CSA Newsletter – Week 9 – August 16, 2017

by jennifer on August 16, 2017

week 9

Large Share – Week 9

Thank you for your patience last week while I was away. It was hard to leave for 4 days in the height of the summer. I was up until 1:00 AM making lists, printing forms, and making sure all the odds and ends I usually deal with were delegated as necessary. My dear grandmother of 89 years passed away and I traveled to Eastern WA with my mother, sister, and nephew to attend services and be with family. I am so very grateful to Jim and the crew for taking up the slack in my absence. I never once worried about things falling through the cracks. (I think they are happy to have me back, though.)

I am so happy to back on the west side where the temps are reasonable and the smoke is gone. It was brutal over there in Clarkson where it was 100+ degrees and smokey as all get-out. I am back to eating amazing food and reveling in the abundance that is August in the PNW.

The fields are bursting at the seams with all of our summer favorites. Everyone gets cherry and slicer tomatoes in their box, no rotation necessary. Beans are still cranking and summer squash is…well let’s just say we could probably feed all of Thurston County. Corn is very, very close.  Alex and Isaac found 2 rogue ears Monday and Isaac was gracious enough to offer me his, which I ate on the spot. Jim and I walked through the patch last night before dinner and thought it should be ready for next week.

jim checkin the spuds

Jim pulling potato plants to see how they are sizing up.

 

POTATOES! We are growing 10 varieties of potatoes this year. Partly because we like to experiment, and partly because we were forced to experiment. When ordering seed potato this spring, we couldn’t get a hold of some of our standbys (yellow finn and Yukon gold) and so we are trialing a handful of others to fill the void. It is frustrating when the seed varieties fall out of fashion or when there are crop failures. For example, we had been growing Nelson carrot for nearly 20 years. It is the absolute BEST carrot for our soil (and taste buds). However, this year it was unavailable and we have been trialing different varieties. The problem is that by the time the first carrot planting ripens, we already have about 5 plantings in the ground. It’s too late if they are crappy. We were not too impressed with the first planting, but the flavor seems to be improving as the weather does. I think maybe the first ones were stressed and confused by crazy spring weather. I hope that we find something that will live up to Nelson’s high standards or Nelson comes back. We’ll see.

Back to potatoes…on Monday Jim and I pulled up plants of about 7  varieties to see how they were coming along. They all looked amazing.  This week you will be getting red lasoda. I haven’t eaten them yet, but I hear they are good for potato salad, boiling, steaming, and frying.

alex isaac potats

Alex & Isaac proudly displaying several of our potato varieties.

 

CANNING QUANTITIES: Pickling cukes, beans, basil, & tomatoes.

Now is the time to squirrel away the summer goodness. Let me know if you want some extras for canning or freezing and I can leave your order at your pick up site. Refer to the canning page for pricing.

RECIPE IDEAS:

Jim has been making grilled zucchini, carrots, and potatoes at least 3 nights a week and we are never disappointed. He’ll cut the a fore mentioned veggies into  planks roughly 1/4″ thick and toss  with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and maybe a few drops of hot sauce. He will then grill them on the gas grill for about 5 minutes per side until they have reached the desired tenderness. We will eat as is or sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese on top. I am salivating just thinking about it. It makes a great side dish, esp if you already have the grill going for burgers or steak.

Enjoy!

Jen, Jim, & Crew

 

 

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CSA Newsletter – Week 7 – August 2, 2017

by jennifer on August 2, 2017

week 7

 

What’s In The Box:

Carrots
Beets or Chard
Green beans
Yukon Gold potatoes
Italian zucchini
yellow crookneck
Italian parsley
garlic
red onion
sungolds-small shares only
red tomato
pickling/salad cucumbers
baby cabbage-half of you (the rest of you should get it next week)

This is the first week for the Height of the Season Share folks. Welcome! I hope you enjoyed your first box. I encourage you to read through the previous newsletters to get a sense of what has been going on at the farm. Explore the recipe tag cloud at the bottom of the page. Click on a vegetable and all the recipes containing that vegetable will pop up. Quite handy.

Boy it’s hot! I hope you all are keeping cool. We have started work at 5:00 AM these past few days and try to stop around 1:30 or so. It is just too hot out there for people or produce. Irrigation is going 24/7 to keep the plants happy. It is times like these when we are so grateful for our heavy clay soil. We will have some serious weeds to contend with once the weather gets cooler. We had hoped to pull some long days and get caught up, but it is too hot to ask people to stay late into the afternoon.

Sorry I have no more news to share or amazing recipes to suggest. I am pretty fried from the insanely early start times and the heat.

G’night!

Jen

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CSA Newsletter – Week 6 – July 26, 2017

by jennifer on July 26, 2017

week 6 B

 

What’s In The Box:
carrots
beets or chard
green onions
shell peas
green beans
garlic
salad (aka large pickling) cucumbers
Amarosa fingerling potatoes
rosemary
Italian zucchini
yellow crookneck squash
sungold cherry tomatoes-large shares only

Summer is here as is evidenced by very hot weather, the sudden abundance of summer squash, and the arrival of cherry tomatoes and green beans. Both crops and weeds are growing by leaps and bounds. We are in a desperate race against the weeds and so far we are edging out ahead. This letter is getting out very late in the evening (sorry folks!) so I will just cut to the chase and give you suggestions on how to use all this yummy produce!

AMAROSA POTATOES: These are a fabulous fingerling that are red inside and out. They are super delish simply steamed and topped with butter. Or you can toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped up rosemary and roast in the oven at 400-ish for 30-40 minutes. Or you can chop them into home-fry sized pieces and fry them with lots of garlic.

SALAD CUCUMBERS: These are just larger pickling cukes. Many people prefer theses to your standard slicer as they are sweet, crisp, and have a small seed cavity. They can occasionally be bitter, so give it a taste test before you whip up a cucumber salad to serve for company.

ZUCCHINI AND CROOKNECK:
Use interchangeably. Invest in a $15 spiralizer at Target and make zoodles (squash shredded into long noodles-I’ll try to send a pic in next week’s newsletter.) Make zucchini bread or just dice up squash and add it to whatever savory dish you make. It is a nice sponge for herbs and sauces.

GREEN BEANS:
Steam them, add to a stir fry or curry, or go to our green bean recipe page for some yummy ideas. I highly recommend the green beans with walnuts, balsamic, and honey.

FEEL LIKE CANNING?

We just started harvesting pickling cucumbers and should have them for at least the next 4 weeks. If you would like some dropped off with your CSA share let me know. You can also pick up at the Olympia and Proctor Farmers Markets. Go to our pickle page for sizing, pricing, and other info. I have a lot of orders in for mini and small cukes, so if that is what you want let me know soon. I almost always have an abundance of mediums.
We also periodically have beans, beets, and eventually tomatoes. Let me know if you are interested in any of those and I will put you on the list.

Enjoy your box!
Jen, Jim, and Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 5 – July 19, 2017

by jennifer on July 19, 2017

week 5

WHAT’S IN THE BOX
carrots
beets or chard
green onions
garlic
zucchini
shell or snow peas
potatoes
cabbage
cilantro
cucumber (half of you)

DESCRIPTIONS:

Potatoes-You either got Yukon gold (yellow) or Caribe (purple). Both are pretty versatile and delicious.
Cabbage-Aren’t they cute? Stressful spring weather=baby cabbages. You’ll see bigger ones as time goes on. This variety is sweet and delicious raw. I like to slice it thin and use it instead of lettuce on tacos or burritos. Or use it in  Spicy Cabbage Salad or Cabbage Peanut Slaw or Egg Rolls.
Everything else should be self-explanatory.

garlic harvest

 

garlic hanging
There is not much new to report this week. All the garlic is out of the field and hanging in the barn. We can cross that big job off the list. We are mostly weeding and watering like mad. We’ll start the pickling cucumber harvest on Thursday, which will add a whole new level of crazy to the farm (but a good crazy). On top of all the other field work and harvest we will pick cukes 3 days a week for the next 6 weeks. If you want to purchase some let me know and I can leave them with your CSA share at some point in the future. Refer to the pickle page for sizing, pricing, and other info.

COMING SOON….

We hope to start passing out slicing tomatoes and sungold cherry tomatoes next week. Green Beans are getting really close as well.

Enjoy your week!

Jen, Jim, and Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 4 – July 12, 2017

by jennifer on July 12, 2017

week 4

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX
Carrots
Beets or chard
Potatoes
Shell or snow peas
Romaine-large shares only
Red leaf
Walla walla onion
Garlic
Green onions
Cucumber or zucchini
Fennel
Basil, cilantro, or Italian parsley

Today’s box has several new items. I am very excited about cucumber, which half of you got. (The others will next week.) This was a trial run of growing cukes early in the greenhouse. If only I could turn back the clock to April and plant 5 times as many. This variety has a nice thin skin, delicate texture, and sweet flavor.
Summer squash are finally abundant enough to start handing out. (As with the cucumber, half of you got it this week.) Usually we are up to our ears in squash by now, but the wet spring delayed our planting by about 3 weeks. We grow four types of summer squash (see picture). They can all be used interchangeably. Today we handed out either green or Italian zucchini.

summer quash
Perhaps the most exciting thing in the box today is new potatoes. Yes, they look a little rough, but that is just how it is with new potatoes. The skins have not set yet, so they peel even if you look at them wrong. We tried our best to balance cleaning and coddling them. Give them another little scrub before you cook them. The variety is called Red Chieftain is ideal for potato salad, home fries, and general use. However, I always like to enjoy the first new potatoes steamed until tender and drizzled with garlic butter (and parsley).

new potates

 

WEEDS! The weeds are kind of kicking our butt lately. We haven’t lost anything yet, but there is a sense of urgency. We were down several crew members last week to vacation and illness and we are feeling it. It is hard to just settle into weeding a bed of something knowing there are numerous other beds vying for our attention. This week everyone is back, refreshed and healthy, so we should make some serious progress. Isaac and Cylas are taking turns on the cultivating tractor tackling the paths and in between the rows, while the rest of the crew sweeps through with hoes and hands to get around the plants. Weeding can be tedious, so it is fortunate that our crew is full interesting and chummy folks. I love when I hear laughter emanating from the field. And on that note, I will end this letter now to go join in the weeding.

Enjoy the sun and your yummy veggies.

Jen, Jim, and the Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 3 – July 5, 2017

by jennifer on July 5, 2017

week 3WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Carrots
Red Russian or curly kale
Green onions
Walla Walla onion
Garlic
Kohlrabi
Basil, Italian parsley, or cilantro
Green leaf lettuce
Romaine lettuce-large shares only
Shell peas-to everyone who did not get them last week
Beets-everyone should have had them once by now
Chard-half of you (chard will be on every other week rotation)

Hopefully you all weren’t kept up late into the wee hours by fireworks. Out here, it was non-stop explosions until 11:30, and then occasional kabooms and fizzles for the rest of the night. We were all so tired at the end of the day, though, that we slept right through it.

THE WEATHER: I am thoroughly enjoying this solid streak of sun and heat. The crops (and weeds) are really responding. On some levels, I feel like the spring put us behind, but it turns out many crops are right on time. The corn was knee high as of yesterday, peas are just about to be abundant, and I have even nibbled a few sungold tomatoes (sorry, I got all the ripe ones!) Potatoes and summer squash are coming soon. It can be a little warm to work in, but everyone manages to hide behind big hats and long dress shirts. We start the workday at 6:00 and try to be done by 2:30. It’s nice because the crew can actually get out and enjoy the rest of the day doing summery things.

WHAT OUR WORKDAY LOOKS LIKE: This time of year, we undertake wide variety of tasks. Any given day may include seeding, transplanting, irrigating, weeding, trellising, pruning, harvest, and most importantly, getting all this good food out into the community. We are also about to start the big garlic harvest. Unlike peas that you pick twice a week for a month or more, garlic is one of those crops that matures all at once and then is harvested and stored in the barn for future use. Left in the ground, the heads would split and they wouldn’t keep as long. Instead, we tie the garlic still on the stalk into bundles and hang it from the barn rafters. I’ll try to include a picture next week. It looks really cool to see it all hanging there. The upshot to the cold spring we had is that we were not plagued with the dreaded white mold that periodically wipes out as much as half of our garlic. There are no organic controls for said mold, so we do our best with crop rotation, good fertility, and crossed fingers to try and get as good a yield as we can.

BARTER BOX:
We finally had enough surplus this week to send along a barter box to each pick up site. You can use it to trade out things from your share that you don’t like, for something that you do. Please don’t take from the box unless you put something in it. The barter box will be more diverse as the season wears on.

ABOUT THE VEG:
Garlic: The variety is called Music and it is VERY STRONG! A little goes a long way with this stuff. The cloves are huge, and since it is fresh, are easy to peel. Use less than you think you need, unless you fear vampires or appreciate a little extra personal space when out in public. Want a bus seat all to yourself? Eat this garlic.
Shell Peas: I think I failed to mention last week that shell peas are the ones you open and just eat the peas inside. You probably found that out quickly if you chomped down on the shell. We hope to have snow and snap peas soon. Shell peas are delicious raw or lightly steamed.

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FRESH HERBS:
I feel like I could devote a whole newsletter to herbs, and we only grow five types! Throughout the season you will receive dill, cilantro, basil, Italian parsley, and rosemary. We will rotate these around the pickup sites each week and I’ll try to throw a few different ones in the barter box. As the herbs become more abundant we will give you two types each week.

Many people are intimidated by fresh herbs, but don’t be. They really liven up a dish. Sometimes I add them during the cooking process and other times sprinkle minced fresh herbs directly on my plate at the table.

Here are some suggestions on how to use each one:

Basil: anything Italian, Thai, or Indian. Add it while you are cooking and reserve some fresh to sprinkle on when serving. I love it fresh on a pizza right when it comes out of the oven or on a curry.
Italian parsley: Anything Italian or Mediterranean. Use it in tabouli, cold pasta salads, or potatoes. One of my favorite things to do with new potatoes is to steam them and then toss with melted garlic parsley butter. Parsley is also an amazing breath freshener and digestive aid. Bring some to work with your lunch and kiss that coffee-breath goodbye! Overdo it on that garlic I warned you about? This should help.
Cilantro: Anything Mexican, Thai, or Indian. Cilantro pesto is amazing and is great on potatoes or used as a sandwich spread.
Rosemary:
Anything Italian. Essential in a good pot roast. Probably a potato’s best friend. I mean who can resist crispy oven roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic?
Dill: Anything Russian. (Borscht, anyone?) Also, great with fish, potatoes, in a salad or salad dressing

Just to drive it home, consider how changing up the herbs can completely transform any given vegetable. Take potatoes for example:
Rosemary-oven roasted potatoes with olive oil, salt, crushed garlic, and rosemary
Italian Parsley-melted garlic butter thing mentioned above over steamed potatoes.
Dill-potato salad
Basil-make pesto and serve with steamed or fried potatoes
Cilantro-make pesto and serve with steam or fried potatoes, or use potatoes as an addition to burritos.

All the herbs should be kept in the fridge until you use them except for rosemary. Hang up what you don’t use and it’ll dry. Basil is super perishable and should be used within two days. Dill and cilantro are best kept with the stems in a jar with a little water and a plastic bag tented over the jar. Parsley is quite hardy and doesn’t need special attention. Throw it in a bag or Tupperware in the fridge and call it good.

RECIPE IDEAS:
Borscht
French potato salad
Tabouli
Cilantro pesto-there are a million variations out there. I like to use walnuts or almonds as the nut. I’ll puree about a half cup of nuts, then add a clove of garlic, then 1 bunch cilantro (some stem is okay), salt to taste, a TBLS or 2 of olive oil (more if you want it creamier.) Adjust ingredients to suit your taste. You can add Parmesan as well.


NEWSLETTERS:

I always post the most recent newsletter on our website and Facebook, so if you want to share it with others, you can direct them to either of those places.

 

Enjoy!

Jen, Jim, and the Crew

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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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