Red Gold New Potatoes
Zephyr Summer Squash
Russian Kale or Swiss Chard
Bibb & Butterhead Lettuce
Cornmeal-Fried Pork Chops with Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes – Heritage by Sean Brock
New Cabbage with Scallions – The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis
The first time we would cook and serve our newly grown garden cabbage was on a wheat-threshing day. We would cut up many heads and cook them in a large iron pot with liquid from the pork shoulder and a small amount of fat for seasoning. Cabbage cooked that way was a hearty fare, good sustenance for hardworking men. We children usually had the food that was left over from the midday meal that night for supper and thought it was just great. No other food in the world seemed to have quite the good flavor of what was left over from a wheat-threshing dinner.
1 2-pound head new cabbage
1/3 cup tender green scallion tops, cut into ¼” slices
2 cups boiling water, or preferably stock from boiled pork shoulder
3 Tbls freshly rendered fat from bacon or ham
salt and freshly ground pepper
To prepare the cabbage, trim away the outside leaves and cut the head into quarters. Cut away the core, leaving just enough to hold the leaves intact. Place the pieces of cabbage in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes or so to wash out any dust or bugs, particularly if it has come straight out of the garden. Remove, drain in a colander, then place in a 3-quart saucepan and add the scallion tops to give added flavor and color. Pour the boiling water or stock over and toss the cabbage with two spoons to make sure that each piece is scalded. Add the fat so that it coats the cabbage, then turn the burner low so that the cabbage boils briskly but not too rapidly for 25-30 minutes –any longer and the cabbage will become too soft and its taste will change. Drain. Toss the salt to taste and a good grating of freshly ground pepper to heighten the flavor. Serve hot.
Photo Courtesy of Alexis Courtney
Mustard Greens or Hakurei Turnips
Lettuce (Iceberg or Canary Tongue)
So busy, so busy, so busy; that is how June is for us. We are trying to take advantage of the mild May weather and get you all as much cool season vegetables as we can while they are healthy and abundant; before we really jump into Summer. This week’s share includes the first of our 2017 garlic crop. The heads are still sizing up in the field and will be harvested in a couple of weeks for curing; but for now we are taking them fresh. They are sweet and delicious, plus peeling the cloves is simple and easy, as the skins have not dried down yet. The garlic goes great with broccoli, mustards, turnips, and especially bok choy, so enjoy.
We are still playing catch up from the deluge of rain a few weeks ago; which halted our field prep and planning. Finally though this past week we were able to get a lot of planting done, seeding our 2nd succession of corn, okra, and more cilantro, dill, and cut greens. We transplanted the rest of our peppers and chiles, more squash, cucumbers, our last succession of summer lettuce and our 2nd and last succession of sauce tomatoes. We are still pretty far behind with planting, and can only do so much each week; but in the next few days we will get our melons and watermelon starts in the ground (better late than never) plus our 2nd succession of basil, more field tomatoes, beans, scallions, celery, celeriac, long beans, borlotto beans, and that should be it. Whew. Basically we are almost done with our summer plantings, in the next few weeks we will get more successions of squash, cucumbers, the winter squash, and the last tomatoes in the ground. The craziest thing about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is realizing that in 10 days we begin seeding starts for our fall crops and unlike most other farms in the area, we focus a lot of our volume on the fall and winter, so it is a huge push for us. So over the next few weeks we work fast and furious; hopefully getting a lot done and then begin harvesting summer crops while thinking about fall and winter crops. So busy, so busy, so busy….Enjoy the Share, Autumn and Brian
Broccoli with Tofu and Yuzu Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Carrot Slivers Stir-fried with Soy Sauce– Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
3 Tbls rapeseed or light sesame oil
2 small dried peppers, torn in half
4 cups julienned carrots
2 Tbls soy sauce
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the peppers and warm until fragrant. Turn the heat up to high and throw in the carrots. Toss several minutes over high heat until the carrots have softened but not wilted. Test for doneness by sampling a piece or two. Splash in the soy sauce and toss for a couple of seconds to draw the soy sauce flavor into the carrots. Ratio: vegetable: oil: soy sauce- 1cup: 2 tsp: 1 ½ tsp
Fried Zucchini Slice with Yogurt – The New Book of Middle Eastern Food pg.86 by Claudia Roden
For this Arab and Turkish way of serving zucchini, the vegetables may be deep fried, grilled, or broiled.
1 lb Zucchini, cut into slices lengthwise
Olive or vegetable oil
1 ½ cups plain whole-milk or thick strained greek-style Yogurt
Deep-fry the zucchini in hot oil till lightly browned, turning the slices over once, then drain on paper towels and sprinkle
lightly with salt. Alternatively, brush the slices with oil and grill or broil them. Serve hot or cold with yogurt spread over each slice.
Variations: The yogurt may be flavored with crushed garlic, mint, or dill.
Salad with Beets, Walnuts and Goat Cheese – from The Kitchen Garden
This is my favorite way to eat beets. The combination of the bitter greens, the sweet beets, the roasty nuts, the creamy cheese, and the sharp dressing is one of the most sublime flavor combinations ever contrived.
Leafy greens such as lettuce, arugula, escarole, frisee, spinach, or radicchio
1 bunch small beets
Small handful walnuts or pecans
4 oz fresh goat cheese
Shavings of sweet onion or shallot, scallion or chives
For the Dressing:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Wash and dry the greens and add to your favorite salad bowl. Trim and wash the beets and steam until tender. (Peeling is not necessary, but if desired, they slip right off after cooking.) Toast the walnuts either in the toaster oven or in a dry frying pan and set aside. Be careful not to scorch them. Decorate the salad with pats of the goat cheese, onions and slices of beet.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by whisking together the mustard, vinegars, and the salt and pepper. Drizzle in the oil as you continue whisking and the dressing should emulsify into creamy brown substance. Just before serving add the toasted nuts, and toss with the dressing.
Photos 1, 2, & 4 courtesy of Alexis Courtney
Flowering Yu Choy or Bok Choy
Lettuce (Bibb & Butterhead)
We hope everyone enjoys the Memorial Day holiday. This time last year we had a large group of friends out to the farm for a big harvest morning where we harvested most of our garlic scapes in one fail swoop, obviously this year our season is 7-10 days ahead of last year. We were lucky to have photographer Alexis Courtney out on the farm to document the group harvest and even more lucky to have access to the photos to share with you all. In our busy schedule it is difficult to find the time or ability to document what we do day in and out. A year later, we are entering into our fourth CSA week of 2017 and we recognize how wonderful this May has been for our Spring crops. There has been a lot of precipitation and temperate weather conditions, except for the occasional extreme storm. We are drastically understaffed and wrestling with what to prioritize in terms of management (weeding, de bugging, planting, etc.); but many crops continue to thrive regardless. This year we have increased our fertilization and added mineral amendments in the effort to balance our soil, which is definitely aiding in crop health; but the natural abundance of water and sun truly makes the biggest difference. This is our best yield to date with Spring broccoli, cabbage, daikon, lettuces, and bunching greens. The cool temperatures have held back our early Summer crops a bit; but if we can stay in the high 70’s and low 80’s they will quickly jump up. Our major struggle right now and with every May is getting all our Summer crops in early. The combination of inadequate labor and wet land; puts our planting on hold. Our earliest cucumbers, beans, and peppers will hence come on a little later than planned; but hopefully the abundance of Spring will hold out through June.
This week’s share is wonderful for making pickles also known as kimchi as well as for lettuce or cabbage wraps. The fried egg salad from the Pok Pok cookbook is a wonderful simple to make salad using lettuce, cilantro, carrot, and onion as its base. If you have taken our advice and frozen hot chiles from past years shares, this is the time to use them, create a basic dressing from fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar water, garlic (mash a scape), and hot chile then make a salad or wrap from your favorite protein, lettuce, and thinly sliced root vegetables. If the share seems overwhelming, both the cabbage and roots will store well in your fridge for up to a month. Remove greens from all the roots and store everything in plastic bags or containers in your crisper. We have included many more recipe suggestions below. Enjoy the Share……Autumn and Brian
Yam Khai Dao (Fried egg salad) – Pok Pok by Andy Ricker
You must find some thai chiles and celery leaf; but can substitute scallions for onions and garlic scapes for garlic clove. This recipe is soooo delicious, a must try!
Bitter Greens with Dashi – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
2 small bunches (1 1/3lb) Bitter Greens: mustard, turnip, or komatsuna
1/3 cup Dashi
2 Tbls Soy Sauce
2 Tbls freshly shaved katsuobushi or 3 Tbls hanakatsuo
Bring a large pot of hot water to a boil and place a large bowl of cold water on the kitchen sink. Hold the bunches of greens by their tops and lower the stems into the boiling water. Count to ten or twenty, then drop the greens into the pot and cook an additional 1-3 minutes. Scoop out the greens with a strainer and dump them immediately into the cold water. Turn on the tap and plunge your hands into the water, lifting the greens up directly into the stream of cold running tap water to cool them. Pull out a few connected strands and squeeze down the length of the greens to express the excess water. Ley the greens on the cutting board, cut off the end tips, and slice into 2” lengths.
Squeeze the greens one more time and arrange the clumps attractively on a medium-sized saucer with the cut sides face up. Season the dashi with soy sauce, pour over the greens, and sprinkle with shaved katsuobushi right before serving.
Variation: Also nice with some slivered citrus peel, such as yuzu or meyer lemon. Although in this case I would cut back, or omit the katsuobushi.
Simmered Chicken-and-Miso Meatballs – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
1 piece Konbu
6 Tbls brown rice miso
¼ small head napa cabbage Quartered lengthwise
6 fat scallions
1 lb coarse-ground or hand chopped chicken thigh
2 Tbls chopped scallions (whites and green tops)
2 Tbls brown rice miso
1 Tbls finely grated ginger
1 Tbls potato starch
Cooked rice, for serving
Fill a medium-sized, heavy pot with 2 quarts (2 liters) of cold water. Drop the konbu and scallions into the water and bring to a simmer. Measure the miso into a large soup ladle and dip the ladle slightly into the simmering water to wet the miso. Whisk enough hot water into the miso so that the miso will not leave lumps when fully submerged into the simmering konbu stock.
(prepare the meatballs while you are waiting for the konbu and scallion stock to simmer.) Duno the chicken meat into a large mixing bowl and add the scallions, miso, grated ginger, and potato starch. Mix well with your hands to distribute all the aromatics. Form 10 2-inch diameter meatballs by tossing the meat between your two palms. The shape does not need to be perfectly round but it is important for the outer surface to seal. The surface should be slick and glossy. Lay the lengthwise-cut napa quarter wedge on a cutting board, remove the core with a V cut, and slice crosswise into thick strips (about ¾”). Add to the simmering stock and bring back to a simmer.
As soon as the stock begins to simmer, drop as many meatballs as can comfortably cook in your pot (they should not be crowded when they rise to the surface) and cook at a lively simmer until the meatballs pop up, about six minutes or so. Check for doneness by gently pressing on a meatball, it should not have a lot of give, but should not be rock hard either. Spoon up two or three meatballs into a small bowl along with some of the napa cabbage and a little broth. Serve with a bowl of rice.
Photos courtesy of Alexis Courtney
Beets or Summer Squash
Mesclun Salad Mix
Lettuce (Red Leaf or Deer Tongue)
It is garlic scape time. We have this lovely delicacy for only three weeks each year and we look forward to them all Spring. A longish scape will be equivalent to 1-2 cloves of garlic. You can mash them, mince them, or use in bigger pieces for some garlic punch. If you are unfamiliar with these lovely things, they are a special delicacy that is available for about three weeks. The scape would eventually become the flower bud on each garlic plant. By pulling them out, more energy is put into growing the bulb, making for larger garlic in the end. The scape on its own is tender with a little crunch and has a superb garlic flavor without a ton of heat. They will store in a plastic bag for at least 3 weeks, but can also be pickled using the brine for a basic dilly bean recipe and they make amazing additions to any pickle plate. Other options for the scapes are making garlic butter (blend the scapes, mix with softened butter and a little salt, then using wax paper make the butter into a log roll, wrap in plastic wrap, freeze, and use as needed.) or garlic scape pesto (check out this website for recipes: http://www.saveur.com/article/-/Garlic-Scapes-Recipes). Have a great week and enjoy the share….Brian and Autumn
Garlic Scapes & Eggs
This recipe is terrific with garlic scapes, the flower bud that forms on certain types of garlic just before the bulb starts to bulge and divide into cloves.
1 cup chopped spring garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
salt & pepper
Saute the garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes or so, until soft and starting to brown. Add the cheese in an even layer and immediately crack the eggs on top. Fry the eggs over high, sprinkle with salt & pepper, then flip. The bottom should be a slightly charred mass of crispy, salty , garlicky goodness. Cook the yolks easy or hard as desired. Serves two for breakfast with toast and orange juice.
Mediterranean Rice-Stuffed Escarole
Escarole Salad with Bacon, Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
Provençal Zucchini and Swiss Chard Tart
Blood Orange, Beet, And Fennel Salad
Roasted Sausage with Broccoli and Fennel
All Photos Courtesy of Alexis Courtney
We have been enjoying the mild spring conditions over the past 10 days. It seems like a real true Spring around here, with a mix of sun and rain, everything bursting from the seams with green growth, and cool nights. In our five years here, Spring has often seemed somewhat flighty in May, appearing for a few days and then disappearing quickly. But this year, May has been absolutely temperate and our spring crops have been reveling in the respite before the onslaught of heat and humidity sets in with the Summer season. We are simultaneously excited to see our first Summer crops creeping in and with this upcoming week they will be happy, so happy, as they need warmer days to really grow. Summer Squash is always our first warm weather crop to arrive and we are happy to say that this coming week they will be in full effect. Now to get enough time to keep planting more Summer crops, that is always a challenge.
This weeks share is full of delicious options. We have recipes for many salads, as it is going to be a warm week and what a great way to highlight all these superb treats. Especially the peas, it is a good Spring when we are able to offer these to our shares. Please enjoy….Autumn and Brian
Heirloom Beet Carpaccio
***please season frisee generously with salt and lemon
Burrata With Snap Peas and Shiitakes
***Haas Mushrooms has delicious Shiitakes right now
All Photos Courtesy of Alexis Courtney
Butterhead & Oakleaf Lettuce
Flowering Brassicas or Mustard Mix
Here it begins, our 26 week 2017 CSA season. This is Tomten Farm’s 6th season and we are excited to be growing food for you all, your families, and anyone else you might be feeding. We are humbled by your constant support of our farm, Many of you have been with us for many years, since the beginning or close to it. We are humbled by your vcontinued support and enthusiasm for our food. For those of you just joining us, welcome. Please use these posts and the recipes included below to learn a bit more about us, what we do, how we do it, and various ways to use more produce. We like to share details about our trials and successes throughout each season so we can bridge the gap between growing food and eating it.
This Spring has gotten warm very early. Since February we have had these warm stints and our last frost was earlier than in past years. This means most crops have grown faster than usual, whether its starts in our greenhouse or crops out in the field. Many of our quick succession crops such as arugula, salad mix, radishes, and salad turnips, have come on substantially earlier than expected and so our timing for the past 6 weeks has been a bit off, meaning we are harvesting things a bit larger than intended and we have a ton and then all of a sudden not enough. It has also meant that both squash, tomatoes, and our early grain corn got planted 2 weeks earlier than usual. Each successive crop of nightshades (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes) has grown with breakneck speed in our greenhouse, so if our soil dries out quickly we will be planting 1500 plants in the next week. For you this means Summer crops may come to you a few weeks earlier than in past years; but with our weather you never know what is going to happen.
We are planning some big infrastructure projects on the farm this year. We are doing a complete overhaul of our irrigation system; which includes digging a new well. We invested in some new equipment this past Winter, making our field cultivation, bed preparation, and stale bedding more effective. These methods help us manage weed pressure and keep our crops from drowning whenever we get torrential rains; which happens more than we could ever expect. We are also looking at using more beneficial insects to combat some of our pest pressure. This past Fall we released lacewings and lady bugs which we bought from a beneficial insect company to combat aphids and we saw great results. We were surprised when early in the Spring we saw enormous hatchings of lady bugs out in the fields, so perhaps the population is naturally reproducing. Over this coming year, we hope to get more involved with using beneficial insects for various pest pressure; which from early estimates looks like it will be a very difficult pest year. These are just a few of the things we are working with right now. Farming is a constant evolution and learning process, no time to idle.
There are lots of tender greens in this week’s share. The lettuces are delicious and loving this weather. They are great paired with the spring radish or turnip with a simple dressing of minced green garlic, soy, ginger, rice vinegar, salt, splash of sesame oil, and olive oil. The kale and arugula are voluminous and can be used either cooked or raw. We are including the first of our flowering brassica or mustard greens; both great quickly wilted and paired with your favorite protein and rice. The green garlic came on very early this year, so this may be our last week bringing it to market. We are giving you all a substantial amount and it will keep for a while in a bag in your crisper. If the outer greens yellow, just peel a layer down. You can use both the white and green parts; just cook the green a bit more as it is not quite as tender, somewhat like using a leek. Please enjoy this once per season treat. Below we have included some recipe ideas to inspire delicious meals with this week’s share items. We are excited to begin this season with you all. Enjoy the share…..Autumn and Brian
All Photos courtesy of Alexis Courtney
Today is the Winter Solstice, a pretty influential day, especially for farmers. After today our day lengths will increase, so very slowly to start and then much more quickly come March and April, for the next six months. At which point they will decrease and so on and on like that every six months.
Most important for us Winter season farmers, is that the plants currently in the ground and just seeded will recognize this day length increase however small it is and begin to grow a bit faster than they have for the past month. Temperatures and direct sunlight are also key factors in the rate of plant growth; but the trigger of increased daylight has helped exponentially in our personal experience. It will not be till about a month from now that we see real results, but by February the rate of growth is significant.
Our laying hens work in a very similar way. During the next 4 weeks we will see an automatic ramping up of overall egg production; with little spikes happening 3-4 days following warmer weather. By February (typically our coldest month in Virginia) our laying hens are laying double the amount of eggs that they lay in November and December, although the weather is typically warmer then. We can only attest this to the growing daylight hours and our laying hens biological clock.
This cyclical change is a time of celebration for us as it falls in our Winter break and signals the potential of the coming season and a chance to get our customers more food during these barren Winter months. Below is a list what is available during this time of year. Join us at our market in January to stock up on fresh vegetables and delicious poultry. Happy New Year to all, Brian and Autumn
Roots: Carrots, Beets, Turnips, Parsnips, Daikon & Winter Radishes
Greens: Collards, Kale, Spinach, Persian Cress, Taglio Chard, Mesclun Mix, Arugula
Heads: Radicchio, Escarole, Frisee, Lettuce, Cabbage, Napa Cabbage, Fennel, Cauliflower
Various Winter Squash Varieties: Seminole Pumpkin, Jonathan Cushaw, Thai Kang Kob, Musquee de Provence, Sucrine du Berry
Fresh Stoneground Corn
Hickory King Cornmeal $5/lb
Cateto Polenta $6/lb
Whole: $6/lb (range from 4-7lb)
Delicious Red Ranger Chickens
Whole chickens: $4.50/lb
Boneless/Skinless Breast: $10.50/lb
Hearts or Livers: $6/lb
Gizzards, Feet, Necks, and Stock Making Packs: $3/lb