Week of August 4-10, 2013
I have heard from several members that the weekly bag of basil is usually too much and often does not get used! In our house we use quite a bit of basil. I have gotten into the habit of making pesto weekly – Friday night is family pizza night at our house and 1 batch perfectly covers 1 of our pizzas, but I know this extra step may not be something everyone can get around to doing every week. Now that tomatoes are in I am sure you will all be using more of your basil to make Caprese salads, sandwiches or pasta dishes, but if you find you still have too much of this lovely herb a great way to use up all the rest each week is to dry it. The dried basil you buy in the store just does not compare to homemade, it is really easy, will save you money in the long run and could also make great gifts if put into pretty containers with a bit of ribbon. This winter you will appreciate the few minutes you took to do this when you use it in soups and spaghetti sauces on cold days.
Wash and dry basil leaves.
Arrange into small bunches and tie together tightly with string or even a rubber band.
Hang to dry in a dry spot out of too much direct sunlight. You can use a tack to hang a piece of string somewhere out of the way and drape basil bunches over it or just suspend it somewhere convenient.
Let hang to dry for 3-4 weeks. Timing depends on size of bunches. When leaves are crisp and brittle it is done.
For freshest results store the whole leaves in jars or containers and crush up as you need it, or you can crush and store in airtight jars for 2-3 years.
Sauteed Green Beans with Tomatoes and Basil
• 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter • 1 tablespoon olive oil
• ½ onion thinly sliced • 2 garlic cloves, minced • ¾ lb tomatoes (about 3) chopped with juices • ¼ cup dry white wine • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling water until just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain well; set aside.
Melt the butter and oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the beans and cook until the juices evaporate and the beans are almost tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Stir in the wine and basil. Simmer 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, and serve.
Reuben Case-Gabbard (lead worker)
How did you end up working for Casalegno Family Farm? I’ve been a friend of the family for a whilenow. Played in a band with Matt for some years. Knowing I have an interest in the development of the Green Thumb, he asked me one day if I’d like to come up and help out. One of the better decisions I’ve happened to make.
When/why did you become interested in sustainable agriculture, food systems and farming in general? Through observation of the world. I find it a potent experience to be near growing things.
What are you studying (or doing in general) and where do you hope it will take you? Engagement in the Pursuit of Happiness. εὐδαιμονία.
What is your favorite farm task or your favorite element of working on the farm? Anything tomato, if I have to choose. Even driving the stakes, which is strenuous work. Of course, I like to eat them most of all. One might say devour.
What is the last book you read? The Crossing, by Cormac Macarthy; The Memoirs of Hadrian (Emperor). Violence (Slavoj Zizek); White Line Fever (Lemmy Kilmister).
What are some of your interests or hobbies? Philology. Language and languages in general. Western History, with a special interest in (Late) Antiquity, Early Modernity and the American Republic – although I must stress beyond natural awe and fascination, my interest in history is of here and now: my mission, comprehension. It’s a damn good story. Also, I like rock n’ roll music, the ocean and some other things that come naturally to a (not so) young man.
Favorite quotation: “You can’t trust freedom when it’s not in your hand.” The Venerable Axl Rose..
Kritters Blevins (intern, farm hand)
How did you end up working for Casalegno Family Farm? I first started working on the farm as anenvs intern from UCSC in the middle of April of this year. I looked through a handful of other farms the envs office had to offer and upon meeting Matt and MarissaI knew that my interest were in line with their visions. The history of the farm intrigued me and I wanted to be a part of a “growing” practice. The Kotila family validated me on my quest of knowledge for small scale farming and made me feel valued.
When/why did you become interested in sustainable agriculture, food systems and farming in general? In my junior year of high school I started to have a larger vision and education of our food system. I noticed that there was no farming or production where I was growing up, in the Mojave Desert. For some reason the plastic casing of food no longer became appetizing and I was not satisfied with ignorance.
What are you studying (or doing in general) and where do you hope it will take you? I am a student of life. I enjoy learning about a little of everything. Anthropology is quite intriguing and although we all are humans, we have do have complex differences. I hope that by having an open mind to these differences I will have a better understanding of where I need to place myself for participation in this game called “life”.
What are a few of your aspirations or goals in life? I am hoping to have a farm of my own someday, a communal practice in my hometown, Joshua tree. I want to show my community that it is possible to grow food in any climate, starting from any level of experience. I am also currently studying holistic medicine and plan on going to medical school to get my ND with a focus in acupuncture and reflexology.
What are you passionate about? I want to give people the tools to help themselves. I would say that I’m most passionate about food because it is the origin of life, but I also want to add that I’m passionate about adventure and seeking kindness. I am consistently trying new things and learning healthier techniques of living.
What is your favorite crop to harvest or grow or eat on the farm? My favorite crop to harvest at the farm is pickling cucumbers. It’s a game of hide and go seek. I get very excited when I find one that I missed the day before and it has grown into a monster pickle! I enjoy the quickness of their growth. Interesting enough, tomatoes are my favorite to eat, though the acid of them upsets my stomach and I am forced to curl into a ball and question my humanity.
What is your favorite farm task or your favorite element of working on the farm? Working on the farm teaches me patience, something that my mother always tried to explain to me. I am a kinesthetic learner. When first starting in the green house I faced my first experiences of “death”. I had to patiently wait to see if the seed would come to life and then nurture it to adult hood. I’ve had no previous experience with facing this fear. I enjoy the harsh and beautiful realities of life and how humans aren’t all powerful. I am humbled..
If you were a fruit or vegetable what would you be and why? I would not be a carrot, like the vicious name-calling of “carrot top” in elementary school. (Carrot tops are green by the way). I would have to be one where my friends would surround me and I would have to experience the sky. I would probably be best suited if I was sorted in with the pears. That way I would have to be picked before eaten and I would get to see the world for another 7-10 days before I was consumed.
What is the last book you read? The Giver. It was sad and terrible. I would never want to hold the history of the world while everyone else are robots and can’t question anything. It made me feel thankful for differences. What are some of your interests or hobbies? I have recently started up pickling and canning! I love long intense bike rides. I enjoy making people smile. I like turning my new home into a self-sustainable haven (even though the roommates may not understand). I love gardening. I’m interested in self-healing. I am extremely competitive in sports. I spend a lot of my time talking about the complexities of the world with my girlfriend, and we both constantly find it difficult and rewarding to focus on the present. I appreciate experiencing the world.
Favorite quotation: “ You know more about a person in an hour of play, then from a lifetime of conversation.” – unknown.
“Human kind did not create the web of life we are but one thread within it. What we do to the web we do to ourselves. All things connect.” - Chief seattle
Describe yourself in 3 words: Adventurous Curious Alive