2017 CSA Week 16

 ~~This week will be your fifth week for having non-refrigerated items in your CSA. We will have these set out separate from your box at CSA pickup with a clearly marked sign. “Take One Bag of Tomatoes and One bag of Potatoes”. Don’t forget your Potatoes and Tomatoes! ~~~




It seems every week we start the newsletter with a brief summary of the weather :) . Last week we were Very Excited to have about 3/8 an inch of rain come down slow and steady all morning on Thursday. No Wind! No Lightning! Just RAIN! We are so thankful for the rain! We are REALLY surprised to see 90 degrees in the forecast for multiple days in the coming week. AND we are pleasantly surprised not to see anything close to a frost in the two week forecast. September is when we look at the weather multiple times a day often hitting ‘refresh’ to see if it’s changed in the last few seconds.

Last week Jay and crew made significant progress on the new hoop house. Our goal is to have it up and ready to seed by September 1st. Because we are crazy and we have wonderful help, this goal may actually happen.

And now, on to ideas for your share this week:

Braising Mix- This is a mix of kale, mustard, and Asian Greens that is great to stir fry, or saute. I also love this mix sauteed and added to any egg dish (I know, I know, the ‘egg dish’ is a theme in the newsletter)

Baby Romaine- Awe! Aren’t they Cute? We love these Baby Romaine and we usually just cut off the bottom end, wash the leaves, and have them at the ready in a square Pyrex dish in the fridge as a go-to with lunch and dinner. Great with tuna salad, sardines, potato salad. For stacking on sandwiches or using in place of bread/cracker with any type of dip. The kids are a big fan of these little lettuces.

Fingerling Potatoes-It’s fun to get to try out all these different kind of potatoes isn’t it? This week we have a fingerling variety called “Russian Banana” You might be wondering what exactly are fingerling potatoes? They are a fully mature potato that is small, kind of like the shape of a finger, hence the name. We love these potatoes roasted with butter and onions. DELICIOUS!

Sweet Corn- I know you all know how to cook sweet corn. If you’ve never tried grilling it, you are in for a surprise! It is amazing. Although a bit fussy...well...more fussy than eating plain corn and throwing the cob on the ground, which, in reality...is pretty much what we do...BUT! Follow these directions for something more amazing:


and if you want to take it to Level Up to the land of magic corn:
I think the onions, zucchini, and bell peppers could all work wonderfully together as the start to a simple stir fry or ratatouille


* Spoiler *watching the movie Ratatouille and making Ratatouille on the same night is fun but doesn’t guarantee fussy six-year-olds will eat vegetable stew….

Cucumbers-Would you believe our family can easily eat 8 cucumbers a day? That seems like a lot doesn’t it? It just happens to be something all our kids like. We peel them and thinly slice them and keep them in a lidded glass Pyrex bowl in the fridge as a daily go-to veggie for lunch and dinner.

Baby Kale- We like to just barely wilt this baby kale in the skillet and then mix it in a bowl with a creamy dressing and roasted beets. SO DELICIOUS! it’s also great as a raw salad and makes a very very delicate kale chip.

HEIRLOOM TOMAOTES-thinly slice, add salt...enjoy the taste of summer. Or eat them on the way from csa pickup and get tomatoes all over your shirt and car...it’s worth it! They are that good!
And there is no need to do anything fancy with them...they are delicious! That said...roasting them is amazing and brings out a whole different flavor. And the little mini slicers are great cut in half and roasted as well.

I would make the above recipe with walnuts or sunflower seeds instead of pinenuts because...$$$.

And...if there is any doubt that Martha is a great genius of our time look no further than...Inverted Tomato Grilled Cheese, standing ovation and an Alleluia chorus:


Partial
Baby Romaine - ~3
Basil - partial bundle
Beets - partial bundle
Zucchini/patty pan - 1-2
Cucumbers - 1
Sweet Corn - 2
Baby Kale - partial bag
Tomato Medley -t ~pint
Fingerling Potatoes - 1#
Green Bells - 1
Fresh Onions - 2-3
Braising Greens - partial bundle

Full 
Baby Romaine ~5
Basil - bundle
Beets - bundle
Zucchini/patty pan - 2-3 
Cucumbers - 1-2 
Sweet Corn - 3 
Baby Kale -bag
Tomato Medley ~quart 
Fingerling Potatoes -1.5 #

Green Bells - 2 
Fresh Onions - 3-4
Braising Greens - bundle


For those of you who get your newsletter from this blog, here's a little gem from the week that didn't fit in the official version.  Levi left our crew for the fairer shores of Alaska.  His incredible work ethic and wit will be missed, though he left us with the following gift.  These are but two of the many white buckets he renamed.  Thanks Levi!






2017 CSA Week 15

 ~~This week will be your fourth week for having non-refrigerated items in your CSA. We will have these set out separate from your box at CSA pickup with a clearly marked sign. “Take One Bag of Tomatoes and One bag of Potatoes”. Don’t forget your Potatoes and Tomatoes! ~~~


Even with slightly warmer than average days for late August, we definitely are feeling the shift of the season to late summer. The days are getting noticeably shorter and the mornings are cool and crisp.

This last week we pulled our storage onions for the year and have them curing in our prop house. We had a great turnout for our farm tour. And we received the giant project of our new high-tunnel. All the parts are now sitting out in the field ready to start construction on Monday.

The warm weather this year has turned into a great growing season for our farm. We are growing so much food and learning to much this year about how to run the farm better and more efficiently. It’s definitely a work in progress, but with our growing season more than half way over we are really happy with how production has gone on the farm so far this year.

It’s been a while since we had a “Love it or Hate it” vegetable in the share. I know many people find eggplant to be “not their favorite”. We had multiple people last year say that previously they had not liked eggplant but had only ever had it from the store and never fresh from the garden or market and after giving our a try...they changed their minds and now love eggplant.

Because many people strongly dislike eggplant we only include it in the shares 2-3 times a year. I am really excited about the eggplants. The plants are looking healthy and beautiful and I love the diversity of cooking with eggplant. It really takes on whatever flavor you are cooking with, be it Thai, Indian, or Mediterranean.

We really want you to enjoy your eggplant, so here are a bunch of recipe ideas and links:
A great intro to how to cook eggplant:

A simple recipe for the classic Eggplant Parmesan

As this recipe notes in the intro, making Baba Ghanoush is a great way to wade cautiously into the uncertain waters of cooking with eggplant. It’s very much like making humus, but with roasted eggplant instead of chick peas. What’s great is that it’s a dip. If something goes horribly awry, you’re not out a main dish.

This recipe for eggplant fries calls for breading eggplant spears. If you want to bread things, but don’t want to use breadcrumbs or don’t have them on hand, we often substitute rolled oats for bread crumbs. Gently zap the oats in a food processor or blender to crumb them up a bit. Be cautious with this process or you’ll end up with oat flour. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)
http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-bake-eggplant-fries-233537

Another lifetime ago, we lived in Philadelphia four blocks from the Indian restaurant Ekta, which is arguably the best Indian food in Philly. Far too often, we’d bring home giant containers of Baingan Bharta. Before Bayliss could talk, he’d sit in his high chair at the table and we’d spoon feed him little bits of this smokey Indian delicacy. He’d take a bite, make a squishy-spicy face, recover, then frantically make the baby hand motions for “more!” If you’re feeling adventurous, here’s a recipe for basic Baingan Bharta:

This dish is basically made of tomatoes, onions, and extremely fussily roasted eggplant, with just a few spices. The Red Long onions in your share will be particularly great in this. The Red Longs are best grilled, sauted, or roasted.

CSA week 15

Partial
Chioggio Beets - partial bundle 
Green Bell Pepper - 1 each 
Zucchini/Patty Pan - 1-2 each 
Cucumber  - 1 each
Red Long Onion - Partial bundle
Arugula - Partial bag 
Tomatoes - 3/4# mini slicers or 1/2# cherries 
Huckleberry Gold Potatoes - Partial bag 
Green/Purple Beans - Partial bag

Full
Romanesco - head
Chioggio Beets - bundle
Green Bell Pepper - 2 each
Zucchini/Patty Pan - 2-3 each
Cucumber - 2 each
Red Long Onion - bundle
Arugula - bag
Tomatoes - 1# mini slicers or  ¾# cherries
Huckleberry Gold Potatoes - Full bag
Green/Purple Beans - Full bag

This is our first week of the season not including something in the partial shares. You may think planting 150 Romanesco would mean you would have 100 Romanesco for CSA...but apparently out of these 150 Romanesco we got 50! So...just for full shares this week. There was a week in late spring when we had Romanesco for partial and Cauliflower for Full so we are glad everyone is getting them once this year.

Romanesco is an Italian heirloom cauliflower. We think it tastes like a nutty cauliflower. We like to cut it into bite sized pieces, grill it, and top it on pizza. It is great as a side dish or as a beautiful topping for pasta/pizza or a unique addition to stir fry.



Huckleberry Gold Potatoes are a purple potato. Beautiful and Delish!


Also….looks like we’ll have sweet corn next week! Have a great week, Jay and Mandy

2017 CSA Week 14

 ~~This week will be your third week for having non-refrigerated items in your CSA. We will have these set out separate from your box at CSA pickup with a clearly marked sign. “Take One Bag of Tomatoes and One bag of Potatoes”. Don’t forget your Potatoes and Tomatoes! ~~~

Our Farm Tour is this week! Wednesday August 16, 6-7:30 pm



How about that? No 90 degree days in the two week forecast! We are very excited; hopefully some of the smoke will blow out of here soon.

It’s going to be a couple weeks until our next round of carrots are ready. Our early spring beds cleared out a little slower than planned. But, !fear not!, more delicious Lower Valley Farm carrots are in your future! We seeded 5 100’ beds five weeks ago and another 5 beds two weeks ago. So, once we have carrots back in the rotation we look forward to putting them in your CSA box every single week for the rest of the season.

We pulled this years shallots on Monday. They are hanging out in the shade to dry and cure. We will start including them in the shares after they are fully cured. The garlic is fully cured and this coming week we will sort through it. First we will set aside the garlic that is used for next year’s ‘seed’. The garlic heads will be broken apart in late October and planted. Each clove will make one head for next year. After we set aside the seed garlic we divvy the rest of the garlic up for CSA. We are anticipating that we won’t have extra garlic for sale this year. We are excited to put it all into our CSA and set aside a generous amount for seed so we can grow even more garlic next year; because we know how much you all love garlic. We love it too; it really is ~so~ good.

In a few weeks we will pull this years storage onions and start curing them. Storage onions are something we will have LOTS of this year; they are so huge and beautiful.

Speaking of beautiful, how about this week’s broccoli! Pretty amazing to grow big beautiful broccoli when it’s been so hot out.

You know you live in a place with a short growing season when you never get tired of zucchini. We hope you are enjoying getting zucchini and patty pan squash in your CSA box every week. The warm summer has had them pumping out fruit like a champ, in the coming weeks the plants will start to taper. For now, enjoy that zucchini and patty pan squash. Zucchini is one of those things that you can find a MILLION recipes for online. Usually we just saute or grill it but it’s also fun to make zucchini fritters. There are really great directions on smitten kitchen:


And More Zucchini Recipes on Early Morning Farm’s amazing recipe index:


Recipe ideas this week:

I bet you all have your favorite broccoli recipes, if you are looking for something new and you already used up your zucchini and still wanting fritters these fritters are delicous

Broccoli Fritters, By Smitten Kitchen

and if those don’t sound good there this article by The Kitchn is FULL of awesome broccoli ideas.

The Kitchn, 20 Ways to Eat More Broccolli Tonight

Summer Egg Bake with Basil Pesto, diced zucchini and bell peppers

In skillet saute a pound of ground pork, when mostly cooked add, diced green onions, zucchini, and bell peppers, while that sautes whisk up a dozen eggs, put eggs in a casserole dish.
Chop and add basil to skillet, cook about a minute more. Pour skillet stuff into casserole, top with Parmesan and bake until cooked through about 40 min at 350.

Blinged out Frozen Pizza with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, and Basil
Hey guys, summer gets busy. Let me tell you where guilt doesn’t belong. Guilt doesn’t belong with the blessing of nourishment that is food. Too busy to cook? Have a CSA share and want to use up some veggies? Why not lightly saute some green onions, bell peppers, thinly sliced zucchini and put them on top of a frozen pizza. When blinging out a frozen pizza this way you’ll need to add some oil to your basil and cover it with more cheese so the basil doesn’t get burnt.

CSA week 14

Partial
Brocolli -   med head 
Beets - partial bundle 
Green Bell Pepper - 1 each 
Green Onions - partial bundle 
Zucchini/Patty Pan - 1-2 each 
Cucumber -   1 each 
Mini Onion  - Partial bundle 
Baby Kale - Partial bag 
Tomatoes - 3/4# mini slicers 
Head Lettuce  -   1 each 

Potatoes - Partial bag

Full
Brocolli - large head
Beets - bundle
Green Bell Pepper - 2 each
Green Onions - bundle
Zucchini/Patty Pan - 2-3 each
Cucumber - 2 each
Mini Onion - bundle
Baby Kale - bag
Tomatoes - 1# mini slicers or slicers
or 1/2# cherries or ¾# cherries
Head Lettuce - 1 each

Potatoes - Full bag

CSA Week 13 - so many photos! (!so many exclamation points!)


August 6, 2017 ~ CSA Week 13

~~This week will be your second week for having non-refrigerated items in your CSA. We will have these set out separate from your box at CSA pickup with a clearly marked sign. “Take One Bag of Tomatoes and One bag of Potatoes”. Don’t forget your Potatoes and Tomatoes! ~~~


This week I thought you all might like to come along on a crop walk through the farm. Everything is going really well in the hoop house. Cucumbers are at their peak and the tomatoes are starting to come along. The peppers are getting going and the first eggplant has decided to join the party in the hoop house. This week the hoop house will get it’s weekly weeding and trellising and it’s chugging along; pumping out veggies like a champ.

Gettin' Ready for a Second Hoop House!

We’ve cleared out the early beds of heading kohl crops, flail mowed, amended, and harrowed the beds to make way for a second hoop house. The next planting of heading kohl crops is coming along beautifully and if everything goes as planned (ha!) we will have a beautiful array of broccoli, romanesco, purple cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts in the shares for late summer and early fall.

Late Summer Kohl Crops Lookin' Good!

Not only is the heat helping pump out some gorgeous zucchini, which we are harvesting daily to get them while they are small (ha!), but Squash Land is looking hopeful for a bountiful harvest of winter squash this fall.

Squash Land! Home of Future Fall Food!

Allium Land (onion family) will get the shallots harvested and starting to cure this week. The garlic we hung weeks ago seems cured and will get packed safely away for fall CSA and fall planting. The shallots and the full sized onions are both looking incredible. Who could bring Monster Shallots to the Monster Truck Show, Lower Valley Farm, that’s who. !BOOM! Crazy! Amazing! Monster Shallots! Also, it can be hard to get enough to eat when your pulling SUMMER hours at the peak of the farming season, maybe that’s why when I walk by the rows of storage onions...all I see is a million pounds of onion rings...because the full size onions are looking...AMAZING...!ONION RINGS!

Allium Land- Monster Shallots and Lifetime Supply of Onion Rings


We are clearing out beds of baby greens and root crops every week and….planting more baby greens and root crops for fall. We do all our bed prep with our awesome BCS two wheel tractor. We love our BCS tractor.
BCS tractor, clearing out roots for greens.  clearing out greens for roots.


Want to learn more about how we grow minimally tilled, nutrient dense organic veggies. Farm Tour is right around the corner and we would love for you to be there!

Wednesday August 16, 6-7:30 pm


Recipe ideas this week:

Cauliflower Casserole
Recipe by the ever favorite thekitch.com

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-cauliflower-italian-sau-137481

Summer Egg Bake with Basil Pesto, diced zucchini and bell peppers

In skillet saute a pound of ground pork, when mostly cooked add, diced green onions, zucchini, and bell peppers, while that sautes whisk up a dozen eggs, put eggs in a casserole dish.
Chop and add basil to skillet, cook about a minute more. Pour skillet stuff into casserole, top with Parmesan and bake until cooked through about 40 min at 350.

Blinged out Frozen Pizza with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, and Basil
Hey guys, summer gets busy. Let me tell you where guilt doesn’t belong. Guilt doesn’t belong with the blessing of nourishment that is food. Too busy to cook? Have a CSA share and want to use up some veggies? Why not lightly saute some green onions, bell peppers, thinly sliced zucchini and put them on top of a frozen pizza. When blinging out a frozen pizza this way you’ll need to add some oil to your basil and cover it with more cheese so the basil doesn’t get burnt.

Summer Salad with sliced cucumbers and diced tomatoes
Simple but true. Salad is awesome and even better with thinly sliced cucs and tomatoes.

Pan Fried Potatoes with Carrots and Zucchini
Last week I pan fried some potatoes and onions with diced carrots and zucchini and threw in some curry powder in the last minute or so. If I would have had canned coconut milk I would have added that too. Alas, I didn’t and it was still fabulous. Because pretty much anything with pan fried fresh potatoes is...fabulous.

CSA week 13
Partial 
Cauliflower - small head 
Carrots - partial bundle 
Green Bell Pepper  -1 each 
Green Onions - partial bundle 
Zucchini/Patty Pan - 1-2 each 
Cucumber  - 1 large 
Basil - Partial bundle 
Lettuce Mix - Partial bag 
Lacinato Kale - Partial bundle 
Tomatoes ~1/2 # 
Potatoes - Partial bag 
 Full
Cauliflower - med-large head
Carrots - bundle
Green Bell Pepper - 2 each
Green Onions - bundle
Zucchini/Patty Pan - 2-3 each
Cucumber - 2 medium
Basil - bundle
Lettuce Mix - bag
Lacinato Kale - bundle
Tomatoes ~1#
Potatoes - Full bag

Have a great week!


And DON’T FORGET YOUR TOMATOES AND POTATOES.