In This Week's Beet Box:
- New veggies: Beets & Rosemary
- Meet the Valley Flora Crew!
In your share this week:
· Head Lettuce
· Red Ursa Kale
· Baby beets
This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.
· Snap peas
NEW VEGGIES OF THE WEEK....
If you believe that you hate beets, today is the day to open your mind and your heart to the possibility that you don’t.
(How’s that for some Zen Master Veggie Guru-speak?)
In other words, these are some darn good sweet beets – so try ‘em!
The variety is called Cylindra – a long, tubular beet that we like to grow for our first harvest (because we’ve found that they have great taste and they mature more quickly through the cool weather of spring). This is our first big harvest – sort of a combination of harvesting and thinning. As a result, the beets are petite but particularly sweet and tender. They’re also easy to use in the kitchen because you can cut them into uniform rounds, or quarter them into long wedges. Or eat them whole. They’re versatile: think beet soup (borscht), beet salad, roasted beets with rosemary (recipe below), raw grated beets on salad, pickled beets, and yes, for the most strident skeptic, beet chocolate cake. Also, beet stamps (they bleed a beautiful pink ink) and lipstick.
And don’t throw out the tops! If they look anything like chard to you, it’s because beets are descended from chard and beet leaves are 100% edible and yummy. You can do them up in any of the ways we have suggested for leafy greens (they are chock full of vitamin C, calcium and iron).
We ate beets for dinner the other night, roasted with rosemary and potatoes. It’s simple:
· Preheat oven to 400.
· Wash your beets (no need to peel).
· Cut the beets into uniform chunks or wedges (if using potatoes, cut them the same size).
· Toss with olive oil, salt to taste, and a sprig of chopped rosemary.
· Spread on a baking sheet and roast until tender (maybe a half hour or so, depending on volume). We like to roast them a little longer until the potatoes have some crispy browning on the edges.
And some beet recipes off our website (including beet chocolate cake):
One little personal word of warning in case you’ve never eaten beets before:
When you go to the bathroom the next day, don’t worry, you’re not dying. The red pigment of beets has a way of traveling straight through your body and, well, you'll see…:)
Storage: If you cut the tops off, beets will store in the fridge in a plastic bag for MONTHS.
Pretty much everyone is familiar with this herb, whether it grows as a sprawling shrub outside your door, or you keep some dried on your spice rack, or you like rosemary-scented shampoo, soap, and deodorant.
In addition to roasting vegetables with it, I like to stuff sprigs of it into the cavity of a roasting chicken and use it in meat marinades (especially well-paired with lamb). It dries easily, but is very brittle when dry – so consider hanging it inside a brown paper bag to catch any needles that fall off.
To store it for fresh use, don’t wash it until you are ready to use it. You can either keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge or put it in a glass of water (like a bouquet) and keep it on the counter. Will hold for a week or so.
Meet the Valley Flora Crew!
We have an all-star team working on the farm this season. Bets, Abby, Zoë & Roberto are the full-time core crew. This is Roberto’s 4th year with us and he is the tireless, dedicated engine that keeps the farm humming smoothly at full throttle. There aren’t words to express how much we appreciate his commitment to Valley Flora. He is a rare human being.
We are joined on Tuesday and Friday by Jake, who has quickly proven himself to be a heroic strawberry picker (he scoots all 6’4” of himself through our squat little strawberry tunnels to harvest those luscious berries for you). And he’s been a quick study in the packout barn – rinsing, sorting and packing all of the produce that comes out of the field on harvest days. We are delighting in his good humor, fantastic attitude, and solid work ethic (he often beats us to the farm on early harvest mornings, commuting all the way from Coos Bay)!
None of the food would get to all of you, were it not for John and Roxy, our delivery drivers. John (Bets’ husband and Abby & Zoë’s step-dad) does the Friday evening run to Port Orford, delivering all the CSA food to the pickup site, as well as wholesale deliveries to businesses. Without him, we have no idea how the food would get there in time, since we’re still jamming in the packout barn at 4 pm when he has to leave on Fridays.
Roxy does the Wednesday and Saturday delivery routes. She hauls all of the Coos Bay and Bandon CSA food for us, plus a LOT of deliveries for restaurants and stores in Bandon and Coos Bay (she is one tough lady, and a champion of local food). Her son and daughter-in-law have their own fishing boat and sell local canned tuna and crab under the Ocean Harvest label: http://www.theoceanharvest.com/albacore-tuna-dungeness-crab (Awesome stuff! We trade strawberries for tuna every year!). Roxy worked with us two seasons ago and is back again for more, hallelujah!
Aro tends the farmstand and u-pick on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This is her third season at that post. Her presence on the farm has made our lives so much more sane and sustainable (it means I can be in the office on Wednesday morning writing this newsletter instead of doing it at midnight), and she’s a wonderful ambassador to all of the farm visitors we welcome on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
And finally, none of the work would get done on harvest days without the help of Fay, who spends two days a week with our kids, Cleo and Pippin (age 2 and 3, respectively). She probably has the hardest job of all at times, and we are grateful to her for the patient, fun-loving energy she devotes to our kids on our longest work days.
What a team it is!
Pictured from left to right:
Bets (Abby & Zoë’s mom), Zoë, Abby, Roberto, Jake
Not pictured (not for lack of love; only becuase it's impossible to get us all in the same place at the same time!):
John, Roxy, and Fay
The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…
No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:
· Head lettuce
· Fresh herbs
· Peas on rotation
Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.
For recipes and ideas, check out these links:
Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites
Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient
A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients
A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient
A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes