Dismiss
LOCALLY GROWN, ORGANIC PRODUCE DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR.

NEWS STORIES THAT CAUGHT OUR EYES THIS WEEK

05/27/16 — Farm

160525_SDG283574

We're rounding up news from around the web this week - what have you been reading that's stuck in your head this week? Recipes? Debates? Veggie memes? Share it with us in the comments!

What's it mean when a food label lists "natural" or "100% natural" ingredients? Well, turns out nobody is really sure, as the term is completely unregulated (unlike organic!). Activist website TakePart looks into "natural" labelling and discusses whether it should be banned on packaging.

Who wore it better? Donald Trump vs. sweet corn.

Austin CultureMap featured our partnership with MusicTechandFood! These folks are creating community bridging the tech and music worlds, with a mission to help the hungry. Pretty cool stuff - we were able to use money raised by MusicTechandFood for our Sponsored Share Program to deliver CSA shares to the Central Texas Food Bank (formerly Capital Area Food Bank).

Food waste is a huge issue in the US. This video PSA from Save the Food portrays the long, energetically-costly road of a single, uneaten strawberry from field to trash, to give you an idea of what resources go to waste when you don't finish your food.

Grounded Women is a blog that showcases the stories of women farmers on the east coast. Rad women, beautiful farms, diverse stories. This week, Kelly and the story of her first cow.

Joel Salatin on the amazing earthworm.

Local News: Giant food fight at Manor High School this week!

Bioversity International made the news for one of their project sites in the Bengas Valley in Nepal. Agro-biodiversity within a farming community is making these farmers and their surrounding habitats more resilient. Way to go!

Arrel just launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring a culinary innovation center/food laboratory to Austin. We're not 100% sure what that all means, but Eater Austin sure makes it sound like a project we would love to have in town!

What's on your reading list this week?

WEEK 21 IN PHOTOS

05/27/16 — Farm

Beautiful close up of yellow squash. Photo by Scott David Gordon Beautiful close up of yellow squash. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Is it really already week 21?! Whew! This week we welcomed our brand new Tomato Crew to JBG. They spent Thursday out at our Garfield Farm picking tomatoes with the harvest crew before moving on to training at our packing shed. We're sure excited to have them on board - welcome, team!

We're really cranking out work on our greenhouse rebuild as well. We should have the new houses up in about 4 weeks, which will only put us a little behind on our seeding for Fall. For the meantime, we have plenty of work out in the fields as the heavy summer harvests keep coming in. Thanks to Scott David Gordon for his images of the farm this week!

Zucchini harvest on the trailer. Photo by Scott David Gordon Zucchini harvest on the trailer. Photo by Scott David Gordon

A striped yellow squash on the plant. Photo by Scott David Gordon A striped yellow squash on the plant. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Look what we've got! Our very first table grapes. These probably won't ever make it off the farm - taste testing, you see.. Photo by Scott David Gordon Look what we've got! Our very first table grapes. These probably won't ever make it off the farm - taste testing, you see.. Photo by Scott David Gordon

It's been one cloudy, humid week! Photo by Scott David Gordon It's been one cloudy, humid week! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Bunching carrots. Photo by Scott David Gordon Bunching carrots. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Mm.. carrots. Photo by Scott David Gordon Mm.. carrots. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Tomato field looking lush on a cloudy day. Photo by Scott David Gordon Tomato field looking lush on a cloudy day. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Cherries and romas coming soon! Photo by Scott David Gordon Cherries and romas coming soon! Photo by Scott David Gordon

See that little bit of color? It'll be here before you know it! Photo by Scott David Gordon See that little bit of color? It'll be here before you know it! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Looking out over a field of cucumbers. Photo by Scott David Gordon Looking out over a field of cucumbers. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Time to bust our your Ball jars! Photo by Scott David Gordon Time to bust our your Ball jars! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Have we mentioned how great these new harvest trailers are? Photo by Scott David Gordon Have we mentioned how great these new harvest trailers are? Photo by Scott David Gordon

Happy flowers getting ready to bloom. Photo by Scott David Gordon Happy flowers getting ready to bloom. Photo by Scott David Gordon

We're excited that flowers are back!! We're excited that flowers are back!!

Zinnias! Photo by Scott David Gordon Zinnias! Photo by Scott David Gordon

A sunflower just starting to open A sunflower just starting to open! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

And an onion flower for good measure. And an onion flower for good measure.

HERBED SUMMER SQUASH & PEARL PASTA SALAD

05/24/16 — Farm

IMG_0678by Megan Winfrey

Holy humid! Did someone kidnap me in my sleep and move me to Houston? Although we've been miserably sweaty and mostly bound to the house all week, we're always thankful for rain and can't wait to enjoy the greenbelt once the sun returns! In the meantime, we'll be eating our produce raw and cold. This recipe is perfect for this sweltering, heavy heat and it is also super delicious and healthy! I'm going to be making this all summer.

Herbed Summer Squash & Pearl Pasta Salad
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced into ribbons
  • 1 box Basil & Herb Pearled Couscous
  • 2 tbs. parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbs. rice vinegar
  • 6 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • salt and pepper
IMG_0676Prepare the Pearled Couscous according to the instructions. Set aside and let cool.

Use a sharp knife or mandolin to slice the squash. I don't have a mandolin, so I used a sharp knife for the rounds and my vegetable peeler for the ribbons.

In a large bowl, combine the couscous, squash, kale, basil, and toasted almonds.

Whisk together the parmesan, lemon juice, zest, and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and pour all over the salad. Incorporate well and top with more parmesan and lemon juice if desired. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm or refrigerate and enjoy all week.

CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF MAY 23RD

05/24/16 — Scott

CSA Box Contents Week of May 23rd CSA Box Contents Week of May 23rd

Large Box
Bean, Green
Cabbage, Green
Carrot, Orange
Cucumber, Slicing
Greens, Chard, Rainbow
Greens, Dandelion
Herb, Fennel
Herb, Spearmint
Leek
Onion, Red
Pepper Bell, Purple
Potato, Red
Squash. Summer Medley
Medium Box
Bean, Green
Carrot, Orange
Cucumber, Slicing
Greens, Kale, Dino
Herb, Spearmint
Leek
Onion, Red
Pepper Bell, Green
Potato, Red
Squash. Summer Medley
Small Box
Bean, Green
Beet, Red
Cucumber, Slicing
Greens, Kale, Dino
Onion, Red
Pepper, Banana
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash. Summer Medley
Individual Box
Beet, Red
Eggplant , Black
Greens, Dandelion
Onion, Red
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash. Summer Medley

TOTALLY TOMATOES!

05/20/16 — Farm

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

You know summer is here when... tomatoes start coming in! We wanted to write a blog post celebrating this little bundle of summer flavor - the tomato certainly has a unique and colorful history, spanning continents and centuries!We just harvested our first ripe, juicy Juliet tomatoes for the SFC Triangle Market this Wednesday, and couldn't be more excited that tomato season is finally here. So here's to you, Solanum lycopersicum, for brightening up a rainy week here at JBG.

History

Wild cultivars of the tomato originated in South America - what is today Peru, Bolivia, Chile and the other Andean nations. Native tomato plants produced small, cherry-sized fruit that likely ripened to yellow (not red!). Though it was used as a food product, the tomato was not an important crop and was one of the last Solanum family plants (other include chili peppers, potatoes, and tobacco) to be brought north to Central America during cultural migrations. To this day, a number of wild tomato cultivars can still be found growing across South America!

The Aztec culture is credited with domesticating the tomato and incorporating it into their cuisine - way back in 500 BC. The tomato lived a fruitful, but quiet life until the sack of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan by Hernan Cortez in 1521. Tomato seeds, among many other treasures, made it back to Europe following the seizing of the city. This jet-set really opened the doors for the future of tomatoes as a global food crop.

160519_SDG282724

Across the Atlantic, the tomato underwent extensive breeding, most notably by the Italians, who created new varieties with all kinds of wonderful colors, shapes, and sizes - these fruits probably looked like what we call "heirlooms" today. Interestingly enough, these fruits were first bred as ornamentals, not as a food source! The first appearance of tomatoes in a European cookbook were published in Naples, Italy in 1692.

And who better to bring the glorious tomato back to America than Thomas Jefferson? The Jeffersons grew and bred tomatoes at Monticello, and along with a few other American botanists - most notably a man names Alexander Livingston, the number of tomatoes varieties around the world grew into the thousands! Jeffrey Campbell is another big player in the tomato game, making it a staple in the American household with his condensed tomato soup idea - he wanted to save money on shipping by removing some of the water weight, resulting in the iconic Campbell's Tomato Soup can.

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Folklore

There are loads of myths, legends, and stories centered around the tomato. The Pueblo nation believed that those who ingested the seeds of a tomato would be given powers of divination, while many people in colonial times believed tomatoes to be poisonous fruits. It was said that eating the fruit of a tomato plant would turn one's blood to acid. Sounds nasty! This misconception may have come from the fact that many toxic members of the nightshade family - mandrake, belladona, and poison nightshade - all look like their cousin, the tomato.

You can't keep a good veggie down though, and by the late 16th century, tomatoes were recognized as not just nonpoisonous, but delicious! The tomato earned a reputation as an aphrodisiac, with nicknames such as pomme d'amour - French for "love apple." In the 1920s, beautiful women were sometimes referred to by the slang phrase "hot tomato."

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Heirlooms, Hybrids, and more!

With literally thousands of cultivars all over the world, how does one decide how to grow the best tomato? Heirloom tomatoes are famous for having much better flavor (and beautiful shapes and colors) compared with most commercial varieties. Why is that?  A natural gene mutation resulted in the "u" gene - u for uniformly ripening. Once discovered, it was bred into some commercial varieties for that perfect, all-red tomato you see at big-box grocery stores that taste like cardboard. Unfortunately, tomatoes with this trait also produce less sugar, by about 10-15%.

Luckily, lots of tomatoes with better flavor exist - in reds, purples, yellows and more! If you want to save seed from your home tomatoes, be sure to get an heirloom, or at least an "open-pollinated" variety, as their offspring will look the same as the parent plant. If you buy new seeds from year to year, also consider browsing hybrid varieties - botanists cross-pollinate tomatoes to produce varieties with amazing traits - flavor, sweetness, vigorous growth, disease resistance and more. Some breeders are currently working on increasing disease resistance by hybridizing modern-day favorites with wild Andean cultivars - a plant's way of saying that [great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grand-]mother knows best!

Bonnie Plants has a great explanation of the differences between heirlooms, hybrids, and genetically modified varieties that's worth a read.

Heirloom Varieties:
  • Cherokee Purple (read NPR's story of this tomato!)
  • Yellow Pear - a gorgeous cherry
  • Striped German - big, yellow and red beefsteak
  • Amish Paste - the best sauce tomato
Hybrid:
  • Sungold - everyone's favorite cherry.
  • Big Beef - a red hybrid tomato that has definitely been bred for great flavor!
  • Lemon Boy - cute, round salad tomatoes in a great shade of yellow
Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Fun Facts

Why do we call tomatoes a vegetable, when they are really a fruit? You might blame the Supreme Court - in 1887, Nix v. Hedden determined that tomatoes should be subject to the 10% vegetable tariff that importer John Nix was protesting by importing this exotic "fruit".

In Arkansas, the tomato is both the state fruit AND the state vegetable!

Those hairs on the stems of your tomatoes? Each one has the potential to turn into a root if the stem is placed on the ground. This is why gardeners are encouraged to plant their tomatoes deep.

The town of Buñol, Spain, hosts an annual festival culminating in a giant tomato fight, called La Tomatina.

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Be on the look out the week of June 1st for our annual Tomato Sale to get rolling! We'd love to hear what you're planning on doing with this year's bounty - sauces? Salsa? Chutney? Let us know! And let's all hope this rain slows up - we need the heat units to ripen up these tomatoes, stat!

WEEK 20 IN PHOTOS

05/20/16 — Farm

Washing carrots for market this weekend. Photo by Scott David Gordon Washing carrots for market this weekend. Photo by Scott David Gordon

The farm is a muddy mess this week! We got so much rain on Thursday that we had to sent everyone home by 9am. We're working odd hours to make sure everything gets ready for market this weekend - let's hope the sun comes out soon! We could definitely use some sunshine and heat to dry out and warm up our tomato plants - we are a little bit worried that the fruits won't have enough heat to turn red as soon as we would like. Summer really is here now, and we're harvesting tomatoes alongside the first okra, sweet and hot peppers, and loads more summer squash!

Our greenhouses are now leveled to the ground. We should be able to salvage the vents and fans, but everything else will need replacing. This is going to be a huge cost to the farm - if you want to help us in this time of need, please read our post on the issue. If that wasn't enough, our green bean picker broke this week, right as the bean harvest came ready! Our harvest crew is truly amazing, and have been picking beans by hand all week. A huge thanks to the crew for their dedication!

Our barn crew washing lots of carrots. Photo by Scott David Gordon Our barn crew washing lots of carrots. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Bins of dandelion greens. Photo by Scott David Gordon Bins of dandelion greens. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Kayla shows off a beautiful bunch of dandelion greens. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Green beans! Photo by Scott David Gordon Green beans! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Sorting and washing green beans at the barn. Photo by Scott David Gordon Sorting and washing green beans at the barn. Photo by Scott David Gordon

It's a muddy day in the fields, let's hope the sun comes out to ripen these tomatoes soon! Photo by Scott David Gordon It's a muddy day in the fields, let's hope the sun comes out to ripen these tomatoes soon! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Lots of tomatoes are coming! Photo by Scott David Gordon Lots of tomatoes are coming! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Bunched mint in the field. Photo by Scott David Gordon Bunched mint in the field. Photo by Scott David Gordon

The mint really loves the rain, though! Photo by Scott David Gordon The mint really loves the rain, though! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Our new, COVERED, harvest trailer helps the crew harvest cabbage. Photo by Scott David Gordon Our new, COVERED, harvest trailer helps the crew harvest cabbage. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Purple cabbage is in season right now. Photo by Scott David Gordon Purple cabbage is in season right now. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Our summer squash harvest is rolling in - we've got them in all colors and shapes! Photo by Scott David Gordon Our summer squash harvest is rolling in - we've got them in all colors and shapes! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Thanks to the crew for braving the rains this week! Photo by Scott David Gordon Thanks to the crew for braving the rains this week! Photo by Scott David Gordon

BRUSSELS SPROUTS STUFFED POTATOES

05/19/16 — Farm

IMG_0589by Megan Winfrey

I'm a big fan of the loaded potato. So versatile and easy to make, I could have one for dinner any night of the week and be an extremely happy woman. But I'll admit, I haven't looked outside of the box much with this dish - I tend to go for the old classics like chili or pulled pork, sour cream, chives, etc. This recipe is genius in that it is a total party for your tastebuds and it's not what you'd normally expect from a loaded potato. Get ready to add this one to your weekly roster.

Brussels Sprouts Stuffed Potatoes
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 box of JBG brussels sprouts
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
 

Preheat the oven the 425ºF.

Scrub the potatoes clean, wrap individually in foil, pierce with a sharp knife in several places, and bake for about 40 minutes or until tender when squeezed with an oven mitt.

While the potatoes bake, prepare the brussels sprouts by chopping off the base and removing the outer layer of leaves. Quarter each sprout and set aside.

Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook for another 5-8 minutes, until everything begins to soften up nicely.

When the potatoes are done, allow them to cool for a few minutes until you can handle them. Slice a thin layer off the top and discard. Scoop the flesh of the potatoes into a medium sized bowl - you'll end up with empty potato skins that look like canoes.

IMG_0586

Add the brussels sprouts mixture and ranch dressing to the bowl and combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Now, fill the potato skins with the mixture. You can really pack it in there and even let some overflow. It should all fit!

Reduce your oven to 350ºF. Top the potatoes with the mozzarella cheese and pop back into the oven until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
OLDER POSTS