Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Monday, June 28, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 10

Roots Farm CSA
Week 10: June 29 & July 2

This Week:
-Melons!: Sun Jewel Asian & Honey Yellow Honeydew
-Blackberries & Blueberries!
-Bolero Carrots
-Famosa Savoy Cabbage or Bright Lights Swiss Chard or Winterbor/Red Russian Kale
-Blue Coco & Marvel of Venice Pole Beans or Kennebec White Potatoes
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Magda, Jackpot Zucchini, Soleil Zucchini, Trombicino
-Cucumbers: Suhyo Long, Mid-East Prolific, & Lemon
-Eggplant!: Hansel (purple), Gretel (white), Fairytale (streaked), & Pingtung Long (lavender)
-Tomatoes: Big Beef Slicers, Juliet Romas, Golden Rave Roma, Black Cherries
-Herbs: Basil (Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple) & Parsley

On the Farm . . .
Well, summer is finally here. We’ve had sweet corn come in and now it’s time for melons and berries, eggplants and tomatoes. It’s interesting to watch the seasons roll along. The greens and roots are beginning to peter out while the fruits are really beginning to hit their stride. This is the earliest we’ve ever had eggplant, by weeks! I’m not sure if it’s the new hoop houses or the fact that we didn’t have a late freeze or perhaps that we seeded a little earlier than usual or maybe that these eggplant are minis and therefore ready earlier, but for whatever reason, eggplant is in! And the peppers are coming right along, looking to also be earlier than ususal! Yay! Unfortunately, the tomatoes look a bit unhappy and we’ve really been struggling to get any this year. First caterpillars, then blossom end rot, and now something is causing the leaves to die back in a way that looks like bad news to me. We’re continuing the investigation; in the meantime, please pardon any tomato shortages and eat another slice of melon.

Most of the eggplant appearing in your baskets this week are minis--they’re full grown at 4 inches! Hansel, Gretel, & Fairytale are all supposed to be bitter-free with great flavor and few seeds. Even the names are adorable, not to mention the cute little eggplants themselves. And Pingtung Long is a long-time favorite of ours. An Asian eggplant, I find them sweet, tender, and delicious. Great in a stir-fry or on pizza. Enjoy these summery treats as we welcome their early arrival in our baskets!

Weekend Workday, July 10
Mark your calendars now, our next weekend workday is coming soon! Not this weekend, but the one after, we’ll be hosting another Saturday workday out on the farm. We’ll be out here 8am-noon again, and we’ll see if we can find some shadier work for the next-to-noon time cause goodness knows it’s been hot lately! We’ve got weeding to do, trellising, garlic to process, and much more! Get here early to enjoy the day while it’s still fresh and cool out. See you soon!

Are here! I’m always excited about melon time. The fact that sprawling, delicate-looking little squash-like vines can produce large round balls of sugary-sweet goodness is nothing less than miraculous. Wow. This year, we’re growing six different kinds of melons, two of which are coming out this week. The Sun Jewels are oblong, yellow-&-white-striped melons that have a sweet, crunchy, white flesh somewhat reminiscent of Asian pears. They’re delicious and I highly recommend them. The Honey Yellow Honeydews are a new addition this year, and I must say I’m impressed. They’re such rich, round yellow-skinned melons out there in the field. And our taste-test today reveals them to be extraordinarily sweet, with a slightly firm pink inner flesh. Who knew honeydews could be pink inside and yellow outside? Not this gal. Enjoy these new additions to your baskets and know there are more to come. STORAGE: If your melon seems a bit short of ripe, keep it at room temperature for a few days or until there is a sweet smell coming from the stem end. Once the melon ripens, keep it in the fridge. Most of these melons will keep refrigerated for at least a week. Cut melons, however, should be covered in plastic wrap or sealed in an airtight container and eaten ASAP. I’ve got some melon recipes for you below if you decide to go beyond fresh slices and into melon cuisine . .


Ginger Melon Sorbet
1 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch cubes (~ 4 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (~ 1/2 lemon)
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
fresh mint leaves (optional)

Combine the melon, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and puree just until smooth. Add the ginger and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. (If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a tray or zip-top bag and freeze it on a flat surface in your freezer. Remove the frozen mixture from the freezer and let it thaw out, then return it to the blender or food processor and process again until smooth. Repeat this process at least once more (two times total does the trick) or until the mixture is very smooth and blended with no separation. Spoon into individual glasses or serving dishes and garnish with mint leaves. Makes 4 servings. This is the perfect celebration of the cantaloupe—sweet and gingery, wholly refreshing, and a great palate cleanser after a heavy meal. Don’t skip the ginger; it makes this recipe shine! And also don’t overdo the ginger, or your sorbet becomes more of a digestive tonic than a dessert (believe me, I made this mistake--more is not necessarily better). Farmer taste-test approved! From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Orange-Melon Juice
1 1/2 cups seeded orange pulp
1 cup cubed melon, such as cantaloupe or honeydew
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender or juicer until smooth. Makes 2-4 servings. From The Joy of Cooking.

Avocado and Cantaloupe Salad with Creamy French Dressing
6 cups baby arugula leaves
1/4 cantaloupe - peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and cubed
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Place the arugula leaves into a salad bowl, and sprinkle with the cantaloupe and avocado pieces. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, paprika, salt, mustard, vinegar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper together. Slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil while whisking rapidly until the salad dressing is thick and creamy. Lightly dress the salad and then sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve. Makes 4 servings. Cook's note: you could shorten the prep time by using bottled French Dressing. Baby spinach could be substituted for the arugula, but other greens take away from the subtle flavors and creamy textures of the avocado and cantaloupe. Enjoy! From

Cantaloupe & Cardamom
1 medium cantaloupe (3-3 1/2 lbs), cut into 1-inch cubes (~4 cups)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (freshly ground is best!)
1-2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (~1 medium lime)
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes 4-6 servings. Cardamom brings to cantaloupe a certain sophistication that will dazzle you. It’s preferable to grind the cardamom fresh using a mortar and pestle (you can get fresh cardamom at specialty ethnic food stores and I really recommend it!), but any ground cardamom will do. Make an elegant dessert by serving it over vanilla ice cream. For a sweeter version, add 1 tsp maple syrup. Enjoy! From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

For more recipes and ideas on using your melons, click here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 9

Roots Farm CSA
Week 9: June 22 & 25

This Week:

-Kennebec White Potatoes
-Famosa Savoy Cabbage
-Carrots: Napoli, & Bolero
-Blue Coco Pole Beans
-Spring Treat Sweet Corn
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Magda, Flying Saucer, Jackpot Zucchini, Cocozelle Zucchini, Soleil Zucchini, Trombicino
-Cucumbers: Suhyo Long, Mid-East Prolific, & Lemon
-Herbs: Basil (Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple)
-Blackberries & Blueberries!

Happy Summer Solstice!
It’s here--the longest day of the year. The days have waxed as long as they’re going to get and we’re turning the corner towards days beginning to shorten up again. Wow! Who can believe it’s mid-June already? Not only that, but we’re hitting almost the middle of the CSA as well. We are 9 weeks in, with only 10 weeks left to go. Hope you’re enjoying things so far!

In the Field . . .
Seems like the 10-foot line has worked to keep the deer out--yay! I’m glad we didn’t have to resort to installing electric fencing. Now it’s just a matter of implementing the new approach on our largest garden fence. 32 more poles and hundreds of feet of string, here we come! Also in the field, the tomatoes started turning color all of a sudden last week, so you may see a few Roma tomatoes appearing in your baskets this week. And the melons and eggplants are moving towards ripe, so they’ll be coming soon as well. In the realm of potatoes, this is the last week we’ll be offering them, so savor your fresh potatoes while they last. It’s also the last of the cabbage, though if you just can’t get enough of that, we may have some extra at the farmer’s market this weekend.

Beaverdam SlowDown
Our big dinners this weekend went great! There were flash-roasted zucchini rolls with peach brown butter or sweetgrass cheese; chard salads with a blackberry vinaigrette; cool cucumber soups with dill and carrot-walnut oil; quick summer pickles with blushing green tomatoes, sweet onions, blue coco pole beans, Detroit dark red beets, summer squash, and fresh melons; fried creamy Red Mule grit cakes with roasted Woodland Gardens heirloom tomatoes and Roots Farm sweet corn and caramelized onion succotash, and deconstructed blueberry-peach cobblers with ginger-lemon biscuits and fresh cream. Truly a feast. Join us for the next one, coming sometime this fall. We’ll keep you posted . . .

Sweet corn is in! I think this may be the earliest we’ve ever had sweet corn and it truly is amazing. This kind is a new variety we’re growing this year called Spring Treat. And so it is! Hope you enjoy it! I recommend eating it tonight since the sugars in sweet corn begin to convert to starches as soon as the corn is picked. The sooner you eat it, the sweeter it will be. If you’re not going to eat it immediately, refrigerate it ASAP with the husks still on. Corn can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, grilled, roasted, in salads, soups, salsas, fritters, pancakes, and more! It also freezes well. Either way, when you DO go to eat it, you’re probably gonna find a little worm in the tip of the ear, gnawing away at that sweet corn goodness. This is a corn ear worm. They’re fairly time-intensive to control organically, so our usual approach is simply to let them be. They usually only damage the very tip of the corn and you can cut that part away before cooking it. As one farmer says, “a sharp knife is the most effective organic approach to corn ear worms.” If you’ve got chickens at home, feed the worms to them for some extra protein. As a note: some of you got your corn on Friday, so that was your first corn installment. You’ll have to wait until our next variety gets ready before you see it in the baskets again . . .


Grilled Corn on the Cob

Here are 2 basic methods for grilling corn on the cob—one in the husk and one with butter in foil:

Husk method: Pull husk back on corn without removing it. Remove the silk, then pull the husks back up over the corn. Twist the top of the husks to help close them. Soak corn in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes, then put onto a hot grill. Grill for about 20-25 minutes, turning the corn so that each side cooks evenly. Be careful when opening the husks—they’re hot! Serve with butter.

Foil method: Remove husks and silk from the corn and soak the cobs in water for about 5 minutes. Smear about ½ Tbsp butter on a square of aluminum foil, then place a cob onto the foil and wrap tightly. Put foil packets onto hot grill and cook for about 20 minutes, turning the corn so that each side cooks evenly. Open carefully and enjoy!

Sweet Corn Soup
1 ½ Tbsp butter
1 large onion, peeled and julienned
½ Tbsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
6 ears of sweet corn, shucked and corn cut from cob
1 ½ cups cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 Tbsp chopped chives

Melt butter in a large stockpot; add onions, salt, black pepper, sugar, and pepper flakes. Saute onions, stirring occasionally, until moisture has evaporated (thus concentrating their sweetness), about 20 minutes. Add corn, cream, and milk; bring to a boil and cook another 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and puree in a blender in small batches or use an immersion blender. Pass through a medium-fine sieve, season to taste, and reheat. Sprinkle each bowl with chives. Makes 4 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

Sweet Corn Risotto
4 ears sweet corn
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
½ cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Cut kernels off corn cobs. Place cobs in a heavy saucepan with 6 cups water; bring to a simmer and cook cobs 20-25 minutes. Strain; return water to pan. Cut kernels off cobs and add kernels back to the water; return to a simmer. After 2 minutes, remove half the kernels and set them aside. Continue cooking remaining kernels until tender, about 10 minutes. Puree water-corn mixture in a blender, then strain it through a fine-meshed sieve and set aside in a large bowl. Heat oil in the same pan the corn was cooked in. Add onion, sweet pepper, garlic, and rice; sauté for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low; add pureed corn mixture one cup at a time, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Continue to add pureed mixture only until rice is barely tender—you may or may not need to add all of it. Add reserved corn, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until cheese melts. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 small servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

Sweet Corn Cheddar Pancakes
2/3 cup cornmeal
½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp corn oil
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 Tbsp finely chopped green onions
1-2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
½-1 cup cooked corn kernels
Additional corn oil, for cooking pancakes
Spicy tomato salsa
Sour cream

Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in bowl. Mix egg, buttermilk, and corn oil in another bowl; stir in cheese, green onions, cilantro, and corn kernels. Mixture can stand at room temperature up to an hour. Heat a griddle or large, heavy skillet over medium flame several minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and brush cooking surface with corn oil. Cook pancakes in batches: ladle batter onto hot griddle, ¼ cup per pancake. Cook until first side is golden brown and pancakes have set well on the bottom. Flip pancakes and cook on the other side until done. Serve hot with salsa and sour cream. Makes 10-12 pancakes. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

And if these recipes don’t suit your fancy, we’ve got several more online. Click here for more recipes. Enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 8

Roots Farm CSA
Week 8: June 15 & 18

This Week:
-Pontiac Red Potatoes
-Famosa Savoy Cabbage
-Carrots: Napoli, & Bolero
-Beets: Detroit Dark Red
-Astro Arugula
-Blue Coco Pole Beans
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Magda, Flying Saucer, Jackpot Zucchini, Cocozelle Zucchini, Soleil Zucchini, Trombicino
-Cucumbers: Suhyo Long, Mid-East Prolific, & Lemon
-Herbs: Basil (Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple) or Parsley
-Blackberries & Blueberries!

In the Field . . .
We planted our sweet potatoes last week in record time--almost 400 feet in under 4 hours! That's thanks to the workforce of 7 we had applied to the job, which was absolutely amazing. It's taken 2 of us like, 3 days to accomplish that before. Those sweet beauties will be coming in sometime in late September, so they won't appear in the Summer CSA. What will be coming your way? Well, let's see, the first succession of corn will be coming your way pretty soon, as well as the first tomatoes. Melons are sizing up nicely on the vines and there are tiny eggplant and green peppers coming on. What's coming up is exciting, but what's in the basket this week is exciting as well. Welcome blackberries & blueberries! Nice to have the berries back after a month long dry spell in berry land. Plus, we've got pole beans coming your way. The Blue Coco are some of my very favorite. Sweet and tender, they perform a neat color-change in the cooking process. They go from purple to green, kinda like an indicator of when they're done. Sell it to your kids (or yourself) as magic and watch the wonder at work. Pole beans and potatoes are a summery treat where I come from, and I highly recommend the combo. Yum!

Also in the Field . . .
The deer saga continues. This week, we attached 12-foot bamboo poles to our 8-foot t-posts and ran a rope at a 10-foot height. We attached ribbons to the rope to blow in the breeze and are hoping the new obstacle with confound our deer pests. We also planted about 50 lbs of cowpeas as a cover crop / trap crop in our upper field to distract their appetites (and feed the soil with their nitrogen-fixing abilities). The peas have germinated; the rope is up; now, we're going to leave some particularly tasty treats uncovered at night and see if our diversion tactics have worked . . .

Awesome Workday!

Thanks to the 10 wonderful workers who came out Saturday and tended the fields with us. We weeded, spread compost, harvested and processed carrots, weeded, planted arugula and sunflowers and buckwheat, and did I mention we weeded? It was powerful good work. Thanks so much, folks! And to those of you who missed this opportunity, never fear, we've got another one for you. So mark your calendars now, our next weekend workday is July 10th, most likely from 8am-noon again, though I'll keep you posted on those details as the day approaches.

Beaverdam SlowDown -- THIS WEEKEND

And speaking of the day approaching, we still have a few seats left for our Saturday dinner experience--this weekend! Don't miss out on the unique opportunity to treat yourself or a friend to a decadently delicious night on the farm . . . Think candlelight, flowers, white tablecloths, gourmet dishes, fine conversations, and more!

See Ya Later, Spring!

We're rolling out some of the last of the Spring veggies this week. Beets are finishing up, cabbage is coming out, and radishes and turnips may appear if we find any good ones that haven't begun to bolt. Yep, it's getting HOT out there, so the leafy, springy things are on their way out. We're planning on planting more successions of arugula, though, so hopefully that will continue to hold down the tender green front. And just in case you were worried, the kale still looks amazing, as well as the chard, and will be appearing again in your baskets in the weeks to come.


It's finally here! I'm pretty proud of these heads. Nice, savoy (frilly) cabbages coming your way. Cabbage is quite versatile. It's good braised, fried, steamed, sauteed, stir-fried, boiled, stuffed, raw, in salads, and fermented into sauerkraut! Cabbage is perhaps the most globally cultivated of all the plants in the brassica family. It's eaten in almost every country around the world, 4 or 5 of which are represented in the recipes below. Though composed of 90% water, cabbage still holds a significant quantity of vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Storage: properly stored, cabbage can last 3 weeks to 2 months in the refrigerator and much longer in optimum root cellar conditions. Keep it in the fridge in the hydrator drawer. A plastic bag will help, but isn't necessary. If outer leaves get wilty or undesirable, they can be discarded before using the rest of the head. Happy cabbage cookery!


Easy Coleslaw

5 cups shredded green or red cabbage (~2 medium heads)
2 large carrots, grated
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp caraway seeds
3/4 tsp salt or more to taste

Toss the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, and caraway seeds in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and carrots; toss to combine. Stir in salt to taste. Chill until ready to serve. Makes 4-6 servings. Note: caraway seeds help in the digestion of raw cabbage. Yay. From Farmer John's Cookbook.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

2 cups shredded cabbage (~1/2 small head)
1/3 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup minced red onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh mint
2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp rice wine (such as mirin or sake)
2 tsp honey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil, plus more to taste
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cabbage, carrot, onion, mint, and cilantro in a large bowl. Toss well. Mix the vinegar, peanut oil, rice wine, honey, and sesame oil in a small bowl until well combined. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture; toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Makes 2-4 servings. From Farmer John's Cookbook, which also says that this recipe works well with additional vegetables--julienned cucumber is nice--and makes a wonderful bed for grilled food. Enjoy!

Colcannon (Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage & Scallions)

2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 bunches scallions, white part only, sliced
1 small green cabbage (~1lb) cored and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half, warmed
1/4-1/2 cup butter (1/2-1 stick), softened
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan or dutch oven and add cold water to cover. Pile the scallions and cabbage on top of the potatoes and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil, and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes, cabbage, and scallions to the pot. Mash the mixture over low heat, adding milk, butter, salt, and pepper. When the mixture is coarsely mashed, taste and adjust the seasonings. Makes 6-8 servings. From The Joy of Cooking, which also says, "This is an Irish favorite. The British often fry it and call it "bubble and squeak," after the look of it and the noise it makes when cooking." Enjoy!

Cabbage with Indian Spices

3 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
2 cups minced onion (~4 medium onions)
1 1/2 tsp minced ginger1 green hot chile pepper, cut in half lengthwise
1 lb cabbage (~1 small head), shredded
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of turmeric
3 Tbsp water
1 large fresh tomato, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the oil or ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, ginger, and chile pepper; saute, stirring often, until the onion is browned, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the cabbage. Add the coriander, cayenne, and turmeric and mix well. Add the water, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato and salt; stir to combine. Cover and cook until tender, 5-10 minutes. Remove the hot chile pepper before serving. Goes well with any Indian curry dish or with basmati rice. Makes 4 servings. From Farmer John's Cookbook.

If you'd like to explore more cabbage recipes, click here. Spicy, creamy, cooked, or raw, it's delicious.

Monday, June 7, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 7

Roots Farm CSA
Week 7: June 8 & 11

This Week:
-Yukon Gold Potatoes
-Red Russian Kale
-Head Lettuce: Nevada (green), Cherokee (red)
-Carrots: Napoli, & Bolero
-Beets: Detroit Dark Red
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Magda, Flying Saucer, Jackpot Zucchini, Cocozelle Zucchini, Soleil Zucchini
-Cucumbers: Suhyo Long, Mid-East Prolific, & Lemon
-Herbs: Basil (Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple)

In The Field . . .

Cabbages are sizing up, the green tomatoes get fatter, the pole beans are flowering, blackberries and blueberries are ripening from green to red to almost ready, and I see young melons on the vines. More food is on the way! Work-wise, it's weeding time. And also planting time--we just got our sweet potato slips in and we'll be transplanting them this week. We're also planting a cover crop of cowpeas and buckwheat out in the upper pasture, hoping to lure the deer away from our food crops. Those deer. They're persistent. Most recently the chard and beets have come into their awareness, and their bellies. And the pole beans and squash are still under attack. Yikes. We also discovered the tomato fruitworm hard at work, mining green tomatoes and tomato stems. And the squash bugs and cucumber beetles are multiplying like cockroaches. Looks like we're not the only ones who find our veggies delicious! Let's just say our pests are challenging my pest management skills. Looks like I might have to learn something new this year, but that's farming for you. Both maddening and enriching at the same time.

Saturday Workday, June 12, 8am-noon -- THIS WEEKEND!

Hey folks, just another reminder that if you want to come out to the farm and get your hands dirty growing the veggies that grace your plates, we've got another weekend opportunity available for you. This weekend we'll be out here, weeding and trellising, mulching and weeding, planting, thinning, and processing. Come join us for a lovely morning on the farm. Get up close and personal with the plants that produce the veggies that fill your baskets from week to week. We'd love to have you out!

Beaverdam SlowDown, June 19 & 20 -- NEXT WEEKEND!

There's still some seats available for the Saturday, June 19th dinner. So if any of you are interested and haven't reserved your seat yet, now is the time. It promises to be a beautiful, delicious night. What it is: a sumptuous five course vegetarian meal served over a leisurely two hours filled with a short farm tour where you can see where your dinner came from, discussions of local food and farming issues, great opportunities to learn more about sustainable farming, time to connect with fellow community members around food, and slow foods from local practitioners. Come join us. Check out the link on our webpage.


Are here! I'm super excited about the potatoes this year. Let me tell you why . . . You see, I love love love potatoes. I probably eat them every week of the year. And so I've been excited to grow potatoes for a while now. Last year, we planted them in a new field intending to hill them, to use them to make way into a new production area. But that area got away from us and those potatoes never got hilled and when we went to dig them, it was sad. Hard, hard ground. Few potatoes. Sad. We barely got more pounds of potatoes than we planted. Sad. Not this year. This year, those potatoes went in a piece of ground right by the hoop house where we go every day. And yes, finally, a dream come true, we did hill them! Yay. What's this hilling thing? You see, potatoes only produce more potatoes ABOVE the piece of potato that you plant. But you don't want to plant them two feet deep to begin with. So you plant them a foot deep, wait for them to grow a foot tall, then pile six inches of dirt up against the plant. Then wait for them to grow another foot, then pile more dirt. Hopefully, the potatoes will just continue growing up the higher you pile the dirt. So on Tuesday we will dig one of the three rows of potatoes we planted this year and see what sorts of yields we get from the hilling treatment. I already know that the digging will go easier. It's just a question of how many potatoes we get . . .

Lettuce Again?

Well, turns out I was wrong about last week being the last round of lettuce. We had some later-planted starts of the same variety as last week that are still hanging in there. So they're coming out to you this week. Toss them in with some of that yummy arugula and call it a salad!

Cucumbers . . .

All of a sudden, there are a lot of them. We've got 3 different varieties planted this year. Suhyo Long is an Asian variety, spiny, long, and a little puckered. It slices into beautiful rounds and is crunchy and delicious, as well as sometimes fancifully shaped. Mid-East Prolific is more of your typical cuke with smooth sides and a shape that just says "cucumber". These are indeed prolific and we like them so far. The Lemon cukes are an old favorite of ours. Small, round, and pale green to lemony yellow, they rate at the top of the flavor list in my books. They're also snack-sized, an attribute I take full advantage of out in the fields. You may not know it, but cukes are quite versatile--both raw and cooked! I've got some recipes for ya to help expand your cucumber horizons. Storage: fresh cukes need to be refrigerated to maintain their moisture. Cukes that you buy at the store are usually waxed to keep the moisture in, but these come to you straight from the field (sometimes with spines included!) Keep them in the hydrator drawer of your refrigerator for up to a week. Cut cukes degrade quickly, so use them ASAP. And speaking of using them, you can dice or slice them into green salads or chilled vinaigrette-style salads, use them in sandwiches, munch them as a snack with dips, grate them and add yogurt and spices to make a refreshing side dish, blend them with cream and make a chilled summery soup, make refrigerator pickles, and more!


Spicy Cucumber-Cashew Salad
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1/2 cup cashews, toasted
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar or honey
1 Thai Dragon hot pepper or 1/4 tsp ground cayenne, red pepper flakes, or hot pepper sauce (regulate your own level of spice, here)

Combine the cucumbers and cashews in a bowl together. Whisk the remaining ingredients together and pour over the cukes and cashews. Toss gently. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. Adapted from the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook with inspiration from the Serving Up the Harvest cookbook. Sounds yummy to me.

Cucumbers Sauteed with Fresh Dill
2 large or 3 medium cucumbers
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp minced shallots or chopped green onions
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
salt & pepper

Peel cucumbers and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds with a spoon. Slice into about 1/4 - 1/2-inch thick slices. Heat butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium flame. Take care not to let the butter brown, but get it good and hot. Add the cucumbers and shallots and cook, tossing often, until cucumbers begin to get tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the dill and slat and pepper to taste. Continue to toss and cook until crisp-tender, 1-2 minutes longer. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

Honey Lemon Refrigerator Pickles

6 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
2 cups thinly sliced onions
3/4 cup honey
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp kelp powder
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Place cucumbers and onions in a large glass bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil Cook and stir until honey is dissolved. Pour hot liquid over cucumbers and onions, toss well, and let cool. The cucumbers will give off some of their juices. Keep them submerged in the liquid while they cool. Transfer pickles to 3 pint jars, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. They will keep for a week or so. Makes 3 pints. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

And if that's not inspiration enough for you, I've got plenty more recipes for cucumbers here. Enjoy!