Farm NewsLetter 01/23/06

The 47th Avenue/Luscher Farm Newsletter
For the week of January 23rd, 2006

Farm Pickup Dates:
SE: 1/24, 2/7, 2/21, 3/7, 3/21, 4/4, 4/18
LkO: 1/26, 2/9, 2/23, 3/9, 3/23, 4/6, 4/20

In this Newsletter:
From the Farm: A Wet Winter!!
Great Movie: The Real Dirt on Farmer John
What’s in the Share
Squash & Apple Curry Soup
Leeks w/ Mustard Vinagrette
Leek Gallette
Kale Popcorn

From the Farm…

Wow! The sunshine on Mondy has made life on the farm a lot easier. It’s still pretty muddy and there is even still standing water in parts of the field, but no more rivers running down the rows. The angle of the slopes at Luscher Farm is steeper and more complicated than any of the other places we’ve farmed. Last winter was pretty dry so we hardly saw any water damage at all. This year is a whole different story.

We already have some great erosion control strategies that we use on the farm. The cover cropping, especially with cereal rye or sudan, does a good job of holding the soil in place. Once the cover crop is large enough it can actually slow the rain down so that droplets don’t compact the soil when they hit. Roots also physically hold the soil in place as well as absorbing some of the water for use by the plant. We also try to design our beds (with plants) and paths (often bare soil) so that they run across the slope rather than down it. This slows water and allows it to be absorbed by the plants rather than accelerating down the bare paths. In addition the edges of the sections are dense tall grasses which can do all of the above, plus actually filter any soil particles in the runoff before the water gets too far downstream.

Despite all that we still lost a bit of soil this winter. Most of those fields have had several rounds of cover crops to increase fertility and organic matter, plus additions of other expensive organic amendments. We’ve worked hard on improving that soil and I’m not going to let it go without a fight. I’ve been talking to other farmers about what else we can do and I’m consulting with the West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District too. Hopefully next winter we’ll have a few more tricks up our sleeve when (and if) the torrential rains come.

Thanks everyone for all your help
The Weather: Morning fog until the glorious sun shines through

Definitely go see The Real Dirt on Farmer John if you can- this is a great movie!!
Winner of 15 U.S. Film Festival Awards * At Cinema 21 Feb 1-9th.
For more info visit or call 503.248.0104.

The true story of John Peterson, third generation Northern Illinois farmer. Using 50 years of richly textured footage, filmmaker Taggart Siegel weaves together Farmer John’s haunting and humorous hero’s journey of struggle, hippie days, vicious rumors and violence, the farming crisis of the 80s, death and resurrection. Through melding farming with free expression, Farmer John’s powerful story of transformation heralds a renewal of local agriculture in America

In the share this week…

Beets These Big Red Beets are as tasty, tender and sweet as any we’re ever grown.
Brussel Sprouts These are not the long lanky stalks we had in the fall, but these swam through the winter and survived so we’ll take what we can get. They’re short, but still taste great.
Cabbage A winter staple around the world! Like most of the winter greens they get sweeter in the cold.
Cauliflower Wow! What a treat this time of year
Kale Winterbor has made a comeback!
Leeks The delicate flavor of these alliums makes an exceptional complement to greens. They’re also good in soups with parsnips and the sweet winter squash.
Mustard Another one from the oh-so-versatile brassica family. Use these ruffled leaves for a spicy salad or tasty sauté.
Onions These flat yellow onions have withstood the winter well.
Rutabaga Just add salt, olive oil and herbs. Try them roasted with other roots or mashed with potatoes.
Delicata, Carnival & Kabocha Squash They’re great roasted, mashed, in risotto, in frittatas or try the soup listed below.

Coming Soon… Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
From Apples: A Country Garden Cookbook
By Christopher Idone

This works great with other large squash like hubbard, kabocha or red kuri.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 large butternut squash (approx. 8 cups),
2 large onions, chopped peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons good quality curry powder 3 firm, tart apples (such as Granny Smith), 1 teaspoon chili powder peeled, cored and diced
5 cups chicken stock Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley or cilantro 1/2 cup heavy cream

• In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent, about 5 min. Add curry and chili powders, cook for another 5 minutes. Add half the stock and bring to a boil.
• Transfer the mixture to a soup kettle, add the squash and apples, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the squash is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Strain the soup and reserve the liquid. Puree pulp in a food processor.
• Return the puree, reserved liquid, cream and remaining chicken stock to a clean soup kettle and bring to a simmer.
• Ladle the soup into warm bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro.
• Note: This soup can be made ahead or frozen without the cream.

This recipe is actually a combination of the several I like. It may sound a bit complicated and take some time the first go-around, but after making it once I think you’ll find it quick and easy and versatile. It’s basically a tasty leek or onion filling that can be varied based on what you have in the fridge, surrounded by a giant free form pie crust.

Variations on the Leek and Goat Cheese Galette

3-6 leeks, including a bit of the green part 8-10 Nicoise or Kalamaa olives, chopped
butter/olive oil 2/3 cup parmesan
2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional) 1-2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cream or crème fraiche 1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper 1/2 to 1 cup soft goat cheese (about 4 oz)

Thinly slice and wash the leeks. Saute leeks in butter or olive oil for 5-10 min then add thyme and 1/2 cup of water. Stew over medium heat stirring frequently until leeks are tender- about 5-10 min more. .Add the wine and continue cooking until it’s reduced, then add the cream and cook until it just coats the leeks and a little liquid remains. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add olives, parmesan, and lemon zest. Let cool 10 minutes, then stir in all but 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg and most of the parsley.
Preheat the oven to 400. Roll out the dough for one large or six individual galettes. Spread the leek mixture on top, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. Crumble the cheese over the top then fold the dough over the filling. Brush with reserved egg and bake until the crust is browned, 25-30 minutes. Remove, scatter the remaining parsley over the top, and serve.

Galette Dough

2 cups all purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoobs cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1/3-1/2 cup ice as water as needed

Mix the flour, salt and sugar together in a bowl. Cut in the butter by hand or using a mixer with a paddle attachment leaving some pea sized chunks. Sprinkle the ice water over the top by the tablespoon and toss it with the flour mixture until you can bring the dough together into a ball. Press it into a disk and refrigerate for 15 min if the butter feels too soft.
To form a galette, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 14-inch irregular circle about 1/8th inch thick. Fold it into quarters and transfer it to the back of a sheet pan or a cookie sheet without sides. Unfold it. It will be larger than the pan.

In large heavy saucepan sauté onions, leeks, and parsnips over med-low heat until tender. Add rice and stir for 1 min. Add wine (or 1/2cup hot stock) and simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly, 2 min. Add remaining hot stock 1/2 cup at a time allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 20 min. Add cooked greens, roasted squash and/or beets, cream, parmesan cheese and stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve warm.

Baked Kale Popcorn
This is a simple and tasty appetizer; an alternative to popcorn. This works only with curly leaf kale.

4 or 5 leaves of curly leaf kale, washed and cut into 1/2” strips
1 – 2 tsp. Furikake rice seasoning (found in Asian food stores, and maybe at Freddies)
soy sauce or Tamari

Heat oven to 300Ε. Spray a cookie sheet with vegetable oil and lay out kale strips. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the kale turns crisp and bright green. Be careful not to overcook the kale- keep an eye on it. Place kale in bowl and sprinkle with Furikake rice seasoning and a little soy sauce/Tamari to taste.