Salamander Springs Farm/Permaculture Organics

  (Berea, Kentucky)
Permaculture in Practice: Shopper's Basket CSA
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JULY 23 CSA BOX, recipes and “On Community” (from Kayla)

See blog below "On Community" from Kayla Preston, Salamander Springs Farm apprentice & CSA co-manager

BLACKBERRIES!  ‘Tis the season!  If you don’t eat them all fresh, see past postings for recipes (and nutritional benefits).  We’ve flavored our kombucha with blackberries this week--delicious!   If you would like to freeze or make jam, we once again invite our CSA members to come out this week or weekend to pick berries before the season ends.  Give a call to let us know when you’d like to come and bring a bucket, long pants and sturdy shoes!

PEACHES!  One of these days we’ll post a picture of our pregnant peach tree (on the Flickr site with the farm photos)!  We helped her out earlier in the season by thinning the peaches down to almost half, but her branches are still dropping to the ground, absolutely loaded.  The first ones are now starting to ripen.  These are not super-sized Georgia peaches, but hardy KY ones.  As the old timers know, it is best to harvest them firm and let them ripen in a paper bag--lest the bugs, worms and vermin get them instead of you.  Leave them in the paper bag a few days and they will be ripe and sweet.  If you come out this week to pick blackberries, we’ll let you grab a few more!  Nutritional information on peaches below.

CUCUMBERS!  We made pickles the traditional way this week, in Mirra’s beautiful crock--see our simple recipe below.  These cukes do not have to be peeled, and are wonderful fresh in salads on hot July days.  See our previously posted yogurt/cucumber/mint sauce and Tabouli Salad recipes.

GREEN BEANS, (stringless) snap beans these need little cooking (picked when the inner bean seeds have not had a chance to form) and can be eaten raw in dips, steamed or put into stir-fries, egg dishes or cooked with with potatoes, pearl onions, butter & salt..  See nutritional info in last week’s post.  
If you prefer the meatier, heartier-flavored heirloom pole beans, we have Half Runner Beans at the market today.  Unlike snap beans, heirloom pole beans are more than a vegetable--they provide a substantial amount of protein as well.   Harvested when the inner bean seeds have started to fill out, they can be a meal in themselves.

POTATOES  We’ll set aside about 2# each for our CSA folk of some larger, medium and baby potatoes (which we know a few of you like) the market.  You can swap out if you’d like with different sizes & varieties on the market table.  This week we have Red Thumb fingerlings, Yukon Golds, Irish Cobbler whites and Purple Viking potatoes.  Most folks are familiar with Yukon Golds, a popular and multi-purpose yellow-fleshed early potato with pink eyes.  Irish Cobber is a traditional early potato that is wonderful just cooked with salt and tossed with butter & chopped parsley.  Red Thumb is one of the tender little fingerling potatoes, like the popular French Fingerling we grow, except with a pink flesh.  They are perfect for roasted potatoes with meat or just with olive oil, rosemary & salt.  The Purple Vikings are beautiful big potatoes with deep purple skin beautifully streaked in hues of pink!  Their flesh is white and creamy--excellent baked or mashed.
With the unprecedented rains this time of year, we have found the potatoes (which have survived the standing water) to be more watery than normal and will likely not store as long.

TOMATOES - our CSA folks will get at least one of a heirloom variety in your bunch as we want everyone to experience their taste!  There are also standard red and cherry tomatoes; feel free to mix and match at the market and let us know your favorites.  Remember that many of the old-time heirloom tomatoes have “green shoulders” (and a larger core) when they are totally ripe--just slice off the green top.  (They can be a bit wild looking too, but their flavor is worth it!)  Ask us about the different colors and varieties.  
The tomatoes are still hanging in there despite the flooding rains and wet conditions which promote blight.  Do not refrigerate tomatoes--it nullifies tomato flavor and turns the flesh mealy.  Keep them on your counter with stem-side down, covered with a cloth.  Use according to ripeness--within a couple days to a week.  To ripen further, leave a sunny windowsill (covered with a cloth).  

SUMMER SQUASH or ZUCCHINI. these hallmarks of summer are great in the egg frittata recipe below, marinated and put on the grill, or our (June 26) Pan Grilled Summer Squash & Zucchini recipe. They also are wonderful in roasted veggies, casseroles, rice or a stir fry.  We add them to the “Morning Glory Muffins” recipe (July 9).   Zucchini & summer squash store best dry & cool but not too cold. Wash just before use, water causes it to spoil more quickly.  A perforated bag is best so the squash still has air circulation.

SWEET POTATO GREENS! are wonderful stir-fried, sauteed or steamed with a little bit of lemon juice or butter.  Great in egg dishes, too, like the frittata below.  See the nutritional and medicinal benefits of sweet potato greens in the July 9 posting!

YELLOW ONIONS - these are FRESH onions just out of the ground (a bit earlier than their normal time because of the wet & humid conditions).  Since they’re not cured for storage, best to use them in next couple weeks.  They have the stronger flavor preferred for most cooked dishes.  We’ll also have our other types and colors of onions at the market-let us know the type of you prefer (and if you’d use more than we give you each week).

GARLIC or PEARL ONIONS  Choose what you’ll use most at the market.  Pearl onions are much used by gourmet chefs whole with roasted potatoes & veggies (with olive oil, butter, rosemary, salt...) or with potatoes & green beans.  Store garlic out in a airy, dry place like a hanging basket in your kitchen or on the counter.

LEEKS a small early variety, sweeter and more pungent than onions.  Enjoy in creamy potato leek soup (see July 2 post) stir-fries, roasted-veggies, or the egg frittata recipe below...the green stalks are good, too.

FRESH BASIL  In the season of tomatoes, garlic, grilled squash, pesto, many recipes need fresh basil.   Fresh basil adds great flavor to the egg frittata recipe below.  Look back at the May postings for recipes and nutritional benefits.

FRESH ROSEMARY!  Nothing is better than roasted potatoes with fresh rosemary and olive (or coconut oil--Kayla’s favorite!).  Also great in the egg frittata recipe below.

and last but not least...

FRESH BAKED BREAD & SPECIAL TREATS from Clementine’s Bakery.

See you at the farmer’s market!  In addition to more of the above produce, today we’ll have cilantro, edamame soy, carrots, blueberries, beets, hot peppers, half runner beans, flowers...and more.

Our next farm tour is August 3 at 2 p.m.   Let us know if you can join us - and stay for dinner afterwords!


“Everything but the Kitchen Sink” EGG FRITTATA!  
-2008 winner of the Sustainable Berea 100-mi. potluck recipe contest, using all local ingredients (from Susana & former Salamander Springs Farm  apprentice Kathryn DeLee).

For a 9” cast iron skillet or glass baking pan (make your own ratios for a smaller or larger pan)

SAUTE in the skillet: 3-4 T butter or oil
    2 onions, chopped (or a few small)
    4 cloves garlic, chopped
If using meat, brown 1st in the skillet (Berea College chorrizzo, sausage & bacon are all great in this)
ADD:     1/2 cup whole grain heirloom cornmeal 
               2 - 2 1/2 cups FILLINGS--chopped veggies, meat or leftovers...
              PLUS herbs & spices you like:  fresh basil, oregano, rosemary, chili pepper, paprika, salt, curry, cumin...
FILLINGS:  potatoes (cubed/parboil a few minutes first) or potato leftovers, carrots, summer squash, zucchini + squash blossoms, greens, sweet potato greens, parsley, green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, fresh corn, leftover cooked dry beans (not more than 1/2 cup) or other leftovers!.

BEAT:   5 eggs    
             1 1/2 cups milk or cream, buttermilk, or yogurt + water from   parboiling veggies (whatever you have)

MIX egg mixture into iron skillet with veggies.
Put the skillet in oven and BAKE at 325° about 20 minutes.
MELT slices of local KY cheese on top before you take out of oven.  Enjoy while hot!
TOPPINGS: tomato sauce or salsa (chopped fresh tomatoes, peppers, parsley,  plain yogurt (like sour cream)

TRADITIONAL SALT BRINE PICKLES-from Mirra, who made them in her beautiful crock this week!   In the tradition of German grandmothers, our pickle recipe was inspired by Frieda Droste (Susana’s grandmother) and Sandor Katz (author of Wild Fermentation).

Ingredients, per quart jar (change ratios according to your container size):
4-5 cucumbers
2 1/2 Tbsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. dill  (available at the market)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 Tbsp. whey (optoinal, we sieve our yogurt for whey)
1 1/2 cups (approx) water

Place garlic, dill, black pepper, or other ingredients you wish to add to the bottom of your jar. We add horseradish leaves, a traditional ingredient which have tannins and help keep the pickles crunchy!  You can also use grape leaves (or even oak leaves, which have alot of tannins).
Wash cucumbers. You can slice bigger ones in halves or quarters down the length of the cucumber. Dissolve sea salt into water to create your brine. Please stir until the salt dissolves. Pour the brine over the contents of the jar until the cucumbers are submerged.   Then you need to weigh them down to keep below the brine.  If you don’t have a crock with a plate, use a sturdy plastic bag filled with water and place atop the pickles.  Cover your jar and keep in a shady place at room temperature.  Begin to check for taste and crunch after three days.  (If a bit of white mold grows atop the brine, scoop it off with a spoon; it is harmless)  When you like the taste and crunch of your pickles, refrigerate and eat!

“On Community”  -a note from Kayla Preston, farm apprentice and CSA co-manager?

Howdy Ya’ll!
It’s Kayla here, and boy-o-boy, Susana, Mirra, and David are quite the bunch to follow with a creative blog post! Buttttt.. I wanted to drop in and tell how grateful I feel being a part of the Berea community.  Yesterday, I took part in my second community work party since I have been residing out here on Salamander Springs Farm and I am blown away by the amount of love the people in this community have for each other. Our friend and lovely neighbor, Robert, is having to quickly move out of the house that he has been renting for several years . He decided to move his belongings and pitch a tent in the barn on his part of this land which is located near the bottom of our driveway.  When I heard this idea, from the looks of the barn and the looks of his house, I thought there was no way possible for all of this to happen so quickly.
And I sure was wrong.
The Clear Creek community called for an all day work party that consisted of cleaning out his house, packing all his belongings, cleaning the rooms, and loading the furniture onto a trailer WHILE building stairs and finishing a platform to create an upper floor in the barn, cleaning out stalls in the barn which were full of dumpstered windows, doors, etc., and then leveling up palattes on which to store his belongings.  Around 30 different community members came to help out throughout the day and with the combined skills of organizers, carpenters (and all their tools), positive energy, love and many hands, everything got accomplished!  Us Salamander Springers hosted a potluck lunch to keep everyone going through the day and finished up the work party with a dinner on the farm to feed all the hungry, hard-working people some good food.
Taking a look back at the flow of yesterday is so beautiful, the beauty of a group of people coming together to seriously help a community member in a time of need is a part of life that I think everyone should experience. The power and energy that was flowing yesterday throughout everyone was truly beautiful and I am thankful to say that I was a part of a community gathering to help another is something so beautiful.

Thank you for being a part of a community, especially ours!

With love and full gratitude,


P.S. We ate turtle soup this week from a snapping turtle from the pond, and we're trying to snag more before letting the ducks back in!

***************************NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION*****************************

See past blog postings for nutritional benefits on this week’s fruits and veggies.

PEACHES: are a moderate source of antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and ß-cryptoxanthin; these compounds act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals that play a role in various disease processes.  Peaches are also a good source of Vitamin-C, A and ß-carotene (essential for vision and maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin).  They are rich in many vital minerals such as potassium (component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure) and iron (required for red blood cell formation).

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