The Valley Flora Beetbox

Valley Flora's newsletter, sharing news from the farm, seasonal updates, and more!

Week 27: December 2

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Monster Kohlrabi & Scarlet Queen Turnips
  • Tamales This Week!
  • Stuff Some Stockings with Cranky Baby Hot Sauce!
  • Last Two Weeks!
  • 2014 CSA Sign-ups

 

In your share this week:

  • Delicata Winter Squash
  • Green Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Scarlet Queen Turnips

 

On Rotation:

  • Broccoli
  • Radicchio
  • Chard

 

New Produce

Monster Kohlrabi: You’ve gotten kohlrabi from us before this season, but never any that were as big as a baby’s head. This is our late-season storage variety, and in my opinion, the best-tasting kohlrabi there is. Just like the other varieties, you need to peel the tough outer skin. What you’ll find inside is a tender, sweet, crunchy treat that is something akin to jicama crossed with broccoli stem. This is my favorite kohlrabi for raw-eating, plain or with dip. But you can also cook it up - steamed, sautéed, stir-fried or roasted.

 

This variety is intended for storage, so it’ll be fine in your fridge if you don’t get to it for a month or two. Our household stash keeps all winter long in the cooler, no problemo.

 

Scarlet Queen Turnips: It’s hard to resist growing a hot-pink vegetable, especially for this time of year when the palette of farm color has been diminished to mostly greens and browns. They’re a relatively mild turnip (like radishes, all the kick is in the skin). They should keep for weeks in the fridge.

 

Tamales This Week

Tamales shares go out this week. If you are a tamale member, look for your final tamale share in the blue cooler at your pickup site this week.

 

Stuff Some Stockings with Cranky Baby Hot Sauce!

A few years back, Bets endeavored to make the perfect hot sauce and she succeeded. Handcrafted with homegrown serrano peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in the greenhouses, Cranky Baby strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Think Tabasco, only 100 times better…

 

(Even if you don't like spicy stuff, it's worth investing for the label alone. That's our very own Pippin in the highchair, with a little help from PhotoShop...)

This year’s vintage is now available to our CSA members by the case (12-five ounce bottles per case for $48). It’s shippable if you want to mail it out, and you can fly with it if you’re traveling for the holidays. If you only want a bottle or two, it’s also available at our farmstand ($5/bottle) this week and next week.

 

To order your case, please email us your:

  • Name
  • Pickup Location
  • Quantity of cases you would like

We’ll deliver to your pickup site.

(Cranky Baby is approved for farm-direct sale by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.)

 

Last Two Weeks!

We’re winding down. The cold snap that's moving in this week is adding some definitive punctuation to the end of the season. You’ll receive your final Harvest Basket/eggs/bread NEXT week, the week of December 9th. Final pick-up dates are as follows:

  • Valley Flora: Wednesday, December 11
  • Coos Bay: Wednesday, December 11
  • Port Orford: Friday, December 13
  • Bandon: Saturday, December 14

 

2014 CSA Sign-ups

This season is not even over yet and we are already knee-deep in planning for 2014: making next year’s field maps, teasing out the crop plan, and ordering seeds. (Believe it or not, we’ll be sowing next year’s onions, leeks and shallots in the greenhouse in less than 6 weeks.)

 

Many of you have been asking about signing up for next season. The plan is to do priority sign-ups in January. Anyone who was a member of the CSA this season – that being anyone who got a Harvest Basket, eggs, bread, salad share, and/or tamales this year - will be included in the priority sign-up process in January. If you are included in the priority sign-up process, you will be guaranteed a Harvest Basket if you want one. (Our Harvest Baskets are limited and always sell out so we give priority to returning members each year. There is usually no limit on eggs, bread, salad, or tamales).

 

We will send out a direct email to our entire 2013 membership in early January with specific sign-up instructions for 2014. Please be sure that we have your correct email address so you don’t miss out on your sign-up invitation.

 

Then, starting in March, we’ll move on to our waiting list and sign up wait-listed individuals until the Harvest Baskets are sold out.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball

No promises, but your LAST TOTE of 2013 might include some of the following next week:

  • Leeks
  • Brussels sprouts or Romanesco
  • Kale or chard
  • Shallots
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Sunshine squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 26: Thanksgiving!

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • Wednesday Pick-up Reminder!
  • New Produce (and a Recipe) for Thanksgiving: Parsnips & Sunshine squash

 

In your share this week:

  • Shallots – 1.5 pounds
  • Brussels sprouts – 1 stalk
  • Carrots – 1.5 pounds
  • Celeriac – 2 heads
  • Kale – 12 ounces
  • Mixed herbs – thyme, rosemary, sage
  • Parsnips – 3 pounds
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes – 5 pounds
  • Sunshine winter squash - 1

 

WEDNESDAY PICK UP REMINDER!

This week we are delivering ALL Harvest Baskets, Eggs & Bread on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27th

  • There will be NO DELIVERY to PORT ORFORD on Friday, November 29th.
  • There will be NO DELIVERY to BANDON on Saturday, November 30th.

 

These are the specific times for pickup at each location on Wednesday, November 27th:

  • Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm
  • Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm
  • Bandon: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 12 noon (no end time)
  • Port Orford: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 10 am (all day)

 

New Produce for Thanksgiving

Parsnips: Parsnips are yet another of those emotionally-charged vegetables, loved by some and loathed by others. They have a potent, powerful flavor that is not to everyone’s liking, which is why I’ve included one miraculous recipe in this week’s newsletter – a recipe that might just cause the most staunch skeptic to cross over to the parsnip-liking side. If there is one new dish you add to your Thanksgiving menu this year, let it be this one:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/roasted-winter-squash-and-parsnip...

 

I’m speaking from personal experience. I’ve never been wildly in love with parsnips, but I appreciate them for the fact that they’re a sturdy food that offers some diversity to our late-fall and deep-winter diet. They are willing to grow in our climate and they’ll store for months, so they have a few merits. I’d call my relationship to them something like “respectful tolerance.”

 

But exactly one year ago today, I vowed passionately, out loud, that I was divorcing parsnips for good. Never again would I plant them. It was over between us.

 

It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, 2012, and a fury of a storm was blowing through. Roberto was in Portland for the birth of his second son, and I was hustling to try to get all 100+ CSA totes packed in one day with the volunteer help of my sister and Farm Angel Tom. Near the end of the pack-out, we ran out of parsnips. It was pitch-black-dark outside and the rain was driving sideways, but I had no choice but to venture back out into the field and wrestle some more parsnips out of the ground.

 

If you’ve ever dug parsnips before you know that “wrestle” is no exaggeration. It’s the best verb in the dictionary for this particular job. Parsnips send down a long taproot, deeply anchoring themselves into the ground. There is no digging spade in the world that can fully loosen a parsnip (we have broken two trying), so you have to do your fair share of grunting and tugging on each root to haul it out of the ground. The parsnips tend to break in the process, or get scuffed by the spade, and somehow we’re always digging them in a driving rain, slathered in mud, by the weak glow of pickup headlights. To top it off, our parsnips get an ugly orange rust on the skin, and the biggest ones inevitably split and get spongey. All in all, it’s a defeating harvest – especially after tending the crop for six full months (we seed them in May each year).

 

So went the script that night: mud, rain, headlights, ugly roots. After a half hour in the mud – and already twelve hours and thousands of pounds of produce into my harvest day- I had enough bins filled and I loaded up the pickup. I stripped my muddy rain bibs down around my ankles, slid behind the wheel, and turned the key. The pickup wouldn’t start.

 

I was a ½ mile from the barn and the only way home was on foot, dragging the loaded harvest cart behind me. Part way there, I saw headlights creeping along the road, searching for me through the storm. When Tom pulled up, I was on the verge of crying, or laughing. Both.

 

“You OK?” Tom asked.

“Never again, Tom. I will never grow parsnips again! I am divorcing parsnips!”

 

Two days later my family sat down to a big Thanksgiving dinner, at a table laden entirely with food we had grown. One of the dishes I made was the maple-glazed squash and parsnips. It probably seems odd that I’d try that recipe, given the beating I’d had two days prior. Maybe subconsciously I was giving my relationship with parsnips one last chance. Or maybe it was just the butter and maple syrup that caught my eye. Either way, that dish was the best thing on the table that night. Parsnips redeemed.

 

This year I’m happy to report that for the first time ever, we dug parsnips in the sunshine, and there were plenty to see us all the way through our big, 110-tote pack-out today. Sure, they were still ugly and rust-streaked and amputated, but that’s what veggie peelers are for. Nobody’s perfect. Relationships take work. A little butter and maple syrup never hurts either.

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

 

Sunshine squash: Tropical, sweet, intensely flavorful – sunshine squash is our all-time favorite kabocha-type winter squash. It’s a great Thanksgivingsquash because it’s festive and versatile. It plays a star role in the parsnip recipe above, or if you’re vegetarian it’s a great squash to stuff and bake like a turkey. It peels relatively easily, and it stores for a long time on the counter. Also makes great soup!

 

Farmstand Open 3 More Weeks!

The farmstand is still open and well-stocked with all kinds of produce (even a few late tomatoes, still!).

We will be open every Wednesday through December 11th from 10 am to 2 pm (including the Wednesday before Thanksgiving):

  • Wednesday, November 27th 10-2
  • Wednesday, December 4th, 10-2
  • Wednesday, December 11th, 10-2

Come stock up!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following next week:

  • Leeks
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Escarole
  • Kohlrabi
  • Turnips
  • Delicata squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 25: November 18th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • Our Thanksgiving Delivery Schedule - Mark your Calendars!
  • Winter Farmstand Going Strong
  • The VF Crystal Ball: What to expect in your Thanksgiving Share

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Pac choi
  • Lettuce
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Broccoli
  • Delicata winter squash

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

Nothing this week….

 

Our Thanksgiving Delivery Schedule - Mark your Calendars!

 

WE WILL DELIVER ALL HARVEST BASKETS ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27th

 

There will be NO DELIVERY to PORT ORFORD on Friday, November 29th.

There will be NO DELIVERY to BANDON on Saturday, November 30th.

 

We do this for two reasons:

  • To ensure that everyone gets their food in time for Thanksgiving
  • To give ourselves a brief holiday from harvest and delivery during Thanksgiving celebrations.

 

These are the specific times for pickup at each location on Wednesday, November 27th:

  • Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm
  • Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm
  • Bandon: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 12 noon (no end time)
  • Port Orford: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 10 am (all day)

 

If you will be out of town for the holiday and won’t be able to pick up your Thanksgiving tote, we are happy to hold it for you in our walk-in cooler until you return. To make special arrangements with us, please email us

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • ALL of the items you usually pick up each week (i.e. Harvest Basket, eggs, bread, etc.)
  • The date you plan to pick up your Harvest Basket at the farm.

I’ll reply to your email with detailed pick up instructions from our walk-in cooler at the farm.

We need to hear from you by this Friday, November 22nd if you need special arrangements.

 

Winter Farmstand Going Strong

The farmstand is still open and well-stocked with all kinds of produce (even a few late tomatoes!). So far the weather has cooperated beautifully each week on our farmstand days. Miraculous.

 

We will continue to be open every Wednesday through December 11th from 10 am to 2 pm (including the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), so come stock up!

  • Wednesday, November 27th 10-2
  • Wednesday, December 4th, 10-2
  • Wednesday, December 11th, 10-2

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What will most likely be in your THANKSGIVING SHARE…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following (hopefully it will all fit!):

  • Shallots – 1.5 pounds
  • Brussels sprouts – 1 stalk (2 halves)
  • Carrots – 1 to 2 pounds
  • Celeriac – 1 to 2 heads
  • Kale – 1 bunch
  • Mixed herbs – thyme, rosemary, sage
  • Parships – 3 pounds
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes – 5 pounds
  • Sunshine winter squash - 1

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 24: November 11th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Gold Shallots, Celeriac, Romanesco, Winter Sweet Squash
  • Our Thanksgiving Delivery Schedule (PLEASE READ!)

 

In your share this week:

  • Gold Shallots
  • Broccoli
  • Romanesco Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Head Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Winter Sweet Squash

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

Nothing this week….

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Gold Shallots:Shallots always find their way into your tote late in the season, primarily because they are our best-storing allium, outlasting onions by months. A long-time CSA member told me this week that she had just used up her final shallots from last season, more than a year old. They are a great storage crop to have in our quiver, helping to round out late-season harvest baskets and keeping our kitchens stocked well into the new year.

 

They also tend to feature prominently in holiday recipes, so you’ll see them again the week of Thanksgiving and the final week of harvest baskets (the week of December 9th). If you have a Thanksgiving recipe that calls for lots of shallots, you can expect another 1 ½ pounds at Thanksgiving and they are also available in bulk at our farmstand, at the Port Orford Community Coop, and at Coos Head Food Store.

 

Shallots are more closely related to garlic than they are to onions, but I use them interchangeably with onions. Vinaigrette recipes often call for minced raw shallot, and you’ll see plenty of recipes calling for crispy fried shallots and caramelized shallots. Our website has an eclectic array of recipes that call for shallots, if you want some inspiration: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/shallots

 

If you are of a mind to squirrel them away, they’ll keep the longest in a cool, dry, dark place.

 

Celeriac: Introducing another of the gnarly fall foods, celeriac is also known as celery root. Don’t be intimidated by its gruff exterior; inside is a smooth, creamy-white, celery-flavored root that’s a great addition to mashed potatoes, soups, salads, roasted veggies, stuffing, pilaf, etc. It offers all the flavor of celery stalks, with the integrity of a potato (it’s fine to eat raw, as well). We love it at Thanksgiving in stuffing, and to give an extra twist to our mashed potatoes (just peel, cube, boil with the spuds, and mash).

 

Celeriac stores like a champ – a long, long time in your fridge – but I encourage you to experiment with this first specimen so that you can include the next round of celeriac in your Thanksgiving meal with confidence (more coming the week of November 25th).

 

Romanesco Cauliflower: To be eaten, not just gawked at! Romanesco is beautiful to behold with its lime green spiraled minarets (an infinitely-repeating fractal!), but it’s also a huge treat to eat. It has the texture of cauliflower but an even better, nuttier taste and texture. Wonderful roasted with Brussels sprouts, or lightly steamed. It makes a splash on a platter of veggies and dip.

 

Romanesco keeps for at least a week in the fridge in a plastic bag. Enjoy!

 

Winter Sweet Squash: This is a new variety for us this year. It’s a Kabocha type, with flaky, sweet, dry flesh (great for soups, pies, stuffing, ravioli filling, or plain eating with butter).

 

Our Thanksgiving Delivery Schedule

Mark your calendars! For the week of Thanksgiving:

 

WE WILL DELIVER ALL HARVEST BASKETS ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27th.

There will be no Friday delivery to Port Orford on 11/29 and no Saturday delivery to Bandon on 11/30.

 

We do this for two reasons:

  • To ensure that everyone gets their food in time for Thanksgiving
  • To give ourselves a brief holiday from harvest and delivery during Thanksgiving celebrations.

 

These are the specific times for pickup at each location on Wednesday, November 27th:

Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm

Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm

Bandon: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 12 noon (no end time)

Port Orford: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 10 am (all day)

 

If you will be out of town for the holiday and won’t be able to pick up your Thanksgiving tote, we are happy to hold it for you in our walk-in cooler until you return. To make special arrangements with us, please email us

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • The date you plan to pick up your Harvest Basket at the farm.

I’ll reply to your email with pick-up instructions. We must hear from you by Friday, November 22ndif you need special arrangements.

 

In case your menu planning is already underway, your Thanksgiving tote will likely include the following:

  • 1.5 lb Shallots
  • 1 stalk Brussels sprouts
  • 1-2 poundsCarrots
  • 1-2 Celeriac
  • 1 bunch Kale
  • 1 bunch Mixed herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano)?
  • 3 lbs Parships
  • 5 lbs Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • 1 Sunshine Winter Squash

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Leeks
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Pac Choi
  • Lettuce
  • Kohlrabi
  • Potatoes
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Delicata Winter Squash
  • Parsley?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 23: November 4th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Brussels sprouts, Delicata squash, Reine des Glaces lettuce
  • Reminiscent of Spring: Pac choi, Hakurei turnips & mizuna
  • Tamales This Week!
  • Waiting on the Broccoli: Racing Persephone

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Pac choi
  • Reine des Glaces lettuce
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Mizuna
  • Green peppers
  • Delicata winter squash

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Romanesco cauliflower

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Brussels sprouts: So begins our fall season of the weird, the gnarly, and the Dr. Seussian: Brussels sprouts on the stalk! I imagine there will be some bartering going on at drop sites this week, for Brussels sprouts are one of those iconic love it or hate it foods, right in there with beets. I know for a fact that Valley Flora Brussels sprouts have made converts out of some staunch detesters in the past, so you might think twice before giving them away.

 

There are some great recipes on our website if you need to be convinced:

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/brussels%20sprouts

 

Or do a simply roasting: clean up your sprouts, cut them in half, toss them with olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven at 400 until the edges are browned.

 

The reason that some Brussels sprout haters actually like our sprouts probably has to do with the fact that we don’t harvest them until late fall when they’ll have the best flavor. Cold weather, and particularly a frost, will bring up the sugars in all Brassica plants (kale, collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.), reducing their bitterness (aka, the “stanky gym sock” flavor). The sugars act like cellular antifreeze to help the plants survive the winter, so as they sense cold temperatures they actually pump out more sugar and sweeten up. We usually hope for our first light frost on the farm at the beginning of November. We got it last week, right on time, so the sweetening is underway out in the field.

 

The vast majority of the Brussels sprouts in the U.S. are grown on the central coast of California where temperatures rarely drop to freezing. As a result, store-bought, out-of-season Brussels sprouts do in fact taste like old gym socks. I wouldn’t eat those things either!

 

Kitchen tip: Brussels sprouts do take a little patience. The lower sprouts usually need to be cleaned up, and they will store the best if you snap all the sprouts off the stalk and keep them in the fridge in a plastic bag. They have a great shelf life – like little cabbages – and will keep for a few weeks at least (longer if they’re cleaned and then stored).

 

Delicata Squash: The number one favorite winter squash, it’s here. You’ll get it two more times this season, so no need to hoard. Their flavor is exquisite, but part of the reason they are so great has to do with how easy they are to prepare: Just cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake face down in a pan with a little water until soft (20-30 minutes). I like to eat them with a pat of butter melted in the middle. You can eat the skin as well.

 

Reine des Glaces Head Lettuce: The name aptly translates to “Queen of the Ice.” This is as close to an iceberg lettuce as we grow, but with a spiky, punk rock spin. It has all the juicy crunch of iceberg, and holds up just as well under a bleu cheese dressing. We did it up last night in wedge style, with sliced peppers and a homemade, creamy feta dressing. No need to be ashamed at how much you’ll enjoy it. I mean, hey, if 80s style is back (so soon?), why not iceberg?

 

Reminiscent of Spring: The return of some old friends        

Hakurei turnips, mizuna, and pac choi are all making a showing in your share this week, not seen since early summer. The cool weather of fall is ideal for these crops, so they make a second appearance as reliable bookends to the season.

 

Tamales This Week!

Tamale shares go out this week. Look for your labeled share in the marked blue cooler at your pickup site.

 

Waiting on the Broccoli: Racing Persephone

Our broccoli and Romanesco cauliflower plantings have been excruciatingly slow to mature this fall. The autumn broccoli harvest would normally be over by now, and the Romanesco should have appeared in your totes two weeks ago. But for some reason, they are only just now starting to head up to harvestable size. I wasted some of October worrying that they wouldn’t get there in time, but it’s looking hopeful now.

 

Why the worry? This week we’re entering what’s known as the “Persephone Period,” the winter months when there is less than 10 hours of light each day. That’s the point when plants pretty much stop growing (including the broccoli and Romanesco, so I've been hoping they'll mature before the days get too short). It lasts until the end of January, at which point the days start getting longer and there is a sudden jump in growth again. We have a great visual indicator of the Persephone Period on the farm: our kale plants. We harvest kale all year long. During the spring, summer, and early fall it grows back every week, fully replenishing itself. But from now through the end of the Harvest Basket season, we will be taking money out of the bank, so to speak. The leaves won’t re-grow and by the middle of December our kale plants will look like naked sticks with a small tuft of tiny leaves at the growing tip (you’ll notice in the coming weeks that the kale leaves in your share are smaller and smaller, and they will be packed by the pound instead of by the bunch).

 

The plants will stand naked through January like this, and then suddenly at the start of February they will send up new leaves, size up old leaves, and be bushy once again. We’ll emerge from the Persephone Period, kale leaves a-blazing, and start having to mow our lawn again.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Shallots
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Winter Sweet Winter Squash

 

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 22: October 28th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Butternut Squash
  • Phatty - Fat Leeks!

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Rainbow Beets
  • Head Lettuce
  • Winterbor Kale
  • Radishes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Arugula

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Butternut Squash: Everyone goes nuts for butternuts – they’re probably tied with Delicata for number one favorite winter squash. And for good reason: they are almost pure meat (very small seed cavity); they’re easy to peel; they have a thin skin (no death-defying, ninja, knife battles); they make a stellar, creamy squash soup; and they roast up beautifully.

 

But never was there a squash so finicky; they are somewhat difficult to grow, not very productive, and even harder to successfully store. We’ve had bad luck with butternuts rotting in storage and developing weird skin blemishes (only skin deep, but ugly nonetheless) - to the point that we’ve questioned whether we should even bother growing them.

 

But the demad is insatiable, so we tried again this year with a new organic variety called Nutterbutter. It’s quicker to mature than many varieties (which is helpful in our temperate climate), and it’s supposed to have great flavor. It also turns out that it produces smaller squash, for better or for worse. As a result, you’re going to see two or three butternuts in your tote this week – enough for a really big pot of soup, or a handful of other dishes. The squash are mostly blemish-free this year, but there are a few with some of those brown skin spots. As in year’s past, we’ve only found them to be skin-deep, so don’t worry if you get one with a birthmark. It’s nothing a vegetable peeler won’t take care of, lickety-split.

 

This is the one and only time you’ll be getting butternuts this year, so enjoy them. They should last on your counter, in case you want to drag the pleasure out for awhile.

 

Phatty – Fat Leeks!

Another experiment this season: a couple of new leek varieties. This one is aptly called Megaton (you’ll see the other variety at the very end of the season). They are by far the fattest, heaviest leeks we have ever grown, and they are much faster to harvest and clean – all good things to a production farmer. But the true test is flavor. This week I’m going to do a side-by-side leek taste trial, and you can, too, if you have any leeks leftover from two weeks ago. The last leeks you got from us were King Richard, an old-time favorite of many farmers that we’ve always grown. Their only drawback is that they tend to be much less uniform and skinnier, which makes harvest more of a chore.

 

I’m going to cook up some King Richards and some Megatons in separate pans, done the blindfold, and see if Megaton also wins out on flavor, or not. If it does, I dare say it’s worth spending three and a half times more on the seed.

 

Let me know what you think. Do you like big, fat leeks? Or do you prefer a handful of skinny leeks? What about the flavor? Would love to hear your opinion on it all.

 

Fall Farmstand Hours

We have switched to our fall schedule and the farmstand is now open on Wednesdays ONLY from 10 am to 2 pm. There is still the stray tomato to be had at the stand and the last of the summer peppers, but autumn food is taking over – winter squash, parsnips, potatoes, bunched greens, radishes, broccoli, and much more.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts?
  • Romanesco Cauliflower?
  • Pac Choi
  • Thyme?
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Hakurei Turnips?
  • Delicata Squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 21: October 21st

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Spaghetti Squash
  • Cover Crops and Strawberry Crowns
  • Remember, No More Abby’s Greens Salad Shares
  • Fall Farmstand Hours

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow Onions
  • Carrots
  • Braising Mix
  • Parsley
  • Head Lettuce
  • Red Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spaghetti Squash

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Spaghetti Squash: Probably the most-maligned of all the winter squash (hippy food, sneer!), spaghetti squash deserves a chance in your kitchen. In this day and age of widespread gluten-intolerance, perhaps its day to shine has finally come. It’s different from all the other winter squash in that it does truly resemble spaghetti inside once it’s cooked. You can bake or steam it (some people like to poke it full of holes with a knife or fork and then bake it whole until soft). Once it’s cooked, you can scoop out the “spaghetti” inside and dress it up with good old fashioned tomato sauce, or cream sauce (especially good with chantarelles and herbs), or anything else to suit your taste.

 

Cover Crops and Strawberry Crowns

You’d think we’d be done planting by this point in the season, but there is one last flurry of seeding and transplanting going on right now. Over the past two weeks we’ve been broadcasting hundreds of pounds of cover crop seed – a mix of rye, oats, red clover, vetch, and field peas – which will grow through the winter and provide erosion control, beneficial habitat, and a lot of nutrients for our soil. Next spring, we’ll till all that biomass back into the field, providing nitrogen and rich organic matter for next year’s cash crops. Our over-wintered cover crops usually grow to 6 feet in height and provide spring forage for bees and other beneficial insects.

 

We’re also in the midst of our fall strawberry planting. This time every year we plant new strawberry crowns that we order from a nursery in Northern California. We get them established in the fall, which gives the plants a head start and encourages them to begin fruiting more quickly in the spring. In addition to our beloved standby, Seascape, we’re planting two new trial varieties this year that are supposed to be more disease resistant and better tasting than Seascape: Albion and Sweeet Ann. It’s hard to imagine beating the flavor of a Seascape strawberry, but we'll let you be the judge of that next year.

 

Remember: No More Abby’s Greens Salad Shares

Last week was the 20th and final week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares. There will continue to be Abby’s Greens for sale at our farmstand each Wednesday from 10 am to 2 pm. You can also find Abby’s Greens at the Langlois Market, Mother’s Natural Grocery, Coos Head Food Store, and probably at the soon-to-open Port Orford Community Co-op (grand opening November 1st from 10 am to 5 pm).

 

New Fall Farmstand Hours

We have switched to our fall schedule and the farmstand is now open on Wednesdays ONLY from 10 am to 2 pm. There is still the stray tomato to be had at the stand and the last of the summer peppers, but autumn food is taking over – winter squash, parsnips, potatoes, bunched greens, radishes, broccoli, and much more.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Thyme?
  • Radishes?
  • Butternut squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 20: October 14th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Leeks, Savoy Cabbage, Acorn Squash & Pie Pumpkins
  • Winter Squash Kickoff!
  • Last Week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares
  • New Fall Farmstand Hours

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow Onions
  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Rosemary
  • Head Lettuce
  • Hot Peppers
  • Acorn Squash
  • Pie Pumpkins

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Leeks: Long and lovely, mild-mannered and deeply flavorful, leeks are like a gateway drug to onions. They rank on the mellower side of the allium spectrum and can be cooked up in any recipe where you would normally use onions. They are most famously paired with potatoes in potato leek soup, but don’t stop there. The possibilities are endless and delicious.

 

Prep tip: Sometimes dirt gets caught within the inner rings of the leek. Cut the leek up the center the long way and then slice the leek crosswise, discarding the root and leaf ends. Rinse the sliced leek in a colander to wash off any dirt and then cook.  Will store for a few weeks in the fridge in a plastic bag. If the outer layers get funky, just strip them off to reveal pristine leek below (like cabbage).

 

Savoy Cabbage: A curly-headed cousin to regular smooth cabbages, savoy cabbage is light and tender. It can be used in all the same ways.

 

Acorn Squash: Acorns have dark green to black skin, with deep ribs. They often have a bright orange spot on one side, where they were in contact with the ground. This is one tough-skinned squash, so be extra-careful when you cut into it. Acorns are among the more ubiquitous squash varieties in the supermarket and are maybe a little less intimidating to some folks. There are a couple of recipes on our website that I really like if you want to do it up fancy-ish, or turn them into a main dish:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/acorn%20squash

 

But if you’re in a hurry or more inclined towards the simple, I suggest simply halving your acorns, scooping out the seeds, and placing them face down on a baking tray with a little water in the tray. Bake in the oven at 400 until you can pierce the skin with a fork and the flesh is soft, about 30 minutes or so. We eat them with a pat of butter melting inside, and I have been known to put a splash of maple syrup or a sprinkle of brown sugar on them.

 

They also make great lunch food if you bake them the night before and then pack them for the next day. The hollow cavity begs to be stuffed with something – feta, rice, nuts, salad, sautéed onions, or all of the above.

 

Like all the winter squash you’re getting, Acorns will store for a couple months at room temperature, so no need to stress about eating them right away if you have a perishable produce pile-up right now.

 

Pie Pumpkins: These cute little pumpkins can double as Halloween/Thanksgiving décor and/or the key ingredient in a homemade pumpkin pie. They will store for a couple months on the counter – like all the squash varieties – so if you want to save yours for Thanksgiving you can. (We also have all the winter squash varieties for sale at our farmstand on Wednesdays if you want to stock up in a big way for winter eating!)

 

My sister is the queen of homemade pumpkin pie. I know, I know: what a wholly un-modern thing to bake the pumpkin, make the filling, craft the crust, and see it through to steaming completion. But once you’ve had the real thing, with a dollop of whipped cream on top, there’s no going back. So be forewarned if you have a stash of canned pumpkin pie filling in your pantry: you’d better be ready to put it up for adoption after you try the real thing. Here are a few variations on the theme:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/pie%20pumpkin

 

Winter Squash Kickoff

This week marks the official start of winter squash season! In the nine remaining weeks of the Harvest Basket season (the last week of the CSA will be the week of December 9th), you are going to meet an array of different winter squash. All of them are cured and ready to eat, but will also store for another few months, either on your countertop or in a cool, dry, dark place. There is no need to refrigerate winter squash; in fact their preferred storage temperature is around 50 degrees. Even though they look tough, handle them gently. Bruised winter squash won't store as long.

 

Many people are new to winter squash and often relate to them more as seasonal décor than food. We’re here to encourage you to EAT them, because they are fantastically sweet, delicious and versatile. We’ve grown a selection of our all-time favorite varieties and each week I’ll give you tips, suggestions and recipes that will help you enjoy them. Don’t be intimidated by their tough skins, large size, or funky shapes. Winter squash is one of the highlights of seasonal eating in our climate, and lucky for all of us it was a good year for squash on the farm!

 

A word about kitchen safety and winter squash: Their skin is often tough as nails, so be very careful cutting into them. If you’re cutting a squash in half or into slices, you’ll want to use a large, heavy-bladed, sharp-tipped knife (not a thin-bladed, paring, or delicate ceramic knife). We once broke the blade of our best knife while trying to hack open a winter squash, so now we only use a heavy-duty stainless steel chef knife for the job. It’s best to insert the tip of the knife into the squash first and then work the blade down and through the flesh of the squash. Be careful that the squash doesn’t spin out of your grip, or that the knife slips. Always be strategic about where your hands are and where the knife is headed. If you have a microwave, some people suggest nuking the squash for a couple minutes to pre-soften it before attempting to cut into it.

 

Enjoy the parade of squash coming your way. They are a seasonal delight, and not particularly perishable – in case you need some time to warm up to them.

 

Last Week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares

This is the 20th and final week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares. If you’ve been getting a salad share all season, enjoy this last bag of greens. There will probably continue to be Abby’s Greens for sale at our farmstand each Wednesday from 10 am to 2 pm. You can also find Abby’s Greens at the Langlois Market, Mother’s Natural Grocery, and Coos Head Food Store (depending on supply).

 

New Fall Farmstand Hours

We have switched to our fall schedule and the farmstand is now open on Wednesdays ONLY from 10 am to 2 pm. There is still the stray tomato to be had at the stand and the last of the summer peppers, but autumn food is taking over – winter squash, parsnips, potatoes, bunched greens, radishes, broccoli, and much more. We anticipate being open each Wednesday through mid-December.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Braising Mix
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Red Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spaghetti Squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 19: October 7

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Escarole
  • Produce Smugglers and Roadkill Tomatoes: A Delivery Escapade

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow Onions
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Escarole
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Rainbow chard

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Escarole: It looks like lettuce, but it’s actually a member of the chicory family (lumped in there with radicchio, endive, friseé, dandelions, and other such bitter greens). And yes, unadulterated, it is mildly bitter, which will probably please some of you more than others. But if you are suspicious of bitter foods, don’t toss your escarole out just yet. It’s a versatile green and there are lots of ways to prepare it that won’t make you pucker up. Here are some good options:

 

Salads: Wash your escarole well (it tends to collect dirt more than lettuce), cut it into ribbons, and then let it soak for 10 minutes in water. This tends to leach out any trace of the bitterness. You can then use it raw just like lettuce. I like to pair escarole in salads with sweet ingredients like dried cranberries, diced apple, pomegranate seeds, and candied nuts. Add some goat cheese or parmesean and you have a gourmet salad. It’s also good with avocado and citrus. I usually make up a honeyed-lemony vinaigrette of some sort to go with it.

 

Cooked: Escarole is more durable than lettuce and it holds up well to cooking. Check out this long list of escarole recipes on epicurious.com: http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searchresults?search=escarole&x=0&y=0

 

Your escarole will store for a week or so in the fridge in a plastic bag. Note that last week’s rain did some damage to the heads, causing some exterior leaf rot. I tried to clean them up as much as possible, but you might encounter a small amount of rot on some of the outer leaf margins. Just cut or tear those sections out; the majority of the head should be perfectly fine. But you might want to eat it sooner than later. Thanks for understanding!

 

Produce Smugglers and Roadkill Tomatoes: A Delivery Escapade

Last week I was sitting here at my desk, working away at the newsletter, when the phone range. It was Roxy, our delivery driver, and she was on the side of the road on Beaver Hill with some bad news. Frank (our white delivery van) was acting up: the oil light was on and the oil pressure gauge was bobbing wildly, in spite of the fact that I had just topped off the oil the day before. Frank was, as he always is on a Wednesday morning, packed to the gills with the Coos Bay Harvest Baskets, coolers, and boxes of produce for Coos Head. All of us on the farm had already-impossibly full days ahead of us, between office work, fieldwork and juggling our kids.

 

The dilemma: keep driving the van and hope it didn’t blow up (the Coos Bay CSA pickup was scheduled to start in 45 minutes), or go to Roxy’s rescue. My mechanic is currently out of town for 6 months, so we decided to err on the side of caution. I told Roxy to stay put and we mobilized. Better to sacrifice a day than have to buy a new van.

 

My mom and I raced north in the little green farm pickup and her old Volvo station wagon. When we reached Roxy, she told us that a cop had been there. He wanted to know what she was up to. She explained that she delivered for Valley Flora, but he insisted on searching the van. She opened the back doors for him and showed him the tower of Harvest Baskets.

 

“What’s in the totes?” he asked suspiciously.

“Vegetables.”

“I need you to open one up for me, ma’am.”

It dawned on Roxy at that moment that he thought she was smuggling drugs.

“Now mmmmm-mm, doesn’t that look good?” Roxy said with just the tiniest trace of sass as she popped the lid off a tote and brandished a full October Harvest Basket.

 

By the time we reached Roxy, we were overdue at the Coos Bay CSA site by almost an hour. We hustled all the CSA totes into the pickup, tied them down hastily, and crammed the rest of the Coos Head boxes into the Volvo. I sped off up Beaver Hill, the speedometer reading 70, and looked in the mirror just in time to see my mom pulling a U-ey in the middle of 101. I pulled the pickup over and got out. A lid had blown off one of the Harvest Baskets, but all of the produce was still there. A few minutes later my mom pulled up with the lid, we re-tied the ropes and added a bungey net in hopes of keeping everything in place. My stomach was strung tight with urgency. It was already 1 o’clock.

 

Off we went again at break-neck speed, but it was only moments before I saw a flash in the mirror and watched in horror as, slow motion, a red lid followed by a red tote cartwheeled through the air and crashed onto the highway, catapulting produce in every direction. Ripe tomatoes exploded, purple beets skidded, lettuce shredded, brittle carrots snapped, and a bunch of parsley bounced twice before coming to rest on the white line. I’m pretty sure I said something that looked like this: #@$%@!! And then my mom and I started laughing. Was this really happening? The very thing that I have hoped for six years would never happen?

 

If there was a scenario-meter to measure situations from best to worst, I quickly realized that although we were rapidly plummeting towards “worst,” we weren’t there yet. Jolene, the site host in Coos Bay, is not only an awesome human being, she is also a CSA member (those two things seem to go hand in hand) and I quickly realized that I could bring her a replacement tote the next day. So long as we didn’t lose another harvest basket off the back of the truck, we might still be able to pull this mission off. We re-tied the load yet again and set off at a mild-mannered 50mph.

 

Over an hour late and belching white exhaust (the green farm pickup has some issues right now, too…oi vei!), we arrived at the CSA site and off-loaded all the totes, with a promise to Jolene that we’d bring her a new one the next day. (A big thank you to all the Coos Bay members for their patience, and to Paul, the CSA site organizer, for his help!).

 

As for Frank, the long and short of it is that we’re pretty sure now that his problem is nothing but a faulty oil gauge. Which means that the entirety of last week’s escapade was a fire drill, no more. That, and fodder for some newsletter story-telling. Roxy and Frank made it home from Coos Bay today without a hitch, and hopefully the oil gauge will only be dancing for another week. The mechanic made room for us next Monday.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Winter squash
  • Fennel

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 18: September 30

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Priscilla Apples
  • Is it November?

 

In your share this week:

  • Red Onions
  • Beets
  • Baby Carrots
  • Parsley
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Priscilla Apples: They may look like a boring Red Delicious, but they don’t taste like one. Another treat from the orchard this magnificent fruit year!

 

Is it November?

In all the many, many years that we have dwelled up Floras Creek, we’ve never experienced a storm like that at this time of year. Six inches of rain in a weekend. Sixty mph winds. Heavily laden apple trees blown over. Corn stalks flattened. Parts of the field under water. It’s one thing when it comes in November or December when the majority of things are dormant. It’s a whole other thing at the end of September when we are still mid-swing in peak harvest.

 

All things considered, we fared OK. You might notice certain little details this week in your share (the particularly small heads of oakleaf lettuce, which I had to trim mercilessly due to extensive rain rot in the outer leaves; the fact that broccoli is on rotation instead of going full throttle, due to rain rot on the newly-formed crowns; the still-small carrots, which haven’t seen much sun to ripen further).

 

The good news is that the rain seems to have cleared up the powdery mildew that always affects our rainbow chard at this time of year, so hopefully you’ll be seeing chard in your share again soon! Our newly-seeded cover crops also got a thorough watering-in (hopefully not too thorough) and I'm looking forward to a trillion little green shoots popping up all over in the field: oats, rye, field peas, clover, and vetch to feed our soils through the winter.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli?
  • Savoy cabbage?
  • Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 17: September 23

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Yellow Storage Onions
  • Corn Earworm, Beware!
  • Bumper Red Potato Crop!
  • Sweet Peppers are Peaking! Order by the Bag!

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow Storage Onions
  • Baby Carrots
  • White Sweet Corn
  • Cilantro
  • Head Lettuce
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Potatoes

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Yellow Storage Onions: If these onions could talk, the story they would tell you. It might go something like this:

Oh man, this has been such a great season to be a yellow storage onion. Well mostly…

We had such a nice spring in the greenhouse, growing roots and getting our first leaves in those trays. And then those farmers picked the nicest day to plant us out in the field: the soil was so warm and soft and smooth, and just damp enough. We took to it like flies to you-know-what. And we grew so fast it almost hurt. Did you know onions have growing pains, too? Yeah, really. Then, sometime in June, all of a sudden, we started to get fat and paunchy around the midriff. Just ballooned out like we’d been eating too many Ding-Dongs. I mean, we hadn’t, but jeez, we just got bigger and bigger and rounder and rounder, and everyday those farmers walked through us in the field and just marveled at how pretty we were with our golden tan skin and big bellies.

 

Then the sun started to pitch south a little and we got tired of keeping our green hair standing straight up (it’s a lot of work to maintain a do like that for 4 months, you know!). So, we relaxed and let our hair down, and before you know it, we were getting yanked out of the ground and put into the back of the pickup for the return trip to the greenhouse (the perfect place to finish off our summer tans and dry out our hair). We were all just chilling there for a month or so, watching the rest of the red onions and shallots get their hair cut every week and nestled into bins, when some strangers showed up. I think they were friends of our farmers or something. Anyway, they came and they gave some of us haircuts and put us into those cozy bins, except they forgot to shut the door to the greenhouse when they left in the evening.

 

It was OK at first, but then we heard a rustling in the middle of the night. Nobody knew what it was. Then we heard an onion scream, and a thwack as it hit the floor. Something said “Baaah.” Before we knew it, everyone was getting yanked off the table and we felt hot sheep breath on our cheeks. They had found us, and they were hungry, even for onions.

 

When dawn broke, we slowly opened our eyes afraid of what we would see: all of us, strewn about the floor, some maimed, some bitten in half, some stomped to death, many with their hair chewed off. It was terrible. Roberto arrived a little while later and the look on his face said it all: after such a perfect onion season, after all the hard work, to lose it all now? He chased the sheep out and then he called Zoë to tell her the bad news. Zoë's stomach turned over and stayed there, upside down, while she tried to finish up in the office. Roberto set about tenderly picking us all up, inspecting us, and sorting us. Miraculously, many of us were unharmed altogether. But a few hundred of us weren’t so lucky. Doomed for the compost.

 

Those of us that are in your Harvest Basket this week are the survivors. There are lots of us, each with their own story to tell. If you have a minute, bend your ear close to our remarkable girth and listen. We might just open up to you before you eat us.”

 

Corn Earworm, Beware!

This is the last planting of corn, and as usual, the corn earworms have found it. That’s par for the course in our later corn plantings every year. Beware that when you shuck your corn you will probably encounter one or two at the tip of the cob. Just cut off the tip, rinse the shucked ear, and enjoy!

 

Bumper Red Potato Crop!

This time of year is all about hauling in the storage crops, among them the potatoes. In a normal year, we are happy to get a yield of 2-3 pounds of potatoes per bed foot. This year, our red Desirees blew every previous record out of the water with a yield of 5 pounds per bed foot. Our walk-in cooler is busting at the seams! We’ll be sharing in the bounty by throwing in a few extra distributions of potatoes this fall, starting this week.

 

This extraordinary yield was not just due to the number of potatoes under each plant, but the size of them. Let me know if you're the Harvest Basket member who receives the single 3 pound potato in your share this week. You win a prize, on top of receiving the prize potato. And no, it doesn’t involve any Oompa-Loompas.

 

Sweet Peppers are Peaking! Order by the Bag!

The sweet peppers are at their peak! Order now to get ‘em in bulk for fresh eating or preserving. You can choose from either:

  • Roasters: 5 pounds of sweet red roasters
  • Jellybean Mix: 5 pounds of mixed bells and roasters - red, orange, yellow, purple (no green)

The cost is $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments).

Peppers preserve wonderfully.

  • Frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag.
  • Roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin off once they’ve cooled, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze individually, then transfer to a freezer bag.

Either way, they are a great addition to wintertime meals – pasta sauces, stir fries, soups, lasagna, and more!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale?
  • Winter squash?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 16: September 16th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Winterbor Kale & Italian Plums
  • Big Bummer in the Cherry Tomatoes: A Haiku
  • Carrots on Pause
  • Sweet Peppers by the Bag!
  • Garlic is Going Fast! Order now if you want some….

 

In your share this week:

  • Red Onions
  • Winterbor Kale
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom
  • Italian Plums

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Winterbor Kale: It got this name for a reason. Winterbor is tied for first place for being the hardiest kale variety we grow. It’s great in late summer and through the fall, but most impressive is the fact that we will still be harvesting from these plants next March. It’s an incredibly frilly, lofty kale, and tends to be my first choice for making Kaleslaw. Here's our treasure trove of other favorite kale recipes:

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/kale

 

Your kale will keep for at least a week in the fridge in a plastic bag.

 

Italian Plums: Four or five ancient Italian plum trees hang over my mom’s driveway at the farm. Abby and I were raised on those plums – picking them fresh off the tree in September on our way down the driveway to catch the school bus in the morning, and eating them dried all winter (thanks to my mom’s heroic food preservation efforts all fall). We haven’t seen plums on the trees in four years, due to the terribly wet, nasty spring weather we’ve had (no pollination in March means no plums in September). But this year the trees were loaded, so much so that one of them broke in half under all the weight this summer.

 

True to the Italian plum tradition, the three of us have been busy pitting and drying as many plums as we can at midnight, but there is still plenty to share with our CSA members. Eat them fresh, or make my favorite Italian Plum Clafouti for dessert: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/plum-clafouti

 

Big bummer in the Cherry Tomatoes: a Haiku

August rains. Humid.

Vines blacken. Fruit drops. Uh-oh.

Better luck next year.

 

Where’d the Carrots Go?!

The last few weeks you’ve been receiving a half pound of carrots instead of the usual full pound, and this week none at all. What gives?! Back in July, one of our seedings failed, and because we protect our carrots with floating row cover (to exclude the carrot rust fly), I didn’t notice the failure until 2 weeks later when I uncovered the carrot beds to do another seeding. Which meant our usual steady succession of mature carrot beds was interrupted. I was hoping the re-seeded bed would catch up in time, but it didn’t. So carrots are on pause altogether this week, in hopes that the next bed will be big enough by next week.

 

Once we turn the carrot switch back on, it looks like there will be an ample supply to see us all the way through the season into December, and beyond.

 

Sweet Peppers by the Bag!

The sweet peppers are on! Order now to get ‘em in bulk for fresh eating or preserving. You can choose from either:

  • Roasters: 5 pounds of sweet red roasters
  • Jellybean Mix: 5 pounds of mixed bells and roasters - red, orange, yellow, purple (no green)

 

The cost is $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments).

Peppers preserve wonderfully.

  • Frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag.
  • Roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin off once they’ve cooled, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze individually, then transfer to a freezer bag.

Either way, they are a great addition to wintertime meals – pasta sauces, stir fries, soups, lasagna, and more!

 

Garlic is Going Fast! Order now to get your bag or braid!

For some reason, we’re unable to grow garlic at the farm. Each time we’ve planted it, we lose the entire crop to white rot, rust, flooding, or other diseases. After enough disappointments we’ve stopped trying altogether.

 

Our long-time family friends have a small organic farm called Calapooia Crossing. They are located on the Calapooia River in the foothills of the Cascades and they excel at growing garlic. Last year they brought us part of their harvest and we sold it at the farmstand, to wide acclaim. They just delivered this year’s crop to us, so we have a couple hundred pound of beautiful garlic for the offering. It’s available at the farmstand, but for those of you who can’t make the trip, we’re happy to deliver bulk bags or braids to your pickup site.

 

Here's the scoop if you want to order:

  • Bulk garlic is available in 3 pound bags, $25 per bag. (There are about 5 large heads of garlic per pound, so a bulk bag contains approximately 15+ heads of garlic. It’s a hardneck variety, meaning the head has a central stem with a ring of large, easy-to-peel cloves around the stem.)
  • Garlic braids are also available, $12 apiece. Braids contain approximately 7 heads of softneck garlic called Italian Late. It’s the best keeper and makes a beautiful gift.

 

To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of garlic you would like.

We’ll deliver!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Sweet corn
  • Cilantro
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Strawberries? (weather dependent, rain in the forecast)
  • Tomatoes

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 15: September 9

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Napa Cabbage & Fingerling Potatoes
  • September Strawberries
  • Fennel Pesto
  • Shifting into Fall
  • Sweet Peppers by the Bag!
  • Calapooia Garlic by the Bag or the Braid!

 

In your share this week:

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Napa Cabbage: This has to be tops on my list of favorite cabbages: tender, sweet, versatile. It’s tender enough to stand in for lettuce, or cabbage-y enough to hold it’s own in slaw. Here are a couple good recipes off our website (I make a lot of the napa-apple-nut salad at this time of year):

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/napa%20cabbage

 

Napa is also the cabbage of choice for making kimchi, or Korean pickles. This is a relatively quick, easy recipe if you’ve never tried it before:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/quick-spicy-kimchee-recipe/index.html

 

Napa stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge. It won’t last as long as a red or green hard cabbage, but you should get a week or two out of it.

 

Fingerling Potatoes: Whimsical and weird-looking, this is a variety called Russian Banana. Fingerling are usually described as “waxy” in texture, meaning they’re a firmer, drier potato than most. The most common preparations are to either roast them or boil/steam them for use in a salad. Store in your fridge in plastic bag.

 

This is about as simple and easy a dish you could make with them, using your fresh dill:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/dill-fingerling-potatoes-recipe/index.html

 

September Strawberries

Every strawberry harvest in September feels like a bonus to us, given the uncertain weather as we slide towards Fall. As soon as the rain and cool weather arrive with any earnestness, it will shut down the strawberries for good.

 

This recent blast of sun, however, has made for some good late-season picking. The berries have ramped up so much in the past week, there's enough to fill some last-minute, late season special orders. If you want to order a flat, email me your name, pickup site, daytime phone number, and the number of flats you want.

 

Take note that September’s sweet berries also tend to have a shorter shelf life. There’s more mold pressure from all the morning dew, and they tend to be more fragile overall. We painstakingly try to cull every berry that has any sign of rot, but even so they sometimes slip by us during the 6-hour strawberry pick on Tuesday and Friday mornings – so please forgive the occasional mold bomb that might light up your pint of berries if you let them sit for a day or two. Sooner is better when it comes to eating September strawberries! Enjoy the last few pints coming your way this season.

 

Fennel Pesto

I'm always looking for new ways to convert the fennel skeptics in the crowd, so I was extra-excited to try this fennel pesto recipe that my dad and stepmother discovered. They were kind enough to post it to our website. I swooned. Hope you do, too.

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/fennel-recipes

 

Shifting into Fall

September is a month of transition for us. We’re just wrapping up our last direct seedings and transplantings in the field, and the focus shifts markedly from putting seeds and plants in the ground to taking food out of the ground. Big harvests of storage crops like potatoes, onions, and winter squash are upon us and it seems that no bin weighs less than 30 pounds at this time of year. From now on as the food gets heavier, we do a lot of bending at the knees. Core strength! Steady now!

 

Sweet Peppers by the Bag!

The sweet peppers are on! Order now to get ‘em in bulk for fresh eating or preserving. You can choose from either:

  • Roasters: 5 pounds of sweet red roasters
  • Jellybean Mix: 5 pounds of mixed bells and roasters - red, orange, yellow, purple (no green)

 

The cost is $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments).

 

Peppers preserve wonderfully.

  • Frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag.
  • Roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin off once they’ve cooled, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze individually, then transfer to a freezer bag.

 

Either way, they are a great addition to wintertime meals – pasta sauces, stir fries, soups, lasagna, and more!

 

Garlic by the Bag or the Braid!

For some reason, we’re unable to grow garlic at the farm. Each time we’ve planted it, we lose the entire crop to white rot, rust, flooding, or other diseases. After enough disappointments we’ve stopped trying altogether.

 

Our long-time family friends have a small organic farm called Calapooia Crossing. They are located on the Calapooia River in the foothills of the Cascades and they excel at growing garlic. Last year they brought us part of their harvest and we sold it at the farmstand, to wide acclaim. They just delivered this year’s crop to us, so we have a couple hundred pound of beautiful garlic for the offering. It’s available at the farmstand, but for those of you who can’t make the trip, we’re happy to deliver bulk bags to your pickup site.

 

Here's the scoop if you want to order:

Bulk garlic is available in 3 pound bags, $25 per bag. (There are about 5 large heads of garlic per pound, so a bulk bag contains approximately 15 heads of garlic. It’s a hardneck variety, meaning the head has a central stem with a ring of large, easy-to-peel cloves around the stem.)

Garlic braids are also available, $12 apiece. Braids contain approximately 7 heads of softneck garlic called Italian Late. It’s the best keeper and makes a beautiful gift.

 

If you’d like to order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of garlic you would like.

 

We’ll deliver!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Sweet corn?
  • Kale
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 14: September 2nd

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Red Storage Onions! Chehalis Apples!
  • Halfway!
  • Sweet Peppers by the Bag!
  • Calapooia Garlic by the Bag or the Braid!

 

In your share this week:

  • Red Storage Onions
  • Cylindra Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chehalis Apples
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Red Storage Onions: The big red onions this week are a variety called Red Emperor, and they are a medium-term storage onion. They are fully cured, so no need to refrigerate. They’re supposed to keep for up to a couple of months under ideal conditions (cool & dry).

 

These onions have been a delight to grow, harvest and clean. We’ve never had such beautiful, huge, red onions in all our years of farming. The sunny spring certainly helped, but it may also be the variety itself. We usually grow a red onion called Cabernet, but it was sold out this year, forcing us to resort to Red Emperor. It was a bit of gamble since we’d never trialed it before, but we’ve had happy results so far. We’ll see how well they keep into the fall, but for now we’re enjoying the satisfaction of our heaviest onion harvest to date.

 

Chehalis Apples: Just in time for back to school! Another product of our beautiful spring, much of the orchard is laden with apples this year. The pollination was so thorough on some trees that we’ve had to thin a lot of fruit and still there are branches breaking under all the weight.

 

Chehalis is a relatively early apple, and it’s earlier than ever this year. It’s thin-skinned, sweet, crispy, and incredibly juicy – intended for fresh eating and baking. They’re more delicate than some apples so try not to bang them around to avoid bruising. If you don’t eat them right away, keep them in the fridge to prevent them from getting mushy.

 

Halfway!

This week marks the halfway point in the CSA season: 14 weeks down, 14 to go. If this week's dense share is any indication of the direction we're headed, you can rest assured that heavy will be the name of the Harvest Basket game this fall. All that sturdy food in your tote (note the sheer absence of light, leafy stuff this week!) is the sum total of so many summer hours of sunlight, heat and water, all condensed into a rainbow of fruit and vegetables for you. The farm takes on a certain gravity, a weightedness, at this time of year that is palpable: so many tons of food lurking underground (potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, celeriac, onions!) and squatting above ground (squash, cabbages, giant kohlrabi, ripe corn, gone-to-seed sunflowers). I never worry about scarcity at this time of year; only whether the week's harvest will fit into a Rubbermaid!

 

Sweet Peppers by the Bag!

The sweet peppers are on! Order now to get ‘em in bulk for fresh eating or preserving. You can choose from either:

  • Roasters: 5 pounds of sweet red roasters
  • Jellybean Mix: 5 pounds of mixed bells and roasters - red, orange, yellow, purple (no green)

 

The cost is $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments).

Peppers preserve wonderfully.

Frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag.

Roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin off once they’ve cooled, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze individually, then transfer to a freezer bag.

 

Either way, they are a great addition to wintertime meals – pasta sauces, stir fries, soups, lasagna, and more!

 

Garlic by the Bag or the Braid!

For some reason, we’re unable to grow garlic at the farm. Each time we’ve planted it, we lose the entire crop to white rot, rust, flooding, or other diseases. After enough disappointments we’ve stopped trying altogether.

 

Our long-time family friends have a small organic farm called Calapooia Crossing. They are located on the Calapooia River in the foothills of the Cascades and they excel at growing garlic. Last year they brought us part of their harvest and we sold it at the farmstand, to wide acclaim. They just delivered this year’s crop to us, so we have a couple hundred pounds of beautiful garlic for the offering. It’s available at the farmstand, but for those of you who can’t make the trip, we’re happy to deliver bulk bags to your pickup site.

 

Here's the scoop if you want to order:

  • Bulk garlic is available in 3 pound bags, $25 per bag. (There are about 5 large heads of garlic per pound, so a bulk bag contains approximately 15+ heads of garlic. It’s a hardneck variety, meaning the head has a central core with a ring of large, easy-to-peel cloves around the core.)
  • Garlic braids are also available, $12 apiece. Braids contain approximately 7 heads of softneck garlic called Italian Late. It’s the best keeper and makes a beautiful gift.

 

If you’d like to order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of garlic you would like.

We’ll deliver!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 13: August 26th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Cured Walla Wallas! Lacinato Kale! Hot Peppers! Sweet Peppers!
  • Make your own Pico de Gallo
  • Bulk Peppers By the Bag

 

In your share this week:

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Cilantro
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Green Beans

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

 

Cured Walla Walla Sweets: The greenhouse is doing a great job of drying down all of our storage onions and shallots, and the Walla Wallas are the first to be fully cured. This means that their tops have fully dried down and they have a papery outer skin. Once onions are cured, you don’t need to store them in the fridge. You can keep them on the countertop, or in a cool dry place. Walla Wallas are not intended for long-term storage (maybe up to a month at most), so don’t delay too long in eating them!

 

Lacinato Kale: My favorite of all the kales, this blue-black, blistered kale is also beloved in Italy. It goes by many monikers, including Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, Dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, black kale, flat back cabbage, palm tree kale, or black Tuscan. And yes, this kale by any other name does taste as sweet. Give us some cold nights or a light frost, and it’ll get even sweeter – so there is at least one reason to look forward to the end of summer and the start of chilly weather.

 

Peppers – Hot & Sweet: Let the march of the peppers begin! My mom’s greenhouses are starting to pump out the peppers, in perfect time for salsa season. The two small peppers in your share this week are jalapeños with a good kick. The bigger peppers are sweet varieties (you’ll see bells and long Italian roasting peppers throughout the next month or so).

 

Store in the fridge in a plastic bag.

 

Fresh Pico de Gallo

You have all the ingredients (minus the lime) to make fresh, homemade salsa this week: tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, cilantro, and sweet onion. There’s nothing to it: dice everything up, salt to taste, squeeze in some lime, and get yourself some (non-GMO) corn chips!

 

Bulk Peppers Available by the Bag

As the colored sweet peppers come on, Bets will be able to offer them in bulk to our members. The pepper fanatics in the crowd tend to eat them raw on the spot, but they also preserve wonderfully (frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag; or roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag).

 

They will be available in 5 pound bulk bags, $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments)

 

We’ll deliver to your pickup site!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Red Onions
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Corn?
  • Fennel?
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomaotes

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 12: August 19th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Sweet Corn! Parsley! Yellow Finn Potatoes!
  • The Not So Sweet News About Sweet Corn

 

In your share this week:

  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Green Beans

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Sweet Corn: The quintessential, Americana, summer food – and for once it’s actually ripe in time for summer! We usually we don’t get our first ears of sweet corn until September once summer is already on the wane, but this year it’s here in time for prime BBQ season, alongside tomatoes, green beans, and potatoes (to round out the picture-perfect American picnic). The ears are on the small side (I think due to a combination of factors: 1) we transplanted our early corn, which is semi-stressful for the plants, and 2) we didn’t give them an extra helping of organic fertilizer this year, and corn likes a lot of nitrogen). On the bright side, there’s a nice heap of those ears in your tote, so hopefully numbers will make up for size this week.

 

We tend to eat our corn one of three ways: 1) raw, straight off the cob, while standing in the middle of the field on a summer evening, legs splayed, happy half-grin on face; 2) shucked and steamed lightly and rolled in the butter; 3) grilled with the husk on: http://bbq.about.com/od/vegetablerecipes/r/bln0218a.htm

 

If you don’t like to gnaw it off the cob, I also like to make a fresh tomato and corn salad. You can put whatever herbs you like in it (basil, parsley, etc.). Cut up tomatoes, cut the raw (or lightly steamed) corn off the cob, add some feta or fresh mozzarella, olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper, maybe some cucumbers – and you’ve got a festive insta-salad.

 

Eat your corn sooner than later; the sugars convert to starch over time, so the sooner, the sweeter, the better. Store it in the fridge to slow down the sugar-to-starch process.

 

Parsley: You’ll either see Italian flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley this week (and depending on which you get, you’ll receive the other type next time). I thought the parsley and potatoes would be good comrades.

 

Keep your parsley in a bag in the fridge, or in a glass of water and covered in the fridge.

 

Yellow Finn Potatoes: Yellow Finns are our favorite, reliable standby in the potato world. They are versatile and delicious any way you cook them (mashed, steamed, roasted, fried, au gratined, hashed, saladed, pancaked, latke-d, stuffed, baked. And so on.) They also are a great keeper in cold storage, so we grow a lot of them to see us through the late fall and winter (they actually get sweeter in cold storage). You’ll see them many more times this season.

 

Best to store this batch in the fridge, as the skins haven’t fully cured yet.

 

The Not So Sweet News about Sweet Corn

My father-in-law, like many of us, is highly concerned about GMOs (genetically modified organisms: plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals) in our food supply. And for good reason: in the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food (yes, even if you think you’re not, you are already eating GMOs, probably everyday).

 

Almost all of the corn and soy (the underpinnings of America’s processed food industry) is GMO in the U.S. (88% and 94%, respectively, in 2011). So that bag of Fritos, or the low-sugar yogurt that’s made with aspartame instead, or the fruit juice with ascorbic acid, or the soda with high fructose corn syrup, or the chips fried in canola/soybean/corn oil, or anything with natural or artificial flavorings is most likely made with GMO ingredients (assuming it's not certified organic; GMO ingredients are prohibited in organic foods).

 

My father-in-law, like many of us, thinks it’s an outrage, especially since most other developed nations – like Australia, Japan, and all of the EU nations - do not consider GMOs to be safe (for human health or the environment) and have implemented outright bans or major restrictions on the production and sale of GMOs.

 

The only fresh foods I knew to be GMO were conventionally grown papayas and zucchini/summer squash. So when my father-in-law started talking about GMO sweet corn on his last visit, I was curious. He is prone to conspiracy theories now and then, and I figured he was mistakenly lumping sweet corn in with all the GMO soybeans and “cow corn” they grow by the square mile in the Midwest - for animal feed and to make all those unprounce-able ingredients in processed foods: Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Citrate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Xanthan Gum, etc.

 

Finally this week, as I was harvesting our first ears of sweet corn, I was impelled to do a little research. And I was disappointed to learn that my father-in-law was right. GMO sweet corn was widely introduced into the market (in grocery stores, farmers markets, farmstands) last year. 250,000 acres were grown, accounting for over 40% of the market.

 

Which means that if you want to enjoy GMO-free sweet corn from now on, you have a task ahead of you as a consumer. It’s everywhere, and in everything. The Non-GMO Project, which does education and certifies GMO-free foods, has compiled a list of brands that pass their no-GMO test: http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/search-participating-products/...

 

Eating Valley Flora corn is also good bet. We farm in an isolated pocket where there isn’t much risk of drift (because there aren’t any other corn farmers in the neighborhood) and we farm organically. That said, seed testing is now showing that virtually all of the seed corn in the U.S. has at least traces of GMO contamination, if not more. So the corn seed I buy every year, even if it is organic, is most likely contaminated to some extent.

 

Pandora’s box has been opened. If you are concerned as a consumer, you can learn more and take action at: http://www.nongmoproject.org/2012/08/29/gmo-sweet-corn-anything-but-sweet/

 

What’s the worry about GMOs? Some of the concerns include:

  1. Human health issues. Studies in animals fed GMOs have shown organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune disorders, allergic reactions, accelerated aging, and infertility.
  2. Environmental issues. Most GMOs are engineered for herbicide tolerance and the agricultural use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops can also spawn “super weeds” and “super bugs” that don’t respond to spraying. Plus, the long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once they’re let of the lab, there’s no stuffing them back in.
  3. Farmer rights. Believe it or not, a farmer in Canada, Percy Schmeiser, was sued for patent infringement by Monsanto when GMO pollen drifted from a neighboring field and contaminated his canola crop. Monsanto won, striking a huge blow to farmer sovereignty. For organic farmers, GMO contamination is a huge concern because they can lose their certification and their price premium due to uncontrollable drift.
  4. Consumer rights. Consumers should have the right to know what's in their food, but there is no GMO labeling law in the U.S. That’s in spite of the fact that 91% of Americans say they want GMOs to be labeled (according to a 2012 poll).

Learn more at:

http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Lacinato Kale

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 11: August 12th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Shiro Plums! Torpedo Onions!
  • Public Service Announcement: This Week’s Cabbages
  • Tamales Shares this Week

 

In your share this week:

  • Cabbage – red or green
  • Red Long of Tropea torpedo onions
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom
  • Broccoli
  • Dill
  • Shiro Plums

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Peppers

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Shiro Plums: You can thank that long, sunny spring we had for the nest of yellow plums in your tote this week. Never has there been such a Shiro harvest! And as much as we’d like to think it will happen again, regularly, it all depends on how much rain and hail falls from the sky in the months of March & April.

 

These are one of our favorite plum varieties – the drip-down-your-face kind, at once sweet and slightly tart. And they’re ripe now, so don’t delay with the dripping! I imagine it won’t be too hard to figure out what to do with them (as in, eat the whole dozen right away), but they do make a lovely yellow plum sauce if you want to cook them down with a little sugar (my mom likes to use if for barbecue sauce). Or one of my favorite desserts (usually made with pretty, purple Italian plums, but anything will do), plum clafoutis:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Brandied-Plum-Clafoutis-243386

 

I think the flavor and texture is best if you keep your plums on the counter at room temperature. They won’t last as long, but that’s probably a moot point altogether – given the sugar-yum-eat-me-now factor.

 

Red Long of Tropea Torpedo Onions: It’s a mouthful to say, and a delicious mouthful to eat. This variety harks from Mediterranean France and Italy where it’s grown for fresh harvest and specialty markets. It’s similar to the Purplette onions you got throughout July, but slightly slower to mature. Red Longs need to be kept in the fridge because they aren’t cured (no papery outer skin), and ideally eaten within in a couple of weeks.

 

Public Service Announcement: This Week’s Cabbages

If you have back trouble, you may want ask for assistance lifting your cabbage this week. Some of our green cabbages grew to a gargantuan size this year, due to the fact that about half of our green cabbage planting got wiped out by cabbage maggot in the spring. As a result, the surviving plants had ample room to grow and grow. And grow. Some of the cabbages we packed into totes yesterday topped the scales at 8 pounds. If you are not a cabbage fan and you open the lid to a tote that has a monster in it, you might want to look for a different tote with a smaller specimen. This is one of those times when not all things are created equal in the CSA share, so hopefully you all can sort it out at your pickup sites based on need, want, and goodwill!

 

Also, we came up short on green cabbages, so some people will be getting red cabbage in their share. Again, I have faith that you can work it out without any brawling over over-sized brassicas!

 

Tamale Shares this Week

Tamales go out to pickup sites this week. If you are a tamale member, look for your share in the marked blue cooler at your pickup site. Enjoy!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Red Long of Tropea Torpedo Onions
  • Carrots
  • Parsley
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Corn?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 10: August 5th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Veggies of the Week: Walla Walla Sweet Onions! Tomatoes! Cucumbers!
  • Summer Thunderstorms & Truckloads of Onions
  • Strawberries Available by the Flat
  • Farmstand Cornucopia

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower

 

NEW VEGGIES OF THE WEEK

Walla Walla Sweet Onions: Huge, mild, and truly sweet, these are my favorite onion in our Allium line-up. They seem to be particularly pumped up and early this year, thanks probably to a great start in the greenhouse back in February and a good, warm, dry growing season since they were planted outside in late April.

 

Walla Wallas are definitely mild enough to be eaten raw, but I prefer them cooked. My favorite basic preparation is to caramelize them down with fennel, adding some fresh tomato and basil at the end. My other favorite, though more involved, is to make Walla Walla onion rings. We have an annual tradition of making beer- battered (equal parts beer and flour, mixed together), deep-fried Walla Walla rings on my mom’s back porch each summer. The key is to fry them outside, eat ‘em hot and salted, and to have plenty of ketchup on hand. And to go into it knowing that you’ll probably over-indulge and feel sick afterwards. But it’s worth the gut bomb.

 

These Walla Wallas are fresh-harvested, so you should keep them in your fridge. They’ll hold for at least a couple weeks. The yield is so good this year that it looks like we’ll be curing some down for short-term storage, so you’ll see them again in the not-too-distant future.

 

Tomatoes: That’s right, tomatoes. The red slicers are about three weeks ahead of the plan, and the heirlooms are six weeks ahead of our CSA projection. I know I don’t need to say much about tomatoes – kind of like strawberries, they seem to disappear into CSA members’ bellies with little to no prodding on our part – but everyone should know this: it’s best NOT to refrigerate your tomatoes. The flavor and texture aren’t quite as good out of the fridge, so keep them on your counter. Also know that the heirloom tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colors. If you get a green tomato, it’s a ripe Aunt Ruby’s – so don’t wait for it to turn red!

 

Like our strawberries, these tomatoes should be eaten sooner than later (my mom, who grows almost all of the tomatoes, chooses varieties that are all about flavor and less about shelf life…as it should be with something that was never intended for transcontinental transport).

 

Sidenote: The ideal distance a tomato should travel is about 3 feet, from the plant to your mouth, or if necessary, the ten paces from garden to kitchen. Modern times and inexorable demand have forced us at Valley Flora to expand the range to about 45 miles, as far north as Coos Bay and as far south as Gold Beach. This is still more jostling than most ripe, real tomatoes like so we apologize if there are any dents or dings when you receive yours. When we're packing your totes, we try to make little nests for the tomatoes, in the fennel fronds or tucked into a quiet corner. But there's always the chance that an over-aggressive zucchini is going to go bully in there and beat up on the tomatoes. The red slicers are typically a little more durable than the thin-skinned, delicate heirlooms, in case you need to prioritize which to gobble up first. If your heirloom has a split when you get it (they sometimes crack in transport), eat it up soon before the fruit flies find it.

 

And in the unlikely case that you are at a loss for tomato-eating ideas, here’s one for you: a fat slice of tomato sandwiched inside some fresh Seth’s Bread, with some good cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Throw some slivered fresh basil or cilantro in there if you have any.

 

Cucumbers: This year’s cukes, on the other hand, are late. They have been thwarted by moles, cucumber beetles, and bacterial wilt (spread by the cucumber beetles). Finally this week there were enough of the mini-cukes at least for Wednesdays totes; we’re hoping for a little sun to ripen up the next batch for Friday/Saturday totes. If not, they’ll be on rotation. After three years of cucumber struggles on the farm, they are about to earn top brass for being possibly the most difficult crop to grow. Ever. Sigh.

 

Summer Thunderstorms & Truckloads of Onions

Normally the Beet Box would have been sent out hours ago, but just as I was about to start typing this morning, the skies unleashed a totally unexpected, totally-bad-timing rainstorm. What, is the weather man on vacation this week?!?

 

The reason for the panic was this: on Monday, Roberto and I (with the help of Cleo) pulled and windrowed all of the red storage onions, the Walla Walla Sweets, and the red shallots (about half of our total onion crop for the year). The forecast on Monday morning was for sun all week – perfect weather for drying down and curing onions in the field. So we yanked them, made tidy rows, and patted ourselves on the back, hopeful for our best onion year yet.


 

 

 

 

When the rain let loose at my house today, I groaned audibly in the office. NO!!! If the onions we pulled on Monday were to get soaked, there’s a high chance they’d mold instead of cure for long-term storage (these are the onions that feed you into December). I dropped everything in the office and raced to the field where Roberto was already loading the pickup with Walla Wallas. We double-teamed it all afternoon, schlepping truckloads of onions from the field to the greenhouse, where we laid them all out on pallets and tables to dry for the rest of their curing process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, the rain let up while we were in the field and the onions didn’t get too wet. It wasn’t until everything was safely inside the greenhouse this evening that the thunder rolled up the valley, bringing with it fat, heavy raindrops. Let it rain, I thought. Except please spare the strawberries…

 

Strawberries Available by the Flat

They’re back and they’re sweet! We are able to offer strawberries by the flat again, so order now and get on the list! The details:

  • $35/flat
  • Email us your name, pickup site, number of flats you want, and the best daytime phone number to reach you (so we can call you when they’re ready).
  • We’ll fill orders in the order we receive them and deliver to your pickup site.

 

Farmstand Cornucopia

It’s that time of year when the farmstand is a veritable rainbow of produce – everything from leafy greens to heirloom tomatoes to purple peppers to red strawberries to yellow Shiro plums (our adolescent orchard has started to produce a little fruit here and there, in small quantities, and some of it is for sale at the farmstand occasionally). PLUS, The strawberry upick is the best it’s been all year (really!), and Seth & Rachel have been coming on Wednesdays to sell their scrumptious bread, cookies, granola, and crackers. Candace has also been showing up with her vibrant eggs. SO, the moral of the story is that if any of your dietary needs are not being met each week, come to the farmstand and fill in the gaps! Open Wednesdays & Saturdays from 9 to 3.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbage
  • Red Long of Tropea Torpedo Onions
  • Carrots
  • Dill
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 9: July 29th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Veggie of the Week: Potatoes!
  • Part II: The Joy of CSA Farming
  • Strawberries: Phoenix Rising?

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Purplette Onions (the last of ‘em for the year)
  • Cilantro
  • Carrots
  • Collards
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower

 

New Veggie of the Week: Potatoes

I'm trying not to count my chickens before they hatch (given last year’s disappointment when late blight wiped out half of our potato patch), but oh man - it’s looking like a good spud year so far. We dug the first couple beds of Desiree red potatoes on Monday and pulled out some impressive lunkers – a pound apiece, some of them!

 

This week’s potatoes are semi-new, meaning that the skin is thin and hasn’t cured fully yet (you’ll notice little scuffs and places where the skin peeled off while we were washing them). Because of this, you should store them in your fridge in a plastic bag.  It also means that these potatoes are as juicy as they come.

 

“Juicy?” you’re thinking? Since when are potatoes juicy? When they’re fresh. Go get a store-bought potato and do a side-by-side cut-in-half test. The Desirees in your share this week will actually weep, since they haven’t lost any of their moisture content in storage. You might not think there would be much difference in taste with something as plain and basic as a potato, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised this week when you cook up your freshly dug spuds.

 

If you haven’t already tried it, this would be a great week to make the recipe for Collards with Potatoes: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/collards-potatoes

 

Desiree potatoes are also a good candidate for potato salad. I like to make a tangy version that’s lighter on the mayo, full of veggies, and uses some of Candace’s fresh eggs, hardboiled:

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/zs-potato-salad

 

Part II: The Joy of CSA Farming

On the heels of last week’s Beet Box about the challenges of CSA farming, my inbox was awash in wonderful emails from our members. I am sharing some of them here, anonymously, to give you a glimpse of what makes this work so gratifying at times. It’s true, farming is tough at times, but having a community of eaters like you – who are sympathetic to the setbacks and appreciative of the successes – makes it all a very, very worthwhile endeavor.

 

We love hearing from you. Of course we prefer to get the happy, gushing emails from our members, but we definitely want to hear from you if you have some negative/constructive feedback for us as well. I mean it.

 

 Thanks for all your hard work. You guys are amazing!

 

As a consumer I just want to say thank you for providing healthy food for us.  I know it can often feel like a thankless job full of hard work and sometimes disappointment, however what you are doing is greatly appreciated!

 

Please know that from my point of view, each week is a surprise and I look forward to the pick-up each week.  I have learned to cook vegetables and have felt better for it!   Who knew that I liked collards and chard!  I love it!  The only thing that I can't get to know or like are beets!    That's ok, though, since I'm sharing with my sister and she likes them.   I appreciate that when you go organic, mother nature has the final say!  I am duly spoiled.  I can't eat produce from Safeway any more. I love it!

 

Love your newsletter!  It’s so informative, helpful and fun.  You have a great sense of humor.  I also want to thank you for providing me, my family, and the whole south coast community with the most wonderful vegetables.  I have learned to eat so many more veggies than I used to have in my repertoire thanks to your food baskets.  For example, the first year, I just kinda looked at the kale.  I didn’t know what to do with it and was sure I wouldn’t like it.  Then I got a couple of recipes and now it is probably my very favorite “green.”  Now, I will try beets.  I am not a beet fan, but I’ll try the recipe you listed.  Oh, and I do like beet chips that my husband makes in the oven.  Who knows?  I may decide beets are the greatest thing since Seth’s bread! So keep up the good work!  We are blessed to have you and your produce in our lives!

 

Strawberries: Phoenix Rising?

Just when I think I know something on the farm, I usually get proven wrong. Which happily, seems to be the case with the strawberry patch right now. As of last week, the strawberries started to stage a comeback. Their bright scarlet sheen is back, the sweetness is returning, and the harvest is up. Enough so to put them in the CSA totes again, and to start fulfilling special orders once more. Who knew?

 

I have to give credit to Jake, who has been a steadfast optimist throughout the entire, depressing month of July. Roberto and I had both thrown in the towel on the berry patch and were consoling ourselves with the promise and possibility of a fantastic next year (that’s the great thing about farming….there’s always a fantastic next year, at least in your mind). But Jake stuck by those berries, picking the patch clean of ugly fruit each week and maybe sprinkling some magic pixie dust on them when I wasn’t looking.

 

Whatever the reason (compost tea? time? root regeneration? pixie dust? positive thinking?), we’re seeing a new flush of green leaves and flowers, which hopefully portends a bountiful August of berries. The u-pick is also getting better and better, so if you’ve been hesitating about coming to the farm to pick your own, August will be a good month for it. Or so I think. We know how that goes….

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Cucumbers?
  • Cabbage?
  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Carrots
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 8: July 22

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Pancakes
  • The Challenge of CSA Farming (Or, How to Feed a Few Hundred People Every Week for Seven Months of the Year…)

 

In your share this week:

  • Broccoli
  • Head Lettuce
  • Purplette Onions
  • Fresh Dill
  • Carrots (with some Rainbows in the mix)
  • Russian Frills Kale
  • Zucchini

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower

 

Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Pancakes

My mom has been making these lately and they are GOOD! She makes up a batch of batter and if she doesn’t use it all, she just stores it in her fridge for the next day. Makes a tasty, quick lunch or dinner.

 

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moms-zucchini-pancakes/

 

The Challenge of CSA Farming

This past weekend I fretted that there wasn’t going to be enough food (both quantity and diversity) to fill this week’s Harvest Baskets. Then came Tuesday. Everything was harvested and washed for our Wednesday CSA members and we began packing totes in the barn. Strawberries (what a total, utter surprise!). Onions (2 full pounds of Purplettes, because we're having such an unprecedented bumper onion crop so far). Carrots (with some rainbow carrots in the mix this week). Broccoli. Beets (harvested in lieu of potatoes this week because I decided that the spuds weren’t quite sized up enough to merit our first dig). A nice pile of zucchini (because it’s their prime time). Russian Frills kale (probably the last kale you’ll see from us until September). Some super jumbo lettuce (I was laughing all morning as I harvested those lunkers). And a bunch of dill (intended to be paired with potatoes, but alas their stars didn’t align).

 

Whew. We got to the end of the packout line with the first tote and discovered that we could barely get the lid on it.

 

So much for worrying.

 

The challenge of CSA is this: how to plan to have a diversity of enough (but not too much) food every single week from June through December, for a few hundred people. Accounting for, of course, the fact that some people love beets and some people don’t, and some people want kale every week and some people don’t, and some people are splitting a basket and some people are feeding a family of five (or more). It’s a dinner party host’s worst nightmare.

 

And then of course there’s the environment. Sometimes it rains all spring and stays cold until July, except for when it doesn’t. And who knows if the cucumber beetles are going to fly in (not too bad this year), or the cabbage maggots are going to eat our cauliflower seedlings (they did), or the moles are going to undermine the marionberries (they did), or the phytophthora is going to nuke our berry patch (it mostly did, except for this week’s unexpected mini-comeback).

 

A lot of it is out of our control, but I do my best to try to impose some predicted order on what always turns out to be the wild chaos of a real live farm season. It all starts in January, when I create a CSA projection: essentially, my best guess at all of the produce that will be in your share each week for 28 weeks (best case scenario). It’s an Excel spreadsheet with a column for every week of the season and a line for every single fruit and vegetable we grow. I fill it in based on past year’s experience, but of course no two years are the same…

 

Then we seed and plant and sow accordingly. Lettuce gets seeded ever two weeks, carrots every three. Broccoli gets planted every week or two throughout the spring, and corn goes in the ground in succession in hopes of a nice staggered harvest come September. Every planting date is dictated by a hoped-for harvest date, all with the goal of keeping your harvest baskets replete, and keeping you happy.

 

Enter Mother Nature, who laughs somewhat sardonically at Excel spreadsheets. This year, carrots came a full five weeks sooner than planned but green cabbage and potatoes are weeks later than expected. The artichokes shut down a month sooner than I’d hoped, but corn is probably going to be a month earlier than anticipated.

 

It becomes a task of constant observation and on the fly decision-making. For instance, yesterday I discovered a small cache of ripe cauliflower, from the few plants that survived the cabbage maggot this spring. It was enough to give to our members who pick up at the farm. But I had to do some quick calculating: will there be enough heads from the next bed of cauliflower to fill everyone else’s totes (fairness is a top priority – we do all we can to keep it even-steven among our four pickup sites throughout the season)?

 

I decided that there would be, so the farm pickup members got some neon caulifower to boot. If I was wrong and we don’t end up having enough to give to everyone in Port Orford, Bandon, and Coos Bay, then we’ll have to make it up with something else. What? I’m not sure yet. It’s an improv show.

 

Thanks for buying a ticket to the show (in doing so, you’ve shown a degree of trust in us, and a willingness to roll with the unexpected). If nothing else, I hope the enormity of your lettuce makes you laugh this week.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Cucumbers?
  • Purplette Onions
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes?
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 7: July 15th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Veggies: Red Cabbage
  • Winter Garden Kits
  • The Heartbreaking Absence of Sugar in your Share

 

In your share this week:

  • Broccoli
  • Head Lettuce
  • Purplette Onions
  • Red Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Zucchini

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Basil
  • Peas

 

New Veggies of the Week…

Red Cabbage

Now there’s some heft! Cabbage is a year-round veggie – in part because it grows from spring through fall, but also because certain varieties store through the winter. This is an early variety, bred for fresh-eating. It will still store for weeks in your fridge (ideally in a bag), so no pressure to eat the whole thing at once (like my draft horse, Maude, likes to do – as if it were a small apple). If you eat some of it and save the rest for later, the cut edge will brown a little. Next time you go to use it, simply shave off the outside layer first.

 

Great sliced up thinly with grated carrots for a festive summer slaw!

 

U-Pick Marionberries & Peas

They’re going strong! Come pick!

 

Winter Garden Kits

This week you’ll see some flats of veggie starts at each pickup site, labeled with names. They are for members who have signed up and pre-paid for Winter Garden Kits. Please don’t take any plants home unless you signed up for a Winter Garden Kit. Thanks!

 

The Heartbreaking Absence of Sugar in your Share

For the first time ever in the history of Harvest Baskets, there are no strawberries in the share this week (unheard of for mid-July!). The strawberry patch has been in a precipitous nose-dive since the beginning of July and the diagnosis is a soil-borne root fungus called Phytophthora. Phytophthora is ubiquitous on the farm (it can persist in soil for up to 17 years) – but doesn’t necessarily do damage unless it has ideal conditions to proliferate. We got those conditions during the big flood in January of 2012, and then again in November 2012 when the field went under water yet again. Phyophthora thrives in wet, cool soil and flood conditions will unleash it with a fury.

 

The first casualty on the farm was our raspberries. We lost our entire fall raspberry crop last year (as in, had to tear out the entire planting just as it was hitting it’s prime years), and our June-bearing raspberries were crippled by it (not killed, but almost; the only reason we had a reasonable fruit set on the June raspberries this year was because they pollinated so well this spring).

 

Strawberries are the other Phyophthora-prone crop we grow, and it has hit them hard this season, in spite of our best efforts to rotate them every year and give them the healthiest soil conditions we can. At this point, I’m declaring it a crop failure (although I’m ever-hopeful that we will be happily surprised by a turn-around later in the summer).

 

The challenge has been not to panic; strawberries are one of our signature crops and make up a significant portion of the summer income stream. Without those sweet red berries in the mix it’s a little unclear how the economics are going to play out for the farm this season. We have been trying to eek out whatever we can just to help cover the lost investment in this year’s crop (the strawberry crowns, all the labor to plant and maintain them, the fertilizer, the harvest labor, the packaging, etc.), but it will probably chalk up to a loss in the strawberry column this season.

 

Looking ahead, I just ordered our new plants (which we put in the ground each November for the following season) and I’m going to trial two new varieties that allegedly have much better disease resistance than Seascape (our beloved standby variety), and better flavor. Hard to imagine, but here’s hoping! We are also moving onto higher ground and the new strawberries will be in a place in the field that didn’t go under during the floods of 2012.

 

In the meantime, we will do whatever we can to get strawberries into your share if possible. Special orders are on hold for the time being, unless you want seconds (we have those in abundant supply but they’re ugly). I’m so sorry!

 

We have been able to get one or two good flats out of the field each harvest day (compared to the 20 or 30 we would normally be picking right now), and those are for sale at the farmstand (there’s not even enough to put them on rotation for the CSA, so we are just selling the few pints we have).

 

Thank goodness for the 99 other crops that are doing well on the farm. Roberto was asking me yesterday if there is compensation money from the government for a crop loss like this. The answer is no – unless you grow corn, or soy, or wheat, or somesuch commodity and you buy crop insurance for it. But for us fresh market organic farmers, our only insurance is diversity. So enjoy the 9 other things in your share this week and if you think of it, do a strawberry dance for good measure.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Purplette Onions
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Fresh dill
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 6: July 8th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Veggies: Purplette Onions, Fennel, Basil, Zucchini
  • U-pick Marionberries and Peas!
  • Flowers in your Abby’s Greens!

 

In your share this week:

  • Broccoli
  • Head Lettuce
  • Purplette Onions
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Fennel

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Basil
  • Zucchini

 

New Veggies of the Week…

Purplette Onions

One of the first and most favorite onions we grow, Purplettes are an early, mild, fresh-eating onion that has become much-adored by our CSA members over the years. It’s a gentle onion, as onions go – mild enough to eat raw, but also spunky enough to cook up as you would a typical yellow storage onion (we grow those, too, but they take another month or more to mature).

 

You’ll be getting purplettes for the next few weeks. They are not a cured, storage variety, so keep them in your fridge and try to eat them up as they come. They’ll keep for at least a couple of weeks in your fridge (longer if you take the green tops off). The tops can double as green onions if you are inspired to use every last inch of them!

 

Fennel

For our new CSA members, this might be your first encounter with fennel. Returning members know that this is one of my favorite vegetables (to grow and to eat), but I have learned over the years that not everyone is head over heels for it (we have at least one member who without fail feeds her fennel to a neighbor's cow, every time). Fennel is officially tied with beets for Most Controversial CSA Vegetable of All Time. My job is to help you learn to like (dare I say “love”?) it, or if you are already among the converted, to cheer you on as you relish this week’s two fat bulbs in your share. They are three weeks early, which makes my day. In our kitchen, we are in fennel hog heaven at the moment.

 

Fennel has a mild, sweet, anise flavor (I’ve learned not to say “licorice” for fear of scaring people off before they’ve even given it a try…), and adds depth and complexity to dishes, both cooked and raw. It’s a staple in Italy (and CHEAP there!). It probably most resembles celery in the kitchen.

 

So what to do with it? You have options.

 

There’s an array of recipes on our website: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/fennel

Basic tips:

  • Most recipes are going to put the bulb to use, rather than the feathery fronds. You can use the tops, too, however – as an herb. Try it in place of dill. Great on baked or broiled fish with butter and lemon.
  • Eat it raw: cut the feathery fronds off, strip any damaged or woody parts of the bulb, wash it, quarter it, and slice it cross-wise paper thin. Put it on salad, or make a salad of it by itself. Also great served on a cheese platter or dipped raw.
  • Cook it: It’s really nice caramelized with those purplette onions in your tote and some fresh basil. Slice it up thinly and sautee it with the onions for a good while until it’s all mushy and soft. Salt to taste and add fresh-slivered basil at the end. Serve as a side, or on top of pasta, or on toast (it’s awesome on some toasted Seth’s Bread, bruschetta style).
  • Try a sautee of fennel, artichoke hearts, zucchini, tomatoes, sweet bell pepper, thyme and a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Cut the bulb into quarters, drizzle with olive oil, and bake until tender – about 35 minutes.
  • Substitute for celery in any recipe.
  • Add it to soup, stir fry it, steam it, put it in pasta salad or pasta sauce, or juice it (it lends a wonderful sweetness to fresh-made juice).

 

Storage: At least a couple of weeks in the fridge in a plastic bag. The tops will go limp, so cut them off, wrap them in a moist towel (or stuff into a plastic bag) and refrigerate.

 

Basil

I knew it was truly summer yesterday when I opened the door and our entire walk-in cooler smelled like basil. That’s happiness. Basil is one of those signature summertime smells (and tastes) that I love. As soon as I get my first whiff of the season, I start to crave tomatoes. Fresh, ripe tomatoes on a plate with olive oil, fresh basil, and some fresh mozzarella. Soon…

 

In the absence of tomatoes just yet, this week’s basil pairs well with your fennel. I also love to simply chop it up and put it in my salad with whatever veggies we have on hand.

 

Storage: Will hold for a week or so in the fridge in a plastic bag.

 

Zucchini

Zucchini is one of those crops that sneaks up on you. All through June we watch the plants growing in the field and it seems like it’ll be months before we’re eating any zukes. And then, suddenly – practically overnight – there are zucchinis coming out of our ears. Last week’s heat wave helped accelerate this year’s attack of the zucchinis.

 

My mom grows the zucchini on the farm and she is pretty much wedded to her squash plants for the duration: combing through the patch every day to harvest them at the perfect size. If she skips a day, inevitably she’ll end up with a pile of lunkers – perfect for zucchini bread, but not so attractive for dinner.

 

You should see zucchini in your tote for the next many weeks, if all goes well.

 

Storage: In the fridge, in a bag. Use within a week.

 

U-Pick Marionberries & Peas

We opened the marionberries to upick today, and the peas are at their peak. Come fill your buckets!

 

Flowers in your Abby’s Greens!

If you get a salad share, this week you’ll notice flower petals in the mix. Usually by July, Abby’s patch of edible flowers is in full bloom and she begins to add them to the salad. The orange and yellow petals are calendulas. The blue is bachelor button. It’s totally edible confetti.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  •  
  • Head lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Purplette Onions
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Red Cabbage
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Fresh dill?
  • Zucchini

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 5: July 1st

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Veggies: Collard Greens, Carrots, Scallions, Tayberries & Thyme
  • U-Pick Tayberries and Peas!
  • Strawberry Woes

 

In your share this week:

·      Broccoli

·      Head Lettuce

·      Collard Greens

·      Strawberries

·      Carrots

·      Scallions

·      Thyme

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

·      Snap peas

·      Arugula

·      Spinach

·      Tayberries

 

New Veggies of the Week…

Lots of new things this week, and it’s not all greens! Carrots, heavy heads of broccoli, and scallions herald the real onset of summer!

 

Collard Greens

Collard greens are beloved in the South. Closely related to kale, cabbage, turnips and the rest of the Brassica family, collards became a staple in the diet of African slaves who were brought to the southern colonies to work on plantations. Slaves were often given the scraps and leftover food from the plantation kitchen, including turnip tops, other greens, ham hocks and pig’s feet. The meals they were forced to create from these meager ingredients ultimately laid the foundation for what we now consider to be traditional southern cooking.

 

Greens were typically cooked down for a long time with a ham hock, and then served with cornbread to dip into the “pot likker” (the highly concentrated, vitamin-rich broth that results from the long boil of the greens). A “mess o’ greens” was enough to feed a family, so the size of your “mess” depended on the number of mouths you had to feed.

 

The “mess o’ greens” you can make from this week’s collards is probably enough for 2-4 people. I tend to shy away from boiling collards for a long time. They are plenty tender and delicious after a quick steam or sautee in the pan. I tried this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago, and loved it. You can use a mixture of collards and any other green (kale, chard, spinach), so if you have leftover greens from last week, here’s their chance to shine. You can substitute your scallions for the onion in the recipe:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/collards-potatoes

 

Storage: Will hold for a week or more in a plastic bag in the fridge.

 

Carrots

There is not much I need to say about carrots, except this: good luck getting these home. Nothing beats a freshly-harvested, homegrown carrot. Lucky for all of us, these are the earliest carrots we’ve EVER had at the farm, thanks to that warm spell of sunshine in April that enabled me to sneak in a planting 3 weeks earlier than usual. I always breathe a sigh of relief when the carrots come on – it means the beginning of summer food, more color (other than green) in the harvest baskets, and lots of good snacking in the field.

 

Storage: Will hold for weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge, IF you cut the green tops off. The greens tend to wilt the carrots after awhile, so if you don’t eat all your carrots in the first five minutes, store them in the fridge topless.

 

Scallions

Also known as green onions, scallions kick off our onion season at Valley Flora. We grow eight kind of onions, 4 varieties of leeks, and two kinds of shallots on the farm. The scallions are the earliest to mature, but our purplette spring onions are close on their heels (look for them in your tote in the next couple of weeks). You can sub scallions anywhere that onions would normally be used, or dice them up for garnish.

 

We’ve never had such a beautiful onion patch as we do this year – thanks in part to the fact that our onion seedlings had a great start in the greenhouse this winter, and because the spring has been so incredibly lovely and warm. We’re crossing our fingers for a record-breaking harvest of all varieties…

 

Storage: Will hold a week or so in the fridge in a plastic bag.

 

Tayberries

If you were one of the folks who received a half pint of mystery berries in your tote last week, and had no idea what they were, here’s your answer: Tayberries. They are a cross between marionberries and raspberries, and we are just barely managing to pick enough to give everyone a taste of them (it’s a slow harvest!). But they are delectable – one of my favorite berries on the farm – and worth every long hour of picking. Eat them by the handful, or whip up some cream to sprinkle them on. Sweet heaven.

 

After you taste them, you might be inspired to come to the farm and pick your own. We just opened up the tayberries to upick today. The season will last another week or two, but it’s fleeting - so get ‘em while you can!

 

They won’t store for more than a couple of days in the fridge, so I’d suggest the instant gratification approach on this one…

 

Thyme

Another of our perennial herbs, and quite possibly my favorite. We use thyme all the time. Summer thyme. Winter thyme. All the thyme. In marinades, in dressings, in eggs, in rice or quinoa. It’s also the easiest herb to dry and use later, so don’t be overwhelmed by the hefty little bunch you’re getting this week. Think delayed gratification on this one.

 

U-Pick Tayberries & Peas!

As of today, our tayberries are open for u-pick (good timing, just as the raspberries are beginning to wind down).

 

 

 

 

This Saturday, 7/6, we’ll be opening up the sugar snap pea patch for u-pick. We have 3 long rows of peas that we planted just for u-pick and they are hitting their sweet, crunchy stride. Yum.

 

Strawberry Woes

We’ve never had such a weird year in the strawberry patch. The u-pick berries are light right now (when they would normally be booming), and the we-pick berries that we harvest for you just aren’t what they should be at the moment. People usually tell us our strawberries are the best berries in the whole world (sorry, Driscolls, I guess we have you beat), but I know that’s not true this week.

 

I have a few working theories. The plants set fruit extremely early this spring, during all that good April weather. That huge fruit set (which normally would come in June) was destroyed by the Memorial Day storm. Since then, production on the upick side has been light – which I think must be the normal lull in production we typically see in late July. If the season is 3-4 weeks accelerated, it leads me to hope that the berries are about to go bananas, like they usually do in August and September. Fingers crossed for all of you who are still hoping to fill your freezers with berries! Reports from u-pickers are that it’s getting better each week.

 

On our side of the fence, where we pick your berries each week, there’s something else going on. Thanks to our greenhouse tunnels, we managed to save most of the fruit from the past two whopper rain storms, but at a price. When we close up the tunnels during the rain, there is limited airflow across the plants, which can lead to other problems, like botrytis (grey mold) and spider mites. These things stress the plants, which reduces fruit quality. There is also phytopthora (say that three times fast!), a soil and water-borne root fungus, that is stressing a few of the rows. Two winters of flooding in the field have not helped our phytopthora situation.

 

Sigh. The perils of organic farming. A conventional strawberry farmer would have all kinds of chemicals at her disposal to combat these problems: insecticides, fungicides, and worst of all, methyl bromide (a soil fumigant that conventional strawberry growers use to nuke the ground before planting; it takes care of the phytopthora, and all the earthworms as well). Instead, we are brewing compost tea, culling any diseased plants, and patiently waiting for the plants to rebound.

 

We’re hopeful. There’s no rain in the forecast, so we took the tunnels down for the season. The strawberry plants are wild and free again, and if nothing else, Jake (all 6’4” of him) is happy about the fact that he can see the sky while he harvests now….

 

Thanks for your patience while this signature crop of ours experiences this hiccup in production, and my sincere apologies that your berries are not the best in the whole world this week.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

·      Head lettuce

·      Broccoli

·      Arugula or spinach

·      Basil

·      Strawberries

·      Carrots

·      Fennel

·      Purplette onions?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 4: June 24th

In This Week's Beet Box:

  • New veggies: Beets & Rosemary
  • Meet the Valley Flora Crew!

 

In your share this week:

·      Broccolini

·      Spinach

·      Head Lettuce

·      Red Ursa Kale

·      Strawberries

·      Baby beets

·      Rosemary

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

·      Snap peas

 

NEW VEGGIES OF THE WEEK....

Baby Beets

If you believe that you hate beets, today is the day to open your mind and your heart to the possibility that you don’t.

 

(How’s that for some Zen Master Veggie Guru-speak?)

 

In other words, these are some darn good sweet beets – so try ‘em!

 

The variety is called Cylindra – a long, tubular beet that we like to grow for our first harvest (because we’ve found that they have great taste and they mature more quickly through the cool weather of spring). This is our first big harvest – sort of a combination of harvesting and thinning. As a result, the beets are petite but particularly sweet and tender. They’re also easy to use in the kitchen because you can cut them into uniform rounds, or quarter them into long wedges. Or eat them whole. They’re versatile: think beet soup (borscht), beet salad, roasted beets with rosemary (recipe below), raw grated beets on salad, pickled beets, and yes, for the most strident skeptic, beet chocolate cake. Also, beet stamps (they bleed a beautiful pink ink) and lipstick.

 

And don’t throw out the tops! If they look anything like chard to you, it’s because beets are descended from chard and beet leaves are 100% edible and yummy. You can do them up in any of the ways we have suggested for leafy greens (they are chock full of vitamin C, calcium and iron).

 

We ate beets for dinner the other night, roasted with rosemary and potatoes. It’s simple:

·      Preheat oven to 400.

·      Wash your beets (no need to peel).

·      Cut the beets into uniform chunks or wedges (if using potatoes, cut them the same size).

·      Toss with olive oil, salt to taste, and a sprig of chopped rosemary.

·      Spread on a baking sheet and roast until tender (maybe a half hour or so, depending on volume). We like to roast them a little longer until the potatoes have some crispy browning on the edges.

 

And some beet recipes off our website (including beet chocolate cake):

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/beets

 

One little personal word of warning in case you’ve never eaten beets before:

When you go to the bathroom the next day, don’t worry, you’re not dying. The red pigment of beets has a way of traveling straight through your body and, well, you'll see…:)

 

Storage: If you cut the tops off, beets will store in the fridge in a plastic bag for MONTHS.

 

Rosemary

Pretty much everyone is familiar with this herb, whether it grows as a sprawling shrub outside your door, or you keep some dried on your spice rack, or you like rosemary-scented shampoo, soap, and deodorant.

 

In addition to roasting vegetables with it, I like to stuff sprigs of it into the cavity of a roasting chicken and use it in meat marinades (especially well-paired with lamb). It dries easily, but is very brittle when dry – so consider hanging it inside a brown paper bag to catch any needles that fall off.

 

To store it for fresh use, don’t wash it until you are ready to use it. You can either keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge or put it in a glass of water (like a bouquet) and keep it on the counter. Will hold for a week or so.

 

Meet the Valley Flora Crew!

We have an all-star team working on the farm this season. Bets, Abby, Zoë & Roberto are the full-time core crew. This is Roberto’s 4th year with us and he is the tireless, dedicated engine that keeps the farm humming smoothly at full throttle. There aren’t words to express how much we appreciate his commitment to Valley Flora. He is a rare human being.

 

We are joined on Tuesday and Friday by Jake, who has quickly proven himself to be a heroic strawberry picker (he scoots all 6’4” of himself through our squat little strawberry tunnels to harvest those luscious berries for you). And he’s been a quick study in the packout barn – rinsing, sorting and packing all of the produce that comes out of the field on harvest days. We are delighting in his good humor, fantastic attitude, and solid work ethic (he often beats us to the farm on early harvest mornings, commuting all the way from Coos Bay)!

 

None of the food would get to all of you, were it not for John and Roxy, our delivery drivers. John (Bets’ husband and Abby & Zoë’s step-dad) does the Friday evening run to Port Orford, delivering all the CSA food to the pickup site, as well as wholesale deliveries to businesses. Without him, we have no idea how the food would get there in time, since we’re still jamming in the packout barn at 4 pm when he has to leave on Fridays.

 

Roxy does the Wednesday and Saturday delivery routes. She hauls all of the Coos Bay and Bandon CSA food for us, plus a LOT of deliveries for restaurants and stores in Bandon and Coos Bay (she is one tough lady, and a champion of local food). Her son and daughter-in-law have their own fishing boat and sell local canned tuna and crab under the Ocean Harvest label: http://www.theoceanharvest.com/albacore-tuna-dungeness-crab (Awesome stuff! We trade strawberries for tuna every year!). Roxy worked with us two seasons ago and is back again for more, hallelujah!

 

Aro tends the farmstand and u-pick on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This is her third season at that post. Her presence on the farm has made our lives so much more sane and sustainable (it means I can be in the office on Wednesday morning writing this newsletter instead of doing it at midnight), and she’s a wonderful ambassador to all of the farm visitors we welcome on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

 

And finally, none of the work would get done on harvest days without the help of Fay, who spends two days a week with our kids, Cleo and Pippin (age 2 and 3, respectively). She probably has the hardest job of all at times, and we are grateful to her for the patient, fun-loving energy she devotes to our kids on our longest work days.

 

What a team it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured from left to right:

Bets (Abby & Zoë’s mom), Zoë, Abby, Roberto, Jake

 

Not pictured (not for lack of love; only becuase it's impossible to get us all in the same place at the same time!):

John, Roxy, and Fay

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

 

·      Head lettuce

·      Broccoli

·      Arugula

·      Fresh herbs

·      Strawberries

·      Carrots?

·      Fennel?

·      Peas on rotation

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 3: June 17th

Week 3

In your share this week:

·      Broccolini

·      Braising Mix

·      Head Lettuce

·      Rainbow Chard

·      Strawberries

·      Kohlrabi

·      Radishes

·      Oregano

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

·      Snap peas

 

New Veggies of the Week…

A quick note, especially to our new members, about the Harvest Baskets right now. June is a month when the baskets are heavier on the greens – spinach, chard, kale, lettuce, etc. This is because these are quick-growing things that mature by early summer and are ready for harvest right now. Carrots, zucchini, potatoes, beets, tomatoes, corn and all the other well-loved veggies that you may be pining for start to show up later in the season, after they’ve had enough warm days to mature.

 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the greens in your share, remember this: if you cook them, they will shrink down to almost nothing! Really. It may look like an insurmountable amount of greenery when you open up your tote, but put them in a pan or a steamer or a blender and you won’t be so intimidated by the volume. Also, consider shifting your habits to incorporate the greens every chance you get. Scrambled eggs for breakfast? Throw some chopped chard in there, too!

 

And also know that as our mild, early summer weather shifts into mid-summer heat, you’ll start to see less of the greens and more of the other hearty veggies that are growing happily  in our fields right now. Just like raising kids, this phase doesn’t last forever, so try to make the most of it while it’s here!

 

Rainbow Chard

There's an unspoken rule around the farm, inspired by a saying of my mom's: that "Everything we do has to be at least 51% art." If ever there was a crop that abides by this mantra, it's rainbow chard. With stems aflame in hues of pink, red, orange, yellow, and white, it's as much eye candy as it is good eating. Chard grows year-round here, but it loves early summer the best; it's leaves are big, heavy and succulent right now, and it’s a joy to harvest and bunch.

 

Chard is a leafy parent to beets and can be used anywhere you would normally use spinach. It’s actually nutritionally superior to spinach because it doesn’t contain oxalic acid – the thing in spinach that sometimes makes your teeth feel coated and funny. Oxalic acid binds minerals and makes them unavailable during digestion, so all the vitamins (A, E, and C) and minerals (iron, calcium) in chard are more readily absorbed by your body.

 

When we eat chard, we use the whole leave, stem and all. The stems take a little longer to cook, so we strip the leaves from them, chop up the stems, and start them cooking a little before we add the leaves. I also throw whole chard leaves into my berry smoothie in the morning.

 

Here’s a menagerie of recipes off our website to help get you started if this is your first time out with chard:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/chard

 

Storage: in the fridge in a sealed plastic bag. Will last more than a week.

 

Oregano

Oregano is one of the perennial herbs we planted a year ago, with the hope of being able to provide fresh herbs to our members in the early part of the season before annual herbs like dill, cilantro, basil and parsley are ready on the farm. The plan seems to be working; our oregano patch is knee high and perhaps too well established at this point (it’s in the mint family and likes to spread….). Herbs are supposedly the most flavorful and pungent just before flowering, so we harvested it this week for you just before the flower spikes have begun to open. The flowers and leaves are both edible.

 

In the kitchen, it has a spicy taste with a bit of a bite – most commonly used in tomato sauces and Italian cooking. But you can also add it to salad dressing, tuck it under the skin of roasting chickens or into the cavity of baking fish. You can infuse vinegar with it by putting a sprig or two into a bottle of vinegar, or add it to Greek salad.

 

Or, DRY IT! Because we harvested sizeable bunches for you and it’s pretty potent stuff, you might want to dry some of it for later use. Simply hang it upside down, ideally in a dry, dark place (but somewhere in your kitchen will work fine, too) until it’s crispy-dry.  If you have a food dehydrator you can make of layer of sprigs in it and run it on a low setting until crispy. Then strip off the dry leaves over a plate or bowl, crumble them up between your fingers, and store in a jar. You can do this with many of the herbs you’ll be getting throughout the season (thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, dill, and mint).

 

To store it for fresh use, you can either keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge or put it in a glass of water (like a bouquet) and keep it on the counter. Will hold for a week or so.

 

Braising Mix

The bag of greens in your tote this week is braising mix. It’s a semi-spicy mix of baby kale, tatsoi, mizuna and mustard greens – great for eating raw as salad-with-a-kick, or cooked (steamed, stir-fried, etc.). Use it any way that you’d eat kale, spinach, chard or other leafy greens. I like it steamed up next to a pile of beans and cornbread, with hot sauce – for a southern twist.

 

Stores for at least a week in the fridge.

 

U-pick and Farmstand are OPEN!

I think I forgot to mention this in previous newsletters:

 

Our farmstand and u-pick are open every Wednesday and Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm. There is produce for purchase at the farmstand, in case you want to round out your Harvest Basket with something extra. AND, the u-pick is ramping up with strawberries, RASPBERRIES, fresh herbs and flowers!

 

The strawberry u-pick goes all summer, until the fall rains come. The raspberry season is more fleeting and will probably only go through the early part of July.  You might want to come sooner than later, since Pippin and Cleo have figured out how to pilfer the raspberry patch efficiently this year.

 

After raspberries, we’ll have marionberries (July and August).

 

Please bring your own containers for u-pick and your own bags for farmstand produce (in the interest of keeping more plastic out of the landfill).

 

 

Spring Strawberry Victory!

Every year, we struggle through the months of May and June in the strawberry patch. It seems that just as they are really beginning ripen, we get another rainstorm that mushes up the berries and sets us back a couple of weeks. So, this year we decided to experiment with some low tunnels - like portable mini-greenhouses - of our own design. We set these things up over our new strawberry planting, in hopes of being able to keep them dry during rainy spells, but with the option of raising the plastic during warm, dry spells (to keep it from getting too hot in there, and to let the bees, wind and other pollinators in).

 

We watched them get blown apart during the Memorial Day storm (we clocked 40+ mph windds at the farm), so we had to make some design changes to help them withstand strong winds. It seems to be working so far. We dropped the plastic down for this week's rain, so the strawberries have stayed warm and dry through every downpour. What a relief.

 

The other unforeseen consequence of the tunnels is that the berries seem to be super-sized so far this season. They are much bigger than usual, and there's less damage from marauding birds and toddlers.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

 

·      Head lettuce

·      Broccolini

·      Spinach

·      Fresh herbs

·      Strawberries

·      Carrots?

·      Peas?

·      Collards?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington

Newsletter: 

Week 2 - June 10th

Week 2

In your share this week:

·      Broccolini

·      Spinach

·      Head Lettuce

·      Red Ursa Kale

·      Rhubarb

·      Strawberries

·      Hakurei Turnips

·      Chives

·      Kohlrabi

 

What’s that Purple Thing?!

It’s called kohlrabi, and it’s as tasty as it is extraterrestrial-looking. The closest thing I can liken it to is broccoli stems – a sweetish, nutty-ish, tender, crunchy thing that you can eat raw or cooked. My favorite way to enjoy it: peeled and cut into sticks, then dipped. I like to make a homemade yogurt-curry dip for it (equal parts yogurt and mayo, with a good shake of the following herbs & spices, to taste: curry powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and dill weed), but anything will do. You can also sautee or steam it, just as you would broccoli.

 

You can also eat the leaves; they are similar to kale and collard greens. Here are some recipe ideas to get you started:

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/kohlrabi

 

Next week you’ll see the greenish-white version – just as tender and yummy, but a little less flashy.

 

Storage: in a plastic bag in the fridge. Will hold for  weeks and weeks if you cut the leaves off.

 

Strawberries and Rhubarb: A Match Made in Heaven

The strawberries are starting to ramp up, just in time to catch the tail end of rhubarb season. These two go together like nothing else in the dessert world – sweet and tangy in perfect harmony! Baked into a pie or a crisp - or sozzled down into a compote - then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…oh man.

 

You may not have enough of either to make a full pie this week, but I recently tried this quick, easy recipe from Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” and it sent us swooning. I didn’t have any mango (it’s not in season on the farm J), but it was great without it. If your strawberries even make it home from your pickup site, then give this one a try (over ice cream, of course!):

 

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Mango Compote

1 pound rhubarb, cut into ½” lengths

¾ c sugar

Scant 1/8th tsp ground cloves

grated zest and juice of 1 large orange

1 pint strawberries, sliced in half or quartered

1 mango, peeled and cut sliced into small pieces

 

Toss rhubarb with sugar, cloves and orange zest and juice, then put in a wide skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring now and then. As soon s rhubarb is tender – some pieces will have fallen apart while others are still whole – transfer it to a bowl and stir in the strawberries and mango. Toss gently, then cover and chill. As it cools, it’s red juices will be released.

 

Rhubarb stores in the fridge for weeks in plastic bag. The strawberries are best eaten within a few days. If you leave them on your counter, they will continue to ripen, redden and sweeten, up to a point. Good luck with the delayed gratification approach, especially if you have kids!

 

Red Ursa Kale

If you are a first-time CSA member, or a newcomer to eating locally and seasonally, then kale is somewhat of an initiation vegetable. We welcome you to the tribe this week. You’ll see three to four different varieties of kale over the next 7 months with us, all of them unique. Red Ursa is an heirloom variety that we love. It’s the first to be harvested in the spring, and we’ll still be eating from these plants through the winter and into next March.

 

Kale is a superfood, rich in vitamins A, C, B, and in calcium. It also has the highest protein content of all cultivated vegetables. Up until now, you may have only encountered kale as a garnish at the Pizza Hut salad bar (sad fact: Pizza Hut is the largest buyer of kale in the country, but only for salad bar décor). After eating Valley Flora kale this week, you might just find yourself forking the garnish onto your plate next time you’re at Pizza Hut. Go ahead. You’ll make us proud.

 

We eat kale a lot in our household, mostly steamed lightly and drizzled with olive oil, salt, and some tasty vinegar (balsamic, ume plum, or apple cider usually). It’s highly versatile though: you can sliver it up and make raw kale salad, cook it into your eggs and quiche, add it to your smoothies (another favorite way for us), toss it with pasta, add it to soup, layer it in lasagna instead of spinach, or whatever other preparation you can imagine. We store ours in a plastic bag in the fridge. When we’re ready to use it, we strip the leaves from the stems and go from there.

 

You might try this recipe, for something quick and light:

Sesame Kale Salad

Serves 4-6

 

1 bunch fresh kale

2 Tbs soy sauce

2 Tbs toasted sesame oil

1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp honey or other sweetener

1 Tbs apple cider vinegar

dash of black or red pepper to taste

 

Strip kale leaves from stems. Chop stems and greens. Steam stems a couple minutes then add the greens and steam until just tender. Drain; let kale cool enough to handle it. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Place in a serving bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl; add to the greens. Mix, chill and serve.

 

Orphaned Produce Goes to Good Home

In case you are wondering what happens to any produce that goes unclaimed at your pickup site each week, there’s a happy answer: we donate all leftover food to local foodbanks after a 24 hour period at each pickup site. So not to worry, nothing goes to waste! (It also means that if you forget to pick up your produce in a given week, you have 24 hours to claim it before it’s donated).

 

We also donate a significant quantity of produce to foodbanks each week straight from the farm – leftovers, extras and seconds get packed up and donated to The Common Good in Port Orford, the Langlois Food Cupboard, and to ORCCA (Oregon Coast Community Alliance) who distributes the food up and down the coast.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

 

·      Head lettuce

·      Broccolini

·      Braising Mix

·      Fresh herbs

·      Lettuce

·      Strawberries

·      Kohlrabi

·      Peas?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 1: June 3rd

Week 1

Welcome to the Beet Box! This is the weekly newsletter from Valley Flora that describes what’s in your Harvest Basket and what’s happening on the farm. We typically send out the Beet Box on Wednesdays, but it’s going out a day early today to help prepare you for your first week of eating from the farm! Any questions, don’t hesitate to be in touch! We’re looking forward to the next 28 weeks of sharing good food with you!

 

In your share this week:

·      Artichokes

·      Asparagus

·      Broccolini

·      Arugula (in the plastic bag)

·      Pac Choi

·      Mint

·      Radishes

·      Hakurei Turnips (the white round roots)

·      Cherry tomato plants

 

The Kickoff!

Are you read to eat some vegetables?!?

 

Good thing, cuz the veggies are on! We’re kicking off the CSA season this week with some unforeseen goodies, thanks to the warm early spring we’ve had: a big pile of broccolini and a bag of arugula, in particular. Ironically, a couple of the things we had anticipated putting in the Harvest Baskets are NOT in there, also because of the weather: head lettuce (because our first planting was so early it had already bolted by this week’s harvest) and strawberries (which were set back by last week’s Memorial Day tempest). Hopefully both of those items will be back in the line-up for Week 2.

 

This week you’ll also see artichokes and asparagus in your Baskets. Savor them because this is the only week they’ll be in there. Asparagus season starts in early April and lasts for 8-10 weeks – which means that by early June it’s winding down. The artichokes would normally go into June, but all the hot weather has accelerated the season and is bringing an abrupt end to our spring harvest. Steaming them is a simple, delicious way to eat them (dipped in butter or mayo, of course!), but asparagus are also wonderful oven-roasted or grilled. We like to make our own aioli to dip them in: a few scoops of mayo, a glug of aged balsamic vinegar, chopped fresh thyme or rosemary, some fresh-grated parmesan or pecorino, and black pepper – all mixed up together into a dipping sauce.

 

What else is in there? Pac choi, a lovely heading Asian green that is wonderful raw, steamed, or stir-fried. Broccolini- a variety called Happy Rich that is the sweetest, most tender thing we grow in the broccoli family. Just steam it – lightly – and enjoy the flavor. Or dip it in some of that aioli you just learned how to make. It’s also great with a simple drizzle of olive oil and salt and a little balsamic vinegar. You’ll be surprised that the stems are tender from tip to tail, not like typical big-headed broccoli. Arugula (in the plastic bag) is great as a stand-alone salad green, or under a piece of fish.

 

Those white, round roots are hakurei turnips – a Japanese variety that’s smooth, sweeth and buttery. Eat them like apples. And don’t overlook the tops – they can be cooked up like mustard greens. The red and pink radishes have a little kick, but all of it is in the skin. So if you like a milder flavor, peel them and just eat the white hearts.

 

For more ideas on how to eat these things, visit our recipe collection where you can search by ingredient (http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher), or any of the recipe storehouses listed below at the bottom of this newsletter.

 

Cherry Tomato Plants!

And finally, two cherry tomato plants! We grew a heap of starts this spring and are sharing the bounty with all of you – so take two home with you this week and plant them (two per harvest basket, so if you split a harvest basket with someone you can each take one home). These are tried-and-true Valley Flora varieties that we grow outdoors on the farm. We usually plant ours around now and see the first fruit sometime in August.

 

Here are some planting tips:

 

·      Plant your tomato as deeply as possible (don’t worry about burying the bottom leaves). It will grow roots out of its stem if buried (a unique trait called adventitious rooting) and create a bigger root zone.

·      Feed your tomato a balanced organic compost or fertilizer. Too much nitrogen will make a huge leafy plant with no fruit, so don't overdo it!

·      Water according to need. If your tomato is in a pot, it will need water more frequently. Try not to get the leaves wet when watering.

·      Make sure you put your tomato in a sunny, warm spot. If growing in a container, the bigger the pot the better. A small pot will require more frequent watering and fertilizing, and will produce fewer and smaller fruits.

·      Provide support to your tomato in the form of a string trellis, a bamboo stake, or a wire cage.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

·      Head lettuce

·      Broccolini

·      Kale

·      Spinach

·      Fresh herbs

·      Rhubarb

·      Strawberries

·      Kohlrabi

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Farmstand & U-pick Open for Summer Hours!

The Valley Flora Farmstand & U-pick is Open for Summer Hours!

 

Every Wednesday & Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm, starting June 1st!

 

U-Pick Special Right Now!

The rain damaged some of the ripe strawberries, so in an effort to get the berry patch back in shape we're offering this deal:

Pick one bucket (we provide the bucket) of yucky berries and get:

  • 5 pounds of strawberries for FREE!
  • OR, get 1/2 price on any quantity of berries up to 5 pounds

If you want to pick more than one bucket of yuck, you can have 5 pounds free for every bucket you bring back to us. Don't want to take all your free berries home at once? We'll happily give you credit for future berry picking at the farm.

 

Hope to see you up the creek!

 

Newsletter: 

Here Comes the Food!

Mark your calendars!

The Valley Flora CSA Season will begin the week of June 3rd!

Please familiarize yourself with this useful information about your pickup site:
http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/valley-flora-pick-locations-protocol

Pickup Locations & Hours

  • Coos Bay: 632 Anderson Ave, at the Bay Area Chiropractic Center. WEDNESDAYS, 12-3:00 pm, starting June 5th
  • Valley Flora: 1.5 miles up Floras Creek Road in Langlois. WEDNESDAYS 9 am - 4 pm, starting June 5th
  • Port Orford: 738 Jackson Street. FRIDAYS, 5-7 pm, starting June 7th
  • Bandon: 980 2nd St. SE, at Well Within Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic. SATURDAYS starting at 10 am (no end time), starting June 8th.


What to Expect at the First Pick-up:
We will be delivering Harvest Baskets, Egg Shares, Bread Shares and Salad Shares the first week. The first tamale shares will be delivered to pickup sites on the week of June 10th, at the times listed above for each location.

Harvest Baskets will be in blue or red rubbermaid totes. Egg shares and Salad Shares will be in separate marked coolers. Bread shares will be in a separate bin or tote. When tamale shares are delivered once per month they will be in marked blue coolers.

PLEASE ONLY TAKE THE ITEMS YOU SIGNED UP FOR AND PAID FOR!
There is often confusion during the first few weeks, so review your order and know what you are picking up! If someone else is picking up for you, make sure they know what (and what not) to take!

Our pickup sites are self-serve and mostly unstaffed. Please abide by our pickup guidelines and don't be shy to ask questions of other members at your site. Many of you are return members and well-seasoned at the pickup drill :)


If you have any questions, don't hesitate to be in touch. Thanks for joining the Valley Flora family this season!
Here comes the food!
Zoë

Newsletter: 

Farmstand & Upick now Open on Wednesdays!

Thanks to all the early sunshine, the farmstand and u-pick are now open for the season!

MAY HOURS: Wednesdays only from 10 am - 1 pm. We will start our twice a week farmstand hours in June.

  • Strawberries are the only u-pick crop at this time. Berries are $2.50/pound.
  • Farmstand offerings include whatever is fresh, ripe and in-season on the farm. Offerings vary weekly, but spring items could include: asparagus, artichokes, Abby's Greens, head lettuce, broccoli, herbs, radishes, rhubarb, strawberries, kale, chard, and veggie starts!

 Please abide by the following:

  • Bring your own containers and bags for u-pick and farmstand produce.
  • We accept cash, checks, WIC, Farm Direct Nutrition coupons, and SNAP (Oregon Trail cards) as payment. Please contact us in advance if you would like to pay with SNAP.
  • No pets, please!
  • Please park nose-in on the side of the road, do not block the farm entrance, and do not drive into the field. Thanks.

Directions to the farm.

Newsletter: 

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