Blog/Farm Newsletters

Posted 8/6/2013 9:20am by Roy Brubaker .

 Farm Note…

How do we get to be so lucky with all this wonderful weather?  I hardly know how to write a newsletter because there haven’t been extreme weather conditions to write about.  The muck boots have been stashed in the corner and even the straw hats have returned to their hooks on the wall.  We are trying to take advantage of these ideal conditions.  They come at a great time as we are trying to keep up with harvest while also transitioning to the fall season.  Cover crops are emerging in fields that, just a week ago, were home to our early vegetable plantings. Nice rows of carrots, beets, and turnips are shooting up and with a little thinning and hand weeding are looking in good shape to fill our bellies and coolers later this fall and winter.   We also just finished baling all the straw from our wheat harvest and the blanket of clover underneath is now ready for our young turkeys to take to pasture!  There are daily hiccups and minor frustrations, but in the past week it has been satisfying to feel in sync with the rhythm of the seasons.


Cherry tomatoes, Heirloom Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini (green & yellow), Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, Sweet Snack Peppers, Red Beets, Potatoes, Onions, Basil and Hot Peppers.


Upcoming Events:

Farm Breakfast: Sept 7 from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month).

Community Canning Days: Once again we are opening our FoodShed kitchen for tomato canning.  Canning is always more fun and more efficient when working with others.  Julie will be canning Thursday August 8th in the afternoon and folks are welcome to join!  Other dates/times can be negotiated as well.  If interested email Julie at



Basque Chicken

Julie made this dish yesterday for an event here at the FoodShed and it was amazing!  Since it is a fresh chicken week and the peppers and tomatoes are rolling in, it seems like a fitting recipe to include this week!

1 Pieced Chicken (4lbs)

2 Large Onions

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

6 Bell Peppers

3 Mild Chiles (optional)

6 Ripe Tomatoes

2-4 garlic cloves (Minced)

2 tsp. salt (or more)

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

¼-1/2 tsp. Chile Powder

Black Pepper.

Sauté Onions in olive oil until translucent.  Add peppers, tomatoes, and seasoning and cook for 20 minutes. 

Brown chicken in oil and.  Use ¾ c. white wine to deglaze pan.   Add vegetable sauce and chicken back into pan and cook together for 40 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Posted 7/30/2013 12:03pm by Hannah Smith.

Farm Notes…

What a beautiful day! A bit odd for this time of year, feels more like September, but we’ll take it! This past week brought with it continued good harvest, completion of the task of bunching and hanging garlic, a whole new system of drying onions in the barn (benefited by Roy’s hand constructed drying racks), trials in the sweet corn field (including Roy happening upon not 1 or 2, but 10 deer devouring your prized crop…stay tuned for whether we will have enough now), and the benefit of help from a dear friend’s son, Steven, who many of you met at CSA distribution last week. This week also saw the return of our daughter Chandler (15), back from 70 some miles of hiking in the Adirondacks and then on to Mt. Kathadin in Maine. She and our son Owen (11) will be more regularly helping out on distribution day as we are starting a new venture of “life schooling” on the farm this year.

Enjoy your share in this week’s harvest! Hannah


Cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, red slicing tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, zucchini (green & yellow), sweet peppers (Yummy, Bell, Carmen* (full only), Jimmy Nardello), Fennel, Basil and Parsley

Heirloom Tomatoes, Fennel and Hot Peppers are out of the box – be sure to pick up!


Upcoming Events:

Farm Breakfast: Aug 3rd from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month).

Fundraiser for PASA*: Aug 3rd from 4pm to 6pm. Come on out to the FoodShed for a Pampered Chef show. There will be kitchen tool stations for you to see and try, and then taste the results using Village Acres Farm fresh organic products! Check out the catalog at Click on Shop Online then enter Village Acres FoodShed as the host.

*10-15% of total sales from the show will be donated to the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.



Gazpacho (Ina Garten)


1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled

2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded

4 plum tomatoes

1 red onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess! After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Posted 7/23/2013 11:55am by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes… It’s getting to the point of the season when our coolers become an organizational nightmare.  Every day cartloads of the day’s harvest come into the packing shed and by Monday, we are barely able to figure out how to fit it in to the already full coolers.  Needless to say we are happy when CSA day comes and much of the produce gets packed up and shared with all of you.  It is very freeing to see the empty space return to the cooler.  In late July there is little time for anything other than harvest- melons arrive, tomatoes take off, and the garlic and onions that have been largely out of mind for much of the spring all of a sudden are ready to harvest. Our wagons, coolers, and barns/sheds are filling up quickly.  We are so happy to have all you folks to share in the fruits of this land and our labors and hope that you have an enjoyable time finding places for our harvest in your coolers and on your dinner plates. Deb


Sungolds, Slicing Tomatoes, Red Potatoes, Fresh White Onions, Carrots, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Eggplant, Kale and Basil

Cantaloupe and Watermelon are out of the box – be sure to pick up!

Upcoming Events:

Farm Breakfast: Aug 3rd from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm-style breakfast (occurs first Saturday of every month).

Fundraiser for PASA*: Aug 3rd from 4pm to 6pm. Come on out to the FoodShed for a Pampered Chef show. There will be kitchen tool stations for you to see and try, and then taste the results using Village Acres Farm fresh organic products! You can also check out the online catalog at click on Shop Online then enter Village Acres FoodShed as the host.

*10-15% of total sales from the show will be donated to the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.


Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad
1 1/2 pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped scallion (from 1 bunch)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)
1 (14-oz) can reduced-sodium chicken broth (1 3/4 cups)
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Accompaniment: 1 (1/2-lb) piece ricotta salata, cut crosswise into thin slices

Roast eggplant and zucchini: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool, reserving other pan for cooling barley.

Cook barley:
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Make dressing and assemble salad:
Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well. Serve with cheese slices.

Posted 7/16/2013 8:56am by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes…

Happily, we have gone two days now without rain refilling our Mosquito breeding ponds (otherwise known as aisles) and if we are lucky, with another two, we may actually have them dried up!  Hot weeks like this one take some strategizing in order to figure out how to get everything done that needs to be done without getting heat stroke.  Typically we race to the greenhouse first thing every morning to harvest the cucumbers and tomatoes before temperature reach 100 degrees inside them at 9:00.  Afterward it is off to the field under the shelter of straw hats, equipped with large water containers hustling to fork out those potatoes, or push the wheel hoe down alongside the newly emerging carrot beds before the sun is high overhead.  If we’re lucky, in the afternoon is a washing task which can include getting sprayed by a coworker, or more onion curing racks to build in the shade of the workshop.  Regardless of the task, by the end of the day, many of us are very happy that the farm is blessed with a creek with several refreshing swimming holes.  Once submerged in the stream, energy is renewed, and returning to the fields to harvest the summer squash before the sun sets seems so much more bearable than it would have been hours before. 



Blueberries*, Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Red Potatoes, Green Beans, Slicing Tomatoes, Fresh White Onions, Cucumbers, Summer Squash (yellow, green, patty pan), Head Lettuce, Chard^, Hot Peppers^, and Herbs^.

*No Spray from local farm

^ Out of Box at Staffed Distributions.

Notes on the Vegetables:

Green Beans- Our first planting is just coming in, and the Mexican Bean Beetles have found them.  We tried to keep out the most severely damaged beans, but you may notice some little black spots on the some of the beans in your share today.  We are now releasing some parasitic wasps that target these beetles so hopefully we will have some better quality beans in subsequent plantings.  While they have some little blemishes, hopefully you find these beans to be delicious ;-)

Lettuce Heads- Today is likely the last week of Head Lettuce for a while.  Lettuce does not like it hot, so typically we phase it out for Late July and August.  Some of today’s Lettuce heads may show some signs of heat stress but hopefully will provide you with some good last sandwiches or salads for the summer season.  Come fall we will have the nice leafy lettuces, spinach, and mesclun back, but for now, tomato and cucumber salads might have to take their space on the plate. 

Upcoming Events:

Farm Breakfast (1st Saturday of every month): August 3rd from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm-style breakfast.

FoodShed Classes (contact Tessa at the Juniata Cultural Arts Committee for more info: July 24th/25th: Portrait Drawing; August 7th/8th: Kids Art 


Not sure how to use all your summer squash?  See below for several recipe ideas.

Greek Zucchini Fritters


Yield: Serves six to eight.

- 2 pounds large zucchini, trimmed and grated on the wide holes of a grater or food processor


- 2 eggs

- 1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as fennel, dill, mint, parsley

- 1 tablespoon ground cumin

- 1 cup fresh or dry breadcrumbs, more as necessary

- Freshly ground pepper

- 1 cup crumbled feta

- All-purpose flour as needed and for dredging

- Olive oil for frying


1. Salt the zucchini generously and leave to drain in a colander for one hour, tossing and squeezing the zucchini from time to time. Take up handfuls of zucchini, and squeeze out all of the moisture. Alternately, wrap in a clean dish towel, and squeeze out the water by twisting at both ends.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the shredded zucchini, herbs, cumin, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste and feta. Mix together well. Take up a small handful of the mixture; if it presses neatly into a patty, it is the right consistency. If it seems wet, add more breadcrumbs or a few tablespoons of all-purpose flour. When the mixture has the right consistency, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or longer.

3. Heat 1 inch of olive oil in a large frying pan until rippling, or at about 275 degrees. Meanwhile, take up heaped tablespoons of the zucchini mixture, and form balls or patties. Lightly dredge in flour.

4. When the oil is very hot, add the patties in batches to the pan. Fry until golden brown, turning once with a spider or slotted spoon. Remove from the oil, and drain briefly on a rack. Serve with plain Greek style yogurt if desired.

Advance preparation: The mixture can be assembled up to a day before you make and fry the fritters.


Grilled Zucchini and Grape Tomato Salad

Recipes from The Kitchn

Serves 4

1 large zucchini

Extra virgin olive oil

1 pint grape tomatoes

Handful fresh herbs — chives, sage, basil, summery savory, oregano

1 tablespoon extra virgin finishing-quality olive oil, or more to taste

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

Heat the grill to medium hot. Cut the zucchini in half crosswise and then lengthwise so you have four quarters. Brush the cut sides with olive oil. Grill for about 5 minutes total, depending on the thickness of the zucchini. Flip once so that the outside also gets grill marks. You want the zucchini hot through and juicy, but not too soft.

(If you don't have a grill, then broil the zucchini cut side up for a couple minutes or until they begin to brown.)

Cut up the zucchini into bite-sized pieces. Cut the grape tomatoes in half and toss with the zucchini. Mince the herbs finely and toss with the other vegetables. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Taste and adjust as necessary.


Potato, Squash & Goat Cheese Gratin

Recipes from The Kitchn

serves six

2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound

4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces goat cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup whole milk

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Use a mandoline or chef's knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less. Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl.

Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — no need to layer them squash-potato-squash; just spread evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns. Scatter on the fresh basil, if using.


Posted 7/9/2013 1:02pm by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes…

Dealing with the emotional swings of being a farmer is something one learns over many years I guess.  This week was a week of much practice - rejoicing as the tomatoes and blueberries started to ripen in full force and dealing with the disappointments of more rain, pesky deer munching relentlessly on our sweet potatoes and equally frustrating worms chewing on greenhouse tomatoes and peppers (see note on peppers below).  What stands out to me most on weeks like this is how even keeled my Dad stays, barely showing his disappointment.  I chalk it up to him being a truly seasoned farmer - something that I am learning from.  Unlike him, though, I eagerly take in the first handful of tomatoes and display them on the kitchen table. And when I discover a problem, I quickly dial my father’s cell and talk worriedly (this is where his being even-keeled is actually helpful), or consult google for its endless wisdom.  Meanwhile, Dad’s response to the deer issue is to (without discussion) wash out the back of the pickup so he and mom could place a mattress on it and sleep in the sweet potato field, protecting the growing vines from additional damage with the blinding beam from the spot light plugged into the cigarette outlet.  Maybe when I’m 72 years old, that will be me?! Deb


Blueberries*, Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Slicing Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Eggplant, Fresh White Onions, Cucumbers, Summer Squash (yellow, green, patty pan), Head Lettuce, Kale^, Hot Peppers^, and Basil.

*No Spray from local farm

^ Out of Box at Staffed Distributions.

Notes on the Vegetables:

Green Peppers: Up until a week ago our greenhouse peppers looked picture perfect and we were pretty excited for a bumper crop.  Unfortunately late last week I began to notice that as the peppers were beginning to ripen, they were rotting.  It turns out that our early peppers are being affected by the evil European Corn Borer which lays eggs in the blossom and then the developing caterpillars borer through the peppers, causing both whole, and eventually rot.  In an attempt to still get some use out of these early peppers that seem to be affected, we harvested them green and are giving them out in the shares today.  Most of the peppers should be useable, but you may notice small holes, and some insect damage (maybe even a worm) on the inside of the pepper.  We wish they were perfect, but hope you can still enjoy these early peppers.  I have ordered some parasitic wasps to release to try and combat these pests for the next batch of blossoms.  Here’s hoping!!
















Posted 7/2/2013 10:37am by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes…

 This past week has been the week of the muck boot. With afternoon showers nearly every day, we all have been living in our mud slogging boots this week.  Here at Village Acres, we plant nearly everything on raised beds for weeks like these when the rains linger in our heavy clay soils.  The raised beds help to keep the root zones of our plants happier when we have heavy rains, but these raised beds also result in lower trenches which, of course, are the paths we must traverse to pick those ever persistent summer squash, or to wrangling in the far reaching sungold tomato branches into a nicely trellised row.  So we have deep gratitude for muck boots this week!  We were able to use the consistent afternoon showers of this past week to help transition many cabbage and broccoli transplants from their temporary home in the seed bed in the garden to their home in the fields.  These “bareroot” transplants are starting to revive in relative short order with the persistence of these showers at keeping their roots supplied with moisture until they are able to regrow.   After last summer of a pathetic cabbage crops, I am trying my hardest to ensure our cabbage is getting the attention it needs and hopefully our efforts will pay off this fall!   I’ll try to keep you posted on its progress!


IN THE SHARE TODAY: Scallions, Spring Garlic, Kale, Cucumbers, Zucchini (yellow and green), Carrots, Red Beets,  Lettuce Heads, Endive, Eggplant (medium shares this week), Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, and Cilantro. 

 Upcoming Events:

Farm Breakfast (1st Saturday of every month): July 6th from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm-style breakfast.

FoodShed Classes (contact Tessa at the Juniata Cultural Arts Committee for more info:

July 13th: Wool Felting; July 24th/25th: Portrait Drawing; August 7th/8th: Kids Art 


Stuffed Zucchini-

Cut green or yellow zucchini crosswise, creating to boat-type halves.  Scoop out the inside portions (place in saucepan for later) leaving as thin of a shell as possible (without breaking it.) Place saucepan with scooped out portions on stove and cook until soft.  Once it is soft, drain off excess water.  Mix this mixture with browned meat (turkey, beef, etc.) or for vegetarian options quinoa, wild rice, white rice, and your other favorite sautéed vegetables.  For extra deliciousness add your favorite cheese- feta, parmesan, or other and for crunch, pine nuts, pecans or other nuts.  Mix the cook down zucchini with the other ingredients, season according to your liking and spoon back into the shell.  Top with grated cheese and place in the oven and bake at 400 degrees until the shell is soft and the cheese is golden.

IN THE SHARE TODAY: Scallions, Spring Garlic, Kale, Cucumbers, Zucchini (yellow and green), Carrots, Red Beets,  Lettuce Heads, Endive, Eggplant (medium shares this week), Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, and Cilantro. 


 Curly Endive Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Bon Appétit | November 1996


Serves 6


3 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 large egg

1 cup canned vegetable broth, low-salt chicken broth or water

6 bacon slices, cut into 1-inch piece

1 large head curly endive or other bitter lettuce (such as escarole), torn into bite-size pieces



Combine sugar and flour in small bowl. Gradually whisk in vinegar, then egg. Whisk in broth.

Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown. Whisk in vinegar mixture. Stir until dressing comes to simmer and thickens. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over low heat before continuing.)

Place endive in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Serve, passing remaining 

Posted 6/25/2013 12:03pm by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes…

What a hot week it’s turning out to be! We’re due, though, I suppose. It’s been a fairly mild summer so far. Every day, by no later than 10am, I see lots of beet red faces, each happy to be the one to carry what’s been harvested into the cooler. We are experiencing a week full of “firsts of the season”: spring garlic, carrots, eggplant in your shares this week and tomatoes will soon be on their way to you. Summer is truly here! Of course, that means we are also saying goodbye to asparagus. This will be the last week.

We’ve had a few requests from folks wondering about coming to help on the farm from time-to-time. Please just give us a call; we can always use extra hands for just about anything. Anything, that is, but weeding the thistles as that’s my favorite job! J So far this summer, our harvest has been phenomenal and there is nothing to indicate otherwise anytime soon. We hope you are thoroughly enjoying the bounty!    Hannah

IN THE SHARE TODAY: Asparagus, Scallions, Spring Garlic (looks like thick scallions), Cucumbers, Zucchini (yellow and green), Carrots, Lettuce Heads, Eggplant (full shares this week), Basil, Parsley, Oregano, Thyme and Cilantro. 

 Upcoming Events at the Farm:

Farm Breakfast (1st Saturday of every month): July 6th from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm-style breakfast.

FoodShed Classes (contact Tessa at the Juniata Cultural Arts Committee for more info:

June 29th: Flower Arranging with Hope; July 13th: Wool Felting; July 24th/25th: Portrait Drawing; August 7th/8th: Kids Art


Barefoot Carrot Salad

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 pound carrots

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup diced fresh pineapple

Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then drain.

Fit a food processor with the grating blade. Cut the carrots in half and place in the feed tube so they are lying on their sides. Process in batches. Place the grated carrots in a medium bowl, add the lemon juice and toss.

For the dressing, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar and salt. Pour the dressing over the carrots and add the pineapple and raisins. Toss together and serve.


Barely Sweet Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 eggs

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup mashed banana

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups grated zucchini (pack it tight)

2 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two loaf pans and set aside.

Beat together the eggs, butter, mashed banana, honey, brown sugar and vanilla. Once integrated, stir shredded zucchini into the wet ingredients.

In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Gently whisk until fully integrated.

Add the dry ingredient to the wet in three batches, stirring well to integrate before adding more.

Once batter is mixed, divide it equally between the two prepared pans.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, until the loaves are baked through and a toothpick comes out clean.

Eat within 3-4 days or wrap in several layers of plastic and freeze.



Posted 6/18/2013 10:55am by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes…

Well, after looking at the weather on Sunday Morning and seeing a 70 percent chance of strong thunderstorms we made the decision to postpone the Strawberry festival which was scheduled for last Sunday.  It turned out those storms never arrived and the weather would have been perfect for a gathering so we were a little disappointed to miss the chance to spend a perfect afternoon with all of you, but we were not disappointed about having another dry day for the fields. Those leggy winter squash that I was fretting over last week have made it into the ground, and as I type, my dad is blissfully prepping fields with the tractor for plantings of leeks, more winter squash, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower which will all be moving to the fields in the next week or two.  The earliest tomatoes in the greenhouse are starting to ripen, and the eggplants and peppers (green bell and hot peppers) are just a few weeks away from consideration for you shares!  The season is marching at a fast clip and we are running to keep up!


IN THE SHARE TODAY: Asparagus, Scallions, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Red Beets, Kale, Lettuce Mix, Spinach, Garlic Scapes, Basil, Parsley, and Cilantro.

(Note:  The greens have not been washed!  Please wash carefully before consuming!)

 First of the year:

 Red Beets- The beets are just starting to size up and some planted a little too densely so there is some size variations in the beets today- some full sized and some smaller.  The smaller beets have been removed in a thinning process to allow the rest of the beets remaining in the rows to grow bigger so hopefully the next bunches will be a little more uniform. 

Disappointing peas:  Despite a pretty successful spring/early summer so far, we are disappointed with our pea crop.  While peas are a lot of work in both trellising and picking, they are so delicious, and a real crowd pleaser so we typically try to grow enough to give folks at least a few times in the spring.  Well our crop this year is not measuring up- poor germination, under-planting, and some issues with rabbits/ground hogs, have left us with too few peas to give out in an equitable way to share-holders. We will make the ones we were able to harvest available as an extra item (for purchase).  I just ordered more seed to try a fall planting which will hopefully let us all enjoy the wonderful freshness of a snap pea at some point this year.  Thanks for your understanding!  It is added to our list to do better next year!


Beets in Vinaigrette Gourmet | January 2008

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Active Time: 15 min

Total Time: 1 hr

1 1/2 pounds medium beets (about 4; 2 1/2 pounds with greens), trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached

2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


Cover beets generously with water in a heavy medium saucepan and simmer until tender when pierced in center with a knife, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool to warm, then slip off skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch slices.

Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, onion, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking, then add warm beets and parsley and toss. Season with additional sugar and salt. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Posted 6/10/2013 10:00pm by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes…

After a relatively dry spring, the rains have come.  Of course multiple full days of showers quickly saturate these heavy clay soils and start making me panicky.  Will if ever dry off in time to get these Winter Squash plants out before they are too lanky? And rainy Mondays’ are extra challenging as one rarely wants to suit up in full rain gear and head to the fields to harvest for CSA and when we are forced to inevitably it seems like all the rain gear has suddenly developed gaping holes.  Today we dashed in and out of the rain harvesting what we could from the fields before the next downpour.  Luckily we also have a lot of harvesting and other work in the greenhouses to keep us busy all day long.  We are hoping the morning brings some respite from the rain so we can get the last greens and strawberries before packing all the boxes!  All hands will be needed so I’m making sure to get this newsletter put together early! 

Despite my belly aching, we are grateful for the rain- with it, the first planting of beets and carrots are swelling, and sweet corn, beans, and parsnips are germinating.  Our rain barrels (rather tankers) which we use for watering in the greenhouses are filling, and the cover crops are building soil building biomass at rapid speeds.  After 7 years of farming in the desert Southwest, I have learned to not take rain for granted so I will take a deep breath and know that eventually those winter squash (even if leggier than ideal) will find a good home in some dry soil and the rains will come to water them in and I will once again be grateful.


IN THE SHARE TODAY: Strawberrries, Asparagus, Scallions, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Chard, Collards, Lettuce Heads, Garlic Scapes, and Basil


 Note on (some of) the vegetables:

 Strawberries- This week’s strawberries are smaller and perhaps not as beautiful as last weeks, but hopefully just as tasty.  This week’s rain may be tough on the strawberries, but we should still have a good number around for the Strawberry Festival on Sunday (and perhaps for one more week if all goes well.)

Scallions- We have a bunch of scallions in your share, as well as extra’s to grab.  These are the last from our field tunnel, and they are beginning to show signs of heat stress, and there neighbors the tomatoes really wanted them out so we are hoping you take more if you are able to use more!

Summer Squash- Some of these are still a little misshapen.  This is either do to cold stress, dryness stress, or lack of pollination.  It seems like the yellow squash are emerging from the condition, and we hope the green zucchini will soon as well.

Chard- We have a very healthy crop of chard this summer.  I’m sorry if you are getting tired of it.  I will try to include some recipe ideas so as provide a way utilize the abundance!

Collards- These have been the miracle plants this spring.  I planted some for our Winter Shares and they just keep producing.  We finally needed the space in the greenhouse so they are in your box today, giving the Kale a week to grow back more fully. 

Lettuce Heads: These heads are a little smaller than normal.  We planted the lettuce on white plastic which is helpful for keeping it from bolting in the heat, but with the cool spring, the early plantings were slow to grow and now the other plantings are about at the same stage so we are going to harvest some smaller to try and make sure we aren’t all of a sudden overwhelmed!


Garlic Scapes- One of my favorites- if you are unfamiliar, the garlic scape is the seed head of garlic that shoots up from the plant at this time of year.  It is advised to pull or cut the scape off the plant to direct the plant’s energy towards the bulb.  It just so happens that the scape makes a great addition for a spring CSA box!  Chop it and use for a mild garlic favor.  See attached recipe for garlic scape pesto.



Garlic Scape Pesto

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 (makes 1 1/2 cups pesto)


10 large garlic scapes

1/3 cup unsalted pistachios (I use almonds)

1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation: Puree the garlic scapes, pistachios, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the opening. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. (The pesto keeps in the fridge, covered, for 1 week or frozen for a month.)


Roasted Garbanzo Beans and Garlic with Swiss Chard Bon Appétit | January 2008

Yield: Makes 6 servings


Garbanzo Beans:

2 15.5-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (about 3 cups)

10 garlic cloves, peeled

2 large shallots

3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh

2 shallots, sliced

2 bunches Swiss chard, center stems cut out, leaves coarsely torn

2 cups low-salt chicken broth


Garbanzo beans:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first 5 ingredients in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour oil over; cover dish with foil. Roast until garlic is tender, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and chill.



Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, bay leaves, and shallots. Cover; cook until shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Uncover; add half of chard. Toss until chard wilts and volume is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chard. Toss until chard wilts, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Cover and cook until chard is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season chard with salt and pepper. Transfer chard mixture to large sieve set over bowl and drain. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Drain garbanzos and reserve oil; discard bay leaves. Combine garbanzos and chard in large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons oil reserved from garbanzos. Toss over medium heat until warmed through, moistening with more oil by tablespoonfuls if needed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Posted 6/4/2013 10:40am by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes…

It’s been a hot dry week- perfect weather for bringing on the summer crops and (despite the sweat) getting work done.  We now have to make time in our day for the daily harvesting of cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, and strawberries, while still keeping up with weeding, bed prepping and seeding for late summer/fall crops. Of course, there’s also the perpetual trellising of tomatoes and cucumbers!  Sunday I walked into the greenhouse and realized that the tomatoes had grown 2 feet since earlier in the week when Adam had trellised them. And the cucumbers, despite our best efforts to convince them otherwise, truly still abide by the law of gravity.  Fall crops are being seeded: parsnips (which my parents tediously pre-sprouted and then planted 5000 of by hand over the weekend); winter squash; and, members of the brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower).  There are so many points to focus on, it soon becomes dizzying. Thankfully we have a team of diligent folks all working together.  I’m pleased with how things look right now and hope to keep it that way!


IN THE SHARE TODAY: Strawberrries, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Scallions, Cucumbers, Chard, Kale, Lettuce Mix, Arugula, Herbs (Parsley, Oregano, Rosemary, and Thyme)

 Note on the vegetables:

-       We have the first strawberries for you today- our yields are lower than expected due to several late frosts that claimed some of the blossoms, but we are happy to have what we have!

-       We have not washed any of the greens and the lettuce mix was from the field (rather than the greenhouse), so although it looks pretty clean at first glance, please do wash it in order to avoid some gritty bites.  Same goes with the other greens.  The arugula does also have some small holes in the leaves from the ever present flea beetle, but the leaves are still very tasty for a spicier salad. 

Quinoa and Asparagus Salad with Mimosa Vinaigrette Gourmet Live | April 2012

by Melissa Roberts

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (8 ounces) quinoa
2 1/2 cups water
Kosher or fine salt
5 scallions, trimmed
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 teaspoons mild honey
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

Put eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover pan, and remove from heat. Let eggs stand, covered, 15 minutes, then drain, and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool completely. Remove shells and finely grate eggs with a Microplane or the fine holes of box grater into a small bowl. Set aside.

Rinse quinoa well in a large fine-mesh sieve under cold running water. Set sieve over a bowl and let quinoa drain well for at least 5 minutes. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil with 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher or fine) in a 3-quart saucepan. Add quinoa and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, 16 to 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let quinoa stand, covered, 5 minutes. Spoon quinoa onto a large rimmed baking sheet, spreading it in a single layer, and let it cool to room temperature.

Cut scallions into 2-inch pieces. Halve each piece lengthwise, then slice lengthwise into thin strips (julienne). Transfer to a large bowl.

Using vegetable peeler, peel lengthwise strips from asparagus, beginning at bottom end, and add to scallion. Once you can't peel any more slices from a stalk, break off the thick end (reserving it for another use, such as soup) and add the remaining thin strip to bowl with scallions.

Whisk together lemon juice with honey and 3/4 teaspoon kosher (1/2 teaspoon fine) salt until smooth. Add oil in a steady stream, whisking until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired, then whisk in grated eggs.

Transfer quinoa to another large bowl and toss with herbs and 1/2 cup vinaigrette, or to taste. Toss asparagus with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon quinoa onto salad plates, and top with a tangle of asparagus and scallion. Serve remaining vinaigrette on the side, or save, chilled, for another salad.