What to do with another giant Chinese Cabbage!

Another giant Chinese Cabbage you say?  What do these guys think we are, rabbits? Actually, most of your greens, including the cabbage, end up as much smaller amounts once blanched, cooked or heated.  This week’s recipe is one of our favorites and was given to us by our friends, Mike and Susan Ritchey.  It’s a great dish for a potluck or 4th of July barbecue. Several of you commented in our newsletter surveys that you wanted the recipes as part of the text of the newsletter, so that’s what we’ve done this week.

Chinese Cabbage Slaw

Rinse leaves and dry with a towel. Chop everything, stems and all. Place in a big glass or ceramic bowl.

Add 1/2 cup chopped scallions or red onion.

Add 1/3 sliced almonds or toasted sunflower seeds.

Heat together 1/4 C. cider vinegar, 1/4 C. honey, 2 TBS. tamari, 1/3 C. oil, 2 TBS water. DO NOT BOIL!

Pour over salad and toss well 15 min. before serving. ENJOY!

Note: You could also add shredded beats and carrots to this for color!

 

Still have greens in your fridge at the end of the week?  Then blanch and freeze them for those cold winter months ahead. http://www.simplycanning.com/freezing-spinach.html

Apprentice Stephanie Turco prepared this psychedelic looking sauerkraut, based on a recipe shared with CSA members last week. Ingredients in the sauerkraut include cabbage, radishes, beets, turnips, garlic scapes and peas. She said it’s still fermenting, but will be ready to eat this Wednesday. Any takers?

 

What else is in your box this week?

  • Chinese Cabbage (see above)
  • Salad mix
  • Swiss chard
  • Golden beets (eat or blanch those tops as well!)
  • Icicle radishes
  • Carrots (first of the season)
  • Scallions
  • Bread for bakery shares
  • Eggs for egg shares
  • Chicken for large poultry shares

A few housekeeping notes

A couple reminders:

  • Pickups at the farm are from 10 a.m.-noon, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Please let us know in advance if you’ll be picking up late, as we can easily store your box(es) in our walk-in cooler to keep the produce fresh.
  • Pickup at the Telluride Farmers Market should ideally happen between 9:30-10:30 a.m.
  • We’re still taking orders for winter storage pastured poultry and other grass-fed meats through our Farmigo website (www.farmigo.com/store/indianridgefarm)
  • Please return your CSA boxes at pickup; we also recycle as many of the plastic bags and “Animal Welfare Approved” egg cartons as possible.
  • If you haven’t completed your two-hour work commitment, please call us in advance to schedule a time that is convenient for you. Upcoming group projects include planting the hoophouse in a summer cover crop, in this case, buckwheat.

So, what’s going happening on the farm?

For starters, we’re getting psyched for visitors later this week — Tony’s father and partner, as well as Tony’s brother’s family (some of you might remember Ed, who lived Down Valley and taught at the Telluride Schools for several years and now lives in Maine), — will all be here for the Fourth of July holiday. Our daughter Ali is already here visiting from Ft. Collins, where she’s been living the past few years.

Speaking of which, we want to wish you all a great Independence Day week ahead. Celebrate! However you define it, this celebration is about freedom. We enjoy the ability in this country to live a life as we choose, which is rare in today’s world.

Demian Brooks, whose mother started the Telluride Academy, stopped by the farm during an Academy field visit last Thursday. He brought with him “Grandpa Jack,” a lone duck that he found in the shrubbery near his mesa ranch. This white duck (unknown type — any ideas?) was happily placed in our lower pond, much to the delight of this Academy group. A children’s camp from Telluride Academy visits the farm on almost-weekly basis throughout the summer.

 

The Canadian thistle and Russian knapweed reduction season is upon us. We tackle it around various pastures and fields with a machete, with livestock (when it’s in the budding stage, thistle is a first choice plant for horses and goats) and, new this year, with a sharp four-sided blade attached to our weed wacker. The bee and bug life that calls the thistle patches their home is impressive. It’s kind of a love-hate thing to be going after the thistle, knowing that so many insects reside in this micro-ecosystem. But we do it knowing the bugs move on to other flowering plants around the property; besides, the thistle and knapweed have to be controlled biologically or they will eventually invade and takeover certain parts of the pastures.

Of course, weeding in the garden is a summer-long pursuit. The weeds du jour at the moment have to be Redroot Pigweed (an edible) and bindweed, with some Common mallow and lamb’s quarters thrown in for good measure. In the garden, we handweed as well as use a tool called the stirrup hoe, which is quite effective when these particular plants are small and just germinating.

The one and one-half acre (1.5 acre) garden is entirely planted now, after a long spring season of prepping beds, direct seeding and transplanting certain plants that were growing in the protected comfort of the hoop house. We’re now in what Barclay likes to call the “maintenance mode” in the garden: making sure the water systems are all working, weeding beds that may be overrun with the plants noted above, etc. The work is not as physical, but certainly just as demanding.

We got to talking to a neighbor of ours who asked if we’d seen “the bear” that’s been roaming the neighborhood. We said, “are you kidding?” He said “no, it’s been seen three times up at the Cary’s place.” Well, this got our attention, since we recall not-so-fondly, the bear experience we had several years ago, when we were visited by a black bear on two consecutive nights. This particular bear was fairly athletic and able to climb over an 8-foot high game fence; it must have been hungry, too, since it proceeded to devour 65 of our healthy and almost-full-grown pastured poultry. We’re hoping the bear that’s been spotted this season moves on to higher climes and leaves us alone this time ’round!

However, we did lose two of our guinea hens in the past week, which may have fallen victim to this bear. The guinea hens have been a wonderful addition to the farm the past couple years, making the rounds in the surrounding pastures, doing grasshopper control. Areas where they’ve roamed are almost-entirely free of grasshoppers; amazing, really. These hens, regardless of how far out into the fields they venture, invariably (well, almost) make it back home to their roost down at the barn every night.

This week we’re focusing on several major livestock projects, as the turkeys will be herded out of the barn and into their new summer home out on the intensive grazing pasture. Yes, you read that correctly: herded! Turkeys are rather easy to herd, as long as a gust of wind doesn’t spook them too much and blow them every which way. We’re also moving chicken tractors (read: converted horse trailers) to new pastures. All of these projects are time-consuming and somewhat complex, with many moving parts. But the birds will be happy on fresh grasses (some green, some not-so-green, depending on whether they’ve had irrigation water). And those of us eating the meats (from the turkey) or eating a by-product (as in eggs from the layer hens) will be rewarded, too, with greater health and nutrition that comes from pastured, grass-fed animals.

 So, what about the monsoon?

We’re asking the same question. Our research tells us that the scant moisture with the big cumulous buildup of the past week is not a result of what is the typical summer monsoon. This was moisture that became trapped in a large, dominant high pressure system that is being fed out of the drier north-northwest. The forecast models do show a possibility of some monsoonal flow headed this way from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) later this coming weekend. Keep your fingers crossed, do a rain dance, roll down your car windows, do what you have to do to encourage the arrival of the rainy season. We all need it now more than ever.

With that, we leave you for now and wish you, again, a celebratory Independence Week ahead.