A Colorful Time of Year

Hello Everyone!
We’ve been absent from the blog-world, but quite present at the farm. It was a different kind of season as we discontinued our CSA, scaled down our vegetable production, and put our Food Co-op on hold due to a broken truck. This allowed us to spend more time in other ventures, such as growing grain crops and harvesting them with our new combine (which is the cause of our broken truck, but that’s another story).

We apologize for the silence, but hope to rekindle some communication as we prepare for another Co-op season this winter. We’ve made some changes and we’re excited to share them with you!

Meanwhile, we’d like to show some photos (taken today) of the beginning of our winter squash harvest. It’s getting cold, and these beauties need to come off the field before the frost gets them. Fall crops are heavy work, but so rewarding. The colors, shapes and textures dotting the field right now are incredibly pleasing to the eyes, and it’s a proud and awe-filled time as we gather up the crop that we’ve watched grow for months.

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Newsletter for Co-op Box (Week One Cycle)

Greetings Our Farm Community members,

This week is week one of our cycle. We are starting to see the changeover from veggies grown more south to farther north. We too are starting to plant into our fields and the warmer days are yielding growth to our spring time veggie starts. Still it is early; frost still shows up on our fields and we even found a small sheet of ice on a puddle that had collected on an old lid – too early yet to plant sun loving crops without cover. Nevertheless, we can begin the planting of peas and grain, as well as the hardy brassicas, kale, broccoli and cauliflower.

After a nice stretch of weather, this week looks like rain and drizzle and showers, par for the course for the Pacific Northwest. So soup is a good thing for the menus and this week we have a good supply of hearty soup ingredients, especially the traditional base veggies, carrots, onions, celery and potatoes. So many soup recipes start with these healthy delicious ingredients.

Please have a look at a great site nicely entitled, Worlds Healthiest Foods, at http://www.whfoods.com. They have lots of information about current research on the healthy qualities of food as well as great ways to us them in the diet.

For example, here is just a short section of what is available on celery:

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Add chopped celery to your favorite tuna fish or chicken salad recipe.
Enjoy the delicious tradition of eating peanut butter on celery stalks.
Use celery leaves in salads.
Braise chopped celery, radicchio and onions and serve topped with walnuts and your favorite soft cheese.
Next time you are making fresh squeezed carrot juice give it a unique taste dimension by adding some celery to it.
Add celery leaves and sliced celery stalks to soups, stews, casseroles, and Healthy Stir-Fries.

Celery and Pesticide Residues
Virtually all municipal drinking water in the United States contains pesticide residues, and with the exception of organic foods, so do the majority of foods in the U.S. food supply. Even though pesticides are present in food at very small trace levels, their negative impact on health is well documented. The liver’s ability to process other toxins, the cells’ ability to produce energy, and the nerves’ ability to send messages can all be compromised by pesticide exposure. According to the Environmental Working Group’s 2013 report “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,” conventionally grown celery is among the top 12 fruits and vegetables on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of celery unless it is grown organically.

Nutritional Profile
Celery is a rich source of phenolic phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These phytonutrients include: caffeic acid, caffeoylquinic acid, cinnamic acid, coumaric acid, ferulic acid, apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, kaempferol, lunularin, beta-sitosterol and furanocoumarins. Celery is an excellent source of vitamin K and molybdenum. It is a very good source of folate, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, and pantothenic acid. Celery is also a good source of vitamin B2, copper, vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids).
Celery also contains approximately 35 milligrams of sodium per stalk, so salt-sensitive individuals can enjoy celery, but should keep track of this amount when monitoring daily sodium intake.

One Final Important Note:

We want to conclude this week’s newsletter with an invitation for members to join our Community Supported Agriculture Program. Our CSA is different than most in that we do not offer a set box of veggies. Instead we offer our farm members a choice of what they want each week from a wide variety of produce, prepared foods and grains, beans and other healthy prepared and fermented foods we produce. They are all available to members through our program as part of their weekly shares. Members pick up their shares each week at one of the four farmers markets we attend each week and the program goes for 20 weeks. There are vacation credits so even if you go away for vacation you still retain your credits for food. Please have a look at our program at our web site http://www.geecreekfarm.com. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about our innovative local community agriculture program.

Thanks again for your membership in our local food co-op. Each week we are able to help hundreds of folks because of the program which we support.

Enjoy your food in health!

Consume a Co-op Box

Hello and Warm Greetings, Members!

We hope you all have been well and staying healthy especially with the help of all those great and tasty organic veggies and fruits we have been bringing you. This week, we are going to respond, in a timely way, to the concerns of some of our members that they have not been able to fully use all the food we include in our weekly boxes.

We are going to run a series of our suggested ways to fully use the weekly boxes and thereby get the most of your money’s and nutrition’s worth. To those of you who do not have this problem – great! Maybe you can help us to educate others by sharing your tips with the community and posting them here! Thanks to everyone – for all you do, and for supporting this important service.

This week we have the following foods in our box:

 Spinach, broccoli, bok choy, kale, onions, salad mix, yams, beets, green onions, apples raisins and tangelos.

 Let start with the fruit: You will get between 4-7 apples depending on size, 4 tangelos, and some raisins. If one cores and stuff the apples with about half of the raisins and bakes them with a little cinnamon on top, you have a great easy dessert for two people for two days. Also you can have a tangelo at breakfast and apples for snack during the day. That would be four days of breakfast fruit and 4- 7 days of mid-morning snack and a couple of days of raisins for mid afternoon snack. That would be all for one person.

Other suggestions:

Spinach is a great addition to eggs, add spinach to eggs two to three days and the spinach bunch is done. Spinach is also a great side dish or also a salad base. If you do not like spinach in eggs, put the eggs on top of the steamed or stir-fried spinach. Spinach can be a stir fry ingredient, also.

Broccoli is a great stir fry food. Add the bok choy and the green onions and maybe some carrots and celery from last week’s box.  Two stir- frys during the week should make a good meal for one or two people and also some leftover for lunch the next day. Add a protein, if you wish, of your choosing. Broccoli make a great side dish, a little butter or coconut oil and salt added to steamed broccoli is a great way to use this healthy vegetable.  So two stir- frys should use up the broccoli, bok choy, green onions and left over celery and carrots from last week’s boxes. Pair with some brown rice and protein and you have two dinners and two lunches.

 Kale is a great side dish or can be used as a salad. Make kale into chips and it becomes a great healthy chip – so easy to make in a 200 degree oven. Add some salt, spice and oil and you are in business. Better than potato chips! Steamed kale is great on a “Portland bowl” – brown rice or quinoa topped with grated carrots, steamed kale and tahini sauce, and toasted hazelnuts. YUM!  Kale is two side dishes, or an ingredient for two days.

 Yams can be eaten boiled, baked or in soups. If you eat them twice a week for two weeks as your starch component to the dinner or lunch meal… that takes care of the yams. Many of the veggies we give you will carry over. In fact, we give you these items, like onions, potatoes, celery, carrots and yams, etc., so that you can have them for stir-fries and soup ingredients for more than one week.

That leaves the salad mix and the beets.

 Beets are a great salad by themselves. Boil them, slip the skins off and grate. Then add raw sliced onion, oil and a little sugar if desired… plus some apple cider vinegar. Let them sit still in the fridge overnight for an awesome Russian salad. We sell this same salad during the summer at the markets we attend.. Alternatively, add sliced cooked beets or even raw beets to a salad.

 Salad mix? Salad of course… or add to sandwiches.

Eat a salad for lunch a couple of days a week and you have used that up too.

Please let us know if you have any questions about these recommendations or need some clarification. We are very happy to help you get the most from your food boxes and get super healthy from all of the good nutrition that these foods provide. Thanks for your kind attention and well appreciated support.

 Enjoy your food in health!

It’s Seeding Season!

It’s almost time to come out of hibernation. These past couple months have been exceedingly cold… and even snowy! But spring is around the corner. We’ve been taking advantage of this warmer weather and are embarking upon several projects – one of them being the planning of our new herbal garden. However, the biggest priority is getting our baby seedlings started and moved out to the greenhouse. These will hopefully be the first starts to be transferred into the field. We’re looking forward to getting back on the field! We’ve still got a bit of a wait, though…

greenhouse

So far we have seeded a selection of brassicas such as mustard, kale, kohlrabi and bok choy. Not to mention many lettuce trays! Onions are on the docket for this week!

greenhouse seedlings

More Co-op Box Ideas + Shanghai Chicken

Thank you, Vivian Solomon, for contributing these delicious ideas to our community co-op! Below is Vivian’s recipe for Shanghai Chicken, plus a run-down of the produce in Box #2, and the uses she found for them.

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Week 4 of Cooperative Buying: Recipes

This week we need to discuss the concept of a mirepoix. This mixture of chopped vegetables serves as a flavor base for a variety of many soups, stews, stir-fries, stocks and sauces – great winterfare! A typical mirepoix consists of celery, onions and carrots. Leeks can serve as a substitute for the onions and bok choy can serve as a substitute for celery. To make a mirepoix, all you need to do is sauté your base vegetables in a pot with some oil – then add the rest of your ingredients! Soups are a wonderful winter-time way for you to use up a lot of your vegetables; and it’s a dish that can be eaten over the course of the week – frozen and saved for later! A mirepoix is an excellent and versatile way to use your abundance of onions, carrots and that oft-overlooked celery!

mirepoix

Here are some additional recipes/ideas using some of the produce in your Week 4 box!

Butternut Squash & Sage Soup
Eggs Nested in Sautéed Chard & Mushrooms
Potatoes, Leeks & Carrots in Parchment
White Beans in Cabbage
Roasted Broccoli with Soy Sauce & Sesame Seeds
Balsamic Glazed Roasted Beets

box4

A Note to Co-op Members

We hope you all had a good week and are in good health. As you know eating a diet rich in nutrients from fresh organic produce, paired with other lifestyle choices like adequate sleep, exercise, and good relationships are a great way to ensure a happy healthy life.

We are happy to be working with you to build community as we source our organic food together. Food is our common bond, as we all have to eat. But eating organic and working together takes the process of community building further. We get so much more.

By sourcing our food organically we get clean food for our bodies and a cleaner environment. We get safer working conditions for those who toil to grow and transport our food as they are not subject to the poisons used to grow conventional food. The wildlife is better off as well. Further, by cooperating to make this service happen, we make lower cost, less waste food available to more folks who otherwise would not be able to afford this food. This is a way for many who would not consider buying organic to try chemical-free food.

So thank you for the manifold ways your membership is helping create a better world for all of us.

Check out our co-op website at www.ourfarmcommunity.com to learn how we have taken the community action idea to new levels with a cooperative farm and a no-cost fundraiser program for local charities, non-profits and community groups. It can also be no-cost way local businesses, medical professionals and others to partner with us to feed our community healthy local food at lower-than-retail prices and help themselves – all at the same time. This program is an easy win-win-win formula for personal success and global transformation.

[We have a quick note to tell you about a substitution in this week’s box. We could not locate affordable winter squash so we have chosen organic garnet yams. We are placing the same weight of product, 2 lbs more or less, as was listed for the winter squash. We hope this does not pose any inconvenience. FYI sweet potatoes are not nightshades. All nightshades are in the solanaceae family and sweet potatoes are in the convolvulaceae family.]

Thanks again for your time and attention. Have a great week!

Week 2 Co-op Box (Ideas and Inspiration)

Hello all,

We’re on our second week of the food co-op and are happy to be welcoming several new members and neighborhoods to this program. Below are a few recipes that make use of the vegetables (and fruit) found in your box this time around. We’re hoping this will provide some inspiration for those in need of new ideas. Again, please feel free to share your cuisine creations with us, too!

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Co-op Introduction & Meal Plan and Recipes for 1st Box

The Food Co-op is back! We’ve organized this program as a way to save our community money on fresh, local, organic produce this winter. It’s cold, and our farm isn’t producing many leafy greens at this time – but other farms in our region are (due to tunnels, better weather). We want our community to have access to a good nutritious spectrum of food without poisons. When we buy organic food wholesale, as a community, we reduce the price significantly. So this is what we’ve done. By joining this food co-op, you will receive a weekly box of twelve organic produce items sourced from organic farms in the region. Membership commitment is on a monthly basis, and vacation credit is available if you let us know in advance. The boxes are set, and rotate on a 4-week schedule. Please be aware that your box will always be diverse! This program is designed with your health in mind and there will always be a good selection of vegetables and fruit to get you through the week. Check out the co-op’s website at ourfarmcommunity.com for more information and to register.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you are already a co-op member. Thank you so much for being involved and helping us make pesticide-free produce affordable for all! Please continue to spread the word to your neighbors and friends… and don’t forget to check out whatsonmyfood.org for a list of all the pesticide residues found on conventional food. We strongly believe that everyone should be able to consume food devoid of these harmful residues. Our food co-op is one way in which we combat the harm that is prevalent in the food industry.

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