2018 CSA Week 12

Hello wonderful CSA families!

We hope you all are having a wonderful summer and enjoying your weekly veggies.

The farm is coming along beautifully this time of year; the cucumbers and tomatoes are well over head. The sweet corn is tasseling, and the winter squash is spreading out and setting what appears to be an abundant amount of fruit.

Despite a slow start to spring this year, and a bit of hobbling along and cobbling together enough warmth in our itty bitty little plant starting ‘propagation house’ to keep the tomatoes going in the cold never-ending winter, it seems like ages ago that it was the night before Easter and the forecast was in the 20s and we were scrambling to get it warm enough to keep the plants alive in the prop house. We lost a lot of them due to not having an adequate way to keep them warm (working on a better prop house for 2019!) but you would never know that by looking in the tomato tunnel right now.


The zucchinis and cucumbers are being harvested every other day so they are at perfect size and not too big. Spring and early summer crops are coming out and fall crops are going in. In years past, this is when the farm starts to ‘shrink’ down in size for the year but this year, with careful planning, we are extending our growing season a bit and...we are replanting every single bed. Exciting!

Speaking of planting and planning...we planted 200 purple cauliflower this spring hoping 120 of them would be ready at the same time and it seems only enough have headed up for our full shares this week. We have never left anything out of our partial shares before and we are really sad to leave out something as special as the purple cauliflower. So...here is the plan: full shares get purple cauliflower for sure this week and if there are enough, partials get them as well.

(Partial shares--if you don’t get a cauliflower this week, they will be heading up next week and you will get one in the next two weeks.)

If you are a partial share and you don’t get a cauliflower, take heart! You will be getting ‘full share’ amounts of the rest of the veggies in the box this week!

Carrots
Purple and Green Beans--The beautiful purple beans will turn green when cooked. You may be able to minimize this by first soaking them in an acid, like lemon juice, and then steaming them lightly. Or just eat them raw!
Purple Cauliflower--Unlike the purple beans, this beautiful veggie will keep its color when cooked. Try it in this week’s recipe for a unique finger food.
Super Greens (baby green mix of kales, asian greens, mustard greens, and arugula)--Add to salads or sautes for a blast of gorgeous green nutrients.
Zucchini or Patty Pan Squash
Cucumber
Green Onions
Basil
Very First of the Tomatoes!
Red Potatoes


Recipe of the week: Potato and Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette (Serves 6) (Adapted from geniuskitchen.com)

Salad ingredients:
2 lbs small red potatoes, cooked until tender
1 lb green or purple beans, stems trimmed and sliced into smaller pieces, if desired, and cooked until firm-tender
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaf


Vinaigrette ingredients:
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper


Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, green beans, onion and basil.
Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a small jar and shake to mix.
Add the vinaigrette mixture to the warm potato/bean mixture; toss well to coat.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Recipe of the week: Purple Parmesan Cauli-Tots (Yield: 20 mini-muffin sized tots)
(Adapted from nibblesandfeasts.com)

Ingredients:
½ head of purple cauliflower, chopped
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 eggs, beaten
olive oil cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F
. Place purple cauliflower pieces, cheese, bread crumbs and salt in a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients have been processed to fine pieces.
Transfer mixture to a bowl and add eggs. Stir to combine.
Spray mini-muffin pan with olive oil spray.
Spoon 2 tablespoon of cauliflower mixture into each mold, pressing down with your fingers until tightly packed.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

2018 CSA Week 11

This week marks over half way through our growing season! We were hoping to have tomatoes to mark the half-way point. We have a few but not quite enough for CSA. Next week...will mark the beginning of tomatoes in your box!

Although the days have been warm, sunny, and dry we are noticing the shift in the seasons with the shortening day length. We are hustling to ‘flip’ beds to make way for fall plantings. Last week our crew worked so hard, and we got so many transplants in the ground, plus we got the garlic out of the ground and curing. It’s taken me six years but I pretty much never get sore from field work anymore… nevertheless… my hamstrings are feeling it after pulling all those precious jewels of garlic out of our heavy clay soil. Pulling garlic is a hard job and this year we had one of our new field workers with Jay and me in the field, while the rest of the crew was busy completing the somewhat crazy amount of seeds we are starting for fall.

We always feel thankful for all of our workers, and hustling to get all the garlic in (three of us pulled 2000 heads in 90 minutes!) served to cement my gratitude for our hard working crew. Every. Single. Member of our team could be earning so much more money at jobs that are so much less physically demanding. And yet they choose this work. This never ceases to amaze me--just as I am amazed by that tiny cabbage seed that can turn into that monster head of food in your CSA box. Our crew of talented, hardworking, creative, problem-solving farmers leaves Jay and me feeling incredibly thankful every. darn. day.


Our fantastic field worker Sean just after pulling the last garlic.


Speaking of garlic; this week we are including a fresh garlic in your share. For those of you new to CSA get ready...the flavor of garlic grown in organic, nutrient-dense soil is amazing, and once you’ve had it, all other garlic is like...meh…

We are also including a larger amount of basil in the shares this week; enough for you to make pesto to top off your favorite dish. We took the tops off the carrots and the beets this week, as the tops had gotten big and aren’t the same quality for braising as the more tender young carrot and beet tops are. Also...those beet tops would have filled your whole box up!

Some of the green cabbages got...pretty massive and we know many of you love our cabbage. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size. You can cut it in half or in quarters and the remaining amount of cabbage will keep well when wrapped in a plastic produce bag in the veggie crisper.

We hope you enjoyed the very first of the cucs last week. This week we still have just a few but as they start to peak for the season more cucs will be joining the party in the CSA box.

These little mini lettuces make beautiful salads and we love them chopped with some fresh onion and shredded carrot.

Wishing you a wonderful week, Jay, Mandy and the LVF Crew


CSA week 11: (Partial shares in ½ - ¾ amounts) (*This week’s veggies don’t require a lot of description, so just eat ‘em up!)

Carrots
Red Beets
Green Cabbage
Lettuce, Mini Heads
Zucchini--Even if you don’t have the fancy veggie spiralizer, you can try your hand at “zoodles” with your vegetable peeler by peeling down the length of the zucchini, making long, wide ribbons as you work your way around. Stop when you get to the seeds, and cook the zoodles in a little bit of hot oil for 1-2 minutes. Top with some homemade pesto!
Cucumber
Red Long Onions
Garlic, fresh, uncured--This can be used just like regular, cured garlic--crushed, minced, roasted, etc. You’ll notice the cloves are moister than cured garlic, and any unused cloves should be stored in an airtight container on the counter.
Basil

Recipe of the Week: Asian Cabbage Slaw with Basil and Ginger (Serves 6) (adapted from foodfitnessfreshair.com)

Salad: Add all this to a large bowl.
1/2 head of cabbage, very thinly sliced (a food processor makes this so easy!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 to 1-inch ginger, peeled and minced
3 medium carrots, shredded
1 small onion, minced
1/3 packed cup basil, sliced into thin ribbons

Dressing: Whisk well and toss well with veggies.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup unsweetened rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar or honey
1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce


Garnish options: Sprinkle on top if desired.
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds or chopped salty peanuts
Red chili pepper flakes

2018 CSA Week 10

Hello wonderful CSA families!

The farm continues to grow beautifully every week. As the sun is setting tonight and we get ready for a new week tomorrow we will be making our half-way point into the growing season. What a wonderful season it has been for us already and in the coming weeks the farm will be coming into the height of production for the year and we are so very excited to pack your boxes each week with the bounty grown from sun and soil.


This week we will be harvesting the garlic (which will hang for 3-5 weeks before fully cured), harvest potatoes, seeding and planting fall crops, staying on top of the weeding, mowing, and harrowing spring and summer beds that have come out of production, training new crew members, breaking ground for beds for next year….

…..and soaking up every bit of Summer in Montana that we can.

We know your days are packed with work and life and all the extra fun that we all try to pack into our brief summer. We really appreciate that each and every one of you is taking time out of your week to put nourishing food on your family table.

We’ve got quite a few ‘cooling’ foods this week. Nice light salad mix, cold cucumbers, enough basil for a fresh pesto. In the summer I love fresh pesto on cold boiled potatoes.

Have you ever tried grilling your potatoes? It’s such a great way not to heat up the kitchen too much.

The carrots, zucchini, kohlrabi, red long onions, and new potatoes would all make for a beautiful kabob on the grill this week.

Also, I know not everyone cares for raw kale but this time of year I do love it very thinly sliced and mixed with shredded carrots, shredded kohlrabi, and sour cream, lemon juice, and mayo for a cole-slaw-esque salad.

Our kids are delighted that the cucumbers have started fruiting and it is right up there with sugar snaps as their favorite veggie right now. They peel one end and gnaw it to a nub. Then the Guinea pigs get the nub.

Speaking of lemons and kids. Those of you picking up your CSA share on the farm get ready for industrious adorableness as the kids are planning a fresh squeezed lemonade stand and they are testing mixes of basil lemonade and raspberry lemonade (the raspberries are just starting).

Toasting you all with a collective CSA glass of cold water and wishing you a great week,

Jay, Mandy and the LVF Crew


CSA week 10: (Partial shares in ½ - ¾ amounts)

Carrots--Pretty sure it’s impossible to get too many of these!

Potatoes, new potatoes--New potatoes are so delicious when steamed until soft and topped with butter and a sprinkle of fresh basil, or try them in a grill pan next time you barbeque. (You may need to steam them lightly first so they get cooked completely on the grill.)

Basil

Kohlrabi--You remember these guys that resemble green and purple aliens, right? Peel ‘em, slice ‘em thin and munch ‘em down with a sprinkle of sea salt. They are so juicy and delicious raw!!

Lettuce Mix

Zucchini--These first zucchini are so good grilled! Simply chop off the ends, halve or quarter them lengthwise (depending on size), brush with olive or avocado oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and lay them directly on the grill until softened. A sprinkle of julienned basil is a perfect garnish!

Cucumber--A cucumber salad with thinly sliced red long onions and a light vinaigrette or creamy Greek yogurt-and-dill dressing would be the perfect accompaniment to a light summer dinner.

Red Long Onions--These are Italian sweet red onions. They are mild in flavor and great as a salad topping!

Lacinato Kale--These big, beautiful bluish-green leaves are so versatile. Strip them off the hard stems by holding the stem with one hand and running your other hand along the stem from bottom to top. Thinly slice and add to a lettuce mix salad for texture, or saute until soft and top with some vinegar or lemon juice.

Sugar Snap Peas

Fennel--See this week’s recipe for inspiration.



Wishing you a wonderful week, Jay, Mandy, and the LVF Crew

Recipe of the week: Cider-Grilled Fennel, Apple, Onion and Zucchini (Serves 4)
(Adapted from farmflavor.com)

Ingredients:
1 large fennel bulb
1-2 red long onions
1 large honeycrisp apple
2 medium-sized or 3 small zucchini
3 tablespoons avocado* or canola oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup apple cider

Directions:
Cut fennel bulb, zucchini and apple into 1- to 2-inch chunks; thinly slice onions. Reserve the light and feathery fennel leaves. Combine remaining ingredients to create baste.
Place veggies and apples in a grill pan (or wrap in foil). Grill over medium coals, basting and turning often. Cook to al dente texture, about 20 minutes.
Cut into bite-sized pieces, and toss in chopped fennel leaves. Serve warm.

Our video series is on hiatus this week. We'll see what we can pull together in the coming weeks. Thanks for all the positive feedback on that. We are having too much fun making these little films!

2018 CSA Week 9

We hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!

This year we are trying something new with our crop planning for CSA. In years past we have done the same number of beds of cabbage family crops every three weeks for three successions of crops. This year we decided to do one larger planting of kohl crops in the spring and two smaller successions in late spring and then (exciting and new!) an extra large planting for late fall.

We’ve changed this up a bit this year in hopes of filling the CSA box with more SUMMER goodies for the brief time that we have seasonal summer veggies in Montana. Last week we were happy to put both romanesco and broccoli in your box, and this week we are excited about two heading kohl (cabbage family) crops--red cabbage and cauliflower. After this week you won’t be seeing two heading kohl crops in one week’s box again until fall this year. Never fear though, cabbage lovers! Despite the fact that it just warmed up this week, fall boxes with cabbages and winter squash will be right around the corner. The days are already getting just a little bit shorter. As with all seasonal eating...enjoy it while it’s here! Relish the cauliflower and cabbage this week as we anticipate the zucchini and cucumbers coming soon.

Speaking of cauliflower...wow...aren’t these some beautiful cauliflowers this week? We check on them every week and the last two weeks have thought...I think they can take another week to head up and then...they got a little bigger than expected. This is a ‘self blanching’ variety of cauliflower. The large leaves grow up around the head and keep the cauliflower white. However, these got so big they pushed the leaves back and got a touch of sun scald, which is why they are slightly yellow. This is purely cosmetic, and if you’ve never had farm-fresh cauliflower you are really in for a treat; it has a wonderful, almost sweet, flavor.

All our summer crops are coming on beautifully. Thanks to The Good Bee Co., who keep hives of honeybees at our farm, the pollination and fruit set on our tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini have got the plants loaded with veggies.


We have a big push of transplanting coming this week to keep our beets and lettuces coming on strong in the coming months, a big push of seeding in trays for fall crops, and seeding in the field for fall carrots and the beautiful fall ‘watermelon’ radish.

Also, because we are eternal optimists, we hope to get caught up on weeding this week.


CSA week 9: (Partial shares in ½ - ¾ amounts)

Red Beets--Since it looks like some summer heat has finally arrived in Montana, these can be steamed, sliced and added to salads throughout the week--especially if there’s some gorgonzola and toasted pecans involved!
Cauliflower--Separate into florets, drizzle with avocado oil, sprinkle with salt and roast this baby, or enjoy it as a puree.
Red Cabbage--This lovely guy will produce A LOT when shredded--enough for this week’s recipe AND a delicious slaw to accompany pulled-pork sandwiches. (I’m drooling right now.)
Red Butter Lettuce-Oh, the salads you can enjoy this week--phenomenal!
Lettuce Mix
Thai Basil--This beautiful bunch of green looks a little different from its cousin, sweet basil, and it has a slight licorice flavor and a spicier bite. It stands up to the heat of a stir-fry better than its cousin too.
Sugar Snap Peas--These are excellent eaten immediately or, if you have the willpower, added to a saute or stir-fry.
Green Onions--If you chop these up as soon as you get home from CSA pickup, you will be so thankful all week that you can grab out a handful or two to add to whatever you’re cooking. (Brownies excluded)
Collard Greens--Chop/rip into little pieces and saute these in the same pan where you just cooked some bacon, or treat like any of the other delicious greens we’ve enjoyed this CSA season.

Wishing you a wonderful week,
Jay, Mandy, and the LVF Crew

Recipe of the Week: Spicy Thai Basil and Cabbage Stir-fry (serves 4)
(Adapted from www.eattrainandlove.com)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon honey or agave
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
A couple of dashes of fish sauce
4 tablespoons of avocado oil or olive oil
1 serrano or jalapeƱo chili pepper, ribs and seeds removed (unless you like it extra spicy)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken
4 cups shredded red cabbage (or other veggies you have, like bok choi, broccoli, peppers…)
½ cup sliced snap peas
Green onions, chopped, for garnish


Whisk the soy sauce, honey or agave, sesame oil, rice vinegar and fish sauce together. Continue whisking while you add in 2 tablespoons of the oil, until well combined. Set the sauce aside.

Chop all the veggies, cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and mince the garlic. Chop your hot pepper by removing all the seeds from the inside, and then chopping into small pieces.

Heat a large skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add in the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. When both sides are browned and the chicken is barely cooked through, add in half the soy sauce mixture. Cook for about 3 minutes, letting the sauce bubble up, and turning the chicken so all sides are coated in the sauce. After 3 minutes, remove the chicken from the pan.

Add the snap peas to the same skillet with the cooked sauce. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add in the garlic and serrano chile. Stir to combine and cook for another 3 minutes, until the vegetables soften.

Add in the red cabbage, along with the basil and the remaining soy sauce mixture. Cook everything for another 2-3 minutes. Then add the chicken back into the skillet. Cook for another minutes or so, and stir so everything is well combined.

Serve with rice and a sprinkle of freshly chopped basil and green onions.

Check out Mandy and special guest Dena Geiger cooking with all of this week's share:

2018 CSA Week 8

ATTENTION ALL WEDNESDAY PICKUP MEMBERS:

Mountain Valley Foods is closed for the 4th of July. All Wednesday pick ups on the 4th of July will be at our DOWNTOWN KALISPELL PICK UP TUESDAY JULY 3rd, 5-7pm. If that date doesn’t work for you, please schedule a change on your CSA account or send us an email and we can change your pickup location for that week.

If you take no action, your pickup for Wednesday, July 4th will change to Tuesday, July 3rd.

Everything at the farm is growing beautifully right now. And even though the last few weeks have had their fair share of cool rainy days that may not be as conducive to trips to the lake as our warm June was last year, this year’s much more seasonal Montana June weather has produced some beautiful cabbage family crops we will be enjoying in CSA for the coming weeks.



Our summer crops continue to look great and thanks to our regular crew members, and a few new crew members, we were able to get all the summer crops weeded and continue the weekly pruning and trellising of the tomatoes and cucs. We are so thankful for all the picking, cutting, washing and packing the crew is doing!

We have also been keeping a close eye on our beautiful potato patch and are mowing the first few rows this week to have the first new potatoes of the year in your csa boxes next week.

We know many of you will want some extra veggies for Fourth of July cooking; we are sending an email out and will have special orders available at all the pick up sites this week.

Speaking of Fourth of July! This would be a great week to make some vegetable kabobs with your CSA veggies; Romanesco, Broccoli, Carrots, Turnips, and Mini Onion would pair together to make a colorful rainbow of grilled veggies. If you don’t have a grill basket it’s a nice tool for quick and fun summer veggie cooking.

Toss your veggies in a high heat tolerant cooking oil (I like avocado oil for grilling). Oil also helps salt stick to the veggies on the grill. Oil + Sea Salt + Fresh Veggies + Grill = Deliciousness

You can keep your broccoli and Romanesco ‘stems’ in the freezer and add to a warming veggie soup this fall; or this year maybe on the 4th of July.


CSA week 8: (Partial shares in ½ - ¾ amounts)

Hakurei “Salad” Turnips, Root Only

Broccoli

Romanesco-Like a tiny green cathedral, this beautiful veggie is part of the brassica family, and is almost too beautiful to eat. See this week’s recipe for inspiration, or enjoy it any way you would normally eat broccoli or cauliflower.

Lacinato Kale--Strip the big leafy parts off the hard middle stems and add to salads or a saute, or try it out in this week’s recipe.

Baby Romaine

Lettuce Mix

Sugar Snap Peas - just a few this week

Mini Onions

Carrots

Hope you have a great week, Jay, Mandy, and the LVF Crew

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Romanesco and Kale Salad
(Adapted from solipapar.wordpress.com)

Ingredients:
1 head of romanesco, separated into florets
1 head of garlic, top ¼ inch cut off
1 bunch of lacinato kale (stripped from the stem and ripped up into smaller pieces)
2 tablespoons of olive oil + more for roasting
1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
Juice of ½ of a lemon
1 tablespoon of honey
Salt and pepper
Chopped toasted walnuts
Dried cranberries, optional


Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the romanesco and full head of garlic (intact) on a parchment-covered baking dish or cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, or until tender with browned tips. Once done, set aside to cool slightly. Squeeze the softened garlic cloves out. Cut them up and set to the side.

In the meantime, place the kale in a large bowl. Massage for a few minutes, then add a bit of olive oil and continue to massage for another 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a small bowl, prepare the dressing. Mix together the apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Once the romanesco has cooled a little, add to the bowl of kale along with the dressing, garlic, walnuts and cranberries, if desired. Toss and serve.