Monthly Archives: June 2012

CSA: Week 13

I am so proud to be part of a farm that walks the walk. We are a family here at White Oak Pastures, and as CSA members we consider you part of that family too. So when I announce that the Meat CSA this week will include Beef, Lamb, Chicken and Duck! – it makes me very happy to say the least. You’re all too well-informed about the multi-species grass-based nature of our farm model. Nature doesn’t understand a monoculture, and neither do we. Diversity breeds strength, and that goes for integrating species of plants, livestock, the interplay between the two as well as their consequent nutrient cycles. Like I said, we are committed to “walking the walk”, and by supporting us each week, you help to make sustainable agriculture a reality here in Georgia.

On the farm-front, weeding is in high gear. Dry, Hot and Sunny means death to weeds. But while getting ahead of the weeds is nice, a bit of rain right now would be better. Hurricane Debbie is such a tease. As she stalls out over Florida’s Panhandle, we receive only gusts of dry wind. Thankfully, we utilize low pressure drip-tape for irrigating the crops. The pasture remains verdant after receiving the rains earlier in June. But even so, with 100 degree days upon us now, I might break out a rain dance this weekend. My farm mentor always told her employees to leave tools outside when weather was threatening and the crops were in need. But who wants a weather update when there’s so much food to discuss. Bring out the menu, along with a few surprises…

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Meat CSA: (call us on Mondays for any additional a la carte orders: 229-641-2081)

1-Grass-fed Beef patties (2x7oz)

1-Ground Lamb (5lb)

1-Chicken Breast (2lb)

Bonus Free Item: 1-Whole Duck

Pasture Raised Eggs: 12 beautiful assorted color eggs, form our own hens that range freely on certified organic pasture. The eggs are hand washed, candled and graded fresh for you each week.

(Call to order this week if not on the egg CSA : 229-641-2081)

 

Vegetables:

1 bunch Winterbor Kale or Flash Collards

Surprise FIGS! (They’re picked ripe and ready)

Mixed Sweet Peppers

Small sampler bag of hot peppers

Mixed Eggplant or Burgundy/Green Okra

2- 4 Summer Squash/Zucchini/Patty-pans

Bush Beans are Back! (Provider and Gold Rush)

1 Cucumber (mixed)

1 bunch Fennel

1 bunch Basil (Genovese, Purple Ruffles, Thai, or Cinnamon)

Tomatoes (Mixed heirloom and hybrid varieties)

1 pint Cherry Tomatoes

***Don’t forget, your ‘maters are bagged separately, so don’t leave them behind when you grab your box. Enjoy!

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Fennel: Foeniculum vulgaris

To fennel or not to fennel, that seems to be the question. Some of you love it, and seemingly more of you haven’t completely made up your mind yet. Since Fennel is once again in your box this week, I thought it proper to share some recipes and ideas on this flavorful, centuries-old veggie. I won’t bore you with stories of how Egyptians, Greeks and Romans prized Fennel for its medicinal qualities or how its a nutritionally significant source of Vitamin A, Calcium, Potassium and Iron – since invariably we all just want to figure out how to make it taste really good.

Here are some tips:

  • First things first, this year we are growing Bulb Fennel, also known as Florence Fennel. This is important because some recipes call for fennel seed, or leaf fennel.
  • Try substituting Fennel for celery in most any recipe.
  • Fennel can be baked, steamed, roasted or sautéed with excellent results (I prefer them cut into quarters, drizzled with Olive Oil and sprinkled with Chinese 5 Spice. Bake around 400 for 25-30 minutes – or just past tender and starting to crisp up on the edges. Great in roasted company of carrots, onions, turnips, sweet potatoes, garlic and/or beets)
  • A Simple saute’ is easy too: Fennel, Artichoke Hearts, Zucchini, tomatoes, Sweet peppers, thyme, and S&P…
  • Use raw or roasted fennel as dipping spears for hors d’ hivers, or an antipasto course with soft goat cheese
  • Fennel is terrific added to soups as well, pure’ed or chopped. To lock in the flavor, try saute’ing first.

Here’s a link to the Huffington Post’s top 14 Fennel recipes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/fennel-recipes_n_1152097.html

They look amazing. The picture above from one of their recipes; a Chutney made from Fennel, Apple and Bacon. I have other recipes, so if you’re still not tempted to dive in yet, just e-mail me and I’ll be happy to share.

Cheers,

Categories: CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Kitchen | Tags: | 5 Comments

CSA: Week 12

***Important Change: The new plastic bins are in and we will begin using them this week for Vegetable CSA only. It may be a couple more weeks before we begin using the plastic containers for meat.  However, the new method is the same for both veggie and meat – When you sign in to pick up your CSA box, you will take your index card out of the sign-in folder and place it in the sleeve provided on the plastic crate you’re picking-up. That’s it! That’s the only change. When you return your crate, leave the card in it and we will check off your name. So good-bye anonymity – If you forget to bring your CSA container back, we will know it’s you and we will track you down with bloodhounds.  Please, everyone return these plastic containers. They are expensive and the shipping cost getting them to the farm was astronomical. We only have enough to accommodate each member on a two-week exchange rotation, so everyone must do their part. If you misplace, damage, or decide you’d rather store holiday decorations in your container – there will be a $25 fee to replace your CSA box.*** We now return to your regularly scheduled Farm update…

Happy Belated Father’s Day to all the Dads out there. I’ll admit, early last week I was curious why we we’re being so generous with the protein in the meat CSA boxes – 2 Ribeyes, 2 NY Strips, and Ground Beef. That’s almost $50 worth of meat.  It wasn’t until after I posted the Blog entry that I realized Father’s Day weekend was upon us. That admission aside, I hope that your Father’s Day weekend was a terrific one and I hope it involved a grill, good friends, and smiles.

And there’s more goodness in store for this week. There’s more of our Pasture-Raised chicken in your box this week along with plenty more ammo for summertime cook-outs! We’ll get to the full menu in a moment, but first I’d like to take a second to introduce the newest addition to our team – Lori Moshman! Hailing from the Empire State, Lori just finished up her B.S. in Plant Science and Entomology from Cornell. This is her second week with us and I’m not sure who is learning more from whom. Needless to say, we’re delighted she’s here. She’ll be making her way to the Columbus market occasionally throughout the year so make sure you say hello. And speaking of saying hello, anyone in middle Georgia should come by the INternational City Market, Thursday from 3:00 – 6:00 to visit with me. The market staff are grilling out sliders with White Oak Pasture’s grass-fed Ground Beef that we’ve donated to the market. I’ll be right there next to the grill, handing out your Warner Robins CSA boxes in person this week.

On the farm-front, the soil finally dried up enough to get the tractor in and we hit the ground running. Another succession of summer squash, melons, cucumbers, more beans, and even soybeans went into the ground. But while Watermelons and Cantaloupes await us in the near future, you will see a couple new additions in the box this week. The first Eggplant, and Peppers, Bell peppers as well as Carmen Sweet and Bull’s Horn peppers. All of the peppers this week should be mild to sweet – but always use caution. I’ve sampled our hot peppers already this year and some of them are fierce. This may be a blessing or a disappointment depending on your tastes – either way, more pepper heat is in store, but you’re safe for now. Here’s what else to expect in your shares this week:

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Meat CSA: (call us on Mondays for any additional a la carte orders: 229-641-2081)

1-8 Way Cut Chicken (2lbs)

1-Chicken Leg Quarters (2lbs)

1-Grass-Fed Ground Beef (5lbs)

Pasture Raised Eggs: 12 beautiful assorted color eggs, form our own hens that range freely on certified organic pasture. The eggs are hand washed, candled and graded fresh for you each week.

(Call to order this week if not on the egg CSA : 229-641-2081)

Vegetables:

1 bunch Assorted Kale

1 bunch Collards

1 bunch Colorful Carrots

Mixed Sweet Peppers or Mixed Eggplant 

1-2 Cabbages or Cauliflower

1 bunch Colorful Beets

2- 5 Summer Squash/Zucchini

3-6 Cucumbers (mixed)

1 bunch Fennel

1 bunch Basil (Genovese, Purple Ruffles, Thai, or Cinnamon)

Yellow Sweet Onions

Tomatoes (Mixed heirloom and hybrid varieties)

1 pint Cherry Tomatoes

***Don’t forget, your ‘maters are bagged separately, so don’t leave them behind when you grab your box. Enjoy!

Categories: CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) | 1 Comment

CSA: Week 11

Eleven! One notch louder than last week.  I hope everyone is enjoying the bounty of early Summer – even though summer doesn’t start officially until next week.  Of course, all of this rain is really a blessing for our fields and pasture, as well as recharging aquifers that are often rundown this time of year by commodity crops. We’ve grateful for the rain but now we’re watchful of vegetative diseases that threaten when conditions stay constantly damp. It’s always something though, right?  In clay soils such as ours, once we’re wet we stay wet for a couple of days. In more sandy soils, it’s possible to get a tractor into a field the day after a rain sometimes. It rained two weeks ago, and I’m still waiting on a good time to get into the field. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Sunday.  So what does that have to do with the price of tea in China – or what goes in your Share box this week?  Well, while it might not affect your box this week, it may affect two months from now. This past winter, we calculated dates for seeding, planting, transplanting, and harvesting. We prioritize adherence to the planting schedule to ensure your boxes stay filled each week. The rains are delaying this planting schedule a bit but thankfully all of our marathon runners are looking strong. Certain veggies are with us for the long haul. We always rely on certain vegetables like okra, peppers and eggplant to give and give each week and they’re all looking quite capable for the job this year.

And what a week for Meat CSA members. I quickly looked over the retail price of what you’re receiving – it’s around $47. I’ve heard positive responses from folks after reading through the new “meat cooking tips” – we’re working on adding some more information on preparing stocks, and even dishes with bones and odd bits. If you have any specific ideas or questions you’d like to see answered within that area of the blog, please send them my way. And if you haven’t had a chance to voice your feedback in the meat Survey, please send that our way too. A mid-season survey will go out at Week 15 for veggies, eggs and meat as well. We want this CSA to be the very best, and we define success based on your satisfaction. Here’s what awaits you this week, and I hope it more than satisfies – I hope you’re absolutely delighted by it.

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Meat CSA: (call us on Mondays for any additional a la carte orders: 229-641-2081)

2 – Grass-Fed Boneless Rib Eye Steaks 14oz

2 – Grass-Fed New York Strip Steaks 12 oz

1 – Grass-Fed Ground Beef 1 lb

Pasture Raised Eggs: 12 beautiful assorted color eggs, form our own hens that range freely on certified organic pasture. The eggs are hand washed, candled and graded fresh for you each week.

(Call to order this week if not on the egg CSA : 229-641-2081)

 

Vegetables:

1 bunch Assorted Kale

1 bunch Collards or Swiss Chard

1 bunch Carrots

1-2 Cabbages (Enjoy while they last)

Colorful Beets or Brocoli / Cauliflower

Yellow/Green Wax Bush beans

2- 4 Summer Squash

2-4 Cucumbers (mixed)

1 bunch Surprise Herb (Dill, Parsley, or Sage)

5-8 Tomatoes (Mixed heirloom and hybrid varieties)

***Don’t forget, your maters are bagged separately, so don’t leave them behind when you grab your box. Enjoy!

  • Nigel: What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
  • Marty: Put it up to eleven!
  • Nigel:Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
                     — This is Spinal Tap
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Your Grassfed Kitchen – Some Helpful Hints

From the survey results, we learned that some Meat CSA members are relatively new to cooking Grassfed meats.  The following information should provide a good introduction for you. Keep your feedback coming – we want to make sure every culinary experience you have with our produce, meat, and eggs is a positive one.  

Overcooking??

Your biggest culprit when preparing grassfed beef is overcooking due to its lower fat content than conventional meat. Most undesirable grass fed meat experiences are due to improper cooking methods. This beef is best for rare to medium cooking. If you like well-done meat, then cook your grass fed beef at very low temperatures in a sauce or liquid to add moisture.

Thawing

For best results, thaw your meat in the refrigerator or if it is important to thaw more quickly, place the vacuum-sealed package in water. Thawing completely will eliminate the “weeping” of watery red liquid onto your plate. Aging steaks has also proven to make grass fed beef more tender. When you receive your steak, let them thaw, and place them in a zip lock bag in your refrigerator. Leave them there for about a week, and them cook them.

A little olive oil can go a long way

Coating the meat with olive oil will add to the flavor and moisture and also prevent sticking. Marinate your beef, especially the lean cuts like the NY Strip Steak and Sirloin Steak.

You can also coat your thawed steak with your favorite seasoned. Place the meat on a solid surface, cover with plastic and firmly pound your steak a few times to break down the connective tissue. As an added benefit your favorite rub will be pushed into your grass fed meat.

Sear … then roast

One of our favorite steak preparation methods, also used by many chefs, is to sear a steak quickly over a high heat on each side (two-four minutes per side) to seal in its natural juices and then place in a pre-heated 375-degree oven to finish the cooking process. Preheat the oven or pan or skillet you plan to cook in starting at a low temperature and slowly raising the temperature.

When roasting, sear the beef to lock in the juices and then place in a pre-heated oven. Use moisture from sauces to add to the tenderness when cooking your roast.

A Cutting Technique

When you cut the meat, cut across the grain, as this will improve texture because you are cutting the fibers in the meat into shorter segments.

Take small bites! Eating smaller bites will give every taste bud an equal opportunity to savor our delicious grass fed beef.

Categories: CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Kitchen | Tags: | Leave a comment

CSA: Week 10

Where I learned to farm up in Pennsylvania, we had a structure called a bank barn. Nestled into the side of a hill, or “bank”, the two-story barn was accessible by either the top or the bottom of the hill.  The first story on the lower side of the hill, was as cool as a wine cellar and a pleasure to work in throughout the year. As temperatures have increased over the past few weeks here, I’ve observed the necessity of such a structure. Although I have makeshifted storage for potatoes and onions to properly cure, I do not have the proper long-term storage area to keep them.  So, rather than give them out to you incrementally throughout the rest of the CSA term – This week the veggie CSA members will each be receiving a 10 lb bag of assorted color potatoes. You’ll want to keep them in a cool, dry place.

But don’t eat them all right away – Make sure you save enough to make Red White and Blue mashed potatoes for July 4th!

Also, for the Meat CSA members – thanks for your survey feedback! The next post will be a brief tutorial with hints for cooking up grass-fed meats. After the post, I’ll add it to the CSA manual so it’s always accessible at the Blog’s toolbar.

Quick news from around the farm. We had a little more rain this week and some beautiful mild temperatures last weekend. I hope everyone is finding time to enjoy the grill or prepare a picnic.  We all know that  have kept smiles on our faces throughout the week. Just in time before the rain, we were able to disc in the Sorghum-Sudangrass and buckwheat cover crops from the potato field, as well as the new 2 acre field we’ll plant with greens this Fall. I’m hoping for a good stand that will out compete the pigweed and bermudagrass you’ve heard me speak of  glowingly in the past.

The melons and eggplants and peppers will be making their appearances soon enough. But this week, the star of the show is the Tomato! Cherokee Purple, Pink Beauty, Market Wonder, Green Zebra, Mortgage Lifters, Pruden’s Purple, and Black Krim to name a few.  I tried to include some ready for eating right away and a couple that would benefit from a day or two to ripen up. Please refer back to the CSA manual which gives storage suggestions for most of our veggies. But more to the point, don’t put your tomatoes in your refrigerator. Go ahead and take them out of the bag and place them on a table, not touching each other. This is what it’s all about folks! You remember when you thought you would never see the end of salad mix and braising mix. We’re ten weeks in and the seasons are offering new bounty. We’re so proud and grateful to have you here to share it with. Many thanks. Be well, eat well!

 

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Meat CSA: (call us on Mondays for any additional a la carte orders: 229-641-2081)

1 Grass-fed Chuck Roast 3lbs

1 Grass-fed Cube Steak 1lb or Stir-Fry Beef

1 Chicken Breast 2-2.5lbs

Pasture Raised Eggs: 12 beautiful assorted color eggs, form our own hens that range freely on certified organic pasture. The eggs are hand washed, candled and graded fresh for you each week.

(Call to order this week if not on the egg CSA : 229-641-2081)

Vegetables:

1 head Lettuce (Surprise!!! And you thought it was all gone! We sure try to please.)

1 bunch Assorted Kale

1 bunch Collards or Swiss Chard

1 bunch Carrots or 1 lb Yellow/Green Wax Bush beans

1-3 Cabbages (Enjoy while they last)

Brocoli or Cauliflower

4-5 Summer Squash

2-3 Slicing Cucumbers

1 bunch Fennel

10lbs Potatoes (Red Pontiac, Colorado Rose, All Blue, Canela, Alby’s Gold, and German Butterball)

5-8 Tomatoes (Mixed heirloom and hybrid varieties)

***Don’t forget, your maters and taters are bagged separately, so don’t leave them behind when you grab your box. Enjoy!

Categories: CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) | 2 Comments

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