The Valley Flora Beetbox

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

Week 26 - November 26th

Week 26

 

Back to our Normal Schedule…

This week we return to our normal Harvest Basket delivery schedule. Hope you had a delicious Thanksgiving holiday!

 

Valley Flora: Wednesdays, 9 am to 5 pm

Coos Bay:  Wednesdays, 12 pm to 3 pm

Bandon: Saturdays, starting at 10 am (no end time)

PortOrford: Friday, 5-7 pm

 

Egg shares resume this week!

 

Two More Weeks to Go!

The Harvest Baskets (plus Egg Shares and Bread Shares) go for two more weeks, through the week of December 10th. Mark your calendars for your final pickup date:

 

Valley Flora: Wednesday, 12/12

Coos Bay:  Wednesday, 12/12

Bandon: Saturday, 12/15

PortOrford: Friday, 12/14

 

Winter Farmstand!

We are trying something new in hopes of forestalling anyone's produce deprivation…

 

A WINTER FARMSTAND!

Wednesdays from 9-5

Rain or Shine, in the Shed!

 

  • The farmstand starts TODAY, 11/28, and will continue each Wednesday through 12/19 (no farmstand on 12/26).
  • January dates still TBD, depending on our stocks of produce, the weather, etc.
  • The farmstand is SELF-SERVE and HONOR SYSTEM! Please honor the honor system for it to work! There is a payment box on the wall in the shed.
  • We can accept cash and checks. Bring small bills because we won't be there to make change for you. Please make checks payable to "Valley Flora."
  • There is a surprisingingly wide array of produce still in the field, from roots to greens to Brussels sprouts and much more!

 

Valley Flora Farmstand Gift Certificates!

Give the gift of eating locally! We have gift certificates available, for any amount. Great for family and friends who like to frequent our farmstand and u-pick throughout the season. If you would like to purchase a gift certificate, email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • The amount you'd like the gift certificate for

And we'll be in touch!

 

Monster Kohlrabi!

You remember kohlrabi from last spring? Well, this is the same beast, but a whole lot bigger. We grow a storage variety for the Fall/Winter, aptly named “Kossack.” We actually harvested these big boys from the field in late October and have been holding them in our cooler since then. They keep for months and months and the flavor is supposed to improve in storage.

 

You probably have your preferred preparation figured out by now, but remember that they are equally good raw or cooked (sautéed or steamed). You’ll want to peel the tough skin off with a knife and then savor the tender heart within.

 

This is a favorite recipe of mine:

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/kohlrabi-and-apple-salad-mustard-vinaigrette

 

Cranky Baby: The Perfect Stocking Stuffer!

Bets’ homegrown, handcrafted hot sauce is the bomb-diggity! Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

·      $5/bottle (5 oz)

·      $27/half case (6 bottles)

·      $48/case (12 bottles)

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We’ll deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Pac Choi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Acorn Squash
  • Delicata Squash

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Nothing this week...

 

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

Remember, no promises!

  • Gold shallots
  • Mixed beets
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Pac Choi
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Green Cabbage
  • Confection 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 25 - Thanksgiving!

Week 25 - Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Remember to pick up your tote this WEDNESDAY!

All Harvest Baskets will be delivered on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21st!

 

Specific times for pickup at each location on Wednesday, November 21st:

Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm

Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm

Bandon: Wednesday, 11/21, starting at 12 noon (no end time)

PortOrford: Wednesday, 11/21, starting at 10 am (all day)

 

Remember, no EGGS this week!

 

Thanksgiving Recipe Extravaganza

Check this out for a mouthwatering array of Thanksgiving recipes, in case you want to shake up the old menu traditions a little!

http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/thanksgiving/thanksgiving

 

Big, Big Thanks

You might imagine that this is a bit of a wild week for us. We are packing all 106 Harvest Baskets in one day (instead of two) in order to deliver all the food to all of you on Wednesday. That might be enough pressure in a normal half-week, but of course we’re also experiencing gale force winds and a torrential downpour, plus Roberto is in Portland this week for the birth of his second son, Abraham (due out tomorrow…we are eagerly awaiting news)!

 

Needless to say, we are a bit short-handed and just a tad over-powered by Mother Nature right now. But thanks to an all-star team, we are pulling it off. My bottomless gratitude to Farm Angel Tom who weathered the storm with me in the field today, helping to harvest lettuce, herbs, broccoli and celery (he’s to thank for that pretty little bouquet of herbs in your tote this week…who knew that floral arranging was also in his vast repertoire!)! He also found time to move tractors and equipment to high ground in case the field goes under water (the creek is HIGH!), and he did some pinch-hit babysitting while my mom had to dash out in the storm.

 

Which brings me to my mom and John: Thank you for all the hours spent with Cleo so that I could be in the field. I know she had more fun with you than she would have with me, and even more importantly, she didn’t blow away! Huge thanks to my sister, Abby, who is standing in for Roberto to help pack all the totes. She needs a day off more than anyone I know – except maybe my mom – but she happily volunteered to help out.

 

And a much-overdue thank you to Monica, our delivery queen! She has lifted and lugged god knows how many pounds of produce this season, with a smile on her face the whole time. Without her, your food would never make it off the farm – and we are immensely grateful for her hard work (sorry about those heavy totes this week, Monica!).

 

Last but not least, all of you. Thank you. For eating weird-looking roots and foreign winter squash. For taking the time to cook real meals and eat lots of vegetables. I know it’s easier and faster to open a can or throw something in the microwave, but your willingness to go the extra mile, to pick up your food every week, to peel those gnarly celeriacs, to try a new recipe, to eat with the seasons – all of that means that we have people to grow this food for. It means that we can make a livelihood in the place we love best along Floras Creek. It means that we get the chance to raise our kids here, to return to the same ground where we ourselves were happy, free kids.

 

It’s a very full, very good feeling, and it wouldn’t be possible without you.

 

I hope you hear this and take it to heart: Thank You. Capital T. Capital Y.

 

Parsnips!

The white carroty-looking roots in your share this week are parsnips, another often-overlooked vegetable in our American diet. They have a sweetish, nutty flavor unlike anything else and roast up wonderfully. They also make wicked parsnip-pear latkes: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Parsnip-and-Pear-Latkes-236766

 

Or try them honeyed with rosemary: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/parsnips

 

Or in this year’s not-so-boring stuffing!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sausage-Pear-and-Parsnip-Stuffing-100463

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/cornbread-dressing-roasted-root-vegetables

 

Parsnips will keep in a plastic bag in your fridge for months, so no pressure to learn to love them this week if you’re already up to your eyeballs in your usual Thanksgiving fare.

 

This Week’s Squash: Sunshine

For those of you who stick to a vegetarian diet, Sunshine is the quintessential squash to stuff and bake for a turkey-free Thanksgiving: simply cut the top off like a carving pumpkin lid, scoop out the seeds, fill it with a stuffing recipe you love, put the lid back on, and bake it until soft. You can wing it on this one, but consider adding some texture and color to your stuffing: nuts, dried cranberries, aromatic herbs, caramelized shallots, sautéed celeriac, etc. Here’s a wild rice stuffing recipe that brings it all together (it’s meant to be stuffed into a giant blue hubbard squash, but a sunshine squash is just as ideal): http://www.sweetvegan.net/wild-rice-stuffing/

 

And if you’re not vegetarian, you can always stuff this puppy with a sausage-enhanced mix of ingredients. Here are 20 (count them, 20!) other stuffing recipes to choose from – some vegetarian and some not:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipesmenus/slideshows/stuffings-and-dressings-1061

 

OR, simply enjoy a little Sunshine (it’s in short supply these days!) simple and straight up: cubed, tossed with olive oil and salt, and roasted until crispy-tender! The Loft restaurant in Bandon is making an incredible bisque with sunshine squash right now, and Alloro Wine Bar in Bandon is filling homemade raviolis with it.

 

Sunshine squash is tropical-sweet in flavor (wowza on the flavor scale!), with a dry flaky flesh. It stores for a long, long time, so no pressure to use this one right away if your Thanksgiving menu is already full. Ideal storage is about 60 degrees and not too humid.

 

Spice up your stuffing with some Cranky Baby!

Bets’ homegrown, handcrafted hot sauce is the bomb-diggity! Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

 

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We’ll deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Shallots (a staple in stuffing & gravy)
  • Broccoli (Surprise! The last bonus broccoli of the year!)
  • Aromatic herbs – sage, rosemary, oregano & sweet marjoram (bake them with your bird, or add them to your stuffing…)
  • Brussels sprouts (roasted, so divine…)
  • Carrots (2# this week, in case you need extra for your feast…)
  • Celery (the last of the season)
  • Head lettuce – the last of the season!
  • Parsnips (be brave! try them!)
  • Potatoes (mash!)
  • Sunshine squash (stuff!)

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Nothing this week….

 

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

Remember, no promises!

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Pac choi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Acorn & 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 24: November 12th

Week 24!

What’s that Furry Thing in my Tote?!!

Never fear, it won’t bite. Those two scruffy balls with the green flattops are celeriac (also known as celery root). Like most of the more unusual veggies we grow, this one is highly popular in Europe, and especially in Germany and France where our more commonly-used stalk celery (a close cousin to celeriac) is rarely used. 

 

Your great-great-grandparents might have known how to cook with celeriac, though. It was a common staple in American kitchens back in the 1800s, before modern-day refrigeration. The winning trait, above all (because we know this veggie isn’t going to win the pageant on looks alone), was the fact that celeriac is a great storage crop and will keep either in the ground or in a root cellar all winter long.

 

The fact that we all have refrigerators now shouldn’t preclude celeriac from our kitchens. Beneath that rough exterior is a surprisingly tender, creamy-crisp, delicious vegetable with a sweet-nutty-celery-like flavor. You may want to hang on to your celeriac until next week and use it in your stuffing, or boil and mash it with your potatoes on Turkey/Tofurkey/Turducken Day.

 

Here are a few cooking and storage tips:

  • Peel your celeriac with a sharp knife (note that peeled celeriac will darken when exposed to air after awhile, but you can prevent this by tossing with lemon juice or keeping it in water until cooking).
  • Boil, steam, roast, bake or eat raw as celeriac sticks dipped in your favorite creamy dressing.
  • Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a month, and probably longer (we’ve had celeriac in our fridge all winter with no problem).
  • Check out these recipes on our website (and there are many more on www.epicurious.com): http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/celeriac

 

EVERYONE PLEASE READ THIS!

For Thanksgiving, next week…..

All Harvest Baskets will be delivered on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21st!

 

These are the specific times for pickup at each location on Wednesday, November 21st:

Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm

Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm

Bandon: Wednesday, 11/21, starting at 12 noon (no end time)

PortOrford: Wednesday, 11/21, starting at 10 am (all day)

 

If you will be out of town for the holiday and need to make special arrangements with us, we must hear from you by this Friday, November 16th.

 

We are happy to hold your tote in our walk-in cooler and you can pick it up upon your return. Please email us:

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

 

NO EGGS the Week of Thanksgiving: Egg Share members, please remember that there is no delivery of eggs the week of Thanksgiving. Candace will have them for sale at the Langlois Market and her other usual outlets. Or you can special order eggs from her for that week if you contact her directly: www.imachickenrancher.com

 

Last Farmstand This Saturday, 10-2!

This is it! The last farmstand of the year! Come and stock up on all kinds of Fall storage crops (squash, carrots, Brussels sprouts, celeriac, potatoes, radishes, turnips.....), plus the last of the tomatoes, sweet peppers, Abby's Greens and more!

 

Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. See you there!

 

Do You Think Stuffing is Bland? Boring? Dull? Spice it up with some Cranky Baby!

If you secretly think Grandma's stuffing could use a little kick, then Cranky Baby Hot Sauce is just what the doctor ordered! Homegrown and handcrafted at the farm, just slip a bottle in your pocket or purse for Thanksgiving dinner and discretely dispense to taste. Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

 

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We’ll deliver to your pickup site.

 

This Week’s Squash: Acorn or Butternut Squash & Pie Pumpkins

A few reasons why these squash, this week:

  1. The pie pumpkins are intended to inspire you to make your own homemade pumpkin pie for next week’s feast. Don’t forget the whipped cream!
  2. The butternut squash aren’t going to keep for too many weeks longer, so we’re hoping you will put them to immediate use.
  3. If you’re not getting butternut, you’re getting acorn – because we ran out of butternut. :)

 

In your share this week:

  • Red onions
  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Pac Choi
  • Celeriac
  • Radishes
  • Head lettuce
  • Pie Pumpkins

On Rotation:

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

  • Acorn & Butternut squash

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week for Thanksgiving:

Remember, no promises!

  • Shallots
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Sunshine squash
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, sage)

 

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 5th

Week 23!

Looking Forward

A long election season is over, but our farming season isn’t. We still have 6 weeks of harvest to go, but not unlike our newly elected and re-elected officials, we are already planning and planting for 2013. Fortunately, fiscal cliffs and partisan gridlock are not among our host of challenges on the farm, but like lawmakers in Washington we do have to deal with a lot of mud. :)

 

We’re currently in the midst of planting 6000 new strawberry crowns in the field, which will become next year’s berry crop. In the office I’m busy hashing out the 2013 crop plan: what gets planted, where, when, and how much. Farming is as much about being entirely present in each day as it is about planning a whole year – and sometimes more - in advance.

 

And speaking of making future plans, please mark your calendars for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. There are major changes to our harvest and delivery schedule that week:

 

Important Info about our Thanksgiving Schedule - PLEASE READ!

 

For the week of Thanksgiving

WE WILL DELIVER ALL HARVEST BASKETS ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21st

 

We do this for two reasons:

  1. To ensure that everyone gets that week's food in time to use it for Thanksgiving dinner.
  2. 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 21st:

Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm

Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm

Bandon: Wednesday, 11/21, starting at 12 noon (no end time) INSTEAD of Saturday, 11/24

PortOrford: Wednesday, 11/21, starting at 10 am (all day) INSTEAD of Friday, 11/23

 

If you are leaving town early and won’t be able to pick up your Harvest Basket, we are happy to hold your tote for you in our walk-in cooler. You can pick it up at the farm upon your return. To make arrangements, please email us the following information by Friday, November 15th:

·      Your name

·      Your pickup location

·      The date you plan to pick up your Harvest Basket at the farm.

 

We will email you further instructions once we receive this info from you.

 

NO EGGS the Week of Thanksgiving: Egg Share members, please remember that there is no delivery of eggs the week of Thanksgiving. We knew when we were planning the egg shares last spring that Candace’s hens wouldn’t be able to squeeze out enough eggs for everyone by Wednesday, so we intentionally planned for no eggs the week of Thanksgiving. No doubt she will have them for sale at the Langlois Market and her other usual outlets. Or you can special order eggs from her for that week if you contact her directly: www.imachickenrancher.com

 

What Will be in the Thanksgiving Share?

Most likely:

  • Shallots
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Fresh herbs
  • Lettuce?
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes (5 lbs)
  • Sunshine squash

 

This Week’s Squash: Delicata

If I had to pick an all-time, all-around favorite winter squash, this is it. Delicatas are sweet and smooth, with a hollow cavity perfect for stuffing or cradling a melted pat of butter. Delicata skin is smooth and thin and 100% edible. They also peel relatively easily if you want to take the extra time. Delicatas tend to be my default squash when I want to cook up something simple and easy. We cut them in half the long way, scoop out the seeds, and place them face-down on a baking sheet with a thin layer of water. Bake at 400 until soft, about twenty or thirty minutes.

 

My other favorite ways to eat them:

  1. Roasted: peel (or not), cut into cubes, toss with olive oil and salt and any other root veggies, and bake at 400 for 30-45 minutes.
  2. In Thai curry: the sweetness of the squash amidst coconut milk and spicy thai curry paste is a great combo. You can buy thai curry paste at the grocery store and it will have cooking directions to help you out! We have a few recipes on our website for curries: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/buttercup-thai-curry

 

This Week’s New Produce:

Brussels sprouts: Probably the most Dr. Seuss-ish vegetable you’ll see in your tote this year, Brussels sprouts are a signature fall crop. They are a slow-maturing plant (we seeded them way back in April), and we intentionally wait to harvest them until late fall when the sprouts get sweeter due to cold weather. If you’re one of those people who are convinced that you hate Brussels sprouts, I encourage you to give these a try. 99% of the nation’s Brussels sprouts are grown on the central California coast where temperatures rarely dip below the 50s. As a result, those sprouts never have a chance to sweeten up and can have a “stinky” flavor.

 

We have yet to experience a hard frost on the farm this fall, which is the weather event that will truly bring out the sugars in the Brussels sprouts (also in the kale, broccoli, and other cruciferous plants), but we have had a few cold nights. You’ll also get Brussels one or two more times in the coming weeks, so they should continue to get sweeter and tastier.

 

The two ways I like Brussels sprouts the most are lightly steamed (don’t overcook them!), or roasted with olive oil and salt till tender and a little crispy (a 400 degree oven is a good temp to go with).

 

This week with more romanesco in your share, you also have the ingredients to make one of my favorite fall dishes: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/brussels-sprouts-mustard-caper-butter

 

 

Cranky Baby Hot Sauce: Spice it Up!

Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in the greenhouses, this Tabasco-like hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).

 

Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

 

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow omions
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Pac Choi
  • Delicata Squash
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Head lettuce

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Romanesco Cauliflower

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Leeks
  • Broccoli?
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Red Cabbage
  • Celeriac
  • Acorn or Butternut squash
  • 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 22: October 29th

Week 22!

Heads Up: Our Thanksgiving Schedule - PLEASE READ!

It’s still three weeks away, but Thanksgiving plans are already in the works for most households. For this reason, I’m sending out the first reminder about our delivery schedule the week of Thanksgiving.

 

Mark your calendars!

For the week of Thanksgiving

WE WILL DELIVER ALL HARVEST BASKETS ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21st

 

We do this for two reasons:

  1. To ensure that everyone gets their food in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
  2. 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 21st:

Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm

Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm

Bandon: Wednesday, 11/21, starting at 12 noon (no end time)

PortOrford: Wednesday, 11/21, starting at 10 am (all day)

 

If you are leaving town early and will not be able to pick up your Harvest Basket, we are happy to hold your tote for you in our walk-in cooler. You can pick it up at the farm upon your return. To make arrangements, please email us the following information by Friday, November 15th:

·      Your name

·      Your pickup location

·      The date you plan to pick up your Harvest Basket at the farm.

 

We will email you further instructions when we hear from you.

 

Also, EGG SHARE MEMBERS: Please remember that there is no delivery of eggs the week of Thanksgiving. We knew when we were planning the egg shares last spring that Candace’s hens wouldn’t be able to squeeze out enough eggs for everyone by Wednesday, so we intentionally planned for no eggs the week of Thanksgiving. No doubt she will have them for sale at the Langlois Market and her other usual outlets. Or you can special order eggs from her for that week if you contact her directly: www.imachickenrancher.com

 

Please mark your calendars with these schedule changes to avoid any confusion the week of Thanksgiving!

 

This Week’s Squash: Butternut 

The quintessential soup squash! Butternuts are different from all the other winter squash in that they are practically all meat. The seed cavity is small and the skin is smooth, leaving you with any easy-to-peel, ample-fleshed, smooth, sweet, creamy, orange squash that is the foundation of my favorite Fall soup. Pair this with the fresh sage leaves in your tote this week, with the help of this simple recipe from Deborah Madison:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/butternut-squash-soup-fried-sage-leaves

 

Or try this exotic Persian-inspired spin on winter squash from Deborah Madison (if only we could grow dates, almonds, pistachios, olives, and Meyer lemons at Valley Flora!):

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/winter-squash-rounds-dates-and-pi...

 

Butternuts are also wonderful roasted simply with salt and olive oil, at 400 until soft and slightly browned.

 

This Week’s New Produce:

Beet Medley: Red beets, gold beets, and chioggia beets are tumbled together in your tote this week. If you have never cut into a chioggia before, you’re in for a surprise! All of them store for months in the fridge, and cook up the same – roasted, steamed, or any other way you like.

 

Escarole: It looks like a huge head of lettuce, but this is actually a member of the chicory family (think radicchio, endive, etc.). It’s a little more toothsome than lettuce, and can either be eaten raw or cooked. Here are a few jumping off points to help you dig in:

 

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

 

Romanesco Cauliflower, aka the vegetable that makes you think you’re on psychedelics even when you’re not! Or, The vegetable that makes mathematicians swoon (fractals!). Or, the vegetable that many members forget to eat because they are too busy taking pictures of it on their countertop.

 

But please, EAT THIS VEGETABLE! It’s the nuttiest, yummiest cousin to cauliflower and broccoli in the world. So popular that I grew twice as much of this year, to keep up with the clamorous demand. Steamed, or better yet, ROASTED! Toss it with a little salt, some olive oil, and put it in the oven at 400 for awhile until it’s tender and crispy.

 

New Fall Farmstand Hours: Saturdays ONLY from 10 am to 2pm

Our farmstand is now open every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, through November 17th! We are no longer open on Wednesdays. The autumn abundance is awesome right now, as summer crops collide with fall food: peppers, tomatoes, chard, kale, onions, potatoes, leeks, spinach, salad mix, apples, beets, carrots, zucchini, herbs, and much more.

 

Cranky Baby Hot Sauce: Spice it Up!

Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in the greenhouses, this Tabasco-like hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).

 

Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

 

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow omions
  • Beet Medley – Red, Gold & Chioggia
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Escarole
  • Butternut Squash
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Fresh Sage

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Romanesco Cauliflower

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Yellow Onions
  • Broccoli?
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Romanesco Cauliflower?
  • Delicata squash
  • Pac Choi
  • Hakurei Turnips

 

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 22nd

Week 21!

Heavy & Dense

As a Valley Flora eater, you may have noticed something over the course of this season: namely, the increasing heft of your harvest basket each week. The season always starts out light and fluffy: greens, greens and more greens. But as the months progress, the food gets heavier and denser. Eight pound totes give way to eighteen pound totes (we like to put a packed harvest basket on the scale each week, just to see how many pounds of food we’re sending out). And on the heaviest autumn weeks, when there are potatoes and winter squash and celeriac and Brussels sprouts and parsnips and romanesco cauliflower all stuffed into one tote, we give our hand truck a run for its money on packout days. We’ve had Rubbermaids buckle under the weight of our usual seven-high stack in our walk-in cooler!

 

The thing I love about this seasonal observation is that all these dense foods, all these vegetable calories, are the sum total of so many months of sunshine and long days and photosynthesis. Of water and weeding and patience. You can’t get heavy food in a few weeks. You can seed mustard greens and arugula and kale and have a baby salad in three to four weeks (and that’s why you see a lot of that stuff in the first 4-6 weeks of the season). But if you want the heavy stuff – like carrots and winter squash and onions and tomatoes – you have to be willing to wait for it. Seventy days. 100 days. Sometimes more.

 

Growing vegetables is one giant exercise in delayed gratification, and I admire all of you for your willingness as eaters to stick with us for the entire progression of the season. I know that all of those spring greens can be tiresome and overwhelming for some of you. And I know that some of the fall foods still to come (celery root, parsnips, Brussels Sprouts, etc.) can seem bizarre or challenge your long-held vegetable biases. But hats off to you for sticking with it, and hopefully even enjoying it along the way. There are seven more weeks to go, and many more veggies still to meet.

 

This Week’s Squash: Acorn Squash & Pie Pumpkins

Acorn: 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 as such, 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 it for Thanksgiving you can. (We also have all the winter squash varieties for sale at our farmstand on Saturdays if you want to stock up in a big way for winter eating!)

 

My sister is the queen of homemade pumpkin pie. She makes it at least two or three times throughout the fall, and 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: if you embark on making your own pie from scratch, you’d better be ready to put your canned pie filling up for adoption. Here are a few variations on the theme:

 

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

 

Remember: No More Abby’s Greens Salad Shares!

Salad shares are over for the season, in case you go looking for that red salad cooler at your pickup site this week!

 

You can continue to get Abby's Greens at various locations, including:

  • Valley Flora Farmstand (Saturdays only from 10-2 in Langlois, through Nov. 17th)
  • Langlois Market (Langlois)
  • Coos Head Food Store (North Bend)
  • Mother's Natural Grocery (Bandon)
  • Price n Pride (Bandon)
  • Seaweed Natural Grocery (Port Orford)

 

Thanks for all your salad-eating this season!

 

New Fall Farmstand Hours: Saturdays ONLY from 10 am to 2pm

Our farmstand is now open every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, through November 17th! We are no longer open on Wednesdays. The autumn abundance is awesome right now, as summer crops collide with fall food: peppers, tomatoes, chard, kale, onions, potatoes, leeks, spinach, salad mix, melons, apples, beets, carrots, zucchini, herbs, and much more.

 

Cranky Baby Hot Sauce: Put some spice in you life!

This year’s Serrano hot pepper crop is coming on strong, which means Bets is at it again in the farm kitchen, brewing up batches of her infamous Cranky Baby Hot Sauce. Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in her greenhouses, this Tabasco-like hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).

 

Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

 

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Head Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Winter Squash – Acorn & Pie Pumpkins
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers
  • Radishes
  • Celery
  • Fennel

 

On Rotation:

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

Nothing this week…

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Yellow Onions
  • Broccoli?
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Beets?
  • Romanesco Cauliflower?
  • Butternut squash
  • Kale
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Fresh Sage

 

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 15th

Week 20!

Squash Season Kickoff!

This week marks the official start of winter squash season! In the nine remaining weeks of the Harvest Basket season (our last delivery of Harvest Baskets will be the week of December 10th), 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 knife, 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.

 

This Week’s Squash: Spaghetti Squash

I'll admit it feels a little risky to give out spaghetti squash as the debut in the winter squash line-up, for fear of scaring everyone off. Spaghetti squash has a bad reputation among some - as the quintessential hippie squash; the squash with an identity crisis (am I a vegetable or am I a noodle?); the squash that gets scoffed at; the squash that nobody eats, nobody buys, and everyone makes fun of.

 

I was one of those naysayers for many years, until I gave spaghettis a chance. And I discovered that they are worth eating – not just because they’re good for you, but because they really, truly are good. They are also one of the first squash to ripen and cure, and they don’t need any time to “age” (some varieties like butternuts and kabochas allegedly improve in flavor and texture after a few weeks in storage, but spaghettis are good right out of the field).

 

So here they are this week. Hopefully with a little nudge you can be convinced to give them a try as well. A few eating tips:

 

  • Many recipes I’ve come across say to cook your spaghetti squash in the microwave. Pierce squash (about an inch deep) all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting. Cook in an 800-watt microwave oven on high power (100 percent) for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave until squash feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool squash for 5 minutes.
  • You can also bake it in your oven. Preheat to 350. Pierce it with a knife as above, put the whole squash in the oven on a tray, and bake for about an hour, or until soft to the touch. You can also halve it, brush the cut sides with butter, and then bake face-down on a cookie sheet until fork-tender, 35 minutes to an hour.
  • Once your squash is cooked fork-tender, cool it for a few minutes and then rake out the stranded “noodly” flesh with a fork into a bowl.
  • Dress it up with anything: marinara sauce, butter and herbs, pesto, cream sauce with chantarelles, or anything else you can invent.

 

Here are a couple recipes to give you a start:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spaghetti-Squash-with-Parsl...

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spaghetti-Squash-with-Moroc...

 

Good luck, and don't be intimidated!

 

LAST WEEK of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares!

This is the 20th and final week of Abby's Greens Salad Shares. If you are a salad share member, be sure to pick up your share from the marked cooler on your pickup day, and enjoy your last week of pre-paid greens!

 

You can continue to get Abby's Greens at various locations, including:

  • Valley Flora Farmstand (Saturdays only from 10-2 in Langlois, through Nov. 17th)
  • Langlois Market (Langlois)
  • Coos Head Food Store (North Bend)
  • Mother's Natural Grocery (Bandon)
  • Price n Pride (Bandon)
  • Seaweed Natural Grocery (Port Orford)

 

Thanks for all your salad-eating this season!

 

Winterbor Kale

This kale is the opposite of “no frills.” The curliest kale known to man, it’s hard to fit these puffy bunches into the tote! It’s an aptly named variety, growing straight through the winter and yielding enough leafy green-ness for all our CSA members, plus some to sell, and providing an endless supply of kale for our favorite winter salad: kaleslaw. You can eat this variety just like the others. It’s also easy to de-rib this one: just hold onto the bottom of the stem and tear off the leaves in one quick swipe up the rib.

 

Stores in the fridge for at least a week in a plastic bag.

 

New Fall Farmstand Hours: Saturdays ONLY from 10 am to 2pm

Our farmstand is now open every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, through November 17th! We are no longer open on Wednesdays. The autumn abundance is awesome right now, as summer crops collide with fall food: peppers, tomatoes, chard, kale, onions, potatoes, leeks, spinach, salad mix, melons, apples, beets, carrots, zucchini, herbs, and much more.

 

Cranky Baby Hot Sauce: Put some spice in you life!

This year’s Serrano hot pepper crop is coming on strong, which means Bets is at it again in the farm kitchen, brewing up batches of her infamous Cranky Baby Hot Sauce. Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in her greenhouses, this Tabasco-like hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).

 

Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Red Long of Tropea torpedo onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Head Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Winter Squash - Spaghetti
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers
  • Apples
  • Radishes

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Corn
  • Parsley

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Leeks
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Radishes
  • Acorn squash
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Romanesco cauliflower?

 

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 8th

Week 19!

Squirreling Season

Early October is when we, as farmers, most resemble squirrels. We are hustling around the farm with a heightened sense of urgency at this point in the year, working together to cache our oh-so-important winter storage crops before the weather turns. We’re digging the last of the potatoes, cleaning our cured onions, and most notably, harvesting our winter squash. These are the foods whose calories and flavors will see us deep into wintertime.

 

Winter squash encompasses a big family of hard-skinned squashes that come in all stripes, sizes and colors. Many folks are familiar with just a few types from the grocery store: maybe the dark green-skinned acorn squash, or perhaps a green or scarlet Kabocha squash. What most people don’t realize is that winter squash are for eating (unlike the ornamental gourds they are often confused with), and good eating they are! Their name, “winter” squash, confuses a lot of people: they don’t grow in the wintertime (we actually plant them in the field in early June and harvest in early October). Rather, the name refers to their ability to store for many months; this year’s winter squash crop will feed us well into the new year.

 

On the farm we grow seven different varieties of winter squash, plus a pie pumpkin. Starting next week you’ll begin to see them in your share, where they will become a staple all the way through until the last week of Harvest Baskets in December. (That’s right: there are still 9 more weeks to go in the Harvest Basket season; you will get your last tote of the season the week of December 10th). We’ll introduce you to each variety as it comes and provide cooking, eating and storage tips.

 

In the meantime, we are working this week to get all of those different squash into the barn. We started clipping them from the vine 2 weeks ago, putting them in windrows, and letting them “cure” in the field. This hot sunny spell has been miraculous (we couldn’t hope for more perfect weather) because in order to cure properly, winter squash need at least a week of warm, 70-ish degree, dry weather while they lie in the field. This helps their skins harden and their stems dry (which are the two keys to sealing out any entry points for molds, fungi, bacteria and other pathogens that could cause them to prematurely rot in storage).

 

It’s always a dicey time of year to pull it off (last year the forecast was full of rain and we had to transport all of our squash to a barn in town where we force-cured them with a heater, with mixed success), but so far so good this season. I like to think it’s the gift we get in exchange for a long, grey, wet spring and early summer….

 

So look for winter squash in your share NEXT week, the week of October 15th. First up: spaghetti squash!

 

Broccoli is Back, Plus Apples and Napa & Yellow Storage Onions!

More fall food this week, right on time:

 

Broccoli is back and it’s BIG. We harvested some 3-pound heads this week!

 

Apples! We have a better crop than we’ve had in a spate of successive bad apple years, so you’re seeing one of the many different varieties we grow on the farm. This one is lovingly named “lower driveway tree.” It’s a tree that has always grown along my mom’s driveway, and is the apple that my sister and I always associate with school lunch: as kids, as we walked down to the meet the school bus each morning in the fall, we would each grab an apple from this tree for our lunch. My sister has since grafted this variety and is growing a couple new trees of it in our young orchard. It’s sweet, crisp, disease-resistant, and a great little lunchbox size. Best stored in the fridge.

 

Napa Cabbage! Also known as Chinese cabbage, this is the traditional cabbage used for kimchi. It is hugely versatile, raw or stir-fried or fermented or steamed. I’d suggest pairing it with your apples for a fall twist in this recipe, adapted from epicurious.com: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/apple-and-napa-cabbage-salad-spic...

 

Yellow Storage Onions: The onions you’re getting this week are called Copra, a long-storing yellow variety that is another of our fall/winter staples. As mentioned, at this point all of our onions have “cured,” meaning you can keep them on your countertop. It’s fine to put them in the fridge as well, but they should keep for at least a month in good storage conditions (cool, dry, dark).

 

New Fall Farmstand Hours: Saturdays ONLY from 10 am to 2pm

Our farmstand is now open every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, through November 17th! We are no longer open on Wednesdays. The autumn abundance is awesome right now, as summer crops collide with fall food: peppers, tomatoes, chard, kale, onions, potatoes, leeks, spinach, salad mix, melons, apples, beets, carrots, zucchini, herbs, and much more.

 

Cranky Baby Hot Sauce: Put some spice in you life!

Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in her greenhouses, this Tabasco-like hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).

 

Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

 

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow onions
  • Carrots
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Red potatoes
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers
  • Apples
  • Broccoli

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Cherry Tomatoes

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Red Torpedo Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Fennel?
  • Sweet and/or hot Peppers
  • 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 18: October 1st

Week 18!

Bidding Farewell to the Strawberries

Most likely this is the last week you’ll be seeing that sweet little pint of strawberries in your tote. We had an INCREDIBLE September – sunny and hot – which has kept the berries going longer and stronger than we ever hope to hope! All told, you’ve received 24 pints of strawberries this season, equal to two flats per Harvest Basket!

 

Usually by now a rainstorm or two has wiped the berries out and we move on – somewhat gratefully - to other autumn crops. Those first rains are also usually our cue to begin focusing on cover-cropping on the farm: planting “green manure” crops like oats, rye, vetch, field peas, and clover that will sprout this fall, grow through the winter, and get incorporated into the fields next spring. Cover crops provide a host of benefits to our little farm ecosystem, including protection from soil erosion in the winter, an annual boost of natural nitrogen and organic matter, and fodder and habitat for pollinators and farm critters of all stripes.

 

Cover crops are as critical to the ecological health of the farm as cash crops are to its economic health, and they are tops on my list of things I love to grow. Sowing wide swaths of oats and peas on a crisp Fall day has a nostalgic feel to it, especially with Maude, my draft horse, plodding away in front as we disc and roll in the seed. Practically all of the cash crops we grow require labor-intensive transplanting or precise direct seeding. Cover cropping, on the other hand, is a chance to throw bushels of seed to the wind, roll it in with the horse, and then watch as our “second spring” arrives: the greening of the fields as thousands of cover crop seeds germinate.

 

This year, in the absence of any rain thus far, we’re having to bite the bullet and pull the plug on certain crops – like the strawberries – that might yield for another few weeks of good weather, but at the peril of missing our primo cover cropping window (which is the next three weeks). After late October, the chances of getting a good stand of cover crop are practically nil: the days are too short and the temperatures are too chilly to encourage good growth.

 

So enjoy this last pint of berries, knowing that a healthy stand of peas, oats, vetch and clover will soon be growing in their stead, bringing long-term benefits to the farm.

 

P.S. There might still be some berries for sale at the farmstand on Saturdays while the weather holds, picked from the few beds we are not tilling under this Fall!

 

New Fall Farmstand Hours: Saturdays ONLY from 10 am to 2pm

The end of the strawberries – including the u-pick strawberries – means we are switching to our once a week Fall farmstand hours as of this Saturday, October 6th. We will be open every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, through November 17th! The autumn abundance is awesome right now, as summer crops collide with fall food: peppers, tomatoes, chard, kale, onions, potatoes, leeks, spinach, salad mix, melons, apples, beets, carrots, zucchini, herbs, and much more. We might even be harvesting our first mini crop of table grapes in the next few weeks!

 

Lacinato Kale & Leeks This Week

The dark blue-green kale in your tote is Lacinato, also called “Dinosaur” kale, Tuscan kale, or Cavalo Nero. Beloved in Italy, this is also one of our favorite autumn varieties. It gets nothing but sweeter and tastier as cold weather sets in, so you should see it again in a month or so. The easiest way to strip the dark leaves from the tough mid-rib is to grab either side of the rib at the base with one hand and use your other hand to pull the leaves off in the other direction with one quick swipe.

 

Leeks are the other newbie in the tote this week. Long and lean and lovely, leeks are a quintessential fall food. They can be used exactly like onions in any application (they’re not just for potato leek soup!). Here’s a trick for prepping leeks in the kitchen, because they can sometimes hang on to field dirt: Cut the root end and top off your leek (you can use these for making your own veggie stock if you’re so inclined). Cut the leek in half lengthwise. Then cut the leek into slices cross-wise. Put into a colander and run under cold water to rinse any dirt from the inner “rings” of the leek. Shake dry and proceed with your cooking….

 

Store in the fridge in a plastic bag; should hold for a couple weeks at least.

 

Cranky Baby Hot Sauce: Put some spice in you life!

This year’s Serrano hot pepper crop is coming on strong, which means Bets is at it again in the farm kitchen, brewing up batches of her infamous Cranky Baby Hot Sauce. Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in her greenhouses, this Tabasco-like hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).

 

Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Head Lettuce
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers
  • Cilantro
  • Red Beets

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • An herb of some kind
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Red Potatoes

 

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 24th

Week 17!

A New Cast of Characters This Week…

This first week of Fall brings with it some new veggies: celery, shallots, savoy cabbage, and mint. Your summer standbys are still in there – tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, and zucchini – but the transition to Autumn eating has begun. You can look forward to more corn, tomatoes and peppers in the coming weeks, but they’ll start to be accompanied by heavy harvest-time foods like winter squash, Fall broccoli, and Romanesco cauliflower (a favorite among our members, and one of the most stunning-to-behold vegetables we grow).

 

Here’s a quick run-down of this week’s new produce:

 

Celery: Our celery is a little different than what you might be used to from the supermarket. It tends to be thinner, darker green, and more intensely flavorful. You can certainly use it for a good old snack of ants on a log (remember raisins and peanut butter on celery sticks, from preschool?), but a lot of people prefer to use it more as a seasoning – in soups, stock, stuffing, and casseroles, for instance. Rather than log the whole plant, we selectively harvest stalks and give you a handful at a time, multiple times throughout the fall. The leaves are packed with flavor, so consider using them as well.

 

Shallots: We grow two types of shallots, a red and a gold. You’re getting a red shallot this week. They mature alongside our onions, and according to everyone who’s ever laid eyes on them they are the biggest shallots on earth. I don’t know why they get so big for us - we don’t give them special treatment of any kind – but I guess as shallots go, these are colossal. Shallots are actually more closely related to garlic than they are to onions, and they are a staple in French cuisine. You can use them just as you would an onion. They’ll keep fine on your counter (these have been curing for a month, so they don’t have to go in the fridge).

 

Savoy Cabbage: A beauty of a cabbage, curly-crinkle-leaved savoy is usually grown for fall harvest. You can use it any way you’d use a regular red or green cabbage: souped or slawed or sauerkrauted or stir-fried. These two recipes – one from Down Under, and the other from the BBC, caught my eye. They both combine cabbage and shallots. It appears that the Brits and their former colonies have an affinity for fatty meat, but I’m sure you can substitute butter or oil if you don’t have any goose fat on hand:

 

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/cuisine/meat/recipe/savoy-cabbage-with-smoky-bacon-20111019-1m4w6.html

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2435/rosemaryspiked-cabbage-

 

Mint: Last week I took a very broad poll of one Harvest Basket member  – my dad, Bill – to find out whether he would prefer to get a) cilantro again this week, or b) mint. He hemmed and hawed and finally said this: “Well, the only thing you can do with mint is make Mint Juleps, right? So if it’s hot next week, yes, mint! If it’s not hot, no mint!” Because, obviously, Mint Juleps can only be enjoyed on your porch on a sultry evening. Upon further questioning, my dad admitted that he actually had no idea what went into a Mint Julep….except maybe, mint?

 

So, in spite of the fact that our last cilantro planting is in its prime this week, we have harvested mint for you – because the weather forecast is about as hot as it ever gets (low 70’s, whoo!). Whether you have a porch or not, and even though I’m sure the temperature is nowhere close to “sultry” on that porch, here is a recipe for Mint Juleps. (By the way, Dad, it’s bourbon and sugar. That’s what’s in Mint Juleps…and of course, some mint): http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mint-juleps/

 

Also by the way, Dad: it turns out you can use mint for LOTS of other things other than Derby-time boozing. Check it out, from Moroccan fare to chocolatey desserts:

http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searchresults?search=mint&x=0&y=0

(112 pages of mint recipes from epicurious.com)

 

Cranky Baby Hot Sauce: Put some spice in you life!

This year’s Serrano hot pepper crop is coming on strong, which means Bets is at it again in the farm kitchen, brewing up batches of her infamous Cranky Baby Hot Sauce. Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in her greenhouses, this Tabasco-like hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).

 

Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site.

 

Sweet Peppers by the Bag!

Bulk Peppers are available to our CSA members: Available in 5 pound bags, $20 per bag.

Choose either:

  • Red Roasters (tapered, Italian sweet peppers in reds, yellows, and oranges), or
  • Mixed Bag (a combo of bells and roasters in reds, yellows, and oranges)

We will fill orders in the order we receive them on a rolling basis in the coming weeks. Please email us your: name, pickup location, phone number, and the quantity and type of peppers you want. We’ll deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Red Shallots
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Head Lettuce
  • Fresh Mint
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers
  • Savoy Cabbage

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Cherry Tomatoes

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Leeks or Onions
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Head Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Beets

 

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 17th

Week 16!

Say, Is That a Worm in my Corn?

Possibly, yes. Our second planting of corn is going out this week – another lovely, sweet, bicolor named Polka – and during harvest I inspected some of the ears for corn earworm. Sure thing, a few of them had fat earworms at the tip. We’ve noticed over the years that corn earworms show up in our later plantings of corn, almost without fail. The worms are a bit gross at first glance, but if you encounter one, all you have to do is cut the tip of your corn off, worm and all.

 

Our no-spray organic philosophy means that Valley Flora is a “live and let live” kind of place – even the corn earworms deserve a little taste of some super sweet corn on the cob now and then…

 

Che-Cherry Oh, Cherry Oh Baby, Don't You Know I'm in Love With You?

That’s right, cherry tomatoes, I’m in love with you. But you, apparently, are not in love with me this year. Usually by this point in September, you are loaded with trusses of bright orange and red and yellow fruit, ripe for the picking. But no, not this year. This year you’re not feeling well, and you’re not showin’ me much love.

 

I know, I know, Late Blight is really the pits. I probably wouldn’t want to produce bucketloads of bright, tangy fruits if I had Late Blight either. Your stems are all brown, your leaves are falling off, and your baby green tomatoes are dropping off the vine like suicidal bridge-jumpers. It’s a bad scene.

 

I feel your pain, but I’m hurt. Remember how we tended you so lovingly in the greenhouse, starting way back in March? And then carefully planted you in the field, and nursed you through flea beetle attacks and cold spring weather? And then, in our grandest display of devotion, watered, pruned, and tied you up every single week of the busy summer, since June?

 

And this is what we get in return? OK, OK, I know it’s not all about me all the time. I know I should blame the weather, not you, and I should show a little more compassion; you’re suffering and all. But do you think maybe you could just put out enough cherry tomatoes this season to give our wonderful Harvest Basket members at least ONE pint of cherries? I mean, if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t even have been born.

 

Please? Show ‘em just a little bit of love? A pint of love? Maybe two? Because you know they’re in love with you.

 

Cranky Baby Hot Sauce: Put some spice in you life!

This year’s Serrano hot pepper crop is coming on strong, which means Bets is at it again in the farm kitchen, brewing up batches of her infamous Cranky Baby Hot Sauce. Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in her greenhouses, this Tabasco-like hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).

 

Available by the bottle, half case, or case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27/half case (6 bottles)
  • $48/case (12 bottles)

To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site.

 

Sweet Peppers by the Bag!

Bulk Peppers are available to our CSA members: Available in 5 pound bags, $20 per bag.

Choose either:

  • Red Roasters (tapered, Italian sweet peppers in reds, yellows, and oranges), or
  • Mixed Bag (a combo of bells and roasters in reds, yellows, and oranges)

We will fill orders in the order we receive them on a rolling basis in the coming weeks. Please email us your: name, pickup location, phone number, and the quantity and type of peppers you want. We’ll deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Cabernet Red Storage Onions
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Corn
  • Head Lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers & Heirlooms
  • Yellow Finn potatoes

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Green Beans
  • Cherry Tomatoes

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Head Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers & Heirlooms
  • A fresh herb of some kind…thyme, oregano, mint….?

 

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 10th

Week 15!

The Second Half of the Season…

We’ve officially crossed the halfway mark in the Harvest Basket season, with 14 weeks down and 14 more to go. If there’s one word to sum up the second half of the season, it’s usually “heavy.” The past many months of long daylight and relative warmth on the farm means that our fields are laden with dense food as we head towards the autumn apex of harvest: festive winter squashes squat amidst their senescing vines while rows of big-eared corn stand sentinel over a field of fall broccoli, psychedelic romanesco cauliflower, Dr. Seuss-like Brussels sprouts, and stolid cabbage. Every week we dig more potatoes and haul them into our cooler for storage, and our propagation greenhouse has been transformed into an onion curing house (hot & dry, which is perfect for finishing off the drying process on the truckloads of storage onions and shallots that we’ve been pulling out of the field over the past few weeks). The beets and carrots are swelling in size, alongside the warty celeriac (one of the more unusual vegetables we grow that you’ll see in November).

 

It’s a time of unique & fleeting abundance, when just about everything we grow over the course of a season is available at the same time – from strawberries to tomatoes to winter squash (coming in early October). For us, it’s a time of inspired eating (when we have time to branch out beyond the usual quesadilla and salad fare), and also a time of squirreling away produce for winter. Our canning season happens in earnest in the fall: applesauce, tomato sauce, salsa, corn, dilly beans, you name it….we can it.

 

You “can,” too! Remember that many of the veggies you’re getting in your share can be put by for later: dice up your sweet and hot peppers and freeze them; blanch your ears of corn, cut them off the cob and freeze for later; blanch and freeze your green beans; grate your zucchinis into pre-measured bags and freeze them for a wintertime treat of zucchini bread. We have heard from Harvest Basket members who say they eat from the farm year-round because of their preservation efforts. It’s a great way to relish the food now and later.

 

Spice Up Your Life with Cranky Baby Hot Sauce!

This year’s Serrano hot pepper crop is coming on strong, which means Bets is at it again in the farm kitchen, brewing up batches of her infamous Cranky Baby Hot Sauce. Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in her greenhouses, this hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).

 

Available by the bottle or by the case:

  • $5/bottle (5 oz)
  • $27 for 6 bottles (half case)
  • $48 for 12 bottles (case).

 

We will deliver to your pickup site. To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, phone numbers and the quantity of bottles you would like.

 

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

 

Sweet Peppers by the Bag!

Bulk Peppers are available to our CSA members:

  • Available in 5 pound bags, $20 per bag
  • Choose either: Red Roasters (tapered, Italian sweet peppers), or Mixed Bag (a combo of bells and roasters in red, yellow and red colors)

 

We will fill orders in the order we receive them on a rolling basis in the coming weeks. Please email us your:

  • name
  • pickup location
  • phone number
  • the quantity and type of peppers you want.

 

We’ll deliver to your pickup site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Cabernet Red Storage Onions
  • Carrots
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Head Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers & Heirlooms

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Green Beans

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Cilantro or another fresh herb
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Green Beans, 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 that you can contribute to

 

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 3rd

Week 14!

CORNucopia!

As we were harvesting and washing all of the produce on Tuesday, there was one gnawing concern: would this week’s CSA share actually fit in a 10 gallon Rubbermaid tote? 8 ears of corn, 2 red onions, a pound of carrots, 3 pounds of beets, 2 zukes, 4 serranos, 3 big sweet peppers, a pint of strawberries, a big pile of tomatoes, a head of lettuce, a bunch of herbs, and for some, a tangled pound of green beans! All told, an average Harvest Basket weighed in at about 17 pounds this week.

 

Historically, September is the biggest month of food at Valley Flora – the most diversity, the most heft, and the most color. It is the pinnacle of the harvest, a time when we find ourselves short on tables to sort it all, tubs to wash it all, and cooler space to keep it chilled. It’s also the easiest time of year to subsist on raw veggies. We’ve been eating a lot of variations on the Greek salad theme of late: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, fresh herbs, sweet onions, carrots, and beans all chopped up and amended with a splash of olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper, and feta cheese. Next to a hunk of Seth’s Sourdough bread, it’s a meal unto itself.

 

The corn in your share this week is an early (by our coastal standards) bi-color called Trinity. It’s the first of four corn plantings on the farm, so hopefully you’ll be seeing “elotes” (Spanish for ears of sweet corn, pronounced ae-loh-tays) in your share every other week (or so) through September and into October. Corn is the sweetest right off the stalk (the sugars begin converting to starch as soon as it’s picked), so eat it sooner than later to ensure you get the best corn experience. We like to steam in ours in a shallow pan of water with a lid on it (saves all the time and energy of boiling a big pot of water, and it cooks in a few short minutes). Drag it through some butter when you’re done and eat it off the cob.

 

Or, if you’re inspired to create something with your corn, a friend has been raving about this recipe for Corn Fritters with Tomato and Feta Salad: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/corn-fritters-tomato-feta-salad

 

Sweet Peppers Are On! Available in 5 Pound Bags!

So begins the pepper season, with a bang! You’ll be seeing a variety of peppers in the coming weeks, ranging from stocky bells to long, tapered Italian roasters (great for fresh-eating and roasting alike), all in screaming sunset colors. They are sweet. We eat them like popsicles, often for breakfast. My mom, who grows all the peppers, is very popular at this time of year.

 

Like last year, we will be offering BULK PEPPERS to those of you who want to either put them up for winter, or indulge in a full-bore-fresh-pepper-eating-spree. Peppers are among the easiest of things to preserve. You can simply chop them up and freeze them in Ziplocs (no blanching required). They add a beautiful confetti splash to your winter meals, straight out of the freezer. OR, you can fire-roast them over an open flame, peel off the charred skin, and freeze or pressure can them for an amazing roasted pepper accent in any dish later on.

 

Here are the pepper-buying details:

  • Available in 5 pound bags, $20 per bag
  • Choose either: Red Roasters (tapered, Italian sweet peppers), or the Mixed Bag (a combo of bells and roasters in red, yellow and red colors)

We will fill orders in the order we receive them on a rolling basis in the coming weeks. To order, please email us your:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Quantity and type of peppers you want

We’ll deliver to your pickup site.

 

Strawberries Still Available by the Flat!

The strawberries are booming again (sweeter than ever with all this heat) and we have plenty to fill special orders. If you would like to order a flat (or two), email us your name, pickup location, phone number, and the number of flats you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site. Flats are $35 each, 12 heaping pints to a flat.

 

In your share this week:

  • Cabernet Red Storage Onions
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Head Lettuce
  • Hot Peppers (Serranos)
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers & Heirlooms
  • Red Beets

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Green Beans
  • Dill
  • Parsley

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • A fresh herb of some kind
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Green Beans, 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 that you can contribute to

 

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 27th

Week 13!

Heirloom Tomatoes

Last week the heirlooms began showing up in your tote; you may have gotten a big pink Brandywine, or a great green Aunt Ruby’s (yes, that green tomato is RIPE!), or a persimmon orange Persimmon, or a sunset-hued Striped German. Bets grows a half dozen or more varieties in her greenhouses, and they are just hitting their peak right now. It’s a heartbreakingly short season (she’ll get a month of real production, and then they peter out), especially compared to some of the hybridized red slicing varieties that ripen sooner, produce longer, and yield more. But year after year, my mom plants her heirlooms, for the love of true tomato flavor and beauty – in spite of the fact that she might make more money by simply growing hybrids.

 

(A botany sidenote here: a hybrid plant is one that has been specifically bred for certain characteristics by crossing two genetically distinct parents. The hybrid that results often has certain desired traits, like better heat or cold tolerance, or crack resistance, or disease resistance, etc. You cannot, however, save seeds from that hybrid because they won’t come “true” – meaning the genetics are not stable and the next generation will likely express myriad traits (maybe some desirable and some not). As a result, you have to buy hybrid seed, as opposed to saving your own. An “heirloom,” or open-pollinated (OP) plant, on the other hand, is a genetically stable plant that usually self-pollinates. You can save the seeds of an heirloom tomato and usually get the same-looking tomato the next year. This distinction between hybrids and OP varieties is important, for both agricultural and political reasons – many advocates of open-pollinated varieties argue that it’s important to grow them in order to maintain genetic diversity in our plant/food world, and to keep public control of seeds and genetic information in the hands of farmers and gardeners, not Monsanto and other huge, private corporations. At Valley Flora, we grow both hybrids and open-pollinated, heirloom varieties. There are some crops, like broccoli, for which there simply is no viable open-pollinated variety available.)

 

But back to tomatoes: Heirlooms come in a rainbow of colors and folksy names (Omar’s Lebanese, Box Car Willie, Cherokee Purple, Golden Ponderosa, Hillbilly, Mortgage Lifter, Amish Paste, Arkansas Traveler, etc.). There are various definitions of “heirloom:” commercial heirlooms are varieties that were introduced before 1940, or that have been in circulation for over 50 years; family heirlooms are seeds that have been passed down within a family for several generations.

 

A general rule of thumb: good tomatoes, just like good strawberries, are usually the ones that have traveled the fewest miles to your mouth. Picking them from your own garden is tops, but if you’re buying them, you’re wise to source them from a farmer nearby. Why? Because the tomatoes that are produced for local, nearby markets are soft, ripe, and grown for flavor – as opposed to fruits that are grown to ship (think of the hard, pink tomatoes you see in the supermarket in the winter, most of which are grown in Florida, picked green by farmworkers, and then gassed with ethylene to turn red).

 

There couldn't be more contrast. While you savor your soft, local, family-grown-and-harvested tomatoes this week, I encourage you to learn more about the sobering reality of Florida’s tomato fields: http://www.ciw-online.org/

 

The pictures speak a thousand words. On the eve of Labor Day, 2012, it’s hard to believe that this reality still exists:

 

 Like textile workers at the turn of the last century, Florida tomato harvesters are still paid by the piece. The average piece rate today is 50 cents for every 32-lbs of tomatoes they pick, a rate that has remained virtually unchanged since 1980. As a result of that stagnation, a worker today must pick more than 2.25 tons of tomatoes to earn minimum wage in a typical 10-hour workday -- nearly twice the amount a worker had to pick to earn minimum wage thirty years ago, when the rate was 40 cents per bucket. Most farmworkers today earn less than $12,000 a year.

 

In the most extreme conditions, farmworkers are held against their will and forced to work for little or no pay, facing conditions that meet the stringent legal standards for prosecution under modern-day slavery statutes. Federal Civil Rights officials have successfully prosecuted seven slavery operations involving over 1,000 workers in Florida’s fields since 1997, prompting one federal prosecutor to call Florida "ground zero for modern-day slavery." In 2010, federal prosecutors indicted two more forced labor rings operating in Florida.

 

This is the week for Finocchio!

You’ve got it all in your tote, so don’t miss the opportunity to do up one of my all-time favorite recipes: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/finocchio

 

There are a pile of other fennel recipes on our website as well: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/fennel

 

…the latest of which was shared with us by a friend in Washington who is a member of a CSA up there. She said this was the best thing she has ever eaten (she is 3 years old): http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/caramelized-fennel-honey-lemon-ze...

 

Strawberries Still Available by the Flat!

The strawberries are booming again (sweeter than ever with all this heat) and we have plenty to fill special orders. If you would like to order a flat (or two), email us your name, pickup location, phone number, and the number of flats you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site. Flats are $35 each, 12 heaping pints to a flat.

 

In your share this week:

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers & Heirlooms
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Fennel
  • Potatoes

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Cucumbers

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • 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 that you can contribute to

 

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 20th

Week 12!

Pico de Gallo Week!

What happens when the tomatoes, cilantro, sweet onions, and Serrano peppers are all ready at the same time at Valley Flora? Fresh salsa is what happens! With the exception of fresh limes – which we WISH we could grow – all the ingredients for homemade pico are in your Harvest Basket this week.

 

In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish pronunciation: peeko day guy-yo, literally translated “beak of the rooster”) is also called salsa fresca (fresh sauce), salsa picada (minced or chopped sauce), salsa Mexicana (Mexican sauce), or salsa bandera (flag sauce, because of the colors – red tomatoes, white onions, and green chilis). But no matter what you call it, it’s a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos). You can add other ingredients, like lime juice or apple cider vinegar, fresh cilantro, cucumber, radish, or fruits such as mango or watermelon.

 

Where does the term “pico de gallo” come from? According to some sources, it’s so named because it was originally eaten with the thumb and forefinger, resembling the actions of a pecking rooster.

 

Which reminds me of a curious factoid: the spice in your hot peppers this week is due to a compound called capsaicin, which is found in all hot peppers (some more than others; for instance, habañeros and Sichuan peppers have a higher concentration of capsaicin than a poblano or a jalapeño; sweet bell peppers actually have none due to a recessive gene). Most of the capsaicin is concentrated in what is called the “placental tissue”: the white “Styrofoam” pith inside the pepper, and not so much in the flesh. This is a useful tidbit to know in the kitchen because if you want to minimize the kick in your fresh salsa, clean the pith out of your Serrano peppers before you dice them up. On the other hand, if you like it hot, chop it all up and toss it in!

 

But here’s where it gets very cool on evolutionary terms: As it turns out, mammals are the only animal family that is affected by capsaicin (and thus experience the mouth-burn of hot peppers). Birds, on the other hand, are not affected by it (so roosters truly can peck at your pico de gallo without catching their weird little tongues on fire). Why? Because evolutionarily, pepper seeds were dispersed by birds. The bright colors of pepper fruits (reds, oranges, purples, yellows!) attract birds, who can painlessly peck into them, eat their seeds, fly away, and poop them out somewhere else. Mammals on the other hand might only get an unpleasant bite or two of a hot pepper before they turn tail and run for a glass of milk (or bread, or rice) to cool their mouths down.

 

I was relieved to learn this after many years of worrying about the seagulls at the South Jetty in Bandon.  When I was a kid, an uncle used to take me down there and play pranks on the seagulls: primarily, dousing Wonder Bread with Tabasco hot sauce and tossing it up in the air to the gulls. He thought it was the funniest thing on earth; I felt sorry for them.

 

Little did we both know that the joke was on us.

 

Here’s a Pico de Gallo recipe. Adjust the heat to suit your mammalian tastebuds.

  • 1 1/2 cups seeded, diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced onion – red or sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon diced serranos
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  • Salt and pepper

In a bowl combine all ingredients. Enjoy on tacos, with chips, over rice and beans, etc.

 

Strawberries Still Available by the Flat!

The strawberries are booming again (sweeter than ever with all this heat) and we have plenty to fill special orders. If you would like to order a flat (or two), email us your name, pickup location, phone number, and the number of flats you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site. Flats are $35 each, 12 heaping pints to a flat.

 

In your share this week:

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Cilantro
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes – Red Slicers & Heirlooms
  • Hot Peppers

On Rotation:

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

  • Cucumbers

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week

Remember, no promises!

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Carrots
  • Basil
  • Lettuce
  • Fennel
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

 

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 that you can contribute to

 

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 13th

Week 11!

BREAKING NEWS: TOMATOES!!!!

Need I say more?

 

Except that this is the sooner-than-anticipated kickoff of tomato season. For the next month+ you’ll be getting an assortment of tomatoes, including red slicers, heirlooms, and red, yellow and orange cherry tomatoes. All of them are vine-ripened in my mom’s greenhouses, with the exception of the cherry tomatoes, which we grow outdoors.

 

Tomatoes tie with onions for crops that we nurture the longest. We seeded them in our propagation greenhouse way back in the cold, wet days of March. The young plants spent a couple months in the greenhouse growing tall and bushy, then were transplanted into the field and the greenhouses in May and June. Since then, we’ve been watering, weeding, pruning, and tying them up every week (we use a system of sisal twine and metal stakes to support their unruly growth).

 

Now the heavy work of harvest begins for my mom, Bets, who manages the greenhouses. She’ll be picking hundreds of pounds of tomatoes each week to fill Harvest Baskets, restaurant and store orders, and to stock the farmstand. By the time tomato harvest is over in the Fall - once our pantries are lined with jars of sauce and our freezers are full of sun-dried tomatoes – we will breathe a familial sigh of relief to see the harvest end. Backs sore and hands cracked from the acidic harvest, there comes a natural turning point on the farm when we don’t care to see another tomato for awhile.

 

But for now, as we slice into the first ripe tomatoes of the season, we are relishing every bite of red, round, juicy heft. We hope you do, too.

 

A tip: when you get your tomatoes this week, DON’T PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE! That’s one of the keys to maintaining that unbeatable flavor and texture of homegrown tomatoes. Store them on your counter at room temperature.

 

In your share this week:

  • Purplette Onions
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Green Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Yellow & Green Zucchini
  • Dill
  • Broccoli
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Tomatoes

On Rotation:

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

  • Spinach

 

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

A number of Harvest Basket members have implored me to start posting a list of what vegetables MIGHT be in your share next week so that they could shop and menu-plan accordingly. I emphasize the “MIGHT” because we never know for sure what will be going in the totes until the beginning of each week, and I hate to set expectations and then have plans change. Nevertheless, this list of possible produce will give you a general idea of what might be coming your way the week of August 20th. Remember, no promises!

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Basil
  • Lettuce
  • Fennel?
  • Hot 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 that you can contribute to

 

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: 

Food Class at Valley Flora



Introduction to Food Energetics
 A thought-provoking philosophy into food and cooking

 

Join us at

Valley Flora Farm

to start your journey in creating healing meals

Saturday, August 25th, 2012
10am to 11:30am

 

$15 prepaid
 $20 day of event


presented by

Polly Maliongas, LAc, Qigong Master Teacher
Moongate Chinese Medicine
Oregon City, OR 97045



As we become more aware of our food choices, where our food comes from, and eating seasonally, we now add energetics into our understanding.  Each food we consume carries a certain energetic quality that effects our energetic vibration.  This vibration is also guided to a specific organ to promote optimal functioning.  The energetics of food are found within the healing modalities of Chinese Medicine.  Using the principles of Yin and Yang theory along with the concepts of energetic thermal nature, flavors and cooking methods we learn to create a meal that truly nourishes the body.  

 

This class will:

  • Provide an introduction into the energetic views of food and our body
  • Provide you handouts, some recipes and suggested reading list  


To pre-register, please contact: Juanell Lemon, LMT #OR13439
at 541.290.1948

Please confirm your attendance so we can provide enough handouts.
 

Logistics:

  • You MUST park on the south side of the bridge (Valley Flora side of the bridge)
  • The class will be held by the south end of the shed away from the farmstand
  • We will be in the shade of a big myrtle tree but be prepared with sunscreen and a hat
  • Please bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating
  • Please no pets, no smoking, there's no potable water
  • Port potty is available

Newsletter: 

Week 10: August 6th

Week 10!

Going Topless

No, I don’t mean us. I mean your carrots. (Although the mercury did nudge towards eighty on Saturday, which was temptation aplenty to shed the shirt – were it not for the steady flow of rock truck drivers hauling on Floras Creek Road…).

 

From here on out you’ll be getting your carrots without their tops. Two main reasons why:

  1. It’s a much quicker harvest to mow down the tops and then fork out the carrots, rather than painstakingly pulling and bunching. At this point in the season when there is so much food to harvest, we need all the time-saving tricks we can muster.
  2. In some of our more densely planted beds of carrots, the tops become weak and floppy, which makes bunching tricky and slow.

 

If your guinea pig was really digging the carrot tops, we apologize.

 

Oh No, Blight!: Our Uncertain Potato Plight

Last year - as some of you will remember - was a banner year for potatoes on the farm. The combination of good spud-growing weather and careful selection of varieties, combined with aggressive hilling using our new electric cultivating tractor, yielded the best potato crop we’ve ever had.

 

It looked like we were on track for a repeat performance this season, until the very sudden and very terrible appearance of what we think is early blight in a section of the potato field. In the span of one short week, a third of the field went from vibrant bushy green, to a sea of skeletonized brown stalks. Oddly enough, it hasn’t spread much beyond that initial area – and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it doesn’t.

 

Early blight is caused by a fungus known as Alternaria solani, which is fairly ubiquitous in the soil wherever solanaceous crops (potatoes & tomatoes) are grown. We work to avoid blight by rotating our crops carefully (not planting potatoes where potatoes grew the previous three years), but that’s not always enough. The fungus has reared its head this season (most likely due to the long spells of grey weather we’ve had). We are doing our best to control it by: carefully monitoring irrigation in the potato patch (water can help spread it quickly); being careful not to spread the blight by walking through the healthy potato plants; and digging up all the affected tubers/plants as quickly as possible.

 

Unfortunately, blight can have a drastic impact on yields and do cosmetic damage to the tubers; the potatoes you are receiving this week are smaller than they should be, and many of them are scabby or scarred up. They’re going to take a little extra work to clean up, but they should still be good eating.

 

We are hopeful that the other 2/3 of the field will maintain its vigor and size up some lovely spuds on par with last year’s harvest. In the meantime, you may have to tolerate one or two distributions of ugly taters as we work through the blighted section of the field first.

 

So get out your peeler, and cross your fingers that the fungus among us doesn’t travel down the row any farther.

 

In your share this week:

  • Purplette Onions
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Potatoes
  • Oregano & Summer Savory
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Spinach

 

Oregano & Summer Savory

You’ll find a few stalks of summer savory and oregano in your tote this week, freshly harvested from the new perennial herb patch. The oregano is the dark green, bushy-leaved one. The summer savory is the lacier, long-stemmed variety. Both have distinct flavors; the savory is closely related to mint with a peppery-thyme-like flavor. Here’s a recipe that calls for summer savory. You have most of the ingredients in your harvest basket this week, minus the green beans.

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/warm-green-bean-and-potato-salad-...

 

 

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 that you can contribute to

 

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 30th

Week 9!

The Summer Crunch

Cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots – kerrrrrrrunch! That’s the sound of summer. Hefty foods that require molars to enjoy - once you see them in your tote, you know we’ve arrived into the heart of summer. Festive salads are a breeze to invent at this time of year when the produce line-up is so colorful and substantial.

 

And hearty salads are exactly what we farmers survive on at this point in the year, because we are experiencing our own kind of summer crunch: a peak-season workload that keeps us moving all hours, most days. More and more of our time is dedicated to harvest each week, but we are still also trying to keep pace with weeds, irrigation, direct seeding and transplanting (we plant outdoors in the field until mid-September).

 

Salad is our fast food. Heaped high, maybe decorated with some hard-boiled eggs or local canned tuna, a quick chop of whatever other veggies are lying around, and some homemade salad dressing.

 

It keeps the farmers ticking, so you can keep on licking (your plates).

 

In your share this week:

  • Purplette Onions
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Beets

On Rotation:

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

  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower

 

Purplette Onions

These early onions tend to be a favorite among CSA members, beloved for their pretty purple color and sweet-spicy flavor. They are a fresh onion (not cured), so keep them in your fridge. You can use your purplette any way you would use a regular onion, but many people seem to especially enjoy them raw in salads. They aren’t as pungent than storage onions, with less of that oniony bite. You can also use the green tops like green onions.

 

You’ll be getting them in your tote for the next couple of weeks, which will hopefully give you just enough time to have a true love affair with this member of the onion family. Purplettes always kick off our Allium season, with many other varieties to follow in their wake: walla walla sweets, red long torpedoes, red and yellow storage, red and gold shallots, and leeks.

 

Storage: In a plastic bag in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

 

Cilantro

Most folks don’t need tips on how to use cilantro, but here’s a recipe that I LOVE, thanks to Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/zucchini-fresh-herb-fritters

 

Storage: Either in the fridge in a bag (will last for up to a week), or in a cup/vase of water in the fridge, covered with a plastic bag (will last even longer….)

 

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 that you can contribute to

 

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 23rd

Week 8!

It’s Thyme!

The little bunch of herbs in your tote this week is fresh thyme, the first harvest from our new perennial herb patch. I decided to invest in perennial herbs after a number of Harvest Basket members expressed a desire for a wider diversity of herbs in their share. We sacrificed two of our three beds of dahlias and turned the space over to thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, chives, summer savory, and sweet marjoram.

 

After a couple months of tending the slow-growing seedlings in the greenhouse this spring, we planted out thousands of new starts and have been nurturing them into bushiness all summer. The thyme has been the first to offer itself up for harvest. You’ll probably also see oregano, summer savory, and sage this season; the rosemary and chives will take another year before they’re ready to be cut.

 

The bundle of thyme in your tote may be too much to use up fresh, but don’t let it go to waste. All herbs – including the dill you got last week – dry beautifully for later use. Simply hang them upside down in a dark, dry place until they are dry. OR, if you have a food dehydrator, you can dry them quickly on the low heat setting. Once dry, strip or crumble the leaves off the stem and store in an airtight container.

 

More Broccoli!

It looks like we may get a momentary reprieve in the broccoli onslaught next week (our next planting is a new variety that is maturing more slowly), but there is plenty to go around this week. If you are overwhelmed by it, consider freezing some for later. To freeze:

  1. Trim your broccoli heads into neat florets, whatever size you like to eat.
  2. Bring a pot of salter water to boil.
  3. Prepare a big bowl of ice water and have ready in the sink.
  4. Drop your broccoli into the boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes (don’t overcook it!).
  5. Immediately drain and dunk broccoli into the ice water for at least 3 minutes.
  6. Lay broccoli on a cookie sheet and freeze.
  7. Once frozen, put florets in a Ziploc and store in the freezer.

 

Basil Bonanza!

The basil plants are bushing up fast and furious, so now’s the time to order if you want to make pesto, or dry it, or stuff your pillow with it and revel in the smell of peak summertime! It’s available by the pound, $14/pound. To order, email us your name, pickup location, the quantity you want, and your phone number.

 

Strawberry Slow-Down

It seems like our berry patch just got cranking, but the end-of-july slowdown is already upon us. Our variety, Seascape, will bear fruit all season but it has a marked decline in production for a few weeks at the end of July and the beginning of August. We seem to be headed into that berry lull right now. There should be plenty (we hope) to put a pint in your tote each week, but we might be hard-pressed to fill special orders for full flats for the time being.

 

The good news is that the berries usually have a strong comeback in late August and September, so if you haven’t filled your freezer yet there will be more opportunities later in the summer.

 

Marionberry U-pick!

We planted a couple rows of marionberries last year and they are just now coming into their first fruit. We will most likely be opening them up to u-pick starting this SATURDAY. No ironclad guarantees, but that’s what it’s looking like right now…

 

Here’s some interesting marionberry factoids, courtesy of oregonencyclopedia.org:

The blackberry cultivar, Marion, often called "marionberry" by consumers and marketers, is the most widely planted trailing blackberry in the world. More than 90 percent of the worldwide acreage of Marion is located in Oregon. In 2007, almost 30 million pounds were harvested from 4,500 acres in the state, with farm sales over $11 million.

 

Originally bred by George Waldo, USDA-ARS plant breeder, Marion was released in 1956 through the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. The name Marion was chosen in recognition of Marion County, where it was tested extensively. The largest share of acreage today is still in Marion County, where the climate and soils of the Willamette Valley are ideal.

 

The pedigree of Marion is rather complex. It contains 44 percent Rubus ursinus (the only truly native blackberry in Oregon, characterized by its outstanding flavor), 25 percent R. armeniacus (the Himalaya, a weed introduced from Europe in the late 1800s), and 6 percent R. idaeus (the red raspberry). In 1948, Waldo selected Marion from a cross of the cultivars Chehalem and Olallie.

 

Marion is a vigorous, thorny plant that is typically trained to a two-wire trellis. The plants are sensitive to winter cold, and production may vary from year to year depending on the severity of the weather. Marion is usually harvested in July by machines that gently shake ripe fruit off the plants. Over 95 percent of Marion is processed as frozen fruit, puree, and juice. Jams, ice cream, and other products made with marionberries are popular in Oregon and are sold throughout North America.

 

In your share this week:

  • Broccoli
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Fennel
  • Thyme
  • Cauliflower
  • Baby Carrots
  • Zucchini

On Rotation:

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

  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers

 

Fennel

Introducing another of the controversial vegetables we grow…Foeniculum vulgaris, or fennel.

 

In the first couple years of Harvest Baskets, I was on a crusade to turn as many people as I could into fennel aficionados. I myself love fennel. What I learned, however, is that lots of folks like fennel, but just as many don’t – and never will. And no matter how many times I put it in your totes in a season, they fennel-haters aren’t going to change their mind. They are just going to keep feeding it to their cows, or their compost bins.

 

I wouldn’t say I’ve given up on converting people into adoring fennel-ites, but I have perhaps become more realistic in my expectations. Instead of five fennel plantings, we only do three, and instead of getting two bulbs this week, you’re only getting one (ok, maybe two if they’re small…).

 

If it’s your first encounter with fennel, you can expect a mildly licorice-like flavor and a celery-like texture. You can eat fennel raw, sliced thinly into salads, or you can cook it. Steaming it is the simplest way, but it’s also great chopped into pasta sauce, added to soup, or braised and served alongside fish. The Italians love this stuff; it's as common in their grocery stores as iceberg lettuce is in ours and it’s one of the cheapest veggies on the shelf over there (compared to here where I recently saw it for $5.99 a pound in the store!).

 

Here’s a simple soup that calls for both fennel and zucchini: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fennel-and-Zucchini-Soup-wi...

 

To prepare: Cut it lengthwise, then cut it into slices cross-wise. Work around the woody core that resembles a cabbage core. Enjoy the lacy tops as a dill substitute for a little added herbal zest.

 

Storage: Top the bulbs and they will last in a plastic bag in the fridge for weeks. The greens will last up to a week in a plastic bag in the fridge.

 

Cucumbers

When I was a kid, cucumbers were my favorite food. Hands down. So when my mom’s greenhouses start pumping out the cukes, it’s as if I am a kid again and the farm is my candystore (if only she didn’t sell them all before I could get my hands on one!). Hopefully we’ll have better luck in the cucumber department this year than we did last year (most of the crop was wiped out by moles and disease). To help ensure that, Bets has planted both an indoor and outdoor crop. Not only will the cucumber season go longer (we hope), she might just outsmart some of those pesky rodents and pathogens that took their toll last year.

 

Storage: up to a week in the fridge in a bag.

 

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 that you can contribute to

 

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 16th

Week 7!

The Big Broccoli Bang

When it rains it pours, at least in the broccoli patch this year. For the past month we’ve been eeking out enough broccoli and broccolini to put some in your totes each week – but not a lot. To blame was the wet spring, which flooded a couple of our early broccoli plantings and killed them. We replanted, but that event set our big harvests back a couple weeks.

 

Until last Friday, when I made my usual foray through the broccoli field. Instead of hauling out a few backpacks-worth of florets and heads, I lugged out load after load of heavy broccoli heads, totaling over 250 pounds (and stuffed all of it into my husband’s station wagon; he had the pickup truck that day…).

 

(We harvest broccoli into a specialty produce backpack that we can wear on our backs. We cut the heads with a sharp knife and then toss them over a shoulder into the backpack. When the backpack is full, we heft it to the end of the row and dump it into a harvest bin in the shade. A full backpack weighs about 30 pounds).

 

This Tuesday, I cut another 200 pounds, with no end in sight. There are four more plantings of broccoli still to mature, so you’ll probably be getting it in your share well into August this year. This is great news for the broccoli-lovers among you, ‘cuz you’re getting a full 2 pounds of it this week! Our fresh-cut broccoli tends to last for up to two weeks in the fridge, if not longer, but you might be well-advised to eat it along the way so you don’t get a mass pile-up in your fridge. Here’s another farm website that has a great recipe search engine, and some yummy broccoli-inspired dishes: http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

 

New Potatoes, New Veggies!

Baby spuds, zucchini, baby carrots, cauliflower! Some of you will see all of these things in your totes this week, as we round the corner into full-fledged summer food. Yeehaw!

 

The new potatoes are a special treat - and kind of a sacrificial harvest. Once a potato plant begins to flower, that’s our cue that the tubers are setting and starting to size up. At this stage, the potatoes are incredibly tender. The tradeoff is that one bed of potatoes dug now, when they are “new,” yields only 150 lbs of spuds. Compare that to a bed of fully mature potatoes dug in August, which will yield over 600 pounds. As a result, it’s a relatively small share of potatoes in your harvest basket, but something worth savoring. Be careful not to overcook them, and consider using that bunch of dill to spice them up! Here’s a recipe link to inspire:

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

 

In your share this week:

  • Broccoli
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Dill
  • New Potatoes
  • Baby Carrots

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Cauliflower

 

Cauliflower

Some of you will see cauliflower in your totes this week, as our first planting slowly begins to come on. We grow three varieties: a white, an orange, and a purple. The colored heads are a shocking neon when eaten raw, and make quite a splash on a platter of crudités.

 

Storage: in the fridge in a plastic bag; will hold for a couple of weeks.

 

Carrots

For me, carrots signify the true arrival of summertime eating. You would think it would be tomatoes, or peppers, or corn – but for us here on the coast, all of those crops come on at the end of summer, at the melancholy cusp of autumn. Carrots show up at the happy zenith of summer, marking a true end to the June root fare of turnips and radishes. They are long-awaited, because once you have eaten a sweet garden-grown carrot it’s hard to ever return to store-bought carrots again.

 

I look forward to them with an anticipation so keen it sends me out to that part of the field on regular basis, hoping that the green top I tug on will reveal more than a white thread of root. Something orange. Something perhaps at least the size of my pinky. And this week we were in luck: lots of carrots the size of my pinky, and some even as large as a forefinger!

 

It’s a small bunch of carrots in your share this week, but a promise of great carrot abundance to come. We are taking special pains with our carrot production this year, after losing much of our crop to carrot rust fly last season. The rust fly is attracted to the carrots and lays its eggs among them. The eggs then hatch into larva, which feed on the carrots, leaving ugly tunnels in the roots. The damage gets worse as the season goes on (the rust fly can have 3 generations in one summer), so by fall it can be impossible to find a clean carrot in the field.

 

Last year our CSA members were extremely tolerant of our ugly carrots in the fall, but we were determined not to have it happen again. So this winter I invested in a piece of floating row cover as big as a football field, which we are covering our carrot block with. That’s all it takes to keep the rust fly at bay. It’s more work, because we have to take the row cover off every time we cultivate, weed, and harvest, but hopefully it will prove to be well worth it come October when we still have beautiful carrots.

 

Storage: your carrots will keep the longest if you cut the tops off and store the roots in a plastic bag in the fridge. The tops are edible – and not just by bunnies and hampsters and horses. Carrot top soup, anyone?

 

Zucchini

The onset of summer squash! Zucchini will be a reliable companion throughout the next couple of months. It stores in the fridge OK, but can get slimy in a plastic bag after a week. So eat up!

 

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 that you can contribute to

 

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 9th

Week 6!

 

Poor Peas!

If you are a returning Harvest Basket member, you have surely started to wonder where the sugar snap peas are. Usually you see them in your tote by the first week of July, but I have some sad news to break to you all: this year’s pea crop was a complete and utter failure.

 

Heartbreaking, I know. I normally do three seedings (planting three lines of peas into a bed that’s 220 feet long, which equals a lot of peas). That was the plan this year, but week after week I met with failure. All told I did five seedings this spring (each one increasingly desperate), and dumped over 30 pounds of seed (more than a hundred dollar's worth) into the ground.

 

Why the rotten pea luck? Let me count the ways:

  1. Rain. The first seeding in early April literally rotted in the ground as it endured day after day of sopping rain and cold weather.
  2. Slugs. The second seeding emerged bravely, but a few days later was razed by a voracious pack of slugs who left their slime trails as evidence all down the bed.
  3. Birds. I decided not to cover the third seeding with the floating row cover I usually use for early spring crops, in hopes of reducing the cozy habitat the slugs were enjoying. The birds caught on to me and pecked every single (and I mean EVERY SINGLE) seed out of the soil a few days later.
  4. Mice. With my first three original seedings a total flop, I doubled back, tilled up the first bed again, and seeded once more (we farmers can be a heroically, er foolishly, optimistic lot!). I covered the bed this time and checked on my little peas every day. One day they germinated (hallelujah). And the next day they were gone. All that was left was little piles of pea seed hulls, and lots of holes in my floating row cover. The mice were on to me! They had chewed through the row cover, mined out the pea seeds, and feasted mightily.
  5. Mice again. In one last desperate act at the end of May, I attempted to seed peas once more. See number 4 above for outcome. (I imagine there are some very fat mice waddling around in the clover these days. My mouse-hunting dog, Sula, has been fired for sleeping on the job).

 

So finally, I gave up. Sometimes, it turns out, that’s the smartest thing a person can do.

 

Lessons learned? Oh yes. This year’s designated pea beds were on the edge of the field, bordering our marionberries and a patch of perennial roadway clover. The clover is wonderful habitat for: a) slugs, and b) mice. The wire trellis supporting the berries is a fantastic perch for: a) birds. In regards to the suitability of this particular location for direct seeding peas, it has been deemed: a) terrible, b) awful, c) pea-cidal, and finally, d) never to be used again (even if the crop rotation dictates it).

 

Is there any silver lining to this story, some kind of happy ending?

 

Well, no promises, but we did decide to plant an extra batch of sweet corn where the peas were supposed to be (no, we were not so foolish as to direct seed a bunch of tasty little corn seed morsels into that ground, for fear of starting an obesity epidemic within the nearby mouse population). Today while I write this newsletter, Roberto is painstakingly transplanting a thousand baby corn seedlings into those beds. We started them in the greenhouse last week, and if all goes well (it might be a big “if”), you’ll be getting an extra load of sweet corn in your tote this fall.

 

Hopefully that will make up for the pile of despair that a pea-less year might bring about in some circles. And to take your mind off of it in the here and now, how about some RED CABBAGE!?! Read on!

 

In your share this week:

  • Broccoli or Broccolini
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Red Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Red Ursa Kale

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Spinach

 

Red Cabbage

Here comes some of the heftier food, at last! If you are tired of greens and hakurei turnips, well, I won’t blame you. The good news is that carrots, potatoes, zucchini, and some of the other summer crops are starting to size up. (The sun helps). I guarantee that you won’t be eating lettuce and kale forever, and in a couple months when you are swimming in peppers and tomatoes and fennel and carrots and beets and potatoes and cauliflower all at once, you probably won’t even remember this (possibly challenging for some) first month of Harvest Basket eating. Some of you greens lovers might even miss it….

 

As for your red cabbage, one of the best things about it is that there’s no pressure to eat it right away. It will keep in your fridge for a long time – a month, or even longer. But like most things, it’s best fresh out of the ground. Enjoy a summer slaw (ribbon up some of that red ursa kale, slice some of your hakureis, and toss in some chopped basil for a wonderful twist on an old-fashioned staple). There’s a recipe for kimchee on  our website, as well as many other recipes, or you can steam it and douse it with some good olive oil, salt and vinegar for a quick and simple preparation.

 

This week’s red cabbage kicks off the march of the cabbages: you’ll see a different kind of cabbage in your harvest basket each month from here on out: green, savoy, napa, and other varieties are still to come.

 

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 that you can contribute to

 

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

Newsletter: 

Week 5: July 2nd

Week 5!

Pesto and Jam!

As of this week, we’ve started to turn the corner on the farm (at last!): the strawberries are coming on strong, and the basil crop has bushed out. That means it’s time for making pesto, freezing strawberries, and making jam!

 

Bulk basil and flats of strawberries will be available by special order

  • Basil is $14 per pound, sold in one-pound increments. We pick only the primo tops (no stem), so it’s a lot of basil bang for your buck!
  • Strawberriesare $35 per flat (12 heaping pint baskets per flat).

 

We can deliver to your pickup site, or you can pick up at the farmstand. We will fill requests in the order we receive them, on a rolling basis. To order, email us your name, phone number, pickup location preference, and the quantity you want.

 

Bulk basil will likely be available through July and into August. Flats of strawberries will be available in July during our peak harvest window (the next few weeks).

 

Let the food preservation begin!

 

Happy Food Independence Day!

Eating locally is one of the most patriotic acts there is, whether you’re buying from a food producer in your area or growing some of your own food. Why? Because eating locally helps strengthen the “foodshed” that you belong to –it supports local farmers and food producers, it puts money into the local economy, and it keeps food miles (the distance food travels from farm to plate) at a minimum (which means less burning of fossil fuels to transport food long distances). The cherry on top is the fact that local food is as fresh as it gets, and the taste can’t be beat.

 

Enjoy this Independence Day with local food produced by Candace, Juana, Seth, and your Valley Flora farmers. Eggs! Bread! Tamales! Salad Greens! Veggies! Berries! And then pat yourself on the back for being instrumental in helping build a stronger local food system here on the southcoast of Oregon! We thank you!

 

In your share this week:

  • Broccoli or Broccolini
  • Spinach
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries (2 pints, hooray!)
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Red Beets

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Kohlrabi
  • Radishes

 

Red Beets

A haiku from yours truly, inspired by four years of putting beets into the CSA share:

 

Red earthy beauty,           

so steeped in controversy.

What is not to love?

 

Controversy? I jump for joy at the first beet harvest each year, but there are those who will bemoan the sight of beets in their tote this week. They will open the lid, groan, and quickly try to find someone who wants to trade two pounds of beets for a pint of strawberries, or anything. Anything other than beets.

 

I have tried everything to convince the resolute beet protestors: recipes for chocolate beet cake, roasted beets, beet salad, beet soup, cold beet borscht, steamed beets, grated beets, beet stamps and beet lipstick.

 

I may have won over a few converts over the years, thanks to the natural sweetness and deep flavor of fresh beets not 24 hours out of the ground. I like to think I have, at least.

 

And then there are those of you who are swooning at the mention of the season’s first beets. Because you know that not only are the red roots so good, so many ways, but because the greens are just as delicious (and good for you, too). A big brother to chard, beet greens steam, stir-fry, sautee, soup, and salad themselves up beautifully.

 

I am at peace with the fact that there will be controversy (if nothing else, then to inspire more haiku). I am hopeful that our beets will find their way into many hearts and bellies. I accept that not everyone has to like everything. We are all different.

 

And there might just be someone at a pickup site who would gladly hand over a pint of strawberries for a handful of beets.

 

The universe works in mysterious ways.

 

Beet storage: if you top your beets, the roots will hold up for months in the fridge in a plastic bag. The greens will hold for a week or more.

 

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 that you can contribute to

 

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

Newsletter: 

Week 4: June 25th

Week 4!

 

Raspberry U-pick Opens This Saturday, June 30th!

The berries are starting to hang heavy and ripe in the raspberry patch, and the first few we’ve sampled have been outrageously tasty!

 

Remember, all Harvest Basket members are entitled to 2 pounds of u-pick raspberries at no charge. (Please note this is for Harvest Basket members ONLY). To redeem your credit:

  1. Come to the farm on a Wednesday or Saturday between 9 am and 3 pm (but be aware that the raspberry patch can get picked over by the afternoon).
  2. Check in with Aro, who tends our farmstand. She will have a list with the names of all our Harvest Basket members on it.* If you have brought your own containers, weigh them and record the tare weight (we have tape and pens and a scale for this).
  3. Go picking!
  4. Return to Aro. She’ll weigh your harvest and record your picked poundage on the list. Anything you pick beyond your 2 pound credit, you can simply pay for. You are welcome to come multiple times and get a little each time, or get your 2 pounds all at once.

*If you share a Harvest Basket, the list will only have the name of the primary basket-holder. Tell Aro your share partner’s name if she can’t find you on the list. And please remember that it is 2 pounds per Harvest Basket, not 2 pounds per person! Thanks.

 

If you are not a Harvest Basket member, you are still welcome to come pick, of course! Price per pound is $3.50 for raspberries. Bring your own containers, if possible.

 

The summer raspberry crop usually peaks in the early part of July, and only lasts 3-4 weeks. Come on out while the getting is good!

 

In your share this week:

  • Broccoli or Broccolini
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Basil
  • Kohlrabi
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Braising Mix

 

Rainbow Chard

The oo-la-la-iest of all the bunched greens, rainbow chard is like an edible bouquet - an electric array of pink, orange, yellow, white, and red stems topped by dark leaves. When people are puzzled by what to do with chard, I always tell them to use it any way they would use spinach. It cooks up wonderfully: steamed, sautéed, in soup, in lasagna, in spanikopita, in omelettes, quiche, etc.

 

Chard is the evolutionary grandparent of beets; you’ll notice a similarity in their leaves. The crunchy stems are entirely edible and will brighten up any dish with their colorful confetti. It’s super high in vitamins A, E and C, as well as iron and calcium. Don’t let this one end up in your compost!

 

Storage: keep in the fridge, in a plastic bag; stores up to a week.

 

Rhubarb

Rhubarb, along with asparagus, is one of the first spring offerings from the garden. It’s actually related to dock, the common weed, but over the course of 4000 years has found a foothold as a unique element in desserts. It’s thought to have originated in China, where it was widely used medicinally. It then found its way to Europe, where it was first cultivated as a decorative garden plant. Not until the 1700s did the English begin their love affair with rhubarb in pies, tarts, compotes and sauces.

 

Its slow launch as a popular food may be because only the stalks of the plant are edible; the leaves are highly toxic due to their extremely high oxalic acid content. Even the stalks are acidic and sour and take a good dose of sweetening to mellow their tartness.

 

Rhubarb is chock full of vitamins A and C, calcium and other minerals, and is a blood purifier and digestive aid. Historically, it was a nutritionally rejuvenating exclamation point to mark the end of a limited seasonal winter diet!

 

Our own rhubarb has outpaced the ripening of our strawberries this month (there is no rhubarb dessert quite so quintessential as strawberry-rhubarb pie, which we had hoped to provide the key ingredients for). Meanwhile, in waiting on the strawberries, the slugs discovered the ruby-red stalks of our rhubarb plants and started to ugly them up. So that does it: we logged the rhubarb yesterday, picked all the berries we had, and found a great recipe that ISN’T pie:

 

Rhubarb Fool: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Rhubarb-Fool-354959

 

There’s 10 ounces of rhubarb in your share this week, so you may want to adjust the recipe accordingly.

 

Or go the simple route: simply dice up your rhubarb into 1 inch chunks and cook it in a small amount of water with the sweetener of your choice (no need to peel it). When the fibrous stalks become mushy, it’s done. Use as jam, pour over vanilla ice cream or cake, or chill it and eat it straight up.

 

Storage: will last for weeks and weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge.

 

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 that you can contribute to

 

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

Newsletter: 

Week 3: June 18th

Week 3!

 

The Secret Life of Asparagus

Asparagus is in your share again this week, for one last time. This week marks the end of our 2012 harvest , which began this year on April 20th.

Asparagus is one of those mysterious vegetables that spends most of its life either underground, or in its “fern” form, which is unrecognizable to most people. The spears that you buy in the store and are receiving in your tote this week represent a small fraction of the asparagus life cycle. So, in honor of our last 2012 asparagus harvest this week, and in the spirit of heightened vegetable literacy, here is a host of fascinating asparagus factoids:

  • Asparagus is a long-lived perennial. An asparagus crown, or root, can live for 25 years or longer. Our asparagus crowns are 5 years old.
  • There are male and female asparagus plants. Commercial growers like us choose all-male hybrid varieties (ours is called Jersey Knight). Why? The male plants produce more spears, while the female plants produce fewer spears and little, green-turning-to-red fruits (they look like tiny cherry tomatoes) full of asparagus seed.
  • You can start asparagus from seed, but most people buy “crowns,” or roots to plant.
  • Fat spears are the most tender, contrary to popular belief. All the fiber and toughness is in the outer skin of the spear. Fatter spears have a higher flesh to skin ratio, compared to skinny spears, which are more skin and less tender flesh. (By the way, skinny asparagus is not “baby” – it’s just skinny). Spears that grow more quickly (in warmer weather) will be more tender.
  • Asparagus can grow 6 to 12 inches in one day, when conditions are right! They grow the most quickly at temperatures around 70 degrees.
  • Growing asparagus is an exercise in delayed gratification. You shouldn’t harvest any spears until the second year if you plant crowns, and the third year if you plant from seed. And even then, you can only harvest for a couple weeks. Not until the third year that your crowns are in the ground can you enjoy a full 8-10 week harvest window.
  • Why is asparagus – especially organic asparagus – so expensive? Because it costs a lot to produce it. We value our asparagus at $5/pound, and that barely covers our cost of production.
    1. First off, asparagus takes up space all year, but you only get to harvest it for 8 weeks. That means that you can’t grown anything else on that land, so the asparagus has to earn enough money to justify taking up the space.
    2. Second, weeds! In organic asparagus production systems like ours, we have to do all of our weeding by hand (we can’t and wouldn’t want to use herbicides to kill weeds). For eight months of the year, the ground is practically bare in an asparagus field, which creates all kinds of opportunities for weeds to encroach. It’s a lot of labor and time to keep the weeds at bay. That adds to the pricetag of a pound of asparagus.
    3. Third, you have to harvest asparagus daily to cut them at the optimum stage, but you only get a little bit at each harvest – which means lots of trips up and down the rows for not a lot of poundage, every day. More labor time.
    4. Finally, you have to wait three years before you can really harvest your crop, which is a huge investment in land, labor, and crowns before you see any cash return.
  • This week we will stop harvesting our asparagus spears, but the plants will keep growing. The crowns will continue to send up spears, which will reach a height of five to six feet and leaf out into a lacey, green, fern-like canopy within a couple of weeks. This canopy will do the hard work of photosynthesis all summer long, storing food in the crown for next spring’s growth. In November, once the ferns have all died back and turned yellow, we will mow them down. In February, we’ll cover the whole asparagus patch with black plastic to help kill winter weeds. When the plastic starts to “tent” up in late March, we’ll pull it off to reveal our once-a-year harvest of white asparagus (blanched by the plastic). So begins our asparagus season all over again, powered by all the sun’s stored energy from the summer before...

 

Enjoy your last bite of brave, unique, tender, delicious, Valley Flora asparagus. Until 2013!

 

U-Pick Strawberries Galore!

Our new “we-pick” planting of strawberries has been slow to come on this season, but the u-pick side of the field is pumping! There’s heaps of new red fruit every day. The first flush of berries was badly damaged by our last rain, and we have been trying to clean out the spoiled fruit every chance we get – but nevertheless, more and more big, beautiful, red berries keep ripening. It’s a great time to fill your freezer or pick for jam!

 

If you are planning to come pick, we encourage you to bring your own containers. We often have small containers and boxes available, but not always.

 

U-Pick & Farmstand Hours:Every Wednesday & Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm!

 

U-Pick Raspberries Coming Soon!

The summer raspberries are just beginning to blush, which means there will probably be ripe fruit within the next couple of weeks. We’ve learned over the years that we don’t have enough hands or time in the week to pick raspberries for the Harvest Baskets, so instead we offer all of our Harvest Basket members a certain u-pick poundage at no charge.

 

This season, all Harvest Basket members are entitled to 2 pounds of u-pick raspberries at no charge. (Please note this is for Harvest Basket members ONLY).

 

Your “share” of the harvest is unfortunately smaller this year because the winter flood seems to have wiped out our fall-bearing raspberry crop (we have two varieties: the “summer” variety ripens in late June/early July; the “fall” variety ripens in September). Raspberry canes don’t like to be inundated for more than a few hours. Our fall variety was under water for 24 hours during the January flood, and as a result the plants are sickly and the fruiting canes are few and far between.

That means that if you want to cash in on your raspberry u-pick credit, you’ll want to come pick once the summer crop ripens in the next few weeks. I’ll keep you posted as to when the raspberry u-pick is officially open. Stay tuned.

 

In your share this week:

  • Asparagus
  • Butterhead lettuce
  • Braising Mix
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Strawberries
  • Purple Kohlrabi

 

(No rhubarb this week; still waiting on the strawberries to kick into high gear…)

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Basil
  • Broccolini

 

 

Braising Mix

This is a colorful, spicy mix of mustard greens, mizuna, tatsoi, and mixed kale. It’s great chopped up into a salad to add a little kick, or cooked down if you want to tame both the spice and the volume of greens in your life right now. Steamed or sautéed, braising mix is the perfect side to complement a good ol’ southern meal of cornbread and beans. Don’t forget the hot sauce!

 

Storage: keep in the fridge, in a plastic bag; stores up to a week.

 

Kohlrabi

This is one of the three most alien-looking vegetables we grow (the other two are romanesco cauliflower and celeriac, both of which appear in the fall). You’re getting a purple variety this week (you’ll see a white variety in the near future). Both have a peacock plume of edible leaves, similar in texture and flavor to a hearty, toothsome kale leaf.

 

The flavor and texture of the kohlrabi bulb (really a modified swollen stem) is best likened to broccoli stems. Broccoli stems!? you’re thinking….that’s the part we toss out! But if you’ve ever peeled a broccoli stem and tried it, you know it’s a tender, juicy, crunchy surprise. Same with kohlrabi. Peel it and you’ll see.

 

We usually eat our kohlrabi raw: grated into a salad, or cut into crudités and dipped into something yummy like yogurt dill dip, or doused with lime and chili powder for a south-of-the-border snack. It also cooks up beautifully, steamed, sautéed, or souped.

 

Storage: Cut the leaves off and store separately from the bulb. The leaves will keep a week or so in a plastic bag in the fridge; the bulb will store up to a month in a plastic bag.

 

Here’s a zingy recipe for a great summer salad:

 

Couscous with Kohlrabi and Chermoula Dressing

Borrowed from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to cooking farm-fresh seasonal produce.

 

1-2 tsp minced garlic

2 Tbs. minced cilantro

2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley

1 tsp. paprika

½ tsp. cumin

salt

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

3 Tbs. olive oil

2-3 cooked couscous, cooled to warm temperature

2 cups peeled, diced kohlrabi

½ cup diced radishes and/or spring turnips

16 kalamata or oil-cured black olives

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

 

Mix garlic, cilantro, parsley, paprika, cumin and salt to taste. Stir in lemon juice and olive oil. Toss this mixture with couscous. Bring to room temperature. Gently toss with kohlrabi, radishes/turnips, and olives. Sprinkle with feta. Serves 6.

 

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 that you can contribute to

 

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

Newsletter: 

Week 2: June 11th

 

Meet Your Farmers & the Supporting Cast at Valley Flora!

 

This is the core crew at the farm: Zoë, Abby, Bets, and Roberto, with lots of “help” from Pippin (Abby’s 2 year old son) and Cleo (Zoë’s 1 year old daughter).

 

A number of other very important people round out the cast at Valley Flora. We couldn’t pull it off without these folks:

 

John, Betsy’s husband, who delivers to Port Orford for us on Fridays and serenades us with tunes from time to time.

 

Tom, our Farm Angel, who does everything from pinch-hit babysitting, to irrigation repair, to mowing with his trusty old blue Ford tractor.

 

Monica, our smiling delivery driver who takes all of our produce to northern locales (Bandon and Coos Bay). We don’t have a picture of her yet, cuz she just started last week!

 

Aro, who tends the farmstand and welcomes u-pickers on Wednesdays & Saturdays.

 

Teal & Meara, who tend the kiddos during our big Tuesday & Friday harvests – at Wilderland School in Langlois, and at the farm.

 

It takes a village to feed a village…

 

 

Farmstand & U-Pick Open this Week!

Today, Wednesday, June 13th, is opening day at the Valley Flora farmstand and u-pick!

 

NEW HOURS:Every Wednesday & Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm!

 

The farmstand is stocked with tons of garden plants this year, in addition to the produce. We also have a few special items for sale: Valley Flora baseball hats, the Greenhornsbook, and Cranky Baby Hot Sauce.

 

Also available on a regular basis: Seth’s Bread, Candace’s Eggs, and Lee’s Bees Honey!

 

Directions to the Farm

 

 

In your share this week:

  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Red & Green Romaine Lettuce (it’s Caesar time!)
  • Radishes
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Strawberries

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Spinach
  • Mizuna
  • Arugula
  • Broccolini

 

Kitchen Tips

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 that you can contribute to

 

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

 

Red Ursa Kale

I had hoped that the weather would cooperate enough to bring on a big flush of strawberries this week – enough to merit harvesting our rhubarb to go with them. Alas, the rain returned and we were only able to get a single pint for each of you again. I’m hopeful with all of the sunshine in the forecast that NEXT week you’ll be getting 2 pints of berries and enjoying strawberry-rhubarb-something!

 

In the meantime, how ‘bout some kale! Red Ursa is the peacock-feather-looking variety in your tote this week. It’s an heirloom variety that hands-down wins the workhorse prize on the farm. We plant it in early April and we’ll still be eating from it NEXT April.

 

The ways we like to eat kale:

  • Steamed until tender and then doused with good olive oil, sea salt, and a vinegar of your choice (balsamic, apple cider, ume plum…)
  • Stir-fried, with a simple sauce of sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari (soy sauce), sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, a little sugar
  • Steamed, then added to eggs & omelettes
  • Sauteed, then added to lasagna in place of spinach
  • In risotto
  • As a raw salad (we call it kaleslaw)
  • Kale chips (really, really good - eaten like chips or crumbled on popcorn...)

 

It will store for at least a week in a plastic bag in the fridge.

 

Romaine Lettuce

You’re get a red and a green head of romaine this week, with Caesar salad in mind! Here’s our favorite Caesar dressing recipe. Make some homemade croutons with Seth’s Bread, and chop up some hakurei turnips for an unusual twist on a standby salad!

 

Radish Greens

A veteran Harvest Basket member emailed me on the heels of last week’s newsletter to offer up this great tip:

 

“Zoë, you might want to tell folks that radish greens are good eating, too, in soups, etc.  They also make a mean and beautiful pesto that is delicious on whole wheat crackers or some of Seth's bread.”

 

Please, if you have tips like this, share them with us and/or post them to the Recipe Exchange! Thanks Betty!

 

Have a great week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newsletter: 

Week 1: June 4th

 The First Week!

Note: Our first Beet Box is always a little longer than usual, in an effort to get you well-oriented to the farm food you’re getting from us.

 

In your share this week:

  • Asparagus
  • Pac Choi (the dark green, vase-shaped heads)
  • Head Lettuce
  • Radishes (the red roots)
  • Hakurei Turnips (the white roots)
  • One little pint of rain-battered strawberries L
  • Cherry tomato plant

 

On Rotation:

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

  • Arugula
  • Mizuna
  • Broccolini

 

Spring is the time for greens! You’ll be getting a wide array of leafy vegetables from us in these first few weeks, such as: kale, chard, spinach, pac choi, and more. If you’re unaccustomed to eating lots of greens, it might feel overwhelming at first. Here are a couple of tips to help you relish your greens, rather than feel burdened by them:

  • Cook them down! Greens cook down to almost nothing, so if there’s a pile-up happening in your fridge, turn up the heat and toss them in a pan with some butter and garlic!
  • Take the “Half Your Plate” Challenge: fill up half your plate with veggies and green things. You’ll burn through that head lettuce in no time, and feel good.
  • Make awesome salads. Chop up whatever is in the fridge and toss it together with some good dressing. Add nuts, dried cranberries, some cheese. Presto lunch!
  • Add them to everything. Put some greens in your scrambled eggs in the morning. Add them to pasta sauce. They disappear into anything.

 

Kitchen Tips

Each week I’ll give you a quick orientation to any new vegetables in your Harvest Basket, including tips for prepping, storing, and eating your produce. I do my best to throw in a few recipes (usually from epicurious.com), and there are many more to be found on our website: visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to post and share with everyone!

 

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

 

Ugly Strawberries

This week’s strawberries are not up to snuff in our book, but we figured you’d rather have some ugly berries than no berries at all. They were looking lovely all last week, ripening up just as we’d hoped, until Sunday/Monday when we got 2 inches of rain in 24 hours. Hard rain makes a mess of the strawberry patch, so our first few weeks of June harvest are always a crapshoot (I find myself wishing that we could put a huge temporary umbrella over the strawberries in May & June when the weather is so capricious).

 

Eat ‘em quick before they rot! As the weather improves, so will the strawberries. FYI, they are a fruit that will continue to ripen and sweeten after being picked (not so much in your fridge, but definitely on the countertop). I wouldn’t suggest further “ripening” this week’s berries on your counter – unless you want to grow some mold – but in the future you may want to leave them out if you want to ripen them more. They won’t last as long as they do in the fridge, but the flavor is fantastic. There should be strawberries in your tote from now through September. They are a Valley Flora Harvest Basket staple!

 

Mizuna & Arugula

You’ll either be getting 8 oz. of arugula or mizuna in your share this week, in a plastic Ziploc bag. Both are ingredients in Abby’s salad mix. The arugula is a tender, mildly spicy green that can be eaten straight as a salad (great with candied nuts, goat cheese or feta, and a dried fruit such as cranberries). You can also make pesto with it, or lightly sautee it. The mizuna has a serrated leaf with a mild, nutty flavor. It makes a wonderful salad (for a delicious example of a mizuna salad, go out for a special dinner at The Loft of Bandon – they know how to do it up!).

 

Here’s an easy recipe that uses both your mizuna (or arugula) and your pac choi: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Stir-Fried-Bok-Choy-and-Mizuna-with-Tofu-362936

 

And if you’re getting a Bread Share from Seth, this might be a great use of your arugula and bread: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Wild-Arugula-Salad-with-Gar...

 

Pac Choi

Also spelled Bok Choy and Bok Choi, this is a heavy heading green with succulent ribs and dark leaves. Use the entire plant by cutting off the bottom, stripping and washing the heavy leaves (dirt and slugs often collect at the base of each leaf stem), and then cutting them up. Pac Choi is most commonly used in stir fries, but is a great addition to salads, steamed veggies, soups, eggs or quiche, or pasta.

 

Store in the fridge in a plastic bag. Will keep for a week or more.

 

Radishes

There are two bunches of round roots in your tote. The red ones are the radishes! It’s a variety called Crunchy Royale, which has been a favorite of our CSA members for years now. They are super crunchy and tender, and not too spicy. They kick off our radish line-up for the season; in the coming weeks you’ll see two other varieties, one pink and one purple.

 

Radish roots will keep longer if you cut the tops off. Store in the fridge in a plastic bag. Without tops they’ll keep for weeks (if not months).

 

Hakurei Turnips

The other white bunch of round roots in your tote are a special variety of spring turnips called Hakureis. They’re a variety from Japan. If you’ve never tried a Hakurei, you’re in for a treat: tender, juicy, buttery and sweet! Not the sort of adjectives you might expect to see in front of the word “turnip,” but taste 'em for yourself. I like to eat Hakureis raw – like apples – but they also cook up nicely in a stir-fry, or steamed.

 

The turnip greens can be eaten just like mustard greens, so don’t be too quick to toss them! Here’s a simple recipe that uses both the greens and the roots:

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Glazed-Hakurei-Turnips-368274

 

Like radishes, turnips will keep longer in the fridge if you top them. They’ll last for weeks.

 

Hot Tip of the Week: How to Plant your Cherry Tomato

This week you get to take home your very own cherry tomato plant! We’ll still be providing you with baskets of cherry tomatoes come September, but if you have a warm spot – be it in the ground, or in a pot on a deck – we encourage you to try your hand at growing your own cherry tomatoes this year. They are easy to grow and the surest-ripening of all the tomatoes in our coastal climate. There are three varieties to choose from: Sungold (orange and tropical-sweet), Suncherry (red and prolific), and Yellow Mini (yellow and lemony-sweet).

 

Please limit to one per Harvest Basket.

 

Planting Tips:

 

  • Plant your tomato as deeply as possible. 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.
  • Provide support to your tomato in the form of a string trellis, a bamboo stake, or a wire cage.

   

If all goes well you should see some fruit by August or September!

 

Enjoy your first week of food!

Zoë

 

Newsletter: 

Farm Food Next Week!

Thanks to all the sunshine this month, we will be kicking off the season on schedule this year!

 

Your first delivery of food will be next week, the week of June 4th!

 

We will be delivering:

  • Valley Flora Harvest Baskets
  • Abby's Greens Salad Shares
  • Egg Shares
  • Bread Shares
  • Tamale Shares (once per month, the first week of the month)

 

PLEASE familiarize yourself with WHERE, WHEN and HOW to pick up your food next week:

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/valley-flora-pick-locations-protocol

 

This web page has the answers to all of your burning questions:

  • directions to your pickup location,
  • instructions for claiming your food,
  • day and time of your pickup, and more....

 

PLEASE READ IT! Our pickup sites are mostly unattended, which means we rely on YOU, our members, to know the drill so that things go smoothly. It's a bummer when someone doesn't get their salad share because someone else mistakenly took it home. So, even if you are a returning member, please read the info; there are a few new aspects to your pickup location this year - like eggs and bread.

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/valley-flora-pick-locations-protocol

 

The most important thing when picking up your food is to ONLY TAKE WHAT YOU HAVE PAID FOR! Next week at your pickup site, you're going to see blue or red rubbermaid totes (Harvest Baskets), red coolers (salad shares), blue coolers (tamale shares), white styrofoam coolers (egg shares), and bread. It's a lot! To avoid any mishaps, know what you paid for, and only take what you paid for.

 

VERY IMPORTANT: In our experience thus far, most of the SNAFUs at our pickup sites happen when someone has a friend (or even spouse) pick up for them. If you are sending someone else to pick up your food, please give them a thorough orientation to our pickup site system and be sure that your proxy knows exactly what they are picking up for you (1 harvest basket, 1 dozen eggs, and a half pound salad share, for instance....). S-P-E-L-L it out for them!

 

Also, we have added a new feature to our website: a monthly calendar. You'll see it on the left sidebar. It's a great way to stay abreast of when your tamale shares are scheduled for delivery, or what time your pickup is each week.

 

If you have any questions, please be in touch via email. You can also call, but please know it might take a couple of days before I can get back to you by phone. Things are hopping in the field right now and we're out there late every day.

 

And finally, the real reason you signed up for all of this: the food! Here's a sneak preview of what might be in your Harvest Basket next week!

  • Asparagus
  • Pac Choi
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Radishes
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Strawberries, if the sun shines warmly this week...
  • A cherry tomato plant (your choice of variety)

 

We're excited for the first harvest, at long last! Thanks for being part of our 2012 season!

Zoë

Newsletter: 

Spring Updates from the Farm

First off, a quick note about this newsletter! This is the primary way we communicate with all of our farm members throughout the season. Anyone who has been a farm member - past or current - is subscribed. If you are NOT a member this year and prefer NOT to receive the Beet Box, you can unsubscribe yourself with one click at the bottom of this page. We will not be offended! We understand that you get far too many emails already!

 

If you ARE a member this season, we strongly suggest that you stay subscribed! Why? Because the Beet Box is how you will find out about all the important things we have to tell you throughout the year, for instance:

  1. When & where you will get your first delivery of produce (see below!)
  2. What in the world to do with kohlrabi (forthcoming in a future newsletter!)
  3. How to plant & care for the cherry tomato you'll be receiving from us in June
  4. When there's bulk basil/strawberries/tomatoes/etc. for sale in case you want to put up pesto/jam/sauce/etc.
  5. And more...

We try to limit our Beet Box dispatches to once per week from June through December. Occasionally you'll receive more than one if there's something really worth telling.

 

For now, the following are the things we've deemed REALLY WORTH TELLING:

 

1.  Your First Produce Delivery:

Many of you have been inquiring about when you'll receive your first delivery of produce from us.

 

The plan is to begin deliveries the week of June 4th, weather dependent.

 

If cold and wet define the month of May, then we might have to postpone until the week of June 11th. We will keep you posted! In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the when-and-where details of your pickup location on our website: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/valley-flora-pick-locations-protocol

 

2.  Feed the Body, Feed the Mind!

You'll be getting food to fill your belly pretty soon from us, but in the meantime we are excited to mention two ways you can feed your mind on the topic of sustainable family farming:

 

First:

Read Greenhorns ! For the past two years, I've been working on a book project in the quieter months of winter. As of April it is hot off the press! Greenhorns is a collection of 50 essays by beginning farmers around the country who write about the agony and the ecstasy inherent in starting up a farm. They are stories from the field, capturing a wide range of perspectives. Funny and sad, serious and light-hearted, these essays touch on everything from financing and machinery to family, community building, and social change. You can order a copy online at: http://storey.com/book_detail.php?isbn=9781603427722&cat=Animals

 

Hopefully copies will also be available at WinterRiver Books in Bandon in the near future. I will be doing a public reading from the book at the Langlois Library on June 8th at 7 pm, and copies will be available there.

 

Second:

Sign up for the Community Supported Agriculture Workshop, offered through Southwestern Oregon Community College. I taught this workshop two years ago and it's back this year. The workshop delves into the principles and practices of community supported agriculture, and includes a field trip to the farm. Lecture on Friday, May 18th from 6 pm to 8:30 pm in Port Orford. Field trip to Valley Flora on Saturday, May 19th, from 9:30 am to 1 pm. Course code WKPL*9033. CALL 541-332-3023 for more info and to sign up.

 

3.  Our Gratitude

Every spring as Harvest Basket payments come in, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all of you, the community of local eaters and family farm enthusiasts who make our livelihood possible. Your financial investment in the farm at this time of the year is especially appreciated because spring is a lean time for us farmers. A lot of money is going out to buy seeds, pay for fertilizer and insurance premiums, and to afford Roberto's invaluable labor. Your checks keep us afloat through this period, before the first crops are ready for harvest. Thank you for your support, both moral and financial. Our little farm is here because of you, and we are deeply grateful for that. We look forward to feeding you soon!

 

More to come soon, and enjoy the sun that's headed our way!

Zoë

 

Newsletter: 

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