Monday 4 March 2013

Changing it up for 2013

Officially going CSA for 2013
Dear local food supporter,

I started the Bluff Box back in 2011 as a way to support a local farm and a local farmer and to connect my friends and neighbours with some fantastic local, organic produce on a weekly basis. For the past two years, it's been great working with Sea Bluff Farm—specifically with farmers Adam Saab (2011) and Ian King (2012)—but after watching the former move to Vancouver and the latter move to Saskatchewan, I'm re-evaluating my concept of local food security. For me, at least in 2013, local = Duncan and security = continuity + reliability.

So, while I'm excited to see what transpires at Sea Bluff Farm this year with a new farmer at the helm, I'm partnering with a new farm for 2013—one with which I've had a relationship since 2009 when they kindly let me grow some grain on their farm. Without further delay, I'm excited to announce that thanks to the awesome folks at Makaria Farm, aka Brock & Heather, new and current Bluff Box customers in the Victoria and Langford area (see map) can sign up, as the graphic colourfully suggests, for 21 weeks (!) of organic vegetables through Makaria Farm's CSA for about $21/week (+$3/delivery) starting in June 2013. Makaria's been offering a "community supported agriculture" vegetable share for the last 6 years but this is the first year those of us in the Greater Victoria area can participate without needing to visit their Duncan farm on a weekly basis. Why? THEY DELIVER! (likely on Thursdays)

For all the details and to sign up, head on over to the Makaria Farm website. If you would like to save the aforementioned $3/week delivery charge and Fernwood is convenient for you, please email and I'll let you know *my* address so you can specify it as your pick-up location.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Hope to see lots of you come June when the Makaria Farm CSA makes its first delivery of locally grown, organic produce for our eating pleasure.

"Grainy" Gidney on Makaria Farm
Thanks for your support!

All the beets,

Holland Gidney

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Bluffing through the winter

Pick up produce November through March at Market Square
We are officially wrapping things up with the Bluff Box at the end of October. The last box for Fernwood folks will be October 24th while Langford & Metchosin customers will collect their last box on October 31st. Thanks to everyone for your incredible loyalty and support of the Bluff Box this year. 

Throughout the fall & winter months, Sea Bluff Farm will have produce for sale at the Victoria Downtown Farmers' Market "Winter Farmers' Market" in Market Square twice a month on SATURDAYS from 11am-3pm:

November 3rd & 17th
December 1st & 15th
January 5th & 19th
February 2nd & 16th
March 2nd & 16th

All the beets,
Holland + Ian

Sunday 7 October 2012

2 more recipes from Marnie

Dominican Potato Salad
My husband is from the Dominican Republic. The Christmas meal is usually a slow-roasted pork shoulder, stabbed and laced with garlic cloves, rice and beans, and this eye-catching bright pink potato salad. We find things to celebrate year round rather than saving it for special occasions. A Bluff Box pickup seems as good a reason as any! Allow the potatoes and beets to cool, or dress them and eat while still warm; either way is delicious.

1 bag Sea Bluff potatoes
1 bunch Sea Bluff beets
1/2 Sea Bluff onion, finely chopped
1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
2–3 tablespoons (30–45 mL) mayonnaise (enough to coat)
2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
splash of apple cider or wine vinegar
pinch of oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cube potatoes and beets into bite-sized chunks. Boil potatoes until tender but still firm, about 10-15 minutes.  Roast beets until tender.

In a large bowl, combine cooked potatoes and beets with onion and celery. Add remaining ingredients and stir until veggies are coated and everything is well mixed.

Kale and Chorizo Gnocchi

1 bunch Sea Bluff kale, leaves stripped from stalks
4 raw chorizo or Italian sausages (try the Red Barn turkey chorizo!)
olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 Sea Bluff onion, chopped
3 cloves Sea Bluff garlic, smashed and minced
generous splash of white wine
1/4 cup (60 mL) water
salt & pepper, to taste
1 package gnocchi (10-12 oz)
shaved parmesan

Roughly chop kale leaves into approx. 1/2 inch strips. Slice sausage into rings or remove casing and break into chunks.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large shallow pan. Add red pepper flakes and onion. Allow to cook until onion is softened then add garlic and chorizo  and cook until sausage is browned. Drain off most of the fat.

Add kale, wine, water, salt and pepper, Cook until kale is tender. While kale is cooking, prepare gnocchi according to package directions.

Add the cooked and drained gnocchi to the kale mixture and toss or stir until everything is nicely mixed. Spoon into pasta dishes or plates, and finish with additional olive oil and shaved parmesan.

Place raw kale, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 cup of walnuts or pine nuts, 1/4 cup parmesan, salt and pepper in a food processor. Start processing and drizzle in olive oil until you've a nice pesto consistency. Fry sausage, onions, and red pepper flakes as above, omitting wine. Toss hot gnocchi with pesto, then stir in the sausage. Finish as above.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Zucchini + Leeks = Fritters

This recipe comes to us from one of our Langford customers...

Tonight, faced with new zucchini and still one from last week, I dug around, found a recipe for zucchini fritters, and adapted it to the following. It was magnificent. Even our 19 month old, an avowed fan of fruit and despiser of veggies (unless I grind them into a fresh tomato sauce in an act of motherly treachery) was stuffing himself. You get the virtue of using up your zucchini, with the delightful flavor of the leeks.  — Marnie Latour

2 Sea Bluff sized zucchini
1 Sea Bluff sized leek
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup (125 mL) flour
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) baking powder
oil, for frying

1. Grate vegetables with box grater, place in colander over a bowl with a healthy dose of coarse salt. Drain off the liquid, or if you're impatient like me, mash it against the sides with a fork until you're left with a relatively dry mass. Toss the liquid out, and plop the dessicated veg into the bowl.

2. Taste for salt, add some if necessary (I used the roasted garlic salt made by Vancouver Island Salt Company--exquisite!) and give it a liberal dose of pepper.

3. Add egg. Mix together flour and baking powder, then add to zucchini-leek slurry.

4. Drop healthy spoonfuls into hot oil (I used canola), then squash them slightly. Cook for 3-4 minutes, flip, and give it another 2-3 minutes, until delightfully brown.

5. Drain on paper towels, and pop into a 350ºF degree oven (because I was also cooking some fantastic Glenwood Meats chicken chests at same) until the whole lot is done.

Serve with fresh Sea Bluff salad greens tossed with lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

Makes 8 decent-sized fritters

Wednesday 8 August 2012

August 8/9 box contents

Mini - Pea shoots, Beans, Spinach, Strawberries

Regular - Blueberries, Cherry Tomatoes, Pea shoots, Peas, Beans, Spinach, Strawberries

Large - Blueberries, Cherry Tomatoes, Pea shoots, Peas, Beans, Potatoes, Spinach, Strawberries, Beets, Radishes

BONUS: Top 10 Vegetarian/Vegan Recipes for Pea Shoots

Monday 30 July 2012

First box of August - sneak peek

Blueberries for you berries
Mini box: Lettuce; Cherry Tomatoes; Blueberries, Pea Shoots

Small box: Lettuce; Beets; Chard; Cherry Tomatoes; Blueberries; Strawberries*; Pea Shoots; Basil

Large box: Lettuce; Beets; Potatoes (x2); Chard; Cherry Tomatoes; Blueberries (x3); Strawberries*; Pea shoots; Basil

* making up for the last week's missing peppers!

Friday 20 July 2012

Drying fresh herbs in the microwave

Basil forever
If you own a microwave, you can use it to quickly and simply dry fresh herbs, which might come in handy if you're not going to make pesto out of that big bunch of basil.

The time needed to dry different herbs can vary quite a lot depending on your microwave, the size of the leaves, the type of herb (mint is the quickest to dry, parsley the slowest), and the quantity you are drying so it's best to do a trial run before sacrificing a whole bunch.

1. Using 1 sprig at first, place on a plate and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove sprig from microwave and wait 1 minute to see if it's completely dry (and won't bend without breaking). If not yet dry, keep microwaving for 10-20 second intervals until it crumbles easily. (Large basil leaves can take up to 2 minutes, while smaller leaves can be completely dry in 30 to 50 seconds.)

2. Once you’ve determined the optimum drying time, place fresh herbs in a single layer on a plate, being careful not to crowd them. Microwave on high until dry.

3. Store dried herbs (crumbled if you like) in sealed containers or plastic bags in a cool, dark place.