2018 Week 8 Newsletter

Giant Vegetables 

We have entered the season of giant vegetables. If we turn our backs for a second the zucchini have grown another foot (that seems to be happening with my oldest son, too). We pick the fruiting vegetables everyday, but still some manage to hid out and if we miss them they get HUGE! Our largest zucchini this week weighed in at over 10 pounds. Thankfully, we have a market for them at the Shelton Farmers Market. Shelton is home to a Mayan Guatemalan community that enjoy shopping at the farmers markets. They love the big zucchini and come early to the market to get the biggest ones. Guatemalans use it to make a traditional soup called Pepian de Pollo. It would traditionally be made with chayote but zucchini is a good substitute. The large zucchini are also good sliced into discs and grilled with olive oil, salt, and pepper. So tasty!

 My son holding the ten and 1/2 pound zucchini. It was the first one that sold at the farmers market on Saturday.

My son holding the ten and 1/2 pound zucchini. It was the first one that sold at the farmers market on Saturday.

Flowers are happy things.
— P.G. Wodehouse

CSA Basket - Week 8

Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week (asterisk for small share items):

  • Mixed Salad Greens* - Try topping your lettuce with a quinoa or bean salad
  • Zucchini* - See recipe
  • Garlic* - roast the whole bulb and spread on toast
  • Broccoli* - best enjoyed in the first few days - lovely roasted
  • Carrot* - enjoy a salad for dinner when it is too hot to cook!
  • Tomato - the first tomatoes are so tasty eaten sliced with a little salt
  • MIX and MATCH: Shishito Peppers/Cauliflower/Ground Cherry - we have lots of produce this week - but not enough of each for all baskets
  • Cilantro Plant - when you cut leave at least an inch and it will regrow - the perfect herb for this ground cherry salsa

Vegetable of the Week - Zucchini

Botanical Facts - Cucurbita is a member of the pumpkin family and are a trailing or climbing variety native to the Americas. They are grown for their edible and ornamental fruit. The young leaves, stems, and delicate flowers can also be eaten. 

Historical Origins - The exact origins of the summer squash is unknown, but they appear to have first been cultivated in Mexico from the giant pumpkin. Squash have been cultivated in the Americas for more than 5,000 years and are an important part of its cuisine. Summer squash was not widely cultivated in Europe until the 19th century with varieties developed in Italy such as zucchini. 


 One of our CSA members sent us a picture of this well-loved cookbook and a recipe for Zucchini and Pepper Enchiladas. I want to try them! Here is a link to the  recipes for the filling and the sauce. Send us a picture when you make them!

One of our CSA members sent us a picture of this well-loved cookbook and a recipe for Zucchini and Pepper Enchiladas. I want to try them! Here is a link to the recipesfor the filling and the sauce. Send us a picture when you make them!


Another Bite - From Chef Darlene:


Listening to the Splendid Table podcast this week (more on that below), I was inspired by Francis Lam’s suggestion for an overabundance of sweet red peppers: sauté them with onions over a low heat for a very long time, until most of the moisture is gone and the mixture is thick. I think he referred to it as a “savory jam” and it reminded me of a dish of my Louisiana childhood when the yellow squash was plentiful: melt some bacon fat or butter in a skillet, throw in some sliced onion and sliced squash, salt and pepper and cook slowly (for, I warn you, a very long time), stirring occasionally, until thick and caramelized.  This is not an Instagram-able dish, but it is delicious and useful. I have a plan to top some grilled flat bread with this mixture, some crumbled goat cheese, diced hot peppers and chopped fresh tomatoes. You could also make an open faced sandwich with grilled country bread, chopped bacon and shredded cheddar. Or stir some of it into Greek yogurt for a healthy dip; the caramelized squash is quite sweet, so something tangy or spicy balances that out. And while my “recipe” has 2 ingredients, you could take it in a number of different directions by adding garlic, herbs, spices, chopped jalapeno…
 
As I mentioned, the memory of this dish was prompted by one of my two favorite podcasts, The Splendid Table. The other is Santa Monica-based Good Food. These hour-long weekly programs are a great way to learn and be inspired to get into the kitchen.  


So - here is what we learned this week. It turns out the creature on the left is not a vampire bug sucking the life out of our pepper plants - and we should not be killing them. Instead, it is the pupa stage of the ladybug. The one on the left is a newly hatched ladybug that hasn't developed its spots yet. Ladybugs are an important bug for helping control aphids which have been attacking our pepper plants in the greenhouse. Here is a fun link to the life cycle of a ladybug- something we probably all learned back in elementary school but forgot. 


We would love to hear from you! What have you been preparing with your vegetables? Have you tried something new? Let us know! Send us an email or post on Facebook and we can share your ideas with others in the next newsletter.

We will continue to be at the Harstine Island Farmers Market and Shelton Farmers Market on Saturdays throughout the summer. You can also find us online at Fresh Food Revolution for deliveries to Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula, and Allyn. Come see us at the market!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Week 7 Newsletter

Fibonacci Farm Math

I love the creative process of farming. I like to think of this farm as a blank canvas that we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to paint and make something both beautiful and useful. Math has those elements, too - it is both beautiful and functional. This week I have been looking for math elements in our plants. Do you remember learning that many plants contain numbers from the sequence called Fibonacci numbers? I find this fascinating and amazing. This sequence of numbers is formed by adding the preceding two numbers in the sequence to get the next number. Here is the sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, etc. Not all plants or flowers contain this sequence but enough do to make you wonder - WHY? Here are some pictures of plants that contain spirals with this sequence. Take a look and see if any items in your CSA basket this week contain Fibonacci numbers.


The sunflower seeds form two Fibonacci sequences in their opposite spirals, the tomatillo husk has five sections, the cauliflower spirals in a Fibonacci sequence as well, and the lowly clover has three leaves. If you still want to explore more you can check out this fun math video.


One
Small,
Precise,
Poetic,
Spiraling mixture:
Math plus poetry yields the Fib.

*Number of syllables per line follows the Fibonacci sequence
— - Gregory K. Pincus

CSA Basket - Week 7

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Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week (asterisk for small share items):

  • Tomatoes* - First of the season! Enjoy! 
  • Cucumber* - eat fresh on a salad or make some quick pickles for a snack
  • Basil* - stack the leaves, roll, and slice into thin ribbons for a garnish on anything
  • Ground Cherry* - perfect snack eaten raw (don't eat the husk!)
  • Head Lettuce* - enjoy a salad for dinner when it is too hot to cook!
  • Beets - try roasted and tossed with feta cheese
  • Shishito Peppers - try roasting with an herb infused olive oil and eat whole
  • Kale - try massaging with olive oil and tossing with balsamic vinegar
  • Kohlrabi - peel and julienne for a snack or add to a vegetable soup
  • Onions - slice raw onto salads to try a quick pickle which is delicious as a garnish on salads

Vegetable of the Week - Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries

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Botanical Facts - Ground Cherries are another member of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family but are of the Physalis genus - which refers to the husk that forms around the berry.  They are an herbaceous plant growing to 0.4 to 3 m tall, similar to the common tomato, but usually with a stiffer, more upright stem. They grow in temperate and tropical climates.  The fruit is small and orange, similar in size, shape and structure to a small cherry tomato.

Historical Origins - Most of the species, of which there may be 75-90, are indigenous to the New World.  Cultivated species and weedy annuals have been introduced worldwide.  Reportedly, early colonial Americans used them in jams and pies.  Other than that - I can't seem to find out much about their history!  Here is an article with some ideas for using them:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/five-ways-to-eat-ground-cherries-98470003/


Another Bite - From Chef Darlene:


Are you interested in learning more about cooking the vegetables in your basket? Here are a few vegetable-focused cookbooks that I like:
 
Eating from the Ground Up, Alana Chernila
Six Seasons, Joshua McFadden
The Vegetable Butcher, Cara Mangini
Vegetable Literacy, Deborah Madison
Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi
Tender, Nigel Slater
Vegetable Love, Barbara Kafka
Vegetarian India, Madhur Jaffrey


CSA Tip of the Week: Pasta
Pasta sauce does not have to be red; pretty much any vegetable or green can be chopped, sautéed with a little garlic and sliced onion and tossed with pasta and cheese. Add leftover shredded chicken or cooked beans for added protein.


We are working to remove the Tansy Ragwort from our hay fields. Tansy Ragwort can cause fatal liver failure in livestock. It is in bloom right now so it is easy to find and pull. We have help from the Cinnabar Moths that were released in the 70s as biological control agents. A Savannah Sparrow is resting on the tansy ragwort in the picture above. 


We would love to hear from you! What have you been preparing with your vegetables? Have you tried something new? Let us know! Send us an email or post on Facebook and we can share your ideas with others in the next newsletter.

We will continue to be at the Harstine Island Farmers Market and Shelton Farmers Market on Saturdays throughout the summer. You can also find us online at Fresh Food Revolution for deliveries to Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula, and Allyn. Come see us at the market!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Week 6 Newsletter

Fruits of Labor

It turns out that farming takes a lot of patience. The fruits of our labor are long in coming and brief in their stay. This continues to be a challenge for me as patience is not my strongest virtue. But the rewards of all the planning, hard work, and patience are great. The first ripe fruits of the season bring such immense joy. The pictures this week are a bit of a tease of what is yet to come in July and August. Enjoy!


“The gardener’s work is never at an end; it begins with the year, and continues to the next: he prepares the ground, and then he sows it; after that he plants, and then he gathers the fruits...”
— John Evelyn

CSA Basket - Week 6

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Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week (asterisk for small share items):

  • Spicy Salad Mix* - Try a dressing using an herb infused vinegar
  • Cabbage* - roast with turnips or eat fresh as a slaw
  • Scallion* - try them whole on the grill or saute with eggs for breakfast
  • Purple Top Turnip* - try roasting with an herb infused olive oil and top with parmesan cheese
  • Watermelon Radish* - perfect on a salad or try roasting with turnips
  • Cucumber - chop into chunks and freeze - add to your favorite summer drink - water or cocktail
  • Swiss Chard - perfect sauteed and added to eggs for breakfast or on rice for lunch
  • Carrots -perfect snack eaten whole or grate into your slaw
  • Peas - tasty as a raw snack
  • Sorrel - see ideas in Chef's Corner

Vegetable of the Week - Sorrel

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Botanical Facts - Common sorrel or garden sorrel is a perennial herb in the family Polygonaceae. Other names for sorrel include spinach dock and narrow-leaved dock. It is a common plant in grassland habitats and is cultivated as a garden herb. 
Historical Origins - Common sorrel originates from the grasslands throughout Europe and Central Asia. It is common in North America as an introduced species after the 1600s.
Culinary Uses - Once a common ingredient in soups, stews, salads and sauces, sorrel vanished from use for hundreds of years. Now this delightful, leafy green is finding its way back into gardens and kitchens, where its tantalizing flavor and good nutrition can be enjoyed. It has a tart, lemony flavor that is an excellent complement in salads.


Another Bite - From Chef Darlene:


Young, small sorrel leaves have a pronounced lemon flavor and can be eaten raw, mixed with other greens in a salad. Large leaves are more bitter and should be cooked. Add a little sorrel to spinach recipes or toss into vegetable or lentil soup.

CSA Tip of the Week: Roasting
Any of the firm vegetables can be roasted. Even the greens can be tossed with olive oil and thrown into a 425’F oven. The time obviously depends on how firm the vegetable is and how small you cut it. In the case of greens, you just want to wilt them, but with root vegetables, you can roast until they are nicely browned. Having roasted vegetables in the fridge means that any number of meals are one step closer: top a pizza, toss with pasta, use as an omelet filling, stir into risotto or polenta (or grits), toss with a vinaigrette and serve as a lettuce-free salad topped with blue cheese or goat cheese, make a roasted vegetable Panini…


 Baby Barn Swallows are hatching and are all cozy and snug in their nests. I love the bright, white line around their mouth. This line helps the parents find their hungry little mouths when they bring tasty insects for their brood. Juvenile Barn Swallows lose this trait after they fledge the nest and get their adult colors.

Baby Barn Swallows are hatching and are all cozy and snug in their nests. I love the bright, white line around their mouth. This line helps the parents find their hungry little mouths when they bring tasty insects for their brood. Juvenile Barn Swallows lose this trait after they fledge the nest and get their adult colors.


We would love to hear from you! What have you been preparing with your vegetables? Have you tried something new? Let us know! Send us an email or post on Facebook and we can share your ideas with others in the next newsletter.

We will continue to be at the Harstine Island Farmers Market and Shelton Farmers Market on Saturdays throughout the summer. You can also find us online at Fresh Food Revolution for deliveries to Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula, and Allyn. Come see us at the market!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Week 5 Newsletter

Hog Killing Time

**WARNING - SENSITIVE CONTENT**

Vegetarians and animal activists may not enjoy this section - and I understand. I was not going to tell this story - but it is the reality of what happened on the farm this week. On Sunday, we gathered to kill our two hogs. We said thank you to them and they were quickly dispatched with no squeals or distress. It was still not easy to watch - but I am thankful that I (and my kids) got to watch the process. We learned a lot about what it takes to raise and slaughter pigs. I don't see the farm raising pigs on a commercial scale any time soon - but it has been a good learning experience.

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For the Hog Killing
Let them stand still for the bullet, and stare the
shooter in the eye,
let them die while the sound of the shot is in the
air, let them die as they fall,
let the jugular blood spring hot to the knife, let
its freshet be full,
let this day begin again the change of hogs into
people, not the other way around,
for today we celebrate again our lives’ wedding
with the world,
for by our hunger, by this provisioning, we renew
the bond.
— Wendell Berry

Happy Fourth of July Week!


CSA Basket - Week 5

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Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week (asterisk for small share items):

  • Head lettuce* - fresh salad for your BBQ on the 4th? Try a dressing using an herb infused vinegar - see Chef's Corner
  • Kale* - saute or eat fresh - try slicing into ribbons and massaging with olive oil to tenderize
  • Zucchini* - slice and grill or saute with eggs for breakfast
  • Peas* - try roasting with an herb infused olive oil and top with parmesan cheese
  • Red bunching onion* -perfect on a salad or use in a recipe like any onion
  • Bok Choi - see Chef's Corner
  • Beets - cube and roast with herb infused oil or try a quick pickle using recipe from last week
  • Strawberries - refreshing on a salad - if they aren't eaten on the way home
  • Shishito Peppers - see recipe below
  • Herb Pack - variety herb pack - see ideas in Chef's Corner for infusing herbs

Vegetable of the Week - Peppers

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Botanical Facts - Capsicums, or peppers, are a genus of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) and are related to the New World tomatoes and potatoes, and to the Old World aubergine (eggplant) and deadly nightshade, the latter being highly toxic. Their flavor comes from the presence of capsaicin, a powerful alkaloid that is found in the inner membrane and seeds of the pepper. Capsaicin content can vary widely even in fruits from the same plant.
Historical Origins - All capsicums are native to the Americas. Wild chilies were eaten in Mexico around 7000 BCE and cultivated by 3500 BCE. Columbus likely brought plants back to Europe in the late fifteenth century, and the Spanish and the Portuguese took them to India and Southeast Asia shortly after. Chillies spread quickly to the Middle East, the Balkans, and Europe. Chillies rapidly became important to cuisines around the world and are prized for their tangy to spicy flavors.


Grilled Shishito Peppers

This is my favorite way to eat Shishito peppers - they make a tasty appetizer. Shishito peppers are not hot peppers - but every so often there is one that IS hot - maybe one in ten depending on the plant and growing conditions. So take a chance - I found a spicy one while sampling in the field!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound shishito peppers
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt and pepper
  • Lemon wedges

1. Heat a cast iron pan or outdoor grill to medium high heat (375 to 425 degrees)
2. Place the peppers in a medium bowl and toss with olive oil
3.  When pan/grill is hot, arrange peppers in a single layer, turning occasionally, until they are charred and blistered, about 6 to 8 minutes total
4.  Return peppers to the bowl and toss with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon over peppers to taste.  Serve immediately - pick it up by the stem and take a bite.  So tasty!


Another Bite - From Chef Darlene:


Bok Choy is easy to prepare. Slice bok choy in half. Heat a skillet on medium high and add some peanut oil or other oil. Place bok choy cut side down in skillet and leave a few minutes until nicely browned. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, add a small amount of vegetable or chicken broth and soy sauce and cover pan. Lower heat and allow the bok choy to steam until tender-crisp. Serve as a side dish for pork or fish or chicken or just rice.

Bok Choy can also be sliced or chopped and added to rice or noodle dishes or stirred into soups. It is especially delicious with chitake mushrooms in a stir-fry.

CSA Tip of the Week: Herbs
Herb Salt or Sugar: Combine ¾ cup of kosher salt or sugar with ½ cup of tender herb leaves (mint, basil, tarragon, dill, cilantro, chives, parsley) in a food processor and pulse until herbs are finely minced. Store in an airtight container. Sprinkle the Herb Salt over fish, chicken, sliced tomatoes, grilled vegetables. Use the Herb Sugar in iced tea, lemonade or to rim a cocktail glass.

Herb Infused Oil: Combine 2 cups of olive oil with a handful of any fresh herb and warm over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool and then strain into a bottle and store in a cool, dark place. Use within 4-6 weeks.

Herb Vinegar: Pack a canning jar with any fresh herb and pour in any kind of vinegar. Allow to steep for several days to a week before straining into a bottle. Add a sprig of whatever herb you used to flavor the vinegar. Try tarragon in white wine vinegar, rosemary in red wine vinegar, cilantro in rice vinegar…the options are endless.


 My first four-leaf clover of the season. They are usually everywhere - but they seem to be hiding this year. May it bring you a little luck this week!

My first four-leaf clover of the season. They are usually everywhere - but they seem to be hiding this year. May it bring you a little luck this week!


We would love to hear from you! What have you been preparing with your vegetables? Have you tried something new? Let us know! Send us an email or post on Facebook and we can share your ideas with others in the next newsletter.

We will continue to be at the Harstine Island Farmers Market and Shelton Farmers Market on Saturdays throughout the summer. You can also find us online at Fresh Food Revolution for deliveries to Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula, and Allyn. Come see us at the market!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Week 4 Newsletter

Summer Solstice and Second Shots

It's official - summer is here! That also means we start losing daylight at the rate of a couple of minutes each day. In farming, it turns out this matters. The plants notice this change in daylight and respond differently after the solstice by bolting less and instead putting their energy into growing big to store energy for the winter with the plan of flowering in the spring. In our moderate, PNW climate planting after summer solstice is like a second shot at all the vegetables that bolted too early in our bright spring sunshine. We are busy planning and ordering seeds for this second chance at planting.

Bend low again, night of summer stars.
So near you are, sky of summer stars,
So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,
Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,
So near you are, summer stars,
So near, strumming, strumming,
So lazy and hum-strumming.
— Carl Sandburg

Celebrate National Pollinator Week!

Here are some shots of just a few of the dozens of pollinator friends on the farm. The hummingbirds, moths, butterflies, and ants also help pollinate the fruits and vegetables. Thank you to all of them! If you want to know more about how to help pollinators in your own backyard check out this link to the Pollinator Partnership website.


CSA Basket - Week 4

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Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week (asterisk for small share items):

  • Salad Mix* - make a salad and enjoy with a homemade creamy cucumber dill dressing (recipe follows)
  • Collards* - a Southern staple - see recipe ideas in Chef's Corner
  • Cucumber* - great as a snack or on a salad
  • Dill* - perfect summer herb - for dressing or pickling or chopped straight onto a salad 
  • Peas* - tasty as fresh snack at your desk - or sauté with sesame oil and finish with sesame seeds for a side dish
  • Fresh Onions - use like an onion in your favorite recipe, or dice and use raw in a quinoa salad - use the green stems, too!
  • Cabbage, Napa - a lovely Asian cabbage - perfect in a stir-fry or sliced raw in a slaw
  • Purple Top Turnip - great in sticks and eaten raw or cubed and roasted with olive oil
  • Broccoli  - try a broccoli salad with a little bacon

 


Vegetable of the Week - Collards

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Historical Origins -  Like most Brassica vegetables, collard greens probably descended from wild cabbages found in Asia before recorded history. They eventually spread through Europe, and the Greeks and Romans grew kale and collards in domestic gardens over 2,000 years ago. Collard greens traveled to the Americas by ship and have become the staple in Southern cuisine.
Botanical Facts - Collard greens are a broad-leafed vegetable of the Brassica oleracea species, which also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale. This variety has been bred for the Pacific Northwest and is called 'Cascade Glaze.'
Culinary Uses - Collard greens are grown and eaten regularly in many countries across the world. In Brazil, the side dish couve a mineira is prepared by sautéing collard greens in olive oil and butter; in the Kashmiri region of India, haak, is a collard dish that can be incorporated into a traditional feast called a wazwan; Portuguese families use collards or kale in a soup known as caldo verde, or “green broth.” And, in America, South Carolina has adopted the collard as the official state vegetable. Lithonia, near Atlanta, has an annual Collard Green Cultural Festival that includes collard green ice cream.


Another Bite - From Chef Darlene:


I’m from the South where collard greens are cooked for a long time until completely silky and lose their bright color, but they don’t have to be prepared that way, especially if they’re small. If small and young, they can even be eaten raw if you very thinly slice them. Try a salad of collards, red onion slices, walnuts, currants and cubed feta. Or chop, sauté in butter and add to scrambled eggs. Or chop and add to a quiche filling.
 
CSA Tip of the Week: 
Too many vegetables to eat - think PICKLE!  My go-to quick pickling recipe is ½ cup red wine vinegar, ½ cup water, pinch of salt and 3 Tablespoons of sugar. Heat until the sugar melts and pour over sliced vegetables in a pint canning jar. I make pickled red onions this way all year to liven up sandwiches, but the same mixture works on any of the vegetables that you can eat raw. Try mixing up the vinegar (rice vinegar is great with radishes, cucumber or shallots) and play around with the amount of sugar. Some, like rice vinegar, are less acidic than others, so you can use less sugar and water. You can also add garlic, crushed red pepper, fresh herbs, ginger - basically, whatever you like.


Creamy Dill-Cucumber Dressing

  • 1 cucumber, seeded and roughly chopped 
  • 1/2 cup mayo of choice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Use immediately or store in an airtight jar for up to 3 days.


 This baby Himalayan blackberry looks like little green eggs in a bird's nest. 

This baby Himalayan blackberry looks like little green eggs in a bird's nest. 

 A bright red zinnia in the hoop house. I love the little inner circle of bright yellow florets - designed to attract the pollinators.

A bright red zinnia in the hoop house. I love the little inner circle of bright yellow florets - designed to attract the pollinators.


We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Skokomish Tribe! We will be providing weekly CSA bags and a market style pick-up of fresh, seasonal, and local vegetables and eggs to our neighbors through the Skokomish Tribe Health Clinic. We will continue to be at the Harstine Island Farmer's Market and Shelton Farmers Markets on Saturdays throughout the summer. You can also find us online at Fresh Food Revolution for deliveries to Gig Harbor, Key Penninsula, and Allyn. Come see us at the market!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Week 3 Newsletter

Farm Fresh Family Fun

We had family visit this week on the farm and it was great to show them a little of what we are doing here. Most of us have some kind of farming in our family history so it felt nostalgic to do a bit of farming together. I don't want to idealize or romaniticize it too much - there was plenty of hardship and poverty on the historical family farm - but there was also a sense of togetherness that was fun to experience with my extended family this week. It was a good reminder for me on the value of creating and working on a project with the people in your life.


The small family farm is one of the last places - they are getting rarer every day - where men and women (and girls and boys, too) can answer that call to be an artist, to learn to give love to the work of their hands.
— Wendell Berry


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CSA Basket - Week 3

Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week (asterisk for small share items):

  • Head Lettuce* - make a salad and enjoy with a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette 
  • Kohlrabi* - from the cabbage family - peel and enjoy raw or roasted - leaves are tasty, too
  • Zucchini* - try grilling and topping with arugula pesto
  • Peas* - tasty as a snack or sauté with sesame oil and top with sesame seeds for a side dish
  • Garlic Scapes* - these only come once a year! See recipe below
  • Fennel - use like an onion in your favorite recipe, or dice and use raw in a quinoa salad - use the stems and fronds, too!
  • Arugula - add a few leaves to your salad for a little spice - use the rest in a arugula/garlic scape pesto
  • Strawberries - this everbearing variety - called Seascape - just keeps on producing!
  • Kale - chop and enjoy with farm fresh eggs for breakfast
  • French Breakfast Radish - gorgeous color and spice on a salad or chop and mix into cream cheese for a sandwich spread

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Bee! I’m expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due—

The Frogs got Home last Week—
Are settled, and at work—
Birds, mostly back—
The Clover warm and thick—

You’ll get my Letter by
The seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me—
Yours, Fly.

-Emily Dickison


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Vegetable of the Week - Garlic Scapes

Historical Origins - Garlic is one of the oldest-known cultivated plants. It is believed to have originated in Syria. The earliest references to garlic can be found in ancient Sanskrit, Babylonian, and Chinese writings. In Ancient Greece and Rome, garlic wa thought to offer protection, strength, and vitality. 
Botanical Facts - Garlic is a member of the allium family which includes onions, shallots, and leeks. Alliums produce a central flower stalk which is called the scape. The scape is edible to include the flower, but most people discard the flower and just use the stalk.
Culinary Uses - Garlic scapes can be used in any recipe that call for garlic. They are milder than fully developed garlic bulbs and are very tender. 


Another Bite - From the Chef:


Garlic scapes can be chopped and sautéed in olive oil or added to pesto in place of garlic cloves. They’re lovely in a quiche or omelette. Because their season is so short, preserve them in olive oil and freeze for use whenever you want to add some garlic flavor and green color. 
 
Garlic Scapes in Oil: Sautee 2 cups of chopped scapes in ¼ cup of olive oil until softened. Freeze in ice cube trays for up to 6 months. The mixture will also keep in the refrigerator for several days.
 
More ideas from Bon Appetit magazine: https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/garlic-scapes?mbid=social_twitter
 

CSA Tip of the Week: 
Think beyond basil for pesto. Greens like kale or beet or turnip tops can be blended with garlic, nuts, olive oil and parmesan and tossed with pasta or spread on toasted bread or pizza. You can also toss it on top of scrambled eggs or in quinoa for a quick salad. In this week's basket - the arugula and garlic scapes make a delicious pesto.


 One of my cousin's boys fell in love with the lambs - especially the little one.

One of my cousin's boys fell in love with the lambs - especially the little one.

 The calendula is blooming in the fields. They are a beautiful bright orange-yellow. A bit of sunshine on a cloudy day.

The calendula is blooming in the fields. They are a beautiful bright orange-yellow. A bit of sunshine on a cloudy day.


We will continue to be at the Harstine Island Farmer's Market and Shelton Farmers Markets on Saturdays through the summer. Come see us at the market!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Week 2 Newsletter

Rain, Respite, and Rainbows

WAIT! What's that wet stuff coming from the sky? Oh - how soon we forget! The rain on Friday was a nice respite here on the farm - rain makes it harder to get things done - so naturally, things slow down a bit, too. Thankfully, the rain fell on a harvest day and most harvesting can still be done in the rain. And the good news - you can't really effectively weed in the rain. That means the weeds got a respite, too. So, after a surprisingly hot and gorgeous May it looks like we are in for more typical PNW June weather. But, don't forget to look for the rainbows after the rain. 

PLUVIOPHILE: a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Enjoy some photos of the baby produce. These tiny little guys are just waiting to turn into tasty fruits of summer. Not long now! A baby watermelon, Shintokawa cucumber, Shisito pepper, and Aunt Molly's ground cherry.


CSA Basket - Week 2

Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week:

  • Basil* - great so many ways - try in pesto with the carrot tops 
  • French Breakfast Radish* - very mild radish - slice and enjoy on a baguette with butter
  • Salad Mix* - grate the carrots on top and a few snips of basil with your favorite dressing
  • Carrots* - fresh carrots taste so alive! Save the tops to make a nice, carroty flavored pesto
  • Shallots/Scallion* - I adore pickled shallots on a salad - easy to do a quick pickle in just 15 minutes
  • Mustard Greens - tender and spicy - great in a stir-fry
  • Green/Red Napa Cabbage - see recipe ideas below
  • Strawberries - yes, a repeat, sorry!
  • Tatsoi - chop and enjoy with farm fresh eggs for breakfast
  • Nasturtium Blossoms - tastes like a radish - gorgeous on a salad or chop and mix into cream cheese for a sandwich spread
IMG_0478.jpg
 Our resident mouser, Patches, on her rounds near the barn.

Our resident mouser, Patches, on her rounds near the barn.


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Vegetable of the Week - Basil

Historical Origins - Basil (Ocimum basilica) is a native plant of the Old World tropical regions but has been used across the Old World for thousands of years. In Italy it is used widely in cuisine and as in courting where it was worn differently depending on a woman's status. In India, a variety called Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a venerated herb that is mentioned in ancient religious texts. 
Botanical Facts - Basil is a hot weather plant, which is why we grow ours in the greenhouse, and this year it is amazingly early. It likes nighttime temperature above 60 degrees. It is an annual and grows in varieties from dark green to dark purple. 
Culinary Uses - Basil is often associated with Italian cooking, especially in tomato sauces and pesto. Used fresh it makes a wonderful accompaniment to salads and caprese.


Another Bite - From the Chef:

Napa cabbage will work in almost any recipe for green cabbage, but it’s more tender and has a milder flavor. Use in an Asian slaw as a side dish or to give color and crunch to a bahn mi sandwich.

Asian Slaw: Combine shredded cabbage with shredded carrots, sliced snow peas, and thinly-sliced green onion. Toss with the following vinaigrette from food writer Mark Bittman.

Asian Vinaigrette: 1/3 cup of peanut oil, 2 Tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, ½ teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste.

CSA Tip of the Week: 
Use the most perishable items (lettuces, blossoms, very ripe tomatoes…) on the first day or two. On the last day, take whatever is left and roast - serve over rice or grains and top with a fried or poached egg. Or make a light soup by sautéing the remaining vegetables in olive oil and stirring in some chicken or vegetable broth and some cooked beans.


 The boys slept in their hammocks in the woods this week and were woken by this Barred Owl and his call - "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?"

The boys slept in their hammocks in the woods this week and were woken by this Barred Owl and his call - "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?"

 The Western Tiger Lilies are blooming in the woods. This plant is a giant - it has 12 blossoms on in it and stands more than three feet tall. 

The Western Tiger Lilies are blooming in the woods. This plant is a giant - it has 12 blossoms on in it and stands more than three feet tall. 


In the middle of growing season it is nice to have a rainy day to stop and remember why we are doing this farming thing. We love growing good food and connecting with our community through the food we grow. We always enjoy talking with our CSA members and customers at pick-up and the markets! Stop by and say hello!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Week 1 Newsletter

Green Garden Goodness!

The first basket of the 2018 Summer CSA Season is finally here! Thanks to a ton of extra sunshine in the month of May things are going crazy out in the fields. Yes, that means the weeds, too. But, we'll take it! Here is a sample of some of the goodness growing on the farm this week. So, we are learning as we go here at the farm but this spring is continuing to surprise us with how much earlier crops are ready this year. Strawberries, red tomatoes, and sunflowers in May? Crazy! This isn't California! But the plants seem to think it is. 

Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable.
— -Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food

CSA Basket - Week 1

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Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week:

  • Arugula - make an arugula pesto and toss in a pasta with the sautéed peas and caramelized shallots
  • Kale - de-stem, cut into ribbons and toss with your favorite vinaigrette - best the next day! Doesn't wilt the way lettuce does!
  • Microgreens (mixed) - great on a salad or in a sandwich
  • Radish - lovely as a snack or try a quick pickle and toss on your salad
  • Hakurei Turnip - best sliced and eaten raw
  • Zucchini - delicious cut in half and grilled - top with pesto
  • Peas or Pea Shoots - perfect on a salad or with pasta
  • Shallots or Leeks - pickled shallots are so tasty on a sandwich
  • Herb Pack - Mint - see recipe below
  • Strawberries - so early this year! (I'm sure we don't have to tell you what to do with these)
 The zucchini are already attempting a coup in the hoop house. We hope to get them under control this week.

The zucchini are already attempting a coup in the hoop house. We hope to get them under control this week.


Another Bite - From the Chef:


For the first CSA share, we’re sending you some mint. Your first thought may be dessert or cocktails, but mint is not only for sweet applications. I lean towards savory and became a fan of this herb on a trip to Vietnam where they use it liberally in salads, sandwiches and spicy noodle dishes. Here are two recipes that pair mint with a couple of other vegetables we’re including, zucchini and sugar snap peas.


Pasta with Zucchini and Mint (adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, The New York
Times)

4 servings, 30 minutes preparation time

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced thinly
salt and freshly-ground pepper
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon finely minced lemon zest
1 Tablespoon chopped mint
¾ pound short pasta, such as farfalle or fusilli
grated parmesan, ricotta salata or Pecorino for serving (optional)

Bring pasta water to boil. Heat oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring and shaking the pan until the zucchini is tender. Season generously and add the sugar, vinegar, lemon zest and mint. Meanwhile cook the pasta, saving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid before draining. Toss the zucchini mixture with the pasta water and add the drained pasta. Add the cheese, if using.


Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Scallions and Mint (adapted from Saveur
magazine)

4 servings, 30 minutes preparation time

¾ cup quinoa
salt and freshly-ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz. sugar snap peas, thinly sliced diagonally
8 oz. radishes, julienned (sliced into strips)
¼ cup roughly chopped mint
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Rinse quinoa thoroughly (unless your quinoa is pre-washed; rinsing is generally necessary to remove the bitter coating). Bring 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil and stir in the quinoa along with salt and pepper (about ½ teaspoon each). Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, about 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and scrape into a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss in the sugar snap peas, radishes, mint and green onions. Serve at room temperature. 

 


 I found this guy in the strawberries. I hope he is eating slugs and not the strawberries! He is the biggest garter snake I have seen. The blue lines on the matting in the picture are 12 inches apart. I'm guessing he is close to three feet long.

I found this guy in the strawberries. I hope he is eating slugs and not the strawberries! He is the biggest garter snake I have seen. The blue lines on the matting in the picture are 12 inches apart. I'm guessing he is close to three feet long.

 Future Himalayan blackberries. They inspire such a love/hate relationship. But who can resist their sun-ripened goodness in late July? So tasty. We had a work party in April and removed six pick-up loads to burn - just to keep it under control along the road. 

Future Himalayan blackberries. They inspire such a love/hate relationship. But who can resist their sun-ripened goodness in late July? So tasty. We had a work party in April and removed six pick-up loads to burn - just to keep it under control along the road. 


Lots happening here on the farm! We are excited to get the CSA season underway. We will be at the Harstine Island Farmers Market this Saturday from 10-noon and at the Shelton Farmers Market from 9-2. We love meeting our customers and CSA members at the Farmers Markets! Stop by and say hello!

Your SVF Farm Team