CSA Newsletter Week 13

Volume II, Issue 15
CSA week 13, for the week of September 1st

  
 
 
This Week’s Selection

Summer Squash/Zucchini, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Peppers, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Kale, Dandelion greens, Tomatoes, Okra, Mini Leeks or Onions, Parsley, Sweet Basil, Thai/Lemon/Holy Basil, Sorrel, Melons, PYO Green Beans, Flowers, extra pesto-time Basil


From the Farmers


Hey Folks,

I want to begin with a warning - in this newsletter, I will discuss something I rarely have discussed thus far: our vegetables at Great Song Farm.  We are coming into our thirteenth week together this season, a couple past our mid season mark, and I figure now might be a good time to make a little mention of that which we dedicate our days and nights to, that which fills our bellies and makes our lips smack: the lowly carrot sprung from the ground like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the pale green flying saucer squash with the flower still attached to its bottom, the strangely curly leaf and stem of kale, the melon's perfume wafting across the room.  It is our job and our privilege to work with this farm and with you to grow the best tasting and most nutritious vegetables, to provide an apt variety and selection weekly, to feed you as well as we possibly can.  We appreciate greatly your patience with us when some of your favorites might seem lacking (a week without lettuce?!?) and your willingness to try new vegetables (I know kale is new to some of you, but also those yellow cucumbers, the weird shaped squash, the herbs you haven't heard of).  Each season provides a new opportunity and a new challenge, which is one of the reasons we plant such a wide variety of crops and a number of varieties of each crop to help safeguard us as much as possible against the myriad unknowns, like 'just what is the soil like under that grass', 'how much does lettuce can a woodchuck eat in one sitting', and the ubiquitous 'weather'.  Here's a little 'just past midseason' report from the farmers.  I will try not to be too apologetic and critical, but honest nonetheless.

We hope you've been enjoying the mountains of kale and chard, the cabbages which we've somewhat succeeded in shrinking to make them less daunting, the scallions and onions and leeks and garlic weekly, the wonderful selHeection of lettuce (until these past two weeks thanks to a hungry woodchuck in our greenhouse!) soon to make a comeback, the carrots which are slowly widening and elongating, the beets we can't seem to have enough of (who knew you all loved beets so much!), the radishes and turnips of weeks past, the plentiful peas and beans (I hope you have a freezerful), the summer squash and zucchini just recently hitting its stride, the overflowing green baskets of basil, parsley, sorrel, the dill and cilantro adding a little something to your salads, onions gracing all of our free floor space, our first garlic crop, and okra.  The melons, plentiful and still coming strong, giving me a a challenge in picking the ripe and then carrying them home to you!  I hope the wide weekly selection has not been a burden, and that you don't hesitate to take as much as you'd like.

And to look forward to, our pepper plants are finally filled with many peppers ripening quickly of a wide variety, the eggplant are stretching and filling out despite the cooler nights (fall is in the air), our second planting of cucumbers has a bit of promise to it (you might get to make those pickles yet), winter squash of myriad shapes and sizes(spaghetti, delicata, acorn, buttercup, pumpkins, butternut, on and on...), shallots (of a size I never knew existed), potatoes (we plant them late and the plants are still alive and growing, a few more weeks please!), endive, escarole, a bit of broccoli, more fennel, kohlrabi, parsnips, rutabagas, more leeks and the return of the turnips and radishes, the pac choi and tat soi, arugula and mustard mix to spice up your salads.

The tomatoes, cherry and otherwise, might have peaked (we were a little lacking in fertility to keep them producing strong), the spinach has graciously bowed out for the fall (we're still having trouble with spinach, though I think I got it's number now and will make it a happy bed come the winter and spring), the collards and chinese cabbage both gave it up prematurely, though we're looking to more late in the season, celery and celeric are a serious challenge (do they leave regular celery on a water/fertilizer IV drip it's whole life?).  Overall, from my view, our fruits are coming a little late, but better late then never, our leaves and roots are doing surprisingly well though we should thin our carrots, plant more beets, and figure out some way to make sure that lettuce is never amiss.  A good second year,  a great deal learned, lots of ideas rattling around in my head to improve on next year.

There's my view, now it's your turn.  How are you feeling about your experience here this year?  What do you want to see more of, what is offered too much?  Please take a moment to answer our little mid season survey here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dHU5Qjd5alJUS3dIVVduV1VoX19qX1E6MQ .  All of your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help us finish out this year and look towards next, as that is what is occupying my mind much as of late.  Next year is so close, yet so far away, and we have quite a while left together this season to come.  It is thrilling to look forward to what the future holds here, as I have realized again and strengthened my conviction that I was brought here this life to work with the soil and plants and nourish people in a new way.  I am excited, as my relationship with this land and plants and animals grows and strengthens, to love it as much as possible, to cherish its challenges and it's questions, to learn to listen well and see what's happening in between everything that I see with my young eyes, to open and embrace and allow that which is to reveal itself.  A humble 29 years young, constantly reminded of how little I know, of how far I have to go.  Thankfully, the distance is limitless, unless I hold myself back: what one can come to know is without end.  Here's to hoping the experience is as fulfilling for you as it is for me.  Thanks.

loving what is, and what isn't, always striving
-Anthony and Lisa

How To Be a Poet
(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge, skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.


 Wendell Berry


Aubergine

A lovely shade of purple, or ...

Eggplant Fries

from The Hungry Mouse
3/4 cup flour
2 tsps garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, fresh ground
oil for frying
3 baby eggplants or 2 medium eggplants
salt for seasoning
honey
In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, dried oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper until thoroughly mixed. In a heavy-bottom medium saucepan, heat at least two inches of oil to about 350F. Peel the eggplants and slice into 3/4-inch thick fingers. Toss the eggplant slices a few at a time in the seasoned flour until well coated. When the oil is ready, drop a few sticks of eggplant into the oil – they should begin sizzling immediately. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan or have the oil temperature drop too much. When they begin to brown (about a minute) flip them over and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. Remove the eggplant fries from the oil and let drain on a cooling rack. Serve hot with a shake of salt and a drizzle of honey. A great snacking appetizer for 4 people.



Ratatouille

 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup diced green bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced zucchini squash
  • 1 cup diced yellow squash
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Set a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Add the green and red peppers, zucchini, and squash and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature.


Eggplant Gratin
 

Ingredients

  • Good olive oil, for frying
  • 3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.
Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.


Babaganoush
 

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake the eggplant until it is soft inside, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, grill the eggplant over a gas grill, rotating it around until the skin is completely charred, about 10 minutes. Let the eggplant cool. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, drain off the liquid, and scoop the pulp into a food processor. Process the eggplant until smooth and transfer to a medium bowl.
On a cutting board, work garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt together with the flat side of a knife, until it forms a paste. Add the garlic-salt mixture to the eggplant. Stir in the parsley, tahini, and lemon juice. Season with more salt, to taste. Garnish with additional parsley.
 
 
A Little Something Else...
 

What to Remember When Waking

In that first
hardly noticed
moment
to which you wake,
coming back
to this life
from the other
more secret,
moveable
and frighteningly
honest
world
where everything
began,
there is a small
opening
into the new day
which closes
the moment
you begin
your plans.

What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.

What you can live
wholeheartedly
will make plans
enough
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.

To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.

To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance.

You are not
a troubled guest
on this earth,
you are not
an accident
amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater
night
than the one
from which
you have just emerged.

Now, looking through
the slanting light
of the morning
window toward
the mountain
presence
of everything
that can be,
what urgency
calls you to your
one love?  What shape
waits in the seed
of you to grow
and spread
its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting
in the fertile sea?
In the trees
beyond the house?
In the life
you can imagine
for yourself?
In the open
and lovely
white page
on the waiting desk?

~ David Whyte ~