This Week’s Share
- Summer Squash
Carrots- Again this week you will receive your carrots topped and in bulk weight.
Chard- Instead of the usual lettuce this week you will be receiving a beautiful bunch of Ruby Red Swiss chard. The stems and leaves both delicious steamed, braised, sautéed or in any number of recipes. I have included a Russian chard soup recipe below.
Cilantro- A versatile herb cilantro adds something special to many kinds of recipes. I use it frequently in Vietnamese and Mexican cuisine. It also makes a superb alternative to basil pesto.
Corn- You can’t beat fresh corn on the cob with butter, salt, and pepper but there are so many other things it can be added to. Below you will find a traditional breakfast recipe with a small twist, corn pancakes. These were a childhood favorite of mine; in the cool mornings these are the perfect way to start your day.
Cucumbers- Some of you have commented what a large cucumber year this has been, this week you may notice a decline in the amount of these refreshing juicy cucurbits. Enjoy them in an Asian style salad with rice wine vinegar and sugar. I like to top it with seaweed flakes and sesame seeds.
Melons- A cool, damp summer has been hindering our melons but after a good long stretch of hot dry weather this is to be a big melon week. We grow five varieties of melons here at the farm, no matter which kind you receive in your share they are all carefully harvested at their peak of ripeness and sweetness. Below you will find a full description of melons so you can identify which it is you receive.
Onions- Red Bull onions are a storage variety but you are receiving them fresh so they do need to be refrigerated if not used right away.
Peppers- Most of our peppers we allow to change color on the plant, however that is probably still a few weeks away. So this week you will receive in your share 2 green bells. My favorite use for these is sautéed with onions and mushrooms and served in a pita pocket.
Summer Squash- As with cucumbers you can see fall is right around the bend with the slowing of our summer squash plants. Don’t worry soon you will be enjoying the fruits of autumn with the winter squash.
Tomatoes- They are probably my favorite vegetable of all, I can and will eat tomatoes at every meal while they are in season. They go well with just about anything or just sit down with the salt shaker and eat one like an apple. A quick side dish for lunch or dinner is a tomato basil salad. Just toss the basil leaves with olive oil, salt and pepper, add some largely chopped tomatoes and you have a super healthy delicious dish. Fresh mozzarella is a great addition to this salad.
*Basil- We are about to begin our next round of giving out large shares of basil, rotating pick up sites each week. We rotate to give the basil plants a chance to regenerate to keep the harvest controlled and productive. Try using your basil along with your cilantro in a Vietnamese style noodle soup.
A Bit About Melons
We are growing five different kinds of melons at the farm this year. You can expect to see one of the following in your share this week:
Galia is a hybrid melon with a lime green flesh that is succulent and very sweet. It has light to medium netting on a highly uniform conical fruit.
Sugar Nut is a small early canary type of melon with fruits averaging about two pounds. It has greenish white flesh, is sweet and flavorful with a nice smooth texture and a small seed cavity. A 1/2 or whole melon is just the right size for a snack or dessert. It is harvested at the forced slip stage.
Maverick is an early melon variety, round to slightly oval fruits with a heavily sutured skin. They have an excellent sweet flavor. A kind of American cantaloupe they have orange flesh and a corky “net” on the skin. They are sometimes called muskmelons because of their “musky”, sweet taste.
Sivan is a charantais type melon. They are a hybrid variety forming a nearly round highly uniform fruit with delicate ribbing and deep orange super sweet flesh.
New Queen watermelon brings another color of the rainbow to your fruit plates. New Queen matures early and exhibits stunning bright orange flesh that is very tender, crisp and juicy with very few seeds, a 12% sugar content round out this exciting melon.
Shchav- (Russian chard soup)
Adapted from Cooks.com
1 bunch chard
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup milk or sour cream
First melt the butter in a wide, heavy pan. Add chopped stems of chard and cook covered 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in chopped leaves of chard and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. flour and stir until blended. Gradually blend in broth and sour cream or milk. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. If a smooth green soup is preferred, whirl mixture in a blender until it has the consistency desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Carrot and Cilantro Salad
Adapted from the Small Kitchen Gourmet
4 large or 8 smaller carrots
2 Tbsp. cilantro roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Slice carrots thinly. Combine carrots with the cilantro in a bowl. Combine all the dressing ingredients thoroughly. Just before serving toss the carrot mixture with the dressing and transfer to a serving dish.
Flannel Cakes with Fresh Sweet Corn
Adapted from the American Woman’s Cook Book circa 1938
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. shortening
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs (separated)
2 cups milk
1 to 2 cups corn kernels
Rub the shortening into the flour. Add the salt and baking powder. Beat the yolks of the eggs light. Add the milk to the egg yolks and beat well. Gradually stir the liquid into the flour mixture and mix until quite smooth. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Add one to two cups of corn kernels to the batter. Bake on a moderately hot greased griddle.
One of the rotations for the second year apprentices is a position called barn owl. The barn owl starts their day checking the walk-in cooler to spray down and make sure all the produce is at good moisture level. Then harvest begins after a flurry of activity in the barn making sure the bins are washed and loaded, newspaper for keeping sensitive vegetables damp and shielded from the elements, scale are loaded and knives get sharpened. Then everyone heads out to begin the harvest which at this point in the season takes generally from 6:30 am to noon, after which cooling and pack-out begins. The barn owl checks in all produce coming from the fields and records the weights and amounts onto the yield sheets. This past week for example we harvested 1,304 pounds of tomatoes. These then get sorted for ripeness to make sure those getting their share early in the week get the ripest while those getting their share later in the week get ones that will be ripe by then. Then we need to count or weigh again and do the math to fairly divide the bounty among all our members. It is a very attention demanding task to count literally thousands of tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, eggplants and more.
It has been a truly amazing experience apprenticing at Sauvie Island Organics. As I enter my final month I want to let you know what a pleasure it has been growing vegetables for you, and how rewarding it has been to get to see first-hand your excitement at pick-up. The next few weeks will become increasingly busy with the harvest in full swing and harvesting my own crops from my 180 ft. by 3 ft. apprentice bed and preparing to relocate. I am leaving the same weekend I graduate the farm for Port Townsend Washington to assist in managing a new 6-acre farm. I look forward to applying all my new found skills and knowledge and thank the farm and you the members for all I have learned in the last 17 months