Blog/Farm Newsletters

Posted 6/29/2012 8:14am by Dave .

A busy week on the farm, as the sun burns away the last of June and drives us on into July. The farm work is changing, too, as the heat of summer comes on. We just finished transplanting leeks, and winter squash are already in the ground and vining out. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are still awaiting their turn, and after that the big transplanter will sit idle for long months, unless we pull it out to help plant a couple hundred lettuce here and there – almost too few plants to make it worthwhile hooking up a machine. And there are still fall roots to sow – carrots and beets, turnips and rutabagas – but all in all the season of sowing is almost done and year is turning towards daily harvesting. But first, year after year, comes July, a season of soaring highs and crushing lows, as evident by the two main tasks marked for it by a long-ago apprentice in our CSA Manager’s Guidebook: Weed everything, it says, and Eat berries. Most of July is busy with these two tasks (although I think it’s just supposed to say “pick” for that second verb). On Wednesday we all picked berries an hour past our quitting time – we didn’t even realize the day had flown on by. Trust me that this doesn’t happen when the crew is knee-deep in weeds. And so it is with July – the heat can be unbearable, but the cantaloupe are about to come in; the tomatoes need constant attention, but they’re getting riper every day. One big month-long push on weeds, that’s what we need – and then (let’s hope) we’ll just harvest, harvest, harvest, until the snow flies. - Dave

Produce and Cooking Notes
Lettuce – Lettuce production may start to get iffy if July gets hot and dry, but we’ll keep it coming as long as we can.
Chard – Some rainbow chard for full shareholders, who love to eat their greens.
Basil – Basil is possibly the very smell of summer, right up there with grilled meat and fireworks.
New Potatoes – We had a row of fingerling potatoes that we must have missed harvesting last fall, on a dreary rainy day in September. They all sprang up again this spring and we got them up out of the ground on Friday so they wouldn’t pass any diseases on to nearby tomato plants.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches.
Zucchini – The zucchini planting seems to have hit a lull, so hopefully they pick up soon or their backups will have to take over.
Hot Peppers – Our greenhouse plantings of hot peppers seem to be doing well, and you might get one of three types today– the cute purplish Czech Blacks, the small green jalapenos, and the long yellow-green Hungarian Hot Waxes. The first two are comparable in strength; the latter are our mildest hot pepper and are similar to a spicy banana pepper – too hot to eat out of hand, but good for slicing into sandwiches or salads.
Sungolds – Sungold production keeps picking up, but for today we only have enough for full shares.
Eggplant – Still coming in just enough for full shareholders, but more are on the way.
Berries – Today members will be getting either blackberries or blueberries, both picked here on the farm for a taste of July.
Rhubarb – It’s been a good year for late rhubarb, and the 4th is a good day for a rhubarb pie too.
Eggs – We have been trying since April to keep up with our overly productive chickens, but with little luck! – so everyone gets a free egg share today. Let us know if you’re a vegan, or if you have a bunch of egg shares already and can’t keep up – we have a few other options for folks that can’t eat more eggs.

Fingerling Potato Salad with Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette
from Bon Appetit (Sept ’06)

Vinaigrette:
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar
•¼ cup canola oil
•1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
•½ tsp chopped fresh tarragon
•Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Potatoes:
•2 cups coarse sea salt
•2 pounds fingerling potatoes
•2 ¼-inch thick slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ¼” thick strips
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
•2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
•2 green onions, thinly sliced

For vinaigrette, combine mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in oil, then herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

For potatoes, preheat oven to 400 F. Spread sea salt in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet; arrange potatoes over salt, spacing slightly apart. Cover sheet with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, uncover, and cool to lukewarm.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Peel potatoes, cut in half lengthwise. Place warm potatoes in a medium bowl. Add bacon, shallots, eggs, onions, and vinaigrette. Toss well and serve warm.

Salad Greens with Chinese-style dressing
From Asparagus to Zucchini

• 1/3 cup sesame oil
• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger
• dash of cayenne
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp sesame seeds
• 1 tbsp chopped green onion
• Salad greens

Mix all ingredients and toss with greens. Peas and cucumbers also make good additions. 



Baked Summer Squash
From Asparagus to Zucchini

• 1 ½ lbs summer squash
• salt and pepper
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1-2 tsp thyme
• ½ tsp curry powder
• 1/8 tsp oregano
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ cup safflower oil
• scant 1 cup tomato juice

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a large baking dish. Slice squash lengthwise or diagonally 1/8 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in a baking dish to make overlapping layers. Combine remaining ingredients and spread on top of squash. Bake until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.

Cinammon Zucchini Cake
From Asparagus to Zucchini

• 2 ½ cups flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 4 eggs
• 2 cups shredded zucchini
• ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Frosting:
• 4 oz cream cheese, softened
• 4 tbsp butter, softened
• 1 tbsp milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Mix oil and eggs in another bowl until smooth; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Add zucchini, stir until thoroughly combined. Fold in walnuts if desired. Spread mixture in prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Cool thoroughly. To make frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Frost cake.

Tags: summer
Posted 6/22/2012 8:14am by Dave.

 

Last week was truly hot, a fitting start to the official start of summer that’s marked by the longest day of the year. I have never held with those official dates for seasons much, personally. If I have to set a date, I usually go with whole months: all of June seems summery, and all of December tends towards winteriness. We in the US tend to unofficially run summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, including more of June, but not September – and yet September is definitely still summer on the farm, hot and humid, full of tomatoes, bell peppers, and sweet corn, and if the leaves are starting to take on a brown hue towards the end of their days so be it. I heard, once, that in the old Celtic calendars of Ireland they only had two seasons: summer ran from May through October, and winter occupied the dark days of November through April. That seems appropriate, and simple enough. But really, all of this is artificial, a result of humanity’s need to define Nature and fit it into a neatly ordered box. Summer arrives, sometime around the middle of June, in ripening strawberries, flickering fireflies, and days that are not just comfortably warmer but downright hot. A warm front drifts in and you just can’t call it spring anymore. Instead of banking fires at night we lay in sweaty beds, carefully arranging fans around the room, planning out canoe trips and picnics, getting up early to pick lettuce and can cherries before the day gets too hot. It is summer! – and no season for philosophy. Like all of these vegetables, it comes precisely when it is ready, and not a moment before. - Dave

 

Produce and Cooking Notes
Lettuce – The lettuce survived last week’s heat and seems happy to be back to slightly cooler temperatures.
Basil – We’ve started packing the basil right into the boxes; not only does it smell delicious, but it makes sure that folks coming later to distribution have some left to get.
New Potatoes – These are from the Hostetlers (unsprayed, but not certified organic), although we have a big planting of our own that we are just starting to harvest. So we should new potatoes for quite a bit this July. These have a fresher flavor than storage potatoes and take well to boiling; I love them in potato salads too.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches.
Zucchini – Zucchini season seems to be going well on the farm, and as we get used to picking regularly the abundance of giant ones should drop.
Hot Peppers – Our greenhouse plantings of hot peppers seem to be doing well, and three types – the cute purplish Czech Blacks, the small green jalapenos, and the long yellow-green Hungarian Hot Waxes – are available today. The first two are comparable in strength; the latter are our mildest hot pepper and are similar to a spicy banana pepper – too hot to eat out of hand, but good for slicing into sandwiches or salads.
Sungolds or Peas – The beginning of one treat and the end of another; full shares are getting a choice between sungolds or peas today. If you pick peas, you might get shell or snap peas; we’ll label the bags so you won’t be too surprised.
Eggplant – The beginnings of our eggplant crop make me fairly hopeful for the rest of the year, although there’s only enough today for full shares. These long, thin Asian eggplant are ideal for slicing into rounds.
Blueberries – These blueberries are from Byer’s in Allenwood; they are unsprayed but not organic.

 

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Salad with Attitude: The Final Frontier -- Makes about 3 cups. Submitted by Lindsay Williambrown, a fellow CSA member.

 

This recipe is for those of us who never got what all the cucumber salad fuss was about. Those of you who did will like it, too, though.

 

• 2 small cucumbers, the smaller a dice the better
• 1 small fresh onion, quartered and sliced thinly
• 3-4 T. raw tahini (I like Spectrum, but if you can do better, by all means do)
• 1 T. pure maple syrup
• ½-3/4 t. Louisiana hot sauce
• 1/3 t. kosher salt

 

Combine all ingredients. If you have the bad fortune of having to share, serve as an accompaniment to salads, meats, breads, cheeses, or as an accent to a fruit tray. If not, a spoon and a glass of wine will do the trick. I would tell you what it tastes like after it sits for a day, but I really don't know.
Note: to go lower fat, substitute half the tahini with a raw lowfat yogurt.


Papas a la Huancaina (Traditional Peruvian potato salad)
From Asparagus to Zucchini
Juice of 1 lemon

  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds potatoes
  • 10 oz queso fresco
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 hot peppers, seeded
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup black olives
  • 3-4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

Combine lemon juice, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Add onion, separated into rings, and marinate at room temperature, tossing often.  Boil potatoes in salted water until barely tender. Drain and keep warm. Blend cheese, heavy cream, and hot peppers in blender or food processor until thick and smooth. Heat olive oil and turmeric over low heat in large pan, add cheese mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth. Drain onions. Arrange potatoes on platter and pour sauce over them. Garnish with onions, olives, and eggs. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8-10 servings.

Posted 6/15/2012 8:07am by Dave.

“No price is set on the lavish summer/ June may be had by the poorest comer.” 
― James Russell Lowell


 

The weather has finally turned, if not especially dry, into something June-like. Aside from today and Monday, the rain has mostly come in fierce summer thunderstorms and the days in between are hot enough that the ground gets a little workable. Those dry days are muggy, thickly hot and humid, but we are relishing them and trying to get caught up. The strawberry season, delicious though it is, was a short-lived one this year, and we’re not as sad to see it go as you all probably are. Two days a week, full of nothing but picking and picking, were making it hard to take advantage of the few dry days we’ve had. Now the forecasters are calling for clear skies and hot days on to the beginning of summer, so the farm crew will just keep on rolling, rolling, rolling along behind the transplanter, popping those seedlings into the ground. We’ve got to get this done! – the blueberries look to be coming in early this year. - Dave

 

Produce and Cooking Notes
Lettuce – More lettuce for your boxes – today we’ve got red leaf lettuce, green romaines, or reddish-green head lettuce.
Chard – The chard and kale are now the only survivors of the “early spring” plantings that brought radishes, arugula, and spinach to late winter and early summer shares. Everything else is tilled up and ready for a second round of crops.
Garlic Scapes – Garlic scapes are the flowering stalk of the garlic plant, pulled out so that the plant puts all of its energy into sizing up the bulb. They can be used like a scallion, or, with a bit of olive oil, make a delicious pesto ground up in a food processor.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches.
Zucchini – Zucchini season looks like it will be here for a while, but just to be sure we got a second generation planted yesterday afternoon.
Snap Peas – The snap peas are round, fat peas in cardboard tills (berry boxes) and vary a bit in quality depending on which planting they come from. Some are beautiful and green, enough to eat raw – while most could use a little cooking and a few sad pods might be better off shelled. They should all be tasty though.
Snow Peas – Today’s snow peas (the flat pea pods in plastic bags) are from the Hostetler’s, our Amish friends. They are spray- and pesticide-free but not certified organic. Snow peas are not as sweet as snap peas, but their crisp texture makes them just the right ingredient for any stir fry.
Radishes – Full shares are getting a bunch of radishes. They’re small but should still be a fun addition to a salad or snack bowl.
Cabbage or Spinach – Full shares are also getting a choice between a spring cabbage (from a fellow co-op member’s surplus, so they’re certified organic but not from our fields) or a bag of spinach from our planting. Odd weather makes for odd choices, I guess, but you can decide whether you want a springtime spinach salad or a summery cole slaw. 

 

Cucumber Moons Sautéed with Fresh Dill – From Asparagus to Zucchini

• 2 large or 3 medium cucumbers
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
• 2 tablespoons fresh dill
• salt and pepper
Peel cucumbers with potato peeler and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds with a spoon. Slice about ¼ to 1/3 inch thick. Heat butter in large, heavy skillet over medium flame. Take care not to let the butter brown, but get it good and hot. Add cucumbers and onions and cook, tossing often, until cucumbers begin to get tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in dill plus salt and pepper to taste. Continue to toss and cook until crisp-tender, 1-2 minutes longer. Serve immediately. (Note: The cucumbers in this recipe could also be cut into “hoops”: use a long spoon to scoop the seed out of a peeled cucumber, then slice it into rounds.) Makes 4-6 servings.


Spicy No-Mayo Cole Slaw
From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
• 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 small clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh chile, like jalapeño, Thai, serrano, or habanero, or to taste (optional)
• 1/4 cup peanut oil or extra virgin olive oil
• 6 cups cored and shredded Napa, Savoy, green, and/or red cabbage
• 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced or shredded
• 1/3 cup chopped scallion, more or less
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1. To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl, along with the garlic and chile. Add the oil a little at a time, whisking all the while.
2. Combine the cabbage, bell pepper, and scallion and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve. (It’s best to let the slaw rest for an hour or so to allow the flavors to mellow; the cabbage will also soften a bit and exude some juice. You can let it sit longer, up to 24 hours, if you like. Drain the slaw before continuing.) Just before serving, toss with the parsley.


Stir-fried Beef with Snow Peas
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/beef-with-snow-peas/

• 1-1/2 pound Flank Steak, trimmed of fat and sliced very thin against the grain
• 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
• 3 Tbsp sherry or cooking sherry
• 2 Tbsp brown sugar
• 2 Tbsp cornstarch
• 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
• 8 ounces fresh snow peas, ends trimmed
• 5 whole scallions (or scapes), cut to ½”
• Salt as needed
• 3 Tbsp peanut or olive oil
• crushed red pepper, for sprinkling

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Add sliced meat to bowl and toss with hands. Set aside.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is best) or wok over high heat. Add snow peas and stir for 45 seconds. Remove to a separate plate. Set aside.
Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions. Spread out meat as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.) Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.
Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas. Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. Mixture will thicken as it sits.
Serve immediately over rice. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.

Posted 6/8/2012 7:29am by Dave.

“In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” 
 Aldo Leopold

Farm Note ·  a word from the Village Acres Crew:

It feels like we are solidly into the month of June now, at least enough so that we’ve stopped wondering what happened to May.  It’s always a beautiful month.  The woods have turned bright green, the lilies and mountain laurel are blooming, and the farm crew is well-satiated on the strawberries we pop into our mouths while picking. (Generally the poor-quality ones…and getting an overly fermented one every so often also helps put a stop to our snacking).  But June is also an urgent month for the farmers.  Time is ticking away on the summer now and we’re always looking for a chance to transplant the many crops waiting to get started.  It doesn’t take much rain to spoil our schedule – just a thunderstorm or two every few days is enough to keep the fields soggy and our tractors idle.  June is a month of anniversaries, and mixed in with all the happy memories of fireflies, love and strawberries are memories of some idealized past season. I think we had the winter squash planted by this time last year, one says. Those leeks really should be out by now, don’t you think? We tend to seed too much, erring on the side of too many plants rather than too few, and then forget that not all of them need to be planted. Sweet potatoes should all be in the ground now, right? Thankfully Nature has arranged things such that, as June draws on, the days get longer and longer.  If we get a chance to plant, we plant, taking advantage of the long evenings to work late into the night.  And we try to appreciate the beauty of the month and the work, to compare our pace with average years rather than exceptional ones, and to enjoy our June berries and planting a little even as we scramble for the rest of the season. - Dave

 

Produce and Cooking Notes

Lettuce – It has been salad season here lately, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Asparagus – The end of asparagus season is drawing close.  Enjoy your portions today as there’s a good chance they’ll be the last until next April.

Garlic Scapes – Garlic scapes are the flowering stalk of the garlic plant, pulled out so that the plant puts all of its energy into sizing up the bulb.  They can be used like a scallion, or, with a bit of olive oil, make a delicious pesto ground up in a food processor.

Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches. 

Zucchini – Zucchini decided last week that it was time for their big entrance, after hesitating just a bit too much to make it into last week’s box.  These versatile summer staples are here for you today though.

Strawberries – Strawberry fields don’t last forever at Village Acres.  We’ve got enough for the boxes – not enough to fill all of today’s extras orders – and we should make it to the you-pick festival on Saturday. (Hope to see you!). But the season is definitely ending soon.

Snow Peas – Today’s snow peas and new potatoes are from our Amish friends, the Hostetlers. They’re chemical- and spray-free but not certified organic.  Snow peas are a great addition to stir-fries with a crisp snappy texture and just a hint of sweetness.

New Potatoes – These freshly dug red potatoes are just right for a summer boil in some salty water.  We were pretty happy that the Hostetlers chose this week to offer us some of their produce, since it let us spend most of yesterday picking strawberries and getting transplants in before today’s rain.

Recipes

Sesame Noodles with Asparagus Tips

from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Marinade

  •  ¾ cup sesame oil
  •  3 tbsp dark sesame oil
  •  7 tbsp soy sauce
  •  3 tbsp Chinese black or balsamic vinegar
  •  3 ½ tbsp dark brown sugar
  •  2 tsp salt
  •  2 tsp chili oil
  •  1 tbsp minced ginger
  •  1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  •  ¾ cup chopped cilantro

Noodles and asparagus

  •  Salt
  •  2 lb asparagus, trimmed and sliced diagonally
  •  14 oz thin Chinese egg noodles
  •  10 scallions (or scapes)
  •  ¼ cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Mix the marinade ingredients together, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt and asparagus. Cook until bright green and tender but still firm, just a few minutes.  Scoop the asparagus out, rinse it under cold water, and set on a towel to dry.  Pull the noodles apart with your fingers, add them to the boiling water, and give them a quick stir.  Boil until tender but not overly soft, tasting them often as they cook.  It should only take a few minutes.  Pour the noodles into a colander and immediately rinse under cold water. Shake off the excess water.  Toss the noodles with all the marinade and most of the scallions, sesame seeds, and asparagus. Mound them on a bowl or platter, then garnish with the remaining asparagus, scallions, and sesame seeds.

 

Garlic Scape and Almond Pesto

from http://www.doriegreenspan.com/2009/06/i-seem-to-be-on.html - similar recipes seem to abound on the Internet.

  •  10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
  •  1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
  •  1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you'd like)
  •  About 1/2 cup olive oil
  •  Sea salt

Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).  Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you'd like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt.

If you're not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juiciest.  Serve over scallops, pasta, or with bread for dipping.

Posted 6/1/2012 11:04am by Dave.

 

We’ve had a wet May here on the farm, with plenty of thunderstorms keeping our fields soggy.  May is perhaps not the worst month for rain here – March and April are probably worse – but an excess of rain during our transplanting season is never an easy thing to work with.  We can’t rototill, we can’t drive the tractor, and the weeds grow like crazy – but at least some crops are already in the ground and can enjoy the rain on their own.  Then if we get even a few dry hot days back-to-back, the ground dries out and our hopes go up…and the race begins!  The farm crew was working late into the evening on Thursday, planting and planting and planting, and Friday morning we started on it again.  Meteorologists called for showers most of the day today but it held off until two in the afternoon and we got a lot planted, at the expense, perhaps, of a shorter-than-usual Farm Note.  Yesterday we might have caught up but we picked strawberries for almost the whole day instead, squeezing in harvests of kale, peas, and asparagus between 4 and 5:30.  We haven’t had a crew member to spare lately, and the tasks keep piling up – trellising, harvesting, and whenver the fields dry out transplanting.  The newly-planted rows, and the berries, look beautiful though! - Dave

 

Produce and Cooking Notes

 

Lettuce –Two heads of our lettuce for everyone this week – lots of Magenta (reddish-green), plus some Simpson (lime-green) and Rouge D’Hiver (red romaine)..  One of our favorite and most reliable crops here at the farm, we aim to have lettuce for you every week through the year (but sometimes fail in hot summers).

 

Kale – A bunch of kale for everyone, perfect for a quick side dish or anything else that needs cooking greens.  The kale has some flea beetle damage but should be very tasty nonetheless…just reminding us why we tend not to grow kale too late into the summer.

 

Asparagus OR Cucumbers – Asparagus has dropped off sharply this week, between the cooler weather and a little too violent of a weed control effort last week.  As a result there’s not much – enough for full shares to either take a small portion or a couple of our first summer cucumbers.

 

Beets – Full shareholders are getting a bunch of beets – the last “winter” crop to come out of our greenhouse.  Remember that the greens can be used very much like chard.

 

Garlic Scapes – Garlic scapes are the flowering stalk of the garlic plant, pulled out so that the plant puts all of its energy into sizing up the bulb.  They can be used like a scallion, or, with a bit of olive oil, make a delicious pesto ground up in a food processor.

 

Strawberries – The strawberry harvest is picking up, so here’s some more ripe red berries for your snacking. 

 

Peas – Our tunnel is starting to yield lots of delicious sugar snap peas – I can barely resist eating them raw, but they’re also delicious lightly stir-fried.


Snap Peas with Scapes and Dill

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

(Deborah Madison writes that this is an easy dish to vary – try other herbs, or use asparagus tips to make it into a spring vegetable sauté – Dave

  •     ½ pound sugar snap peas
  •     3 or 4 chopped garlic scapes
  •     1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  •     2 tablespoons chopped dill or another favored herb
  •     Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Put the peas in a skillet with the scapes, a few pinches salt, the butter, and enough water to just cover the bottom.  Cook until bright green and tender, after a minute or two – taste one to be sure.  If using olive oil, add a little to the pan now.  Taste for salt, season with a little pepper, and add the dill.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Greens with Peanut Sauce

- from Simply in Season

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 bunch collards, chopped
  • ½ c. water
  • 2-3 tbsp. chunky peanut butter
  • 1-2 tsp. hot water

 

In large soup pot, sauté onion and garlic with olive oil. Add tomato and simmer 2-4 minutes. Add spices and stir 2 min. Add greens and water and steam until greens are tender, but not mushy. Avoid overcooking. Stir occasionally to coat greens with spices. Combine peanut butter and hot water and add to greens at the end of cooking time. Serve over brown rice.

Posted 5/25/2012 7:57am by Debra.

 

As a child growing up on this farm, it was always my mission to be the first one to find a ripe strawberry.  Of course I love strawberries so there was the joy of tasting the juicy goodness of the first berry-which inevitably had already been pecked by a robin before I got to it- but an even greater reward was to run into the house with enough strawberries to hand to everyone in the room.  With this week’s box, I feel like that same kid-excited to show you all what I found, and I’m assuming that your faces will light up just as my family’s faces always do! Enjoy your first taste of summer berries, and if you can, plan to stop by the farm June 16th for our strawberry festival and a chance to pick your own.

 

Produce Notes:

Strawberries- You are getting the first fruits of our strawberry patch this year.  After a crop failure last year, it is a joy to see these lovely berries this spring.  Now if we can all pray to the weather gods to hold back on the rain for the next couple of weeks, we hope to have more coming your way!

Asparagus – I hope you are still enjoying this spring staple.  It seems to be loving this hot humid weather of late which of course makes us farmers happy.  If you need a new idea for asparagus, try the Asparagus alla Milanese at the end of this newsletter.

Endive – We have endive for you again this week.  I have a new love of this green as it works great as a substitute for dandelion greens in my mother’s Dandelion Salad recipe. If you didn’t get a chance last time, check last week’s newsletter for a delicious endive salad with bacon dressing (you can find all of our newsletters on the web page).

Chard- A lovely dash of the rainbow in any box.  Easy to throw into any stir fry, or add color to a fresh salad.  The chard was one of the first crops we planted out during a dry spell in late March and it seems to be enjoying the muggy weather.

Scallions – Scallions (also known as green onions) make a delicious addition to a fresh salad, stir-fry, or anywhere you might use onions instead.  These are from our Amish neighbors and are naturally grown but not certified organic.  This’ll probably be the last week for scallions this spring – the garlic scapes are starting to come in now and soon we’ll be giving those out instead.

Herbs –  Some herbs to add extra flavor to any dish.  This week you might have oregano, basil, or rosemary.  Basil shouldn’t be refrigerated, but the other herbs will keep better that way if you’re not using them right away.

Lettuce Heads – For your salad or sandwich pleasure, big hearty heads of Magenta lettuce.

Transplants – Everyone is getting some basil to grow in their own garden or windowsill, now that the weather is hot.  Basil loves warm, sunny places to grow – but if you don’t feel like gardening, you can always just keep it alive for a few days and then use it as a regular herb.

Recipes:

Asparagus alla Milanese

Swiss Chard with Middle Eastern Savor


Other News:

Blue Rooster Farm – on special for Tuesday, June 5th, lamb stew meat for $7.85/lb. Great time of year for kabobs!

Upcoming Events at Village Acres

  • Saturday, June 2– Morning Farm Market and Farm Fresh Breakfast–8am -noon
  • STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL: Saturday June 16. 3-8 PM. Open invite to all CSA members to come tour the farm, pick your own strawberries, and enjoy a potluck with the farm crew and other CSA member. Event will be held rain or shine.
  • Live Music at the FoodShed July 7th–The Heggs – Folksy Rock – café opens at 6.

 



Posted 5/18/2012 8:11am by Dave.

When I was a kid sometimes I wouldn’t know what to do with myself in the early days of summer.  The first few days I had big plans, the fourth or fifth maybe would be marked by luxurious laziness and spent doing nothing at all, but by the second week of summer vacation time stretched out in front of me and there seemed no way to fill it all up.  The farm crew lately has the opposite problem – the coming of the summer CSA has sprung up on us and planning, harvesting, and packing boxes has gone from one chore among many in our biweekly winter schedule to a constant, daily task.  Tuesday deliveries come and go, we eat dinner at 9 and fall asleep exhausted, and wake up on Wednesday needing to plan out Friday’s distribution. And for CSA members, too, who have gotten used to grocery-store cooking during March and April’s lean times, the first few boxes can be miraculous, the third and fourth exciting, but when the fifth and sixth come and you still have a leftover bok choy from the second week you start to realize: vegetables can be demanding, as well as delicious. Just remember, almost anything can go into a stir-fry, and both farmers and eaters shouldn’t be afraid to experiment.  I'm relearning that myself this year since, after four years living on the farm, I've moved to a new home - and so instead of having access to the infinite (if bug-ridden) grocery store that is our seconds cooler, I'm actually taking home a regular weekly CSA box.  Now I'm the one eating some items on the ride home, cooking others that night or the next, and then staring in the fridge five days later wondering why we haven't been eating more salad.   So while the farm crew gets our bodies used to the daily rhythms of harvesting, weeding, planting, trellising, seeding, and mulching all day long, hopefully all of you (and me) can get our families used to cooking straight from the farm every week once again.  Thanks to wet weather a month back, I can already tell you that salad will play a big part in this week's menus.

Produce Notes:

 

 

Asparagus – Asparagus production is in full swing so hopefully it can stand up to providing you a weekly bounty.  We took a chance on it on Sunday – lightly tilling the beds to cut down weeds without harming the crowns deep underground. But it loves hot humid days and drenching showers, so it should spring rightr back.

 

Carrots – Full shares are getting the last of our sweet overwintered carrots – a perfect mid-afternoon snack or salad fixing.

 

Kale– Kale is a mild broccoli-flavored green that cooks down into a delicious side dish.  Like arugula, it has a bit of a snooty food snob reputation to it, but it’s really a super-simple peasant food – chop it up, sauté it in a little bit of oil and liquid, maybe add some salt, pepper, and garlic, and you’re done.

 

Endive – This bitter green needs a little bit of cooking to really be delicious on its own, although if you mix it with lettuce it’ll be good raw too.  See the classic bacon dressing recipe on the back for one idea.

 

Herbs – Spring is high time for herbs and while we usually think of them as a supplement, when they come in abundance they can really hold a dish together all on their own.  Spaghetti dressed with a little olive oil, a dash of vinegar, and lots of chopped herbs makes a delicious  ten-minute meal.

 

Lettuce Heads – There are a couple different lettuces you might get today – the falsely-named Magenta (more of a reddish green), the bright red Oscarde, or the lime-green Simpson.

 

Rhubarb – Rhubarb season is winding to a close, so if you haven’t used last week’s yet, combine it with this portion and make up a couple pies or three.  Or check out farm intern Meghan’s discovery: a website positively obsessed with rhubarb – www.rhubarbinfo.com – where there are hundreds of interesting and novel rhubarb recipes, including chutneys, stews, snack bars, beverages, and the curry recipe below.

Curly Endive Salad with Bacon Dressing

Lentil Curry with Rhubarb and Sweet Potatoes


Posted 5/11/2012 9:23am by Dave.

Welcome to all of our 2012 members!  Our weekly newsletter provides a place for you to hear a little news from the farm (brought to you by me or one of our other crew members), read about what’s in the box that week, and find a few new recipes to stoke your imagination.  This year we’ll be trying to integrate the newsletter a little better online, so (as you can see) you can check out this Farm Note here on our blog, search the lists of recipes online, and maybe we can put a few photos up of some of those more exotic, hard-to-describe vegetables you may be getting in your boxes.  If nothing else, when we get a little long-winded in here, we won't have to shrink the newsletter font down to fit it all on two pages.  One of our workers, Will, is even daydreaming about writing us a farm comic strip, but that may be dreaming a little too big. Of course, we’re all still busy seeding, hoeing, weeding, irrigating, and covering and uncovering crops while we wait to see if it frosts out to spend much time online – but we’re moving ourselves into the twenty-first century.

      The farm is speeding up every day as May moves past us.  We thought we were in good shape in late March, with dry hot weather draining our fields of all that moisture left over from last year, but the rainy, windy, chilly weather of late April slowed down lots of our March plantings and made weeds spring up all over the farm.  It can be hard to get ahead of the game in farming with all the different things that get thrown our way, but we’ll be doing our best to fill your boxes with tasty spring greens, as well as some asparagus and rhubarb, while the strawberries spend their “sweet” time ripening in the field.  Summer seems to be rushing towards us at breakneck speed! 

In the box this Tuesday: Arugula (full shares only - a few are getting radishes instead), asparagus, bok choy, herbs, scallions, lettuce heads, radishes, rhubarb, and spinach.

Recipes: 

Linguine with Asparagus, Lemon, and Spring Herbs

Rhubarb-Apple Crisp

Download a pdf of this week's newsletter

Posted 4/21/2012 12:00am by Hannah Smith.

AsparagusSpread the word! Village Acres will be delivering to Harrisburg, starting with this Summer's CSA shares. The delivery will take place on Fridays, starting May 11th. We will have two drop-off locations: a private home in Uptown Harrisburg (just off the Front Street exit of Rt81) and the Unitarian Church on Clover Lane in Swatara Township. Delivery to Uptown will likely be around noon and to the Church will be around 1pm. Both will allow for pick-ups until 7pm.

As always, anyone interested in a CSA share should visit our website, email us at info@villageacresfarm.com or call the farm: 717-436-9477.

Don't forget: If a new shareholder signs up and mentions you as having referred them, it's your choice of a flower bouquet or honey!

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Posted 2/29/2012 7:32am by Dave.

Last day of February here - a strange day, tacked on to our lives every few years, in a strange winter.  But I think the farmers have gotten over any sadness at our missing winter.  The sun is on our backs (most days), the soil is warming up, and while we may be apprehensive about the lack of a good deep freeze we're eager to get started on another growing season!

Plus, I took a short trip to Vermont in mid-February - and although they were also pretty much snow-free the temperature was in the single digits two days out of four.  I walked out of our hotel room in a rush one morning and was alarmed to feel my hair freeze solid on my head within a minute! - should have toweled off a little better.  So I did get a little bit of winter after all.

Any winter lull we may have experienced is over now and there's plenty to do. A few highlights: the propagation greenhouse is filling up with onions, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants; the mesclun in the production greenhouses is growing fast and furiously; the rhubarb is peeking up through the soil; the baby carrots have overwintered succesfully outside and are deliciously sweet (expect them soon!) and our new high tunnel is being worked on all this week (except wet rainy today)!  We're also interviewing apprentices and finding lots of good ones (but if you know any hopefuls send them our way).  It should be a great season and we're off to a fresh new start after a soggy 2011.  Hope you'll be there with us!

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