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How To Eat Your BOX! (Week of 6/25/17)

Apricots:

Ripen apricots in a paper bag at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Unripe apricots can be stored at room temperature up to 5 days. Refrigerate ripe apricots in a sealed container up to one week. (Be sure that they are ripened first, as they will not ripen in the refrigerator.)

 

Braising Mix:

Braising is a method of cooking where the main ingredient is first seared in hot oil and then simmered in liquid. However, braising mixes do not have to be braised. They can also be sautéed, stir-fried, blanched, steamed or mixed into stews and soups. They can be eaten alone, added to pasta dishes, quiches, rice dishes or burritos, and they can be served with most any other vegetable, especially potatoes. The simplest method of preparing greens is to sauté them in olive oil with a little garlic and serve them with a splash of vinegar.

 

Garlic Scapes:

You can use Scapes just like you would garlic; their flavor is milder, so you get the nice garlic taste without some of the bite. Use them on top of pizza, in pasta, in salsas, and as a replacement for garlic in most other recipes. There are many things you can do with scapes, but my personal preference is to turn them into garlic scape pesto. It’s a sharper, greener take on traditional basil pesto that can be used to add a fresh garlicky zing to just about anything – Spoon it into soups, spread it on sandwiches, toss with cooked pasta, beat it into scrambled eggs, and (best of all) slather it onto pizza dough before adding on the toppings. It freezes beautifully, too, so it’s easy to make an extra-large batch to tide you over until next spring.

 

Garlic Scape Pesto

Spread on pizza, add to pasta, use anywhere you would regular pesto – makes a great dip!

 

Ingredients:

8-9 garlic Scapes, roughly chopped (~1 cup)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 /4 – ½ cup olive oil

Sea salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine the garlic Scapes and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the Scapes are finely chopped.
  2. Pour in 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and continue processing until the mixture is smooth, adding more oil 2 tablespoon at a time if needed to get the proper consistency. Add salt to taste and blend in. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. You can also make pesto cubes by spooning the pesto into a clean ice cube tray. Place the tray in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until the cubes are frozen solid, then pop them out of the tray and into a zip-top bag. Return to freezer, to be used as needed anytime over the next 6-12 months.

 

Recipe adapted from crumbblog.com

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Peas and Potatoes

Peas and Potatoes

Few things are as rewarding as a freshly hilled potatoes or white blossoms on Sugar Snap peas. These are sure signs that summer is on its way.

I just finished hilling the potatoes for the first time this season. They are looking green and happy. We hill, or cover, the plants with soil so that it will produce more potatoes. Hilling encourages more potatoes to form and protects them from sunlight. In a good year, we will hill them 3 times. So far it looks like we are on schedule.

And the Sugar Snap Peas are turning it up! The plants are about 5 feet tall and there are a few more feet left in them. It always amazes me that one pea seed can produce so much. You can look for the first splash of juicy Sugar Snap Peas in early to mid July. I had thought we would be picking them by now, but the “Junuary” weather has delayed more than a few crops this year. Thankfully they are just delayed.

Spraying

At Sorticulture, I was talking with a fair-goer about our grass-fed beef. He was fairly knowledgeable and looking for an argument. In the middle of our conversation, he said, “What do you spray on your fields?” He was insinuating that I spray chemicals on my pastures. It is a good question, because so many farmers, local or otherwise sell meat and vegetables using the word “local” or grass fed. And many local farmers will use chemical fertilizers or herbicides in their pastures. Are their vegetables and fruit “local” or the animals “grass fed”? Absolutely. But they are often also locally sprayed or farmed with chemicals.

This person obviously knew that many local farmers use chemicals on their pastures and when he asked me, “What do you spray on your fields?” I said, “Kelp”. End of possible argument. Yes, we spray our fields every 7-10 days with a kelp/fish/soil microbe mix. We use certified organic amendments and ingredients in our fertilizer blends and are inspected annually to verify we are complying with the National Organic Program standards.

From the beginning, on our farm we haven’t used synthetic chemicals. It has been that way for 20 years and I see no reason to change. My children and grandchildren can wander anywhere they want and eat whatever they want any time on our farm. Their health is important to me and so is yours.

4th of July

Just a quick update: I talked with my team and we decided to keep our regular schedule during the week of July 4th. So, no changes to your delivery day or order deadlines. But for our Tuesday customers, expect your deliveries a little earlier, since there should be less Boeing traffic that day. 🙂

 

Tristan

 

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 6/17/17)

Plums: From sweet to tart, plums are big part of summer fruit in the Pacific Northwest. While great fresh as it or atop yogurt, fruit salads and even green salads (think walnuts, soft goat cheese and arugula), plums also shine when cooked as a sauce along with chicken, pork or duck. Care: Eat ripe plums immediately or put them in the refrigerator (unwashed, not in a sealed bag) for use within five days. When ready to eat, wash and enjoy! To hasten the ripening, leave plums on the counter, out of the sun, in a paper bag with an already-ripe apple or banana. Check daily. Plums are ripe when stem area yields to gentle pressure or is slightly fragrant.

 

Garlic Scapes: Garlic scapes are the beginning of what would be the garlic plant’s flower; if they’re left on the garlic plant, less energy goes towards developing the head of garlic underground. So, by harvesting these scapes, we get an early taste of the garlic to come down the road, and the bulbs can keep developing for a later harvest.

 

You can use scapes just like you would garlic; their flavor is milder, so you get the nice garlic taste without some of the bite. Use them on top of pizza, in pasta, in salsas, and as a replacement for garlic in most other recipes.

 

Featured Recipe: Plum-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Plums boost the tangy-sweet flavor of this quick homemade barbecue sauce, which is finger-lickin’ good on grilled chicken, pork (ribs, especially), and duck. Wait until the meat is almost cooked before brushing on the sauce, so it doesn’t burn. Plus, you get the added benefit of knowing exactly what’s inside your barbeque sauce. It’s a win-win. Makes 1 cup.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 lb. firm-ripe plums (about 4 medium), pitted and quartered

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 Tbs. cider vinegar

1/4 cup honey or brown sugar

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 tsp. minced seeded canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

 

 

Directions:

 

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a heavy-duty 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the plums break down, about 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until thick, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Purée the sauce in a blender until smooth. Use or cool to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

Recipe adapted from finecoooking.com

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Sticktoitiveness

If you are going to be a farmer, you have to have “sticktoitiveness. Yes, that’s a word, and I couldn’t find a better one to describe farmers or at least this farmer. I am going to get a crop off my farm no matter what Nature (the weather, pests, disease) throws at me. I am even going to get a crop off my farm when I have to fill out the umpteenth survey from the US Department of Agriculture, or the mountain of paperwork to keep my farm Certified Organic. Of all the hassle that comes with growing foods without chemicals, Nature is my favorite partner to work with.

Nature is a formidable, constantly mixing things up – daily! This spring has been one for the ages, and it looks like June will be as us farmers call it “Junuary.” Last year was a breeze, this year has been a howler. I have a confession though; every time I planted spinach or beets, it would rain buckets a few days later. The first time it happened, I chocked it up to bad timing. Planting spinach before a deluge on my farm is akin to pouring concrete over the crop. We have a fair amount of clay, and if the sun comes out a few days later I could make bricks!

Bear in mind that spinach seed and vegetable seeds in general are a hardy lot, but they aren’t as hardy as weeds. And yes, a few seeds have managed to find their way to the light of day.

Undeterred, I plowed up more ground and planted again and it rained buckets again. One more time I planted and it rained again. I am not a superstitious person, but after three times of planting spinach and creating “concrete” even I was getting a little wary of planting spinach. Well, last week I was getting ready to plant more spinach, and I looked at the forecast for Thursday and Friday, scratched my chin – deep in thought and at that moment I decided to not plant spinach! So, for the record, that last deluge was not my fault, because I didn’t plant spinach! Although I did seed 4 acres of rye/fescue seed for a new hay field the night before! 🙂

If you are going to be a farmer, you have to have sticktoitiveness. It also helps to be diversified and while the spinach is languishing, the potatoes, onions, sugar snap peas, beans, carrots, lettuce, kohlrabi, blackberries, raspberries, apples, plums, pears, cucumbers, corn, summer and winter squash are coming along.

But everything, including this farmer, and probably you, could use some warmer weather to really get growing.

 

The undeterred farmer,

Tristan

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How To Eat Your BOX! (Week of 6/11/17)

How to cook your box:

Nectarines: You can either eat these smooth-skinned stonefruits crisp and hard like an apple, or set out on the counter to allow to ripen for a day or two if you like them sweeter and soft. Test for ripeness by fragrance and by gently pressing around the stem – it should give to light pressure when ripe. Place in sealed container in the fridge when ripe – if you leave them exposed to the open air in the fridge, they will wrinkle from dehydration. Nectarines, like other stonefruit, ripen from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is more likely overripe. Try nectarines for breakfast paired with yogurt or hot/cold cereal, as a topping to a green salad, and as an ingredient in fruit salads. Nectarines are also great on the grill, but be sure to use slightly less ripe fruit, it will hold up better without breaking apart/juicing. And of course, nectarines bake up fabulously into crisps, pies, and sauces!

Carrots: Twist the tops off those carrots as soon as they arrive so that they stay nice and crisp in the refrigerator. If you’re reading this, you’ve chosen organically grown carrots, so give yourself a fist bump. ? Carrots are so important to get organic because conventionally grown carrots are often a concentrated source of heavy metals, nitrates and pesticides. Eating carrots is a healthy alternative to junk food, and just one carrot can boost your willpower that is in resistance to those processed foods. Consider adding bunch carrots on to your order on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Your body will thank you!

Recipe for Roasted Carrots with Spicy Green Sauce

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is loaded with vitamins A, K, and C and when consumed raw there are significant amounts of vitamin E and Iron. Besides a being a great green for a quick sauté similar to kale or spinach, swiss chard is great eaten raw. Cut into fine ribbons and tossed in a salad along with a fine mince of their brilliantly colored stems for a bit of crunch.

The frilly leaves are perfect smoothie fodder as their mild flavor is hardly detected when there are frozen berries involved (a must to get our youngest to enjoy her smoothie).

Along with salads, sautés and smoothies the hardy chard stems are perfect for a quick pickle. Make up a simple bring with vinegar, spices a bit of salt and a faint touch of honey then warm over the stove. Turn off the heat then add chard stems. Let them cool in the brine then refrigerate for up to two weeks. Dice them up then add to salads or serve alongside a cheese platter or simple snack on them throughout the day.

Cauliflower

This little vegetable darling is finally getting the spotlight it deserves. It boasts high levels of vitamin C and moderate levels of Vitamins B and K. Really though it’s quite possibly the most delicious vegetable after a good roast in the oven.

Vegetable butchers praise the cauliflower steak. If you think I’m kidding about any part of that last sentence you are mistaken. Cut a cauliflower into thick 1-inch slices. Slather with olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper then roast in a 400°F oven until tender and the edges are deeply caramelized and even charred in parts. Top with a simple salsa of fresh herbs, lemon, garlic and olive oil. A fried egg on top of that makes a fine dinner or breakfast. Or chop the cauliflower into florets and roast in the same way. Toss with chili flakes, pasta and fresh goat cheese for a simple dinner.

And since I can’t stop talking about tacos today, roasted cauliflower makes a mighty fine taco add in too. Pulverized in a food processor cauliflower resembles the texture of rice or couscous. Baked or even consumed raw you have a lovely vegetable alternative. Check out this recipe for a raw cauliflower tabouli.

Cauliflower Tabouli

Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onion Tacos

from Mexican Everyday, by Rick Bayless

Serves 4

Ingredients:

12 oz. bunch of Swiss chard, thick lower stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons (10 oz. cleaned

spinach can be used instead)

1 1/2 tbsp. oil, lard or bacon drippings

1 large onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp. red pepper flakes (add more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth (water works too)

Salt

12 warm corn tortillas

1 cup (4 ounces) Queso Fresco or other fresh cheese such as feta or goat cheese

Salsa, for serving

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion then cook until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. To the onions add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Stir for about 20 seconds until you are hit with the aroma of the garlic then immediately add the broth or water, ½ teaspoon salt and the greens. Adjust the heat to medium-low then cover the skillet. Cook until the greens are almost tender. For Swiss chard this will be about 5 minutes. Spinach only takes about 2 minutes.

Uncover the pan, adjust the heat to medium-high then cook until the juices have reduced significantly and merely glaze the greens. Taste and add salt if you think it needs it.

Serve with the corn tortillas, crumbled fresh cheese and Chipotle salsa.

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Tacos 101

 

Gabe’s grandfather has repeatedly encouraged me to write the cookbook, 101 Tacos. When we see him which unfortunately isn’t often enough as he lives in northern Mexico, he always has more ideas for tacos. “Shrimp tacos, beef tacos, tacos de fish, chicken tacos…” He’s relentless in this idea and honestly, I totally get it because if there is one thing I can eat on repeat its tacos. And now, as I’m working on my second cookbook I’m realizing that we do indeed eat quite a few tacos. In my opinion, they are quite possibly the best solution for quick weeknight meals. My 15 minute steak tacos never disappoint and my latest favorite, asparagus tacos, have me really reconsidering that 101 Tacos book idea.

Summer is the perfect season for minimal prep for quick easy cooking. The ingredients available to us right now overwhelm me in the best sort of way. To capture the maximum nutrition and flavor very little cooking is needed as the warmth of the sun has done the hard work for us. These Swiss chard tacos, like so many other tacos, quickly became a staple in our house the moment I found the idea in one of Rick Bayless’ books. While greens aren’t necessarily a favorite at the dinner table for my three children when you wrap them around a tortilla suddenly they get devoured.

The Swiss chard gets a quick and simple sauté with caramelized onions and then topped with store-bought or homemade salsa and then creamy queso fresco. If you’re out of Swiss chard, spinach makes a fine substitute. Throw in some other roasted vegetables for variety and extra nutritional heft.

For quick summer meals that give you more time outside and less time in the kitchen, learn from me and always keep tortillas at the ready along with a good salsa, and crumbly, salty cheese. A quick roast of whatever you have lingering in your vegetable crisper and you have yourself a taco that would make Gabe’s grandfather proud.

For Ashley‘s Recipe for Swiss Chard Tacos, click here.

 

Ashley

 

Ashley Rodriguez is a NW Mom, Food Blogger at NotWithoutSalt.com and author of Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 6/4/17)

Cabbage:

Cabbage is a handy thing to have around. Don’t let it be that vegetable that sits in the bottom of your refrigerator drawer for months on end. There are endless opportunities to use it up. I’m constantly pulling mine out and adding it to my “just about anything”. I like to make cabbage “shavings” by first cutting the cabbage in half, then simply shaving off pieces from along the edges. Also, if you’re like me and rarely use a whole cabbage in one sitting, keep the cut edges from drying out by rinsing and storing in a sealed plastic bag.

Broccoli:

Baked broccoli is one of my favorite dinner sides. I like it best roasted to crispy perfection with a little garlic, salt and pepper. Try tossing chopped broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and seasonings of choice. Bake on a cookie sheet at 450° for about 20 minutes, until edges are crispy and the stems are tender. For extra flavor, drizzle with lemon juice or top with parmesan cheese. Broccoli is also great in salad, stir-fry, soup, or raw with your favorite veggie dip.

Leeks:

Leeks are cousins to the old, familiar onion, but have a sweeter, more delicate flavor reminiscent of garlic or chives and are delicious no matter how they’re cooked. Additionally, leeks contain generous amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making the vegetable a wise addition to a healthy diet. You can cook leeks by poaching them in chicken broth, pan-frying them in a little oil, or boiling them until tender, or you can include the leeks in a variety of other recipes (such as the one below).

 

Featured Recipe: Classic Potato Salad

Ingredients:

3 medium potatoes (1 to 1 ½ pounds), quartered

1 ½ tablespoons white vinegar

1 large celery stalks, diced

1 Leek, diced

3 hard boiled eggs, peeled

¾ cups mayonnaise

½ tablespoon yellow mustard

¾ teaspoons celery seed kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper paprika for garnish

Directions:

  1. Bring potatoes to a boil in large pot of cold water that’s been liberally salted. Reduce the heat to medium high or a lightly rolling boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a paring knife. Drain and let cool until just able to handle.
  2. Peel the skins from the potatoes and cut into large diced pieces. Transfer the warm potatoes to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the white vinegar and stir. Allow the potatoes to cool, about 15 minutes. Add the celery and leeks Chop 2 of the hard-boiled eggs and add to the potato mixture.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, yellow mustard, celery seed and salt and pepper. Mix well into the potato mixture and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Slice the last egg into thin slices and place the slices on top of the salad. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Chill for at least 1 hour Recipe adapted from “foodiecrush.com”
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Mettle

This spring has been quite the start to the farming season. Springs like this sure can test your mettle. Thankfully, we have a long growing season in the PNW!

Seriously. I just kept planting, replanting and replanting. I figured that eventually, we would get 4 days of dry weather and one of my spinach seedlings would germinate and not have to rise through a rain compacted layer of newly formed mud.

It all works out though. Because I need to plant more green beans, I will just plant that quarter acre of what was supposed to be spinach to my 3rd planting of green beans. Green beans are a bright spot on the farm. I think every one of those seeds germinated on the first planting. Who would have ever thought that would happen this year??? ME! Every time I plant something, I think it is going to be my best crop ever. ?

The other day, when I was taking my kids to school, we got behind a tractor (it’s Stanwood) and it was going as fast as it could, maybe 10 MPH. One could feel the tension rising as line of cars began to grow–5 cars, 10 cars, 15 cars. I knew that there were going to be some frustrated people. Having been in this situation many times as the tractor driver myself, the tension was palpable to me, especially on a 50 MPH road! At this point, I started talking out loud to myself and my daughters, “Oh the nerve. That tractor is slowing everyone down, going to make us late for school, probably get someone killed trying to pass them on a corner, folks swearing at him and waving with their middle finger and… we would all be a whole lot hungrier if that farmer wasn’t doing their job.” That’s when my daughters looked up from their phones, and I said, “Oh, you were listening to me.” 🙂 We waved at Nathan, the farmer, and continued on our way.

Good Food Farm Tours!

Joelle and I are hosting several events on our farm this summer. This last weekend we kicked off the first of our Summer of Fun Good Food Farm tours, and I’m pretty sure we have the best customers. We visited as we leisurely strolled through our farm talking about farming, biodiversity, and what not. A few folks got to plant spinach and beans. Others sat in a tractor for photo ops. Hope to see you at the next tour! CLICK HERE TO VIEW TOURS. Joelle and I are grateful, and consider it a privilege, to be your farmers and share our farm with you. Eating healthy and being healthy takes a little planning and effort, but so does growing healthy food–the fresher, the better. That’s why we love growing vegetables and fruit – they are the foundation to a healthy, vibrant life.

 

Cheers to your health!

Tristan Klesick, Farmer, Health Advocate