The conversion from our old system to the new online system seems to be going off without a hitch. Thank you everyone for your cooperation and willingness to adapt to something different. If for some reason, you missed the emails this week, we just need you to log in here http://www.farmigo.com/account/farmatblueskyranch/CSA and update your account info so that you can take advantage of paying online and doing things like, put a box on hold, change pick up locations and more. Just log in with your email and the password "farmfresh". It goes without saying that if you need any help at all, we are here to help. Just shoot us an email
Last week one of our long time customers called and started ribbing me about the little you tube I put up and how dehydrating apricots was for sissies. Ok Mary, I said. What method of drying apricots is not for sissies? Sun drying! It's the only way to dry apricots, she proclaimed. I will look into it, I said.
Here is what we came up with on Tuesday.
We pulled out the old seed tray table. That top opens We lined the inside with foil. Apparently, a reflective surface beneath the apricots really helps speed up the drying process. The wood and rocks in there, are just to hold down the foil. You might be surprised at how many projects around the farm are completed with items within found within 15 feet of the project at hand. Or maybe not.
We picked the main ingredient. Jade appears to be giving this apricot a thumbs up!
The assemble line commences. "Notice the tupperware containers filled with water under all 6 legs of the drying table". I am not sure where that idea came from, but it seems brilliant. I think it keeps the ants from getting on the table and munching our precious apricots
After the apricots are washed, halved and pitted. the halves are cut into quarters, dipped into lime juice for preserve and then places on the screen.
3 days later... candy sweet, "mostly" dried and chewy apricots with a hint of lime. We put a few pieces in each box so that everyone can taste them for themselves.
Here are a few tips in case you want to do your own sun drying at home. Naturally, it is ideal if you can get your apricots on a screen early on a hot day. That ensures that right away, the outside of the fruit will be able to form a hard, dry protective coating. quartering really speeds up the drying process. These apricots were quartered and still are not fully dry in the very middle after three days. If you want to store your dried apricots for a long period, you need to get them dry all the way through. I have seen dried apricots last over a year in a freezer bag in the freezer. The lime is key for helping preserve. I think the citric acid is the main constituent in the lime juice that is responsible for this.
The lime also keeps the apricots from oxidizing and turning brown.
This weeks box has two types of basil in each box. The first is the sweet "Italian" basil. The second is Thai basil "pictured above". Both are pretty much interchangeable. Thai basil has a strong sweet anise flavor. Its flavor is also more stable under high or extended cooking temperatures than that of sweet basil.
a mixture of vinegar and sugar, then stir in onions, Sriracha, and
celery seeds. Pour it all over the chopped stems, using 3 cups liquid
for every 1 1/2 cups chopped stems. Throw it in the refrigerator for a
few days, and you've got the ultimate refrigerator pickles.
This weeks box has a healthy amount of apricots in it. Please be aware that apricots that are hard and slightly green will still turn into amazingly sweet little orange fuzzballs if you just leave them on the counter for as long as it takes. Actually, some of the best apricots I have ever eaten were ones that were left on the counter and forgotten, or overlooked for like two weeks. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups dry white beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 spring onion, finely chopped, including greens
2-3 cloves garlic
2-3 garlic scapes, chopped (if you have them)
6 cups vegetable stock (homemade is best)
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, mint, dill)
Salt and pepper to taste
the olive oil over medium heat in a pressure cooker. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and scapes and saute
another minute. Add the beans and the stock and lock the lid on the
pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure over high heat, then reduce the
heat to maintain the pressure for 8 minutes. Let the pressure come down
naturally. When the pressure is released, carefully remove the lid and
tilt it away from you. Taste the beans to be sure that they are cooked
through. Add the chopped herbs and puree the soup with a hand blender or
in batches in the blender to the desired thickness. I left some beans
chunky. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
using a blender to puree, please be careful and process in batches. I
recommend putting a sheet of plastic over the blender, putting on the
lid and covering that with a towel. Hot liquid flying around the kitchen
To make this soup on the stove top in
a saucepan, I'd use water or only homemade stock as the salt in store
bought stock might make the beans tough. Cover the beans with liquid and
bring to a boil, reduce to a low boil and cook for 30 to 45 minutes
before adding the onion, leek and garlic. Cook until the vegetables and
beans are tender. Puree with the herbs and olive oil. Add salt and
pepper to taste.
you read this after the spring alliums are no longer around, you can
still make wonderful soup with their aged and mature counterparts.
1 pound Swiss chard leaves (center ribs and stems removed) or spinach, coarsely chopped (about 10 cups)
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon dried mint
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces plain Greek-style yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup mixed chopped herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, and mint), divided
4 ounces feta, crumbled, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
Olive oil (optional)
Heat oil in a large saucepan
over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until
translucent and soft (do not brown), 7–8 minutes. Stir in chard,
broth, parsley, cilantro, fresh and dried mint, and nutmeg. Bring to a
boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chard is
tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with
salt and pepper. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until
smooth. Return to pan. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm soup before continuing.
Place 1/3 of yogurt in a medium
bowl. Add 1/2 cup warm soup; whisk until smooth. Repeat process twice
more, adding a total of 1 cup more soup. Whisk yogurt mixture into soup
in saucepan. Stir 1/4 cup herbs and half of feta into soup. Season to
taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, if desired.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with remaining 1/4 cup herbs and 2 oz. feta. Drizzle with oil, if desired.
Hey everyone! I do not know about you all, but these past few weeks have been chock full of activity. My to do list has to do lists! We have certainly made a lot of progress in a lot of areas of the farm and its operations. All of that is due to the help of our weekly volunteers. Thanks to Nate, Jade, Jonda and Hanna for their work during the week, and Allyson for dropping off boxes at the pick up sites on the weekend. We are getting a real good jump on the summer heat and are about 75% planted out. 2 things I am really looking forward too once we get planted out in a couple weeks are #1 getting you all up to speed with images and details of what has been happening, and then doing a little surfing!
Have a great weekend
Here are some fritters you can make with 1 squash, a bunch of carrots and a potato.
1/4 cup flour
pinch of black pepper
Grate squash, carrots and potato. You can throw in a grated beet if you have one laying around. Chopped green onion is welcome here too. Put everything in a bowl and add the cheese and egg. Mix together and then add flour until it is almost a dry mix. Make patties and fry until golden browm
Remember that pesto in italian means paste. Herb paste, to be exact. So by no means should basil always be the only herb in your pesto recipe. Rosemary, tarragon, oregano and much more make an excellent pesto as well. Also, keep in mind that plants like spinach, chard, kale and even bok choy, make pesto great extenders if you love pesto and want to make huge batches, but only have a little bit of herb. Chard and spinach are my favorite plants to use for pesto fillers because their flavor is so mild.
Preheat oven to 400. Wash, dry and cut three potatoes into halves or
quarters, depending on size so that they are all similar sized-pieces.
Put potatoes in a large bowl, add a tablespoon of olive oil and a liberal amount of salt and pepper; mix well. Add pesto and mix
Place potatoes on a foil-lined, oiled pan. Roast
for 20 minutes, take out of oven and turn potatoes over to cook evenly.
Roast another 10-20 minutes until tender.
I don't know if we have ever had a rattlesnake sighting near where members pick up their produce boxes. But they can occasionally be seen on or near the road, either sunning or passing through. So please drive slowly and with awareness when driving on the dirt roads at the ranch.
And the beet goes on.............Yes, the beet goes on! You heard correctly. There are beets in the box again this week.
I talk to other CSA farmers whenever I can. Mainly because they understand my crazy and I theirs. But also because I get invaluable feedback. I will share a little secret. There is one thing that all CSA farmers fear more than anything. It's not putting enough in the box. I have not met a CSA farmer who does not worry every week if it is going to be enough. There are many seconds. One that is up there is a fear of putting the same thing too many times in a row. So far the feedback about the beets has been good, considering the fact that we have had beets more times than any previous years. nevertheless, let's make sure that we have some good reliable recipes so that we do not get burnt out.
Roasted Beet, Onion, and Orange Salad
1 pound beets, preferably very small ones
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil salt and freshly ground pepper 20 large pearl onions, about 1/2
pound 2 oranges, peeled and cut into
wedges 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh coriander leaves (also known as ci lantro) plus extra for garnish 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange
juice 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and
peeled 1-ounce pecorino, optional, grated on medium-sized holes of box grater
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the stems and tails off the beets. Do not peel. Line the bottom of a bak- ing pan with foil. Place the beets in the pan and toss them with half of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.
Trim both ends off the pearl onions. Then toss them with remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Add pearl onions to the beets and roast an addi- tional 15 minutes, until beets and onions are tender.
Peel and remove the membranes from the oranges with a sharp paring knife. Cut the oranges in half lengthwise and then crosswise into thin slices. Seed the slices, if necessary.
Peel and quarter the beets. Lay the beets on a large platter. Top the beets with the orange pieces. Scatter the roasted onions around the beats.
In a medium bowl, combine the hazel- nut oil, coriander, and orange juice. Whisk until well combined and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the dressing on top and sprin- kle with coriander, toasted hazelnuts and grated cheese. Serve immediately.
1 bunch beets, washed, tops and roots trimmed
1 bunch beet greens, stemmed, washed, and finely chopped
3-4 yukon gold or red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
a little olive oil
salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste
fried or poached egg for serving (optional)
To Roast the Beets (in advance):
1. Place whole beets on a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap to form a
package, taking care to leave no hole through which steam can escape.
Place the package on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 F until beets are
fork tender (about 1 hour).
2. Unwrap and allow to cool to room temperature.
3. Using your fingers, squeeze the peel off the beets (it should come
off easily). Dice into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside (or refrigerate
until ready to make the hash).
To Make the Hash:
1. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet and add the potatoes.
Cook until potatoes begin to get a little color on them, about 5
2. Add the beet greens (they should be so finely chopped, they look
like parsley coating the potatoes). Season with salt, pepper, and onion
powder to taste.
3. Continue to cook until potatoes are nearly soft (about 20 minutes).
4. Add the beets. Re-season as necessary. Continue to cook until
beets begin to get a bit crispy on the outside (about 5 minutes).
5. Stir in the mustard. Then stir in the balsamic. Allow both to absorb completely into the potatoes/beets.
6. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until all veggies are soft
on the inside with a bit of a crust on the outside (a few minutes more).
7. Top with a fried egg, if desired (the yolk is delicious on the hash!)
Here are a few other late spring, early summer goodies that are on their way....
peaches "white and yellow"
santa rosa plums
weed abatement in the community garden
#1 Just lay down fan palms, montbretia or any fibrous leaf plant right over the weeds in the aisles.
#2 Cover with mulch and viola! No weeds for a long time.
all completed by some extraordinary volunteers
Email sent in by a member last week
Thanks for posting more about beet greens this past week. I have to admit i used to throw these awesome leaves away in my compost each time i got them. But after finally giving in and trying them i haven't looked back. I thought i might share some of my own recipes for future use if you want to use them :)
Beet greens have quickly become my second favorite behind kale (sorry chard, you’re beautiful but you just don’t cut the mustard, eh… beet greens)! A few weeks ago there was a recipe posted for lasagna calling for veggies to be pulsed in a food processor. Since then I’ve relied on my food processor to make what I call my “farm-to-plate holy trinity”: beet greens, onions and garlic; similar to the Cajun holy trinity but way better! Simply pulse beet greens, onions or green scallions and garlic to a course consistency and you have a wonderful filler for all sorts of dishes. I usually lightly sauté the mix with various spices to mix up the flavor for different recipes.
I use this farm-to-plate holy trinity:
1. With cumin, beans and cheese to stuff enchiladas
2. With quinoa, shredded carrots and parmesan cheese to fill baked squash halves
3. With oregano, leftover rice, tomatoes and sausage to stuff bell peppers
4. With cilantro, broccoli shoots, and tofu/beef for a quick stir-fry
5. With ricotta, mozzarella and pasta sauce to stuff pasta shells
6. With diced potatoes under “eggs in purgatory” (poached eggs in tomato sauce - if you haven’t tried it you NEED to, especially with the fresh Psalter Farm eggs! Just simmer some tomato sauce (I like to make my own with tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil) until slightly thickened. Crack eggs on top of sauce and cover pan until egg whites have set. Serve over kale, beet greens and/or potatoes with grated parmesan cheese.