Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving fallout

A close inspection of the fields this morning showed that we weren't the only ones feasting over the Thanksgiving holiday. The voles had a field day. We lost at least half of our radicchio and castlefranco chicories, as well as almost all of our remaining beets. We didn't even bother to check on the carrots, but I'm sure their fairing only a little better. Traps have been set and we're set to order more as well to see if we can put a dent in this year's exploding population.

The frost did minor damage on some of the chicories but most everything else we were hoping would make it through did. This week's share has a bit of kale, that should be sweetened by last weeks freeze, as well as on or another chicory (we were hunting a bit for ones that weren't already snacked on by voles), and new for this year: brussels sprouts and root parsley.

The brussels will need a little cleaning. Trim the butt ends and peel a leaf or two back. If you want a quick way to prepare them I like to cut them in half, pan sear them in olive oil and then sprinkle with a little balsamic and water in the pan, cover and let them steam in the juices for six or so minutes until they are just cooked, but not too soft.

The root parsley can be used like most other roots. It's great in a soup or flavoring a stuffing, or something like that. Think parsnip, only parsley flavored. These are very small samples, as the first seeding this summer didn't germinate and so we had to reseed. I didn't think these would do anything, but our wonderful volunteer, Lindsay, weeded them when they were young and they took off. These are also a vole favorite, and the big ones have mostly been pre-eaten, leaving us with the smaller sorts. Usually the tops are still intact through frost, but the very hard freeze we had last week softened them up so we took them off.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Not all vegetables from the farm, but pretty much all vegetables, with a healthy dose of wheat as well in the forms of gravy, stuffing and a delicious post dinner pie crust. We're hoping to have brussels for the shares soon (these were from Sauvie Island Organics, as well as the potatoes and squash). The stuffing featured the celeriac tops, carrots, and leeks from the farm.

Hope you all had great Thanksgiving dinners and we'll see you next week!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Looking back


We're busy planning next year's crops right now. Yesterday I was solo on the farm and forgot to take a photo in the rush of getting the vegetables harvested and packed. I also forgot to post to the blog so today you get an old photo and a late post. The photo above is the field before we started.


Here's photo from this summer. The building has changed, the fence is gone, and we've taken out much of the sod and replaced it with vegetables.


And, we expanded into the field that used to be fenced. Next year we're not really planning on expanding, although we're considering adding a few other ways to get our product, other than just the CSA. These are photos from September of this year; not quite current, but like I said, I forgot to take photos yesterday.

Next week is Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, probably because I love eating and it really lends itself well to that activity. To make things simpler for ourselves, and for our members who also likely have crazy schedules on Thanksgiving week, we take the entire week off from harvesting and delivering and we leave everyone time to just worry about preparing food. Happy Thanksgiving, we'll be back in two weeks.

Monday, November 15, 2010



Celeriac is new this week so I want to give a few notes on it, but first I have to say that I'm really excited that folks are appreciating the chicories and are posting on how to they're using it. Right on! I love hearing how the shares are getting eaten. Chicories are relatively new for me. I got interested in eating them, and thus growing them about 5 or so years ago and once you start looking there's a huge amount of info that starts flowing in.

Back to celeriac, this is not quite as new to me, although it's not one that most people around here have grown up with (including myself). Basically it's similar to a potato, or maybe a turnip, but it has a flavor like celery. I really like to make mashed celery with potatoes. Think mashed potatoes, only substitute celeriac for about 1/2 of the potatoes, excellent! It makes excellent gratins, soups, and salads. We're also giving you the greens, which is even less common. These are very similar to the celery we've been giving out, good for cooking, not so good for fresh eating. A number of years ago a Greek farmer came to visit the farm I was working on and we happened to be harvesting celeriac that day. She was outraged that we were trimming off all of the greens. "You can cook those," she said. In her honor, we're leaving you the greens, in case you want to cook them.

One more note on the celeriac: it's a bit smaller than we'd like and I believe we stuffed it a bit closer together in the bed than we should have. Also, the field rodents love it, and they seem to love the biggest heads best, eating the interiors until there is just a thin shell of the root holding up the stalks and leaves. It's an skill that they hone in the beets and carrots and use just as impressively in the celeriac. We've finally put out some traps in hopes of reducing their damage but we're too late for the biggest heads.

So as not to ignore the other items in the shares, we also have a lovely leek, another head of the escarole bionda (yay, more chicory), and a few more Hakurei turnips. The turnips were an afterthought in our plantings this fall, and they've come to replace the two seedings of parnsips which both basically failed to germinate earlier in the year. We're very sad about the parsnips, but the turnips have been quite nice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Purple Peacock and Tres Fine


Today's share is similar to Monday's but there are a few variations. First, we're substituting the purple peacock broccoli for the kale that was in Monday's share. I'm not a huge broccoli fan, but this broccoli kale cross is really tasty and the variations in the color and shape are beautiful, with cut leaves, and everything from deep purple, to green, to white. I'm hoping we'll continue to harvest side shoots occasionally from this unique broccoli.

We also ran short on the sugarloaf so some of you are getting the tres fine frisée instead. We do have more sugarloaf planted, but it wasn't quite ready. The rodents are loving the chicories, so it's a bit of a race to get to them first but with a little luck we'll have those in a few weeks. The photo below is the frisée, with the finely cut leaves, next to the immature sugarloaf.


We have them covered with floating row cover to protect them from the deer (who also love them) but it actually creates haven for the rodents. Actually the canopy is so dense they don't need much more shelter. The cover also helps prevent frost damage, not that it's actually been that cold in the fields yet.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Today's share brings another new item, sugarloaf chicory, also know as pan di zucchero. These tight, heavy heads are similar to the escarole we gave out earlier, but crunchier and tighter, with more of the desirable blanched (white) ribs. One way I've eaten them, which is very tasty, is to slice them in half and put them on a pan, face up, drizzle with olive oil and broil them so they are a bit cooked, then toss some coarse salt on and go at it. Also in the share are a few carrots, nantes types, a bit of rainbow lacinato (kale), and a few sprigs of sage, which would be perfect for sage tea with honey, or fried in butter as a topping on pasta. We're in the office this afternoon, continuing to plan for next year. If you have any ideas for us, now's a good time to let us know about them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Garlic Planted!

Once again, Thursday's share more or less matches Monday's, so the more exciting news today is that it was warm and dry and we got all the garlic planted for next season. Two days before the new moon is considered to be good direct seeding time, and this fall the weather has certainly been good just before the new moons. With a little help from Kji's cousin we managed to prep four beds after harvest and plant about 1400 cloves from our two varieties, Siberian and Chesnook Red. Looks like it's going to get wet and cold again so I'm super happy to have that last fall field chore done before we head inside for more planning next week - after harvests of course.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Southern Special

Collard greens and turnips with the greens are both in the share this week, along with a bit of celery and the last of the peppers, which are still green. Collard greens are one of my favorites in the fall, especially after a good frost (which we haven't had yet) to sweeten them up. These greens are best cooked, and I'm someone who likes them cut into ribbons, and boiled with a bit of tamari for a long time, at least 15 minutes if not an hour. They have a few holes, but you don't have to eat the holes if you don't like them. The turnip greens are also tasty, and don't take nearly as long to cook. The turnips themselves are sweet and tender, and would make a great soup with the celery. The celery is mostly for seasoning soup or beans or some other cooked dish. It has a lot of flavor, but is probably a little tough for eating raw. We're finally harvesting the last of the peppers after giving up any hope that they will color on the plants. They're still green, which makes this a very green share.