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CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF AUG 14TH

08/15/17 — Scott

CSA Box Contents Week of Aug 14th CSA Box Contents Week of Aug 14th

Large Box
Cucumber
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Spinach, Malabar
Greens, Sweet Potato
Herb, Spearmint
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Anehiem
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Radish, Purple Daikon
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Medium Box
Cucumber
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Jalapeno
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Small Box
Beet, Red
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash, Yellow
Individual Box
Eggplant, Black
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash, Butternut

WATERMELON: A HISTORY

08/11/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

In honor of National Watermelon Day last week, we thought it about ripe time to delve into the history of this darling of the summer crops. Did you know that the watermelon, or the Citrullus lanatus, has been cultivated for around 5,000 years? This trailing and flowering vine hails from the Cucurbitaceae family. The progenitor of the modern watermelon is known as the ur-watermelon and was cultivated in Africa before spreading to the Mediterranean, Europe and beyond. Watermelon arrived in India in the 7th century and China in the 10th. Fun fact: did you know that China is currently the world’s largest watermelon producer? By the late 1500s, colonists were cultivating watermelons in the New World, and by the 17th century, these melons were ubiquitous in European gardens. Another fun fact: in ancient Greece, watermelons, or “pepon”, were thought to have healing properties, and were used as a diuretic and a treatment for heatstroke.

With regard to where in Africa the ancestor of the watermelon originated, there is no real consensus. Harry Paris, horticulturist at the Agricultural Research Organization in Israel, thinks that the true ancestor of the watermelon is from Northeastern Africa, and is known as Citrullus lanatus var. colocynthoides, otherwise known as gurum in Sudan and gurma in Egypt. These bitter melons grow wild and rampant in the deserts of Sudan and Egypt, and were small, green, and bitter compared to the modern melon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Evidence from tomb paintings suggests that Egyptians were farming and cultivating watermelons as early as 4,000 years ago. The the fruit portrayed in these paintings is more round compared to the modern day oblong watermelon, meaning that the Egyptians probably cultivated these fruits over time, changing their taste, toughness, and shape.

Despite the ancestral varieties being bitter and not very tasty, these crops were kept around because of all the water they retained and because of their storage life. During the hot and dry seasons in Northern Africa, these gourds were great sources of water when pummeled, and could last for a considerable period when stored in a shady and cool place. The Egyptians placed them in tombs so that the deceased Pharaohs would have a source of water on their long after-life journeys. Watermelons were perfect vessels for water during long nautical expeditions, as well.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Information from Hebrew tithing records shows that by the third century , watermelons had been grouped with figs, grapes, and pomegranates. Meaning that by then, they had been cultivated to be point of being considered sweet! These watermelons were described as having yellowish flesh in the earlier cultivations, but as the fruit got sweeter, it became redder in hue. Why you ask? Genes that contribute to a watermelon’s sweetness and sugar content are paired with genes that turn the flesh red.

At JBG, we grow a plethora of melon varieties with three different kinds of watermelon in the mix: Red, Yellow, and Sugar Baby. Since you know the aged and colorful past of this crop, visit us at markets this weekend and enjoy some while you still can! 'Til next time.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

HERBY ZUCCHINI AND ORZO SALAD

08/08/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Recipe and photo by Mackenzie Smith

A fresh take on pasta salad is a great addition to any summer barbeque or potluck. This recipe is great as-is, and a serves as a firm foundation for any mix-ins you have on hand and strike your fancy: tomatoes, olives, capers, feta, pickles, marinated vegetables, toasted whole spices-- you really can’t go wrong! I like to make a big batch on Sunday and have it for lunch during the week, topping with nuts and seeds for crunch and protein. Don’t skip salting and squishing your squash to remove excess water-- this step will prevent you from a soggy summer salad that will lose its allure long before it should.

Photo by Mackenzie Smith Photo by Mackenzie Smith

Serves 8-10

  • 1 pound orzo + about a tablespoon of salt
  • 5-6 small-medium to large zucchini and/or squash
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon each of thyme and oregano, finely chopped
  • A handful of basil and mint leaves
  • S&P to taste


Shred zucchini with a cheese grater, as coarse as you can. Put it in a colander or a fine mesh sieve and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt before stirring. Drain over a clean bowl while you prepare everything else, 10-15 minutes. Cook the orzo in salted water, according to the directions on the package. While the orzo is cooking, grate garlic into the olive oil and add lemon juice and zest along with the mustard seeds and maple syrup. Whisk it. Chop your parsley and thyme and stir into the dressing. Drain your pasta and let in cool in a colander. Check on your zucchini/squash, which should be sitting over a little puddle of squash water. Using a spoon, press against the colander to release more liquid, squeezing out as much water as you can. Stir the squash into the orzo and add your dressing. Add your mix-ins if you have them. Clap basil mint leaves between your hands before tearing them once or twice and sprinkling over your salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF AUG 7TH

08/07/17 — Scott

IMG_0056CSA Box Contents Week of August 7th
Large Box
Cucumber
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Spinach, Malabar
Greens, Sweet Potato
Herb, Spearmint
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Anehiem
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Radish, Purple Daikon
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Medium Box
Cucumber
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Jalapeno
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Small Box
Beet, Red
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash, Yellow
Individual Box
Eggplant, Black
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash, Butternut

WEEK 31 IN PHOTOS

08/04/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Photo by Ada. Dog scene at the Hergotz office. Photo by Ada.

Since our staff photographer, Scott David Gordon, is adventuring in the Northeast for a couple weeks, we thought viewing daily farm life through the lens of some of the JBG employees would be a fun and new way to experience Week 31. Another scorching week with a mid-week rain to cool things off a bit... check out Ada, Becky, Will, Angel, and Anna's farm and barn photos below.

Unloading at Hergotz. Photo by Anna. Unloading veggies at Hergotz. Photo by Anna.

A mountain of CSA boxes at Hergotz. Photo by Ada. A mountain of CSA boxes at Hergotz. Photo by Ada.

Peppers a plenty. Photo by Ada. Peppers a plenty. Photo by Ada.

Sunflower bounty. Photo by Anna. Sunflower bounty. Photo by Anna.

Watermelon man. Photo by Ada. Watermelon man. Photo by Ada.

Sunrise at the Garfield farm. Photo by Will. Sunrise at the Garfield farm. Photo by Will.

Tractor bird. Photo by Will. Tractor bird. Photo by Will.

Will returning a neighbor's calf. Photo by Becky. Will returning a neighbor's calf. Photo by Angel.

Cover crops. Photo by Becky. Cover crops. Photo by Becky.

Brenton and his posse. Photo by Becky. Brenton and his posse. Photo by Becky.

CSA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: EVELISE SANDIDGE

08/04/17 — Heydon Hatcher

A very happy Friday to all of you! It’s an especially happy Friday because... we’re back with another CSA Member Spotlight! It’s been quite awhile since we’ve taken a closer look at the amazing community that we've cultivated around our CSA. We hope that this series will highlight the diverse nature and composition of this community, and how each member integrates the CSA into their varied and oftentimes bustling lifestyles. This week, we had the immense privilege of interviewing Evelise Sandidge, one of our longest CSA Pickup Site Hosts and very warm and engaging long-time Austinite with quite the green thumb.

Located in the Zilker Park neighborhood, her home is a beautiful limestone cottage with a vast yard verdant with an impressive array of greenery, most notably her fragrant and blooming plumeria. Folks often refer to her carport setup as the "Cadillac" of pickup sites as she's honed it's effectiveness over the 12 years she has been hosting. She makes sure that everyone's veggie pickup is seamless week after week and we couldn't be more grateful for the JBG CSA community that she cultivates. Learn more about Evelise below!

Evelise. Photo by Allison Smoler. Evelise. Photo by Allison Smoler.

How long have you been a CSA Site Host?

I moved here in ‘01, so I would say I started being a host in ‘03 or ‘04. I know that when I started JBG just had 2 markets. They had the one downtown, and they might’ve had another one… Brenton would deliver the veggies to my house on Saturdays. Back then, my day was Saturday, but now it’s Friday because the markets are so busy these days. On Saturday, he’d drop off the veggies and that went on for quite awhile until he got so busy. So, 12 years.

How did you hear about the farm and get involved?

I found out about the farm at the Downtown Market, and my friend Jill was taking me by Brenton’s booth because she loved his vegetables. That was when he was still on Holly Street. Then he said he was going to be gone because he was moving. We didn’t realize what he was moving to! We were like, “Oh my god! This guy is really going to do something HUGE!” Which he has.

So then, I got on the website and they were looking for hosts! So I thought, I could definitely be a host! I have a carport, so I contacted them and a few months later I was the Zilker Neighborhood host! JBG brought the table, veggies, ice chest, and clipboard, and everything just grew from there.

Photo by Allison Smoler. Photo by Allison Smoler.

Do you have any funny delivery truck run-in stories?

Lucas is a hoot, he’s a sweet pea. I always see him at music events. We have all these mutual friends that are musicians, and he’s hanging out with them. It’s such a small world... Lucas is everywhere I go when it comes to music.

Photo by Allison Smoler. Photo by Allison Smoler.

What’s your standard plan of action when it comes to leftover veggies?

If I’m not getting a box, I’ll use them. I’ll donate them to friends who are having a challenging time or need food. A lot of times I’m out of town on Fridays, so I’ll have the neighbors come by and check around 7 pm (when the pick up window closes) for extra veggies. They always get used, and nothing goes to waste. I use what I can, but I always share.

What is your favorite veggie? What veggie stumps you the most?

Cukes, peppers, and tomatoes are my favorites... I like all those together. My favorite season is summer for veggies. I like all veggies though. I can’t think of anything that I don’t use besides the sweet potato vines. I just don’t know how to use them!

My favorite thing that comes in the box is melons. Oh my goodness, I love melons. When it’s melon season, I freak out. I had a melon in my box last week or the week before that was like a cross between a honeydew and something yellow-y. It was spot on. It was perfectly ripe to eat right then, and I did.

Photo by Allison Smoler. Photo by Allison Smoler.

What is your favorite recipe?

I would have to say a pasta sauce because I can utilize so many of the veggies - onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, zucchini, squash. Anything that can be chopped up and put into pasta sauce, I do that. Because I’m cajun, we always use onion, green pepper, and celery. So, I just add everything else on top of that.

I prefer any recipes where you can use a ton of the veggies, and pasta sauce is definitely one of those. You can put everything but the kitchen sink in it.

Where did you learn to cook?

My grandmother, Mawmaw, and mom taught me. Though when I was growing up, I didn’t want to eat anything but junk food. I would eat away from the house, but as I got older and started living on my own, I would call both of them for the recipes that I grew up with. My darling daughter, Sharamay, and I went to visit Mawmaw a couple of years ago when she was 101 in Louisiana (she's 104 now!). Mawmaw always made fig preserves and kumquat preserves for us growing up, and we have pictures of her and Sharamay from that trip standing at the stove stirring kumquats. Even at 101 she is still teaching the art of cooking. She doesn’t remember all the recipes anymore, but my mother sure does.

Mawmaw and Sharamay in 2013. Mawmaw and Sharamay in 2013.

Sharamay, Mawmaw, and Evelise. Sharamay, Mawmaw, and Evelise.

All my cooking skills come from Louisiana and flying by the seat of my frying pan. Whenever we would get to one of our relative's homes, they'd have a bathtub full of crawfish, and big huge pots outside filled to the brim with crab and shrimp. Louisiana is for eating.

Photo by Allison Smoler. Photo by Allison Smoler.

What are you cooking now?

Stuffed peppers. I put meat, rice, and quinoa in them. I don’t go for a lot of red meats, so I use ground deer meat.

When you aren’t gushing over the CSA, what do you do?

I garden. That’s what I’m doing for a living right now. I was doing interior plants, but I now do gardens for people... more flower and ornamental type gardens. I do weeding, pruning back, watering, and stuff like that.

Back in the 80’s I lived in a biodome in NC. I ran a three-story geodesic dome greenhouse. We grew our own food there. There were two swimming pools that were 15 feet across that helped with the moisture. So, the different floors had different vegetables growing on them. I had veggie gardens around, too - we did french intensive gardening. We had a cow we milked, we made our own butter, we had chickens that we got eggs from, and ate the chickens, too. I learned a lot about gardening there.

Photo by Allison Smoler. Photo by Allison Smoler.

If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you bring?
  • My darling daughter
  • Seeds
  • Water
You need water to grow seeds, my darling daughter would help me plant them... that’s all I need!

A huge thanks to Evelise Sandidge for taking the time to meet with us and her continued support of the farm. Another huge thanks to Allison Smoler for taking beautiful photographs! 'Til next time.

SMOKY TOMATO JAM

08/03/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Recipe by Mackenzie Smith

Soa Davies’ recipe for Smoky Tomato Jam from Short Stack’s Vol. 2: Tomatoes has become a mainstay in my kitchen over the past few years. It’s a nice addition to a charcuterie board and works beautifully on a BLT or grilled cheese sandwich for a classic with a kick. I drop a tablespoon or two into soups and sauces for a sweet/sour/smoky bonus all the time. Maybe you don’t need to can all of those tomatoes-- make some jam!

Photo by Rick Cortez. Photo by Rick Cortez.

  • 6 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (about 8 large tomatoes)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons smoked salt
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika


Place all of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and almost dry, about 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

At our tomato party back in May, I spread this jam on toasted baguette brushed in olive oil and sprinkled the platter with basil and parsley. A simple snack for cocktail hour, and an unexpected way to make your tomatoes shine.

Photo by Rick Cortez. Photo by Rick Cortez.
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