Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CSA Harvest #18

Happy Fall! As much as we love the long summer days the beginning of Fall excites us as well. Fall on the farm is all about cleaning up the remains of the season. Much of this clean-up is done after the first hard frost when the last, brave tomatoes, eggplant and peppers succumb to the freezing weather. At this time we can pull out the weed mat, roll up the drip tape, and pull out t-posts that we use for staking tomatoes. This season we planted 520 main season tomato plants in addition to the 120 early Glacier and Oregon Spring toms. We get a little nutty for tomatoes over here!

Fall also means the time to plant garlic (helpers anyone?) and also prepare the ground for planting our overwintering cover crops.
For cover cropping in the winter we plant a cold hardy mixture of vetch, bell beans and cow peas. These three plants are legumes which fix nitrogen (a crucial nutrient needed by plants. Cover crops also help hold the soil in place with their roots to prevent soil erosion. Insects and other animals love cover crops too since it provides a habitat for them to live in. Last it is much more beautiful to us to look out and see cover crops growing then bare mud in the fields and we rest easy knowing we are doing right by the soil.
Winter time for these farmers means some R&R and road trips so unlike many of you who greet the upcoming winter with dread we tend to mark our calendars and count down the days!

In that spirit please enjoy your 18th week of produce.. there are 8 more weeks of CSA left.. 8 more weeks until Thanksgiving.. yikes!

The Big Lick Crew: Suzie, Asinete, Tione, M.A, Violet, Sally and Grandma GG

Harvest This Week Includes:

Salad Turnips (no need to peel... super buttery and sweet!)


Strawberries OR Raspberries (with shortening/cooler days now not as many)

Salad Greens (please wash again and remove excess water to keep uber fresh)

Summer Squash

Red and Yellow Sweet Onions (get ready for the massive onion onslaught! We have loads of them!)

Eggplant (Purple is called Dancer and the smaller with white stripes is called Fairy Tale)


Cilantro (salsa time!!)

Cherry Tomatoes

San Marzano Roma Tomatoes

Hot pepper mix (Hungarian Hot Wax, Jalapeno, Serrano and Poblano)


*No recipes again this week.. our apologies.. This farmer/mommy cannot keep her eyes open any longer as the time now is 10:38pm Tues eve) For recipe ideas please check out allrecipes.com

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CSA Harvest #17

Thank you to all of you who came and shared scrumptious food at Big Lick Farm's 4th Annual Farm Tour/Potluck. We feasted like Kings and grooved to the smooth sounds of Mato's musical mix and Steve's accordion. We hope you all had as much fun as we did! Getting our CSA members to the farm is an important part of the season. We like you to know where your food comes from and to see the fields that pumped out the produce to you and your family. We are consistently amazed at how much food this small plot of land produces.
Each year we plan on recording the weights of everything we harvest just to keep track of yields but it has not happened yet. We would love at the end of the year to say we harvested 600 pounds of cantaloupe, 1,000 pounds of beets etc. This information would be tallied each year to see if our farming techniques are becoming more efficient or not. Successful farmers (like all business minded folks) keep careful records each season of what they planted and where, crop yields, season challenges, what crops performed best and which should not be planted again and more. We are learning the important art of record keeping. Especially important each season is the dates you plant a certain crop so we know for next season. Organization and record keeping is a skill we still have not yet mastered but we will keep trying!

There were plenty of pictures taken at the potluck and this blog is having trouble posting them. We should have some posted by next week. Also check Big Lick Farm's Facebook site for potluck pics!

Enjoy the last week of summer's bounty.. that is right.. we only have two more days of summer left... Friday is the Autumnal Equinox. Soon time for winter squash and hot soups!

Your farmers: Suzie, Asinete, Tione, M.A, Sally, Grandma GG, Violet

Harvest This Week Includes:

Desiree and Purple Majesty Potatoes

Rainbow Chard

Summer Squash


Red Onion

Strawberries OR Raspberries. *both are in a lull. You may get both or you may get one or the other. We are not sure yet as more to harvest in the am.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Mix Cherry Tomatoes

Luscious Sweet Corn (if you find a worm in the top simply cut off the tip. This is the corn ear worm which affects the later plantings of corn.)

Bartlett Pears



Please remember your sweet corn is best if you eat it now! If you cannot eat immediately store in your fridge.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CSA Harvest #16

If you are what you eat then this week each of you will be sweet corn! Finally after the weeks and months of waiting it is ready and we have lots of it to share! We're sure you remember of us writing about the corn woes we faced earlier this year when the seed kept rotting in the cold soil.
Also we are cursed with the dreaded wire worm at our farm which is the larvae of the click beetle. Crop rotations are a must when dealing with wire worm as they love root crops, corn and brassicas (cabbages/broccoli). In fact the last harvest of carrots you had were looking so beautiful and the next week we went to harvest more of them and the wire worms had moved in and made ugly tunnels through them and we had to share the rest with the pigs and not you.

When farming you must learn to roll with the punches since many of the things you plant and tend and care for never come to fruition. The bugs or deer eat them or the weeds take over seemingly overnight. Farming definitely teaches you the art of letting go. Each Fall we watch sadly as the first hard frost kills off the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Of course this sadness is quickly overshadowed by the growing excitement we feel at having some down time in the winter.

At this time of year on the farm we are busy clearing up spent crops (such as the cantaloupe which are done now). Also the large block of early tomatoes that you enjoyed early this summer. We are still planting as well, lettuce, spinach, chard, bok choy, radish and turnips. Enough things to carry us through the last weeks of CSA harvests.

We are embarrassed to be showing off the fields this year to those of you attending the potluck. Dealing with weeds on an organic farm is a battle and this season it is a battle we have lost! Instead of calling the farm walks "farm tours" we may be instead calling them weed identification walk. C'est la vie! Next year is a clean start!

We hope to see you all this Sunday for the potluck and weed identification walk! :)

Your farmers~ Suzie, Asinete, M.A, Violet, Sally and Grandma GG

Harvest This Week Includes:

Easter Egg Radish (we are more impressed with the leaves on these! Recipe ideas for the leaves below!)

Baby greens (a mix of arugula, mustard and green bibb lettuce)

Jalapenos (salsa anyone?)

Heirloom Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Luscious Sweet Corn


Summer Squash


Summer Squash

Bartlett Pears



Yellow Sweet Onion


How to Keep it Fresh and Eat it!

The Bartlett Pear!~
The Williams' bon chretien pear, commonly called the Williams pear, or Bartlett pear in the U.S. and Canada, is the most commonly grown variety of pear in most countries outside Asia. It is the pear that is most commonly used for canned pears. It is wonderful eaten fresh and also when baked. If your pears are still too firm to eat leave them at room temperature to ripen. Once they are ripe and soft to the touch they will last longer in the refrigerator.

Pear Frangipane Tart
Servings: 8

Pastry for 9-inch tart pan

1/2 pound blanched almonds

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 tablespoon Oloroso or other sweet Sherry

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces

3 ( 1/2-pound) Bartlett pears, firm but ripe

Apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1. Prepare the pastry and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 20 minutes. Prick the shell with a fork and bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.

2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and place a baking sheet on a low rack.

3. In a food processor, grind the almonds. Add 2/3 cup sugar, the eggs, vanilla, orange zest, Sherry and salt, and process to make a smooth, sticky paste. With the motor running, drop in the butter through the feed hole, piece by piece, and process until smooth.

4. Peel the pears, cut them in half lengthwise and with a spoon remove the vein for the stem and the seed pit. As you finish each pear half, slip it into a work bowl filled with a mixture of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and enough water to cover all of the pears.

5. Spread the almond mixture in the base of the tart, using the back of a spoon to spread it as evenly as possible.

6. Pat each pear half dry and carefully cut it into thin crosswise slices, about 1/8 inch, keeping the pear in its original form. As you finish each pear half, lift it, using the flat of the knife as a spatula, and carefully place it in the tart pan, with the narrow stem end toward the center. Gently press down into the frangipane. Place each subsequent pear half next to the previous one in a spoke pattern until the tart is filled. Brush the pears with the melted butter and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon sugar.

7. Place the tart pan on the baking sheet and bake until the almond mixture is puffed and golden and the pears are tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Each serving: 355 calories; 149 mg. sodium; 89 mg. cholesterol; 21 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 37 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 5.04 grams fiber.

Pear and Apple Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup cranberry juice

1/4 cup minced dried cranberries

1 tablespoon minced shallot

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons olive oil


Cracked pepper

1 pear

1 apple

1 lemon, cut in half

1 endive, sliced crosswise

5 cups mixed salad greens

1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

1. Combine the rice vinegar, cranberry juice, cranberries, shallot, sugar, rosemary, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Let the dressing stand for the flavors to meld.

2. Meanwhile, cut the pear into quarters then core and slice. Place the slices in a shallow dish filled with water and the juice of half a lemon; the liquid should cover the fruit. Cut the apple into quarters, core and slice. Place the slices in a shallow dish with water and the juice of the remaining lemon half to cover.

3. Just before serving, drain the pears and apples. Toss together in a large bowl with the endive and salad greens. Arrange the salad on a platter and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts. Serve the dressing alongside.

Each serving: 250 calories; 1,143 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 46 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 5.99 grams fiber.

Honey-Poached Pear with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Walnuts
Total time: 50 minutes, plus cooling time

Servings: 4

1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons honey, divided

2 cups sugar

1/2 slice lemon

3 black peppercorns

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 large Bartlett pears

1/2 lemon

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces

1/2 teaspoon melted butter

1. Combine 4 cups water, one-fourth cup of the honey, the sugar, lemon slice and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Using a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mixture. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

2. Add the pears and simmer until they are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and lift the pears into a glass bowl, then pour over the juices. Let cool to warm. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.

3. When you are ready to serve, remove the peel and stem from the pears. Halve each pear lengthwise and remove any seeds, if necessary. Cut each pear half into 4 wedges.

4. Arrange two pear wedges on a plate and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over them. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the yogurt on top. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the honey over the yogurt and around the pears on the plate. Repeat with the three remaining plates. Toss the toasted walnuts with the melted butter then scatter over the pears and serve immediately.
449 calories; 5 grams protein; 84 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 11 mg. sodium.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

Radish Top Soup

Don't throw out your radish greens. Believe it or not, those fuzzy leaves can be transformed into a smooth green soup, with a hint of watercress flavor.
6 Tb butter
1 cup chopped onions or leeks
8 cups loosely packed radish leaves
2 cups diced peeled potatoes
6 cups liquid (water, chicken stock)
1/2 cup cream (optional)
Freshly ground pepper

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan, add onions or leeks, and cook until golden, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in radish tops, cover pan, and cook over low heat until wilted, 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook potatoes until soft in liquid along with 1 teaspoon salt. Combine with radish tops and broth, and cook, covered, for 5 minutes to mingle flavors. Puree finely in a food processor. Add cream if desired. Season to taste with butter, salt and pepper.

Spicy Stir-Fried Radish Greens
(Makes 2 servings, can easily be doubled.

8-10 ounces radish greens and/or swiss chard, washed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2-3 tsp. peanut oil
2 large garlic cloves (for seasoning the oil)

sauce mixture:
1 T soy sauce (I like Kikkomans)
1 tsp. rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tsp. Agave nectar
1/4 tsp. (or less) Sriracha sauce or other hot sauce

Wash and dry radish greens and/or swiss chard. (I used a salad spinner.) If desired, soak greens for about 30 minutes in very cold water. (This makes sure they're crisp for the quick stir-frying.) Working in batches, cut greens crosswise into 1/2 inch slices.

Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside. Preheat the wok or large, heavy frying pan until it feels very hot when you hold your hand there, then add the oil. When oil looks shimmery, add the garlic cloves and cook about 30 seconds, making sure garlic doesn't start to brown. Remove garlic and discard.

Add chopped radish greens and/or swiss chard all at once and immediately begin to stir-fry, turning greens over and over just until they are almost all wilted. (For me this was only one minute, but I have a great gas stove with a burner with really high heat.) When greens are almost all wilted, add sauce ingredients, stir, and cook 30 seconds more. Serve hot.

Yummy!! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CSA Harvest 15 and the arrival alas of the sweet corn!

The month of June is considered strawberry season in this neck of the woods but with the variety we have planted (seascape) our strawberry season last for 6 months out of the year. Above you can see Tione supervising the strawberry picking and Suzie's Mom lending a helping hand in the harvest (we truly are a family farm!) Tuesday and Friday are our strawberry harvest days. Tuesday we harvest for the CSA and Friday for the Sat Market in Roseburg. In the peak of strawberry production harvesting can take two people up to four hours a day. Today as we picked my Mom asked me what my favorite crops were to harvest.. definitely not the strawberries only because it can be so back breaking. My top two favorite crops to harvest are melons (love to see them turn yellow and then slip right off the vine) Also I love harvesting eggplant.. moving along the row with a sharp pair or pruners cutting the beautiful fruits and piling them into the box gives me a feeling of satisfaction.

And finally the sweet corn! It could have gone another day before harvesting to really fill out the kernels but if we waited until next week it would not be good. This is our first planting of corn! We have three more plantings maturing so there will be more to come! The variety we grow is a bi-color sweet corn called Luscious. Corn is the best picked straight off the plant, prepared accordingly (alot of times for us in the field preparing simply means peeling back the husk and munching!)and eaten. Immediately after picking sweet corn the sugars in it begin turning to starch. It is especially good grilled on the bbq.

Unfortunately this year has not been a good one for our sweet peppers. You will get a few today but it is a sad harvest compared to last year when we were literally harvesting wheelbarrows full of the fruits. Many of the peppers that have formed have developed huge scabs that are caused by the sun (called sun scald).. it happens to tomatoes as well and you may have noticed a bit on your raspberries (the white areas). Early this week I went through and removed bucket loads of the peppers that were the worst marred from the sun scald. If you notice a small spot on any of your peppers simply cut that part away, the rest is still good!

Potluck Sunday September 18th from 2-6pm! Please RSVP

Harvest This Week Includes:

Sweet Corn


Red Torpedo Onion

Ambrosia Melon

Sweet Pepper

La Ratte Fingerling Potatoes (please wash well before enjoying)Don't worry about peeling these.. very thin skinned!



Raspberries (hopefully enough for all)


Cherry Tomato Mix

Heirloom Tomatoes

Summer Squash


How to Store it and Enjoy it!

La Ratte Fingerling Potatoes.. please excuse the mud on these. Their skins are so thin that we tried to rub dirt away and ended up rubbing off all the skin. They should be stored at room temp until ready to use. Only wash right before cooking!
This is the first time we have grown this certain variety of fingerling and we are very impressed with its high yields... will definitely be planting more of these next season. We will have two more varieties of fingerlings for you all to try as well.. French fingerling and rose finn. yummy!
More info about La Ratte fingerlings....
Long prized by French chefs as a top quality fingerling it is an absolute delight to cook with. Long uniform tubers, yellow flesh with firm waxy texture and a nice nutty flavor, holds together very well. Especially good for potato salad or as a boiled potato. Commands a high price both in the restaurant and fresh market trade