Monthly Archives: March 2012

Newsletter for Mar 27 – Mar 30, 2012

News from the Farm

Rain.  Oh wait, that’s what I said last week.  And, by the looks of things, it may well be what I can say next week.

So, what’s the impact?  Well, our ponds are full (but they have been for some time).   Our new bed projects are greatly slowed down – you can’t really sift soil in the rain.  We haven’t lost power, amazingly.  And watering is a bit easier, but surprisingly, we still need to water.  That’s because we have so much going on in the greenhouses and hoophouses.

Lastly, the impact is that growing has really slowed down.   Our boxes this week are decidedly smaller, and we noticed the pac choi is a little leggy – struggling to find the sun.

Speaking of greenhouses, Linda has been spending untold hours potting up her babies.  I think she said she did 450 night shades (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes) Sunday.  It’s one of her favorite farm activities.   For now, those little guys are going to stay in the greenhouse – it is still is too cold to put them in the ground, even in the hoophouse – it was 33° Saturday morning.  Ideally, these plants like the overnight soil temperature to stay above 50°.

In other news from last week, Linda, Mandy, and Hailey joined up with Chef Sean Baker to visit the garden at The French Laundry in Yountville.  They had a great time, learned a bunch, and ate their heads off (but no, not at The French Laundry).  We’ll put up a post with pictures later in the week.

What’s in the Box? (picture later?)
  • salad reds and greens
  • kale or spinach
  • collards
  • asparagus
  • rapini or pac choi
  • scallions
  • herbs: rosemary and oregano

Recipes of the Week

This week’s recipes are from saveur.com.  Click on pictures to see the source pages.  The first is simplicity itself.  The second should appeal to all you bacon lovers (hey Harlan, I’m talking to you!).

Fried Asparagus

Photo Credit: James Baigrie

The gentle sautéing of asparagus in oil caramelizes the vegetable, intensifying the flavor.

Serves 1-2.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Procedure

  •  Prepare asparagus by holding bottom half of each spear with both hands and gently bending it until it snaps where it naturally breaks, separating tough fibrous end from tender part (see Prepping Asparagus). Discard ends. Cut asparagus into 2″ pieces.
  •  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add asparagus and cook, stirring often, until browned, 15–30 minutes.

Asparagus and Bacon on Toast

Photo Credit: James Baigrie

This sandwich was invented by Marion Zuchowski, the mother of a longtime asparagus farmer in western Massachusetts.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus
  • 1–2 tbsp. butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 pieces toast, buttered
  • 4 slices cooked bacon

Procedure

  •  Prepare asparagus by holding bottom half of each spear with both hands and gently bending it until it snaps where it naturally breaks, separating tough fibrous end from tender part (see Prepping Asparagus). Discard ends. Cut asparagus into 2″ pieces. Steam in steamer basket set over a pot of simmering water over high heat until very soft, 15–20 minutes.
  •  Transfer to a bowl, toss with butter, and season to taste with salt and pepper. To make sandwiches, divide spears evenly among 4 pieces of the toast, arrange 1 slice of bacon on top of each, and cover each with another piece of toast.
–posted by Steven

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Newsletter for Mar 20 – Mar 23, 2012

News from the Farm

Rain.

Okay, for anyone reading this who doesn’t live in Ben Lomond, it was a very wet storm.  Our friend Harlan says he saw on the TeeVee that we had the most rain of anywhere for the storm.  I don’t have a rain gauge up, so I’m not certain what we had at the farm, but ’tis enough, t’will serve, at least for now.  We are still quite far behind on the season, so we should hope for more, but maybe after we dry out just a bit.

I’m not sure what the rain did to our stone fruit.  I, however, remain undaunted in my expectations for this season’s crop – why?  Because I always expect the worst!  I really like having an orchard, but, my goodness, I’d hate to rely on it to make money.

What’s in the Box? (no picture this week)
  • salad reds and greens
  • tarragon
  • some kind of kale
  • scallions
  • asparagus
  • rapini
  • Napoli carrots
  • tenderstem broccoli
  • rainbow chard (added)
  • Grumola Rossa di Verona (for those who requested chicories)

Recipe of the Week

This week’s recipe is from the February/March 2012 issue of Fine Cooking.

Olive-Oil-Braised Carrots with Warm Spices

photo: Scott Phillips

by Tamar Adler

In this dish, a tiny bit of nutmeg and cinnamon and a few sliced garlic cloves complement the sweetness of the carrots. For a meatless meal, serve these carrots along with basmati rice and spiced chickpeas.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lb. carrots (about 10 small), peeled and halved lengthwise (if large, quartered lengthwise)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup lower-salt chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cayenne
  • Kosher salt

Procedure

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  • Fit the carrots in a snug single layer in a shallow 9×13-inch baking dish. Nestle the garlic slices among the carrots.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the broth, olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt and drizzle over the carrots. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Braise the carrots in the oven until completely tender and easy to pierce with a fork, about 45 minutes. Uncover the dish and continue to braise until the spices on top have toasted and are mahogany-brown and the carrots look a little shiny, about 15 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature.
More info and nutritional info here.
–posted by Steven

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This week’s box in picture

photo credit - S. Butler

Pictured here are baby Hidabeni turnips with tops, collard greens, kestrel beets, scallions, red Russian kale, salad reds and greens, cherry belle radishes, asparagus, and lemon thyme.

Below: here’s the way we package it:

Photo credit: S. Butler

–posted by Steven

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Newsletter for Mar 13 – Mar 16, 2012

We want to get this out now even though we haven’t come up with anything interesting to talk about.  It’s one of those Mondays!

What’s in the Box? (picture here)
Note: there are several things that will likely get added to the boxes this week, but the quantities are a bit in question until we actually finish the harvest.
X
  • salad reds and greens
  • herbs: lemon thyme
  • some kind of kale
  • collards
  • scallions
  • asparagus (for everyone!)
  • Kestrel beets
  • baby Hidabeni turnips with tops
  • cherry belle radishes (added)

Recipes of the Week

We haven’t actually tested any of these, but here are 6 (!) recipes that should give you some good ideas about how to fix those greens.
From Saveur:
From Williams-Sonoma:
From Food 52:
–posted by Steven

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This week’s box in picture

photo credit: S. Butler

Pictured here is Bloomsdale spinach, lacinato kale, rainbow chard, salad reds and greens, purple Viking potatoes, Napoli carrots, Italian flat-leaf parsley, Tuscan blue rosemary.  Not pictured: asparagus, tenderstem broccoli.

–posted by Steven

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Newsletter for Mar 6 – Mar 9, 2012

News from the Farm

Nothing really to talk about this time.  We will be posting a couple of follow-ups this week: permaculture sheet mulching (a bust), and starting a new [ridge] bed (making good but slow progress).

We are looking for a few more subscribers.  Let your friends know!

–Steven (and Linda)

What’s in the Box? (picture here)
X
  • salad reds and greens
  • Bloomsdale spinach
  • herbs: parsley and rosemary
  • Napoli carrots
  • Lacinato OR Red Russian kale
  • chard (either rainbow OR Bietola)
  • purple Viking potatoes
  • asparagus (at least for those who didn’t get it last week)
  • tenderstem broccoli (added)
Recipe of the Week
X
This week’s recipe came from the Rancho Gordo newsletter.  They would, of course, be a great source for that quinoa.
X

One Pot Kale Pilaf

picture credit: Sarah Shatz

I think one of the smartest books to come out all last year was The Food 52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home CooksThe Food52 site is a famous community-driven cooking party and they’ve been supportive of Rancho Gordo from the start. This recipe is from Food52-member A&M Deesiebat and it’s a great way to enjoy our hand-threshed quinoa incorporate some of that delicious winter kale. I also wonder if you couldn’t improvise by adding a few leftover beans to the mix.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch lacinto (or regular) kale, washed and chopped into one inch lengths
  • 1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup crumbled soft goat cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Procedure

  • Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil over high heat in a large pot with a cover. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just high enough to maintain a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes and then top the quinoa with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the quinoa and kale to steam for 5 more minutes.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine the lemon zest, half the lemon juice, the scallions, walnut oil, pine nuts and goat cheese.
  • Check the quinoa and kale – the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam it a bit longer, adding more water if needed. When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff the pilaf and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. As the hot quinoa hits the scallions and lemon, it should smell lovely. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper and the remaining lemon juice if needed.

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Farm Log 2/12 – 2/18, 2012

Here is our weekly report of what was sown and what was harvested during prior week  Well, make that 2 weeks ago. Check out those pepper varieties!

Sown

Crop

Variety

How Sown

Broccoli Atlantis Sown in cells in greenhouse
Celtuce Sown in cells in greenhouse
Eggplant Rossa Bianca, Millionare,Kurume Long Sown in cells in greenhouse
Kale Lacinato Direct sown in outside bed
Lettuce green summer crisp, Barbados, galactic, outredgeous red romaine, Lollo Rossa Sown in cells in greenhouse
Parsley Transplanted to outside beds
Peppers Aji Crystal, Aleppo, Anaheim M, Ancho, Baccia di Satana, Big Jim, Black Pearl, Cascabel, Chiltepin, Chimayo, Corne de Chevre, Cayenna Goat Horn, Corno de Toro, Costeno Amarillo, Chilhaucle Amarillo, Chilhaucle Negro, Chilhaucle Rojo, Corno de Capra, Cyklon, Espelette, Etna, Fresno, Friggitello, Guajillo, Habinero red, Hungarian Hot Wax, Gypsy, Jalapeno Jalafuego, Jimmy Nardello, Joe’s Long cayenne, Julia’s Tuscan, Marconi Golden, McMahon’s Texas Bird, Mulato Isleno, Nu Mex Joe Parker, Padron, Pasilla , Onza Amarillo, Onza rojo, Tondo Calabrese, Piquin, Rio Grande, Rocoto red, Rossa dolce da Apendere, San Salvatore Calabrese, Senise, Serrano, Sigaretta, Thai Hot, Topepo Rosso, Baklouti Tunisia, Beaver Dam, Melrose Italian, Jalapeno El Jefe, Barker’s Nu Mex, Cascabel, Chile de Arbol, Portugese hot, Leutshauer hot paprika, Maule’s Red Hot, Piquillo, Mirasol, Caloro, Criolla Sella Sown in cells in greenhouse
Tomato Arbason F1, Stupice Sown in cells in greenhouse



Harvested

Crop

Variety (if recorded)

Broccoli Tender stem
Cabbage Farai
Chard Bietola da Coste, Rainbow
Chicory Rossa Italiana, Catalogna pugliese, puntearelle
Collard Greens
Erba Stella
Fava Beans shoots and flowers
Fennel Bronze
Garlic Green
Herbs blue tuscan rosemary
Kale Siberian, Red Russian
Micros amaranth, celery, cilantro, Bulls Blood beets, blood sorrel
Nettle stinging
Pea Shoots dwarf grey
Rapini
Salad Reds & Greens
Sorrel Red-veined
Turnips hakurei



–posted by Steven

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