"Don't judge each day by the harvests that you reap, but by the seeds that you plant." -Robert Louis Stevenson
The baby greens are back, cucumbers hail from Antonio's plot in the Rio Grande Farm Park, peaches grace the boxes with sweet luciousness, potatoes are back, and organic green chiles premier from Dan Hobbs! Diversity, spice, and sweet! All things meant to make the whole in wholesome.
Hope you had a chance to celebrate your milestones, and the fruit of all your labors this past holiday. The kids are in school, the light is changing, and and the coolness welcomes the fall sunshine. Yes, autumn is here. And frost threatens the beans and squash in the fields. Yes, the only constant is change!
Here's the box:
Peaches, COG, Black Bear Orchards, Palisade, CO 6 peaches
Cucumbers, Antonia, Garcia, Alamosa 0.5 pound
Mixed Greens, COG, Ring a Ding Farms, Howard, CO 1 5 oz clamshell
Baby Arugula, COG, RAD 1 5 oz clamshell
Chioggia Beets, COG, White Mountain Farm, Mosca 1 bunch
Cilantro, COG, WMF 1 bunch
Yellow Sqaush,COG, Milliberger Farms, Pueblo, CO 1 pound
Green Chiles, COG, Hobbs Family Farm, Avondale, CO 6 chiles
Potatoes, Red, COG, White Rock Specialties, Mosca, CO 5 pounds
From Megumi's Kitchen
--- Beet Pie ---
Chioggia Beet is so beautiful. But the color and patterns disappear when they are cooked. I wanted to find a recipe that respects the beauty as well as the taste and here is what I found.
I took it from a website. But next time I think I will use sour cream instead of feta cheese. Also egg and milk mixture, much like quiche batter might work well too.
—— Peach Pie —-
There are many ways to bake a peach pie. My partner likes peach filing to be seasoned with cinnamon, almond essence, etc. etc. It is really good, but I also like fruit pies to taste close to fresh fruit. I learned a way to preserve peach with salt only from Wara, a very special place in Japan. Adding a little sweetness to it makes a perfect peach pie filling!
——— Arugula Pesto ——--
This is a wonderful way to preserve fresh arugula and enjoy it all through the year. The pesto is good for pasta, of course. But my favorite way to enjoy it is to use it as pizza sauce. I usually make a few small jars at a time and freeze what I do not use within a week or so. Even after a year later, it is still colorful and good.
2 cups of packed arugula leaves
1/2 cup of walnut pieces (or cashew nut pieces)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil (or Colorado Mountain Sunflower oil)
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
balsamic vinegar for taste
When packing in a jar, make sure there is not air bubble. Pour extra olive oil on top so that the pesto is not exposed to the air. This keeps the green color of the pesto while being stored.
"I have no hostility to nature, but a child's love to it. I expand and live in the warm day like corn and melons." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
The fall rains are here bringing back ditches that went dry in July. This is only the second time in 16 years I have seen this happen in Crestone. A foretelling of more to come? Or just the punctuated equilibrium that nature loves?
Here's the box:
Cantaloupe, COG, Hirakata Farms, Rocky Ford 1 melon
Purple Beans, COG, White Mountain Farm 1 pound
Living Spring Mix Lettuce Heads, Brightwater Farms, Monte Vista 1 clamshell
Portabella Mushrooms, Colorado Mushroom Farm 2 caps
Grilling Onions, COG, White Mountain Farm 1 bunch
Hopi Corn, COG, Archaic Orchards, San Isabel Creek 2 ears
Cornmeal, non-GMO, Bow & Arrow Brand, Towaoc, CO 24 oz
Due to super rainy conditions this August which led to muddy field conditions and slow growth of the plants, our Organic baby greens from Ring a Ding were unavailable. So we went with the Spring Mix from Brightwater Farms in Monte Vista. We have had a lot of discussion about the hydroponic method of growing plants and it seemed a lot of people were not sure exactly what it meant. Here's a brief synopsis.
Hydroponics is the growing of plants without soil where the plants' roots are directly immersed in an aqueous nutrient solution, or they are in an inorganic substrate that the nutrient water can flow through, such as perilite or clay pebbles. The inorganic or organic nutrients are more or less the same principle nutrients that are derived from the microbiology of the soil, but instead of being produced in the soil, or added to the soil via green manure or compost, they are usually produced somewhere else and imported in to the hydroponic facility where they are then mixed with water and fed into the system. In general, there is a whole lot more going on in the soil than in a hydroponic nutrient solution, but plant chemistry has allowed us to isolate the proper nutrients and proportions to what is needed to grow healthy plants. Due to the presence of more oxygen in the roots systems of hydroponic plants (due to forced aeration, drain and fill systems, or aeroponics), they are able to take up more nutrients.
The benefits of hydroponics are that plant growth is 30-50% faster and the plants can be bigger than in the soil as the plants do not have to work as hard to access their nutrition. Due to hydroponics usually being found in controlled, year-round indoor environments with automated heating, cooling and watering, there is also no expense in weeding, no fossil tractor expenses or inputs, less disease, and less water consumption as the water is continually recirculating. Per square foot of land and per gallon of water, hydroponics can produce far more food than their soil counterparts. By no means is this to say we should abandon soil agriculture, but it is to say there is a place for hydroponics, and especially aquaponics where the nutrient source comes from co-located fish aquaculture. And fresh, lettuce, kale, and basil year round at 7200 feet in high alpine Colorado is something special. We're talking about feeding 7-8 billion people in the very near future and we're going to need all the techniques available to produce healthy food.
Brightwater Farms is a progressive family business that is USDA GAP Certified (Good Agricultural Practices) and has a high degree of product quality and food safety standards. All their inputs that they might use are OMRI certified (Organic Materials Review Institute), meaning these same inputs can be used in Organic agriculture.
Below is brothers Andrew and Robert Toews of Brightwater Farms in Monte Vista.
Sweet Hopi Blue Corn from Tom McCracken, formerly of Green Earth Farm and now from Archaic Orchards on San Isabel Creek near Crestone.
This is a special offering from veteran farmer Tom McCracken who just can't keep out of growing food. He seems to be keeping busy over on San Isabel growing an orchard, a raspberry crop, and this Hopi Sweet Blue corn that he has been saving the seed for many years.
Non-GMO Cornmeal from Bow & Arrow
This is also a special offering grown by on the Ute Indian Reservation near the Four Corners in Colorado. Certified non-GMO, ancestral corn grown in ancestral lands.
From Megumi's Kitchen
"Remember "the three little pigs and the big bad wolf”? "Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf, big bad wolf, big bad wolf?”. When you see an unfamiliar veggie in a CSA box or too much of one thing in your kitchen, replace “big bad wolf” with the name of the veggie. Tadah… an idea for a yummy dish appear magically!
--- Portobello mushroom BBQ ---
When I first saw a portabello mushroom, I was intimidated by the size. When I had one at a restaurant, I did not like it because the mushroom was grilled whole and had unappealing look. Plus the seasoning was quite plain. In our kitchen, I slice it in about 1/2 inch thick, marinade it in advance, and pan fry them. It’s great as is or for a sandwich. I bet you can BBQ then on the grill too.
- scrape off the brown part of the mushroom in the back with a spoon
- dust off the mushroom (if you prefer, wash and dry it).
- slice it in about 1/2 inch thick
- in a casserole dish (or any other dish with some depth) mix catsup, soy sauce, and sake (or white wine). sprinkle some chili pepper if you’d like some heat. season with salt and pepper to your liking.
- marinade the mushroom slices for about 10 minutes or longer
- in a pan heat enough oil to cover the bottom
- sear the mushroom slices on both sides.
- when the mushrooms are done, pure in the sauce and cook till the sauce is caramelized.
— Green Beans Japanese Home Cooking Style --
When I say “Japanese cooking is boring,” people in US look at me in disbelief. But for me who grew up in a Japanese household, a Japanese meal means rice, miso soup, grilled fish, and some veggies cooked with sugar and soy sauce. How boring! :) Here is the “sugar and soy sauce” seasoned beans that was typical on our dinner table back in Tokyo.
- clean and prep the beans
- in a sauce pan, heat cooking oil and sauté the beans
- sprinkle about 1 teaspoon full of sugar and 2 teaspoon of soy sauce
- add water to cover the beans
- put the lid on and simmer till the beans are soft
- if the beans do not get soft before the liquid evaporates out, add some more water. if the beans get soft enough while liquid is till in the pan, take the lid off and cook it down until the sauce starts to caramelize.
p.s. today I am using the purple beans that came in the CSA box. I love the color and wish the color stays after cooking!
— Tamale Pie ‘wannabe' --
I am always a bit nervous when I borrow names of dishes from culinary cultures not of my own. This “tamale pie” is one of them. Being not from SLV originally, I did not know what to do with Calbacitas until a few years ago. When I was singing “who’s afraid of calbacitas, calbacitas…” someone local taught me to cook it with onion, garlic, and corn. That dish reminded my culinary partner of his mother’s “tamale pie.” This is my interpretation of wannabe a tamale pie.
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 1/2 to 1 stick of butter (or shortening, or lard)
- 1 & 1/2 cups of broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 calabacita (or zucchini, or any other squash)
- 1 onion
- 1 ear of corn (or frozen/canned kernels of corn)
- 1 tomato (green tomato is fine too)
- 2-3 clove of garlic
- salt and pepper
- 8-10 black olives, chopped
- feta cheese, crumbled
- Colby or some other melting type of cheese for garnish, shredded
1) chop calabacita, onion, and tomato. take corn kernels off the ear. mince the garlic
2) in a sauce pan, heat oil and sauté onion till transparent, season with garlic, salt, and pepper.
3) add tomatoes, calabacitas, and corn and sauté till all are cooked. season more. set aside.
4) in a bowl, soften the butter and whisk till creamy
5) add the cornmeal
6) add the broth, adjusting the thickness so that the batter is wet but not running
7) grease the baking dish, take about a half of the corn batter and make the bottom layer
8) mix in the feta cheese and olives in the veggie mix, pour over the bottom layer to make the middle layer
9) place the rest of the corn batter evenly on top to cover the veggie mix
10) bake it at 375 for 30 minutes, sprinkle shredded Colby cheese, and bake for another 15 minutes or until nicely brown
“Sustainable farms are to today's headlong rush toward global destruction what the monasteries were to the Dark Ages: places to preserve human skills and crafts until some semblance of common sense and common purpose returns to the public mind.”
― Gene Logsdon
Fall is my favorite time in Colorado. The coolness of the air, the abundance of fresh food, and the first snow dusting the peaks above my house make me feel the fruition of a huge season and the longing for the stillness of winter. Four directions, four elements, and four seasons. I wouldn't design it any other way.
Here's the box (and its still Friday!):
Watermelon, Personal, COG, Hirakata Farms, Rocky Ford 1 melon
Honeydew, CO, Hirakata Farms 1 melon
Peaches, COG, Black Bear Orchards 1 pound
Beets, Chioggia, COG, White Mountain Farm, Mosca 1 bunch
Onions, White Grilling, COG, WMF 1 bunch
Green Beans, COG, WMF 0.875 pound
Cucumber,COG, WMF 1 cuke
Garlic, Fresh, Antonio Garcia, Alamosa 1 handful
Calabacitas, Antonio Garcia, COG 1 pound
Cheese, Goat Feta, Assorted Flavors, Laz Ewe Goat Dairy, Del Norte, CO 1 wheel
Rocky Ford Growers Since 1915:
"Our family history in Rocky Ford spans five generations. It started in the early 1900s when Tatsunosuke Hirakata came to the United States from Japan. Upon arrival, he went to work for the railroad, which eventually brought him to Colorado where he settled in Rocky Ford. Soon after, he and his son Keiji began farming, building what’s now Hirakata Farms and raising various crops and growing our renowned Rocky Ford Cantaloupe.
Today, Michael Hirakata the son of Jerre heads our sales department. Gene’s son Glenn manages the operation of the shed. Together they share in the operation of the farm. We are a family farm that continues to carry on the tradition of our ancestors.
Rocky Ford Melons are legendary for their characteristically sweet and juicy taste. Ever since the first planting in 1887, Rocky Ford Cantaloupes™ have been the standard to which growers around the world aspire. At Hirakata Farms we work hard to employ best agricultural and farm management practices, but we can’t take all the credit. That’s because we are truly blessed with the right climate and growing conditions that make Rocky Ford so special.
Some say it’s the hot sunny days and cool clear nights that make Rocky Ford Cantaloupes™ so sweet and flavorful. Others claim it’s the altitude or perhaps the clay soils and snow-melt irrigation that bestow quality. Regardless, for over a century, farmers in Rocky Ford, Colorado have harnessed summer’s sunshine and captured nature’s goodness to produce the world-famous melons." http://hirakatafarms.com/our-products/
Together with the melons (the floral ambrosia of the watermelon and the succulent true-to-its-name honeydew) I was really excited about the goat feta. My wife Alycia has been dutifully milking goats and making cheese for many years so when I first had the opportunity to see Laz Ewe 2 Bar Goat Dairy I knew what I was looking at. However, owner/operator Jenny Knoblauch has exceeded all my expectations in every way. Not only are all the cheeses great tasting and great sellers, but Jenny pastures her goats and cows along the headwaters of the Rio Grande River near Del Norte. This is some beautiful grass country and her herbivores seem to be very happy making exceptional cream and milk. If you know someone who doesn't like goat cheese, have them try a slice of this!
From Megumi's Kitchen:
More green beans, peaches, and cucumber! Hooray!
—— Green Beans and Peach Salad
I am trying a new recipe that I found on Saveur.com <http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Green-Bean-and-Peach-Salad>. But of course adopted to what we have in our kitchen.
- 4 peaches, cut in 8-10 wedges
- about half of the green beans that came in the CSA box, washed and ends snapped
- mid size onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- balsamic vinegar (white balsamic, if available for better color)
- oregano (fresh, if available)
- salt and pepper
Sauté the onion till it starts to caramelize slightly, add the peaches, sprinkle oregano and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
In the mean time, combine the oil, and vinegar in a big bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
Build the green beans in salted hot water till beans are soft but crisp.
Take the beans out of hot water and immediately place them in ice water (for bright green color).
Add the beans to peach mixture. Chill it and serve.
In Chinese dishes, cucumber is often cooked. In this dish, what makes it “Chinese” for me is the wonderful aroma of sesame oil. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or so like pickles.
Cut the cucumber into sticks.
Heat sesame oil in a pan. When it is hot, add cucumbers and sauté till soft.
In the mean time, mix sesame oil, vinegar, a little bit of soy sauce, pinch of salt, and sugar (to your liking) in a bowl. Add crushed garlic, if you’d like.
Take the cucumbers off the heat and add to the sauce mix immediately.
Sprinkle chilli pepper, if like a little kick.
Marinate at least 10 minutes.
Serve chilled. Goes well with rice.
—— Calabacita Parmesan
A new way to eat yummy calabacita? Try Calabaciata Parmesan.
Slice the calabcita side ways, about 1/3 inches thick.
Grate the parmesan cheese, chop parsley, and mix them in bred crumbs.
Dip calabacita slices in beaten egg, then in bread crumbs.
Sear them in frying pan till soft inside and crisp on the outside.
“Green meant water, green patches meant farmers and farmers meant agriculture. Agriculture meant food to eat and food to sell, which meant towns and transport. They had reached civilization.”
― T.K. Naliaka
The bustling of summer gives way to the beckoning of fall. The summer's music festivals have past, the morning air is damp and cool, and school has started for most aspiring students. The cycle of the seasons continues as we get into the fall harvest.
The story on the Jackson's Honest Chips: they buy White Mountain Farm's world class potatoes grown in or around our home base of Mosca, CO. The family is from Crested Butte, the chips are made in Denver. Here's the beginning of their story:
"My husband and I are often asked how it is that we came to be in the snack food business. It is, after all, an odd business for a mom and pop start-up given that it’s dominated by major global brands. It’s not out of any misplaced confidence that we felt we could possibly compete with the big snack food manufacturers; rather, it is a very personal reason with a complex backstory........." Read more: https://www.jacksonshonest.com/pages/history
Here's the box:
Carrots, Orange Bunch, COG, White Mountain Farm 1 bunch
Peaches, COG, Roger's Mesa, Hotchkiss, CO 4 pounds
Tomatoes, Beefsteak, Allen and Irene Graber 1 pound
Beans, French, COG, White Mtn Farm 1.75 pounds
Power Greens Mix, COG, Ring a Ding, Howard, CO 1 clamshell
Jackson's Chips, COG, Crested Butte, CO 5 oz
A recipe idea from CSA shareholder Kelly Bailey:
Grilled Chicken with Pickled Peaches
Get your Antibiotic-free Boulder Natural Chicken from the CSA Market!
From Megumi's Kitchen:
Steamed and boiled green beans freeze well. Also green bean pickles are very popular way to enjoy them into winter. Various recipes for the pickled green beans can be found online. Here are some I’ve leaned and enjoyed over the years.
—— Roasted Green Beans with Garlic
I learned this recipe from my former housemate in Seattle. She cooked this dish stove top. This is an over roasted version.
Roast the beans on 400-ish for about 40 minutes. Occasionally stir and turn over to make sure beans are cooked more or less evenly. Roast until the beans are thoroughly cooked but not burnt. The beans may get darker than you might think. This long roasting process brings out sweetness of the beans.
—— Chinese-inspired Green Beans with Black Bean Sauce
One of my favorite things to order at a Chinese restaurant is green beans with black bean sauce. So, I was very excited when I found fermented black beans at a grocery store. However, for a long time, I could not cook it right. The black beans were too intensely salty, yet the green beans were not absorbing the flavor or the black beans well. Below is my adaptation so that the sauce is milder and blends nicely with the green beans.
While the green beans are steaming, mash the black beans in its own juice. add a few teaspoons of sake or white wine if available. Set aside.
"Laughter is brightest where food is best." -Irish Proverb
The abundance of August is here! In Colorado, we have true distinct seasons. Not only does this provide for a change of attitude with the weather but our foods come and go true to the seasons in which they are born. To me, this breeds an extreme appreciation for the bounty as its not every month we get it. So, enjoy yours!
Here's the box
Cantaloupe, COG, Hirakata Farms 5 pounds
Apricots, Conner Orchards, Hotchkiss 1.45 pound
Peaches, Conner Orchards 1 pound
Lettuce, Baby, Sweet Mix, COG, Ring a Dind Farms 0.5 pound
Beans, Green COG, White Mountain Farm 1 pound
Leeks, COG, WMF 1 bunch
Cucumber, Ab Yoder Family Farm 1 cuke
Red Beets, WMF, 1 bunch
Chocolate Soy Butter, COG, Don't Go Nuts, Salida, CO 1 16 oz
From Megumi's Kitchen:
"When I see a leek, the first thing that comes to my mind is leek potato soup. I also like leek, carrot, and mushroom for my Thai curry. It sounds weird and might be culturally inappropriate. But I was surprise how the flavor goes well with the Thai curry, yellow or red.
Leeks in Vinaigrette
1/4 purple onion, chopped fine
1/2 clove garlic, grated fine
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
- clean and halve the leek and cook in a boiling salted water until meltingly tender. drain well.
- mix all the dressing ingredients. marinate the leek at least for 10 minutes.
- serve with mushed potato and salad.
I understand that unripe peaches ripen when they are kept in brown paper bags. They can also be used for baked peaches. Baked peaches were served at the first San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition Harvest Soirée a few years ago.
- Halve the peach and take out the seed.
- Place them on a baking pan cut side up
- Pour honey in the cavity and bake @ 350-ish till the peaches are soft and surface is caramelized
(if needed, cover with a foil to avoid burning)
“Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people.” -Elizabeth Berry
A new one this week that some folks may not be familiar with: kholrabi. Kholrabi is another member of the Brassica family (broccoli, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts) that was selected for lateral meristem growth. The name comes from the Swiss-German khol "cabbage" and rabi "cabbage." Kholrabi's taste similar to broccoli and can be used in the a similar way.
Also, the sweetness of our local honey farm graces this week's box with the fruit of insects and flowers. Oh my! NOTICE: we are looking for a CSA shareholder to help with the weekly newsletter/CSA blog, contact Nick if you are interested. Have a great week!
"Simply Honey is progressive natural honey company. We pride our self on managing our bees in a sustainable bee friendly manner. We pack all of our own honey and do not buy honey from other producers. We offer raw unheated honey, from the San Luis Valley, Northern and Southern New Mexico. We produce 4 different floral source honey's and beautiful white comb honey. Every crop is packed seperate and never blended. You will notice the year of the honey on every jar. Like a fine wine honey should be celebrated for its character." Pictured here is Simply Honey's Brent Edelen.
Here's the box:
Zuchinni, COG, Milliberger Farms, Pueblo 1 pound
Crimini Mushrooms, Colorado Mushroom Farm, Alamosa 1 8 oz
Mixed Greens, COG, Ring a Ding Farms, Howard 0.5 pound
Fava Beans, COG, White Mountain 1 pound
Daikon Radish, COG, WMF 1.33 pound
Honey, Simply Honey, Alamosa 1 pint
Tomatoes, Graber's Produce, Alamosa 1 pound
Chioggia Beets, COG, WMF 1 bunch
Cucumber, Ab Yoder Family Farm 1 cuke
Kholrabi, WMF 1 kholrabi
From Megumi's Kitchen:
Daikon is a very versatile vegetable. It’s good raw, cooked, grilled… and can be dried and preserved for the winter. Also its leaves, as well as roots, are known for medicinal properties.
Daikon might be somewhat of a newcomer to the American households, but it is a dependable regular in the Japanese kitchens. Julienned daikon is probably one of the most common ingredients (along with potatoes, onions, tofu, and wakame seaweed) for miso soup. Grated daikon is a must to accompany Tempura as it cuts the crease and helps the digestion. Pickled daikon, called takuwan often yellow-ish in color, is a consistent addition to the bento box. Daikon may not be used for the main dish often, but it is an award winning supporting act in many Asian cooking.
Here are a few of my favorite easy Daikon recipes:
—— Daikon “salad” with Umeboshi ——-
Umeboshi si dried, pickled and fermented ume plums. (http://justhungry.com/homemade-umeboshi-japanese-pickled-plums) Check Asian food section of local grocery store for umeboshi in whole or paste form. It has strong salty and sour taste, perfect to dress julienned Daikon. And that’s all it takes to make the Daikon salad with umeboshi! :)
—— Daikon & Carrot “salad” or Namasu
This is a “must have” during the new year celebration in many Japanese household due to the carrot’s red and daikon’s white giving festive look.
equal amount of carrots (julienned)
rice vinegar enough to cover the carrots and daikon
1 dried red chili (whole, optional)
Massage the julienned carrots and daikon with a few pinches of salt. In a small sauce pot, mix sugar and vinegar and heat until the sugar resolves. Add the red chili. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Place the carrot-daikon mix into a bowl. Pour the vinegar mix over. Mix well and let it sit in a refrigerator or a cool room over night. It is good for about a week.
——— Daikon “Steak” ——-
Ok, ok… it’s not really a steak. But it is a rare occasion that daikon can take the center stage of a meal.
Cross cut the daikon about 1/2 inch thick (you are getting “rounds”). Marinade the cut surfaces in soy sauce (or fish sauce) for about 10 minutes each. Sauté on both sides in a pan till it is tender and surfaces are nicely browned.