Dear Farm Partners,
It takes awhile to settle into a place, whether it’s a home, a farm, or simply an area, such as our Pleasant Hill. I’ve been thinking about this most recently in light of our first week in The Milk House. Even though we adore this place, it does not quite feel like our home. Boxes and stuff are stacked everywhere, clothes are still in suitcases, nothing really has a place it belongs yet. I’ve also been rather ill off and on for several weeks, which has not helped the moving-in process (or, I’m ashamed to say, being timely with these blog posts— thank you always for your patience). It is a dream home for us, however, and I know that it will take shape with time.
We’re still also settling into Excelsior Farm. Even as we approach the beginning of Jeremy’s third season as Farm Manager, we still have a lot of things to set up and figure out, especially if the farm is going to be a viable occupation for us. It is an exciting process, though, and there are new developments afoot that will make it possible for us to have a sustainable, productive farm. For instance, Jeremy has turned to an intensive market gardening method (developed in France over one hundred years ago) for our fall and winter fields which enables us to work more efficiently as well as grow more produce. Already it’s a noticeable difference from our summer field and its industrial-scale beds. Most recently we’ve been moving towards raising funds for a third greenhouse, which would allow us to increase our production of tomatoes, among other things, and provide more space for growing year-round. More information coming soon about this!
I’ve also had a lot of personal settling in to do this summer. As some of you know, I lived just outside of New York City for the last two years while I was working on my Master’s degree. Now, M. A. in hand, I’ve had to transition from the Big City and academic work to Oregon countryside and harvesting vegetables. Oh, and marriage! Change abounds. It sometimes seems impossible to take it all in. It is a wonderful, rich time, however, and it is shaping up to be a very good life indeed.
With that, we do have a basket this week still, with some very nice contents: Tomatoes (Cherry OR assorted large tomatoes), Sweet and Hot Pepper Medley, Cucumbers, Scarlet Turnips, Mesclun, Beets, Lettuce, Zucchini OR Delicata Squash, Dill.
Those of you who received the Black Cherry Tomatoes are very fortunate; their flavor is so intense, and they are so perfectly ripe, that they taste almost more like small dark plums.
Sweet and Hot Pepper Medley = Fajitas! The sweet peppers are similar to bell peppers, and are also very good for stuffing.
Mesclun would be a perfect base for a salad of greens, chilled roasted beet slices, and goat cheese.
The Scarlet Turnip tops are edible, and they are so large and immaculate it would be a shame to waste them. So, here is a clever little recipe designed just for the purpose. I am very fond of this soup.
Radish (or Turnip) Leaf Soup
Adapted from Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen
3 tablespoons butter
½ pound potatoes, peeled and chopped
¾ cup onion, peeled and chopped
3 cups water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup chopped radish leaves
salt and pepper
First prepare the base of the soup. Melt butter in a saucepan until it foams; add potatoes and onions, and thoroughly coat with butter. Season well with salt and pepper, then cover the saucepan and sweat the potatoes and onions over low heat for 10 minutes.
When the vegetables are nearly soft, add the water or stock and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer to finish cooking the vegetables. Add the radish leaves and simmer uncovered for no longer than five minutes, enough time to cook the radish leaves while preserving the soup’s lovely green color. Once finished, purée the soup with a blending device and season further if necessary. Wonderful with buttery toast or a tomato sandwich!
Here is another nice summery soup that requires no cooking whatsoever.
Cold Cucumber Soup
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell
2 medium cucumbers (or equivalent), peeled and sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup crème fraiche or good sour cream
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients except dill and seasoning in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add dill, season to taste, stir, and chill well before serving. C’est simple!
With good wishes,