Archives for category: Baskets

Update from the garden
Once again, a big welcome back to everyone who is joining us for another bountiful season with our Community Supported Agriculture program and a special welcome to all the new members we have this year – there are many of you! I am so pleased to say that this season’s growing conditions have been pretty fantastic so far (hoping not to jinx it). I often talk about the kinds of investments we make on the farm with our members’ CSA fees and this year we have been taking full advantage of the new BCS Walk Behind tractor that we purchased last season. By we, I mean I. I have been able to plant the entire garden on my own by using this highly efficient soil-prep tool and all its implements. We bought 2 more implements this spring to complete our arsenal. To give you an idea of the efficiency this tool offers… this year I am planting 50% more garden space with 50% less labour – that’s huge. Lots of other improvements to discuss in the next newsletter too… until then, check out these gorgeous crops!



In your share this week
** Note that this share size is smaller than the usual size because of the narrow variety available at this time of the season. Larger shares in the summer will make up for it. **
1 bag Spring Mix
1 bag Pea Shoots or 1 Extra Spring Mix
1 tray Microgreens – cut per use until gone & then return the container!
1 head BIG Bok Choy
1 bunch Radishes
1 Choice Item – Kale, Romaine Lettuce or Head Lettuce
Large Shares: 1 extra Bok Choy, 1 extra bunch Radishes

In each newsletter, I will offer a tip to help members make the most of their CSA experience. These tips are collected from articles, experience, feedback and my 90 year old Omi, who’s still cooking fresh meals from the garden. I hope you will find one, some, or all of them helpful and supportive this season!


Carrots coming along nicely!

This week’s tip: Be Delicate
This week’s share has a lot of delicate greens in it and you will likely be eating many of them in combination, but as we start getting more roots and other variety in season, I recommend cooking and eating delicate leafy greens earlier in the week and leaving some items like roots and squash to later in the week, when possible. For roots that have greens, try removing the root (i.e. radish) and saving the greens separately in a bag or container.


Our middle plot – mainly squash and onions… well covered for pests.

What to do with…. Peashoots
Pea shoots are exactly as they sound: they are peas grown up just a few inches and the intention is to eat them fresh. Pea shoots taste like crunchy, juicy sugar snap peas. They are excellent piled on a bagel with cream cheese. Enjoy them in a salad or wilt them in a soup. You often see them garnishing a dish in a restaurant and indeed they are tasty atop a creamy sauce like Alfredo or similar. Pea shoots keep quite well, sealed in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

You can try a raw greens salad (think raw bok choy, sugar snap peas, etc.) using the pea shoots and this Asian inspired dressing (note that you can usually substitute the sugar for maple syrup or honey):

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted lightly
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce



Well folks, this is it!
The final CSA pick up. I want to send a HUGE thank you to all our CSA members for the support this season.

In our opinion, Community Supported Agriculture, is the best and most efficient model for distributing local food. By joining our CSA program, you have chosen to invest your grocery dollars in our community and have had a positive direct impact on our local farming community and the future viability of our family’s farm! That’s a big deal. I say “our” because you ARE part of the farming community.

You have also made the commitment to eating seasonally, which does take some adjustment. I hope you all managed well your weekly CSA share, as eating with the seasons allows you to enjoy produce when it is at its peak flavour and nutrition. Through this CSA program, you also received produce at is maximum freshness, which of course directly impacts the flavour and nutrition.

The beauty of CSA is that we all get to enjoy the growth that this program brings. Your investment this season has helped us upgrade some of our equipment and has helped us make improvements, which will be enjoyed by CSA members in the seasons to come. I am certain that those who have been with us for all 3 years, have noticed some major improvements over the years – that is all thanks to members like you!!

I wish everyone a fabulous Thanksgiving and savour this final CSA share!


Thanksgiving/Fall Produce
If you are interested in purchasing some supplemental produce for your Thanksgiving feast this weekend, or to store at home in the coming months, we do have the following available for order: potatoes – yellow, red, or purple ($9/5lb bag), onions ($2/lb), beets ($2.50/lb), pie pumpkin ($1.60/lb), spinach ($5/150g), kale ($5/bunch), chard ($4/bunch), acorn squash ($3), spaghetti squash ($1.75/lb), festival squash ($2.70/lb), delicata squash ($2.70/lb), kuri squash ($1.75/lb), buttercup squash ($1.75/lb), butternut squash ($1.75/lb), kabocha squash ($1.75/lb).

You can order anytime throughout October.


This week’s share of the harvest:
1 Pie Pumpkin
1 Acorn squash
1 bag Potatoes
1 large Onion
1 bunch Kale OR Chard
1 bag Spinach
1 bunch Beets (with tops)

How to use this week’s share:

Get creative with salads: Don’t be shy with making some hearty salads… for example, today we made a kale salad – with Pork of Yore bacon, roasted squash, raw onion, toasted pecans (in honey & butter) and feta. Dressing with some seasonal apple cider, olive oil, mustard & honey. Great way to incorporate squash into a fresh dish.

Pumpkin-Sausage Pasta
Super easy, and while seemingly boring, this is actually really delicious!

2-3 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 cup broth
1 cup browned sausage, sliced
salt & pepper

In a large saucepan, saute onion in 2 tbsp. of oil until onion is translucent. Add pumpkin and cover for 10 mins. until pumpkin is cooked.
Add the broth and cook another 10 minutes.
Add the sausage and cook uncovered until the liquid is absorbed. Serve with noodles, or rice if you prefer.

Pumpkin Smoothie



1 cup baked pumpkin, puree (option to freeze)
1 banana (option to freeze it in slices)
1 cup coconut milk/almond milk/cow milk
2 Tbsp. pecans
1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup (the pumpkin is sweet enough without this!)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
cinnamon/nutmeg as desired
Assemble and blend until smooth! This recipe is pretty filling for 1 person.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie – AMAZING.

1 cup pumpkin puree (we used a pumpkin-butternut blend)
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup pecans (chopped)
3 eggs (beaten)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat together the above filling and pour into a pie shell. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F until set. 45-55mins.


Beet Tops – remember to use them… give them a good wash and separate the majority of the stems as they have oxalic acid in them, which can make your teeth feel funny. Heat a pan with some butter or olive oil and add your tops. Saute the tops and steam them a bit. Drizzle with some apple cider vinegar or other vinegar you like. You can use this as a bed for fried eggs, or a sauce of some kind. You can also prepare the tops with some apples and fried bacon.

Quick update from the garden…

There was no market at Carp on Saturday because of the Carp Fair, so we were back working on our little moveable greenhouse. Had a good crew and made some progress. We just need to move it, secure it, and put the plastic overtop. My brother in law, Jeremy, and father in law (visiting from Denmark) made the crew, with Mathias.



Egg CSA…
If you are interested in subscribing to eggs this fall, we have just 4 or 5 spots left.

Weekly dozen $80
Bi-weekly dozen $40

The next Egg CSA starts on Thursday October 16th and runs for 16 weeks.
E-mail to sign up.


The hens enjoying the parsnip tops.


Finally, the leaves are changing colours and the farmscape has become a beautiful palette of gold and rust. As usual, I start to crave comforting dishes like soups and stews… roasted “root fruits” and apples. This week and next will help you satisfy those comfort cravings. For those members in the bi-weekly Group A, this is your last pick up and I thank you so much for seeking out this local source of organic produce. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and fall to follow… I look forward to growing food for you again next spring!

This week’s share of the harvest:
1 Butternut Squash
2lbs White and Golden Carrots
2lbs Potatoes
1 Bunch Parsnips
2 Red Onions
1 Chinese Cabbage
1 Festival Squash OR 1 Delicata

For all BI-WEEKLY members: 1 pie pumpkin
all other CSA members will get a pie pumpkin in week 16.


Chinese cabbage, which you can use to make any coleslaw or add to stirfry as a green.

How to use this week’s share:

Winter Squash Barsfrom the 2013 season
2 cups winter squash or pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
Beat together in a mixing bowl. Then add:

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Optional: nuts and chocolate chips!
Pour into a lightly greased 11 x 17 inch (28 x 43cm) jelly role pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 mins

Harvest Butternut Stew (absolutely delicious soup!!)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2lb boneless pork (Pork of Yore is ideal)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add pork, onion and garlic and saute until meat is no longer pink. Drain off excess fat if desired.

3 cups chicken broth
salt, rosemary, sage and 1 bay leaf – all to taste
Add, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

1 medium butternut squash (peeled and chopped)
2 medium apples (peeled and chopped)
Add and simmer uncovered until squash and apples are tender, 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

What to do with parsnips….


1. Make a roasted winter vegetable tray. Cut up onion, squash, carrots, beets, parsnips and toss them in olive oil to coat. Bake on a cookie sheet at 370F until they are caramelized and tender.

2. Steam parsnips with carrots and mash with butter, salt & pepper.

3. Maple Glazed Parsnips: Cut the parsnips into chunks, and toss them with olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 400F for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove hot parsnips from oven and toss with 1 Tbsp maple syrup + 1/2 tsp. melted butter + 2 Tbsp. chopped and toasted walnuts.

Quick update from the garden…

First of all, a reminder: This is week 13 of 16, which means the final pick up for week A CSA members is Wednesday October 1st and Week B is Wednesday October 8th.


This week has been a big harvest week in preparation for the approaching frost! As such, in come the onions, truck loads of colourful winter squashes and bin after bin of potatoes. We purposely grew less onions this year so there aren’t many to cure and clean, but we do have plenty of squashes! Check them out… CSA members will get to try a selection for these final 4 CSA pick ups.


I had a friend visit from Toronto to get her hands dirty for a couple days. Together we harvested about 450ft of potatoes. Now I’m busy rinsing them all clean, drying them on racks and returning them to clean bins. Soon we will move them to our secret winter storage location (my grandparents’ basement). We are hoping to have squashes, potatoes and some greens available through to Christmas.


Fall Egg CSA (16 weeks)
In the week following our final Veggie CSA pick up, we will be starting our next 16 week Egg CSA. Space is limited so if you wish to pick up fresh farm eggs throughout the winter, please let us know, so we can reserve your dozen.


Start date: Thursday October 16th
End date: Thursday January 29th
Pick up anytime Thursday – Sunday night
Weekly dozen: $80 ($5/dozen)
Bi-weekly dozen: $40 ($5/dozen)

This week’s share of the harvest:

the final tastes of summer meet hearty fall crops….
1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Acorn Squash
1 pint Beans
1 bunch Kale
1 quart Russian Blue Potatoes
1 Head Lettuce
1 Melon

CSA 13

How to use this week’s share:

Spaghetti Squash
A super easy way to handle this squash is to cut in in half lengthwise and place it face down on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 350F until it sinks a little and is tender. You then let it cool briefly so that you can handle it in your hands (or use oven mits) and scrape out the spaghetti-like flesh.
Now comes the fun part – you can use this spaghetti squash flesh in place of pasta, so you can add a yummy tomato sauce on top or something creamy too. If you want to enjoy the squash as its own side dish, you will see quickly that it barely needs some butter, salt & pepper! … or try a herbed butter on ANY baked/roasted/steamed squash:

Herbed Butter Drizzle
Sage/Basil/Parsley, etc.

Super easy: melt a quantity of butter in a saucepan. Add minced garlic and let it cook a little, but don’t let it get too dark. Stir in your herbs (ideally fresh) and drizzle over your squash.


Acorn Squash
Acorn squashes are a drier squash with a perfect shape for stuffing. To stuff this squash, you cut it in half lengthwise, and place it face down on a cookie sheet in the oven (or steam it if you like on the stovetop) at 350F until the flesh is fairly tender, about 35-40 minutes.
In the mean time, prepare your stuffing…

Mushroom & Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
(for 1 acorn squash)
2 Tbsp.  olive oil
1/4lb (100g) mushrooms
1 small onion
dried thyme
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a skillet, heat oil. Add mushrooms, onion and thyme. Season with salt & pepper. Saute until mushrooms are a golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add rice and broth. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes until the rice is absorbed.

Remove squash from the oven and heat up your broiler. Scoop 2-3 tablespoons of squash from each half and stir into the rice. Divide the mixture between the 2 halves and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Broil for about 2 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.

Sausage and Kale Soup
250g sausage
Remove casing and brown in a soup pot. Drain all but a spoonful of fat. Remove meat.

1 cup onion, chopped
garlic to taste
Saute in reserved fat until soft. Return sausage to soup pot.

4 cups chicken or veg broth
1 cup potatoes (diced)
salt & pepper to taste
Add, bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are soft 10-15 minutes. Beware with the blue that yes, your soup will turn purple!

1 cup milk (or 1 1/2 cup evaporated milk)
1-3 cups kale or other greens you may have
Add and cook until tender. Garnish with some parmesan cheese.

Quick update from the garden

Well look who flew the coop… too bad I missed the last stages before becoming a butterfly. Ah well, we have been enjoying the Monarchs fluttering around us for the past couple weeks on the farm and wish them well in their migration south. David Attenborough says that those who return will the the grandchildren of those who leave.


Blight and some reflections about our big garden:

We’ve had a hard go with blight for the first time this year. It seems to have completely devastated our tomatoes and actually I think I noticed it today on my potatoes. Being an Irish descendant (and citizen) I found myself this week reading about the history of blight in Ireland and the Great Famine of the mid 1800s. It is hard to imagine that at that time, the poor farmers (the Irish Catholics) lived on potatoes as it was the only crop that they could grow in quantities enough to sustain them on their small plots. Men could eat 60 potatoes a day, women 40, and children 25. With blight destroying their potato crop (and the poor reaction from England), Ireland lost 25% of its population to starvation and emigration.

It had me thinking how incredibly lucky we are to have such a selection of locally grown fresh food each week in the CSA. Melons and exotic Mexican tomatillos… we’re neither living nor depending on just potatoes to sustain us. I also recall a story from my grandmother’s sister’s visit from Riga, during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. The only thing she wished to bring back to Riga was fruit for her children. These stories are not from so long ago… and being raised by new immigrants to Canada who lived such different lives before coming here, I feel constantly reminded at how fortunate we are to live amongst such bountifulness! Speaking of bountifulness….


This week’s share of the harvest:
1 quart Tomatillos (check out last week’s recipe for Salsa Verde)
~2lbs of Potatoes
1 bunch Kale
1 bag Beets
1 Melon
1 pint Beans (choose green, yellow or mixed)
1 Eggplant
1 Zucchini

How to use this weeks share:

A couple years back I was visiting my Bulgarian cousin in Quebec City and she prepared this yummy eggplant dip for us to have with bread, crackers and wine. Similar to Baba Ghanoush… and you can use it as a dip for other veggies (i.e. carrots) or spread it on a sandwich.

Aroa’s Bulgarian Kiopoolu
1 eggplant
1 tomato, sliced
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
tsp. sugar
chopped parsley

Slice your eggplant into 2 halves. Bake open face down on a cookie sheet at 350F until soft and then let it cool to handle. Scrape out the flesh into a bowl. Add the sliced tomato, garlic, salt, a little bit of olive oil, and the tsp. of sugar. Blend. Add some chopped parsley before serving.

Beets and Goat’s Milk Cheese
from our Danish cookbook, “den kaerlige koekken” = “our loving kitchen”, which claims that beets and goat’s milk cheese are a match made in heaven. It IS excellent!

4 small beets
100g goat’s milk cheese
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. sage

Cook the beets until tender, about 30-40 minutes (maybe less depending on the size). Slip the skins off and cut into fairly thin slices – about 3-4 slices per beet. Layer the slices with goat’s milk cheese so you make little stacks: beet, cheese, beet, cheese, beet. Stick a toothpick in each stack and place on an oven proof dish in the oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Combine the dressing of oil, vinegar and sage and drizzle over the beets before serving.

Love fresh earthy beets...

Love fresh earthy beets…

Kale and Potato Soup

1 large bunch kale (chopped)
Steam and set aside.

1 Tbsp butter
1 large onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
Melt butter in soup pot. Add onion and saute until golden. Add garlic and saute another minute.

2 large potatoes – or a few small (diced)
2 cups hot water or broth
Add, bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are soft. Remove half the cooked potatoes. Puree the rest with the cooking liquid and return to soup pot. Return reserved potatoes and steamed kale to soup pot.

3 cups water or broth
salt & pepper to taste
Add along with milk or cream if desired. Heat gently and serve.

Quick update from the garden…
Check out our Monarch friend:


This week in the CSA we have one of our trial items: tomatillos. In case you are not familiar with them, tomatillos A.K.A Husk Tomatoes, are green tomato like fruits inside a husk casing that resembles a lantern. They look like, and are related to ground cherries except that tomatillos are larger, green, and not sweet. They originated in Mexico and are used for fresh and cooked green salsa or Salsa Verde. A little history: The Aztecs domesticated the tomatillo and the fruit dates back to at least 800 B.C. The Aztec word tomatl means something “round and plump”.


If you are interested in whole organic chicken, your last chance to get one is next Wednesday September 10th. We are having the pick up start towards the end of the CSA pick up. You can read more info about the chickens on our website: and click the tab “Organic Chickens”.
Price is $5.50/lb and the weights will be 6-8lbs

This week’s share of the harvest:
1 pint mixed beans
2 lbs red potatoes
1 white onion
1 quart tomatillos
1 bulb garlic
1 eggplant
1 box carrots
1 pepper – green or red

How to use this week’s share:

Salsa Verde – (use your tomatillos)

Use salsa as a dip, a side for meat or with any Mexican style dish.

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, thoroughly washed
  • 1/2 medium white onion, quartered lengthwise and halved crosswise
  • 2 jalapenos, stems removed
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • Juice of 1 lime (2 tablespoons)

    Salsa Verde batch from last summer

    Salsa Verde batch from last summer

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. When pan begins to smoke, add tomatillos, onion, jalapenos and garlic. Blister vegetables, turning frequently, until blackened in places but still firm, 5 minutes.
  1. Transfer vegetables to a food processor along with cilantro, salt, and sugar and pulse until very finely chopped.
  1. Transfer to a small saucepan and add chicken broth. Simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 10 minutes.

Eggplant Burgers – MUST TRY THESE!

eggplant burgWhisk together:
2 Tbsp oil
2 tsp. wine or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt & pepper

1 Eggplant: Slice into 1/4 inch slices. Brush with the oil mixture above and BBQ until tender. Brush as they BBQ. You can also do them a pan. Cook them about 5-10 minutes on the BBQ, flipping them half way.

8 slices provolone, Gouda, or swiss cheese (or any cheese)
2 tomatoes sliced thin
Roasted Pepper (BBQ your pepper until slighly blackened then put into a pot to steam. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skin off)
8-16 leaves of Basil

Create your Eggplant burger stacks: eggplant, cheese, eggplant, pepper, basil, eggplant, cheese, eggplant.

Eat on crusty roles!


Hard to capture in the evening light, but these are the burgers once stacked and just melting a bit on the BBQ before serving.

Garden Pasta Salad – use up the veg in your fridge… good lunch item

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Whisk together.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil
Whisky in oil gradually. Stir in basil and set aside.

4 ounces uncooked pasta of your choice
Cook pasta. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Place in large bowl and toss with 1/3 of the dressing (prevents it from clumping all together and the pasta absorbs flavour).

2 cups fresh vegetables i.e. peppers, summer squash, cucumber (chopped)
3 medium tomatoes (cut in thin wedges)
1/2 cup olives (sliced, optional)
Layer ingredients on top of pasta in the the following order: vegetables, tomatoes, olives. Top with remaining dressing.

1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil (loosely packed)
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
Sprinkle on top.

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
or feta cheese (crumbled)
Sprinkle on top. Toss lightly before serving. Tastes great the day after.


Quick update from the garden…
Well, the Monarch caterpillar has formed the chrysalis now, which is rather exciting!

Monarch C

Something we’ve also noticed is that the birds are starting to form flocks. I’ve seen some geese already beginning their migration south. Our farm is Grand Central in the spring and fall – we are so close to the river that the birds all come up to our and the neighbouring fields to feed during the day and then head down to the river for what I can only assume is some kind of bird party! I often think about how, if I weren’t farming (or something similar), these subtle changes in the seasons and wildlife around me would go unnoticed. You have to be immersed in your environment, and paying attention to notice these details, and farming certainly forces this. The matters in life, (must pick up more toothpaste, remember to switch the laundry…) seem so trivial when I watch these creatures around us and their survival missions.

This week’s share of the harvest:
1 bunch Chard
1 box mixed Potatoes
1 box Tomatoes
1 box Carrots
1 box French Filet Beans
1 Pepper
1 Watermelon

farm shop

Watermelon & Mint Fresca (Gwyneth Paltrow’s)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup honey
1 small bunch mint
1 small seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into cubes (~5 cups)
Combine water, honey & mint in a saucepan and bring to boil. Pull out mint and discard. Let syrup cool to room temp.
While syrup is cooling, puree the watermelon in batches then pass through a fine mesh strainer and discard contents of strainer. Combine watermelon juice with the honey syrup in a pitcher. Stir and serve over ice. Serve immediately or store for up to 1 day.


Melon Smoothie
2 cups melon (pureed in a blender)
1 1/2 cup plain yogourt
1 cup milk
2-4 Tbsp. honey or sugar to taste
Blend everything and serve (you can substitute the yogourt for more milk or use almond milk etc.)

Veggies with Miso-Almond Sauce (Gwenyth Paltrow’s)
Any veggie! Great on beans or gently steamed chard… with this sauce on top:
2 Tbsp. miso paste
2 Tbsp. almond butter
1/4 cup boiling water
coarse sea salt
chili flakes
Whisk together the miso, almond butter, and boiling water. Add salt and chili flakes to taste. Drizzle sauce over steamed/roasted veggies. Simple and extremely delicious… that umami flavour, without the MSG!

Bruschetta with Grilled Bread
1 loaf french bread (sliced)
Grill each side of the bread in the oven on a baking sheet.

Tomatoes – cherry or otherwise
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (diced)
1/2 cup green olives (diced)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 Tbsp. lemon peel
1 Tbsp capers or dill pickles
6 cloves garlic
Combine and spoon over grilled bread.

Quick update from the garden…
We have all but 1 fall planting in the garden and it’s a big relief. It has been tough to do so between all the rain we are getting. It’s good to get the planting in so that the coming rains can help the germination. Cool, damp, weather… not great for ripening and it seems to be reducing production on the summer squash plants already, but most of the plants including melons seem to be coming along nicely still. It’s very much a jungle out there. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all fares out. We do have some tomatoes and potatoes appearing in the CSA this week…!

Always some old finds in the garden...

Always some old finds in the garden as I dig along…

Planting of spinach, will help from Marlo of course.

Planting spinach, with help from Marlo of course.

If you haven’t seen the photo on Facebook yet here it is…
A lone volunteer Milkweed in the garden and a Monarch caterpillar holding temporary residence!

2014-08-17 16.50.39

This week’s share of the harvest:

1 pint Tomatoes
1 quart heirloom Beans
1 box Potatoes (tiny ones in pints, larger in quarts)
1 English cucumber
1 Pepper
1 Onion
1 bunch Beets
1 medium Pattypan Squash

TRADE BIN: This week we’ll have a trade bin with a few items that you can trade for anything in your CSA share except the single pepper, single onion and single pattypan. I have a few zucchinis out that you can trade a pepper or onion or pattypan if you like. This gives you a little bit of extra choice this week.

How to use this week’s share:

Beet Skillet (Simply in Season)
4-6 medium beets with fresh greens
Cut greens off beets leaving 1 inch of greens on the beets. Place beets in a pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (15-30 minutes). While the beets cook, remove the stem from the beet greens. Chop the stems in 1 inch pieces. Chop greens separately. Drain the cooked beets and rinse with cold water. When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and cut the beets into slices. In a saucepan saute the stems in 2 Tbsp. butter until tender. Add greens and saute until bright green and tender. Add sliced beets and heat through. Then stir in the following and serve:
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 tsp. ginger room (peeled and minced)
1-2 tsp. honey

Tomato & Beet Salad (Martha Stewart)

  • 1 pound scrubbed small beets
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, preferably heirloom
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Seal beets in a foil packet. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, 75 minutes. When cool, rub beets with a paper towel to remove skins; slice. Slice large tomatoes, and halve cherry tomatoes, then arrange with beets on a platter. Top with feta, cilantro, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

martha beet salad

Southwestern Potatoes (Simply in Season) 2 – 3 servings
2 cups potatoes
Cook potatoes in boiling water 5-10 minutes, until just done. Drain and set aside
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup corn
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Melt butter over low heat. Add remaining ingredients. Mix in potatoes and stir gently. Cook until heated through ~3 minutes.

Other ideas for preparing new potatoes:
– Try the classic boiled potato with butter and some chopped herbs on top.
– Boil the potatoes the day before and let cool. The next day, slice them and fry them with butter salt and pepper.
– Try taking boiled and cooled potatoes, frying them and adding egg and bacon to make a farmer’s breakfast dish.
– Add potatoes to a quiche.

Cucumber Salad:
3 cups cucumber sliced
1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced

Option 1: 3/4 cup plain yogourt and 1 Tbsp. fresh mint or dill
Option 2: 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice, 2 Tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. sugar.

Quick update from the garden…
Well, we got some more rain! It came at the right time. Things out there were looking dry and we were on the verge of irrigating some of the plants that are under plant mat. We are still waiting for our tomatoes to ripen. The cooler weather has certainly slowed that down but they are coming – there are a few orange cherry tomatoes ready.


Next crop of eggplants for CSA in another 2 weeks or so. There were many bees buzzing around and on the flowers.


Potatoes nearly there, keep hanging on!

The latest urgent chore is getting our fall plantings in to keep under the greenhouse throughout early winter. I’m thinking it’s already a bit too late in the season and am worried that with the cool weather already, the plantings may not mature in time for the frost. We managed to prep a couple beds before the rain came so when it dries a bit we can finally get our kales out. Spinach and spring mixes will follow. These crops like cold weather so they may do OK. All an experiment, so we’ll see how it turns out!


Two beds of soil prepped for kale. Still need to add the amendment – compost!

The Garlic Fest on Saturday was another great success. Busy day at market, lots sold and plenty of garlic made its way home to customers’ garlic keepers and basements. We have garlic braids, made from “super jumbo” sized garlic, available ranging from $20-$45 if anyone is interested. They are decorating the farm shop for now.


Garlic braids – super jumbo sized garlic available in Marino, Korean Purple and Khabar Purple Stripe

This week’s share of the harvest:
1 big Eggplant
1 bag Green Beans
1 box Carrots OR 1 bunch Beets
Choice of herbs – we have basil, thyme, savory & sage
1 Cucumber
2 Peppers
1 Garlic – variety “Korean Purple”
1 bunch Onion
1 Zucchini



Last week’s “Hearty Lentil Stew” recipe… Did anyone try this? It is so easy and super delicious!

How to use this week’s share:

This week’s share is begging for ratatouille, which is super easy, tasty and very healthy! Quantities of each ingredient is not all that important, so you can adjust as you see fit.

4 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup chopped eggplant, with skin on
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 cup diced green pepper
1 cup diced zucchini
3/4 cup diced tomatoes, skins off
fresh basil
fresh parsley

Heat oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic, 5-7 minutes until the onions are caramelized. Add eggplant and thyme and cook about 5 minutes until the eggplant is tender. Add a bit of water or broth if it gets too dry. Add peppers and zucchini and cook another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil and parsley and cook another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

You can also saute onions and then add the rest in layers in a pot and cook on a very low heat for a long time and let is cook in its own juices. 

Baba Ganoush – an eggplant dip you can spread on bread or serve with pita bread

2 medium eggplants or 1 large (about 2 pounds or 900 grams)
1/4 cup (60 ml) tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil, optional

Place eggplant(s) on a baking sheet and prick with fork several times. Broil 2mins on all sides – watch them carefully. Then roast them at 375F for about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes until you can handle them.
In the meantime, combine tahini, lemon juice, cumin, garlic and salt.
Split the eggplants and scrape out the inside. Blend with the tahini mixture. Stir in parsley and drizzle with olive oil.

Stacked Garden Quesadillas

1/2 onion (sliced)
Saute in a pan ~1-2 mins.

1 clove garlic (minced)
4 oz. mushrooms (sliced thin)
2 carrots (julienned)
1 zucchini or a few pattypans
1 sweet pepper
Add and cook 5 mins until tender. Salt & pepper to taste.

12 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Assemble 4 stacks on a baking sheet: start with a tortilla, top with a spoonful of the veg mix, then cheese, then another tortilla. Repeat layers ending with a 3rd tortilla. Place stacks in oven at 400F for 10-15 mins until cheese is melted and stacks are hot. Cut into quarters and serve warm with salsa, sour cream, avocado, fresh cilantro. YUM!

Chicken Cacciatore
3lbs chicken pieces
4 cups tomatoes (chopped)
1 pepper (cut into strips)
2 onions (sliced thin)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano (chopped or 1 tsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh basil (chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup mushrooms (chopped, optional)
Combine in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over pasta or noodles.

Quick update from the garden…
This past week has more or less been focused on processing the garlic. In the last post, we had harvested all 2500 or so garlic and then had them hanging in our hay mow to cure. The curing process takes about a week and then the garlic is usually dry enough to be cleaned up, trimmed, and graded. This does take quite a bit of time when care is taken for each bulb. In the end though, there is beautiful pungent bulbs of glory that will keep for months and months!

Monarch butterfly in the burdock at the edge of the garden.

Monarch butterfly in the burdock at the edge of the garden.

Family helping clean garlic.

Family helping clean garlic.

Garlic cleaned and awaiting further processing.

Garlic cleaned and awaiting further processing.

More progress has been made with the greenhouse and the structure is nearly complete. This greenhouse is actually a mobile greenhouse. It is about 20ft. wide and 50ft. long. It is set on skis so that it can be dragged back and forth as necessary over a 100ft x 20ft garden space. We applied for a grant for this greenhouse so that we can extend our season by growing late fall greens including spinach, kale, and spring mix. The idea is to plant these crops now (which we will be doing later this week or next) and allow them to mature by the time the hard frosts come. Then, we drag this greenhouse over top of the planted area and leave it unheated. The greenhouse will protect these cold hardy crops from wind, rain, and snow. More details on this to come.

Progress so far.

Progress so far.

This week’s share of the harvest!
1 bag spring mix
1 bunch rainbow carrots
1 Florence fennel
1 box pattypan squash
2 zucchini
1 bag mixed beans (purple and yellow!)
1 garlic – this week’s variety “Russian Red”

Ideas on how to use this week’s share…

Potato Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin (from Pinterest!)
2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound (sub in your pattypans)
4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Slice thin the squash and potatoes. Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl.

Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns. Scatter on the fresh basil, if using.
squash gratin
Roasted Summer Vegetables
4-5 cups mixed roasted veggies (i.e. squash, fennel, onion, potatoes, beans, peppers, carrots, etc.)

Seasoning ideas: fresh basil, fresh cilantro, fresh thyme, chili powder, dried thyme, Italian dressing or a vinaigrette dressing, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard.

Important seasoning: 1 Tbsp olive oil (or more if you like), salt & pepper, and GARLIC!

Cut into bite size pieces (think: potatoes thin, squash thicker so that they cook at the same rate). Toss in a combination of the seasoning ideas and spread thin on a baking sheet. Bake at a preheated oven at 425F for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. 

Hearty Lentil Stew
4 cups water
1 cup dried lentils
1 cup fresh or canned tomatoes
4 large carrots
2 onions
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

Cook together until lentils and carrots are soft. Approx. 40-45 mins. If you have fresh parsley, you can stir some in at the end and season with salt & pepper. Garnish with grated swiss cheese (or any cheese you may have).