A Note from Farmer Ted: Sign up for the 2015 CSA!

The Windflower Farm 2015 CSA Season is Underway

Greetings from all of us at Windflower Farm. We are happy to be kicking off our Prospect Park CSA membership, and hope to have you join us. Our greenhouses are filling quickly with little plants and soon our tractors will be working the fields. Spring is coming, and our farm team will be working hard to produce some of the most delicious organic vegetables and most attractive cut flowers around! We have paid close attention to our end-of-year survey results and believe that we have put together a crop plan that you’ll be very pleased with. We’ve purchased a new salad harvester and, from time to time, intend to include baby greens in your shares. We’re growing more tomatoes than ever, with more than 30 varieties in this year’s lineup. To keep it interesting, we’ve have added some oddballs to the roster, including celeriac, fennel, Chinese leeks, Thai basil, and purple carrots. And we are increasing quantities of some favorites, including sweet potatoes, garlic, seedless cucumbers and cauliflower.

Are you new to Community Supported Agriculture? In short, CSA a system in which a local farm is supported by shareholders within a community who share both the benefits and risks of food production. In our case, purchasing a share of Windflower Farm’s vegetables entitles a shareholder to 22 weekly deliveries of fresh, organically grown herbs, greens and seasonal vegetables of all kinds, including sweet corn, red-ripe tomatoes, colorful peppers, cucumbers, carrots, red, white and yellow onions and much more. At Windflower Farm we also offer optional shares of our own organically grown fresh-cut flowers, brown eggs from a neighbor’s pastured hens, and fresh fruits from throughout the Hudson Valley.

For more than 25 years CSAs have been protecting farms and farmland. CSA offers advantages to farmers: We receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow, and we have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food we grow. CSA also offers advantages to consumers: You will get to eat ultra-fresh food and will be exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking; you’ll get to visit the farm at least once a season; and you’ll develop a relationship with the farmer who grows your food and learn more about how your food is grown. Perhaps best of all, you’ll get to be part of a community with mutual interests in food and health.

Please consider joining us.

Thank you!

Ted and Jan Blomgren​

Thanks for a great season!

We’re sad to see Prospect Park CSA wind down for 2014, but are so thankful to our wonderful members and, of course, to Farmer Ted for another amazing year of fantastic small-farm, organic produce in our corner of Brooklyn.

For CSA members, we’ll be getting in touch with details for next year in early 2015. If you’re interested in joining up for the first time, email us at info@prospectparkcsa.org to get on our mailing list.

Until then, we wish you all the best for the holiday season and the new year.

Stay warm, and we’ll be in touch in a few months.

-The Prospect Park CSA Core Group

Storage Tips: Gourdy, Gourdy, Look Who’s Forty

I’m probably just a little too pleased with that title.

So you’d have to be, like, totally inept not to be able to store winter squashes relatively well in the short term. It’s like they were designed with our needs in mind, and you’d have to be a real malicious jackass to mess em up before Thanksgiving, at the earliest.

But you can really go the distance with these little buddies if you’re diligent. Here’s how to avoid Squash Sabotage:

  • Squashes will last their longest when stored, undamaged, at around 55°F and 60% relative humidity. Warmer temperatures will make them lose weight and moisture. Colder temperatures risk damaging them, too. Garages, basements and root cellars are great options, but for us Brooklynites with limited space, perhaps consider leaving them near a front entryway to your home or near a cracked window– drafty air from outside will help keep them cooler and slightly moister than it is in the rest of your home.
  • The fridge is a sorta OK place to keep em, but chances are they will get moist and rot faster.
  • If you wanna get cray cray about it, you can wipe each one down before storing with a mild solution of vinegar and water (or bleach or hydrogen peroxide) to kill any mold or spores which may already be on the flesh. Be sure to dry them very very well!
  • You’ll want to inspect them for nicks and damage, and eat any ones with signs of wear and tear first.
  • Much like apples, they can be lightly wrapped in paper and placed in boxes, or you can just leave em out all cute and fall-time rustic style. It’s best to give them a piece of cardboard or fabric to sit on, as a hard surface can, after time, cause a mushy spot to develop.
  • I’ve also heard you don’t want to store pumpkins with apples, because they can off gas to one another….kinda like me and my boyfriend after the chili tasting contest we went to last weekend.
  • Butternuts generally last the longest, followed by big pumpkins and acorn squashes. Delicatas, like their name suggests, aren’t quite as hardy, but with diligence they can last well into the New Year!

And did you know that, much like pumpkin seeds, you can roast the seeds of other squashes?  Butternut, spaghetti, and acorn squashes all are fair game, brosef!

So bust out your cumin and olive oil, salt n’ stuff and get those little crunchy pepitas a-roasting!

Impress your friends!  Charm your date.  Give your kids a reason to like you!

Managing Your Melons

Did you know that there’s a National Watermelon Promotion Board?

Yeah, me neither. Here’s what they say about storing their, presumably, favorite food.

Store Watermelon on the Warm Side
Compared to most fruits, watermelons need a more “tropical” climate – a thermometer reading of 55° F is ideal. However, whole melons will keep for 7 to 10 days at room temperature. Store them too long, and they’ll lose flavor and texture. After cutting, store watermelon in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Lower Temperatures Cause Chill Injury
After two days at 32° F, watermelons develop an off-flavor, become pitted and lose color. Freezing causes rind to break down and produces a mealy, mushy texture. Once a melon is cut, it should be wrapped and stored at 36° – 39°F.”
Removing Seeds Is A Breeze
Wash and quarter a whole melon, then cut each quarter into three or four wedges. Cut lengthwise along the seed line with a paring knife, and lift off piece. Using a fork, scrape seeds both from the removed piece and the remaining flesh on the rind. Use for cubes or continue with recipe.

 

Ah! and what’s more there’s apparently a California Melon Research Board.

California doesn’t have a steady supply of drinking water, but they have a melon research board.

Ok.

Anyways, this is what they suggest for storing cantaloupe.

How should cantaloupes be stored at home?
Refrigerate ripe melons, but do not freeze. It is best not to cut a cantaloupe until you are ready to eat it. If you need to return cut melon to the refrigerator, do not remove the seeds from the remaining sections as they keep the flesh from drying out. Cut melon should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and put back in the refrigerator immediately.”

 

Storage Tips: Eggplants

Turns out eggplants don’t like the refrigerator anymore than cucumbers or tomatoes. In a perfect world (which this clearly isn’t) they’d be kept at 50 degrees and consumed quickly.

So, the choice is yours: bundle them up in a paper towel and plastic bag and keep them on the top shelf of your fridge, or leave them on the table top at room temperature. Either way eat em up quickly, ideally within a day.

And because I’ve always wanted to know myself, here is a recipe for Babaganoush. Turns out it’s easy.

Ingredients
1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
1 glove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake the eggplant until it is soft inside, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, grill the eggplant over a gas grill, rotating it around until the skin is completely charred, about 10 minutes. Let the eggplant cool. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, drain off the liquid, and scoop the pulp into a food processor. Process the eggplant until smooth and transfer to a medium bowl.

On a cutting board, work garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt together with the flat side of a knife, until it forms a paste. Add the garlic-salt mixture to the eggplant. Stir in the parsley, tahini, and lemon juice. Season with more salt, to taste. Garnish with additional parsley.

Storage Tips: Children of the Corn

I’m really grasping at straws with this title. Suffice it to say this is about storing corn.

NOTE: This info was wholeheartedly ganked from this website.

Corn, like most things, is best eaten shortly after harvest. “You can wrap unhusked ears in a plastic bag and refrigerate until preparation time. Do not remove husks before storing fresh corn….The husks help retain freshness.

 

Corn freezes well on or off the cob, but for best results it must be blanched and frozen soon after harvesting. To blanch sweet corn on the cob, use a large stockpot partially filled with water, enough to cover several ears at a time. Bring the water to a rolling boil, then place the corn in the boiling water. Begin timing as soon as you immerse the corn in the boiling water. Cover the pot and boil on high temperature… small ears for 7 minutes, medium sized ears for 9 minutes, and large ears for 11 minutes. You may use the same boiling water two or three times. After boiling, cool the corn immediately in ice water for the same amount of time as it was boiled. Drain the corn thoroughly.

To freeze whole kernel corn, blanch the corn on the cob for about 5 minutes. Cool thoroughly in ice water for 5 minutes. Cut the corn from the cob and package in freezer containers or good quality freezer bags. Frozen sweet corn (at 0° F or lower) can be stored for a maximum of 12 to 18 months.”

ALLLSSSOOO: have you ever heard of milking corn cobs? My friend and fellow Core group member David taught me about it. Once you cut the corn off the cob, run your knife over the cob vigorously several times, pulling the starchy liquid out of it and any of the little bits of kernels that are still left. It creates a white milky substance that is great tossed into a pasta dish or into soups–it adds sweet starchy awesomeness. Give it a try!

 

Storing Stone Fruits & Trapping Fruit Flies

Stone fruits include peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, apricots and cherries.

Here’s some basics:
You’ll know your stone fruit is ripe if it easily dents when you gently press your fingertip near the stem of the fruit.

If it is hard near the stem when pressed, then it could stand to ripen just a bit more. Leave them at room temperature for 1-2 days. A little sunshine will expedite the process.

Once they’re ripe they can be stored uncovered in your fridge’s crisper drawer where they’ll stay clean and dry. They can hang out there for a good 4-7 days.

Trapping Fruit Flies:
I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’ve got a serious fruit fly invasion going on in my home. It’s making it hard for me to keep my tomatoes out on the counter rather than in the fridge. This causes me much anguish and gnashing of teeth.

But did you know you can trap those little suckers with just some old wine, some tape, and a plastic bottle?

Here’s how:
Find a plastic bottle that has a screw top- a smaller bottle is better in my experience because it gets the hole closer to the wine, thereby more easily attracting the flies.
Chop the top off. Put a couple of inches of old wine, beer, vinegar or grape juice in the bottom part.
Turn the top part upside down so that it looks like a funnel, and then nest it inside the bottom part. Tape it off around the edges.
The concept is that the flies are attracted to the wine. They can climb down into the funnel, but can’t fly back out. So they drown in wine…. just like I probably will one day… if I’m lucky.

LIKE THIS: