Meet this week’s vegetables: (Newberg choices may differ slightly)
- Peas OR blueberries — Oh, what a choice! Rusty and I have been enjoying snacking on both lately.
- Salad turnips — These tender white turnips are best enjoyed raw. They’re called “salad” turnips, because they are great sliced onto a salad! They have a fresh, sweet flavor completely unrelated to the winter storage turnips most people are familiar with.
- Lettuce — The classic base for a salad!
- Mizuna — Dress your salad up with some flavorful Mizuna, a mild Asian green suitable for fresh eating or stir-frying.
- Spinach — We have been loving the abundance of spinach in our house. We eat spinach salads, cooked spinach for breakfast, spinach soup, etc.
- Chard OR kale — We know that many of you loved cooked greens as much as we do (you’d be amazed at how many bunches of greens we eat in a week), so it’s our goal to always have some available at pick-up, even through the summer months (when in past years we have let these items go away for a period). This week the options are chard and kale.
- Summer squash & zucchini — I’ve included some squash/zucchini serving ideas in the text of this newsletter.
- Green onions OR sweet onions
This week, Casey and I had a major revelation. We were butchering our first farm-slaughtered animals — two ewes that needed to be culled from our sheep flock. Casey and Kimmie were cutting (under Kimmie’s guidance and with liberal use of the beautiful book Whole Beast Butchery), and I was wrapping the meat.
Casey and I have been eating locally grown, good quality meat for years, but this was the first time, we’d ever handled meat from a large animal slaughtered on our farm — and it was our first time handling red meat that we know for sure has never been frozen, or even wetted in the cleaning and butchering process.
The experience was, as I said, a revelation. The meat felt so … different — completely without the “ick factor” that I (a formerly squeamish picky eater) associate with handling raw meat. Since it was mutton, there was an oily lanolin feel to the meat, but overall the best way to describe the sensation was that the meat felt vibrant under my fingers as I handled and wrapped it. I could tell, through my sense of touch, that this was nourishing sustenance, given to us by an animal cared for on our farm and whose life was ended gently and with respect.
Most of the meat went into our freezer, to be eaten as we need it, but we enjoyed some of it this weekend while it was still fresh. Fresh (never frozen), quality meat is such a rare eating experience anymore, and we became excited all over again about the diversification of our farm. We have grown so used to the idea that truly fresh vegetables, grown with love and care, taste better — but these new farm products (meat, milk, fruit, dry beans, eggs) are proving that this phenomenon of delicious vibrancy applies beyond produce. How exciting! And inspiring!
So far, we are still in the warming up stage of producing these products — which is why we have had the pleasure of eating them and you have only seen a few sample token items in your share (such as the berries and cherries). Last week I wrote about some of our challenges this year, and I can without a doubt attribute those challenges to the intense learning curve of adding more enterprises to our farm.
But I can also attribute to these new enterprises a new level of inspiration on the farm and in our kitchen! Although, simply the turning of the seasons has been a big inspiration to my cooking. I think that most of us seasonal eaters feel a little burn out by the end of the seemingly long winter/early spring season (roots, onions, greens — oh my!). Having tender greens and fruiting vegetables in our diet again has reignited my interest in trying new meal combinations for my family — and having more kinds of ingredients to mix with those new veggies is a huge bonus!
This week I experimented with some new preparations as well as brought back some old favorites. For lunch one day, we started with a very simple pureed spinach and zucchini soup (I had recently read that purees are a good way to introduce young children to new flavors) and then enjoyed beet sandwiches (Rusty practically ate his weight in beets!). Beet sandwiches are as follows: take some good quality bread (toasted if not perfectly fresh), butter it, add some thoroughly cooked beet greens (or chard), slices of white cheddar cheese, and then big thick slices of steamed beets. Top with sea salt, and eat as an open-face sandwich. So yummy!
We’ve also been enjoying new summer squash cooking methods. Our ‘go to’ favorite is to roast the squash on a pan with onions until the squash is cooked through and starting to brown. But last week I experimented with making squash fritters: grate the squash and zucchini, combine with a beaten egg, some flour (I used oat flour) and a little salt — then form into thin patties and pan fry. We found that the darker ones tasted better (and were more cooked through).
It’s especially fun to experiment with recipes, such as the squash fritters, that can be made entirely from farm products. The zucchini and egg were already from our farm, but we should have our own oat flour by the end of the season too. We have about twenty-five acres of oats that we plan to combine this year, for use as animal and people food. We have really come to love oats recently, especially the freshly ground flour, which makes amazingly good cakes (Rusty’s favorite!).
The oats (and the animals we feed from the oats) are part of our grand plan for a new farm adventure — the “Full Diet” CSA! This is definitely a new direction for our farm, and as I mentioned in previous newsletters, we have scheduled two CSA member meetings to discuss the upcoming changes and share the exciting plans. Our first meeting is this week in McMinnville: Thursday, July 19 at 6 pm in the First Baptist Church Social Hall. The next meeting is toward the end of the month in Newberg: Sunday, July 29 at 3 pm at Impact Performance Gym.
We hope you can join us at one of these meetings to learn more about how you too can enjoy the growing diversity of our farmscape. If you can’t make it to either meeting, no worries — we will post notes from the presentation on our website and can help explain things in person at pick-up.
In the meantime, I hope that you too are feeling inspired by new arrivals in your CSA shares. Summer has clearly arrived now that it’s July (hoorah!), and in between yummy meals of lamb-burgers and beet sandwiches, we are also making swimming trips to the river again. What fun!
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
… and the rest of the farm crew
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Next week’s veggies (probably!):
New potatoes! • Carrots • Peas • Fava beans • Lettuce • Spinach • Chard/kale • Summer squash • Green onions