this week in your csa share {july 17}

Welcome to week 7 of the P&C CSA!

Here’s what’s in the box:

  • Bunching Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce – This week’s variety is Red Iceburg, but we think you’ll like it much more than the iceburg lettuce you’d find at the grocery store.
  • Baby Carrots
  • Slicing Cucumber – The cucumbers have arrived!
  • Snap Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Chard
  • Cherries – These are from an orchard that’s part of the farm that we lease our land from.  Once again, these aren’t officially certified organic, but they haven’t been sprayed this year.

We’re finding a rhythm in the field. Summer’s here and with it more growth, both of the vegetables and weeds. The cucumbers and summer squash seem to put on harvestable fruits daily.  Even the tomatoes and peppers have had a growth spurt. The work in the field is continuous and we are constantly making prioritized ‘to do’ lists in an effort to not skip the more important tasks. This is officially the busy season for these farmers. We’re planting, we’re weeding, we’re irrigating, we’re harvesting, we’re going to market and it will all repeat in one form or another next week.

So, we’re busy, but we also feel very fortunate to be so busy. Farming is hard work and like any small business, it can be difficult to get started. Our biggest ongoing struggle to continue farming has been acquiring land. We’re glad to have found a short term home for our farm on Grand Island, but we hope to buy our own farm one day and land is one thing ‘they’re not making any more of’. Perhaps that’s why we’re so interested in the outcome of a current fight to keep a second gravel quarry from being approved on Grand Island.

Over the last few months the approval of the gravel quarry application has been the talk of all the Island residents as the quarry application has made its way to the Yamhill County Planning Commission and soon to the County Commissioners. Residents who live along the proposed truck route are concerned about the high volume of trucks and the dust they will no doubt create. There is also concern about the large gravel trucks sharing the island roads and narrow bridge with other trucks and local traffic. Many island residents are also concerned about potential increased floodwater issues arising from the gravel extraction in an area where flooding is already a yearly worry. The impact could be significant and widely felt. Ultimately it’s the loss of prime farmland that tops these potential issues for us.

The Willamette Valley is an amazing place to grow food, but there are some places more suited to vegetable production than others. The soil and water availability on Grand Island combine to create a world class growing capability. Permanently losing high quality farmland to gravel extraction is a difficult reality to contend with as we continue the search for a permanent home for our farm. For this reason, we’ve joined the fight to convince the Yamhill County Commissioners that this second gravel quarry application should not be approved.

We know that most of you live in Marion and Polk Counties, but this is an issue affecting the wider Willamette Valley and in some cases, affects where your food is grown. For more detailed information please check out http://www.protectgrandisland.com. We’ll also have postcards available tomorrow at our market booth if you’re interested in adding your name and comments to those who have already spoken out against this application.

Enjoy the veggies this week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Recipe inspiration for this week’s vegetables:

Bright Lights Chard Gratin

2 lbs chard, including half of the stems (used Rainbow Chard)
4 T unsalted butter, divided
1 onion finely chopped (used bunching onions)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 garlic minced clove (used garlic scapes)
3 T chopped dill or parsley
1 T flour
1 cup milk
1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (used mozzarella)

  1. Separate the chard leaves and stems.  Coarsely chop the leave, and finely dice the stems.
  2. Melt half the butter (2 T) in a wide skillet over medium heat.   Add the onion and chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has begun to brown a bit, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the chard leaves, sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and cook until they’re wilted and tender, another 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 and lightly oil a 2 qt gratin dish (I used a pie plate).
  5. Melt half the remaining butter (1 T) in a small skillet and add the bread crumbs, garlic and dill or parsley.
  6. Cook, stirring for about a minute, then scrape the crumbs into a bowl and return the pan to the heat.
  7. Melt the last tablespoon of butter, stir in the flour, then whisk in the milk.  Simmer for 5 minutes, season with 1/2 tsp salt and add to the chard mixture.
  8. Add the cheese, season with pepper as needed.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and cover with the bread crumbs.
  10. Bake until heated through and golden on the surface, about 25 minutes.  Let settle a few minutes before serving.

From Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets, Deborah Madison

(Shared by Patty Holt, CSA member!  Note Patty’s ingredient changes in italics.)

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Cilantro & Lime Vinaigrette

2/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 to 4 dashes hot pepper sauce
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup canola oil

Place all ingredients except the oil in a blender. Turn on blender and add oil very slowly, until well blended. Add a little water is mixture is too thick.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

From “From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce,” Madison Area CSA Coalition

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Poached Eggs in Cilantro Parsley Butter

4 eggs
3 T butter
1 ½ T chopped cilantro
1 T chopped parsley

Fill a wide, shallow pot with enough water to come at least four inches up its sides. Bring water to a full boil. Turn off the heat and carefully crack eggs, one at a time, into the hot water, keeping eggs separate from each other as much as possible. Cover pot and set a timer for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a shallow pan with a couple inches of cold water. After the three minutes are up, us a slotted spoon to carefully transfer each egg to the cold water. When eggs are cool, remove them with a spatula to a cutting surface. Trim off any ragged edges from the eggs with a paring knife. Eggs may be held in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you want to serve them.

To finish, heat butter in a skillet over medium heat, add herbs and cook briefly. Adjust heat to low, add eggs, and heat through, basting them with hot herb butter. Serve immediately with toast.

From “From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce,” Madison Area CSA Coalition

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Shredded Carrot Salad w/ herb dressing

2 1/2 cups grated carrots
3 T olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 T fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp minced fresh cilantro (or try basil, thyme, mint, etc)
1/2 tsp salt
2 T fresh lemon juice
pinch of cayenne (optional)

Place carrots in a serving bowl and set aside.  With a whisk or in a blender, combine the ingredients for  the dressing.  Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss well.  Serve lightly chilled or at room temperature.

From Moosewood Restaurant: New Classics, The Moosewood Collective

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