November 6, 2018

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Chard, Napa Cabbage, Fennel, Potatoes, Parsley, Carrots and Leeks

What’s in this Week’s FRUIT BOX: Apples, Guavas, Raisins, and Pomegranates

 

 

Winter Quarter

Payment is due November 13th

The new quarter begins November 20 and ends February 19

No deliveries December 25, 29, January 1, and 5

HOLIDAY SPECIALS

Once again we are offering our Holiday special gifts of our added value products, and other neighboring farm products. We have added the list in today’s box.  We would like to receive your orders by December 4. Delivery will be at your drop sites on December 11 and 15.

 

HOLIDAY GIFT CSA BOXES

We are offering our CSA box as a possible holiday gift for your family and friends. We have included a CSA box in a beautiful Market Basket to the options-check it out!

A CSA Box of Combined Fruit and Veggie

Market Basket of Fruits, Veggies, a Jam & Bread

6 Weeks CSA Box of Veggies and Bread

 

 

This Week on the Farm

Have you noticed all the acorns this year? We have been listening to the drop on the roof of acorns all fall, and when going outside we can’t help step on the blanket of nuts on the ground. I have never seen so many acorns ever fall from our Valley Oak tree. I decided to do some research on the subject, and found it hard to find the exact reason for the abundance. They call the bumper crop of acorns, a “mast year" and it may have a tie to weather producing an overabundance of nuts in a particular year, maybe five or 10 times more than an average year. The mast year phenomenon is one of the amazing mysteries in nature that we still do not have a handle on, they happen irregularly, which can make it challenging for scientists to understand what causes a mast year. A mast year can occur twice in a row or they might be several years in between and there seems there is no way to predict it. So this year, all over the country there is a mass of acorns falling. It seems that acorn production is one of those bits of folklore that was once used to predict the severity of the coming winter. How did the oak trees get the advance word and produce lots of acorns?

How do bumper crops come about, and why is it that so many trees in an area often produce bumper crops at the same time? Here is an explanation from Michael Snyder, forester, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation: How it happens can be explained by external environmental (mostly weather-related) and internal physiological (mostly energy-related) factors. Typically, each species responds to a particular set of weather conditions that triggers an expense of energy for seed production. Often, the weather at the time of bud formation (the previous growing season) is critical; it determines whether buds will develop into leaves and shoots or flowers and fruits structures. When conditions are just right (usually some temperature optimum), more reproductive buds are formed. Of course, weather conditions may continue to influence seed crop size by reducing the number of flowers and fruits that make it to viable maturity. Think late frosts, high winds, prolonged drought, or heavy rains.It might be tempting to leave it there, concluding that it takes a lot of energy for a tree to produce flowers and fruits and that the more favorable the growing conditions, the greater the flower and seed crop. Turns out it isn’t that easy. Why groups of trees exhibit masting is far more complicated – and it might be connected to deer and all the other critters that eat tree seeds.

Ecologists have speculated that masting is an adaptive reproductive strategy. The so-called “predator satiation” idea holds that trees starve would-be seed predators during lean years and overwhelm them with seed during bumper years. The lean years keep populations of seed-eating insects, mammals, and birds low enough that they cannot eat all the seeds during bumper years, so an excess is available for the regeneration of trees.

The predator satiation theory suggested that the interval between mast years may also be necessary for trees to recover their energy and mineral reserves from the last high-output year and to accumulate enough for the next one. More recently, pollination efficiency has been counted as another advantage of masting. The idea is that masting, especially when many surrounding trees are also doing it – increases the effectiveness of wind pollination. The more trees that flower at once, the better the chance for pollination and the greater the proportion of filled, viable seeds that result. It’s an economy of scale, favoring large, occasional outputs of seed rather than frequent, small ones. If true, it would mean that trees have inherent cycles of seed production that have coevolved with seed-eating animals and that these built-in patterns are modified by the influence of weather conditions on tree physiology.

I like that we really don’t know exactly why this is happening and find it really wonderful to have this abundance of acorns in the realm of mystery and the unknown. Also with this abundance it makes me want to learn how to eat the crop that is falling at our feet. Have a great week~Annie

 

Apple Fennel Salad

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup*

1/2 lemon, juice from

1 tablespoon diced shallot

Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients except diced shallot then

Stir in shallots. Put in glass bowl and set asideMacadamia “Cheese”

1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked overnight, rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon agave or liquid sweetener of choice

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons fennel leaves, finely diced

Salt and pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in food processor until well blended scraping down the sides occasionally.Salad

1 apple, sliced thin (approximately 1/8th-inch thick)

2 fennel bulbs, sliced very thin (I used a mandolin)

1/2 cup walnuts

Vinaigrette

Macadamia “Cheese”

Toss the sliced apples and fennel in vinaigrette.

Place on plate alternating apple slice and fennel.

Top with macadamia “cheese”, walnuts and ground pepper. SERVES 4

 

Winter Apple Gratin

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

4 large apples peeled, cored and cut into eighths

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

3 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons applejack or other brandy

Yogurt Sorbet

Preheat the broiler. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the apple wedges in a single layer and sprinkle them with the brown sugar. Cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until lightly browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat until the juices evaporate and the apples are glazed, about 3 minutes. Spread the apples in a single layer in a 10-inch glass pie plate or in individual gratin dishes. In a small, heavy saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated sugar and applejack. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes; do not boil. Pour the custard over the apples and broil until it is lightly browned on top and set, about 2 minutes. Serve hot, with the Yogurt Sorbet. Serves: 4

 

Napa Cabbage with Rice Wine Sauce

In northern China, Napa (also known as Chinese cabbage) is popular in the winter. It is delicious in soups, dumplings, braises and of course stir-fries. Napa is much sweeter and tenderer than green cabbage, resembling Savoy Cabbage, which can be substituted.      

2 tablespoons oil

¼ cup thinly slices shallot (1 large)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

4 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage

1 cup thinly sliced carrot

Rice Wine Oyster Sauce

1-teaspoon sesame oil

Heat a 14 inch flat-bottomed wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporized within 1-2 seconds of contact. Swirl oil into the pan, add shallot and garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add cabbage and carrot and stir-fry until the cabbage just begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Stir Rice Wine Oyster sauce and swirl it into the pan, cook for 30 seconds. Stir-fry until the cabbage and carrot are tender-crisp, 1-2 minutes. Stir in sesame oil. Serve Immediately.

 

Guava Breakfast Cake

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cup butter softened

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1 1/2 cup finely chopped guava seeds removed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix in extracts. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add in the flour mixture until well combined. Fold in chopped guava. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

 

Potato Leek Soup

Potato soups are often heavy, creamy, and full of fat. But this recipe from Jamie Oliver uses healthy chicken broth as its base instead of cream, for a lighter, healthier version. To round out your meal, serve with a piece of hearty, whole-grain bread.

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium leeks cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 quarts chicken broth

1 pounds potatoes, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Salt and Freshly ground pepper

In a large skillet over high heat, heat oil. Add leeks, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and stir to combine. Partially cover skillet, reduce heat to medium, and cook until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large pot over high heat, heat broth until boiling. Add potatoes and vegetables and stir to combine. Return to a boil; then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. From Country Living By Jamie Oliver Serves: 6