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Still so much Summer to live!

Posted 8/11/2016 8:54pm by Amber Stenson.

Hiya folks!

Its hard to believe that with eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corn, onions...all theses treats coming off the farm, that the sentiment in the air speaks of Fall and the slowing down of the season. In the fields we see the slow transition as first plantings wane and second plantings beginning to take shape. The multitude of farmers in the fields sweat in this heat and work harder than ever to ensure good food in on your plate. 

In the office staff is already planning for the Fall harvest party (October 16th!) and even starting to organize the Immigrant farm conference that will take place in January at the U of M. Our farmers continue to reach out to a variety of markets on their own and through Big River Farms. We are excited that some of our farmers are pioneering their own delivery routes using an EBT machine. Their commitment to distributing healthy and organic produce to communities that so often lack access to diverse food supplies. 

THis week we were also excited to participate with United Family Medicine during their #HealthyWest7th Block Party. Farmer Maisian set-up a veggie guessing game to spread the veggie love!

As always, we so value your commitment to supporting local food and local farmers. Eat on!

Whats in the Box

This week we are excited to present our second and third specialty crop of the season. Welcome Daikon radish and Asian Eggplant. Though your tastes are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, you are both unique in flavor, use and cultural significance. Thanks to Sebra Farms for the Daikon and The Early Birds for the Eggplant.

Looking for recipes to try with Daikon. Saveur magazine has a great series of Daikon recipes from Kimchi to Curry.

In addition the box includes:

Sungold tomatoes, slicing tomatoes and sweet corn from Sebra Farms

Potatoes, carrots and onions from Bhutanese Farm

Cabbage from Karen Family Farm and 1st Karen Farm

Green Peppers from The Early Birds

Basil and Cilantro from 1st Karen Farm


In the Kitchen

Now is the time of year to make loads of ratatouille. Enough to share, freeze and eat fresh! I invite you to explore the "secret to perfect slow-cooker ratatouille" or try this recipe from The Smitten Kitchen

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille
As envisioned by Smitten Kitchen

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (my store sells these “Italian Eggplant” that are less than half the size of regular ones; it worked perfectly)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.

On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.)

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.


Farm Director Molly has also introduced this delicious recipe stating " unless I can use the whole cabbage in one recipe, I wont choose to make the dish"

Check out this Japanese style pizza aka Okonomiyaki from 101cookbooks and use your whole cabbage in one fell swoop!

Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pizza) Recipe

Leeks are notoriously gritty. To clean them well I typically slice them lengthwise and then submerge them in a big bowl of water - where I rinse and swish them to loosen up any dirt. Drain and repeat if needed. Then chop/slice.

2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup leeks, well washed and chopped (see head notes)
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or apf flour)
a couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1+ tablespoon olive oil

Garnish: toasted slivered almonds, chives/ herbs

Combine the cabbage, leeks, flour, and salt in a bowl. Toss until everything is coated with a dusting of flour. Stir in the eggs and mix until everything is evenly coated.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a generous splash of olive oil. Scoop the cabbage mixture into the pan, and using a metal spatula press it into a round pancake shape, flat as you can get it. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden. To flip the okonomiyaki, slide it out of the skillet onto a plate. Place another plate on top and flip both (together) over. If you need a bit more oil in your skillet, add it now, before sliding the okonomiyaki back into the skillet. Again press down a bit with a spatula and cook until golden on this side - another 3 -5 minutes.

When you are finished cooking, sprinkle with toasted almonds and chives, and slide it onto a cutting board to cut into wedges. Enjoy immediately.


Lebo Moore

Food Hub Manager

Minnesota Food Association/Big River Farms

651-433-3676 ext.21