Blog/Farm Newsletters

Posted 9/2/2014 8:11am by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: 

Fri: Broccoli, Salanova lettuce mix, Lettuce heads, Summer Squash, Onions, Carrots, Yellow Beans, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Garlic, Kale/Chard, Edamame Soybeans, Hot Peppers, Herbs 

Tues: Sungolds, Sweet Corn, Summer Squash, Onions, Carrots, Yellow Beans, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Garlic, Kale/Chard, Edamame Soybeans, Hot Peppers, Herbs 


UPCOMING EVENTS: 

Farm Breakfast Sept 6th (8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Blue Heron at Big TreeLive Music with Blue Heron Sept 6th (6pm-?): Join us in supporting a local treasure, Blue Heron. Many of you will remember the Christmas Eve tragic accident that claimed the life of locally loved musician Dave Kirkland. His life-partner Delphine, the other half of Blue Heron, is carrying on with the band and will be joined by other local musicians for a return to Village Acres. A not-to-be-missed performance of soulful blues and rock music! FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm. BYOB Family-friendly event.


FARM NOTES:

September has arrived and, with it, August weather! Our heat loving plants are benefitting from the heat they’ve been missing over the last few weeks. The peppers and tomatoes may just get a second wind after all!

As part of your share this week (outside the box), you will find edamame soybeans. We recommend eating them soon as the heat rushed them the last few days and they are yellower than we typically like. You will find them still on the stalk (we are calling these a u-pick item;-). While we love growing soybeans, and eating them, the task of picking them is quite labor intensive, so we are asking you to help. If you are unfamiliar with edamame, they are a green soybean. The inner beans are deliciously nutty when steamed. To prepare, we recommend boiling water (with salt added) while you remove the pods from the stems. Then, rinse the pods and add them to the boiling water, boiling until all the pods rise to the top (no more than 3-5 minutes). Strain and lightly salt. Eat by sucking on the pods and slipping the beans into your mouth. Delicious!

Thanks everyone who filled out our mid-season survey. If you haven’t had a chance, please take a few moments to complete the survey online at www.villageacresfarm.com/survey-summer-2014. We will close the survey this weekend and compile the results for you (and us).
Enjoy the bounty of your share of the harvest!

Hannah


RECIPE: 

Roasted Corn and Edamame Salad

SELF | May 2007 Shawn Edelman
Yield: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

- 2 ears fresh corn, unhusked, or 1 1/4 cups cooked corn kernels
- 1/2 cup shelled edamame
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup small-diced red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped or grated ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Soak fresh corn in cold water about 30 minutes. Heat grill on high. Grill corn in husk, 10 to 15 minutes, turning once. Let cool. Remove husks. Cut corn from cob into a bowl; combine with remaining ingredients.

Cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

 

Posted 8/26/2014 11:26am by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: 

Fri: Potatoes, Onions, Red Beets, Yellow Beans, Bell Peppers, Carmen, Yummy Peppers, Cucumbers, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Garlic, Lettuce, Hot Peppers and Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley and Basil).

Tues: Potatoes, Onions, Red Beets, Yellow Beans, Bell Peppers, Carmen, Jimmy/Yummy Peppers, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Garlic, Lettuce, Hot Peppers and Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley and Basil).


UPCOMING EVENTS: 

Farm Breakfast Sept 6th (8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Blue Heron at Big TreeLive Music with Blue Heron Sept 6th (6pm-?): Join us in supporting a local treasure, Blue Heron. Many of you will remember the Christmas Eve tragic accident that claimed the life of locally loved musician Dave Kirkland. His life-partner Delphine, the other half of Blue Heron, is carrying on with the band and will be joined by other local musicians for a return to Village Acres. A not-to-be-missed performance of soulful blues and rock music! FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm. BYOB Family-friendly event.


FARM NOTES:

Wow! It’s been wet! wet! wet!

Typically, at this time of year, we are simply overrun with late summer crops like tomatoes and cucumbers; we can hardly keep up with the harvesting; and, we are taking daily advantage of late afternoon creek plunges.  Not this August!

It’s not just these crops that are being affected by the cool wet weather. Some of our root crops that we’d soon be harvesting, sharing and putting into storage for the winter are being hit just as hard. For example, we have one field of carrots that were planted in a low lying area that are a loss. Other plantings were put out later than what is ideal. Thankfully, we plant successive plantings and the next round should be OK. This is the life of a CSA farmer: “do one’s best to predict and then make do”. We are very fortunate to the have infrastructure and experience and help to make “making do” still translate to a decent harvest share for our members, but this model of “equal share in the harvest, regardless of the ups and downs” can leave a farmer fretting!

We are finally ready to send out our mid-season survey. Please take a few moments to complete the survey online at www.villageacresfarm.com/survey-summer-2014

Thanks and enjoy the sun!

Hannah


RECIPE: SQUASH & TOMATO GRATIN

Ingredients:

1/3 cup grated Parmesan
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large tomato, sliced
2 large summer squash, thinly sliced
1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

Preparation: Toss breadcrumbs with Parmesan and 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomato; cook, tossing occasionally, until juices are bubbling, about 4 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Top with squash and breadcrumb mixture. Bake at 350° until squash is tender and breadcrumbs are golden brown, 20–25 minutes.


 

Posted 8/19/2014 10:05am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK:

Tues: Green Beans, Sungolds, Carrots, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Onions, Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Cucumbers (some from Plowshare Produce as they have a bumper crop that they are wanting to share) Hot Peppers, Chard, Fennel, Herbs

Fri: Green Beans, Kale, Lettuce Heads, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Onions, Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Cucumbers (some from Plowshare Produce as they have a bumper crop that they are wanting to share) Hot Peppers, Chard, Fennel, Herbs

Farm Note:  It’s an odd August- Long sleeves to start the mornings, and no hum of fans. It sure makes for pleasant working conditions on a produce farm.  Luckily the tomatoes and peppers continue to ripen albeit at a slower rate.  Of course with the cool weather I worry that the greenhouse pepper plants, still loaded with green peppers, and the heat loving ginger and turmeric, which are growing so slowly, will want to linger in the greenhouse beyond my usual seeding date of winter greens in the greenhouses- which crop with take priority in the use of the space?? One of the biggest challenges of being a CSA farmer is timing things properly.  How do I make sure that there is a steady supply of produce over such a long season?  Well, we are fortunate to have an extensive schedule that has been developed over the 18 years that we have been running a CSA. As long as we are able to plant roughly according to that schedule (barring bad weather or pest pressure), we have found that we can generate a steady supply of vegetables.  So come September 1st when I’m supposed to be seeding spinach in the greenhouse, well…, some of those peppers may lose their spot, or perhaps in the time till then, I can figure out to build another frost protective spot elsewhere where the first greens will be planted to give those peppers a little more time.   Deb

Recipe: Roasted Eggplant and Sweet Pepper Dip

(Tested recommended by current member of CSA from shecookshecleans.net)

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
2 red bell peppers, seeded
4 garlic cloves, whole, peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (to start with…)
1 teaspoon kosher salt; freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tahini paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
cayenne pepper, to taste
juice of one lemon
lots more good extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut the eggplant up into 1-inch square pieces. (Before cutting, I like to take off some of the skin in stripes around the eggplant. Up to you.) Cut the red bell peppers into 1 inch strips. Toss the eggplant, peppers, and garlic in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and several grindings of pepper.Spread the vegetables on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 35-45 minutes, tossing once during cooking, until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.Place the vegetables in a food processor; add the tahini, cumin, cayenne, lemon juice, and another glug (or two) of olive oil. Process in pulses until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Try to avoid over-processing or it will become paste-like in texture.)Drizzle with more olive oil on top, and serve warm or at room temperature.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Farm Breakfast Sept 6th (8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund. Live Music with Blue Heron Sept 6th (6pm-?): Join us in supporting a local treasure, Blue Heron. A not-to-be-missed performance of soulful blues and rock music! FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm. BYOB Family-friendly event.

Posted 8/12/2014 2:01pm by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK:  

Sweet Corn, Green Beans, Sungolds, Potatoes, Bell Peppers, Snack Peppers, Shallots, Onions, Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Hot Peppers, Herbs


UPCOMING EVENTS: 

Farm Breakfast Sept 6th (8-11am): 

Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Live Music with Blue Heron Sept 6th (6pm-?): 

Join us in supporting a local treasure, Blue Heron. A not-to-be-missed performance of soulful blues and rock music! FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm.

BYOB Family-friendly event. 


FARM NOTES:

Hi folks. We’ve had several members say they are giving away all their peppers, thinking that there are more hot peppers than sweet. WAIT! Some of the peppers that look hot are actually some of the sweetest you’ll get!

Please see below for a guide to peppers you might find in your share. Also, we typically will separate out the hot peppers into a plastic bag for you. We’ve received requests to substitute something else for the peppers which, because we are a CSA farm, isn’t part of our program (we encourage you to share). And, since we haven’t actually included a lot of hot peppers in shares yet, we wanted to be sure you aren’t unnecessarily giving away sweet peppers.

On another note, some of you may have seen on Facebook that we experienced a tragedy on our farm this week. Two loose pit bulls attacked, seriously injured and, in some cases, killed our goats and sheep. They crossed over the creek that we see as a natural protective border for our farm and have forever changed the way we fence in our herd. It was an experience we hope we never face again. The last of the injured animals had to be put down yesterday, an especially difficult experience for Chandler whose lamb it was.

At the same time, we were surprised to see heritage breed turkeys hatch out from under one of our turkey hens that had been stubbornly protecting her space for a seemingly unnecessarily long time. She knew what she was doing!
Raising animals is hard and wonderful.

We hope you enjoy your share of the harvest this week. Please respond to the survey we’ll be sending out this week as we want to hear from you!

Hannah


RECIPE: Green Bean, Sungold and Pasta Salad

adapted from www.realsimple.com; Serves 4

Ingredients
- 8 oz penne or your other favorite (we like corn pasta)
- 2 cps green beans (chop to half-beans or smaller)
- cp sungold tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 4 tbs grated Parmesan
- 4 tbs olive oil
- tbs fresh lemon juice
- kosher salt and black pepper

Directions
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the green beans during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
2. Toss the cooled pasta and green beans with the sungolds, parsley, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
3. Serve immediately or refrigerate.


Guide to peppers...

Guide to Peppers: 

Sweet Jimmy Nardello (Red):  

 

Sweet Yummy (Orange):    

 

Carmen sweet Italian pepper (Red):

 

Poblano: modestly spicy (Deep Green):  

 

Hungarian wax: hot (bright light green)  

 

Jalapenos: hot (green or red)  

 

Habaneros (Green, Red or Orange):  

 

Chilis (green or red):

 

 

Posted 8/5/2014 12:07pm by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK:  

Fri: Indigo Ruby Tomatoes, Cantaloupe, Honeydew (Full), Shallots/Onions, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Red Beets, Heirloom Tomatoes, Chard, Hot Peppers, Sweet snack Peppers, Bunch Herbs – basil/ parsley and Garlic 

Tues: Sungolds, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Shallots/Onions, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Red Beets, Heirloom Tomatoes, Chard, Hot Peppers, Sweet snack Peppers – Yummies/ Jimmies/ Carmens, Bunch Herbs – basil/ parsley and Garlic 


UPCOMING EVENTS: 

Farm Breakfast Sept 6th (8-11am): 

Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Live Music with Blue Heron Sept 6th (6pm-?): 

Join us in supporting a local treasure, Blue Heron. A not-to-be-missed performance of soulful blues and rock music! FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm.

BYOB Family-friendly event. 


FARM NOTES:

What a beautiful day on the farm!

This is one of those days where it’s easy to express gratitude. The sun has returned, the harvest is bountiful, and…the baby turkeys have arrived!

We are managing to have another stellar year as far as vegetables. We have the good fortune of still getting good tomatoes when the cool weather has caused most of the state to be experiencing blight. The melons have been superb in flavor and texture and we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about our sweet corn. Those of you who were with us last year know we lost our entire crop to deer, so the success of the stand this year is all the more sweet for us.

For those of you who have had our thanksgiving turkeys, you know our birds are above and beyond! We work hard to provide them with a life full of pasture and bugs and resources for their curiosities. For now, though, they are in a brooder house getting adjusted and providing hours of entertainment for us all. They are wonderful creatures and we want to be sure to uphold our end of the bargain. Last year, we managed to grow baby ostriches, so we are getting them started a little later in the hopes we don’t end up with so many 30+ lb birds!

We’ll be sending out a mid-season survey soon to help guide us through the remainder of the season. There is always something that surprises us, often feedback that contradicts what we heard the season before, and some requests that are hard to accommodate (like wanting more peas or corn, crops that take a large amount of field space, get harvested once or twice and then are done). No matter what, hearing from you is helpful in our efforts to better serve you.

Thanks for sharing this life with us, Hannah


RECIPE: 

Stuffed Peppers de Village Acres

There are many ways to stuff a pepper, but this is our favorite!

Decap, core and slice vertically, any sweet or hot pepper you prefer. We like to do a mix and especially enjoy poblanos and carmens or yummies for a variety of spice and sweetness.

Turn the oven on broil but place the rack in the middle of the oven. Coat a baking pan with coconut oil and place peppers skin up on the pan. Place under the broiler until slightly browned (this roasts and brings out the sweetness in the peppers).

Remove peppers from oven and turn the peppers over, gently coating them with oil. Fill with the following:
Mix cream cheese or goat cheese (or both) with shredded smoked cheddar, browned sausage (or crisped bacon slices) or caramelized tart apples, toasted walnuts and chopped basil.
Place back under broiler until lightly browned.

You WON’T be disappointed!

Posted 7/29/2014 7:40am by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK:  
Sweet Corn, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, New Potatoes, White Onions,  Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Lettuce Heads, and Herbs


UPCOMING EVENTS: 

Farm Breakfast August 2nd & Sept 6th (8-11am): 

Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Blue Heron at Big TreeLive Music with Blue Heron Sept 6th (6pm-?): 

Join us in supporting a local treasure, Blue Heron. A not-to-be-missed performance of soulful blues and rock music! FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm.

BYOB Family-friendly event.

 


FAMILY UPDATE:

This weekend we had a fantastic time hosting our Beidler family (Hope’s siblings and their families) for a reunion. What a joyful time we had together! 

 


FARM NOTES by Allison:

August is rolling in, and it brings that vegetable we’ve all been waiting for: sweet corn! Yes, our first picking of sweet corn is in your shares today, so eat up! Despite growing up in central Illinois, this was my first time picking sweet corn. Harvesting corn is as easy as you’d expect, but there is another recently-arrived summer favorite whose harvest method is more interesting: the melon toss! Driving along the edge of the field, we practice our throwing and catching skills in a relay to place the melons in the cart; cantaloupe is easier than watermelon. Jackie’s former softball skills come in handier than my running, I must say.

I’ve noticed two major shifts on the farm. One, harvesting is often the primary activity of the day, not a side note, as many fields and greenhouses are bursting daily with their different fruits. Two, for crops grown both in the greenhouse and outside, we’ve switched to harvesting the majority of cucumbers, for example, outside as the greenhouse plantings die down. We hit the tomato timing right on: field tomatoes have taken off before our inside tomatoes finish.

Summertime often can bring laziness in the kitchen, I find, as it’s sometimes too hot to turn on the stove. So when you’re ready for something more complex than sliced tomatoes for lunch, here are my favorite summer sandwiches. I could eat this grilled cheese every day.


RECIPE: 

Allison’s Summertime Grilled Cheese
Spread hummus mixed with pesto (or just pesto) on homemade bread (I like multigrain.) Using a bread knife, thinly slice an heirloom tomato and place on hummus. Slice and add any type of cheese. Grill in a skillet or in a panini press, with or without butter on the outside of the bread.


Snow White Cucumber Sandwiches (adapted from The Daily Feast Cookbook)
Seed and finely dice 2 cucumbers. Then squeeze the diced cucumber gently in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water. Finely chop 1 T fresh dill. Chop 2 cloves garlic and mash to a smooth paste, using ½ t salt and the back of a wooden spoon. Whisk together 1 c plain Greek yogurt, 2 t olive oil and the garlic paste. Stir ¼ c chopped walnuts, cucumber and dill into the yogurt mixture. Toast thick slices of homemade or quality bread, and top with the cucumber salad for an open-faced sandwich.

Posted 7/22/2014 12:13pm by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Blueberries, Beets, Carrots, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes, Hot Peppers*, Herbs*, Watermelon (fulls)*, Cantaloupe (meds)*, Chard*     *Out of the box


UPCOMING EVENTS: 

Farm Breakfast August 2nd & Sept 6th (8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Blue Heron at Big TreeLive Music with Blue Heron Sept 6th (6pm-?): Join us in supporting a local treasure, Blue Heron. Many of you will remember the Christmas Eve tragic accident that claimed the life of locally loved musician Dave Kirkland. His life-partnerDelphine, the other half of Blue Heron, is carrying on with the band and will be joined by other local musicians for a return to Village Acres. A not-to-be-missed performance of soulful blues and rock music! FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm. BYOB Family-friendly event.


FARM NOTES:

It’s been a lovely week on the farm.  Fall-like weather has graced us in a typically sizzling part of the summer and while we know those hot days will still come, we are taking full advantage of our current comfort. 

A farm is in constant transition, but this week especially so as we spent a lot of time removing the remnants of spring plantings, reworking the ground to prepare for cover crops or making way for fall plantings.  This coming week the garlic planted last fall will be harvested and hung from rafters in our shed, and the onions planted early spring are also ready to start their curing process. 

At the same time we are strategizing our harvest, we are also planning our fall greens planting.  This fall we are planning to trial a new lettuce, a variety called Salanova. This is a head lettuce which produces a full head of equally sized small leaves which can be used as a lettuce mix.  We hope this helps us produce a better quality lettuce mix in the field (which is harder than the greenhouse).  I’ll let you know when it hits your boxes which, if it does, should be sometime in September. 

This week we have the first melons coming your way.  The quantities ready of both watermelon and cantaloupe worked out so that the fulls will be getting watermelon and medium shares cantaloupe.  Don’t worry though; you will get both over the course of the season.  Also hitting the shares this week are the summer favorite: sungolds.  These are some of the first tomatoes to ripen in the field. 

We hope you enjoy these tastes of summer.  Deb


RECIPE: Eggplant Parmesan with Fresh Tomato Sauce 

Serves 6. 30-40 min cooking time.
http://theartofcookingrealfood.blogspot.com/

For a gluten-free option, simply skip the pasta and use almond meal or gluten-free crackers instead of breadcrumbs and it will still be a filling delicious meal!


Ingredients:
• 2 medium eggplants (about 2lbs), peeled if desired, and sliced into 1/2" rounds (slicing on the diagonal makes for a larger cutlet, and is especially nice when you reach the narrow neck of the eggplant)
• 1 1/2 c dried bread crumbs (preferably homemade)
• 1 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 tsp Italian seasoning
• few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 large eggs
• 2 Tbs water
• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• Fresh Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
• 1 13-14 oz pkg spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine pasta
• Grated Parmesan or torn pieces of fresh mozzarella for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
On each of two 15x10 high-sided baking sheets, spread 1 tsp olive oil with a pastry brush.
In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, blend together the eggs and water with a fork so there are no gloopy chunks.
Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture, turning to coat. Shake off the excess egg and dredge the slice in the Parmesan mixture (use your hands to add more, if necessary). Place each slice of eggplant on the prepared baking sheets. When all the slices are coated, slowly drizzle a little olive oil over the tops of the prepared eggplant (about 1/2 tsp per slice).
Place the sheets in the preheated oven for 20-25 min, turn the slices and bake another 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.
Meanwhile, get your pasta pot and tomato sauce going. Prepare the pasta according to instructions. The sauce only takes about 5 minutes, so plan accordingly so everything is finished at the same time.


Fresh Tomato Sauce
• 3-4 large tomatoes (about 2 lbs), diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
• few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 c chopped fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)
• 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
In a 12 inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic for about a minute. Add the diced tomatoes and juice, salt and pepper, and stir. Reduce the heat and allow the tomato mixture to simmer uncovered about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the basil and balsamic vinegar. Stir well and remove from heat. *If you are not ready to use the sauce right away, cover, leaving a vent, to keep warm.
Divide the pasta between 6 plates. Top with 3-4 eggplant parmesan slices and a big spoonful of the sauce. Top with either more grated Parmesan or with torn pieces of fresh mozzarella.

Posted 7/15/2014 5:53pm by Hannah.

 

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Blueberries (no spray, not organic), new potatoes,, storage potatoes, lettuce heads, fennel, kale (full), chard, summer squash, cucumbers, fresh onions, eggplant, tomatoes, and herbs


 

UPCOMING EVENTS: Farm Breakfast (7/5, 8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund. 


 

FARM NOTES from Jackie:

It seems like we have at least one flood watch a week, but those summer thunderstorms have been tempered by lots of hot days to dry up the fields.  It’s still pretty wet in some areas, but we have been able to continue to keep to our planting schedule.  The berries are starting to really produce, and we had to put the netting over the blueberries to keep the birds away.  It’s hard to resist those plump little berries when you spend an entire afternoon in the patch.  The first few cantaloupes and standard tomatoes are ripening in the fields, and the eggplants are practically dripping off the branches.  Allison and I harvested just over 300 pounds of eggplant last Friday!  Baba ghanoush anyone?  We also harvested our first crop of fennel for this week, which is one of my more recent favorite vegetables.

The new laying hens are really starting to up production this week.  I gathered a record 75 eggs from them today.  They are very pretty girls that like to follow me around as I collect the eggs.  Most of them just want a scratch on the back or to peck the back of my legs.  I take that as a sign that they want me to pick them up, so I usually take a minute to hold a couple of them and scratch the backs of their necks.  If you have never petted a chicken, you don’t know what you are missing. 

The broilers, along with their turkey friends, have moved out to the pasture, where they have adjusted well to their new digs.  This new breed seems to take to the pasture better than their predecessors, and they definitely seem smarter when it comes to moving along with the shelter every morning.  Our bees were visited by the State Inspector a couple of weeks ago and they are all doing well.  In PA, all hives are required to be registered and, as funding permits, are inspected every two years.  The inspections are a great thing, as they help detect disease and mites, which can destroy hives. 

Our hives are all healthy and producing honey.  So much honey that I was able to get almost 50 pints from the hives.  Thanks in part to my family, who was visiting last weekend and helped me with the extraction.  My Mom even suited up and went out to the hives with me!  Next, I’ll make sure each of our five hives has about 40 pounds (one small box) of honey reserved, which is what they will need to survive the winter.  I’m not sure if there will be another harvest this season, but all the honey from this harvest is for sale via the CSA.  If you haven’t tried our honey, you’ll be floored when you do. You might just eat the jar in a sitting!


RECIPE: The following recipe is a great side dish, and you can substitute all chicken broth instead of wine if you like.  Some Village Acres honey would be perfect for this dish!

Fennel in Wine and Honey (from Allrecipies.com)

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered                

1/8 cup olive oil                                

¼ cup chicken broth

½ Tablespoon honey                                                     

½ cup white wine                            

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

Place fennel quarters in a deep skillet with the centers facing up.  Drizzle with olive oil and then pour in the broth, honey and wine.  Season with mustard seed, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook over low heat for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.

Posted 7/8/2014 9:26am by Debra Brubaker .

 

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Spring carrots, red beets, cucumbers, summer squash, eggplant, chard, tomatoes, hot peppers, basil, dill, and parsley

The summer is heating up! We start the day at 7 am, and always hit the greenhouses first, before the temperatures inside surpass the 100 degree mark.  While early in the summer the cucumbers and the eggplant appreciate the extra warmth of the greenhouse, by July, they start to show that they have had enough.  Peppers on the other hand, well- they seem unphased.  Both the hot peppers and the bell peppers in the greenhouses are looking good this season.  Today we are harvesting the first hot peppers for the shares.  I’ve grown to appreciate hot peppers a great deal both during a semester abroad in Ethiopia during college, and also during my 7 years living in New Mexico.  Hot peppers are central to many cultures and they all have such unique flavors and characteristic.  In New Mexico the Chile pepper reigns supreme and each region prides themselves on having the best chile (and they are all good). The seeds for the chiles we are growing this year were given to us this spring by a restaurant owner Robert in Santa Fe after Hannah told him we were farmers.  These peppers and have been in his family for generations in the Chimayo region of New Mexico.  It was such a gift to be given these seeds, and a great connection to other farmers whom take great pride in the work of their hands and the fruits of their labor.

Recipe: Roasted Eggplant and Pickled Beet Sandwiches
Bon Appétit | April 2013 via Epicurious.com
Yield : 4 Servings

Roasted eggplant and garlic mayo:
1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), sliced into 1/2"-thick rounds
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt, ground pepper
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place eggplant slices on a large rimmed baking sheet and rub both sides with oil. Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Roast until golden and tender, 30-40 minutes.
Whisk garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

Beet salad and assembly:
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup mixed tender fresh herb leaves (such as flat-leaf parsley, dill, and mint), torn if large
1/2 cup chopped pickled beets
1/4 cup chopped pitted oil-cured olives
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 6x4" pieces focaccia, split
6 ounces feta, thinly sliced or crumbled

Toss scallions, herbs, beets, olives, capers, and oil in a medium bowl to combine.
Spread cut sides of focaccia with garlic mayo. Build sandwiches with focaccia, eggplant, feta, and beet salad.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS: Farm Breakfast August 2nd (8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

 

Posted 7/1/2014 10:27am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Snow or Sugar Snap Peas, Green Onions, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Eggplant (full shares), Kale, Lettuce, Endive, and Herbs (basil, parsley, and dill).

NOTES ABOUT BOX CONTENTS: You will either have snow peas (flat pods) or Sugar Snap Peas in your share.  The snow peas are grown by our neighbor Aaron Kanagy and are also certified organic.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Farm Breakfast (7/5, 8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund. 

FARM NOTES:

With the arrival of the summer solstice the other week, the days are technically getting shorter again, but it feels like our days on the farm are getting longer: there’s so much going on! Many of us here have commented on how extensive is our list of crops now coming in: cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, spring onions, basil, and did I mention cucumbers? Hot peppers, bell peppers and eggplant are making their first appearances as well. We may go home tired, but it’s exciting to have so much to harvest for you! Moreover, the second succession of plantings is starting up, meaning the second fields planted with summer squash and tomatoes, for example, will soon be producing as well. The second half of the week was a bit quieter with Deb and Hannah gone for an extended weekend. The rest of us held down the fort acceptably, I’d say, practiced at our summertime checklist. But it is always good to have the full team again! -Allison   

RECIPE: Endive Apple Salad (adapted from Extending the Table cookbook) For a change of pace from your lettuce (that doesn’t like this heat anyway), try this French leafy green, curly endive. Also called frisée, meaning “curled”, endive can be slightly more bitter than most greens you eat, so try it in this salad that mixes in other flavors.

Chop your head of endive and add:

-        cucumber

-        spring onions

-        apples

-        raisins

-        sunflower seeds, toasted

-        sharp cheddar or Gouda cheese                

Toss with your favorite dressing; I recommend mixing up a honey mustard vinaigrette to balance the bitter endive

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