Monday, July 9, 2007

Newsletter #404 Two Small Farms

Two Small Farms Newsletter
July 11th 2007

Table of Contents:

1) In your box this week
2) Renewal Information
3) Events
4) Lawn Information
5) Photos
6) Recipes
7) Which Farm?
8) Unsubscribe
9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

1) In your box this week: Summer Squash, Romaine Lettuce, New Potatoes, Strawberries,
Mystery from Stephen, Green Beans, Basil, Yellow Chantenay Carrots, Onions Bianco di
Maggio, Mystery from Andy**

This week’s vegetable list: I try to have it updated by Monday night, sometimes by Mon. am:

how to store this week’s bounty: all in the fridge as soon as you arrive home, except for the basil. It can be stored in a *warm* part of your fridge, but it will go all black if it gets too cold. You can also treat it like a bunch of flowers. You can top the carrots, their greens will sap just a bit of the nutrients the longer they are joined together. The potatoes are truly new, they’ve not been cured outside, so they should be used within a week and they should be stored in the fridge. You won’t be disappointed!

** For Mystery Identification please go to our What’s in This Week’s Box Page


2) Renewal time is here again!!

The third nine week session starts next week! For renewing members on the 9 week schedule, your last paid share is this week - July 11/12/13. Please call or email the office with your intentions! Just veggies is $180. Veggies with flowers is $234. You can mail a check to Two Small Farms, PO Box 2065, Watsonville, CA 95077-2065. Contact Zelda at or 831-786-0625.


3) Events

This Friday, July 13th: Andy will be at BiRite Store in San Francisco (next to Delfina on 18th near Dolores Park) from 3-6 pm doing a pepper/basil table. Stop by and say hi if you’re in the area!

August 25th: Tomato Upick at Mariquita Farm in Hollister in the morning: 8am - 12 noon. We know we’ll have plenty of tomatoes by then. We will have many more upick days in Sept and likely October. We will also have a Padron Pepper upick day once Andy is sure the patch is prolific enough to make it worth your while! Stay tuned.


4) Lawn/Groundcover Information

Below is an email correspondence between a csa member and Laura K., the High Ground Organics Farm Native Plant Expert

Question for Laura K:

I had some questions in regard to ground covers. I know that water is going to become extremely expensive and lawns are very expensive to maintain and the costs will continue to grow or possibly even have water limitations. I wanted to start converting our lawn into a natural groundcover that is drought-resistant and is close to grass in the ability to walk over it comfortably.

I had seen deep rooting grass, but reading further on this, it is not safe toeat. I don’t want to have something where animals or insects are not able to feed due to it being toxic. I would like to have a groundcover as well that will also benefit the small friends too. Thank you for your help.

Laura’s Response:

I appreciate your concern and desire to plant a groundcover that is not water intensive and that is good for the myriad of life that surrounds us. I work with native grasses out here at High Ground Organics Farm. I realize that the native grasses I work with out here are quite tall in stature and might not be desirable as a lawn. There is one called Purple needle grass. It is a bunch grass that is highly drought tolerant. It sends up seed heads in the late spring that are a beautiful purple color and wave in the breeze. They could make a beautiful lawn to look at, but not the most inviting to sit on. If you want more information on them or if you want to see them growing on the farm, you are welcome to come out and visit.

BUT another idea that I think would work out wonderfully is if you planted a native plant called yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Are you familiar with it? It has feathery leaves that smell super good when you crush them or walk on them. It produces a umbel of flowers that look somewhat like the flowers of a carrot plant. It is a great plant for the wild critters. The plant can grow tall, but if you keep it mowed it will spread out as a ground cover. It doesn't need much water once it is established.

Native Revival Nursery in Aptos (684-1811) would have samples of this plant and could give you good ideas for establishing the lawn of yarrow.

- Laura Kummerer

Note from Andy and Steve via Julia: Neither Steve nor Andy have a lawn. For any gardening/lawn advice, please contact your local nursery center. I just thought this little exchange between the expert Laura and a CSA member would interest many of you. For more information about native plants and nurseries in your area, here's a link to the
California Native Plant Society


4) Recipes from Julia and Cici

Green Bean Idea from Cici:
I'm going to try and recreate a wonderful chinese recipe for the green beans. of course there's garlic. I think there's soy sauce and hot sauce and olive oil. I'll experiment and I'm sure it will be great.

Chinese Green Beans
Instead of chili paste, feel free to add 4 - 6 small dried red chilis if desired. Serves 4.

* 1 pound green beans
* Sauce:
* 1 tablespoon bean sauce (available at Asian markets; Koon Chun is a good brand, or you can substitute hoisin sauce)
* 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
* 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
* Other:
* 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
* 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
* 2 scallions, chopped, white part only
* 1/2 teaspoon chili paste
* 3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil for stir-frying, or as needed

Wash the green beans and drain thoroughly. Trim the ends and cut on the diagonal into pieces approximately 2 inches long.
Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside. Heat the wok on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil, drizzling the oil down the sides of the wok. When the oil is hot, add the beans. Stir-fry for 7 - 10 minutes, until their skins pucker and turn brown and the green beans are tender without being mushy (I find 10 minutes works very well). Remove the beans from the wok.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the wok on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic, ginger and scallions. Stir-fry briefly for a few seconds until aromatic. Add the chili paste. Add the sauce and the green beans. Toss the ingredients together and serve hot.

Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup
from The Way We Cook by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven

julia's note: I found this recipe in a library cookbook called The Way We Cook by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven. They say it's just a guide, you can vary it in many ways such as leaving out the meat for vegetarians, using up other vegetables you may or may not have in your kitchen, etc. But as it's written it's as though they had this week's CSA box in their kitchen when writing the recipe.

2 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 thick slice (1/8 pound) flavorful ham, such as Black Forest or Westphalian, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped (I often leave this out, or use a bit of celery salt, or use fennel if I have it-J.)
1 large or 2 or 3 smaller onions, chopped
S & P to taste
2 medium summer squash, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (I find with this many flavorful ingredients you can also successfully use water in a soup like this. -J.)
1 cup canned whole tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 medium potatoes, cut into half inch dice
1/4 cup tiny pasta shells (I don't usually add pasta to my vegetable soup, but many families doenjoy it... -J.)
1 rind parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat oil in a large wide soup pot or flameproof casserole and when it is hot add the ham, carrots, celery, onion, S & P. Cook the vegetables over medium heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until they soften.

Add the summer squash and garlic and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

Pour in the stock (or water if using that instead) and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add the green beans, potatoes, and pasta shells, and cook, stirring often, until the mixture returns to a boil. Lower the heat, add the parmesan rind, cover the pan, and simmer the soup for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the basil and more S and P, if you like. If the soup seems thick, add water 1/4 cup at a time, until it is the ocnsistency you like. Fish out the rind and dice it, then add the pieces back. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.

Montreal Slaw
from The Way We Cook by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven

1 large green cabbage, quartered and cored
2 Tablespoons coarse (kosher or other) salt
4 carrots, grated
1 green pepper (you can use ribbons of cubanelles if you have them, I'd leave the green bell pepper out since I find them bitter, or use a red pepper, or another substitution? -J.)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (you can use 1-2 bianco di maggio onions here)
3-6 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil or another mild salad oil

Shred cabbage and transfer to a large colander, sprinkling the layers with salt. Set the colander in a large bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.

Rinse the cabbage a bit and then With your hands, press the cabbage to remove the excess moisture and transfer to a large bowl. Add the carrots, green pepper, and scallions and toss thoroughly.

Sprinkle the vegetables with 3 Tablespoons of the sugar, vinegar, and oil. Toss again. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, sugar, or vinegar if you like. Cover bowl and refrigerate slaw for at least 2 hours or for as long as overnight. Toss again just before serving.

Lemon Roasted Potatoes with Bay Leaves
from Vegetable Harvest: Vegetables at the Center of the Plate by Patricia Wells

2 pounds firm potatoes
2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
2 lemons, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into 8 slices
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons best quality walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (or kosher)
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Scrub the potatoes, but do not peel. Halve them lengthwise. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, bay leaves, lemons, lemon juice, oil, and salt. Toss to evenly coat the potatoes. Transfer to a roasting pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Roast until the potatoes are soft and golden, turning the potatoes reularly, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove and discard bay leaves. Season generously with oregano, rubbing the herb with your palms before crumbling into the potatoes to intensify the oregano flavor. Serves 8. 103 calories per serving *
4 g fat * 2 g protein

Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado, Lemon thyme, and Pistachio Oil

*this recipe calls for a couple of odd ingredients, but I thought a few of you might actually have or buy pistachio oil, and the rest who want to try this recipe could substitute another nut oil. And maybe a few of you have lemon thyme in your garden, or can make a substition there too. Let me know how this recipe works! I'm certain you can use other types of summer squash besides zucchini too.

1 tablespoon frehsly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup best quality pistacio oil, almond oil, or extra virgin olive oil
4 small zucchini or other summer squash, rinsed, dried and trimmed
1 ripe avocado, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup salted roasted pistachio nuts
4 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, with flowers if possible
Zesty Lemon Salt (recipe for this is below)

1. In small jar, combine the lemon juice and salt and stir to blend. Add the oil, cover the jar, and shake to blend.

2. With a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice the zucchini lengthwise as thinly as possible. Place the slices on a platter and pour the lemon mixture over the zucchini. Tilt the platter back and forth to evenly coat the slices. Cover and let marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour so the zucchini absorbs the sauce and does not dry out.

3. At serving time, carefully arrange the slices of marinated zucchini on individual salad plates, alternating with the avocado slices, slightly overlapping each slice. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts. Season with thyme and lemon salt. Serve. serves 4. 237 calories per servin * 22 g fat * 4 protein

Zesty Lemon Salt

grated zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
1/4 cup fleur de sel

In a small jar, combine the zest and salt. Cover and shake to blend. Keep covered when not using the salt to help the condiment retain its freshness. The lemon flavor will dissipate, so use within one month.

The Tomato Note...

Andy is growing many varieties of tomatoes this year. They will all be here in 2-5 weeks. We are impatiently waiting ourselves! The plants are doing nicely. Once they're here, we'll do upicks on several Saturdays in August and September, and an occasional weekday too. We have the following varieties in the field: San Marzano (sauce/roma type), Bolseno (Italian red heirloom), Purple Cherokee, Green Zebra, Pruden's Purple, Pink Brandywine, Gold Brandywine, German Striped, and Beefsteak Red.

Recipe Links:



Green Beans

Salad Dressings

Summer Squash






7) Which Farm?

From High Ground: Romaine Lettuce, Strawberries, Potatoes, Broccoli, Cabbage, Flowers
From Mariquita: Carrots, Basil, Onions, Mystery, Summer Squash
From Live Earth Farm (our neighbor farm): Green Beans!


8) Unsubscribe/Subscribe From/To This Newsletter

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9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

Two Small Farms
Mariquita Farm/High Ground Organics
Organically Grown Vegetables
P.O. Box 2065
Watsonville, CA 95077

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