This is Jared Planz, the Assistant Vegetable Production Manager. (Fortunately, no masks are necessary when we're working far apart from each other, which makes for better photos.) He's picking zucchini in this photo, wearing the 4-pouch harvesting harness, which is about 80 pounds when full of squash. None of the rest of us carry as much weight as he does while picking, which is a good analogy for his farming skills overall. When he's not planting, weeding, harvesting, pounding stakes, spreading mulch or managing workers, he's designing our web sales platform, taking professional-quality photographs, camping, and parenting his almost-2-year-old son with Elissa. Phew!
This week's share
Remember, after this week (June 24, 25 &27), your next share will be July 8, 9 and 11. Don't come next week! When you get back we'll have some goodies waiting for you:
I asked for your smiling, post-berry-picking faces, and you obliged! Thank you, I think we all need some positive community vibes right now. This lovely face belongs to Caryl Henry Alexander. You can find more u-pick photos in a debut post of our new CBF's Clagett Farm Facebook Group. If you sent me one, you can tag yourselves, and if you want to add your own, you can do that too!
- The Dupont CSA pick-up is back to it's normal time slot--5:30pm to 7:30pm. Jared is Carrie's last-minute substitute this evening, though, so be patient and flexible with him since he hasn't been to that alley and might be in a slightly different location.
- It's a big share this week! Get your chef's hat on, it's going to be fun!
- Strawberry u-pick has ended. We're glad that every CSA member who wanted to sign up was able to get a slot, and we had ripe strawberries all the way to the end. If you feel like you missed out, let us know.
- In the past month, we've donated 1,978 pounds of vegetables to two nearby food pantries--SHABACH in Landover MD, and Behold I Come Quickly in Clinton MD. That's a whopping 47% of our total harvest! In addition to that, we have 18 CSA members who are getting their shares at half price because they have very limited incomes, and 1 former volunteer who is ill and in a nursing home, and we deliver his share to him for free. Phew!
- Want to know some interesting facts about plant and animal families? You have come to the right place! Here is a link for a fun trivia game about plant and animal families made by Amelia Vaughn. (The game is free but the web site will ask you to create an account, so feel free to use a junk email address.)
This week's share
- 1 bag lettuce
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1 head Napa cabbage (aka Chinese cabbage)
- 1 bunch garlic scapes
- 2-3 zucchinis
- 2-3 hakurei turnips
- Choose a bag of either kale or collards
- Kohlrabi next week
- More cucumbers soon
- Garlic scapes one more week, then garlic bulbs every week after that
- We have our eyes on a bed of carrots that should be ready soon
- Continuing next week: kale, collards and zucchini
- Here's a recipe for Black Pepper Tofu with Chinese Cabbage (we made some adjustments from someone else's recipe and left out all the photos and ads that are so irritating when you're trying to read the instructions).
- Napa cabbage is big and can sometimes feel intimidating in your fridge. If that's happening to you, take a moment to wash it, chop it up and put it in a container. Suddenly it looks more like a salad ingredient or an easy veggie to toss in a stir fry.
- This is a great week to practice your stir fry skills. You can toss in the cabbage, greens, scapes, scallions, zucchini, turnips, and anything else you've got crammed in your vegetable drawer. Here's a beginner's guide to stir fry, in case that's helpful. The most important hints are to chop the heavy things (zucchini and turnips) into small, uniform pieces so they cook more quickly, and add them first before the lighter ingredients (cabbage, scallions, scapes). There's lots of great ideas for stir fry sauces out there, so if you get stuck in a rut, try changing your sauce.
- Speaking of new flavors for your stir fry, here's one from Epicurious.com--Cabbage Stir Fry with Coconut and Lemon
- We're going to save our ideas for zucchini for another week. In the meantime, use up all the ones you can think of now, and send us your favorites. Time to get out the grill, and turn those stir fry sauces into marinades!
Thanks for being your wonderful selves, and have a great week,
The Clagett Farm Team
This recipe is based on this one from Feastingathome.com
- 8–12 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes (you can substitute beef, chicken or shrimp, but do not use soft or silken tofu)
- corn starch for dredging (optional)
- 2 tablespoons wok oil (high heat oil like peanut, coconut or vegetable)
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
- 1 green onion, sliced (green and white parts)
- 4 garlic scapes, rough chopped
- ~10 ounces Napa cabbage, chopped roughly
Black Pepper Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese Cooking Wine (Shaoxing Rice Wine or Mirin) or sub dry white wine, pale sherry, or rice wine.
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or sub palm sugar, coconut sugar or agave)
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon any kind of chili paste (optional)
Cut tofu into cubes and blot dry with paper towels, pressing down gently.
- Make the black pepper sauce in a small jar, and shake until most of the sugar dissolves.
- Prep the green onions, garlic scapes and cabbage.
- Dredge the tofu in a light coating of cornstarch (cornstarch is optional, but provides a crispier texture).
- Heat oil in a wok or heavy skillet until the entire pan is very hot and the oil shimmers. Add the crushed peppercorns to the oil, swirling it around until fragrant, about one minute.
- Add the tofu to the seasoned oil, and sear on all sides until golden and crispy, turning the heat down if need be. Be patient and take your time, it will take about 5-6 minutes.
- Set the crispy tofu aside on a paper towel-lined plate, and wipe the pan out.
- Heat another teaspoon or two of oil over medium heat, and add green onions, garlic scapes and cabbage. Stir continuously until cabbage begins to wilt, about 3-4 minutes. It will smell amazing. Add the black pepper sauce to the pan, careful to get all the sugar that may have settled in the jar.
- Simmer for a couple of minutes, or until cabbage is just tender.
- Toss the tofu back into the pan with the cabbage and sauce. Taste for salt and heat, adjusting to your preference.
- Serve immediately, dividing between two bowls.
It's been tough this week for the staff to keep working when we want to be shouting and yelling and marching the streets. Remarkably, the betrayal of humanity has not (yet) made the plants stop growing. The least we can do is bring food to the rest of you, hoping that you're marching in our place or resisting in your own way, and hope these vegetables are a balm for our dear community. I certainly felt that relief on Sunday, watching so many of you enjoying the strawberries and beautiful weather with one another.
- We're shifting our delivery to Dupont an hour earlier today so that you can get your vegetables and return home before the curfew. We'll be there from 4:30pm-6:30pm. If you need us to stay later, send me a text. The other pick-ups will remain the same.
- In our last e-mail to you, we announced that we were finally able to offer u-pick strawberries. It was a mammoth job getting that organized so quickly and keeping everyone coming at a steady pace. It went well, and I was glad that everyone seemed to leave with smiles and plenty of berries. If you have photos of those smiles and berries, send them to us! As of this morning, the fields have been picked pretty clean. My hope is that we'll have enough on Thursday and this weekend to accommodate any of the CSA members who have not yet had a chance to u-pick. U-pickers MUST sign up. The link to do so along with the rules are in our last e-mail. The supply is tight so make sure you check your phone before you come in case we need to adjust your reservation. We are NOT yet permitting members to u-pick a second time, but we'll alert you if we do.
- One of our volunteers, Daniel Carson, died last week. Daniel and his wife, Connie, volunteered with us a few hours each Wednesday helping wash and prep your shares (last year, when we were able to take volunteers). Connie inspired us with her patience and devotion to her husband--Daniel had dementia and required a great deal of attention, but she did not allow anyone to deny his continued integrity as a whole human being that deserved respect and care. And Daniel inspired us with his constant positive attitude and good humor. We are sad to lose such a kind soul, and I'm sorry I didn't catch a photo of that smile of his so I could show you.
This week's share
- 1 hearty handful garlic scapes
- 1 bunch onion scallions (also known as green onions or bunching onions)
- 1 cucumber or zucchini
- Root medley: turnps, radishes and beets
- A bag of lettuce heads (about a quarter pound, mostly green romaine)
- Choose: a bag of tat soi or spicy mix (this week's spicy mix is SPICY--most of the leaves are mild but a few have a knockout wasabi flavor)
- Choose: a bag of kale or collards
What are garlic scapes and how do you use them?
- Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. We remove them to encourage the plants to put more energy into making large garlic bulbs. We pass them to you because they're delicious!
- Chop them roughly and add to stir fry.
- Chop them roughly, put them in a blender or food processor with olive oil, salt, parmesan and toasted pine nuts or walnuts to make a pesto that's so good you'll forget why you used to use basil.
- Need garlic in a recipe? Use finely-chopped scapes! The flavor mellows significantly when cooked, so you might wish to use more than you would have if they were garlic cloves.
- Find your favorite green goddess dressing recipe (or any dressing) and add garlic scapes.
- Grill them.
- Pizza topping, of course!
Recipe: Grits and Greens
Use whichever greens happen to come home in your bag. The recipe was a little long to include in the e-mail, so I'm linking to it here.
Stay strong friends--we need you!
Carrie Vaughn and the rest of the Clagett Farm Team