Week of 1/24/17
Free Admission Event!
Shop in the Farm Store
Kids activities, including face painting
Visit the chickens, ducks, goats, and donkeys
Tour the Farm (tours at 12:30 and 2:30)
Sample food and drink in the Farm Kitchen
Check out our CSA booth
Raffle tickets for prizes
Meet the staff and others in your community who also value quality food choices!
Blue Sky Organic Farms
4762 N 189th Ave
Litchfield Park, AZ 85340
Starting off this morning with a Fox 10 news spot, RJ will be speaking to their reporter about the produce and livestock at Blue Sky Organic Farms. Tune in at 7:10 and 7:55 for those pieces.
Open Farm Day begins at noon, with tours at 1pm and 3pm.
We will be featuring:
- Samples of food (and drinks like the Organic Fair Trade coffee we now sell in the Farm Store) prepared by RJ and Amy.
- Face Painting with Cati and her girls.
- A kids craft activity featuring a few of the veggies we grow here at Blue Sky.
- A CSA information booth where you can speak with Janie about any questions you may have.
- Shopping in the Farm Store.
- A raffle with 3 levels of prizes to win. Tickets sold in the Farm Store ($1 each).
- Farm tours with the wonderfully knowledgable Sara. These are at 1pm and 3pm, and will walk you around the beautiful fields in which we grow. Additionally, you will see the green houses, chickens, ducks, donkeys and goats!
Come visit with the Blue Sky Family and mingle with others in your community!
See you at the farm!
After a shaky start to the season, with all the crazy weather… the Blue Sky Bounty appears to be upon us:
This week we have harvested all sorts of amazing things;
Purple Peacock Kale
Baby Gold Beets
Dark leafy greens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C and K. Collards and mustard greens are also excellent sources of folate, important for women of child-bearing age. You may have avoided these nutritious greens in the past because of their bitter reputations, but when you pair them with judicious amounts of intensely flavorful ingredients—like feta cheese, bacon and walnuts—it is easy to balance their bitterness. Now is the time to celebrate the dark side and welcome these beautiful greens into your kitchen.
Beets are the pagan symbol for love and beauty. We grow 3 varieties red, gold and chioggia, an Italian heirloom variety that has concentric circles of white and pink, purple or red. Each beet has several greens growing from it. The greens have a rich, earthy flavor.
Chard is not Swiss; in fact, the first varieties have been traced back to Sicily. We are growing red and green this season, some find green chard has the most mild taste—quite similar to spinach, in fact, and red chard to have a stronger, earthier flavor, like that of beets (chard is from the beet family).
Southerners traditionally serve collard greens on New Year’s Day, along with black-eyed peas, to ensure wealth in the coming year. You can spot collards by their flat, broad leaves. While many other greens wilt down when cooked, collards keep most of their volume. Perhaps the most neutral in taste, they benefit from other big flavors in a dish. Our collards are extremely tender and do not need to be stewed as the old southern favorites did. Collards pair well with smoky flavors like that from bacon, paprika and chili powders.
Social clubs in northwestern Germany take “kale tours” in January, visiting country inns to consume large quantities of kale, sausage and schnapps. We grow several varieties including Purple Peacock, White Peacock, Redbor (or red Kale) Red Russian, Lacinato (Toscano or dinosaur) and curly kale (Green or Winterbor) . Kale’s sharp, peppery flavor is best balanced by a touch of acidity or sweetness. I like to add both acidity from a small amount of white vinegar like sherry or champagne (also a squeeze of lemon juice is perfectly fine) and sweetness from a handful of dried fruit like cherries, golden raisin or cranberries.
These pungent, peppery greens are popular around the globe, showing up in everything from Southern soul food to Asian stir-fries. Identify them by their frilly edges. Their flavor is bold so you may want to combine them with other more mild dark leafy greens, like chard, to balance their strong flavor.
Kale, Sausage & Lentil Skillet Supper
From EatingWell: January/February 2008
Cooking the lentils in red wine adds rich, earthy flavor to this one-dish skillet supper. We prefer French green lentils in this dish—they’re smaller, cook faster and hold their shape better than brown lentils. Look for them in well-stocked supermarkets or natural-foods stores.
4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 1 1/4 hours
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 12-ounce package cooked chicken sausage
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- Pinch of crushed red pepper, or to taste
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1 cup lentils, preferably French green
- 12 cups chopped kale leaves, tough stems removed
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and cook until browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a clean cutting board.
2 Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and onion to the pan and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add water and wine, increase heat to high and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add lentils, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, partially covered, for 40 minutes.
3 Add kale, sage and salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and kale are tender, about 10 minutes more. Slice the sausage and stir into the pan along with pepper. Cover and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Butternut squash: A type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer.
Acorn squash A winter squash with distinctive longitudinal ridges and sweet, yellow-orange flesh. Although considered a winter squash, acorn squash belongs to the same species as all summer squashes (including zucchini and yellow crookneck squash). We have the most common dark green variety in color, as well as a variety that is variegated white and green.
Acorn squash is most commonly baked, roasted, sauteed or steamed. It may be stuffed with rice, meat or vegetable mixtures. The seeds of the squash are also eaten, usually after being toasted. This squash is not as rich in beta-carotene as other winter squashes, but is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese.
Delicata squash A winter squash, As its name suggests, it has characteristically a delicate rind. Although consumed mature as a winter squash, delicata squash belongs to the same species as all types of summer squash known in the U.S.A. (including pattypan squash, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash), that is also the species of the pumpkins used on Halloween.
Delicata squash is most commonly baked, but can also be roasted, sautéed or steamed. It may be stuffed with meat or vegetable mixtures. The seeds of the squash are also eaten, usually after being toasted. This squash is not as rich in beta-carotene as other winter squashes, but is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese.
Kabocha is an Asian variety of winter squash. In some cultures it is revered as an aphrodisiac.
Kabocha is hard, has knobbly-looking skin, is shaped like a squat pumpkin, and has a dull-finished, deep green skin with some celadon-to-white stripes and an intense yellow-orange color on the inside. Kabocha has an exceptional naturally sweet flavor, even sweeter in taste than butternut squash. It is similar in texture and flavor to a pumpkin and a sweet potato combined. Some kabocha can taste like Russet potatoes. The rind of a kabocha is edible, although, some cooks may peel it to speed up the cooking process, or, to suit their personal taste preferences. Kabocha is commonly utilized in side dishes and soups, or, as a substitute for potato or other squash varieties.
Sweet dumpling squash
Single serving sized, ivory colored, pumpkin shaped fruit have specks and creases of dark green on the exterior. The flesh of the fruit is sweet and dry with a spectacular orange color. Fruits can also be stored for up to 4 months.
The Dumpling squash is a small winter variety. The skin is most often white, mottled with green, yellow and orange markings. Bold, scalloped, hollow lobes outline this squash, giving it a miniature pumpkin appearance. The smooth-textured, tender, orange flesh offers a sweet flavor.
All squashes provide vitamin A and vitamin C, some of the B vitamins and are a good source of fiber. One cup of cooked squash has about 100 calories. Deep-colored squashes have the most beta carotene.
Dumpling squash can be difficult to peel and are most often baked or roasted with their skin on. Halve and stuff cavities with meats, cheeses, grains or other vegetables. Add roasted or baked slices to warm, green salads. Dumpling squash pair well with nuts, strong cheeses and dried fruits. Puree cooked flesh and add to steamed rice buns, soups, or combine with mashed potatoes. Dumpling squash are a hard winter variety and keep well at room temperature for weeks.
Snow Leopard Melons
Snow leopard melons have such a pretty and unusual variegated exterior, but for all their showy green on creamy white patterns, they are, simply, a delicious petite honeydew variety. They’re sweet but the white flesh has a firmer texture than a regular green-flesh honeydew. I think they’re lovely eaten simply with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, wrapped with prosciutto, or on a fruit salad skewer.
The sweetest French melon: Unsurpassed eating quality. The small, 2 lb. melons are of the classic Charentais type: faintly ribbed, with a smooth gray-green rind and dark green sutures. Sweet and aromatic, deep orange flesh.
Diplomat is an excellent flavoured Galia melon with sweet aromatic green flesh. Galia melons are much more juicy and flavoursome than honeydews. Galia melons are ripe when the skin becomes yellowish and the fruit gives off an aromatic fragrance.
A truly flavorful Cantaloupe is quite special for those of us who are Melon Lovers. The fruit is simply impressive! The firm, yet smoothly textured flesh was juicy and exquisitely sweet. That rich flavor will make you want to eat more and more.
Tuscan-style Cantaloupes can be identified by their deep, green colored ribs between straw colored netted skin. The rind of this melon variety is thin and the seed cavity is tight – giving you lots of melon flesh for the money. These are not cheapest Cantaloupes, but are some of the best for snacking, salads, desserts and appetizers. The fruit will be sweet and ready to cut as soon as you buy it, but you can condition it to your liking.
Here are the stages of ripening for Tuscan-style Cantaloupes:
- Dark green ribs = sweet.
- Light green ribs = very sweet.
Straw colored webbing + fragrant aroma + almost no green ribs = Full-flavor, extra juicy sweetness.
Oval shaped with deep evenly spaced white linear sutures running lengthwise along its yellow rind. Its translucent white flesh bears a trio of seed cavities that have a highly concentrated sweetness. When ripe the melon’s flesh will have a subtly sweet flavor similar to that of a pear or honeydew melon. Its aroma is delicate and clean. Though commonly served peeled the melon is known to be completely edible as its skin is very thin and its seeds are petite. Korean melons are best served chilled, with the yellow rind peeled off, and the sweet seeds and pith intact. Chop and add to sweet or savory salads, serve atop desserts or with yogurt as a breakfast item. Pureed it can be used to make smoothies, ice cream or other frozen desserts. Use under ripe Korean melon to make quick pickles or kimchee. Korean melon pairs well with cucumber, mint, ginger, citrus, berries, lychee, shrimp, coconut milk, feta cheese and chili powder. Once cut, refrigerate in a plastic bag or sealed container and consume within two to three days.
Sarah’s Choice Cantaloupe
Sarah’s Choice is the best tasting of all cantaloupes. When ripe it has sweet juicy incredibly delicious flesh. When you eat this easily grown rock melon you will be spoiled for any other.
Tasty Bites Muskmelon
A super-sweet personal-size melon! The 1 to 1 1/2 pound fruits have a memorable, tropical taste (15 Brix sweetness rating) and are highly aromatic. The round to oval fruits have primarily orange flesh with a green outer ring, although a few may have green or white flesh.
This melon has a golden rind mottled with green. The Piel de Sapo type of melon, very popular in Spain, translates (unfortunately) to Toadskin, but that’s just how it looks. Nothing compares with the aromatic, succulent-sweet and juicy flesh, which has the look of a honeydew with a honey-sweet flavor.
A classic French heirloom, Savor Charentais melons are said to be the finest melon in both taste and texture. Because of their small size, they are the perfect “breakfast for two” melon. They are also the most often melon served with prosciutto ham in Europe. These globe shaped fruits have either a smooth or a slightly netted gray-green rind with dark green, slightly furrowed sutures. They have an orange flesh and a luscious, flowery aroma. Popular in Europe, Charentais’ are especially prized in France for their rich, honeyed finish. Use in salads, granita, as an appetizer with paper thin sliced prosciutto or other cured meats, chilled soups, agua fresca, ice creams, smoothies and cocktails.( Champagne, Cognac, Cointreu, Grand Marnier, Kirsch, Midori, Port, Rum, Sake, Sambuca, Tequilla, sweet white wines)
Introduced by David Ronniger in 1988, this creamy and yellow fleshed potato will surely win you over. It is one of our favorite potatoes, shapes ranges from round to oblong and they have a lightly netted golden skin that wraps around deep yellow flesh. Superb for everything – frying, baking, mashing, soups – you name it.
This mouth watering potato even won first place in Rodale’s Organic Gardening “Taste Off”.
La Ratte Fingerling:
Discovered in the Swiss Alps by French Farmer Jean Pierre Clot, the La Ratte fingerling has a rich and chest-nutty flavor and has long been favored by fine chefs. Wonderfully smooth and creamy when pureed yet maintains a firm texture when cooked.