Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Second Annual Farm Dinner this August 16th!

That heat wave felt like it was going in slow motion; I can't believe it is almost August! 
In just a few weeks we will have our 2nd annual Farm Dinner!

Delicious dishes prepared with SIW veggies by Chef David from Harry's, a magical barn with a pastoral view, and a chance to meet fellow HG tomato lovers :) Here's an example of some of last year's fare to get you drooling: heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella // pickled beets, heirloom tomatoes and watermelon salad // grilled eggplant crostini // grilled organic chicken // candy onion marmalade // fresh HG corn with lemongrass ginger aioli… simply put: YUM.

We will be accepting reservations in advance at the stand so we can plan accordingly (payment requested when you sign up- cash or check).

2 happy CSA members about to chow down at last year's dinner.

The Deets:

Who: invitation for CSA and non-CSA members alike :)
When: August 16th, 7pm
Where: on the farm, at that beautifully rustic old barn (where we met for the farm tour)
What to bring: BYOB and dessert if you'd like (more on that below)
Cost: This year's dinner will cost $30 per person ($20 for CSA members) and $15 for kids under 15 years (to help recoup some of the losses we've suffered due to the horrid growing season). *Please pay (cash or check) when you sign up at the stand ahead of time.*

We've got the fabulous David Banks from Harry's Savoy as our chef- preparing gourmet treats with SIW veggies. 

If you'd like to bring a dessert, give us a heads up at the stand so we don't end up rolling out the barn doors like Veruca Salt with too many pies, pastries and sweet treats!

Heirloom Tomatoes and the Garden Orb Weaver

Black Pear 

Another trip into the farm's only high tunnel to see if I can withstand the heat and check the progress of some gorgeous heirlooms. A few of my favorites are the Black Pear, Brandy Boy and Peruvian varieties. They each have subtle, complex flavors and are simply show-stopping-ly beautiful!

Zipper Spider- pretty cool that it lines up with the center
 of the zigzag, its legs making an 'x' to blend in with the web. 
Here's your biology lesson for the day! 

When I happened upon this spider, I thought the white zigzag was a man made fiber- perhaps a bit of tie to keep the tomatoes from falling over? But I happened upon several more of these yellow and black guys, each with their own zigzag running down the center of their web. I asked Brent, our lettuce farmer, if he knew what was up. He suggested I poke at the web and watch the spider shake like crazy in attempts to scare me off. I decided not to do that. 

A quick internet search later and I found this to be a common orb weaver spider called an Argiope or zipper spider. I dislike spiders (in my personal space) but respect their beneficial garden-y ways. I also thought it was pretty freaking cool that this Golden Orb weaver shares something in common with me! (I'm a handweaver by trade and will have more shameless self promotion in the fall- stay tuned :) )

The zig zag, or  stabilimentum is the last thing woven in one thicker piece of silk. That zipper is slightly controversial in terms of use.  Perhaps it keeps birds from flying into the web. It may also attract insects- the web material reflects the same UV spectrum light as flowers. 

Brandy Boy- a bold shade of pink!
At this point in the summer, heirloom varieties are popping up regularly at SIW. You won't find these tomatoes at the grocery store! Make sure you handle them super delicately. They often have a thinner skin and shorter shelf life. Oh man, they are the best.. If you haven't tried them, this becomes your homework tonight.

The highly sought after... Peruvian!

Monday, July 29, 2013

CSA Week #9

eggplant fresh from the field.

What a colorful medley this week! What will you make with your gorgeous beets? I recommend roasting them (sliced) simply in a tin foil parcel with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Flavors intensify (not your boring boiled beet) and are perfect all week in salads, side dishes and that little pass-by-the-fridge snack.

CSA Week #9:

1 HG Cantaloupe
2 HG tomatoes
4 lbs #2 tomatoes
1 bag of lettuce
1 heirloom tomato
1 red AND 1 white onion
1 bunch of scallions
1 lb of beets
1 bulb garlic
1 green pepper
6 ears of corn
2 lbs eggplant
2 sunflowers

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Zucchini and Bean Salad

Here's a promising recipe I plan on trying this week. The vinaigrette acts to "cook" the squash a bit if you make this the day before (as suggested).

Marinated Squash and Chickpea Salad

1lb small zucchini/yellow squash, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)- white or black beans would be great also
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch long slices
2 cloves garlic, minced (if you still have garlic scapes kicking around- use 'em!)
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons white balsamic or white wine vinegar, (or another slightly sweet vinegar)
salt and black pepper, to taste
fresh herbs (such as mint, basil, or oregano) to taste

Combine all ingredients in a non-metal container. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 6 hours (24 hours is optimal), stirring occasionally. Check the seasonings and add more salt and lemon juice or vinegar if you think it needs it. Serve sprinkled with additional fresh herbs.

Ideas to spruce it up:

Use seasoned rice vinegar, add a drizzle of sesame oil and some sesame seeds.
Add a dash of hot sauce or cayenne to balance that sweet.
Add some SIW corn and/or Dr. Martin limas (what I wouldn't give to get my first taste of these right about now!)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Delicious Watermelon Smoothie for a Heat Wave

Perhaps the best thirst quencher on our planet, Earth (besides water).
That is a pretty big claim. Let's exclude libations. And coffee. It is pretty awesome even if you want to argue with me. What is this miracle elixir? I'll give you 3 hints: watermelon, lime and mint. 

Watermelon Smoothie:

Fill a blender with chunks of cold, fresh watermelon. Add the juice from 1/2 a lime. Throw in a few sprigs of fresh mint, chopped. Blend it all up (you can add ice if you'd like). Pour yourself a glass. Straw optional. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

CSA Week #8

CSA Weekly Share for July 22nd:

1 red onion
1 white onion
1 bulb of garlic
1 HG tomato
1 heirloom tomato
3 lbs #2 tomatoes
1 lb eggplant
1 bunch of scallions
2 sunflowers
6 ears of corn
1 green pepper
2 sprigs of basil

*bonus price for CSA members- $2.00 for a cantaloupe (normally $3.99)

What will you make with those #2 tomatoes? I'm making gazpacho... mmm!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Aren't they just the best? I frequently remind customers to put that pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes in the front seat for their drive home. Those little babies are like candy- sweet and addictive. Of course, if you do plan on snacking, might I suggest you pick up 2 pints?

Here are a few of my favorite pics I took up on the farm last week showcasing some of our gorgeous varieties.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sylvio walks the corn fields.

Sylvio the Gorilla, our steamy summer intern, has taken a keen interest in the corn fields on the farm. He had no idea that patches are continually being planted in different fields so we have a steady supply for most of the season. Sylvio also learned that gorillas love corn (and that hot humid days make his fur frizzy!).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Veggie Spring Rolls for a Heat Wave!

On days like these, your oven will give you dirty looks if you try and cook dinner. The only solution for me (besides a restaurant or cereal) : spring rolls. They are totally customizable to what you have on hand and kind of fun to make. Get the whole family involved! I plan on making 2-3 per person.

Veggie Spring Rolls for a Heat Wave:

What you'll need:

spring roll wrappers (made from rice flour, available in the international section of your grocery)
fresh veggies, chopped small in bite sized pieces
cellophane noodles (aka glass noodles aka bean threads) optional
cooked and chilled protein- like tofu! (for you meat eaters- I bet chicken would be good)
dipping sauce

Veggie recommendations depending on what's in season:
red pepper
snow peas/snap peas
basically anything you want.

Here's how to work those crazy wrappers:

Put 1/2 an inch of hot tap water in a pie pan large enough to fit one wrapper.
Dip it in, ensuring the whole wrapper gets wet. Take it out and place on a clean plate or cutting board. 
Fill the center of wrapper with a little noodles and a selection of vege. Don't go overboard or that wrapper will tear. By the time you've made your veggie pile, the wrapper will have magically softened. You can then fold the edge closest to you, then two sides perpendicular to you, then roll all the way up (does that make sense? like a burrito). Repeat with the next wrapper, filling with any number of veggie combinations!

Dipping sauce: 

I'm a huge fan of trader joe's sweet chili sauce (a little spicy, a little sweet) and hoisin sauce. Other ideas could be soy sauce and scallions, a little wasabi or ginger, duck sauce, peanut sauce.. 

Now please go find a pool and jump in it!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

CSA Weekly Share for July 16th

ripening beauties...
tomato plant perfume?
Oh tomatoes. I'd write you a sonnet if you knew how to read. I'd buy a bottle of tomato plant perfume if someone bottled it. I was up in the fields the other day and red is popping up everywhere. Plus yellow, orange, and green... It took lots of self restraint not to start picking and eating- but I waited for Tuesday to pick up my share :)

CSA Week 7 Share:

1 bag of lettuce
1 red AND 1 white onion
1 bulb garlic
1 bunch scallions
3 ears of HG's super amazing corn
2 HG tomatoes
2 1/2 lbs of zucchini or squash
2 lbs of SIW red potatoes
1 bunch of zinnias

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chilled Corn Soup for a Heat Wave

a tasty bowl of chilled soup.

The wonderful gal who makes that fabulous granola(!) at SIW passed this recipe along. Actually, she pulled the soup out of her fridge and made me try it. I am usually a little skeptical at cold soups (why not call them smoothies and drink them from a glass?), but this was GOOD. It capture the corniness of corn and is sweet and refreshing. Plus, it is delicious cold or hot- bonus for winter months when I'm craving summer (You do freeze HG's corn at the end of the season, right?- another post on that later).

annnnd you can find all of the fresh ingredients at the stand! Here ya have it:

Corn Soup with summer salsa
(hardly adapted by Jennifer Joyce)

prep time 15 minutes, cooking time 20 minutes
serves 6
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large leek, white part only, chopped (or a bunch of lovely delicate baby leeks from SIW)
1 waxy potato, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8-10 cobs of corn, kernels shaved off (whatever gets ya to 5-6 cups)
4 cups veggie stock (or chicken)

Summer salsa
1 red pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
one scallion, snipped into small slices

Place the salsa ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, potato, garlic and some salt and pepper. Cook 10 min or until softened. 

While this is cooking, I prepare my veggie bouillon (cheating with cubes instead of homemade stock but here's how I pump it up- add the cobs of 2 corn to the water that you're bringing to a boil. When the water boils, take out the cobs and drop in your bouillon cubes). Those cobs will delicately add even more corn flavor to the broth!

Add the corn and stock, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree, in 2 batches, in a blender until smooth (be careful to keep that lid on tight, don't fill the blender too high and cover your hand with a dish towel, just in case!). I found that I had to blend for a lil longer than expected to get that silky smooth texture. Taste and adjust as needed. 

Return to the pan to reheat and taste for salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls or mugs with the salsa and a sprinkle of scallion. Note: For chilled soup refrigerate for at least 4 hours covered. I made it the night before and used it for lunches all week!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Frequent Buyer Program (Monthly Drawings and Discounts, oh my!)

Are you familiar with our Frequent Buyer Program? By now, you should have about 4 of our business card/frequent shopper cards sitting in several wallets and purses- and all with a few punches in them (have no fear, we can combine those cards)!

Here's how it works: Every time you visit us and make a purchase, we punch your card. On your 6th visit, you get 10% off anything you get. On your 11th visit, you save 10% and get a lil bonus something grown on the farm. 

When the card is fully punched - you throw your name and phone number on the card and it's entered into our monthly drawing. OOOH! What is the monthly drawing for, you ask? Free dinner for 2 at one of our lovely (and delicious) participating restaurants! Who doesn't love freebies? Who doesn't love dinner?! The way I see it, it's a win-win scenario. We get to see you more often, you get discounts and chances to win a prize!

July's winner (selected July 31st) will feast at The Orchard in Kennett Square. Yum!

Here are some other cross-your-fingers-to-win-because-they-are-so-good participating restaurants.

Sylvio the Gorilla, summer intern, entertains a lady
Gorilla friend with a picnic on the farm.

The dreaded Potato Beetle.

No, my friend. This is not one of those beneficial insects you hear about. This is a potato beetle. And she doesn't limit herself to her namesake- she will happily chomp on tomato plants and eggplant as well. 

potato beetle weapons. 
On the farm tour, I was surprised to learn that these pests will meet their impending doom in reused plastic bottles. That's right- they are picked off by hand and disposed of in empty water and gatorade bottles. Another fascinating fact from that tour you have to attend next time!
Potato plants will be dug when they've finished blossoming.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Corn Delight!

pic taken during our farm tour last month.
Can you guess what is growing in this field? It may look empty but this is the site of future meals, people. Let me give you one more hint:

baby photo.
Here's another view. A lil baby poking through the soil and black biodegradable plastic (which helps weeds stay out and moisture stay in). Give up?

Corn! HG grows about 15 different varieties of corn (white, bicolor and sometimes yellow). At any given time, you'll find a whole bunch of fields in different stages of corny growth, from those adorable baby pictures above to the giant beauties we will enjoy slathered in butter and salt. 

None of the varieties of corn seed are GMOs with the exception of 1 variety grown in the fall. It is modified to produce it's own Bt, a natural insecticide against those pesky worms. Bt is a natural bacteria that is toxic to many insects. 

Not to toot our own corn (is that too corny?), but have you noticed SIW corn is simply fabulous? As in, you don't even have to cook the stuff, just chomp away at it raw? Or at best, throw it in a little boiling water for 30 seconds, tops? As in, so sweet you think it's been dipped in sugar? 

Let me let you in on our secret: the corn is expertly picked at the right stage, several times a day so it is always SUPER fresh. Your duty: eat it the same day you buy it, so you eat it SUPER fresh. HG recommends butter and sugar. Customers have recommended a squeeze of lime and chili or a slather of mayo and cotija cheese. Grilled, in salads, succotash, on the cob, raw- any way you enjoy it = summer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

CSA Weekly Share for July 9th

a perfect duo.

Another humid day! The threat of rain seems ever imminent, but on a happier note- the first of HG's tomatoes are in! They were grown in high tunnels and have been protected from the dreariness. Plus you get to take home one for your very own :)

CSA Share for the week:

1 bunch scallions
1 red onion
1 candy white onion
1 bulb garlic
3 lbs of zucchini/yellow squash
2 ears of corn
1 of HG's tomatoes
1 bunch garlic scapes
1 sunflower

As usual, some of these items are until supplies run out. Pick up is Tues, Wed and Thurs. 
Have a happy week!

Garden Pesto Recipe

the whole veggie stand' in here!

The Whole Garden SIW Pesto:

Another pasta recipe- are you sick of them yet? I'm not. Quick, healthy and a crowd pleaser.. This recipe is totally improvised and you can make your own version- veggies can be substituted or elaborated on- depending on what you pick up at the stand. The goal is at least a 1/2 and 1/2 ratio or veggies to pasta :)

Serves 6-8 or more!

1 lb pasta (any kind will do)
1 large candy onion, chopped
3-4 garlic scapes
1 red pepper, chopped coarsely
3 zucchini/squash/pattypan, chopped coarsely
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1 pint of peas, shelled (out of season now, but luckily I blanched and froze some!)
2-3 cobs of corn, kernels removed

Boil water for pasta. While it's heating up, begin to saute your veggies in some olive oil (in a large! skillet). Start with the onion and garlic scapes. After 5 min., add your pepper. I wait until the pasta goes in the water to begin cooking the zucchini. Ideally you've cut them pretty coarsely so they won't turn to mush in the process. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pep. 

Once the pasta is finished and drained. I stir a little butter in the hot empty pot to melt, add a few heaping tablespoons of pesto and mix it with the pasta. Then I add the peas and corn to the veggies (they only need a heat up, really). Add a glop of pesto to the veg and stir it alllllll together. You will find you've got a gigantic amount of veg and pesto pasta. This is excellent because you will love it. You can feed a crowd. You can have leftovers for days. You can eat it cold for lunch. 

Pesto Sauce:
(makes more than you'll use for this dish)

3 cups packed basil leaves (about 10 stems from that heavenly smelling black bucket at SIW)
2 or 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
1/2 cup pine nuts (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (I usually use pecorino romano)

Blend it all up in a food processor or blender. In my processor, I usually start with the garlic and nuts to get them agrindin'. Add the basil and whirl together. With the machine on, I drizzle in the olive oil and stop a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Season with salt and pep; stir in the cheese. This will keep for a week or so in an airtight container in the fridge (or freeze!). 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Swimming in Zucchini and Squash

pic taken at the end of June- imagine what they look like now!
We are in full zucchini/squash season now! I've been adding patty pan squash and zucchini to every stir fry and pasta dish I make. I've made zucchini bread and slathered it in pesto and goat cheese.

For the 4th of July, I stretched a bowl of homemade guac(as in mole) by blending a small zucchini into tiny, shreddy bits and mixing it in. More guac to enjoy, you can't taste it and the guac becomes a lil more healthy! Have any of you tried interesting uses for these babies besides throwing them on the grill? Leave your ideas in the comments section to give me some new ideas..  :)

a gorgeous swirly tendril on a cucumber plant.

zucchini flowers

Did you know that squash blossoms are either male or female? Only the female flowers will develop into squash/zucchini. In the photo above you can see the male (tall skinny stem, upright blossom) and female (attached to the end of a siamese yellow squash. P.S. all you home gardeners - blossoms are edible.. stuff 'em with cheese, beautify salads or fry 'em!

squash blossom being admired at the farm tour last month.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summery Dessert Recipe (Cherry Clafoutis)!

Happy Fourth of July! Thanks to all the scores of ya who came by the stand today! We were in high gear, making sure all had that delicious sweet corn and enough tomatoes, cheese and basil for all the caprese salads eaten today. We continue to be open through the weekend!

You can't go wrong with cherries. Or raspberries. Or blackberries! Above was a 4th of July treat I made simply for myself using bing and rainer cherries. Dang- I should've added blueberries to go with the red, white and blue theme..

Here's a quick recipe that is delicious warm or cold. You can dress it up with powdered sugar or whipped cream. You can eat it plain for breakfast! Point is, Julia knows where it's at. 

Julia (Child's, of course) Clafoutis:
(hardly adapted)

serves 6-8 
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 T vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted (or SIW raspberries, blackberries, black raspberries, etc.)
1/3 cup sugar
powdered sugar

Using a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7-8 cup lightly buttered baking dish/casserole. Place in a preheated (350) oven until a film of batter sets in the pan (maybe 5 mins?). Remove from heat and spread the cherries evenly over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar (I use way less with sweet fruit!). Pour on the rest of the batter. Bake for about 45 min-1 hr until puffed, golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Optional: serve with sprinkled powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream (though it's delicious without).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Family Fun Events (hint: who doesn't love using binoculars?)

Another fun summer activity- become a birder! July 8th, 13th, and 22nd at 9am Longwood Gardens are having a "Birds of Longwood" tour. This sounds like a pretty beautiful and nature-ful way to spend your morning. Longwood gardens has several walking tours this July (and the rest of the summer). It's free with gardens admission. Don't forget your binoculars!

lil baby birdies freshly hatched in a peony bush earlier this season.
Taken right from their site: "Summer Birds and Herons - There should be lots of action at the Gardens now—breeders will have young to feed, and southbound migration has begun for shorebirds. We should see several species on the mudflats. In addition, Herons & Egrets will be around, having wandered from their breeding grounds."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

CSA Dinner this August 16th!

Sylvio the Gorilla dreaming of the CSA dinner.. wonder if he'll be invited?
This just in.... the 2nd annual CSA dinner will be held Friday, August 16th, at 7pm.

Details will follow...  But for now, mark your calendars :) I can promise you this- it's gonna be delicious!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weekly CSA Share for July 1st

perfect globe of squash glowing in the sunshine. 

The very first of the corn for the year.. and some of it is in your share this week!
Added bonus to the corn: extra protein (in the form of corn worms, yummy!) You may notice early in the corn season that ears are slightly smaller than later on and worms are already volunteering to snack on your share. That's ok, since I'm so desperate to get my hands on it - I recommend a swift flick to the compost bucket for those pesky moochers.

Brent's lettuce smiling pretty for the camera.

Share for the week of JULY 1st:

1 bulb garlic
3 ears of HG's corn (worms are free)
1 quart of peas
2.5 lbs of zucchini and/or squash
1 bunch scallions
1 bag of lettuce
1 bunch garlic scapes