Prepping For Your CSA Part III: Make Ahead Recipes

Another great way to prepare for your CSA is by starting some of the food prep early! Make-ahead dressings, sauces, and stocks can provide you with a small library of flavorful options to assist you in making meal planning easy and your taste buds happy!

Our Go-To Dressings & Sauces

Your first several boxes will be heavy on delicious tender greens so we're sharing three of our favorite go-to dressings. Between these you've pretty much got all of your salad and grain bowl needs covered!

Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper finely ground

  • 1 large garlic clove minced

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Tangy Mustard Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Sesame Ginger

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

  • 1/3 cup (4 tbsp) rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup olive oil or other neutral tasting oil

  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey

For each dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a small mason jar, put the lid on, and shake with everything you've got! Each recipe makes about a cup of dressing and will keep for a good long time in the fridge (though the oil may separate over time). 

We also suggest that you add these two make-ahead sauces to your repertoire! They all pack a ton of flavor and are perfect for transforming a variety of veggies into exciting meals.

Andrea Bemis’s Tahini Cream Sauce: Drizzle this tart and garlicky sauce on roasted veggies, stir it into pureed soups, or mix it with greek yogurt and a little extra olive oil to make a salad dressing or dip.

Heidi Swanson’s Instant Pot Indian-Spiced Simmer Sauce : Use this sauce as a base for Korma or Chana Masala, a dipping sauce for roasted veggies, sandwich spread, or as an Indian-inspired pizza sauce!

Basic Stocks

Whether you are interested in a strong base for a soup or a flavorful cooking liquid for grains and legumes, simple stocks are another easy make-ahead with a big pay-off. Below are our three favorites but you can make stock from just about any vegetable or meat scraps that you have on hand. Just remember that simple flavors will grant you greater flexibility.

Basic Chicken Stock: Combine the equivalent of 1-2 chicken carcasses with half an onion, one crushed clove of garlic, a tsp of peppercorns, and 8-10 Cups of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for three hours or longer, skimming as needed.

Simple Vegetable Stock: Combine 1-2 onions, 2-3 carrots, 3-4 celery stalks, a handful of aromatic herbs, a clove of crushed garlic, a tsp of peppercorns, and 1 bay leaf and cover with enough water that you can stir the ingredients easily. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour.

Mushroom Broth: Combine 1lb of trimmed button mushrooms with a few dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms in about 6 Cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 1 hour, then strain.

Cooking Grains & Beans In Bulk

At the end of a long day, waiting for dried beans or grains to cook can sometimes feel like a bit too much work, so we recommend prepping your favorites ahead of time in large batches and then freezing them. Below are a couple links to guides on how to cook and keep these delicious foods on hand!

How To Cook Dried Beans And Freeze Them For Later
How To Freeze And Thaw Rice, Quinoa, And Other Grains  

Prepping For Your CSA Part II: Stocking Your Pantry

Receiving a big box of a week's worth of fresh vegetables all at once can sometimes be a little overwhelming when it comes to meal planning;  A well-stocked pantry is one of the secrets to making the most of your CSA bounty, enabling you to put together farm fresh meals on the fly without too many additional trips to the grocery store for extra supplies.  Here are some of our own pantry essentials to help get you started!


Oils, Vinegars, and Sauces

First up are Oils, Vinegars, and Sauces! You will very likely already have most of these easy to find basics in your cabinet, but we'll include a few fun specialty items at the bottom in case you want to go on a new culinary adventure.


Essentials
Oils: Olive oil, sesame oil, neutral tasting cooking oil (such as Canola)
Vinegars: Balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine or champagne vinegar, rice vinegar
Sauces/Condiments/Pastes: Tahini paste, Miso, Soy sauce, Mustard (we love whole-grain Dijon), Maple syrup or Honey, Sriracha, Rice wine, Dry Sherry, Peanut butter

Beyond Basics
Ghee: Clarified butter with an incredibly long shelf life. Great for sauteing veggies or for adding a little extra rich flavor to cooked grains.  (can be found in Indian markets as well as some standard grocery stores, OR you can make it yourself!)
Sambal Olek: A chunky vinegary souteast asian chili paste. Delicious in dressings, drizzled on eggs, grain bowls, or anywhere else where you want a tangy spicy kick! (can be found in asian markets and some standard grocery stores)

Dry & Canned Goods

If your grocery store has a bulk section this is a great opportunity to try out some new things! Buy your beans, grains, flours etc in small amounts at first to find out what you like the most and then stock up.  Keeping a few jars of canned beans in your pantry is a great choice for when you just don't have time (or the desire) to cook dried ingredients.

For canned items we recommend checking the label to make sure that the can lining is bpa-free. 

Essentials
Legumes: Black beans, white Italian beans, red or brown lentils, beluga or french lentils (green or black), garbanzo beans
Grains: Long grain white rice, brown rice, wild rice, pearled barley, bulgar, quinoa, steel cut or thick rolled oats
Pasta & Noodles: Rice noodles, couscous, orzo, other favorite Italian pastas such as fettuccine, rigatoni, ziti, penne etc
Flours & Meals: Unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour or your own favorite whole-grain flour (we love dark rye!), grits or polenta

Canned Items
Legumes:
 Black beans, white Italian beans, garbanzo beans
Misc: Coconut milk, chicken or veggie stock, crushed or diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tuna or sardines in olive oil

Beyond Basics
Masa Harina: A Mexican/Latin flour made from ground hominy treated with lime water. Can quickly be made into a dough for fried cakes, dumplings, tortillas, and more!
Dried Kombu: A thick umami rich seaweed that can be added to beans during cooking to flavor and tenderize, or simmered in water to produce a delicious vegetarian stock. There are may different options for dried seaweed, if you are curious, here is a guide to get you started!
Soba Noodles: Japanese buckwheat noodles that cook up in no time (3min!) and can be eaten cold in salads or added to soups.
Basmati, Sushi, or Arborio Rice: We gave our basics, but there's a world of rice out there, and most cuisine's have a favorite. 
Pink and Black Rice: Strongly colored rices that are usually sold only lightly milled (retaining most of their bran layer). Both have their own uniquely delicious flavor and are rich in minerals and antioxidants. Try mixing them in with white rice for textural variation. 

Freezer & REFRIGERATOR

Hopefully most of the space in your fridge will be taken up with fresh fruits and veggies this summer, but the items listed below are essential for adding fat, flavor, or extra protein to your recipes.

Freezer: Shrimp, Bacon, Stock (we’ll share some simple recipes in our next post), meatballs, pre-seasoned taco meat

Refrigerator: Hard cheese such as Parmigianno Reggiano, Feta preserved in brine, jarred olives, plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, butter, eggs, salad dressings (we’ll share recipes for making your own in our next post)


Prepping For Your CSA Part I: "Marie Kondo" Your Kitchen!

Marie Kondo’s gentle approach to the Japanese Kon Mari method of tidying seems to be taking the nation by storm right now, and truthfully, what better way to decide if clutter should stay or go than to ask “Does this object spark joy?”. Eating the CSA way involves a lot of prep work, cooking, and storage, so we encourage you to start preparing for your first share by asking yourself this very question (or even, “is it regularly useful?”) about the things in your kitchen! Making sure that your workspace is uncluttered, that you have plenty of free storage for your veggies, and that you keep only the most useful tools on hand will help you make the most of your CSA share!

We aren’t advocating for simply throwing out foods or tools! Before you begin, take a few minutes to think about these alternative ways to use things up or find new homes for extra items.

  • Unused fresh food items can either go into a creative clean-out-the-fridge stew or stirfry, or be added to the compost bin where they turn into a valuable resource for growing more food!

  • Unexpired and unopened shelf-stable items can be donated to your local food bank.

  • Space-hog knickknacks and unused tools can be dropped off at Goodwill or posted in your local Buy Nothing Group.

  • You can also consider pooling your resources with friends and share joint-custody of those important but large and seldom-used appliances!

  • Not quite ready to move something out of your kitchen? Try what some lean-operating farms do! When something goes unused, it can be “tagged” and put it in a special area of the farm called the “red tag” area. If it becomes forgotten or unused during the time period you’ve set, its time for it to go!

Now, let’s get started!

Clean Out Your Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry

This is the easiest category! Begin by clearing out anything that is stale, shows evidence of pantry moths, is moldy, or severely freezer burned. Then consider composting or using up any specialty items that you bought to try out of curiosity but never ended up using more than once or twice (we’ll be giving you our tips on how to stock a useful pantry in a later post!). Last, give the inside of your fridge, freezer, and pantry a thorough wipe-down, especially those all-important veggie drawers!

Declutter Your Countertops

Many kitchens (especially in rental units) don’t offer much counter space to begin with, and this can be pretty frustrating when you have a lot of chopping and other prep work to do. Making the most of what space you do have is essential, so take a long hard look at any items that are taking up a lot of valuable real estate. If you have decorative items that make you smile every time you walk into your kitchen, keep em- making the kitchen feel like a happy place to be in is important- but if you have things sitting out that can be easily stowed in a drawer or cabinet, or that you no longer enjoy, use this opportunity to free up some more workspace.

Assess Your Tools And Appliances

Do you have any broken or completely unused tools hanging around in your drawers or cabinets? Give them the boot! The same goes for your appliances (particularly the very specialized or very large ones). If you feel undecided about something like that giant icecream maker that takes up space in your cabinet for 9 months out of the year, now is the time to ask yourself that Marie Kondo question or give it a “red tag!”

Most of the recipes you’ll likely end up making with your farm veggies will only require the most basic tools, here is our personal list of essentials:

A sharp chopping and paring knife, whisk, small and large spatulas, large spoon, food processor or blender, mixing bowls, frying pan, deep heavy-bottomed pot for long slow cooking.

Cast A Critical Eye On That Storage Container Collection

If you are anything like us, you have probably steadily accumulated quite a vast array of jars, bottles, tupperware containers, and bags over the years. Now is the time to pare this down to items that are actually useful for storing produce and leftover meals, and get rid of anything that is broken or missing a lid! Many of the veggies you will be receiving will keep for longer if they are placed in closed containers in the fridge (more on storage tips to come!) so keep that in mind when deciding on what to keep and what to recycle.

If you are trying to go plastic-free but don’t want to spend a lot of $$ to overhaul your storage collection, consider visiting your local Goodwill store to keep an eye out for inexpensive nylon or cloth bags and glass jars or containers!


Spring On The Farm!

Mothers Day.jpg

Happy Spring!

What a spring we are having! Those early weeks of sun made us feel a little too comfortable with the weather and we were caught off guard by the weeks of solid rain that followed.  We've had to put a pause on getting the ground ready for planting because of all the wet, but with this week's sun all the farmers on the property are rushing to capitalize on these dry days. 

We prepare our ground in the spring first by mowing last year's cover crop (usually a hardy grass meant to help keep soil in place and add nutrients to the soil) then breaking up the thick roots with discs.  After a few weeks, the grasses decompose and we are able to use our tiller to prepare a smooth bed, add compost and organic amendments, and then finally plant seed or transplant small seedlings.  This process can take up to a month (or more when we're rained out!) so each week when I'm on the tractor, I'm not only thinking about that week's plantings, but looking out 4 weeks in advance to start the process of preparing the soil.  This week we are busy catching up and preparing planting spaces for all that will go into the ground through May! 

I shared this already on social media, but for those of you who don't follow us there, I included it here! This year we’re doubling our growing space but even at four acres, our farm is arguably still small. Growing this year was a big leap (and risk) as it means twice the expenses, twice the staff, twice the greenhouses, stress, and everything else too. It also means we hopefully double the amount of people we bring into our farm community and feed this season. I added up our CSA membership numbers this week, and holy crap, you all are SHOWING UP for us. We have just now reached the number of members we had last season, and we still have 6 weeks to go! I'm so humbled and filled with gratitude to have people that believe in our farm and make it possible for me to do this thing I love so much. You all give me so much confidence in the world, in this thing we’re trying to build, in my crew, and in myself!

We're sharing some awesome events coming up on the farm and in our community.  We would love to see you all there!

Three Cheers For Spring!
-Alice


Visit Us At The Farmers Market!


We are excited to announce that we will have a booth at theSnohomish Farmers Marketthis year! You can find us at the corner of Cedar & Pearl every Thursday from 3pm-7pm, May-September. Come visit and peruse our selection of farm fresh flowers and produce! We are so happy to have this new opportunity to connect with our local community. 


SAVE THE DATE: CSA Kick-Off Event, June 8th


If you're a member of our CSA program or just curious about what we do here, this is a great opportunity to come on down to the farm, meet your fellow local food enthusiasts, and learn a bit more about Lowlands!

We'll be giving tours, enjoying the (hopefully) nice weather, and also taking part in a special collaborative Pop-up Market with some of our neighboring farmers! Our friends atBright Ide AcresandChinook Farmswill be offering their incredible pastured meats for purchase on-site and we'll have some tender early summer veggies and fresh flowers available as well!

We are finalizing the details for the event now and will be sending out an update in the next two weeks, so mark your calendars and stay tuned!


shutterstock_762747316 med.jpg

SnoValley Tilth Auction: May 19th


Join me at the SnoValley Tilth Friends of the Fields Benefit Dinner and Auction on Sunday, May 19th, at Carleton Farm in Lake Stevens for some great auction fun, a delicious dinner by Chef Caprial Pence, and a cause near and dear to us!  I am honored to be aMemberof the organization and the Board of Directors, working to vision and execute our important mission!  SnoValley Tilth is working up-close and personal with farmers in the Snoqualmie and Snohomish river valleys to support sustainable agriculture. We provideresources, training, networking, and are the voice for farmers in our region.I hope you'll join me in supporting this valuable work! More information can be found here: 
http://www.snovalleytilth.org/annualevents/auction/
I would be honored to have you dine with me! 

We'll also be auctioning off a CSA share to support the continuing work of SnoValley Tilth! 


Issues-That-Matter Panel Discussion: April 29th

Join us for an evening of discussion on disappearing farmland and food supply sustainability in our community!

thumbnail_ITM 2019 Farmland MON POSTER (1).jpg