Week 4 CSA Newsletter~ July 5, 2013

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FARM HAPPENINGS:

Whew, was last week HOT!! Thankfully it has cooled off a bit and the farm has been beautiful and oh so pleasant. I guess the rain we had several weeks ago, combined with the intense heat of last week, makes for great growing conditions because the zucchini are increasing in size by the minute (of course I do know that I am talking about zucchini here!!) I have also seen tomatillo setting fruit, the tomatoes are coming on, and we are seeing the lettuce pop up rapidly!

One of my favorite things to witness at the farm, as I am planting starts, is the enormous amount of earthworms I encounter. They are plump and active-any fish would love them! Alas, they are not destined for a hook anytime soon, we need all of their hard work on the farm now. In the late summer when the heat is on, the soil at the farm can appear hard and dry but the lusciousness that lies beneath tells another story. The soil is rich and the plants are loving it. I have been please to be out at the farm in the early morning hours partnering with the worms and other microbes raising GREAT FOOD!

IN THIS WEEKS SHARE:

  • lettuce
  • radish
  • basil
  • onions
  • cauliflower
  • arugula

Bushels will also receive broccoli and/or chard! Pecks should see broccoli and chard soon 🙂

PLEASE NOTE: We take great care to make sure your shares look as good as they taste, however some crops can be very delicate so we harvest them and back them up right away. This means that not everything gets washed. Lettuce is always washed and spun for you, but the arugula and basil are not. If we were to wash those beforehand, they would come to you wilty. PLEASE take the time to look over your share and wash as needed.

ARUGULA~One of my favorites!!

This is arugula also known as rocket (which is a super cool name by the way!)

arugula

This is a flea beetle…

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This is a flea beetle on arugula…

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The flea beetle is a voracious little decimator! Apparently, they love all things brassica and arugula! This week the flea beetle has been busy chomping on our arugula, although there was enough left for us 🙂 The arugula you will receive in this weeks share does have  flea beetle damage but it is most edible and we think you will find it delicious despite having to share a bit with the beetles. More on Integrated Pest Management later…

Arugula is great in a salad or if you are like me, just out of the bag. I have made a great pesto using arugula, garlic scapes, pumpkin seeds and asiago cheese…oh my! Arugula has a slight spicy bite and is similar but softer than a mustard green.

Bunched arugula needs to have its tough stems removed and discarded before cleaning.OUR arugula is small and will not need the stems removed. Arugula is best cleaned in a large bowl or basin of cool water. Gently swish leaves in the water, letting any dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl. Lift clean leaves out of the water and transfer to a salad spinner or several layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Dry in the spinner or by rolling in the towels. Transfer leaves to a layer or two of paper towels (or clean, dry ones if you dried the leaves with towels), gently roll them up, and store in a loosely closed plastic bag in the fridge. (See this Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning & Storing Greens for pictures.) Arugula stored this way will last up to a week. Uncleaned leaves keep about 3 days. (http://localfoods.about.com/od/arugula/tp/aboutarugula.htm)

MUSHROOM SOBA NOODLE SOUP with ARUGULA

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Cultivated mushrooms – or, if you’re a serious and lucky locavore, even wild mushrooms you dried from an ample foraging session – and cabbage provide tons of flavor and texture along with protein from tofu and deep flavor from buckwheat soba noodles. Like most soups, it’s a flexible recipe – feel free to play around with the flavors and ingredients to make it your favorite. (http://localfoods.about.com/od/soups/r/mushroomsoba.htm)

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 cups broth (chicken, pork, vegetable, or dashi are all good choices)
  • 1 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb. oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb. wild arugula (regular arugula or spinach would also work just fine, although with less bite)
  • 1 lb. tofu (firm, soft, silken – whatever you like) cut into three or four big pieces
  • 1/2 lb. soba noodles
  • Some type of chile powder for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Heat the broth in a medium pot. Add the sake, mirin, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 10 minutes (you want to cook off the alcohol in the sake). Taste and adjust seasoning – adding more mirin for sweetness or more soy for salt, if you like.
  2. Add the cabbage, cover, and cook until the cabbage is completely wilted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and trim and cut the mushrooms into bite-size pieces if they are large.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the broth, cover, and cook until the mushrooms and cabbage are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the arugula, cover, and cook until the arugula leaves are wilted, about 3 minutes. Put large pieces of tofu on top of everything else, cover, and simmer until tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles in the boiling salted water until they’re tender to the bite. Drain the noodles and divide them between 4 large bowls.
  6. Top the noodles with the vegetables, one piece of tofu each, and plenty of broth. Garnish with chile powder, if you like.
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