6th Harvest Week: Wednesday/Thursday Delivery, July 20th and 21st, 2011

Sweet Onions in the Field

Greetings Shareholders!

Vegetable of the Week is … Sweet Onion!

Sweet mild onions are large, juicy, and pale white or yellow. You may receive them with their edible green tops. Mild onions are best eaten raw or gently sautéed to keep their juices and delicate texture from cooking away.

Nothing makes a home more inviting than the smell of sautéing onions. Even if the bulk of the meal is conspicuously waiting, boxed in Styrofoam and wrapped in plastic bags printed with the name of the closest take-out restaurant, everyone who enters the kitchen will say, “Oh, it smells delicious!” Many a successful recipe begins with that familiar first step: “Sauté the onions…” You will find many great onion recipes starting on page 121 of Farmer John’s Cookbook.

A shareholder had this to say about onions, “At the beginning of the onion season you sent us a big sweet onion that I cooked into a casserole with the summer squash, garlic and parsley from that week’s box. It’s a nice casserole usually, but this onion transformed it into something irresistible.”

We’ve actually had several nice shareholder compliments recently that the whole crew is always so grateful to hear, as they are read aloud during the afternoon meeting. Here is what a new Wheaton shareholder had to say, “I am soooooo impressed with my summer share. . .Thank you to everyone at the farm for everything you do and the way you run things. I am so incredibly happy that I finally signed up for a CSA and that I chose your farm. I love the vegetables themselves, I love your website, the newsletters and the customer service. You have made a new customer/shareholder for life.”

Other shareholders have offered up their creative efforts, inspired by the farm or the vegetables themselves. Kelly of Kelly Allison Photography, a Wheaton shareholder, took excellent photos of the farm during a recent visit  and also posted a recipe for beet greens with crispy sage and brown butter on her blog. And Krista, a Downers Grove shareholder, tried this recipe from Cut N Clean Greens that calls for beet greens and heartily recommends it to fellow shareholders as well.

Box Contents:
Brassicas – Cabbage & maybe a Cauliflower
Fruiting Crops – Eggplant, Zucchini, Summer Squash & Cucumbers
Alliums – Sweet Onions
Salad Greens – Lettuce, Baby Chard
Cooking Greens – Kale, Beet Greens
Stem Crops – maybe a Kohlrabi
Rooting Crops – Beets
Herbs – Cilantro

Farmer John Writes…

Yikes, the Crops!
The crops continue to amaze us! On the open house hay ride (nice to see so many enthusiastic kids!), it almost seemed like the crops were growing as we drove by. The eggplant really caught my eye; it seemed the size of the eggplants had doubled in the last 3 days. And there are so many eggplants on each plant! The sweet corn will begin to be harvested next week, unless the upcoming heat makes the ears ready by late this week.

The cucumbers seem like they are falling out of the sky. The tomatoes are starting to blush…a good set on very green, hearty vines. It will be a couple of weeks before the tomatoes really come on. Oh, and carrots next week…lots of carrots coming; they look beautiful!

Please let your friends know about this bounty — we still have 12 week shares for sale!

Our Farm’s Cookbook
By now, you all should have a copy of Farmer John’s Cookbook. This book was a really big commitment on the part of the farm to not only offer our shareholders ways to work with the food that we grow, but also to inform you about the Biodynamic aspect of our farming methods, and, in addition, to help build community through our Community Supported Agriculture model. In my travels to 18 countries presenting the film about our farm, I came to sadly realize how little relationship people have to actual farms (even though everyone of course has some sort of relationship to food). I became more and more inspired to bring our shareholders into a closer relationship with the whole being, the whole organism, of Angelic Organics, as I feel that the food from our farm is only one aspect of Angelic Organics.

Our cookbook was intended to enrich this relationship, so now I am inviting you to read “How to Use this Book,” from pages 22 to 27. Here you will learn our multi-faceted intentions in creating this book. We’d love for this book to become a guide for you for not only working with vegetables but for deepening your relationship to our farm. We welcome comments from you about the cookbook in our Farm News blog. (For comments on the cookbook from far and near, peruse our “Worldwide Talkback” page. You’ll need to sift through comments about the film “The Real Dirt on Farmer John,” to get to the cookbook comments.)

Close Call
About a year after the cookbook was released by Gibbs Smith Publishing, there was a flurry of interest by large publishers in acquiring the rights to take the book out worldwide. My literary agent and I met with five renowned publishers in New York in two days…a whirlwind! And what a world that is…I suppose I should say what a world that was, given how much publishing has changed since those meetings 5 years ago. Anyway, there was a lot of support from the staff at some of these publishing houses for the worldwide distribution of the book, but the powers in charge nixed it, so the book has remained in limited distribution.

What’s in a Name?
For the record, about the title of the book: Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables the publisher insisted on it, and I fought it. Of course, I understood why the publisher wanted to tie the title of the book to the title of the film “The Real Dirt on Farmer John.” But I still thought it was a very unappetizing title, and that it trivialized the sweeping initiative behind the development of the book. As for the title I wanted, you might find this out, if the day ever comes when I can get the rights back to the book. I will then re-title it.

I also fought having my image on the cover of the book. I wanted a photo of our fields shrouded in fog on the cover.  A couple of years after I went through this battle over the cover of the cookbook, Alice Waters told me that she had been in a similar conflict to keep her image off the cover of one of her books. I think she won, as I can’t find a book of hers with her image on it. Who wants to be on the cover of a cookbook? The readers are eating food, not the author.

Happy Eating,
Farmer John

Upcoming Programs at the Angelic Organics Learning Center:

July 30: Cheesemaking, 1:30 to 4:30 PM.  Learn to make up to six different kinds of cheeses in this hands-on class.
August 8-11:  Playing with Your Food Day Camp, for ages 6 to 12, 9 to 3 daily.

Register by July 24 for Cheesemaking; by July 31 for Day Camp.

Check out the Learning Center July Calendar, which has links to all of their programs:

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Showing 7 comments
  • K. Lucas
    Reply

    Can you post the recipe for the summer squash, onion, garlic, and parsely casserole one shareholder mentioned? It sounds delicious!!!

    Also, any tips for storing our vegetables would be helpful. most of them stay fresh, but I’m always looking to improve the shelf life of these wonderful vegetables.

    • angelicorganics
      Reply

      I’m sorry, but we don’t have that exact recipe, but we can come pretty close. Actually, you can easily find it at http://web.me.com/angelicorganics/Angelic_Organics___Chicago_CSA/Angelic_Organics___Shareholder_Corner.html
      (the link is on our shareholder page of the web-site) Then just click on the image of the Google page, and type into the Google bar “sweet onion summer squash garlic parsley”. The first result is a summer squash recipe from Paula Deen–so it must be good! The recipe search can be very useful when you want to make a meal with what you have on hand & need some fresh ideas.

      Hopefully, you have already received Farmer John’s Cookbook. There are great storage tips for your vegetables towards the back of the cookbook.

  • Denise Kozel
    Reply

    Dear Angelic Staff and Farmer John, Thank you so much for the wonderful book, what a surprising bonus to becoming a new member. You and the veggies fill me with joy. Love to you all. Denise

  • Ashley F.
    Reply

    I really enjoyed receiving the cookbook. The recipes are great, but you can really find recipes on the internet anywhere so my personal, favorite part of the book is the tips, pairings, and general information on the farm and the vegetables themselves. Oh, and of course the descriptions of what things look like, those are the types of things that are much more difficult to find searching the internet. Thank you for the gift it really adds to the whole experience.
    I’d also like to add that I have never eaten a beet a before I received them in my box. I’m not going to go as far as saying that I “like” them but I have found that steaming one, and adding it to the strawberry smoothies I bring to work for an afternoon snack has been a good way for me to use them. I also have found that I enjoy making a frittata like dish with the beet greens, I just saute the greens, season the heck out of them, add-in anything else that sounds good at the time, and then add the egg/milk mixture, and either cook on the stove or bake until set. I make this at the beginning of the week then cut myself a piece each morning and make a sandwich with toast out of it.

    • angelicorganics
      Reply

      We’re really glad that you are enjoying and using the cookbook so much. Your breakfast frittata puts a healthy twist on “fast food”. Great idea!

  • K. Lucas
    Reply

    Thank you! The recipe looks great I used the sweet onions last night and they were Amazing!

    I just got my cookbook so will have to check out all the tips soon.

  • Jennifer Mach
    Reply

    Hey, the cucumbers this year are GREAT– perfect size, much better than the seed bombs from previous years. Keep ’em coming.

    Also, the name of the cookbook (“The Real Dirt on Vegetables”) is great– thank your publisher for that one– it connects the veg to the earth they come from.

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