It’s already July and my how the time has been flying! We have been in the process of harvesting and processing the garlic the past week. It is a long process as we have to lift the garlic up using either the plastic lifter on the tractor (which is what we did) or the long way with a fork. After that, we must then pull all the garlic up out of the holes and cut the stems down to about 2 to 3 inches and cut the roots off. Usually we do all of this in the field as to leave the most organic matter out there. But due to the rain, we had to go ahead and bring everything in to the packing shed, where we have been working on it. Finally, on Wednesday we finished the rest of the garlic and laid it out on racks to dry for about 4 weeks.
Note from an Apprentice
This week’s note is from Mohammad Alsabri
“I’m the Lucky Guy”
I came to this country as a graduate student in 2013 with a desire to study organic agriculture. Recently I have had the opportunity to work at the UK Organic Farming Unit, where they produce fruits and vegetables in accordance with USDA organic certification standards. Not only do I enjoy riding and driving the tractors, but the knowledge and hands-on experience of preparing seedlings, to seeing them grow, mature and harvest into healthy produce is beyond comprehensive. Even better is the idea of producing health-giving crops to a customer’s satisfaction, something that I have not fully appreciated until now. It is without doubt that the farm is a more social place, where lots of ideas are shared between us as workers. This experience is definitely something that I will take back home where everyone can enjoy the fruits of my knowledge as I try to increase organic production in my home city (Babylon) and my country.
What’s In Your Share
For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Broccoli (this is the last of the broccoli)
+ Green or Red cabbage
+ Cylindra/Red Ace beets mixture
The following items are available for You-Pick:
*NEW* + hot peppers: jalapeños and serranos
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley, curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil*
* Note: some of the herbs are still very small, so please be mindful to only harvest a small portion of each plant. In particular some of the rosemary plants and basil are still quite small.
Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!
+ Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids which are antioxidants and good for your immune system. Green cabbage is good fixed any way whether that be raw, in salads, cooked, steamed, braised, fried or grilled. Red cabbage has a sharper flavor and a coarser texture so it needs to be cooked longer. Cabbage can be stored for 3-4 months in cold storage with high humidity, though the flavor will get stronger the longer it is stored.
+ Eggplant is nutritionally lacking due to its low calories, however it is valued for its meaty flavor and texture in vegetarian dishes. Eggplant is good steamed, baked, fried, boiled, sauteed or stuffed. Sometimes it is helpful to slice and salt the eggplant then drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Lightly squeeze out the moisture and pat dry. This removes any bitterness the eggplant may have. This is usually only a problem in over-ripe eggplants, so it shouldn’t be an issue for you. Use your eggplant soon, because it will lose its moisture fast due to its high water content. It will keep for about a week, but I recommend using it for dinner tonight!
2 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
4 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 lbs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
1. Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander. Weigh down the slices with a couple of plates and let drain for 2 hours. The purpose of this step is to have the eggplant release some of its moisture before cooking.
2. While the eggplant is draining, prepare tomato sauce. Combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to tasted and set aside.
3. When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine flour and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pour beaten eggs into another wide shallow bowl. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in a half inch of olive oil. When oil is shimmering, dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg. Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bottom of a 10×15 inch glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce. Top with one third of the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil leaves.
5. Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining basil. Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan.
6. Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into 3/4 inch rounds
1 tablespoon margarine
6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
6 hamburger buns, split
6 leaves lettuce
6 slices tomato
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 cup dill pickle slices
1 (20 ounce) bottle ketchup
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
Place the eggplant slices on a plate, and cook in the microwave for about 5 minutes, or until the centers are cooked.
Melt margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry eggplant slices until lightly toasted on each side, and place one slice of cheese onto each one. Cook until cheese has melted, and remove from the skillet.
Place eggplant on hamburger buns, and allow each person to top with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, and dress with ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard.
1 large head cabbage, cored and cut into 8 wedges
8 teaspoons butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt, or to taste
ground black pepper to taste
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.
Arrange the cabbage wedges into the bottom of a large metal baking dish. Pour the water into the dish. Place a teaspoon of butter on each cabbage wedge. Season liberally with garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Place the dish on the preheated grill; cook until cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes.