Magic 100!

Next week : 24 April 2013
Wednesday Pick Up (Due to ANZAC Day)

Hi everyone,

This week we have hit the magic 100!

We almost thought we were never going to get there, and Frank and I were silently and independently even thinking of giving up by the end of last year. But then, hey presto, suddenly it all started to come together and here we are at 100.  This means that there is a future for our CSA. Finally the buts and ifs are gone!

Having at least 100 weekly CSA members for us means that we suddenly also need to adjust to the new situation, one that is a bit more relaxed. Out with the pure survival mode and in with the forward thinking mode!  For example, we do not have to worry that the seeds Ross sows today will find a home when harvested as a plant in 3 months time. This means the costs we make now we know we will get back. In a financial tight situation these questions are always hard to make.  (Picture; Frank talks to Susan Murray from Country Life, National Radio).

But now we can plan ahead better. We have to really, because we have to work out for how many members we can harvest and pack in one day, what is the capacity of the driver who has been supporting us wonderfully all this time and going the extra mile to make sure it all goes ok. Making sure the crates come back on time so we can fill them again!  Land wise, we have the capacity to grow for 200 dedicated CSA members so there is room for growth. It already starts now, but growing for 200 members means we have the economies of scale to bring down costs per plant in relation to the numbers we are producing for and give you even more quality and value for money! (Picture to the right: Ross sowing seeds for winter harvesting. Every tray is 144 seeds, and there are 48 trays to be filled! Even on a cold day outside, it can still be pretty hot in a hothouse!).

To say a big thank you to you all we have this week packed a scrumptious seasonal fruit bag with Breaburn apples, Quinces and Chestnuts.

In your CSA Shares this week

Fruit Share: 1.5 kg Braeburn Apples, 1 kg Quince Pears and 500 grams of Sweet Chestnuts.

Small Veggie Share: 1.2 kg Moonshine Potatoes (or Chicory), 400 grams of Carrots, 1 Pumpkin, 150 grams of Mizuna, either 1-2 Pak Choy or Broccoli Shoots, and 500 grams of Courgettes.

Large Veggie Share: 1.2 kg Moonshine Potatoes (or Chicory), 400 grams of Carrots, 1 Pumpkin, 150 grams of Mizuna, either 1-2 Pak Choy or Broccoli Shoots, 100 grams of Spring Onions, either 200 grams of Kale or a bunch of Broccoli Shoots, 500 grams of Jerusalem Artichokes, 120 grams of Garlic and 500 grams of Courgettes.

Chestnuts

I found the piece below in this weeks’ newsletter from the Hill Street farmers market (Thank you Lynette!) “The chestnut is remarkable among nuts in that it can be a dietary staple.  In almost any recipe it can be substituted for a grain.  Its flour is rich and sweet.  A rich chestnut stew was a common meal in homes throughout Europe for centuries and indeed it helped many people through the food shortages during WW2. It is low in fat, has no cholesterol and is rich in Vit. C and E.
You can make cakes, pancakes, bread, soup and truffles out of the chestnuts.
Storage - chestnuts must be stored in a paper bag in a dark cool place or placed in fridge in a perforated plastic bag.  They can be frozen in a perforated plastic bag for up to a year”.

I also found an U Tube video on how to roast chestnuts. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm6_P4_KJT4.

Jerusalem Artichokes

The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is also called the sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour

Despite its name, the Jerusalem artichoke has no relation to Jerusalem and it is not a type of artichoke, even though both are members of the daisy family. The origin of the name is uncertain. Italian settlers in the USA called the plant girasole, the Italian word for sunflower because of its resemblance to the garden sunflower. Over time the name girasole may have been changed to Jerusalem. To avoid confusion, some people have recently started to refer to it as sunchoke or sunroot.

The artichoke part of the Jerusalem artichoke's name comes from the taste of its edible tuber. Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer, sent the first samples of the plant to France, noting that its taste was similar to an artichoke.

Jerusalem artichokes were first cultivated by the Native Americans long before the arrival of the Europeans; this extensive cultivation obscures the exact native range of the species. The Jerusalem artichoke was titled 'best soup vegetable' in the 2002 Nice festival for the heritage of the French cuisine.

These potato-like tubers are quite the versatile vegetable. They offer an alternative and unique flavour to dishes, and surprisingly have lots of nutritious health benefits! Very versatile:

  • Can be eaten raw or cooked
  • They have a delicate sweetness and nutty flavour that is very refreshing, their crispness resembles a water chestnut
  • Low calorie
  • Very nutritious: great source of Iron, Potassium and Vitamin C
  • Unpeeled, they provide maximum nutrition
  • 1/2 cup serving contains about 14% of the daily value for iron, compared with approximately 4% in the same sized portion of baked potato.
  • A good potato-substitute for potato-loving people with diabetes or for anyone looking to help control their appetites by eating foods that don’t cause major spikes in their blood sugar levels

Pan-Fried Jerusalem Artichokes in Sage Butter, Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500 grams Jerusalem artichokes,* scrubbed, cut crosswise into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely torn fresh sage leaves, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preparation

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Jerusalem artichokes and half of sage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown and just beginning to soften, turning frequently, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer Jerusalem artichokes to shallow serving bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sage to skillet; fry until sage darkens and begins to crisp, about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice; simmer 1 minute. Pour lemon-sage butter over Jerusalem artichokes in bowl, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley.

In the News: Cadmium in our soil and in our food.

Last week Campbell Live screened a piece on cadmium levels in New Zealand soils. To check it out click on this link. http://www.tv3.co.nz/CAMPBELL-LIVE-Thursday-April-11-2013/tabid/3692/articleID/91605/Default.aspx

Have a great week and please remember that next weeks pick up is on a Wednesday (due to Anzac day)!!!

Josje and the farm team