THE BEET : VOLUME 12, ISSUE 6
In this week’s BEET:
- CSA FYIs
- Windflower Farm News -- Letter from Farmer Ted
- Recipes for this week's share: Simple Gazpacho (only includes ingredients from this and last week's CSA!), Simple Bites' Guide to pickling
CSA Pickup Today 5-7:30pm at PS 56 at Gates and Downing (enter on Downing)
- Reminder: Volunteer Shift Times Changing
To better facilitate the transition of volunteers during Thursday pickups, the second volunteer shift will begin at 5:45 instead of 6pm.
- Sign up here for a shift! Every household must volunteer for four hours each season.
NEWS FROM WINDFLOWER FARM
Delivery #7, Week of July 22nd, 2013
This week’s share of the harvest will include basil and bunched beets, cucumbers and squashes, a couple of heads of lettuce (a green Romaine and a green loose-leaf), your choice of kale or Swiss chard, red or yellow bunched onions and either tomatoes or peppers, depending on your site and what Mother Nature has in mind. I thought last week’s hot weather would have caused many more tomatoes to turn red than actually have. The large number of green fruits on our plants will no doubt turn soon, otherwise, I expect next week’s vegetable lineup to look very much like this one. Sweet corn, beans and potatoes are just around the corner. It’s starting to feel like summer! We’ll begin harvesting our garlic tomorrow, nearly nine months to the day after planting it. To make pulling it easier, we’ll loosen the earth with chisels on the tractor. Then we’ll pressure wash the bulbs and rack them in the greenhouse for two weeks to dry and cure. After that, we’ll begin sending those fragrant little bulbs to you. You’ll get two kinds this year, our standard ‘German White’ and a new variety called ‘Spanish Roja.’ Fruit shareholders will have a choice between peaches and plums.
We are an adaptable bunch here at Windflower Farm, and by the end of June we were as adept as any Seattle native at dealing with the daily rains. We had acquired the clothing and the routines needed to be comfortable in a cool, wet environment. Then came last week, and one of only five extreme heat waves, I am told, to have been recorded in the Albany area since they began keeping such records in the mid-1800s. Some of the crew started their days at 5:00, and most others by 6:00, so that they could get out of the heat by 3:00. I opted for the early afternoon siesta and a return to the field in the relative cool of early evening. But by Thursday most of us had had it. Even the Medinas, who come from southern Mexico, wanted no more of it. The humidity was too much, and so we abandoned the farm for the nearest pond. When we returned to work today we were happy to have temperatures settle in the lower 80s.
Climate change scientists have been telling us to expect dry places to become dryer, wet places to become wetter, and weather events generally to become more extreme. I guess I’ve become a believer, and I’m not looking forward to more of it. I hope this hasn’t become the “new normal” less because we won’t be able to handle it, although that’s a concern, and more because it’s very stressful. With atmospheric CO2 now above 400 ppm we have entered unknown territory. But by having reduced the distance some of your food travels from the fields where it was grown to your tables you have already taken a positive step to reverse this unsettling trend. I once calculated that the amount of fuel we use on the farm – both to run our tractors and our delivery truck – was the equivalent of a five gallon can of gas per CSA shareholder per season. Not bad. Since then we have converted two of our tractors to electric power and are in the process of converting a third. And we have installed solar panels in sufficient quantity to make the farm electricity self-sufficient. Now we have to find a practical way of replacing the diesel in our bigger tractors and delivery truck with something more benign. Any ideas?
Gazpacho (recipe by Ina Garten, Food Network)
1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepperDirections
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!
After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.
Simple Bites Pickling Guide
has a detailed guide to making garlic-dill pickles--your way. Click the image below for the guide, which is too long for the newsletter. We certainly get more than enough cucumbers this time of year to make a full batch.
Methods and Pickling Basics
Pickles can be as quick and easy as pouring hot brine over cold cucumbers in jars and processing in a water bath. Or you can choose to brine the cukes overnight in a salt water bath to draw moisture out of them so the pickling solution better permeates into them. Or you can barrel ferment them over a period of 3 to 6 weeks. Or process them over 9 days to draw out the best flavor.
The methods of making pickles, the varieties of pickles, and the recipes for making them would fill several cookbooks, so I’m not going to try for all-inclusive here. I’ll walk you through a basic dill pickle recipe, then you can experiment and find the recipe that will be cherished and handed down in your family with your name attached to it.
Imagine having your great-grandchildren bugging their mother for Nana Lula’s Garlic Dills recipe! (Well, that only works if your name is Lula, so try imagining it with your name inserted.)
Go to Simple Bites for the complete Pickling Guide.