From the Farmer

Week 8 – 7/1/2013

In your box this week
At the Farm Stand this Saturday: Beekeeper John Bennett
Egg Update
Meet Your Farmer: Katharyn Tupitza

Hello CSA members,

We’re in summer mode now, and you may notice shares swell some.  Time to start cooking!  Here are some thoughts on what’s in your box this week…

Basil: for some reason I like the purple basil better, and that’s what you’ll most likely see in your share.  Same great taste, cooler color, and while it tends to grow a little smaller it also tends to grow a little easier.  Mostly I just like the dark purple streak that breaks up the palette of greens. 

We’ll try not to overwhelm you with basil this season but you’ll start seeing it every couple of weeks or so through the summer.  Basil doesn’t like to get wet once it’s picked, so don’t wash unless you’re about to use it.  It keeps best at 60°F, I like to put the stems in a glass of water like flowers.  Otherwise use a perforated bag.  Don’t use the fridge – it won’t keep long there.

Use it for pesto (cherry tomatoes coming soon!), add to pizza or other dishes (at the end of cooking a dish, e.g. stir fry to make spicy basil chicken), freeze it as is or in oil, or try the aftershave recipe below.  You can make and freeze pesto now for the winter by blending, without cheese, then putting in ice cube trays or small bags to freeze.

Beets: we like growing beets here.  You’ll see them a fair bit this summer, in part because our carrot crop did not do well this spring.  That carrot dive is one reason for a diverse crop portfolio (we’ll still try to get you some carrots this summer and we’ll grow them for fall, too).  Regardless, beets come in different colors: red, gold, and red & white stripes. 

Beets have a bad rap, and if you don’t think you like them, try ours.  There are a lot of simple and good recipes out there that do beets right.  We have an All About Beets from last year on our website, and if you have a good recipe I hope you’ll share it on the Facebook group page. 

Cabbage: we have some very nice cabbage left, purple and cone-looking green.  The green is tender and particularly good for slaws and the like.  The red I use in stir fries and salads, goes great with balsamic vinegar.  These will keep well in the fridge.

Garlic Scapes: the bunch of long stringy things with the pointy tips.  Scapes are a seasonal treat; you only get one per plant, per year.  It’s like garlic throws in a little something extra for the effort of growing the bulb (which is reward enough) – a little Dalai Lama on-your-deathbed-you-will-regain-full-consciousness.  So we have that going for us.  Put these on a baking sheet, set the oven to 350°F, drizzle with olive oil and a little sea salt, and bake lightly.  Use only the tender part of the stalk – if part of the stalk is tough and fibrous, cut and discard it before baking.

Spring Onions: man, these are the best.  What you’re looking at now are onions fresh and growing and not dried down for storage.  Something about them; this variety is a red torpedo of an onion, an Italian variety call Red Long of Tropea.  Use it anywhere you’d use an onion and more – eggs in the morning, in quesadillas, in tacos… no tears, just sweet sweetness.  This is good for your health and you should enjoy eating good for your health.

Swiss Chard: this week, it's green.  Our green Swiss chard is called Perpetual Spinach, a rare variety and super tender.  It really is good, even for those of you non-chard fans.  Try it as a salad itself, on sandwiches, steamed and tossed in garlic and olive oil, cooked into whatever dishes you’re otherwise making… Keep it in the crisper until you’re ready for it.  I find that a damp paper towel in the bag/crisper helps keep things fresher.

At the Farm Stand this week: Beekeeper John Bennett
Join beekeeper John Bennett as he talks honey, bees, honeybees, and bee’s knees.  It’s John’s bees that live at the farm and pollinate our vegetables.  He’ll be here Saturday from 10 am – 2 pm.  Come check it out!

Also at the Farm Stand this week: blueberries (from our farm and more from Greenstone Fields) it’s okay if they don’t make it home!  First peppers, potatoes, hot peppers, tomatoes and eggplant… we try to put in your box what is ready for harvest, but when there is not enough for everyone you will find these items at the farm stand. 

Update from the Chickens

bawk bawk bawk, bawwwk bawk baaaawwwk.

Loosely translated as: we are here, we are eating clover and bugs, and we are happy.  We are laying eggs.

They say so much in so few words.  If only Mike could do that.

Farmer Mike will start switching in our Free Grange eggs and including them in egg shares.  We egg-spect production to increase over the next several weeks which means that all eggs will be ours soon.

More on eggs neggst week!

Meet Your Farmer: Katharyn Tupitza

This year we have several crew members back from last year, and Katharyn is one of them.  Katharyn is a serious trooper on the farm – even keeled, never complains, and great (if occasionally quirky) conversationalist which often revolves around cooking.  She epitomizes many of the best aspects of this year’s crew – eye for detail and things amiss, hard work, and a complimentary skill set.  Meaning she’s good at noticing and doing things that certain farmers (um, me) aren’t.  We only get Katharyn for the summer and will be sad to see her go again this August.  In her words:

I have loved being outside since I was a little girl. I would always help my mother in the garden to get some of the goodies to have for dinner. The passion for food and health is still with me today. The summer of my senior year in high school I worked in the garden at The Inn at Little Washington. This is now the second summer I have worked at Willowsford. I love the idea of communities that work with farmers to connect people with fresh food and to help people figure out how easy it is to cook healthy foods. 

I am currently a junior at Virginia Tech with a major in Food Science and a minor in Psychology.  Weird combination right? My dream is to help children to overcome eating disorders and teach them how to find and create a healthy community. One where they are active, loved, and engaged with their neighbors, which includes local farmers.

One of the reasons there are so many problems with health is that a lot of people just don’t know how to eat, how to cook – and how to love themselves. Much of this can be fixed by working with local farmers! Not only can you eat fresh but you can also learn what certain types of food are that you may not have known about before. Many farmers will even have easy recipes to help you cook their produce. By eating these foods your body will feel better, and in turn make you feel better about yourself, and you get to be involved in something that will change your life forever. I know it has changed mine.

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