Oh the Eggplant wagon is a coming into town.....
I admit, I was nervous about this weeks box. I kept saying to myself, "No greens, how can we have a CSA box without any greens?" And then the peppers showed up next to a first picking of green beans followed by corn, watermelon and the benevolent eggplant. Oh wait and the ground cherries! Forget greens, this box will taste delicious and looks fabulous.
Lets see, the feeling on the farm yesterday was celebratory. We hosted 30 farmers and farm trainers from across the country attending the USDA Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Conference in Saint Paul. MFA was one of the showcase farms and our visitors got to talk with farmers, learn about a specialty crop from Ethiopia (don't worry, you will get to eat it soon!) and snack on watermelon, caprese skewers and Big River Juice made special for us by the Truce juice bar in Minneapolis. Farm director, Molly and Program Manager, Laura both presented at the conference as well.
It was a huge success and a gratifying experience to meet other farmers and farm trainers around the nation who are also embroiled in the battle for good food.
Fall CSA Share: 3 boxes for $135
Our Fall Csa boxes will be available sooner than you think. Can't you taste those roasted brussel sprouts and carrot ginger soup?
Sign-up for your share today and stock your pantry for the holidays!
On the Farm
This morning I saw these cuties (Xiaoyu and Tyler), what more could you possibly want from life than watermelon and a pepsi?!
Farmer Nay from Karen Family Farm gave great insight on food and farming for our BFRDP visitors.
Farmer of the Week
Introducing May Lee, our farmer mentor extraordinaire!
May Lee’s story as an organic farmer begins with the story of her mother. For years, May Lee’s mother worked on a U.S. farm that daily exposed her to pesticides. She developed cancer that was linked to pesticide poisoning. As May Lee watched, she grew ill and died. This great sadness in May Lee’s life made her aware of the dangers to people’s health and the environment in the prevailing food production systems. After her mother died, May Lee resolved to make changes in her own life.
Continue reading May Lee's story
Whats in the Box?
Green Beans, Cucumbers, Corn, Eggplant and Peppers from The Early Birds
Corn, Eggplant, Tomatoes (cherry and slicing), Ground Cherries and Watermelons from Sebra Farm
Cucumbers from 1st Karen Farm
Onions from Bhutanese Farm
Peppers from Rome Farm
In the Kitchen
A tasty bean salad for those lazy August evenings. I also enjoy a simply saute of green beans with olive oil and garlic. You can add dill, salt and pepper and top with a dollop of creme fraiche and voila....heaven. But Heidi's recipe from 101 Cookbooks is also divine.
Yellow Bean Salad
You can make this salad with yellow runner beans, but you can certainly make it with green beans! Also, if you tend to like a bit more heat, leave (all or some of) the veins and seeds in the chile pepper.
1 pound / 16 oz yellow runner beans
1 serrano chile, stemmed and seeded
5 green onions, green parts trimmed & reserved
a big handful of cilantro
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 cup coconut milk, well mixed
1- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
2 big handfuls / 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
1 1/2 cups tiny pan-fried tofu cubes, optional
basil flower garnish, optional
Cut the beans into 1-inch segments on a deep bias. Cook in a pot of well-salted water for just 30 seconds, drain, and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain, and aggressively shake off as much water as possible. Set aside.
To make the dressing, pulse the chile, onions, cilantro, garlic, salt, and sunflower oil into a paste with a food processor. Pulse in the coconut milk in two additions, before adding the lemon juice to taste, a half tablespoon at a time.
Place the beans in a large bowl with most of the pepitas and tofu cubes (if you're using them). Toss well with a generous amount of the dressing (you'll have plenty of leftover), even so, as I mention up above, this is one of those salads that benefits from over-dressing versus under. Serve in a bowl or platter topped with the remaining pepitas and tofu, and basil flowers if you happen to have them.
Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 10 min
Ground Cherries? Husk Cherries?
Lets call them Physalis pruinosa!
Introducing the humble, yet decadent Physalis pruinosa. A member of the night shade family, and relative of the tomatillo, this delightful fruit can be eaten raw (remove the husk first!), prepared in a salsa or added to a simple goat cheese, lettuce, vinaigrette salad. Perhaps the best way though is to dust up your counter and make a tart!
Rebekah's Plum and Husk Cherry Tart
- from Emma Christiansen author of My Three Loves food blog
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp salt
9 TBS cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
4-5 TBS ice water
I'll do a longer tutorial on how to make classic pate brisee later on, but here's a basic method:
Combine the flour and salt on your counter top. Use a pastry scraper to cut in the butter until you get pea-sized chunks of butter (you can use the tips of your fingers to break the butter, too, but be careful that the butter doesn't get too warm). Add the water one tablespoon at a time and use just the tips of your fingers to incorporate it into the dough. When you can squeeze the dough in your hand and it doesn't fall apart, stop adding water. Gather it into a ball pat it into a thick disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Plum and Husk Cherry Filling:
~10 oz of tart golden plums (weighed un-cut with the stone in), cut into slices
1 pint husk cherries, husks removed
1/2 c. candied ginger
1/2 c. sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 TBS flour
Combine all ingredients. Cover and set aside while preparing the dough. (The liquid in the plums will dissolve the sugar to make a thick paste. At this point, you can taste a bit and adjust the flavorings to your liking.)
Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Roll the dough out into a rough, 10" circle of even thickness. Lift the dough frequently as you roll and flip it over to make sure it doesn't stick to the counter. Use a light dusting of flour if things start to get sticky. This is a rustic tart, so the exact size of the crust doesn't need to be exact. Transfer the crust onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour the filling into the center of the pie crust and spread it to within 4-5 inches of the edge of the crust.
Looking at the crust as the face of the clock, fold the lip of the dough over the filling at 12:00. Next fold the lip over at roughly 2:00. Then at 4:00. Then at 6:00. Then at 8:00. At 10:00, fold the lip over but then unfold the 12:00 fold partway to tuck the 10:00 fold under so that all the layers fall in the same direction. Brush the top with egg or milk thinned with a little water.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the top of the tart with Demara sugar (or the spiced gold sugar mix from THIS place) just before serving. Enjoy!
May your love of vegetables be overflowing this last full week of August.
Food Hub Manager
Minnesota Food Association/Big River Farms