CSA Newsletter – Week 2 – June 28, 2017

by jennifer on June 28, 2017

week 2 2017What’s In The Box:
Carrots
Red leaf lettuce
Green onions
Purple kohlrabi
Curly or Red Russian Kale
Garlic scapes
Dry beans: either Hutterite, Vermont Cranberry, or Pinto. See below for a picture and descriptions.
Beets-still making the rotation
Shell peas-just starting rotation
Green leaf lettuce-large shares only
Spinach-large shares only

3 beans

Pinto, Hutterite, Vermont Cranberry

VEGGIE ID:
Hutterite Beans: This Austrian heirloom cooks fast (20 minutes or less after soaking), saving time and energy. Known for their delicate, buttery flavor, they make delicious, creamy soups and chowders.
Vermont Cranberry: A beloved heirloom in New England since the 18th century, the cranberry-red beans are most commonly used in soups or for baking.
Pinto: Left whole or refried with onion, garlic, and cumin, they make the perfect burrito filling.

*When cooking beans, it is best to soak for around 8 hours. This helps break down enzymes and will allow you to enjoy them without… ahem…digestive distress.

SPRING FROM HELL
Wow. What a spring, huh? This was the wettest and most frustrating spring we have endured in our 20+ years of farming. We’ve had wet springs before, but were usually afforded several windows of dry weather allowing us to get early and reasonably spaced succession plantings in the ground. This year we only really got one such window and it wasn’t nearly long enough. We got a few things in: early potatoes, 2 beds of shell peas, and a smattering of transplants, but then the rain returned. Planting dates slipped by, cover crop grew intimidatingly tall, transplants were crying out to be planted, greenhouses were full to bursting with plants (many benches were hastily created to accommodate them all.) And, of course, we were freaking out. Everywhere we went people were talking about the rain and even non-farmers seemed out of sorts.

Luckily, we had in our back pocket, a handful of high and dry acres located in a once-was-farmland-now-is-a-subdivision section of Rochester. Three years ago, we started leasing land from Lee and Ora of Happy Hen Farm fame. We had long been looking for some ground with better drainage for early spring planting and this was a perfect opportunity. Ironically, the first 2 seasons we had access to the land, it was so warm and dry that we were able to get into the home fields with ease. Why commute when you don’t have to, right?  Also, the soil at the new site is a rocky, sandy loam with superb drainage. In a wet spring this is an desired quality,  but irrigation there is limited thus we’d need a little assistance from mother nature.  She wasn’t very accommodating the last 2 years.  However this year, we have pretty much filled the entire space with carrots, lettuce, beets, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, chard, and dry beans. Jim has worked hard battling the freakishly robust cover crop at home, we are now able to plant here with relative ease.

urban farming

farm meets subdivision – driving near the satellite field

new field soil

soil at the satellite field – sandy loam with a plethora of rocks

home soil

home soil – clay loam and fluffy as chocolate cake (if we work it right)

 

It is a year like this that really brings home the importance of being a diversified, succession based farm. We plant many rounds of most of our crops; either weekly, bi-weekly, or once a month. If earlier plantings don’t work out, it is very likely the others will. Growing a wide variety of crops also helps us to ensure a nice offering for the CSA and markets, even in a year such as this. Missed and smaller than usual plantings will mostly translate into less product available for wholesale to coops and restaurants, and a more spartan display at the farmers markets early on. However, the weather seems to have settled into a pleasant pattern and we are now on track allowing me to (mostly) follow my planting schedule. Hopefully late planted crops will just hit the ground running and catch up. A lot of times our first planting of a thing will sit and shiver and struggle in cool spring weather and then the next succession planted 2 weeks later will grow like gangbusters and catch up, if not surpass, the first planting. Just goes to show that we can make all the schedules and spreadsheets we want, but nature will have the final say. Best laid plans of mice and men….

SILVER LININGS:
In my constant effort to not be a negative Nelly, I am trying to see the bright side to this spring.

  1. We were allowed to fallow (rest) more ground than we anticipated. This will improve soil health in those areas.
  2. We got twice the organic matter from our cover crop than we anticipated since it was too wet to plow. More organic matter=better soil health.
  3. We are doing a fine job keeping up on the weeds, since there is overall less to weed.
  4. The water table should be well recharged.

JULY 4TH holiday:

CSA deliveries will occur as usual next week.

That is all for this week. Enjoy your box!

Jen, Jim, and the Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 1 – June 21, 2017

by jennifer on June 21, 2017

week 1 2017

large share – week 1

Thanks for joining Rising River Farm CSA. We appreciate you choosing our farm to feed you this summer. My first draft of this newsletter was bordering on a novel. There is just so much to talk about! The weather, spring struggles, our great crew, the new field…. I could (and will) go on and on. But I figure for this first delivery, let’s just stick to veggie ID and housekeeping matters. Next week can be newsy and more personal. Suffice it to say that this spring was soul sucking with its never ending rain, but summer weather is here, and appears to be trying to make up for such a horrible March-last week. (I hear rumors of mid 90’s by Sunday.) Despite a rough start, we are feeling good about the general state of things. I’ll elaborate more next week.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Red butterhead lettuce
Green leaf lettuce (large shares only)
Green onions
Walla Walla onion
Purple kohlrabi
Russian kale or curly kale
Chard
Garlic scapes
Fennel
Beets (on rotation)

FOR THE NEW PEOPLE:
First few boxes are slim. The really good stuff (i.e. tomatoes, potatoes, cukes, etc.) must be planted after danger of frost and take longer to mature.

A WORD ON ROTATION:
Not everyone gets everything mentioned in the newsletter every week, but on balance, all the box values are the same. Very often we will give half of you one thing and half the other. Then next week it’ll switch. We also rotate items around the sites when there is not enough for all. Eventually you will all receive roughly the same things with the same value. We keep careful track of who gets what when. It all evens out in the wash.

PICKY EATER SPIEL:
I say it every year, but for the benefit of the new members I will say it again. Please try everything you receive in your box at least twice before you decide you are not a fan. Fresh-from-the-field veggies are nothing like what you buy in a store and are most certainly leagues better than canned or frozen versions. I am a bona fide picky eater since childhood. I hated nearly every vegetable except iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and russet potatoes. I would choke down the occasional canned green beans, but nearly any other veggie I was served would cause me to recoil and protest mightily. However, once I grew my own, tried them raw or lightly cooked, I was converted. I am still learning to like new things and am all the better for it. I also have two kids, 19 and 15, and have weathered many phases of kids loving then hating then loving any given vegetable.

Here are a few tips for converting veggie haters into veggie lovers (or at least tolerators):

  1. Try things raw. They tend to be sweeter, obviously crunchier, and lack the mushy texture that just freaks some people out.
  2. If you are going to cook things, aim for ”al dente”. Most of the time crunchy or firm is more appealing than mush.
  3. Try meals that are deconstructed. For example, a build your own burrito where each person can add as much or as little as they want. Making a casserole? Try serving the contents of said casserole separated out. Some kids (and yes, some adults) cannot deal with a whole bunch of unidentifiable ingredients all mixed together. I clearly remember mining out every onion and mushroom fleck in my mother’s meatloaf. I am not necessarily a proponent of catering to and preparing separate meals for whiny, picky kids, but if you can serve them what you are already making but in a different form, then it doesn’t seem as bad. Remember, the goal is to get them to love veggies! I just remember texture and mystery in regard to food being huge obstacles for me as a kid. (I still feel the need to apologize for the hell I probably put my mom through at dinner time.)
  4. Have your family/household members help unpack your weekly share, sample veggies, and brainstorm menu ideas. Most veggies can be eaten raw so sampling should be encouraged.
  5. Have your picky eaters help cook, or at least play sous chef. They will be way more likely to eat it if they know what is in it.
  6. Explore our website for recipes. Most of what is posted is easy to prepare. Rarely will you need some exotic vinegar, spice, or pantry item that you use maybe once a year.

HOUSEKEEPING & FAQ’S
-Please return your box each week. We love it when you unfold them without tearing the flaps!
-Keep the pick up site neat and tidy.
-Observe the established pick up hours, esp. at someone’s home.
-If you have someone pick up in your stead, make sure they take the correct box.
-If you forget to pick up your box, call your site host to figure out when/how to pick it up. If you know in advance that you will miss a box, email me and we can make other arrangements.
-Payments: We don’t send regular bills, so please check your account periodically to make sure you are keeping up with payments. To log into your account, follow this link. If you have any trouble, let me know.
-If you show up and there is not a box with your name see if the site host can help figure out where the error occurred. If they are not present or cannot help you, call me and I will find a way to get you a box. Please don’t take a box with someone else’s name.

BEST WAY TO CONTACT THE FARM
For general questions and non-pressing issues email us at info@risingriverfarm.com or call the farm phone. 360.273.5368
For more urgent matters call or text Jen’s cell 360.584.6720

SOCIAL MEDIA: We have a Facebook and Instagram account (rising.river.farm). I try to post a lot of pictures of the farm and crew, as well as recipe ideas. Check us out!

VEGGIE ID AND RECIPE IDEAS:

scape fennel kohl

from left to right: garlic scapes, fennel, kohlrabi

 RECIPES AND TIPS:

Garlic scapes: They are the seed stalk of the garlic plant. Scapes have the texture of green beans or asparagus when cooked and taste like, you guessed it, garlic! Not as potent as cloves of garlic, so you can be liberal with them. I tend to use them in lieu of garlic this time of year. Chop them in bite sized pieces and add them to stir fry, soup, pot roast, beans, etc. Keep them whole, marinate with your favorite marinade and grill on the bbq or toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven at 400 until tender. Garlic scape pesto is another popular recipe. Find more scape recipes here.

Kohlrabi: It is in the brassica family (think broccoli, cabbage, and the like.) We prefer it raw, however you can cook it. The flavor is sweet and subtle with a hint of fresh broccoli or a sweet salad turnip. The texture is crunchy and juicy. You’ll want to peel it as the outer skin in tough. The easiest way in to cut it in half and then into half moons. Peel the skin off with a paring knife. I usually cut one up as described above and put it out on the dinner table to accompany whatever we are having. It makes a great addition to packed lunches. For more info and recipes about kohlrabi, follow this internet rabbit hole. (I almost got sucked in, but then remembered I had to finish this letter.)

Fennel: Popular in Italian cuisine, fennel is sweet, crunchy, and has a licorice or anise flavor. It is commonly added to red pasta sauces. The fronds make a nice addition to salad. Fennel is very soothing to the tummy, so if you ate too much at dinner just nibble on some of the bulb. You can use the whole plant. Go to our fennel page for some recipes.

Kale: You either got red Russian or curly. The Russian is sweeter and more tender and lends itself well to salads, green smoothies, and light cooking. Curly is hardier and more substantive and is ideal for soups, stir fries, and other recipes where you want your kale to keep its texture. Our favorite kale recipe is kale quesadillas. We could easily eat this one a week all year. Find that and other recipes on our kale page.

Chard: Chard is a cousin to the mighty beet. One was bred for lush leaves and the other for bulbous roots. Chard can be used interchangeably with spinach in many applications. If you are a dairy person, it pairs well with feta cheese. We usually saute onion and garlic (or scapes) until translucent then toss in the chard until just cooked. Serve over rice and add crumbled feta on top. A nice bratwurst on the side makes it even better. You can use the stem, but add it a good 5 minutes before you add the leafy portion. More chard ideas here.

kale chard kale

from left to right: Red Russian kale, Swiss chard, curly kale

RECIPES ARE MERELY A GUIDE: One final word on the recipes we suggest. For the most part you can use them as a guide and substitute ingredients and amounts pretty liberally. Just because a recipe calls for 2 lbs of something and you only have 1lb or it lists onion but you only have green onions, don’t let that stop you. Prepare a half recipe, use green onions instead, add a different vegetable to help fill it out. Get creative and wing it a little. Most of all try to enjoy the process and savor your results.

We hope you enjoy you first box. More goodies are on the horizon. Carrots are sooooo close.

Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Crew.

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Vegetarian Chili with Winter Squash

by jennifer on December 9, 2016

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup bell pepper (any color), diced
3 or more cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
2 1/2 tablespoons mild chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried cumin
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup pureed squash (pumpkin or delicata are the best)
olive oil for sauteing
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups cooked beans (black, pinto, kidney, or tigers eye)
1 TBSP lime juice

Optional toppings: cilantro, jalapeno, sour cream, cheese, avacado

PROCEDURE:
1. Dice up all the veggies.
2. Saute onion, carrot, pepper in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, soy sauce, and spices. Saute another minute.
3. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, squash and cooked beans.
4. Simmer about 15 minutes to meld.
5. Serve with any or all of the suggested toppings and consider whipping up a batch of corn bread.

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This is the last week for the late fall CSA. Thank you for sticking it out with us. Please forgive my lack of fall newsletters. We are still as busy as ever around the farm, especially with crazy weather events like hard freezes, minor floods, and now snow! I think I am ready to hibernate for awhile. We managed to harvest a lot of produce earlier in the week in anticipation of the snow. I’m so glad we did, as it is a veritable slush-fest out there right now. Next week looks to be unpleasantly cold as well, so it is probably just as well that the CSA is ending. At this point of the season the risk of floods and other severe weather make guaranteeing a bountiful weekly box dicey at best. We hope you will join us for the summer. I’ll send out an email in January when the 2017 sign up wizard is up and running.

In the meantime, please keep visiting us at the farmers markets in Olympia and Tacoma. We plan on attending through the winter as long as we can still pry carrots, parsnips, beets, and leeks out of the ground! We still have loads of potatoes and squash, dry beans, onions, and the like. Baby lettuces and herbs are fighting for survival in the greenhouses, and there is a decent chance the kale and chard will make a comeback.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:

carrots, rose finn apple potatoes, rutabaga, pinto beans, acorn squash, delicata squash, shallot, yellow onions, cipollini onions, and baby cabbages. There may be something else that is escaping my memory, but I am inside by the fire and really don’t want to get up just now….

If you are struggling to get through all the squash we have handed out over the past few weeks you can always bake it and freeze the puree in 1 cup chunks. Scoop a cups worth into the depressions of a muffin tin, freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag. This way you can have handy pre-measured amounts for muffins or soups.

And/or you can make this amazing vegetarian chili that uses pureed squash. Delicata and pumpkin work best, but I’m sure any type will do. You can use your pinto beans as well!

 

Jim and I want to wish you a warm, cozy and restful winter filled with great food and pleasant company.

All the best-Jen & Jim

 

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Welcome to the Early Fall CSA! We live in an amazingly temperate and abundant region. Each year we are amazed at how many different crops will grow over the winter. Remember, most of the items in your box will last for weeks or months, so don’t get too overwhelmed at the volume. Keep onions, garlic, and winter squash out on your counter. Squash freezes well for future soups or baked goods, just bake and freeze. All the root veggies like carrots, beets, parsnips, etc. will keep in your crisper drawer for a ridiculously long time. Try to eat the greens within 4 or 5 days. Don’t wash until you are ready to use them.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Orange carrots
Parsnips
Yukon nugget potatoes
Yellow onions
Red onions
Garlic
Leeks
Butternut squash
Delicata squash
Green kohlrabi
Beets
Red Russian kale
Romanesco
Lettuce

ITEMS OF NOTE:
Parsnips: They look like a large white carrot. They have a sweet earthy flavor that makes a nice addition to soups and pot roasts. They can overwhelm, so go easy. Parsnips are great added to mashed potatoes. They make amazing oven fries and will happily join the usual cast of characters in your oven root roast.
Romanesco: No, that is not a hunk of coral in your box. It is a gorgeously mesmerizing cousin to broccoli and cauliflower. The texture is a little more cauliflower-like, but the flavor is a smidge more like broccoli. You can prepare it like broccoli and cauliflower: steam it, roast it, mash it, add it to soups or stir fries, the possibilities are endless.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Romanesco Romanesco parsnips parsnips

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CSA Newsletter – Week 18 – October 12, 2016

by jennifer on October 12, 2016

weekk 18 2016

This week is the last delivery for the Summer CSA.

(Fall Shares start the 22nd/23rd)

Sigh. Another summer season has come and gone. It happened so fast! Each year the cycle spins around just a little faster. We are glad you joined us on this little ride and hope you will continue to visit us at the Farmers Markets in Olympia and Tacoma (Proctor) until next year’s CSA starts again. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that we are nourishing so many folks in the community.

I think I can speak confidently on behalf of our crew that we are all looking forward to a reduced (theoretically) work schedule. We can now enjoy later morning start times, earlier bed times, and hunkering down in front of our respective wood stoves and heaters, bowl of soup in hand, long abandoned books and projects ready to be taken up again. When I was younger, I always dreaded the dark, rainy season. Now I almost welcome it. Rest, and perhaps even a little boredom?????

In the next few weeks we will try to get this place all buttoned up for the winter. Like kids who have had their fun playing with the blocks and Legos, we now have to clean it all up. There is drip tape to roll up, trellises to take down, tools to put away, supplies to organize and inventory, greenhouses to clean, pots and flats to put in lofts; it’s a pretty long list and not terribly fun. But it has to get done, so we’ll brew the coffee and carry on. Because we live in a flood plain, we have to put away all the non-essential items now, while we have the luxury of time. It’s no fun to do during a flood. We have a half a dozen crew sticking around into the fall/winter so we’ll get it done.

THE CSA IS OVER, SO NOW WHAT?
You have no doubt gotten used to eating incredibly sweet and tasty fresh veggies all summer, so now what? Well, we have a handful of early and late fall shares left. We will be attending the Olympia and Proctor Farmers Market through the winter. We plan on having a wide variety of veggies all winter long, including fresh greens and herbs like lettuce, arugula, dill, cilantro, kale, and chard.
Sign up for 2017 begins in early January. I’ll send an email with a link after the first of the year.

SEEKING FEEDBACK-WE’RE ALL EARS: I don’t have a formal survey for you to fill out (because we all HATE surveys!) but please feel free to drop us line with any and all suggestions, compliments, complaints, observations, etc. We are always striving to improve and your feedback helps us do it. Thank you!

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Orange carrots
Yellow and purple carrots
Beets and chard
Rutabaga
Potatoes
Yellow onions
Garlic
Pie pumpkin
Delicata squash
Kale
Sweet peppers

ELABORATIONS:
Yellow and purple carrots: We have given these out before. They are a better cooking carrots, as opposed to fresh eating in my opinion, though you may enjoy them raw.
Potatoes: This variety is called Princess La Ratte. They are like most fingerlings-dense, waxy, great for oven roasting, stews, pot roasts, etc. We chose not to wash them for a few couple of reasons. 1. We were up against the clock trying to get the rest of the potatoes out of the ground before the monsoon hits tomorrow and 2. They store longer unwashed. You can keep them in the fridge or in a paper bag in a cool location.
Winter Squash: We have sampled all of the varieties, and deemed them sweet enough to eat, so go for it!
Onions: I mentioned many weeks back about the trouble with our onion crop and how many of them ended up being small. We fondly call this particular size of onion “Walters,” named after a customer of ours that specifically seeks them out and buys them by the 10 lb bag throughout the winter. He loves small onions. They are great tossed in whole or halved with pot roasts, or they are perfect when you only need a little bit of onion for a dish. Jim and I prefer the small ones, so we hope you appreciate them too.

BOX RETURN: Whether it is just this week’s box or a whole stockpile, you can return them to the Olympia or Proctor Farmers Market at any time (during business hours, of course). I you pick up at one of the state agencies, you can return your empty boxes there by Monday. Ditto Farm Fresh Market. If you pick up at someone’s home, it would be best to bring the boxes to the market so we don’t clutter up their yard! I’ll make the rounds next week to collect them.

Thank you once again for joining our CSA! Have a great fall and winter. We’ll see you next year!

Your Farmers,
Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Farm Crew.

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CSA Newsletter -Week 17 -October 5, 2016

by jennifer on October 5, 2016

Next week is the last week of the summer CSA. We encourage you to bring bags along with you so you can leave the box at the site.

As I type this, rain is falling outside, hot tea is steeping beside me, and 4 varieties of winter squash are baking in the oven, Yep, it’s fall and time to shift gears in the kitchen. Break out the soup pot and roasting pan and start making some warm, nourishing, comfort foods: roasted root vegetables, potato leek soup, stuffed winter squash, sweet breads and muffins!

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:

Carrots
Beets or chard
Leeks
Acorn squash
Spaghetti squash
Potatoes
Celery
Shallot
Garlic
Kale
Kohlrabi
Scarlet queen turnip

ELABORATIONS: I am baking 4 different squash so I know whether or not to give you the green light on eating it yet. I’ll let you know by the end of this letter.

Acorn squash-The green one. It is one of the milder squash varieties, It lacks the extreme sweetness of delicata, which is why it is commonly seen baked with butter and brown sugar. Because of its subtler flavor, it lends itself well to stuffing with onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, herbs, strong cheeses, etc. A quick google search of acorn squash will no doubt yield a lifetime of recipes to try.
Spaghetti squash-The yellow one. Most varieties of spaghetti squash are HUGE-often upwards of 6 pounds. I was tempted by this little personal sized one in the seed catalogue and thought I’d give it a whirl. It is called spaghetti squash because when you bake it, the flesh comes off in strands, like…you guessed it…spaghetti!. Cut in half and bake cut side down in a bit of water until you can pierce through the flesh with a fork. Scrape flesh out with a fork using shallow strokes.
Potatoes-King Harry. You’ve had these before. They are very versatile. Use them in potato leek soup or scalloped potatoes.
Celery-Celery is so hard for us to grow, yet we persist.  This celery is smaller than what you might be used to. It has a heartier celery flavor and is a great addition to soups and roasts.
Leeks-They are in the onion family and have a more robust, prominent flavor. Use them in place of an onion in most dishes (but the flavor will stand out). Another google search will give you plenty of inspiration. NOTE: As leeks grow, sometimes dirt gets trapped in the layers. To prepare for cooking, cut off the root end, and trim off all but 3 inches of the green part.  Slice the leek in half lengthwise and fan under running water to rinse out any dirt.
Kale-red Russian or curly kale: Half of you got curly and half got Red Russian. Next week we will switch. I like the Russian for salads, green smoothies, kale quesadillas, and kale chips. The curly kind is great for soups, stir fries, or a quick sauté.
Scarlet queen turnip-really nice, crisp salad turnip. We often cut these into matchsticks along with carrots and kohlrabi, and snack on them. No need to peel. You can also cook with it.
SHALLOT: It is like an onion, only fancier. The flavor is richer and more complex than an onion, but not as distinguishable as a leek. They are often used minced in a vinaigrette or sauteed at the beginning of a soup.

THE SQUASH VERDICT: Okay, so Jim, Betsie and I all tasted the squash I baked. The delicata (no surprise) was sweet and amazing and ready to eat. The acorn, could be sweeter but was pretty darn good, especially if you plan to stuff it or do the classic butter/sugar thing. The spaghetti squash was close. I’d recommend waiting a week or two on that. And finally, the butternut-we all thought it was good, but would be better with age. So, in summation, delicata and butternut are ready now, acorn could go either way, and wait a bit on the spaghetti squash. All will improve over time. We also asked the crew if they had been eating any and what they thought. Teresa has had several good butternuts, Trine had delicata and butternut and gave it the thumbs up, but pour Maryclair had a less than stellar delicata. Such a crap shoot this early on.

Keep warm, stay dry, and start cooking!

Click here for kale recipe ideas.

Click here for winter squash ideas.

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CSA Newsletter – Week 16 – September 28, 2016

by jennifer on September 28, 2016

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This week is the last week for the Height of the Season share. There are 2 weeks left in the Summer Season share. If you are getting a Height of the Season share and just can’t bare for it to end, let me know and you can join for a few more weeks. We also still have a few fall shares left….
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Today was a great day. The sun was shining, the air was perfect, and everyone was chipper-probably feeling happy about yet another glorious autumn day. We made a huge dent in the potato harvest. It is one of those jobs where pretty much the whole crew works together to whip it out. We borrowed a digger from one of our fellow organic farmer-neighbors which allowed us to “quickly” dig 12 – 300ft rows. This machine gets dragged behind the tractor, digs up the potatoes, and gently lays them down on the surface of the soil. We then gather them up by hand and put them in 25# bags for storage. We used to use 50 lb bags, and I always complained (and the older I got, the more I complained!) “Not everyone here is a strapping young college student with no back issues,” I’d cry. The crew is with me on this one. Better to lift 500 manageable bags than 250 freakishly heavy and awkward ones.

We grow many different variety of potatoes, some of which yield some crazy shapes. There was a lot of “Hey look at this! It looks like a…(fill in the blank).” We found 2 that looked like Sasquatch hands, and here is a picture of Trine having a little fun with them.
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WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
green cabbage
butternut squash
onions
carrots
beets or chard
lettuce
slicing cucumber or lemon cucumber
sweet peppers
sungolds or red tomatoes
broccoli
summer squash

FURTHER VEGGIE COMMENTARY:
Once again I will say “Don’t eat your squash yet!” Squash is one of the few vegetables that actually sweeten up after it is picked.  Channel your inner Martha Stewart and create a fall shrine in the kitchen where you can arrange an artful collection of onions, garlic, and squash . Enjoy its visual beauty, and then eat it!
Butternut squash: This is the quintessential winter squash, probably the first kind you ever had. The flesh is bright orange, sweet, and creamy. It is often used for squash soup.
Green cabbage: They are abundant, and they are huge. We actually had to cut a few of them in half in order to be able to fit them in your box. Don’t worry, we were super clean and sanitary about it and put them right into bags!
Broccoli: Once again you get to enjoy broccoli. We usually don’t have this much to hand out so consistently. It is a combination of a new variety, new ground, and ideal weather. Can’t complain!
Tomatoes and peppers: The tomatoes are flagging, but the peppers seem to be just getting started. You will get an assortment of sweet peppers. If you don’t use them right away, they freeze really well. No need to blanch or cook in any way. Just cut up into the size you like and freeze. I just put up 5 quart bags last night from the weekend market leftovers.

Have a great week!

Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Farm Crew.

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CSA Newsletter – Week 15 – September 21, 2016

by jennifer on September 21, 2016

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The season is clearly shifting. Mornings are super cold and misty. We all start out with ridiculous amounts of warm woolly layers. As the day wears on, we shed layers like an onion. Sweaters, rain pants, hats, and jackets litter the field, trucks, and barn. It’s like bread crumbs our workers leave behind telling the tale of what they did that day. Tomatoes and peppers are slowing down, and in the case of tomatoes, aren’t looking so hot. Cracks and blemishes are appearing more often than not. How is it already the end of tomato season? A new wave of crops is on the horizon. Leeks are sizing up, kale is looking lush, and winter squash lies in wait under the dwindling protection of dying leaves.

We are slowly pecking away at the big fall projects. All the onions are in, as are half the dry beans. Garlic heads are popped and ready to plant tomorrow if all goes according to plan. We hope to get all the potatoes out of the field early next week. I am so happy to have another stretch of sun!
week 15 2016

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
yellow onions
garlic
Italian Zucchini
Patty pan squash
corn
sungolds or red tomatoes
sweet peppers
broccoli-large shares only
lemon cucumber or slicing cucumber
lettuce
delicata squash
cauliflower-Tumwater only

DELICATA
delicata squash


ABOUT YOUR SQUASH:
Don’t eat it yet! It needs a few weeks of sitting around to sweeten up. With only 3 more weeks of CSA after this one, we need to start passing out the winter squash. Your last box would be unbearably heavy if we waited till the very end. This variety, once fully cured, is the sweetest, creamiest squash there ever was. There are countless ways to cook a squash. The easiest is to cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and bake cut side down in a rimmed baking dish with a half inch of water. Bake at 375 or so until skin pierces easily with a fork. You can even eat the skin of delicata. Check out the recipes the our website and/or have a little google session for more ideas.
Side note: If you ever bake a squash and it is bland and lacking sweetness, use it to make Cinderella pumpkin muffins. You can adjust the sugar to compensate for bland squash.

HOW MUCH LONGER IS THE CSA?

The Summer Season Share has 3 more weeks after this one. Height of the Season Shares have 1 more week after this one. If you Height of the Season folks want to keep going, let me know. We can prorate the last few weeks.

STORAGE SHARES: We have a handful of these left. They will be delivered on the last day of the Summer Season CSA at whatever pick up site you are currently using. The share consists of: 10 lbs yellow onions, 2 lbs red onions, 2 lbs cipollini onions, 2 lbs shallots, 1 lb garlic, 5 lbs each of 2 types of potatoes, & 15 lbs assorted winter squash. The cost is $75.

If you want to keep enjoying a CSA share when the main season ends, consider signing up for one or both fall shares.
EARLY FALL SHARE: Four additional deliveries starting in late October once the summer season ends.  Since these crops store so well, we only offer the large size. We only offer weekend delivery of the fall share. You can pick it up at the farm, the Olympia Farmers Market, or the Tacoma Proctor Farmers Market. $110

LATE FALL SHARE: Yet another 4 weeks of yummy fall goodness. Delivery starts a week after the EARLY FALL SHARE ends. $110

NOTE: We only offer one size for the fall shares. Pretty much everything you get will store for quite awhile, so there is little risk of loss.
Crop anticipated for both fall shares: carrots (purple and orange), beets, rutabaga, turnips, parsnips, leeks, kale, chard, lettuce, dill, cilantro, arugula, potatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, winter squash, and possibly something new!

Enjoy the sun and your yummy veggies!

Jen, Jim, & the Rising River Farm Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 14 – September 14, 2016

by jennifer on September 14, 2016

week 14 2016 CSA

What’s in the box
Orange carrots
Purple carrots
Beets or chard
Watermelon
Red onions
Purple kohlrabi
Cauli -some of you (we are making the rounds)
Brocc-small shares
Sungolds-large shares
Red tomatoes
Slicing or amiga cucumber
Patty pan squash
Italian zucchini
Dill
Potatoes
Corn
Sweet pepper

MORE ABOUT THE VEG:
Purple carrots: In addition to your standard orange carrot, we have included a lovely purple carrot, which are even more nutrient-packed than the orange ones. We find the flavor to be heartier and the texture more substantial. They are good raw, but really shine when cooked. Actually carrots are one of a few veggies that have more available nutrients for you when cooked.
Gold beets-They have a milder flavor than red beets and they won’t bleed everywhere. They are perfect to use in dishes where you want to incorporate beets, but don’t want the whole thing to be magenta. They are also delicious roasted in the oven, or cut into rings and steamed.
Watermelon– Bonus round of yellow doll melon. We thought there would only be enough for a one time hand out. Gotta love hot summers!
Potatoes-King Harry is the variety. It has firm white flesh that holds together well. Good for boiling, steaming, potato salads, roasting, etc.
Cauliflower: I know there is still some of you who haven’t gotten it yet. Be patient. It’s making the rounds.

FOR THE MEAT EATERS: Selma is a long time farmer here in our valley, who raises mostly Icelandic sheep. She is our Icelandic Shepherdess. This spring her ewes gave birth to more lambs than ever before. Many ewes had triplets. Selma thinks this had to do with the very nice pastures they grazed on in late summer and fall. As a result she has many more lambs to sell. If you are into lamb, Icelandic lamb is considered one of the best in the world because of its fine texture and mild flavor. Here is a link to her meat brochures on her website. There are also brochures at our drop off sites. If you are interested you can contact her by email Selma@bonedryridge.com or give her a call 360 273 1045 or just send in the order form. We know a handful of other folks who do an amazing job raising meat in a sustainable and conscientious manner. Go to our links page to check them out.

Recipe Idea:
I was at a neighbor’s for dinner the other night and one of the ladies brought a simple, but amazing salad that is endlessly variable in regard to what veggies you can add. Quinoa is the base and the dressing is a mix of lemon juice, olive oil, tamari, and garlic. This recipe makes a fantastic lunch for the next day. Heck, I would have had it for breakfast with an egg if there had been any leftovers.
1. Cook 1 cup quinoa.
2. Chop up veggies, about 3 cups total, into little cubes. She used carrots, cucumber, and sweet pepper.
I made it the other night and added zucchini. Broccoli, chard, pre-cooked golden beets, tiny cauliflower bites, or tomato, are some other potential additions.
3. Combine veggies and cooked quinoa in a large bowl.
4. In a lidded jar, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 TBSP olive oil, 2 TBSP tamari, and 2 crushed cloves garlic. Shake well. Pour over quinoa and veggies.  Mix thoroughly.
5. Toast 1/4 cup sunflower seeds in a dry skillet until they brown a bit. Add to the salad.

Additions:
She added a bunch of minced parsley. I could see basil or cilantro working just as well. I made a no herb version and it was delicious.
Marinated tofu would also be a protein packed addition to the salad.

I gotta get back out to work. Enjoy these bonus days of sun and all the amazing food it provides!

Jen, Jim and the Rising River Farm Crew

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I got this recipe from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook whose title I will not type due to some unsavory language. Thug Kitchen cookbooks and blog posts are hilarious, and delicious. They swear a lot, so if you are not bothered by that, then check them out. I personally find them very witty and funny.

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs cauliflower
1/2 cup flour (any kind will do)
1/2 cup water

HOT SAUCE:
2 tsp oil
1/2 to 2/3 cup Sriracha or similar style hot sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tsp soy sauce or tamari

PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE:
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP creamy peanut butter
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 TBSP lime juice
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp maple syrup
1 cucumber cut into finger-long sticks

PROCEDURE:
1. Turn oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and chop cauliflower in thumb sized florets.
2. Whisk together flour and water in a big bowl until all the lumps are gone. Toss in the cauliflower and mix thoroughly. Spread cauliflower onto baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring once half way through.
3. Make the hot sauce by blending everything in a food processor or whisking by hand. Gently heat in a sauce pan. Turn off when hot, but not boiling.
4. Make the peanut sauce by first combining the peanut butter and warm water, then add everything else. Whisk until smooth.
5. When the cauli has cooked for 15 minutes, dump it in a bowl, pour in hot sauce mix, and stir to coat. Pour back onto baking sheet and bake for another 3-5 minutes.
6. Serve hot or room temperature and dip in peanut sauce.

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CSA Newsletter – Week 13 – September 7, 2016

by jennifer on September 7, 2016

sweet peppers

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
cabbage or broccoli
potatoes
rutabaga
onions
garlic
Italian Eggplant
corn
an assortment of squash
basil or cilantro
sweet peppers
red tomatoes
cauliflower (most of you)

rutabaga

rutabaga

CROP DETAIL:
Rutabaga: It is a root crop in the broccoli family. It is similar to turnips, but not as spicy. Rather it has an earthiness to it like beets. The flavor is subtle, but nice. No matter how you cook it, you’ll want to peel it. The outer skin is a little tough. It cooks much like a potato. Cut into chunks and add to soup, or add it to a batch of mashed potatoes.
Potatoes: The variety is called Desiree. It has creamy yellow flesh and makes the perfect mashed potato.
Cauliflower: Most of you got some today so the rest of you should get it next week. We were surprised by the earliness and size of this cauliflower. It was intended for fall harvest. Oh well! Try the recipe for roasted sriracha cauliflower bites with peanut dipping sauce courtesy of Thug Kitchen. I retyped it in a family friendly version! Cauliflower potato soup is also a winner.
Tomatoes: The rainy weather has taken its toll on the tomatoes. We have a lot, they just aren’t very pretty.
Peppers: We only grow sweet peppers for the CSA, so no matter the color or size, they are all sweet. We are trialing about 6 varieties of tiny, colored peppers. It can be very challenging to get colored peppers around here, as usually our summers are cool and/or wet. So far they seem prolific and tasty, so hopefully we’ll grow more next year.

WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE FIELDS
I was all resigned to rain and clouds for the rest of the summer, but lo and behold the forecast calls for a string of 80 degree days next week. Hurray! We need to haul in the rest of the onions, harvest the dry beans, dig all the potatoes, plant the garlic, and start getting some cover crop down. That’s a lot to tackle in a short window of time, esp. when we have all of our regular duties to attend to. We did get over half the onions into the greenhouses already.

curing onions

curing onions

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