Previous month:
July 2007
Next month:
September 2007

Enter the chili contest at the Anacostia Farmers Market

This is a fun opportunity for anyone who has been considering a visit to the Anacostia Farmers' Market.  Every year they have a chili contest and they're still looking for constestants.

If you'd like to enter your chili, download the entry form, and make sure you submit it by the September 5th deadline.

Download guidelines_and_entry_form_for_fourth_annual_chili_bowl_bonanza.doc , or call the market manager, Nadja Strucker, at 202-526-5344.

If you'd simply like to attend the Bonanza and try other peoples' chili, here's the details:

4th Annual Chili Bowl Bonanza

September 12, 2007

4:00-4:45 Competitors drop off chili to be warmed (no crock pots--no electricity!)

5:00- 6:15 Chili Tasting (community judges People's Choice, "celebrity" judges for other 4 categories)

6:30 Awards announced

This year we have 5 categories: All-Around Chili Champ, Four Alarm Fire House Hot Award, Best Vegetarian Chili Award, People's Choice, and Best New Classic with a Twist.

DC Mayor Adrian Fenty is scheduled to come so we all hope that he will be able to make it!

So just a quick reminder, here are some of our coming events:

  • September 1, Clagett Farm benefit day at the Whole Foods in Annapolis
  • September 12, Chili Bowl Bonanza at the Anacostia Farmers Market
  • October 20, Fall Festival at Clagett Farm

See you there!


Visiting your farm--please say hello

We are delighted whenever our CSA members come to visit the farm, take a walk, pick flowers, eat a picnic, birdwatch, or any other ways you would like to enjoy this space.  This noted, however, there have been a few strangers who've come onto the farm over the years for more nefarious reasons.  So we like to be in the habit of knowing who is wandering around here.  If you happen to come to the farm outside of regular CSA pick-up hours, and you see a farm staff person around, please do us the favor of stopping to say hello.  We don't mind the interruption, and it will ease our minds to know who is driving past. 
    In addition, we will be hunting deer on the farm in the coming months, primarily around sunset, and only on days when we know there is no one wandering the fields.  So it will be important, especially if you are on the farm around dusk, to let us know that you're here. 
Thanks everyone, and we hope to see you out here on one of these nice, cool days!

Old Friends~New Favorites

Clagett Farm Recipes~ Old Friends~New Favorites
Photos and Recipes~Rita Calvert 2007

Farm Talk:

A gal at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and I were chatting before Locally Grown Lunch was served and she informed me that being a CSA member had certainly made her a better cook. With enthusiasm I asked her to share some of her accomplishemnts. When she was loaded down with 8 eggplant she made an Eggplant Souffle (complete with whipped eggwhites)!


Summer Vegetables Brown Rice Salad

Again we bring you a “Locally Grown Lunch” recipe which showcases Clagett Farm produce. Chicken has ben added to make the dish an entree. It’s up to you as the salad is great without it. We’re giving you the basic “template” and you can add or subtract as you please. The mint takes it to a Middle Eastern zone.

cucumbers, sliced
tomatoes, sliced
corn, lightly cooked, kernels cut off the cob
summer squashes, lightly cooked and sliced
chickpeas or cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
grilled chicken slices
lots of fresh lemon thyme or thyme
fresh mint
cooked brown rice
vinaigrette majoring in fresh lemon juice and garlic

Eggplant Salad With Peppers, Mint and Caper-Feta Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 pounds eggplant (any kind, or a mixture), trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 2/3 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 pound mixed bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Toss eggplant with 1/3 cup vinaigrette, reserving the rest. Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, until tender and golden around edges, about 30 minutes. Let eggplant cool somewhat. (It can be warm but not hot enough to melt feta or wilt mint.)

Whisk feta, garlic and capers into reserved vinaigrette. In a large bowl, combine eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and mint leaves. Toss with vinaigrette, and serve immediately or within several hours. (It holds up all day.)


Simple Bulghur Salad with Tomatoes
Serves 4 to 6
by Mighty Staff @ Mighty Foods

This is the perfect picnic or potluck salad in part because it can be served at room temperature. Most of you know bulgur as the foundation for tabouli, it is a quick cooking grain with a mild, ever-so-slightly nutty flavor. This recipe uses the best ingredients from the summer market.

1 cup medium-grind whole wheat bulgur
1 1/2 cups water
sea salt
1/2 pound green beans (or use some yellow wax beans for extra color), blanched for a couple minutes in boiling salted water and then drained
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
a couple cranks of the pepper grinder
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup mint, washed and chopped
1 1/2 cups red, orange and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved

Put the bulgur and water in a saucepan with a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is cooked through. While the bulgur is cooking cut the beans into bite-sized segments on the bias and set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Fluff the bulgur with a fork and toss with the lemon olive oil mixture. Add the pine nuts and mint and toss again. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Add the cherry tomatoes and give one last gentle toss - gentle enough that the tomatoes stay intact. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.

Folly’s Special Spuds
Makes 12 – 15 pancakes

Inspired by a lovely Annapolis bed and breakfast, Royal Folly, you can count on breakfast meals to be scrumptious especially with delectable local produce.

1 onion, quartered
½ pound potatoes (1 large), cut into chunks
1 medium zucchini cut into chunks
all-purpose flour
2 eggs
Salt and ground pepper
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh dill

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the onion, potato and zucchini and process using off-on pulses until finely chopped and still retaining some texture. Pour into bowl lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze extra moisture out.

Stir in eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and dill to blend. Add enough flour to hold together. Heat equal parts of oil and butter in non-stick skillet. When hot enough, form pancakes by spooning tablespoons of batter into the pan. Flatten with a spatula. Fry until golden brown on the first side, 3-4 minutes, then flip and fry for the same on the other.
Transfer to paper towel-lined baking sheet. Keep in 200-degree oven until all are cooked. Serve with sour cream and/or chunky applesauce.

Grilled Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, summer Squash and Thyme
Serves 2

Now if your pinched for time, of course you can use premade pizza dough found in the refrigerator department of many supermarkets.
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow squash
2 balls pizza dough, rolled out and chilled

For pizza dough:
2/3 cup lukewarm water (105°F.-115°F.)
a 1/4 ounce package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for oiling bowl
1 3/4 to 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 cup coarsely grated fresh mozzarella (about 3 ounces)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 2 1/4 ounces)
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (preferably lemon thyme)
Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs (preferably lemon thyme)

In a small bowl stir together garlic and oil and let stand 15 minutes.
With a mandoline or other manual slicer, slice squash crosswise into 1/16-inch thick rounds, transferring to plate.

Prepare grill: Open vents in lid and bottom of kettle grill and put 25 briquets on 2 opposite sides of bottom, leaving middle clear. Oil rack and position with wider openings over briquets. Light briquets. (They will be ready for cooking as soon as they turn grayish-white, 20 to 30 minutes.)
Remove plastic wrap from 2 pieces of rolled-out-pizza dough (if grill is not large, work with 1 piece at a time, keeping remaining piece chilled) and lightly brush dough with some garlic oil. Trying not to stretch dough, carefully transfer it, oiled side down, with your hands to rack of grill. (If it's a very hot day, the dough may get too soft to transfer easily; if so, pop it into the freezer until firm again, about 15 minutes.) Lightly brush top with some garlic oil. When grilling pizzas, rotate them if 1 side of grill is hotter than the other. Grill crusts, covered, until undersides are golden brown on bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip crusts over with 2 metal spatulas and top each crust with half of cheeses, squash, and thyme. Lightly brush pizzas with some garlic oil and grill, covered, about 5 minutes, or until undersides are golden brown and cheeses are melted.

Garnish pizzas with thyme sprigs and cut into wedges.

To make pizza dough:
In a large bowl stir together 1/3 cup water, yeast, and sugar and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 3/4 cups flour, cornmeal, and salt and blend until mixture forms a dough. Knead dough on a floured surface, incorporating as much of remaining 1/4 cup flour as necessary to prevent dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.
Alternatively, dough may be made in a food processor. Proof yeast as described above. In food processor process yeast mixture with 1 3/4 cups flour, cornmeal, and salt until mixture forms a ball, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, it too dry or more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if too wet, and knead dough by processing 15 seconds more.
Put dough, prepared by either method, in an oiled deep bowl and turn to coat with oil. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk, and punch down. Form dough into 4 balls. Makes enough dough for four 10-inch thin-crust pizzas.

To roll out pizza dough for grilling:
Lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil.
On a lightly floured surface roll out 1 ball of dough 1/8 inch thick (about 10 inches in diameter). Brushing off excess flour, transfer dough with your hands to baking sheet and cover surface completely with plastic wrap. Repeat procedure with remaining dough balls and plastic wrap in same manner, stacking rolled-out pieces on top of one another on baking sheet. Wrap baking sheet with more plastic wrap to ensure that dough is completely covered. (Chill dough until firm, about 1 hour, and up to 4 hours.)
Gourmet, July 1996

Potato and Roast Red Pepper Soup
Serves 4

4 red peppers
2 ounces butter
1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup onions, diced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1½ pt home-made chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 cup whole milk
sprigs of flatleaf parsley
roasted chillies (optional)

Roast or chargrill the peppers for 10-15 minutes in the oven and then leave to cool in a plastic bag. 
Peel and deseed, save the sweet juices and carefully purée the flesh with the juices. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes and onions and toss them in the butter until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cover with a butter wrapper or paper lid and the lid of the saucepan. Sweat on a gentle heat for approximately 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil. When the vegetables are soft but not colored add the boiling stock and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the milk. purée the soup in a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Just before serving, swirl the red pepper purée through the soup or simply drizzle on top of each bowl. Top with some snipped flat parsley. You might try adding one or two roast chillies to the pepper for a little extra buzz - serrano or jalapeno are good.

September 1st, shop at Whole Foods in Annapolis for Clagett Farm Day!

On Saturday, September 1st, the Whole Foods in Annapolis will be donating 5% of their sales to Clagett Farm!  There will also be a grill out front from which all of the proceeds will go to the farm.  So come buy lots of groceries and purchase something at the grill.  And tell your friends!  We benefit from any sales while the store is open (8am - 10pm).  The grill will be open between 11am and 6pm, and we'll be there too, with a tractor and the Clagett Farm bluegrass band, and some food samples prepared with our eggplant and basil.  This will be a big income boost for us, so we're extremely excited. 

And in case you were worried, we'll be leaving most of the staff at the farm to make sure we still have your share ready for you for the regular 1-4pm pick-up. 

And while you have your calendars out, our Fall Festival will be on Saturday, October 20th. As ever, we'll have hayrides, a pot luck lunch, a hike or two, and the silent auction.   And of course it is free and open to everyone.  This gives you plenty of time to think of something you'd like to bring to the auction. 

Thanks everyone!

The “Bounty” Along with New Chile Peppers

Clagett Farm Recipes~The “Bounty” Along with New Chile Peppers
Photos and Recipes~Rita Calvert 2007

Whole Wheat Penne Melange of Summer
Serves 2-3 as a main dish, 4+ as a side

This time of year everyone at Clagett is looking for ways to use up the flood of squash and eggplant.

8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta, cooked and slightly warm
a generous splash of extra-virgin olive oil
4 different colored tomatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
whole bail leaves, torn
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

other summer additions:
fresh greens, torn
summer squash, roasted and diced
eggplant, roasted and diced
3-4 handfuls of green beans and/or yellow wax beans, lightly cooked
2/3 cup freshly crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chives, chopped

Place the pasta in a large bowl and drizzle with good quality olive oil and toss well. Add the tomatoes, basil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and any other vegetables of choice. Finally toss in the feta cheese. Arrange the pasta on a platter and sprinkle with the remaining chives.


Planked Tomato Basil Soup
Serves 4

It doesn’t get much tastier than this with the Clagett harvest. The grilling planks are a great flavor enhancer so let’s start experimenting.

1 - 15" Alder or Maple Grilling Plank, soaked
5 large plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
5 large plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Fresh basil leaves to garnish
Fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat grill to 350 degrees. Place soaked plank on grates, close lid, and allow to heat for 3 minutes. Flip plank, place tomato halves and garlic cloves on hot plank, and grill, with lid closed, for 10 minutes or until tomatoes and garlic are soft. Garlic may cook faster than tomatoes. Remove from grill and set aside to cool. Squeeze roasted garlic from skin and peel planked tomatoes.

In a large sauce pan heat olive oil, add onion, and cook over moderate heat until soft, but do not brown (about 10 minutes). Add garlic, bay leaves, horseradish, and coriander cook about one minute. Add chopped tomatoes, stock, and sugar. Cover and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Puree soup with butter and smoked tomatoes, working in batches. Strain soup into a clean saucepan. Reheat and stir in basil, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and garnish with fresh basil and cheese.

It just makes sense to give at least one Ratatouille reminder each season. This one includes potatoes which are extra special this season.

1 large eggplant, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes
2-3 zucchini, washed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large onions, sliced
2 medium potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
1 medium bell pepper, washed, cleaned and chopped
2 1/2 cups, chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
Herbs to taste (we use basil and oregano)
Salt and Pepper

Place eggplant, zucchini, onions and peppers into a Dutch oven. Drizzle liberally with olive oil.
Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees, stirring occasionally.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve chilled or reheat if desired.

Oriental Vegetable Kebabs with Peanut Dressing
by The Vegetarian Society
Serves 4

Cook these veggie kebabs on the barbecue or under the grill. If you're short on time use teriyaki sauce instead of the marinade and ready-made satay sauce in place of the dressing.

1 red pepper, cubed
1 yellow pepper, cubed
12 cherry tomatoes
4 salad onions topped, tailed and cut into 2 inch lengths
2 baby eggplant, cut into chunks
oil, for grilling
4 kebab skewers
basmati rice, to serve

For the marinade:
2-3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon honey
pinch of ground ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon groundnut or sunflower oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
½ tsp hot chilli powder
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
4 ounces unsalted roasted peanuts, ground
2/3 cup coconut milk
½ lemon, juice only

Mix all the vegetables together in a bowl. Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the vegetables, making sure the vegetables are evenly coated. Cover and leave for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Make the dressing:
Heat the oil in a small pan and fry the shallot until starting to brown. Add the chile powder and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the 2 tbsp of the marinade from the vegetables,the garlic, sugar and ground peanuts. Stir well.
Add the coconut milk a little at a time. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste.
Thread the marinated vegetables on to skewers. Brush with a little oil and grill over the coals for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
Gently re-heat the peanut dressing. Serve the kebabs on a bed of rice, drizzled with peanut dressing.

Chile Pepper Talk

Ancho/Poblano Pepper
...just a bit spicy
The poblano pepper is key to the cuisine of Mexico, used numerous ways including in sauces, stews and also has a large enough interior to stuff. The poblano pepper is a medium sized pepper with a mild to medium heat level which makes it fantastic for use in the kitchen.It actually goes by 3 names: Poblano (fresh) and Ancho or Mulato (dried).
This is the pepper to begin cooking with simply because it is very flavorful without as much heat as a serrano, chipotle or jalapeno.  Try fillings based on cheese,  black beans, fresh steamed
white corn kernels, or a picadillo. The poblano holds up well under grilling, which enhances its velvety, rich taste.

Aunt Chilada's Margarita Shrimp
Chef Jessie Gonzales, Aunt Chilada's - Phoenix, Arizona

2 cups yellow onions, finely diced
1/2 cup garlic, chopped
1 1/4 cups lime juice
3 ounces triple sec
5 ounces tequila
4 ounces butter
1/2 tablespoon coriander, ground
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, medium diced
1/2 cup poblano peppers, medium diced
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ounce water
36 medium shrimp, sautéed in butter

Sauté onions and garlic until tender. In saucepan, add lime juice, triple sec and tequila and simmer for about 5 minutes. Melt butter slowly and stir in ground coriander. Combine all ingredients in saucepan and thicken with cornstarch and water. Top cooked shrimp with the mixture.

Stuffed Poblanos

Make a mixture of 2 parts grated sharp cheddar cheese, ~1 part raisins, coarsely chopped and `1 part slivered almonds. Cut generous caps off the stem end of poblano peppers, remove core, seeds and ribs, leaving peppers whole. Fill peppers with the cheese mixture and reattach "lids" with toothpicks. Broil or grill, turning to char all sides. Makes a great light dinner with a salad and maybe some rice. (If you cook them under a broiler, line the pan with foil for easier clean-up.)

Grilled Poblano Frittata
Serves 4

"This frittata is a good dish to make at home because, unlike the restaurant variety, you can vary the amount of vegetables on it. So be creative.

3 poblano peppers
3 tomatoes
1 small onion, minced
2 teaspoons lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
salt and pepper to taste
3 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 tablespoon olive oil
7 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Make the Salsa:
Place the poblano peppers and the tomatoes over a medium gas flame, either on a grill or right on the burners. Rotate the vegetables every few minutes so that the skins don't completely blacken. Remove the vegetables once their skins are blistering and just partially charred. Let the vegetables cool a bit. Remove the skins of the vegetables with a paring knife. Cut the poblanos into 1/2 inch wide strips, and set them aside.Cut the tomatoes into 1/2 inch cubes, and put them into a bowl. Add onions, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well. Chill the salsa if you won't be making the frittata within the next few hours.

Make the chips:
Stack the tortillas and cut the stack into six wedges. Spread the pieces on a baking sheet, lightly salt them and bake them for 10 minutes or until they are crisp. Remove the chips from the oven but keep the oven on.

Make the frittata:
Heat the olive oil in a 10 to 12 inch non-stick oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs, and stir them for the first minute of cooking with a plastic spatula. Let the eggs rest for a few seconds, then push the frittata to one side of the pan so the uncooked egg runs underneath. When the frittata is still moist but no longer runny, sprinkle it with salt, pepper and the shredded Jack cheese.

Place the poblano strips in a star shape on top of the cheese. Bake the frittata in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes or until it is just set. Remove the skillet from the oven and stick the tortilla chips around the edge of the frittata. Take the skillet to the table and cut the frittata into wedges. Serve with the salsa.

Rain! Field update.

Hooray!  We've now had two good, soaking rains--one last Monday, and another yesterday.  Everyone's mood is lifted here.  But quite a bit of damage has already been done, and I thought it was worth another update.  I know this message is long, so if you want the summary: a lot of your crops died, life continues. 

  • Sweet potatoes are gone.  They grew so slowly that they couldn't withstand the onslaught of deer that were recently displaced from the housing development next door.  I've never seen so many deer tracks in one field!  I don't think we'll get significant control over the deer population until this winter, so we replaced the crop in that field with a last minute planting of winter and summer squash, which they don't seem to like as much.
  • About one third of the winter squash field (which includes pumpkins, butternuts, spaghetti squash, acorns, etc) germinated.  So what's there looks good, but the rest never came up because it was too dry.
  • Our first two successions of sweet corn did not survive.  The third and fourth are ready this week.  They have substantially fewer ears than normal, but we're trying our best to get everyone one good ear. 
  • We have two tomato fields.  One stopped producing completely for a while, and has now begun flowering again.  We were finally able to irrigate the second field, which has been plugging away like a champ. 
  • I have been in awe of our summer squash fields.  Most years they are exceedingly susceptible to fungus and insect damage. We plant it five times so that as one succession dies, the next one begins producing.  Our 3rd and 4th successions never grew without any rain, but hallelujah, the 2nd one just keeps on kicking out fruit.  We just planted the 5th succession, so let's hope the 2nd round waits another month to kick the bucket. 
  • We have never taken such special care with our eggplants, and they have never been so abundant. 
  • Peppers were looking pretty sad in July, but now they are irrigated and looking much better.  The sweet Italia peppers have been especially tasty lately.  And we have a number of chile peppers we'll begin harvesting this week.  They've survived neglect and dry weather miraculously, and we should have quite a few poblano peppers for the share this week.  Get out your chiles rellenos and mole recipes!
  • The garlic is still drying happily in the barn--you should get a head per week through November.   
  • We have an extra garden bed of basil planted in front of where your cars park at the washing station, so ask us if you don't see it.  We have more than we can give away, apparently. 
  • We ambitiously planted three different successions of 4 varieties of sunflowers this summer.  They were supposed to bloom one row at a time for 9 weeks.  But they were all too clever for me.  They waited and waited and then last Monday after our first rain in months, they ALL bloomed.  So please please please come pick sunflowers!  They're in the field beside just past the washing station all glowing yellow and black and happy as can be.  We've tried to bring some to Dupont but they don't travel well nor fit well in the van, so it's much better if you can make a little trip to pick them. 
  • We plant beans and cucumbers in the same series of successions as summer squash.  The 2nd succession of beans has been producing in fits and starts, but still lives.  There's a good chance when these die, we'll have no more beans for the season.  Better luck next year.  Cucumbers fared even worse.  The second succession never began fruiting, and that looks like it for the year, unless our fifth succession finds a way to produce before the first frost. 
  • Melons.  Like the sweet potatoes, what the drought hasn't taken, the deer and groundhogs have.  Not only do we have a higher population of animals than normal, but in dry years they can't find enough clover in the pastures so the vegetable fields usually ignore.    I still see some plants and they've begun flowering again, so maybe we'll get a few eventually.  There's a couple of volunteer melons at the washing station which get watered regularly and avoided by the shy deer.  Those fat melons have been taunting me--as if to prove what a little irrigation could have done if I had laid my plans better. 
  • Considering our yield of potatoes in past years, I think this year they did quite well.  We're estimating we have enough this year for everyone to get a pound and a half each week for five weeks. 
  • Okra is the most drought-resistant plant I've ever seen, once it gets established.  We have lots of healthy, productive plants that we'll be putting on the you-pick list soon.
  • Of the fall crops that we are just now planting--broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, greens and roots--we're trying to increase our original plan to make up for the lack of sweet potatoes and winter squash. 
  • Our strawberries are June-bearing, so why are we mentioning them now?  We planted next year's crop this spring and they've been hit hard.  We're investing significant cash in a fall-planted variety and the re-usable black plastic it gets planted into.  So there's still a chance we'll  recover.
  • And just in case you thought plants were all we're growing this year, we are also expecting a baby.  Yours truly is pregnant, due in January!  Since I know terrifyingly little about how to grow humans, your advice and hand-me-downs are welcome.  I'm still trying to figure out how we'll include it in the share next year.  You-pick?

Happy rain, everyone.

Rollin' Out the Eggplant

Rollin' Out the Eggplant

Clagett Farm Recipes
Photos and Recipes~Rita Calvert 2007

Farm Talk
Now that Carrie and Michael have filled us in on the lack of rainfall at Clagett, I wanted to understand how they do irrigate since it sounded very tedious. I was shown the rudimentary drip system and explained how it worked along with ONLY 2 wells. We just have to give so much respect for the fabulous job the Clagett folks do!

Even with the drought, the produce is beautiful and especially sweet-so treasure it even more!


Serves 4

You were given the alert this recipe was coming when the eggplant was bountiful. One could eat their weight in this dish! Its a great dip that is simple and fast. Use as a starter, a sauce or for a dip with crudités.

1 medium eggplant
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
juice and zest 1 lemon
1 cup chickpeas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander, optional
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the grill to medium high.
Put the eggplant on the grill, close lid and grill/roast until charred and tender. Cool and scoop out the pulp with a large spoon. Place the eggplant flesh in a food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, zest and chickpeas Season well and whiz together. With the motor still running, pour in the sesame and olive oil and blend until the mixture is smooth.


Eggplant and Feta Folds
Serves 4

As a special treat you might spend a bit more time here, but the recipe can be prepared ahead and then served at room temperature.

1 large eggplant, about 1¼lb

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 beef tomato

10 ounces Greek feta cheese

8 large fresh basil leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 fine metal trussing skewers or cocktail sticks soaked in cold water for 30 minutes.

Trim off the stalk end of the eggplant and then cut lengthways into ¼-inch thick slices discarding the ends.

Arrange the slices in a single layer on a large baking tray, sprinkle lightly with some fine salt and set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour - this will make them easier to roll later on as well as draw out some of the water.
Rinse the eggplant in cold water and then pat them really dry with kitchen paper.

Mix the olive oil with the garlic, lemon zest and some seasoning. Brush over both sides of each eggplant slice then season with plenty of pepper. Place on the barbecue over medium-hot coals and barbecue for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly charred. Set aside and leave to cool a little. Cut the tomato into 4 thick slices, discarding the ends and then cut each slice in half again to make 8 slices.

Cut the feta cheese into 8 slices. Place the eggplant slices onto the work surface and place a piece of tomato in the middle of each slice. Arrange a slice of feta on top, then roughly tear the basil and scatter on top. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Flip over both ends to enclose the filling and secure with a cocktail stick.

Brush the outside of the rolls with the rest of the garlic and lemon oil and barbecue over medium-hot coals for 1-2 minutes on each side or until they are heated through and slightly golden. Serve at once.

Spicy Rack of Lamb with Eggplant Salad

Serves 4

You may prefer just to make and enjoy the salad within this recipe or add the lamb for an entire meaL

For the lamb

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

2 tsp black peppercorns

2 teaspoons harissa (chilli paste)

1 teaspoon salt

2x4-6 bone best ends of lamb, each rack about 10 ounces

For the roasted eggplant salad

4 ounces medium bulgar wheat


1 lemon, juice only

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large eggplant, cut into small dice

salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

4 ripe vine tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

3 tablespoons each chopped fresh cilantro, flatleaf parsley and mint

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns into a heavy-based pan and toast for 1-2 minutes until aromatic. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and crush to a powder, then stir in the harissa with a teaspoon of salt until well combined.

Lightly score the skin of each rack of lamb into a diamond pattern with the tip of a very sharp knife, taking care that you don't cut through to the meat. Rub the spiced paste all over the flesh.

Heat a large frying pan. Add the racks of lamb, fat side down and then sear all over. Transfer to a small roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes, or a little longer, depending on how pink you like your lamb. Remove from the oven and set aside in a warm place to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Place the bulgar wheat in a pan of salted boiling water and bring to the boil, then boil fast for five minutes until tender. Drain well and place in large bowl. Stir in the lemon juice with two tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil.

Heat a large frying pan with two tablespoons of the light olive oil. Tip in half the eggplant cubes, season generously and sauté for about 10 minutes over a high heat until really crispy and tender. Drain well on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining light olive oil and eggplant cubes. Leave to cool slightly, then stir into the bulgar wheat.

To serve, stir the tomatoes and herbs into the bulgar wheat mixture and season to taste. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Carve the rested lamb into chops and arrange on warmed plates with the roasted eggplant salad.


Twice-Grilled Stuffed Zucchini
Makes 4 main-dish servings or 8 side-dish servings

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped

4 ounces local goat cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 tablespoons walnuts or pine nuts

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

4 small zucchinis

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

Prepare a medium fire in the grill. In a small bowl, combine sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, garlic, bread crumbs, pine nuts, basil and thyme. Set aside.

Slice zucchini lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out a trough down the center of each half. Brush lightly with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill, cut-side down, until grill marks form, about 5 minutes; turn and grill lightly on other side. Remove from grill.

Stuff each zucchini half with 1/ 8 of the filling. Wrap in foil and return to grill. Cook about 15 minutes, until zucchini is soft and filling is warm.

Bell Pepper Chutney
Fresh tasting and colorful this is great topping grilled meat or chicken.

1 to 2 teaspoon mild olive or vegetable oil
1 medium red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 small sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon local honey
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or to taste

Place enough oil in an 8- to 10-inch saute pan or skillet to coat the bottom; heat over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and onion, stirring, and reduce the heat to medium. Add the cloves and a pinch of salt and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables have softened. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar. Return the pan to the heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the vinegar to reduce and the flavors to meld. Taste and add vinegar as necessary.