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Author: bloomingglenfarm

This week’s share sees the first winter squash of the season. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an ornamental pumpkin to let rot on your front porch- cook it quick, it won’t store for long. The scarlet kabocha squash, “sunshine”, could hands down be the sweetest and most flavorful it has ever been since we started growing it five years ago. To cook it, I just cut it in quarters, remove the seeds and sit it in a casserole pan cut side up with a little bit of water in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 375 degrees until soft (about 45 minutes) and enjoy! Another vegetable you might not be familiar with is celeriac, or celery root. To enjoy this root vegetable just peel off the roots and rough exterior until it resembles a white turnip. The flavor is just like celery, but a little goes a long way. Use in soups, mashed with potatoes, roasted with other root crops, or grate it raw on a salad.

September 13, 2011

We thank everyone for their support during all this crazy weather. This season by far has been the most challeging for us, from the wet spring to the catastrophic rain and flooding of the last few weeks. We are seeing major crop loss from the over 17 inches of rain we received in under two weeks. We are still assessing the damage (as some crops we thought were okay are succumbing to the moisture and others we just don’t know the extent of the damage- for example our sweet potatoes and potatoes), but it may be that we will have to end the season earlier then anticipated. In the meantime we will do our best to keep the shares as robust as possible, and we give thanks for all the bounty that the farm has already provided. We are scrambling to get our greenhouses cleaned out of their summer crops and prepped in the hopes that we can get something planted in there to make up for all that is rotting or dying in the fields. Our biggest concern now is that our fields dry out enough to get our garlic planted for next year. Keep your fingers crossed, and again we appreciate all the words of encouragement!

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Eggplants and Baba GanoushWhile the assets of eggplant lie mostly in their beauty (such gorgeous shades of purple!), they do have nutritional merit as well. Low in sodium and calories, and high in fiber, eggplant is a great addition to every diet. However, most of us don’t realize that to get the most bang for the nutrition buck, we must be sure to eat the skin; this is where all of the disease-fighting and health-building phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals live. Most notably, eggplant skin contains nasunin, an anthocyanin phytonutrient found to protect the fats in brain cell membranes, and chlorogenic acid, which has been found to benefit antimutagenic (anti-cancer), antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) and antiviral activities.

Here are some easy ways to include eggplant in your meals:

  • Sauté chopped onion, garlic, peppers and eggplant and add to your spaghetti sauce.
  • Layer thin slices of eggplant with layers of tomatoes, Swiss chard, onions and squash in a vegetable lasagna.
  • Lightly coat thick slices of eggplant with a grapeseed oil and herb mixture for the grill (eggplant is very porous and will absorb a ton of oil if soaked or dunked in marinade).
  • Use shredded eggplant as you use shredded zuchinni; try adding it to an omelet, quiche, bread or cookies.
  • Cut eggplant and other farm veggies into large chunks, toss in a 1-part soy sauce/4-parts water mixture and and roast for a delicious side dish (served hot) or salad topping (served cold).

Of course, one of the most delectable uses for eggplant is baba ganoush, a traditional Mediterranean spread that’s perfect for dipping farm-fresh veggies and whole wheat pitas into. It also serves well as a spread on sandwiches and wraps, or as a side with other Mediteranian foods like tabbouleh, falafel and hummus. The recipe below is for a simple and classic baba ganoush, but this time with directions that include all of the nutrition eggplant has to offer!

Baba Ganoush: Skinny Style

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.

-Pierce 2-3 eggplant several times with a fork, and place on a baking sheet or dish and cook in the oven until the skin sinks in, about 45-60 minutes.

-Let cool, cut in half lengthwise, squeeze off any excess juice, cut into chunks and process in a food processor with:

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
two cloves of garlic

Baba Ganoush is very flexible, so feel free to adjust these quantities to your taste. You can also add flavors — try a dash of cayenne for some heat, or fresh basil for a cooler taste.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

This comforting soup is a classic from Southern Italy better known to most as Italian Wedding Soup. I couldn’t help deviating a bit from the standard recipe. My version is a little less brothy with the addition of fresh tomato and a bit more orzo to make it a more satisfying meal. This is also a great way to showcase that escarole you may not know what to do with. You can also use swiss chard or kale as a substitute if you prefer.

Escarole and Orzo Soup with Meatballs

-Make meatballs by combining in a large bowl:

1 pound of ground beef (or turkey, pork or veal if you prefer)
1/4 cup of plain breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 white onion, grated (set other half aside for later)
a handful of fresh parsley
1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

-Form small bite-size meatballs (about the size of large grapes) and then place on a plate in the fridge to chill for a half hour. **I only used about 3/4 of the mixture and froze the rest for later use.

-In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and dice the other half of the onion and 2 medium carrots. Saute until onions are translucent.

-Add 8 cups of veggie or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of orzo and 1 cup fresh, chopped tomato. Simmer for 8 minutes.

-Gently add in the meatballs and simmer for another 10 minutes.

-Rough chop 4 cups of escarole and add to the soup. Cook for 5  more minutes at a simmer.

-Add more stock or water to get the consistency you want. Salt and pepper to taste.

-Garnish with a little Parmesean cheese and ENJOY!

**Serves 4 as a main dish. Can be cooked ahead of time and reheated before serving.

Recipe and photos by Jana Smart- Blooming Glen Farm employee and frequent creator of creative recipes using farm fresh seasonal ingredients. Check out more of her recipes on her food blog http://www.agrarianeats.blogspot.com/

What a rainy week ahead: four inches already and it’s only Tuesday evening. I’d be lying if I said we weren’t worried about the latter part of the season as we look out over our flooded fields. We are desperately hoping for a long stretch of sun and dry weather soon. There’s plenty of crops looking sad out there sitting in our soggy cold clay soil. We are seeing disease spreading rapidly in the late cauliflower, seedlings emerging only to be washed away, radishes splitting from too much water, and portions of our potato crops rotting in the saturated soil. You wouldn’t know it from the bountiful share this week, however. The offerings are starting to change a bit as we start to see an overlap of late summer crops and early fall crops. For example, there’s still plenty of eggplant, peppers and tomatoes in the share, but also the first cabbage, french breakfast radishes and escarole. Enjoy the bounty, and pray for sun!

CSA share, week 15.

Just a reminder to save the date: Our annual Fall Fest is Saturday October 8th, from 2-5 pm followed by a potluck dinner until dark. This year we are flipping the script a bit and having a contra dance during the festival. Contra dancing is simple walking steps accompanied by a caller who calls out what steps to do as the dance progresses. All the while, this is done with great music, good humor and wonderful company, our incredible CSA members! The festival will also include open mic opportunities so if you are a musician and interested in sharing your talent, please email the farm. Sign-ups for helping with crafts at the festival will be posted in the distribution room. Small children’s sized clothing donations for scarecrow making are appreciated (long sleeves and long pants, are perfect for stuffing with straw.) The popular pie bake-off contest will also be happening, so start brainstorming your entries now!!

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

With a few “Hurricane Specials” rolling in this week, I figured you might need something to do with all those big, beautiful green peppers and eggplant you will be getting.

This is a delicious recipe for stuffed peppers I picked up while I was in Turkey. Dolma simply means “stuffed” in Turkish and usually contains some mixture of meat, veggies, herbs and rice. My recipe has meat in it, but can easily be made vegetarian if you double up on the rice and eggplant. Serves 4 as a main dish.

Green Pepper Dolmas

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Prepare the eggplant for the filling by peeling and dicing 1 Asian eggplant and generously salting it. This draws out water and takes away any bitterness that might linger. Needs to set about 15 minutes to half an hour before being put in the filling.

-Take 4 green bell peppers and cut a slice off each end; reserve the tops. Remove the seed cores, wash and drain.

-Make filling by mixing in a large bowl:

5 tablespoons white rice, uncooked
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup of tomato,
chopped
the salted eggplant,
rinsed and wrung out with a towel to remove moisture
3/4 pound of ground beef or sausage
(I used kielbasi removed from its casing)
2 cloves of garlic
thyme and oregano
(about a tablespoon each if it’s dried, or to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
Salt and pepper

-Add 3/4 cup of water to the mixture and let stand for 30 minutes.

-Stuff peppers loosely with the filling. Arrange in a heavy shallow pan. Place pepper tops over the dolmas. Dot with butter.

-Add 3/4 cup of chicken or veggie stock to the pan. Cover and simmer on the stove on medium-low heat for 35-40 minutes. Add small amounts of water if the bottom of the pan starts to dry out.

-Carefully remove peppers from liquid and place in baking dish. Pop in the oven for about 1o to 15 minutes. **This will help dry out the filling since it is usually a little soupy. It will also help make sure the rice is cooked through.

-Serve with a dollop of yogurt laced with garlic or herbs and ENJOY!

Recipe and photos by Jana Smart- Blooming Glen Farm employee and frequent creator of creative recipes using farm fresh seasonal ingredients. Check out more of her recipes on her food blog http://www.agrarianeats.blogspot.com/

This week’s share is a little bit wacky, even for us. Blame it on the hurricane, if you will! Our windswept eggplant and bell pepper plants left a whole lot of fruit exposed to the sun, and susceptible to sunburn, so we gave out lots of both this week. Get out your favorite stuffed pepper recipe, or give Jana’s Green Pepper Dolmas a try.

CSA share, week 14.

For all the early birds that picked up your share right at 1:00, unfortunately we had a major harvest error, and you most likely took home an unripe watermelon. We caught the mistake close to 1:30, and removed the melons from the share. So sorry folks! We are battling quite a bit of downy mildew at the farm- our basil plants have succumbed to it, and the mildew is sweeping through the melon patch. We are hoping the fruit will ripen completely before the vines die, but there’s a chance they won’t. Today’s watermelon harvest fooled us a bit, so we’ll see what happens. The tomatoes are also winding down: 19 inches of rain in the month of August, along with these cool nights, just hasn’t been kind to our tomato plants. However,we are pretty excited that we took a chance on an early planting of broccoli (one crop that likes cool, wet weather), which you are enjoying this week in the share. Just a taste of what’s in store this fall!

The plants that looked so wilted after the whopping 9 inches of rain we received during the hurricane looked a lot better today. (That 9 inches was reported on CBS news for Perkasie… we’re still not sure if it was closer to 7 inches, but our raingauge was definitely full to the brim!) It is certainly a soupy swamp in our fields, so we are thrilled that we managed to harvest all our winter squash on Friday and Saturday before the storm. Now we start to think about all the potatoes and sweet potatoes that need digging….

Butternut Harvest

As we watched the sunset over the greenhouses Monday night, we were very thankful that they withstood the wind, a true test of the “seatbelt” straps anchoring them down. Our thoughts are certainly with those folks living in the river communities and elsewhere, still dealing with power outages and flooded homes.

Post-hurricane sunset

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Tomatillos, a staple of Mexican cuisine, have been becoming more and more popular. Known for their unique husk, fresh colors and tart, citrusy flavor, tomatillos are high in the fiber that’s essential for weight, cholesterol and blood sugar management as well as digestive health; vitamin C, which aids everything from our immune system to cancer preventions; and vitamin K, a bone- and blood-supporting vitamin normally found in dark, leafy greens. Their versatile and simple preparation options make getting this nutrition into our diets pretty easy!

Use tomatillos raw for classic Latin American salsas and sauces such as salsa verde and guacamole, chopped and sautéed in stir-fry, or cooked up for soups. The soup below pairs tomatillos with several other players in the Blooming Glen CSA share: flavorful and robust garlic and onion, jalapeño peppers that compliment the citrus flavor of the tomatillo, sweet peppers and corn that temper the tartness of the tomatillos, and potatoes that lighten the spice of the jalapeños.

Tomatillo Jalapeño Soup with Sweet Corn

Sauté 1 large onion, 7 cloves of chopped garlic, 4-6 thinly sliced jalapeños (use seeds for more spice), 1 cup chopped sweet pepper, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1 tablespoon chile powder in grapeseed oil in a large, heavy-bottom pot until onion is soft and translucent.

Add 2 cups of chopped tomatillos (to prepare your tomatillos, peel off the husk and then wash the fruit to remove any sticky residue), 1 large diced potato, 4 cups of broth and 1 cup of water to the pot, heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in a 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, kernels from 3 small ears of sweet corn and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Serve with fresh bread (Bakers on Broad has excellent options, including gluten-free) and toppings such as cilantro, green onion, chives, plain yogurt, sour cream, broken baked tortilla chips and corn kernels.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

This week has been one for the record books…first an earthquake and next a hurricane! Looks like a good weekend to stay home and enjoy your veggies, cook, eat, and cross your fingers we don’t get too much rain, or wind!

Last week at the Grange Fair we received the wonderful honor of being awarded the 2011 Fred Groshens Memorial Conservation Farmer of the Year, by the Bucks County Conservation District. The Conservation District presented us with a framed aerial photo of the farm, taken just weeks before. As I said on the farm Facebook page, we love this photo for the fact that you can’t see any of the weeds that need pulling!

And to top off our moment of glory, our entry in the market basket category at the Fair received a blue ribbon for first place, as well as Best in Show.

Pretty exciting! It’s hard to believe how far the farm has come in the past six years. Not too long ago it was just a dream that kept Tom and I moving from farm to farm, gathering knowledge and looking for the right place to put down roots. Well, we certainly share this recognition with all the many folks who have been with us since the beginning- family who never doubted our decision over 11 years ago to ditch our liberal arts degrees and become organic farmers (or at least didn’t vocalize it too loudly!) and continue to be our best “unpaid” labor force, friends and farmers coast-to-coast who have taught us invaluable lessons, our wonderful community of CSA members and market regulars who nourish their families from the farm’s bounty, the Rosenbergers who own this beautiful land and with a shared vision gave us the opportunity to soar, and all the wonderful people who have passed through the farm over the years, bringing their sweat and muscles to the nitty gritty of gettin’ it done and growin’ food!

Posted by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

If you can resist the urge to eat all of your sweet corn right off the cob this week, try this deliciously and mildly spicy version of creamed corn with poblano and sweet peppers. It makes a great side dish, but could also be a lovely topping to a taco or simply eaten with corn chips as an appetizer. Serves 4.

Creamed Sweet Corn with Poblanos

-Shuck 6 ears of sweet corn and, with a sharp knife, remove the kernels and set aside in a small bowl

-Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat and add:

1 white or red onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced with seeds removed
1 sweet pepper, diced with seeds removed
1 clove of garlic, finely minced

-Cook until peppers are tender and onions are translucent

-Toss in corn kernels and salt and pepper generously

-Pour in 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1/2 cup of chicken or veggie stock and simmer on medium-low heat until thickened (about 15 minutes).

-Let cool slightly and enjoy as a side to mashed potatoes (what I did! : ) ) with tacos, or with your favorite corn chip!

Recipe and photos by Jana Smart- Blooming Glen Farm employee and frequent creator of creative recipes using farm fresh seasonal ingredients. Check out more of her recipes on her food blog http://www.agrarianeats.blogspot.com/

Power Breakfast: Swiss Chard, Fresh Tomato and Egg If vegetables are lacking in the standard American diet, leafy greens are the scarcest of all. Given the incredible and unique nourishment these veggies offer, learning to cook and eat greens is essential for creating lasting health. Thankfully, adding these nutritional powerhouses to our diet is easy, especially if you’re a member of a CSA — greens grow from the beginning to the end of the season, with kale and collards bracketing the more tender Swiss chard.

Swiss chard is a unique leafy green in that it contains at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, which have been shown to aid our circulatory and respiratory systems by protecting us from atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), high blood pressure and air pollution damage. Polyphenols also contribute to cancer prevention and longevity.  Considering all of their health benefits, making sure we include them in our diet first thing in the morning will start us all off on a day fit for a superhero!

The addition of a local, free range, organic egg will add a “complete protein” that contains an adequate proportion of all nine essential amino acids necessary for our diet, healthy fats like omega-3s, and choline, which helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. In order to reap these benefits, you must be sure your eggs are from chickens raised in a natural environment. The ones sold at various local farms and markets are a great choice, like those from Deep Springs Farm in Harleysville, Purely Farm in Pipersville, or Happy Farm in Kintnersville.

Finally, the fresh tomatoes in this recipe are shown to prevent cancer, heart disease as well as high cholesterol — not to mention the fact that they taste great!

Superhero Breakfast: Swiss chard, Fresh tomato and Egg
Note: this dish can be made ovo vegetarian (dairy-free) using options below.

Sauté 1/4 cup chopped onion with a pinch of salt in 1/4 cup of water only (water sauté) over medium heat until onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat small skillet with butter or grapeseed oil.  Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of Swiss chard cut into thin strips to the onions and mix well, adding more water if necessary.  Cover and cook until tender and bright green, about 2-3 minutes.  Break one nature perfect egg and fry on the oiled skillet.

Add several splashes of vinegar to chard/onion mixture and stir well. Turn off heat and stir in 1 very small chopped tomato. Flip egg, cook for one minute and turn off heat.

Using a slotted spoon (to leave any remaining liquid in the pan), place the greens-onion-tomato mixture into shallow bowl and sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast flakes, romano cheese or parmesan cheese. Top with egg and serve immediately.

Recipe and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!