Friday, October 15, 2010

CSA Fall 2010

Dear CSA FALL 2010 Members,

Thanks for investing in our growing project! You have signed up (and already paid) for your Fall 2010 share of produce. We hope you enjoy preparing and eating this produce as much as we enjoy planting, caring for and harvesting it!

Wed. Oct. 6
Wed. Oct. 13
Wed. Oct. 20
Wed. Oct. 27

Please arrive between 3:30 and 6:30 pm. Please give us advanced prior notice (2 days) if you need to arrange for an alternate time or location.

100-Mile Market, Parking lot of People's Food Coop, Corner of Burdick St. and Cedar St. downtown Kalamazoo.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week 13

WEEK 13!!! That means 2 more weeks of produce for full shares and if you have a half share... this week or next week will be your last! (CSA share for this season.) We hope you enjoy eating your produce as much as we enjoy harvesting it! WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 is our last pick-up for our SUMMER 2010 CSA but we will have a booth at the 100-Mile Market through the end of October. See you there!
WE ARE NOW OFFERING FALL SHARES 2010: We are excited to offer a limited number of 2010 Fall Shares. Sign up for 4 additional weeks of fall produce in October for $80. First come first serve.

FARM NEWS: We are so thankful to be immersed in such a loving and passionate community. Last Sunday we had a fun community gathering and work day at Heron Homestead to pull invasive weeds and prepare for fall. We saved a few pine trees on our northern property line from the fast moving invasive plant (appears to be wild yam,) and cleared out the bothersome and allergen producing ragweed. With the help of new friends and old, we planted more radish, turnip greens, arugula, and lettuce. Thanks for all who came out to work on the farm. We hope you come back again soon. In the meantime, Aliisa, happy to be home, has been waking up extra early to harvest kale! Johanna, her mom and her dog Loki have helped to weed and clean up some neglected garden beds. Erik's been seeding cilantro and arugula for a fall harvest. He has also been preparing old beds and seeding cover crops in order to give back to the soil all the love it has given us. Amolia (now more than 7 mo. pregnant) has been taking it easy baking zucchini bread and tallying up the produce once it's been harvested. We are so appreciative to be working outdoors, soaking up the sun, growing healthy food, while connecting with the earth and the elements.

Paper Lantern Pepper Report

[Review from one of our CSA members!]
We tried the Chinese [Paper] Lantern Pepper in an omelet. The pepper is spicy on the tops like an Anaheim, but doesn't linger or burn like a jalapeno.

Chris and Dana
Stuart Avenue Inn

Vegan Zucchini Bread

Vegan means no animal products; no egg, butter, milk or meat.  The zucchini bread you received in your CSA shares last week were made with flax meal, a healthy egg alternative rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  More info below about flax and other egg replacers.  This recipe is an adaptation from the Joy of Cooking. 

[one 9 x 5 loaf or a pie pan greased with vegetable oil]
1. Preheat oven to 375o.
2. Pour 1/4 cup boiling water over 2 tablespoons flax meal (ground flax seeds) (this is your gooey egg replacer!)
3. Grate 2 cups of raw zucchini or yellow summer squash and SQUEEZE of excess moisture.
4. Whisk together:
     1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (I like to use a mix of whole wheat and oat flour when I have them available)
     1 teaspoon baking soda (or a little less)
     1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder (or a little less)
     1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or a little more)
     1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5. Blend well in a large bowl:
     3/4 cup cane juice crystals (sugar) or 1/2 cup honey
     1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used safflower oil because I trust it is not GMO)
     Flax goo (see step 2)
     1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
     1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6. Stir in the dry ingredients. 
7. Stir in zucchini/summer squash.  Blend in a few swift strokes.
8. Lower oven to 350o.  Check after 45 minutes.

Flax as an egg replacer

Other egg replacers

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stir-fried Eggplant Recipe

Stir-fried Eggplant

This simple eggplant recipe is aromatic and flavorful, and the generous amounts of fresh garlic make it extra healthy. This eggplant recipe makes a terrific side dish that can also be made vegetarian. It also works with any type of eggplant - whatever is fresh and available where you live. You can also adjust the spice level in this eggplant recipe, taking it anywhere from mild to spicy hot, according to your liking. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes


1/2 cooking onion (purple onions work well for this recipe)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 red chillies (including seeds), depending on how spicy you like it
1 Chinese (large, with dark purple skin) eggplant, or 2 (thinner, with light purple skin) Japanese eggplants
1/4 cup water for stir-frying
2-3 Tbsp. oil for stir-frying
roughly 1/2 cup (or more) fresh basil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. fish sauce OR 1+1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. oyster sauce OR vegetarian oyster sauce, OR Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp. water (mix until cornstarch is dissolved)


1. First, prepare sauce by mixing together all sauce ingredients except cornstarch. Prepare the cornstarch and water mixture in a separate cup or bowl. Set both aside.
2. Chop the eggplant up into bite-size pieces (be sure to leave the peel on - this is where most of the nutrients are).
3. Place 2-3 Tbsp. oil to a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, half of the garlic, chilli, and eggplant. Reserve the rest of the garlic for later.
4. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. When the wok or frying pan becomes dry, add a little of the water (a few Tbsp. at a time) - enough to keep the ingredients frying nicely.
5. Add 2 Tbsp. soy sauce and continue stir-frying for 5 more minutes, or until the eggplant is soft and the white flesh is almost translucent. Add a little more water when the pan becomes too dry (up to 1/4 cup).
6. When the eggplant is soft, add the rest of the garlic plus the sauce. Stir fry to incorporate.
7. Lastly, add the cornstarch/water mixture. Stir well so that the sauce thickens uniformly (this will only take a minute or less). Remove from heat.
8. Taste test the eggplant for salt. If not salty enough, add a little more fish sauce. If too salty, add 1 Tbsp. lime juice (or substitute 1 Tbsp. lemon juice).
9. Now add 3/4 of the fresh basil, stirring briefly to incorporate.
10. Slide onto a serving platter and sprinkle the rest of the basil over top. Serve with jasmine rice. Enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Week 11

WOW!  WEEK 11!!!  Can you believe that it is almost September and we are approaching Week 11 of our CSA for 2010?  That means 4 more weeks of produce for full shares and 2 more weeks for half shares!  Hope you are enjoying your food and your summer!!!

IDENTIFYING YOUR PRODUCE: Per your requests we have added an "Identification" section to our online newsletter/blog we hope you find this useful.  We will try to keep it updated with all the produce we give you from now on.  If you have any recipe ideas that you would like to share, please send them to us via email.

FARM NEWS: Our giant heirloom tomatoes are dwindling down, but winter squash is growing strong!  We still have roma tomatoes, green zebras, some cherries, and hopefully some big boy tomatoes ripening up.  Beets and arugula are popping up all over the place, hopefully you will see those in a couple weeks.  Now that we are seeing some cooler weather we hope to offer you lettuce again!  Cucumbers were devastated by these nasty little yellow and black cucumber beetles, but we hope you enjoyed the cucumber you already received. 

NOW OFFERING FALL SHARES:  We are excited to announce that we will be offering a limited amount of additional Fall Shares.  Sign up for 4 more weeks of produce in September and October for $80.  Please contact us via email if you are interested.  First come first serve.

FARM BABY ON THE WAY:  Erik & Amolia are expecting a baby in November... if you haven't noticed her belly yet!  Click here to support the organic baby movement.

QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, CONCERNS:  Thanks to everyone who sends us their questions, comments and concerns.  It is through communication like this that we can make improvements to our service and your enjoyment. 

Peace be with you,
Aliisa, Erik, Amolia & Johanna

Identifying the contents of your CSA share

lemon balm. delicious and refreshing lemon scented herb.
make tea from fresh or dried leaves.

cilantro.  add to fresh salsa, tacos, beans, and indian dishes.

dill.  yummy pickles, dilly yogurt dip or on your potatoes

hang and dry if not used immediately.

thyme.  hang and dry if not used immediately.
great for soups, stir fries, beans and baking.

rainbow chard

lacinato kale

wild kale mix

red russian kale

curly kale

french sorrel.  lemon/citrus flavor. 
great for soups, salads, fish.

purple peruvian pepper - MEDIUM HOT

jalapeño - HOT

orange thai chile - HOT. great for drying


yellow summer squash

zucchini w/ stripes!


gold medal heirloom tomato.

red chesnok garlic

sugar sweetie cherry tomato.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Week 8

This Week's Share Includes

- zucchini and/or yellow crook-neck summer squash (see recipe bellow)
- cucumber - Lemon cucumber, pickling cukes, and/or Straight Eight
- tomatoes - Sugar Sweetie Cherry, Yellow Perfection, Roma and heirloom variety Black From Tula- basil
- hot pepper
- potatoes - Colorado Rose
- garlic
- kale - enjoy one of our 5 varieties of kale!
- chard - Swiss chard and/or rainbow chard
- cut flowers - sunflowers

(Yellow or Zucchini)

You should find most of these ingredients in your CSA shares!


2 lbs squash and/or zucchini, sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeds removed, sliced
2 smallish tomatoes or one large tomato, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Olive oil
5 or 6 slices of cheese - jack or cheddar
Basil, either dry or chopped fresh
Salt and pepper

1 Put onion, garlic, squash, bell pepper into a large saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Put on high heat and brown the vegetables slightly to develop flavor. As you are browning, sprinkle either dried basil or chopped fresh basil on the vegetables. When vegetables are slightly browned, remove from heat, add the slices of cheese, and cover the pan.

2 In a separate stick-free fry pan, put the tomatoes and cook at medium hi heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to let the juice from the tomatoes evaporate some. After 5 minutes, add the tomatoes to the rest of the vegetables and stir. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Week 7

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Newsletter

To save on energy, time, and our earths natural resources we will be posting our newsletter online from now on, instead of printing.  We hope this is convenient for you as well.

This week's share includes:
- kale - enjoy one of our 5 varieties of kale!
- chard 
- zucchini and/or yellow crook-neck summer squash
- cucumber - :Lemon cucumber, pickling cukes and/or Japanese soyu cucumber
- potatoes - we just love these Purple Vikings, we hope you do too!
- garlic
- tomatoes - cherry, roma and heirloom variety Black From Tula
- cut flowers - gladiolas, sunflowers, calendula and/or anise hyssop

Monday, July 5, 2010

Week 3

Swiss/Rainbow Chard
WHAT PART TO EAT: Leaf and stem are both edible. The colorful red, white and multi-colored stems add color to your dish!

HOW TO PREPARE: Steam, boil or stir-fry this delicate green for 5 minutes.


2 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 lg. bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch chard, finely chopped, including stems

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Sauté the gr. onions and garlic for 2 minutes until softened and tender. Add mushrooms and cook 4 to 5 minutes more. Add chard, cover and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until chard is tender but still crisp. Mix in mustard and heat 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir and serve immediately.

SOURCE: chard recipe and photo:
Raw Kale Salad
1 bunch kale

1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 lime or lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
1 orange, peeled and sliced (optional)

1. Chop the kale into thin ribbons
2. Drizzle the kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
3. Massage the kale with your hands to soften it, then allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes
4. Add the lime juice, vinegar, onion and orange
5. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes
6. Serve



Our next 2010 Heron Homestead "Dig In" Community Work Day will be...

Tuesday, July 13th
TOUR at 4:00pm
POTLUCK at 5:00 pm. 

Our "Dig In" Work Days are an invitation to all of our CSA members to see the farm, get to know the growers, and "Dig In!"  CSA members and other Heron Homestead friends and family of all ages and abilities are invited to join us for part or all of the work day, even if you can only come for the potluck!  Please wear weather appropriate clothing. You might want to bring a pair of work gloves, a hat and a folding chair.  Also, let us know if you have valuable skills or project preferences!  Please RSVP. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Week 2

A member of the Brassica family, kale is a great food if you're looking to protect your health and enjoy a delicious food at the same time.

Calcium-For A Lot Less Calories and Minus the Fat in Cow's Milk

Kale is also very good source of calcium. Calcium is one of the nutrients needed to make healthy bones, and dairy products are a heavily promoted source of this nutrient. But unlike dairy products, kale is not a highly allergenic food, nor does it contain any saturated fat-plus, a cup of kale supplies 93.6 mg of calcium (9.4% of the daily value for this mineral) for only 36.4 calories. In contrast, a cup of 2% cow's milk provides 296.7 mg of calcium, but the cost is high: 121.2 calories and 14.6% of the day's suggested limit on saturated fat.

This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Kale provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Week 1

Sometimes called dragon tails, gourmet garlic scapes are a delicious early summer treat! Cutting them from the garlic plant helps produce a larger, more abundant garlic bulb later in the summer.

WHAT PART TO EAT: The whole garlic scape is edible, but we recommend cutting off the pointed tip because it has a tough, chewy texture.

HOW TO PREPARE: Cooked or raw, use garlic scapes the same way you use garlic cloves to add fresh garlic flavor to your favorite recipe. Add sliced scapes to a stir fry, cook them in your pasta sauce and on pizza, great in guacamole and fresh salsa, chop and add to softened cream cheese, toss in salads, and an excellent addition to soup stock. You can even eat them by themselves! (see recipe below)


Put garlic scapes in a lightly oiled roasting pan, top with salt or soy sauce. Put the loaded and covered pan in a hot (425 °F) oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are beginning to turn brown. serve as a side or main dish. Tastes like roasted garlic but creamier.


It is early summer, so we are giving you lots of greens. But don’t worry, your tomatoes, potatoes and green beans are looking healthy and are on their way to producing a stellar crop. Here are some tips on cooking your greens…

MUSTARDS & TURNIPS… are spicy and delicious when steamed or sautéed with a bit of salt or soy sauce, butter or olive oil, vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon.

CHARD… has a delicate leaf like the mustard greens have, but is not spicy at all! Cook chard the same as mustards, or chop them up and cook for 5 minutes in your lentil soup.

KALE… is similar to collard greens. It is a great cooking green but will need a couple minutes more than mustards to cook fully. Kale is hearty and full of nutrients! We also recommend eating a raw kale salad.

Fine Cooking Magazine

- Garnish tomato-, carrot- or coconut-milk-based soups with chopped fresh cilantro.
- Serve iced tea or freshly squeezed juice with a splash of lime juice and sprigs of cilantro.
- Make a flavorful dip from chopped tomato, cilantro, cucumber, green chiles, and plain yogurt.
- Try making pesto using cilantro in place of basil.
- Rub chicken or fish with chopped cilantro, ginger, and black pepper before grilling.
- Sprinkle chopped cilantro and chopped cashews or slivered almonds over cooked rice or
- Add cilantro to your favorite gazpacho or salsa recipe.
- add it to any beans or soup, stems included, then remove as you would a bay leaf

Like a traditional basil pesto, this sauce can be mixed with pasta, stirred into soup for a lively accent or spread over grilled fish or chicken.

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup salted roasted nuts
1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
7 tbsp. vegetable oil

Combine first 5 ingredients in processor. Blend until nuts are finely chopped. Add 6 tablespoons oil and process until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)