Wednesday, July 25, 2018

News Reports from The Organic & Non-GMO Report

By Richard & Andrea

We subscribe to a publication entitled The Organic & Non-GMO Report which is a monthly publication led by editor Ken Roseboro.  Roseboro has done extensive research, writing, and speaking about all aspects of genetically modified foods (GM/GMO) and their impact on society.  The mission of this publication is to “…provide information you need to respond to the challenges of genetically modified (GM) foods.”  We appreciate this publication as it helps us stay up-to-date on global issues related to GM foods and reports on current scientific research and provides expert reports on important issues related to GM production.  The most recent issue was packed with a lot of interesting information, so we thought we’d share a few highlights with you this week.  We highly encourage you to check out their website where you can read past articles about a wide variety of related topics and find more information about subscribing to their publication if you’re interested in staying abreast of developments in this area.

One of the things we appreciate about this publication is that they present the facts, openly and honestly.  As organic growers, we do not believe GMO foods and crops are good for humans, other creatures, the environment, etc.  It is hard to read some of their reports about the damaging impacts we’re seeing from the production of GM crops and the agrochemicals used adjunctively in their production.  While we need and want to be informed, sometimes it can be pretty depressing information to read about!  Another thing we appreciate about this publication is their focus on positive news as well, so lets start there.

One article highlighted the small Indian state of Sikkim, which made the bold move to go all organic and reject its country’s trend towards agrochemical agriculture systems that dominate Indian agriculture.  Fifteen years ago they decided to protect their population of 610,000 people by phasing out pesticide use and transitioning acreage to organic production “…due to rising cancer rates, polluted rivers, and infertile soil that accompanied industrial farming.”  They now have 190,000 acres that are certified organic!  Since making this transition, they have noticed improved health in their population and have doubled tourism in their area as visitors are drawn to their clean air, water and food they experience when they take farm vacations and eco-tours in the area.  They’ve also inspired the Indian government to designate $119 million to support other organic farmers in India and they report that Indian now has 5.6 million chemical-free farm acres out of 400 million total acres.  The other encouraging bit of information is that the demand for organic in India is growing 25% annually and “Two other Indian states are planning to go all-organic, along with Bhutan.”  This is an exciting and encouraging report!

Another exciting report featured in this month’s publication was about rice production and the positive developments a new production method is yielding.  It is estimated that about half of the world population relies on rice to meet 60-70% of their daily calories.  By the year 2050, it’s estimated that we will need 50% more rice to feed people.  Genetically modified rice production promised increased yields, but that has not happened.  This article also cited the detrimental impacts conventional rice production has on both environmental and human health.  There is now a grassroots rice growing method that is being spread around the globe.  It is called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and is currently being used on 49 million acres around the world.  This system employs a different method of production that minimizes weed competition by more dense plantings of smaller seedlings.  This system also facilitates deeper root growth and fields are not flooded as they are in conventional production which creates an anaerobic environment that fosters populations of methane-producing bacteria.  This system has positive contributions towards mitigating climate change, and allows farmers to have a greater level of self-sufficiency as they’re able to produce enough food for their communities.  Additionally, this method of growing rice is demonstrating yield increases of 20 to 50 percent and sometimes as high as 100 to 200 percent.  It also has a 50% savings in water use, 30-50% reduction in chemical fertilizers and is building greater adaptability to climate conditions along with increased nutrient levels in the rice.  This article tells the story of how Lotus Foods, a California based company that imports rice, is working directly with organizations and businesses that support growers producing rice using this method.  Lotus Foods co-founder, Caryl Levine, was quoted as saying “Farmers know what to do, they know how to farm.  We need to give them the opportunity to adapt this method to their needs.  SRI provides economic, social, and environmental benefits just by changing the way people grow rice—not many things can do that.”

Back on the home front, there are some encouraging statistics about consumers in the United States.  According to the Organic Trade Association’s 2018 Organic Industry Survey, organic sales in the U.S. in 2017 were up 6.4% from the previous year, hitting a new record of $49.4 billion in sales.  Sales of organic non-food products also rose by 7.4% which is also a new record. 

They also reported on the findings of the Hartman Group’s Organic & Natural 2018 report which demonstrated that 46% of American consumers avoid GM foods and 97% of consumers are aware of GMOs, which is up from 50% in previous surveys.  Sixty-seven percent of consumers support mandatory GMO labeling and it’s clear that consumers are looking for greater levels of transparency and trust within the marketplace.  Forty-two percent of consumers looking to avoid GM foods look for the Non-GMO Project seal when they are making their food purchases.  This seal was developed by the Non-GMO Project, which is a nonprofit organization providing third-party verification for non-GMO food and products.  Their seal features a butterfly, which consumers have become increasingly more aware of and now rely on when making purchasing decisions.  “An independent study by Consumer Reports cites this label to be the only ‘highly meaningful’ label for consumers looking to avoid GMOs.”  (as cited at

USDA's proposed GMO label
It’s encouraging to see that consumers are becoming more aware of GMO foods and products and are looking for greater transparency in their food system, something that is very important to us as producers.  This issue also included an article about the USDA’s proposed label for GMO foods.  The article was entitled: “Be real” USDA:  Smiley faces and complex QR codes do not give consumers GMO transparency.  Almost twenty years ago, participants in consumer focus groups conducted by the USDA looked at the question of whether or not GM food should be labeled and nearly all participants thought it should be labeled as such.  Some major food companies, including General Mills, Mars and Campbell’s, are labeling their products already, which is great because despite a GMO labeling law that was passed in 2016, there are so many flaws with the law and now the USDA is trying to change the way GMO foods are represented to the public.  They are proposing that GMO foods now be called “bioengineered” and be labeled with a smiley sun logo.  Consumers are not familiar with this terminology and some consumer advocacy groups believe this proposed label is “propaganda for the industry.”

There are many more interesting stories and reports we’d like to share from this recent publication, but we encourage you to seek out more information on your own.  There was one other very interesting article about the epigenetic changes being caused by exposure to agrochemicals.  This article features the work of Dr. Paul Winchester, the medical director of the Neonatal and Intensive Care Unit at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, only about one hour away from where Andrea grew up and her family still resides.  His clinical observations and research are disturbing and demonstrate serious problems being caused by pesticide exposure that are changing the epigenetic expression of genetic material in subsequent generations.  We would like to investigate this information in greater detail and report on it in a future newsletter article, but highly encourage you to read this full article for yourself.  It is available on the website.

While there are many battles to fight in the world of industrial agriculture, we’re encouraged by some of the stories we’ve highlighted here.  We encourage everyone to become more informed about what’s going on and continue to seek out and demand more transparency in our food system and support more sustainable methods of production.

July 26, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Eggplant

Cooking With This Week's Box:

This Week’s Summary of Recipes and the Vegetables They Utilize:

Zucchini: Zucchini Butter  

Carrots: Sheet Pan Korean Chicken and VegetablesVeggie Pot PieOne-Pot Vegetable Thai Red Curry (See Below)

Broccoli: Sheet Pan Korean Chicken and VegetablesOne-Pot Vegetable Thai Red Curry (See Below)

Cauliflower: Veggie Pot PieOne-Pot Vegetable Thai Red Curry (See Below)

Italian Frying Peppers and/or Green Bell Peppers: Slow Cooker Jalapeño Pineapple Pork

Eggplant: Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas (see below); One-Pot Vegetable Thai Red Curry (See Below)

Sun Jewel Melons: Melon Cucumber Agua Fresca

New Potatoes: Veggie Pot PieOne-Pot Vegetable Thai Red Curry (See Below)

Green or Yellow Beans:  Veggie Pot PieOne-Pot Vegetable Thai Red Curry (See Below)

Here we go…summer bounty is upon us and the box is bursting at the seams!  Our CSA Facebook Group has been awesome this past week!  If you are a CSA member and haven’t joined the group, we encourage you to do so.  Check your weekly email for more information.  A lot of great ideas were posted in the group this week, including this recipe for Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas (see below) which was very timely for this week’s focus on Eggplant as our featured vegetable of the week.  This “pizza” concept makes use of the eggplant as the base to carry a delicious, and simple, tomato and cheese topping.  You should know, this recipe is endorsed by one of our CSA kids who, at age 7, prepared this recipe herself!  Come on adults, you can do this.

Our other featured recipe in this week’s newsletter is a super simple recipe for a One-Pot Vegetable Thai Red Curry (See Below).  I love this recipe because it’s very adaptable to the season.  I made it last winter with sweet potatoes and root vegetables and have been anxiously waiting to make the summer version of this recipe using eggplant.  I’ve adapted the recipe to guide you in being creative with how you make this.  Basically, make sure you have 5 cups of vegetables and feel free to vary the combination to your liking.  This week I made it using eggplant, carrots, potatoes and cauliflower.  It goes together really fast and, served with rice, is a complete meal on its own.  It also reheats well, so you have something to take for lunch the next day!

Sheet Pan Korean Chicken and Vegetables
Photo from
Last week in the Facebook group two members posted different recipes from a new food blog I wasn’t familiar with,  I had to check it out, and I have to say it’s a pretty great resource!  One of the member-trialed recipes was for Sheet Pan Korean Chicken and Vegetables.  This recipe calls for lots of broccoli and carrots that are roasted along with chicken and some seasonings to make a simple, satisfying dinner.  The member who tried this recipe substituted zucchini for the broccoli, so you can see this is another adaptable recipe and a great way to use broccoli, carrots, zucchini or even some of the cauliflower in this week’s box!  I really like this blog because it has a wide variety of recipes including sheet pan dinner ideas as well as some pretty good slow cooker recipes!  This recipe for Slow Cooker Jalapeño Pineapple Pork caught my eye because we have a jalapeño in this week’s vegetable box and a pineapple in the fruit share!  This recipe calls for a six pound pork roast, a whole pineapple and two jalapeños to yield ten servings.  Since we have a smaller household, I’m going to cut this in half.  This recipe includes onions, but in the suggestions section the author also recommends adding peppers, which I think is a great idea since they’re also in the box this week!  Serve this with rice or carnitas style on tortillas.

This recipe for Veggie Pot Pie was recommended by another member in our Facebook group and I’d have to agree that it’s a great way to put a lot of vegetables to use in one fell, hearty swoop!  This recipe includes potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, carrots and onions.  Make your own pie crust or buy some premade crust.  Once you’ve prepared the filling, just pour it in the pie crust, put the top layer on and bake it.  Pretty simple and it’s described as “A mouthwatering-good vegetable pot pie.”

Zucchini Butter, Photo from
What are you going to do with all that zucchini this week?  Seriously, this has got to be one of the most versatile vegetables we grow!  I love the suggestion one member made for making this recipe for Zucchini ButterYou need to allow a little bit of time for cooking, but the preparation and method itself are easy.  You are basically slowly cooking grated zucchini with some shallots, garlic or onion and either olive oil or butter until it’s smooth and kind of caramelized.  You’ll end up with something that can be eaten as a side dish or can be used as a spread for sandwiches or toast.  Of course, I’m going to make it for Sunday brunch and serve it with eggs, toast and bacon.

Sweet Corn?!  We just have a little bit this week, but it’s the perfect amount to kick off sweet corn season and just enough to make this delicious Sweet Corn Risotto that is great on its own or you can garnish it with a simple little tomato, garlic, basil combo.  If you still have the red amaranth from last week’s box, you could use the corn to make this simple Amaranth & Corn Sautè.  It calls for edamame, which just isn’t quite ready yet.  Don’t worry, you can easily substitute yellow or green beans or zucchini and it will be delicious.

Turkey-Cucumber Roll-Ups
Photo from
We’ve pretty much taken care of dinner ideas for the week, so I’m going to throw in a few simple, light ideas as well.  Here’s a simple recipe for Turkey-Cucumber Roll-Ups that makes a simple lunch, snack or even a quick breakfast for kids or adults.  We also still have that pretty little sun jewel melon radiating at us from the bottom of the box.  Here’s a fun, simple recipe for refreshing Melon Cucumber Agua Fresca.  You blend cucumber, melon, mint and a touch of maple syrup to make a delicious drink to sip while hanging out on the patio.

What’s left?  A few potatoes, a little bit of onion and a touch of zucchini?  A few beans still hanging out in the refrigerator?  Take whatever is left and chop it up finely.  Sautè it with some chopped bacon and then put it in a container in the refrigerator.  This will be the base for a quick breakfast burrito.  Just reheat some of the bacon-vegetable mixture in a small skillet.  Add two beaten eggs, a little salt, pepper, a touch of cheese and some fresh basil if you have it. Scramble the mixture until the eggs are cooked through.  Warm a flour tortilla on the stove top or in the oven and spread some sour cream on it.  Put the scramble mixture in the tortilla, wrap it up and enjoy your simple, hearty breakfast!

Ok friends, that’s a wrap.  I hope you enjoy this week’s meals and get ready for more summer bounty to flood your kitchens next week.  We are looking forward to purple beans, poblano peppers, edamame, Sweet Sarah Melons, purple tomatillos and more corn! –Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Eggplant- Flashy, yet humble

Pair of Listada Eggplants growing in our fields
Eggplant is one of the most beautiful crops we grow.  The plants grow several feet tall and, in their peak, are loaded with beautiful glossy fruit hanging heavy on the plant.  There are many varieties of eggplant ranging in size from small round eggplant the size of a golf ball to large globe eggplant weighing over a pound.  They come in a variety of colors ranging from various shades of purple to black, green, lavender, white and orange.  We have narrowed our lineup of eggplant to our four favorite varieties including Lilac Bride, Purple Dancer, Listada and the traditional Black eggplant.  Please refer to our previous blog post which includes pictures and profiles of each eggplant and highlights the characteristics of each in further detail.  Each variety is best for different uses, so it’s helpful to visualize which variety you have before you decide how you want to use it.

Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and must be cooked.  Many resources will tell you to salt eggplant before cooking it to remove bitterness.  While some older varieties were bitter, the new varieties we grow have been selected because they are not bitter, thus you can skip the salting step for that reason.  You may still choose to salt eggplant to soften the flesh so it doesn’t absorb too much oil.  Most of our varieties of eggplant have skin that is tender enough to eat, thus you do not need to peel them.
Baba ganoush, photo from Tori Avey
While  eggplant is thought to have originated in the area around India and Pakistan, it has now been spread around the world.  Since eggplant is part of so many cultures, there are a lot of ways you can use eggplant in your cooking.  It is often incorporated into curry and stir-fry dishes in Indian, Thai, and Chinese cuisine.  Sicilians are famous for eggplant caponata while Middle Eastern dishes include baba ganoush.  The French put their mark on eggplant with the traditional Provencal dish, ratatouille.  Eggplant has a mild flavor and soft texture when cooked, which is what makes it unique.  While it isn’t a predominant flavor, it has a texture such that it is able to absorb other flavors and pairs well with other vegetables including tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, potatoes and chickpeas.  It also goes well with flavorful olive oil, tahini, herbs such as basil and parsley and spices including cumin, coriander, sumac, and cinnamon.  It also goes well with dairy products including yogurt, cheese (feta, Parmesan and mozzarella), and cream and fruits including lemons and pomegranate.

Eggplant does not store terribly well, so it is best to use it soon after getting it.  It is best stored at a temperature of about 45-50°F, but your home refrigerator should be colder than this.  Thus, we recommend storing your eggplant on the kitchen counter and use it within 2-4 days. 

One-Pot Vegetable Thai Red Curry

Yield:  4 servings

5 cups seasonal vegetables** (eg 1 ½ cups eggplant, 1 cup carrots, 1 cup new potatoes, 1 ½ cups cauliflower florets)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
½ tsp salt
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
2-inches fresh ginger, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
4 ounces red curry paste
1 can (13.5 fl oz) coconut milk
1 ¼ cup water
2 Tbsp tamari
½ Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp lime juice (or rice wine vinegar), plus more to taste
Fresh basil, for serving
Cooked brown rice, for serving

1.     Prepare the vegetables:  Cut vegetables into ½-¾-inch dice or into bite-sized pieces.  You’ll want to group the vegetables according to how much cooking time they’ll need.  Harder vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and other root crops will need a longer cooking time.  Some vegetables, such as eggplant, peppers, green beans, zucchini, and broccoli will need a moderate amount of cooking time while greens such as spinach and kale may need less time.  You’ll need to use your best judgement with the vegetables you choose to use.
2.     In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and cook for 3 minutes, until translucent. Next add the garlic, ginger and any more dense vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, etc. Continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
3.      Add the curry paste, coconut milk and water then bring to a boil. Stir in any vegetables requiring a moderate cooking time.  Reduce to a simmer then cover and cook for about 7-10 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  If you are using any quick-cooking vegetables, add them now.
4.     Stir in the tamari, maple syrup, and lime juice (or rice wine vinegar). Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, tamari or lime juice to your liking.  Serve over warm rice with fresh basil and enjoy!

Summer:  Eggplant, Carrots, New Potatoes, Peppers, Zucchini, Broccoli, Green Beans, Corn
Fall:  Sweet peppers, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Carrots, Cauliflower, Romanesco, Delicata or Butternut Squash
Winter:  Carrots, Winter Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Rutabaga, Celeriac, Sunchokes
Spring:  Asparagus, Ramps, Mushrooms, Spinach, Baby White Turnips

**This recipe is Chef Andrea’s adaptation of a recipe originally featured on the blog, Making Thyme For Health**

Julia Child's Eggplant Pizza

Photo from

For Pizzas:

1 black or purple dancer eggplant, about 8 oz

1 Tbsp salt, for drawing water out of eggplant

2 Tbsp olive oil, for brushing eggplant before roasting

2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, for sprinkling on eggplant before roasting
10 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade strips (optional)
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan
⅓ cup finely grated low-fat mozzarella blend
Hot red pepper flakes for sprinkling finished pizza (optional)

For Sauce:
2 to 3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can good quality petite diced tomatoes with liquid (or use 2 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes)
½ tsp dried Italian seasoning blend
¼ tsp dried oregano

Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut it into ¾ inch thick slices (trying to make them the same thickness!) Put the eggplant pieces on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for about 30 minutes to draw out the liquid. After the eggplant sets for 15 minutes, turn on the oven to 375°F.

While the eggplant sets, make the sauce. Heat 2-3 tsp olive oil (depending on your pan) and saute the finely chopped garlic just until it becomes fragrant. (Don't let it brown.) Add the petite diced tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning, and dried oregano and let the sauce cook at a low simmer until it's thickened, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork as it cooks. (Add water as needed, a few tablespoons at a time as the sauce cooks, keeping it hot by simmering at very low heat until it's needed for the eggplant slices.)


After 30 minutes, wipe the eggplant dry with paper towels (this also removes most of the salt.) Spray a roasting sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray, lay eggplant slices on, brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with dried Italian seasoning. Roast the eggplant about 25 minutes (but "not so long that the slices become mushy and lose their shape" as Julia says.)

While the eggplant roasts, thinly slice the fresh basil leaves (if using) and combined freshly grated Parmesan and low-fat mozzarella blend. After 25 minutes or when eggplant pieces are done, remove eggplant from the oven and turn oven setting to broil. Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice, sprinkle with thin basil slices (if using) and top with a generous amount of cheese. Put pizzas under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly browned, 4-7 minutes.  Serve hot, with red pepper flakes to sprinkle on pizza if desired.

**This recipe is borrowed from**

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

July 19, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring New Potatoes

Cooking With This Week's Box:

This Week’s Summary of Recipes and the Vegetables They Utilize:

Green & Yellow Beans:  Summer Farmer Skillet 

Red Amaranth:  Summer Farmer Skillet 


White Cauliflower:  Cauliflower Patties

Alas, it’s time to cook new potatoes!  The first potatoes of the season are always the best tasting and really, the key to preparing them is to just keep it simple.  Simple is the key to this week’s cooking strategy, partly because of time and partly because the vegetables themselves just don’t need to be fussed with to be tasty and delicious.  Many of the items in this week’s box qualify as “Nature’s Fast Food.”  If they can’t be eaten raw, they can be prepared with minimal cooking time.  So, if you are short on time, hungry and tempted to order a pizza, pause for a minute and consider that you can pull off a simple dinner in the same time it will take you to order and pick up the pizza, or have it delivered.  Potatoes are likely the item that will take the longest to prepare, so lets start there.

New potatoes are delicious on their own, so simply boiling them until tender in salted water and then eating them with butter and black pepper is delicious.  If you want to kick it up a little bit, try one of the recipes featured below.  Nigel Slater’s recipe for Potatoes with Crème Fraiche and Dill (See Below) is super simple.  Boil the potatoes and add a spoonful of crème fraiche or sour cream along with a handful of dill or other fresh herbs.  That’s it—so delicious.  Karen from posted this recipe for Cracked and Smashed Potato Salad with Tarragon Aioli and Sweet Peas  (see below) on her blog last week.  It’s pretty darn simple to make, but we don’t have peas anymore!  No worries—substitute fresh green or yellow beans for the peas and you’ll be good to go. 

Summer Farmer Skillet
This is the week to pull out the recipe for the Summer Farmer Skillet, a recipe I shared in a newsletter last year.  This is a dish I turn to whenever I need a simple, yet hearty meal that is heavy on vegetables and easy on preparation time.  Yes there’s some chopping involved, but it really doesn’t take long.  Everything goes in one pan and leftovers are excellent.  This recipe will make use of some of your green and yellow beans, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, amaranth and/or sweetheart cabbage as well as some fresh herbs from your garden.  In just one dish you can utilize seven to eight of the vegetables from this week’s box plus herbs!

This week I’m going to use some of the zucchini with the white Spanish onions to make the Zucchini & Onion Gratin featured in one of our 2016 newsletters.  This is a super simple dish to make and very tasty.  As I was looking for this recipe, I came across this recipe for Chilled Cucumber-Tahini and Herb Soup with Cumin-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas.  It will take you about 15-20 minutes to roast the chickpeas, but the soup is made by putting everything in the blender and that’s it!  You can use either green or silver slicers in this recipe along with some fresh garlic and fresh herbs.  There’s enough fat and protein from the chickpeas and tahini to make this soup substantial enough to enjoy for lunch or a light dinner.  

Thai-Style Slaw with (or without) Chicken
Last year we featured this recipe for Thai-Style Slaw with (or without) Chicken that is excellent made with the sweetheart cabbage.  The recipe calls for green onions and red onion, but the white Spanish onion will be just fine.  It also calls for carrots and snow peas, but this week I’ll substitute some of the green beans in place of the peas.  The beauty of this recipe is that it is adaptable to whatever vegetables you have available at the time.  I like to serve this as a main dish salad and then use the leftovers to make spring rolls that are easy to take for lunch. 

I’ve been hungry for Broccoli & Cheddar Soup, so that’s where all of this week’s broccoli will be used.  I’m hoping there are some leftovers I can freeze to have something quick and easy to turn to some evening when I need a break from cooking.  While you could make soup with the cauliflower, I think I’m just going to use that to make Cauliflower Patties to serve for Sunday brunch along with our bacon and eggs.

Well, I think we’ve reached the bottom of another CSA box.  We’ll have peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and sweet corn coming in very soon…possibly even next week for some of these vegetables.  Don’t forget, if you’re going on a summer vacation, camping or any other road trip, take your vegetables with you so you don’t miss out on any of the summer CSA bounty.  You’ll also feel better eating good food while you travel and will save money along the way!  Have a great week!

—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature:  New Potatoes

The potatoes in your box this week are a variety called Red Norland.  They are an early variety red-skinned potato with creamy white flesh and this week they are classified as a “new potato.” The difference between a new potato and other potatoes we’ll deliver this season is not the variety or the size, but the way they are harvested.  New potatoes are classified as such if they are harvested off of a plant that still has green leaves on it.  With latter varieties, we’ll mow down the potato vine about a week in advance of harvest.  In the week between mowing down the vines and actually harvesting the potatoes, changes take place that help to set the skins and make them better for storage.  They are also easier to handle without damaging the skin. 

New potatoes have a very thin, tender and delicate skin.  They need to be handled with care so as not to disturb the skin and expose the flesh.  Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place, but not in the refrigerator.  It’s important that they are not exposed to light or they will turn green and be bitter.  In general, potatoes will store for a few weeks at room temperature in a brown paper bag.  However new potatoes will not store as well and are best eaten within one week. Do not store potatoes in a plastic bag or in the refrigerator.

New potatoes are, in my opinion, the “best of the best” potatoes of the season.  They are tender & creamy with a fresh, pure potato flavor.  This week’s variety is a “waxy” variety.  They lend themselves well to basic boiling, roasting or pan-frying.  You could make “smashed” potatoes with them, but I’d discourage you from making mashed potatoes out of them as waxy potatoes have a tendency to become sticky when mashed. 

Last year's potato harvest
We still have six more varieties of potatoes to dig this year.  Some potatoes are classified as “waxy” while others are classified as “starchy,” or possibly a mix of the two classifications.  These classifications are assigned based on the type of starch that comprises the flesh of the potato.  Waxy potatoes are generally more moist and hold together better.  They are best used for roasting, boiling or steaming, and potato salad.  I do not recommend mashing them because they usually become sticky.  Starchy potatoes tend to be more dry and fluffy.  This is a variety of potato appropriate for mashing as well as for making roasted potatoes, pan frying, etc.  Starchy potatoes are also useful for thickening soups.  We’ll tell you more about each new variety of potatoes in the “What’s In the Box” section of every email, so check there for more info from week to week.

I encourage you to slow down and really savor the flavor of these fresh, delicate potatoes.  They have a unique “fresh” potato flavor that will never be the same as it is this week when they are freshly dug.  You really don’t need to do much to these potatoes and, in fact, I’d encourage you to do as little as possible!  Treat them simply and enjoy the flavor.  They are excellent with nothing more than a little butter, salt and pepper. 

Potatoes with Crème Fraiche, and Dill

Yield:  However much you would like

Gently rub the potatoes clean, washing them well under running water.  Leave the skin be if it is young and thin.  Peel it if not.  Put the potatoes into cold water and bring to a boil.  Salt generously, then simmer until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife—a matter of anything from ten to twenty-five minutes, depending on the variety of your potatoes.  Drain and return them to the stove, this time over gentle heat.

Put a large dollop of crème fraiche into the pan and a handful of chopped dill fronds.  Cover with a lid until the cream has melted.  Fold the potatoes gently over in the melted cream and herbs until they are lightly coated, then eat with ham or oily fish.

NOTE FROM CHEF ANDREA:  This recipe was borrowed from Tender: A cook and his vegetable patch, by Nigel Slater.  The recipe is exactly as he wrote it in his book.  It’s a loose recipe that will guide you through a very simple way to prepare new potatoes.  If you don’t have crème fraiche, sour cream is an appropriate substitute.  If you don’t have fresh dill, just substitute any other fresh herb you have available, such as parsley or basil.

Cracked and Smashed Potato Salad with Tarragon Aioli and Sweet Peas

Yield: 4-6 servings
photo from

2 pounds new potatoes, preferably golf-ball size
¾ cup kosher salt (or plain table salt)
2 cups sugar snap peas or thawed frozen sweet peas*
1 cup prepared mayonnaise 
1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest and juice 
1 small pressed garlic clove
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon*

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  1. Put the potatoes and salt in a large pot (at least 5 quarts). Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat and partially cover the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 - 25 minutes. Throw the peas into the pot for the last 15 seconds of cooking. Drain and cool the potatoes 15 minutes.
  3. Stir together the mayonnaise, fresh lemon zest and juice and garlic.  Add the tarragon and a good 15 - 20 grinds of pepper.
  4. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl. Using the back of a large wooden spoon, press down on the potatoes to lightly smoosh and crack them. Add ¾ cup of the aioli to the potatoes and toss gently to coat.  Taste and add more aioli if you like.
*Note: This recipe was borrowed from  Since we’re done with sugar snap peas for the season, consider using green beans in place of the peas in this recipe.  Also, if you don’t have fresh tarragon available, you could also substitute chervil from your herb garden.

King of the Farm

By Andrea Yoder

Crack it, Plant it, Cover it, Mulch it, Pray for it, Wait for it, Hope for it, Fork it, Catch a Glimpse of it, Feed it, Water it, Weed it, Feed it, Weed it, Feed it, De-scape it, Dig it, Bundle it, Dry it, Select it, Clean it, Store it, Eat it, Be grateful for it, and do it all over again.  The “It” is Garlic.  It’s a lot of work.  It’s a lot of gamble.  It’s a lot of skill.  It’s a lot of patience.  It’s a lot of trust.  It’s not negotiable.  In our minds, it’s a staple.  It’s essential.  It keeps us healthy, nourishes us, enhances our meals and life without garlic would just be pretty bland.  It just might be the King crop of our farm.

Our first load of garlic harvested in 2018!
We started our garlic harvest last Thursday afternoon.  Thus far we’ve harvested 33,720 bulbs of garlic and hope to finish harvesting the remainder of the field before the end of the week.  We only have about 10% of the crop remaining in the field.  Garlic harvest is a big deal.  Timing is everything and it takes a lot of hands on deck to make it happen in a timely manner.  The crew has done an excellent job once again.  We’ll be honest with you, this is not the best crop we’ve ever harvested.  We lost some garlic to rot early in the spring when it was cold and wet.  Once we saw the sprouts starting to try to push through the mulch, the crew went out and loosened the mulch so they could make it through the thick, insulating layer.  The next day, April 18, we got a foot of heavy, wet snow that packed the mulch back down on top of the delicate sprouts.  Some sprouts didn’t fare so well.  Once the snow melted, we forked the mulch off the plants again, the survivors pushed through and we carried on.  So, this year’s garlic crop isn’t as plentiful as we were hoping for, but we still have garlic!  The bulbs are smaller and we’ve noticed they don’t have as many cloves of garlic per bulb as they usually do.  Italian garlic generally produced 8-10 cloves per bulb and Porcelain garlic generally produces 4-5 cloves per bulb.  This year we’re seeing more in the range of 7 per bulb on the Italian and 2 per bulb on the porcelain. 

Garlic sprout peeking through the ground this spring
Garlic growth is heavily regulated by day length and spring is a very important time of the year for garlic to grow and develop.  The conditions were not very conducive for “normal” growth this spring, yet the biological clock inside the plant continued to tick along with the changing day length.  Once we did get back on more of a “normal” weather pattern, the garlic resumed normal growth rates however it was unable to compensate for the lost growth time and thus, we have small garlic.  That’s our theory. 

The good news is that we have garlic and will be able to select seed from this year’s crop to replant in the fall for the 2019 crop.  We will need to be very careful with our selection this year and will likely take a larger percentage of our overall crop for seed than we normally do, which means the garlic available for eating may be more limited.  Another piece of good news is that this year’s garlic looks really healthy and we aren’t seeing much, if any, disease on the bulbs.  This is important both for storage potential, but also for selecting seed stock.  We don’t want to replant any cloves from bulbs with disease as we risk carrying disease from one year into the next.

Richard enjoying the 2011 Garlic Diner
So that’s the state of this year’s crop.  It isn’t the biggest, most plentiful crop, but we’re thankful for what we have and that we’ll be able to continue to preserve our varieties by saving seed for the next crop.  Even though there’s less garlic on the tables in our greenhouse this year, we still feel rich when we walk down those aisles.  

Last Sunday we attended the annual garlic dinner hosted by Tami Lax at Harvest Restaurant in Madison,Wisconsin.  Tami has been hosting this dinner every year in July for seventeen years!  We enjoyed a five course meal that included garlic in every course!  Chefs Josh and Evan, along with their culinary crew, used almost forty pounds of our garlic in the meal.  They used our fresh garlic, which is harder to peel.  I think Chef Josh said it took them nearly 6 to 7 hours to peel all the garlic!  It is always fun to see how they choose to use the garlic in each course and the dinner always serves as a representation of just how versatile garlic can be in its uses.  We enjoyed whipped, rendered pork fat that had been infused with garlic and was served with grilled bread and a simple fennel and radish salad.  They made a delicious cucumber salad featuring burnt garlic salt and crisp garlic chips with mint and feta.  This was an interesting dish featuring our porcelain garlic.  The garlic chips were the perfect shade of golden and sweet, not bitter.  Chef Even had the idea to actually burn garlic by roasting it in the oven and then ground it with salt to make this cool black salt that was infused with the garlic flavor!  This was one of my favorite dishes.  Yes, they even incorporated garlic into the dessert!  They were not shy in making a garlic streusel topping for a cherry crumble and they served it with ice cream made from black garlic.  Black garlic is a means of preserving garlic by very slowly roasting it over the course of weeks.  The process develops the natural sugars in the garlic and the end result is much different than fresh garlic!  We had a fun evening and were grateful for the opportunity to share in this celebration of garlic.

We hope you enjoy the garlic you receive in this year’s remaining boxes and appreciate what we have as we look forward to another crop in the future.  Garlic is our labor of love and we’re grateful for each and every hand that helps along the way.
Some of the many hands helping us with our labor of love