Friday, September 16, 2011

Wolf Honey

Big, big thank you to Wolf Honey for providing the Thistle Top Farm CSA with some beautiful honey!  Wolf Carr currently keeps his bees in St. John's in Portland.  They feed off of a radiant array of blackberry and wild flowers in a field overlooking the Willamette River.  You can also find his honey at Palace (34th and Belmont), in Portland.

Harvest #15 (LAST ONE!)

Here's your box:
Beets (red and golden)
Onions (red and yellow)
Potatoes (red and gold)
Yellow crook-neck
Lemon cucumber
Slicing cucumber
and........the long awaited HONEY!!

Harvest #14

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this one:
Lemon cucumber
Slicing cucumber
Yellow crook-neck squash
Red onion
Hot and sweet peppers

Friday, September 2, 2011


Yellow crook-neck
lemon cucumber
slicer cucumber
hot pepper
broccoli or green beans
Sweet suggestion from Shaun:  Juice the cucumbers!

Friday, August 26, 2011


No zucchini this time!  There are some lovely yellow crook-neck though- and I highly suggest this recipe.  My lovely friend Sarah Broderick conjured it up.  She's a fabulous cook and she knows her vegetables as she's market manager at the Hollywood Farmer's Market.

Squash Fritters- Grate the squash and squeeze the water out of it using a paper towel, or cheesecloth, or your hand.  Mix it up with salt, pepper and any other spices you might want.  (Ideas: chives, cumin, lemon or lime juice, basil, etc.)  Add an egg and some flour and fry on high heat in a nice oil like canola or safflower.  So easy.  So good.

In addition to the crook neck, you've also got:
hot peppers
lemon cucumber
slicing cucumber
green beans
 Here's a little preview for next week's box.  Hope you'll like it:

Friday, August 19, 2011


So much good food!  See below for some good recipe ideas that will help use up your squash!
In the box this week:
Yellow crook-neck squash
Hot peppers
Lemon Cucumber
Slicing Cucimber
Beets (red and golden)
Green beans
Yellow Onions

The first squash suggestion is to make squash pasta.  Literally use the squash as the pasta (the zucchini will be especially good for this).  Using a mandolin or your own awesome culinary skills, cut the squash into long ribbons and sautee on medium for about 2 minutes.  Don't let them get browned or soft because you want your pasta to be a little al dente!  I recommend topping it with a light pesto sauce or just with some simple sauteed garlic, basil, and tomato.  (That would be a meal almost entirely from your CSA box.)

Here's the other idea, good for a summer day:

Cold Zucchini Soup
By Caroline Cummins, from the Culinate Kitchen collection

Serves4 to 8
Total Time  45 minutes
Yield2 qt.

cup butter, olive oil, or a blend of the two
1medium onion, diced
1lb. zucchini, diced
1lb. summer squash, diced
½tsp. nutmeg
½ to 1tsp. curry powder
cups vegetable or chicken stock
1can (about 14 ounces) coconut milk (light coconut milk is fine)

Salt and pepper to taste
Garnishes (optional)
          2Tbsp. fresh basil, chiffonaded into strips, or fresh cilantro leaves
Freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Steps
Put the oil/butter in a large pot and, over medium heat, sauté the onion for a few minutes, then add the squash and sauté for another several minutes. Add the spices, then the stock, and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and use a blender to smooth out the soup’s texture to your desired consistency (slightly chunky is fine). Whisk in the coconut milk and adjust the seasoning.
If you wish, reheat the soup and serve it warm. Otherwise, chill the soup for a few hours before serving it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


A colorful box!
Squash-zucchini and yellow crook neck
Cucumber- lemon and slicing
butter lettuce
green beans
(and a couple of you got cabbage- one person still needs a cabbage, don't worry, it's coming!)

 BIG thanks to my dad who came down for the day to help with harvest and other tasks.  He did a number on the weeds in the onion row!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Possibly the most colorful and hefty box yet.  You've got:
beets (golden and red)
yellow onion
yellow crook-neck squash
one little sprig of basil

There is going to be a lot more zucchini, so my suggestion is zucchini bread!  (Grating the zucchini and putting it in the freezer is a good way to save them if you can't get to it right away.  They're also fine in the fridge for a long time.)  Here is the link to my  favorite zucchini bread recipe.  I've made it several times and had the best luck:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Harvest #8

This harvest was done in the first half of the day before a river trip.  Here's to the sun!
In the box:
one hot pepper or basil
loose leaf lettuce

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farm Hand

Backyard Bounty Farm is a beautiful and peaceful place; no matter what time of year, the most exquisite smells waft through the air: cottonwood, rich compost, calendula, the gamey aroma of the sheep, and sometimes an unknown honey-like smell permeates the atmosphere there.  I'm so glad to have the opportunity to work out there again this year, and use it to further my own farming identity.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harvest #6

I'm pretty sure this is the half way point!  My original plan was to go to the middle of september which is a mere six weeks away.  Kind of sad when you look out and see a sky full of clouds!  It really seems like it's coming so quickly and part of me doesn't feel done yet!  I may end up doing some fall crops and I'll be sure to keep you updated!

Just a small box this week; it's that weird transition period between spring and summer crops, so you've got:
green onions
loose leaf lettuce
tomato sauce herbs: oregano, sage, and rosemary
see below for a lovely tomato sauce recipe!  If you don't have time to let the sauce simmer, those herbs would also be delightful in a hash or quiche!
 This broccoli is my crowning glory!  I feel like a legitimate farmer!

Tomato Sauce Recipe (found on


  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 leaves fresh sage 
  • oregano and rosemary to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Directions
  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute onions in the oil until golden brown. Add crushed tomatoes, water, tomato paste, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Let the sauce come to a boil, lower heat to low and stir occasionally until desired thickness.  The longer you simmer the sauce the more the flavors will meld and sweeten.  Skim the oil off the top when it's done.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Each one gets better and better.  In the box this week:
fennel bulb
green onion
head lettuce

Here is a beet recipe that I absolutely love!  It was introduced to me by my friend Gentiana- the market manager at the luscious St. John's farmer's market.  She knows her vegetables!

Indian beet recipe from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes
2 lbs beets
3 T canola oil
1/2 t mustard seeds
2 small serrano chiles, sliced into 1/4-in rounds
1 t salt
1 T lemon juice
2 T minced cilantro
Clean beets. Cover w/water in med. pot and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook until tender, 20-30 mins (use knife to check for doneness). Drain, cool and peel beets, then chop into 1/2 cubes or quarter if beets are small.
Make tadka: Heat oil in wok or skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add mustard seeds covering pan with lid or splatter screen. When the seeds are browned, add chiles and stir. Then thrown in beets and salt. Toss, cover and steam over low heat for 6 to 8 min to allow the flavors to blend.
Remove to serving dish and toss with lemon and cilantro. Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Things are really happening!  This week you've got:
Fennel Bulb
Lettuce (it's a cute mini variety named Tom Thumb)
Green Onion
Beets/Beet thinnings
and one lucky soul has broccoli-  I'll giving one person per week broccoli because the plants are putting up heads at varying times, but you'll all get it at least once.

With the beet thinnings, you can sautee the whole thing up, root and all, or you can cut the root off and use the baby greens for a salad (yum!).  For those of you with whole beets, try a quick steam, followed by a light sautee in olive oil, and then throw some goat cheese on there with some coarse sea salt.

The green onions make a fabulous part of a salad or can be used as a garnish.  They're particularly good atop an asian soup or stir-fry (like maybe a stir-fry with some peas.......), or on some nachos.  So good.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


In the box this week:
Fennel bulb!
Arugula/mizuna salad mix
Butter lettuce
Kale/Chard braising mix

So much food!  A lot of salad again, hope you enjoy!
Here's an idea for a lovely salad; the concept comes from a salad we have at my work.  Cut the fennel bulb into thin shavings and toss it in with the arugula.  A nice tangy dressing goes well with with that.

The peas are a mixture of mostly snow peas with a little sugar snap, and both are fabulous sauteed up with olive oil and garlic.  That is good as a little side to a main dish, or could be included in pasta.  Snow peas are also great in Asian style stir fries.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Harvest #2

The second week of harvest is upon us!  And to think I was worried about having enough for boxes!  The lettuce has gone crazy, and I'll need to give you those radishes before they start splitting.  I know choking down a farm fresh salad can be difficult, but maybe you can do it!

In the box this for week 2:
Butterhead Lettuce
Green Garlic or Scapes
Mustard Greens

The radishes are super strong, so try this recipe to mellow them out:  Shred the radishes with a cheese grater or food processor, cut up cilantro, and mix all that up with a little toasted sesame oil for a light side salad.

The green garlic or scapes are very versatile!  Chop them up and throw them in scrambled eggs or stir fry.  Sautee them with olive oil and lemon and fold them into some linguini, etc. etc.

The rest is pretty straightforward.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Harvest Photos and Recipes!

I really don't think it gets any better than radish, arugula, and kale.  (Unless, of course, you've got some Sun Golds.... but those'll come later.)  I lucked out with the most beautiful day for harvest today, and I think it's a good omen for the rest of the season.  This is going to be fun!

First CSA Box:  Radish, Arugula, Kale

Kale as always is delicious steamed or braised with a little water and tamari.  For a different twist, add a little balsamic instead, or a touch of cream for creamed kale.  Kale salad is also good:  Massage the kale for a while to soften it up, then add some olive oil, agave, and lemon juice.  Cutting the kale with spinach can bulk it up or add some daintiness.

Arugula is good in everything: salads, sandwiches, pizza.  Put it at the bottom of a bowl loaded with rice or pasta and it'll wilt really nicely.  I'm going to include my favorite simple spicy salad recipe:

Pumpkin Seeds
Dressing:  xvoo, rice wine vinegar, dijon mustard, coarse sea salt, and pepper.  Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, dress your salad, and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting Ready for the First Harvest

IT'S FINALLY HERE!  The first harvest of the season!  Since this is my first year taking on the responsibility of running my own CSA, I've learned quite a bit about how much to freak out versus how much to let nature take care of her wards.  There really is a fine balance:  yes, I needed to resow beets; no, I shouldn't have worried so much about the peas- they're flowering despite my fears.

In an effort to give credit where credit is due, here are some photos of Niles and Dirk making boxes to load veggies into for weekly shares.  Below there is also a little peak at some of the glory to come later this summer.

Harvest day is Thursday.   I'll certainly post a little reminder that morning of when and where to meet me!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Farm within a farm

Thank you, thank you, one thousand times thank you to Melanie Plies, farmer at Backyard Bounty.  She has generous loaned me 240 square feet to further my farm dreams.   In return I give her my willing labor: a small price to pay to be around her boisterous spirit and eat her delicious farm lunches.

My little row sits just east of a gorgeous wall of flowering brassica.  In front you see bulbing fennel followed by arugula.  The long rows of green in the back are new radishes that I just finished thinning.  (More detailed photos to come!)

Backyard Bounty has been a wonderful inspiration to me and I'm so grateful that I get to work there again this year.  Working out there has taught me the wonderful lesson that we all have the power to manifest our dreams.  You can visit Melanie's website at

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taking Advantage of a Nice Day

There is so much work to be done in April- row and bed prep, transplanting, clearing, digging.  It's hard to motivate during this last month of cold and rain, so using these sporadic nice days is an intrinsic part of farming.
After repotting kale, broccoli, and cabbage seedlings, and hardening them off, they're ready to go in the ground.  This feels like such a triumph!  Weeks of coddling and checking on them result in a tender transplant and then they're left to their own devices.  (Insert metaphor of a parent sending a child off to college here.)  Beets, chard, radishes, and carrots also got direct sown this past week.  Hopefully the rain will keep up enough to wet them down, but not drown them.

  I'm dreaming of the days when I'll don my sun hat....

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Getting ready for Spring!  Dirk helped me load up this horse manure.  We got it for free from some stables in deepest Gresham.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Thistle Top Farm will also be providing wildcrafted and foraged herbs, greens, and fruit whenever possible!  February celebrates one of the first new edible plants:  Nettles!  I suggest the simplest recipe: nettle tea with mint or ginger.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

First Sowing!

On February 17th, I sowed kale, arugula, lettuce, broccoli, red and yellow onions, and cabbage.  These will be transplanted in late March and hopefully will be ready for harvest in May.  They'll comprise the first  CSA boxes which will also include peas, radish, mustard greens, and possibly chard which will all be sown directly into the soil.  Hopefully my lettuce will soon look like this:  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter on the farm

Spring 2011 will be Thistle Top's first year, so there is much preparation to be done in anticipation of spring.  There was a tilling (mis)adventure that happened later in the year than I would have liked so the Crimson Clover cover crop is still just a bunch of baby sprouts, but it's better than nothing!  Everything else is bunkered down for the cold and rain and will get double dug or tilled in the spring with a little bit of compost or chicken poop.  Here is the bed of future carrots:
 Baby clover!
 Hibernating bees!
 Future potato bed in St. John's.