CSA newsletter #7!

Happy Birthday, Joe! It's intern Joe's birthday this Tuesday, so wish him a good one if you see him out and about!

Herb Day at New Leaf Retreat
Sunday July 17th  9:30-4:30
Herbs are the most powerful and natural of healing remedies.
Join us for a gathering in Robie Creek, Idaho!
Crystal Spicer, Holistic Health Practitioner is our host for the day.

Lunch and Shuttle Provided, $65                                           
 RSVP- Space limited
(208) 573-0434    
Receive valuable information regarding yarrow’s use.
Hear about superstitions, folklore and tales.
Learn how to dry and store.
Gather your own bunch of Herbs.

Garlic Braiding Workshop!
Sunday, July 24th 1:00-4:00 pm
Come and enjoy a pleasant afternoon of iced tea and garlic-inspired snacks while fooling around with garlic, a potent and powerful herb long used for medicine as well as for creating delicious dishes! Learn about the highly political process of purchasing and selling garlic in the state of Idaho and about its many medicinal properties, as well as why Earthly Delights Farm's garlic is "magic garlic." While we prepare and braid bulbs into a beautiful decoration for yourself or to give as a gift, we'll swap garlic growing lore and wisdom, too! Cost: $30-50 sliding scale, which includes the magic garlic bulbs! If you want to bring your own softneck garlic bulbs, cost is $20-40 sliding scale, like all other hunkerin' down workshops. Visit http://www.earthlydelightsfarm.com
for more details!
CSA member newsletter #7!
Weed Dating Report!
The results are in--our first annual Weed Dating event was a total success! Like we've been saying on the farm since, there are weirdos out there for every one of us weirdos--it just takes the right weirdos to show up. And show up they did! We had a great, lighthearted time weeding, and several love connections were made that we know about! I've heard reports from several participants that they made good matches with people, and each of the three interns on our farm who participated all have gone out on dates as a result! How's that for effectiveness! So, any of you who felt shy coming to the first one, DON'T BE! It was a spectacular good time, and the farm got some welcome weeding too! See the photos below for more dirt on the dates! Ooh la la!

Dates in progress!
Jars waiting to be filled with love notes!
Our Friends' Farms!
Many of the farms we toured last week offer foods we don't--foods you'd probably like to know about! You can coordinate with these farmers if you'd like to purchase some of their wares, or just wait until we feature them in the newsletter, coordinating your order with other members so y'all can just pick them up when you get your share! Here's an overview of the products they have available right now. We'll try to do a feature each week in the newsletter, coordinating with them to have them ready when you come to pick up your share! (half share people, you may get stuck making an extra trip if something you order isn't coming the week you pick up, but alas, it's better than having to drive to Emmett or whatever!).
Draggin' Wing Farm: Organic chickens ($4/lb--birds average 3 lbs), Fresh cut flower bouquet CSA! Contact Carrie Jones for more details. 440-8406 / carrieljones@gmail.com
St. John's Organic Farm Grass fed and finished Organic beef! (Raw milk CSA shares sold out). Contact the Susan and Peter Dill at (208)365-3213 / saintjohnsorganicfarm@gmail.com
Canyon Bounty Farm Organic whole wheat flour, organic paprika, organic roasted red pepper jelly. Contact Beth Rasgorshek at 697-6208 / canyonbountyfarm@earthlink.net

                Our farm took our annual farm tour last Thursday, visiting several local-area farms, learning about their operations, their successes and challenges, and in general having a rockin’ good time out and about. It’s nice to get off the farm once in awhile, and these visits always prove to be enlightening in some capacity.
                After harvesting some snacks for ourselves, we loaded into our friend and former intern Crystal Spicer’s van and headed out to Draggin’ Wing Farm, our first stop, where Carrie Jones gave us a tour of their 3-acre farm just a couple miles from us in Boise. It is a truly magical property, a labor of love for a family. Carrie grows fresh cut flowers for a flower CSA and often for farmer’s market, and is raising organic chickens for both eggs and meat as well as goats, which she is milking but doesn’t yet have enough milk to sell. We got to pet the baby goats and check out her chicken coop setup. Carrie’s mom Diane also runs a native and drought-tolerant plant nursery on the property, with a very large demonstration garden, where nursery customers can see the plants she’s growing as they mature.
                Next, we drove out to Emmett, to St. John’s Organic Farm, a grass fed beef ranch and raw milk dairy. Susan Dill met us in the driveway to their tidy barn with a tray of delicious fresh milk, homemade cheeses, butter, and crackers. Her husband Peter joined us during snack time and proceeded to give us an incredible tour of their 170 acre property, complete with the history and challenges of raising, processing, and selling healthy, happy grass fed cows and organic, and later raw, milk. The Dill’s have worked tirelessly on behalf of other small farmers wishing to offer high-quality beef and milk to the public in a way that moves elegantly through the expensive and often impossible maze of beaurocracy that shrouds the dairy industry nationwide. Their kindness and respect toward their animals shone through in every word they spoke—I think you’d be hard-pressed to find better quality beef anywhere in the state.
                After a couple of wrong turns in the vortex of Freezeout Road, we popped up and over the hill back into the Treasure Valley, stopping for lunch in a grass strip outside Middleton Middle School (and getting doused when their sprinkler system kicked on in the middle of the day).  After, we stopped at Purple Sage Farm, where Tim Sommer proceeded to give us the hottest tour any of us have ever taken—inside each of his 12 greenhouses without fans. The sweat poured off of all of us as Tim talked to us about his operation, growing herbs and leafy greens for several grocery stores, including Atkinson’s Market and the Boise Co-op, as well as to local restaurants and through Idaho’s Bounty. The 95 degree air actually felt cool as we’d step out of each greenhouse. He raises sheep and goats there as well, direct-marketing his animals primarily to immigrants who want to process their meat themselves, according to their cultural traditions. Tim finished off the tour with a visit to his walk-in cooler, which was welcome.
                Afterward, we headed out to Caldwell, stopping briefly at our intern Emily’s house near Lake Lowell for water refills and to check out her stylish home garden. It was enjoyable to throw in a small, whimsical garden after visiting so many farms. Canyon Bounty Farm was our next stop, where Beth Rasgorshek gave us a tour of her 7 acre seed farm, where she also grows organic wheat, grinds it into flour and runs a seasonal greenhouse business where folks can buy organic vegetable starts and seeds. Beth’s aiding of small farmers in the valley cannot be underestimated, and we’re always happy to introduce new prospective farmers to her, since she is such an invaluable resource. This time, she used us as guinea pigs for a value-added product tour she was doing for the university, sharing with us the difficulties in getting a value-added product, be it wheat flour, her paprika, or her roasted pepper jelly, to market.
                Our last stop was to Bittercreek/Red Feather, where we enjoyed a couple locally-inspired cocktails and some of us ate dinner after Matt Fuxan gave us a tour of their incredible vermicompost system. Two gigantic worm bins take up one “room” of the restaurant’s small basement. They are on the cutting edge of this movement—using worms to recycle a restaurant’s waste. Everything from vegetable scraps from the kitchen prep areas to cardboard to menus gets shredded and fed to their hard-working worms. These folks are as legit as they come regarding sustainable systems. They have active goals for energy reduction, waste reduction, transportation reduction. They buy from all of us tiny farmers (in fact, Matt’s full-time job is Food Forager—they pay someone full time just to deal with 80 or so small farmers. Most restaurants put in one or two calls to Sysco or FSA and get all their food from giant suppliers), and from other local businesses. They do low-power happy hour, where they turn off all the lights and simply use candles. They host food-focused movie screenings, support cool grassroots projects, and much more, all without the pomp and bragging that besets many other much less truly locally-focused restaurants. If you haven’t checked these guys out yet, do it!
                Anyway, that was our tour. We had a great time, learned a lot, and got to network with a lot of really talented farmers of many scales. Peruse the list above for contact info and products from each of these fine farms, all of whom offer something we don't!

Now, let's get on with the goodies! Beginning with..........................................................................
*Purple Kohlrabi! Yippee! What a rad little weirdo this is, eh? You might wonder if you should eat it or fly to the moon on it--rest assured, it is most delicious. Think of the most tender, delicious broccoli stem you've ever had. That's what the kohlrabi bulb is like, once you peel it. It's absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS raw, which is how I'd recommend you eat your first one, and also works fine added to cooked dishes like stirfries. Colleen was talking about trying to make veggie burgers with it today, so we'll report back later on how that worked out. For me, I just peel it and chop it into sticks and then eat them ALL, maybe stiking 'em in some dip if I have it around...usually I just chow 'em down plain, though. OH, and the leaves you can use just like you would kale! How's that for a bonus? Two vegetables in one!
*Celery! This is our first attempt at growing celery, from seed given to us by Sherilyn Orr. It germinated well (which was a challenge for me before), and has looked pretty impressive thus far in the garden. However, it's now starting to bolt, so we're harvesting it this week. Alas, we'll work on it next year and see what we come up with. I think it's pretty intensely flavored, for celery, so a little will go a long way. I'd recommend combining it with other veggies and/or cooling dip.
*Broccoli Again, a little bit, and we'll give it all to you! We'll just keep on pinching off the little buds until we can't pinch no more...don't know about you, but I'm happy with any small amount of broccoli we can coax from our hot, sandy soil...is a veritable defiance of nature, I tell ya....
*Peas The last of 'em, for sure. They're big, but I wouldn't say they're all sweet any more...nevertheless, we'll now miss them until next year! What a fun part of seasonal eating...just when you could possibly start taking something for granted, it's gone and you've got to wait to get it again...keeps ya on your toes!
*Garlic Scapes A bonus week on these! Usually we're done with them by the break, but the late spring kept us in 'em for another week--lucky all of us! There isn't much that doesn't get better by adding garlic, or garlic scapes, but if you need additional inspiration, lots of chefs make garlic scape pesto out of their scapes. Just put in a food processor with olive oil, salt, and whatever else you want (lemon, pepper, parmesan cheese, herbs, etc.) and use it on pasta or meat
*Salad Mix It's a rarity that we mix a salad for you, but we thought we'd better make it up to ya taking a week off...the mix has a bolt-resistant mix of lettuces in it, as well as other lettuce heads that were about to bolt, and some calendula flowers thrown in for additional color. Calendula is an edible flower and has many fine medicinal qualities, one of which is that it's good for skin, which is helpful at this scorching time of year...Lettuce that's not thinking about bolting yet is a definite benefit of the colder spring. And our own relentless searching for more bolt-resistant varieties seems to be paying off as well. We'll make sure to save seed off these toughies for sure!
*Rainbow Chard 'Tis the year of chard for sure, and it's my year to personally fall in love with it. I've long been a fan of its brassica counterpart, kale, but this season finds me reaching for the chard first. I've been putting it in everything, from pasta to tacos to scrambles, and it doesn't disappoint! I made one of the tastiest scrambles Brent and I have ever eaten the other morning, first sauteing some garlic scapes in a bit of oil, then adding the finely chopped chard stems. Next I added the chopped chard leaves and salt. When all of it was cooked, pushed it to the back of the pan, put in a couple pats of Cloverleaf Butter, and scrambled my eggs in the pan with a little more salt. When the eggs were cooked, I mixed the whole shebang together with fresh basil (and French Tarragon, which unfortunately we don't have on the farm), and then some Raw Sharp Cheddar cheese and Ballard's Feta. DELICIOUS!
*Basil Thai and Genovese...yummy! The basil's loving the hot weather, so it should be on for the forseeable future. Basil is very versatile, but my favorite ways to use it are in scrambles, in pasta, and in salads. Make sure to add it at the end of the cooking time to a dish so it holds its incredible taste! The Thai basil (the smaller-leaved one with purple stems and buds) has a unique flavor which lends itself well to asian-inspired dishes like kale slaw with soba noodles and various stirfries and salads, though it can be used in Italian themed dishes with excellent results as well.
*Zucchini! The first of lots, we hope! Enjoy this first li'l taste of summer's bounty
*BEETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yesssssssssssssss....maybe I saved the best for last? I LOVE beets SOOOOOOO much....so sweet, so versatile, so substantial...so good for you, too! This variety is a specialty one called Chioggia, popular among chefs who appreciate it for its candy-cane stripes when sliced crosswise. Try it yourself to see the rings. Though many folks grow up thinking they don't like beets, they quickly change their mind when they eat the real, fresh thing, which downright shames the pathetic, soggy, bitter specimens that sit in cans on pantry shelves for the occasion when the one aunt who likes them comes to visit. Turns out, there are a myriad of excellent ways to enjoy fresh beets, from pickling them to boiling them to roasting them. Some people even shred them and eat them raw in salads, although eating them raw makes my throat itch so I never do it.  I personally think you can never go wrong combining them with goat cheese. That makes a great cold salad (after you've cooked them until tender, that is) or after they're freshly cooked for a hot dish!

Sweet and Sour Celery
from Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce by the Madison Area CSA Coalition
, (a RAD resource! The book is incredible, an indespensable resource for CSA members...if anyone is interested, we could put in a group order...I use this thing ALL THE TIME! Enjoy this recipe, which would also work great with other veggies, like your kohlrabi, chard stems, scapes, and more, mixed in!)

1 bunch celery, leaves removed, stalks cut on the diagonal into 1-inch slices
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbs. finely chopped sweet red pepper
Pour enough water into a large skillet to fill about 1/4-inch deep. Add celery, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and bring to boil. Cook until celery is tender and liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the vinegar. Transfer to a serving dish and scatter sweet pepper over the top. Serve immediately. Four servings.

Crystal Spicer, CSA member.
We first met Crystal three years ago, when she applied to be an intern. Lori and I fell in love with her cheerful, optimistic personality from the start, and we took her on as an intern in spite of the fact that she could only join us for the first session. She ended up loving it so much that she continued on part-time into session two, which gave us the blessing of getting to know her even better. Crystal is a wealth of wisdom about wholistic healing, including using food and herbs as medicine and empowering people to take their health into their own hands. She also does danged amazing Shiatsu bodywork treatments! She writes a column for Hedra magazine, and this issue the column is about her upcoming herb day at her retreat center in Robie Creek. Crystal told me she'll be identifying 65 herbs on their walkabout that day! Mostly, we love any chance we get to see Crystal, and so have been delighted that she's stayed with us as a CSA member for the last 2 years (it's tough to grow a garden in Robie Creek!) so we get to do more of it! She and her husband Paul were a total hit at our harvest festival two years ago when they brought a liquid nitrogen tank and made instant ice cream...put our apple press to shame, it did...most recently, Crystal chauffered us around on our farm tour, visiting the farms with us and lightening the day with her great spirit! Thanks, Crystal, for your involvement in the farm. It is a better place because of you!

Check out Mariquita Farm's RAD selection of beet recipes by clicking on the TINY photo of Chioggia beets below this yummy recipe!
Chocolate Beet Brownies

Though there are a ton more local-conscious ways to cook beets, I thought this one might tickle some of your fancies!

These brownies are rich, chewy and secretly nutritious!

1/2 cup butter (or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup cooked beets or 15 oz. can beets packed in water, drained and mashed;
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until light in color and foamy. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until well creamed. Stir in chocolate mixture, followed by applesauce and beets. Sift together flour, salt, spices and baking powder and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in wheat germ and almonds. Turn into greased 9x13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.
While I had fun developing the chocolate beet recipe, it's a treat to see the expression on people's faces when I tell them what's in the recipe. - a note from the author of this recipe.

Julia’s beet idea for brownies: confession: usually when I bake it’s 100% from scratch, and it’s not necessarily low fat. But I confess I tried the ‘no pudge’ brownie mix from Trader Joe’s (just add vanilla yogurt, mix, and bake. Really). It was fudgy and a bit hit in my house. So I tried it again and this time added a whole cup of golden beet puree. It was too beety, even for me. So: I tried *again* with 2/3 cup beet puree. Success!:
Julia’s Cheating Brownies

1 box “No Pudge Brownie Mix” available at Trader Joe’s and possibly other retailers.
2/3 cup vanilla yogurt, as instructed on their box. (ok, I used plain lowfat because it’s what I had: it was fine!)
2/3 cup beet puree (boiled beets, pureed in a food processor)
Mix altogether, and bake as instructed on the brownie package mix.
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