Friday, June 1, 2012

CSA Week 4! With special guest veggies!

The whole idea of a totally self-sufficient farmstead with all of its own produce, animals, etc. is something of a myth. Here, I mean "myth" in both senses: in that it probably never existed as such and that the idea of a completely closed farm system is a powerful story. What is undoubtedly true is that most farmers are parts of tight farm communities. You bale my hay, I help you with threshing the grain--that kind of thing. When you sign on for the Oak Hill Farm CSA, you get our produce--but you also get linked to our farm community.

Our farm has been in operation since before the civil war. Back in the day, the spread was much larger and the north edge of the property included what is now Oleo Acres Farm. Tim of Oleo Acres worked for my grandfather in the 70s and 80s when this was a working dairy. Now, he and his wife Betty focus on "old time farming"--complete with a mule, two draft horses, and loads of heirloom vegetables. This week we are including 3 items from Oleo Acres in the box (beans, potatoes, and Stevia) . Oleo Acres uses the same chemical-free practices that we do, and they are right up the road from us. And, we like to give them a plug when we can.

Clockwise from upper left: Carrots, beans, cilantro, potatoes, cucumbers,
 kale, beets, pak choi, Stevia in the center.

In the box:

  • Kale! We had kale in the box last week, and it is still growing strong. Some people like this raw; we like it sauteed with garlic until it is nice and wilty. As always, feel free to share your recipes!
  • Carrots: The humble carrot. Carrot ginger soup, anyone?
  • Beets. Ok, so by now you are thinking: did these guys corner the market on beet seeds? Our beets did unusually well this year, but we love beets and beet greens so we aren't complaining. If you are looking for something different, try a Moroccan Carrot and Beet Salad.
  • Cilantro: We've heard from some of you that you hate cilantro. We've heard from others that you love cilantro. This week looks like the last of the cilantro for Spring, so enjoy it while you can! If you like it but can't use it now, you can always hang it in a dark, dry space to dry it--then you can use it all season.
  • Pak Choi (Bok Choy): Another familiar plant to CSA members--did you know you can grill it? Olive oil, salt and pepper, on a grill with relatively low heat... that's what I'm talking about.
  • Cucumbers! New for this week. And so it begins. Cucumbers just keep coming once they start. They are super versitile; try our friend Claire's recipe for 30-minute refrigerator pickles. SPECIAL NOTE: if you like making serious pickles and would like a box of just cucumbers (as an addition) later in the season, contact us.
  • Potatoes: From Oleo Acres. New potatoes are delicious, and these just came out of the ground yesterday. We rinsed them, but you probably should give them a soak and scrub before eating them. These are great roasted: cut potatoes into bite-size chunks, toss in a roasting pan with salt, pepper, olive oil, rosemary, and garlic, bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes, until they cut easily with a fork.
  • Green beans: From Oleo Acres. If you grew up eating beans from a can, these are the real deal. Wash, snap off the ends, and cook as you please. We like these steamed, but however you like your beans these will be delicious!
  • Stevia: From Oleo Acres. OK; this is a tiny bag with just a few leaves. It doesn't take much. Stevia leaves are sweet (as in 300X sweeter than sugar), and there are recipes all over the internet. If you are over 21 and enjoy an occasional cocktail, try 2 Stevia leaves in a glass with the juice of half a lemon and a shot of vodka. Add ice and shake to bruise the leaves.

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