CSA Newsletter Number 9

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Poem with a Cucumber in It 

Robert Hass

Sometimes from this hillside just after sunset
The rim of the sky takes on a tinge
Of the palest green, like the flesh of a cucumber
When you peel it carefully.

*

In Crete once, in the summer,
When it was still hot at midnight,
We sat in a taverna by the water
Watching the squid boats rocking in the moonlight,
Drinking retsina and eating salads
Of cool, chopped cucumber and yogurt and a little dill.

*

A hint of salt, something like starch, something
Like an attar of grasses or green leaves
On the tongue is the tongue
And the cucumber
Evolving toward each other.

*

Since cumbersome is a word,
Cumber must have been a word,
Lost to us now, and even then,
For a person feeling encumbered,
It must have felt orderly and right-minded
To stand at a sink and slice a cucumber.

*

If you think I am going to make
A sexual joke in this poem, you are mistaken.

*

In the old torment of the earth
When the fires were cooling and disposing themselves
Into granite and limestone and serpentine and shale,
It is possible to imagine that, under yellowish chemical clouds,
The molten froth, having burned long enough,
Was already dreaming of release,
And that the dream, dimly
But with increasingly distinctness, took the form
Of water, and that it was then, still more dimly, that it imagined
The dark green skin and opal green flesh of cucumbers.

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Japanese Pickled Cucumbers

Adapted from Eating Well

Ingredients:

2 medium cucumbers

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

Peel cucumbers to leave alternating green stripes. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Using a food processor or sharp knife, cut into very thin slices. Place in a double layer of paper towel and squeeze gently to remove any excess moisture. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the cucumbers and sesame seeds; toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

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Swiss Chard Tzatziki

Adapted from Martha Stewart

 

Ingredients:

1 cup Swiss chard, stemmed and finely chopped

1 garlic clove

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 whole-wheat pitas, cut into wedges and toasted

Directions:

Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add chard; cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. Immediately plunge into ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain.Using a mortar and pestle, grind garlic and salt into a paste. Stir chard, yogurt, garlic paste, oil, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Serve with pita wedges. Tzatziki can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week.

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CSA Newsletter Number 8

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In this week’s box you’ll find shiso, perilla frutescens, a Japanese herb in the mint family. You can recognize this plant and all mint family members by their square shaped stem. Shiso is typically purple but there are also green varieties and its typically used in Japan for umeboshi or pickled plums.

Last year we dropped CSA shares at Yoga Union and one day Key, a 96-year-old woman, who lives right next-door stopped gardening and introduced herself. After hearing our story, she told us how proud she was of us and how beautiful our flowers and vegetables were. She became a friend we sat with for a short visit every Wednesday telling us stories of the neighborhood she has lived in for over 60 years. Key gave us the shiso seed we planted and you are eating today. She has been growing the plant in Portland for years and loves how it smells.

We also sell the shiso to a bar and restaurant in McMinnville called Thistle who is muddling it in a gin and champagne cocktail called the Vibrant Valley. Enjoy shiso and say hello to Key when you’re in the neighborhood!

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Quick Cucumber and Shiso Pickles

Adapted from Food 52

 

Ingredients:

1/4
cup sugar

1/2
cup apple cider vinegar

3
tablespoons mirin

1
tablespoon salt, preferrably sea or kosher

5
Japanese cucumbers, or 2 English cucumbers

8
shiso leaves

 

Preparation:

Put sugar, vinegar, mirin and salt into a non-reactive bowl. Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Slice cucumbers as thinly as possible. (To seed or not is up to you and what you found at the market. With the skinny Japanese cukes or the English version, you should be okay without removing the seeds.)

Gather the shiso leaves like a deck of cards, roll into a tube and slice, chiffonade-style, like you would with basil.

Add cucumbers and shiso to the marinade and stir. Try to cover the vegetables with the marinade. It’s okay if the liquid doesn’t submerge the cucumbers. They will break down and get smaller as they marinate.

Put the mix in the fridge and let marinate for at least 4 hours. Mix a couple of times if you can, but it’s okay if you don’t. Once pointed in the right direction, cucumbers tend to take care of themselves.

Serve, icy cold out of the fridge if you can.

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Napa Cabbage Spring Rolls

Note: This week you’ll get purple cabbage and can substitute it for the napa cabbage

Adapted from Recipe.com

Ingredients:
1  tablespoon 
sea salt or kosher salt

4   cups 
ice cubes

1   
head napa cabbage or savoy cabbage

1   cup 
shredded or grated carrots

1/2 cup 
finely chopped green onions

2   tablespoons 
snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1   tablespoon 
sesame oil (not toasted)


1/4 teaspoon 
finely shredded lime peel




2   teaspoons 
lime juice

1/2 teaspoon 
sea salt or kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon 
freshly ground black pepper


Soy sauce or teriyaki sauce

 

Preparation:

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water to boiling. Slowly add rice and return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover; let rice cool. Set rice aside.

 

In a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven, combine 12 cups (3 quarts) water and the 1 tablespoon sea salt. Bring to boiling. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 8 cups cold water and ice cubes.

Remove 8 outer leaves from cabbage. Make a cut through each individual leaf at the base where it attaches to the core. Trim out some of the woody stem area from the leaf. Set the remaining head aside.

To blanch, carefully add trimmed cabbage leaves to boiling water; cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until just wilted. Cool quickly by plunging cabbage leaves into ice water for 1 minute. Remove individual leaves from water and lay each flat on a cloth towel to dry. Set leaves aside.

For vegetable filling:

From the remaining cabbage, finely chop enough to measure 1 3/4 cups. In a large bowl, combine the finely chopped cabbage, carrots, onions, parsley, sesame oil, lime peel, lime juice, the 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.

About one hour before serving, assemble rolls. (These rolls benefit from allowing the surface to dry a little, so making them an hour or so in advance of serving is a good idea.) First, squeeze out any excess water from the vegetable filling. Then, on the counter or cutting board, take a blanched cabbage leaf and lay it flat, with the base end toward you. In the center of the leaf, place 1/4 cup of the vegetable filling on center of leaf, then place 2 tablespoons of the rice on top of the vegetable mixture.

Roll the base end over the rice and filling. Fold both left and right sides over so that it just covers the opening on the edges. Continue rolling toward the end, wrapping tightly with care not to tear the leaf. Place finished roll on a serving dish with the end tucked under the roll, seam side down. Repeat with remaining leaves, rice and vegetable filling.

To serve, if you like, cut each roll in half crosswise on a diagonal to make 16 pieces. Serve with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.

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CSA Newsletter Number 8

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In this week’s box you’ll find shiso, perilla frutescens, a Japanese herb in the mint family. You can recognize this plant and all mint family members by their square shaped stem. Shiso is typically purple but there are also green varieties and its typically used in Japan for umeboshi or pickled plums.

Last year we dropped CSA shares at Yoga Union and one day Key, a 96-year-old woman, who lives right next-door stopped gardening and introduced herself. After hearing our story, she told us how proud she was of us and how beautiful our flowers and vegetables were. She became a friend we sat with for a short visit every Wednesday telling us stories of the neighborhood she has lived in for over 60 years. Key gave us the shiso seed we planted and you are eating today. She has been growing the plant in Portland for years and loves how it smells.

We also sell the shiso to a bar and restaurant in McMinnville called Thistle who is muddling it in a gin and champagne cocktail called the Vibrant Valley. Enjoy shiso and say hello to Key when you’re in the neighborhood!

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Quick Cucumber and Shiso Pickles

Adapted from Food 52

 

Ingredients:

1/4
cup sugar

1/2
cup apple cider vinegar

3
tablespoons mirin

1
tablespoon salt, preferrably sea or kosher

5
Japanese cucumbers, or 2 English cucumbers

8
shiso leaves

 

Preparation:

Put sugar, vinegar, mirin and salt into a non-reactive bowl. Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Slice cucumbers as thinly as possible. (To seed or not is up to you and what you found at the market. With the skinny Japanese cukes or the English version, you should be okay without removing the seeds.)

Gather the shiso leaves like a deck of cards, roll into a tube and slice, chiffonade-style, like you would with basil.

Add cucumbers and shiso to the marinade and stir. Try to cover the vegetables with the marinade. It’s okay if the liquid doesn’t submerge the cucumbers. They will break down and get smaller as they marinate.

Put the mix in the fridge and let marinate for at least 4 hours. Mix a couple of times if you can, but it’s okay if you don’t. Once pointed in the right direction, cucumbers tend to take care of themselves.

Serve, icy cold out of the fridge if you can.

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Napa Cabbage Spring Rolls

Note: This week you’ll get purple cabbage and can substitute it for the napa cabbage

Adapted from Recipe.com

Ingredients:
1  tablespoon 
sea salt or kosher salt

4   cups 
ice cubes

1   
head napa cabbage or savoy cabbage

1   cup 
shredded or grated carrots

1/2 cup 
finely chopped green onions

2   tablespoons 
snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1   tablespoon 
sesame oil (not toasted)


1/4 teaspoon 
finely shredded lime peel




2   teaspoons 
lime juice

1/2 teaspoon 
sea salt or kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon 
freshly ground black pepper


Soy sauce or teriyaki sauce

 

Preparation:

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water to boiling. Slowly add rice and return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover; let rice cool. Set rice aside.

 

In a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven, combine 12 cups (3 quarts) water and the 1 tablespoon sea salt. Bring to boiling. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 8 cups cold water and ice cubes.

Remove 8 outer leaves from cabbage. Make a cut through each individual leaf at the base where it attaches to the core. Trim out some of the woody stem area from the leaf. Set the remaining head aside.

To blanch, carefully add trimmed cabbage leaves to boiling water; cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until just wilted. Cool quickly by plunging cabbage leaves into ice water for 1 minute. Remove individual leaves from water and lay each flat on a cloth towel to dry. Set leaves aside.

For vegetable filling:

From the remaining cabbage, finely chop enough to measure 1 3/4 cups. In a large bowl, combine the finely chopped cabbage, carrots, onions, parsley, sesame oil, lime peel, lime juice, the 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.

About one hour before serving, assemble rolls. (These rolls benefit from allowing the surface to dry a little, so making them an hour or so in advance of serving is a good idea.) First, squeeze out any excess water from the vegetable filling. Then, on the counter or cutting board, take a blanched cabbage leaf and lay it flat, with the base end toward you. In the center of the leaf, place 1/4 cup of the vegetable filling on center of leaf, then place 2 tablespoons of the rice on top of the vegetable mixture.

Roll the base end over the rice and filling. Fold both left and right sides over so that it just covers the opening on the edges. Continue rolling toward the end, wrapping tightly with care not to tear the leaf. Place finished roll on a serving dish with the end tucked under the roll, seam side down. Repeat with remaining leaves, rice and vegetable filling.

To serve, if you like, cut each roll in half crosswise on a diagonal to make 16 pieces. Serve with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.

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CSA Newsletter 7

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In your box this week you’ll find a black radish called a Spanish radish or Nero Tondo. Nero Tondo translates literally to round black. The radish traces back to 16th century Europe. The Spanish brought radishes to Mexico and in Oaxaca they celebrate the Night of the Radishes or the Noche de los Rábanos. It takes place on December 23 and is a part of the Christmas celebrations. The locals carve figures into radishes and display them in the town square.

Radishes are full of nutrients. They have fiber, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese, Vitamin C, folate and potassium (as much as bananas!). It is also detoxifying and contains antioxidants.

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Buttery Nero Tondo Radishes
Adapted from Organic Farm

Ingredients:

Radishes, sliced

Butter or olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Heat the butter or oil in a pan.  Add the radishes and sautee for just a few minutes, until the radish slices begin to turn a bit translucent.  Season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy as a sweet and salty snack or as a side dish.

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Lemon Parsley Salad Dressing

 

Ingredients:

1/4 of a preserved lemon, peel only (optional)

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced

2 – 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1 small clove garlic, minced (optional)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

Preparation:

If you have some preserved lemons on hand, take 1/4 of one, rinse off the pulp, and mince the peel. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl or put them in a jar and shake to blend. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. If the dressing is too zingy for you, feel free to add more olive oil to soften the flavor. A bit more salt will help temper the acid, too. Use immediately or store, covered and chilled, up to 1 week (olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator but will melt quite quickly at room temperature again).

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Dijon Aioli Roasted Veggies

Adapted from Kilpatrick Family Farm

Ingredients:


2 cup diced nero tondo radishes

2 cups diced potatoes

2 cups diced carrots

1 bunch of kale

2 cloves of garlic

1 spring onion

3 tbs dijon mustard

3 tbs lemonaise (regular mayo will do)

2 tbs capers

1/4 cup olive oil

salt & fresh pepper to taste

Preparation:

In a large bowl, whisk mayo, dijon, capers, salt and pepper until blended. Add diced vegetables and toss until coated with aioli. Spread evenly over roasting pan or 1 to 2 cookie sheets. I like to add a little more salt and pepper at this point. Roast for 40 minutes at 450˚, turning vegetables halfway through. Makes about 6 servings.

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CSA Newsletter Number 6

cerinthe

Rains at the end of June and super hot weather in the beginning of July have made for an even weedier field. So we’ve been weeding a lot. Weeding weeds with long tap roots and spikey leaves like thistle and weeds you can eat with omega-3 fatty acids like purslane. A weed is any plant you don’t want growing where it’s growing but weeds can help a farmer as well. They help by indicating your soil type (horsetail for example shows you have acidic soil) and they can help improve and condition soil (the long, strong tap root of a burdock plant helps break up heavy soils). At Vibrant Valley Farm we don’t use pesticides or herbicides to kill weeds. We either pull them by hand, use a walk behind tractor to harrow and cut them down or we use a hula hoe, which is also known as a stirrup hoe. A hula hoe has a double edge blade that forms a stirrup and connects to a long handle. Weeds are cut and killed right below the soil surface by moving the stirrup back and forth. Weeding creates a healthier habitat by aerating soil, disturbing pests and distributing moisture. The plants we want are able to thrive. Liz Milazzo, a farmer at the CASFS program in Santa Cruz, says that plants shine once you weed them.

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This week’s box :

 Carrots

Broccoli

Kale

Chard

Watermelon radishes

Silky Salad Mix

Summer Squash

Parsley

 carrots

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Parsley and Roasted Lemon

Adapted from the Food Network’s website

 

Ingredients:

1 large lemon, washed, sliced into thin rounds, and then quartered

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

2 pinches cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon orange zest, plus ¼ cup orange juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 carrots, peeled and grated

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Preparation:

 Place lemon pieces in a cold skillet. Add a generous amount of oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat over low heat until the rinds soften and begin to brown and caramelize, about 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the cumin, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, orange zest, orange juice, salt and pepper. While whisking, pour ¼ cup olive oil. Add carrots, parsley and pine nuts. Remove the caramelized lemon to the bowl using a slotted spoon. Toss and taste for seasoning. Drizzle in some lemon infused oil to taste.

squash

Kale and Summer Squash Toasts

Adapted from Food and Wine

 

Ingredients:

2 small squash, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise, ½ inch thick

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1      bunch of kale, thick stems and ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped

4      garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of peasant bread

4 ounces shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 1/2 loose cups)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, turning once, until tender and lightly browned.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the kale and cook until it is wilted, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic slices and cook until the kale is tender, about 3 minutes longer. Season the kale with salt and pepper. Add the squash and toss gently to combine.

Heat a cast-iron grill pan. Brush the bread with olive oil and grill over high heat, turning once, until toasted. Mound the squash and kale on the toasts, top with the shaved cheese and serve.

 Your Brain on Kale

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Thank you to Mary Ellen Rice, our friend and co-worker, who took a lot of these photos. Follow her on instagram @merrrr29 and check out the #vibrantvalleyfarm

CSA Newsletter #5

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As the weather warms (it was 97 degrees today!) and literally tons of vegetables and flowers grow, an entire new ecosystem is being brought to life on the farm. A symphony of insects are constantly buzzing, crawling and reproducing all around us. Some of these creatures are welcome and some are cursed. Beneficial insects, like ladybugs, have shown up to help us control our pests, like aphids, naturally. Aphids, also known as plant lice, reproduce rapidly and can even give birth to already pregnant young. They are some of the most destructive insects on the planet. Aphids suck the sap out of plants weakening and deforming them, making it super hard for plants to photosynthesize and survive. They can also transmit viruses while feeding off the plant. Ladybugs or ladybirds and their larvae eat aphids and can munch down 50 to 500 aphids per day! We try to create habitat for our beneficial insects by planting a variety of plants they can feed off of and get shelter from like yarrow and sunflowers.

Here is a video we took on the farm of two ladybugs getting down:

 

LadybugMovie

beets

Roasted Beets and Greens

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

    1 bunch beets with greens
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.

Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.

When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.

 fennel

Fennel and Mint Salad

Adapted from James Beard Foundation

Ingredients:

2 bulbs fennel, fronds removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
8 large mint leaves, finely shredded
2 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation:

Shave the fennel as thinly as possible, using a mandolin, a meat slicer, or by hand. Place the shaved fennel in a bowl and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Divide the fennel among four small plates. Scatter some mint on top of each salad and garnish with shaved Parmesan.

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CSA Newsletter #4

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Such Singing in the Wild Branches 

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves—
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness—
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree—
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing—
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky— all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

for more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then— open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

— Mary Oliver
Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

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Simple Kohlrabi and Carrot Slaw

Adapted from Local Foods

Ingredients:

2 bulbs kohlrabi

4 carrots

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. whole grain or Dijon-style mustard

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Peel kohlrabi and carrots. Be sure to cut off all of the tough outer peel of the kohlrabi. Set them aside. In a salad bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt until well blended. Add pepper, if you like. Using the large holes on a standing grater or a mandoline set up for fine julienne, grate the kohlrabis and the carrots into the salad bowl. Toss everything together until the kohlrabi and carrot are evenly coated with the dressing. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if you’d like.

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Fresh Spring Onion Dressing

Adapted from Forever Fit

Ingredients:

Olive Oil

Braggs Apple cider vinegar

Spring Onion

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon grated ginger

Preparation:

Put equal quantities of oil and apple cider vinegar into a bowl

Chop spring onion, I used about 2 cm of a bunch chopped up.

Chop up garlic and ginger. Then either with a stick blender or blender whiz it all up until

smooth and lime green. Store in a sealed jar in fridge.

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Baked Kale Chips

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

I bunch of Kale

Tablespoon of Sea Salt

Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Preparation:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non-insulate cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

 

CSA Newsletter Number 3

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This Saturday is Summer Solstice, which marks the beginning of summer and the longest day of the year. The word solstice is Latin and translates to sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still or stop). After this day the point where the sun appears to rise and set stops and begins a directional reverse. The days will only now get shorter as we move to the Fall Equinox.

There are many rituals and celebration to pay homage to this day. In ancient times, the solstice helped guide plantings and harvest of crops. In China, the summer solstice was a day to celebrate the Earth, and the yin or feminine forces. All over Europe tribes held bonfires in honor of the longest day of the year. In North America Native American tribes like the Sioux celebrated with dances. Their dance included fasting for the day and raising a tree to honor the connection between the Earth and the heavens and teepees in a circular form to represent the cosmos. In many parts of Finland and Sweden people dance around maypoles and homes are decorated with flower garlands, greenery, and tree branches.

Happy Solstice!

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Garlicky Collard Greens

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Ingredients:

I Bunch of Collard Greens
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
An entire portion of a green garlic bulb (the white part)

Preparation:

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add collard greens, and simmer 5 minutes. Drain. Heat olive oil in same pot over medium heat. Add garlic, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Add greens, and sauté 5 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper, and serve warm.
If you are interested in adding meat, pan fry bacon and add the garlic and greens, and proceed with the remainder of the recipe.

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Kale and Lentils with Tahini Sauce

Adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

kosher salt and black pepper

1 Bunch of Kale

1 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed

Preparation:

Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, oil, 2 tablespoons water, ¾ teaspoon salt,
and ¼ teaspoon pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the kale and ¼ cup water, covered, tossing occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the kale and fold in the lentils. Serve with the tahini sauce.

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Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Cayenne Peppers

Adapted from epicurious.com

Ingredients:
1 large Broccoli crown, cut into florets
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Half of a green garlic bulb, minced
Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper (this is a great time to process the cayenne peppers from week 2)

Preparation:

 Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss broccoli and 3 tablespoons oil in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes. Stir remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil, garlic, and red pepper in small bowl. Drizzle garlic mixture over broccoli; toss to coat. Roast until broccoli is beginning to brown, about 8 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Add Feta for great flavor and a robust compliment!

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Transition

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 I have to admit that the spring transition happens very fast for a farmer. All at once the red winged blackbird and the yellow finch are back gliding to and fro. The killdeer defends its babies as it finds the best (or worst) location to nest and lay their eggs in the field. The copious amounts of emails to your inbox from seed companies are exhausting, and your list of things to do are a mile long and many won’t be finished until the following year. And lastly, the long days and warm evenings are initiation into a new year of tending to the mandala that makes up the field for a short period of time until it all goes back into the earth and we do it again.

 

You have to surrender your winter filled with time and quiet reflection, while escaping into the hustle of spring with building projects and rapid planting, and all at once summer approaches and you remember why you work so hard with such selfless poise- to bring food to other people to nourish their bodies and learn from the bounty. The beauty of trying new vegetables, cooking with friends, bbq-ing any and everything you can remove from the fridge, and as we do at Vibrant Valley Farm- eat handfuls of cilantro and parsley as we pass through the field to assure they do not flower before the next harvest.

There are so many ways to reflect and witness this experience and every year a new moment or experience links me back to this transition, and this year it is the length of the day. In the evenings as the sun goes down and the last rays have fallen behind the distant stand of Doug Fir trees and the last honey bee makes its way to its hive, there is a romantic feeling of purpose and joy.

Farming is an incredible experience and lifestyle. It is an old world existence, linking the pastoral livelihood of being outside tending to land in wide open fields with the privilege of providing fresh food to our community. Priviledge it is. We have chosen to spend countless hours assuring the crops are tended to with grace, all while eating the best food of our lives.

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Getting to know a three-acre space is exciting. We witness the changes in the suns position, the waxing and waning of the moon, all while deciding and pondering where and why a new planting will go and what needs to happen for its success.

I often think about the people whom have come before us and set the stage for our success as farmers. I think about my grandparents that tended to the fields in eastern Oregon picking watermelons in the summer heat. I think of the slaves in the south and the countless hours spent tending to land and picking cotton until their hands bled. I think of the other folks our age that are working each day as we are, to glean from the past while finding new ways to learn from the land.

Thank you for allowing us to walk the field and share the bounty that makes up Vibrant Valley Farm.

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Broccoli Rabe and Garlic
Adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients

• 2 bunches broccoli rabe
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
• Sea salt, to taste

Preparation

Boil several quarts of water to boiling. Remove any tough or damaged outer leaves of broccoli rabe. Peel thick, lower stems from broccoli rabe. Tear broccoli rabe into large pieces.

When water is boiling, place broccoli rabe pieces in colander and pour boiling water over them to scald. Drain broccoli rabe well and set aside. Meanwhile, heat extra-virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté garlic until browned. Add broccoli rabe to the pan and toss to coat with garlic/pepper mixture and heat through, around 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

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Garlic Scape Pesto
Adapted from Epicurious

 Ingredients:

• 10 large garlic scopes
• 1/3 cup unsalted pistachios
• 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
• Kosher salt and black pepper
• 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Puree the garlic scapes, pistachios, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the opening. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. (The pesto keeps in the fridge, covered,

 You can also try preparing scapes in other ways like grilling them. Check out these seven recipes:

 http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/06/the-crisper-whisperer-what-to-do-with-garlic-scapes-recipe.html

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the CSA!

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Dear CSA members new and old,

Welcome to Vibrant Valley Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program! It’s so nice to know that many of you have returned, told friends and most importantly have decided to trust us as your farmers. After months of planning, sowing, transplanting, prepping, weeding, thinning and everything in between we are so proud and excited to share the first of the season’s bounty with you.

For those of you who don’t know us we are, among other things, two landless city kids who decided to practice environmental stewardship through farming. We have been trained in both urban and rural farms and gardens in Argentina, Europe, California and Oregon and after years of dream weaving we created Vibrant Valley Farm. Last year, the farm’s first season, we plowed and planted into a field that we had never farmed before. And call us crazy but we’ve done it again.

We will still be growing garlic at the old place but we decided we needed more land and water so we found our new home west of McMinnville where we’re surrounded by rolling hills, the wind howls through the hole in the coastal cascades, buzzards fly over head and an 86 year old potato farmer tells us stories. Nearby are grass seed and hazelnut growers who give us an amazing opportunity to share knowledge and experience. The Crowes ran a dairy for many years on the site, which served the Portland metro area during the milk shortages around World War II. After that it was a nursery and grass seed farm. The space is three acres and is rapidly filling with vegetables and flowers, probably as we write this. We invite you to come visit us.

The CSA model is based on an idea from the 1960’s in Japan where families would enter into a teikei or partnership. The teikei system means “putting the farmers’ face on food” and embraces the producer-consumer partnership. There are ten principles, which include tenets like mutual assistance, deepening friendships, and learning among each group. We say this a lot at Vibrant Valley Farm but seriously, undoubtedly and wholeheartedly none of this would be possible without you. As we grow and harvest we will be continuously grateful for your support and hope to deepen friendships and learn from each other.

Thank you

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Cilantro Dressing

Adapted from Epicurious.com

 Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 green garlic head
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced seeded serrano chile

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in processor. Blend until almost smooth. Season dressing with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; rewhisk before using.

This is wonderful as a dressing over our silky salad, used as a marnade, or added to 1 cup of yogurt as a dip for fresh vegetables like radish and raab. 

 

Arugula and Kale Salad with a lemon green garlic dressing

Adapted from Tastebook.com

Ingredients:

1 bunch of arugula

1/2 bunch of Kale

½ head of green garlic cloves of garlic

the juice of one whole lemon

a few tbls olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

strips of parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Whisk together garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Add this dressing on top of arugula and kale (cut into skinny strips) and toss to coat and top with shaved parmesan cheese.