The Valley Flora Beetbox

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

Salad, Eggs, Bread & Tamales Still Available!

Our Harvest Baskets are sold out BUT you can still sign up for other goodies from the farm this season, including:

  • Abby's Greens Salad Shares
  • Candace's Pastured Egg Shares
  • Seth's Bread Shares
  • Juana's Tamale Shares


To sign up, visit our website: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/catalog/7

 

If you have already signed up with us this season and would like to add something to your order, no problem. Just follow the link above and place another order for the additional items you want.

 

Signing up for any of these products this season guarantees you a Harvest Basket next season, should you want one.

 

If you are not a member of the farm this year and DO NOT WANT TO RECEIVE EMAILS FROM US, please click the unsubscribe link below! Our apologies for any unwanted communication!

Newsletter: 

Payment Reminder

A friendly reminder that our May 1st payment deadline is drawing near.

If you have already paid, THANK YOU! If not, please read on!

 

To reserve your farm membership for the season, we must receive FULL payment for the following items by May 1st:

  • Paid in Full Harvest Baskets ($760)
  • Abby's Greens Salad Shares ($95 half lb; $180 full lb)
  • Candace's Pastured Egg Shares ($110)
  • Seth's Bread Shares ($ varies by flavor)
  • Juana's Tamale Shares ($125)

 

If you have opted for a Monthly Pay Plan Harvest Basket ($785), the $185 deposit is due by May 1st. All subsequent $100 monthly payments are due by the first of each month, June through November (no payment due in December). Don't worry, we'll send out monthly reminders to help you out!

 

We accept check, cash, and Oregon Trail cards only (we're not plumbed for regular credit cards). If you would like to use your Oregon Trail card to pay, please be in touch with us.

 

Please make checks payable to Valley Flora and mail by May 1st to:

Valley Flora
PO Box 91
Langlois, OR 97450

 

If you are not sure what you owe, you can check your order details by logging into our website. Or contact us and we'll help you sort it out.

 

Thanks so much for your support this season! Your food is growing, in spite of all the rain - so hopefully you'll be eating well from the farm by early June! We'll keep you posted.

 

Stay tuned for more updates from us, including details about your first June delivery of produce.

Cheers, Zoë

 

Newsletter: 

Sign-Up Reminder

REMEMBER, the priority sign-up period is underway for the 2012 season!

Sign up before March 23rd to secure your Harvest Basket!

 

Instructions to sign up are included below. If you have trouble with the sign-up process, please read our "simple shopping helper" tips: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/simple-shopping-helper

 

Sign-Up Instructions:

To "shop" for the food you want this season, please go directly to our online "store" at: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/catalog
PLEASE NOTE: This page is NOT viewable to the general public, nor is there a link to it on our homepage. Use THIS link provided to navigate there: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/catalog

IF you are signing up for a Harvest Basket this season, you will be prompted for a password when you select that "product" from the catalog. The password is: veggies2012

Please do not share this password, to ensure that our sign-up process is fair to all of the people on our waiting list.

You are welcome to sign up for products in any combination (for instance, just a Salad Share, or just a Harvest Basket, or just an Egg Share...or all of them together!)

ALSO, please note that this email entitles you to priority sign-up with us. This priority sign-up period will last until MARCH 23rd, at which point we will begin inviting wait-listers to sign up.

As for payment, we accept check and cash only (we're not plumbed for credit cards). To reserve your spot, we must receive FULL payment for ALL items by May 1st, with the exception of Monthly Pay Plan Harvest Baskets, for which only the $185 deposit is due by May 1st.

 

Thanks so much!

Newsletter: 

OCEAN to TABLE! Fresh, local fish from Port Orford Sustainable Seafood!

An exciting new development in our local food scene! Read on, and if you are interested in signing up for a seafood share, contact Stephanie Webb at stephanie@oceanresourceteam.org, or call 541.332.0627.

 

FRESH, LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD FROM PORT ORFORD FISHING BOATS to YOUR TABLE!

Port Orford Sustainable Seafood (POSS) is starting a Community Supported Fishery (CSF) for the residents of Oregon’s south coast. Similar to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in which customers purchase shares of fresh, local, seasonal produce, a CSF provides communities with fresh, local, sustainably-harvested seafood. 

 

You make a commitment to the fishing season by pre-paying upfront, and then reap the rewards every other Wednesday! We offer CSA-style bi-monthly shares of fresh, local, sustainable seafood to our members. Our seafood is straight from our boats to your table, leaving no question about where your fish is from and more importantly, how it was caught. We are currently accepting new members! To sign up for the CSF please email stephanie@oceanresourceteam.org or call 541.332.0627 to get your first share on March 7th, 2012!

  • POSS believes that HEALTHY SEAFOOD comes from healthy oceans and healthy communities.
  • We recognize that investment in both conservation and the LOCAL FISHING ECONOMY supports sustainable fisheries.

BENEFITS to joining include:

  • knowing your fishermen and supporting the LOCAL ECONOMY
  • FRESHER SEAFOOD, the closest thing to catching the fish yourself
  • local RECIPES AND TIPS on preparation

OUR SEAFOOD includes Pacific Halibut, Lingcod, Blackcod, Cabazon, Chinook Salmon, Pacific Albacore Tuna & 20 varieties of rockfish

HOW are we SUSTAINABLE?

  • Our seafood is harvested using sustain­able methods, hook and line gear.
  • We provide you with traceability of fish products from point of capture to your plate.
  • Our producers are family-owned fishing vessels less than 40 feet in length.

Newsletter: 

2012 Sign Ups!

Hello current and past members of the farm!

At long last, this is your invitation to sign-up with Valley Flora for the 2012 season!

This year, in addition to Harvest Baskets and Abby's Greens Salad Shares, we are also offering:

  • Pastured, local eggs from Candace Carnahan on Floras Creek
  • Artisan sourdough bread from Seth's Brick Oven Bakery in Bandon
  • Homemade tamales from Juana Ferrer in Coquille

To "shop" for the food you want this season, please go directly to our online "store" at: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/catalog
Please note, this page is not viewable to the general public, nor is there a link to it on our homepage. Use the link provided to navigate there: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/catalog

IF you are signing up for a Harvest Basket this season, you will be prompted for a password. The password is: veggies2012

Please do not share this password, to ensure that our sign-up process is fair to all of the people on our waiting list.

You are welcome to sign up for products in any combination (for instance, just a Salad Share, or just a Harvest Basket, or just an Egg Share...or all of them together!)

ALSO, please note that this email entitles you to priority sign-up with us. This priority sign-up period will last until MARCH 23rd, at which point we will begin inviting wait-listers to sign up.

As for payment, we accept check and cash only (we're not plumbed for credit cards). To reserve your spot, we must receive FULL payment for all items by May 1st, with the exception of Monthly Pay Plan Harvest Baskets, for which only the $185 deposit is due by May 1st.

Okeedoke. I think that's it. Thanks in advance for being part of the farm in 2012. We wouldn't be here without you!
Don't hesitate to be in touch if you have questions. Email is always the best way to get me.
Cheers,
Zoë

Newsletter: 

Free Dahlia Tubers!

That's right, Valley Flora is giving away FREE DAHLIA TUBERS!

 

The only catch is that if you want some, you have to help us dig them! Read on for details!

 

The Great Dahlia Dig-a-thon of 2012!

Come one, come all:

This Saturday, February 4th, 1 pm until ???

At Valley Flora (directions)

BYOSBB (Bring your own shovel, boxes and bags)

 

We are downsizing our dahlia patch to make room for perennial herbs and would love to share our diverse dahlia collection with all of you! Please come, dig up some tubers, and take them home to your garden! It's supposed to be a beautiful sunny day on Saturday!

 

Newsletter: 

Week 28: December 12th

The Last Week!

This is it: your last installment from Valley Flora for the season. This week’s basket is a true testament to the possibility for local, wintertime eating. We’re halfway through December, but there’s no lack of food in your totes. We filled them with over twenty pounds of veggies – most of it fresh-harvested from the field (all but the cabbage, squash and potatoes, which have been in storage).

 

And though it’s the last trusty-dusty Rubbermaid we will pack for you this year, the farm will continue to feed its farmers and farm-babies through the winter with greens, leftover storage crops, leeks, and even broccoli. We continue to glean for our own table, enjoying the sweetest of kale, Brussels sprouts, and roots. I can’t encourage you enough: if you have the slightest inclination to grow some of your own food, we live in the perfect place to have a winter garden. For those of you who dread the Valley Flora off-season, you could fill at least some of the January-thru-May produce gap with your own homegrown veggies. It’s too late to plant a winter garden for this year, but you might think about carving out a corner for at least a few kale plants next July when it’s time to plant for winter.

 

In the meantime, hopefully we’ve loaded you up with enough squash, spuds and roots – all of which have a great storage life – to see you into the New Year. 

 

From all of us at the farm, a hearty THANK YOU for your support this year!

Happy Holidays! Feast well with those you love!

 

Take Two (minutes): Please Fill Out the End-of-Season Survey!!!

Every year we ask our Harvest Basket members to fill out a short survey so we can get some structured feedback about the season. It’s short and quick, so please, if you’d be so kind: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/2011-harvest-basket-member-survey

 

The Year in Review!

In order to help jog your memory about what we grew for you this year, here’s a crop-by-crop recap that summarizes what we projected we would put in your Harvest Basket, what we actually put in your Harvest Basket, and the total actual value of your Harvest Basket for the year, based on our farmstand prices. Green highlighting indicates crops that we gave significantly more of than planned. Yellow highlighting indicates crops that we came up significantly short on. A sneak peak: the total value of all the food we put in your Harvest Basket this season was equal to $810.70. You paid $760 for that food, for a bonus of $50.70 in extra produce this year, equal to a 6% discount.

 

CROP                            Projected Quantity         Actual Quantity

Leeks                               12 count                        14 count

Red Onion                        6 count                          6 count           

Scallions                        2 bunches                        1 bunch

Shallots                        4.5 pounds                        3 pounds

Purplettes                        3 pounds                        4.5 pounds

Walla Wallas                     6 count                          4 count

Yellow Onion                      8 count                         8 count

Artichokes                        2 pounds                        1.75 pounds

Asparagus                        1 pound                         2 pounds

Beets                            7.5 pounds                       12.75 pounds

Broccoli                        15 pounds                        15 pounds

Brussels sprouts               3 stalks                        3 stalks

Red Cabbage                   2 heads                        2 heads

Green Cabbage                1 head                          2 heads

Napa Cabbage                 1 head                           1 head

Savoy Cabbage                1 head                           1 head

Carrots                            23 pounds                      19 pounds

Cauliflower                       1 head                            1-2 heads

Romanesco                        1 head                          1 head

Celeriac                             5 bulbs                            4-5 bulbs

Celery                               12 stalks                        14 stalks

Corn                                  16 ears                           17 ears

Cucumbers                        12 count                        4-5 count

Escarole                        2 heads                              1 head

Fennel                                 6 bulbs                         6 bulbs

Arugula                               1 pound                        1 pound

Braising Mix                     0.5 pound                        0.5 pound

Chard                               5 bunches                        3 bunches

Kale                                  7 bunches                        7 bunches

Pac Choi                              6 heads                        5 heads

Spinach                             2 pounds                        2 pounds

Basil                                    5 ounces                        4 ounces

Cilantro                             3 bunches                        3 bunches

Dill                                    3 bunches                        3 bunches

Parsley                             3 bunches                        5 bunches

Kohlrabi                             5 bulbs                            5 bulbs           

Head Lettuce                     34 heads                        33 heads

Parsnips                             4 pounds                        7 pounds

Peas                                    3 pounds                        3 pounds

Hot Peppers                        12 count                        8 count

Sweet Peppers                   16 count                        22 count

Potatoes                           21 pounds                        43.75 pounds

Radishes                           5 bunches                        5 bunches

Raspberries                     4 pounds u-pick           

Rhubarb                               2 stalks                        2 stalks

Strawberries                        26 pints                        24 pints

Summer Squash                7.25 pounds                  6 pounds

Hakurei Turnips                  5 bunches                     5 bunches

Scarlet Queen Turnip        2 pounds                        1.75 pounds

Cherry Tomatoes               6 x ½ pint                        10 x ½ pint

Heirloom Tomatoes           3 pounds                        3 pounds

Red Tomatoes                  10 pounds                        10 pounds

Cherry Tomato Plant            1                                    1

Acorn Squash                      4 count                           3 count

Confection Squash              1 count                            1 count

Butternut Squash                 4 count                            4 count

Delicata Squash                   8 count                            7 count

Sunshine Squash                 2 count                            1 count

Spaghetti Squash                1 count                              2-3 count

Pie Pumpkin                        1 coun                               1 count

Total Value                        $784.85                              $810.70

 

Maybe this recap will inspire you to fill out the survey!  http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/2011-harvest-basket-member-survey

 

Thanks in advance for your always-valuable feedback!

 

Happy News re: Farm Theft

I just learned yesterday that our insurance company is coming through to partially cover the loss of our stolen tools from earlier this summer. Hooray! Just in time for project season! Our hugest thanks to all of you for your concern and support through that mid-summer challenge!

 

All about 2012 Harvest Basket Signups

Lots of you have been asking about next season and wondering if there’s anything you need to do to reserve your spot in the Harvest Basket program. The answer is no. Not to worry, all current Harvest Basket members get priority sign-up for 2012. We’ll probably begin the sign-up process in January or February, at which point you’ll receive an email from us inviting you to sign up. Once you’ve had first dibs, we’ll open it up to our waiting list. If your email address changes in the next couple of months, be sure to let us know so that we can update our database and make sure you get in on the first wave of sign-ups!

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Green Cabbage
  • Celeriace
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Confection Winter squash

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Confection Winter Squash

This is a new winter squash variety for us, and I confess, I hadn’t tasted it until last night. I’m delighted to report that it’s a winner, truly! On the drier, flakier side – like a Sunshine squash – and SWEET! All I did was cut one in half, scoop out the seeds, and then cut the halves into crescent-shaped slices about a ½ inch thick at the widest part. I tossed them liberally with olive oil and salt, put them on baking sheet, and cooked them at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, until soft and slightly browned. DEE-LISH!

 

Farm Fact of the Week

This is our last week of harvest for 2011, which grants us a temporary reprieve from our day-in-day-out produce-wrangling schedule. But it doesn’t mean the work stops. Winter is certainly the slower, calmer side of our year, but it inevitably fills up with all kinds of tasks: crop planning, seed ordering, pruning, trellising, fencing, construction, and general improvement projects galore! I’m always amazed, year after year, at how busy we stay. And then, in early February, we fire up the propagation greenhouse, start planting seeds, and the madness starts all over again!

Newsletter: 

Week 27: December 5th

Frost-a-licious!

Thanks to this recent string of cold clear nights, the kale has never tasted so good at Valley Flora. Freezing temperatures inspire all of the Brassicas – kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc. – to pump out some extra sugars. At a cellular level, this sugar serves as antifreeze for the plant. At a gastronomic level, it’s often the magic ingredient that can turn a lifelong skeptic into a Brussels sprouts aficionado. We’re lovin’ it.

 

2012 Harvest Basket Sign-Ups

Lots of you have been asking about next season and wondering if there’s anything you need to do to reserve your spot in the Harvest Basket program. The answer is no. Not to worry, all current Harvest Basket members get priority sign-up for 2012. We’ll probably begin the sign-up process in January or February, at which point you’ll receive an email from us inviting you to sign up. Once you’ve had first dibs, we’ll open it up to our waiting list. If your email address changes in the next couple of months, be sure to let us know so that we can update our database and make sure you get in on the first wave of sign-ups!

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Winterbor kale
  • Parsnips
  • Desiree Potatoes
  • Scarlet Queen turnips
  • Broccoli
  • Delicata Winter squash

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Farm Fact of the Week

Ankle high field peas, oats, red clover, and rye! The cover crops we planted at the end of October are loving this blast of late-season sun. They are growing beautifully, carpeting the farm in a new vibrant green that holds the promise of healthy soils and good fertility for seasons to come!

Newsletter: 

Week 26: November 28th

Three More Weeks of Food!

In years past, we have always ended our Harvest Basket season the week of Thanksgiving, and then offered optional December Shares to people who wanted to continue for another few weeks of produce. This year, by popular demand, we decided to extend the entire Harvest Basket season into December (an overwhelming majority of you said YES, feed us a few weeks longer, in our end-of-season survey last year).

 

As a result, there are THREE more weeks of produce coming your way: this week (11/28), next week (12/5), and the week after that (12/12). The LAST Harvest Basket delivery will be the week of December 12th: 12/14 for the Farm and Coos Bay, 12/16 for Port Orford, and 12/17 for Bandon.

 

Please mark your calendars and enjoy the last few weeks of seasonal, hearty food!

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Escarole
  • Pac Choi
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Beets
  • Kohlrabi
  • Spaghetti squash

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Escarole

The frilly lettuce-like head in your tote this week is escarole, a member of the chicory family (think radicchio, frisee, dandelions, etc.). They are a hardy green, but unfortunately took quite a beating in last week’s hail and rain. We have harvested the best of the lot for you this week, but you may have to trim off some leaves that are less lovely.

 

How to enjoy it? I like to use it just like lettuce, but be forewarned that it is slightly tougher and a bit more bitter than lettuce. Last night I made a salad with a head of escarole (washed and spun dry), fresh sliced pears, grated pecorino cheese, and a maple syrup vinaigrette. The semi-sweet of the pears and the dressing are a great compliment to the flavor of the escarole. Here’s my dressing recipe:

 

Into a blender:

½ cup olive oil

2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

1 heaping tsp. Dijon mustard

1 ½ Tbs. maple syrup

 

Blend until creamy and emulsified, then dress your escarole salad up. It’s fine to dress it 10 minutes in advance of dinner….the dressing helps soften the escarole to perfection.

 

Farm Fact of the Week

Strawberries might be the farthest thing from your mind right now, but they are forefront for us. This week we started planting the 4,000+ strawberry crowns that will be producing fruit for you by June of next year. We plant Seascapes, a variety that bears fruit all summer long, and unlike most berry growers in Oregon, we plant our new crowns in November/December (California-style!). I’ve found that our winters are mild enough that the new plants can get established during our winter and will start producing at least a month sooner, compared to spring-planted crowns. We are putting in another 9 beds of strawberries, which means there will be ample fruit in your Harvest Basket next year, and for U-pick and for special orders.

 

We are infinitely grateful for the week of sun that is coming our way; it will make the planting a whole lot easier and less muddy!

Newsletter: 

Week 25: November 21st - Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving!

So it is that Thanksgiving week brings with it a tempest. Wild winds to scatter the last of the Fall colors; pounding rain to swell the rivers and invite in the spawning salmon; and mud, glorious mud, to weigh down the slogging farmers as they excavate yard-long parsnips out of the ground.

 

What a week it’s been, and we’re only two days deep. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, our usual 6-day week of harvest and delivery gets compressed into three days – which means that the past 48 hours have seen Roberto and I suited up head-to-toe in our raingear, heaving a couple thousand pounds of food out of the field, into the barn, onto the wash table, and into totes. Cleo even made some guest appearances, weathering some of the storm on my back in her Muddy Buddy rainsuit while I hosed off parsnips in the field. (She wasn’t crazy about the situation and ultimately opted to nap for 2 hours in the pickup instead. Smart girl.)

 

There have been moments during the past two days when I doubted we were going to pull it off: racing the early dark to get the harvest in, fighting achey vertebrate, and negotiating our first whopper of a storm with a 10-month baby on my back. It took a village: my family helped enormously with childcare; Tom lent an invaluable pair of hands in the field and during pack-out in the barn; Roberto came early and worked late. And by this evening, our cooler was stuffed to the gills with 105 bulging totes of a heavy Thanksgiving harvest.

 

I am sitting by the woodstove now, nearly 11 pm on Tuesday night, with a baby asleep on my lap and the storm still hurtling itself at our windows. I am tired, and infinitely grateful. For a good harvest. For loamy soil. For abundant water (especially this week…). And for all of you who have chosen to eat locally, from our farm. Thank you for enabling us this livelihood: for making it possible for us to live here, raise our kids here, and call this place home. It is the greatest gift of all.

 

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. And remember. Eat your parsnips.

 

Gnarly Food Inspires Poetry

Francis Quinn, a Bandon Harvest Basket member, was so inspired by a recent tote of produce he received from us that he took up the pen and inked this poem. I am happy to publish it here:

 

Vengeful Veggies Strike Back

 

Run, run, oh little one,

run, and don't look back!

Rudely uprooted, stems hacked,

Raging veggies are striking back!

 

Ick! Gack! leading the pack

is, oh, ugh, hairy celeriac!

There's none scarier than that!

Oh none!  Run, run, little one!

 

Next, big, bulbous, and all knobby,

rolls in mean, green kohlrabi

bowling over and mauling everybody,          

bashing all about, sparing no one!              

 

Oh, run, run, little one!

lest, caught in the final rout,

you're savaged by a brussel sprout.           

So ghastly a fate!  Rush!!  Get out!!  

 

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce (the last of it for 2011!)
  • Carrots (still ugly!)
  • Shallots (I hope they’re not rotten like the onions!)
  • Brussels sprouts (green, but they take some time to clean)
  • Celeriac (big and furry!)
  • Sunshine Squash (orange and hefty)
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes (please mash me!)
  • Parsnips (4 whopping pounds of ‘em!)
  • Parsley (I am such a hardy little herb!)

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Parsnips

Introducing yet another less-than-common food on the American dinner plate: parsnips. These are the white, carrot-like roots in your tote this week. Some people love them, others loathe them, but if ever there was an opportunity to give them a chance, this is it. We dug these yesterday in the driving rain, battling gale force winds and knee-deep mud, and then washed them in the dark by the glow of my headlights – so if nothing else, please humor us by cooking some up and trying them. If you’re skeptical, choose one of the recipes that has lots of butter and maple syrup in it.

 

We have a handful of recipes on our website: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/parsnips

 

And on Epicurious.com: http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searchresults?search=parsnips

 

Sunshine Winter Squash

My next favorite squash, after Delicata. Almost tropical in flavor, incredibly sweet, with a dry flaky flesh. Great for making pie, mashing like a potato, turning into soup, filling raviolis, or stuffing like a turkey.

 

Here’s a fantastic recipe that uses your Sunshine and some parsnips to boot! Would be a great accompaniment to turkey and all the other fixins:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Winter-Squash-and-P...

 

Farm Fact of the Week

This week’s Thanksgiving totes average about 23 pounds each, which means that we will be delivering about 2,500 pounds of food on Wednesday to all of our Harvest Basket members. May your Thanksgiving feast be resplendently seasonal, local, and delicious!

Newsletter: 

Week 24: November 14th

Thanksgiving Harvest Basket Details – PLEASE READ!!

Here are the VERY important details about next week’s Thanksgiving Harvest Basket, once again:

 

Q: WHEN will I get my Thanksgiving basket?

A: Please MARK your calendars, because the week of Thanksgiving will be different: For the week of November 21st, we will be delivering ALL Harvest Baskets on Wednesday, November 23rd to ensure that everyone gets their produce BEFORE Thanksgiving. That means that folks who pick up in Port Orford or Bandon will get their tote on WEDNESDAY the 23rd INSTEAD OF the following FRIDAY or SATURDAY. Please note: Port Orford and Bandon totes for the prior week (week of November 14th) will be delivered on their normal schedule (November 18th for P.O. and November 19th for Bandon).

 

Pickup Hours on Wednesday, November 23rd will be as follows:

  • Coos Bay: Normal hours, Wednesday from 12-3 pm
  • Valley Flora: Normal hours, Wednesday from 9-4 pm
  • Port Orford: WEDNESDAY, starting at 11 am (pick up anytime after 11 am)
  • Bandon: WEDNESDAY, starting at 12 pm (pick up anytime after 12 pm)

 

Just to reiterate, there will be NO HARVEST BASKET DELIVERY on FRIDAY, November 25th to Port Orford or SATURDAY, November 26th to Bandon. We will resume our regular delivery schedule the week of November 28th, a few pounds heavier. Our last and final Harvest Basket delivery will be the week of December 12th, so there are still 3 weeks of food coming your way AFTER Thanksgiving!

 

Q: WHAT will be in my basket, so I can plan my Thanksgiving menu accordingly?

A: You can tentatively expect: 1+ pound of shallots, 2 stalks of Brussels sprouts, 1 pound of carrots, 2 celeriac, a few pounds of parsnips, one head of lettuce, 5 pounds of yellow finn potatoes, and a sunshine winter squash (great for stuffing and baking, or mashing, or making pie).

 

Q: WHAT IF I won’t be able to pick up my basket that week?

A: No problem. Lots of folks are out of town the week of Thanksgiving. If that’s the case for you, PLEASE let us know so your food doesn’t go to waste. You have two options:

  1. We can store your share for you in our walk-in cooler and you can pick it up at the farm upon your return, OR
  2. We can donate your share to a local foodbank.

Either way, PLEASE let us know if you will not be able to pick up your share and we can make arrangements.

 

 

The LAST Farmstand of the Year, This Saturday!

What a season it’s been at the Valley Flora Farmstand! From quiet little farm entrance to bustling hub frequented faithfully by local produce enthusiasts - we are so grateful for everyone’s patronage! This Saturday, November 19th, will be the final farmstand of the year. We’ll be open 10 am to 2 pm, and will do our best to stock the stand mightily to ensure that everyone can take home all the goodies they want – especially storage crops like winter squash, potatoes, beets, carrots, and other roots. Seth will be there with his bread, and there will be eggs as well.

 

A very special THANK YOU to Aro, who has tended the stand all season, through sun and rain. And a huge THANK YOU to all of our loyal customers who have made the pilgrimage up Floras Creek each week to get their produce. Our heartfelt thanks!

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Pink Beauty radishes
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Delicata Squash
  • Red Cabbage
  • Red Potatoes

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Delicata Winter Sqash

This is our all-time favorite winter squash, the one I will reach for again and again without fail. We love Delicatas above all for a few reasons:

  1. They are perhaps the sweetest squash of all with a smooth, creamy texture.
  2. They are the easiest to cook: cut ‘em in half, put them face down on a pan with a little water to steam, and bake at 375 until soft - about 30 minutes depending on the size of your squash.
  3. They are the easiest to eat. Skin and all, every part of this squash goes down easily. Naked, or with a little butter. (You really can eat the skin!)
  4. They are great stuffed. I sautéed up some local Oregon Grassfed hamburger the other night, mixed it with sautéed fennel, red pepper, chanterelles, and onion, heaped it onto baked Delicata halves, grated some pecorino cheese on top, and broiled them. So easy and so good!

 

Farm Fact of the Week

This is the third year of the Harvest Basket program, and each year the season has gotten longer. We started by offering 25 weeks of produce and are now offering 28. Every year we’ve figured out how to eek more food out of the tial end of the growing season, through a combination of storage crops and by choosing varieties that tolerate wet, cold conditions in the field. For instance, I’ve figured out which lettuce varieties will grow late into the fall, thanks to their disease resistance and cold hardiness, and have learned that we can push the autumn broccoli season into November. Little things like that add up to Harvest Basket abundance all the way into December!

Newsletter: 

Week 23: November 7th

Dr. Seuss Food!

November is upon us, and so are some of our favorite Fall foods. For those of you who are experiencing your first ever season of Valley Flora Harvest Basket eating, you’ll probably open your tote this week and wonder, “What in the $%&@ is that?!”

 

Welcome to the season of Dr. Seuss food. Some of the fall vegetables we grow are whimsical or weird-looking, and for many people this might be the first time you’ve ever seen them, much less eaten them.

 

SO, here is a quick primer to some of the more unusual suspects in your tote this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts:If you’ve ever bought these in the store, they are usually sold off the stalk, like little green golf balls. We harvest ours on the stalk and leave it to you to pluck off the sprouts, for a couple of reasons:
  1. The Dr. Seuss factor: they look so cool and Seussian on the stalk!
  2. Speed: We can harvest way more Brussels sprouts in way less time if we whack the whole plant down with one big machete swing. It’s a marital arts workout, harvesting these things: first, you make two good karate chop swipes down the plant to strip the leaves off the stalk. Next, you take aim with a big machete and fell the stalk at the base. Finally, you throw the stalk up in the air and with samurai accuracy, cut it exactly in half while it spins slow-mo above your head. Ideally, the two halves fall neatly from the sky directly into place in a harvest bin. Sort of a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon thing…
  •  Giant Storage Kohlrabi: It’ll be hard to miss the hefty green soccer ball in your tote this week. You remember those petite little kohlrabis from the spring? Well, this is a souped up fall version, specifically intended to get big and to store for a month or two. You can use it just like the spring varieties: peel it and either eat it raw or cook it. The  Kohlrabi and Apple Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette on our website has gotten rave reviews from Chef Evan Boley at Barnacle Bistro. Try it, or any of the other recipes we have posted at: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/kohlrabi
  • Hakurei Turnips: They’re back for their fall debut! The bunch of white roots in your tote is NOT a bunch of white radishes; they are that sweet, buttery, eat-‘em-raw turnip you first sampled last spring.
  • Celeriac (also called celery root) : This is the big, hairy, gnarly root in your tote, and it’s one of those vegetables that you should definitely not judge by its looks. Intimidating and gruff on the outside, this baby is tender and delicious on the inside. It’s incredibly versatile, with a mellow, nutty, sweet, celery flavor and tender, smooth texture. I have done ALL of the following with celeriac:
  1. Roast it. Cube it up, toss it with potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, or any other hearty vegetable, douse with olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven at 425 until tender and slightly browned.
  2. Steam it. Simple and divine, with a little olive oil or butter and some salt.
  3. Soup it. Adds wonderful depth to any soup, especially potato leek!
  4. Mash it. Boil it up with potatoes and then mash them together.
  5. Hash it. Fry it up with spuds, onions, and spices and serve it alongside eggs.
  6. Sautee it. Thin slices in a frying pan, alone or with other veggies. Ooo la la.
  7. Store it. Celeriac will keep for a long time in your fridge. Like weeks and weeks. That gives you plenty of time to make friends with it, find a recipe you like, consider dating each other, and then maybe take the plunge. HOWEVER, do consider the fact that celeriac is a great ingredient in Thanksgiving foods (think, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc.). I mention this because you will be getting a couple more of these alien orbs the week of Thanksgiving. The point of this week’s celeriac is to help you get warmed up so that you’ll be ready to put it to good use for Turkey/Tofurkey/TurDucken Day.

 

Thanksgiving Harvest Basket Details – PLEASE READ!!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, here are some VERY important details about your Thanksgiving Harvest Basket. There are usually three burning questions that I field each year:

  1. Q: WHEN will I get my Thanksgiving basket?

A: Please MARK your calendars, because the week of Thanksgiving will be different. For the week of November 21st, we will be delivering ALL Harvest Baskets on Wednesday, November 23rd to ensure that everyone gets their produce BEFORE Thanksgiving. That means that folks who pick up in Port Orford or Bandon will get their tote on WEDNESDAY the 23rd INSTEAD OF the following FRIDAY (11/25) or SATURDAY (11/26). Please note: Port Orford and Bandon totes for the prior week (week of November 14th) will be delivered on their normal schedule (November 18th for P.O. and November 19th for Bandon).

 

Pickup Hours on Wednesday, November 23rd will be as follows:

·      Coos Bay: Normal hours, Wednesday from 12-3 pm

·      Valley Flora: Normal hours, Wednesday from 9-4 pm

·      Port Orford: WEDNESDAY, starting at 10:30 am (pick up anytime after 10:30 am)

·      Bandon: WEDNESDAY, starting at noon (pick up anytime after 12 pm)

 

Just to reiterate, there will be NO HARVEST BASKET DELIVERY on FRIDAY, November 25th to Port Orford or SATURDAY, November 26th to Bandon. We will be too busy digesting. We will resume our regular delivery schedule the week of November 28th, a few pounds heavier.

 

2.   Q: WHAT will be in my basket, so I can plan my Thanksgiving menu accordingly?

A: You can tentatively expect: 1+ pound of shallots, 2 stalks of Brussels sprouts, 1 pound of carrots, 2 celeriac and/or 4 stalks of celery, one head of escarole or head lettuce, 5 pounds of yellow finn potatoes, and a sunshine winter squash (great for stuffing and baking, or mashing, or making pie).

 

       3.  Q: WHAT IF I can't pick up my basket that week?

A: No problem. Lots of folks are out of town the week of Thanksgiving. If that’s the case for you, you have two options:

  1. We can store your share for you in our walk-in cooler and you can pick it up at the farm upon your return, OR
  2. We can donate your share to a local foodbank.

Either way, PLEASE let us know if you will not be able to pick up your share and we can make arrangements.

 

 

The Last of the Uglies…(except for our very ugly carrots, which will continue to be very ugly until the bitter end)

Also in your totes this week, the last of the yellow onions (sigh, sniff). Eat ‘em quick before they’re doomed for your compost. And the last of the ugly butternuts. Both of these crops were intended to see us through the end of the season in December, so the next five weeks of produce will look a little different than planned. You will be getting lots of leeks in place of the missing onions (remember you can use them JUST LIKE onions, in any recipe) and you’ll be getting some beautiful squash that you normally would have seen sooner, like Delicatas and Sunshines.

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Butternut Squash
  • Celeriac
  • Storage Kohlrabi
  • Brussels sprouts

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Farm Fact of the Week

This week’s farm fact is that it’s impossible to come up with a clever farm fact when your 9-and-a-half-month-old baby is destroying your office as you try to finish the newsletter.

Newsletter: 

Farmer Loses Sleep Over Onions

A quick addendum to this week's Beet Box newsletter:

 

I'm a great sleeper at night (that's the beauty of hard manual labor), but this week I've been losing sleep. Not because Cleo is teething, or because the dog is barking at deer outside the window. It's because I discovered this week that our storage onion saga continues: our yellow onions are not keeping the way they should. I encountered a few soft ones while sorting them for your Harvest Baskets this week, and when I cut into a handful of suspects, I found the beginnings of rot at the top of the onions.

 

Not every onion is going bad, but the problem is that it's hard to tell which are fine and which aren't. I gave each and every onion the squeeze test and a visual inspection today, but there's a chance that when you cut into your onions you may find that they are not perfect inside. Most of the damage seems to be at the top of the onion and is easily cut off by taking a wider cut with your knife. But shy of peeling every single onion, there's no way for us to know the ultimate quality of the onions we're giving you. Which drives me absolutely crazy.

 

SO, two things:

1) I am SO sorry if you get a bad onion. We are putting an extra in every tote this week to make up for any icky ones you might encounter.

2) PLEASE let me know if you get a bad one (or three). I'm trying to gauge the extent of the problem, and your feedback will help! Send me an email and describe the state of your onions once you cut into them, if you have a chance.

 

Thanks for your help and your understanding! Now let's see if I can get some sleep!

-Zoë

 

Newsletter: 

Week 22: October 31st

Hi everyone,

The newsletter is coming out a few days early this week, so that we can take the fullest advantage of this small, late window of sunny weather on the farm. Enjoy it while it lasts!

 

Feel the Love: Give Spaghetti Squash a Chance!

Somehow along the way, spaghetti squash has garnered a bad rap. It’s 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.

 

OK, truth be told, I was one of the perpetrators of this unfair maligning until just this year. For whatever reason, I had my mind made up about spaghetti squash and I thought it was a waste of chewing. My sister tried to convince me otherwise and grew a couple plants last season (2010), which fruited prolifically. But in my narrow-minded stubborn-ness, I chose Delicata every time I made a trip into our squash storage room.

 

And then, for some reason last winter, I impulsively ordered some spaghetti squash seeds and found room for a half a bed in the crop plan. I had been impressed with how well Abby’s two plants had yielded the summer before, and our 2011 planting did not disappoint. In fact, it overwhelmed. This season, our one hundred feet of spaghetti squash yielded almost 400 big squash (that’s about 4 fruits per vine, compared to some of our other varieties that yield 1-2 squash per plant!). They were vigorous, un-fussy plants, and proved to us that if you’re worried about stocking up for the end of the world, they’re the squash to grow: you get some serious bang for your buck!

 

But then came the moment of reckoning: how did it taste? At a loss for what to make for dinner a few weeks ago, I cut a spaghetti squash in half, stuffed it in the pressure cooker, and proceeded to overcook it with a vengeance. Short on time, I didn’t make a sauce. I just scooped the soggy spaghetti impostor onto plates and rang the dinner bell. It was without a doubt the most unfair taste trial a person could muster.

 

I swallowed a forkful. I couldn’t believe it. It was great. Sitting there enjoying my overcooked, under-dressed squash, I had to rake through my conscience: Had I actually ever tried a spaghetti squash before? Was I guilty of hating on spaghetti squash for no good reason? Had I formed my strong opinion of it based on anything real, on an actual legitimate complaint? What bad thing had spaghetti squash ever done to me or to the world?

 

In a moment of shameful discomfort, I realized that up until that point I had been a spaghetti squash bigot. And that the same kind of uncompromising close-mindedness is what brings about terrible wars and genocide and hate crimes and bullying and general, everyday mean-ness.

 

So this is my plea: open your mind and then open your mouth (if they need opening). Give spaghetti squash a chance. I think you will be happily surprised, even if you overcook it, and the world might just become that much better a place for your efforts.

 

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 I found when I did a quick epicurious.com search:

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spaghetti-Squash-with-Parsley-Walnut-Pesto-231199

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spaghetti-Squash-with-Moroccan-Spices-106168

 

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Winterbor Kale
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Parsley

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Winterbor Kale

This is the debut of Winterbor kale, the frilliest, puffiest, hardiest kale known to Valley Flora! This is the kale that sees us through the winter, getting sweeter and sweeter as the cold gets deeper. It’s wonderful steamed up, but we also use it raw (finely minced) in kaleslaw, our standby winter salad.

 

Storage: In a plastic bag in the fridge, for at least a week. Or in a vase of water on your counter, so long as your house isn’t too toasty roasty.

 

Farm Fact of the Week*

If you took an iron to all of the winterbor kale leaves growing at Valley Flora, flattened them out, and then stitched them together into a kale quilt, they would cover the entire surface area of the Northern hemisphere. It wouldn’t be a very warm quilt, but it would be a big quilt.

 

*This week’s farm fact is pure B.S. We have no idea what we are talking about, except to say that Winterbor is one mighty frizzy kale.

Newsletter: 

Week 21: October 24th

Ugly Butternuts!

By now some of you have opened up this week’s tote to encounter some beets, carrots, leeks, lettuce, celery, broccoli, a psychedelic head of romanesco, and yes, some very ugly butternut squash. For some mysterious reason this year, most of our butternut squash developed a bizarre skin blemish while they were curing in the barn. It appears as dark brown splotches, some with concentric rings that are reminiscent of a topographic map. We often see this blemish on a small percentage of our butternuts at harvest, and we carefully sort out the ugly ones for our own consumption. All the pretty, perfect squash are saved for you.

 

But I was shocked to discover last week that after 10 days of curing in our barn, all of the pretty, perfect squash were no longer so pretty. It would be absolutely heartbreaking if all those butternuts were destined for stores or restaurants (we couldn’t sell something that looked like that!), BUT I quickly realized that if the eating quality of the squash was  good, we could still put the butternuts in your shares this week and explain the problem to all of you in this newsletter. One more reason to extoll the virtues of community supported agriculture: it gives us the chance to communicate with you about farm realities and surprises like this one. And hopefully convince you that this week’s squash is not too ugly to eat!

 

We’ve cut into dozens of the blemished squash, targeting the worst, and so far it seems like the problem is only skin deep. At least for now. That said, I doubt this crop of butternuts is going to store for very long, so I’d encourage you to cook them sooner than later. Also, if you do get a butternut that is bad inside, PLEASE tell us! Not only do we want to know, but we will replace it for you – either with another butternut, or another kind of squash.

 

As for enjoying your butternuts, they are the go-to squash for soup-making, due to their smooth texture and wonderful flavor. They’re also the easiest to peel and have a small seed cavity – meaning it’s mostly all squash meat in there. Best to peel your squash either with a knife or a sharp, heavy peeler; cube it up; then either roast or steam it. If you’re making soup, you can go ahead and cook it directly in a pot of stock or water. Cooked butternut squash – whether roasted or steamed – is a great thing to put in your freezer. If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat your butternuts in the next couple of weeks, I’d suggest you do this. We roasted all the uglies last winter, froze them in ziplocs, and then had roasted butternut puree on hand all year for soup, and more recently, baby food! I froze a bunch of roasted butternut in ice cube trays, then popped them into a freezer bag. We thaw out a couple of cubes every few days for Cleo’s lunch.

 

I am sorry that you’re not getting perfect beautiful, butternuts this year. We have a little mantra on the farm: that everything we do has to be at least 51% art. Aesthetics matter to us, and these butternuts don’t make the grade in our book. But they do taste good.

 

And I suppose after all, real beauty if more than skin deep…

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Romanesco
  • Celery
  • Butternut Squash

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Romanesco

For many CSA members, this is the vegetable they wait all year for. Neon green, spiraled minarets, an amazing example of fractals in nature. It’s basically a cauliflower on acid. It has a wonderful, nutty flavor, great steamed or sautéed or roasted in the oven with olive oil and sea salt. I’ve had people tell me that they never actually ate their romanesco; instead they kept it on the counter and took photographs of it. I’d say, do both!

 

Farm Fact of the Week

Frost! Our lower pasture was nipped with white this morning, right on time! We typically expect the first frost sometime around Halloween and it’s great when it actually comes. A frost works wonders to bring out the sweetness in fall crops like kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and root crops. Freezing temperatures signal these plants to start producing more sugars, which act like antifreeze in the cells of the plant. For the plants it’s a winter survival mechanism. For us, it’s a lovely bonus as we head into the months when kale is our staple green.

Newsletter: 

Week 20: October 17th

Last Week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares

As the daylight hours wane, so too do the salad greens. This is the 20th and final week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares. If you are signed up for a salad share, enjoy your last bag of the season!

 

And for those of you who fear Abby’s Greens Withdrawals, here’s a little insider’s tip: salad greens will most likely still be available at the following outlets:

  • Our farmstand, open on Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm, through Saturday, November 19th, rain or shine.
  • The Langlois Market
  • Seaweed in Port Orford
  • Mothers Natural Grocery in Bandon

 

Winter Squash Season Begins!

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 12th), 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 month or two, 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 for very 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, tasty and versatile. We’ve grown a selection of our all-time favorite varieties and each week I’ll help you out with some 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 neck of the woods, 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 our 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.

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Red Shallots
  • Savoy or Green Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Fennel (the last fennel for the year)
  • Acorn Squash
  • Pie Pumpkin

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Acorn Winter Squash

Perhaps the most widely-recognized winter squash, acorns are dark green-black, deeply ribbed, and have yellow-orange flesh. They are probably the hardest-skinned variety we grow, so be extra careful cutting them. The best way to prepare them is to cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake them at 350 degrees until very tender, usually about 35-45 minutes. You can either bake them face down in a pan with a little bit of water until the flesh is soft, or bake them face up with butter and maple syrup or brown sugar in the cavity.

 

Because acorns don’t peel easily, and because they have such a perfectly bowl-like seed cavity, they are great stuffed or used as edible bowls. Here are two recipes that take full advantage of this feature:

 

http://valleyflorafarm.com/content/acorn-squash-wild-mushroom-cranberry-stuffing

 

http://valleyflorafarm.com/content/beet-soup-roasted-acorn-squash

 

Pie Pumpkins

Halloween is around the corner, so the pumpkin in your tote (and the kids in your household) might be screaming “jack-o-lantern” at you. But rather than carve this one up, you might consider making a homemade pumpkin pie from scratch: http://valleyflorafarm.com/content/basic-pumpkin-pie

 

Or for an international spin that uses your pumpkin and shallots, I found this recipe on epicurious.com and it looks delicious (if you like Thai food): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Silky-Coconut-Pumpkin-Soup-Keg-Bouad-Mak-Fak-Kham-104372.

 

There are a whole bunch of great pumpkin-inspired recipes on Epicurious, so if you have the time I’d experiment with some of them.

 

Red Shallots

Shallots are a refined cousin to onions and garlic (most closely related to garlic), and used often in French cuisine. They have a wonderful flavor cooked or raw, but take a little more work to peel than your standard onion. You see them as a common ingredient in vinaigrette, and are especially flavorful caramelized. They have an incredible shelf life, lasting up to a year under ideal storage conditions (cool, dark, dry). You can use them interchangeably with onions and leeks, but if you have a recipe that calls for shallots and you have the shallots on hand, use them! They are special, and the price you pay for them in the grocery store reflects that. They are often upwards of $5/pound. Part of the reason they command top dollar is that they yield half as much as onions do. I grow them in spite of their lower yields because I love that they keep all winter long, it's great to have a diversity of different alliums in the kitchen, and their flavor is lovely.

 

Storage: on the counter, or somewhere cool, dry and dark. Should keep for months.

 

Farm Fact of the Week

Time for cover crops! During the past week of good weather, we have been scurrying to get as much of the farm seeded into cover crop as we possibly can. Mid-October is prime time for seeding clover, vetch, Austrian winter peas, cereal rye, and oats, which should germinate with the next rains and grow through the winter. We cover crop every inch of the farm that we can (even the little strips between the rows of raspberries) for a number of reasons:

  1. Cover crops provide our soil with protection from wind, rain and erosion during the winter months.
  2. Cover crops contribute organic matter to our soil, which improves our overall soil tilth and health.
  3. Leguminous cover crops like clover, peas and vetch have a symbiotic relationship with a special bacteria that can actually fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and make it plant-available in the soil. Which means that when we turn our leguminous cover crops under next spring, they will release nitrogen to help feed our subsequent summer cash crops.
  4. Winter peas provide spring pea tendrils that we can eat and add to salads!
  5. Cover crops can help break cycles of disease and pests in the soil.
  6. Cover crops are beautiful! Much of the farm is in bare ground right now, on the heels of our big harvests of winter squash, corn, potatoes, onions, etc. But as soon as we get our next good rain, all of that ground will sprout green like a second spring.
  7. Cover cropping is great work for the horses! I use Maude, my Belgian mare, to roll in all of the cover crop seed we plant. She drags our big heavy cultipacker over the fields to ensure we have good soil-to-seed contact, which makes a big difference in improving germination rates.

Newsletter: 

Week 19: October 10th

Broccoli is Back!

We’re back in broccoli business! The fall variety you’re receiving is called Marathon, and it’s aptly named: last year we were still harvesting broccoli sideshoots for our own dinners until March! The onset of fall broccoli also marks the beginning of other fall Brassica harvests. In the coming weeks you can look forward to Romanesco (the lime green spiraled minaret cauliflower that so many of you love), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, giant kohlrabi, turnips, radishes, and pac choi. Fall food is here!

 

Bread!

Seth will be at the Coos Bay, Bandon and Port Orford pickup sites this week to sample and sell bread. For folks who pick up at the farm, Seth can’t be at the Coos Bay site and the farm site at the same time, so he’ll catch you next week – or come to the farmstand on Saturday. He’ll be there.

 

Red Onion Upset, Winter Squash Breakthrough

Storage crops like onions and squash can be tricky. They mature at the onset of Fall, right when the weather starts to get iffy. The problem is that they need good stretches of warm, dry weather to cure properly – usually in late September and early October. Some years we get lucky and the sun shines for us right when we need it to. This year has been a different story, with ample rain the past few weeks literally dampening our efforts to get critical storage crops out of the field. It can be a stressful time, with so much invested in thousands of feet of winter squash and onions.

 

A week ago it became very clear that the weather was not going to cooperate for squash harvest, so we improvised. Fortunately, I had purchased 200 stacking harvest bins from a winery earlier in the summer, which turned out to be the perfect container for indoor curing of squash (as opposed to curing them in the field). The sun broke through last Monday, and again on Thursday, enabling us to harvest three of our seven winter squash varieties. We loaded them into the totes, drove them to town, and unloaded them in tall stacks into the insulated shop at our house. I plugged in an oil heater and we suddenly had the 80 degree, dry conditions that we needed to properly cure the squash. Who knows what our electric bill is going to be this month, but hopefully it’ll be a small price to pay for a winter’s worth of squash for everyone. It was a relief to realize that we had back-up options, for those years when the weather doesn’t do our bidding.

 

The red onions are not such a happy story. They like to dry for up to 3 weeks with their tops and roots on before getting cleaned. We don’t have enough covered space to keep them, so we usually spread the harvest out on pallets in the shade of one of our big myrtle trees. This season they only got a week of curing time before we cleaned them, due to a threatening forecast. As a result, they didn’t dry 100% and we’re now seeing extensive mold and rot at the base and tops of the onions. We’ve been sorting them for the past two weeks and donating boxloads of them to the foodbank. I fear they won’t last many more weeks. This is why you’re seeing red onions again this week, instead of yellow onions or shallots (both of which seem to be storing better than the reds). I decided it was better to give out the red onions quickly and then switch to the better-keeping varieties later in the fall.

 

The long-term solution to our onion challenge is going to take the form of stacking drying racks. Once I replace my stolen tools, we’re going to build a bunch so that next season we can cure the onions under cover, in vertical stacks that won’t take up as much of a footprint in our limited shed space. Losing a whole crop like this is motivation to invest in a drying system that will help stave off future storage crop disappointments.

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Red Onions
  • Parsley
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

 

Lacinato Kale

A beauty of a kale, and the most beloved in Italy, lacinato kale carries many different names: dinosaur kale, cavalo nero, black tuscan kale, and more. But what's in a name? That which we call lacinato kale by any other name would taste as sweet.

 

And sweet this kale can be, especially after a frost. It hasn’t gotten cold enough yet for the sugars to fully develop in the kales, but the flavor is excellent nevertheless. One of my favorite combos using lacinato is this: sautee onion or leek in butter or olive oil until soft and caramelized; add chanterelles (or other mushrooms) and slices of beets and cook until soft; then add sliced red peppers and ribbons of lacinato. Sautee until everything is tender. It’s simple and exquisite. Great on pasta, or with rice, or as a spread on Seth’s bread. Or all on it’s own.

 

Storage: in a plastic bag in the fridge. Will hold for a week or two. Or, put it in a vase of water and let your kale do double duty as décor and dinner.

 

Newsletter: 

Week 18: October 3rd

Out of the Creek and into the Kitchen

We experience an odd sense of relief on the farm when the weather turns south and the rain drives us indoors after a long, busy, sunny summer. We suddenly find ourselves home, indoors, by 6 pm instead of 8:30 pm. The daily challenge of making dinner is less of a panicked scramble to eat before 10 pm, and more of a creative pleasure. I open cookbooks again, make soup, steam kale. It is a bittersweet time: the end of swimming season and long beautiful evenings on the farm (bitter); lighting our first cozy fire in the woodstove (sweet).

 

Usually the turn of the seasons is timed perfectly, arriving right about when I begin to feel Produce Fatigue – Must I really pick another strawberry? Turn that stiff, stubborn irrigation valve on and off again? Improvise some kind of last minute supper after a 12 hour day? And then, overnight, it rains an inch, the strawberries turn to mush and nothing needs to be irrigated. We abandon the chilly swimming hole to the beaver, otter and salmon (whose upstream arrival is imminent) and find new inspiration in the kitchen.

 

Tonight it will be roasted butternut squash soup (using last year’s frozen butternut squash, plus fresh celery, leeks, maybe some sweet peppers…), accompanied by some of the best artisan brick oven bread I’ve ever eaten, made by our local friend Seth Biersner who has recently started up Seth’s Brick Oven Bakery in Bandon. Curious? Read on…

 

Brick Oven Breads from Bandon!

Last week while we were having a mad-dash lunch at the farm, our friend Seth appeared on the porch with four loaves of fresh-baked artisan bread. He has recently completed construction of a wood-fired brick oven and certified kitchen in his backyard in Bandon and has started producing incredible loaves of artisan bread and foccacia. We were duly impressed by the flavor and texture of the bread (the verdict amongst my mom, sister and I was that his bread is leagues better than any bread we had in Italy last year, and on par with the best of France’s baking!).

 

Seth is beginning to sell his bread locally, and because we are so thrilled to have quality, artisan bread in the local food lineup now, we’ll be offering it at our Saturday farmstand from now on. Also, Seth will likely be at your pickup site next week with samples of his bread. He’s going to offer weekly Bread Shares to any of our farm members who are interested. He’ll provide you with more details, but the gist of it is that you’ll be able to sign up with him for a weekly share of bread and/or focaccia delivered to your pickup site for the remainder of the season.

 

Three cheers for more locally crafted good food! Keep an eye out for Seth next week at your pickup site.

 

Bulk Sweet Peppers Still Available

You can still order:

Roasters (the kind you've been getting in your tote the past few weeks):

·      5 pound minimum order (that's about 20 peppers)

·      Cost is $20

·      Primarily red in color

 

OR, get a color mix - red, yellow, orange, purple, white, green:

·      5 pound minimum order

·      Cost is $20

 

Reply to this email with your name, phone number and pickup location if you'd like to order. We'll deliver to your pick-up site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Cilantro
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Sweet Corn

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

 

Napa Cabbage

Among the more delicate of cabbages, Napa makes a lovely Fall slaw. It’s also the cabbage of choice for homemade kimchee, if you have a bent for fermented foods!

 

With the contents of this week’s share, you have just about all the ingredients you need to make this Spicy Napa Cabbage Slaw with Cilantro Dressing.

 

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

 

Farm Fact of the Week:

Some people ask us how we get through wet, cold, downpourish days on the farm? It’s all about the wardrobe. Here’s what we wear to survive foul weather work days, with a smile:

 

Head: Wool or fleece hat, covered by a rainjacket hood

Torso: Wool long underwear if it’s cold, fleece and wool layers, down vests, rain jacket

Legs: Same as the torso, but we wear rubber rain bibs to keep the water out when we’re kneeling in the mud bunching kale or washing carrots in the barn.

Feet: Wool Socks & Muck Boots

Hands: usually bare, but when it gets really cold we bust out the neoprene or rubber gloves.

 

Newsletter: 

New Fall Farmstand Hours!

A heads up to all of our farm members:

 

As of this week we have switched to new Fall Farmstand hours: Saturdays ONLY from 10 am to 2 pm.

 

We anticipate that the farmstand will be open on Saturdays through the entire month of October, and possibly until Thanksgiving. There is abundant and beautiful produce right now - everything from baby bunch carrots to sweet peppers, potatoes to winter squash, spinach to onions. Come on out to the farm and stock up !

 

U-pick strawberries and raspberries are also still available, for those who are willing to work a little harder for their berries!

 

Directions to the farm

 

Newsletter: 

Week 17: September 26th

Rain!

This week’s storm delivered a full inch of precipitation to the farm along with some fierce wind. It’s the first rainfall we’ve had since July 14th and it was enough to allow us to turn off all our irrigation for the week (a lovely reprieve from the usual schedule). The wind snapped branches, knocked over dahlia plants, and sent our floating row cover flying – but it was worth it: the sun rose over a sparkly-clean farm this morning. It was high time for a good, soaking rain.

 

We paid a small price in the form of some ruined berries and split cherry tomatoes, but the damage wasn’t terrible. If you come to u-pick at the farm this week, you’ll want to be selective in your raspberry harvest; there is still lots of good fruit, but the ripest berries got a beating in the storm. Same goes for the strawberries: beware of water damage, especially where the berries are in contact with the ground. The strawberries and cherry tomatoes in your share this week were picked carefully, but nonetheless you may want to eat them quickly – or sort through them - in case they have a shorter shelf life.

 

We are grateful for a little rain, but of course are now hoping that it stays sunny for a spell – at least long enough that we can get our winter squash harvested and cured in the field! Ideally we need about a week of dry, 70 degree weather to pull it off perfectly.

 

Not-So-Pretty Carrots

This was a sad week of reckoning in the carrot field. We encountered our first damaged carrots of the season, due to a difficult pest called carrot rust fly. We’ve battled carrot rust fly in years past, mostly in the fall. The damage looks like little rust-colored tunnels just under the surface of the carrot skin. The tunnels are caused by the larvae of the carrot rust fly, which feede on the carrot taproot before pupating and hatching into a fly. Usually the larva do only localized damage to a carrot, so it’s easy enough to cut around the imperfections. But the cosmetic blemish they leave makes it difficult to commercially market the carrots. That means that when we bunch carrots for the farmstand or local stores we have to painstakingly pull all the carrots, lug them to the farm road, rinse them off with the hose, check each and every one for damage, and then make our bunches (versus simply pulling carrots and bunching them on the spot in the field). At least half of our harvest finds its way into a “cull” bucket, destined either for the horses’ trough or the compost.

 

There are ways to prevent carrot rust fly infestations, and in fact, last year we did. We carefully covered every single carrot bed with floating row cover. It prevented the flies from laying their eggs in the soil near the carrots, and as a result we had mostly clean carrots all fall. So why didn’t we do it again this year? The primary reason was weed control. Unfortunately, the row cover has a certain psychological effect on a farmer: if you can’t see what’s under it, then everything must be fine! The reality, however, is that the weeds grow like crazy under the row cover. Which means that to grow a weed-free bed of carrots under row cover, we have to take the row cover off of each bed every week, hand and tractor cultivate it, and then put the row cover back on, adding hours of extra work to what is otherwise a relatively quick weekly zip-zip with the tractor and a hoe.

 

So, we hoped that maybe the flies wouldn’t find us this summer – since we didn’t have any last summer - and we left the carrots uncovered. In July it seemed like the only way to keep our crop weed-free. Of course now that it’s nearly October and our carrots are coming up ugly, I wish we had covered them. Next year I’m sure we will. I’m always learning. Always.

 

The long and short of it is that there are some not-so-perfect carrots in your totes this week. I am grateful that the bulk of our farming efforts are on behalf of you, our Harvest Basketeers, because I can explain issues like carrot rust fly damage and hope that you won’t mind cutting around those ugly tunnels in your carrots. I also did a quick assay of all the upcoming carrot beds still to be harvested and didn’t find much damage – yet. There are multiple hatches of larva throughout the summer, so we most likely will see more rust fly damage even if it’s not apparent right now. That said, I haven’t given up on this year’s crop; I’m doing a little detective work today to figure out if it’s still worth covering our youngest beds of carrots. The carrots represent a huge investment of time and money, so if we still have a chance we’ll try to outsmart the rust fly yet.

 

Bulk Sweet Peppers Available!

They just keep coming!

Roasters (the kind you've been getting in your tote the past few weeks):

·      5 pound minimum order (that's about 20 peppers)

·      Cost is $20

·      Primarily red in color

 

OR, get a color mix - red, yellow, orange, purple, white, green:

·      5 pound minimum order

·      Cost is $20

 

Reply to this email with your name, phone number and pickup location if you'd like to order. We'll deliver to your pick-up site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Red Onions
  • Dill
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Celery

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Celery

Last year we asked all of you this simple question: would you rather receive a big head of celery once in the season, or a handful of celery stalks multiple times throughout the Fall? The response was overwhelmingly in favor of stalks. So stalks it is, just in time for the onset of Soup Season!

 

Our celery this year seems to be especially pumped up: it’s big, juicy, sweet and tender - worthy of a snack of “ants on a log” or a slather of cream cheese, if you opt to eat it fresh instead of as a seasoning for soups or sautees. You might get a stalk or two that have some scars on the rib. It appears that the celery has been playing host to some resident garden slugs who have done some opportunistic nibbling in a few places. Just cut around the defects if you encounter any.

 

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

 

Farm Fact of the Week:

In our little world, food preservation madness has begun. We don’t do a lot of canning in the summer (aka “swimming season”), but once the weather turns towards autumn and the creek is chilly we start to spend a lot of Sundays in the kitchen shoving food into jars. Dilly beans, tomatoes, salsa, applesauce, canned pears, dried plums, frozen berries, jam, hot sauce, pickles. We use up all the culls and seconds – the split tomatoes and deformed peppers and blemished berries – in what is an ongoing, breathless obsession to make all the food disappear. This past Sunday was a marathon of salsa-making at my house. Twenty-four pints and 10 hours later, there is a part of me that asks, “is it really worth it?” My mom spent her entire Sunday picking, packing and pickling to make a case of dilly beans. She emerged from the kitchen with this to say: “Damn country living!!”

 

It’s a lot to be the farmer and the food preserver (and it’s why my mom, sister and I all wish we had wives). But come January when the nights are long and the woodstove is warm we’ll crack into a jar of homegrown tomatoes and be assured that yes, without a doubt, it was worth it.

Newsletter: 

September 19: Week 16

Fall Equinox this Week

This Friday, September 23rd, the autumn equinox will occur at 2:04 am Pacific time. That means that if you want to balance your raw egg on end and be the first to officially welcome Fall, you’d better set an alarm!

 

But why the 23rd? Isn’t the equinox always on the 21st every year? The answer is no, and here’s why, according to www.timeanddate.com:

 

While the September equinox occurs on September 22 in 2008 and 2009, it occurs on September 23 in 2010 and 2011 (UTC). The September equinox has also occurred on September 24(UTC), with the last occurrence on that date being 1931. The next time a September 24 equinox occurs will be in the year 2303. Moreover, a September 21 equinox will occur in 2092.

 

There are a few explanations on why the equinox dates differ in the Gregorian calendar. The varying dates of the equinox are mainly due to the calendar system – most western countries use the Gregorian calendar, which has 365 days in a year, or 366 days in a leap year. According to the National Maritime Museum, the equinoxes generally occur about six hours later each year, with a jump of a day (backwards) on leap years. An extra day is added in a leap year to minimize a gradual drift of the equinox date through the seasons.

 

On the farm, the onset of autumn means the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and things aren’t growing as quickly. We are starting to irrigate less (even though these past few days have been some of the hottest all summer), and we have begun to prep ground for our fall and winter cover crops. The harvest is heavy, the shadows are long, and the crickets are loud.

 

Your Feedback

Last week we asked you to weigh in and tell us how it’s going for you. A handful of you wrote back with your two cents. It sounds like the carrots are mostly very popular, and folks would love more spuds (which is good, because we have them this year!). Fennel, as ever, is controversial. Here are a few snippets from your emails:

Quantity is great - and so is variety.  I struggled to use everything for the first year or two, but this year is no struggle.  Credit goes lots of ways.  The variety helps, as does skipping a week or two after a generous amount of an item is in the basket.  I also give credit to myself for cooking more imaginatively with multiple veggies in the same dish - which probably would not take place without having to use up veggies. 

****************

I've been very happy with  the selction.   Can never get enough tomatoes and the peppers are wonderful.   Would love to get some eggplant and am looking forward to the celeriac.  Can do without the chard.   Thanks for the goodies.

****************

I haven't figured out what to do with this quantity of carrots, so I would say there are a few too many.  Your corn was the best ever!  I understand the challenges this year, but can't wait for more.  Would love more of the herbs...basil, cilantro and some chives would be fun.  Loving the potatoes, peppers and onions.  Will there by shallots this year?  This weeks basket is just about perfect, I know I will be able to use it all before it goes bad.  Would love some dark leafy greens, love the chard and kale.

 

Bulk Sweet Peppers Available

We sent out a special email earlier this week to alert you of a special sweet pepper deal from the farm. In case you are worried you missed out, you didn’t! The peppers will be going for awhile, so there is still time to stock your freezer or stuff your belly. Here are the details again:

 

The sweet peppers are at their peak! Now's your chance to get a bulk quantity, either to indulge in fresh like candy apples or to preserve for later. They're easy and quick to put up. Simply:

  • Dice up and freeze in a ziploc. Add them to winter dishes for some bright confetti color and flavor!
  • Put in salsa and can for later.
  • Make sweet pepper relish or sweet pepper jelly.
  • Roast, peel, freeze on a cookie sheet, and then store frozen in ziplocs. These slabs thaw quickly for sandwiches, pizza, pasta, or any dish.

Here's the scoop if you want to order:

Roasters (the kind you've been getting in your tote the past few weeks):

  • 5 pound minimum order (that's about 20 peppers)
  • Cost is $20
  • Primarily red in color

OR, get a color mix - red, yellow, orange, purple, white, green:

  • 5 pound minimum order
  • Cost is $20

 

Reply to this email with your name, phone number and pickup location if you'd like to order. We'll deliver to your pick-up site.

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Summer Squash
  • Yellow Onions
  • Pac Choi
  • Parsley
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Corn (LOTS!)

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Yellow Onions

This is your first taste of the yellow storage onions we have recently pulled out of the field, cured, and cleaned. This week’s share is a new experimental variety (Patterson) that we grew this year because it’s sadly rumored the our long-keeping, favorite, standby storage onion – Copra – is going to be discontinued next year. Unfortunately, I’m not nearly as impressed with Patterson as I have been with Copra. They seem to be more prone to bottom rot and our percentage of “keepers” is much lower than with the Copras. Sigh. We will hope that Copra continues to be available to us long enough that we can find another replacement variety.

 

Even though these are technically storage onions, I’m not sure what their shelf-life really is (given that I’ve never grown and stored them before). Best to use them before 2012, just to be sure they don’t rot!

 

Storage: on the counter, or in a cool dark place. Will keep a few weeks to a few months, depending on storage conditions.

 

Cherry Tomatoes

You’ve been getting these for a few weeks now, and most people have no problem figuring out what to do with them. They’re a great candy snack, but they also make awesome, colorful salads and salsa. We like to dry them for winter as well – sliced in half, dried in the food dehydrator for 24 hours at 135 degrees, and then stored in the freezer in Ziplocs. We add them to tomato sauce, pizzas, risotto, and quiche all winter long.

 

Storage: on your kitchen counter, NOT in the fridge. They will continue to ripen and sweeten on your counter. If you see fruit flies swarming, it’s probably because one of the cherry tomatoes has a split. Dig out the split one to preserve the lifespan of all the others.

 

Farm Fact of the Week:

We love our dogs. There are four farm dogs at Valley Flora: Sula (my pup), Opal and Milly (my mom’s dogs), and Finnegan (honorary farm dog belonging to Megan & Tom the Farm Angel). Opal and Milly love carrots. Opal and Sula love raspberries. Finnegan loves rocks. A lot. With an obsession. Sula loves to hunt mice (and is actually pretty good at it). They all love to swim at the creek, sleep in the shade, and lick the kids.

 

Newsletter: 

Bulk Sweet Peppers Available!

The sweet peppers are at their peak! Now's your chance to get a bulk quantity, either to indulge in fresh like candy apples or to preserve for later. They're easy and quick to put up. Simply:

  • Dice up and freeze in a ziploc. Add them to winter dishes for some bright confetti color and flavor!
  • Put in salsa and can for later.
  • Make sweet pepper relish or sweet pepper jelly.
  • Roast, peel, freeze on a cookie sheet, and then store frozen in ziplocs. These slabs thaw quickly for sandwiches, pizza, pasta, or any dish.

Here's the scoop if you want to order:

Roasters (the kind you've been getting in your tote the past few weeks):

  • 5 pound minimum order (that's about 20 peppers)
  • Cost is $20
  • Primarily red in color

 

OR, get a color mix - red, yellow, orange, purple, white, green:

  • 5 pound minimum order
  • Cost is $20

 

Reply to this email if you'd like to order. We'll deliver to your pick-up site.

Yum. :)

Newsletter: 

Week 15: September 12th

Beets Bigger than Baby’s Head!

It appears that this is the Year of Giant Root Crops at Valley Flora. Last week it was spuds; this week it’s beets. We took the time to thin our beets this season, and the results are astounding, if not somewhat overwhelming. Some of the beets we harvested this week were true monsters, so if normal-looking beets intimidate you, then brace yourself.

 

But honestly, there isn’t much to be afraid of. The big beets are just as tender and tasty as the smaller ones, and they’ll store for weeks if not months in your fridge. We decided to go ahead and put a few in your share (even though a single beet might have done the trick), with the thought that some of you might want to have enough on hand to make a batch of borscht, or a big beet salad, or a mighty root roast, or to simply carve off a few slices every few days until they’re gone.

 

Remember that you can eat the beet greens. They cook up just like Swiss chard, and are chock-full of nutrients.

 

Half-Way!

We’ve officially crossed the halfway point in our 28-week Harvest Basket season and we’re curious how it’s going for you. Too many carrots? Want more potatoes? Craving kale? Loving the tomatoes?

 

Drop us a line at valleyflora@valleyflorafarm.com and let us know how you’re feeling about the quantity and variety of produce we’ve been giving you each week. We guarantee we’ll never be able to make 100% of our members 100% happy 100% of the time, but if you share your 2 cents with us we’ll do our best to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of eaters as often as possible!

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Leeks           
  • Carrots
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Sweet Peppers

 

On Rotation:

  • Sweet Corn

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Leeks

Leeks are a member of the Allium family (along with onions, scallions, garlic, shallots, etc.). They have a relatively mild, delicate flavor compared with onions, and are most commonly paired with potatoes to make potato leek soup. You can use them anyway that you would use onions, to deepen the flavor of any dish.

 

Leeks typically size up by the end of August and are harvested deep into the winter. We grow two varieties – one that is earlier but less frost hardy; the other is slower to fatten up but will survive the cold, wet weather of winter.

 

Storage: in the fridge, in a plastic bag. Will hold up for at least a week, if not two.

 

Farm Fact of the Week:

Assuming average germination, a single carrot bed has 5,280 carrots in it, or about 700 pounds of carrots. That seems to be a magic number for Fall crop yields this year. One bed of red onions yielded 700 pounds, and one bed of red potatoes yielded 700 pounds.

Newsletter: 

Week 14 - September 5th

Potato the size of Baby’s Head!

The headline reads something like that, and no, it isn’t a story from the tabloids. This is unbiased, verifiable news from the fields of Valley Flora where Roberto, Cleo and I spent part of Monday digging potatoes for your shares. We pulled over 700 pounds of potatoes from one bed in less than an hour and a half (breaking all records). A number of the spuds were as big as Cleo’s 7-month old head and weighed in at upwards of 2 pounds apiece (also breaking all records)!

 

The potato yield has been unbelievable so far this year, averaging over 3 pounds per bed foot. To give you some context: last year (which was a horrible potato year for us) we got about 0.5 pounds per bed foot. A normal year might be 1.5 pounds per bed food. This year it’s 3 pounds. I’ve never seen anything like it.

 

I’m not entirely sure why we’re seeing such extraordinary yields, especially because we accidentally under-fertilized the spuds this spring. But if I were to wager a guess, I’d say it has to do with two main things: 1) an overall lovely growing season since we planted our seed potatoes in mid-May, and 2) routine hilling with our electric cultivating tractor. Until this year, we’d never had the capacity to hill a half-mile of potatoes. But with a new set of hilling discs mounted on Allis the tractor, Roberto was able to hill and cultivate the potato patch every week until the plants were too bushy and tall to pass through. The job took a quick 20 minutes each week, the spud patch stayed 100% weed-free, the hills grew to be almost knee-high, and the plants thrived. As a result, we’re seeing little-to-no greening of the potatoes (because they were happily covered with soil and shaded by robust plant growth instead of popping through the surface and getting exposed to light). It is, hands-down, the healthiest, happiest potato patch we’ve ever grown.

 

It means that your potato share this week is extra hefty, with everyone receiving a pound more than we had forecasted. This variety is called Desiree. I’d suggest keeping them in the fridge, as some of the potatoes are still “new,” meaning their skin hasn’t totally cured yet. If you leave them in the fridge for a few weeks you’ll notice that they get remarkably sweeter. As it turns out, in cold storage potatoes actually convert their starches to sugars so spuds get sweeter after a stint in the fridge.

 

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Red Storage Onions           
  • Carrots
  • Summer Squash
  • Dill
  • Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers

 

On Rotation:

  • Sweet Corn

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Red Storage Onions

I am thrilled to report that I think I’ve discovered a red onion variety that is well-suited to our not-so-hot growing season! It’s called Cabernet and it matures at least two weeks earlier than the others I’ve grown. Last year’s red onions never fully ripened or cured (a wonderful but late variety called Redwing that requires 120 days, at least - too long for our climate). Cabernet, however, has sized up and cured in a timely fashion and the flavor is great: mild and tasty.

 

Storage: These onions have already cured, so you can leave them on the counter or in a cool dry place. They should keep for a month or two.

 

Sweet Corn

Where there is success (potatoes!) in any given farm season, there is also failure (corn). This year, every possible thing that could have gone wrong with the corn, did. It’s been a sad saga, especially since it began with such youthful optimism. I was especially excited about corn this year, given last year’s unlikely success (a bumper crop in spite of our cold, wet spring and slow growing season). This spring was gentler, and June proffered forth four perfect weeks of weather for four successive corn plantings – one block to be seeded each week, with the hope of harvesting more corn than ever come August and September.

 

Well, the long and short of it is that of the four intended blocks, only two are likely to yield. Why? You name it, it happened: Birds ate the sowed seed. I re-seeded. Nothing came up. A new seeder I bought this year malfunctioned and didn’t drop enough seed. I started over and re-seeded. The planting germinated beautifully (ah, victory!)) and then crows came back and overnight plucked all the freshly germinated corn seedlings from the ground. I re-seeded again, covered the beds with row cover to protect from birds. Mysteriously nothing ever germinated. An irrigation valve malfunctioned and unbeknownst to me one block of newly-seeded corn irrigated non-stop for a full week. A lot of the seed rotted in the ground. The plants that did survive were consumed by a crazy grass that looks identical to corn but isn’t. We weeded our hearts out and saved the planting, but too much water might mean we don’t get many ears. It goes on and on, the setbacks. Eventually, June was over and it was too late in the summer to seed any more corn. Honestly, it was kind of a relief to have to give up trying, to turn the page on the calendar and leave June, the month of Corn Seeding Wars, behind. 

 

All things considered, then, I was amazed this week to pull over 200 ears of corn off of the few corn plants that survived in our first planting: enough to put corn in all the totes destined for Coos Bay and the Farm. I tried not to dwell on how huge the harvest MIGHT have been, if only….

 

Bandon and Port Orford members will have to wait until our next planting is ready, but should see corn in a week or so. It won’t be a huge harvest this year, but hopefully scarcity will make it all the sweeter.

 

Storage: Unlike potatoes, corn turns it’s sugars into starches over time. Best to refrigerate your corn to slow the process down, or better yet, eat it right away for the best flavor and sweetness!

 

 

Farm Fact of the Week:

September is the month of squirreling away. It’s when we begin to bring in most of our storage crops: onions, shallots, winter squash, potatoes, etc. We cut off the water to these crops and cross our fingers for clear, dry days so they’ll cure properly in the field. September also marks the beginning of awkward heavy lifting (everything suddenly seems to be a 30 pound bin of something…), and we do our best not to hurt our backs (with varying degrees of success). This season, it’s just nice not to be pregnant - negotiating a basket-ball belly and a full bin of potatoes had its challenges! This year, Cleo is riding on my back instead – heavier for sure, and also a whole lot of fun…

Newsletter: 

Week 13: August 29th

Caprese, Finocchio….Cibo d’Italia!

Last week’s share was all about south of the border salsa. This week it’s all about the flavors of Italia! Basil, a bounty of tomatoes, fennel, Italian peppers…you might just find yourself lapsing into rapturous Italian at the dinner table: Mangia! Mangia! Mama Mia!

 

Or something like that….

 

No matter what, we suggest doing two things with your produce this week:

  1. Make caprese.
  2. Make finocchio.

 

Recipes below….

 

Strawberries Available by the Flat

The strawberries are making their usual late summer comeback and we’re starting to have extra flats again, $35 each. There’s still time to make some jam or stock your freezer! If you’d like to order, email us: your name, pick-up location, and the number of flats you’d like. We can deliver to your pick-up site, or you can pick up at the farmstand on Wednesday or Saturday.

 

Raspberries have begun…

They are big. They are sweet. Not quite peaking yet, but ramping up. It’s fun out there.

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions           
  • Carrots
  • Summer Squash
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Fennel

 

On Rotation:

  • Cherry Tomatoes

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Featured Recipes of the Week:

Our favorite fennel recipe, Finocchio: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/finocchio

A wow-your-dinner-guests recipe, Caprese: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/caprese

 

Heirloom Tomatoes

You’ll find a few more unusual-looking tomatoes in your tote this week: some small orange “Juan Flamme” tomatoes, perhaps a big green “Aunt Ruby,” or a jumbo sunset-colored “Striped German.” These are all heirlooms, meaning they are open-pollinated (not hybrids, so we can save our own seed year after year). Heirlooms are typically handed down over the generations and maintained as unique varieties. They tend to yield less and later than many of the hybrid varieties out there, but their special flavor and color make up for that!

 

Bets grows a number of heirlooms in her greenhouses, and they have come on early this year. If you got a green one in your tote, rest assured it’s not an unripe tomato. On the contrary, it’s ripe and ready to be sliced up next to those red and orange tomatoes for a gorgeous plate of caprese.

 

Storage: on the counter, at room temperature. If at all possible, DO NOT refrigerate ANY of your tomatoes. It often makes the texture mealy and reduces their flavor.

 

Sweet Peppers

Sweet, sweet peppers! The harvest has begun from the pepper greenhouse, and holy moly, it looks like it’s going to be quite a year! They are coming out of there by the bucketload in all manner of color, shape and size! This week’s are a variety called Stocky Red Roaster, another open-pollinated variety from our favorite local seed company, Wild Garden Seeds, in Philomouth, Oregon. Great roasted, as their name implies, but also sautéed or raw. I eat them like apples every chance I get (pepper season is the pinnacle of food happiness for me).

 

My mom is always trialing new varieties and this year is no exception. She managed to bring some seeds home from our trip to Italy last fall and recently harvested a giant 2-pound red pepper the size of Cleo’s head! There’s always an array of those experimental varieties for sale at the farmstand if you are as much a pepper lover as I am.

 

Storage: On the counter if you plan to use them within a couple days, or in the fridge in a bag to hold for at least a week.

 

 

Newsletter: 

Week 12: August 22

Do the Salsa!

What do you get when you put tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro and onions in the same Rubbermaid tote? A really good reason to make homemade pico de gallo! Chop it all up, add some salt, a squeeze of lime, and get yourself some tortillas chips! Salsa season is here!

 

Strawberries Available by the Flat

The strawberries are making their usual late summer comeback and we’re starting to have extra flats again, $35 each. There’s still time to make some jam or stock your freezer! If you’d like to order, email us: your name, pick-up location, and the number of flats you’d like. We can deliver to your pick-up site, or you can pick up at the farmstand on Wednesday or Saturday.

 

Raspberries about to go BOOM!

The fall-bearing raspberries are heading towards happy ripe-titude! I walked through yesterday, and while the fruit is still mostly green, there are some red berries coming on. My experience in years past is that the patch goes from zero to sixty almost overnight, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the picking starts to get good next week. Definitely by the first week of September.

 

If you haven’t cashed in on your 4 free u-pick pounds yet, this will be a fun time to do it. The fall-bearers are usually easy picking, with most of the fruit visible and big! The only glitch on our end is that the sheet that had a record of everyone’s already-picked poundage got stolen with our farmstand scale last week. Which means we have no idea who has picked what towards their 4 pound credit. We ask, as a result, that you please abide by the honor system – if you know you’ve already met your 4-pound quota, please pay for any other berries that you pick. If you’re not sure how much you’ve picked, but know that you’ve gotten some, just use your best judgement. We will trust your word, and I’ll tell Aro at the farmstand to do the same. We will have a new list at the farmstand so that your raspberry harvest can be recorded there. Just give Aro your name, or your share partner’s name so she can write down your harvest

 

Thanks for your cooperation on this one!

 

Farm Theft Update

In the wake of last week’s burglary, the response from our farm members has been amazing; I am awed by the care and concern so many of you have shown. Your kind emails and letters have meant the world as we try to make sense of it.

 

I’ve spent the past week taking stock of what’s missing from the barn, as well as replacing the critical things that we can’t farm without right now: scales, harvest knives, the battery charger for the electric tractor, etc. We’re looking into the possibility of an insurance settlement and have just begun what might be a long process. A number of you have generously offered to lend tools, start a tool-replacement fund drive, and even write checks. I have been stunned by your thoughtfulness. For now, I’d like to see what comes of the insurance process before accepting your offers of help. We can get by without many of our hand and power tools for now while we are so absorbed with harvest, and hopefully we’ll have an insurance settlement before Fall when we begin to need our quiver of hand and power tools for off-season farm improvement projects.

 

I will certainly keep you all posted as things unfold. In the meantime, an enormous thank you for bringing to life the “community-supported” aspect of community supported agriculture (CSA). I am deeply grateful.

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions           
  • Carrots
  • Summer Squash
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatoes
  • Hot peppers

 

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Walla Walla Sweet Onions

No need to grab a hanky when you go to cut these onions up – they are sweet and tear-free! A special summer treat, Walla Wallas are the juiciest, mildest, and biggest onion we grow. Some of them get bigger than softballs. No matter the size, the Walla Walla harvest inevitably gets me salivating about one thing: onion rings. They are the perfect onion for the job: big and sweet with thick rings. Our favorite batter is simple: 1 part beer to 1 part flour. Mix it up. Cut your onions into full, fat rings. Dredge though the batter and drop into a pot of hot oil. Fry until golden brown, a few minutes. Pull out the cooked rings with a pair of tongs, sprinkle with salt, and let them drain on a paper towel or paper bag. You know how to finish the job.

 

Also great in salsa or carmelized (slow-sauteed in a pan until they are golden brown and greatly reduced in volume). These are fresh onions, not suited for long-term storage. They’ll keep in your fridge for a few weeks in a plastic bag, but don’t try to store them on the countertop like cured onions.

 

Hot Peppers

The little green peppers in your tote are either jalapeños or serranos this week, depending on which pick-up site you go to. Either way, they’ve got some kick to spice up your homemade salsa. The seeds in a hot pepper are always the spiciest part, so if you want to tone it down, de-seed your peppers before chopping them into a dish. If you like it hot – some do – chop up your peppers, seeds and all.

 

Storage: in the fridge in a bag, will hold for at least a week.

 

Farm Fact of the Week

Our main harvest days – Tuesday and Friday - are like a choreographed dance on the farm. We hustle to get lettuce and leafy greens out of the field before it heats up in the morning, then move on to roots and onions, and finally berries. We try to have all the produce in the barn by lunchtime (anywhere between noon and 3 pm), at which point we start washing and packing out everything. We create an assembly-line to pack your harvest baskets by setting up a horseshoe of folding tables. We station the heaviest stuff at the head (potatoes, cabbage, carrots, etc) and light and delicate things at the end (herbs, lettuce, tomatoes). We count out the right number of totes and lids for each pick-up site, turn up some good music, and start packing! We slide the totes along the table, putting the same quantity of each item in every tote: a pound of that, 2 pints of this, 3 of that, 1 each of this….until every tote is full and in the cooler!

Newsletter: 

Anyone Going to Eugene or Portland?

Hi everyone,

 

A quick query to see if anyone is driving to Eugene or Portland this Friday or Saturday. We are looking for a ride for our dearest pal, Marisa (aka the Farm Saviour), who comes from Hawaii to help us on the farm for a few weeks each summer. She flies back to Hilo on Sunday out of Portland (sniff) and we are hoping to help her avoid the 3-bus marathon journey from Langlois.

 

Send a quick email if you, or anyone you know, is headed north.

 

Thanks so much!

Zoë

 

Newsletter: 

Week 11: August 15th

Tomatoes!

Jump for joy, tomato season is early this year!!! We didn’t anticipate having enough tomatoes to put into your totes until the last week of August, but they have come on strong – 2 weeks earlier than expected. My mom, Betsy, is the tomato queen and she cultivates a myriad of varieties in her greenhouses. You can expect to see plenty of red slicers in the coming weeks, as well as an assortment of heirlooms later on (they usually peak in the first half of September).

 

The Sad Demise of the Cucumbers…

Our excitement about the early arrival of the tomatoes is partly tempered by the untimely croaking of the cucumbers. They are another greenhouse crop. Sadly this year the moles have done them in by tunneling under the plants. Moles love to burrow under drip-irrigated crops because the ground is moist and soft – making it easy digging for them. The moles themselves are carnivorous, feeding largely on worms and other insects underground. But their subterranean swimming habit creates hollows in the ground; when plant roots hit these hollows tunnels, they can’t grow beyond or through them, which means they can’t take up water or nutrients. Sometimes no amount of stomping down tunnels or trapping actual moles can beat ‘em. This year the moles seem to have won. We had hoped cucumbers would see us into September, but it looks like they are pretty much over. Hopefully early tomatoes will help make up for it!

 

Bulk Basil Available

There is still plenty of basil available if you want to place a bulk order and make some pesto! $14 a pound for luscious tops - all leaf, no stem. Send us an email with your name, phone number, pickup location, and the amount you want in one pound increments.

 

Farm Burglarized on Tuesday Night

On Wednesday morning we were shocked to discover that our barn had been burglarized overnight. Sadly, it was a pretty clean sweep: all of my hand tools, power tools, harvest tools and knives, scales, handtrucks, carts, walkie-talkies, coolers, deep-cycle battery chargers for the electric tractor, and more. We are trying to regroup today and figure how to at least get through the rest of the week without our usual quiver of tools. I am scrambling to immediately replace the things we can’t live without at the peak of harvest – specialty harvest knives, scales, etc. I imagine that many of the other tools will take some time to replace, as we can afford them or if an insurance settlement can be worked out. We will cross our fingers.

 

In all the 36 years that my mom has owned the farm, we’ve never had an incident like this, which is reason to be grateful. It’s hard times for so many folks; I can only hope that whoever stole these things needed them more than us right now.

 

Please forgive the brevity of the newsletter this week; I have to get back to the farm to try to put things back in order for tomorrow’s harvest.

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Purplette Onions           
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Green Cabbage
  • Parsley – Italian or Curley
  • Tomatoes
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Newsletter: 

Week 10: August 8th

Orange Food

The carrots are here! Orange, sweet, and so unlike grocery store carrots. Every year I look forward to them with a special anticipation, and once they have finally fattened up to a harvestable size, a sense of calm relief comes over me. They mark a turn in our farming season, towards heavier, more substantial foods. More roots; more heft in your tote each week; more color to offset all the green; a reliable, universally-appreciated crop that sees us all the way through December and beyond.

 

Most likely there will be carrots in your share from now until you get your last Harvest Basket. For me, it’s great to have a staple vegetable that I can count on like that – and one that few people tire of.  The task of deciding what should go into your Harvest Baskets each week is somewhat of a juggling act: I do a fieldwalk to decide what to harvest for your share, and hopefully what’s ready on the farm will come together in the totes with a reasonable balance of greens, roots, berries, herbs, and seasonal showcase veggies like tomatoes (in a few weeks), or this week’s neon cauliflower. In the first six weeks of the season, the share is always heavier on the greens, which mature more quickly than slow-growing roots. Beets are one of the root crops that come on fairly early, but I’ve learned over the years that I can’t give those out every week unless I want to incite a veggie revolt. So, we wait patiently for carrots.

 

Each spring I optimistically sow them outdoors in the field, starting in April and planting a new bed every two weeks. And each spring, despite elaborate attempts to cover them with row cover and nurse them along, all of my early plantings fail completely due to a combo of cold soil temperatures and voracious slugs. It’s not until about mid-may when finally the soil temperature is warm enough to get good germination, and perhaps by then the slugs are distracted by all the other crops in the ground. For four years now, I have hoped for mid-July carrots, but it seems we never really have them until early August. But once we have them, we have them in spades, week after week. They become a base note in the Harvest Basket, attended by other ever-changing produce that comes and goes on the farm throughout the year.

 

I hope you enjoy your inaugural carrot share. There will be plenty more to come.

 

New Recipes

A couple CSA members have sent me some of their tried and true recipes over the past week, which I’ve posted on the recipe exchange: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

 

yum!

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Purplette Onions           
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini

 

On Rotation:

  • Very Colorful Cauliflower!

 

Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to 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.

 

Purplette Onions

You got these last week, and hopefully you figured out how to eat them in the absence of any newsletter pointers. They are a wonderful, pretty, spring onion. We harvest them fresh with still-green tops, before they have cured. Normally when you buy onions, they are not in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle, they don’t have green tops, and they have a papery skin. That’s a “cured” onion, meaning it will store for quite awhile unrefrigerated. The purplettes, on the other hand, need refrigeration. They are mild and juicy and you can use the green top like a green onion. Use the bulb raw in salads, or sautéed in any dish.

 

Storage: Plastic bag, fridge. The bulb will hold longer than the green tops – many weeks – so top them and store separately if you don’t use them within a week.

 

Cauliflower, with Pizazz

Last year I trialed three cauliflowers: a white, a purple, and an orange. Usually the fancy-pants varieties (i.e. the purple and orange) don’t do as well as your good ol’ reliable plain jane varieties. But not so with these cauliflowers. The orange and purple (named Cheddar and Graffiti, respectively), outperformed the white (ironically named “Amazing”). As a result, there’s no white cauliflower on the farm this year; only 80’s neon colors. You should get one or the other in the next couple of weeks as they mature.

 

The flavor is much the same as regular cauliflower. If you get a Cheddar head, the orange color becomes even brighter when lightly cooked. The purple will also hold its color when cooked, but is bolder when raw. Makes a lovely splash on a platter of raw veggies and dip.

 

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

 

Farm Fact of the Week:

All of the food you are enjoying now is the product of a full month of in-depth wintertime planning. I spend almost all of January in front of my computer, tweaking a huge complex of excel spreadsheets in order to craft a crop plan that will deliver cauliflower on the week of August 8th (right on time this year!), potatoes every 3 weeks starting in July, and enough broccoli to feed an army (or in this case 106 Harvest Basket members) in the summer and fall. By the end of January, I have multiple spreadsheets that constitute the blueprint for the season – one for greenhouse seeding; one for field tillage; one for direct seeding and transplanting; one for the projected CSA share; and a slew of field maps. From that point on, we use them to make up our weekly to-do lists. It’s a huge help to do most of the thinking and planning in the quiet winter months, so that once the frenzy of the growing season is upon us we can mostly “do” instead of stopping to figure out what we should do.

Newsletter: 

Important Updates from the Farm

We want to alert you to a few unexpected changes for the coming week of August 1. Tragically, Roberto's younger brother died on Thursday in an electrical accident in Washington. Roberto will be gone all week in Wenatchee with his family. Without his invaluable help on the farm in the coming days, a couple of things will be different this week:

 

  1. There will be NO BEET BOX NEWSLETTER this week. You can expect to seem some or all of the following items in your Harvest Baskets: Purplette onions, strawberries, lettuce, basil, zucchini, beets, green cabbage, kale, cucumbers, possibly broccoli, possibly carrots (they are nearly ready for harvest, at last!).
  2. TAMALE SHARES WILL NOT BE GOING OUT THIS WEEK. We are postponing the scheduled tamale delivery until the week of August 8th. Juana is also with the family in Wenatchee, making it a challenge to get all of the tamales made and to the farm for delivery this week. Our apologies for any inconvenience this might cause you. Please look for your tamale shares NEXT WEEK - the week of August 8th - at your pickup site instead.

Thanks for your understanding. Our thoughts are with Roberto, his sister Juana, and the entire Sierra family.

 

Zoë

Newsletter: 

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