Week No. 3 – 2011 Season

Renewable energy journey is part of Community Supported Agriculture

So much can happen in a day on a vegetable crop farm. It can seem a whole week has taken place! Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year – seemed like any other day this week. Mowing grass paths, hoeing weeds, laying down straw mulch, tilling up beds for planting carrots, kohlrabi, rutabaga. Cultivating sweet corn. In the early part of the day, our faithful crew of harvesters gathered in the most sensitive of this week’s vegetables for Wednesday delivery. We were so grateful for the recent rains that really brought out the snow peas. Last week, we could barely get 16 lbs. out of the pea rows. This week, we topped 100 lbs. from the same plants. We spend our lives year-round serving and protecting soil fertility to make plants grow. We invest in certified organic compost by the ton for our greenhouses in late winter. We rotate families of crop varieties with small grains and soil-building grasses and clovers over 4 to 6 years Yet water more than any other factor determines how well many crops yield in any organic vegetable crop garden. For our farm, of course, volunteer help is so essential, too. You are welcome every week of the summer. Just call or email ahead to make sure we’re around the hours and days you want to visit and help out. Renewable Energy Fair – For much of the two decades this event has been held near Stevens Point, Wis., I wanted to attend. Yet for many of those years, I was standing in farmers markets every Saturday and could not make the 3-hour trip to the energy fair. When Dela and I met and married, I installed an active hot water solar heating system in our first home down in North Carolina. That was before we began farming and building a small business. Production expenses and equipment purchases have dominated our budget and consumed most of what we made every year. An energy audit and alternative fuel assessment several years ago also discouraged us. It estimated a more than $350,000 investment necessary for  us to become totally self-sufficient. We never gave up on bringing a combination of solar, wind and bio-fuel energies to our farm, though. Son Joel and I took a 3-day introductory course to bio-fuels at Madison Area Technical College last month. Our family’s first attendance at the annual Renewable Energy Fair this past weekend gave us many leads on where to source materials and how to do much of the work ourselves. We look to the future and sustainability for our farm with your help.

This Week’s Vegetables are:

  • Snow peas (one pound, lightly cook in butter with garlic scapes or enjoy raw)
  • Endive (bitter green tastes best lightly cooked)
  • Speckled Lettuce
  • Leaf Lettuce mix
  • Radishes
  • Garden surprise
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Turnips and greens (one pound, great raw; cook the greens same as endive)
  • Onions
  • Gift of cream or ricotta cheese from our dairy goat milk; Dela’s special thank you for supporting our farm

Cooking Tips for the Week

Dela’s Simple Endive – wash endive well; pat dry; melt 3 TBSP butter in skillet; add endive, lightly sautéing until partially wilted; add a TBSP of lemon juice or Balsamic Vinegar, stir and serve immediately (salt and pepper to taste).

 More on Snow Peas from Patricia Gabarra (a third-year subscriber from Milwaukee and a great friend) I think the Miso and the Beet soup: from:  5 No-Cook Soups That Slim (on Yahoo Health) http://health.yahoo.net/experts/healthieryou/5-no-cook-soups-that-slim. is a great one for this week’s shares. Substitute as appropriate. Be creative and share your special changes. Miso Soup With Vegetables and Tofu: Tofu is a surprisingly rich source of calcium, which may discourage your body from storing fat, especially in the tummy region. Break out the bikini! ( Serves 4)

  • 2 1/2 tbsp red miso (or more to taste)
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, divided
  • 1/2 lb firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 lb snow peas, trimmed
  • 4 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pea shoots, sunflower sprouts or radish sprouts
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Blend miso with garlic, ginger, 1 cup cool water and 1 tbsp vinegar in a food processor until smooth. Transfer miso broth to a bowl; stir in 2 cups cool water. Divide broth, tofu, snow peas, radishes and scallions among 4 bowls. Toss pea shoots with remaining 1/2 tbsp vinegar and oil; garnish each bowl before serving. (THE SKINNY 123 calories per serving, 5 g fat (0 g saturated), 11 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 7 g protein)