Providing fresh, local, quality produce at a fair price is one of the primary goals of CSA. Along with that is the confidence in knowing where, how and who grows your food.
Often, it seems that our youngest CSA members catch on to this the best – and take it to heart. Here’s a story from a CSA member.
(Olivia (age 4) and her family have been CSA members for a couple of years. Olivia enjoys coming to the farm, bringing Lorie drawings, checking on the chickens & helping to gather the eggs. Her family went to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) this weekend and they toured the agriculture building.)
Her mother writes …
There is a demonstration called “Be a Farmer for a Day”. As you walk through the activities with your plastic sand pail you are asked to plant a seed, pick apples, harvest veg, milk a large model of a cow, pick up a plastic egg from a display of fake chickens, gather wool from a sheep pen, then ride a tractor. Olivia gets quieter and quieter as we go through. Then after the tractor she pulls one of the attendants aside and says. “This is all wrong. It takes more than a day to grow vegetables. The vegetables in the bin are all fake. The chickens …FAKE. The eggs…FAKE! Mrs Thiessen works way harder than this. How are kids supposed to know what this is actually like if all of the stuff is fake. The eggs should be warm. The tomatoes should smell good. Ugh.“
Thanks Olivia! That’s the encouragement we needed!
What’s in the box?
Cabbage, beans, bok choy, blackberries, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, onions.
- The first of the cabbage is ready for harvest! I’m a big fan of coleslaw so this is good news for me. This weeks cabbage is green cabbage (red cabbage, Chinese cabbage, & savoy cabbage are still ahead). We grow varieties that give smaller heads, thinking that it’s better to finish a smaller cabbage sooner & get a fresh one next week, than eating from a huge head that takes up fridge space.
- I guess the weather is more to the bean plants liking now. We’re finally getting some serious bean harvests – green beans, and especially the purple striped dragon’s tongue. Treat them the same as a green bean – they just taste better!
- Perhaps we planted too much bok choy (some people here at Thiessen Farms think so)? It is plentiful now, as well as beautiful & delicious. Enjoy bok choy in your share again this week.
- Our blackberry canes have given us a lot of blackberries this season. Many of the plants are empty now. Another week or so and blackberries will be finished.
- We’re seeing more colour appear on the sweet peppers – red, orange, yellow, & purple. Peppers prefer warmer temperatures than we’ve experienced this summer, which is why they are slower & less prolific.
- The tomato patch is looking sadder & sadder. The plants have almost given up, yet still somehow manage to ripen some fruit. There are less cherry size tomatoes, and more of the larger beefsteak kinds now.
- The cooler temperatures lately are perfect for growing lettuce. We keep planting more, so there should be lettuce for most of the CSA season!
- The onions are all picked now. No more green tops, and no more huge bulbs – but lots of smaller, delicious onions for another week or 2.
Here’s a recipe from the current issue of Eating Well magazine that we tried. Turned out great! (http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/258537/herbed-tomato-gratin/)
Herbed Tomato Gratin
Vegetable gratin recipes often have a crunchy breadcrumb or crouton topping. But summer tomatoes are too gorgeous to hide, so we tucked crusty cubes of bread underneath them instead. Plus, the bread soaks up all the juicy tomato goodness. If you can’t find marjoram, fresh basil or oregano makes a good substitute.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups crusty whole-grain bread cubes ( ½-inch)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream (we used milk instead)
- ½ cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese, divided (we used parmesan)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram, plus more for garnish
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 pounds medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch pan (or similar-size 3-quart baking dish) with cooking spray.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer the bread to a large bowl. Gently stir in cream, ¼ cup cheese, marjoram, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. Spread the mixture in the baking dish. Layer tomatoes on top and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup cheese.
- Bake the gratin until golden and crispy on top, 40 to 45 minutes. Garnish with marjoram, if desired.
Last week’s box
Oliver & Flynn – each looking forward to CSA pick-up (in their own way!)