News from the Farm
As I sit down to write the weekly email, I often peruse the email I wrote the couple weeks or so before. Consistently, I feel like whatever I wrote 2 weeks ago is even more true now. That doesn’t mean that it was untrue in the past at all, it really just shows how cyclical seasons, summer, farming, tasks, well, life in general is. Long ago there was a soap opera called “As the World Turns” (it might still be on, I would have no idea), and while I have never actually seen the show, I feel like the title can be morphed to fit whatever you need. Around here, let’s just say “As the Wheel Line Turns” or “As the Seasons Change” or ….
I know we talked heat 2 weeks ago, but it is well and truly here. Probably for a couple weeks. (Hopefully just that, hopefully not as bad as the forecast is indicating). This means that all of us have to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our things a bit more over the next couple weeks. I heard on the radio the other day that heat is the most deadly killer of all the other weather phenomena combined. Let’s not have that team!
What the heat means for the farm is early starts and attentiveness. In order to beat the heat, and both take care of ourselves and harvest our vegetables in their prime at their highest quality, our farmers will be working from 5am to 2pm. After 2pm you can find them in the shade by the pond or at an air conditioner somewhere staying cool and taking care of themselves. Even while “off” and resting in the shade, we will be doing rounds, checking on plants and irrigation and all the animals.
Our animals will enjoy lots of water, good quality food, and SHADE. And, this is my personal favorite part of the summer, the pigs will get multiple daily hose baths to cool down and frolic.
Heat also means that you need to take special care with your vegetables. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping your veg fresh after you pick up your CSA:
- Throw an ice pack into your shopping bags to keep your veggies cool. Or put a cooler into your car with an ice pack so after you get your vegetables, you can put them in a cool place.
- Don’t run errands after picking up your CSA. The more time they spend between market and your fridge, they less time they will hold.
- When you get home, fill up your sink with cold water and dunk pretty much everything except herbs: greens, lettuce, roots, green onions, etc. They might even need a soaking. This will cut the heat and pump them up with some moisture. (Herbs don’t like direct water until you are ready to prep them for a meal.)
Because we are harvesting the vegetables in the morning before the worst heat of the day and then if you come home and immediately soak your CSA share, your produce really should weather the heat well!
photos by: Alison Holland, Camila Becerra Riroroco, and Zoë Griffith
|Amiga is showing us how it is done as she hangs out in the shade. Caroline works with our pepper plants in on of our hoops. We pull the walls all the way up this time of year in order let as much air pass through as possible. Meridian hangs out in the Central Oregon sun.|
Our Full Diet CSA has openings!
Our Full Diet CSA is a unique, seasonally based eating experience that brings you closer to your food, your farmer, and your Central Oregon community. It is a year round, weekly CSA that starts now and runs until next July.
Our Full Diet CSA is 100% from our Farm and members of this CSA get first priority on all our eggs and raw milk! The CSA includes vegetables, grains, milk, dairy, eggs, and meat plus discounts on other value-added goods and bonuses. This is a tiered CSA based upon household size. Space is limited so sign up today!
Also, part of your Full Diet includes a turkey for Thanksgiving.
Veggie ID: Early Jersey Cabbage
Early Jersey Cabbage is a cone shaped cabbage. Do not be deceived by its lack of roundness. It is a sweet and flavorful cabbage and will go great in slaw or however else you would like to use your cabbage.
To store: Place dry, unwashed cabbage heads in the refrigerator, preferably in the vegetable bin. The outer leaves may eventually get floppy or yellowish, but they can be removed and discarded to reveal fresh inner leaves. Store for up to 3 months! (We don’t recommend that this time of year! Wait until later in the season to store your cabbage and enjoy this one fresh.)
To prep: Rinse the cabbage under cold water before use. Cut cabbage head first into quarters, then diagonally across the wedge. Be sure to remove the stem end and triangular core near the base.
To use: Eat steamed, braised, raw in salads, or fried. Turn raw cabbage into coleslaw or sauerkraut. Roast cabbage steaks/slices at 400F drizzled with olive oil and salt. Or try stir-frying shredded cabbage in olive oil until wilted with a little bit of minced garlic.
Vegetable CSA Harvest List
We think our foundation vegetables this week will be: Early Jersey Cabbage and fennel. We will let you know on Wednesday how many other items you will get to select.
We have been keeping an eye on the hoops and 2-acre garden and have a pretty good idea of what is out there and ready to be harvested, but this is a Sunday estimation of what we will be harvesting on Tuesday. Also, because we have a market style CSA, this isn’t a guarantee of 1 of all these things for everyone. Instead, this will be the variety of what will hopefully (fingers crossed) have for you to choose from this week.)
Other Vegetable Options will probably include:
purple roma beans
patty pan squash
This week our Meat CSA features Chicken Broth!!!!
1 quart frozen chicken broth
1 package short ribs
+/- 1 package ground beef (depending upon weight)
2 quarts frozen chicken broth
2 packages stew meat
1 cube steak
+/- 3 ground beef (depending upon weight)
|I wanted to let you all know that I am tracking what each size CSA gets each Meat week. Large CSA members, not to worry, you will be getting your short ribs, but at a later date.|
Notice anything different about our meat packaging recently…?
We switched butchers recently and now all of our beef and hogs come from the same butcher in Sandy, Oregon. The packaging and labels are different, but all our meats are still born and raised here at Rainshadow Organics and the Pitchfork T (our sister company) following regenerative agricultural practices. The beef is grass fed and finished as well as chemical & GMO-free, our hogs are pastured and fed chemical & GMO free feed as well as all the weeds and vegetables they can get their snouts into, and our poultry is pastured and fed certified organic feed as well as all the bugs, seeds, and weeds they scratch and peck at. Let us know what you think of the new packaging!
Keep an eye on our Instagram stories for a tour of what the options are on Wednesday around 11 am.
Every week I try to send along a few recipes that utilize the meats and vegetables in your CSA share. This week I thought I would explore different slaw recipes and include a refreshing fennel salad as well as a summer stew featuring stew meat. (If you are curious what to do with short ribs, take a look at the email I sent on June 12 for a great recipe for BBQ short ribs in the slow cooker.)
Adapted from A Couple Cooks
2 heads fennel (4 to 5 cups sliced), plus fennel fronds
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
- Chop off the fennel stalks, saving them for the garnish. Then cut off the root end of the fennel. Remove any tough outer layers of the fennel and discard them. Slice down the center of the fennel bulb. Place it on its cut side and cut very thin half-moon slices parallel to the root end.
- Thinly slice the apple. Place the fennel and apple slices in a medium bowl, and add the shaved Parmesan cheese (cut shavings with a vegetable peeler).
- Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Pull off the wispy parts (the fronds) with your fingers, and roughly tear them, adding enough for about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Place them in the bowl.
- Gently toss the salad with your hands until it’s evenly coated, taking care not to break the apple slices. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until serving. Stores up to 3 days refrigerated; refresh the flavors with a pinch of salt and a bit of lemon juice or zest if desired.
adapted from Running to the Kitchen
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4-1/2 pounds stew beef, cut into smaller chunks if desired
2 tablespoons flour (use GF flour or cornstarch)
salt and pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth (or use one of your quarts of chicken broth from today’s CSA too)
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped: substitute green beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped: substitute tomatoes
chopped fresh basil for garnish
grated parmesan cheese for garnish
optional: add tomatoes or gree
- Place olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat on the stove-top.
- Toss beef with flour, salt and pepper in a small bowl until all the pieces all equally coated.
- Add beef to the hot pot and brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes.
- Transfer beef and all juices to the slow cooker.
- Add garlic, bay leaf, shallots, tomato paste and broth to the slow cooker. Stir to combine and set for 6 hours on low heat.
- Add zucchini and peppers 30 minutes before timer is up (after 5.5 hours of cooking), stir gently to combine and continue cooking with lid on for remaining 30 minutes.
- Serve with grain of choice.
Can’t wait to see you on Wednesday! Don’t forget it is a meat week!
The Farm Crew