Joy's Farm CSA

Just dirt (and maybe a little manure!)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

CSA WEEK #11

THIS GROWING SEASON HAS SURE OFFERED UP MANY CHALLENGES FOR FARMERS ACROSS THE NORTHEAST, IT HAS BEEN A ROLLER COASTER WEATHER SEASON FOR SURE!
IT HAS CERTAINLY TAKEN IT'S TOLL ON THE YEILDS OF CERTAIN CROPS, WE PLANTED OVER 860 TOMATO PLANTS, ABOUT 130 MORE THAN LAST YEAR, YET OUR YEILD IS DOWN BY 50%.

I SOMETIMES WONDER IF IT'S ALL WORTH IT AND THEN WEDNESDAY COMES AROUND AND YOUR FEEDBACK AND COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS POSITIVE AND THEY HELP ME MOVE RIGHT ALONG! I HOPE YOU ALL KNOW HOW MUCH THAT MEANS TO ME TO HAVE YOUR SUPPORT IN GOOD YEARS AS WELL AS NOT SO GOOD YEARS, THANK YOU.

COLLARD GREENS
Collards have a taste similar to that of Kale but milder. This dark green vegetable has a large, smooth leaf with a slightly ruffled edge and a relatively tough central rib that's usually discarded. Collards spread from Africa to Europe centuries ago and were brought to North America by slaves. They've been popular ever since in the American South. Collards and kale can be cooked like spinach, but they normally require a longer cooking time. Southern cooks often add a bit of bacon, ham, or salt pork to the greens for flavoring, sometimes serving them with pepper sauce or vinegar. Collards and kale may also be added to soups and stews, especially those that contain beans and spicy sausages

Pasta with Greens & Tomato Sauce

This homey pasta dish uses pancetta (Italian bacon) in the tomato sauce, but for vegetarians it can be easily omitted.

Ingredients
1 bunch Collard greens stripped from thick stems, washed, dried and coarsely chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
2 ounces Sliced pancetta or bacon, finely diced (3/4 cup)
2 tsp Extra-virgin olive oil
1 Medium onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/8 tsp Crushed red pepper
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/4 cup Water
8 ounces Medium pasta shells (3 cups)
1/4 tsp Salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation
1. Bring 2 cups lightly salted water to a boil in a large wide pan. Add collards and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and press out excess moisture. Set aside.

2. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil for cooking pasta.

3. Cook pancetta (or bacon) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 5 minutes. Drain; discard fat.
4. Add oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 30 to 60 seconds. Add pancetta (or bacon), tomatoes and water; bring to a simmer, mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher or the side of a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

5. About 10 minutes before the sauce is ready, cook pasta in the boiling water, stirring often, until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

6. Add the pasta, collards and reserved pasta-cooking water to the tomato sauce. Heat, stirring, until the pasta has absorbed some of the flavors, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into pasta bowls, sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

CSA Week # 10

JEANINE AND I BID OUR 2006 APPRENTICE, ALI, GOODBYE ON THURSDAY. ALI WAS A GREAT HELP AND NEVER ONCE COMPLAINED DURING SOME CRAZY HOT WEATHER WORK! I WILL SURELY MISS HER AND HOPE THAT PERHAPS SHE WILL RETURN NEXT SEASON.

BEFORE SHE LEFT, SHE TOOK SOME PICTURES DURING HER TIME AT THE FARM THAT I HOPE TO POST ON THE BLOG SOON. HOPE YOU WILL ENJOY THESE!

ON TO SOME RECIPES FOR THIS WEEK'S SHARE, I KNOW, PICK UPS ALREADY PAST, BUT BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!

I STILL HAVE MY CABBAGE IN THE FRIDGE, SO I THOUGHT PERHAPS SOME OF YOU MAY WANT TO TRY THE FOLLOWING RECIPE IF YOU STILL HAVE YOURS. I LIKE THIS AS A SIDE FOR BBQ CHICKEN. I SOMETIMES OMIT THE MAYO AND TO SPICE THINGS UP I ADD SLIVERS OF JALEPENO PEPPER AND SOME CHOPPED PEANUTS ON TOP.

ENJOY

Asian Cole Slaw
From chef and author Wolfgang Puck

Ingredients

1 bunch green scallions
1 head of green cabbage
1 large carrot
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Slice half of the scallions, cabbage and carrot into thin julienne and place in a salad bowl.

Reserve the remaining scallions, which you have also julienned.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, honey and sesame oil until thoroughly mixed and pour over cabbage mixture.

Salt and pepper to taste and let marinate for 1/2 hour before serving

Monday, August 14, 2006

CSA WEEK#9

I AM HEADING TO SOUTH JERSEY TODAY TO PICK UP SOME "JERSEY FRESH" HONEY FOR THIS WEEK'S SHARES. OVER THE YEARS MANY MEMBERS HAVE REQUESTED HONEY AND I HAVE FOUND A GOOD QUALITY SOURCE.

I BELIEVE IT WILL BE A WILDFLOWER HONEY, BUT DEPENDING ON WHAT QUANTITIES ARE AVAILABLE IT COULD BE A JERSEY BLUEBERRY HONEY. YUM!

I WILL ALSO HAVE A FEW DEMAREST FARMS PEACHES IN THE SHARES AGAIN, HOPE YOU ENJOYED THESE LAST WEEK!

DEPENDING ON MY CONTACTS AND THE SUCCESS OF THE HARVESTS, I TRY TO FIND A FEW LOCAL PRODUCTS EACH SEASON TO OFFER IN A SHARE. THIS HELPS ME SUPPORT OTHER LOCAL NJ FARMERS AND ALSO OFFER MY MEMBERS A LITTLE VARIETY FROM TIME TO TIME.

Grilled Peaches with Honey Butter Drizzle


Serves 4-6

½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
In small saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Heat until butter is melted, then dip peach halves in the mixture. Grill peaches until slightly golden. Continue to heat honey butter mixture until thick and caramelized, about ten minutes. Drizzle honey butter mixture over the peaches. Serve with ice cream if you like.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

CSA WEEK #8

TOMATO, TOMATOE

THIS YEARS TOMATO HARVEST IS WAY OFF COMPARED TO PAST HARVESTS. IT HAS BEEN WET, COOL AND NOW WAY TOO HOT! WE ARE ALSO IN AN ONGOING BATTLE WITH A HERD OF DEER THAT HAVE TAKEN UP WHAT SEEMS TO BE PERMANENT RESIDENCE AT THE FARM THIS YEAR.THEY HAVE EATEN MOST OF THE CUKES FOR THEIR WATER SOURCE DURING THE HEAT WAVE.

I ALSO FEEL THAT I HAVE BEEN PLAYING "CATCH UP" THE PAST FEW WEEKS TRYING TO RECOUP SOME LOST TIME FROM WHEN MY KNEE INJURY HAD ME DOWN. ALTHOUGH, I HAVE TALKED TO MANY N.J. FARMERS WITH 2 GOOD KNEES, AND THEY TOO HAVE FELT THE TIME PINCH. THE RAIN LET THE WEEDS TAKE OVER EARLY IN THE SEASON.

SINCE WE HAVE SO MANY GREEN TOMATOES IN THE FEILDS STILL, I TURNED TO MY FRIEND FRANK AT DEMARCO CATERING FOR SOME RECIPE IDEAS.

FRIED GREEN TOMATO, MOZZARELLA, AND BASIL "BLTS"

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

2 pounds green tomatoes (about 4 medium), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked until crisp, reserving 1/3 cup drippings, and drained on paper towels
8 large slices firm white sandwich bread
3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
24 fresh basil leaves, washed well and spun dry

Preheat broiler.
In a small bowl coat 4 tomato slices evenly with cornmeal and season with salt. In a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet heat 1/4 cup reserved bacon drippings over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook tomatoes until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes, transferring them as cooked to paper towels to drain. Coat and cook remaining tomatoes in same manner, using additional drippings if necessary.

On a baking sheet broil one side of bread slices about 3 inches from heat until golden. Make sandwiches by layering, on untoasted sides of bread, mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and bacon. Top with remaining bread slices, toasted sides up.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Green Tomato Pie
Ingredients:
1 double pie crust
2 cups chopped green tomatoes (green with no white)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped raisins
3 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Place the chopped green tomatoes with water to cover and bring to a boil. Drain and add the other filling ingredients. Place in a pie pan lined with crust, place on the top crust and make two or three slashes with a knife. Crimp the edge of the crust with your fingers. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. Note: This recipe doesn't call for it, but you can add 1 tablespoon of flour to the mixture for thickening if you wish

ENJOY!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

CSA WEEK #7

The intense heat we are experiencing is taking a toll on some of our plants. We are also having some difficulty resowing some crops due to poor germination with the heat. I am sure it will only get worse before it gets better and hopefully we can play catch up when it's over, if not, some fall crops may limited in quantity.

CRANBERRY BEANS

I am working with a farmer friend in south Jersey this week to get some cranberry beans for the shares. This is a shelling type bean. I have yet to grow these but my friend raves about their wonderful flavor and hopefully I will be able to share these with you.

Here is some info on the Cranberry bean:

Cranberry Beans are known for their creamy texture with a flavor similar to chestnuts. Cranberry beans are rounded with red specks, which disappear on cooking. These beans are a favorite in northern Italy and Spain.

Another name for this bean in the U.S. is 'French horticultural bean'.

How to cook them: Shell beans as pods are inedible. Simmer fresh beans in plenty of water with a bay or sage leaf, onion, celery, or garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Do not salt the water until halfway through cooking because salt lengthens the cooking time and toughens the skins. Fresh beans will take 25 to 40 minutes. For salads, allow 1/2 pound fresh beans in their pods per person.


Cranberry Bean and Eggplant Stew

1 pound fresh cranberry beans
1 large eggplant, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 large tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon dried basil, thyme, and oregano

Shell cranberry beans and place in a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Let simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until beans are tender.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add cubed eggplant, and cook until golden brown. Add onions and garlic, and cook until soft. Then, add tomatoes, cranberry beans, olives, vinegar, and herbs. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until eggplant is soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

CSA WEEK #6

Wow, I cannot believe that August is just around the corner! It seems like yesterday that I was pouring over seed catalogs and plotting our planting schedule!

The Farmers Market at Valley Hospital was a great success! The staff was so excited and grateful to have the opportunity to purchase fresh, healthy vegetables on their lunch breaks. What a great company perk!

Well, I am happy to report we should be starting to see wonderful, luscious,succulent tomatoes! It's been a long wait, and they may still be in short supply for another week till we get past all this rain.

Below are some facts about that all time favorite!

In Europe, where it was taken by the Spanish, the tomato was grown only as a ornamental for many years. Eating tomatoes was considered certain to prove fatal. Even in North America, it has been only in the past 150 years that people mustered enough courage to try eating them. That all changed starting on the courthouse steps in Salem, New Jersey, at twelve o'clock noon on September 26, 1820, when Colonel Robert G. Johnson ate not one, but a basketful of tomatoes. He not only lived, he wasn't a bit ill following his demonstration.


In 1893 , the Supreme Court ruled that the tomato must be considered a vegetable, even though, botanically, it is a fruit. Because vegetables and fruits were subject to different import duties, it was necessary to define it as one or the other. So, tomatoes were declared to be a vegetable given that it was commonly eaten as one. (Source: The Packer, 6/9/90)


Tomatoes were popularized in this country when the Creoles in New Orleans included them in their popular gumbos and jambalayas. (Source: The California Tomato Board.)

Baked Tomatoes


4 lg Tomatoes
2 tb Butter
2 Cloves garlic
1 tb Onion; grated
Salt and pepper

Cut tomatoes in half crosswise and put into a
greased baking pan.

Melt butter in small skillet, add garlic and fry a
few minutes. Remove garlic, add onion and cook
till tender. Add bread crumbs and mix. Spoon on
top of tomatoes, season to taste.

Bake at about 375° for 20 minutes or so until
piping hot.

Good for lunch.

This simple recipe truly brings out the best in the Jersey Tomato.Prepare these tomatoes about 30 minutes before serving and allow them to come to room temperature.

INGREDIENTS:
2 large tomatoes
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large basil leaves, chopped or rolled and sliced thinly (chiffonade)
vinaigrette or good olive oil

PREPARATION:
Slice tomatoes; arrange on a serving plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then the chopped basil. Let stand for 30 minutes. Serve with vinaigrette or drizzle of olive oil.
Tomatoes with basil serves 4.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

CSA Week #5

Hot, hot, hot, that's the weather trend for this next week. We try to work in the early hours, 5 a.m. and then back around 7p.m. if it cools down a bit. Not sure if this will even offer relief with 90+ temps, aahh the farming life!

Jersey tomatoes have been a bit scarce so far this year and still on the small side. We have sooo many on the vine, yet they are still green as of today. The heat should speed up the ripening process though.

Eggplant should be ready this week, both Thai(Kermit) and Italian, along with more peppers, beans, beets and swiss chard or kale. Basil is in abundance so I thought I would focus on some pesto recipes this week.

Basil
Basil is a member of the mint family and grows about 20 inches high. In hot climates, like India, it is a perennial and in cooler climates it is grown as a tender annual.

The cultivation of basil spread from India through to Asia and Egypt about 4,000 years ago. From there it spread to Rome and southern Europe. It appears to have reached Western Europe and England in the 16th century and from there was carried by early settlers to North America.

Sacred East Indian Basil (O. sanctum) is planted around temples in the belief that it will protect them.

The name ‘basil’ derives from the Greek word meaning ‘kingly’.

In France, today, basil is known as ‘herbe royale’.

Pesto Recipe

3/4 cup olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic
3 cups fresh Basil packed
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons Romano cheese (or more parmesan)

Run all the ingredients together in a food processor just until smooth. Or, if you want the very best pesto, mash this in a mortar and pestle. The word Pesto is actually derived from the word pestle and which is how Pesto was first made, by crushing all the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle.

This makes enough for one pound of pasta. To serve, the pasta should be drained, returned to the pot and the Pesto added while the pasta is hot.

If you like to make more than one batch of Pesto at a time and freeze in dinner size batches. One convenient way to freeze small amounts is to use pint size freezer zip-lock bags. Press all the air out and smooth the bag out flat and then stack one on top of the other in the freezer. When making pesto to freeze, I prefer to omit the cheese and add at the warming stage when ready to use.

To use, let thaw in the refrigerator or heat briefly in the microwave. Pesto makes a wonderful spread for sourdough bread (add a little left over barbecue chicken and a fresh tomato slice on top) and even as a gourmet coating for popcorn.

Eggplant Pesto

2 medium eggplant
leaves from 1/2 bunch basil
11/2 tsps. Dijon
1 lemon juiced
1 Tbls Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
pinch black pepper
1 crushed clove of garlic
1/2 cup virgin olive oil

Lay eggplant on open flames and char until the skin is toasted. Remove any burned skin, but leave a small amount of charred skin on as it gives a smokey flavor. Take off stem of eggplant and discard. Place eggplant in food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Great on fish, bread and vegetables.