Duck, Duck, Melon…?

August 15, 2017

Week 11

0730170805b_HDRScreen Shot 2017-08-17 at 6.38.57 AM[Our Pekin, or Peking, ducks happily frolicking around the farm.  Who wouldn’t like that?]


 

Duck, Melons, & Yard Long Beans

Judy here again!  It’s been a little busy at the farm.. what with the decision to process our own birds by way of a mobile processing unit!  Rather than sending them to a USDA approved facility to process and package our free range feathered friends, we decided to go through the process ourselves!  Which means training on equipment & health codes, certification, licensing, fees, tests, renting a mobile processing unit, etc.  It is quite an ordeal!  But it sure does give you a level of appreciation for the work to get the meat on your plate, as well as the produce.

 

Duck

IMG-20170815-WA0002

Since Farmer Kohei and company are preoccupied with making sure our duck friends are treated and processed well… I’m tasked with making sure YOU’LL be able to enjoy it.  So if you haven’t cooked with duck before, you’re in for a tasty end product!  We hope you can love your duck as much as we’ve loved raising the ducks.

What to know about duck:
a) it tends to have a more “gamey”, dark meat flavor than its chicken friend, but can be oh-so-good.
b) the skin is a little thicker and more full of oils compared to chicken, but a lot will be rendered out in the cooking process.  This excess duck fat can be reserved and used for other cooking needs!  Try roasting veggies with it, flavoring mashed potatoes, using it in vinaigrettes, etc..  It freezes well, so you can go find some more ways to use duck fat.
c) it can be tasty!  Try it!

 

Recipe Ideas

Peking Duck Style
IMG_7776
(courtesy of SeriousEats.com)
No need to make the extras, unless you really want to, but definitely try your duck cooked in this manner.  Farmer Kohei has cooked it this way before and loved the taste!

 

Spiced Slow-roasted Duck
recipe-image-legacy-id--191479_10
(courtesy of BBC GoodFood.com)
Another way to roast a whole duck.  Similar to pork, duck can be paired with a lightly sweet sauce like apple sauce, as in this recipe, or for a more Asian twist, try hoisin sauce or a sweetened tamarind sauce. (Keep in mind this recipe is British, so you’ll have to convert to Fahrenheit and the metric system.)

 

How to Cut Up a Whole Duck


(courtesy of MapleLeafFarms.com)
Don’t want to have to use up a whole duck for one meal?  Try breaking it down into parts and make sausage, or use the different parts in separate recipes. This site also has tips and recipes to cook duck breast and duck legs.

 


 

Bittermelon

Health-benefits-of-bitter-melon-Organic-Gurlz-Gardens-of-Fort-Wayne-Indiana

[photo courtesy of SpecialtyProduce.com]

 

Not familiar with the bittermelon?  Don’t be discouraged or scared off by this green, bumpy gourd.  It is also called bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash, karela, or balsam pear.  As its name claims, it is, indeed, bitter.  But the bitter taste, according to many cultures, holds quite a few medicinal and nutritional properties (i.e. being good for blood circulation and lowering blood pressure–but consult with a doctor if trying to treat these issues); according to some (and SpecialtyProduce.com), “it is rich in iron, contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of banana.”  Try it raw in juice form (a customer at the Farmer’s Market claimed that’s the only way she’s consumed it!), or cook it in soups, stir-frys, or pickle it.

Bittermelon is a pale green color while young, and when ripe, can turn into an orange-red color.  It is a plant widely grown in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America.  Try searching for some recipe ideas across those food genres!  Here’s a few recipes to give you an idea of its versatility, if you don’t mind getting a little bitter :).

Pro tip: if you want to decrease some of its bitterness bite, slice thinly, place in a strainer and sprinkle with salt until all pieces are covered, let sit for about 15 minutes.  Then rinse off salt with water, and squeeze out excess water from bitter melon pieces until mostly dry. Repeat rinsing step as necessary until salt is completely washed off.

 

Vietnamese-style Sautéed Bitter Melon with Pork Belly & Egg
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(courtesy of Tasty Desu’s Blog)
I’d recommend adding a little seasoning to this dish to add some oomph–i.e. a teaspoon or so of fish sauce and sugar.  This can be made vegetarian by omitting the pork, and adding another sort of flavor by way of dashes of soy sauce and sugar.

 

Southeast Asian-style Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup
1-bitter-melon-soup-canh-kho-qua
(courtesy of HungryHuy.com)
This recipe from HungryHuy.com leans towards Vietnamese cuisine, but is very similar to one my Cambodian mom makes.  You could probably find similar pork-stuffed bitter melon soup recipes across some Southeast Asian cuisines.  In these soups, it certainly tastes better the next day (some of the bitterness calms down and flavors are enhanced)!  Do some tasty experimenting, and see which soup recipes you like best!

 

Bitter Melon Juice with Apple & Lemon Water
bitter-melon-juice-5.jpg
(courtesy of China Sichuan Food)

 

A South Asian-inspired Bitter Melon Stir Fry
IMG_3455
(courtesy of Ma Recipes Blog)
I recommend trying this recipe, and then adding a twist to it with a little tomato paste or tomato sauce.  Yum!

 

A Caribbean Bitter Melon & Salted Fish Stir Fry
trinidad-fry-caraili-recipe
(courtesy of CaribbeanPot.com)

 


 

Fuzzy Melon

fuzzymelon
[photo courtesy of New Roots for Refugees Blog]

 

Fuzzy melon, also known as mo qua, or hairy gourd looks similar to a zucchini.

 

Summer CSA – Week #9

Malabar spinach

Malabar spinach

It’s WEEK #9!!!!!

CSA box drop-offs is Wednesday, Aug. 12th for Boston & Providence and Friday, Aug. 14th at Revere Farmer’s Market for our Revere members.

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The readiness of our produce has been a little more unpredictable this week due to the cooler weather.  While the mild temperatures might be welcome for us humans, our plants could do well with a little more warmth at night.  So it’s been hard to know exactly what we’d be able to provide to you this week until the last minute of harvesting.  But hope you enjoy what’s in your boxes!

This week’s post is quite a bit shorter than usual, but FULL of pictures :).  AND soon you’ll be reading posts from another MGF volunteer!  I (Judy) will be going on hiatus for a while as I’m hatching my own little one and will be needing all the time I can get to take care of my family’s new addition!

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Here’s the tasty goods you most likely will be getting Week #9…

Small shares:
For Boston:
– Malabar spinach
(an edible leafy green, like spinach, but red-stemmed and “fleshier”)
For Providence:

– broccoli

Everyone:
– sweet lunchbox peppers or green bell peppers
– cherry tomatoes
– Siberian kale
– 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 SOME BONUS ITEMS:
– a handful of basil
– heirloom tomatoes
– some Sapporo chili peppers

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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Photo Gallery

Lunchbox peppers

Our sweet lunchbox peppers (basically sweet, mini bell peppers)

Pepper line up

A pepper line-up, with cherry tomatoes for size comparison (L to R: Lunchbox pepper, jalapeño chili pepper, Sapporo chili pepper, and Thai chili pepper)

Bell pepper

Bell pepper

Jasper & Sun Gold cherry tom collage

Left: Jasper cherry tomatoes; Right: Sun Gold cherry tomatoes

black heirloom tomatoes

Black heirloom tomatoes

ANNNDDD… if the temperatures warm up so that our produce feel comfy enough to grow bigger and riper, we may have one of our melon varieties ready for you to eat soon!! Check out the sneak peak at our melons!

Clockwise from top right: Ginkaku melon (has white flesh), Himey Kansen watermelon (a Japanese mini watermelon variety), Ichiba Kouji (has a green flesh)

Clockwise from top right: Ginkaku melon (has white flesh), Himey Kansen watermelon (a Japanese mini watermelon variety), Ichiba Kouji (has a green flesh)

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For Recipe Ideas for some of these repeat edibles, please refer to some of our posts from previous weeks (check out the ‘Recent Posts’ menu on the right side of the screen).

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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.

Summer CSA – Week #7

Hellooo Week #7!!!

We’re testing an earlier roll out of our CSA blog and will try to work our way to posting a few days before Wednesdays, the main CSA drop-off day (Revere is Fridays).  Give us feedback via email or at the end of this post about whether you enjoy an early preview or not!

MGF representing at the third week of the Revere Farmer's Market

MGF representing at the third week of the Revere Farmer’s Market

Can you believe it’s already the end of July?!  Enjoy the weather and summer while you can (the sun has been setting a little earlier each day :*( … )!  Hope some of you have been able to enjoy outdoor cooking with our produce (zucchini, scallions, Napa cabbage, etc. can be enjoyed grilled).  The mix of sun and rain has been good for MGF, and things are looking really green here on the farm.

Some Business Reminders:

MGF CSA agreement

Just a reminder to our members about BOTH the rewards AND risks that come with taking part in a CSA program with local, sustainable farms.  Farmer Kohei is fortunate to have had many supporters in the VERY FIRST YEAR of Movement Ground Farm (MGF) take part in a CSA by paying up front for weekly, farm-fresh produce.  This “subscription” style of paying for produce that comes from a local and sustainable farm helps the farmer and business have a guaranteed customer base/ income stream to pay for immediate needs and bills.  Meanwhile, the CSA members are confident in knowing they are supporting a local business, have a better relationship with their food & food system (and the people who grow it!), and knowing that our practice of growing uses organic and sustainable methods.  BUT there are risks of farming, in general, and within the New England region (weather can be so unpredictable here… a heat wave in winter, and snow in spring, anyone remember?)… That is part of the risks & rewards of Mother Nature.  PLUS we use organic methods, so plants can be more susceptible to other dangers–i.e. insects that feed on and destroy them.

(Take a look at the photo of ‘Agreements’ that were part of the CSA Application you hopefully had read and signed when you became a “Founding Member” of our CSA program.)

Another reminder that as part of your membership, you do receive two (2) tickets to MGF’s Movement Building Food Festival on Saturday, October 3rd (more info will be publicized as it comes closer)!!  It’ll certainly be quite a food filled event!

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CSA box drop-offs will be on Wednesday, July 29th and Friday, July 31st at Revere Farmer’s Market for our Revere members.

Feel free to bring your own reusable bags to pick up and pack your produce so you’ll be able to leave your box at your “drop-off” site and won’t have to remember to bring them back the following week.  Otherwise, please continue to return the CSA boxes from the previous week(s) when you pick up your CSA shares.

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Here’s the tasty goods to expect for Week #7 (this week is in ABUNDANCE!!)

Small shares include:
– For Boston shares:
– pickling cucumbers (aka Kirby cucumbers)
– bell peppers
– heirloom tomatoes
– collard greens

– For Providence shares:
– English cucumbers
   – sweet lunchbox peppers
– cherry tomatoes
– Siberian kale

– Everyone:
– beets
– 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)

… ANNDDD LOTS OF BONUS ITEMS:
– Japanese eggplant (thin and slender compared to the more bulbous Italian variety)
– green garlic
– scallions

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

For the few Large shares, Farmer Kohei will notify you specifically with what you can expect!

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BULK ORDER SPECIAL:

kale

We can offer some savings and pass it onto our customers for these bulk extras because these items are THRIVING in our fields!  Hope you can enjoy it!

Contact us at 617-863-SOIL or MovementGroundFarm(at)gmail.com by noon 7/28 if you’re interested OR if you’re our Revere CSA folks, contact us by noon 7/30.  Just let us know how much of which bulk order special you’d like (have money ready in an envelope with your name & order written on it when you pick up your CSA).

  • “Krispy Kale”
    You’ll get a bundle of our Siberian kale.  Try kale chips (de-stemmed), tossed lightly in oil, and baked.  Or cook them down into a stew, or maybe you like them raw for juicing or power smoothies!
  • “Southern Greens”
    You’ll get a bundle of collard greens.  Great for making a Southern-style collard greens braised with a smoked ham hock, or slice up and throw in a stew or soup.
  • “Basil Bouquet”
    You’ll get an assorted basil bouquet of Thai basil, Genovese (aka Italian sweet) basil, Japanese (or shiso) basil, and Lemon basil.

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Recipe Ideas:

(Borrowing a couple of recipes from previous weeks…)

  1. If you enjoy cucumbers, you can always eat them raw (cut into sticks, they’re great snacks) and pair with your favorite dip.  Try some cooling recipes that can save you from the heat of summer.. a cucumber raita or cucumber yogurt soup

  2. Whether you get bell peppers or lunchbox peppers, you can definitely eat these raw and pair with your favorite dip (salad dressing, hummus, peanut sauce, sweet & sour sauce, etc.).  Slice them up and throw them into a salad, sandwich, cold noodles… Throw these on the grill or sauté them and they’ll sweeten up nicely!  Or try stuffed peppers (there’s many variations, use your imagination)!  Try using the bell peppers as cute individual and edible “cups” for a soup or dip.

  3. Tomatoes!  What can’t you do with tomatoes?  Eat them raw, sauté them, grill them, roast them, stuff them… put into salads, on sandwiches, eat with cheese, or cook on pizza or into omelets.

  4. For kale or collard greens, see the recipe links under the Bulk Specials.

  5. Beets can be a hit or miss item with some folks.  Some absolutely love it, others don’t care for it.  I love them!  After some rinsing and peeling, you can slice them up and eat them raw with a dip, on a sandwich, or salad.  But cook them up and they turn really sweet (can be roasted whole or cut up in whatever form you like).  You can also pickle them (these are also very tasty on salads or sandwiches).

  6. Use Japanese eggplants like you would their more familiar Italian sibling. But also great for stir frying because of their thinner skin and almost lack of seeds (which could give a slight bitter taste in the Italian variety).

ENJOY!

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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.

Summer CSA – Week #5

Welcome to week #5!!!

Let’s take a peek at what some of you have been cooking up last week…

CSA member food collage

L to R: (Left) Julian’s hakurei turnip & radish pickling using one of our Bulk Specials; (Middle) Judy’s sautéed spinach & turnip greens; (Right) Martha’s stir fry medley of our bok choy, snow peas, turnips, & zucchini with other veggies!

Hope this makes you hungry to start on this week’s produce!

Reminder, please continue to return the CSA boxes from the previous week(s) when you pick up your CSA shares.  When opening your boxes, keep in mind that these will be our reusable packaging for the season so please plan to return them the following week and treat them gently.  The lid with “Perishable” written on it slides out (it will bend, do not pull) and this will open the box top and reveal your edible goods.

Here’s what tasty goods to expect for Week #5…

Small shares include:
English cucumbers (note: in the article there is a mention of yellow streaks on cucumbers while not so common on the English variety, on our smaller pickling variety it is usually a sign that side has not received much sunlight)
sugar snap peas or snow peas
scallions
– a bag of assorted salad greens
– some young zucchinis
– 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)

… ANNDDD a BONUS: a bundle of Genovese basil (a sweet variety common in Italian cuisine)

Vegan shares include:
– All of the above, plus a surprise veggie (in place of eggs)

For the few Large shares, Farmer Kohei will notify you specifically with what you can expect!

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Veggie Gallery

English cucumber   double zucchini

On the left is our English cucumber just hanging out, ready to be picked from the vine.  On the right is a “star-crossed lovers” zucchini, they couldn’t bear to be separated!

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Recipe Ideas:

  1. If you enjoy cucumbers, you can always eat them raw (cut into sticks, they’re great snacks) and pair with your favorite dip.  But here’s a slight sweet & sour salad recipe using your English cucumbers in a Japanese-inspired cucumber salad (*note: if you don’t have sesame seeds but have sesame seed oil, use that; taking out the seeds of English cucumbers isn’t really necessary since they’re so small and tender to begin with…but if you really want to eliminate some of the extra water that the cukes will release into the dressing, feel free.. but it takes an extra step and why waste the juicy core?).

  2. A vegetarian & vegan recipe idea using both sugar snap peas/ snow peas & scallions, and served over tofu and a soy sauce dressing.  Also, the sugar snap peas/ snow peas can be rinsed with the ends and “stringy” parts peeled and eaten raw with a dip or dressing, or just slice it up and top off your salad greens!  For a quick use, thinly slice lengthwise or at a diagonal and top off your instant ramen to add freshness.

  3. What to do with salad greens…?  It’s so tasty and nutritious as a salad!  But if you’re not a fan or sick of salads.. you can always use it as your sandwich greens; add a little freshness to egg salads or chicken salads; or slightly wilt it into your pasta dishes.

  4. Zucchini is continuing to grow like they’re cloning themselves… make zucchini noodles by shredding or slicing into thin noodle shapes (there’s also gadgets out there that makes that easier); slice them up and roast or sauté them; cut into “finger food” portions, bread them (or use panko bread crumbs), then bake for a healthier version of zucchini fries!  Or there’s this tasty sounding recipe for a zucchini parmesan casserole.

  5. For the bonus basil, slice up and add to salads, use as a garnish for your stir fries, add into sandwiches for an herby kick, blend into mayonnaise for a great new condiment, make pesto, or blend with oil and use for cooking or in salad dressings.

ENJOY!

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BULK ORDER SPECIAL:

What a GREAT response to this week’s BULK ORDER SPECIAL!  Farmer Kohei is psyched our members want more and we do enjoy hearing the excitement of cooking and eating fresh!

Wk #5 Bulk Special collage

Clockwise: colorful patty pan squash w/ young zucchini, pickling cucumbers, and squash blossoms.

Not only are these edibles growing in crazy abundance right now, it’s also very visually appealing from their vibrant colors and different shapes (visual appeal seems to do a good job at bringing in customers at Farmer’s Markets)!  The patty pan squash look like funny little wheels.. and the squash blossoms are such an awesome hue of orange AND THEY’RE TOTALLY EDIBLE!  The pickling cucumbers with its gradient mixture of light and dark greens are a nice color contrast to the other veggies, plus they smell so refreshing.  It’s such a great size for making pickles (hence the name), but also have such small and tender seeds, they’re enjoyed for eating raw (try slices in your water or juices… or add to some cocktails!).

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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.  It’s great to see what you’re cooking up and how you’re enjoying the fruits of our labor (literally :D).

Summer CSA – Week #3

20150624_201351

Farmer Kohei looking at some wild spring onions in the light of the setting sun.

Yay to another great week and some new CSA members!  Welcome to week #3!

A friendly reminder.  Please return the CSA boxes from the previous week(s) when you pick up your CSA shares.

When opening your boxes, keep in mind that these will be our reusable packaging for the season so please plan to return them the following week and treat them gently.  The lid with “Perishable” written on it slides out (it will bend, do not pull) and this will open the box top and reveal your edible goods.

Here’s what to expect for Week #3…

Small Summer shares will include:
– Hakurei turnips
– mini spring onions
– baby Zucchini
– Romaine lettuce
– arugula
– plus 1/2 a dozen eggs* from our hens (“best by” date written on the box, labeled washed or unwashed)

Large Summer shares will include:
– the above vegetables in larger quantities
– some surprise vegetables
– plus 1 dozen eggs* from our hens (“best by” date written on the box, labeled washed or unwashed)

( *Typically, we will collect our eggs freshly laid from the hens a couple times a day and leave it unwashed [unless it’s particularly dirty]. Leaving it unwashed means that a natural membrane around the shell is intact. Left this way it can be kept unrefrigerated at room temperature for a while, and can last up to two months in the fridge. Once eggs are washed, it no longer has that natural membrane and will make it more susceptible to spoilage, so it needs to be refrigerated; washed eggs are good up to one month.

Directions for washing eggs before use:  Use warm, running water. “Cold water will cause the contents of the egg to shrink, creating a vacuum that will pull bacteria and other nasties into the egg through the porous egg shell. Warm water, on the other hand, will cause the contents to expand against the shell, preventing bacteria from entering. …After washing, store them in…the fridge and use them before any unwashed eggs.”)

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Featured Vegetable:

20150624_201548

Spring Onions

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Farmer Kohei’s Notes:

A BULK ORDER SPECIAL!

6.21.15 - bulk order special

(Clockwise: Siberian kale, Red Rover radish, Hakurei turnips)

collage_20150629222011337

(Left: Japanese Red Giant Mustard, Right: komatsuna)

 

 

 

 

 

 
As some of the farm’s crops thrive, we are realizing there is surplus of some items that are doing really well right now but most likely won’t last very much longer… But that means we can offer some savings and pass onto our customers a special pricing for bulk extras!

Contact us at 617-863-SOIL or MovementGroundFarm(at)gmail.com by noon 6/30, if you’re interested.  Just let us know how much of which bulk order special you’d like (please have money ready when your CSA is dropped off on Wednesday, 7/1/15).

  • Baked Kale “Chip” Special
    A giant bag of our Siberian kale, a $10 value for $5.  Make kale “chips”, power juices or smoothies, or even stomach satisfying soups.

  • The “Pickling” Paradise Special
    Try a large mixed bag of our Hakurei turnips and Red Rover radish, a $12 value for only $5!  Throw it in salad, roast it, or make lots of pickles with it.  (Some people love it dipped in a little butter and a sprinkle of salt, though I haven’t tried it myself.)

  • Last Call for Komatsuna
    Have some more crisp, leafy, and light mustard greens, one bunch for $3.50.  This looks like the last week for it.

  • Last Call for Japanese Red Giant Mustard
    Have some more red-tinged, mustard greens, one head for $3.50.  It looks like the last week for this, too.

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Recipe Ideas:

(..will be updated soon…)

ENJOY!

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Let us know how you eat and cook your CSA goodies!  Share your cooking stories and pictures on our Facebook page (some of our members and friends already began posting some of their own cooking adventures!) or leave a comment here.  We’d love to feature and keep your recipes to share in the future as part of our community posts.