Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 4 -- Chard

Roots Farm CSA Week 4: October 25 & 28

This Week:
-Lettuce!: Green Butterheads
-Rainbow Swiss Chard
-Sweet Potatoes: Beauragard, Georgia Jet, Vardaman
-Tomatoes: Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Sunny Goliath, Whopper, Big Beef, Trust, Sungold cherry
-Eggplant: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Red, Yellow, Purple, & Green Bells, Carmen, Lipstick, Mellow Star, Habanero, Ahi Dulche
-Radishes: Easter Egg, French Breakfast
-Garlic: Persian Star, Siberian

On the Farm . . .
It’s Becky’s last full week on the job and we’re sure gonna miss her around here. She’ll still be around from time to time, but for now, she’s heading off to the beach for a long-deserved vacation. Yay for Becky! I’m sure she’s gonna be sad she missed thinning all the carrots with us, but I think she’ll survive. In the meantime, Fall marches on, and so does October. In the last month, we’ve transplanted over 400 feet of strawberry plants, planted and mulched over 500 feet of garlic, transplanted a couple hundred more feet of lettuce, and seeded goodness only knows how many feet of arugula and radishes. October is a busy month, full of all our Fall planting projects. November finds us coming into a little less to plant, a little less to do. Once our first big fall freeze happens, we’ll have summer plantings to remove. Until then, it’s mostly maintenance--weeding, mulching, picking and selling produce. We’ll be planting onions next month, but the days of large transplanting jobs are over. Yay! Cruising into Fall.

In Your Basket!
Lettuce! Gorgeous big green heads of butterhead lettuce are here! They look just beautiful and taste the same. It’s salad time. I recommend giving them a second wash since it’s dirty and sandy out there in the fields. Also, Chard! Our fall chard plantings are finally big enough to pick, so our first pickings are coming your way. The recipes this week are all about chard. Enjoy! And, Sweet Potatoes! Seems like the curing process has gone pretty well and the taters are finally coming out this week. I know many of you were excited about having them appear in your shares this season, and the time has finally come. Sweet potatoes are here. Please pardon their superficial imperfections--cracks, dark colors, and odd shapes do not impair their flavor. Hope you enjoy them! And we’re saying goodbye to pole beans, cucumbers, summer squash, and okra. The cooler Fall weather is not to their liking. Seems as if the peppers and eggplant will still be with us until it freezes hard (sometime in the next few weeks), so enjoy them while they last!

Facts: Chard (Beta vulgaris) is a close relative of the beet that has been cultivated for its leaves instead of its roots. The leaves are big and tender and often substituted for spinach in recipes (which it’s also related to). Indigenous to the Mediterranean, chard is often referred to as Swiss chard due to its initial description by a Swiss botanist in the 16th century. Chard is high in vitamins A, E, and C, and minerals like iron and calcium.
Storage: Keep your chard in a closed plastic bag--air is your enemy and will cause this delicate green to wilt quite quickly (though you can revive it by soaking it in cold water for a while). Chard will keep for a week or more in good conditions. Cooking: Most often, folks like to de-stem chard and cook the stems for longer than the leaves. It’s a texture issue that I’ll leave to your personal preferences. You can use chard as you would any leafy green. Chard is good in salads, on sandwiches, in casseroles, stews, and more! Try it massaged! Bake it into lasagne! Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Chard
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
2-3 small to medium cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Olives, ½ cup feta cheese, 1 tsp. soy sauce

1. Chop the garlic, and let sit.
2. Chop chard, stems can be included unless they are too tough
3. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add chard and cook for 3 minutes without a lid.
4. Pour chard in a colander to drain, and press the chard to remove excess water.
5. Put chard in a bowl and toss with oil, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, and optional ingredients.

Spicy Vegetable Tart
¾ c. sunflower seeds
¾ c. walnuts
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. Flax seeds (soaked in ¼ c. water for 10 min.)
1/8 tsp. salt
4 cups Swiss chard, chopped (any kind of greens or a mix will work)
1 Tbsp. Vegetable broth
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 Small onion, chopped
3-5 small or medium cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1pinch red chili flakes
1 small tomato, chopped and seeded
5 oz. silken tofu
5 egg whites
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. While flax seeds are soaking, put crust ingredients in food processor and grind finely. Add soaked flax seeds with water to ingredients in processor and process for another 30 seconds.
3. Press crust mix evenly in a 9 inch tart or pie dish. It should come up to the top edge, and be an even thickness all the way around. Bake the crust for 15 min.
4. While crust is baking, chop onion and garlic, and let sit.
5. Bring lightly salted water to a boil, and add chopped chard. Cook for about 3 minutes.
6. Heat 1 Tbsp. broth in a medium skillet. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Add herbs, tomatoes, salt, pepper to skillet and sauté for another 2 minutes.
8. Press excess water from chard and add chard to the mix.
9. Spread veggie mix evenly in tart shell.
10. Blend egg whites, tofu, turmeric, salt and pepper. Pour evenly over vegetable mix.
11. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until tart has set.

Swiss Chard Quesadillas
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 minced hot pepper
¼ tsp. cumin seed
1/8 tsp. oregano
¼ c. tequila
12 oz. swiss chard, chopped
8 6 in. corn tortillas
1 c. Monterey jack cheese, grated

1. Heat oil over medium heat, add onion and sauté until golden.
2. Stir in garlic, hot pepper, cumin, oregano, and sauté about 2 minutes.
3. Add tequila and simmer 1 minute, or until liquid has evaporated.
4. Stir in chard, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Let steam for 5 minutes, or until chard is tender.
5. Uncover and cook until liquid has evaporated.
6. Heat tortillas one at a time. After heating, sprinkle cheese on tortilla, then add chard mixture, and top with a second tortilla.
7. Cook about 2 minutes on each side, or until browned.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 3

This Week:

Tomatoes and/or Cherry Tomatoes
Beans or Summer Squash

On the Farm:
Sorry we missed a week of the newsletter last week. Sara was out of town on a much deserved vacation, and Becky had a death in the family, so we were a bit shorthanded. But we're back in action this week with lots to do. Now that the cooler weather is really starting to set in we have garlic and onions to plant for next year, old and dying crops that need to come out, hoop houses to prepare for the winter, and many rows to cover with fabric to keep the plants producing for a few more weeks.

In Your Basket:
We have lots of summer veggies still coming in this week, but as the temperature decreases it gets harder to keep these going. The cucumbers have already given out, and the squash aren't far behind. Once we get a frost, we'll also say goodbye to the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes. At the same time, we will be saying hello to lots of new fall crops like the broccoli this week. In the coming weeks, you can expect more greens like lettuce, chard, and broccoli greens, as well as cabbage.

Broccoli is a classified as a brassica, having evolved from wild cabbage in Europe, and first cultivated by the Romans. What most people eat from the broccoli plant, also known as the head or crown, is the flowering part before the flowers open. The leaves of the plant are also edible, and taste very similar. They can be used in place of other greens such as kale or collards. This vegetable is full of vitamins, but shouldn't be overcooked if you want those vitamins to make it into your belly. Broccoli is best eaten within a few days of harvest, and should only be stored in the hydrator drawer of your fridge.


Steamed Broccoli with Lemon Butter

1 head of broccoli
2-3 tbsp. butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Wash the broccoli and divide the florets.
2. Boil or steam the broccoli for about 10 minutes, until tender.
3. Melt butter and stir in lemon juice.
4. Pour over cooked broccoli and enjoy.

Broccoli Soup

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups broth
  • 4 cups broccoli florets

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cups milk
  • ground black pepper to taste

  1. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in medium sized stock pot, and saute onion and celery until tender. Add broccoli and broth, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree until smooth and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot.
  3. In small saucepan, over medium-heat melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, stir in flour and add milk. Stir until thick and bubbly, and add to soup, mixing well. Season with pepper and serve.

Broccoli and Tofu in Garlic Sauce

1 onion
3-4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 c. broccoli
1 block firm tofu
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. corn starch
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 c. water

1. Cut tofu into cubes.
2. In large skillet sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are clear.
3. Add tofu, ginger, cayenne and broccoli to pan. Cook until broccoli is tender, about 6-10 min.
4. In a separate bowl mix corn starch, soy, and water.
5. Add sauce mix to broccoli mix in the pan, and continue cooking until the sauce thickens.
6. Serve over rice or another grain.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 1 -- Dill

Roots Farm CSA Week 1: October 4 & 7

This Week:
-Tomatoes: Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Sunny Goliath, Whopper, Big Beef, Trust, Sungold cherry
-Eggplant: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Red, Yellow, Purple, & Green Bells, Carmen, Lipstick, Mellow Star, Habanero, Ahi Dulche
-Okra: Burgundy, Clemson Spineless, Burmese, Star of David
-Kale: Winterbor, Red Russian
-Radishes: Easter Egg, French Breakfast
-Summer Squash!: Zephyr
-Cucumbers!: Marketmore

On the Farm . . .
Well, it looks like that cold weather was too much for the basil. It’s bronzing and blackening and on it’s way out. It may make a comeback, but I’m not keeping my fingers crossed. Basil is such a cold-sensitive vegetable (that’s why you don’t want to keep it in your fridge). Oh well. As basil is on its way out, dill and cilantro are on their way in. You’ll find dill in your baskets this week, and it’s actually our featured veggie, so we’ve got lots of recipes that incorporate dill this week.

Yep, cool weather is here. And what that also means on the farm is that it’s time to plant strawberries! We got in 2,000 strawberry plugs last week, and this is the week they go in the ground. That’s a heck of a lot of berries for next year. It’s also garlic planting time. A couple of weeks from now, we’ll be breaking apart heads, preparing rows, and planting several hundred feet of garlic! Wow! October’s a busy month! Welcome Fall!

We’re switching ALL of our pickups to the pre-packed box format for the rest of the season. Tuesday folks will still be picking up theirs on the farm, but we’ll be in and out during pickup hours, so we’re switching to a self-service format. There will be a pickup sheet to check off and extra veggie seconds available. Boxes will be in the walk-in. We appreciate you being able to make this change with us. The flexibility it offers us is needed at this time. So again, thank you. Friday folks--you already know this drill, so thanks for sticking with it. Yay!

In Your Basket
Cucumbers are here! Our Fall planting is finally producing, so we’re excited to offer everyone some cucumber goodness this week. Also dill is in the box. Summer squash continue to be available, as well as okra, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. The late summery goodness flows in. Glad you’re with us to enjoy it!

Dill is in the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family (both names are valid). This is a family of usually aromatic plants with hollow stems, commonly known as umbellifers. Their seed heads form an inside-out umbrella-shaped cluster that many insects find desirable, and indeed these plants are great beneficial insect habitat. Plants such as angelica, anise, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, cicely, coriander/cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage, Queen Anne's Lace, parsley, parsnip, and more are members of the Umbelliferae family. Yay for family ties. Storage: keep dill in a closed plastic bag for up to a week. Air is your enemy, so don’t let it dry out and wilt. Usage: dill is awesome in anything creamy, as well as some non-creamy things. I like it with potatoes, fish, dairy, and veggies like cucumbers, carrots, and beets best. We’ve got lots of recipes for you below, so enjoy this aromatic herb!

Confetti of Radishes and Carrots
3-5 radishes
4-6 carrots
8 oz feta cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Shred radishes and carrots (with a grater or food processor). Toss with remaining ingredients. Chill & serve. Makes 8 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

Grated Raw Beet Salad
4 medium beets, peeled, grated coarsely (3-4 cups)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced
salt & fresh ground pepper
1-2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

Put the grated beets in a large salad bowl. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, and garlic in a large jar. With the lid tightly screwed on, shake the jar vigorously until the oil and vinegar are thickened. Pour the dressing over the beets and toss until well coated. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Transfer beet mixture to the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour. Add the fresh dill, toss again, and serve chilled on lettuce, over cottage cheese, or as an unusual and colorful condiment. Makes 6 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Cheddar Dill Muffins
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons dill weed
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine milk, eggs and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack. Makes 12 servings. From

Vegetable Fritters with Yogurt-Dill Sauce
2 medium white potatoes
2 large carrots
2 small zucchini
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
oil for cooking
Optional Yogurt-Dill sauce:
1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped
4 oz plain yogurt

Grate potatoes, carrots, and zucchini. Place them in a colander and squeeze out the excess liquids. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the onion, flour, and garlic. Fold in eggs and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Coat a large skillet with oil and heat over medium heat. Spoon 2 Tbsp of fritter mixture for each patty into the pan and shape with the spoon. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bottoms are crisp. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook 2-3 minutes more, or until browned on both sides. Serve immediately topped with Yogurt-Dill sauce (just stir the yogurt and the dill together). Makes 4 servings. Adapted from the June issue of Vegetarian Times Magazine.

Dill Gazpacho
6 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 large lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

In a large bowl, stir together tomatoes, cucumber, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper. Season with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. In a blender or food processor, puree half of the mixture until smooth. Return to bowl, stir in dill and mix well. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving. Makes 6 servings. From

Spicy Dill Potato Salad
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 eggs
2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
1 red onion
2 cups reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup horseradish mustard
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1/4 cup adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
8 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced, or to taste
1 pinch ground cumin, or to taste
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two. Place the potatoes into a large bowl, and chill in the refrigerator until cold, about 1 hour. While the potatoes are boiling, place the eggs into a saucepan in a single layer and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes. Pour out the hot water, then cool the eggs under cold running water in the sink. Peel once cold. Chop the eggs, and place into the bowl with the potatoes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Cut the bell peppers in half, and remove the seeds, core, and stems. Place the bell peppers onto a baking sheet, cut sides down. Cut the onion in half, and place it onto the baking sheet, cut sides down. Roast the peppers and onion in the preheated oven until the skin of the vegetables has charred in places, about 25 minutes. Remove any large pieces of burned skin, and chop the peppers and onions. Transfer into the bowl with the potatoes and eggs. In a bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, horseradish mustard, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, dill, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture, and lightly toss until the potatoes, eggs, and vegetables are thoroughly coated with dressing. Chill before serving. Makes 12 servings. From