Salamander Springs Farm/Permaculture Organics

  (Berea, Kentucky)
Permaculture in Practice: Shopper's Basket CSA
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Your CSA Share

Dear CSA family,

   We are sending our CSA members each an email with this blog posting to let you know where you are in using your CSA share for this season!  It is the peak of the season, a good time for putting food by.  A couple of you have been using your CSA share well for that; we want to encourage the rest of you to take your share while the produce is abundant!  Sweet potatoes, winter squash & pumpkins are the bigger fall crops still to come, along with fall greens & root crops like carrots & beets.  Produce that is abundant now, like beans, summer squash, cucumbers, potatoes and tomatoes, will likely be declining by then.  As you know, last year we posted a blog here each week including recipes & info on how to to process, freeze, dry, can & store the abundant produce of the season.  You also can find good info online on ways to make to summer's harvest feed you through the winter.   Look at our CSA blog postings for this time of the season last year (http://www.localharvest.org/blog/5606/)

Faye has tallied up your market takings for the season so far, so I will send you each an email to let you know how much you have left to use for the remaining 9 weeks of the season.    I'll include an average weekly amount you could "spend" to use as a guide, but use the remainder of your share in whatever way you would like! 

 Other Salamander Springs Farm news!

We are hosting our annual Permaculture in Practice workshop at Salamander Springs Farm on September 13-14 (see flyer below) which will include a farm tour open to all on Saturday September 13 from 9:30-noon.  If you haven't participated in a monthly farm tour at Salamander Springs Farm yet, ir haven't been out to the farm this year, please feel free to join in on this tour (let us know if you are coming).

Bid a fond farewell to our WWOOFers Franzi and Lara this their last week at the market!  We will miss them dearly.

See you Tuesday!

Susana, Jacob, Faye, Adam, Franzi & Lara

_________________________________________________________________

The Permaculture in Practice workshop currently has only 4 openings left so will likely fill up before the September 4 registration deadline in the flyer.   We encourage you to share with folks in your networks who would benefit from hands-on learning of permaculture practice (it is also attached in pdf & jpeg).  If you want to participate yourself, talk to us about a special CSA member discount! 
Permaculture Workshop

Salamander Springs Farm is off-grid and the internet, so registration is the old-fashioned way!  Posted date of registration payments determines who will be in the course.

To register for the course,
call 859-893-3360 to see if openings are still available.  Email us at website below with your:
-Name & snail mail address
-Email address (detailed workshop handouts will be emailed to registrants before the workshop).
-Best telephone number to reach you.
-Special interests or goals you have in your permaculture journey (helps us determine small group practicums)
-Registration amount you are sending and posting date.
Post registration check(s) payable to:  Salamander Springs Farm, P.O. Box 354, Berea, KY 40403
.
Salamander Springs Farm: Susana's Perma-organics - LocalHarvest
 
 
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Salamander Springs Farm: Susana's Perma-organics - Loc...
Salamander Springs Farm: Susana's Perma-organics is a local CSA farm in Berea, Kentucky. LocalHarvest helps you find local, organic, farm-fresh food near you.

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Fill your Shopper's Basket CSA this Tuesday May 27th! (Come early or let us know what YOU want)

Time to fill your CSA Shoppers' Basket, CSA members!

We are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at the Tuesday's Farmers' Market (3-6 p.m. beside the Berea College Farm Store on N. Main Street).   Use any amount of your share you want.  We'll weigh & add up your selections for you and can keep the tally at the market if you like.  We'll have:

-Green onions (both scallion & knob onion size)

-Leeks

-Garlic scapes!

-Spring salad mix

-Arugula!

-Stir fry greens - flavorful mix of PacCoy, Tatsoi, Kale, Chard, Radish, Pea shoots, scallions & herbs

-Kale & Chard

-Snap peas! (5 oz. bags)

-Radishes

-Parslsy

-Nettles (fresh)!

-Fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, peppermint, etc.

-and our dried grains & beans and other processed, dried & value-added products...

Several items are limited so come early for the best selection.  Based on last season's preferences, we will hold back a bag of salad plus some other greens for each CSA shareholder. If you want more than one bag or want us to hold back any other items until you arrive, call us at (859)-893-3360.    

Let us know at the market which items you'll "always" want, if available.  Last season's blog posts are a good reference for the produce in season each week (along with great nutritional info & recipes).  If time is limited, we may only bring some those items at the request our CSA members.

If you have any questions about your Shoppers' Basket CSA share this season, let us know (also see our previous blog post).

We have been busy busy busy with planting!  We are planting the cornfield and the dry beanfield this week.  Most other crops are in the ground now, except the heat loving okra, eggplant and sweet potatoes, which are still hanging out in the cold frame until the cool nights are a bit less cool...

Look forward to seeing you Tuesday,

Susana, Jacob & Faye

 
 

First Friday evening in Old Town + Saturday Farmers' Market Opening Celebration

"Shoppers' Basket CSAers,

Its been a busy week--everything is wanting to go in the ground at the same time

We will be at the First Friday celebration tomorrow night in Old Town from 5-8 p.m. with spring salad greens, scallions (green onions), fresh nettles, the much coveted & delicious ramps (wild leeks) from our forest.  We'll also have some plants for sale and our dried goods.  If you miss the First Friday event, come Saturday morning for the Grand Opening of the Farmers' Market from 9-12 a.m., which is now on the lawn beside the Berea College Farm store on north Main Street.

You are welcome to begin using your "Shoppers' Basket" CSA share this weekend even if the official season is May 27 to October 21.  Over the 5 month season, your $650 investment gives you about $130 worth of produce each month (we're not factoring in the discount for those who paid by April 1).  Months vary between 4 or 5 weeks.  You don't need to use your share equally each week, since less is available during the first weeks of the season, and some of you expressed interest getting more produce to process for winter use.  We will weigh out your items for you and can keep your tally at the market if you wish. 

Because some items are limited, you will want to get to the market early each Tuesday.  If you can't be there early, just call and we'll set aside produce for you.    

You have entrusted us to grow your food this season and likewise we entrust you to equitably divide up & tally your use of your investment over the season!

from your Salamander Springs Farmers,
 Susana, Jacob & Faye, and our newest WWOOFer, Becca

  

 
 

Welcome 2014 "Shopper's Basket" CSAers!

Dear CSA friends,

Our 2014 "Shoppers' Basket" CSA has filled for the season, with many thanks to our returning 2013 CSAers!   It was great to see so many of you at the Berea Local Foods Expo.  If you previously reserved your place, but the rain & cold kept you away on Saturday, you can send your share to the farm address below (or call 893-3360 to make other arrangements)/

Those of you who braved the rain were rewarded with our spring greens, scallions, ramps, and even eggs...along with our dried goods.  If you missed out, Happy Meadow has our scallions & ramps (wildly delicious wild leeks!) as well as our popular whole-grain heirloom cornmeal.

We talked with some of you about the different CSA model this season, and how it can fit your needs.  Without the bread share this year, more of your share can go for produce & farm productsI've attached the CSA flyer again for your reference.  Over the 5 month season a $650 investment gives you about $130 worth of produce each month (we're not factoring in the discount for those who paid by April 1) Months vary between 4 or 5 weeks, and you may not want to use your share equally every weekLess is available during the first weeks of the season, and some of you expressed interest getting more produce to process for winter use.  We will weigh out your items for you and can keep your tally at the market if you wish.  Because some items are limited, you will want to get to the market early each Tuesday.  If you can't be there early, just call and we'll set aside produce for youIn short it will be up to you how you divide up & tally your use of your investment over the season!  You have entrusted us to grow your food this season and likewise we trust you to use your share fairly.

Most CSA farms avoid this model because CSA is intended to help the farm distribute the food grown and its customers learn to utilize a diversity of food.  The farm can end up with too much of some produce and run out of other things.  The advantages outweigh disadvantages for us this season.  Many of you were part of our CSA last year and you know the variety of food we grow over the season.  Last season we introduced you to new and unique items that we did not offer to the public at the market.   We have some much needed and time-consuming farm projects ahead this year, so we won't be doing special harvests & packing of CSA boxes, but we will strive to bring as much of what is ripe and available as time allows.  We encourage you to look at last year's weekly blog for items you liked and let us know if you'd like us to bring those in for you when in season.  We will also provide "U Pick" opportunities to our CSA members, especially on fruits & berries.

We plan to set up for the "Grand Opening" of the outdoor Farmers' Market May 3, on the lawn beside the Berea College Farm store.  You are welcome to come and start using your share then!  Otherwise the official start date is May 27.  We will continue the blog this year as much as time allows.  If any of you would like to contribute a blog at any point, your perspective will be appreciated & enjoyed!  Until them, let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

To warm and productive season ahead,

from your Salamander Springs Farmers,

Susana, Jacob & Faye

 
 

Farewell & Thanksgiving! Thank you from Salamander Springs Farm

Today is the last CSA delivery and also Salamander Springs Farm's last Farmers’ Market of the season - so if you need to stock up for the winter, today is the day!   Since it is bit a cold and damp from the rain, we will be closing up by 6 pm, so try to arrive before then.  We would love your feedback on the season--what you have liked or not, what you would like more or less...what you have learned...  Feel free talk to me at the market today, send comments by email, or call & come out to the farm!

Winter is coming...with last weekends’ frosts, many crops have died back.  Some are hanging on with row covers, and the low tunnel hoop houses need to be moved back on the fall & winter crops...many staple crops to get out, especially the cornmeal cornfield.   I hope to have cornmeal corn dried enough to shell and grind by early November.  There are also lots of pintos & black turtle beans to shell & winnow & package in the coming months.   As you know, Salamander Springs Farm sells the staple grains & dry beans through the Local Harvest webstore, but you can avoid their fees & charges by ordering it directly from the farm--just give a call!  Also if you'd like to come out for a sunny afternoon in the next several weeks to help with corn harvest, shucking & shelling - in exchange a good meal and perhaps some dry beans or cornmeal corn?

Thank you for supporting Salamander Springs Farm this season!   Salamander Springs Farm will continue to sell at Happy Meadow in Berea & Good Foods Co-op in Lexington.  To show our gratitude for your support, we are loading you up with an extra bounty of produce this week! 

HERE'S WHAT'S IN YOUR BOX:

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & CHEESE PUMPKINS!  Choose any 2 at the market

“Ponca Baby” Butternuts are a short squat variety suited for today’s smaller families.  They were lucky to be earlier this season, as many of the squash & pumpkins went in late with the cornmeal corn field in the cold rainy spring. 

Cheese pumpkins are actually related to Butternuts, with sweet, nutty flesh--not stringy like orange pumpkins (see my info at the bottom about making pumpkin pie).  These beauties are called “Cheese Pumpkins” because they look like the traditional old rounds of cheese, which were cut similarly in wedges.   Autumn is time for roasted squash, pumpkin pie, and soup.  See my favorite squash/pumpkin soup recipe below!

CABBAGE OR BROCCOLI!   The fall crop is just starting so the heads are still small, but everyone gets one!

SWEET PEPPERS – a wide selection of Bell peppers and flavorful Italian varieties, including Jimmy Nardello's Roasting, Carmen, Corno di Toro sweet peppers, both green & colored.   Sweet peppers are easily chopped & frozen to use this winter and next spring; if you’d like to stock up, we'll have more at today’s market!

SALAD MIX - Tender crisp lettuce mix with Mizuna & flowers - savor the tender crispness of cool fall weather with those homemade salad dressing recipes we posted back in May!  Some of our less hardy lettuces & greens got bit by the frosts this last weekend, but most have recovered.  Time to move the low tunnel hoop houses back onto the fall/winter beds!

STIR FRY MIX:  Flavor-packed mix of Kale, Chard, Dandelion, Daikon, Mustard & Mizuna!

FIGS or JUJUBE DATES!  The fig trees produced about half as many as last year's hotter season; being close to a pond, they didn’t get burned by last weekend’s frosts so we may get few more before a freeze stops them cold.   Jujube “date apples” as their name means in Chinese, taste like little apples fresh, and then wrinkle up nice & chewily like a date as they dry.  They ripen in the dry cold fall and begin to dehydrate into dates right on the tree.  We dehydrate them for long-term use in the solar dehydrator on the farm.  See info below about the nutritional and medicinal benefits of Jujubes!

HARDY CITRUS FRUITS!  What are those little citrus balls in my box, you say?  This is KY’s answer to local lemon juice or zest!  This hardy "Trifoliate Orange” tree produces many of these seedy little fruit every year on its wicked thorny branches.  They are sour, like lemon juice and mostly seeds--it takes a few of them to get a tablespoon of juice!  The most you can expect I guess from a citrus tree this far north...

HEIRLOOM SWEET POTATOES - mix of Bradshaw Red & O’Henry White:  several bigger ones + a bag of tender shoots for stir fries or roasted veggies.  Enjoy the sweet flavor and tenderness of these old time heirloom varieties, whether baked with butter & salt, chopped for stir-fries, soups or last weeks’ easy recipe for yummy oven-roasted “Home Fries.”   Never refrigerate sweet potatoes--these sub-tropical beauties hate cold keep best at room temperature.

ZUCCHINI OR SUMMER SQUASH- savor the last the last tender fruits of the season, harvested before the frost bit--Italian Costata Romanesco zucchini, Patty Pan (Scallopini) or straight neck summer squash.

YELLOW STORAGE ONIONS – down to the smallest ones now; they will store into the early spring.

HOT PEPPERS - Take a selection to warm up with on these chilly fall evenings, and put some flavor in your RECIPES.   We have Límon, Thai, Habanero, Jalapeno, green chilis and Cayenne.  If you are not into hot peppers but want some spice & flavor, we have Sweet Banana & Paprika peppers - or take an extra sweet pepper!

NETTLES, PARSLEY OR BASILselect your your choice.  For a medicinal nutrient-rich boost, take a quart bag of fresh nettles; read back to our May 22 posting for the amazing benefits of nettles and how to use them! Parsley's nutritional benefits were also posted in May.  If you'd prefer Basil, we have a couple bags -the last of the season, harvested Saturday night before frost descended to burn the plants!

BREAD & GOODIES from Clementine Bakery - Cheers and gratitude to Drew & Lindsey for a tasty season!

RECIPE OF THE WEEK:

Susana’s favorite Pumpkin Soup!

You can also use Butternut squash for this recipe.  Make ahead for the holidays - it freezes well!
Halve a cheese pumpkin with a big knife along grooves, scoop out seeds, then quarter it (cut more wedges)   Place pieces in roasting pan with some water, cover & roast about 45 min at 375°F.  If it’s a big pumpkin, you can eat some roasted (yummy with rosemary, salt & butter).
  Scoop out and save about 6 cups (mashed into measuring cup).

Saute in a soup stockpot about 5 minutes while stirring:
2 T olive oil      

1 medium onion, chopped      

2 stalks celery, chopped    

 2 cloves garlic, minced   

Add:    

2 T freshly grated ginger root

1/2 t turmeric (I also use fresh turmeric. Autumn is also ginger & turmeric season-we just harvested ours!)    

2 t curry powder

1/4 t crushed red peppers  (I dry & crush Cayenne chilis)  

1 t ground cumin    

1 t coriander


Lower flame and saute another 5 minutes.  Add pumpkin and stir to coat with spices.  Cook 5 more minutes while stirring to keep from browning.
Add
:  

4 cups hot vegetable or chicken broth mixed with 1T sorghum or brown sugar.
Reduce heat & simmer 20 minutes until soft & creamy.  Mash with potato masher (or purée in a food processor if you want it really smooth).

You can now set aside or freeze in a tupperware until ready to serve!

Reheat gently and stir in:

1/2 cup heavy cream, milk or coconut milk.
Sir over heat a few minutes until warm and serve sprinkled with garnish--cream/chives/cilantro/pecans...   


CHEESE PUMPKIN AS A SOUP TUREEN! You can also roast one of these beautiful cheese pumpkins WHOLE - with a lid cut out and emptied of seeds.  Place it at center of table filled with pumpkin soup!  

PUMPKIN PIE SECRETS!

Do not use Curcubita pepo sp. varieties like the standard orange Halloween pumpkins which cook up stringy, insipid, and watery!  Curcubita moschata sp. varieties like Cheese pumpkin or Butternut squash make a better custard:  they have smooth grained, dense, richly orange colored flesh
and are higher in nutrients and sugars.    

Cut pumpkin or squash into large wedges and oven-roast in a covered roasting pan with enough water to cook until soft (about 45 min.). You can also cube and cook in a pot of water.  Allow cooked pumpkin to completely drain and cool, then puree in a food processor.
For every 2 cups of pureed pumpkin, add 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1/2 tsp. salt and other pie spices if you like. You're essentially making a custard;  add 2 eggs, 1 cup whole milk or light cream and 3/4 cup sugar.

Blend well and pour into a deep unbaked pie crust.
Bake in preheated 350° F oven for 45 minutes+ depending on your oven and depth of your pie.  Check the center for firmness of the custard filling toward the end of the baking time.  
Don't let it over cook or scorch.  ENJOY with fresh cream, whipped in a blender.  Happy Holidays!

 

ABOUT Dried JUJUBE “DATES” from Salamander Springs Farm:
Treasured throughout the Orient and in Asian, Indian & health food stores in the USA, these apple-flavored Chinese jujube fruit contain 18 of the 24 essential amino acids!  Jujube (Zizyphus jujuba) is a drought-tolerant tree hardy as far north as Zone 6.  We harvest fruits as they turn red-brown in October and dry in our solar dehydrator. 
Jujube extract is used in Chinese traditional medicine for it’s detoxifying, anti-carcinogenic properties and for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia.  Jujube saponins have been found to have calming and sedative properties.  Research of jujube extract at Osaka University, Japan, found anti-cancer activity in “decreased viability and differential cell cycle arrest of human hepatoma (HepG2) cells.”

 
 

Today’s CSA...CORN HARVEST & SHUCKING PARTY Saturday!

Please join us at Salamander Springs Farm this Saturday October 12  for a CORN HARVEST & SHUCKING PARTY from 1-5 p.m., followed by a community meal with our black beans, cornbread, & squash.  We may also be harvesting sorghum, peanuts, sweet potatoes, shelling corn or dry beans...
Stay for a bonfire, star gazing & music following our meal...The king of the night sky in autumn & winter, the constellation of Orion is now rising above the eastern horizon by 10:30 p.m.  Bring warm clothes and BYOB for the evening.  Invite  friends & family and bring your tent  if you'd like to camp out!  We'll have guests camping here from as far away as Philadelphia and Florida that weekend.  We are hoping that Kayla fly in from Spain too (what's the  word Kayla?)!  Let us know if you need directions (859-893-3360).

See message from Mirra, below, “Blessing the Cornfields!”
P.S. We are bringing our c.1904 International Harvester corn sheller to shell popcorn at the market--at 110 years old, it still works like a charm!  Give it a try when you come to market.

THIS WEEK IN YOUR BOX:

Sweet Potatoes - Bradshaw Red:  bigger ones for baking + a bag of tender shoots for stir fries or roasted veggies.  Last week you got O Henry White; this week try another heirloom variety, Bradshaw Red, with wonderfully sweet fleshed, tender and pink skin! The big ones are great baked and the bag of smaller side shoots are excellent chopped for stir-fries or oven-roasted or make a nice addition to soups.  Keep freshly harvested sweet potatoes WARM (about 85-90 degrees) for about a week after harvest to cure their skin for longer storage.  A sunny window (in a paper bag or in a basket covered with a cloth) or the top of a refrigerator is often warmer than the rest of the room.  After that they will keep best at room temperature in your kitchen.  Never refrigerate sweet potatoes--these sub-tropical beauties hate cold!


Salad Mix - tender crisp romaine & red sails lettuce, mizuna & flowers - savor the tender crispness of cool fall weather with those homemade salad dressing recipes we posted back in May!

Colorful Bunch of Autumn ROOTS - a mix of carrots, Daikons, radishes & beets!

Kale for all!  We have a bunch for everyone this week of this favorite nutrient dense green!

Fall Greens & Brassicas! - choose any 2:  Bok Choy, Kohlrabi, Chard or Mizuna.  You’ve had the tender, lacy Japanese Mizuna in your salad mixes.  The larger greens also makes a wonderful stir fry green when larger.

Summer Squash or Zucchini - last of summer’s goodness...if you’d like to freeze a bunch for the winter, we have more at the market.  Look up freezing summer squash at www.pickyourown.org if you need some pointers.

Yellow Storage Onions – store up to 6 months because they have more sulfur than the sweet onions you received earlier in the season.  Sulfur can make you cry, but it is good for you!

Sweet Peppers – We have some really sweet and flavorful Italian varieties of peppers--like Jimmy Nardello's Roasting, Carmen or Corno di Toro. You can select sweet Bell peppers, too, if you prefer.

Hot Peppers - Take a selection to warm you up on these chilly fall evenings, and put some flavor in your soup beans.   We have Límon, Thai, Habanero, Paprika, Jalapeno, and Cayenne.  If you are not into hot peppers, we have sweet bananas, too, or we can give you an extra sweet pepper!

Parsley, Basil Rosemary, & Thyme  nutrient-rich greens & herbs to season your fall veggies.

Flowers - Mirra’s special bouquets to cheer you!

Clementine Bakery's Bread & goodies to warm you!

___________________________________________________

Blessing the Cornfields

-a message from Mirra

I love this work!  Every day is new with challenges and surprises. Last night we shared supper with our new neighbors, Will and Laura. It was a celebration meal; as they construct and move into their home down the hill, We moved our freezer from the electricity at their place to the solar power at the Salamander Springs homestead, with help from neighbors Will and Sky.   In the coming days we will watch to see that our system is able to make the the ice that keeps our veggies cool and fresh!
 
Also happening on the land:   we thank the good spirits for help with a healthy cornmeal crop that did well, withstanding a challenging growing season. It was hard to set strong roots on soggy ground.  I was blessed to get into the field and harvest the fallen stalks of corn. I took the machete to the base of the plants and dragged them out of the field where I removed each ear of corn. This was challenging and a little itchy.  We began saving seed of the biggest best ears for next year's crop. The kernel colors are so rich and varied, like eye candy!  Each ear is a surprise combination of white, red, blue, orange, even purple hues. The harvesting process truly adds to the deliciousness of our corn bread; to greet the tall stalks in all of their glory and to peel back the husk of each unique ear before setting out to dry. We are excited to share the fun with you this weekend!
 
Below are some  passages that I selected from Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha in the section titled, "Blessing the Corn Fields."  -Mirra Ester
 
"Sing, O Song of Hiawatha,
Of the happy days that followed,
In the land of the Ojibways,
In the pleasant land and peaceful!
Sing the mysteries of Mondamin,
Sing the Blessing of the Cornfields!
Buried was the bloody hatchet,
Buried was the dreadful war-club,
Buried were all warlike weapons,
And the war-cry was forgotten.
There was peace among the nations;
...
Once, when all the maize was planted,
Hiawatha, wise and thoughtful,
Spake and said to Minnehaha,
To his wife, the Laughing Water:
"You shall bless tonight the cornfields,
Draw a magic circle round them,
To protect them from destruction,
Blast of mildew, blight of insect,
Wagemin, the thief of cornfields,
Paimosaid, who steals the maize-ear!
...
When the noiseless night descended
Broad and dark o'er field and forest,
When the mournful Wawonaissa
Sorrowing sang among the hemlocks,
And the Spirit of Sleep, Nepahwin,
Shut the doors of all the wigwams,
From her bed rose Laughing Water,
Laid aside her garments wholly,
And with darkness clothed and guarded,
Unashamed and unaffrighted,
Walked securely round the cornfields,
Drew the sacred, magic circle
Of her footprints round the cornfields.

No one but the Midnight only
Saw her beauty in the darkness,
No one but the Wawonaissa
Heard the panting of her bosom;
Guskewau, the darkness, wrapped her
Closely in his sacred mantle,
So that none might see her beauty,
So that none might boast, "I saw her!"
...
Summer passed, and Shawondasee
Breathed his sighs o'er all the landscape,
From the South-land sent his ardor,
Wafted kisses warm and tender;
And the maize-field grew and ripened,
Till it stood in all the splendor
Of its garments green and yellow,
Of its tassels and its plumage,
And the maize-ears full and shining
Gleamed from bursting sheaths of verdure.
...
And the merry Laughing Water
Went rejoicing from the wigwam,
With Nokomis, old and wrinkled,
And they called the women round them,
Called the young men and the maidens,
To the harvest of the cornfields,
To the husking of the maize-ear.
On the border of the forest,
Underneath the fragrant pine-trees,
Sat the old men and the warriors
Smoking in the pleasant shadow.
In uninterrupted silence
Looked they at the gamesome labor
Of the young men and the women;
Listened to their noisy talking,
To their laughter and their singing,
Heard them chattering like the magpies,
Heard them laughing like the blue-jays,
Heard them singing like the robins.
 
And whene'er some lucky maiden
Found a red ear in the husking,
Found a maize-ear red as blood is,
"Nushka!" cried they all together,
"Nushka! you shall have a sweetheart,
You shall have a handsome husband!"
"Ugh!" the old men all responded
From their seats beneath the pine-trees.
 
And whene'er a youth or maiden
Found a crooked ear in husking,
Found a maize-ear in the husking
Blighted, mildewed, or misshapen,
Then they laughed and sang together,
Crept and limped about the cornfields,
Mimicked in their gait and gestures
Some old man, bent almost double,
Singing singly or together:

Wagemin, the thief of cornfields!
Paimosaid, who steals the maize-ear!"
Till the cornfields rang with laughter,
Till from Hiawatha's wigwam
Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens,
Screamed and quivered in his anger,
And from all the neighboring tree-tops
Cawed and croaked the black marauders.
"Ugh!" the old men all responded,
From their seats beneath the pine trees! "

 
 

OCTOBER 1 CSA - Autumn Blessings & Goodbyes

Dear CSAers,


Autumn is a beautiful and sometimes bittersweet time of year.  As crops die and we say goodbye to the abundance of summer, it also means goodbyes to folks who have been part of the Salamander Springs Farm family.  Kayla’s time for departure for Spain came quickly.  While she is dearly missed here, it was a real joy seeing her growth over the last 2 years and watch her "take wings" to Spain to share her many gifts.   We also said bittersweet goodbyes to Jacob Mudd this week, tempered by upcoming plans for visits until his return next season with his partner, Faye.   
In the river of loss that came with my father’s illness and passing, I have felt blessed by a community that keeps me from turning inward on myself.  The Permaculture in Practice Workshop on the farm September 14 and 15 both deepened and widened that community.   Our Clear Creek neighbors and fellow CSA members, Phillip, Kathy & Peanut, not only participated but helped to make the weekend happen.  Our Saturday evening meal was enjoyed in their newly renovated one-room schoolhouse on Swinford Farm.  Fellow CSAers Barbi & Evan also participated, and we are blessed with Barbi’s amazing gifts as a photographer, capturing beautiful details of the Permaculture workshop and the farm, with a perspective that helps the rest of us see more clearly!  To see photos of the weekend,  you can go directly to  Barbi & Evan's site:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/53929978@N00/sets/72157635586515426/   Their photo page is also linked to the Salamander Springs Farm’s “Flickr” of photos & permaculture education slides, http://www.flickr.com/photos/28998021@N02/sets/


Mirra and I found end-of-season rejuvenation at the SE Biodynamic Farming Conference in Red Boiling Springs, TN this last weekend, where I have taught workshops for a number of years.  Not your typical conference, it is held on a beautiful organic farm...such a joy to go to a conference where you eat vibrant, healthy food, sleep breathing fresh air, and feel the spirit of community rejuvenating your soul!


Speaking of community, the Berea Solar Tour is this Saturday, October 5, from 10-2 p.m. with Salamander Springs Farm is one of 5 sites on the tour.  If you haven’t been to the farm, this is a great opportunity to learn how we live off-the grid, including solar electric, passive solar, natural building and rain water catchment systems.


JOIN US FOR CORN HARVEST & SHUCKING!  These next few weeks we are harvesting popcorn & cornmeal, along with other winter staple crops, and would love to have you to come out and help any weekend (or weekday)!  On October 12, we’ll have a husking party, meal and a bonfire..,let us know if you can join us (859-893-3360).
May you enjoy the fruits and roots of autumn this week, and the rejuvenation of time with community!
                                                                          -Susana

SWEET POTATOES- a few bigger ones + a bg of tender shoots – O’Henry is one of our heirloom varieties, with wonderful sweet white flesh, tender and nutritious skin - baked, boiled or however you like them! The smaller side shoots are excellent chopped for stir-fries or oven-roasted or make a nice addition to soups  Freshly harvested sweet potatoes want to be WARM (about 90 degrees) for about a week after harvest to cure their skin for longer storage.  A sunny window (in a paper bag or in a basket covered with a cloth) or the top of a refrigerator is often warmer than the rest of the room.  After that they will keep best at room temperature in your kitchen.  Never refrigerate sweet potatoes--these sub-tropical beauties hate cold!

SALAD MIX! tender crisp romaine & red sails lettuce with mizuna - to be savored with those homemade salad dressing recipes we posted back in May!

Japanese DAIKONS w/ GREENS - Daikons are tasty in a stir fry, sliced, greens & all... and soo good for you.  See Mirra’s recipe below!

CARROTS - colorful bunch of red, yellow & orange varieties!

YELLOW STORAGE ONIONS – store up to 6 months because they have more sulfur than the sweet onions you received earlier in the season.  Sulfur can make you cry, but it is good for you!

OKRA - a few okra are good in many dishes, from quiche to stir fries to soup, even with cooked potatoes.  Breaded fried okra is popular for lots of okra since too many can give you a slimy texture, but a few is just perfect.  .

BOK CHOY  or  KALE & KOHLRABI  See past blogs for nutritional value of Bok Choy - raw or stir-fried, as you like.  Fall Kohlrabi is just starting to come on.  See nutritional info below.

SWEET PEPPERS – We have some really sweet and flavorful Italian varieties of peppers--like Jimmy Nardello's Roasting, Carmen or Corno di Toro. You can select sweet Bell peppers, too, if you prefer.

HOT PEPPERS - Take a selection to warm up with on these chilly fall evenings, and put some flavor in your bean pot or Whippoorwill Peas.   We have Límon, Thai, Habanero, Paprika, Jalapeno, and Cayenne.  If you are not into hot peppers, we have sweet bananas, too, or we can give you an extra sweet pepper!
Basil – while there are still tomatoes, basil is a must...

BUTTERNUT SQUASH (“Ponca”).  These are a smaller, more manageable sized butternut--so sweet baked, roasted or anyway you like it.  Also make an excellent curried soup like the recipe posted last week...

SUMMER SQUASH & ZUCCHINI - a bit of summer is still here!

PARSLEY so good for you, in salads, soups ,quiche or stir fries...Look back at our May blog for the nutritional goodness of parsley!

Clementine Bakery's BREAD & BAKED GOODIES  so yummy!

RECIPE OF THE WEEK:

MIRRA's Awesome & Easy DAIKON Stir Fry:
Get your frying pan hot with some tasty oil. Sesame oil, Peanut oil, or olive oil will do the trick. Slice accross the root of the daikon radish for circles about 1/4 inches thick and lay them out on the pan.  While the radish rounds are browning , chop up the greens, (yes, they are edible too)!  Allow the radish rounds to brown on both sides and remove them from your pan. Throw in your greens with 1/3 cup water,  1 Tbsp. lemon juiceand a dash of soy or tamari sauce. Cover the greens with the pan lid and cook em’ down until you are satisfied with their tenderness.  Now you can throw the radish rounds on top and serve it hot.  Enjoy!


NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:

JAPANESE DAIKONS:

  • Since ancient times, Chinese have believed that eating DAIKON radish and other brassica group vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and napa immensely benefit overall health.

  • They are are one of very low calorie root vegetables. Fresh root provides just 16 calories per 100 g., nonetheless; they are a very good source of anti-oxidants, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.

  • DAIKON, like other cruciferous and Brassica family vegetables, contains isothiocyanate anti-oxidant compound called sulforaphane. Studies suggest that sulforaphane has proven role against prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers by virtue of its cancer-cell growth inhibition, and cyto-toxic effects on cancer cells.

  • Fresh roots are rich in vitamin C; provide about 15 mg or 25% of DRI of vitamin C per 100 g. Vitamin C is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant required by the body for synthesis of collagen. Vitamin C helps the body scavenge harmful free radicals, prevention from cancers, inflammation and help boost immunity.

  • In addition, they contain adequate levels of folates, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, thiamin and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and calcium. 

  • Further, they contain many phytochemicals like indoles which are detoxifying agents and zea-xanthin, lutein and beta carotene, which are flavonoid antioxidants. Their total antioxidant strength, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value), is 1736 µmol TE/100 g.

KOHLRABI:

  • Mildly sweet, succulent kohlrabi is notably rich in vitamins and dietary fiber; however, it has only 27 calories per 100 g, a negligible amount of fat, and zero cholesterol.

  • Fresh kohlrabi stem is rich source of vitamin-C; provide 62 mg per 100 g weight that is about 102% of RDA. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin and powerful anti-oxidant. It helps the body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and gum. Its anti-oxidant property helps the human body protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body.

  • Kohlrabi, like other members of the Brassica family, contains health-promoting phytochemicals such as isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol that are supposed to protect against prostate and colon cancers.

  • It especially contains good amounts of many B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc., that acts as co-factors to enzymes during various metabolism inside the body.

  • Knol-knol notably has good levels of minerals; copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and phosphorus are especially available in the stem. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

  • In addition, its creamy color flesh contains small amounts of vitamin A and carotenes.

  • Kohlrabi leaves or tops, like turnip greens, are also very nutritious greens abundant in carotenes, vitamin A, vitamin K, minerals, and B-complex group of vitamins.

 
 

September 24 - "A Small Leap" -a note from Mirra

The Small Leap!  -a note from Mirra

    We wandered into the forest this past Thursday; Susana, Kayla, Jacob Mudd, and myself, seeking out Sassafras root and Richard’s legendary cave. The walk led us along the rocky ridge to pass over boulders and tree roots.  Between two boulders on our way sat a deep crevice. Jacob and Susana passed from rock to rock with ease.  Fear would have me walk around the situation, so I began that way.  Kayla was also going around but she saw me afraid. She caught a glint in her eye, walked back to the crevice, and jumped over twice.

    “Really, Mirra?” Kayla teased, nudging me gently toward the challenge.  I felt my stomach drop then because there was no going around this time. “If you are there to help me, I will.”  I peered down into the deep dark lined with jagged edges. All that I could see was the hole. All I could feel was the hole. My friend stood smiling on the other side, feet planted, strong arm reaching out toward me. I made the leap!

    I make the leap every day through fears and challenges. My dear friends at the farm help by giving me something bright to focus on, or something delicious to work toward. A positive focus helps me through the worries that come up. Many of them turn back to what all I might let go of to truly turn toward a local economy.  When I am face to face with my own fear, there is a gentle friend to guide my focus (or in some cases to smack me upside the head!), so that I can return to the beautiful possibilities at my fingertips, including the savory experience of taking the leap.

    At Salamander Springs we grow most of the food we eat, and we grow enough to share!  The season of big fall harvests for our staple food crops is upon us.  This includes corn, squash, and dry beans of many varieties.This autumn I find myself standing at the other side of the rocky ledge, ready to extend my arm toward you who want to leap.  In this week’s CSA box we have dried Whippoorwill Peas from the field. To shell them requires a bit of time and energy.  Savor the experience!  The bean is good sustenance for the belly and the soul.

- Mirra


Whippoorwill Peas! an heirloom cowpea, originally from Africa, like black-eyed peas only smaller, beige and creamy when cooked.  These are dried but still in their pods, ready to shell like other dried beans.  You don't have to shell them by hand if you don’t have a bean sheller--a traditional method used by families across the Americas is to put them in a strong bag (feed sack or pillow case), fold it over, and bang it one side and then another against a firm, sturdy surface like a bench:   The dry beans or peas break out of their shell and fall to the bottom of the bag.  Open the bag & remove most of the shells off the top. Any remaining chaff or shells will float to the top to easily skim off when you soak them in water to cook.  See our recipe below!

Sweet Potatoes! both bigger ones & tender shoots – We grow 2 tasty & sweet heirloom varieties, O'Henry (white) and Bradshaw (pink).  Their skin is tender and nutritious.  The smaller side shoots are excellent chopped for stir-fries or oven-roasted.  They also make a nice addition to soups or the Whippoorwill Pea recipe below.  Freshly harvested sweet potatoes want to be WARM (about 90 degrees) for about a week after harvest to cure their skin for longer storage.  A sunny window (in a paper bag or in a basket covered with a cloth) or the top of a refrigerator is often warmer than the rest of the room.  After that they will keep best at room temperature in your kitchen.  Never refrigerate sweet potatoes=these sub-tropical beauties hate cold! 

Salad is back! the cool weather has brought back the tender crisp greens, to be savored with those homemade salad dressing recipes we posted back in May!

Tomatoes – (quart boxes) Enjoy the last of the crop of our sweet tomatoes to the fullest...they are winding down for the season.  These tomatoes are just the right size for dehydrating for sun-dried tomatoes in the winter.

Yellow Storage Onions – store up to 6 months because they have more sulfur than the sweet onions you received earlier in the season.  Sulfur can make you cry, but it is good for you!

Bok Choy – Raw in a salad or stir fried in a skillet; stem to leaf is edible!  See past blogs for nutritional value of these beautiful greens.

Sweet Potato Greens - eat them while you can, those deep green nutrients, in your sweet potato stir fry or Whippoorwill soup...

Sweet Peppers – We have some really sweet and flavorful Italian varieties of peppers--like Jimmy Nardello's Roasting, Carmen or Corno di Toro. You can select sweet Bell peppers, too, if you prefer.

Hot Peppers - Take a selection to warm up with on these chilly fall evenings, and put some flavor in your bean pot or Whippoorwill Peas.   We have Límon, Thai, Habanero, Paprika, Jalapeno, and Cayenne.  If you are not into hot peppers, we have sweet bananas, too, or we can give you an extra sweet pepper!

Basil – while there are still tomatoes, basil is a must...

Parsley or Cilantro ..while there are still tomatoes, salsa is a must!  Both are so good for you...look back at our May blog for the nutritionl goodness they provide!

Old Timey Heirloom Apples  - sweet, crisp, and delicious!  Last week of the season.

Summer Squash & Zucchini - Scallopini/Patty Pan & yellow straight neck are still here!

Clementine Bakery's Bread & goodies  so yummy!


RECIPE OF THE WEEK

Southern Whippoorwill Peas (or Black-Eyed Peas)

All dry beans, peas, lentils, etc. benefit from soaking in water several hours or overnight to make them softer, quicker to cook and less gaseous!  Just change the water if you end up soaking them longer than overnight, and rinse and add new water when you are ready to cook them.  

Cook these whippoorwill peas in several cups of water or use chicken stock. (about an inch or more over the top in your pot)  Cook about an hour or 25 minutes in pressure cooker...or in slow cooker all day...

Southern tradition is to use few slices of bacon--fry and throw the bacon in the cooking peas.  Then use the bacon fat to saute the other ingredients (If you prefer, use oil instead):

a medium onion, chopped

a few cloves garlic minced

fresh (minced) hot peppers, like green chilis or jalapenos, as you like

chili powder (we like cumin, too)

plenty of salt & pepper to season

2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped (or quart jar of canned)

Don't add salt to dry beans or peas until they're cooked--salt prevents their starches from breaking down and toughens the skins so they don’t get soft.  For the same reason, tomatoes or other acidic ingredients should also go in toward the end of cooking.

Cook another 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy (on New Year's Day for good luck)!

 
 

September 3 CSA box: the fruits of summer from your dedicated young permaculture farmers...

Hello CSAers: 

Mirra, Kayla & Richard are harvesting the fruits of summer’s labors for you and look forward to seeing you all at tomorrow’s market.  Give them your appreciation for their dedication and hard work in caring for the farm during my extended absence for my father’s hospitalization and burial.   They are the future generation of farmers this country needs!    -Susana
Here’s a poem from Mary Oliver which has brought me comfort these past weeks:


Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
 
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
 
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
 
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
 
nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned
 
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
 
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
 
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
 
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
go,
to let it go.
 
-Mary Oliver

SEPTEMBER 3 CSA BOX:


BOK CHOY -tender crisp heads of Bok Choy are a sign of fall coming, they can take the warm days but do do best when the nights start to cool.  Look back to our spring and early summer postings for recipes and nutritional benefits.

STIR FRY MIX again this week is packed with a variety of tasty nutritious greens:  daikon greens & shoots, sweet potato greens, kale, Bok choy, beet greens & chard, "perpetual beet spinach."  Our Kale & leafy greens are free of the toxic pesticides that placed them on the 2012 “Dirty Dozen:” most pesticide-laden fruits & veggies when conventionally-grown (see August 6 post).

LITTLE BABY CARROTS!  Another welcoming to fall - enjoy their crisp tenderness while they are little bitty... Carrots go well in so many dishes; look back to our June 26 posting for their health benefits.

SWEET PEPPERS We have several varieties of Bell and Italian peppers--ask us at the market about the varieties.  One of our favorite is “Corno di Toro” (Horn of the Bull) which we find sweeter than Bell Peppers.  Peppers are another “Dirty Dozen” toxic special when grown conventionally.

BANANA PEPPERS & YOUR CHOICE OF HOT CHILI PEPPERS Banana Peppers hardly classify as hot peppers, but if you really want to add some spice to your life, we have hot Habaneros, Thai & Jalapeños!   We also grow, dry & grind Hungarian Paprika peppers to use on the farm.  If you have a dehydrator and want to try it, let us know.

Old Time APPLES! - select a few of your choice at the market.  This tree has been on the Creek for a few generations, some years it hardly produces, but in a good fruit year like this one, it has produced abundantly.  Thank you to Cecil Clark’s parents for planting it (probably in the 1940’s).  Not cosmetically perfect means safe to eat!  Toxic sprays used on conventionally-grown apples give it top place in the “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide-laden fruits & veggies.

SUMMER SQUASH - take advantage of summer while it’s still here!  If you want to freeze or dry, our CSA members can purchase additional summer squash at the market at a discount ($1.50 lb).  You can have safe & nutritious Salamander Springs Farm summer squash this winter with the recipes we've posted all season.  Processing to freeze is easy--ask us at the market or use simple instructions online (www.pickyourown.org/freezing_summer_squash.htm).   Conventionally-grown supermarket squash made the 2012 “Dirty Dozen” list because they are “commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system."

TOMATOES -  Choose 1# of an heirloom slicer, a box of sweet cherry tomatoes or some plum tomatoes to dry for winter use.  While summer weather remains, our tomatoes are still producing.  If you want to freeze or can, our CSA members can purchase additional tomatoes at the market at a discount ($1.50 lb).  Conventionally-grown tomatoes are on the “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide-laden fruits & veggies (see August 6 posting).

STRINGLESS GREEN BEANS:  standard  or  Roma.  We think the Italian Roma beans are the best flavored of the stringless snap beans.  Picked while flat, when the inner bean seeds have not had a chance to form, they need little cooking nor stringing.  Eat raw in dips, put into stir-fries, egg dishes, steam or cook with butter & salt. 
We’ll also have several varieties of HEIRLOOM POLE BEANS at the market if you want to freeze or can for winter.  (CSA members can purchase additional beans at the market at $1.50 lb). Harvested when the inner bean seeds have started to fill out, heirloom pole beans provide a flavorful. protein-rich. centerpiece for a meal.   These larger beans need “stringing” before cooking (pull off the string along each seam from each end of the bean).  Cook about 12-15 minutes (the fatter the bean, the longer the cook time).  Heirloom beans with a pot of potatoes, pearl onions, butter & salt makes a simple, hearty meal with unmatched flavor.

CUCUMBERS  A family friend shared the recipe below with me while I was in Iowa.  Conventionally grown cucumbers are on the “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide laden fruits & veggies.

?FRENCH FINGERLING POTATOES - we’ll have quart boxes set aside for our CSA members - French Fingerlings are tender, buttery and great any way you prepare them.  Their rose-colored should not be peeled with a touch of pink in their white flesh.  No need to peel, much a a potato’s nutrition is in the skin.

SWEET CANDY YELLOW ONIONS  Enjoy the last of summer’s sweet onions before we move into the stronger winter storage onions.

For your taste buds, recipes, and for your health...

FRESH BASIL, OREGANO, THYME & CILANTRO!?

and last but not least...

FRESH BAKED BREAD & SPECIAL TREATS from Drew & Lindsey at Clementine’s Bakery.
?September 14-15 Permaculture in Practice Workshop at Salamander Springs Farm is FULL.   We have on-farm workshops again next year and Susana teaches workshops in many regions--if your friends or family would like to learn more about growing food & living sustainably by cycling resources, nutrients, & energy, have them email us via the farm website and ask be on our "workshop notification list. " 
Monthly farm tour, Saturday, September 14, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (time change because of the on-farm workshop schedule that weekend).  NO charge for our CSA members.  If you have not had a chance to visit the farm yet this season, please join us.  Email us if you need directions--Google maps will send you to the moon.

??************************************RECIPES!*********************************

?CUCUMBER BERRY SMOOTHIE
a simple tasty recipe from a friend, for breakfast or a refreshing afternoon snack

1 cup cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1-2 Tbs. honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Place all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth. YUM!

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

See past blog posts for nutritional benefits of this week’s fruits and veggies and the “The Dirty Dozen” conventionally-grown fruits & veggies found most laden with toxic pesticides (2012 results of Environmental Working Group annual testing of pesticide levels in fruits & vegetables).

 
 

My father's passing (from Susana)...and Freeze your Summer Veggies

Dear CSAers:  I’m grateful for the care and support I received this past week while I was with my father and family in the Intensive Care unit of the University of Iowa Hospital.  Last Friday, as we sang together around his bed, my father passed away from a hard fought battle with hypersensitivity pneumonitis - "farmer's lung" - a common cause of death today among mid-western grain farmers of the early "green revolution" era (before tractors with enclosed cabs, which help reduce exposure to environmental toxins & dust).

Please give Mirra, Kayla & Richard your appreciation for their hard work and dedication to taking care of the farm during my absence and bringing you good, clean food.  Here is their info on tomorrow's box for you!
-Susana

 

ACORN SQUASH - one of the first signs that fall is coming - the ripening of the earliest squash in the cornfield.  We look forward to that first cool evening to taste their sweet meat roasted the oven.  The simple, classic Baked Acorn Squash recipe below makes a great dessert; you can use local sorghum or honey instead of maple syrup & brown sugar.  We also like savory Acorn squash cubed and roasted with potatoes, butter, rosemary, salt & pepper.  Acorns will keep 1-2 months in your kitchen or garage (not as long as most winter squash).

STIR FRY MIX again this week is packed with a variety of tasty nutritious greens:  sweet potato greens, kale, Bok choy, beet greens & chard, "perpetual beet spinach."  Our Kale & leafy greens are free of the toxic pesticides that placed them in the “Dirty Dozen:” most pesticide-laden fruits & veggies when conventionally-grown (see August 6 post).


SUMMER SQUASH - take advantage of summer while it’s still here!  Freeze summer squash now so you can have safe & nutritious Salamander Springs Farm summer squash this winter with the recipes we've posted all season. Processing to freeze is easy--ask us at the market or use simple instructions online (www.pickyourown.org/freezing_summer_squash.htm).  Conventionally-grown supermarket squash made the 2012 “Dirty Dozen” list because they are “commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.”

TOMATOES - HEIRLOOMS, PLUMS, CHERRIES:  summer is still here!   Choose an heirloom you haven’t tried yet, a box of sweet cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes to dry for winter use.  If you want to freeze or can (including our ketchup recipe), CSA members can purchase additional tomatoes at the market at a discount ($1.50 lb).  Conventionally-grown tomatoes are on the “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide-laden fruits & veggies (see August 6 posting).

GREEN BEANS:   ITALIAN ROMA (snap) and HEIRLOOM POLE BEANS (Half Runner, Elkins, or Preacher/Rattlesnake Pole) -1# of each.  ROMA BEANS are a tasty Italian stringless snap bean.  Picked while flat, when the inner bean seeds have not had a chance to form, they need little cooking nor stringing.  Eat raw in dips, put into stir-fries, egg dishes, steam or cook with butter & salt.  HEIRLOOM POLE BEANS have a hearty, sweet flavor and 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!  The larger beans need “stringing” before cooking (pull off the string along each seam from each end of the bean).  Cook about 12-15 minutes (the fatter the bean, the longer the cook time).  Heirloom beans with a pot of potatoes, pearl onions, butter & salt makes a simple, hearty meal with unmatched flavor!   Heirloom pole beans were also traditionally harvested at the “shucky bean” stage--after the beans in the pod fill out and the pod yellows on the vine--to shell out for soup beans.  Crucial to sustaining pioneer families through the winter, the rich flavor of heirloom pole beans is still treasured by their ancestors.  See the fascinating story of the Elkins Bean in August 6 post.  If you want additional green beans to freeze or can, use our CSA member discount of $1.50 lb.  Ask us for processing tips.

CUCUMBERS!  use a favorite summer salad recipe posted earlier this season.  Conventionally grown cucumbers are on the “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide laden fruits & veggies.

PURPLE POTATOES - we’ll have quart boxes set aside for our CSA members of both Magic Molly (purple-blue inside & out) and Purple Vikings (purple & pink skin, white inside). Both are very versatile, with a texture and use like Kennebecs.

SWEET CANDY YELLOW ONIONS -you’ll get a few medium - small ones this week.  Good Foods Coop (and Stella’s Deli) in Lexington has diminished our sweet onion supply!  In September will will move into the stronger-tasting winter storage onions.

FRESH BASIL & ROSEMARY
-for your taste buds, the recipes in these postings, and for your health.

and last but not least...
FRESH BAKED BREAD & SPECIAL TREATS from Drew & Lindsey at Clementine’s Bakery.

September 14-15 Permaculture in Practice Workshop at Salamander Springs Farm is FULL.   We have on-farm workshops every year and Susana teaches workshops in many regions, so if you know folks who would like to learn more about growing food & living sustainably by cycling resources, nutrients, & energy, have them email via the farm website and ask be on our "workshop notification list."

Monthly farm tour, Saturday, September 14, time has changed to 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. because of the on-farm workshop schedule that weekend.  NO charge for our CSA members.  If you have not had a chance to visit the farm yet this season, please join us.  Email us if you need directions--Google maps will send you to the moon or even Mars.

***********************************RECIPES!*************************************

Simple, Classic BAKED ACORN SQUASH:
With a big knife, slice Acorn squash in half (lengthwise-from beside the stem to the pointed end). Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half.  Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up.  Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don't burn and the squash doesn't get dried out.
Coat the inside of each half:
1T butter
1T each brown sugar & maple syrup.  (or use local honey & sorghum)
dash of salt
Bake 60-75 minutes or until the squash is very soft and edges browned. (don’t under cook).  Enjoy while still warm.


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

ACORN SQUASH - a cup (about half a baked squash) has only 115 calories, but has plenty of fiber (which helps your body process fattier foods) and 2 grams of protein, and is a good natural source for vitamins & minerals:  for example, it has 37% of your RDA of Vitamin C, 18% of A, 20% of B-6, 5% iron and 4% calcium, and 25% each of potassium and magnesium!

See the August 6 post for the “The Dirty Dozen” conventionally-grown fruits & veggies found most laden with toxic pesticides (2012 results of Environmental Working Group annual testing of pesticide levels in fruits & vegetables).
See past blog posts for nutritional benefits of this week’s fruits and veggies.

 
 

August 20 CSA & Prayers for my Father (a note from Susana)

BEETS are back!  See the Beet Borscht Soup recipe below--also uses potatoes, apples & other veggies as you like. Beets will keep 1-2 weeks--cut off the greens and put in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  Use the beet greens in a stir fry or soup stock.
 
STIR FRY MIX this week is packed with a variety of tasty nutritious greens:  sweet potato greens, kale, bok choy, beet greens & chard, "perpetual beet spinach"...  Our Kale & leafy greens are free of the toxic pesticides that placed them in the “Dirty Dozen:” the most pesticide-laden fruits & veggies when conventionally-grown (see August 6 post)!

SWEET BELL GREEN PEPPERS with the cool rainy weather this year, we’ve waited longer than usual for sweet peppers!  Conventionally-grown supermarket peppers are also on the toxic “Dirty Dozen” list, but you can enjoy these with confidence!

TOMATOES - HEIRLOOMS, PLUMS, CHERRIES:  choose 1.5# of your favorites - or try a new one!  Ask us about the different varieties at the market: from the yellow-gold Pineapple or Garden Peach, German Pink or Pink Plop Plum, to the dark purple Cherokee Purple or Black Krim (to name just a few).  Sometimes wild looking, their flavor is so much richer than the uniform standard red.  Many old-time heirloom tomatoes have “green shoulders” and a larger core when ripe (which was bred out of standard industry tomatoes.  You’ll also see Italian plum tomatoes, the ones we use for sun-dried tomatoes in our solar dehydrator.   Find our summer salad and natural homemade ketchup recipes in earlier postings. 
If you wonder if it is important to choose organically grown tomatoes, take a look at the “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide-laden fruits & veggies below.  I personally experienced extreme nausea after 10 minutes in the greenhouse of a local grower, shortly after the commonly-recommended fungicides were applied.  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 few days to a week.  To ripen further, leave in a sunny windowsill (covered with a cloth).   Remember if you want to process (freeze, can, make ketchup or juice), our CSA members can purchase additional tomatoes at the market at a discount ($1.50 lb).


GREEN BEANS - take your pick again this week of 1.5# of three local heirloom pole beans (Half Runner, Elkins, or Preacher/Rattlesnake Pole) or stringless snap beans.
-Heirloom pole beans have a heartier, sweeter flavor than stringless snap beans.  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!  The larger beans need “stringing” before cooking (pull off the string along each seam from each end of the bean).  Cook about 12-15 minutes (the fatter the bean, the longer the cook time).  Heirloom beans with a pot of potatoes, pearl onions, butter & salt makes a simple, hearty meal with unmatched flavor!   Heirloom pole beans were also traditionally eaten at the “shucky bean” stage--harvested after the beans in the pod fill out and the pod yellows on the vine--and shelled out for soup beans.  Crucial to sustaining pioneer families through the winter, the rich flavor of heirloom pole beans is still treasured by their ancestors.  See the fascinating story of the Elkins Bean in August 6 post.
-Stringless SNAP BEANS are picked when the inner bean seeds have not had a chance to form, they need little cooking nor stringing.  Eat raw in dips, put into stir-fries, egg dishes, steam or cook with butter & salt. 
Additional beans for freezing or canning:   if you want to process green beans for winter, use our CSA member discount of $1.50 lb.  Ask us for processing tips. 
 
APPLES or ASIAN PEARS - select a few at the market.  We eat both fresh and make into delicious apple or pear crisp (see post for Susana’s family recipe).  Apples also give a nice sweetness to the Beet Borscht recipe below.  Don’t be fooled by the hard & firm exterior of the Asian Pears--they are sweet and juicy when you bite into them.  “Liberty” is a smaller, old time heirloom apple that stands up to many of the pest & disease problems here in the east--without any pesticides or fungicides, ever.  They have a thick green yellow skin, but are surprisingly sweet and crisp.   Like the peaches, the plum curculio has bored into some fruit but the rest of the fruit is delicious.  Not cosmetically perfect means safe to eat!   If you think you’d rather have a cosmetically perfect apple without plum curculio, it may change your mind to see the top of last week’s “Dirty Dozen” list of most toxic, pesticide-laden fruits & veggies.

POTATOES, Kennebecs are a favorite all-purpose white potato that Maine folk love for home-fries.  We are sad that we lost some of them to the flooding rain and frosts in May.  We also have All-Blue "Magic Mollies" and Purple Vikings, a white potato with splashed pink-purple skin which are also very versatile, with a texture like the Kennebec--for colored home-fries!  With the unprecedented rains this season, we have found the potatoes (which survived standing water & a late frost) to be more watery than normal and may not store as long.

SWEET CANDY YELLOW ONIONS (both small & large, for different recipes).  Very mild and sweet, they don’t make you cry because they contain less sulfur than winter storage onions (which is why they don’t store as long).  We’ll give you sweet onions now and storage onions in the fall, unless you prefer otherwise.  Let us know how many you can use each week.  Good Foods Coop and Stella’s Deli in Lexington have bought all of our red, white & pearl onions, so we are now out of those.

SUMMER SQUASH  Would you like to eat safe & nutritious Salamander Springs Farm summer squash this winter?  Processing to freeze is easy--some simple instructions online are at:  www.pickyourown.org/freezing_summer_squash.htm    Freezing summer squash now means you can use the recipes we've posted this season during the winter without buying supermarket conventionally-grown squash...on the 2012 “Dirty Dozen” list because they are “commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.”    

For your taste buds, the recipes and your health...
FRESH BASIL
SAGE or THYME
PARSLEY or CILANTRO
Tasty additions to the Borscht soup recipe below, or the pesto, sauces, salad & veggie recipes in our earlier posts.  Look back to see why these herbs & greens are so good to include in your diet.

and last but not least...

FRESH BAKED BREAD & SPECIAL TREATS from Drew & Lindsey at Clementine’s Bakery! ?

Last week to come pick blueberries!  Give a call 893-3360 to let us know when you’d like to come and bring a bucket.

September 14-15 Permaculture in Practice Workshop at Salamander Springs Farm is FULL.   However, we have on-farm workshops every year and Susana teaches workshops in many regions--if your friends or family would like to learn more about growing food & living sustainably by cycling resources, nutrients, & energy, have them email us via the farm website and ask be on our "workshop notification list. " 

Monthly farm tour is also Saturday, September 14 -the time has changed to 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. because of the on-farm workshop schedule that weekend.  NO charge for our CSA members!  If you have not had a chance to visit the farm yet this season, please join us.  Email us if you need directions--Google maps will send you to the moon or even Mars.

************************************RECIPES!*******************************************

BEET & POTATO BORSCHT SOUP!   (6 servings)
Basic traditional ingredients:
4 cups (well-made & seasoned) veggie or chicken stock
3- 4 beets -sliced, chopped or whole (see below)
3-4 potatoes -sliced, chopped or whole (see below)
salt & black pepper to taste
Simmer the beets & potatoes in the stock until soft.  For a thicker soup, slice half of them remove and puree whole beets & potatoes (slice the rest).  Mix into the broth and serve. 

For a Borscht with more flair, oven-roast the beets & potatoes first, about 45 minutes at 400 degrees, after coating with olive oil, thyme, salt & pepper. When they are cool, chop them up.
In the bottom of your soup pot, saute for 5-8 minutes:
1 small-medium onion
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped

Add:
1-2 apples, peeled & chopped
1 T apple cider vinegar + 1  T honey
Add the soup stock, the roasted beets & potatoes and simmer 20 minutes.   Put everything in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  If you like some chunkiness, puree only part of it to thicken the soup.
Borscht is good both hot and cold. Garnish with sour cream or plain yogurt and dill or parsley!



**********************************************************************************************
Time, Matter...and Reality      -a note from Susana

It is a difficult time.  My father struggles to be present to the last stages of life, and I feel helpless against time, matter and the fragility of life.

At just the right time, my friend Douglas DeCandia (NY farmer, former Salamander Springs wwoofer) sent the touching poem below,  A Fig Tree.   Today I will also be thankful to time and matter for being lenient...and for our fig trees at Salamander Springs Farm!  

I want to send out appreciation for Mirra, Kayla & Richard, our young Salamander Springs Farmers--please give them a hug this week and let them know how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication to providing healthy, nutritious food for our community!  

Hope to see you next week..   -Susana

P.S.  If you didn’t see it last week, check out Doug’s beautiful poem, Autumn, in the August 13 post.
---

There is a way about some things
that brings us to question
time and matter and
what is real.
-
Pop loved figs.
He and Nana kept a tree at their home in Brooklyn,
and brought it with them,
in a pot, when they moved upstate.

They were his favorite thing to eat, he would say
that the small tender fruits reminded him
of a gentleness and generosity of life in the old country.
He lived and shared that gentleness and generosity with us.
-
I am thankful to
time and matter
for being lenient when it comes
to the memories of the heart.

I am thankful to
time and reality for being imperfect;
for not moving in the straight lines that
our clocks and calendars tell us to.

I am thankful
because today I sat with my grandfather,
under the fig tree
that we planted;

and that someday
my own son may taste the tender fruits of this earth
and know his great-grandfather
as I do.


********************NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION*****************************
 
See the August 6 post for the “The Dirty Dozen” conventionally-grown fruits & veggies found most laden with toxic pesticides (2012 results of Environmental Working Group annual testing of pesticide levels in fruits & vegetables).
See past blog posts for nutritional benefits of this week’s fruits and veggies.


Bees are essential for one out of every three bites of food we eat, but are being wiped out by the indiscriminant use of bee-toxic pesticides called neonicotinoids, or “neonics”  which are found everywhere in commercial agriculture, the shelf of your garden stores, and in nursery plants & seeds--with no warning to the consumer! 

Many “bee friendly” home garden plants sold at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other leading garden centers have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees, according to a new, first-of-its-kind pilot study released this week.   Garden stores in Europe have taken neonics off the shelves–it’s time for us to do the same!  Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to rid their stores of bee-toxic pesticides, seeds and garden plants!  

For more info, go to centerforfoodsafety.org (in Washington D.C.).

 

 
 

Today's CSA box...Apple Crisp, Potato Salad and “Our Magical Mountains & Chanterelles!” (from Kayla)

See below for recipes and “Our Magical Mountains & Chanterelles!”

LETTUCE & STIR FRY MIX Our fall greens are starting to come in. We didn’t want to wait until next week for the whole lot, so some of you will get salad and some stir fry this week. Our Kale & leafy greens are free of the toxic pesticides that placed them in the “Dirty Dozen,” most pesticide-laden conventionally-grown fruits & veggies (see last week’s post)!

GOLDEN LITTLE JENNY MELON! this sweet dumpling of a melon will melt in your mouth. Great for single folks or small families. Little Jenny came through despite the rains and cool nights of this season!

GROUND CHERRIES - These sweet pineapple flavored fruits, also called husk cherries, come in their own little candy wrappers (paper husks). We love them as a snack, in desserts, jams, or salads. They are a sweet member of the tomato family--but not tomatillos!

TOMATOES - Heirlooms, Plums, Pastes, Cherries: choose 1.5# of your favorites - or try a new one! Ask us about the different varieties at the market: from the yellow-gold Pineapple or Garden Peach, German Pink or Pink Plop Plum, to the dark purple Cherokee Purple or Black Krim (to name just a few). Sometimes wild looking, their flavor is so much richer than the uniform standard red. Many old-time heirloom tomatoes have “green shoulders” and a larger core when ripe (which was bred out of standard industry tomatoes. We also have cherry and plum tomatoes, which are the best for sun-dried tomatoes in our solar dehydrator. See our past recipes for our favorite summer salads and natural homemade ketchup!   If you wonder if choosing organically-grown tomatoes is important, take a look at the “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide-laden fruits & veggies (August 6 post). I personally experienced extreme nausea after 10 minutes in the greenhouse of a local grower, shortly after the commonly-recommended fungicides were applied. 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 few days to a week.  To ripen further, leave in a sunny windowsill (covered with a cloth).  Remember that if you want to process (freeze, can, make ketchup or juice), our CSA members can purchase additional tomatoes at the market at a discount ($1.50 lb).

CUCUMBERS tender, well-nurtured and freshly harvested cukes do not have to be peeled, and are wonderful fresh in salads on hot days.  See our previously posted favorite summer recipes (tomato-basil salad, yogurt/cucumber/mint, Tabouli salad). The “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide laden fruits & veggies  might explain why most commercial cucumbers a have a bitter skin!

GREEN BEANS take your pick again this week from 3 local heirloom pole beansor stringless snap beans (1.5#):   Heirloom pole beans have a heartier, sweeter flavor than stringless snap beans. 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! The larger beans need “stringing” before cooking (pull off the string along each seam from each end of the bean). Cook about 12-15 minutes (the fatter the bean, the longer the cook time). Heirloom beans with a pot of potatoes, pearl onions, butter & salt makes a simple, hearty meal with unmatched flavor! Heirloom pole beans were also traditionally eaten at the “shucky bean” stage--harvested after the beans in the pod fill out and the pod yellows on the vine--and shelled out for soup beans. Crucial to sustaining pioneer families through the winter, the rich flavor of heirloom pole beans is still treasured by their ancestors. Today we have Half Runner, Elkins, & Preacher (Rattlesnake Pole) BeansSee the fascinating story of the Elkins Bean in August 6 post!  Stringless SNAP BEANS are picked when the inner bean seeds have not had a chance to form, they need little cooking nor stringing. Eat raw in dips, put into stir-fries, egg dishes, steam or cook with butter & salt.  Additional beans for freezing or canning: if you want to process green beans for winter, use our CSA member discount ($1.50 lb.) Ask us for processing tips.

“Liberty” APPLES - select what you will use at the market.  A smaller, old-time heirloom apple that stands fairly well to the vast array of pest & disease problems here in the east--without ANY pesticides or fungicides. They have a thick green-yellow skin, but are surprisingly sweet and crisp. We eat them fresh and make into delicious apple crisp (see Susana’s family recipe, below). They also make a great apple butter.. Like the peaches, the plum curculio has bored into some fruit and some have scars from cedar apple rust.  But the rest of the fruit is delicious--not cosmetically perfect means safe to eat!  If you think you’d rather have a cosmetically perfect apple, it may change your mind to see the top of last week’s “Dirty Dozen” list of most toxic, pesticide-laden fruits & veggies. If you’d like more to can or make apple butter, our CSA discount applies to apples, too!

CORNO DI TORO SWEET PEPPERS - (“Horn of the Bull” in Italian) these are sweet in any dish, even raw in salads. In a warmer, sunnier season they would have turned yellow-orange by now; with the cool rainy weather this year, we aren’t waiting for all of them to do that. Peppers are another “Dirty Dozen” toxic special when grown conventionally.

BANANA PEPPERS - these hardly classify as hot peppers, so even if you don’t like your dishes too spicy they will add some spice to your life!

POTATOES - Take your choice of quart boxes (1.5#) of Austrian Crescent fingerlings or Kennebecs this week! Austrian Crescents are small & tender yellow-fleshed tan potatoes look like fingers. “Like morsels of butter,” they’re a hit in gourmet restaurants and are perfect for roasted potatoes with meat or just with olive oil, rosemary & salt. YUM!  Kennebecs are a favorite all-purpose white potato that Maine folk love for home-fries. We are sad that we lost some of them to the flooding rain and frosts in May. We also have Purple Viking potatoes--a white potato with pink-splash purple skin which is also very versatile, with a texture like the Kennebec (for colored home-fries!)  With the unprecedented rains this season, we have found the potatoes (which survived standing water and a late frost) to be more watery than normal and may not store as long.  Many folks are surprised to learn that potatoes are on the“Dirty Dozen” list of most toxic, pesticide-laden fruits & veggies; non-organic farmers spray spuds at all stages of their life--even after they are harvested!  At Salamander Springs Farm, we never use these fungicides, pesticides, or sprout inhibitors.

SWEET CANDY YELLOW & RED ONIONS - various sizes for various recipes.  Both the Yellow & Red Candy are very mild and sweet and don’t make you cry (less sulfury than our winter storage onions, which is why they don’t store as long). We’ll give you sweet onions now and storage onions in the fall, unless you prefer otherwise. Let us know how many you can use each week. (Good Foods Coop and Stella’s Deli in Lexington have bought most of our red, white and pearl onions, so we will soon be out of those).

SUMMER SQUASH Summer is still here!   See our egg frittata, Morning Glory muffins, or pan grilled squash recipes; use in roasted veggies, casseroles, rice or stir fries. 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 to provide some air circulation. Conventionally grown summer squash also made the 2012 “Dirty Dozen” list because they are “commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.”

FRESH BASIL With tomatoes, grilled squash, pesto and sauces, fresh basil adds great flavor to so many dishes.

FRESH PARSLEY, MINT or CILANTRO - so tasty the summer salad recipes we’ve posted with tomatoes and cucumbers. Parsley is also an excellent herb for the potato salad recipe posted below. If you’d like cilantro for salsa, we have some of that, too. See our earlier posts for nutritional info on why these greens are so good to include in your diet and some of our favorite recipes.

Last but not least...

FRESH BAKED BREAD & SPECIAL TREATS from Drew & Lindsey at Clementine’s Bakery!

Blackberry season is over, but you can still come pick blueberries! Give a call 893-3360 to let us know when you’d like to come and bring a bucket.

September 14-15, Permaculture in Practice Workshop at Salamander Springs Farm.   We’ve posted & sent out fliers this week.  Join us or forward to friends who would like to learn more about growing food & living by cycling resources, nutrients, & energy.   Let us know if you would like a flier at the market.

************************************RECIPES!*******************************************

POTATO SALAD -Inspired by the “Lebanese Potato Salad” in the cookbook, Extending the Table.

Toss together:

about a quart of potatoes; boil until tender, then slice into bite sized chunks.

1/2 cup fresh parsley,chopped

1/4 cup onions finely chopped

1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp salt & dash of pepper

A garlic glove, minced (or try fresh horseradish root which we have available at market).

CHILL, SERVE & ENJOY!

 

SUSANA’S FAMILY APPLE CRISP (I grew up with some big old apple trees, and this was our favorite late summer & fall dessert. So simple to make and so good with ice cream!

7-8 cups apples, chopped (cut out any bad spots & cores)

1/2 cup+ butter

1 cup flour (whole wheat flour works fine; gluten-free flours like almond would work, too)

1 cup rolled oats

1+ cup brown sugar (organic turbinado or raw sugar)

1 T cinnamon

Melt the butter in a 13x9” (or 9x9”) cake or brownie pan. Mix a few tablespoons of the flour and few tablespoons of the sugar (and a few dashes of cinnamon, if you like) with the apples. Pour the melted butter into a bowl and mix it with everything else. Spread apples on the bottom of the pan and spread the oats mixture on top. Bake in 375 degree oven about 40 minutes. Enjoy!

********************************************************************************************** “Our Magical Mountains & Chanterelles!”

-from Kayla Preston, Salamander Springs Farm apprentice and CSA co-manager

Howdy-ho CSAers!

It’s Kayla here-writing to you this week while sitting in a reclining chair staring out at the marvelous mountains that surround this entire farm--the mountains that filter the purest, most divine water I have ever tasted, the mountains that help feed the soil and the people of this farm...and the fruits, vegetables and the air! The gratitude that I have to be surrounded by these diverse, breathtaking mountains is strong and deep.

We have been spending time lately wandering off into the woods of these mountains that surround us with one goal: wild mushrooms! With the large amount of rain and cool nights we have been experiencing up here on Salamander Springs Farm, the woods are full of spores of all different types. Some lime green, some tall, some microscopic, some fat, some dangerously beautiful. All the different mushrooms in the woods right now seem like a fairy tale or a scene from Alice in Wonderland. Mainly we are looking for Chanterelles, orange trumpet-shaped mushrooms with “false” gill-like grooves under their usually convex cap. These mushrooms have very abundant this year, and grow in communities with living trees throughout lower slopes of our mountains. Some the size of a dinner plate, some the size of saltshaker. Hands-down, chanterelles are the tastiest wild mushroom I have tried. And to think that the forest produces them on their own! Whoa, now that is what I call magical! It is such a joy to me to go out into the woods that feeds the farm I grow food on and harvest something that it grows naturally that I turn into food! And if it doesn’t get harvested, then it goes right back into the soil for future chanterelles to come.

The mountains that surround Salamander Springs Farm ROAR. They are absolutely magical. Words do not explain the beauty and respect I have for these powerful, intimidating mountains.

I love our Mountains!

Cheers,

Kayla

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

See past blog posts for nutritional benefits of this week’s fruits and veggies.

For the “The Dirty Dozen” conventionally-grown fruits & veggies most laden with toxic pesticides (2012 results of the Environmental Working Group’s annual testing of pesticide levels in fruits & vegetables), see the August 6 post.

 *************************************************************************************

Autumn

Autumn is introduced
again, like an old friend
by the cool morning air of early August.

It has brought along a suitcase
filled with magic and with memories
that it will unpack slowly over the next few months;

colors it soon will throw upon the forest
inspiring the artists by humbling them,
sounds by the darkness choir
seduce the ears of trained musicians,
smells that bring the old and faded back to youth.

In the fields, Autumn shows itself
in the greatest collaboration and
communion between man and nature;

the single seed we planted in Spring,
Summer has grown to a plant,
bearing the fruit that Autumn now cures, sweetens,
holding in each a thousand seeds,
a thousand plants tomorrow.

How can we be hopeless
when there so much hope found in one tiny seed?

Autumn,
like an old friend,
reminds us
what is possible.  

-Douglas DeCandia (farmer, former Salamander Springs wwoofer)

 
 

Your CSA box, the "Dirty Dozen" (most toxic conventional produce) and "The Story of the Elkins' Bean"

See "The Dirty Dozen" (conventionally grown fruits & veggies most laden with pesticides) and “The Story of the Elkins' Bean,” below!

HEIRLOOM POLE BEANS! Take your pick at the market of 3 local favorite old-time heirlooms:  Half Runner, Elkins, or Preacher (Rattlesnake Pole) beans. 
Heirloom pole beans have a heartier, sweeter flavor than stringless snap beans.  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!  String before cooking (pull off the string along each seam from each end of the bean).  Cook about 12-15 minutes (the fatter the bean, the longer the cook time).  Heirloom beans with a pot of potatoes, pearl onions, butter & salt makes a simple, hearty meal with unmatched flavor!   Heirloom pole beans were also traditionally eaten at the “shucky bean” stage--harvested after the beans in the pod fill out and the pod yellows on the vine--and shelled out for soup beans.  They were crucial to sustaining pioneer families through harsh conditions and winters.  Read the fascinating story of the Elkins Bean below. The rich flavor of heirloom pole beans is still treasured today by their ancestors.
If you prefer stringless SNAP BEANS instead, we have those, too.  Picked when the inner bean seeds have not had a chance to form, they need little cooking nor stringing.  They can be eaten raw in dips, put into stir-fries, egg dishes, steamed or cooked with butter & salt. 
Beans for freezing or canning:   if you are interested in processing green beans for winter, we offer our CSA members additional green beans at the market at a discount ($1.50 lb.).  Ask us for processing tips. 

Liberty APPLES, Asian PEARS & PEACHES! - select a few of your choice at the market.  
Some of our crisp and sweet Liberty apples and Asian pears are starting to ripen just as we enter our last week for peaches.  The branches of our “pregnant” peach tree are no longer fruit-laden (many were processed, frozen, flavored Kombucha, or made into delicious cobblers).  We’ve found the plum curculio bored into some fruit (found in the brown area round the pit) but the rest of the fruit is delicious.   Not cosmetically perfect means safe to eat!   If you think you’d rather have a apple or peach without the possibility of a plum curculio, looking at the “Dirty Dozen” list of most toxic, pesticide-laden fruits & veggies below might change your mind.

FINGERLING POTATOES!  So all of you can experience the tender little fingerling potatoes this season, we are setting aside quart boxes (about 1.75#) of our yellow Austrian Crescent fingerlings this week!  These small & tender yellow-fleshed tan potatoes look like fingers. “Like morsels of butter,” they’re a hit in gourmet restaurants and are perfect for roasted potatoes with meat or just with olive oil, rosemary & salt.  YUM!
If you prefer another type you can swap them for Irish Cobbler/Yukon Golds or Purple Viking potatoes at the market.  With the unprecedented rains this season, we have found the potatoes, which survived standing water, to be more watery than normal and will likely not store as long as normal.

SWEET CANDY ONIONS of various sizes.  These are mild and sweet, less sulfury than our winter storage onions:  they don’t make you cry, so not for long storage.  We’ll give you sweet onions now and storage onions in the fall, unless you prefer otherwise.  Let us know how many you can use each week.

TOMATOES - HEIRLOOMS, PLUMS, CHERRIES:  choose 2# from a wide variety on the market table--from the yellow-gold Pineapple or Garden Peach, German Pink or Pink Plop Plum, to the dark purple Cherokee Purple or Black Krim (to name just a few).  Sometimes wild looking, their flavor is so much richer than the uniform standard red.  We also have cherry and plum tomatoes, which are the best for sun-dried tomatoes in our solar dehydrator.   Ask us about the different colors and varieties at the market and let us know your favorites.  See our past recipes for our favorite summer salad and natural homemade ketchup!  
If you wonder if it is important to buy organically grown tomatoes, take a look at the “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide laden fruits & veggies below.  I have personally experienced extreme nausea after 10 minutes in the greenhouse of one local grower, shortly after the commonly recommended fungicides were applied.
Many of the old-time heirloom tomatoes have “green shoulders” and a larger core when they are totally ripe (which was bred out of standard industry tomatoes--just slice off the green top.   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).  
Remember that if you want more tomatoes to process (freeze, can, dry, make ketchup) our CSA members can purchase additional tomatoes at the market at a discount ($1.50 lb).

CUCUMBERS!  tender well-nurtured and freshly harvested cukes do not have to be peeled, and are wonderful fresh in salads on hot days.  See our favorite summer tomato-basil salad recipe below or the previously posted yogurt/cucumber/mint and Tabouli Salad recipes.  A look at the “Dirty Dozen” list of most pesticide laden fruits & veggies below might explain why most commercial cucumbers a have a bitter skin!

SUMMER SQUASH  See our egg frittata, Morning Glory muffins, or pan grilled squash recipes; use in roasted veggies, casseroles, rice or stir fries.  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 to provide some air circulation.   Conventionally grown summer squash also made the “Dirty Dozen” list below...“contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system."

SWEET POTATO GREENS - the perfect summer green, delicious and nutritious stir-fried, sauteed or steamed with a little bit of lemon juice or butter.  Great in egg dishes, too, like our egg frittata recipe.  See the nutritional and medicinal benefits of sweet potato greens in the July 9 posting.

BANANA PEPPERS- these hardly classify as hot peppers, so even if you don’t like your dishes too spicy they will add some spice to your life!  Peppers are another “Dirty Dozen” toxic special when grown conventionally.

LEEKS last week for the season!  Sweeter and more pungent than onions; enjoy in creamy potato leek soup (July 2 recipe) stir-fries, roasted-veggies, or our egg frittata recipe.  You can use the green stalks, too.

FRESH BASIL  In the season of tomatoes, garlic, grilled squash, pesto and other sauces, fresh basil adds great flavor to so many dishes.  See the nutritional info and some of our favorite recipes in the past postings to learn why food can be your medicine.

Last but not least...

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

September 14-15 Permaculture in Practice Workshop at Salamander Springs Farm.  We’ll be sending out flyers this week.  Join us if you’d like to learn more about growing food & living by cycling resources, nutrients, & energy.  Feel free to forward to friends or family that might benefit.

If you’d like to freeze or make jam, our CSA members are again invited to come out to pick blackberries.  This is the last week before the season is over; they are a little smaller and harder to get now.  Give a call 893-3360 to let us know when you’d like to come and bring a bucket; wear long pants & sturdy shoes.

******************************************************************************************

“Story of the Elkins' Bean”  Let’s keep planting & saving the seed for future generations! - a note from Susana  (August 6, 2013)

We are harvesting a delicious “new” (but very old) heirloom pole bean from our cornfield this year--one that has been selected and treasured by a family for close to 200 years!  The Elkins’ Bean bean is named for the family of our friend Garland Elkins near Brodhead, KY, whose family brought them from NC to KY before the time of the American civil war.  Garland’s great-grandmother Robinette was at 8 years old when the family began their journey over the mountains.  She was charged with keeping the seeds for this tasty bean safe and dry in her apron pocket.  During the post civil war years in KY, she often told the story of the family stopping to rest for a couple days at a beautiful place with a freshwater spring, near where WV, VA & KY join (site of the present-day Breaks National Park near Elkhorn KY).  When Garland gave me the seed, he told me that in the 1950’s, when he was about 15 years old, his family took his grandfather, then an an elderly man, to see this place she had so often spoke about and to get some water from the spring.  
The Elkins beans were grown on corn much like they do in our cornmeal cron field at Salamander Springs Farm; they have felt very at home here!  They are delicious fresh green in the summer and as a protein staple (“shucky beans”) in the fall & winter; Garland and family use them both ways to this day.  They shuck out the later yellowing beans for “the best soup bean I’ve ever tasted” (in his words).   They carry on many traditions of their ancestors who by necessity lived entirely from the land.  Corn, beans, squash, poultry and hogs were some of the mainstays of their diet--the Elkins family today still enjoy grits, soup beans, cornbread and crackling bread from the fat of a butchered hog.
Now in his mid-70’s, Garland wants these treasured bean seeds to live on.  Last fall when he brought me as goose to replace one that had been killed by a predator, he also gifted me these and other seeds--so that we can help keep them growing and feeding people in our community!  If you try these beans and love them, let us know if you’d like to grow them next year and we’ll share some of our seed with you!  If you don’t have corn to grow them on, a fence or trellis works, too.

In other news of the farm, Joshua Bills and I have wired the clay-Straw building for the new solar panel, which we were to mount last weekend, but alas it arrived shattered from Back Woods Solar.  In a few weeks we’ll hopefully have more sun-electric power on the farm--to help run our freezer which keeps your produce cold until it gets to market (via bottles of ice in the coolers).    It was actually hot (like a real summer day) for our farm tour last Saturday!  We got more rain, too, but thankfully not deluged this time.

I will be sending out flyers this week for our September 14-15 Permaculture in Practice workshop at Salamander Springs Farm.  We’d love you to join us if you’d like to learn more about growing food & living by cycling resources, nutrients, & energy.  Feel free to forward to friends or family that might benefit.

Many Blessings on your meals,
Susana

************************NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION!**************************
 
See past blog posts for nutritional benefits on this week’s fruits and veggies.

Instead of nutritional information this week, here’s the 2012 results of the Environmental Working Group’s annual testing of pesticide levels in fruits & vegetables:
“The Dirty Dozen” 
Conventionally grown fruits and veggies most laden with pesticides:
Apples
Celery
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Grapes
Nectarines
Peaches
Potatoes
Spinach
Strawberries
Sweet Bell & Hot Peppers
Summer Squash*
Leafy greens, especially Kale & Collards*

*= crops which did not meet traditional criteria but were "commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.
For more information, go to www.ewg.org. 
 

 
 

Your JULY 30 CSA box, recipes & a blog from Mirra

See below, “For our Love of Tomatoes and for Healing, ” from CSA co-manager, Mirra Shapiro.


EDAMAME SOY!  The healthy snack food much loved in Japan and China, these can be addictive (one variety we grow is called “Beer Friend”)!  Some of you have gotten them from us at the market for many years, but we wanted all to try them before their season ends.  The pods are not edible, but help retain quality of fresh edamame soy.  They are sold shelled and frozen in natural food stores, but are so much better fresh.  
Boil edamame (like boiled peanuts) about 10-15 minutes in a bit of well-salted water (1” deep) in an uncovered pot; let it mostly boil off so the salt penetrates the shell (we sometimes add other seasonings, too).  When they’ve cooled a bit, they you can easily pop them out of the shell and into your mouth in one fell swoop.  You can also shell them all out after boiling, and then salt & season to add to salads, frittatas and other dishes.  To feel good about your snack, see nutritional information below!

YELLOW SPANISH ONIONS - this is our first year growing these these teardrop shaped onions.  They like the longer northern summer days and did not get as big compared to our Candy Sweet onions which are adapted this latitude, but their flavor seems mild and sweet (less sulfury) for a onion that stores longer than the Candy.  Of our varieties 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.

GREEN (SNAP) BEANS are stringless and need little cooking; they can be eaten raw in dips, steamed or put into stir-fries, egg dishes or cooked with with potatoes, pearl onions, butter & salt.  Stringless snap beans are picked when the inner bean seeds have not had a chance to form.   
If you prefer the meatier, heartier-flavored heirloom pole beans, we have Half Runner Beans at the market today-- feel free to swap your snaps for poles!   Popular with many folks in this area who grew up with them, heirloom pole beans are more than a vegetable--unlike snap beans, they provide a substantial amount of protein as well.   Harvested when the inner bean seeds have started to fill out, old-time pole beans can be a meal in themselves.  In a couple weeks we will have a couple other favorite heirloom pole beans--Greasy Beans and Preacher Beans (Rattlesnake Pole Beans).

POTATOES  Pick a pound of potatoes at the market--large, medium or baby sized.   We have Red Thumb fingerlings, Yukon Golds & Irish Cobbler whites and Purple Viking potatoes.  Red Thumb are small & tender fingerling potatoes, like the popular French Fingerling we grow, except with beautiful pink flesh.  They are perfect for roasted potatoes with meat or just with olive oil, rosemary & salt.  Most folks are familiar with Yukon Gold, a popular and multi-purpose yellow-fleshed early potato with pink eyes.  Irish Cobbler is a traditional early potato that is wonderful cooked with salt and tossed with butter & chopped parsley.  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 (HEIRLOOMS, PLUMS, CHERRIES)  Choose 2# from a wide variety on the market table--from the yellow-gold Pineapple or Garden Peach, German Pink or Pink Plop Plum, to the dark purple Cherokee Purple or Black Krim (to name just a few).  Sometimes wild looking, their flavor is so much richer than the uniform standard red.  We also have cherry and plum tomatoes, which are the best for sun-dried tomatoes in our solar dehydrator.   Ask us about the different colors and varieties at the market and let us know your favorites.  See the recipe for one of our favorite summer salads and our much-loved natural homemade ketchup, below!  
Remember that many of the old-time heirloom tomatoes have “green shoulders” and a larger core when they are totally ripe (which was bred out of standard industry tomatoes--just slice off the green top.   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).  
If you are interested in processing (freezing, canning or making lots of ketchup--we will give our CSA members who want more tomatoes a discount this week at the market, $1.50 lb!

CUCUMBERS!  We’ve been enjoying our traditional brine pickles (see last week’s recipe).  Our cukes are tender and do not have to be peeled, and are wonderful fresh in salads on hot days.  See our favorite summer tomato-basil salad recipe below or the previously posted yogurt/cucumber/mint and Tabouli Salad recipes.

SUMMER SQUASH  It’s not summer without summer squashes (though after 49 degrees on our thermometer Monday a.m., it hasn’t felt like summer!)  See our egg frittata, Morning Glory muffins, or pan grilled squash recipes; use in roasted veggies, casseroles, rice or stir fries.  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 to provide some air circulation.

SWEET POTATO GREENS - the perfect summer green, delicious and nutritious stir-fried, sauteed or steamed with a little bit of lemon juice or butter.  Great in egg dishes, too, like our egg frittata recipe.  See the nutritional and medicinal benefits of sweet potato greens in the July 9 posting.

Head of GARLIC or a few 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.  The red ones are especially sweet sliced thinly in the tomato basil salad recipe below.  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 recipe) stir-fries, roasted-veggies, or our egg frittata recipe...the green stalks are good, too.

FRESH BASIL  In the season of tomatoes, garlic, grilled squash, pesto and other sauces, fresh basil adds great flavor to so many dishes.  See the recipe for one of our favorite summer salads, below.

PARSLEY  Almost every vegetable in this week’s box is enhanced by parsley.  See our May postings for Tabouli Salad recipe and to remember why parsley should be in your diet often!

PEACHES - Feel free to select a couple pounds from our basket at the market.  The branches on our “pregnant” peach tree are no longer touching the ground, but are still pretty loaded.  We’ve processed and frozen a lot of peaches this week and made some delicious cobblers.  We found the “peach worm” (plum curculio) has bored into many fruit (found in the brown area round the pit) but the rest of the peach is delicious.  We are picking them before they fall to further ripen in a couple days in a paper bag.  

Last but not least...
A bouquet of SUMMER FLOWERS to brighten your day!
and...

FRESH BAKED BREAD & SPECIAL TREATS from Clementine’s Bakery.  Thank you Drew & Lindsey!

If you’d like to freeze or make jam, we again invite our CSA members to come out this week to pick blackberries & peaches before the season ends.  Give a call 893-3360 to let us know when you’d like to come and bring a bucket; for blackberry picking, wear long pants & sturdy shoes. 

The next Salamander Springs Farm tour is August 3 from 2 - 4:30 p.m.   Let us know if you can join us - and stay for dinner afterwords!

P.S.  We are adding another solar panel this week to our totally off-grid farm electric system, which will help power the freezer that keeps our produce fresh (via bottles of ice) until it gets to the market!  Many thanks to our wonderful friend Josh Bills whose extensive solar knowledge has made it possible for this farm to operate for 10 years without the burning of coal that produces Kentucky's grid electricity.

See you at the farmer’s market! 

************************************RECIPES!****************************************

NATURAL DELICIOUS KETCHUP!
You can also make this in the winter with frozen or canned tomatoes & peppers.
4 cups of tomato puree (see below)
1 T fresh basil
1-2 T raw apple cider vinegar
1 T unpasteurized whey (see below)
2 T fermented fish sauce (optional, but tasty; you can buy at Happy Meadow or Good Foods Co-op)
1/8 cup chopped green pepper
1 t  raw local honey
1 t dry mustard or 1 T fresh good quality mustard
1 T fresh oregano, minced, or 1 t dried
2 t salt, pinch of nutmeg & cinnamon.

Tomato puree: remove stems & core tomatoes.  Spoon out the seeds & juice.  Chop into big chunks and cook 10-15 minutes on low heat. Strain the juice and chill that for a delicious tomato juice!  Use the rest to make the ketchup.  Puree together with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or blender.   
This recipe calls for a 24 hour ferment with whey (let sit 24 hours at room temperature). We strain whey off of our homemade yogurt.  If you do not have access to unpasteurized milk/whey, you can skip the ferment part and still prepare a tasty ketchup.   
Use a funnel and pour into (recycled ketchup) bottle and refrigerate.
Enjoy with roasted potatoes, on meat, frittatas, and stir fries!


OUR SIMPLE (10 minute) TOMATO BASIL & CUCUMBER SALAD!
Mix together in a bowl:
-a couple sweet tomatoes, chopped
-a small cucumber, sliced or chopped
-1/4 cup diced/thinly sliced) fresh basil
-a small sweet onion (red is nice), quartered and sliced very thinly
-a couple tablespoons good organic olive oil
-a couple tablespoons balsamic vinegar (red wine vinegar is good too)
-if you are a garlic lover, dice a clove of that and add to oil & vinegar.
-sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
-if you have it, crumble some local feta or grate some local Parmesan cheese on top.
Chill and serve.  YUM!

************************NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION**************************
See past blog postings for nutritional benefits on this week’s fruits and veggies!


EDAMAME SOY!  a 1/2 cup serving provides 20-40% of your daily recommended intake of protein, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, potassium, calcium and vitamin A & K, and has at least 5% of all the recommended dietary nutrients except vitamin D!  Soybeans are one of the few plant sources with complete protein, providing 30-35% of the daily value (for men & women; based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet). They're an especially good source of folate, providing 120% of the recommended daily intake.  Folate helps helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and prevent birth defects through its role in the creation and growth of new cells.  Edamame has less than 5% fat and its polyunsaturated fats include heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
"Soybeans contain plant-based chemicals called isoflavones that are similar to estrogen. These phyto-estrogens help lower cholesterol and reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Estrogen works by attaching to special receptor cells. Phyto-estrogens attach to the same receptors, but they’re weaker than real estrogen. If your levels of estrogen are low, phyto-estrogens increase the total amount. If you have normal estrogen levels and phyto-estrogens block real estrogen by attaching to the receptors first, total estrogen levels go down."  -from the Nutrition Digest (American Nutrition Association)

*******************************************************************************

“For our Love of Tomatoes and Healing”   - a note from Mirra Shapiro, CSA Co-manager, July 30, 2013


In an early May blog, we wrote about the “bucket brigade:”  scouring the property for buckets, wheelbarrows, boxes or tubs to protect all our newly planted tomatoes from the chilly night air and cold morning dew (The usual row cover fabric or plastic was not enough protection against the cold & frosts).  
It is late July and where are we now?  We are still nursing tomato plants, doing our best to help them thrive in conditions that are cooler and damper than they like.
Like surgeons in the field, we cut out any yellowing leaves that suggest disease.  We coax their vines to grow in the support of trellice and provide more air circulation.   Susana wrote last week about a tea of horsetail plant that we prepare here - a silica-rich medicine we distribute on their leaves and around their roots.  The tea provides support and fortification for the plants to help resist the disease that comes in wet and cold conditions so alike their native habitat.

If I was a tomato (or eggplant, okra or pepper) plant, I might be angry at the farmer, and ask the question, “Why did you plant me into a season of cold and wet; a world of conditions that weaken my immunity and may cause me to be sick!?”  As gardener I might reply, “Because we love all the varieties of your beautiful fruit!”   
As I think on this, I can relate to the sad Solanaceae as much as to the farmer.  I too was planted in an era of poor living conditions.  Abundant blessings aside, I experienced a world that weakened my immune system.  The air, water, food and attitude that is readily accessible is polluted with toxicity.  Though the pesticides and car fumes may be chemically derived from our earth, they are toxic to all life on this earth. And like the tomato plant, I am pissed!

I am choosing not to be afraid.  I am cutting out fear and sad-looking food from my diet.  I am looking for good medicine, and it is EVERYWHERE.  How do I recognize medicine?  It is not necessarily labeled and on a shelf. Good medicine can come as a flower in the garden, a bee on the flower, or a bee-sting on the hand.  Good medicine helps me to taste my experience and to grow from it.  It comes into my life, into our lives, because some gardener loves all varieties of our beautiful fruit.
The wild mushrooms in the surrounding forest paths of Salamander Springs Farm have fruited in abundant variety this year.  I slipped in the mud on my way down to the freezer one morning and fell on my behind.  Before I could shout, “Darn this rain!”  A group of mushrooms showed themselves. They were big and rounded with orange tops. They were beautiful and strange to me.  I don’t know very much about mushroom medicine, but I have learned that they work as a network to help to break down toxicities in our environment.  Mushrooms have successfully been utilized to clean up oil spills and to filter drinking water.  They can break down nasty chemicals in the soil…and it is the rain that brings them out!
I can still relate to the disgruntled tomato plant.  This life is unfair, grumble grumble...  But good medicine is everywhere.  And as good gardeners of the earth, we can help each other to recognize it and bring it into our lives.

Here’s to our resilient tomato plants!   
- Mirra Ester Shapiro

 
 

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, sauces...so 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!

*************************************RECIPES!*************************************

“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,

Kayla

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).

 
 

JULY 16 CSA INFO & RECIPES and "Transitions at the Farm" (from Susana)

IN YOUR BOX TODAY:


CUCUMBERS!  tender enough for salads, do not have to be peeled, these are wonderful fresh on hot July days.  See the previously posted info & recipes for yogurt/cucumber/mint sauce or in Tabouli Salad.

GREEN BEANS!    These are stringless snap beans, picked when the inner bean is just beginning to form.  They need little cooking, and can be eaten raw in dips, steamed or put into stir-fries, egg dishes, stews.  See nutritional info below.

POTATOES!  We’ll set aside about 2# of baby potato mixes (which we know several of you like) for our CSA folks the market.  You can swap out if you’d like with different sizes or certain varieties on the market table.  This week we have red, whites (“Irish Cobbler”) and purple (“Purple Viking”) potatoes.  This is our first year of growing this type of purple potatoes-- they are big and beautifully streaked in dark and light hues of purple & pink!

You’ll find one of these in your box this week:
CABBAGE, BROCCOLI or SWEET BELL PEPPERS  Cabbage is a versatile vegetable - good raw in salads, in many other dishes from stir-fries to soups, and it is easy to ferment into a highly nutritious, enzyme-rich food like Kim Chi or Sauerkraut. See recipe and nutritional info and below.  See nutritional info in our past postings about broccoli and peppers.

STANDARD RED, CHERRY or HEIRLOOM TOMATOES - We’ll set some aside for CSA members, but you can come early to market to pick your preference (let us know for future weeks).  The tomatoes are hanging in there despite the flooding rains and wet conditions which promote blight.  If you get parsley today, remember the yummy refreshing middle eastern Tabouli Salad recipe in the July 2 posting--so refreshing on a hot day!  We add garbanzo beans (chickpeas) to make it a meal (we’re harvesting our garbanzos this week!).   Do not refrigerate tomatoes--it nullifies tomato flavor and turns the flesh mealy.  Keep them on your counter 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).

Pick out your preference at the market of  SUMMER SQUASH or ZUCCHINI.  Grated squash is a wonderful addition to last week’s “Morning Glory Muffins” recipe or zucchini bread.  They are sweet in roasted veggies, casseroles, a stir fry or egg frittata, marinated and put on the grill, or our (June 26) Pan Grilled Summer Squash & Zucchini recipe.   Add sliced squash & tomatoes to rice when you cook it.  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.

STIR FRY GREENS - a super nutritious mix featuring SWEET POTATO GREENS, along with Chard, Kale, Perpetual Spinach Beet, Daikon, Tatsoi mustard, Amaranth, and Leek chives!  Wonderful stir-fried, sauteed or steamed with a little bit of lemon juice or butter.  Great in egg dishes. too.  See the amazing nutritional and medicinal benefits of sweet potato greens in last week’s posting!
 
YELLOW ONIONS - slowly our onions are starting to cure, despite the wet & humid conditions. They are stacked in big recycled bread trays in the new (natural clay-straw) building and we are using a fan as much as possible (with our limited solar electricity). Susana has been working extra hours to finish the upstairs loft space so we can spread them out more.  Please let us know how many onions you use and your type preference (red, white, & yellow sweet, yellow storage or pearl onions).

Take your pick of our other Alliums at the market:   a head of GARLIC, a few PEARL ONIONS, or LEEKS.
PEARL ONIONS are a gourmet’s delight (ours are selling for $4/lb at Good Foods Coop in Lexington!) These little bitty onions are delicious whole with roasted potatoes & veggies or boiled with potatoes & green beans, butter & salt.   The red ones especially are colorful and tasty sliced raw in salads like Tabouli.  The LEEKS area small early variety, sweeter and more pungent than onions.  Enjoy in creamy potato leek soup (see July 2 post) stir-fries, roasted-veggies, frittatas...the green stalks are good, too.

Pick your preference at the market of a bunch of FRESH BASIL or PARSLEY--for your health!  (Look back at the posted nutritional information to see why).

and last but not least...
FRESH BAKED BREAD & SPECIAL TREATS from Clementine’s Bakery!

At the farmer’s market today we’ll have red, white & purple potatoes, beets, edamame soy, carrots, blackberries, hot peppers, green beans, all the Alliums, flowers and much more...   See you there!

*************************************RECIPES!**************************************

Sauerkraut and it’s Korean cousin Kim Chi transform cabbage and your other vegetables into tasty enzyme and nutrient food--see below!  If you don’t have a crock, a gallon 1/2 gallon, or wide mouth quart jar works fine.  Don’t ferment foods in plastic.

SAUERKRAUT
1-2 pounds of cabbage
approx. 2-3 tablespoons of non iodized salt (sea salt)

OR
KIM CHI
  -adapted from Sandor Katz and others, plus our own changes along the way (adjust according to your tastes)
2-3 tablespoons of non iodized salt (sea salt)
1 pound of cabbage
1-2 carrots, radishes (including daikons) or beets (or mix of all)
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1-2 chopped onions or leeks
3-4 hot red chilies, more or less if you like (fresh or dried), mince and remove seeds
3 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
Salt, pepper and other spices you want
Koreans also add several tablespoons of fish sauce (which you can get at an Asian or natural foods grocery)

Mix the salt thoroughly with the water to make a brine.  Keep back a little of the brine before adding the vegetables so you can add more brine once the vegetables are packed in the container if they aren’t fully submerged.

Cut the cabbage (and other vegetables) into thin slices and mix.  Let it soak an hour or two in the salted brine.  Pound or mash in a sturdy pot--use your fist, a potato masher, or small jar.   Pack the cabbage (and other veggies) tightly into your crock or mason jar; sprinkle salt & pepper and your own spices as you go.  Pack as tightly as you can so the salt can draw out the water from the cabbage for the fermentation to occur.   Make certain there is about an inch of brine at the top; you will likely not need to add much of your extra salt water brine to top it off; when you pound and pack the salted cabbage in the container you  the cabbage weeps enough water to form more brine.

A weight on top of the cabbage mixture packed in the jar or crock should keep it completely submerged in the brine with no air exposure that will cause mold or bad bacterias.  I have made a weight by filling a sturdy plastic bag (or doubled plastic bags) with water, and tightly twist-tie.   Cover your container with a cloth and rubber band and keep in a dark place where the temperature stays fairly even while it is fermenting. These recipes take 1-2 weeks to ferment, depending on your kitchen temperature (the warmer, the faster the fermentation).  Usually it starts to bubble when it is ready:   so check on your Kim Chi or Sauerkraut each day--taste it and smell it, once it has the flavor you like it, put lid on it and refrigerate to eat and as you please.  If you see a little mold forming at the top, don’t worry, just skim it off.  It is a sign of the presence of air; make sure your cabbage and vegetables are fully in the brine while pushing your weight down.

**********************************************************************************

"Transitions at the Farm"   -a note from Susana

Hello CSA family,

It is the middle of July, in a season we will remember for its intense rains.  We still have standing water in the fields.  Our farm tour Saturday (with more than 50 people and not enough roof space) started with another downpour which took down a huge tree limb near our outdoor kitchen.  We and the crops are ready for the drying of sun, even though it means humid hot days!

We have started harvesting a new crop--snapping turtles from the duck pond, who’ve eaten a few of our baby ducks!  I set up a snag with some fish line and a bottle float.  We have a big angry one in a tub now and at least one more who’s eaten bait but so far avoided getting hooked.  We shall have turtle soup soon!

We are in transition at Salamander Springs Farm, having today to say good-bye to our WWOOFer David Veltser, who has been part of our team since the beginning of June.  David is in route to a remote community in New Mexico and we look forward to seeing him again upon his return to the east coast.  On Thursday we will welcome our next WWOOFer, Richard Goerwitz, coming from Eastwind Community in Missouri.  David’s blog last week made mention of the WWOOF program, an acronym for WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms.  This program provide a first step on a farm for many, to see if the hard, if rewarding, work it requires suits them.  Kayla and Mirra came to Salamander Springs Farm last season through this program and have returned this season as full season apprentices and co-managers of the CSA.  They are 2 amazing and beautiful souls--and in David’s words, the strongest, hardest working women he’d ever known.  One of the most rewarding parts for me in running a permaculture farm has been the growing extended family of young permaculture-minded "back-to the-landers."  They give me much hope for the future!  One of the hardest parts of running this farm is saying good-bye to members of our farm family who have lived and worked together intensively every day.  

Our new addition, Richard Goerwitz is not your typical WWOOFer, having spent the last several years managing the gardens at East Wind, a long-established intentional community in MO (some of you may be familiar with their peanut butter sold at Good Food Co-op in Lexington and other organic food stores).  Richard is taking a WWOOFing “sabbatical” to look at other ways of living and working on the land.  We hope that each of you can help us welcome Richard to Berea. 

Blessings on your meals,
Susana

P.S.  Mirra’s birthday is next Monday August 22, so remember to give her lots of love at the market! 


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


Cooking vegetables leads to slight nutrient losses, but heat also helps activate some plant enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants. Cook for short periods of time and use liquids too. Vegetables loose vitamins to air so using soon is always best.

FERMENTED FOODS ARE SO GOOD FOR YOU!
Fermenting cabbage and vegetables preserves and stores their nutrient value--and so much more!  Fermentation provides a low-calorie, high fiber super-food that can be used to help heal many ailments and improve overall health.  The fermentation process of SAUERKRAUT and KIM CHI (see recipes above) creates a rich source of probiotics, the healthy bacteria your body needs to maintain a balanced state of bacteria in your colon and fight off various infections.  They are packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, some B vitamins, iron, calcium, and selenium, which help support muscle growth, improve your immune system and blood flow.
Research has shown that these ferments have the ability to lower cholesterol levels when eaten on a daily basis.  Garlic, one of the ingredients in kimchi, is a great source of both allicin and selenium. Allicin is a well-known compound that can reduce cholesterol levels, which will help decrease chances of developing strokes and heart attacks. The selenium, another active compound in garlic, can help lower cholesterol levels by preventing cholesterol plaque from building up in your artery walls.
The cabbage provides powerful antioxidants and flavonoids known to help prevent cancer and a rich source of glucosinolates.   When digested, glucosinolates, convert into a compound known as isothiocyanate (an effective anti-cancer phytochemical found in many cruciferous vegetables). The lactobacillus bacteria helps lower blood sugar levels.  Other ingredients used to make kimchi, such as ginger, pepper, and garlic, have all been known to support the immune system and are believed to have the ability to stop or shorten cold and flu symptoms. The antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals.  
Fermentation also makes digestion of cabbage for many people easier because the vegetables have been predigested by the enzymes during the process.

CABBAGE - one cup of chopped cabbage has 89% of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin K, 86% of your Vitamin C, and an average 17% of B6, manganese and fiber!  Potassium and folate average 10% and Vitamin B1 and calcium 6-7%.
Cabbage has special cholesterol-lowering benefits, especially cooked by steaming or fermented (see recipes). The fiber-related components in cabbage do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed or fermented. When this binding process takes place, it's easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw cabbage still has cholesterol-lowering ability, just not as much as steamed cabbage.
Cabbage is an especially good source of sinigrin.  Sinigrin is one of the cabbage glucosinolates that has received special
attention in cancer prevention research. The sinigrin in cabbage can be converted into allyl-isothiocyanate, or AITC.  This
isothiocyanate compound has shown unique cancer preventive properties with respect to bladder cancer, colon cancer, and
prostate cancer.  Short-cooked, raw and fermented cabbage demonstrated these cancer preventive benefits—long-cooked (like
in soups) or microwaved cabbage failed to demonstrate measurable benefits.  Two minutes of microwaving destroys the same
amount of myrosinase enzymes as seven minutes of steaming, and you need those myrosinase enzymes to help convert
cabbage's glucosinolates into cancer-preventive compounds.


GREEN (SNAP) BEANS - a great source of folate, manganese, fiber and vitamins A, C & K.   They also have significant amounts of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and potassium, lutein, carotenoids, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin.  Antioxidant flavonoids found in green beans include quercetin and kaemferol, flavonoids like catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins.  Enjoy green beans while they are fresh  and crisp to obtain the most nutrient value--weeks old beans in the store have lost much of their value! 
We think of carotenoids as being in the yellow/orange veggies but their presence in green beans is actually comparable to that carotenoid-rich vegetables like carrots and tomatoes. The only reason we don't see these carotenoids is because of the concentrated chlorophyll content (green) of green beans. 
Green beans can be a particularly helpful food for providing us with the mineral silicon.  While less well known that minerals like calcium and magnesium, it is very important for bone health and for healthy formation of connective tissue.
The protein content of green snap/stringless beans is about 5% (protein is much higher in heirloom pole beans which are harvested larger, when the bean seeds inside has filled out more).
When frozen (fresh beans) and cooked, green beans retain as much as 90% of their B vitamins (B6 and B2). Recent studies have shown that canned green beans, on average, lose about one third of their phenolic compounds during the canning process. They lose B vitamins as well but in the case of some B vitamins like folic acid, as little as 10%.
To freeze green beans blanch 2 minutes in boiling water; use a colander to dip them in then dip immediately in ice water, shake dry in the colander then on a towel, and pack tightly in freezer bags.  Suck out as much air as possible as you seal the bag.   Freeze immediately in the coldest part of your freezer.

 
 

"Eating is a Revolutionary Act!" by David, plus info & recipes for today's CSA box!

BLUEBERRIES & BLACKBERRIES! so tasty and bursting with nutrients and essential vitamins--see their amazing health benefits listed below!  If you manage to not eat them all fresh, they’re wonderful in the “Morning Glory” muffin recipe below or the fruit cobbler recipe we posted a few weeks back (Thanks to Mirra, we had the oh-so-yummy muffins this morning!  They included our mulberries, apples, zucchini and carrots, too).   Both berries can be easily frozen without much loss of the anthocyanin antioxidants mentioned below. They also make wonderful jam, juices (kombucha flavoring), desserts and wine.
You may also get some GROUND CHERRIES in your berry box, which have started to produce, despite the rains.  These sweet pineapple tasting fruits of the tomato family (also called husk cherries) come in their own little candy wrappers (paper husks).  Like the other berries, we enjoy them in salads, desserts, jams, and juices.  Read up on their nutritional benefits below to see if you’d like to get more of these little gems!

PAC CHOY (last week for Pac Choy for until fall).  A staple in many Asian stir fry dishes - stir-fry the garlic, onion, spices, (and meat or tofu if you like) in the oil first, then add the Pac Choy & veggies briefly (stir-fry less then a minute) so they’re still somewhat crunchy.  Use a wok or a cast iron skillet.  Serve over brown rice.  Experiment with ginger,  lemongrass, curry & Asian spices, too!  See nutritional info in our previous posting.

YELLOW “CANDY” ONIONS - freshly harvested, these are sweet & mild onions (not the “make-you-cry” type for long storage), good for all dishes.  These are fresh onions, not yet cured, so use within a couple weeks.  Let us know how many onions you use and your type preference (red, white, & yellow sweet, yellow storage or pearl onions).

ZUCCHINI and SUMMER SQUASH, tasty “Patty-Pan” or “Scallopini” (shaped like flying saucers).  Grated squash is a wonderful addition to the “Morning Glory Muffins” recipe below.  They are sweet in roasted veggies, casseroles, a stir fry or egg frittata, marinated and put on the grill, or our previously posted Pan Grilled Summer Squash & Zucchini recipe.   Add sliced squash & tomatoes to rice when you cook it.  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.
 
EARLY, CHERRY & HEIRLOOM TOMATOES - Come to market early today if you’d like to pick which you want.  Despite the flooding rains and unseasonably cool temperatures our heirloom tomatoes are beginning to produce.  We’ve been applying a tea of the horsetail plant to to help them resist the blight that comes with the too-wet conditions we’re having.  See last week’s posting for a refreshing middle eastern Tabouli Salad.
Do not refrigerate tomatoes--it will nullify tomato flavor and turn the flesh mealy.  Keep them stem-side down covered with a cloth.  Use according to ripeness--within a couple days to more than a week.  To ripen further, leave a sunny windowsill (covered with a cloth). 

LETTUCE MIX- typically a spring & fall crop, our lettuce is hanging in there this summer--a bright spot in this rainy, cool summer!  With a garnish of edible flowers, it is ready to eat as is.  Add other veggies like broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, sweet peppers & cucumbers, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, nuts, sprouts, hard-or boiled eggs to make it meal.  Remember the chicken, egg or bean salad ideas and homemade dressings in our May postings?  For a week of fresh salads, keep in a sealed bag (with as much air removed as possible)

STIR FRY GREENS  In addition to Chard, Kale, Perpetual spinach, Tatsoi mustard and leek chives, this week’s mix has SWEET POTATO GREENS!   From stem to leaf, the whole bunch is wonderful sauteed or steamed, with a little bit of lemon juice and/or butter.    See some amazing nutritional information below about sweet potato greens - they contain more nutrients and dietary fiber than many green-leafy vegetables.

GARLIC  Select what you’d like from softneck or hardneck at the market.  Softneck is a smaller version of what you find in the supermarket.  Hardneck doesn’t keep as long, but has a more pungent garlic flavor (this is the kind Italians use)   Store garlic out in a airy, dry place like a hanging basket in your kitchen or porch (but not in the sun).  A basket on the counter is better than in a cupboard or the refrigerator. 

And take your pick at the market of:
Little bitty, sweet PEARL ONIONS - the gourmet’s delight, delicious whole  with roasted potatoes & veggies or boiled with potatoes & green beans, butter & salt.   The red ones especially are colorful and tasty sliced raw in salads or last week’s Tabouli recipe.
or LEEKS - a small early variety.  Leeks are sweeter and more pungent than onions.  Enjoy in creamy potato leek soup, stir-fries, roasted-veggies, frittatas...the green stalks are good, too.

FRESH BASIL  Wonderful in salads and dressings, with tomatoes & cucumbers, pesto, stir-fries, egg frittatas or the Pan Grilled Summer Squash/Zucchini recipe.   See previous postings for our pesto recipe and information on the amazing medicinal and health benefits of basil!

FRESH OREGANO  - an important culinary herb in many dishes, flavoring bean chili, egg frittata or quiche, pizza & pastas, grilled/roasted veggies, meat & fish dishes and salad dressings.  Oregano provides some amazing medicinal health benefits--see below!  You can make a strong tea of it to help fight any of the conditions mentioned.

You’ll also find ONE of these in your box this week:
<BEETS - red & golden - sweet and good for you!  Enjoy grilled, boiled, roasted, pickled, sliced or shredded raw...and they are wonderful as roasted veggies.  Both the leafy greens and bulb are edible so eat the greens, too!  See our previous posting for how important beets are to your health.
<BABY CARROTS are sweet and flavorful raw, in salads, and very sweet in roasted veggies or in stir fries, Grated carrots are great in salads or baked goods-see “Morning Glory” muffin recipe below and nutritional info in previous posting.  Though all vegetables are best eaten fresh, carrots will keep sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a month or more. They begin to go limp once exposed to air.  We remove the greens as they can draw moisture away from the root.
<CUCUMBERS small “pickling” type, tender for salads, these cucumbers do not have to be peeled!   Great for hot July days, see last week’s posting for the refreshing yogurt/cucumber/mint sauce or Tabouli Salad recipes.

and last but not least....
FRESH FLOWERS for your table! 
and
FRESH BAKED BREAD & SPECIAL TREATS from Clementine’s Bakery!

We have red white & blue potatoes at the farmer’s market today, some hot peppers and green beans, more blackberries, onions and greens...
See you there!


Our CSA members are invited to come out for our farm tour this SATURDAY, July 13 at 3:15 p.m.   This is our monthly tour (2nd Saturday, see info on website) and we will also be joined by participants in the Whippoorwill Festival. 

*************************************RECIPES!*************************************

BEET KVASS  (recipe from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions)
“Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver, and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”  You can drink beet kvass as a tonic, add in place of vinegar in salad dressing, and add to your soups!

3 medium size beets, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup whey (thin liquid separated from yogurt or cheese; you can strain some from plain, good quality organic yogurt)
1 tablespoon sea salt
Filtered or spring water
Place the beets in a 2-quart glass container.  Add whey, salt and water to fill the container. Stir well and cover securely. Keep at room temperature for 2 days; Chill in refrigerator and enjoy!
You can do a second brew when most of the first batch is empty. Refill the container with water, and let sit at room temperature for a couple days before chilling. The second batch may be slightly less potent than the first.



Whole Grain MORNING GLORY MUFFINS!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix in a large bowl:
1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar (raw turbinado or brown sugar, or sorghum)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt.
Beat together:
2 eggs
2/3 cups oil or butter
1 t. vanilla
Mix wet and dry ingredients together until well combined.
And here is where you can get creative!
1 diced apple
1/2 cup raisins or...  blackberries, blueberries, or ground cherries!
1/2 cup carrots, grated, or...zucchini, summer squash, or beets...
1/2 cup walnuts, or pecans, finely chopped.
Spoon the mixture into greased and floured muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 25 to 30 minutes.  Enjoy!


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

Cooking vegetables leads to slight nutrient losses, but heat also helps activate some plant enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants. Cook for short periods of time and use liquids too. Vegetables vitamins to air so using soon is always best.

BLUEBERRIES & BLACKBERRIES!  Rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, both berries are highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants.  Blueberries rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants - those free-radical-fighting powerhouses that help combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA.  Studies conducted on the pigment compound in blueberries known as resveratrol, an anthocyanin which protects against heart disease.  Traditionally used to combat scurvy, studies have shown that blueberries can help combat high cholesterol and blood pressure. They may even boost learning and memory! 

All berries are a great source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant shown to protect the skin from damage from ultraviolet light, repair skin damaged by the sun, and help fight cancers.  Studies of cyanidin-3-glucoside, a compound found in blackberries showed it helps prevent skin cancer by inhibiting tumors from growing and spreading.
Anthocyanins, which give both berries their dark color, are an antioxidant shown to reduce inflammation; they destroy free radicals in the body that harm cells and lead to heart disease & cancer.   One of the greatest benefit from eating these berries is their high level of phenolic acids, antioxidant compounds known as powerful anti-carcinogenic agents. Because of these compounds, blackberries have been given an ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of about 5350 per 100 grams, placing them near the top of ORAC fruits.

Both berries are low in calories (less than 100 calories per cup), carbohydrates, and fat - great for a balanced diet.  They are a good source of vitamin K, averaging 36% of the daily recommended amount of this nutrient, used by the body for the clotting of blood and to aid the absorption of calcium.   One cup of blackberries contains half of the daily recommendation of vitamin C and blueberries contain about 25%. The body uses vitamin C for protection from immune system deficiencies, to help heal wounds and help reduce the chances of macular degeneration, a condition in which fine vision deteriorates, resulting in central vision loss and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50. 

Thirty percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber is to be found in just one cup of blackberries and 14% in blueberries. The steady movement of fiber through the digestive system allows for a measured breakdown of food into its component parts. This even breakdown of food helps to curtail extremes regarding simple sugar uptake from the digestive tract. An excess of simple sugar uptake all at once can produce an unwanted blood sugar spike. A lack of simple sugar uptake may produce a rapid blood sugar drop.  Either extreme can upset blood sugar balance. The quantity of fiber in blackberries helps avoid both extremes.
EAT YOUR BERRIES!

GROUND CHERRIES (Husk Cherries) are rich in Vitamin A, which is needed for maintaining good vision and skin health, boosting immune function, and gene transcription. It is also an antioxidant, meaning that it can neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals, thereby shielding us from cancer and degenerative diseases like macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, and cystic fibrosis.  They are also a good source of fiber and Vitamin C and contain some calcium, iron and several of the B complex vitamins (unusual for a berry!).  They are also sodium and cholesterol free, and contain a low glycemic index score, making them suitable for diabetic and pre-diabetic individuals.

SWEET POTATO GREENS are more nutritious than the tuber itself - weight per weight, 100 g of fresh leaves contain more iron, vitamin C, folates, vitamin K, and potassium but less sodium than the tuber. 
Sweet potato leaves are cooked as a vegetable in many parts of the world.   The greens are rich in vitamins A and several Bs, ß-carotene, iron, calcium, zinc.  They contain the antioxidant polyphenols and anthocyanins (discussed above in berries) and a surprising amount of protein for a green! 

During my years in South America, I (Susana) saw a tea of sweet potato greens used many times to treat things like dengue fever and malaria.  The University of Arkansas Extension has an excellent publication on the medicinal & health qualities of sweet potato leaves (likely also posted online) which helped me see why sweet potato leaves provided effective treatment of tropical ailments.  An excerpt:
“Lyophilized sweet potato leaf powder...strongly suppressed the growth of O-157, and its effect was detectable even after autoclave treatment.  The antibacterial extract revealed that the main components were polysaccharides. Furthermore, the water extracted from the leaves suppressed effectively the growth of other food-poisoning bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus as well as pathogenic E. coli.”

OREGANO is very rich in anti-oxidant phytochemical flavonoids and phenolic acids, the third highest herb in oxygen radical absorbency capacity (ORAC).  Oregano is one of the best sources of the powerful phenol component thymol, which helps digestive function and destroys harmful microbes.  It has four times the antioxidant power of blueberries, 12 times that of oranges and 42 times greater than apples.  Oregano oil is an extraordinarily powerful natural anti-biotic. In a recent study it was found to be significantly better than all of the 18 currently used antibiotics in the treatment of MRSA staph infections!  Strong phenol anti-oxidants destroy pathogenic bacteria, viruses and yeasts.  It is used as a disinfectant, an aid for ear, nose, & throat/respiratory infections, candida, and bacterial or viral conditions.  It has also been shown to suppress inflammatory mediators and cancer cell production. Oregano oil is distilled from the herb and more so is potent than the whole herb.  Studies have shown that carvacrol, a phenol anti-oxidant in oregano has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activity when applied to food or taken in supplement form. Oregano also contains rosmarinic acid, which has properties shown to fight cancer.       


********************************************************************************


“Eating is A Revolutionary Act”  by David Veltser, Salamander Springs Farm WWOOFer


Hi all, my name is David Veltser.  Originally from New Jersey, and in Kentucky for the very first time, I have been for the past month, interning at Salamander Springs Farm.  The good people here have so very kindly given me the opportunity to introduce myself to y’all on the blog, and to share with you some ideas I had while working in this ever-inspiring place.
Though I can write volumes about how truly wonderful this farm is, I would like to take up this space by thanking all of you CSA people for doing what you do:  supporting Salamander Springs Farm.  To be clear, no, this is not a pledge-drive, and I am not soliciting for donations!  Simply, there is very much that can be said about a community of people who value their nutrition, who make positive, informed decisions about what they put into their individual bodies, and who understand the importance of unprocessed, unadulterated, straight-up food.  I am not a farmer by trade, but through some of the farms I have worked with, I can see how vital this community support is to the life of a local farmer’s operation.  We may grow the food, giving it all the things it needs to be nutritious and delicious, but this farm would have a hard time of spreading its edible messages if there were no plates on the other side to receive them.


From my own experience, CSAs vary from region-to-region depending on the length of the season, farming techniques utilized, and even community involvement, as some CSAs ask their members to volunteer on the farm.  Though it is not required to work at Salamander Springs Farm for your weekly box, why not come by for a tour and see where the magic happens?   Through all these CSA systems, a single purpose rings clear:  by joining the CSA, you are standing in solidarity with the farmer and what they are trying to make possible.  In a world in which we have become disconnected from our sources of food, this is truly an incredible feat.  With your forks, choosing to eat this food, you are standing with your local farmer against powerful forces which would rather that there be no permaculture farmers at all (Oi!).  With every squash, tomato, bean, and blueberry you are saying to them, “Our farmers, our food, our lives!  We shall eat the products of big business no more!”


And so, not meaning to sound too much like a customer service rep, thank you for choosing Salamander Springs as your farm-food supplier.  With every bite you take, you not only uphold the health of your bodies, hearts, heads, joints, livers, and onions, but, with every mighty munch, you are showing your support for a truly radical way of life, eating against the tyranny of the GMOs, mono-crops, and poor eating habits that are so very prevalent today.


Thank you again, and keep on eating!
-David Naphtaly Veltser


 
 

JULY 2 CSA Box, recipes and "Farming with Nature" blog from Mirra!

PAC CHOY  “Joi Choy” is back!  A staple in many Asian dishes and a crunchy addition to a fresh salad, the stalks are also delicious dipped in hummus, yogurt-cucumber dip (see below) or pesto.  Pac Choy makes a tasty stir fry with onions, garlic and other veggies.  Use a wok or a cast iron skillet.  Asians stir-fry the garlic, onion, spices, meat or tofu (if you like) in the oil first, then add the greens & veggies briefly (stir-fry less then a minute) so they’re still somewhat crunchy.  Serve over brown rice.  Experiment with ginger, lemongrass, curry & Asian spices, too!  See nutritional info in our previous posting.

ZUCCHINI and SUMMER SQUASH:  including tasty “Patty-Pan” or “Scallopini” (shaped like flying saucers).    See last week’s posting for our quick Pan Grilled Summer Squash & Zucchini recipe.  Squash is great in roasted veggies, casseroles, a quick stir fry or an egg frittata...or marinate and put on the grill.  Sliced or grated raw squash is a wonderful addition to your salads, for a vegetable tray with a dip, or in a zucchini bread.  Add sliced squash & tomatoes to rice when you cook it.
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.
 
EARLY, CHERRY & HEIRLOOM TOMATOES - pick which you want if you get to market today early.  A few of our favorite sweet (if wacky looking) heirloom tomatoes have started to produce.  We have been diligently trying to help them resist the omni-present blight that comes with the too-wet conditions which we’re having this season.
This week, use your tomatoes in the refreshing middle eastern Tabouli Salad, below, which can be a meal by itself!
Do not refrigerate tomatoes--it will nullify tomato flavor and turn the flesh mealy.  Keep them stem-side down covered with a cloth.  Use according to ripeness--within a couple days to more than a week.  To ripen further, leave a sunny windowsill (covered with a cloth). 

LEEKS- “King Richard,” a small variety that matures in less than 3 months (before KY's summer heat makes them wither).  Leeks are sweeter and more pungent than onions.  Enjoy in creamy potato leek soup, stir-fries, roasted-veggies, frittatas...the green stalks are good, too.

GREENS BUNCH - We happily present you another week of greens--Chard, Kale, "Perpetual Spinach Beet", and Turnip. From stem to leaf, the whole bunch is wonderful sauteed or steamed.  Our greens taste wonderful topped with chopped raw garlic and a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice. Butter makes it even better!

NEW POTATOES - soft & skinned, tender (not yet “cured” for storage), we carefully “rob” new potatoes from the plants before all tubers are mature.   No need to peel our potatoes--no pesticides or fungicides whatsoever have been used (including “organic”).  Let us know if you prefer baby, medium or full size potatoes; they come in all sizes.  For delicious oven-roasted  potatoes or veggies, coat cubed potatoes or veggies with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt & pepper then spread on a cookie sheet to roast in oven for 45 minutes at 400°F).  YUM!  Try the gourmet creamy potato leek soup below or with whole pearl onions, below.  
If you are not a potato eater, you’ll find our first harvest of GREEN BEANS (snap stringless) or BROCCOLI in your box - Both are tasty steamed or eaten raw with the yogurt/cucumber sauce below! Or, in a frittata or quiche, topped with melted cheese.  Like all veggies, for best flavor and nutritional value, use within a few days.  Do not keep broccoli in a sealed plastic bag; it needs some air circulation. wrap loosely with damp paper towels and refrigerate.  A perforated plastic bag works well.

SWEET WHITE ONIONS - just harvested, with green stems, these are mild and good for dishes like in tabouli salad or the chicken, bean or egg salad we posted a few weeks back.  These sweet onions are not for long term storage--about a month. 

PEARL ONIONS are the little bitty, sweet red & white ones--great boiled whole with whole new potatoes & green beans, butter & salt. YUM!   Or use them sliced raw in your salads or the Tabouli salad. The red ones especially are colorful and sweet in salads.

GARLIC - you can select from softneck or hardneck at the market and let us know how much you will use.  Softneck is like what you find in the supermarket.  Hardneck doesn’t keep as long, but has a more pungent garlic flavor (Italians use only hardneck!); the cloves on hardneck garlic are also more uniformly sized than softneck.  Store garlic out in a airy, dry place like a hanging basket in your kitchen or porch (but not in the sun).  A basket on the counter is better than in a cupboard or the refrigerator.  Our garlic is small this year, but still wonderful tasting and nutritionous.  Garlic should be part of your diet every day (see posting 2 weeks ago).

And you’ll find one of these in your box this week:
<BEETS - red & golden - sweet and good for you!  Enjoy grilled, boiled, roasted, pickled, sliced or shredded raw...and they are wonderful as roasted veggies.  Both the leafy greens and bulb are edible so eat the greens, too!  See our previous posting for how important beets are to your health.
<BABY CARROTS are sweet and flavorful raw, with dip, or in salads. They are also very sweet in roasted veggies, steamed or in stir fries, Grated carrots are great in salads or baked goods.  See nutritional info in last week’s posting.  We remove the greens as they can draw moisture away from the root. Carrots will keep sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a month or more. They begin to go limp once exposed to air.
<CUCUMBERS small “pickling” type, tender for salads.  These cucumbers do not have to be peeled!   Yogurt/cucumber/mint “Tzatziki” sauce is very refreshing on a hot day:  chop or grate a cucumber, add a pinch of salt and let sit as you mince one clove of garlic and 1/2 Tbsp of fresh mint.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a cup of yogurt and chill until ready to serve.  Or add to the Tabouli Salad recipe below.
<TURNIPS, “Gold Ball,” delicious roasted, stir-fried, or in soups (see roasted veggie recipe in previous posting).  Use the greens, too--chopped in stir-fries, frittatas, soups, etc.  Any vegetable is best freshly harvested, but turnips will keep for several weeks in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable crisper drawer;  Cut off the greens when you put in the fridge and use them within a week.  See nutritional and freezing info in last week’s posting..

FRESH BASIL  Wonderful in salads and dressings, with tomatoes & cucumbers.  Try some with the Tabouli salad recipe, below.  Use in stir-fries, frittatas or the quick Pan Grilled Summer Squash/Zucchini recipe.  Make a batch of pesto and freeze some for a later day.  See previous postings for our pesto recipe and information on the amazing medicinal and health benefits of basil!

FRESH PARSLEY and FRESH MINT Pick out what you'd like at the market for a tasty tabouli salad (see recipe below).

and last but not least....
FRESH BAKED BREAD & SPECIAL TREATS from Clementine’s Bakery!

See you at the market!

P.S. The folks at Local Harvest, who run our webpage (and for many other small farmers across the USA), has a newsletter this week with cookbook ideas for CSA customers not sure what to do with their produce!  Go to:  www.localharvest.org/newsletter/20130627/

********************************** RECIPES!********************************

LEMONY LENTILS & KALE  (recommended on Local Harvest's newsletter)
2 tablespoons olive oil
I medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
4 thyme sprigs
Salt & black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 pound green or red lentils
2 cups (16 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (fresh or canned)
3 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir onion, garlic and carrot in the hot oil until softened, a few minutes.  Add
thyme, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes; cook and stir to coat, 1 minute.  Stir lentils, tomatoes and their juice, and
chicken stock into onion mixture. Cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Add kale, lemon zest and
juice; cook until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & black pepper as desired.


POTATO LEEK SOUP  (inspired from Molly Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest Cookbook)
3 fist sized potatoes (or the equivalent thereof)
2 cups cleaned, chopped leeks
1 stalk celery chopped (you could substitute parsley here)
1 large carrot, or a few small ones, chopped
4 Tbs. butter
3 cups of milk (or your favorite substitute)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup stock or water  
You can also add fresh thyme or other herbs of your choice
Cut the potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Place into a saucepan with leeks, celery, carrot, and butter. Add salt. Cook, stirring over medium heat, until the butter is melted. (about 5 minutes). Add the stock or water, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are soft (20-30 minutes). You may need to add a little water if it gets too low.  When the potatoes are tender, remove the pan from the heat and puree its contents in the milk. Once the mixture is smooth, return it to the saucepan. Add herbs if you like, grind in black pepper. Taste to see if it wants more salt. Heat the soup gently, covered until just hot. Try not to let it boil... and serve!

Middle Eastern TABOULI SALAD!
This is one of our all-time favorite summer salads--it’s easy and can be a meal by itself on a hot day!  Along with the parsley, you can chop up some of your Pac Choy or lettuce.  Mint adds a wonderful zest!
 
1 cups bulgur (cracked wheat) or quinoa
Bring to a boil with 1 1/2 cups water & 1 1/2 t. salt for 5 minutes and let sit 10 minutes (until it’s soft and chewy).  Add while hot:
1 T minced (crushed) garlic
1/2 cup sweet onions (red or white; scallions and leeks work as well)
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
Chill in refrigerator, then add:
2 medium tomatoes (or more smaller ones)
1 cup parsley (and other chopped greens like Pac Choy)
1 T fresh mint, minced
1/2 fresh ground black pepper
Mix everything well and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve!
Other great additions to Tabouli Salad are chopped cucumber and grated carrots and a bit of minced basil.  About 1 cup of garbanzo beans (cooked & chilled) adds protein for a complete meal!



Farming with Nature

by Mirra Ester Shapiro, July 2, 2013

We are demystifying farming! You do not need a tractor. You do not need acres and acres of land somewhere in Kansas. You can farm with a simple approach. As Vitali Veltser, father of our WWOOF intern, David Veltser, Proclaims, “THE SIMPLEST IDEAS ARE USUALLY THE BEST ONES!”

We are a farming community that works without the use of a tractor.  There is approximately two and a half acres of cultivated land including the orchard and the bean field at Salamander Springs. Conventional organic farming would have us use all of that acreage just to produce the the number of onions that we are now harvesting!   What I have learned from my experience here with Susana is that our ability to grow so much good food comes from a focus building and maintaining fertility in the soil.  There was no topsoil on this ridge when she started.

One ingredient for the fertile garden, (drum roll please...) is mmmulch!  Mulch can be raked leaves, clippings from freshly cut grass, wood chips or wood shavings, hay, or the wheat & clover cover crop we scythed down for the bean field.  The varying kinds of mulches we use work well for their different garden niches. What they all have in common is the organic matter they add to the soil.  For the nutrients that we harvest from the food that grows here, we want to feed that back in the ways that the earth can digest it.  Mulch!

Our good friends Phillip, Kathy, Peanut, and Snaggles from up the road gifted us with a big pile of grass clippings of their recent mowing. What a loving gift (better than a box of chocolates on Valentine’s day)!  We used the driest of the grasses for a thick mulching around the stems of leeks. This will help to create a long white stem that the leek likes to have. The clippings were soft, so they fit into the small spaces between plants.  Grass clippings work great as a mulch around the stems of more tender plants because they are gentle. We use all the grass clippings we can gather from the farm.  We sprinkle them over the ground just after planting seeds to help keep the soil moist and give the young plants a chance to grow up!  Over time, we add more and more mulch to keep the earth covered. This helps to keep the soil moist and prevents unwanted undergrowth (weeds), from cropping up.

Hay provides more coverage for the bulk of the gardens and some of the field, too. We lay it down thick enough to show the weeds that we mean business. When there is a need for hay, Susana drives to our neighbor, Burchel, to load the truck up with a heaping pyramid of hay grown mostly from clover and orchard grass. They secure the load with bungie chords and rope. It is truly a sight to see the old pick-up winding around on those hills above Climax Springs!

Leaf mulch is another great way to add nutrients to the soil. If you you live near trees that drop their leaves, then surely you have mulch! Instead of giving this fertility to away for the city to drive off with, why not utilize it for a garden?  Kayla, Susana and I placed leaves around the base of our baby onions and leeks when planting this past spring, the ones we are harvesting now.
We get wood shavings from a local sawmill, and use the darker more composted stuff around the base of potato plants.  Potatoes are one crop that does not mind the acidity of the wood chips.  Mulching around the potatoes provides a secondary layer of earth for potatoes to grow in... meaning, MORE FOOD!  We also use wood chips & shavings in the orchard. The fruit trees and their understory perennials love a soil with woody mulch, not grass.  The blueberries love the acidity of pine shavings or needles. We thank Mr Perrett at the sawmill and our friends Kelly and Terry Mehler for our fresh wood shavings!

Mulching is a simple and vital role in the work that we do. Building a layer of mulch atop garden beds is like building a proper shelter for the life that resides therein.   Water, Sunlight, Breath, Food and Shelter; these are basic ingredients for vitality, for life!  The seed needs nourishment to grow into something nutritious...so here’s to mulching!

-Mirra Esther Shapiro, Salamander Springs Farm Apprentice and CSA Co-manager

 

 
 
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