Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CSA Share Week 16

This Sunday the farm held its open house for CSA members. The forecast was for showers after 2 p.m. “Good enough,” we thought. It wasn’t going to be a lovely, sunny day, but at least it would stay dry for the bulk of everyone’s visit. Or so we thought.
Cars began rolling in at 10 a.m., just as it curiously began to start drizzling. “Maybe this will pass by. A quick shower,” we said to ourselves, holding fast to positive thinking. By the time the first tour was scheduled and about 30 people had arrived, the rain was pouring down. We sought shelter in the barn. Not such a bad place to start. The 200-year-old barn is a point of conversation in itself. So were the thousands of garlic bulbs hanging in the barn basement. And, seeking more cover, we moved to our largest greenhouse, were there was plenty to discuss and show there. After all, how many people have seen lettuce when its leaves are the size of one’s fingernail?
Eventually, we could stall no longer. The rain was pouring down, and no one seemed anxious to venture out to see our veggie fields. Hanging out under the 20 x 30 foot tent we’d rented wasn’t even desirable. It was a raw, wet day. So, thank goodness for our big, old farmhouse. Everyone packed into our 30-foot-long kitchen. We spread out a wonderful variety of food brought by members and provided by the farm, brewed some coffee, and simply got to know one another. It was great.
By the time lunch was over, the rain had subsided and we trekked out to see the main working part of the farm including the brooder, which presently houses about 300 two-week-old chicks, our primary vegetable fields, the new irrigation pond, and the hens out on pasture looking more than a little soggy.
It wasn’t quite the day we’d planned. We had activities planned that never happened—corn stalks in a back field ready to be cut down and bunched for members who might want to make door (or apt.) decorations, and a winter squash crop ready for harvest. But after accumulating a few pounds of thick mud on the bottoms of one’s shoes touring the farm, no one was itching to hike to the back of the farm where those crops lay wet and waiting.
We are so grateful to all those who came. It was a wonderful mix of members—coming from as close as across the street to as far as New York City and even Connecticut. We even had one member catch a red-eye flight back from L.A. to make it to the farm (thanks Ariel!). It was a treat for us to take a day off from our usual work and meet or better get to know some of the CSA members. (The bonfire the night before with campers was a highlight as well.) Again, to all, thanks!


1 bunch leeks
Mixed bell peppers
1 bunch cilantro
7 ounces spicy lettuce mix
¾ pound (12 ounces) edemame
6 ounces baby salad mix
1 watermelon
1 red onion


This week’s spicy mixed greens are a combination of Mizuna, Red Russian kale, Komatsuna, Red Giant mustard, and Tatsoi. It’s suitable for a cold green salad with sliced red bell peppers or fall pears or for briefly wilting or stir-frying in hot oil with the week’s leeks. The spicy profile makes it well-suited to the following salad dressing adapted from one of the farm’s favorite cookbook sources for inspiring salads: Lettuce in Your Kitchen by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby(© 1996, William Morrow and Company).

Dressing #1:
1 1/2 stalk lemongrass, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon neutral-tasting vegetable oil, such as peanut, sunflower or safflower oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine the lemongrass, ginger, vinegar, water, and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until you have about 1/3 cup liquid, after about 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain, discarding solids. Add the sesame oil, vegetable oil, soy sauce and fish sauce (if you want) and mix well.

OR… if you cannot easily find lemongrass, this sesame dressing, also from Lettuce in Your Kitchen, is quick and uses more readily available ingredients.

¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

A nice addition to the greens would be grilled or sautéed chicken. Or, if wilting the greens, drizzle with the soy sauce and sesame oil dressing (above) and serve over sticky white rice or brown rice with thinly sliced red pepper and strips of cooked egg (beaten and left to set in the pan, like an omelet.)

What’s edemame? It’s a fresh soy bean. And don’t let its fuzzy exterior fool you. Inside the pods are nutty little beans that make a great snack, appetizer or side dish. They’re easy to cook and fun to eat. Not sure how to cook edemame? It’s as simple as cooking pasta. We recommend going to wikipedia.com and searching “how to cook edemame.” There are both instructions and a video.

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