Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 18 -- Long Beans

Roots Farm CSA Week 18: August 30 & September 2

This Week:
-Tomatoes!: Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Sunny Goliath, Whopper, Big Beef, Trust
-Eggplant!: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Carmen (sweet red bullhorn), Red Bells, Golden Bells, Mellow Star, Habanero, Ahi Dulche
-Beans: Red Noodle, mix of Potomac, Rattlesnake, & Gold of Bacau
-Okra: Burgundy, Clemson Spineless, Burmese, Star of David
-Green Tomatoes

Last Week of Summer CSA Pickups!
This is it, folks! Can you believe it? Already, 18 weeks have come and gone and here we are at the end of our Summer CSA season. It’s been a good, long haul of kale, cucumbers, and long beans. Corn was a little slim this year as was the summer squash, but the carrots and beets were spectacular. Kale performed really well and the okra and beans have kept up the pace. Strawberries were magnificent, blueberries a bit more scarce than we like, melons abundant. Tomatoes took their sweet time, but are here now when most other farmers don’t have them anymore. All in all, it’s been a fairly even year--some things do well, some things don’t, and that’s farming for you. Thanks for taking the journey with us!

September CSA, or . . .
We’re still accepting members for our September CSA. If you’re NOT returning with us, please come on by and see us at the Saturday Morning Athens Farmers Market at Bishop Park or check our our listings with the online farmers market Athens Locally Grown. And we’ll have offerings for October and November CSA’s as well. October should bring us lettuces, radishes, kale, sweet potatoes, and more! November will probably bring broccoli, cauliflower, more lettuces, kale, chard, and more! We may be trying out some of our new ideas on how to structure the CSA, so I expect it to be a fun Fall of experimentation. We’ll keep you posted on what’s up.

Thanks, Folks!
We appreciate those of you who took the time to fill out our survey and there’s still time if you didn’t yet and you’d like to. We’re taking your requests into consideration and we may be test-running some new ideas this Fall to see if they work. All in all, it seems like most of you were fairly satisfied. The largest request was for more choice in what your share includes from week to week. We may be able to adapt a new system of distribution that would make that possible for you. We’ll keep you posted on what we decide. Thanks again for the feedback, and if you’ve got anything else you’d like for us to consider, please email us at and we’ll see what we can do. Production-wise: some things are easy--grow more melons and less eggplant--other things are more difficult--corn takes up a lot of space and strawberries don’t really produce for us past early May--some are middle ground that we can tweak--earlier tomatoes, summer squash supply, winter squash. We’ll continue our efforts. Distribution-wise: we’re working hard to see if we can give you more options and greater convenience. Let us know what you want and we’ll see what we can do. In deep gratitude--Roots Farmers.

In your Basket
We’re including some green tomatoes this week. Green tomatoes can be used in place of eggplant in some recipes, or you can half-and-half it with eggplant to save on oil since eggplant can soak up a lot of that when you saute it. Green tomatoes can also be fried, of course, as well as added to stir-fries, stews, soups, grill skewers, sandwiches, and more. They’re a little tangy and juicy. I’m envisioning them with some citrus . . . They also make an excellent sweet chutney with cinnamon. Have fun experimenting.

Yard-Long Beans
Botanically speaking, Yard-Long Beans are Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis, related to cowpeas, crowder peas, and black-eyed peas. These beans are different than Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean, green bean, and common pole bean. Same family--Fabaceae--different genus: Vigna or Phaseolus. Though yardlong beans taste similar to green beans, their texture is distinct. Unlike green beans, which can taste palatable steamed or boiled, yardlong beans become waterlogged and bland when treated with water. The beans are best cooked with oil: sauteed, stir-fried, or deep-fried, their flavor intensifies and their texture remains tight and juicy. As such, these beans aren't exactly the diet vegetable of the summer, but they are extremely good to eat and their texture makes them worth seeking out. The classic Chinese dish of dry-fried greens beans is superb with yard-long beans, which soak up a bit of oil during the initial frying period. The technique of initially deep-frying the beans, followed by a stir-fry with stock and aromatics, makes the texture inordinately juicy, tender, and bursting with green bean flavor. An Indonesian staple, green beans with coconut milk, is also well suited to yard-long beans. Because the beans are first stir-fried in oil and then simmered in coconut milk, every bite of the bean bursts with the sweetness of the coconut base. I like to pair the green beans with kabocha squash, since the meaty texture of the squash also holds up well to the simmering liquid. Give these beans a try. Because they're so lengthy, there's very little picking or fussing to do per strand of bean: washed and cut in a minute, they're ready to be cooked. Be aware that the long strands will be limp and slightly wrinkled even when they're fresh.

Thanks to for much of this information and expertise.


Long Beans

1 pound long green beans
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons peanut oil
sesame seeds -- for garnish
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 red bell pepper -- small diced

Blanch the green beans in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until cool. Pat dry. In a wok or skillet heat the peanut oil on med heat. Add the garlic, and stir quickly until it softens and takes on some color. It can burn quickly so be careful with the heat. Add the blanched beans. Add everything else and stir fry for a couple more minutes. Mound beans in the center of a platter and drizzle any remaining sauce over the top, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. From

Yard-Long Beans with Kabocha and Coconut Milk
1 pound yard-long beans, cut into 2-inch slices
1/4 pound kabocha, cubed into 1/2 inch segments
1 tablespoon curry powder, optional
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons cooking oil or lard
1-inch piece galangal or ginger, crushed and sliced
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the spices and ginger and saute lightly until fragrant. Add the kabocha squash and saute for 2 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 2 minutes, until the beans are lightly browned. Add the coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt (about 1/2 teaspoon) to the pot and let the liquid simmer for 20 minutes, until the beans and squash are tender but not mushy. Serve warm. From

Sichuan Style Stir-Fried Chinese Long Beans Recipe
1/2 pound Chinese long beans
1 tablespoon peanut oil (sesame or vegetable can suffice)
4-6 dried chilies, preferably Sichuanese, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons sesame oil
Splash of soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free option)

Add a tablespoon of peanut oil to a wok or a large sauté pan over medium heat and swirl until hot. Add chilies and peppers and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Add the long beans and stir-fry vigorously for 3-4 minutes (you don't want the spices to burn, if they start to then turn down the heat a bit). Season with salt and sugar and stir-fry a few seconds more to mix it all together. Remove from heat. Stir in the sesame oil and soy sauce. Serve immediately. Makes 3-4 servings. From

Sichuan Dry-Fried Yard-Long Beans
1/4 cup stock, meat or vegetable
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil or lard
1 pound yard-long beans, cut into 2-inch segments
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
3 dried red chilies, lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tablespoon Chiangking vinegar
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion

In a large wok heat the oil and add beans. Saute until lightly browned. Remove from wok. Add the garlic, ginger, chilies, and peppercorns to the wok and stir-fry rapidly. Stir-fry for 40 seconds or so. Reintroduce the beans to the wok and mix with the other ingredients. Add the stock, salt, and sugar to the wok and simmer for 40 seconds 1 minute, or until the liquid has evaporated. Add the vinegar and the green onions and stir around. Serve immediately with noodles or rice. From

Szechuan Long Beans
1 lb long beans
¼ cup char choy* (shredded)
¼ cup mushrooms (shredded)
1 red chilli (thinly sliced)
oil for frying
Seasoning :
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Dash of salt
*Char Choy ¨C Vegetable soaked in salt water and chilli. Available in Asian markets.

Clean long beans, cut into 6 to 8 inches long. Drain thoroughly. Deep-fry long beans under high heat till
dried and flat. Dish out. Add a little oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add char choy, mushrooms and chillies cook till fragrant. Add the fried long beans and mix well. Taste and adjust with seasoning. Dish up and serve. Makes 6 servings. From

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 17 -- Eggplant

Roots Farm CSA Week 17: August 23 & 26

This Week:
-Tomatoes!: Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Sunny Goliath, Whopper, Big Beef, Trust
-Eggplant!: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Carmen (sweet red bullhorn), Red Bells, Golden Bells, Mellow Star, Habanero, Ahi Dulche
-Beans: Red Noodle
-Okra: Burgundy, Clemson Spineless, Burmese, Star of David
-Sugar Baby Watermelons, Mixed Other Melons

On the Farm
The weather is cooling off and we’re in the midst of Fall plantings. We transplanted kale, cabbage, and broccoli last week and finished the cabbage and cauliflower this week. We’re direct seeding radishes, turnips, and arugula, and our direct seedings of beans, summer squash, and cucumbers are already up and going! The carrots and beets are taking a bit longer, and the grass in that part of the garden is really giving us a run for our money. We may have to re-seed to beat it, which means a later start on carrots. Always something to manage. Thankfully, there’s nice, cool weather to do it in.

Take the Survey!
Every year, we like to get feedback and try to do a better job by our members. For that, we need to know what you think! So we’ve created a super short, 10-question survey that you can take online. Click here for the survey. Please tell us how we did and what we could do to make our services more desirable for you. We developed in-town pickups per request, have grown more strawberries and less eggplant (if you can believe that), more lettuce, more arugula, more cantaloupes. We’ve created half shares, instituted a market-style pickups on-farm, gone to online newsletters, accepted memberships online, and more! What would YOU like to see in your local CSA? Let us know.

September CSA
We’re still accepting members to the first of our Fall CSA offerings--September! We’ve got about 15 shares still available, so spread the word. Tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, okra, and more! Oh my! We’re only offering one share size--half share for $21-23/week ($21 on farm, $23 in town). Click here to sign up today! Or, go to our website for a few more details. Hope to have you with us!

The mighty eggplant is in the spotlight this week.

Eggplant Fritters
2 cups all-purpose flour (you can also use seasoned flour or add desired seasonings)
1 scant tsp salt
dash of freshly ground pepper
3/4 - 1 cup flat beer or water
olive oil, for frying

In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt, and pepper. Make a well in center and add beer or water. Stir with a fork until a thick batter forms. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours before using. Reserve remaining flour for dredging vegetables. Wash and dry eggplants. Slice into either thin rounds or long thin strips. Salt, if desired, to rid them of any bitterness for 30-60 minutes. (If you do this, rinse them very well and pat dry.) Dip in batter and deep-fry in very hot oil. From The Food and Wine of Greece.

Tomato & Eggplant Salad
1 large or 2 medium eggplants
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp ouzo
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt, to taste
2 medium to large plump ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash eggplant and pat dry. Puncture skin lightly with a fork and bake whole in an ungreased pan for about 25 minutes, or until soft and slightly shriveled. Remove and cool slightly. Remove stems, cut eggplant in half lengthwise, and remove skin and seeds. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 inches wide, then cut strips in half. Place in a small deep bowl and marinate in olive oil, ouzo, garlic, and salt for at least 2 hours before using. In a medium bowl, combine eggplants, tomatoes, and parsley. Toss well and season with freshly ground pepper. Serve at room temperature. Makes 4 servings. From The Food & Wine of Greece.

Baba Ganoujh (or Ghanoush)
2 lbs eggplant, cut in half, flesh side scored deeply in crosshatch pattern
2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp virgin olive oil
Lemon juice to taste (1-2 lemons)
4 Tbsp yogurt
4 Tbsp tahini (or substitute mayonnaise)
1 tsp salt, to taste
minced fresh parsley

For an authentic smoky taste, grill or broil the eggplant first. If you’re using a grill, maintain heat at a medium-low temperature. If you’re using a broiler, preheat first and then turn it down to the lowest possible temperature. Brush the eggplant halves with olive oil and place, flesh-side down if using a grill, flesh-side up if using a broiler, and cook until charred and very soft, turning once, about 40 minutes. Set the eggplant to drain in a colander in your sink until it’s no longer warm to the touch. Scoop the flesh into a food processor or food mill, discarding skin. Process the eggplant with a few off-on pulses or force it through a food mill into a mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, garlic, yogurt, tahini (or mayonnaise) and salt. Place the mixture in a serving dish and sprinkle the top with parsley. Chill well. Serve as a dip with raw veggies or pita bread. Makes 4 servings. From the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.

Thai Eggplant Dip
2 medium eggplants
3-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
pita bread

Cut off eggplant stems. Pierce eggplant several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and cook in a 350-degree oven until very soft, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, remove skin. With the motor running on a food processor, add garlic and ginger and mince. Add eggplant and whirl until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except bread. Refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze. Serve with warm pita bread triangles. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Baked Eggplant “Lasagna”
Olive oil for greasing pans and coating eggplant and peppers
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 green bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 inch rings
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup tomato sauce, divided
4 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1/3 cup pitted, finely sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease an 8– or 9-inch square baking dish with olive oil. Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheet, season with salt, and lightly brush the tops with olive oil. Bake until eggplant is soft and golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a plate and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Toss the peppers with a few dashes of olive oil in a medium bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, egg whites, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, basil, parsley, cayenne pepper, and a generous dash of salt until all of the ingredients are well combined. Arrange half of the eggplant slices in the baking dish. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the slices. Pour half of the tomato sauce evenly on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Arrange the pepper and olives on top of the mozzarella. Top with the remaining tomato sauce. Add the remaining eggplant slices and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until all the layers are heated through and the cheese is melted, about 45 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 16 -- Peppers

Roots Farm CSA Week 16: August 16 & 19

This Week:
-Tomatoes!: Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Sunny Goliath, Whopper, Big Beef, Trust
-Eggplant!: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Carmen (sweet red bullhorn), Red Bells, Golden Bells, Mellow Star, Habanero
-Beans: Red Noodle
-Okra: Burgundy, Clemson Spineless, Burmese, Star of David
-Watermelons: Sugar Baby

On the Farm . . .
We just got in our first round of Fall transplants to plant--hundreds of little green babies of kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage to get in the ground. And this week, the weather has taken a turn for the better, bringing us days in the low 90’s, nights in the 60’s. Wow! It’s so nice out there I don’t know what to do with myself. Keep working, I guess. It’ll be good for the new transplants, though, to have a gentler introduction into the sometimes harsh conditions of field life. We’ll be gentle. Nature will be whatever it is.

Summer CSA Pickups Reminder
We’ve had a lot of questions about when pickups end for the season, so here’s the update: after this week, there are 2 more weeks of pickups. The very last pickup date for the summer season is Friday, September 2. So keep coming out--we’ve still got your veggies. And some of you still have our boxes. If you have any laying around, please bring them on back. We’ve resorted to using liquor boxes because we’re out of the fancy waxed ones. Although it is entertaining to give folks veggies is Jose Cuervo boxes, the waxed ones hold up much better to refrigeration and continued usage.

Fall CSA!
Yay! Right now, we’ve got a September CSA to offer you. Our apologies if you’ve had any trouble signing up. We’re still learning how the system that we’re using operates, so thanks for your patience as we work out the bugs. If you have any problems, don’t hesitate to email us at and we’ll get you lined up right. So yeah. Four weeks of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, and okra. Stock up on your late summer produce. One size share only, same two pickup options. The two pickups cost slightly different prices since we’ve added a small fee to the in-town pickups to cover our costs for processing, packaging, and delivery. Here are the details:

Tuesday On-Farm pickups $21/week for 4 weeks = $84
Friday In-Town pickups $23/week for 4 weeks = 92

Pickups will continue to be from 4-7pm both days and both locations. Full payment is due upon checkout, and you get a 3% discount for paying by check or cash. SIGN UP TODAY! We’re only offering 60 shares, so get yours now. Click here to sign up online. Or go to We’re excited to continue to offer you the best summery goodness we can produce. Hope you join us. Please feel free, and indeed encouraged, to invite your friends as well.

Our spotlighted veggie this week is the amazing and delicious pepper! Yay! Peppers are nutritionally significant and most contain high levels of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the minerals iron and potassium. Native to Central and South America, pepper seeds have been found in Mexico from before 5000 B.C.! Following Columbus’s voyage, peppers spread quickly through Europe and all the way to India, where they were rapidly assimilated into the native diet. How will you assimilate peppers into your diet?

Storage: keep your peppers in the hydrator drawer of your refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Peppers will get wilty and dehydrated-looking if left out in the open air, so keep them in a drawer or bag in the cool. Cut peppers deteriorate quickly, so use em if you cut em. They also freeze well--I like to dice them and freeze them on a cookie sheet, then scoop them off into a freezer bag for easy later usage. Usage: raw, in salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, sauces, omelets, stir-fires, casseroles, on the grill, and more!

Roasted Bell Peppers
4 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green, or purple)
olive oil

Turn your gas burner on high (electric will work, but gas is better) and place the peppers directly on the flame. Use any number of available burners to accommodate the peppers, or if the peppers are small you can place two on one burner. Using tongs, turn the peppers as their skins blacken; you want to end up with a pepper that is completely black (the amount of time for this depends on the size of the pepper, how hot the flame is, and how often you turn the peppers). Once they’re blackened, place the peppers in a paper bag and seal the bag tightly. Let them sit for about 10 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag, cut them in half, remove the stem and seeds, and flatten each half on your cutting board. Use a knife or your fingers to scrape away the skin. The peppers are now ready to use (keep refrigerated and use within the week). To store your roasted peppers longer, place them in a container, cover with olive oil, and seal tightly (then they will keep for several weeks). From Farmer John’s Cookbook. These are great on sandwiches, pizza, pasta, in omelets, with hummus, and more! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded & finely chopped (opt)
1, 28oz can tomatoes, with juice, chopped OR 1 quart stewed tomatoes OR 4 cups fresh
1, 16oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained OR 2 cups cooked (1/2 cup dried)
1, 16oz can black beans, rinsed and drained OR 2 cups cooked (1/2 cup dried)
1 cup tomato juice
salt & pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute until onions are golden, 12-15 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, and jalapenos. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, tomato juice, and salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes. Makes a lot of food. I’m guessing 6-8 servings.

Escalivada Sandwiches
1 red onion
1 medium zucchini
1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red bell peppers, roasted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
4 sandwich rolls, preferably ciabatta
4 oz fresh goat cheese
4 oz arugula
Herb Sauce:
½ cup basil leaves
½ cup parsley leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
juice from ½ lemon
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice onion, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers into ¼-inch rings. Toss the vegetable slices with olive oil and salt. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan in a single layer, and place the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but still maintain their shapes. Meanwhile, toast rolls. Divide cooked vegetables among the 4 rolls. Top vegetables with goat cheese and arugula. Place all herb sauce ingredients in a blender; puree. Spoon over arugula. Serve sandwiches warm. Makes 4 servings. From Peter Dale, chef of The National restaurant in Athens, GA.

Stuffed Peppers
a little oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups raw brown rice
3 cups water, vegetable stock, or tomato juice
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/3 lb cheddar cheese, grated
salt & pepper
4 large peppers, tops cut off, seeds removed

Heat oil in large skillet; add and saute garlic and onions. Add rice and brown for about 5 minutes. Add desired liquid and allspice. Cover and cook until rice is done, about 40 minutes. Toast almonds in dry skillet or hot oven for several minutes, tossing often. Stir in tomatoes, cheese, almonds, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook peppers in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and stuff peppers with rice mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 4 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.