Spaghetti Squash rolls us closer to fall

With Labor Day come and gone, it may be the unofficial end of summer, but the weather is telling us we still have three weeks until the equinox. This late season heat is keeping the tomatoes and sweet peppers pouring in, and our irrigation manager Jared on his toes. We thought we’d give you a break, however, from all the summer squash of the last few months and roll out the spaghetti squash for a little taste of fall.

9/2/2014, share #14

9/2/2014, share #14

The easiest way I’ve found to roast these is whole (because who hasn’t struggled in alarm with a big knife and a twirling squash??).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. With a small sharp knife, prick the squash all over. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands.

Saute in some olive oil a bunch of kale, a few torpedo onions and a couple cloves of garlic and toss it with the spaghetti squash “noodles”. Delicious!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

 

Posted in Weekly Share

Salad in a Jar

The mason jar salad is portable, healthy, and my personal favorite- artistic. The idea has been popping up all over the web and I even spotted a mason jar salad cookbook at the bookstore in town. (Seriously- why didn’t I think of this first?) But there’s a reason people are excited about a meal in a jar. The appeal is truly the make-ahead convenience and as an added bonus for kids (ok, adults too), the fun factor. Put together these jars the night before, customize them slightly for different family members, then grab and go. Head off to school or work with a healthy farm fresh lunch!

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To avoid soggy salad dressing soaked greens, the trick is in the layering. Once you have a handle on the basic idea you can get as creative as you want. I made a pint size for my daughter and a quart size for me. But if you were pairing this salad with soup or a sandwhich, or looking for a light lunch, a pint size would be plenty big enough for an adult.

The first layer is the dressing. (Though I did skip this for my daughter’s first back to school lunch- she’s not a dressing kid, but yours might be.) Use a little less than 2 tablespoons for the pint, and between 3-4 tablespoons for the quart. Mine was a simple balsamic, olive oil and honey blend. Check out Chef Kristin’s previous recipe post for some other salad dressing ideas.

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The next layer is the firmer vegetables- these will act as the barrier between the dressing and the rest of the salad. Put in something you don’t mind absorbing the dressing a bit- I did chunks of tomatoes, then diced cucumbers, followed by diced sweet peppers, and for my jar, the softer veggie came last, roasted eggplant. (The hardest part of this whole process is not making your layers too thick, and really packing them in there. I ended up with enough chopped veggies to make quite a few salads- not a bad thing- just make up some extra jars- they will keep in your fridge for a number of days.)

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Next comes the grain/nut layer- I used chickpeas (organic- drained and rinsed from the can) and noodles. This layer could also be followed by a protein if you so desire- chunks of grilled chicken, hard boiled egg, or tofu. Check the fridge for those leftovers! For my daughter’s jar, I topped the noodles with diced cheddar cheese and called it done.

The final layer would be your greens- kale, spinach, raab, arugula- whatever is fresh and seasonal! My jar got a layer of packed broccoli raab. 

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The morning of school I just grabbed my daughter’s jar out of the fridge, and sat it in a small plastic bowl in her lunchbox with a fork and an icepack. (It’s much easier to eat these salads out of a bowl- and the pouring in part really mixes all the layers up. Plus what 9-year old doesn’t want to feel part of the process?!). It was a hit! She came home with an empty jar and asked for another tomorrow. Score!

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I have mason jar salad ideas spinning through my head- I’m imagining a fresh tomato salsa, followed by rice and beans, then arugula or kale. Or what about a sweet yogurt dressing, a fresh fruit layer, quinoa then spinach? So many options! Experiment and share your ideas on our facebook page. Personally, I’m just thrilled to have a source of inspiration for those back-to-school lunches!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

 

Posted in Recipes

Back-to-school!

School starts next week, but we are only in week #13 of 24 of the CSA. As schedules change and lives get busier, we start to see more missed pick-ups. Don’t forget to make time to come get your veggies! There are lots of great lunch box snacks to be had- sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers all go fantastic with hummus or your dip of choice. Kale, tomatoes and summer squash are delicious sauteed with pasta and tossed with cheese.  Chef Kristin will be focusing on back-to-school themed demos over the next two weeks, so stop by her tasting booth during CSA pick-ups for some great ideas.

8/26/14, share #13

8/26/14, share #13

Out on the farm the winter squash harvest is ongoing- this week we filled bin after bin of delicata squash. We are continuously seeding cover crops in fields as the vegetable harvests are finished, and the crew moves forward with the work of weeding and thinning fall roots like radishes, beets and carrots. Out of curiousity we dug up a sweet potato plant, and holy cow! The weeding and steady watering has resulted in a beautiful crop. As soon as we find a place to store them all, the harvest of the sweet potatoes will be next up on the to-do list!

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If you are here late doing your pick-your-own crops look up for a 10-inch long grayish black bird with a conspicuous white strip on its wings. Thanks to the keen eyes of a CSA member, we’ve noticed a number of common nighthawks circling the fields at dusk, gobbling up flying insects. Add them to our list of natural pest controls! On our evening walks around the farm we also captured this sunset shot of the fall cabbages, a preview of what’s to come.

cabb1

 Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Posted in Weekly Share

Rice & Beans

Rice & Beans PeppersFrom Cuban black beans with yellow rice to Indian ramjah (kidney beans) with basmati rice, rice and beans is a classic, versatile dish that’s found throughout most cultures around the globe. Rice and beans are hearty, inexpensive, and super adaptable, making them a worthwhile addition to anyone’s kitchen repertoire. The key to making this not only a belly-filling meal, but also a nourishing and nutritious one is using whole grains and loading up on veggies. The recipe below uses heart-healthy brown rice, and loads of Blooming Glen Farm-fresh veggies that are packed with vitamins and minerals. The black beans bring plant-based protein, making this a nice rounded and complete meal.

As with many recipes on this blog, the one below is very much open for alterations, depending on your particular tastes, what you have available in your pantry, and what veggies you may need to use up from your share.  I’ve added lots of peppers to this version, since they’re abundant right now. The poblano peppers add a tiny bit of heat, while the frying peppers bring in some sweetness.  Greens are always a good thing to add to your meals; using them here brings in a satisfying chewiness, perfectly complimented by the soft peppers and beans.  Corn would be a nice addition and so would zucchini — feel free to use up whatever vegetables you have on hand!  You can substitute pinto or other beans in place of the black beans. You can even skip the rice and serve the beans over baked or smashed potatoes (leave skins on) or another whole grain. Experiment and have fun :)

Recipe note: I make rice and beans by first getting the rice going in a rice cooker, then moving on to the prep and cooking of the beans.  In most cases, by the time the beans are done, so is the rice.

Rice & Beans

Rice & Beans

Ingredients
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (~1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped (~1 cup)
4 sweet peppers, seeded and chopped (~1 cup)
1+ jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
1+ cup kale, chopped fine
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (~2 cups)
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1+ cup broth (No-Chicken Broth is good here)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3 cups hot cooked brown rice*
Fresh cilantro (optional)
* I prepare rice for this recipe with broth, rather than water.

Method
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for a minute or two, until they begin to soften. Add garlic and spices, cook for one minute more. Add peppers. greens, and tomatoes, stir well, and cook until veggies are tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash 1/2-cup of the beans.

Add mashed beans, whole beans, broth, and maple syrup to the skillet. Turn up heat and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer until reduced to desired thick consistency, about 5-10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice, topped with cilantro.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

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A mid-August feast

Get ready to eat! There is always one share each season that is truly epic. This might be that one. The summer bounty is at its peak, and you may just need a wheelbarrow to get this share home…or at the very least a strong back.

8/19/14, share #12

With three pounds of plum tomatoes in the share, small batch sauce may be on the menu, or oven-roasted tomatoes. My favorite way to enjoy the plums is to halve them, toss in olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, and roast on a cookie tray in the oven. Roast them at a low temp, around 225 degrees. I put them in the oven in teh morning and let them go all day. These are delicious on pizza or in pasta. The whole tray can be put into the freezer, than the frozen tomatoes popped into freezer bags. They make for a delightful winter treat. If you’re feeling ambitious, 25 pound bulk boxes of the plum tomatoes can still be purchased.

This week was the last harvest of melons- both the cantaloupe and watermelon fields were picked, mowed, tilled and readied for cover crop seed to be planted. Hard to believe this is week #12, the midway point for the CSA distribution!

Justin weeds the brussel sprouts

Keeping an eye toward fall, we’ve been digging around in the sweet potatoes and they are sizing up beautifully. Coming out of the ground this week is the first of the celery root (aka celeriac). The fall cauliflower and broccoli is also looking awesome as we keep the weeds pulled and the plants watered.

Fall cauliflower field

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Additional photos by Tom Murtha.

Posted in On The Farm

Marinated Tomato Herb Salad

A handful of fresh herbs can transform any dish, but what better pairing than with the juicy flavorful tomatoes coming from the farm right now. I like to overindulge in these luscious fruits at the height of the season, so I won’t miss them in the winter months. This simple recipe highlights the flavors of summer.

Marinated Tomato Herb Salad

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 heirloom tomatoes, diced fine
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine
2 baby red torpedo onions, diced
4 sweet peppers, diced

Handful of herbs (parsley, tarragon, oregano, agretti), kept whole, stems removed
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
4 Tbs evtra virgin olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Toss and serve. Enjoy!

Post and recipes written by Kristin Moyer, Farm Chef Educator at Blooming Glen Farm and passionate farm-fresh food advocate. Kristin cooks at The Perk in Perkasie, does private catering and serves on the Pennridge Wellness Committee, working to create edible school yards in Pennridge School District. Together with Blooming Glen Farm she hopes to someday start a Community Supported Kitchen at the farm.

Photos and editing by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen Farm owner.

Posted in Recipes

Cool nights affect fruiting

It’s been an unusual summer here at the farm. The cool nighttime temperatures have affected some of the crops that are typically more prolific. The sweet peppers are ripening slowly- we see the first of the harvest this week. We are actually noticing blossom drop because of the broad temperature difference between night and day. The heirloom tomatoes continue to be profuse however, coming from both the field and the high tunnels- 7 pounds of tomatoes in this week’s share, not including the cherry’s. I’ll be posting Chef Kristin’s recipe featuring tomatoes, so check it out.

8/12/14, share #11

Out in the field the focus is on fall. The harvest of the winter squash has begun. Kabocha and blue hubbard were first, next will be butternut and delicata. Look for spaghetti squash in next week’s share.

Multiple varieties of kabocha winter squash

Most of the crop of storage onions have been harvested and are laid out in the now shade cloth covered greenhouse to dry down and cure.

The winter radishes, varieties like green meat, watermelon and black radish, are being thinned and cultivated; carrots and beets are not far behind.

Tractor cultivation of the winter radishes.

Even though it is still August, as farmers we are aware of the shortening day length (which means growth slows down) as we head into fall and winter. We are busy looking ahead, tending to the cabbage, broccoli and romanesco, as well as kale, chard, broccoli raab and arugula. Enjoy the remainder of the summer, and get excited for the bounty of fall!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Posted in On The Farm

Eggplant & Summer Veggie White Bean Pasta

Over the years, I’ve discovered that one of the benefits of belonging to a CSA was an unexpected one: It puts me out of my comfort zone. When shopping at the super market for produce, I — like most of us, I’m sure — pretty much stuck to the same vegetables and fruit that I always ate. The standard peppers, carrots, broccoli, and spinach were tasty, and I honestly didn’t even realize there was so much I was missing out on until my first season at Blooming Glen.  A part of being out of my comfort zone was not only discovering new foods (French breakfast radishes, who knew we were destined to be together forever?), but also being faced with foods that I traditionally didn’t like.

At the top of this list was eggplant: A vegetable that I tried to prepare at home once or twice, but in the end could only ever eat if it was restaurant prepared, breaded and fried and smothered in marinara sauce, á la Eggplant Parm.  At first, I simply gave away the eggplant from our share to family or neighbors — good riddance!  But, after seeing the array of different eggplant at the farm, noticing just how pretty they are, and knowing how important and beneficial variety in one’s diet is… I decided to challenge myself to find a way to make a relationship with me and eggplant work :)

In the end, after a little experimentation, with some failures and some successes, it turns out that grilling has been the easiest and tastiest way for me to incorporate this pretty purple veggie into meals. Once grilled, you can use the slices for sandwiches and wraps, chop them up to use with grain and vegetable sides, add them to omelets or salads — the possibilities are endless. I grill them as soon as I get them home, then store them in the fridge for easy use. The recipe below calls for using grilled eggplant; here’s a down-and-dirty grilling method:

1) Lightly spray a grill pan over medium-high heat. 2) Cut eggplant into thin disks, place on a grill pan, spray lightly with cooking oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. 3) Cook until grill marks appear, about 3-4 minutes, toss, then cook for another couple minutes. The eggplant will significantly reduce as the moisture is cooked out.

Nutritionally speaking, eggplant is low in sodium and calories, and high in fiber. However, all of its disease-fighting and health-building phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals reside in it’s skin. Most notably, eggplant skin contains nasunin, a phytonutrient found to protect the fats in brain cell membranes, and chlorogenic acid, which has been found to benefit anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) and antiviral activities. So, when preparing your eggplant, be sure to keep the skin on!  For more eggplant ideas and a recipe for Baba Ganoush, click here.

Eggplant & Summer Veggie White Bean Pasta


Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat pasta (bow-tie pictures)
2 eggplant, grilled, cut into bite-size pieces
1+ bunch broccoli rabe, large/thick stems removed*
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 torpedo onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (quarter larger ones)
Kernels from 1 ear of corn
3/4 cup white beans
Crushed red pepper
Salt
Pepper
Nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese)
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

* Other hearty greens can be substituted, including kale, collards, or Swiss chard. If using more delicate greens, such as arugula, spinach, or dandelion greens, skip the blanching process below.

Method
Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Blanch raab for ~60 seconds, drain, reserving water to cook pasta. Set raab aside and cook pasta.

Heat a teaspoon of grapeseed oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, sauté for a minute. Add onion, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of sea salt, sauté for a few minutes, until onions turn translucent and soft. Add tomatoes, stir well, and allow to cook down a bit, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop raab, then stir into the pan, with corn kernels and pinch of sea salt, cook for a couple minutes. Add eggplant and beans, stir well to combine and let cook for a 5-6 minutes, until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

To cooked pasta, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, stirring to coat well. Add veggies to pasta, stirring gently to combine everything. Serve topped with nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese. A light sprinkle of high quality balsamic vinegar is really yummy, too :)

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Posted in Recipes Tagged , , , , ,

Ode to Tomatoes

Ode to Tomatoes
by Pablo Neruda

The street
filled with tomatoes
midday,
summer,
light is
halved
like
a
tomato,
its juice
runs
through the streets.
In December,
unabated,
the tomato
invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
sinks
into living flesh,
red
viscera,
a cool
sun,
profound,
inexhaustible,
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we
pour
oil,
essential
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper
adds
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
parsley
hoists
its flag,
potatoes
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
knocks
at the door,
it’s time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth,
recurrent
and fertile
star,
displays
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.

8/5/14, share #10

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Posted in Weekly Share

Summer crops and garlic harvest

This week’s harvest screams summer… watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers and yes, the tomatoes are finally here!

7/29/14, share #9

Out on the farm, the acre of garlic is being harvested. We started last week, and will be finished today. Keep an eye on the Zone 7 website for their final video in their garlic series, filmed at our farm.

This is one of Tom and my favorite crops to grow. Planted last October, the garlic has a long journey to harvest.

After it is pulled from the field, (a tractor bar loosens under the garlic beds and then we pull each one by hand) it is then bundled and strung from the rafters in the Rosenberger’s beautiful barn.

The next big task on the farm is to harvest all the storage onions. You’ve been enjoying the sweet white onions pulled fresh from the ground. The storage onions are pulled and dried on racks to be used well into the winter.

Farming is pretty hard work, that’s no doubt. This week was a particularly fun share to harvest (heavy, but fun!)- seeing the mountains of beautiful corn and melons was awesome. However, one of the more rewarding parts of our job is to see the fruits of our labor end up in appreciative hands, whether leaving in bags at the farm market stands, or headng home in your baskets from the farm. I love seeing all your smiling faces each week enjoying the CSA shares, especially the pick-your-own!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Posted in On The Farm