Summer CSA – Week #8

MGF chicks feeding on veggie scraps

Our laying hens roaming and pecking at the ground & at the veggie scraps. (The large-squared coop fence doesn’t keep these ladies from roaming freely, they actually can squeeze right through, but rather, it keeps larger animals out of their “safety pecking zone”.)

It’s WEEK #8!!!!!

CSA box drop-offs will be on Wednesday, Aug. 5th for Boston & Providence and Friday, Aug. 7th at Revere Farmer’s Market for our Revere members.

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How is it August ALREADY?!!!  Summer is really picking up, and we’ve had some really hot days mixed with some rain showers, which we really can’t complain about too much here on the farm… BUT weeds are becoming problematic and it’s hard to keep up with those pesky plants with just Farmer Kohei & Farmer Michael.  So if there are some folks who are willing to spend some time outdoors and get an up close and personal look at how the plants that feed us are growing, LET US KNOW!

(**Remember the CSA Application that you filled out and signed?  As part of a new and growing farm, Farmer Kohei asked as part of your support for Movement Ground Farm, or MGF, that you also commit to one Farm Work Day–about 6 hours of work–per CSA season, unless you opted out for a fee or other arrangement through him.  Let us know the dates you can commit to!  It all helps!)

Farm Updates:

8.5.15 MGF in Revere collage(Clockwise: Farmer Kohei flexing his muscles for CrossFit with kale; the local Revere paper showcasing the Revere Farmer’s Market with a picture of MGF & Revere’s Mayor!; and MGF friend & volunteer Elaine lifting a giant zucchini on behalf of CrossFit.. as you can see, MGF knows how to be silly!)

MGF has really been creating a presence in the city of Revere, MA!  Not only have we been going to the Revere Farmer’s Market, but this past weekend we were present again with our veggies at a CrossFit competition on Revere Beach–combining a sunny day, scenic views of the beach, fitness, & nutritious produce.

8.5.15 farm update collage(Clockwise from right: Our most recent hen additions to our collection of laying birds, these breeds will eventually lay greenish & bluish eggs when they’re mature enough; the hard work of “hilling” the potato plants, or digging the dirt to create “hills” of soil to surround the plant, is supposed to make them produce more potatoes; and check out our white, Silkie chickens keeping warm and surrounding their duck companion with whom they’ve bonded–Silkies are a breed of chickens whose skin are black underneath all that feather and their meat is more gamey tasting)

More birds to take care of means LOTS of chirping, quacking, and cock-a-doodling on the farm (did we mention we acquired a rooster to keep our hens company and as their bodyguard?)!  But they’re all fun little critters to care for with interesting quirks (some of them like to follow us around) and can be cute to watch, especially how some herd together in groupings.

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And what tasty goods to expect for Week #8…?

Small shares:
For Boston:
purple carrots
(purple!!; just like their orange siblings only in another fun color!)

– cherry tomatoes

For Providence:
– Malabar spinach
(an edible leafy green, like spinach, but grows on a climbing red-stemmed vine)
– heirloom tomatoes
(heirloom tomatoes can grow in such unique shapes, sizes, & colors, sometimes with little cracks in their skin but this does not affect their big taste!)

Everyone:
– cabbage
– zucchini
– Mosaic Chinese Long Beans
(similar to the string bean but is much longer in length, it is able to hold its texture better under heat which makes it ideal for sautéing or stir frying)
– plus 1/2 a dozen eggs* from our hens
(* “best by” date written on the box, labeled ‘W’ for washed or ‘UW’ for unwashed; if ‘UW’ just rinse with warm water before use)

…ANDDD A BONUS ITEM:
– a handful of jalapeños*!
 (*note:  Beware, some of these batches have been particularly extra spicy!  Good news for the spicy addicts, though.)

Vegan shares include:
– A mix of the above (no eggs)

Large shares:
– Farmer Kohei will notify you specifically with what you can expect!

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Featured Vegetable:

Mosaic Chinese Long BeansMosaic Chinese Long Beans

‘Chinese long beans are also known as yard long beans or Asparagus beans.  The name Mosaic is the specific variety which grows purple, red, and green colors on the pod that create a pattern.’  (info from this link)

This plant, though similar in taste, look, and texture to string beans, it is of a different relation (different genus type than that related to string beans).  This plant is a climbing vine (like the Malabar spinach), and will cling to whatever surface near it which can make picking these long beans  a little easier so you don’t have to bend too low.  These particular variety of beans can grow over a foot in length!  And though one of their common names is Chinese long beans, it is often found in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and southern China cuisines.  It can be eaten cooked and raw (I know in Cambodian cuisine, one of the ways it is used raw is it is sliced up thin and used much like bean sprouts or leafy herbs are used to garnish cooked foods, add texture, and freshness).

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Recipe Ideas:
(I’m leaving out quite a few items since they’ve been listed before in previous posts or is familiar enough that you can find quite a few recipes with little effort.)

  1. Malabar spinach can be treated the same as other spinach.  It can be eaten raw (i.e. – salads, power smoothies or juices) though has a fleshier texture than other spinach, but holds up very well when cooked into soups or is sautéed.  If cooking, try throwing some of these into a curry soup–here’s an Indian vegetarian curry and use shortcuts like using canned beans or lentils, coconut milk in place of grated coconut, combining some existing spice blends you have, leave out some chili to your heat preference, use tomato paste in place of tamarind paste… though it does change up the flavor a bit.  A super shortcut would be to use a pre-packaged sauce variety you like and add your own vegetables.
    Here’s a Southeast Asian curry you can try using your Malabar spinach and/or Chinese long beans (feel free to use a sweet potato or squash in place of the potato; to make vegetarian, leave out the chicken to use veggie stock, and feel free to add more coconut milk for more flavor).
  2. Try the Chinese long beans stir fried (there’s so many different kind of flavor profiles you can try!) like in this minimal ingredient, vegetarian recipe.  Or follow the recipes for a Chinese-style dry fried beans or long beans with coconut milk linked in this write-up about the long beans and its versatility.  If your cooking style is more “off the books”–you just like to add this and that as you go–and have some flavorful, fermented soy beans handy, give it a quick stir fry with a little sugar, garlic, and a little water can be enough to make it tasty!  Also, there is this recipe for curry noodles with pork and long beans, yum.
  3. Jalapeños… adds a nice spiciness to life!  If you love the heat, you’re in luck!  Quite a few batches of our jalapeños have been noted to be extra spicy (a little unusual since they are known for being on the mild side of the heat level spice index).  But if you’d like to try to use them but want to tame down some of the heat, cut them in half and cut away the seeds and yellow/white “veins”, that’s really what holds most of the heat.  And you can try roasting them afterwards, as cooking brings out their natural sweetness.  Here’s a recipe for a roasted jalapeño hummus, or try making a cheesy, stuffed jalapeño (you can always substitute the feta with a little more shredded cheese)!  And there’s always salsa to make with it, just remember to cut out the seeds & veins if you want to tame the heat!  The salsa can be eaten as is with chips, or you can scoop it onto cooked fish or chicken.  If you want to preserve jalapeños to be used later, it holds up well to freezing, just rinse and dry well before you do.
    (Note: You may want to wear gloves when trying to cut the jalapeños, as I said in another post, the oils from them can linger on your hands long after you wash them and can hurt you later if you rub your eyes or use contacts… OUCH!  Do be careful and not inhale so closely when roasting them (either in a hot and open sauté pan, the oven, or on the grill), the chemical capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers, can become airborne and be slightly irritating, may make you sneeze, cough, or your eyes water.)

ENJOY!

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Community Cooking:

And now a look at what our members have been cooking up with their CSA produce!

Sandy’s creations (MGF Board & CSA member)
Sandy's food collage
On the left is Sandy’s preservation spree… the two large jars are kimchi pickling using Napa cabbage and pickled Kirby cucumbers (aka pickling cucumbers); the three smaller jars from the left are a saucy puree of sweet lunch box peppers and the others are jalapeño sauces (he got a bulk order for a spicy sauces to last a while)!  On the right is his whimsical noodle soup utilizing the jalapeño, sugar snap peas, patty pan squash, and eggs.  Tasty and fun!

Sarath’s home cooked comfort food (MGF Board & member)
Sarath's food collage
On the left is a steamed “omelette”… typically, a savory custard mixture of egg and water, though sometimes plain, can be mixed with meat or vegetables and eaten with rice.  Sarath utilized our eggs, garlic and scallions for this take on a nostalgic classic he says “reminds him of something his mom would make as an after school snack”.  On the right is his Cambodian sweet and sour soup cooked with lobster (yum!).  Though the mainstay ingredients of this soup weren’t from MGF, he did use the garlic and cherry tomatoes!

August’s refreshing appetizer
August's cuke salad
Using the cucumbers, this cucumber salad sure looks refreshing for the heat of summer!  August says it only takes a few ingredients: cucumbers, chili oil paste, sesame oil, and salt.  Try a variation of this if you’re not sure what to do with your cucumbers!

Farmer Kohei’s tempura snacks
Kohei's tempura
When wanting to deep fry something, Kohei enjoys tempura style frying and using panko breadcrumbs for a light, crisp coating.  Here he fries up squash blossoms, Japanese shiso basil, Sapporo chilies, and jalapeños.  He tops it off with a little seasoning of store bought Japanese mayonnaise and dried bonito flakes.

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Let us know how you eat and cook your CSA goodies by sharing your cooking stories and/or pictures on our Facebook page or leave a comment here.

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