Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekly CSA Newsletter 4

Casalegno Family Farm Weekly

Week of June 19 – 25, 2011


                    A few landmarks were reached this week here on the farm – The first beanpoles were erected and strings were put into place for the beans to begin climbing.  They grow so fast and will start to attach to anything they reach, including each other! The longer ones had become all entwined, so after the poles and strings were put up we gently untangled them and trained them up the strings.  This is a task that Grandma Casalegno is glad to still be able to help with – on her morning walk she will often go down the rows and help any stray vines find their way up the trellis.  At 89 we feel so lucky to have her and the wisdom and help she still imparts.  We expect the beans to be in sometime in the middle of July, and there are a lot of them this year to look forward to! •  We have started harvesting the first zucchini, some of you may have received some in your boxes already, and if not you will definitely have some before long!  Even though it is sort of silly to be excited about something that we will all be sick of by the end of summer I admit I really enjoyed adding the fresh tender squash to my stir fry last night. •  And the most exciting news of the week involves our treasured farm hand, Isabelle.  After many months of failed attempts she has finally caught her first gopher!!! Any of you that have tried will know that gopher trapping is not easy.  There seems to be either a level of experience necessary, or just a “knack” that some people have in order to be successful.  This not–so-little rodent had been wreaking havoc on some of the tomato plants, and true tomato lover and farmer that she is, Isabelle was determined to catch the pest.  And she did! We are so proud, and grateful!



Detroit Dark Red  BEETS

I hope you guys are not tired of beets yet…..they really are very versatile and so healthy for you.  Really, no other vegetable can match the ruby intensity of the beet. Lore has it that beets are good for your blood, literally and figuratively. So while they take a little time to cook they're certainly worth it. Here are some tips for cooking beets. Wash the beets and trim the ends off before cooking TO ROAST: Place trimmed beets in a roasting pan and add a little water for steam, or toss with olive oil. Roast the beets at 425° for 30 to 45 minutes (cover the pan with foil) or until the beets are easily pierced with a knife. Slip off the skins under running water and slice or dice. TO BOIL: cook the beets for 20 to 30 minutes, or until tender.  TO MICROWAVE: cook the beets with a little water for 8 to 15 minutes.

 They are great simply dressed with a vinaigrette, and can be served warm or at room temperature. If you're mixing beets with other vegetables (in a salad, for instance), cook and dress the beets separately and add them last. Their vivid color will seep into everything else otherwise.
Beet and Goat Cheese Crostini
Ingredients                                                                                                                                          • 3/4  pound beets (about 2 medium)  •  1 cup water  •  1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar                     •  1 teaspoon grated lemon rind  •  1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice      •  1/4 teaspoon sea salt   •  1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper                     
 • 1 (5-ounce) package goat cheese  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or parsley           •  1/8  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper  •  1 garlic clove, crushed                            •  Diagonally cut French bread baguette, toasted
Preparation                                                                                                                               Preheat oven to 375°.  •  To prepare beets, leave root and 1 inch of stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place beets in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish; add 1 cup water to dish  •. Cover and bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until tender. •  Drain and cool. •  Trim off beet roots; rub off skins. Cut beets lengthwise into quarters, and cut each quarter crosswise into 9 (1/8-inch) slices.  •  In a medium bowl combine the vinegar, rind, juice, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add beets; toss gently to coat.  •  Combine goat cheese, spices, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and garlic in a small bowl. •  Spread each baguette slice with 1 teaspoon cheese mixture; top with 3 slightly overlapping slices of beet.                      
 Thanks to Amber Sumrall for this delicious raw kale salad idea!

1 Bunch Kale
Red Onion

Mandarin Oranges
Dried Cranberries
Black Olives or Kalamata Olives


Grated Parmesan or Asiago Cheese

Drizzle lemon juice over salad & add dressing of your choice.

Add anything else you want, Sunflower Seeds, Croutons, etc.

Honey Carrots
1 lb of carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2” lengths
1/2 medium onion, chopped.
3/4 cups of chicken stock
1 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 tablespoon of butter
½ teaspoon of thyme


In a suitably sized skillet, melt the butter over a medium heat.
Cook the chopped onion, stirring, until softened.
Add the baby carrots, chicken stock, honey and thyme; then simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes until the liquid evaporates and the carrots are tender.
Stir in the parsley.  Serve as desired.

This week we are happy to feature delicious strawberries from our neighbors at Everett Family Farm.  Their farm stand is right down the road from us, and many you of pass it on your way up to the farm.  Like us, they also grow organic produce, free-range pastured eggs, flowers, apples, & persimmons, as well as strawberries, raspberries and pomegranates.  Their farm stand is very nice – it is a great place to stop in to see more of the abundance our little community has to offer!
One more quick thing – right now all the eggs and flowers at the stand are reserved specifically for CSA members that have signed up for these things.  If any of you that are not signed up are interested in receiving these items please let us know so we can put you on a waiting list.  As the summer progresses we will definitely have many flower bouquets available for sale, but the eggs have a higher demand than supply, and we would like to give the priority to you as members of our CSA.  And also….please try to remember to bring back your boxes each week! We really need to be able to re-use them.  Many people find it helpful to bring their own bag, basket or box to transfer their produce into so they don’t have to remember to bring the boxes back.  We also always like to reuse strawberry baskets, clean plastic bags and rubber bands, so feel free to clean out those items from your junk drawer and bring them to us to use again!
Thanks everyone ~ have a happy healthy week ~ Casalegno Family Farm

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekly CSA Newsletter 3

Casalegno Family Farm Weekly
Week of June 12-18, 2011
This week brought some unexpected, but welcome additions to the farm.  A neighbor with quite a large berry patch offered us all of the raspberry suckers that have shot up and spread their way far beyond the designated berry area in her back yard.  We spent a lovely morning on her beautiful property digging out all the canes and loaded the prickly suckers into the truck to bring back to our place and plant.  The area had already been well prepped so they were put into their home that same afternoon.  They won’t fruit this year since they were dug up and transplanted so late, but this is an exciting step in the right direction toward that berry patch we have been wanting to put in! We are so grateful fo the help and support of our neighbors, and this wonderful community we are proud to be a part of!
sugar peas
green onions
garlic scapes
a jar of local honey from Bee in Harmony Farms

Rosemary Beet Roesti

 An almost unbelievably sweet and wonderful side dish. The sugar in the beets caramelizes, and the flavors of the rosemary, beets, and butter meld beautifully.

· 1 to 1 1/2 pounds beets

· 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 1/4 cup flour

· 2 tablespoons butter

1. Trim the beets and peel them as you would potatoes; grate them in a food processor or by hand. Begin preheating a medium to large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

 2. Toss the grated beets in a bowl with the rosemary and salt, then add about half the flour; toss well, add the rest of the flour, then toss again.

3. Place the butter in the skillet and heat until it begins to turn nut-brown. Scrape the beet mixture into the skillet, shape it into a nice flat pancake-like circle, and press it down with a spatula. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the bottom of the beet cake is nicely crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Slide the cake out onto a plate, top with another plate, invert the two plates, and slide the cake back into the pan  (I just used a big spatula and flipped it).  Continue to cook, adjusting the heat if necessary, until the second side is browned. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

                        BEE IN HARMONY FARMS
  If you have been receiving flowers, they have come from this lovely little farm, and this week you all have a jar of their amazing local honey in your box to enjoy.

Located in the hills of Soquel, Bee in Harmony Farms specializes in distinctive fresh cut flowers and beekeeping. The flowers are grown with an organic mindset and from a true labor of love. These beautiful blooms add another layer of flavor to the honey produced from the beehives. Through the creation of Bee in Harmony Farms two passions for gardening and beekeeping have come to fruition. 


This is a Whole Foods Market recipe – it’s a great way to get more raw food into your diet.  The key to this salad is finely chopping the kale leaves.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt to taste
2 bunches kale, stems and tough ribs removed, leaves very finely chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, chili powder and salt. Add kale, toss to combine and serve.

        You may wonder if these lovely colorful carrots are a new thing, but in truth people have been eating these tasty yellow, white and purple roots for close to 1000 years.  The more commonplace orange carrots that we are used to seeing today may have been popularized to increase beta-carotene consumption, the pigment that gives them their orange hue.  The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A. Although rare in the United States, Vitamin A deficiency poses a major public health problem in developing countries second only to protein malnutrition.  The good news is that each different pigment offers it’s own particular health benefits - Red carrots derive their color mainly from lycopene, a type of carotene believed to guard against heart disease and some cancers. Yellow carrots accumulate xanthophylls, pigments similar to beta-carotene that support good eye health. Purple carrots possess an entirely different class of pigments—anthocyanins—which act as powerful antioxidants.   Remove tops (and compost!) and wrap in plastic before storing in the fridge.


Just a reminder…. all of our weekly newsletters and recipes can be found on our blog so check out  I am always on the lookout for new, creative ways to use our produce.  If any of you are willing to share your favorite recipes we would love to feature your ideas in our newsletter and blog so please contact me or comment below! Trading our knowledge about good food and how to prepare it will help form healthy habits and increase the quality of life for everyone!

             See you next week ~ the crew at Casalegno Family Farm

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekly CSA Newsletter 2

Casalegno Family Farm Weekly
Week of June 5 – June 11 2011
Well, that was a bunch of rain last weekend, wasn’t it?I? We got over 3 inches up here.  I really hope it is not going to be another weird, wet year.  Last summer was one of the coolest in 50 years and this years weather has not been much warmer so far.  The good news is that the tomato plants actually look really good - no early blight thank goodness, just healthy looking plants.  There is still hope! Last years tomato crop, while later and perhaps a little smaller was still fantastic so I am optimistic that we can still have a terrific harvest. 

In this week's BASIC FULL SHARE BOX:
Red Russian Kale
Buttercrunch Letuce
Swiss Chard
Rainbow Carrots and Radishes OR Loose Baby Spinach
Red onions 
Herbs - Thyme, Sage, Oregano and Rosemary
and a jar of Jeannie's Artisan Jams  Mango Chutney!

Chocolate Beet Cake
Thanks to Megan Lucy (and the Vegan Table) for this amazing recipe  -
All I can say is TRUST ME.  We use other vegetables in desserts (think carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie), so why not beets? No one would ever guess that the incredible moisture and beautiful color of this cake comes from a healthy root vegetable!

1/2 cup canola oil    1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar      
2 cups pureed cooked (boiled or steamed) red beets (about 3 medium)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted       1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour       2 tsp baking powder      1/2 tsp salt     confectioners sugar for dusting 

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly oil pan (recipe calls for Bundt pan, but 8x8 square or round works too)
In a mixing bowl, cream together oil and brown sugar.  Add beets, melted chocolate and vanilla and mix well.     In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to the wet beet mixture and stir until just combined.      Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes (for Bundt  - cooking time may be little different if you use a different type of pan) or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.     Cool and then dust with confectioners sugar to serve.

Swiss Chard Torta

1 cup grated cheddar and/or jack cheese                                      
½ cup milk
½ cup butter melted
1 med onion, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
5 eggs beaten
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper
Bread crumbs and parmesan cheese

1. Chop and cook chard (steam or sautee)
2. Combine all ingredients, pour into 9x12 baking dish
3. Sprinkle top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan
4. Bake 350 for about 45 minutes, until slightly brown on top.
This recipe is also wonderful with zucchini/summer squash too.

Curry Chicken with Garlic Scapes, Kale and 

Jeannies Mango Chutney

I love the inspiration that comes from having fresh produce and delicious new things to try.  I have to confess that this was my first attempt at making a curry, but I just knew that with the garlic scapes it would be the perfect flavor accompaniment for Jeannies amazing Mango Chutney.  In the case that you already have your own curry recipe that you like to make, use this recipe as a starting point and make any adaptations that you wish.  I served it over rice, but it would be wonderful with potatoes, and you could leave out the chicken and use any other veggies you like.

3-4 whole Chicken legs (you could use any cuts you like, or potatoes and veggies)
1 bunch garlic scapes
1 small onion
Curry powder, Cumin and Salt
I can Coconut milk (2 cups)
1/2 bunch Kale, ribs removed,

Brown chicken in olive oil in a large skillet.  Add scapes and cook over med/high heat until they begin to brown and soften.  Reduce heat a bit and add onion.  Cook a few minutes, until translucent.  Add about 1 TB curry powder, a teaspoon of cumin and salt to taste, mix well.  Pour in can of coconut milk and stir.  Taste and add up to one more TB more curry powder, cumin and salt to your preference (a good ratio is I TB curry powder to 1 cup coconut milk) Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat and simmer with cover until sauce thickens, scapes are tender and chicken is cooked through.  Add kale and let cook a few minutes, until wilted.  Serve over rice with Jeannies Mango Chutney.


 Lemon Herb Dressing 

½ cup olive oil
3 TB lemon juice
1 TB each fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary
1 clove garlic, crushed, or (1 garlic scape, minced)
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Combine all ingredients. This is wonderful on greens with salad shrimp, or tuna


Have a wonderful week everyone! We are looking forward to some new stuff next week, can’t wait to share it with you all!
                         ~the crew at Casalegno Family Farm

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On the Farm now: Garlic Scapes

 Just this week we began  harvesting a very unique and wonderful crop - garlic scapes.
You are probably wondering just exactly what these strange,  snakelike things are, and how in the world you are supposed to use them.  Have no fear - as complete garlic worshipers we are here to answer your questions and introduce you to an exciting new food that has many culinary possibilities.
Garlic scapes are the flower stalks that are produced by hard neck garlic varieties once they are close to maturation.  As they emerge, we remove these flowers to force the plants energy into making  bigger bulbs the last month they are in the ground, and as an added bonus the scapes are a delicious crop in their own right when harvested young before the flower begins to open.
Pungent and garlicky when raw, and delicate and tender when cooked, garlic scapes have endless uses in the kitchen.  They can be chopped and used in place of garlic in any recipe which is so welcome for me since last years supply of garlic is finally running out! It will still be another month or so before the new crop is ready to be harvested and cured, so the scapes provide the garlic element in our meals, and often become the inspiration for a new recipe. They are amazing tossed whole in olive oil and then grilled, sauteed or roasted like in this recipe for grilled garlic scapes.  As with roasted garlic cloves this process mellows the flavor and softens the texture so that it is reminiscent of asparagus and is more vegetable than herb.  Used raw they give a peppery, savory bite to any dish - and they make an amazing garlic scape pesto  as well! 

Since each head of garlic only produces 1 scape they do not have a long season. As soon as we snap the scape off of every bulb that's it - they are done! We encourage you to try them out for yourself and share your favorite ideas and recipes with us now while you still can! Here is one I just came up with tonight - it was soooo good and really easy!


1 baguette       
Garlic scapes, diced
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cut baguette in half lengthwise and spread generously with butter.  Sprinkle diced garlic scapes on top and broil (or bake) in oven until bread just begins to toast.  Remove from oven and cover with grated parmesan cheese.  Put back in oven and cook just a minute longer, until cheese is melted.

The scapes are on sale at our farm stand for another week or 2, bunches of 10 for only $1.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekly CSA Newsletter 1

Casalegno Family Farm Weekly
June 03 /04, 2011
Hello members, and welcome to our first ever June CSA session!  We are really excited to have so much activity and life in the fields this early in the season.  The experience of growing through the winter was very successful and has given us a lot of confidence and opened new doors for our farm and our customers.  We owe all of you loyal locals that have been coming by the farm stand all through the cold season to buy our little bunches of broccolini, greens, beets and eggs a huge heartfelt thank you.  This support, and the support all of you as our CSA members give is what make it possible for us to fulfill our dreams of a life filled with beautiful produce to feed ourselves, and our community.

In this week's BASIC FULL SHARE BOX:
Sugar Peas
Yellow Onions
Carrots and Radishes OR loose baby Spinach
and a jug of our Fresh pressed Apple Cider

 Roasted Beet, Onion and Orange Salad
·         1 pound beets
·         1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
·         Salt and freshly ground pepper
·         1 medium onion, sliced
·         2 oranges, peeled and cut into wedges                  
·         2 TB olive or hazelnut oil
·         1 TB coarsely chopped cilantro
·         1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
·         2 TB hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted
·         1-ounce pecorino, romano OR parmesan cheese , grated
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the stems and tails off the beets. Do not peel. Line the bottom of a baking pan with foil. Place the beets in the pan and toss them with half of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.
Trim the onions, and cut into large slices. Then toss them with remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Add onions to the beets and roast an additional 15 minutes, until beets and onions are tender.
Peel and remove the membranes from the oranges with a sharp paring knife. Cut the oranges in half lengthwise and then crosswise into thin slices. Peel and quarter the beets. Lay the beets on a large platter. Top the beets with the orange pieces. Scatter the roasted onion slices around the beets. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, cilantro, and orange juice. Whisk until well combined and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing on top and sprinkle with cilantro, toasted nuts and grated cheese. Serve immediately.

Lemon Bars

CRUST:  1 c flour  •  1/8 tsp salt  •  1/2c confectioners sugar  •  1 stick butter  melted, but not hot

FILLING::  2 lg eggs  •  3/4 c sugar  •  1 1/2 TB flour  •  6 TB lemon juice (2 lemons)  •  2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Place oven rack in lower middle position, preheat to 325°  •  Spray 8x8 pan w/cooking spray, fit 8x16” piece of foil across entire bottom and over 2 sides, spray foil w/cooking spray  •  mix flour, salt and sugar in medium bowl, then stir in butter to form dough  •  press into pan  to form crust  •  bake 20 min until pale golden brown  •  while pastry bakes whisk eggs, sugar, flour lemon and zest in medium bowl  •  Remove crust from oven, pour in lemon mixture, bake again til just set, 20 – 25 minutes  •  Let cool several minutes in pan, then using foil handles pull pars from pan and set on wire rack to cool completely •  sprinkle with confectioners sugar and cut into bars to serve

 Kale Chips

I have been working all winter on finding the best way to make kale chips that produces consistent delicious results.  Here is my method ~ please try it out so you and your whole family can enjoy these yummy healthy chips!

All you need: 1 bunch of kale, good olive oil,

Sea salt and a large cookie sheet

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Start off with kale that is completely dry.  This makes a big difference in the outcome.  Remove the tough central rib by folding the leaves in half around it like a book and pulling leafy parts away.  Similarly sized pieces bake most evenly.

3. Toss kale leaves in olive oil just to coat, and arrange in a single layer on cookie sheet.  I always end up making 2 batches from 1 bunch of kale since it is important that they are not piled on top of each other.  Also ~ don’t add salt yet ~ it pulls moisture out and kale won’t cook as well, you can add salt when they are done.

4. Place in oven and bake for about 7 minutes.  I usually check it after 5 minutes, and then have to put it back in.  I rarely use a timer when cooking, but with this recipe I do since 1 minute too long can over cook it! You want the kale to just sort of dry out and get a little crisp, but not get brown or burnt.

5. When leaves are dry and not soggy, and before they get too brown, remove from the oven and slide onto a plate. 

6. Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy!

Always rinse lettuce before storing, but it is best to dry the lettuce leaves before placing them in the proper container.  Store your lettuce in a dry sealable plastic bag or container with lid. Condensation will gather on the inside of the container even though the lettuce has been dried so line the container with paper towel before adding the dry lettuce. This will keep lettuce fresh for about a week.

Hope you all enjoy your boxes this week – this is just the beginning and there is so much to look forward to! Here’s to your health, from our family to yours – SALUD! and as grandma says……Mangia! (eat!) 
See you next week

~Casalegno Family Farm