It has been a devastating week here at Fresh Veggies. I’m feeling a little more than discouraged.
The lettuce and tomato plants are covered in bugs, white flies, I believe. The lettuce was ready to harvest and I was totally grossed out by the bugs so WE DID NOT EAT IT. Bleck. No amount of washing was going to take that visual away from me. Gag.
I promptly busted out the insecticidal soap and sprayed like a maniac. As a matter of fact, I should probably go spray again to be sure. Bleck.
Then, there’s the matter of the sunflowers. Total loss. I blame the chipmunks. I blame the squirrels. I blame the bunnies. I blame them all. And, I am sad.To make matters worse, there is someone down the street from me who has no less than 100 sunflower plants happily growing in her front yard. I am beyond jealous.
And, I will just have vicariously enjoy her sunflowers because mine are dead.
The weather here is still all over the map but my mini-greenhouses are doing pretty well. I had to cover everything recently for a flash flood-type of thunderstorm that, in reality, only lasted a few minutes, but would have devastated my tender little plants if they had been exposed. The overnight temperatures haven’t been too bad. However, it does flirt with the freezing mark on a regular basis despite hitting near 90 the other day. I live in a crazy dry … and very wide ranging little climate zone.
So, every little success must be celebrated. Today, we celebrated GREENS. Mmmmmm. There were just enough greens for me and the Fresh Hubs to each have a big, green salad for lunch today. Lucky us.
This week’s haul included a couple of fun things and a little bit of sad news. First things first, what’s in the box? (All organic from Lattin Farms unless otherwise noted)
- Decorative Gourd
- Decorative Indian Corn
- Potatoes from Workman Farms
- Butternut Squash from Peri & Sons
- Onions From Peri & Sons
What do you do with a full sunflower head? Thankfully, the newsletter came with instructions. (I love that the farm doesn’t assume that I know this stuff. Instructions are appreciated!)
How to Make Your Own Sunflower Seeds
Cover the flower head with a paper bag and secure into place by tying around the bag with a string.
Hang the cut sunflower upside down by the stem in a warm but ventilated area for three weeks to two months while it cures. The seeds will fall out over time, caught in the paper bag.
Place the dried sunflower seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator for storage. Roast the sunflower seeds by spreading them in a flat layer over a cookie sheet and placing in a 300-degree oven for 20 minutes. Add salt or leave them plain based on your preference.
I love the decorative stuff because they can hang around until Thanksgiving and not be confused with my Halloween decorations.
Now, the sad news … the drought was pretty tough on my farm this year. And, well, drought conditions make it pretty tough on about everything around here. Here’s the official scoop from my CSA newsletter:
“It has been a challenging year for us – drought, heavy insect and disease pressure, crazy weather (including about three weeks without sunshine due to wildfires). Despite these difficulties the basket went out every week full of fresh produce. The variety, due to problems noted above, was not up to our usual standards – lots and lots of some things and less of others. Thanks for putting up with those variables.
We are changing the basket substantially in 2014 to ensure we can send a full basket of good produce every week, despite the challenges we anticipate due to continued drought. Luckily at Lattin Farms we have storage ponds on the farm and will be able to plant for the new seasons we are implementing for 2014.
We will have two seasons rather than three, with an Early Season Basket beginning the first week of June and running through the end of July. This season will begin with the usual greens, plus beets, turnips, carrots and in July the first
of the summer squashes, tomatoes and peppers. Late Season Basket will include August and September and will contain all the crops you got this year. This will allow us to concentrate on our major season as we face the challenges with weather and drought.
Our sign-up for 2014 will be up on the website within the next couple of weeks and we would appreciate early sign-ups with the $50 deposits as we may be required to limit basket numbers if the drought worsens.
We are asking some of our cooperating farmers if they want to pick up some of the spring and fall business that we have had. Look to our website later in the year for announcements on other subscription programs for spring and fall baskets. Thanks again for your loyal support. Rick Lattin”
Well, that’s just how it works here in the desert. No water, no life. You have to do the best you can with what you have so we’ll see how it works out next year for crops and Fresh Veggies in the Desert.
Let me know what you think … I was looking forward to the winter break but now it’s a little sad that I’m watching the CSA change at the same time.
This week’s goodies are definitely feeling more like the autumn harvest. And, I’m loving it!
What did we get? (All organic) acorn squash, mixed greens, early girl tomatoes, mixed peppers, green leaf lettuce, shallots, popcorn on the cob, thyme, radishes from River Bend Farms, onions from Peri & Sons, potatoes from Workman Farms and broccoli from Nevada Fresh Pak
Just look at the popcorn on the cob! The instructions said to let it continue to dry until Christmas. Last year, we just put it in a brown paper bag and microwaved it. Fun!
Radishes, have I told you lately that I love you? I do.
This is the first time I have seen broccoli from Nevada Fresh Pak. It looks good!
The newsletter/instruction sheet this week has some great recipe ideas so look forward to seeing some posts about roast beef and veggies, maybe some broccoli soup and definitely a stuffed baked acorn squash. I’m feeling all chef-like so I think I might even try my hand as some hot sauce. Spicy!
What are you plans for this week?
What’s in the basket today? All sorts of lovelies … and the whole pile for only $20!
Two heads of regular green leafy lettuce, a yam, some Roma tomatoes, butternut squash, four ears of yellow corn, cauliflower, two mangoes, honeydew melon, bananas and what the holy hell?? … FAVA BEANS?
I also ordered a case of apricots for an extra $20 and somehow failed to take a picture of them. (Weird, right???) They are perfect. I’ll share more about them later.
All of the produce looked great. Except, I have no idea what the FAVA to do with those beans. Some of the gals at the co-op were talking about how to prepare them and the consensus is that favas are like gigantic, hard lima beans. So, cook the heck out of them and then add them to something else. I have an idea to experiment with doing a hummus kind of thing but I might look for some other recipes first. Frankly, my only knowledge of fava beans is from “Silence of the Lambs” ala Hannibal Lecter, “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
We do have a chianti sitting around … or do you have a better idea? Anyone have a FAVA-orite recipe? 🙂
It’s slim pickens here in the high desert for CSA veggies so today’s recipe was purchased entirely at the regular grocery store. It was quite tasty. Don’t judge.
Last summer, I had a Vietnamese-style banh mi sandwich from a food truck. The light vinaigrette with the sweet crunch of veggies inside of a sourdough baguette and then, the after-kapow of a little bit of hot serrano peppers was enough bliss in one bite to create an immediate addiction. I was hooked. Yum.
Today, I was craving some banh mi, dammit. And, here’s what I came up with …
My not-so-original recipe ideas came from searching the internet, HERE. Being a total non-conformist, I made one up and it came out pretty darn good. Especially, when you consider that I didn’t have a sourdough baguette in the house and got a little crafty with the lettuce wrap idea. (Watch out, P.F. Chang’s, I’m gunning for ya!)
Now, don’t kid yourself. Cutting up a bunch of veggies into cute little pieces is a pain in the ass. I have a kitchen mandolin but I am slightly afraid of it. I will thin slice a few things on it but the whole ‘julienne’ idea seemed pretty dangerous to me today. This kind of cutting requires more patience that I generally have. I did get lazy toward the end and just chopped up the cucumbers. Shoot me.
Basically, I marinated the veggies in some ginger-soy salad dressing with a little bit of extra rice wine vinegar and then added some grilled chicken. We had some baby romaine lettuce heads and just peeled leaves off to wrap up the mixture. Lettuce burritos!
Dinner must have smelled good because we were visited by a Cooper’s Hawk. He literally flew into our front window and freaked the F@#K out of us. Excuse the crappy picture quality … I wasn’t prepared. This was an impressive dinner guest.
Based on the stare he is giving us, I think we should just give him our plates. YIPES!
Can you believe we started this adventure in April and the 2012 season is already done? Time flies when you are having fun!
The last veggie box is here and I am ready for Thanksgiving. And, I am thankful for this year’s CSA. I had no idea what it would be like and I have enjoyed every bit. I am especially thankful for the awesome little farm that makes this happen, Lattin Farms. They rule! I added some links below to the other farms on the veggie list. Please take the time to give them a click. Fallon and Yerington, Nevada, don’t look like much on the map but the farms out there seriously know what they are doing.
So, what’s in the veggie box?
- Butternut Squash
- Speckled Hound Squash
- Bull’s Blood Beet Greens
- Tango Lettuce
- Gourmet Lettuce
- Popcorn on the Cob
- Ornamental Gourds
- Sunchokes from Mewaldt Organics
- Onions from Peri & Sons
- Potatoes from Carroll Farms
HOLY, ORVILLE REDENBACHER! We have real popcorn! This going to be so much fun for movie night! (I have tried 10,000 ways to rotate this photo and failed. Then, I decided it was just as cute sideways. Oh, well. We are silly that way.)
And, what would the veggie box be without a mystery vegetable?? This final box did not disappoint. At first, I thought these mysterous tubers were part of a seriously generous bag of fresh ginger. But, whoa, that would be A LOT of ginger! I was quickly informed that these are sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes. I will be Googling ideas for what to do with them. Any suggestions?
I don’t always point it out on the veggie list but almost everything is completely organic, especially the Lattin Farms produce. That’s a big deal. The official certification process to call your food “organic” is pretty complicated and Lattin Farms is the real thing. Here’s some more info and a link if you would like to check it out:
“What is organic food? Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”
Consumer Brochure, USDA National Organic Program, http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Consumers/brochure.html
The best resource for Nevada grown produce and everything related is: http://nevadagrown.com/ They have some links on the site for other states but this has quickly become my go-to spot for local goodies. I hope you can find one like it for where you live.
After all of the Thanksgiving festivities, I will post the season highlights/lowlights with cost information for the CSA. I have enjoyed this experience and it has made me interested in being a better localvore. I think there are some good resources in the Reno area to make this happen so … stay tuned. I’ll still be posting my adventures throughout the winter. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
The winter veggies are definitely here. It even snowed a little bit last week! And, of course, the high today is supposed to be 70 so you never can tell what you are going to get weatherwise. I’m just glad we don’t have hurricanes and, even when it does snow or rain, we usually have big blue skies the next day.
So, what veggies did I get? First, I was super happy to see one of these pretty hiratake mushrooms from Sierra’s Edible’s:
Then, there’s the rest of the goods:
Starting from the top left there is a stripetti spaghetti squash — wha?whoo? According the newsletter/instructions, that is a cross between a delicata and a spaghetti squash. Still has the spaghetti texture with the striped outer skin. Who knew?
Then, we have the mushroom, a bag of potatoes, mixed lettuce greens, carrots, yellow onions, a big butternut squash, purple basil (can you smell it?) and a nice bag of shallots. And, yup — that’s all certified organic stuff. For reals.
Does anyone know how long squash will keep? I have a couple still sitting around the kitchen from last week. I need to figure something spectacular to do with them for this weekend. Ideas?
What did we get this week?
Organic Summer Squash, Organic Peppers, Organic Tango Lettuce, Organic Acorn Squash, Organic Butternut Squash, Organic Cherry Tomatoes, Organic Tomatoes, Fennel Bulb from Salisha’s Delicious, Purslane from Debbie Coblentz, Apples from Friendly Fernley Franklin Farms and Green Beans from River Bend Turf Farms.
I am pretty excited about that fennel bulb. It smells amazing. And, even my husband was excited to see lettuce again. It will not go to waste.
The fruit share from Kelley’s Canyon Orchard is a FULL box of apples, pears and I think I saw a peach or two in there. The box is super heavy. I am going to have my work cut out for me this week finding ways to preserve these apples. I took a full basket of apples to my office earlier this week trying to get people to eat them before they go bad. It’s definitely APPLE SEASON!
Anyone want some apples? OH! Maybe, I’ll make something yummy to send to pre-school with my little guy and he can share with the 60 other kids. Hmmm … any suggestions?