Thursday, August 28, 2014

CSA For August 28th

Lots of flowers, but no sign of fruit yet on the Butternut
squash.  Is there time to finish any this year?
Last week was a bit wild! Stormy weather Thursday caused us to cancel the pick-up - something we've rarely done in our years of doing CSA!  The wild weather continued through the weekend causing some havoc around Aagaard Farms.  Did you see the picture we shared on Facebook of the corn all blown over?  Branches were broken on tomatoes, apple trees and, of course, the willow drop thousands of bits all over the place.  The rain was welcome - it has been a bit dry but the deluge can cause things to grow too fast.  Time will tell on the weathers' effects on the gardens!  We tried our carrots today - and got a small dig - just enough for the Full Shares, but they are coming along nicely.

Today has been a bit rocky for me (Norah).  I always have a little problem with my hip but this morning I woke up with my neck out-of-joint.  I tried a little heat in the morning, which helped a bit but by early afternoon I felt like I had seized up from my shoulders to my thigh on my left side.  Farmer Man was nice enough to say he'd do the CSA pick up solo while I stretched out again with a hot water bottle.

The cucumbers have gone wild: they loved the hot weather of last week and then 'did, indeed, blow up' with the rains of the weekend.  How about a cold cucumber soup, this one made creamy by stirring in avocado! This tangy cucumber salad would be great as a side dish, as the bed for a grilled piece of salmon or chicken, or on a sandwich or burger.  This cucumber sauce, intended for Greek gyros, would be excellent as a veggie dip, with falafels or on fish or chicken.  Don't forget that if you don't have fresh herbs, use dried but use 1/4 to 1/2 the specified quantity - drying herbs concentrates the flavour.  Start of with about 1/4 of the recommended amount of fresh, then taste to decide if you need to add more.  If you love Japanese food, you've had sunomono is really quite easy to make.

Here is a nice little guide to food preservation.  We always love it when our CSA members save a little of the harvest for winter eating!  While the summer squash are happening - freeze a bit for winter muffins or cake.  The beans will save nicely, too.

Nice Crookneck squash in everyones' baskets today.  Here's a nice crookneck frittata - great for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  This Southern fried crookneck  and crookneck fries recipe sounds good!  Check Tuesday's blog for a recipe for beer battered crookneck!  Here's a recipe for stuffed crookneck from a Southern cook's grandma!  There some Papaya Pear going around today, too!  Always our favourite for the BBQ!

For the FULL SHARES:  Assorted summer squash of Romanesque, Crookneck and Papaya Pear, an Armenian cucumber, slicing cucumbers, carrots, beets, German Butterball potatoes, Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, onions, herbs, Kentucky Blue pole bean, Romano green beans.

For the PART SHARES:  Summer squash assortment of Romanesque, Crookneck and Papaya Pear, slicing cucumbers, onions, German butterball potatoes, beets, herbs, Kentucky Blue pole beans.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Summer squash assortment of Romanesque, Crookneck and Papaya Pear, slicing cucumbers, beets, German Butterball potatoes, onions, Kentucky Blue pole beans.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

CSA for August 26th!

We do have some lovely tomatoes! Just all green still!
Did you see the picture on our Facebook page of the corn all knocked over?  It's been a tough weekend!  First, we had to cancel Thursday's CSA pick up due to wet weather.  And the wind and rain didn't stop!  Lots of damage over four days of storms: corn and sunflowers knocked over, tree branches down, plums blown off the tree, some of the tomato plants broken.  It was chilly-willy when we started out with chores this morning: just 5 C (about 42 F) but it has warmed up nicely as the day has gone along. It is, however, still mucky in the garden and lots of the veggies are dirt-splashed!

The Patty Pan summer squash are coming on strong.  As the sizes get larger think about stuffing them!  Eye-catching as well as yummy.   Farmer Man has a favourite recipe involving crab meat, cream cheese and onion.  How about cheese and bacon stuffed Patty Pan?  Here's a great link, with good photo instruction, on sausage stuffed Patty Pans.  If you've got a large one, stuff it and serve slices.  If you've got a few mediums, stuff and serve as individual portions - looks good on a plate!  You can stuff them with anything you might stuff a pepper or tomato with: rice mixtures, quinoa, left-over mashed potatoes all mixed with veggies, meats, cheeses and even fruits!  We've done this recipe for stuffing with dried cranberries!

All of the summer squash are pretty much interchangeable in recipes.  You've all got Crookneck today and it is a bit more tender and buttery.  It is awesome in something like zucchini fritters.  We have a soft spot in our hearts for battered and fried Crookneck: here's a link with a beer batter for Crookneck!  Here's basic instructions for a crunchy coated squash.  We quite often do them in Panko and Cajun spice!  You all know summer squash is excellent for dessert, too, right?  Do try these zucchini brownies  or these cinnamon frosted zucchini bars

While they are abundant, are you going to get some veggies frozen?  Here's some quick and easy instructions for freezing fresh vegetables.  We always save some freezer bags of summer squash - grated, drained a bit then stuffed into freezer bags in one cup portions: perfect for winter muffins or zucchini bread.  The Patty Pans, Papaya Pear and Moroccan types aren't as 'juicy' and we usually don't have to drain them.

We've got a pick on pole beans today: either a green bean type or a Romano (flat pod) type.  The pole beans are late, after the bush beans.  They are a bit more fibrous and all have a string along the spine so remove it as you top-and-tail the beans!  These big, meaty beans are awesome for soups and stews, and do quite well in tin-foil packs on the BBQ, although not quite as tender as Dragons Tongue!  Beans are a little prone to rust and we're surprised at how much rust developed over this wet weekend!  We were 'editing' in the field as we picked, but some may have made it into your bags with some rusty ends.  It's largely cosmetic, but eliminate the end and the rest of the bean is fine!

For the FULL SHARES:  A couple of large Crookneck, assorted medium to large Patty Pans, Blue Lake pole beans, beets, an Armenian or Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, small bag mesclun mix, large bag All Red potatoes, small bag either Sangria red or Yukon Gold potatoes, onions.

PART SHARES:  Crookneck squash, assorted medium Patty Pan squash, Romano pole beans, Armenian or Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, medium bag Sangria red potatoes, medium bag Yukon Gold potatoes, herb, onions.

SINGLE SHARES:  Crookneck squash, Patty Pan, slicing cucumber, small bag All Red potatoes, herb, onions.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CSA for August19th

A little bit of an unusual CSA Tuesday.  We've lost our right-hand lady Alex, who is off to university in Saskatoon.  We will sure miss her but wish her all the best of luck!  Then, to complicate matters I, Norah, am off this afternoon to a training session.  If I didn't do this session, the only other option was driving to Winnipeg on a Thursday, in a few weeks, so I had to take the time today.  I've picked beans like crazy this morning, but will be leaving Jes and Andrew to prepare the rest of your CSA baskets.

Had one of those fantastic 'farmers markets moments' on Saturday.  Love introducing new vegetables to people!   During the Global Market I introduced some acquaintances to Patty Pan summer squash.  They were having a BBQ, and I told them about the joys of Patty Pans ( or Scallopinis, as they are sometimes called) in tin foil veggie packs.  They don't get soggy like zucchini.  Well, by chance I ran into them later that night and they were raving!  The creamy texture, buttery flavour - they are big fans now!  Next, they need to try Papaya Pear, which is also fantastic for BBQing.  Papaya Pear is solid enough that you can grill thick slices of it just like a hamburger.  We often soak it for twenty minutes or so in a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Yummy!

Oh, Yeh! Carbonara pasta with green beans!  We did this Sunday night with Jade green beans, topped with some crumbled bacon.  Very nice; the leftovers were good for lunch the next day!  It will work very well with the Blue Lake pole beans everyone is getting: it's a big, meaty bean perfect for this sort of recipe!  I had pre-cooked the beans and next time I will leave them a little less cooked!

The summer squash is coming on strong!  How about turning those zucchini into little zucchini pizza bites?  We made these before:  zucchini pancakes. Big and fluffy and just fabulous with Manitoba Maple Syrup.  Long time customer Juel shared on Facebook a recipe she found on this blog a few years ago: a zucchini salad called crudo, from Michael Ruhlman.  Zucchini are not just for dinner: there is, of course, the fabulous moist chocolate zucchini cakes, and zucchini muffins but this recipe for zucchini cookies with lemon glaze sounds great.

So, for the FULL SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, Blue Lake pole beans, Dragons Tongue bean, zucchini, Patty Pan, golden zucchini, kale, baby beets with greens, All Red potatoes, Mesclun lettuce mix and Buttercrunch lettuce.

For the PART SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, Blue Lake pole beans, zucchini, Patty Pan squash, golden zucchini, All Red potatoes, Mesclun lettuce mix, Buttercrunch lettuce.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Armenian cucumber, slicing cucumber, Golden Child French filet bean, Blue Lake pole bean, zucchini, golden zucchini, Yukon Gold potatoes, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Buttercrunch lettuces.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

CSA For August 14th!

Here comes the Summer Squash!
It's high summer and look out!  Here comes the Summer Squash!  The zucchini, the Patty Pans, the Papaya Pear, the Golden and more of our fabulous variety of Summer Squash are kicking into high gear!  They will be in your baskets 'big time' for the next while!  There are so many fabulous things to do with summer squash, not just stir fries and raw sticks!  Cookies, the most fabulous chocolate cake, pancakes and, oh, here's a great recipes for zucchini fritters!  While you are there checking out the fritters, do check out the rest of the fabulous blog Closet Cooking! Here's our own primer on our wide variety of Summer Squash, Part 1 and Part 2.  On this blog, down the right-hand side are labels for all the blog posts over the years, click 'summer squash' label and a ton of posts with recipe links will come up!  And we'll be posting new finds in each and every newsletter in the next little while!  Speaking of chocolate cake: here's a recipe for a simple, from-scratch chocolate zucchini cake.  If you've never made one it is the most moist, delectable chocolate cake with all that 'hidden' fibre and nutrition!

Amanda and Ed have arrived with some lovely Long English Cucumbers for everyone!  These are thin-skinned, delicate cucumbers which tend not to cause digestive problems for people!  Amanda and Ed have also supplied some nice herbs - ask us about what is in your box if you don't recognize it 'cause there are small amounts of a number of herbs!

We've dug the last of the winter onions today and everyone is getting some.  We took our first little dig of the spring-planted onions and they are coming along nicely!  The foliage will be awesome chopped raw into salads and as garnish!  The garlic, well, it's coming slowly.  We've just had a walk to look at it and we're watering it this afternoon.  Although Brandon has been inundated with flooding and wild storms we are now officially into drought.  This hot, humid weather can be stressful for plants used to cool and moist!

Also, as the season progresses more of our interesting potatoes are being dug.  As we get away from baby or 'new' potatoes we get more interesting textures.  Today, everyone is getting a mixed bag of 'Yukon Gold', a drier, fluffy yellow potato great mashed or for fries, and 'All Red' a neat, dense potato with pink flesh! Yes, it's red all the way through.  Great fun mashed or in salads or scalloped potatoes!

So, for the FULL SHARES: Long English cucumber, slicer cucumber, green and golden zucchini, Dragon's Tongue and Romano bean mix, Jade green beans, Golden Child filets beans, 3 lbs. mixed potatoes, lg. bag Mesclun mixed lettuces, lg. bag Buttercrunch, head of Romaine lettuce, winter and spring onions, an herb.

For the PART SHARES: Long English cucumber and slicer cucumber, mixed green and gold zucchini, Dragon's tongue and Romano bean mix, medium bag of Jade green beans, 2 lbs. mixed potatoes, Mesclun mixed lettuces and Buttercrunch lettuce, winter onions, an herb.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Long English cucucmber, green zucchini and a small Patty Pan squash, Dragons Tongue and Romano bean mix, 1.5 lbs. mixed potatoes, Buttercrunch lettuce, winter onions, an herb.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CSA For August 12th!

Romano beans!
We're really noticing the inevitable 'march' of the seasons this week!  As the raspberries come to the end of their season, the leaves of the canes that carried berries start to yellow and crisp up.  There is lovely new green growth, the canes that will carry fruit next year, but still the patches of yellow show in the rows.  We really notice, as the days get shorter, that The Hens are going to roost earlier (a good thing after the long days of CSA harvest).  And our egg count is down a bit, as chickens are stimulated by day length to lay their eggs.  We're now only bottle feeding our baby goats once a day, meaning they are growing up and soon we'll be free of that chore.  On the up-side: the corn is looking good, we have a bevy of small green tomatoes, the peppers are flowering like crazy and cucumbers are on the menu!

A nice change: hardly any biting insects bothering us today.  Mosquitoes seem to have abated, the little flies are hardly noticeable.  On the downside, aphids and fruit flies are around: you may find a tiny purple/black bug on your beans and it's not a spider - it's an aphid.  We've taken the unusual step (for us) of rinsing the both the Dragon's Tongue and Romano beans today.  Although we've given them plenty of time to dry we highly recommend you get them out of the plastic bags!  Think of it as another sign of your veggies being grown chemical-free!

We want you to eat your veggies!  All of your veggies!  So here's a great post from Mother Earth News on keeping the harvest fresh!  Some great links at the bottom of the page for preserving, too!

We don't grow copious amounts of chard, but because it re-grows nicely CSAers get some throughout the share season.  Here's a fantastic primer on all things chard: from storage to some unique recipes including a galette with Gruyere!  Chard will be available again in another week, maybe two.

Amanda and Ed came through with some lovely Long English Cucumbers today!  There are also mixed in a few Armenian cucumbers - long but pale green instead of dark green.  We've gotten the first nice pick on slicing cukes for everybody, too!  The second seeding of assorted salad greens have done well so some nice salads are in your future!  Amanda and Ed also brought the absolute last of the cabbage!

The bean-o-rama continues.  Dragons Tongue for everyone today and some close cousins: Romano beans.  Also a long, thin but wide bean, Romanos deserve more respect...and more planting.  Here's some great info on Romano beans.  We've also had a nice pick on a lovely green bean, Jade.  And the first pick on a true filet: Golden Child.  Filets are wee, skinny beans: delicate and tender! Although they are fairly prolific, their size means we have to pick a lot to get a pound!  Please do not overcook the filets - they will get too soft easily!

Here comes the summer squash!  There are Crookneck, with the rounded neck.  This is a soft, buttery delicate squash.  Stir fry lightly - the southern States consider this a delicacy and bread slices and then pan fry.  The roly-poly squash is a Papaya Pear - firm and nutty flavor.  BBQ slices like hamburgers, soaked in balsamic vinegar and olive oil for about 20 minutes before grilling.  The other little 'space ship' are Patty Pans, also firm and a light almond flavour.  All of these will be awesome raw in salads, in stir fries and, particularly the last two, in tin foil on the grill!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  Cabbage, Long English cucumber (or maybe an Armenian), slicing cucumber, summer squash mix of Patty Pan, Papaya and/or Crookneck, Beans: Dragons Tongue/Romano mix, Jade Green/Golden Child mix, onions, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Grand Rapids lettuce, Buttercrunch lettuce, Norland/Yukon Gold mixed potatoes, herb.

For the PART SHARES:  Cabbage, Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, summer squash mix of Patty Pan, Papaya and/or Crookneck, mixed Dragons Tongue and Romano beans, Golden Child filet beans, onions, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Grand Rapids lettuce, Eramosa white potatoes, herbs.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, Summer Squash, Dragons Tongue beans, onions, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Buttercrunch lettuce, Norland red potatoes, herbs.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

CSA for August 7th!

The peas are about done!
We're starting to really feel the cycle of the gardens.  Most vegetables are annuals: the plants have one try at growing and making babies (the vegetable or part we eat) and then they die.  The peas are the perfect example, already the foliage is yellowing and dying back; they're about done for this year!  Yes, there are still a few flowers at the tips, but unless the weather stays cool and rainy, those would largely just set stumpy little pods.  We picked out the peas today and really not enough for any share but some bags will be on the trading table!

Amanda and Ed have supplied one last round of cabbage.  We had an extra from Tuesday's CSA and we snapped it up for a little dinner party in honour of visiting sister Keltie last night.  Oddly enough, sister Keltie did most of the cooking for the party - and was it delightful!  She used this recipe for roasted cabbage with bacon on the BBQ!  So tasty - and really very easy!  You could do this in the oven, as well, no problem!  It's a must try - very yummy.  We had some vegetarians with us last night and did a couple pieces without the bacon - also delish!

It is bean time...lots of beans the next few weeks.  Keltie also made, last night, honey-Dijon glazed beans.  She pre-cooked the beans, a mix of yellow and green, to just crispy.  Then she sauteed them in equal parts honey and Dijon mustard.  She made a huge mess of beans, enough for eight people, and used half a cup of each.  Dial back the amount to maybe two tablespoons for a pound of beans - you can always add more!  She just stirred the beans a few times to make sure all were well coated in the mix.  Great flavour!  Now we do like our families to keep some of their share for winter use.  The abundance of beans may mean you have more than you can eat in a week.  Check Tuesday's blog for a post of quick-and-easy freezing without blanching.  If freezer space is limited you can dehydrate beans - they reconstitute quickly in soups and stews.  They can just be stored, preferably in glass, in cupboards or pantry shelves.  Here's a link with a number of ways to preserve beans including dehydrating in the oven!

At the bottom of this post is a great chart for cooking a wide variety of vegetables.  This showed up in my inbox and I thought it was perfect for sharing with you all.  Most people over-cook vegetables and destroy more of the essential vitamins and minerals then is necessary.  This cheat sheet is fantastic!  Hope you can read it!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  1 1/2 lbs. Dragon's Tongue beans, 1 lb. mixed Royal Burgundy and yellow wax beans, 1 lb. green beans (Jade, first pick), lg. cabbage, 3 lbs. Norland red baby potatoes, onions, Grand Rapids lettuce, Mesclun mixed lettuces, radish, herb, raspberries.

For the PART SHARES:  1 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, 1 lb. mixed Royal Burgundy and yellow wax beans, med. cabbage, 2 lb. Norland red baby potatoes, onions, Grand Rapids lettuce, Mesclun mixed lettuces, herbs, raspberries.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  1 lb. Dragons Tongue beans, 1 lb. mixed Royal Burgundy and yellow wax beans, sm. cabbage, onions, Norland red baby potatoes, Grand Rapids lettuce, herbs, raspberries.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

CSA For August 5th!

Things are finally starting to look like Summer in the garden!  Took a while this year!  The first pick on zucchini today, there are little wee cucumbers and tomatoes!  The corn is coming nicely, although a little weedy.  And the beans!  The beans!

CSA members will get a torrent of beans of all kinds over the next few weeks!  The bigger beans, the Romano types like Dragon's Tongue and some of our climbing beans, do very well in veggie packs in tinfoil for the BBQ!  The regular beans do okay, the delicate filet will not benefit from that treatment!  Vegetables of all kinds are awesome and easy roasted on the BBQ in foil.  Here's a great link with basic instructions for BBQ roasted veg.  We encourage you all to freeze some packages of beans for winter use!  Here's a great link to easy bean freezing without blanching.  However, we all want to eat a bunch right now so here's a nice link with eleven fresh bean recipes.  Hmm, beans in a bacon vinaigrette?

Probably the last share on raspberries.  As the picking gets more sparse it's just not worth our time and we have U-pickers waiting to get a chance!  Nice, big container for everyone today!  Probably the last of the Grand Rapids lettuce as well today - unless the plants already cut grow back well.  That is highly unlikely in hot, dry weather so we will probably bid adieu to Grand Rapids for now!  We will seed a variety of lettuces shortly for nice Fall salads.

Amanda and Ed have supplied lovely cabbages again today - probably also the last of the cabbage for you!  So many 'last of's today - but that is what fresh, local eating is all about!  Everything has it's season, it peaks and then it is done!  Amanda and Ed have also supplied a nice assortment of fresh herbs.  There is a bit in everyone's basket; we'll be on hand to tell you what it is or how to use it but they have brought dill, summer savory, oregano, spearmint, mojito mint and Italian parsley!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  Lg. cabbage, a zucchini, 1/2 lb. shelling peas, onions, 1 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, 2 lbs. assorted yellow wax, green and purple beans, 2 lbs. Norland red baby potatoes, 1/2 lb. Warba white potatoes, raspberries, radish, Swiss chard, Grand Rapids lettuce, one of the assortment of fresh herbs.

For the PART SHARES:  Cabbage, zucchini, snow peas, onions, 1 lb. Dragon Tongues Bean, 1 lb. assorted beans, 2 lbs. Norland red baby potatoes, raspberries, Grand Rapids lettuce, one of the herbs.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Small cabbage, zucchini, onions, 1 lbs. Dragons Tongue Beans, 1/2 lb. Royal Burgundy beans, 2 lbs. Norland red potatoes, raspberries, Grand Rapids lettuce, one of the assortment of herbs.