Week 16: September 20th
What’s in your Share This Week?
Fennel (sorry, Gunta!)
Shallots or Onions
The New Stuff: How to eat it, cut it, cook it, and keep it…
The poll results are in and the Celery Stalkers have won out over the Whole Headers: 25 to 9! (FYI, the Potato Pounders have also persevered over the Specialty Spudsters, 24 to 9). You can’t argue with a good, solid, democratic majority, so this week you’ll find a handful of celery stalks in your totes – hopefully a good amount to season up a soup, stir-fry, or to add to a platter of crudités.
But beware the Ranch dressing! I once heard of a guy who wanted to lose some weight. He went on a celery diet, because apparently it’s such a fibrous vegetable that your body burns more calories chewing and digesting it than it gains from the celery itself. This man – a friend’s grandpa – ate celery day after day, but ended up gaining weight. The moral of the story: if you want to lose weight, don’t dip your celery in the jar of Ranch dressing!
Celery IS a pretty darn fibrous veggie, though, and you may find that these first stalks are more so. As you well know, the outer stalks are always a little tougher than the more tender, inner, blanched ones. To harvest stalk by stalk – instead of head by head – we have to strip the plants from the outside in, so these celery stalks might seem more chewy. BUT, I think you’ll find that they aren’t lacking one bit in flavor.
Celery is a water-hog; its undomesticated ancestors were bog plants. At Sauvie Island Organics, where I worked before I came back to Floras Creek, we used to grow celery and water it with overhead sprinklers AND a double line of drip tape – meaning it essentially got twice as much water as any other plant on the farm each week.
I gave your celery no such special treatment this season – which means it’s not as succulent as something store-bought from California, but I also think it has a much more intense flavor – in a good, sweet way. A little will probably go a long way.
I wanted to find a recipe that would combine a bunch of your veggies this week, namely the celery, carrots (we sent you an extra large helping this time around), and the much-maligned fennel bulb. I can’t vouch for this recipe firsthand, because I haven’t had a second at home in the kitchen the past two weeks, BUT it sounds pretty darn tasty. Give it a try and let me know!
Chilled Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup with Crabmeat
To store your celery stalks, you could either put them in a plastic bag in the fridge, or keep them in a jar of water in the fridge with a bag over their heads. Remember that the leafy tops are a great addition to a quick homemade vegetable stock.
On the Farm…
Supper in the Field, what a magical night at the farm! Despite all the spitting and blowing from that tropical Pacific typhoon that blew through last weekend (2.5 inches of rain on the farm!), the fundraiser dinner was so much fun that we are still reveling in the revelry! We converted our equipment shed into a fine dining room for the night, replete with candlelight, flowers, white linens and lots of wine! Abby, Bets and I got to play waitress for the first time ever (decked out in black skirts and rubber boots), and loved it (not that we’re going to quit our day jobs or anything). We managed to not drop any plates or spill any glasses of wine on people’s heads. Miraculous.
Chef Scott Guynn of TuTuTun Lodge dished out a 5-course feast that left people smacking their lips and licking their plates (much encouraged on the farm). The music and wine poured forth in equal measures all evening, and we even managed to do the full lap tour around the farm before the single, dramatic downpour of the evening.
There aren’t words big enough to express our gratitude to all the folks who made the evening possible. To all the members of the farm and local community who attended, thank you for your support! To Scott of TuTuTun, Kristin of Black Market Gourmet, and Diane of Casa Bruno, WOW! What a team! To John and Carl for their music, to Terry Wahl for the lamb, and to Orion Ashdown for the fish, Grazie Mile! To Ulli Lau of Oregon Overseas Timber for the two loads of bark mulch and to Roxy Long for all of her flower power, you guys made the place sparkle!
As the night wore on, folks kept asking, “When’s the next supper?! Next month? Next summer?! You gotta do this again!” Well, we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, we are so excited to be heading to Terra Madre with the eighteen other Oregon delegates come October. As far as we know, we’re the first farmer delegates to ever represent the Southcoast – and we’re proud to do it! (And hoping to smuggle home some cool new seeds as well!!).
In gratitude and appreciation - heaps and heaps of it – we thank you!