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

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