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The season's first potatoes are getting harvested this week!
Baby lettuces shining in the morning sun

The Abundance of the Potato

How our hands and eyes delighted in that harvest,
how gladly we dragged our bulging gunnysacks to the wagon… a wagonful of potatoes! 
Dark, crusted with dirt, soil ,earth, cool to the touch, good to eat even raw.
We plowed the shabby-looking field and turned up nuggets, plenty, abundance, more than enough to last through the winter, more than we needed, riches unimagined...”

Edward Abbey

(It's nealy the end of August... the absolute height of the season, and we are all feeling the strain of too much too do and too little time to do it. So this week I've looked elsewhere for inspiring words. Till next week, Megan.)

Organically,
Luke, Adam, Sarah, Megan, Yolanda, Tino, Valentin, Julio Cesar, Mariana, Mike, Alice, Bjorn, Siobhan, Amy, Nate, Linda, Dana, Deb, Shira, Pearl & Sweet-Cheeked Emuna!

The Skinny on your Veg

Potatoes
All of the world’s potatoes originate from southern Peru. It was the conquering Spanish who introduced Europe to this treasure, which in time became a staple of the European diet and helped support the population boom of the 19th century. Unfortunately there were growing too few varieties, making their crops more vulnerable to diseases and in 1845 the potato crops of Ireland were hit with late blight leading to the Great Irish Famine. Because spuds are so easy to store and transport they travelled the world on ship feeding sailors and overland feeding armies. Now the potato is grown all over the world and is the 4th-largest food crop behind rice, wheat & maize. It is the potatoes starches that make it so filling and satisfying, with its skin on it is also a good source of fiber. Interestingly if you cook and then cool a potato, say for salad, its fiber content is actually higher.

I will warn you that organically grown potatoes are a little more interesting looking than their conventional friends. Potatoes grow deep in the soil and healthy soil is a living thing, full of (mostly good) organisms, minerals & bugs all of which add to the character of an organic potato. Conventional potatoes, in order to look their best are grown in soil that has been amended w/ fungicides & pesticides which kill the organisms in the soil (good and bad) and leave a residue on the spuds (yuck). A few of the character traits you will see w/ organic potatoes:
  • Rough looking skin, aka potato scab, happens if the soil is too alkaline – Did you know that potatoes prefer an acidic soil of ph5.0-6.0.
  • ‘Dirt’ that won’t rub off, is caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia Solani which adheres tightly to the tubers skin – this is superficial and doesn’t cause damage, even in storage. This fungus grows in cold, wet soils and can be somewhat controlled organically through crop rotation.
  • Then there’s the infamous blight! Potatoes, like tomatoes, are a member of the night shade family and are susceptible to blight, which grows and destroys crops in wet seasons.
Our spuds may lack in looks department, but they make up for in taste! Because some of the potatoes you receive might not be our prettiest (they are grown in dirt, after all) we pad your share a bit to make up for it.
Flower potato plants at Oxbow
This week you are getting new potatoes, which are harvested when the plant blooms (as in above pic). They have tender skins that don’t need to be peeled! These are sublime grilled or roasted. Once the plant dies back the potatoes will have sized up and the skins have cured, making them ready for storage. Potatoes are the king of the storage crops in part because they are relatively easy to keep over winter and because they are so versatile. They have kept many bellies full through many winters!
There are a few key storage rules: Not too cold or the starches will convert to sugar - they're happiest between 40-50 degrees. Not to humid - moisture will cause them to rot. Find a dark place - light will cause a mildly toxic alkaloid called solanin to form in the skin causing it to turn green. This can be peeled away, so if yours go a little green, don't fret just grab a peeler. And, finally keep them away from onions - the onions give off a gas that causes to potatoes to sprout prematurely. Speaking of sprouts, aka "eye's", sprouting potatoes can still be eaten as long as it's still firm, simply cut out the offending eye. Once potatoes get soft, shriveled, wrinkled & sprouting they are worm food.

Cilantro
Is the fresh tender leaves & stems of the coriander plant, cilantro is in fact the Spanish word for coriander. The fresh leaves are widely used in South East Asia, China and Mexico - you've probably used it yourself in salsa and guacamole. Both the leaves and stems are edible and tasty, the stems will be a little stronger in flavor. This is one herb that doesn't dry or freeze well and the heat diminishes its flavor so it is typically used fresh and quickly. One way to extend its life in your fridge is to make a simple pesto - blend garlic, olive oil & cilantro (stems and all) in a blender or food processor. This is fantastic drizzled on grilled meats, fish and veggies or as a base for a lime cilantro salad dressing. Enjoy!

This Week's Recipes

RICE NOODLES w/ CHARRED ONIONS & CILANTRO
From How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
  • 4 T organic peanut oil
  • 2-3 medium onions, thinly slices
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 C loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 limes
  • 1 pound broad rice noodles (fettuccine-sized)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Heat a wok or large deep skillet over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes, then add 3 T of oil. Wait another 30 seconds - you want the oil to be really hot - then add the sliced onions. Raise the heat to high and cook them, not stirring too often, until they are dark brown, with some crisp edges, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and keep them warm.
While the onions are cooking, process some salt, the garlic, cilantro, pepper, the juice of one of the limes and the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small food processor or blender.  Use a rubber spatula if necessary to scrape down the sides of the container, and process until you have a loose paste.
Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta, beginning to taste after 5 minutes to see if it is done; do not overcook! When the pasta is tender, drain and toss with the onions and cilantro paste. Add salt to taste. Quarter the lime and serve with the pasta.Yum!


GRILLED POTATO SALAD
From 101cookbooks.com

On hot days, who wants to cook indoors? So I thought a grilled potato salad was just the ticket! Zucchini will work in place of the pattypan – simply cut in half lengthwise and grill, after grilling slice at an angle into 1” pieces. For you onions, you can use the Walla Walla's in your box this week, but cut them in half for grilling and once grilled slice them into bite-sized pieces.
  • 10 medium-sized new potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
  • 3-4 small yellow summer pattypan squash, cut in half
  • 1 bunch of green onions or spring onions
  • Big splash of olive oil
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 1/4 C rice vinegar
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • Clove of garlic, mashed and chopped
  • A couple drops of toasted sesame oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 a head of lettuce, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Toss the potato wedges, squash, and green onions with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place them on a medium-hot grill. Place the lemons on the grill as well, cut side down. Grill for 10-20 minutes or until golden and cooked through - moving around the grill if needed and flipping to get color on all sides. The squash will likely cook faster than the potatoes, remove pieces and place on a platter when they are done grilling.
While everything is grilling, whisk together the rice vinegar, olive oil, garlic, sesame oil, and a couple pinches of salt. When the onions come off the grill, let them cool for a couple minutes and then cut into 1/2-inch segments. Set aside.
Toss the lettuce with a splash of the dressing, and turn it out onto a large platter. Now toss the vegetables (but not the lemons) with a big splash of the dressing and arrange it on top of the lettuce sprinkled with the reserved grilled green onion segments. Garnish with the lemon (which I like to squeeze over my salad just before eating for an added layer of extra mellow tang that goes great with the potatoes.


MARCO CANORA'S BRAISED ROMANO BEANS
From the NY Times ~ September 2006
 
While I don’t typically advocate cooking a vegetable for this long, the Italians do. This traditional Italian preparation is spectacular! The Walla Walla onion in your box this week will work nicely, it will just be a little sweeter and softer than the red onion.
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 hand-crushed roma tomatoes (or 1 12-oz. can crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Romano beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
Trim stem end of beans and cut larger ones in half. Set aside.
Finely chop the onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté them in olive oil with tomatoes for about 20 minutes until the soffritto, or sautéed vegetable mixture, turns pale gold.
Add Romano beans gradually and stir to coat well. Cover and cook over low heat, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if the mixture appears too dry. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until very soft but not falling apart. Season with salt and pepper, and finish with chopped basil.


CREAMY DILL DRESSING
Inspired by Jamie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver
  • 1/3 C yogurt
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 T fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
Put all ingredients in a small jar. Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously (this is a great job for a child who wants to help make dinner)

Week #11:


Box Highlights:

  • Potatoes
  • Cilantro

Recipes:

  • Rice Noodles w/ Charred Onions & Cilantro
  • Grilled Potato Salad
  • Braised Romano Beans
  • Creamy Dill Dressing

This Week's Harvest:

Family Share

Oxbow family share week #11
  • 1 bu Oxbow Carrots
  • 1 lb Romano Green Beans
  • 1 bu Red Beets
  • 1 Diva Slicer Cucumber
  • 2 Lemon Cucumbers
  • 1 Jericho Romaine
  • 1 Little Gem Lettuce
  • 1 Rhazes Baby Lettuce
  • 2 Walla Walla Onions
  • 2 lbs Red New Potatoes
  • 4 Apples *Farmers choice
  • 1 bu Dill

Small Share

Oxbow small share week #11
  • 1 bu Oxbow Carrots
  • 1 lb Romano Green Beans
  • 2 Diva Slicer Cucumber
  • 1 Green Butterhead Lettuce
  • 1 Rhazes Baby Lettuce
  • 1 Walla Walla Onion
  • 1 lb Red New Potatoes
  • 2 Apples *Farmer's choice
  • 1 bu Cilantro

Fruit Share

  • 2 lbs Santa Rosa Plums
  • 3 lbs Bartlett Pears
  • 2 lbs Peaches

Add-Ons:

  • The jam this week is Apricot
  • This week's sauerkraut is Eastern European Kraut

Box Notes from your Farmers:

For those of you getting a Fruit Share: 
Ripe peaches are such a beautiful and difficult thing! Look at them the wrong way and they bruise. Our friends growing the fruit for your fruit share pride themselves on delivering fruit that was harvested ripe and is ready to eat. Unfortunatly this makes it exceptionally challenging for us trying to pack 2-4 pounds of ripe peaches in your boxes and not damage something. Put them on the bottom and they get squished. Put them on top and they squash your lettuce! We are trying to make it work, but I know we've failed for a number of you. SORRY!! We love peaches and want you to enjoy them and are very sad to hear when you don't or can't (but thanks for letting us know). We're trying a few new ideas and hopefully this weeks peaches will arrive relatively un-damaged. Note, if they are bruised they still work great in a smoothie!!

Now a brief note on your pears, they are typically harvested just shy of ripe because pears acuatlly prefer to ripen at room temperature. Furthermore they ripen from the inside out, so to check for ripeness apply gentle pressure near the stem and if it gives a little then it should be juicy & ripe. for even ripening put them in a paper bag and let them ripen on the counter for a day or so.

**Please note that we do our best to have consistency in our boxes throughout the week. But, with over 300 members this
is not always possible, So if the contents of your box don't exactly match this list, rest assured that we have substituted something equally scrumptious! You can also check out your box contents in your accounts on-line, we try and keep this up-to-date.

CSA Member Etiquette:

  • A little reminder of some of the CSA rules to help keep everyone happy. 
  • Please only take the box labeled with your name. This is especially important with all the add-ons we are adding in.
  • If you've have an egg share, please take the carton from the cooler that is labeled with your name. If you haven't ordered the egg share - don't take any eggs from the cooler!
  • If you are having a friend pick up your box (which is great), please make sure they know the above rules.
  • Please carefully breakdown your box and return it to your pickup location each week. Because they are heavily waxed they aren't recyclable so we try and use them as many times as possible before they go to the landfill.
  • If you would like to move your box to a different pickup location, please make sure to make the change 1 week before the pickup you want to make sure it's captured correctly.
  • Also if you want to change pickup day's, make sure you are staying in the same week. The system will not deliver 2 boxes in the same week. So, if you usually pickup on Sunday you can change to the following Friday NOT previous.  

The Oxbow Box Project:


This CSA season we have asked local chefs, cooks & food bloggers to experience the Oxbow Box for one week. They will cook with it, photograph/video it, feed their families or dinner guests and then report back to us about what great things they did with our vegetables!

Click here to see the latest entry.

CSA Pick-up Locations:

Sunday
Ballard Farmers Mkt, 10am-3pm
Plymouth Church, 10am-1pm
West Seattle - Proletariat Pizza, 4-8:30pm

Tuesday
Carnation Farmers Mkt, 3-7pm
Alpine Integrated Health, 1-5pm
Temple De Hirsch-Sinai, 3-6pm
Mercer Is. SJCC, 2-9:30pm
Meg's in Wallingford, 3-7pm
The Greatful Bread, 5-7pm
Cafe Flora, 3-8pm
Bristlecone, 4-6pm
UW Burke Museum, 3-6pm

Thursday
The Grange Cafe, 5-9pm
Marigold & Mint, 3-7pm
Anny's in Montlake, 2-8pm
North Seattle CC, 4-7pm
Queen Anne - Kavana, 3-7pm
Temple De Hirsch-Sinai, 3-6pm
UW Hillel, 3-7pm

Friday
Madrona Farmers Mkt, 3-7pm
Cupcake Royale Blve, 2-8pm
Monica's in Columbia City, 3-8pm
Bellevue Hopelink, 3-7pm

This week @ Market:

Farmer Adam & and huge pile of carrots
Farmer Adam & our glorious carrots

You can pick up Oxbow's finest at the following markets around town:

You can also find our fabulous veggies at our friends' fabulous organic flower shop Marigold and Mint in the Melrose Market on Capitol Hill (on Melrose ave between Pike & Pine)!



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Here's how you break down your family share box. (The small share box is now much simplier!).

How to break down a box illustration
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