Sunday, July 26, 2015

Week 8 Newsletter 2015

This week we started harvesting tart cherries.

Hello Everyone,

We made a turning point with cherry harvest this past week. The sweet cherry harvest has come to an end for 2015 and we are now harvesting tart cherries. The cooler has boxes and boxes of sweet cherries tucked away and we will continue to market, pack and deliver sweet cherries.

The bees are buzzing in the garden.

Flowers are showing up in all corners of the garden
and attracting bees, butterflies and a few hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds love the Red Runner Beans.

What to expect to find in your bin the week:

Sweet Cherries                                             
Tart Cherries
Parsley & Cilantro

Here are a couple of recipes that include items that will be in your bin this week.

Marinated Zucchini Salad

  MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN  Yield Serves four

Raw zucchini can be a dull ingredient, but when it’s very thinly sliced it marinates beautifully, especially in lemon juice. I like to use a mixture of green and yellow squash here. Assemble this dish at least four hours before you wish to serve it, so that the squash has time to soften and soak up the lemony marinade.


1 pound medium or small zucchini, preferably a mix of green and yellow

 Salt to taste
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, mint, chives, dill or a combination


Slice the squash as thinly as you can. Sprinkle with salt, preferably kosher salt, and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse and drain on paper towels.

Mix together the lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Toss with the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for four to six hours.
Remove from the refrigerator, and remove the garlic clove. Add the fresh herbs, and toss together. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.
Advance preparation: This dish will keep for a day or two, but it is best served just after the herbs are added. The lemony zucchini will lose its flavor over time.

Parsley Hummus

  MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN  Time About 20 minutes  Yield 2 cups

  It’s important to pick the parsley leaves off the stems, because unlike the stems of cilantro, parsley stems are tough and should be discarded. The leaves reduce quite a bit in volume when you chop them, especially if you chop them fine. Two cups of parsley leaves will yield a little over 1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley. This hummus has a pale green hue and herbal overtones.


2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 large garlic cloves, peeled, cut in half, green shoots removed
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
 Salt to taste
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling if desired
3 tablespoons sesame tahini, stirred well if the oil has separated
 Plain low-fat yogurt as needed


(Optional step): If you want to take the time to do this, remove the papery outer shells of the cooked chickpeas by gently squeezing them between your thumb and first two fingers. Discard the shells.

Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop in the garlic. Process until the garlic adheres to the sides of the bowl. Turn off the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chickpeas, parsley and salt to taste and process to a coarse purée. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Turn on the machine and add the lemon juice and olive oil with the machine running. Add the tahini and process until the hummus is smooth. It should not be too thick or dry. If it is, thin out as desired with yogurt or water, or with the broth from the chickpeas if you cooked them. Season to taste with salt. Scrape out into a bowl or mound on a platter. Run a fork over the surface and drizzle with olive oil if desired. Serve with crudités or pita bread.
Advance preparation: This will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator and freezes well

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week 7 Newsletter 2015

Hello Everyone,       

This past week we have been harvesting my favorite black sweet cherry variety.The Ulster
has great flavor and a stand out "crunch" texture. This will be the type of sweet cherry that will be in your bin this week.

Our farm is in full swing, we are hand picking cherries as well as packing and delivering this delicate fruit. It is remarkable how fast our hand picking crew gets the fruit off the trees while carefully handling each and every cherry with care. As soon as a picker completes a box, it is removed from the orchard and stored in our cooler. The cherries are cooled down before they are washed, run through a packing line which includes sizing, sorting, weighing and packing the cherries. We custom pack to fill orders for local customers and deliveries to southern Michigan.

While hand-picking with buckets and ladders is the traditional method of harvesting fruit, technology has made it possible for cherry growers to get their fruit harvested much faster. We hand pick our highest-quality fruit but mechanically harvest the rest for a Michigan fruit processor (where it becomes cherry pie filling, frozen fruit, dried cherries, yogurt filling etc.). In the 70s, the price of processing fruit dropped so low that farmers could no longer afford the cost of hand-picking. Thus the method of using machines to shake the tree and catch the fruit was born. This is much faster than picking, and when done right, does not damage the tree.  At this point we are also mechanically harvesting cherries and have both a day and night shift. Our farm receives fruit from other growers for a processor. There is a team that unloads trucks, weighs and tests the cherries and then reloads the fruit onto semi-trucks. The paperwork involves traceability and each box of fruit is labeled with the variety of fruit, harvest date and the originating farm. The processing company is receiving dozens of truck loads of fruit from all over Michigan every day, so it is important that the paperwork is accurate and we want to make sure that when the truck from Old Mission roles in, every pound of fruit is accounted for.

You might be amazed to learn about the long, hard hours and meticulous methods that cherry farmers and their crews are currently enduring. Although the work can be tough, this time of year most growers and workers are all smiles. After a years worth of work, it is a joy to see what we have produced and our crews take pride in this accomplishment.

The cool temperature have allowed for an extra long pea season. So I hope you are enjoying the edible pods and maybe even trying out a new stir-fry recipe that includes snow peas and bok choy this year.

What to expect to find in your bin this week:

Black Sweet Cherries


Snow Peas

Sugar Snap Peas


Arugula or Purple Scallions

Bok Choy


Here are a couple of recipes for you to try with the items you will find in your bin.

Sauteed Bok Choy


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (from 1/2-inch piece)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds bok choy (about 2 medium bunches), cleaned, ends trimmed, and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Salt (optional)

Total Time: 10 mins

Active Time: 10 mins

Makes: 4 servings


1. In a large frying pan with a tightfitting lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds.
2. Add the bok choy and, using tongs, fold it into the garlic-ginger mixture until coated, about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and water, cover, and cook until steam accumulates, about 1 minute. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are just wilted, the stalks are just fork tender but still crisp, and most of the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
3.Turn off the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and season with salt if desired.

Scrambled Eggs With Grated Zucchini

MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN  TimeAbout 10 minutes  Yield Serves four


2 medium zucchini (about 10 ounces)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
 freshly ground pepper
6 eggs
2 tablespoons low-fat (2 percent) milk
2 tablespoons minced chives
 Optional: 1 medium avocado, diced or sliced, for garnish


Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy nonstick pan. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until it wilts, about three minutes. Add the garlic, if using, and continue to cook, stirring, for another minute or two until the mixture is very fragrant. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium.
Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the milk and salt and pepper to taste, and whisk together. Stir in the chives. Add to the pan with the zucchini, and cook, stirring every few seconds with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula, until the eggs are scrambled. Remove from the heat and serve, garnished, if you wish, with diced or sliced avocado.
Advance preparation: The dish can be prepared through Step 2 several hours before scrambling the eggs. Reheat until the zucchini is sizzling, and proceed with the recipe.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Week 6 Newsletter 2015

Borage -  the cucumber tasting flowers were in the mixed greens last week
Hello Everyone,

It is tomato trellising time! Tomatoes are a vine and we use a trellising system to keep the plants erect. The tomato plants grow up rather than crawling on the ground which helps with moisture control, disease prevention and makes it easier at harvest time. We are looking forwards to walls of tomatoes!

I know many of you take vacations in July and August. Remember to let me know a week ahead if you would like to skip a bin. Also be sure to also schedule which week you would like to have your extra bin.

The onions you are receiving this time of year are fresh-from-the-farm onions. These onions are not cured so please plan on storing them in the refrigerator.

What to expect to find in your bin this week:
Adele at the Sarah Hardy Market

Black Sweet Cherries

Bok Choy


Lettuce - Summer Crisp

Beets and Beet Greens

Sugar Snap Peas or Snow Peas


Bunching Onions

Basil loves the warm temperatures

Here are couple of easy recipes for you that include items that will be in your bin this week. In the first recipe I used less zucchini and added some sugar snap peas. Ah, the taste of summer!

Summer Pasta With Zucchini, Ricotta and Basil

DAVID TANIS  Time 30 minutes  Yield 4 to 6 servings

A summer pasta should be simple and fresh, ideally made with vegetables straight from the garden or market. Look for the best artisanal ricotta; top-quality ingredients make all the difference here.


 Extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced
2 pounds zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces (for larger zucchini, cut in half lengthwise before slicing)
 Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced, or 2 tablespoons chopped green garlic
1 ounce basil, about 2 cups loose leaves
1 pound ziti or other dry pasta
8 ounces ricotta, about 1 cup (see recipe)
 Pinch of crushed red pepper
 Zest of 1 lemon
2 ounces grated Parmesan, pecorino or a mixture, about 1 cup, plus more for serving


Put a pot of water on to boil. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat as necessary to keep onions from browning. Add zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.

Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to pound garlic, basil and a little salt into a rough paste (or use a mini food processor). Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Salt the pasta water well and put in the pasta, stirring. Boil per package instructions but make sure to keep pasta quite al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.

Add cooked pasta to zucchini in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add 1/2 cup cooking water, then the ricotta, crushed red pepper and lemon zest, stirring to distribute. Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for 1 minute more. Mixture should look creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Add the basil paste and half the grated cheese and quickly stir to incorporate. Spoon pasta into warm soup plates and sprinkle with additional cheese. Serve immediately.

Grilled Bok Choy




4 heads baby bok choy (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato-based chili sauce
2 teaspoons light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper


Heat grill to low. Trim large leaves from baby bok choy; halve heads lengthwise. Rinse well under cold water to remove grit.
In a large bowl, whisk together white-wine vinegar, tomato-based chili sauce, light-brown sugar, and vegetable oil; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Add bok choy; toss to coat. Remove from bowl, reserving sauce.
Place bok choy, cut sides down, on grill; cover, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Serve bok choy drizzled with reserved sauce.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Week 5 Newsletter 2015

Happy Summertime Everyone!

It looks like we have some warm weather coming our way this week. It is in time to give all the warm loving plants a boost including the zucchini squash, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and melons. Somehow it seems these plants were able to tolerate the cool nights in June and the warm temperatures will bring on a spurt of growth.

We have started hand picking black sweet cherries on our farm. It is the beginning of cherry season! We are rearranging the packing shed and getting all of the packaging organized and the packing line tuned up. The cooler is running and I noticed some new ladders, buckets and black plastic bins in the packing shed this week.
Cherry harvest is under way!

What to expect to find in your bin this week:


Snow Peas 

Sugar Snap Peas

Mixed Greens

Swiss Chard

White Turnips 



Here are some recipes that include items from your bins:

Lemon and Thyme Grilled Chicken Breasts

  MELISSA CLARK  Yield 4 servings

These classic herb and lemon-seasoned chicken breasts will win over fans, especially when cooked over charcoal to give them the deepest, smokiest taste. For dark meat lovers, this recipe will also work with boneless, skinless thighs, though you might have to add a minute or so to the cooking time. Or use a combination of breasts and thighs and make everyone happy.


4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
2 lemons, as needed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
 Torn basil or mint leaves, as needed


Place chicken breasts between two sheets of parchment or plastic wrap. Using a mallet or rolling pin, pound each to an even thickness of 1/2 inch. Do not make them any thinner or they could dry out.

Place chicken in a large bowl and toss with salt, pepper, thyme, garlic and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Mix in olive oil. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. Remove chicken from fridge while you heat the grill.
Light the grill, building a hot fire, or heat your gas grill to high. Once grill is fully heated, brush breasts lightly with olive oil and place chicken on the grill. Cook until undersides are browned and chicken is about halfway cooked, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip breasts and grill until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Transfer chicken to a platter. Drizzle with oil and garnish with additional lemon juice, olive oil and basil or mint leaves.

Swiss Chard and Chickpea Minestrone

  MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN  Time 45 minutes  Yield 6 to 8 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, cut in small dice
1 celery stalk, cut in small dice
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, cleaned thoroughly and sliced thin
4 large garlic cloves, minced
7 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
 A bouquet garni consisting of 1 Parmesan rind, 1 bay leaf, 3 sprigs parsley and 3 sprigs thyme, tied together with kitchen string or tied into a piece of cheesecloth
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ pound Swiss chard, stemmed, leaves washed and cut crosswise in thin strips (chiffonade) (4 cups, tightly packed, chiffonade)
½ cup soup pasta, like elbow macaroni or broken spaghetti
 Freshly ground pepper to taste
 Freshly grated Parmesan


Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about three minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the leek. Continue to cook, stirring often, until tender, about three minutes. Add the garlic, stir for about a minute, and then stir in the water, tomato paste and the bouquet garni. Bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas. Taste and adjust salt. Remove the bouquet garni.

Add the Swiss chard and the pasta to the soup, bring back to a simmer, and simmer another 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente. Grind in some pepper, taste and adjust seasonings. It should be savory and rich-tasting. Serve in wide soup bowls, with a sprinkling of Parmesan over the top.
Advance preparation: You can make this through Step 1 several days ahead and keep in the refrigerator or freeze. The closer to serving time you add the chard, the brighter it will be.