Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Plant Sale this Saturday

Green String Farm, Bob Cannard, and his Spring 2010 Interns present

dirt CHEAP plant SALE
Saturday May 22nd 12-3pm

at Green String Farm Store
3571 Old Adobe Road
Petaluma, CA 94954

will be in attendance playing good-time farm music

FOR sale
~raised with love, priced by the Economy of Generosity~
Dirt Cheap Veggie & Herb Starts
Perennials, Ornamentals, and Bob Cannard's Crushed Rock Garden Mineral Supplement
1000 descendants of the original 2nd Street Japanese maple

~refresh and nourish the organism that is you~
Farm Agua Fresca, Chilled Sobre Vista Verbena Teasan, Jam Stand and
Wyoming Sweet Biscuits. Bring your favorite drinking jar if you remember.

We'll be brewing fresh compost tea to take home with your purchase.

Farm Tours and riveting natural process agriculture conversation will be afoot.

email Green String Sprinterns (Spring + Interns) if you fancy
green string store # 707.778.7500

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May Newsletter

Read the full newsletter online
Download the PDF

In this issue:

In the Store

see the list

Farm News

All of the back-and-forth weather we've had this spring -- a week of sun, two days of rain, a week and a half of sun, another day of rain -- has made planting difficult... read more

Featured Veggie: Baby Artichokes

Come into the farm store on a good picking day, and you're likely to find yourself facing Artichoke Mountain!... read more

Upcoming Events

Farm tour and family day... read more

Recipe: Marinated Baby Artichokes

Loaded with tasty herbs and olive oil, these marinated chokes are great to add to salads and sandwiches, or just to have as a tangy snack. Make a big batch all at once and stash them in the fridge if you want to have them on-hand. read more

Recipe: Weeknight Favas

Fava beans can take a long time to prepare, and even something as simple as fava soup can take hours or shelling, blanching, and peeling. When you're not up for that kind of time commitment, but you're still jonesing for those delicate beans, try this easy method instead. read more

Recipe: Green Garlic Tomato Sauce

For those of us who dream of juicy, sweet, bursting-with-flavor tomatoes, this is a tough time of year; it's been 8 or 9 months since the last taste of fresh tomatoes, and we've still got another few weeks to wait until they're ready again. Whip up a nice pasta sauce using good quality canned tomatoes to help you through the home stretch. read more

Friday, April 23, 2010

Preparing baby artichokes

The artichokes that we grow at Green String are best enjoyed when they're still pretty small. If an artichoke is smaller than about 3 inches in diameter, chances are it hasn't developed that furry little inedible choke yet -- which means you can skip the normal artichoke procedure and eat it (nearly) whole.

Baby artichokes still take a bit of prep work, but you'll make up for the time when you pop the whole scrumptious bud into your mouth. Yum.

Step one: remove tough outer leaves

The farm nerd in me wants to point out that these "leaves" are really sepals. But that's not important, what's important is that you take off several layers of these -- until you get down to the tender leaves. (Or sepals.) Keep peeling away until they're pale yellow, and only green on the tips.

There's no need to throw the extra leaves out though! I like to boil them for ten minutes or so, drain, pop them in the fridge overnight, and have them with some homemade mayonnaise for a light lunch the next day.

peel off several layers of leaves until you get down to the tender yellow leaves

Step two: trim and peel

Lop off the top of the artichoke -- either where it turns green, or if you've got a thorny bud on your hands, cut it so that you remove all the spikes. Next, take a vegetable peeler and get the very outer layer of the stem off; this gets rid of the bitter, silvery-gray layer. Cut off the very bottom of the stem, but leave the rest -- it's the best part!

trim and peel

Step three: cut into lovely little pieces

Quarter the artichoke for quickest cooking. You can also halve it or leave it whole. Notice that there's no choke layer in these babies -- it goes straight from leaves to heart.

Artichokes start browning as soon as you cut them, so it's a good idea to have water with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice ready (acid stops the browning process) BEFORE you start prepping. Unless you're dealing with a whole mountain of artichokes, put some acid in your cooking water and get it up to a simmer before you start cutting -- then as you finish prepping each artichoke, toss it into the pot. The few minutes of cooking between the first and last artichokes won't make too much of a difference.

quartered and ready for cooking

Step four: cook. Then eat.

Once prepped, baby artichokes are wonderfully versatile. For a simple preparation, boil them in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes if you like them quite soft, or 5 minutes or less if you like them al dente. Then serve with your favorite artichoke fixings -- mayonnaise, butter, olive oil and garlic, or whatever strikes your fancy. I also like to cook them until they're a bit uncooked, then toss them into a thick, creamy sauce (with browned butter and green garlic, or lots of fresh sage) and serve over pasta. You could also dress them up with a tangy marinade and serve them in a salad, or slather them in beer batter and deep fry 'em, for a treat like Fremont Diner's wonderful artichoke fritters.

Got any other suggestions for baby chokes? We'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Newsletter

Read the full newsletter online
Download the PDF

In this issue:

In the Store

see the list

Farm News

It's spring, and life on the farm is starting to pick up the pace. We're all spending our time planning and starting seeds for the summer, and trying to keep up with picking the artichokes... read more

Featured Veggie: Green Garlic

Everyone loves artichokes and asparagus, but for a spring delicacy that you won't find in the supermarkets, we suggest green garlic... read more

Upcoming Events

Special Farm Trails event, farm tour, family day, and community workdays... read more

Recipe: Baby Artichoke Sauce

Using baby artichokes -- with a diameter no more than 3 inches -- makes for easier preparation, since the buds are picked before developing an inedible choke. Serve this decadent sauce over fettuccine. read more

Recipe: Sautéed Fava Greens with Green Garlic

Fava greens are the leaves picked from the tops of young fava plants. The leaves taste very similar to fava beans, with a texture like baby spinach. This rarity is a true farm treat. read more

Recipe: Herbed French Lentils

French green lentils have so much flavor that a couple simple additions are enough to make them a tasty dish on their own. read more

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Family Day on Saturday

Saturday, March 20th
2pm - 3pm
Meet at the Green String Farm Store
$2 per-person fee requested, not required

This Saturday, two of our lovely new interns will be leading some fun activities for kids and parents. The theme for the day is edible flowers, and participants will get to pick and eat some of early spring's prettiest and yummiest blossoms. We'll also take some time to meet the farm animals.

The beautiful sunshine we're enjoying right now is supposed to stick around through the weekend, so it's the perfect time to play on the farm!

Family days are geared for elementary-school-aged kids, but we can set up alternate activities for younger children too. Make sure to wear clothes and shoes that can get a little dirty!

Questions/RSVP: jenny@greenstringfarm.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March Newsletter

Read the full newsletter online
Download the PDF

In this issue:

In the Store

see the list

Farm News

Everything around the farm is looking cheerful these days, with the bright yellow of mustard flowers on every hill and field, and the blue skies of almost-spring... read more

Featured Veggie: Swiss Chard

Recently, our red Swiss chard has been getting all the "oohs" and "ahhs" at the farm store... read more

Upcoming Events

Farm tour, family day, and community workdays... read more

Recipe: Creamed Chard

Our take on the classic dish is just as creamy and comforting as the original. read more

Recipe: Couscous Pilaf with Beets

A quick farm-fresh meal for weeknights. read more

Recipe: Broiled Asparagus

As luck would have it, the best way to cook asparagus is also the easiest. The broiler's flames bring out the sweet tenderness of the spears and lightly crisp them on the outside. read more

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A universe of stars-a field of suns

Last week I learned that it is, in fact, possible to see more of Orion than just his belt. Lying upside down on the deck of the Green String schoolhouse, three of us interns shared a moment of clarity and saw Orion in his entirety for the first time. Meanwhile, as Lansing Christman describes, in the fields around us there is blooming "another universe of stars, a slope of blossoms". The flowers are coming out one by one, creating new constellations in the fields and trees, and it is a very beautiful time at the farm.

We interns had a great week, starting with a wine tasting session with the Cline/ Jacuzzi Director of Winemaking, Charlie Tsegeletos. Next came a visit to a couple-thousand-year-old bay tree during a class on tree surgery.

But the highlight of the week came on Saturday, when, after a long and harsh winter deprived of blood-red root vegetables, we harvested BEETS for our Winter Harvest Dinner with Petaluma Mentor Me. Kids, mentors, and interns all had a blast harvesting vegetables and salad greens, then chopping, cooking, and enjoying a lovely winter's feast. Hearty food and much merriment was shared, culminating in what you may call a bit of a barn dance.

Did I mention we had beets? That brings me to the official recipe selection of the week. Hailing from the dark, dark, sasquatch-laden forests of the far northwest (Seattle), I give you:

"Back to Your Roots Cookies"

Things you will need:

1 cup Butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup cooked, mashed beets (or carrots!)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cardamom

Things you will need to do:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Then mix in your mashed beets (or carrots!), egg, and vanilla, and set aside. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cardamom. Add the dry ingredients to the beet mixture and blend thoroughly. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is slightly soft and the bottoms are beginning to brown. Makes about 30 small-ish to medium-ish, beautiful red cookies.

* To add a little something-something, I mixed in some chocolate chips with the dough. Probably about a third of a package, so the chocolate does not take center stage but still says hello.