Weekly news from the farm!

 


Greetings  Everyone,

Last weeks first CSA delivery went smoothly even though we had some last minute bookings!  You can access our online store using this link, log in by clicking the icon of the person in the top right hand side of the web page.  All orders need to be placed by Thursday at 8 AM so that we will know what to harvest for your share!  

We are pleased to have had our first bookings for the Barn Apartment with some amazing guests!   We are considering renaming that accommodation to the “The Swallows Nest”, a suggestion from our guest Erin, and one that we think fits the accommodation perfectly.  Our guests, who have all be interested in sustainable agriculture, have inspired us that we are on a path in offering educational farm-stay experiences.

We are extremely thankful that most of you figured out last week how to use our new online store for placing your weekly order.  We didn’t provide instructions like we have done in the past, mostly because we didn’t take the time to write up instructions as we’ve been so busy trying to keep the farm mowed, the accommodations cleaned and ready for guests, as well as continuing to plant and maintain crops.

When you come to the farm to pick-up your share, it may not look nearly as tidy over the next couple weeks, because our main mower is broken, so parts were ordered and they have arrived.  That means Carl will need to take the mower apart and replace the parts.  Our mower is 20 years old, and we know that we need a new mower, but we first we have to save a little money from our farm-stay business.  Our plan is to purchase a mower next year, so most likely Carl will be fixing this mower up until after fall.

We’d like to find two additional shareholders for our Summer CSA.  If you know of anyone who’d like to try eating fresh food from the farm during the peak of season, please pass our contact information on to them!!!

NOTE: You will probably need to white list our email to receive correspondence from us because we have changed our email from farmer@MountainHarvestOrganic.com to Farmer@MountainHarvestOrganics.com (our email is organics plural).

Your Farmers,
Carl and Julie

What is new and abundant this week!

We’re not sure about you, but it certainly feels great to have an abundance of summer vegetables for our bellys!!!  CSA Member Elaine Schein has submitted this recipe that uses nearly your entire share in one meal because ingredients include French Filet Beans, Zephy Yellow Squash, Zucchini, and scallions.  We bet adding a little basil and parsley to it would make it even better!!!

Last week we harvested the first of the shishito peppers.  These peppers are popular in Japan where its thin walls make it particularly suitable for tempura. We frequently enjoy these accompanying many of our meals throughout the season, because they are delicious pan fried, and an extremely quick and easy side. Another option is to stuff them with goat cheese either this way or or this way.

Bulb Fennel is ready, and perhaps we’ll include that in your share next week, because we may be nearing the end of our first succession of French Filet Beans. This spectacular veggie is associated with Italian cooking and great roasted. This veggie contains a phytonutrient compound in fennel called anethole that some researchers claim it reduces inflammation and helps prevent cancer. Most of the time we sell the fennel with the tops, these recipes are all about preserving fennel tops, so don’t through those tops away! This roasted potato and fennel soup is excellent that can be made either vegan or adding a little cream. Consider this Fennel Salad Slaw that is simple and refreshing. If you’re looking for a hearty, one meal pot, this fennel and pasta with tomatoes is excellent.

Last week we wanted to make a batch of pasta and pesto but didn’t have any pasta in our pantry.  We live in Spring Creek, an hours drive from any major store, so we let a few of our zucchini size up and made Zucchini noodles (also known as “zoodles“) are the perfect gluten-free, zucchini pasta.  For those who haven’t made “zoodles” may be interested in thi s article that provides several tips on how to cook them perfectly (or not cook them!) and also includes some of the authors favorite “go to” zucchini noodle recipes. We can’t think of a better way to use this wonderful summer veggie along with tomatoes, basil and parsley!

SPECIAL NOTES:  We are cutting the tops off the beets because the bugs have been enjoying them and they aren’t very pretty.

This Weeks Farmer’s Choice Share

This week’s Farmer’s Choice Share includes: (share contents are subject to change based on availability)

  • Lettuce:  Romaine and Red Oak Leaf. Our “go to” salad when we have romaine is Caeser Salad with croutons toasted to perfection using Annie’s bread This lettuce is excellent grilled because of its substantial leaves. This balsamic vinaigrette, or if you are like us this buttermilk salad dressing or perhaps this lemon ginger tahini dressing is all the lettuce needs and it becomes a salad that satisfies our craving.  The oak leaf can be a salad by itself and tossed with cherry tomatoes!
  • Green Curly Kale: This is a very tender kale that can be used raw or sauteed lightly. We tend to use kale for salads during the winter when we aren’t growing lettuce. We especially love this Kale Ceasar Salad because it is a hearty salad. Another favorite, which uses a lot of kale, are tostadas, super warming and yummy. They can easily be made vegan substituting a cashew cheese for the dairy cheese. Another favorite, simple and refreshing salad that uses sweet bell peppers, is this slaw a salad that is quick to make and refreshing. If you’re in need of a warm and hearty meal, this kale and potato chowder is great, and this kale and italian sausage soup. Please visit the recipe section of our website for more recipes.
  • Tomatoes: Cherry and Slicing.  The cherry tomatoes are bite sized have a spectacular flavor. Tomatoes are excellent for bread salad or panzanella salad using bread from Annie’s Bakery.  If you enjoy savory pies, this cherry tomato pies is tasty. Some of our favorite summer salads include; cucumber tomato, tomatoes and sweet corn, marinated tomato salad, skillet BLT Panzanella. Roasting nearly any vegetable brings out the flavors, and cherry tomatoes are no exception to that rule. Another exciting breakfast or snack are cherry tomato toasts.  T
  • French Filet Beans: These beans are six to seven inches long and are harvested when the pods are the size of a pencil.  These long and slender beans are especially tender and have a well-developed bean flavor with a French flair known as Haricot Vert. Haricot  is the French term for Bean and vert for green. A popular recipe for CSA Shareholders are these beans cooked with ginger and garlic. This rustic Italian salad is one we are excited for when beans, tomatoes and potatoes are available. This simple yet delicious salad is one we frequently have for a main meal. This simple recipe for vegan Szechuan Green Beans is our “go to” recipe for every day meals. This popular recipe for these beans is easy and delicious.
  • Cucumber:  Our crop of cucumbers are slowly ripening so you will only have a couple of these but they are crisp and sweet!!! You might just slice these and eat them up!  Try this simple but tasty cold salad.  We’ve been eating ours in a salad with onions and basil. This recipe is similar except we used red wine vinegar rather than lemon juice.
  • Zucchini: Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable and always included in our weekly meals while they are in season. Every season we look forward to zucchini pancakes for a complete meal. Paired with either garlic or garlic scapes, you might consider making noodles with your zucchini tossed with pesto. Another favorite is a recipe shared with us by CSA Member Frieda for curried zucchini soup. In the middle of summer, we love chilled zucchini soup, as it is especially refreshing. You may consider these fritters substituting roasted leeks for scallions when possible. Our “go to” preparation for squash, is grilling it, as we enjoy cooking outdoors during the summer because our house is kept cooler when we aren’t heating up the kitchen. When cooking indoors, roasting squash in the oven, or simply sauteing it with other summer veggies is delicious. Summer squash (or winter squash) is excellent in enchiladas, in quesadillas, or in burritos because you can adapt these recipes to almost any vegetable that is in season.  You can’t let a summer go by without making a squash casserole or ratatouille. Then of coarse, this veggie is great in a gratin or in a torte.
  • Patty Pan Squash: This is a summer squash, also known as scalloped, and is a soft skinned very versatile vegetable.  We tend to always include this veggie in our weekly meals while they are in season. One of our “go to” preparation for squash, is grilling it, as we enjoy cooking outdoors during the summer because our house is kept cooler when we aren’t heating up the kitchen. When cooking indoors, baked patty pan is great, but you can’t go wrong roasting squash in the oven, or simply sauteing it with other summer veggies is delicious. Summer squash (or winter squash) is excellent in enchiladas, in quesadillas, or in burritos because you can adapt these recipes to almost any vegetable that is in season.  You can’t let a summer go by without making a squash casserole or ratatouille. Then of coarse, this veggie is great in a gratin or in a torte.
  • Basil:  We can’t seem to fix a meal during summer without including some garlic so we assume that everyone loves it as much as we do.  Here is a pesto recipe for you!
  • Curly Leaf Parsley: This parsley has a milder flavor than Italian Flat Leaf.  Many think of parsley as a garnish, but it is much more than that, and can be used in almost any recipe.  Use the leaves and stems because the stems are packed full of flavor.   Of coarse, during the summer parsley is a staple in tabouli and even this salad that we find ourselves making weekly. Our summers always include a few batches of chimichurri. You might consider making gremolata or green harissaas a topping for meat or a spread for toast and veggies. If you find yourself with some ramps in the spring, this ramp pesto is something you must make!
  • Scallions: These onions are very tender and mild and are great on salads, in soups and as a topping for just about any baked dish. May recipes suggest that one discards the tops, but they have a great onion flavor, so we use the tops for adding color to any dish. Our “go to” recipe for these is oven roasted, grilled, or skillet roasted. One of our specialties are using these in crepes and in egg foo yung. We always are sure to use them in stir-fries. These are great fried and if your’re making a batch of tempura be sure to include this veggie!

What’s Happening on the Farm

Last weekend we had Erin and Jacob stay in the Barn Apartment. While we’ve had CSA shareholders and market customers rent that space, they are the first guests to book who we didn’t already know.  We very much connected with them and enjoyed good conversations about healthy food, photography and much more while making wood fired pizzas and hanging out around a bonfire late into the night.  (11 PM is late into the night for us!)

Before they booked a stay with us, we had the barn apartment blocked for one of their desired nights because we had friends visiting, but after Erin inquired about that date, we unblocked it and are extremely thankful.  They are individuals who we instantly felt comfortable around and whom we hope to see again!

Even though Erin and Jacob had booked the Barn Apartment, they allowed us to use their space for baking wood fired farm to table pizzas with our friends.  We didn’t realize how much we use the barn apartment kitchen and bathrooms for pizza outings, and now know that if we continue to have outings, we will need to build a downstairs bathroom and small kitchen for public use.

We had the pleasure of providing them with a farm tour, and during the tour, it was fun to know how interested they are in organic vegetable production, learning about the difference between sustainable farming versus conventional farming, and understanding the need for good healthy food. Erin and Jacob both eat a lot of vegetables, and after learning about a CSA, they are interested in joining a CSA upon their return to Knoxville.  Erin is a nurse, so we are excited that she can share her experience learning about good, healthy food with her patients. Both she and us feel that eating a good healthy diet is one of the best preventative measures one can take for reducing illnesses and health care costs in our country.

We are finding that we love sharing our passion for sustainable agriculture with our guests and are thankful that the guests who we’ve hosted so far are truly interested in our passion!

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