This week has really been hot! It makes the day seem so much longer, but we are managing to keep up with the harvesting. Now that the garden is larger with more CSA subscribers and wholesale accounts we have to harvest every day. If we don’t, the veggies get too big and the plants can stop producing. Even with our best efforts we miss some, especially those zucchinis, so you will find that some of the veggies in your share are not always perfect. I am sure you have heard that old saying that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, well I see perfection in every plant and the fruit that it produces. The nutritional value of your veggies has nothing to do with its appearance. I just read an article in a health magazine that stated the veggies that have been eaten on by bugs are more nutritious because the plant puts out more anti-oxidants to fight off the pests! So eat those “not so perfect” veggies!
More lettuce, spinach, radish, carrots, beets and greens were seeded this week, hoping for fall and early winter crops. I haven’t a sense of what the weather is going to do this fall, but I am hoping for a beautiful Indian Summer.
The cucumbers are going crazy and need to be preserved for the winter. I encourage you to try your hand at putting up some pickles this year. They are so easy to do and once you have tasted you own, you will never buy store bought again. I have lots of recipes for both refrigerator dills, refrigerator bread and butter pickles and canned dills. You can purchase a canners share (12-13#) for $25. You need to pre-order, but right now I have plenty. I also have dill. I saw a great idea for using those chard stems, too! Cut them in lengths to fit a canning jar and pickle them! Great on an appetizer plate and they look so pretty in the jar!
I finally have a few tomatoes for you this week. It is a little disappointing to say the least. This is the first year in forever that I have not had oodles of tomatoes. I always preserve allot of tomatoes, but I don’t know if there will be enough to do much this year.
Thank you again Lindsey for coming to help harvest beans today! An extra hand in the garden is always appreciated.
Besides the tomatoes, this weeks share will include a big head of cabbage, Swiss chard, red bunching onions, beets, green beans, cucumbers, yellow and green zucchini, patty pan squash and, of course some herbs.
Hi everyone! What a storm we had here last evening! I had every intention of posting this blog last night, but I was outside buttoning down the greenhouse and shop and bringing things in that would blow away. I just now came in from harvesting for your CSA box. It is now almost 4 o’clock and I will be seeing you all soon. So, apologies for getting this out late. This is my life at Kate’s Garden. The garden is a stern mistress. I abide by her schedule….not mine.
It’s definitely not going to be a night shade year. The tomatoes are half the height and fullness that they were last year. Same for the peppers. The eggplants are not even flowering yet. Other growers are having the same problems, so I know it is not just me. Thankfully, the cucumbers and zucchini are doing well. I harvested over 50# of cucs over the last two days. If any of you are wanting to make fresh refrigerator pickles or dills, let me know. I can set some aside for you so that they will be harvested the day before you need them. I also have fresh dill and garlic. You will need to pre-order so that I can plan the harvest. I also have Italian basil that can be made into pesto and put into your freezer to use during the winter. Let me know if you need any. I can supply you with recipes, too. With all of the weather challenges going on all over the country, I have a feeling that the availability of many fruits and vegetable will be much less in the supermarket winter and the prices will be much higher. I encourage you to do a little canning, freezing and dehydrating with some of your CSA share. It’s a great way to reduce your trips to the grocery store and will certainly save you money. You will be eating healthy, organic food, too!
We had a great week with a nice heavy rain and a couple of cooler days. It made things go a little easier. Barb noticed some paw prints in the mud yesterday and we determined that they were from a racoon! Now I know what is knocking my pepper plants over. Guess I will have to keep an eye out for damaged veggies, but so far have not seen any.
The garden was blessed with a visit from Lindsey Jamesn today, who is one of our CSA shareholders. She worked for several hours in the strawberry patch and basil beds. She was great help and brought some new energy to the plants. Thank you Lindsey! You can come back any time. It was so great having some extra help.
We also spread manure, grass clippings and alfalfa pellets and tilled them into some of the already harvested beds to ready them for the replanting of some fall crops. Hopefully more carrots, radish, broccoli, lettuce, spinach and greens will be planted this next week.
The cucumbers are really starting to produce so you will have some in this weeks share along with beautiful bush green beans, the last of the sugar snap peas and oakleaf lettuce, yellow summer squash, patty pan squash, a few small bulb scallions, and, of course some fresh herbs. I am including a great recipe below that you can use some of this week’s produce to make.
Fresh Herb & Beef Salad with Southeast Asian Flavors
Did you know that grass fed beef can be just as low in saturated fat and as good for you as chicken? Choose cuts that have the word loin or round in the name and you have a high-protein meal that is just as healthy as chicken.
1. Preheat the broiler. Line a broiler pan with foil. Coat the broiler-pan rack with cooking spray. Rub the steak on both sides with 1/4 teaspoon of the red-pepper flakes.
2. Broil the steak 4″ to 6″ from the heat source, turning once, for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness, or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers 145°F for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate.
3. In a large salad bowl, mix the lime juice, fish sauce, oil, sugar, garlic, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes with a fork. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the dressing over the steak on the plate and let the steak stand for 10 minutes.
4. Add the lettuce or greens, cucumber, onion, radishes, cilantro, and mint to the remaining dressing and toss to mix well. Divide among the 4 plates.
5. Cut the steak into thin slices on an angle and arrange on top of the salads. Spoon the steak juices over the top.
See you on Thursday afternoon….4-6 PM.
Another hot, busy week here in the gardens. The last of the sugar snaps are harvested and will be in your share this week. The Romanesco zucchini is going crazy and the yellow summer squash is starting to produce nicely. We harvested the first few cucumbers and beans…not quite enough for this week’s share, but definitely will be in next week’s. The tomatoes and peppers are really slow this year. I have talked with other growers and we all seem to be complaining. I think it is because of the temperature fluctuations. Extreme heat, then cool nights, and then we had that cold snap a week ago. The grasshoppers aren’t doing the damage yet that they did last year, but with this heat who knows how long that will last! The garden seems to be pretty bug free so far….keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way.
Besides the peas, this week your share will contain cabbage, oakleaf lettuce, radish, zucchini, kale or swiss chard, fresh white onions, and, of course some herbs.
I am asked quite often why I am so passionate about growing good food. I used to think it was just about the taste of homegrown veggies….they just taste so much better. But over the years I have come to realize that there is a deep connection within us with all things from nature. Food reconnects us with nature and from there to our spirit. When food has been grown with care and attention, we are drawn to it…we can tell. We recognize it. When we can talk to the people who grow our food and share our experiences, we are drawn more deeply into ourselves and the connection we all have with each other and nature. I recently saw a sign that said “Food is love made visible.” For me, it is not going too far to say that love is the driving force behind the resurgence of passion for local food over the last few years. When love reveals itself as food, we respond.
Zucchini Pizza Boats
Yield: 12 boats, about 6 servings
6 small zucchini
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 cup marinara sauce
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
¼ red onion, sliced
¼ cup kalamata olives, chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade
1/2 cup mini pepperoni slices
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner, set aside.
Cut each zucchini into halves through the length (if they don’t lye flat trim a thin portion from bottoms so that they will lye mostly flat. Pat insides dry with paper towels (cut portion). Align on prepared baking sheet. In a bowl, stir together olive oil and garlic then brush lightly over tops of zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste then brush a slightly heaping 1 Tbsp marinara sauce over each zucchini, leaving a small rim near edges uncoated. Sprinkle tops evenly with mozzarella cheese then with Parmesan cheese. Top with tomatoes, olives and pepperoni slices (placing them more near centers as the cheese will melt and spread). Bake in preheated oven 12 – 18 minutes (bake time will vary depending on how thick your zucchini are and how crisp/tender you want them).
Remove from oven and sprinkle with the fresh herbs. Serve warm.
Just a friendly reminder to let me know ahead of time if you are not going to be able to come and pick up your order, as I do not have room in my coolers to store any extra produce. Three boxes this week were not picked up, so they were given to my neighbors.
It’s been a busy week in the garden, with lots of harvesting and seconding plantings going in. The summer squash are finally coming on strong, and we have to check on them every day to make sure we pick them before they get too big. Even with constant diligence, some of them slip by and get huge! Those are the ones that I like to shred for breads or desserts. It’s amazing what you can do with zucchini!
I havested some of my favorite herbs this week to make herbal tinctures and oil macerations.
Bees love the flowers, so I always have it growing near the garden. The fresh leaves and flowers are stripped from the stem and infused in Everclear to make a tincture for respiratory challenges. The herb is my go to for asthma, bronchitis, colds and anything affecting the lungs. Because it is good for inflammation, I use it in my pain balms and foot creams.
The fresh calendula flowers are macerating in extra-virgin olive oil and are used in all of my creams and lotions, baby products and massage oils. The herb is soothing to the skin, and good for pain and inflammation. When you walk back to the shop to pick up your share, you will see both of these herbs growing along the driveway
We harvested some beautiful big cabbage for you this week and there will also be a small amount of broccoli…not allot, but enough for a stir fry. I am not happy with the the yield, but because it became so hot all at once it affected the production in a negative way. I just planted a second crop and it will hopefully germinate well so that there will be a late fall harvest. Radishes are planted every few weeks, too, for a continuing supply. Your share will also include some beautiful oakleaf lettuce, sweet onion, radishes, summer squash and fresh herbs.
Have you ever cooked radishes? If you are like me, we were taught to eat them raw, on a relish tray or sliced into a salad. But, oh how wonderful they are cooked! I was amazed at the transformation in flavor and texture. This recipe is quick and delicious!
Roasted Radishes with Radish Greens
3 bunches small radishes with greens attached
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 500°. Trim the radishes and wash the greens; pat dry.
In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the radishes, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the radishes for 15 minutes, until crisp-tender.
Return the skillet to the burner and stir in the butter to coat the radishes. Add the radish greens and cook over moderate heat until they are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt. Serve the radishes right away.
…and a recipe for your Cabbage
Sweet Beet Dressed Slaw
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
2 small to medium-sized red beets, peeled and grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
8 to 10 radishes, julienned
1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly shredded (can substitute green cabbage)
3 bias cut scallions
2 rounded spoonfuls dill pickle relish
Preheat a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with 3 turns of the pan of extra-virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons. Once you see the oil ripple in the pan add the grated beets, season with some salt and pepper and cook stirring every now and then until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the beets to a bowl and let them cool down a bit. Add the mustard and the vinegar to the beets. Whisk in the remaining extra-virgin olive oil in a slow and steady stream. Add the fresh dill, radishes, shredded cabbage, sliced scallions and relish and toss to combine, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve now or the next day.
…a gentle reminder…pick up times for you CSA share are Thursday from 4-6 PM. If you are unable to pick up your share, please let me know ahead of time. Last week I had 3 shares that we not picked up. I would not have had to harvest those shares and then give them away if I had been given a heads up. Please remember to bring you boxes, and you can recycle back to me any of the clam shells and extra packaging that are in your share.
See you tomorrow!
From 99 degrees on Saturday the 4th of July to me wearing my insulated Carharts the very next day while I was out harvesting the garlic! Only in Montana, right? I am wondering if the plants are as confused as I am.
The first of six 20 foot rows of garlic harvested.
These are the Inchelium Red artichoke type garlic. Some of them were as big as baseballs.
Garlic needs to cure for a couple of weeks or longer. This allows the necks to dry down so they will store well. I place them on raised screens in a protected shady area. Then I will clean off all of the dirt, remove the dried stems and trim the roots. Some of the garlic will be saved to replant for next years crop.
Lots of weeding again this week. I am also experimenting with a new method of training the tomatoes to climb on strings. It took a couple of days to get them all tied up. We will see how it works. I am seeing a few tomatoes set fruit and there are quite a few flowers on them. So, am hoping for a beginning harvest by late July or so.
The grasshoppers are starting to do some damage on the kale and other greens. I am hoping that we get some rain, as we really need it to keep the insect eating frenzy down.
This weeks share will include rhubarb, sugar snap peas, beets, radishes, lettuce, kale, red overwintered onions and herbs. This will be the last of the peas, as those high 90 degree days did the number on the flowering tops. Peas don’t like the heat. I am happy that everyone received some during the first two harvests, but I was really planing on a longer harvest window.
I am including a recipe for a great breakfast/brunch dish using your kale. Frittata’s are so quick and easy to make. You can use almost any veggie in them and you can also top with a nice feta or aged cheese..
Potato, Bacon, and Greens Frittata
You can substitute sliced Canadian bacon for a lower-fat alternative in this hearty Spanish egg dish.
1 1/4 cups roasted or boiled potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup cooked greens, such as mustard or kale, chopped
2 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large sweet onions, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet with ovenproof handle over medium heat. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, turning with tongs, 10 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in vinegar and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in potatoes, greens, bacon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
2. Pour eggs over vegetables and stir to blend. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to set, 3 minutes. Place skillet in oven and cook until set, 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. To serve, loosen around edges with rubber spatula and turn out onto platter.
There will be eggs available for $3 a dozen. See you tomorrow…Thursday….4-6 PM. If you can’t make it, please let me know. Remember to bring you bags, boxes or coolers
Wow! After all of the indecisive weather patterns and the challenges that came with our Montana spring season, Kate’s Garden is opening her gate for the first week’s CSA share pick up. I hope you are as excited as I am! I am looking forward to meeting you, as many of you are new this year. I will get to see those of you who purchased full shares every week, and for those who are half sharers, every other week. I sent you the information on your scheduled pick up dates in the last newsletter, but you can view it again on my website, where you will find all of the past newsletters and blogs.
There are some general housekeeping instructions that I will clarify for you now, as some of you are unfamiliar with our procedures.
1. Please bring your own box, cooler or bags in which to place your produce, as I do not have extra boxes or bags. Your veggies will be field washed or cloth wiped clean, however, you will need to wash them when you get them home just as you would when purchasing at the store.
2. I encourage you to recycle the produce clam shells, egg cartons and any appropriate packaging that you acquire at the store and bring them with you when you come. I can use them here to send things like beans, peas, herbs, tomatoes, etc back home with you. Even those cute plastic pouches that they are packaging grapes and cherries in nowadays will work! If you are not sure what I can use….just ask! That way I don’t have to buy more plastic and it keeps it out of the landfill. No deli containers, though. They always smell!
3. I am planning on having local, free range eggs available again this year. Marlene, the lady that supplied eggs last year has increased her production this year. Now, f the hens do their job and don’t start molting in this heat, we will hopefully have more eggs. Marlene sells here eggs for $3 per dozen, which is a steal!
4. Pick up time is from 4 to 6 PM. Please be on time. Thursday’s harvest begins early in the morning, so it is a long day for me. I will have the big gate open. Walk down the gravel driveway to the back shop, where we will be waiting for you. You will probably be greeted by Bodie, my German Shepherd. He is boisterous, but friendly.
5. I invite you to take the time to walk through the gardens. I am very proud of them and want you to enjoy them, too!
6. If you are unable to make your pick up day, please let me know ahead of time. I know that some of you are traveling and things come up. I cannot hold your share, or adjust your pick up day as there are so many of you that are picking up every other week. It would be a scheduling nightmare to keep up with it all. What works best with most CSA’s is to make arrangements with a friend or another family member to pick up your share for you. I am sure they would love having some fresh, local produce.
Here is a photo of the Snap Peas growing on the fence along the driveway. They are in flower right now and use their tendrils to help them climb. You have to harvest them everyday day in order to keep them producing, but they don’t like the hot weather, so there is a short window of harvest. I just can’t resist eating a handful when picking them! Yummy, sweet and crunchy!
This first week’s share will include Sugar Snap Peas, Beets with their greens, Radishes, Leaf Lettuce, Spinach, Rhubarb and fresh herbs.
Here is a quick and delicious recipe for the Sugar Snaps.
Spicy Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas
1 lb. sugar snap peas
2 T soy sauce (can use low-sodium soy sauce if you prefer)
1 tsp. sesame seed oil
1 tsp. Sriracha sauce
2-3 slices fresh ginger root
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 T peanut oil
1 tsp. black sesame seeds or sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Remove the strings from the each sugar snap pea by snapping the stem end and pulling the string down the side, then slice each one on the diagonal. (The sugar snap peas actually have a string on each side, but on most of them I only removed the string from one side.)
Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Put the wok or heavy frying pan on the burner and preheat at least one minute. (It should feel very hot if you hold your hand above the wok.) When wok is hot, add the oil and let it heat until the oil is shimmering (about 15-30 seconds, depending on how hot your stove gets.) Add the sliced ginger root and garlic and stir-fry just long enough so that they become fragrant and season the oil, then remove. (Be careful not to brown the ginger and garlic or they will have a bitter taste.)
Add the sliced sugar snap peas and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the peas turn bright green and are just starting to cook, about 2 minutes. Pour in the sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce just starts to coat the peas, about 1 minute more. (There will be some sauce in the bottom of the wok, but not much.) Serve hot, sprinkled with black sesame seeds or sesame seeds if desired.
See you on Thursday! 4-6 PM! Can’t wait to see you all and share the garden’s bounty!
This is a quick update on the progress in the gardens. If all goes well, I am hoping to start the first share pick up date on July 2nd. We all know that rain is a good thing…especially here in the high plains desert, but too much is too much! I have been beating myself up about not being on time this year with the beginning of the CSA, but Mother Nature is just not working with me. The cool weather slowed everything down by at least 10 to 14 days. Now, we have the full blown heat of this past week and the plants are in shock! Such is the life on the farm. There is absolutely nothing I can do about it, but continue to bless the gardens and do everything humanly possible to make sure that they are productive.
I have worked out the schedule for those of you who have purchased half shares. You will be picking up your produce every other week, in a leap frog way. The majority of you purchased the half share. There will be 15 members picking up every week…some full shares and some half shares.
Week one pick up (July 2nd) will be the following subscribers: From then on, you will pick up your second share on July 16th and every other week from there.
Susan Baak, Jessie Browning, Virginia Bryan, Annika Charter-Williams, Steve Charter, Charis Cravens, David Duke, Pamela Gustafson, James Haney, Halcyon LaPoint, Lindsey James, Paula & Tom Larsen, Vanessa McNeill, John Pugrud, Sonya Whiteley
Week two pick up (July 9th) will be the following subscribers: From then on, you will pick up your second share on July 23rd and every other week from there.
Virginia Bryan, Charis Cravens, Lindsey James, Merita Murdock, Kat Pakora, Alicia Pettys, John Pulgrud, Kerry Sandelin, Sue Tanner, Carol Wardell, Jordan Westerholm, Sonya Whiteley, Nancy Wilkins, Mike Williams
Those of you who purcased full shares will come every week. I trust you know who you are!
I hope this is not too confusing for you. I was ready for a good strong cocktail after finishing figuring it out! This way there will be around 15 of you here every week to pick up your share. It is my hope that we will be able to extend the last pick up date, as we are starting late. We will have to see at the end of fall what the weather will be. I plan on having winter squash, carrots, onions, beets at the end of the season as they can take a light frost and the cooler weather. If its anything like last year there will be a plethora of peppers, eggplants and tomatoes that I have rushed out to harvest before the freeze.
I am trying real hard to communicate with you better and more often, but please know that this is such a busy time for me in the gardens. I have been out there every day from sun up till sun down, seeding, transplanting and WEEDING.
If you need clarification on any of this, just give me a call. I am outside all of the time, but always return my calls.
The markets are full of spinach and strawberries right now, and since it has been so hot, salads for dinner are quick, easy and nutritious without being too filling. I love this Spinach & Strawberry Salad. I hope you give it a try.
Spinach Salad with Strawberries + Pine Nuts
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 1/2 cups spinach
2 cups quartered strawberries
3 tbsp. roasted pine nuts (roasted in a skillet over the stove on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly)
1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chopped dill to taste
Crumbled blue or feta cheese
Peel and dice the cucumber, and slice the strawberries.
Roast the pine nuts in a skillet on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly roasted.
In a bowl combine the cucumber, spinach, strawberries, and pine nuts.
Mix the Dijon mustard, honey, white wine vinegar, and canola oil in a small cup.
Add the dressing to the salad and toss to mix, adding the herbs, cheese, some salt and pepper to taste.
It was a good week to spend weeding! There is never enough time once the garden really gets going to keep up with them. My shoulder is screaming at me, and my knees, too, as being down on the ground crawling around and using that constant repetitive drawing and pulling motion of the Japanese hand hoe gives these joints a real workout! There is still allot more to do, but I am getting it done!
Since it really heated up these last few days, I have started transplanting some of the seedlings that needed to go out. Hopefully we will not receive any more spring storms.
The herbs are up! They have been loving the cooler weather. Tarragon is already quite tall and the chives are blooming, so it is time to make my yearly batch of beautiful, pink Chive vinegar. It is quite lovely to look at, and I use it on many summer salads, like potato and pasta salads and, of course, coleslaw. It is wonderful splashed over quickly sautéed veggies. If you don’t have any chives in your garden, plant some! They are easy to grow and once you have some, you will have them forever. I will probably have some to sell later on in the season.
Chive Blossom Vinegar
Yield: 1 quart
3/4 quart chive blossoms
About 1 quart champagne or white wine vinegar
• 1. Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until just warm. Keep an eye out so that it doesn’t boil; you want the warmth of the vinegar to seduce the coy, subtle flavor out of the blossoms, not immolate them.
• 2. Meanwhile, plunge the flowers in a bowl of cold water and gentle swish them around to flush out any dirt and bugs that have taken up residence. Dump the flowers into a colander and thwack it against the side of the sink to shake off the excess water.
• 3. Stuff the jar with the blooms.
• 4. Pour enough of the warm vinegar into the jar just to submerge the blossoms, using a metal spoon to push down any errant blooms that want to float up over the top. You might not need all of the vinegar.
• 5. Let the vinegar cool, then place a square of parchment paper or saran wrap over the opening of the jar and screw on the top. You want to make sure the vinegar doesn’t come in contact with the metal lid, as the acid will erode the finish of the cap and do nasty things to the taste of your infused vinegar. Place the container in a dark, cool spot that’s so hidden you’ll forget about it.
• 6. When you’re happy with the chive-y strength of the brew, strain it through a fine sieve and toss the spent blossoms. Pour the vinegar into your favorite (preferably glass) sterilized bottle with a rubber stopper and display prominently. Its hue–the blush of a very embarrassed Rosé–is a great conversation starter. Just don’t forget to use it.
Welcome to Kate’s Garden & June! I cannot believe how fast this month has come upon us and how slow the season has progressed. Barbara and I had planned to start the CSA program in just 2 weeks; however, living in this beautiful state has perks and downsides. With the weather so cold and wet this spring, we haven’t been able to get all of the seeds and plants into the ground as fast as we were hoping. The ones that are already out there are just sitting!
That being said, we will hopefully be able to start by the end of June. We need some heat! We will continue to update you on the garden progress and when your first pick-up date will be. Mother Nature has her own schedule, and we just have to work with her, even though it can be challenging at times.
We are so thankful that, so far, the hail has missed us this week and are hoping that the sun warms us up quickly so that everything starts growing! You can see from the above photo that the cabbages are doing quite well and we do have some beautiful French Breakfast radishes that are about ready to be harvested. The rhubarb plants are thriving and huge! We worked very hard this past weekend to get the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants transplanted, but there is still a lot of seeding left to do.
We are always looking for volunteers to help us keep up with the garden. This year we will have a couple of FFA students from Shepherd Middle School helping us weed and learn how to run a successful farm. The girls are very excited to learn and help out. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you are interested in learning as well.
Our rhubarb is available at the Good Earth Market right now, so why not whip up some sauce to stir into your yogurt or top off a scoop of vanilla ice cream. My favorite yummy fruit crisp is always a hit, too!
The greenhouse is bursting with seedlings wanting to go out! I know we need the rain, but the garden is going to take off slow this year unless it starts to heat up real soon.
It seems I always end up talking about the weather, I know! But it plays such a huge part in what I am trying to do here at Kate’s Garden. I can put on a few extra layers of clothing and my mud boots in order to stay warm and dry when I go out side, but the transplants that I just planted these last couple of weeks do not have that option. We do need the rain though as we have had such a dry winter. I lost quite a few trees this year…even some that have been in the ground three or more years. The fact that we experienced such high winds and did not have allot of snow really hurt. I am sure you have noticed all of the yellow, burned evergreen trees and shrubs around town.
Today is a soup kind of day, as the weather is a bit chilly. This recipe should warm you up. If you took the time to freeze any of the kale or chard that you saved from the garden harvest last year, this is a great way to use it up.
1 lb Italian sausage ( I like mild sausage)
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
Brown sausage in your soup pot.
Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot.
Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Turn to low heat.
Add kale and cream.
Heat through and serve.
It’s spring again! Or, is it! By this time last year we had experienced lots of winter snow and heavy spring rains. Not so this year….and the wind! Oh my! It blew down part of the north fence a couple of weeks ago and the willow trees self pruned like crazy. I have had to resort to using city water to keep the trees happy and transplants watered. The winter mulch of straw was removed from the the strawberry and garlic beds as it was so warm there for awhile and with the winds they dryed out quickly. We have been asking for rain, and we have finally been blessed with it. The much needed moisture these last two days has greened up the lawn and brought sweet fragrance to the air from all all of the flowering trees. The robins are so happy with the big fat worms that are now at the surface of the ground for easy picking.
I transplanted the scallions, bulb onions and green and red cabbages into the garden this past week. Barbara came for her first day of work on Thursday and direct seeded radishes and beets. The greenhouse is full of seed flats. The tomatoes and peppers are looking fine! I started more seeds yesterday.
The greenhouse is full of seedlings; peppers, tomatoes, parsley, basil and broccoli, and I started more seeds yesterday. There is always so much to do this time of year! My son, Greg, has been coming over to help when he can, and that has been such a blessing. I may just turn him into a farmer yet! I am always looking for more help in the gardens and a computer person would be great, too, to help with the on-line marketing/social media stuff. Sitting in front of a computer is definitely not my thing! If you or someone you know would be interested please give me a call, or send an email. This would probably amount to just a few hours a week.
So you can see that things are on course for season 2015 here at Kate’s Garden. Now, I only need more subscribers to my CSA and other outlets to sell the produce. I thought that by lowering the subscription price and offering half shares this season that I would be encouraging more subscribers….but so far, that has not been the case. I know that it is early yet, but the purpose of the CSA is for the producer to bring in early funds in order to pay for start up costs like seed, labor and supplies. I am trusting that things will turn around as soon as the warmth of the sun and longer days return for good!
Did you know that once upon a time, Montana produced 80 to 90% of the food consumed in the state. The remaining percentage was shipped out of state and that was mostly grain. More, now than ever, it is important to have access to local, sustainably grown food. Farming cannot be sustainable without the support of their local communities. It is time to really think about how we, as individuals and as a community, can start to build sustainability and a vibrant healthy food system right here in Billings and the surrounding area. I encourage you to spend your dollar with local food producers and shop keepers so that they can continue creating jobs, paying their taxes and raising their families. That’s what community is all about. Farmers and local businesses are not asking for charity or demanding your support. That is, after all, not the idea. Most are just going about doing what we love while providing you a service that you may need. I can only speak for myself, but for me, it’s also not about getting rich, although that would certainly be great. It’s about doing something that makes sense, while assisting us all in being able to eat well and stay healthy! We are really supporting each other!
There is a worldwide movement happening, based on this concept. All of the elements are in place and they are valid. Now, it is the cost, the extent and the organization of this movement that will decide if it succeeds or not. Won’t you join me in strengthening this movement?
If you have been on the fence deciding on whether to join Kate’s Garden CSA, now is a good time to do so, as I will be starting an advertising campaign soon to bring in new subscribers. I have a passion for growing healthy food, education and being in service to my community. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions, so if you are so inclined, add a comment to this post or send an email. I look forward to hearing from you.
The broccoli raab that I have growing in the greenhouse was the idea behind this quick and easy curry recipe, but the recipe calls for regular broccoli. Both will certainly work. I hope you are inspired to create this in your own kitchen.
5 Ingredient Coconut Curry
As I sat in meditation this morning, I was a filled with so many questions, thoughts and emotions. Why does it have to be that on this one day we are to be thankful?
Why shouldn’t we be thankful every day? We are all here to be a part of the transformation and evolution of ourselves and our planet… to experience each and every moment with gratitude, wonder, and purpose. We are presented with opportunity every day.
As I sit here writing this my heart is happy and sad at the same time. Is that even possible? I have been thinking about my accomplishments in the gardens this season and how good it makes me feel knowing that you have been eating and hopefully enjoying the veggies, herbs and fruit that that have been in your weekly box. I also know that I am going to miss seeing and chatting with you every week. Barb, Bodie and I feel like you are all good friends now! As with the change of the seasons, there will be a change in the structure of our lives, as winter approaches and we go inside, both physically and emotionally.
We are expecting a freeze tonight, so we will be out harvesting everything that is still growing in the gardens. There will be allot of tomatoes for you, so take advantage and put some away for the winter. The Rustic Roasted Tomato Soup recipe that I gave you last week is scrumptious and so easy to make!
Once we have everything out of the gardens, we will be preparing the beds for next year, by layering sheep manure, grass and leaves, and anything else we can get our hands on that will feed the soil, and then do a light till. So there is still allot of work to do gathering all of the materials needed. Hopefully the weather will hold long enough for us to accomplish this.
As we are always in garden mode, even when it is not garden season, it is always good to know who is interested in being a subscriber in next year’s CSA. This helps us to know how much marketing we need to do to fill up our share program. As always, I would appreciate your comments on how we can get better at what we do. What worked for you and what didn’t? Was there enough food? Too much? Were there items you did not like, or that we did not grow? You input is vital to the success of the CSA, so don’t be shy! I promise I won’t take it personal.
Todays share will include Swiss chard, leaf lettuce, beets, carrots, scallions, assorted peppers, cherry & heirloom slicing tomatoes, garlic, eggplant and two kinds of winter squash ( Delicata & Buttercup) which I purchased from Boja Farms in Bridger because of our low crop yield. I will have plenty of eggs for you today, too, so stock up, as this is the last week that you will be able to get them here. The girls are loving this cooler weather.
It is my intention to keep the blog going….probably not every week, but on a fairly regular basis to keep the news of what is happening here circulating throughout the community. I am not a techy person, but I am sure I will have more time this winter to learn the tricks of the internet marketing trade.
See you this afternoon! 4-6 PM.
What a beautiful week we have been experiencing. It feels like summer, which is a bit odd considering we entered fall on Monday and have already experienced a hard freeze two weeks ago! Only in Montana!
I have been feeling a little like a squirrel, in that I have been putting food up for the winter. This time of year I love to make pasta sauces, salsa, pickles, herbal butters and vinegar, and fruit preserves. Barbara brought me some grapes from a nearby farm, but there was not enought to do anything with it, so I harvested some of my Oregon grapes (they are a native holly like ground cover) and added some Italian plums and we made jam. It was an experiment that turned out wonderful! I encourage you to take advantage of this falls produce offerings to put away some for your winter enjoyment. Food prices are continuing to rise and there is a bounty of local produce available this time of year to ad to your share. The Farmers Market will certainly provide you with the extras that you might need. I made up a batch of the roasted tomato soup that I listed on last weeks blog, and it was absolutely scrumptious! Use some of this weeks tomatoes to make it and then freeze…that’s what I did!
This weeks share will provide you with some wonderful Autumn goodness, greens and fruit. Of course there is beets, but also lettuce, beans, bell peppers, cabbage, eggplant, tomatoes, sugar pie pumpkin and some apples.
I have 11 dozen eggs this week, too! I think the hens are loving fall, as their production has definitely gone up.
Rich pumpkin and ginger flavors combine to make a tasty autumn indulgence.
• 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
• 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
• 2 lg eggs
• 1 lg egg white
• 1/2 cup canola oil
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat 9″ x 9″ baking pan with organic cooking spray.
2. Combine flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking powder, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Stir in crystallized ginger.
3. Whisk eggs, egg white, oil, molasses, and sugar in medium bowl. Whisk in pumpkin. Fold into dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until gingerbread starts to pull away from pan sides and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on rack (may also be served warm). Garnish with sliced crystallized ginger if desired.
What a difference a week makes! From 27 degrees last Friday morning to this afternoon’s 90, the garden is in shock! That’s a 63 degree difference! Even after all of the hard work of covering the garden, we still received major frost damage here in the gardens. The cucumbers are toast, as are all of the herbs. The summer squash vines are struggling. The tomatoe vines are fried, but the tomatoes are okay, so will leave them on to ripen. The eggplant and peppers are recoving and we will still have cabbage for later.
We still are okay though, with a good selection for this weeks share, so I am thankful. It could have been allot worse, if we had not covered things up. I will know more tomorrow as I begin harvesting, but it looks like we will have tomatoes, scallions, green beans, zucchini, peppers, lettuce and either kale or chard. I am giving you a break from the beets, but you will be getting them next week! I am including some beautiful nasturtium flowers for you to add to your fresh lettuce salad. They are delicious and taste like capers!
The apple harvest at Boja farms is in full swing, so if you are wanting apples for winter eating and baking, let me know and I will get them from Bonnie for you. Barb and I will be going to visit the farm on Saturday. We’re helping harvest apples and will be pressing them for cider. There is nothing better than fresh pressed cider! I have a press here, and made allot of cider last year from my own apples. My apple trees only produce every other year however, so next year I am looking forward to another bumper crop and that cider!
See you on Thursday!
I am including some recipes for using the beans and greens. I hope you enjoy them.
Pasta with Green Beans and Tuna
For a burst of briny flavor, add 1 tablespoon chopped olives or capers to the tuna mixture.
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 3 ounces fusilli or other short pasta
• 2 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved
• 1 can (3 ounces) chunk light tuna, packed in water, drained
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon natural almonds, chopped and toasted
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 small garlic clove, minced
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions, adding green beans 1 minute before end of cooking. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tuna, oil, almonds, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Drain pasta and beans and add to tuna mixture. Stir to combine.
• 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
• 1 shallot, thinly sliced
• 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
• 1 can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• coarse salt and ground pepper
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, oregano, shallot, and mustard. Add green beans, red kidney beans, and chickpeas; toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Rainbow Chard Slaw
1 large bunch chard (or kale), sliced into thin ribbons
4 carrots, peeled and grated
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup minced salad onion or yellow onion
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise (we like Duke’s)
In a small bowl, whisk together the onion, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in the mayo until mixture is emulsified. Place the greens, carrot and scallions in a large salad bowl, and drizzle with slightly more than half of the dressing.
This salad is best dressed 20 minutes before serving. It will hold up, refrigerated, for several hours, but is best eaten day of. To enjoy later, simply save the greens and dressing, and combine them as needed.
Simple Roast Tomato Soup
This has big tomato flavor with smoky notes and hints of fragrant herbs. It’s exactly what you want to be eating as the first leaves of fall flutter by.
4 large tomatoes, halved
1 yellow onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (I am partial to white peppercorns)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (make your own!)
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Scoop the seeds out of the halved tomatoes with your finger. Tuck the garlic into the tomatoes, and lay them, and the onions, out on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and turn everything to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 30 – 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are bubbly and the edges are brown.
Combine the broth, roasted tomatoes and onions in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the herbs. Puree with an immersion blender or regular blender so that you maintain some of the texture. Add the balsamic, check salt and acid levels, and serve with an herb garnish and a piece of toast slathered with goat cheese.
Boy! What a week this has been. Barb and I have been working from sun up till sun down harvesting and then covering as much of the garden as possible. I can’t believe that I already had to wear my insulated jeans and rain gear! Oh! I also put the flannel sheets back on the bed!
Our first experience of an ununsual season started with the hail storm in early May, and now we have frost/freeze/snow slated for this evening. I must say that it is quite disturbing to have worked so hard producing a beautiful garden and wonderful food, only to have it not come to fruition. We are doing all we can to insure that this first taste of winter will not prove too damaging. Hopefully it will be short lived and we can then return to a beautiful fall. Let’s all hold this thought!
Bonnie Martinell from Bridger is continuing her harvest of apples. If you want to order for next weeks pick up, let me know.
She will still have:
Liberty and Honey Crisp $2.50 per pound for 5 to 10 lbs or $2.25/lb for a 35lb box
New this week will be harvesting Sweet Sixteen and Harralson, which is a large crisp apple with a slight pear taste. They will both sell for $2.50 per pound for 5 to 10 lbs or $2.25/lb for a 35lb box
The apples that were ordered last week are here and available for pick up. If you are writing a check, please make it payable to Boja Farms.
I only have 4 dozen regular sized eggs this week and Marlene brough me 3 dozen smaller pullet eggs which sell for $1.50.
This weeks share includes savoy cabbage (they were so huge that I cut them in half), green beans, eggplant, 3 varieties of peppers (bell, Anjo/Poblano and jalapeno), beets, Parisienne carrots, cucumbers, red and yellow onions and tomatoes.
I hope you enjoy some of these fall time recipes and take advantage of some of the veggies that are in this weeks share.
See you soon!
Cabbage and Pear Slaw
• 1 cup chopped pears
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons apple cider
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded German Dumpling Soup
• 1 medium red onion, sliced
• 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Give the reserved pears a rough chop.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, cider, sugar, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pear, cabbage, onion, and parsley. Toss everything together, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Cabbage and Potato Bake
• 1 cabbage, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
• 2 large Idaho potatoes, about 2 1/2 pounds
• 12 ounces lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 2 cups yellow onions, peeled and sliced lengthwise
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 cups homemade chicken stock, or canned, low-sodium chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Rinse the cabbage under cold running water and remove the tough outer leaves. Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the hard core. Cut the cabbage quarters into halves and place, rounded side down, in a roasting pan.
Cut the potatoes in half crosswise and peel. Cut the peeled potato halves into quarters, and arrange in the roasting pan, alternating with the cabbage pieces.
Fry the bacon in a heavy medium skillet for 7 minutes. Add the sliced onions, salt, and black pepper to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Evenly distribute the bacon mixture and pan drippings over the vegetables, then pour the chicken stock on top.
Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes before serving. Serve the vegetables with the bacon and broth spooned over them.
Chunky Guacamole with Hot Peppers
• 6 avocados, roughly chopped
• 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
• 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 cup chopped cilantro (from 1 bunch)
• 1 serrano or jalapeno chile pepper, finely chopped – more if you like it hotter
• Juice from 4 small lemons or limes (about 1/2 cup) I prefer limes!
Put avocados, tomatoes, onion, salt, cilantro, pepper, and lemon juice in large bowl. Stir gently until well combined.
Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer or on top of steak.
Chicken, Green Bean, and Cucumber Salad
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon each finely chopped fresh parsley and basil
• 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
• 4 ounces green beans
• 1 Basic Poached Chicken, breast half, cooled and torn
• 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
• 2 teaspoons chopped toasted almonds
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, fresh lemon juice, parsley, basil, and capers. Boil green beans, trimmed, in salted water until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water; drain and add to bowl along with poached chicken, cucumber, and chopped toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
It feels like fall out there. It’s only the first week of September and the garden in already slowing down. The cool nights have put a damper on the robust growing that is typical in the summer heat. We will see what happens over the course of the next few weeks. I am hopeful that we do not receive a killing frost, as they are expecting one in Bozeman this week!
Eggs—I will have at least 7 dozen eggs here, and also some pullet eggs which as smaller and will sell for less money.
*** My friend, Bonnie Martinell, who owns Bojo Farms in Bridger is harvesting the first of her apples. Her farm is organic and she specializes in fruit. You can order them from me and she will begin delivering them next week on your CSA pick up day. Here is a list of the available varieties. I do not have the room to store them here, so send me an email or call with your orders.
Colette good eating great baking as is Red Baron these will be $2.00 per pound for 5 to 10lbs $1.85 per pound for a 35 lb box
Liberty great crisp eating apple keeps well these will be $2.50 per pound for 5 to 10 lbs or $2.25/lb for a 35lb box
Honey Crisp great crisp apple keeps well $3.25 per pound for 5 to 10 lbs $2.75 per pound for a 35lb box
She will have 8 more varieties later in the season. This is another great opportunity to support a local producer who is doing such good things for her land and her community. I also have some of her eggs here to sell and will try to have more next week.
This week share will contain, Heirloom and Cherry Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Slicing Cucumbers, beautiful Eggplant, Scallions, of course some Beets, Swiss Chard, Bell and Jalapeno Peppers, Radishes, Basil, and I am hoping for a few Beans again.
Please return your plastic containers and egg cartons. It helps keep them out of the landfill and then I don’t have to purchase more plastic!
See you today – Bodie & I will be waiting for you.
Basil is an excellent source of vitamins A and K, and a good source of vitamin C and manganese.
• 2 balls fresh mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
• 4 medium-size ripe tomatoes
• 12 red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
• Freshly ground pepper
• Olive oil
• Balsamic vinegar, optional
• Fresh basil leaves
• Sprigs of basil, for garnish
1. Remove cheese from brine and cut into 8 slices. Slice each tomato into 3 slices.
2. Arrange tomato slices, cheese slices and cherry tomatoes on 4 salad plates.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, if desired. Top with fresh basil leaves. Garnish with a sprig of basil.
White Beans with Cheese and Basil
A new take on a Tuscan classic.
• 1 1/2 cans (14—19 ounces) cannellini or other white beans, drained, 1/3 cup liquid reserved
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• 3 tablespoons grated parmesan or romano cheese
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Place the beans and reserved liquid in a large mixing bowl and partially mash the beans against the side of the bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir in the oil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix in the basil. Place in a shallow 2 to 3 cup baking dish, and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm.