounts of zucchini and greens they’re giving us. I haven’t even made one zucchini cake this year yet, because we haven’t had enough zucchini for me to use it that way, and we’ve been getting so much other produce that I hesitate to actually buy anything else, except for maybe fruits since we don’t seem to get any fruit other than blueberries in our shares. (I don’t have a recipe for a greens cake, unfortunately.)

And they suggest using cucumbers, garlic scapes, celery salt, and yogurt to make a summer salad. Which would be great if we had garlic scapes, but they aren’t on our list now.

If we’re getting cherry tomatoes, maybe I’ll actually eat some of the upcoming lettuce in a salad before it gets brown and slimy and goes into the trash can.

August 05, 2010

Week 05 and Week 06: What Our Neighbors Got

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , , — M @ 16:05 PM

Two days after we left for our vacation, a box was delivered. We gave it to our next-door neighbors. They were supposed to get

  • Blueberries
  • Basil, Green
  • Beans, Green
  • Beets, Red
  • Bok Choy
  • Chicory Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce, Red Romaine
  • Mizuna
  • Zucchini

The recipe suggestions from that week were for a zucchini topping to serve over cheese ravioli, and for a chicory salad with bacon and fried potatoes. I was also disheartened to read in the newsletter that they just ordered more seeds for fall greens including (gulp) more brassicas. Sigh. Basta, as my seventh-grade Latin teacher would say. Enough.

The week after, we got back into town too late to pick up our box, so once again the neighbors picked it up. That delivery was supposed to contain

  • Blueberries
  • Basil, Green
  • Basil, Lemon
  • Beans, Green
  • Carrots, Orange Fresh Baby
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale, Green
  • Lettuce, Red Romaine
  • Onions, Bunching
  • Zucchini

The neighbors got most of the good stuff, I think.

Week 07: List and suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 15:56 PM

This week, the newsletter says we’re supposed to get:

  • Blueberries
  • Green Basil
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Chicory Greens
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Red Kale
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Bunching Onions
  • Zucchini Squash

I’m beginning to wonder just how giant the fields of greens are, and if they’ll ever quit giving us kale. And I think that if they’re going to keep giving us kale and/or chard every friggin’ week, they need to give us more suggestions about ways to use them. I’m about kaled out by now, and we aren’t even halfway through our season share yet.

On the bright side, the blueberries we got last week have been wonderful. (Yeah, I know, I didn’t say anything about last week, or the week before. It’s coming.)

We got onions last week also. They looked nice and fresh, and had more bite than I was expecting. Bite is generally a good thing in onions, as far as I’m concerned.

One of this week’s suggestions was for a roasted lemon-basil chicken. This is exactly the sort of recipe I don’t really need, as I never have any trouble figuring out things to do with fresh basil. I’m also a little puzzled by the fact that the recipe calls for putting basil, garlic, and lemon slices between the skin and meat of the chicken, before the chicken goes into an oven for 45 to 50 minutes. I can’t imagine that the basil would have much impact on the flavor of anything, after that long in the oven.

The other recipe suggestion is for a zucchini pizza, where the zuke gets sliced into thick rounds, grilled, and used as the base for pizza sauce and mozzarella. I like this idea better. However, the next time I have zucchini to use up, I’m more likely to want to try a recipe I found in David Lebovitz’s blog for a zucchini cake with crunchy lemon glaze. (That’s assuming it’s cooled down enough to contemplate turning the oven on again!) One of the things that particularly appeals to me about this recipe is that all the dry ingredient measurements are given by mass. I wish the liquid ingredients were also given by mass. Oh well.

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