Stuff the veg
The other day I was sifting through my collection of cookbooks, trying desperately to find something that flipped the everyday meal.
Maddie was to go stay with grand-maman and grand-papa for a night, and I wanted to make something special that came together in mere minutes, after a heavy workday in the field.
My eureka moment came from one of my favourite cookbooks, Mollie Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest.
Her timeless recipes always seem to appeal to my palate. There is something so 1980s California about them that is incredibly refreshing.
No crazy ingredients, always healthy, and always interesting.
Stuffed cucumber boat was the inspiration, and what I had on hand was vegan dill "havarti" from Kind Food Choice Co., fellow vendors at the North Bay Farmers' Market on Saturday.
It really couldn't be any simpler. You take a cucumber, scrape out the seeds (throw them in your smoothie, it's delish) and mash in your creamy deliciousness of choice.
But why stop at cucumbers? Tomatoes are great stuffed, as are patty pans (photo above), zucchinis, peppers and even lettuce leaves.
Don't have vegan cheese on hand? Guacamole is another great option.
Add homemade pita and hummus, and you have a refreshing, yet filling, easy supper option for the summer days.
Yes, this means you get to jump in the water one last time, supper will come together in no time.
You are welcome here
A few years ago Ryan and I made a sort of venn diagram during a particularly invigorating strategic planning session for our farm.
Instead of spreading our energies in all directions, we wanted to hone in on what we wanted the farm to look like in 5 years.
At the very heart of the diagram were the words "A place to share".
But we didn't yet own the land, and didn't feel comfortable hosting people in someone elses' home.
During our move to the farm earlier this summer, I came across that same diagram, and it resonated with me more than ever.
Not long after, CSA clients Monique and Daniel came to pick up some plants. While here they asked if they could come help on the farm the following weekend.
It didn't take much thought, as I recall that either Ryan or myself blurted out a pretty immediate and resounding "yes"!
After a few volunteer visits from Monique and Daniel, we thought that it was time to extend this idea to our CSA membership at large.
Part of a greater knowledge of where food comes from, we see the value of inviting our shareholders to come see what a day (or half day) at the farm looks like and take an active part in the work.
Are you interested in volunteering on our farm? Email us with availabilities and we can go from there!
Let it snow... peas!
No, I'm not even close to craving winter yet, but I do love a tasty abundance of snow peas!
Like snap peas, snow peas fall under the mangetout category, which is French for eat the whole darn thing.
So don't go shelling any of our peas this year, as we only grow snow and snap peas, and their pods are just as delectable as the tiny pea inside.
Now, most folks just eat peas as is, which is what I assume happens when the container empties itself, as if by magic, on the way back from picking up the CSA share.
As a fellow raw food lover, no judgement here. After all, it is a great way to keep all the healthy attributes intact.
Snow and snap peas are packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium and folic acid, making them a very healthy snack option.
But these lovely little members of the legume family are also great as part of a meal.
I just love this recipe from the Kitchn, not only because it comes together in just a few minutes, but also because it only has a few ingredients, most of which I have in my pantry at any given time.
Now that's what I call easy peas.
Surprised to see strawberries? So are we!
Strawberries are very hard to grow on a large-scale using practices that respect the ecosystem.
After all, we aren't the only ones after their delicious taste. Birds, bugs, snails, slugs, and all forms of mammals are drawn to their sweet smell.
Because of this, it's no wonder that they've once again topped the list of the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides.
While certain pesticides are approved for use in organic agriculture in Canada, we run our farm without any such pesticides.
If a crop can't be grown without sprays, we aren't interested in growing them. Instead, we try to time our crops to avoid pest pressure, and use exclusion netting and greenhouse space to its fullest.
In 2012 we planted 1,500 bed feet of strawberries and got 3 measly fruits. But we are stubborn, and felt that with our increase in organic matter in the soil, and increased knowledge, we might be able to pull it off.
As some of you saw last week, we were successful in growing them on a larger scale this time! And while we had only a small amount to divy up amongst you folks (we will only be able to give a half pint per CSA shareholder this year), we hope you will enjoy them.
For those in North Bay who didn't get any last week, please know that you are set to receive them this week :)
And as far as a recipe goes, call me a purist, but I think that such a small amount of such special strawberries should be enjoyed as is, outdoors, with your feet up, and a gentle summer breeze.
Carrots are good for my eyes?!
Old wives' tales have something to them, after all.
According to research, while carrots can't turn back time on eye problems, it can, with the help of Vitamin A, help keep the eyes healthy to avoid future degeneration.
They've also been studied to lower cholesterol, reduce the incidence of cancer, stop memory loss, prevent diabetes, and bolster your bone health.
This weeks' carrots hail from the greenhouse, comfortably nestled by the ever-growing trellised cucumber lines.
While greenhouse carrots aren't typical because they take the place of more lucrative greenhouse crops, we are happy with our decision to have them early!
You probably don't need much help deciding what to do with this weeks' carrots, but with this heat, I would recommend grilling them, or turning them into delicious popsicles.
Anything to keep the oven off, am I right?
Vegetables are great for our health. From Arugula to Zucchini, they each have a list of essential nutrients to keep our bodies active.
But none is as revered as the brassica commonly known as kale. And it's no wonder.
According to a Huffington Post article, Kale has more calcium in one cup than milk, more vitamin C than an orange, and 133% of a person's daily requirement of Vitamin A.
And as if that wasn't enough, it can even help reduce inflammation, an ailment affecting so many of us nowadays.
The other fantastic thing about kale is that with a little culinary magic, it can be downright delicious and enjoyed by those young and old.
First off, do you know the easy way to de-stem your kale? It honestly cuts down my kale prep time by half.
Secondly, We've all heard of kale chips by now (am I right?) but kale is so much more versatile!
Here are a few recipe ideas that you might enjoy:
As a new mom, it has become apparent to me that I absolutely love showing Maddie new things.
As a ravenous toddler, she was especially glad to find out that there was food growing all around her (she still can't walk past the patch of mint without stealing a few leaves).
I think that this is why I'm always excited for the first kohlrabi of the season.
And while our CSA veterans will be well-versed in the art of kohlrabi, it is one of those veggies that just haven't hit the supermarket.
Honestly, I just don't get it. It is crispy, refreshing, versatile, and super healthy.
What's not to love?
The hardest thing about kohlrabi is peeling, which you get really good at in no time. Check out this video to see how it's done.
After it's peeled, you can enjoy it in so many ways. Even the greens are edible!
My absolute favourite way to eat kohlrabi is raw, with a dip. Some folks like to use ranch or hummus, but I feel like this veggie really loves being paired with a sesame oil-type dip.
Want to share ideas about how you like to use your kohlrabi? Join our CSA Shareholders' Facebook group. With 75 members, it's easy to get inspired!
Are you as excited as we are to start a new CSA season?
We've made some changes, but one thing that will remain the same is our promise to deliver the freshest, most ecological produce option available to you from a family farmer.
As with most of our first bins, this one will feature a healthy amount of fresh greens, which, from a culinary standpoint, easily translates to delicious salads.
But did you know that most greens can also be sautéed, and even, dare I say it, made into soup!
There is also the obvious choice of blending it up in a smoothie, or to make a simili-pesto with it.
Want to share ideas about how you like to use your greens? Join our CSA Shareholders' Facebook group! Who knows, you might get lucky and win something for participating?
Not sure what to expect at the pick-up?
It couldn't be simpler!
All you need is a container for your veggies. A reusable bag, cardboard or plastic box, anything works! Just make sure to stash your goodies away when you get home so that they stay fresh.
Here is a short video that shows what pick-up looks like - a long table with all of your entitled share with a small label in front to let you know how many of each item you are allowed to grab.
Your favourite farmers will also be on hand to help you through the process.
Back on track!
What a whirlwind! The early spring was unseasonably cold, making us wonder what kind of season we'd have.
Low and behold, warmer temperatures last week has everything growing very fast, and we are back on track to start the CSA veggie baskets next week.
Yes! Next week! See the bar to the right for further details.
One big thing to note is that we are back to our original location in North Bay.
Folks who have been with us before 2016 will remember us being in the overspill parking lot of Memorial Gardens, right next to Tru Tan.
In other big news, we are now part of Forests Ontario's 50 Million Trees Program! A whopping 4,700 coniferous trees have been planted on our farm last week, and are now getting a much-deserved drink.
Not only will these trees provide a windbreak for our vegetable garden, they will also provide habitat for wildlife (hello, birds!) and store carbon for us during their lifetime.
With all of these benefits, how can one not love trees?
Treats Can Be Healthy
December has a way of sneaking up on me. I get a few gifts, start planning our holiday schedule, and bam! Less than 3 weeks are left.
Although we try to steer away from a consumer-based holiday season, we still participate in the general merriment with our annual decorating of the twig and our homemade advent calendar for Maddie.
What's a homemade advent calendar consist of? Well I'm glad you asked.
It's a set of little boxes, artfully decorated by your very own farmers, and filled with things that will delight our 2-year old.
Organic (some of it local) dried fruit, a locally purchased handmade wooden christmas ornament, pinecones, and other little marvels that make our toddler go "ooooh".
And while it is important to allow our little ones to live in a world of wonder and amazement, it is just as important to treat us older folks too!
Since blenders have become all the rave, a multitude of recipes have become available, most of them featuring a healthy dose of greens.
Here are a few of my holiday cocktail favourites, which I tend to consume sans alcohol, but are really intended to contain a bit of holiday spirit:
In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, one must remember to have fun!