CSA Box 8 – August 17

We have found some new recipes to help you with your summer bounty of zucchinis, tomatoes and chard. Try the Grilled Swiss Chard and Tomato Wraps or this lovely Thai Zucchini Soup. Any of the zucchini recipes in 101 Cookbook’s archive are fantastic, there’s tarts, pickles and more soups all featuring the versatile zucchini.

week-8-winter-squash

Some winter squash need to be cured and then stored before use. Ask any of us at market or at your CSA pickups for more info on how to store winter squash. It’s easy to do, and you can store most varieties over the winter for use in stew, soups and deserts.

What’s in your box this week?

  • Leeks 1/2 lb $1.75
  • Cucumber 1 each $1
  • Kale 1 bunch $3
  • Lettuce 1 head $3
  • Carrots 1 bunch $5
  • Herb Bunch $2
  • Tomatoes 1 box $4
  • Winter Squash 3 lbs $6
  • Summer Squash 1 lb $3

Total value: $28.75

CSA Box 6 – August 4th

August Days

Welcome to August!

Garlic Fest is right around the corner, plus we have an update from Moss Dance on how the hot summer in BC has affected our growing season.

Carrots Week 6 CSA

CSA Box 6

What’s in your box this week?

  • Beans 3/4 lb  $2.25
  • Cucumber 1   $2.00
  • Kale 1 bunch   $3.00
  • Garlic 2 bulbs   $5.00
  • Summer squash 1 lb   $3.00
  • Herbs 1 bunch   $2.00
  • Carrots 1 lb   $5.00
  • Basil 1/2 lb   $5.00

Total value: $27.25

Try cooking up your zucchini with this Curry Zucchini Soup recipe, or dress up your green beans with either parsley & lemon, mint, or basil & tomato.

Garlic Fest

3rd Annual Garlic Festival

Look out garlic lovers, the third annual Garlic Festival is back at Amara Farm on August 9th from 12-4pm. More than half a dozen different farms will showcase over 15 varieties of garlic ranging from mild and pungent to hot and spicy. Get your winter supply of garlic or seed garlic for your garden, find fall and winter plant starts and try garlic-inspired culinary treats.  For more info, visit the Garlic Fest event page, or download our press release.

The Hot Summer and Your CSA

All the produce you get through your Merville Organics CSA share comes from 5 super-cooperative farms in the Comox Valley. That means there are a lot of hands, heads & hearts collaborating to grow and combine the food that comes to you each week. Hopefully, you’ve met most of us by now – we’re happy to see you at the pick-up locations and our drop-off hubs each week.

It’s HOT out there! Wow! We haven’t seen a scorcher like this yet in the Comox Valley and we are all hydrating ourselves and our crops as much as possible to deal with the heat. There are pros and cons to a hot season, of course.
Winter Squash

Pros are that you have been getting some very nice early crops, like beans, cucumbers, raspberries, and summer squash. Tomatoes are on their way this week. We anticipate an excellent tomato & cucumber season this year. Robin, Kira and I are working together to grow winter squash for the CSA. Many of the squash varieties will be ready almost a month early this year.

The cons are that we are scrambling to plant more crops. With everything coming in so early, we’re about 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule for our CSA harvest plan. We’re working hard to make sure we have a continuous supply of delicious goodies for you.

From our conversations with people at the market, CSA members and friends, we know that everyone’s appreciation of and respect for water is deepening during this dry time. For us, water is a precious resource that we are always mindful of every minute of every day. During a hot, dry season like this, water is what keeps the veggies alive and thriving. We have all had to adjust our crop plans, invest in better water infrastructure and change our watering schedules to deal with the scarcity of water. It’s not been easy.

But with a CSA, we have that solid support system of eaters that makes all of this possible. So thanks for growing with us, investing with us, eating all of our veggies and for your friendly smiles. We are so happy to share the fruits of our labour with you each week.

– Moss Dance

 

CSA Box 4 – July 22

Week 4 CSA Box contents

This week’s CSA box is packed full of goodness. What’s in your share?

  1. Summer squash
  2. Carrots
  3. Cucumbers
  4. Kale
  5. Head lettuce
  6. Raspberries
  7. Herb bunch
  8. Transparent apples
  9. Walla walla onions
  10. Broccoli or cabbage

week-4-cucumber

week-4-walla-walla

Vegetable fritters are a versatile choice for your summer dinners. They come together quickly and can be used with different veggies as their main ingredient. Try this recipe found by Moss at Ripple Farm for summer squash fritters.

We did not post a blog entry for last week’s box, apologies for that.

Enjoy this week’s box and thank you for all of your feedback and comments at our different farmers’ markets and CSA pickup locations. We love hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

CSA Box #6

pinktiger

My favourite thing about farming

I love plants. I love food and vegetables and dirt and birds and nature and bugs. I love that I get to work outside doing physical labour. But I have to say, my very favourite thing about farming is the relationships I build with people.

When I think about the circle of people who surround me, I feel pretty privileged. To mark the halfway point of our CSA season, I want to acknowledge some of the people who make our farms hum along.

As we wish Arzeena a happy birthday this week, I am reflecting on how lucky I am to have met her and to have a chance to work with her! Arzeena and her family are helping to bring more people and connection into agriculture in our community, and I think many of us have been touched by her work and inspired by her since she arrived two years ago. Happy Birthday Garlic Queen!

garlicqueen

And then, there are our interns, families, volunteers, and WOOFERs. Wow. These folks are amazing. Dedicating a whole summer to learning and growing with us, they make life richer with their enthusiasm, humour, sweetness and mad skills!

internfamcollage

The Second Annual Comox Valley Garlic Festival was an amazing success! About 400 people visited Amara Farm to try garlic treats and stock up on their winter garlic supply. Many thanks to all of the vendors and garlic growers who came to make the event a success. We have some GREAT farmers in this community. And food makers. Let’s keep supporting these folks and building our reputation as a strong agricultural and food-focused region!

garlicfestcollage

Your part in agriculture

It takes a community of people to keep agriculture a farm strong. As CSA members, YOU are directly supporting two farms to keep farming. Investing in the lean months so we can produce abundance to share with you and the wider community.

But as a farmer, I continue to be concerned about policy decisions in this province around farm land protection. I invite you all to read (or skim read!) the provincial government’s new discussion paper on the recent changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) which is a revolutionary farm land protection system unique to BC that was crafted in the 1970’s.

You may have noticed that Merville Organics folks were very active in April and May leading up to the passing of Bill 24. This bill was passed without consulting farmers, or heeding the voices of farming organizations such as the BC Farmers’ Association, the Certified Organic Associations of BC and the BC Cattlemen’s Association, who all came out strongly against the two-zone ALR system.

ALR

Some of the salient points in changes that have been made to the Agricultural Land Reserve include:

  • a new two-zone system where applications for non-farm use of ALR land in BC’s Northern and Interior regions are more likely to be approved – these include uses such as oil & gas and/or mineral extraction;
  • devolution of power from a centralized, more objective decision-making body of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to smaller, regional panels, meaning decisions about farm land preservation will be less consistent and less objective;

Though many of the changes will most affect “Zone 2” (Northern and Interior regions of BC), “Zone 1” which includes Vancouver Island, lower mainland and Okanagan are now more vulnerable to similar pressures. Overall, the weakening of the ALR in some regions means that farm land across BC is now at risk of being lost forever.

The next step in the BC government’s process with Bill 24 is to consult with the public, and logically, they are doing this after they’ve already passed the bill (yes, that is sarcasm dripping from my voice!) If you care to have your say, please do take a moment to read the discussion paper and fill out the attached survey. You can find it here: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/landreserve/

Thanks for taking the time to read!

What’s in the Share this week?

  • Green Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers!
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Bok Choi

Recipes

Zucchini

Last week, we made zucchini pizza. It was awesome!

Recipe: The Best Zucchini Recipe Ever – Zucchini Pizza Crust

Read this recipe on My Humble Kitchen

Merville Organics test kitchen note: I did not use a pizza stone for this recipe, AND, our oven was broken, so we used cast iron frying pans on the BBQ. The crust turned out less than crusty but it was very delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup flour (sub almond flour)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 550F with a pizza stone pre baking in it.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the squash by wrapping it up in a clean tea towel or piece of cheese cloth and wringing it out, discarding the water. Once all of the excess moisture has been wrung out and discarded, place the shredded zucchini back into the bowl and add the cheddar cheese, flour, garlic, oregano, basil, eggs, and salt.
  4. With your hands, incorporate all of the ingredients together. Place the zucchini mixture onto a piece of parchment paper at least 15” in diameter, set on something solid that will make it easy to transfer into the oven.
  5. Using your fingers, spread the zucchini crust mixture to form a circle about 14” in diameter, 1/2″ thick. Pinch the edges up so that it forms a nice crust.
  6. Once the pizza crust has been shaped, transfer the crust on the parchment paper onto the heated pizza stone in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes or until the crust starts to brown.
  7. Once the zucchini crust has baked for 8 minutes, transfer the pizza on the parchment paper out of the oven, onto the solid surface you used before.
  8. Top the pizza with sauce and any additional toppings that you’d like.
  9. Once the toppings are on, transfer the pizza on the parchment paper back onto the heated pizza stone in the oven and bake for an additional 4 minutes.

 

 

 

CSA Box #5

beans

The Abundant Time

When Seth and I are harvesting summer squash out in the field, groans of dismay float out of the prickly zucchini plants often. A way-to-big zucchini is held aloft. We commiserate, and carry on harvesting.

There’s almost too much food at this time of year… and all of it is waiting to be sold, eaten, preserved, or whisked away to CSA pick up stations.

At this time of year, I practice deep appreciation. I savour each cherry tomato melting on my tongue, each bite of grilled zucchini, every crunchy green bean. I know that in the middle of winter, I will use my imagination to come back to this time, when my only regret is that I don’t have a hollow leg, or a second stomach.

Being a farmer isn’t always an easy life – there are moments of doubt, anxiety, and danger, and there are plenty of gross and stinky things to deal with on a daily basis. But it’s truly a privilege to work with the land, to enjoy this beautiful food, and to help get more organic fresh food to your plates. Thanks for supporting us to follow our passions.

garlic

Garlic Festival at Amara This Weekend!

The Second Annual Comox Valley Garlic Festival will happen this Sunday August 10! It’s a great chance to stock up on your winter supply of flavorful local garlic, sample and pick up amazing garlic creations (like garlic scape jam and garlic braids!) and enjoy some local entertainment. It’s family friendly, so bring the kids!

What’s in the Share this week?

  • Pea Shoots!
  • Green Beans!
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant!
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Scallions!

Recipes

Zucchini

Here is your weekly zucchini recipe! This one comes from Karin Watson, one of our CSA members who is always handy with the recipes.

Recipe: Curried Zucchini Soup

Prep & Cook Time: 1 hour

Serves 6, as a side dish

  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp curry paste
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup lentils, soaked overnight *
  • 3 cups broth
  • 1/2 can coconut milk

Instructions:

  1. Melt coconut oil over med heat in a large pot
  2. Add onions and curry paste. Sauté until onions are translucent (approx. 3 minutes)
  3. Add zucchini, garlic, ginger and sea salt. Sauté for another 5 minutes before adding lentils and broth.
  4. Add lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until lentils and zucchini are tender.
  5. Add coconut milk and incorporate witha  high-speed blender or an immersion blender.
  6. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve

* Soak lentils overnight. Rinse well and drain before adding to soup.

Green Beans

After watching the beans flower, and set out little “beanlings” over the past couple of weeks, we are celebrating the harvest of delicious tender sweet green beans! We’ve been enjoying them as a side dish to almost every meal this week.

Recipe: Green Bean Sides

(Source: Simply in Season: Recipes that celebrate fresh local foods in the spirit of More-with-Less by Mary Beth Lind & Cathleen Hockman-Wert)

Start with:

1 pound of green beans. Cut into 1″ pieces. Cook in a small amount of water until crisp-tender, about 2-5 minutes. Drain and add one of the options below:

Parsley-lemon option:

In 1 tablespoon butter or oil lightly sauté 2 cloves minced garlic and 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley. Add the cooked beans, season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir gently and heat through. Sprinkle with the juice of one lemon and serve.

Mint option:

In 1 tablespoon butter or oil sauté 1/4 cup minced onion. Add 2 TBSP minced fresh mint. Add cooked beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Basil-tomato option:

In 1 TBSP oil sauté 1/4 cup minced onion and 1 clove minced garlic. Add 2 TBSP minced fresh basil, 1 cup chopped tomatoes and cooked green beans. Cover and cook about 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve.

 

CSA Box #2

IMG_0345

Sorry for the late post folks! I’m sure the Tuesday CSA members still have lots of veggies to work with.

Many of you have been asking for recipes for garlic scapes and summer squash. We know that some of the zucchinis we put in the boxes are unusual shapes and colours! Rest assured that these summer squashes can be used exactly the same way you would use a zucchini. As an added bonus, the round “Ronde De Nice” and scalloped “Yellow Patty Pans” are a great shape for cutting in half, scooping out and stuffing!

What the Heck is This Vegetable?!?

We love this website by a web developer named Krisztina Kun at Kun Studios who is a CSA member herself. The site was developed for people who open up their CSA boxes and think, “Uuuuuhm, what the heck is this thing and what do I do with it?!”

WTF

If you find yourself opening a bin and wondering what the heck to do with a vegetable, drop us a line at mervilleorganics@gmail.com, or, head on over to Krisztina’s site: wtfisthisvegetable.com

What’s in the second share?

  • Butterhead lettuce
  • Walla Walla Onion
  • Chard
  • Beets (don’t forget to eat the greens!)
  • Summer squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Parsley
  • Garlic scapes

Recipes

Garlic Scapes

Garlic can be used in so many ways! And this is the last week of them, so be sure to enjoy :) The Crisper Whisperer at the Serious Eats site has an awesome article: 7 Things to Do With Garlic Scapes! I am excited to try the Scape Compound Butter!

Patty Pan (scalloped and pancake-shaped yellow) & Ronde De Nice (round green & white) Squash

All zucchinis are great for roasting and stuffing. Here are a few easy ideas:

No matter what the shape the squash is, you can slice it in half, scoop out a bit of the seedy interior (but not too much!) and roast it up. Then you can stuff it with all manner of things!

So, grab your squashes and fire up the BBQ or oven. Cut’em in half, scoop out a bit of the seedy inside, and brush with olive oil. Roast on high heat on the BBQ, or at about 400F in the oven till they are soft and brownish on the outside. Take them out and stuff them with any of these things:

Pesto (Garlic Scape, Basil or other)

Tomatoes, peppers and onions (with cheese on top)

Mushrooms and wild rice (with cheese on top, of course)

Then pop’em back in the BBQ or oven, and roast till the cheese is melty or the filling is soft and heated.

These stuffed squashes make a great main dish for any meal, or a fabulous side!

Enjoy the bounty this week everyone!