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Week 4 Newsletter (July 13, 2017)

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein

Crop list

  • Romaine – all

    Napa Cabbage in the Field

  • Radishes – all
  • Basil – all
  • Leaf lettuce – all
  • Kohlrabi – all
  • Green head cabbage – all
  • Napa cabbage – all
  • Raspberries – single/half
  • Scallions – single
  • Braising mix/arugula – all
  • Broccoli/cauliflower – all
  • Chives – full

Farmer notes

  • Scallions are great in a salad, with eggs, in soup, or in any stir fry
  • Both Napa and head cabbage is great for summer cole slaw
  • Mix many of this week’s vegetables into a refreshing salad
  • Romaine is showing some wear from the field – while washing you may have to pinch off some parts for compost
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, radishes and kohlrabi can all be roasted together
  • Basil can almost be added to anything to add aroma and flavor, pesto is made by adding olive oil, parmesan, nuts, s +p, and put through a food processor
  • We’ve eaten the first of the eggplant off the grill – yummm
  • Member work-day opportunity is tomorrow, Friday July 14th for anyone interested in visiting the farm!!!
  • Please return all our boxes and ice packs for reuse
  • Wash all the produce before you eat it

Below is this week’s article about how to best use each week’s produce, brought to you by one of our veteran members Jenzi and Greg Silverman!

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Michael Pollan

With these words in mind back in 2010, (along with wanting to support local farmers), we decided to join a CSA. Google, in all its wisdom, brought us several options in the area. Ultimately, we settled on Earth Dance Farm, aka Farmer Norm. Besides an amazing variety of produce, the other selling point was that our drop site was very close to us. Plus, there were pictures of a great border collie on the web site, so we knew we couldn’t go wrong!

We got the full share, which was far more generously sized than we had anticipated. Even splitting it with Greg’s mother/ Jenzi’s mother-in-law, we were not finishing every share. Consequently, we ended up wasting a lot!

But we eventually got into a groove. We checked the produce lists on the Earth Dance website and planned our shopping around what we could expect from each week’s delivery. We ate a lot more salads and stir-fries, and we heeded our host family’s suggestion of immediately bagging everything with a paper towel to keep it fresh (we do wash everything, but only just before we use it). Also, we experimented a lot more in our cooking; we found recipes galore and used a lot of those provided by Norm in his very informative newsletter. Now, our allotment of the full share almost seems to vanish within a few days!

When Norm made egg shares available and we signed up for one, that solidified our love of the CSA model. The eggs that Norm’s chickens produce are far better than what you will find even at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, let alone other grocery stores. While they are irregular in shape, the richness of the yolks — as reflected in their color — is not to be believed!  Integrating Earth Dance eggs, along with the produce, into our meals is a real treat!

Our suggestions for getting the most out of your share:

Be inventive: Although, the irregularity in shapes and sizes of some of the produce delivered by Norm would not make it to the display case at your local Whole Foods, the quality, nutrition, and taste are what matter. Therefore, we try not to waste any of the fresh produce. We even roast the tops of root vegetables, including carrot, beet, parsnip, kohlrabi, etc. They are delicious! Just wash and dry them as usual, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and roast at 350 degrees till crisp.

Be creative in your cooking! If you need ideas, there are so many excellent cookbooks out there. Here are several that have given us some of the most delicious ideas for preparing our Earth Dance share:

  • The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly (2015)
  • The Spoonriver Cookbook by Brenda Langton & Margaret Stuart (2012)
  • Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli (2012). Although this one is a vegan cookbook, you can easily add in or substitute meat and dairy ingredients if you’re an omnivore (like us). The recipes are yummy with or without animal-based ingredients.
  • The Moosewood Cookbook: New Classics by the Moosewood Collective

Also, be sure to check out the recipe section of the Earth Dance website. The Napa cabbage salad, and the vegetarian ratatouille — are two of our very favorites, and there are lots of others (including, I believe, Norm’s best-vegetarian-chili-ever, which you’ll get to try if you come to the fall harvest festival).

As long-time supporters of the CSA model, it is very meaningful for us to be first year hosts with Earth Dance Farm, and we are motivated to “evangelize” about it! We urge all of you to connect with your network of friends to let them know there is an alternative to standard grocery store produce. Even if you shop at local farmer’s markets, Earth Dance’s shares complement what you can find there. Using Facebook and NextDoor, we were able to bring a lot of fresh faces into the Earth Dance family.

Also, you really do need to visit the farm to fully appreciate what a CSA is. We waited several years, but ever since we decided to go to the fall harvest festival, we have not missed the opportunity, especially to visit the chickens. Once time allows, we’ll even go work on the farm!

We try to get as much produce throughout the year from Norm, so we get the spring, winter and other ancillary shares. The money spent is well worth the investment, both culinarily and agriculturally. Indeed, we would much rather support CSA, than big organic agriculture, since the latter is not a panacea in terms of land use. The farming practices used at Earth Dance Farm are some of the most sustainable you will find. With Farmer Norm, you cannot go wrong!

Bon appétit!

Jenzi and Greg Silverman

Saint Louis Park, MN

Vegetable of the Week: Basil

Easy Chilled Summer Pasta Salad

Basil Pasta Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • your favorite pasta
  • yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • small red bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • small orange bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • large seedless cucumber, chopped
  • artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • balsamic dressing (use your favorite brand)
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • chopped basil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain, then rinse with cold water to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pasta, peppers, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes. Pour the balsamic dressing over the pasta salad and gently stir to combine. Add the feta cheese and basil and stir again. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to serve.

This recipe encourages cooks to experiment with proportions, make adjustments as needed, taste along the way, and have fun!

Simple Basil Vinaigrette

(Perfect for drizzling over salads that can be prepared from the greens in your CSA boxes this week!)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

In a food processor, pulse the garlic until chopped. Add the basil and pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil, vinegar and crushed red pepper and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

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 FacebookInstagram, or email it to us at norm.the.farmer@gmail.com. Enjoy your box!

Meet the Farmer

Jo holding one of our juvenile chicks!

Jo with Lena, one of our ponies

Hi there! My name is Jo Melo and I am fortunate enough to be spending my summer as an intern here at Earth Dance Farm- the farthest West of the country I have ever traveled. I was born and raised in New York City and have a background in environmental and arts education. I spent my summers prior to this one facilitating art workshops for public school students in the Big Apple. I am currently seeking my Bachelors of Landscape Architecture with a minor in Food Studies at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. Over the course of my life and education, my interests have grown to encompass ecology, art, community engagement, and sustainable food systems- which brings me here.

I have never lived outside of an urban area so when the opportunity arose to experience rural farm life for a full three months straight I knew I would be delving into uncharted territory- which made me all the more excited! At this point in my journey, through my gained knowledge of nutrition and sustainable agriculture, I can confidently say that I will be walking away from Earth Dance Farm a better person than when I first arrived. Not only am I experiencing the arduous and immensely rewarding work of maintaining a wholesome and sustainable business, but I am forming the foundations to living a more conscious and healthy lifestyle. I am SO looking forward to supporting my local farm back home through a CSA.

Thank you for reading,

Jo

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

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