Monday, August 25, 2014

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 11

The heat and humidity has returned over the last few days, which has meant running sprinklers for the meat chickens on pasture, filling wallows for our pigs and running the sprinklers on some of our crops. Our heat loving crops however are loving the change in temperature, sweet peppers are going red and the tomatoes are still ripening.

We are still in the middle of a battle in our greenhouse between farmer and animal!! Some thing is still being very insistent on removing seeds from seed trays and replacing with oats!!

This week we have started lifting all our onions to cure.  We are not over joyed with our onion crop this year and we are wondering if it is the change in compost that we used.  We have always used composted horse manure and this year we used a certified organic compost. All our other crops have done really well with the new compost but I think next year we will be heading back to the composted horse manure for onions.

What is in this weeks basket?
Tomatoes - We hope you are enjoying the bounty this year. Looking back over our records this year has been the best year we have ever had on the farm for tomatoes!
Tomatillos - Do remember if you don't want to make salsa these are great roasted, made into chili sauce or you can even freeze them to use at a later date.  This weekend I will be making a tomatillo and pork stew so will post the recipe next week as we still have a few weeks to come of these!
Eggplant - They are still doing really well so we have found nine different ways you can try them this week!
Sweet peppers
Beans - We are having an amazing bean seasons so far this year and we still have more to come!!  So we have added two additional recipes this week for beans in case you are running out of ideas!
This is the one I am looking forward to trying this week, it is from Melissa Joulwan's book Well Fed and it is coconut almond green beans
Last week I made a modified Ribollita Soup and have included the recipe for you all!
1lb of fresh beans chopped into 1cm slices
1 onion chopped
4 carrots grated
2 cloves of garlic chopped.
4 stalks of celery sliced
6 tomatoes chopped into chunks
2 litres of stock chicken or vegetable
Then some sort of greens! I used cabbage but you can use kale napa cabbage etc.
salt and peppers
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic and celery and saute for about 10 minutes then add the carrots and chopped tomatoes and a little thyme and saute for another 5 minutes then add your stock simmer gently for 45 minutes, season with salt and peppers then add your shredded cabbage/greens and beans and cook for another 15 minutes.
Michael gave it the thumbs up! "Sooooo Sweet!!"
Hot Peppers - Please remember we do not include hot peppers as part of your box.  We don't feel it is fair as not everyone enjoys hot and spicy food.  Hot Peppers are something that we grow and we leave in a basket for you to help your self to.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 10

We have certainly seen some rain and heat this week but the cold nights have continued! Michael has been wondering if we should have grown rice this year rather than vegetables?

One of our chores this week was to clear out the greenhouse and plough it ready for transplanting and direct seeding our winter crops.  I have been left a tiny corner to continue with the seeding but we managed to get three full length and two short beds into the greenhouse which did bring up the conversation of maybe needing another greenhouse!!

This weeks basket!
Sweet Peppers 
Beans - They are back and are amazing.  Some of the beans are going to be large, they are a jumbo borlotti bean variety and we cooked with them this weekend and they are not at all stringy!
Watermelons - These are certainly going to be watery but not sure how sweet! We have had enough rain but not enough heat and I think these need the balance of each.  Our other melons have been slow to grow and I think this is purely down 

to not having the heat we had last year to bring them along.
Zucchini - They are starting to slow and we hear the cheers! We may get another one or maybe two weeks out of them.
And as per previous weeks help your self to hot peppers!

Eggplant and green bean curry ~ Taken from Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's book "VEG Everyday".

Ahead of time either stew your tomatoes or roast them in the oven and blend into a thick sauce.
Curry Paste! You can make this as hot or as mild as you like.
2 medium onions
6 garlic cloves
1.5tsp ginger powder
5-6 medium chillies
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp of tamarind paste
Place in a blender and blend till a paste.  You can use all of this or just a little!
Cut the eggplant into 2 inch chunks and saute in oil until they are lightly browned.  You may need to do this in batches.  Place the cooked eggplant to one side add a little more oil to the pan, add the paste and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggplant back to the pan and stir until coated in the spice mix. Add your tomato sauce (about 300ml) and one can of coconut milk.  Simmer partially covered for 10 minutes then add your beans and simmer until they are tender about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and garnish with toasted almonds.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 9

I think we have to start this weeks newsletter with a huge shout out and an even bigger thank you to two amazing friends.  

They headed to Canada for their annual holidays and have ended up spending a good portion of their trip here at the farm.  They rolled their sleeves up and have got stuck into farm work and life and they have been the most amazing help to us.  
We have managed to clear sections of the field from earlier plantings, hoe, rake and get them seeded down to a cover crop of oats, peas and clover, they have weeded the pumpkins, dug potatoes, counted watermelons (all being well these will be in the boxes next week) and helped with all the animals. Of course after not seeing them for eight years there has also been lots of cackling, banter and eating as well and even a day off for the famers to enjoy Prince Edward County!   Michael and I can not thank our friends enough for all their hard work and help.  We are going to miss them both!

Counting watermelons!
The rain started pouring over night last night and continued to pour this AM while we picked  the vegetables, but it was much needed here at the farm and we are grateful that we get a little reprive from running pumps and sprinklers.  The last few days of hot weather meant some of the vegetables started to beg for real rain and even though some do a look a little windswept  they are looking a lot happier for that big dump of rain.
Michael has also been busy extracting honey this week.  We now have raw honey for sale at the farm.

This weeks vegetables are:
Tomatillos - Chris sent us this amazing recipe for tomatillo chicken stew.  You could also replace the chicken with pork.
Tomatillo Chicken Stew Recipe

Yield: Serves 4.
You can make this recipe with fresh tomatillos, or you can use canned chile verde tomatillo salsa as a substitute for the tomatillo sauce.
Tomatillo Sauce
1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
1-2 jalapeƱo chile peppers, or 2-3 serrano chili peppers (include the seeds if you want the heat, remove them if you don't want the heat), stems discarded, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
Pinch of sugar
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cups tomatillo sauce
1 teaspoon dry oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro (about one bunch, rinsed and chopped, stems and leaves)
1 Make the tomatillo sauce. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse well. Cut the tomatillos in half and place them cut-side down on an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Broil for 5-7 minutes until blackened in spots. Let cool enough to handle. Place the tomatillos, any juice they have released, chile peppers, garlic, salt, lime juice and sugar in a blender, and pulse until well blended. If you make ahead, refrigerate until needed.
2 Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat until almost smoking. Pat dry the cubed chicken parts with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, and adding more olive oil when necessary, brown the chicken pieces on two sides. When you place the pieces in the pan, make sure there is room between them (otherwise they will steam and not brown), and don't move them until they are browned on one side. Then use tongs or a metal spatula to turn them over and don't move them again until they are browned on the other side. Do not cook through, but only brown. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and lower the heat to medium. There should be a nice layer of browned bits (fond) at the bottom of the pan.
3 Add the onions to the pan, and a tablespoon or two more olive oil if needed (likely). Add ground cumin and coriander. Cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are softened and the browned bits from the chicken have been picked up by the onions and are no longer sticking to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, until fragrant.
4 Add the browned chicken, the tomatillo sauce, chicken stock, and oregano to the pan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add the cilantro to the stew in the last minute or so of cooking.
Serve over white rice, accompanied with sour cream if needed to offset the heat from the chiles. The stew will thicken as it cools.

Sweet Peppers
Eggplants - Some of our plants are loaded with fruit so you will have two eggplants in your boxes this week.
Carrots - Looking for something different to do with your carrot tops why not try one of of these 5 different ways to eat them!
We don't like to include hot peppers in your baskets as we appreciate not everyone loves them like Michael does! So you will find a basket at the farm and at the pick ups so please just help your self to what you need.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 8

The weather continues to keep us on our toes again! Last Wednesday we had an 1" of rain in 20 minutes and hail! The weather man forecast 1mm of rain on Sunday and we ended up with a huge thunder and rain storm which left us pushing watermelon radish seed back into the ground that we had seeded the day before!

Good news though, the carrots made it! After the last rain storm we had we started to see faint lines of green appearing in the bed.

We have friends from England arriving this week which we are really excited about so your farmers may even take a day off work while they are here!

This weeks basket
Cucumbers - Finally the patch is starting to look amazing, why not try something different with them like making Tzatziki
Onions - These will keep just chop off the green tops.
Salad onions - You have a double dose of onions this weeks as we wanted to clean out the last of these from the bed.  If you do not want to use them this week one option is to slice them and freeze them and you can use them in soups and stews in winter.
Tomatoes - Again the rain has caused the bigger tomatoes to split so make sure you use these first.
Napa cabbage - It is back by popular demand, everyone loved it bbq'ed it so we did an additional planting.
Lettuce - thanks to all the rain and slightly cooler temps the lettuce bed has come on.
Potatoes - These are called Onaway and are stunning potatoes.  They are straight out the ground so just give the skins a scrub don't peel them as they are so fresh.  You may find the odd crack in a potato, this is due to all the rain we have had.
Tomatillos - These are Mexican tomatoes and can be eaten raw or turned into salsa.  All you need to do is rinse them and remove the paper husk.  You can also freeze them by leaving them whole placing in a ziploc bag and freeze for winter use.  They make great chilli! We find that most people like to make salsa.  The tomatillos can be roasted or you can make salsa by leaving the tomatillos raw. I have found a great creamy tomatillo ranch dressing which sounds rather tasty.
Hot Peppers are optional.