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Week 7 Newsletter (August 3, 2017)

» 2017 Newsletters

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. – John Muir

Week 7 Boxes!

Week 7 Crop List

  • Cucumbers – all
  • Green beans – all

    Tom, Jillian, and Emily packing the boxes.

  • Marjoram – all
  • Cabbage – all
  • Summer squash/zucchini – all
  • Romaine – all
  • Eggplant – single/half
  • Turnip/cauliflower – full
  • Kale – full/single
  • Swiss chard – full/single
  • Napa/collards – full
  • Kohlrabi – full

Farmer notes:

  • Most of the Cole crops are finished for now and will most likely reappear in early October: kohlrabi, broccoli, collards, cauliflower, cabbage, napa etc.
  • Friday, August 18, is our 2nd member field day here at the farm – come anytime to help out, meet the crew, and share some lunch. We would all love to meet you!
  • Green beans, cucumbers, eggplant, and summer squashes are having a ‘hayday’ right now
  • We are slated to receive some much-needed rain today
  • Everyone is trying to make sauerkraut here on the farm. You should give it a whirl since it is not terribly difficult (see recipes)
  • Yesterday we were able to field seed chard, dill and collards for late fall
  • Boxes are getting weighty – when carrying them, place a hand beneath
  • Please return all our ice packs, waxed boxes, and egg cartons
  • Enjoy the summer bounty and wash everything before you eat it

Perennial herb garden

Herb Garden at the end of May

Herb Garden from the beginning of August

Growing up on a small family farm in west central Iowa, having a large orchard and vegetable garden was a given.   Living amidst the chickens, milk cows and pigs was our backdrop and the work involved with these things was the fabric of our daily lives.  In the present, trying to make sauerkraut, bringing in produce (and most always going back out to grab something forgotten) for the evening meal, planning meals around what is in season, and relaxing on the stoop after a hot summer day all settle in to a place deep within.

I hear stories from siblings about the dill we grew, but I have no recollection of any other herbs that existed to spice up our meals while growing up.  We were a meat ‘n potato family for sure, but we also ate lots of vegetables, often canned or frozen.  Salt and pepper were our spice rack with plenty of butter of course.  Here at Earth Dance Farm, have always given herbs, both annual and perennial, in our CSA boxes.  This year we established a perennial herb garden into plastic mulch that can be used for many years to come.  So far it is home to chives, marjoram, oregano, hyssop, sage, thyme, mint, lovage, rosemary and savory.

We try to partner the herb of the week with other vegetables that are in the box.  Last week was oregano and this week marjoram to go with the summer squashes – I used oregano in coleslaw last evening.  The next 2 weeks will bring thyme and rosemary to go with the new potatoes.  The last 2 basil plantings will come with the tomatoes, peppers, etc.  I hope that you enjoy the herbs and learn how to use them in different dishes.  It has taken me some years to adjust my palate to the variety of herbs that I now use, and the possibilities for creativity are endless … so fun!!!

Share your favorite recipes using herbs with us on Facebook!

Recipes of the Week

This week we have a variety of recipes featuring a handful of items from your boxes including cabbage, squash, marjoram, and green beans. Enjoy!

Brine-Fermented Sauerkraut

Ingredients

  • Cabbage
  • 3 tbsp of canning, pickling, kosher, or sea salt

What to Do

  1. Remove the outer leaves and core of cabbage
  2. Thinly slice or grate cabbage and place in a large bowl
  3. Add salt and massage cabbage with clean hands. The cabbage will begin to release water and wilt.
  4. Pack the cabbage into a small stone crock or Mason Jar and press down firmly to submerge it beneath the water.
  5. The cabbage must remain submerged. To do this, place a Ziploc bag of water on top of the cabbage. It will conform to the shape of the container.
  6. Cover kraut with a cloth so that it can breathe, but nothing will get in.
  7. Check once or twice a week. Within a few days it should start to bubble, indicating the fermentation has started.
  8. Stir occasionally to prevent scum from forming. If scum does form, simply scrape it off and then stir.
  9. The longer it ferments, the more sour it will be. So taste to your liking.
  10. When it reaches the point that you like the taste, refrigerate it. Refrigeration will not stop the fermentation process, but it will slow it down significantly. Kraut keeps indefinitely.

Sautéed Squash with Lemon and Marjoram

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced.
  • 2 pounds squash, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices.
  • 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram, or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram.
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice.

What to Do

  1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and add garlic.
  2. Slice up squash and add to pan.
  3. Sprinkle sugar, salt, pepper, marjoram, and lemon juice over squash
  4. Sauté until lightly browned.

Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients

  • Green Beans
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

What to Do

  1. Preheat oven to 4000F
  2. Spread green beans onto a pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your fingers to coat beans evenly with olive oil and spread them out so they don’t overlap.
  3. Roast in the oven until beans are slightly shriveled and have brown spots, 20 to 25 minutes.

If you’ve tried either of these recipes, we would love to see and hear how they turned out! Snap a pic and share it on Facebook or Instagram, or email it to us at norm.the.farmer@gmail.com.

Meet the Farmer

Emily

Hi all,

My name is Emily. I live in Spring Valley and go to school at Kingsland Public Schools. I came to the farm last year for the experience and to see if farming is something I would want to do in the future. The farm has taught me a lot of new things.

Enjoy your produce! Like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @EarthDanceFarm!


Week 6 Newsletter (July 27, 2017)

» 2017 Newsletters

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. – Aristotle

Morning Rainbow at Earth Dance Farm

Week 6 crop list:

  • Red beets – all
  • Romaine lettuce – all
  • Eggplant – all
  • Cucumbers – all
  • Cabbage – all
  • Kohlrabi – all
  • Zucchini and summer squash – all
  • Oregano – all
  • Cauliflower/Turnips – full, half
  • Popcorn – full, single
  • Radishes – full, single

Farmer notes:

  • We could use some good old sunshine and hot summer weather
  • We are trying to transplant our fall brassicas into the field
  • We are one third finished with the summer season already
  • Green beans missed the cut for this week – everyone receives them in the week 7 box
  • We gave you oregano this week since it pairs well with the summer squashes, next week will be dill for the cucumbers
  • Eggplant or zucchini are excellent thinly sliced the long way, oiled and seasoned and put on the grill – top with parmesan or pesto
  • Enough already on the radishes – we will bring them back in the fall
  • One more week of cauliflower, kohlrabi and cabbage
  • 2 to 3 weeks until the potatoes, tomatoes and bell peppers will be ready
  • Cucumbers are great in salt or vinegar, tossed in a salad or creamed
  • Check out our Facebook page for a video on how to use the popcorn
  • Remember to return our boxes, ice packs and egg cartons
  • Wash all your produce before you eat it
  • Thanks for being such awesome members!!!

Black plastic mulch

Eggplant and tomatoes thriving on black plastic mulch

Melons growing on black plastic mulch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently our week here on the farm can be summarized something like this:

  • Monday – weeding, hoeing, irrigation and planting, some harvesting
  • Tuesday – harvesting and washing for the Thursday delivery
  • Wednesday – harvesting, washing, and packing the weekly boxes
  • Thursday – delivering produce, back to weeding, hoeing, and some planting
  • Friday – farm tasks, mowing, weeding, etc. and planting as needed

From mid-July until mid-August we are in the throes of weeding the fields.  If the crops are growing like crazy, then you know the weeds are growing like crazy on steroids.  Keeping weeds at bay is accomplished through a variety of means; hand weeding (the most fun for the interns), hand hoeing, mechanical cultivation, flame weeding, and the use of weed suppression such as plastic or straw mulch.  All these methods are employed here at EDF depending on the crop, the weed pressure, the time in the season and the soil condition.

We have utilized black plastic mulch to a greater degree the last two seasons since we purchased a machine that lays it into the field.  Its primary uses include weed suppression, soil moisture retention and the increase and constancy of soil temperature.  Crops are transplanted by hand into the plastic beds.  The space between the beds is mowed and the weeds/grass growing next to the plant is pulled by hand.  Drip irrigation is laid beneath the plastic by the machine and is used as needed. This system works particularly well for crops that love the heat such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and melons. Each of these crops are thriving this season growing under these conditions.  I had a recent Facebook comment to the affect that the eggplant did too well last season and ‘a guy can only eat so much eggplant.’ And yes, the eggplant has arrived in your boxes in full force this week with some banana peppers coming next week.  The bell peppers, tomatoes and melons are still a few weeks out.  We hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Vegetable of the Week: Summer Squash

Summer squash is out in force and that means it is time to feature them as our vegetable of the week. Summer squash comes in a variety of kinds including yellow squash, patty pan, and the most popular, zucchini. All varieties of summer squash have thin, edible skins and tender flesh. Summer squash is rich in vitamins and minerals including copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamins B6, C, and K. Summer squash can be broiled, grilled, sautéed, baked, or used raw in a salad. Summer squash goes well with oregano so we recommend combining them in your dishes this week. Check out the recipes below to learn how to make Sautéed Summer Squash and Zucchini Bread!

Sautéed Summer Squash with Red Pepper and Onion

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ lbs summer squash cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 red pepper cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp chopped oregano
  • Salt and pepper

What to do:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onion.
  • Cook until tender stirring often
  • Add the garlic, summer squash, red pepper, and about 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the squash is translucent and the red pepper tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt. Stir in the oregano and remove from the heat.

Zucchini Bread

What you need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini with no seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon

What to do:

  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl
  • Add vegetable oil, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla
  • Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Then add to the large bowl and combine mixtures
  • Preheat oven to 3250F and bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes

If you’ve tried either of these recipes, we would love to see and hear how they turned out! Snap a pic and share it on Facebook or Instagram, or email it to us at norm.the.farmer@gmail.com. Enjoy your box!

Enjoy your produce! Like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @EarthDanceFarm!