News and blog
You know it is summer when you can bite into some juicy ripe fruit, fresh from the garden. We are excited to be offering melons this week and I promise they are delicious! Canteloupe started ripening last week and will finish this week. Watermelons are just coming on this week and should last the next two weeks. Some of you will be getting canteloupe this week while others get watermelon but do not despair! You will get both of them as soon as they are available :)
For those of you who were not able to come to the picnic, I thought I would start adding pictures from the farm so you can see what things look like. This week I am posting a picture of what I call "Chicken Village". These 200+ hens lay your eggs and are able to roam the front 17 acres of pasture and woods before going to bed in their night coop. Now this doesn't seem real safe with all these wild animals around so we bring in Dez, our fearless protector. He hangs out with the chickens and barks at anyone who does not belong. We have also decided to put our sheep in this pasture and of course, they love to spend their afternoons under the shade of the chicken house as you can see from this picture. While it is not always perfect...these animals make me smile!
This week will look a little light in your bags. We have heard from a lot of people that they have leftover produce to catch up on so we are doing larger items to help you catch up. This week you can expect:
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Red or orange peppers
Can you believe it is August already! The summer is flying by but do not fear- we are only half way through our CSA. There is still lots of weeding, planting, washing, harvesting, etc. going on here at the farm. We have one big addition this month to the farm- a new Farmhand! His name is Vincent and you will all have a chance to meet him at some future pickups/ deliveries. He is new to the farm here but has had a lot of really interesting farm experiences both around Indianapolis and around the world during a stint in the Peace Corps. It is great to have extra help and I hope you will all notice it in your future boxes :)
What to expect in your box this week:
- Field Tomatoes
- Mandarin Sweet Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
This week we have a new item: Eggplant! This is such an interesting vegetable. It is so beautiful and interesting and yet maligned by so many. Most of you have had the old standby- Eggplant Parmigiana. It is anokay dish but smother anything with red sauce and it tastes good in my opinion. I encourage you to try something different with this one. I normally try to post an easier recipe that is pretty common but this Eggplant Crostada is worth the extra effort:
Eggplant Crostata 4-6 servings
For the dough: 1 cup all-purpose flour ½ tsp kosher salt 1 tsp baking powder 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled & cut in ½ inch pieces ½ cup sour cream or crème fraiche, chilled
For the topping: 6 small eggplants ¼ cup goat cheese ¼ cup roasted pepper strips ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tbl smoked paprika salt & pepper Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place 4 eggplants on a baking tray and roast in the oven 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the skins are charred and the flesh is tender to the touch. Cool to room temperature. Peel away the skins and scoop the roasted flesh into a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
For the dough: Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix, then add the chilled butter. Pulse until the butter is just incorporated; some pea sized pieces are ok, but do not over blend. Add the chilled sour cream and blend until the mixture just begins to form a mass. Turn out onto a piece of parchment paper and use the edges of the paper for press the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
To assemble the tart: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the remaining eggplant as thinly as possible. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and unroll it onto an inverted baking sheet. Spread ½ cup of eggplant puree over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border. Layer the eggplant slices over the surface of the puree, then brush with the remaining olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Scatter over the roasted pepper strips and goat cheese. Bake the tart for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. The tart can be served warm or at room temperature.
Whew! I think we finally made it through our hottest week...that was brutal. It was great to see some of you and your families at the picnic last Saturday. We missed the rest of you but hope to see you at the next picnic. Things are busy here as we begin to plant out some of our fall vegetable starts. We have chinese cabbage, swiss chard, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, parsley, cilantro, head lettuce, cucumbers, and beans going out this week. Summer crops are still coming in so stay tuned for watermelon, cantaloupe, eggplant, red and orange peppers, and plenty more tomatoes :)
We are just beginning to get our first peaches since planting in 2012. They are small but sweet- all of our fruit is grown organically and without any sprays at all. Keep in mind they will not be as pretty as the ones in the store but the flavor is great. Let them continue ripening in a paper bag or on your counter until fully ripe.
What to expect this week:
- Zucchini/ Summer Squash
- Green Peppers
- Sweet corn from Twin Sycamore Farm in Pittsboro
Recipe of the week:
- 6 ears corn, kernels stripped
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise
- 1/4 c. cotija cheese or feta, plus more for garnish
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 1 tbsp. chili powder, plus more for garnish
- kosher salt
- In a serving bowl, toss corn with mayo, cotija, lime juice, cilantro, and chili powder. Season generously with salt.
- Top with more cotija, cilantro, and a sprinkle of chili powder.
***Thanks to Molly for bringing this to the picnic Saturday. I have a new addiction- I just had it again tonight and it was so sweet and delicious!***
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! It is incredible to see the neighbor's corn (the saying goes knee high by the fourth of July) growing past our heads. With all the rain and hot weather things are growing like crazy, including all these weeds :) We have been busy starting new seedlings for the fall batches of vegetables so you will have lots of yummy treats come fall. The tomatoes are just starting to turn red- we ate our first cherry tomato yesterday, but it will be next week before enough are ready to send out.
What to expect in your box this week:
- Snap Beans- green or yellow
- Summer Squash
- Shiitake mushrooms
Parmesan Roasted Broccoli and Onions
- Check 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets (6 cups)
- Check 1 small red onion, cut into wedges
- Check 2tablespoons olive oil
- Check 1/2cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
- Check kosher salt and black pepper
- Heat oven to 425° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli and onion with the oil and Parmesan and season with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Spoiled Rotten – How To Store Fruits And Vegetables
Cold-sensitive fruits and veggies lose flavor and moisture at low temperatures. Store them on the counter, not in the fridge. Once they’re fully ripe, you can refrigerate them to help them last, but for best flavor, return them to room temp. Never refrigerate potatoes, onions, winter squash or garlic. Keep them in a cool, dark, dry cabinet, and they can last up to a month or more. But separate them so their flavors and smells don’t migrate
The ABCs of Fresh
“The main way to lengthen shelf life is by using cold temperatures to slow food’s respiration, or ‘breathing’ process,” explains Marita Cantwell, PhD, a postharvest specialist at the University of California, Davis. In general, the warmer the temperature, the faster the rate of respiration, which is why refrigeration is critical for most produce. But while you want to slow it down, you don’t want to stop the breathing altogether. “The worst thing to do is seal fruits and vegetables in an airtight bag,” says Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University. “You’ll suffocate them and speed up decay.”
Some fruits emit ethylene, an odorless, colorless gas that speeds ripening and can lead to the premature decay of nearby ethylene-sensitive vegetables. Put spinach or kale in the same bin as peaches or apples, and the greens will turn yellow and limp in just a couple of days. So the first trick is to separate produce that emits ethylene from produce that’s sensitive to it.
REFRIGERATE THESE GAS RELEASERS:
DON’T REFRIGERATE THESE GAS RELEASERS:
Âï¿½ Bananas, unripe
Âï¿½ Bananas, ripe
Âï¿½ Brussels sprouts
Âï¿½ Lettuce and other leafy greens
Âï¿½ Sweet potatoes
There are also some innovations to help extend the life of your fruits and veggies. Some products actually absorb ethylene and can be dropped into a crisper, such as the E.G.G. (for ethylene gas guardian), which is shaped like, you guessed it, an egg, and ExtraLife, a hockey puck-like disk. A variety of produce bags are also on the market, such as those by Evert-Fresh and BioFresh, which both absorb ethylene and create an atmosphere that inhibits respiration.
At least as important as how you store produce is when you buy it. Do all your other shopping first so that your berries and broccoli don’t get warmÂï¿½—and respire rapidlyÂï¿½—while you’re picking up nonperishable items. Get the produce home and into the fridge as soon as possible. If you’ll be making several stops between the market and kitchen, put a cooler in the car. Shop farmers’ markets soon after they open: Just-harvested greens wilt rapidly once they’ve been in the sun for a few hours.
Even under optimal conditions, fragile raspberries will never last as long as thick-skinned oranges. Eat more perishable items first. And if you still find yourself with a bushel of ripe produce—Âï¿½and a business trip around the bendÂï¿½—improvise. Make a fruit pie, a potful of soup or a great big vat of tomato sauce, and throw it in the freezer. You’ll relish your foresight when you get home.
Fastest to Slowest Spoilers: What to Eat First
You can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables with just a single weekly trip to the supermarket, with proper storage and a little planning. The key is eating the more perishable produce early on. Use this guide, rightÂï¿½—created with the help of Marita Cantwell, PhD, postharvest specialist at the University of California, DavisÂï¿½—based on a Sunday shopping trip. The timing suggestions are for ready-to-eat produce, so allow extra days for ripening if you’re buying, say, green bananas or not-quite-ripe pears. And remember, looks count. AppearanceÂï¿½ Âï¿½is the best clue to whether fruits and veggies are fresh to begin with.
EAT FIRST: Sunday to Tuesday
Âï¿½ Green beans
Âï¿½ Mustard greens
EAT NEXT: Wednesday to Friday
EAT LAST: Weekend
Âï¿½ Bell peppers
Âï¿½ Brussels sprouts
Âï¿½ Winter squash
Cooler weather on its way! We are excited to finally have the weather break for the week. It has been hot, hot, hot which has been hard on everyone here on the farm. The animals have been hiding in the shade all day long and it seems like the only plants that revel in this heat are the weeds. You may have noticed that the lettuces have disappeared for a while. Unfortunately it is very difficult to get them to grow in this kind of heat without turning bitter. We are trying a few new heat tolerant varieties so we hope to offer these again in the future. There are some new crops that are loving this heat- we are excited to start offering sweet peppers and cucumbers this week which are my favorite! Here are some things you can expect to see in your basket:
- Green Peppers
- Basil/ Dill
Check out this new Summer Radish Salad Recipe ...It is delicious and super easy to make using your radishes, dill, and onions. This is a perfect salad for a 4th of July picnic!
- Toss radishes with salt; let stand for about 10 minutes. Drain any liquid and transfer radishes to a large bowl. Add red onion and cucumber slices.
- Whisk olive oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and dill in a small bowl until well mixed; pour over vegetables and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Reminder: Saturday July 23rd from 4-7pm we are going to have our first CSA member farm picnic, complete with a few fun dishes with produce from around the farm. Have a recipe you are excited about sharing? Go ahead and bring it, or a dessert from home to add to the main courses provided here. All you need is a chair and some farm shoes to check out the animals and plants! If you have any questions, call Sara at (765) 336-1154
Happy Monday! This last week has been filled with lots of children, laughter, new growth, and lots and lots of rain. While there have been lots of challenges and hard times as well on the farm this week, I am reminded how centering and peaceful the farm can be and hope you will find this as well...you haven't been here yet? I think it is time to plan a farm picnic!
Saturday July 23rd from 4-7pm we are going to have our first CSA member farm picnic, complete with a few fun dishes with produce from around the farm. Have a recipe you are excited about sharing? Go ahead and bring it, or a dessert from home to add to the main courses provided here. All you need is a chair and some farm shoes to check out the animals and plants! If you have any questions, call Sara at (765) 336-1154
We have a few new items for your baskets this week in addition to some oldies but goodies!
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Zucchini/ Summer Squash
- A small sweet surprise!
When I was thinking about a good recipe for this week, I realized that a lot of these items are great for juicing or making smoothies. I don't know about you but sometimes I am a little lazy about eating my vegetables...not that I don't like them, but sometime it can be a lot of work to make a dish featuring each vegetable. One of the tricks I learned when first trying vegetables was to blend them into smoothies- I tried everything at first. Some things work well...others not so much. I can tell you that broccoli works in a fruit smoothie but let it sit for more than a few minutes and it will be the consistency of a thick jello- not very appetizing. Add whole garlic or onion and your sinuses will be cleared for days ;) I personally love to keep frozen bananas on hand to help give the chill and flavor without the added bulk of ice to my veggie smoothies. Here is a nice beginner recipe I use from the VitaMix website: https://www.vitamix.com/How-to-Create-Your-Custom-Green-Smoothie
Mix and match to create your favorite drink!
Sometimes you reach for your blender and discover that the fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator don’t quite match the ingredients of the green smoothie recipe that you had in mind. We’ve created a mix and match guide to help you blend the fruits and vegetables you have on hand and create your own custom green smoothie
How to Create Your Custom Green Smoothie:
- Choose one item from Column A, two from Column B, and one from Column C.
- Place all your ingredients in the Vitamix machine, liquid first, then soft ingredients, then firmer ones.
- Add one cup of ice last.
- Secure the lid and select Variable 1.
- Turn machine on and slowly increase to your machine’s highest speed.
- Blend for 45 seconds or until smooth.
- Drink and enjoy.
Column A (Choose 1 Item)
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 cup kale
- 1/2 head of romaine
- 1 romaine heart
- 3/4 cup raw broccoli
- 1 small head of Bibb or Boston lettuce
Column B (Choose 2 Items)
- 1 cup grapes
- 1 apple
- 1 orange, peeled
- 1 cup melon, peeled
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 cup berries
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled or unpeeled
- 1 kiwi, peeled
- 1 carrot
- 1 cup peaches
- 1 cup mango, peeled
- 1/2 cup papaya, peeled
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 pear
Column C (Choose 1 Item)
- 1 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla)
- 1 cup yogurt (flavored or plain)
- 1 cup fruit juice
- 1 cup water
Fencing, Trenching, and Weeding, Oh My! It has been a busy weekend here at Blue Yonder as we continue to build infrastructure to continue expanding our great tasting farm food! We hope that you are having a great summer as well and finding ways to stay cool. Our ducks are loving their pools this time of year and I have been tempted to hop in a time when doing chores.
We have a few new items for your baskets this week. We are excited to have some new items to help break up the glutton of greens from spring. Here is what we have planned for the week
- Baby Carrots
- Butter Crunch Lettuce
- Summer Squash
- Green Onions
Just a reminder we have lots and lots of recipes on our Pinterest Page for the farm: Check us out under the handle: BlueYonderOrg. Here is a sample of some of our recipes for Beets...this comes from Growforagecookferment.com:
Beets are a vegetable that people either seem to love or hate. Unfortunately they have been maligned by many people, usually only because of the way they are prepared. Trust me on this one, though… once I show you how to cook beets and their greens I think you will become a convert! We are going to roast the beet roots which not only gives delicious results, but is also really easy. I will also show you how to saute the greens with bacon.
The best part about beets is that they are actually two vegetables in one, the roots and the greens. If you buy them at the farmers market or at your local grocery store make sure to buy them with the greens attached. Once you get home make sure to wash everything well, cut the root tips off and send them to compost, then cut the greens from the roots. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
Roasting the beets does take a bit of time, an hour or more, for them to be completely cooked, so keep that in mind. First, if your beets are big, cut them into smaller wedges. If they are small leave them whole or simply cut them in half. Put them on a piece of tinfoil on a sheet pan or cast iron skillet, drizzle the wedges with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
In the meantime, cook your beet greens. Roughly chop up the greens. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add a handful of bacon or pancetta pieces. Of course this is an optional ingredient, but I highly recommend it!
After an hour check the roasting beet roots with a knife to see if they are tender. They may need to cook for up to 30 minutes longer. Once they are fully cooked pull them out of the oven and open the foil to let them cool for a little while.
And that’s all there is to it! You’ll never want to have beets any other way after this. I like to do a lot at a time if I can because of the long roasting time and also because once you have roasted beets in the fridge they are an easy addition to salads or other meals. And the greens are fabulous with eggs or added to soups or stews.
Hello Everyone! Hopefully everyone has been enjoying last weeks produce from the farm. I know the strawberries were a hit with most so we are hoping to have another batch for this week. They are a different variety so they will be larger but almost as sweet. In addition to more strawberries, we have a few new vegetables for this week.
- Garlic Scapes
- Spring greens salad mix
One of the most interesting vegetables to try in the CSA is the Kohlrabi. It is a relative of the cabbage plant with a taste and texture that is much like a broccoli stem or cabbage heart (only milder and sweeter). You can eat Kohlrabi either cooked or raw. For preparation, you need to begin by peeling the outermost 2 layers. The leaves are edible and can be used wherever kale or collard greens would be ordered.
Recipe of the Week: Kohlrabi and Turnip Slaw
- 1 pound kohlrabi (about 2 small heads, leaves included)
- 1 medium turnip (about 8 ounces), peeled and quartered
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
Separate stems from kohlrabi bulb, trim, and discard tough bottoms of stems. Half leaves lengthwise then thinly shred crosswise. Trim root end from bulb and peel away tough outer layer; halve lengthwise.
In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, peanut oil,honey, and sesame oil; season with salt and pepper. Add scallions, kohlrabi leaves and bulb, and turnip to bowl; toss to coat. Let stand at least 15 minutes.
Be sure to check out our Pinterest page for lots more recipes
Note on Regular Shares with Eggs/Chicken ***You will receive the weekly basket of produce with alternating weekly eggs and whole chicken. *** Family Shares will receive weekly chicken and eggs in addition to their produce
We're back! After a frosty winter and seemingly endless month of rain things are finally taking off and the farm has greened up. We have lots of lambs hopping through the fields, bees building up comb in their hives, apple trees blooming, and chickens running everywhere. It is an exciting time of year and we are happy to share it with you again this year.
In Your Box This Week
- fresh picked strawberries
- arugula greens
- shiitake mushrooms
- pak choi or kale
We will contact you shortly regarding your first pickup/ delivery.
Strawberry Arugula SaladSalad
- 1 1/2 cup strawberries (halved)
- 7 oz Arugula
- 2 tablespoons red onion
- 1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese
- 1/4 cup of your choice of nuts (pecans, slivered almonds)
- 1 cup grilled chicken (optional)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 shallots (60 g), thinly sliced
- Pinch each sea salt and pepper (~1/8th tsp)
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) maple syrup (or sub other sweetener of choice)
Instructions for dressing
- heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and shallot. Sauté until soft and fragrant - 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Add shallot to blender or food processor with balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp olive oil, maple syrup and a pinch each salt and pepper. Blend until completely pureed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. ~Hugh Macmillan, "Rejuvenescence," The Ministry of Nature, 1871
It is hard to believe that winter is here, but the snow does not lie. Here at Blue Yonder Organic Farm we are busy getting our turkeys ready for our Thanksgiving customers, moving our ewe sheep to the barn for lambing, and consolidating our laying hens to the barns where we have heated water and protection from the snow and wind. It is incredible to see how the farm changes, as it readies itself for what promises to be a long, cold winter. Much like the farm, I am beginning to slow down and prepare for a time of rest, reflection, and restoration. I am excited to look back on all of the progress we have made on the farm this year, anxious to figure out the things that didn’t work, and begin to plan for next year with the promise of a fresh start in the spring. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about our farm plans for the next year. We have a lot of incredible changes planned, and opportunities to reach even more military Veterans through our week-long training program and farm incubator program. Please continue to follow the farm this winter as we prepare for another incredible year of transformation!