After the rain this past weekend, the fields have finally dried out enough to do a bit of field work. We have been harvesting and getting some much needed weeding done. Wednesday, we transplanted and direct seeded the last of our summer squash plants (zucchini and cucumbers). We should be expecting a new yellow squash in the next week and second round of zucchinis 3 to 4 weeks after that, depending on how fast they grow. And boy, do they grow fast! The entire South Farm crew has been busy cleaning fields, mowing and weed-eating in preparation for the UK Horticulture Twilight Tour this evening. If you are so inclined, the event is from 6-9pm at the farm. From the Center for Crop Diversification facebook event description:
Growers and members of the public are invited to attend. Three concurrent wagon/walking tours of the fruit, vegetable, and sustainable/organic horticulture plots will be featured, including high tunnels and open field. Each tour will be repeated twice. Participants will be able to see some of the latest horticultural research and visit with researchers and specialists.
For those that have not been to the farm before:
The UK Horticulture Research Farm is located on the south side of Lexington approximately one block west of the intersection of Man O’ War Boulevard and Nicholasville Road (U.S. 27). The entrance to the farm, Emmert Farm Lane, is off Man O’ War Boulevard at the traffic light opposite the entrance to Lowe’s and Walmart.
This Saturday, July 28th is our rescheduled Saturday You-Pick. Come out to the farm with your family or friend from 9am-11am for an opportunity to pick during the day. There are lots of cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, flowers and okra to be had!
UK Winery will be set up at the FARM ONLY this Thursday from 3:30-6:30pm. They will also be selling wines out of the classroom building (first building on the right when entering from Man O’War) every Friday from 2-6pm.
The UK Winery has now released 10 wines from past vintages and will be releasing more as they finish bottling the 2017 vintage. For legal reasons they are still not able to pour tastings yet, but are hopeful to provide tastings at all pick up locations in the very near future. For more information on the 10 wines they currently have available visit their website at ukywine.com/our-wines/ where they also now have an order request form available if you would ever like to reserve wines for pickup on Thursdays or Fridays.
Note From an Apprentice
This week’s notes is from Thomas Mann.
Learning and Living Sustainability
By Thomas Mann, Sustainable Agriculture Apprentice
Like many of my fellow apprentices, the path that brought me to South Farm was a little unconventional. For the past three years, I have been a teacher; first teaching high-school Spanish in Colorado then moving home to Louisville to teach middle-school science. Throughout those three years I–like so many of us do–wrestled with the question of what could be done to protect our planet from what can seem like an endless barrage of attacks against it. It sometimes seems that everything we do is going to pollute the oceans, kill the polar bears, and destabilize climates across the globe! It gets daunting at times.
To feel like I was doing my part to reduce that threat, I tried to consume less stuff and to better understand how our daily activities affect the global ecosystem. I explored these questions with my middle-school students, and while I enjoyed that enormously, I wanted to learn more. And not only that; I also wanted to act in a meaningful way on those things that I learned. That’s what brought me to the apprenticeship at South Farm. I saw it as a way to deepen my understanding of agricultural production, to understand its environmental implications, to appreciate how those implications are balanced with the economic interests of a productive farm, and to live–if at least for a summer–in a way that addressed those issues directly.
Being that I am completely new to farming, every day at the farm has been a learning experience for me. It may be cheesy, but it has been a thrill to learn the scientific foundations of agriculture and a new set of skills all at once. When I am not at South Farm, I am working and learning at Salad Days Farm in Versailles, and when classes begin in August, I will be taking courses to continue this deep dive into sustainable agriculture. I hope by the end of the fall semester to have a clearer picture as to how I can continue to live out my interest in sustainability.
Thank you for supporting sustainable agriculture and for living out sustainability in your own life!
What’s In Your Share
For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Mixed Bell and Sweet Peppers
+ Hot Pepper
+ Shishito Peppers (mild!)
+ Red Gold Potatoes
+ Mixed Fresh Onions
The CSA Farm Stand (which is for purchasing “extras”) will be set up at both the campus (from 4-6pm) and farm (from 3:30-6:30pm) locations. Items available will be on a first come, first served basis. For the campus location, we will be set up a little differently this year. The Farm Stand will be located all the way to the right of the pick-up line with it’s own tent and table. So please do not go through the regular pick-up line to buy a la carte. At the farm, the Farm Stand table will also be set up separately from the regular pick-up line. We accept cash, check and *NEW* this year, credit cards.
Items Available for Purchase this Week:
+ Cucumbers: $0.50 each
+ Bell/Sweet Peppers: $1 each
+ Eggplant: $1.75 each
+ Shishito Peppers and Hot Peppers: $0.25 each
+ Tomatoes: $3/lb.
+ Onions: $0.50 each
+ Garlic: $1.50/bulb
+ Red Gold Potatoes: $3.50/ bag
+ Tomato Box: $25 (25 lb. box) ***
***Tomato boxes are “seconds” tomatoes that are very ripe. They are perfect for canning, but you will want to can them this weekend. Don’t wait too long! Tomato Boxes will be a first come, first served item. However, we will start a sign-up sheet to reserve boxes for those that wish to purchase one.***
+ Every week that there is you-pick available we will list what is available in the weekly newsletter. The first time you come to the farm we ask that you find one of the organic team (in the organic shed or out in the fields) for a you-pick orientation.
+ You will need to bring your own harvest containers and – if you are interested in okra or flowers – your own pruners or scissors. All you-pick crops will also be marked in the field with a “you-pick” sign. In 2018 the main you-pick field is located south of the parking lot towards Waveland Museum Road, but close to the farm’s access road.
+ We ask that you park your vehicle in the parking lot and walk to the you-pick area to keep vehicles out of our fields. However, if you require assistance to get to our fields or if there is an issue of accessibility, we can make exceptions but please talk to a staff member first for guidelines.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday – 7:30am until 4pm
Thursday – 7am until 6:30pm
We are closed on all major holidays including Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day.
+ Please only pick from the beds that have a sign saying “You-Pick”. Not everything is ready or available to pick at this time.
+ Hot Peppers
+ Cherry Tomatoes
+ We have a perennial herb bed, right to the west of the You-Pick field. Most of the herbs are the same as what is in You-Pick, however many are more mature, such as the sage, chives and oregano. There is also spearmint in the perennial bed.
Veggie Tips (or Facts)
+ Fresh onions are onions that have not gone through the curing process. These are best stored in the fridge and used within the week.
+ This round of garlic has been processed, unlike the first garlic given out. You can store this on the kitchen counter in a mesh bag or in a little dish. This should store for several months, if you can even keep it around that long! 😉
+ The Red Gold variety of potatoes are a smaller potato with pink skin and a yellow flesh. Red skinned potatoes are generally classified as having a waxy texture which makes them great in soups, stews, or salads as they keep their shape really well. However, you can still eat them mashed or roasted. Potatoes store best in a cool, dark and dry place for up to a couple of weeks. Do not store in the fridge or with ethylene producers (like tomatoes!).
+ Cucumbers can be stored in a cool place in a perforated plastic bag. The fridge is not an ideal storage place, but if you do refrigerate, place in the crisper drawer of the fridge and make sure to keep the temperature above 40F. Cucumbers are best eaten within the week.
+ All peppers can either be stored in a cool place in the kitchen, or in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Peppers may last up to 2 weeks.
+ Eggplant is similar to summer squash and peppers. You can store them in perforated bags in a cool place in the kitchen. However, if you do choose to store in the fridge, it is best to store in the crisper drawer and not below 50F. Keep eggplant away from ethylene producers. Eggplant is best within 3-5 days, though it can keep up to a few weeks.
+ Tomatoes store best in a single layer, shoulder side down on the kitchen counter. If you have super ripe tomatoes, those can go in the fridge for up to a week, but the flavor will start to decline. If you can even keep them around for this long, tomatoes are best eaten between 4-7 days. (If kept at room temperature).
For your convenience this week’s recipes in a printable format.
Meal Plan Menu
Traditional Baba Ghanoush
1 large eggplant
1 1/2 tbsp. tahini sauce
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
salt to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil (or to taste)
1 pinch dried parsley flakes, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400º. Arrange oven racks so you have one high and one low. Cut a shallow slit along the side of the eggplant and place into a baking dish. Roast in preheated oven on the lower rack until the eggplant is completely shrunken and soft, about 40 minutes. Move dish to higher rack and continue baking until the skin is charred, about 5 minutes more. Let eggplant cool until cool enough to handle. Peel and discard skin from eggplant. Put eggplant into a bowl; add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir until ingredients are evenly mixed. Drizzle olive oil over the baba ghanoush and garnish with parsley. Serve with pita chips or bread, or try it with other veggies like carrots, peppers, or kohlrabi, etc. You can even use it as a spread for a sandwich.
Friday Night Pizza
from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Makes 2 12-inch pizzas
3 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 cups WARM water
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sliced onions
2 peppers, cut up
16 oz. mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh tomatoes in season or sauce
other toppings such as spinach, chopped
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. rosemary
To make crust, dissolve the yeast into the warm water and add oil and salt to that mixture. Mix the flours and knead them into the liquid mixture. Let the dough rise for 30-40 minutes.
While the dough is rising, prepare the sliced onions: a slow sauté to caramelize their sugars makes fresh onions into an amazing vegetable. First sizzle them on medium heat in a little olive oil, until transparent but not browned. Then turn down the burner, add a bit of water if necessary to keep them from browning, and let them cook 10-15 minutes more until they are glossy and sweet. Peppers can benefit from a similar treatment.
Once the dough has risen, divide it in half and roll out 2 round 12-inch pizza crusts on a clean, floured countertop, using your fingers to roll the perimeter into an outer crust as thick as you like. Using spatulas, slide the crusts onto well-floured pans or baking stones and spread toppings. Layer the cheese evenly over the crust, then scatter the toppings of the week on your pizza, finishing with the spices. If you use tomato sauce, spread that over the crust first, then cheese, then other toppings. Bake pizzas at 425F for about 20 minutes, until crust is browned on the edge and crisp in the center.
Chunky Potato Salad
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover
2 lbs. small red potatoes, quartered
3 cups cubed cheddar cheese
1 cup 1/2 inch sweet red or green pepper pieces
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cups sliced green onions
3/4 cup Italian salad dressing
Cook potatoes in salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool to room temperature. Meanwhile combine cheese, peppers, celery and onions. Add potatoes and toss with dressing.
Feel free to add any other veggies you have on hand to this stir fry and a protein of your choice if you wish. You can even make a pot of rice or noodles to go with it.
Stir Fried Cucumbers
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover
3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
4 green onions, sliced (or fresh onions)
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (or whatever sweet peppers you have)
2 small tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/8 tsp. pepper
In a large wok or skillet heat 1 tbsp. oil. Stir fry cucumbers about 2 minutes and remove from wok. Add more oil if necessary. Stir fry green onions and red pepper for 3 minutes. Remove from wok. Add more oil. Stir fry tomatoes one minute then add cucumbers, peppers and onions. Mix well and heat through. Season.
This is my new favorite tomato soup recipe. Way better than from the can!
Homemade Tomato Soup
3 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. flour
1 quart tomato juice
2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp. fresh chopped oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
Melt butter in a large pot until melted and sizzling. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent and soft. Stir in flour, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Add tomato juice and whisk until flour and butter mixture are well incorporated into the liquid. Add the diced tomatoes, basil, oregano and salt. Cook until mixture comes to a light boil; turn heat down and slowly stir in milk and continue cooking over gentle heat until heated through. Once milk is added, do not allow soup to come to a boil. Serve immediately.
1 1/4 lb. ripe plum tomatoes (6 to 8), cored, halved lengthwise, and seeded
1 medium red or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, cut into medium dice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium clove garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into cutlets
2 Tbs. nonpareil (small) capers, rinsed and patted dry
Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high.
Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil. Put the tomatoes cut side up on one side and the peppers and onion on the other side. Drizzle everything with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil and sprinkle with the cayenne, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Toss the peppers and onions. Broil until the tomatoes are collapsed, about 7 minutes. Flip the tomatoes, toss the peppers and onions, and broil until the tomato skins have large black spots and the peppers and onions are tender, about 5 minutes more.
Use tongs to pull the skins off the tomatoes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board. Put the peppers and onions in a large bowl; add the garlic paste. Chop the tomatoes and add to the bowl with the other vegetables. Mix well, season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm.
Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Put the flour in a shallow pan. Season the chicken with 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper; dredge in the flour. Working in 2 batches, cook the chicken, flipping once, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plates. Wipe out the pan. Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and fry the capers over medium-high heat until they pop open and become crisp, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle them over the chicken. Serve with the ragout.
Leftovers day! Clean out that fridge for new vegetables coming Thursday.