Author: bloomingglenfarm

Basil Quinoa with Edamame and TomatillosPoblano peppers are one of the most mild of hot peppers, measuring 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville Heat units. This is quite modest compared to, for example, it’s fiery relative the cayenne pepper, which has a heat unit of 30,000 to 50,000! The light spice of the poblano makes it a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen, and since it won’t singe taste buds, you can really taste its flavor.

The heat in poblanos and other peppers is caused by plant compounds called capsaicinoids, which are generally thought to exist as a natural deterrent against animals and fungi. Capsaicinoids have been linked to several health benefits over the years including, improved circulatory and heart function; pain management for arthritis, neuropathy and psoriasis; balanced and healthy cholesterol; increased metabolism; and even prevention against prostate cancer. Of course, poblanos mildness does means it has less capsaicinoids than the aforementioned cayenne or even a jalapeño, but it is worth noting.  And, like most veggies, all peppers are low in fat and cholesterol, high in fiber, and contain free radical-fighting antioxidants — a great addition to any diet!

We’ve posted a few recipes on the blog that feature poblanos; Summertime Chili, Creamed Sweet Corn with Poblanos, and Stuffed Poblanos with Mexican-style Quinoa. The recipe below uses two superfoods, edamame and quinoa, as well as flavorful basil and tomatillos, making it not only a nutritious, but delicious dish.

References and recommended links:

1 bunch fresh edamame, pods removed from branches
1 cup quinoa
1 tbs grapeseed oil
4-5 tomatillos, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tbs chopped fresh basil, chopped
2 cups No-chicken Broth

Heat enough water to cover edamame pods and bring to a boil. Add edamame and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or pot (a dutch over works great). Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, tomatillos, and jalapeño and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa, basil, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 10-15 minutes, until quinoa is cooked through.

Shell edamame and put beans aside.

Remove quinoa from heat, stir in edamame and let sit for 5 minutes. Salt to 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,!

We’ve rounded the bend and crossed the line of the middle of the season, at least when you talk about the distribution of CSA shares. As for farm work, our core group has been at it since late January, but our seasonal crew is in that tough month of August, what we call the middle of the lake- the jobs just aren’t as fresh and exciting as when they started in April. Things have gotten repetitive- the harvest schedule doesn’t rest, the days are still long and sweaty, tractors breakdown, an intern quits. The fall crops, prone to both heat and bug damage, need to be babied as seedlings, which requires wrestling with unwieldy row covers, a job no one really enjoys.

Row covers; Keeping up crew morale; watermelon bounty

The quicker fall roots like radishes are being seeded, as well as crops like tatsoi, kohlrabi and spinach. Yet the farm is still bursting at the seams with tomatoes and peppers and eggplant, the gigantic watermelons require lots of heavy lifting for tired bodies, and the weeds that we’ve missed are chest high, taunting us with their unchecked vigor. 

Winter Squash plants and leeks

With the steady drone of the late summer cicadas and crickets in the background, we remind our crew that cooler weather and shorter days are just around the corner. We remind them of all the happy CSA members and appreciative market customers, and read them the positive feedback emails we get! And we tell them that the satisfaction of completing a full season on a farm is just an arm’s length away. Soon we will harvest winter squash and fall roots and the summer crops will be a distant memory. Our hands will grow numb with frosty morning harvests, and we’ll miss the joy of watermelon juice dribbling down our chins on a hot sweaty day in August.

CSA share, week 13, 8/7/12

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

With beautiful tomatoes, spicy peppers, pungent onions, and zesty cilantro all in one share, a batch of fresh salsa was calling my name last night.

There are several hot peppers to choose from this week. I used a serrano pepper, a variety of chili that originated in the mountainous regions of Mexico. It is the pepper traditionally used in making pico de gallo and salsa. It is hotter than a jalapeno and has a nice bright flavor for use in raw recipes.

This recipe makes a “medium” salsa, but can be adapted to be as spicy or mild as you like. Omit the hot pepper all together if you’ve got a sensitive mouth, or kick it up a notch by including the seeds or more than one hot pepper.

Salsa Fresca

In a food processor, pulse together: 1 pound red tomatoes (about 2 medium-sized tomatoes), cored and chopped; 1 torpedo onion, greens cut off and bulb chopped; 1 serrano pepper, stem and seeds removed; 1 handful cilantro; 1 garlic clove; juice of one lime; and a pinch of salt, to taste.

Voila! You’ve got salsa!

Now you can top these ultra-simple tostadas with a dollop of the salsa for a quick and fresh dinner. They are a great way to use up leftovers from a roasted Ledamete Grass chicken, and perfect for a summer night when the last thing you want to do is slave away over a hot stove.

Chicken Tostadas

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a cast iron or non-stick pan. When the oil is sizzling hot, lightly fry 4 corn tortillas (one at a time) in the oil–about 50 seconds per side, until just golden brown and starting to puff up. Place fried tortillas on a paper towel or newspapers to absorb extra oil.

Top fried tortillas with 2 cups shredded cooked chicken, shredded or crumbled cheese (I like cotija, a mild Mexican cheese, but cheddar, jack, or chevre also work well), a big dollop of your salsa, and a squeeze of lime.

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, fresh food enthusiast, and budding food blogger. She also writes for the Digging Deep Campaign, as well as for her personal blog, Growing Things.


As the bounty continues to roll in from the fields, it’s great to think about how to preserve the summer flavors for when the weather turns foul. Putting up food for later is one of the best ways to maintain your local eating habit even when the CSA season ends–and with such gorgeous shares, it’s easy to do.

CSA share, week 12, 7/31/12

I spent the day canning some of our super-flavorful beefsteak tomatoes and making a batch of these Oven-Dried Cherry Tomatoes. (Half-bushel boxes of tomatoes are still available for purchase–email to reserve a box and we’ll have it ready for your next pick-up). New to canning? Sign up for the tomato canning workshop on August 18th, 10-2pm, here at the farm. Led by canning teacher, blogger, and cookbook author Marisa McClellan (of Food In Jars fame), this workshop is not to be missed. Details and registration information are on our website.

Also available for purchase are half-bushel boxes of cucumbers. No need to pre-order. Boxes will be available for $15 in the CSA pick-up room this week (just bring checks or exact change, please). These cux work great for sliced pickles–and no need to bother with the canning process with this recipe for Fridge Pickles!

Here at the farm, we’ve been trying to preserve the bounty in another way: in between harvesting thousands of pounds of tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, and squash, the crew is running around trying to get more crops in the ground so that we can keep the bounty coming. Cold-loving crops like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower all get their start in these hot days of summer.

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, fresh food enthusiast, and budding food blogger. She also writes for the Digging Deep Campaign as well as for her personal blog, Growing Things.

The field tomatoes have popped, the heirlooms are rolling in, second and third plantings of cucumbers and squash are happening, as well as the first cantaloupes, and soon, watermelon! Summer crops are here in full force! I love to go overboard eating tomatoes now, so when it’s wintertime, I won’t be tempted to eat those bland, shipped in fruits masquerading as tomatoes. This week’s share contains edamame beans (on the stalk- just pull the pods off). As many of you may know, a wonderful simple way to eat edamame is to boil or steam the whole pods until they are tender and bright green, then plunge in cold water, salt the pods, sit down with a bowl-full and use your teeth to remove the beans. Quite an addictive snack, and great with a cold beverage!

CSA share, week 11, 7/24/12

This season, Farmer Tom grew field tomato varieties based on flavor, not necessarily yield. Happily, we have both. Soon we will be able to offer plum tomatoes for canning by the 1/2 bushel (that’s 25 pounds!), but for now we have some tasty meaty beefsteaks in the share, and available for purchase for those interested in canning, freezing or bulk salsa making! Send us an email if you are interested in reserving a box. The cherry tomatoes are also on the menu this week- the ever popular sungolds, as well as reds, and soon the rainbow mixes- a variety of colors and flavors.

For those new to canning, the lovely Marisa McClellan, of the popular local Food in Jars blog, and cookbook author, is hosting a food canning workshop at the farm Saturday August 18th, from 10-2pm. Details and registration information are on our website. Each participant will take home 2-3 quarts of whole peeled tomatoes, along with all the knowledge you need to replicate the same feat in your own kitchen. This will be a fun day- don’t miss it!

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

You might have seen them at the market or in your CSA share, and wondered what are those flying-saucer shaped squashes? Depending on where you’re from, they go by any number of different names. When we farmed in Oregon it was called sunburst squash, here we call it pattypan squash, but it also goes by scallop squash, white squash, button squash, granny squash or custard squash. Their light green or bright gold rinds remain thin and edible. Their insides are white, with a mild, buttery flavor. It’s shape is whimsical and versatile- you can chop it up and use it like regular zucchini, or if you want to preserve its character, stuff it whole.

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

I used three pounds of pattypan squash, 8 squash, each about the size of my fist, or smaller. You could do less, larger squash, and just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water, or for more flavor I used homemade chicken broth. Feel free to substitute your grain of choice.

Meanwhile pre-boil the whole patty pan squash for about 5 min, just to soften them a bit and make cutting them easier.

To cut, just imagine you are carving the top off a pumpkin. Insert your knife at an angle and remove the cap. Scoop out the insides with a spoon, being careful not to pierce the wall. (Though have no fear, I did, and things still turned out just fine). Put prepared pattypans in a baking dish. I oiled the inside of each and salt and peppered them.

Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a pan, heat up and saute 1/2 of a large sweet onion, diced, 4 cloves fresh garlic, diced, and cook until the onions begin to sweat. Add 1 asian eggplant, diced, and one chopped tomato. Cook for a few minutes then add 1 1/2 cups Swiss Chard, cut into thin strips. You can also add any fresh herbs you like- I used a few sprigs of basil and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste.

The great thing about making a stuffing for a squash, or even stuffed peppers, you can pretty much use whatever you have on hand. If you prefer to go the meat route, I think sausage or ground beef would work well also.

After sauteing the vegetables, stir in the quinoa, taste and adjust seasoning to your preference. Fill the squash to the brim with the quinoa mixture. To top it off, I combined a cup of bread crumbs with some melted butter and parmesan cheese. Then after oiling and seasoning the lids, I re-capped the cuties, added a bit of water to the bottom of the baking dish, and covered with foil. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or so, until squash is soft, but not mushy. I removed the foil for the last 10 minuted to get a bit of browning.


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

The last few days on the farm have been a challenge. With the temperature soaring, the crew is feeling the heat, but the crops still need to be picked. Just as the garlic harvest is complete, the storage onion harvest begins. The second planting of cucumbers is just about ready for harvest, and we are well into an every other day picking schedule of the summer squash. The field tomatoes are trickling in, and CSA members and market shoppers are enjoying the bounty of the heirloom tomato harvest.

CSA share, week 10, 7/17/12

We grow a handful of different heirloom tomato varieties, all with nuances in flavor and appearance. Though we don’t grow tomatoes for their stories, my favorite just happens to have a great one. The Russian heirloom variety Paul Robeson may not be the most productive tomato of all, but its rich chocolate brown color mirrors its deep earthy flavor.  I like to talk it up at the farmers market as the “BLT tomato”- but thanks to its smoky undertones you can skip the bacon if you so desire.

And if the color and taste weren’t enough to make this luscious tomato a favorite, it is named for a local hero. Paul Robeson (born in Princeton, 1898 and died in Philadelphia, 1976) was an accomplished athlete at Rutgers University, famous actor (played Othello in the longest-running Shakespearean production in Broadway history), singer (world famous for his vibrant baritone renditions of Negro spirituals), orator, cultural scholar and linguist (fluent in at least 15 languages). If that’s not enough, Robeson was an outspoken crusader for racial equality and social justice, all the while battling overt racism against himself throughout his life and various endevours. 

Revered by the left, reviled by the right, Robeson was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era and beyond, harassed by the FBI, his passport revoked for eight years, his career stifled. How a tomato developed in the Soviet Union came to be named after him is uncertain, except that perhaps his connection with Communism made it a safe bet for Russian scientists looking for a politically correct name choice. I don’t recall ever having learned about this great man in school, so I have farming, and the story of this delicious tomato, to thank for a new knowledge of Paul Robeson, a man who’s achievements were unparalleled and were all the more incredible given the barriers of racism that he had to surmount.

So that’s your history lesson of the day! Of course, all the heirloom tomatoes we grow have amazing flavor and stories (The Cherokee Purple and Green tomatoes are said to trace back to seeds given to someone in Tenessee by Cherokee Indians in the late 1800’s), and everyone here at the farm has a different favorite- Farmer Tom even prefers the red field tomatoes that you’re about to see in the share. Hopefully you can try a few different tomato varieties and find your own favorite!

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

While the farm crew was wilting in last week’s hot weather, our heat-loving summer crops were having a hay day. You’ll notice one of them, eggplant, in this week’s share for the first time. The elongated Oriental variety can be used just like the classic Italian eggplant, and I actually prefer it because it is thinner skinned, more convenient to cut, and has fewer seeds. This recipe takes inspiration from the vegetable’s Asian heritage and from the giant basil patch open to the CSA this week.

Stir-Fried Eggplant and Basil

In a very hot skillet or wok, heat 1/4 cup coconut oil (or other light oil suitable for high-heat frying). When the oil is hot, throw in 5 cloves of thinly sliced garlic, 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, and 2 Asian eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch coins. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt. Stir eggplant so that oil is evenly distributed.

Continue to cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until eggplant melts down and garlic becomes golden and slightly crispy. Toss in 1 cup basil leaves, stripped from stems. Remove from heat.

Drizzle lightly with soy sauce and sesame oil. Serve over rice or other grain of choice (I chose amaranth, a great pseudo-grain that actually grows as a weed on the farm, but whose seeds are high in protein and have a porridge-like consistency).

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, fresh food enthusiast, and budding food blogger. She also writes for the Digging Deep Campaign as well as for her personal blog, Growing Things.

Not much has changed on the farm since last week- still hot, still dry, and still irrigating.  This week’s share sees the first eggplant of the season, as well as the first heirloom tomatoes. Our heirloom tomatoes are grown in unheated greenhouses where they can flourish under controlled irrigation. They are grafted, pruned and trellised and generally spoiled, and in return they ripen a bit earlier then our field tomatoes. The red field tomatoes are still a week or two away, but we are seeing the first ripening cherry tomatoes, so it won’t be long before they are on the pick-your-own list.  

CSA share, week 9, 7/10/12

The farm crew, and some wonderful volunteers, began the garlic harvest today, 9 months to the day after it was planted in the ground, on October 11th to be exact. I must confess, garlic is my favorite crop to grow on the farm- it is a very hands off crop- plant it, mulch it with straw, let it go all winter, then give it a little fertility and attention in the spring, and voila, come July, gorgeous fragrant bulbs of garlic. Maybe it’s the mom in me, but there is just something magical about a 9 month overwintered crop, grown from a tiny clove that sits drawing energy from the earth through the cold winter months then emerges green and vibrant in the warm spring. And I do really love the community effort that goes into the harvest. All the garlic is pulled by hand (after being loosened by a tractor drawn implement), then bundled and hung in the barn to dry and cure. The curing process will dry the skins and enable it to be used well into the winter months- returning to us all that wonderful healthy healing properties of the earth that it absorbed all winter. Join us this Saturday if you’d like to be a part of this fun farm experience!

CSA member volunteers help with garlic harvest.

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

Roasted and fresh fennelFennel is a spice commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. Both the bulb and fronds of the versatile fennel can be used, and it’s enjoyed both raw and cooked. Fennel is a very good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese, but its real star power comes from its unique combination of phytonutrients. Like radicchio, kale, and Swiss chard, the phytonutrients in fennel gives it “strong antioxidant activity.”

We’ve posted a few recipes here on the blog that feature fennel. It’s used raw in a crunchy and bright Escarole Salad with Fennel and Orange recipe, and it’s used cooked in a sweet Caramelized Fennel and Onions recipe. The couscous salad recipe below feature roasted fennel and capitalizes on its Mediterranean roots, while also including several other items from this week’s share (Swiss chard, Walla Wall onion, cucumber, and basil; sweet peppers will be in the share soon). It makes for a great addition to any potluck, picnic, or brunch table!

References and recommended links:

Couscous fennel salad ingredients

Roasted Fennel Couscous Salad

1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
zest from 1 lemon
1 tbs fresh ginger, minced
1 tbs agave
1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups whole wheat couscous
3 cups water
1/4 tsp tumeric
2 fennel bulbs, chopped
1/3 cup fennel fronds, chopped
2 red, yellow and/or orange sweet peppers, diced
1/2 cup Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves sliced very thinly, chiffonade-style
1/2 cup Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup dried Turkish figs, sliced
1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, sliced
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup pistachio kernels, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
zest from 1 orange

In a saucepan boil water. Add turmeric and couscous. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit covered for 10 minutes, and then fluff with a fork to break up any clumps of couscous.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Spread fennel onto a baking sheet, lightly spray with grapeseed oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until edges begin to brown and bulbs begin to soften, about 15 minutes.*

Soak the raisins in warm water until they’re plumped up, about 15 minutes.

Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the couscous and fennel with the remaining salad ingredients and stir to combine. Toss the dressing with the salad until until all the dressing is absorbed.

* Note: Make an extra batch of roasted fennel while you have the oven on!  Roasted fennel is a yummy addition to just about any green salad or grain dish.  It also sits atop a pizza or in a quiche very well.  Most simply, it’s tasty as is.

Post and photos 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,!