Salamander Springs Farm/Permaculture Organics

  (Berea, Kentucky)
Permaculture in Practice: Shopper's Basket CSA
[ Member listing ]

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.

 
 

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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