Welcome to the third week of produce! Hopefully you have managed to keep up with the mass quantities of Spring roughage that has been coming your way.
We want to use this newsletter to introduce ourselves to some of you for the first time! We ran this post back in Jan of 2009 but wanted to dust it off and re post since our history has not changed! We are a husband and wife team farming 5 acres on the beautiful Umpqua floodplain! Here is our story....
Suzie's story.....2011 will be my 8th year of organic farming. I was born into a rural lifestyle in Orange County, Ca. in the beautiful coastal sage scrub hills and canyons of Trabuco. I grew up without electricity (home was too far away from town at the edge of Cleveland National Forest). While my parents had jobs away from "the ranch" there were always plenty of horses, pigs, chickens and goats to contend with, hills to climb, streams to forge and snakes to catch! Growing up surrounded by nature was a tremendous influence early on that directed my lifestyle and career choices. While away at college in the Monterey Bay I became involved in environmental restoration using Ca. native plants. I became an AmeriCorps intern and helped many other interns and volunteers to restore the former army base of Fort Ord back to it's native state (replanting old fire roads and abandoned artillery ranges with native plant species to increase biological diversity and prevent erosion). While in Monterey I also became involved in an organic educational farm in Salinas called ALBA. ALBA consists of more than 100 acres and is used as a school to help teach migrant farm laborers how to become independent business people, teaching students how to grow using organic methods and how to successfully market their products. I began to volunteer my extra time here helping students with their CSA programs. At ALBA while harvesting and working with the land I found my calling~ organic farming! I received my Bachelors of Science in environmental studies but did not know what I would do with it until my days at ALBA. From Monterey Bay I took a job as a school farm manager in a small town in South Monterey County called San Ardo. Here with the help of the community and school we were able to turn an abandoned 1 1/2 acres into a certified organic school/community farm. The students from K-8th attended weekly classes held at the farm in our outdoor classroom. Some classes were spent digging in the compost pile to learn about decomposing, other days measuring plant growth, some harvesting all the ingredients needed to make some salsa! It was a great place to learn more about organic farming and share the beauty of nature with children. In 2002 I decided to take a year trip overseas.. this led me to New Zealand (picking and packing kiwi fruit), into Australia (just a tourist), Fiji and then to the remote country of Kiribati (in between Australia and Hawaii on the equator) where I was teaching English for two and a half years and where I happened to meet my future husband and business partner Asinete Tibwe! We married in his country and arrived in Oregon together in the summer of 2007. My folks live in Myrtle Creek and told us what an amazing place Douglas County was... they were right!
Asinete's story~ 2011 will be my 4th year as an organic farmer. Before this I was a fisherman in my country since Kiribati is made up of small islands surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. The Kiribati people source almost all of their food from the sea. We catch and eat all sorts of fish (reef fish, shark, marlin, barracuda, and our favorite~ tuna!) Also we catch spiny lobster, octopus, eels and many kinds of shellfish. We catch fish in many ways. We dive for many species and use long spears to catch them. Sometimes we drag nets under the ocean and catch reef fish that way as well. Many people use the local canoe called a waa and they fish from here with nets or poles.
The country of Kiribati is made up of scattered coral atolls. The highest point of all islands is only one meter above sea level. We have no mountains or hills, lakes or rivers. Except for harvesting coconuts and a root like vegetable called babai (like taro root) my people are not farmers. I have learned how to grow all these crops in the USA (most of which I had never tasted before!) My favorite crop to grow is broccoli and sweet corn.. both of which I had never tasted before coming to the US. I love farming but miss my days of diving and fishing in the ocean! It helps that we live on the river though since when summer comes I can at least dive in the river and look for crawdads!
Thank you for supporting our dream here in Oregon!
Suzie & Asinete
This Week's Harvest Includes:
Strawberries (eat these fast! With the rain they got wet and won't keep long)
Snow OR Snap peas
Broccoli (hooray~ we had enough for everyone last week and this week!)
Radish OR Salad Turnips
How to Store it and Cook it~
Broccoli~ Enjoy this fleeting crop while it lasts. Last Spring we had a bumper crop of broccoli but this season as you already know we have had one problem after another keeping it alive... we are hoping for one or two good broccoli harvest soon and then the rest will come this Fall when the weather cools down again.
Broccoli stores best in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge for best taste and most nutrients use within 3-5 days.
Broccoli is hailed as a wonder vegetable. It is packed full of phytonutrients that boost your body's immune power. It has been found in numerous studies to prevent cancer, cleanse and detoxify cells, prevent heart disease and cataracts, build up the density of bones and strengthen the immune system.
Skillet Browned Broccoli with Pan Toasted Garlic
3 large broccoli stems with stem end attached
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. thinly sliced garlic (use your green garlic!)
1.Preheat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Slice broccoli heads lengthwise in a 1-inch-thick slices, cutting from the bottom of the stem through the crown to preserve the shape of the broccoli (reserve any florets that fall away for another use). Brush both sides of each broccoli slice with some of the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
2.Place half of the slices in the heated skillet and set a heavy medium skillet on the slices to press them to the cast-iron skillet. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until well browned. Turn slices and cook second side for 3 to 4 minutes more or until browned (for more tender broccoli, cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 6 minutes per side). Repeat with remaining broccoli slices. Transfer to a warm platter, cover, and keep warm.
3.Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the hot skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic slices. Cook garlic, stirring gently and constantly for 2 minutes or until the slices are lightly browned. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
4.Arrange broccoli on serving platter. Sprinkle the toasted garlic slices over broccoli. Makes 8 servings.
5.*Kitchen Tip: Keep cooked broccoli slices warm in a 300 degree F oven or cover with foil while the remaining broccoli cooks.
Do you have a hard time facing those radishes each week? Cooking them actually turns the heat into a sweet flavor. Try this out and see how you like it!
Braised Radishesadapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
1 bunch red radishes
1 to 2 Tablespoons butter
1 stalk green garlic, cleaned as you would a leek and chopped, use all the light green part
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Trim the leaves from the radishes, leaving a bit of the green stems, and scrub them. Wash the leaves and set aside. Leave smaller radishes whole and halve the larger ones.
Melt 2 to 3 teaspoons of the butter in a small saute pan. Add the green garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the radishes, a little salt and pepper, and water just to cover. Simmer until the radishes are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the leaves and cook until they're wilted and tender, 1 minute more. Remove the radishes to a serving dish. Boil the liquid, adding a teaspoon or two more butter if you like, until only about 1/4 cup remains. pour it over the radishes and serve.