Wow, it’s August already!
I took advantage of the unexpected thunderstorm this morning to create this newsletter. Usually I wait till most of the items for the weekly share are chosen or picked. It began raining about 7AM when the crew for the day arrived. We pushed the wagons of onions inside so they would stay dry, and three people are cleaning and boxing them up for use during August. Their tops dried down after the hail storm 3 weeks ago Wednesday. Two others are in the greenhouse seeding trays so we will have transplants to put out in 3 to 4 weeks, which we will harvest in October and November.
Speaking of October and November, could you please indicate by email or by mailing us a check whether you plan to subscribe to the Fall Share? It starts September 7. For those who mailed a check this past week, Thank You! (See our mailing address at bottom.) You may also order online.
Janna is visiting our daughter Jessica, her husband Andrew and our grandson Joshua! So, John will be at the Sioux City Market this Wednesday, Anna will be in Sioux Center, and Spencer folks, please look for details at our Spencer Facebook page. I’m currently thinking it will be about 5 pm when I get to Spencer.
The camera on my phone broke about a month ago. Can you tell by the absence of new pictures? I wish I could include a picture of the buckwheat growing in the front garden. There are 3 beds Gretchen put into buckwheat about 6 weeks ago. It’s in full flower, about waist high and just smothering the weeds. We use buckwheat because it is heat tolerant, germinates well, and when planted in the fall it dies and dries with the first frost. We add organic matter this way. It’s a green manure. Of course, when used early like this you want to till it or mow it before the flowers turn to seed. The garden that will have potatoes next years will be seeded to buckwheat soon, and another to winter rye probably about the middle of September.
It’s August, so some families are on the move before school starts again. We need to say Thank You to a customer, friends and tremendous supporter of local, organic and flavorful food. Dan and Sonya Knauss are moving to Edmonton AB this month. We will miss their smiles, words of encouragement, and help. If you have been with us for 8 or more years, you may have noticed we been more up to date with social media and our website. Other members of Practical Farmers of Iowa have told us we have the best website. We just want to say thank you to Dan and Sonya. They have pushed and encouraged most with our online presence. We hope they have a safe move and find Edmonton to be a great place to live.
For the rest, you’ve got 3 to 4 weeks before people start thinking fall!
Welcome to the craziest, scheduled week of our lives! We’ve done crazy before though, so we can make it. It’s wedding week for Jessica!
A moment of truth: Dad sometimes forgets to eat full meals, between giving work assignments throughout the day, managing those projects, and working on his own projects around the farm. Mom is getting wedding jitters and making lists so that she can check things off and not forget anything or anyone. Allison comes home today to help with wedding prep and entertaining out of town guests. Jessica is flying under the radar, attempting to escape the over-asked, repetitive questions. Madeline (me) and Adrienne are helping out as much as we can with what needs to be done, regular harvesting, irrigation, weeding, and mowing.
This week we’re not only harvesting for CSA and markets, but we’re also providing the ingredients for the meal after the wedding on Saturday.
It’s a week for stir-fry! The napa cabbage deliciously complements other stir-fry vegetables. My favorite way to prepare it though is on the grill. Slice it into four wedges, the long way, and add chunks of butter or olive oil and seasoning, wrap in tin foil and then grill! (Confession: no idea how long or how hot)
Choi is another great stir-fry vegetable. Or wilt it in bacon grease. Treasure the last of the leafy lettuce greens as we move from spring, sweet and tender, into full blown summer heat! Whole share has beets this week, more of those for everyone will be coming soon, as well as more summer varieties, and your boxes and bags will start to get even heavier!
It has been a busy week….where have I heard that before? It is hard to believe that it is already the end of May. It feels as though we have jumped right into Summer, but with those strong Spring winds still following us. We are constantly amazed by the power of the wind and while we cringe as we watch new transplants take a beating, we are also surprised at how many of them manage to make it through (yes, we do lose a few). This week all of the “outside” tomatoes and peppers were planted with help from our college crew. In addition, all of the potatoes and onions and most of the other gardens were weeded as well and we put in squash cucumber and bean seed. This amounts to almost half of our land in production and was a lot of work – Great job girls!
Daughter Jessica has left us for a few weeks of study in France. She visited a market in Caen on the weekend and assured her dad that his veggies are still the best. Thanks Jessica! 🙂 — and thanks to all of you for your words of appreciation and encouragement as you share your enjoyment of our vegetables.
This week in your share…. Carrots!! – These slender, tender gems are a sweet treat that you won’t feel guilty about. I’m going to try the carrot top soup (below) this week – the greens are wonderfully tender – or make a nice salad if they last that long! Spinach Red Russian Kale – picked at the baby leaf stage – great for salads or add it to soups or stir-fry. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. Check out this link for more info http://vegpeace.org/kale.html
Lettuce – Red or green butterhead – I like to chop/rinse/spin and keep it in a bowl in the fridge ready for a quick salad. Hakurai Turnips – Yes, those things that look like white radishes – perfect for snacking, chopped in a salad or light steaming. Chop and throw those tops in with your kale in the stir-fry.
As always, there is an abundance of recipes available through a google search, but here are a few to get you started.
Have a Great Week!
Carrot Almond Salad
extra virgin olive oil
1 cup / 3 oz / 85g sliced almonds
a small handful cilantro, about 1/2 cup
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and de-veined
1/4+ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch / 8 oz / 225 g baby carrots, scrubbed and sliced in half lengthwise
1 bunch / 16 oz / 450 g pencil-thin asparagus, stalks trimmed, cut into 2-inch segments
squeeze of lemon, optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, toast the almonds in a large skillet over medium heat in a splash of olive oil along with a big pinch of salt. Let them get deeply golden, remove from heat, and set aside.
Make the dressing by combining the cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, and salt in a food processor – or alternately, in a blender or with a hand blender. Drizzle the olive oil in while pulsing, continuing until the dressing is a creamy, vibrant green. Taste, and adjust to your liking with more salt, garlic, jalapeno, etc.
Salt the boiling water generously, then add the carrots, wait 15 seconds and add the asparagus. Depending on the actual thickness of your carrots/asparagus, cook for about 30 – 60 more seconds, you want the vegetables to retain some structure and bite. Drain and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking. Spin dry in a salad spinner.
In a large bowl toss the vegetables with a generous splash of the dressing. Toss well, add 2/3 of the toasted almonds and gently toss again. Taste and adjust for seasoning. You might want to add a quick squeeze of lemon juice at this point, but it’s optional. Serve family-style topped with the remaining almonds.
Serves 4-6 as a side.
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 small carrots, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup short grain rice or 2 lbs. cubed potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrot tops
- 4 tbsp. fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil in a large pot. Sauté onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes over low heat until translucent. Add salt and pepper, and pour in broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add rice and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is almost tender. Add the carrot tops and cook for 5 more minutes, mixing well.
- When rice is tender, pour soup into four bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.