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Farmer Joel's Blog Week 11: Long Weekend Edition

31 Aug 2017 10:21 AM | Ffynnon (Administrator)

It's an absolutely beautiful morning out here on the farm. There was even a little bit of misty rain as I was out cutting your kale this morning, which felt heaven-sent. Of course the sky had cleared by the time I was done (and by the time Michael was done with the arugula, which is in a different garden plot) but still, the little reminder that it's not always baking heat and wildfire danger was refreshing and timely.

It's the start of the Labor Day weekend, and we hope your plans include using some of our produce from your baskets in your celebrations.  We have, of course, some tomatoes for you, as well as another basket of strawberries. These berries tend to be a bit smaller than your supermarket varieties, but we think the flavor is well worth the small extra effort required to de-stem that many berries. Since we also included some arugula today, you could toss them both into a colorful and flavorful salad.  Our first peppers of the season came in today as well, so maybe slice a jalapeno or two into that salad.  Another first in your baskets is the Yukon Gold potatoes.  These are, of course, freshly harvested and not "cured," so both their water content and their sugar content is relatively high.  These should lend themselves well to roasting or pan-frying. If you pan-fry them, you might want to dry them on a dish towel after you chop them to absorb a little bit of that moisture. This helps along the Maillard reaction, which is the magical transformation of some of those sugars to that caramelized char.

Kale, kale, the gang's all here...

We've also include a big bunch of kale in your baskets this week.  We mentioned the last time we did this that you could turn them into kale chips, but we didn't tell you how to do it.  Here's that recipe:

1 bunch kale leaves
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt (fine-grained works best here)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Remove the stems and tear the leaves into large pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry the pieces. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Put the kale pieces into a large bowl and add the olive oil. "Massage" the oil into the kale, coating all the curly nooks and crannies. Sprinkle on the seasonings (all of them are optional, by the way) and toss to combine.
3. Spread the kale pieces onto one or two rimmed baking sheets, keeping them in a single layer and making certain not to overcrowd them.
4. Bake for ten minutes, then rotate and switch the pans and bake for another ten to twelve minutes, until they begin to look shrunken and start to firm up.
5. Let the chips cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes or so. This lets them crisp up to the max.  Enjoy them quickly, though; they do lose their crispness over time.

The relatively cool weather is supposed to stay with us over the weekend; this would be a good time to crank up the chips and not heat up your house.  At the low oven temperature, though, this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

A small housekeeping note...
We've had an incident or two of folks not picking up their baskets, and not letting us know in advance. Please, if you know that you're not going to be able to make it to the pick-up site, either have a friend do it for you, or let us know you won't be there.  You can do this by email or you can text me directly at 503-313-7839, right up to the 3pm drop time. Not doing this causes anxiety in our gracious site hosts, and can lead to a waste of food.  Neither of these are good outcomes. We will either donate your basket or share it out with your fellow share members.

Enjoy the holiday, friends. We'll see you on the other side.
Farmer Joel, Michael, Neal,  and Tasha

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Office: 503-429-1556

57009 Pebble Creek Rd
Vernonia, Oregon 97064

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