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LOCALLY GROWN, ORGANIC PRODUCE DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR.

PICKLED OKRA & YELLOW TOMATOES

07/27/16 — Heydon Hatcher

by Megan Winfrey

Quick pickling is a great way to make that gorgeous summer produce last a few extra weeks, and it doesn't just apply to cucumbers! Vinegar will work magic on many different types of produce, and I love a good kitchen experiment. Three weeks have passed since I poured my go-to pickling brine over gorgeous JBG okra and yellow tomatoes and I have to say, I'm very pleased with the results! Okra is my favorite thing to pickle, but I'd never done tomatoes before. I was surprised with how firm they remained and how the natural sweetness of the tomatoes shone through the vinegary-ness.

Pickled Okra and Yellow Tomatoes
  • 1 lb. okra, washed and stems trimmed
  • 1 lb. yellow tomatoes
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbs. kosher or pickling salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 tbs. black peppercorns


Wash your mason jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water and rinse well. To each jar, add 2 garlic cloves and 1 tbs. peppercorns. To ensure that the brine seeps into the tomatoes, pierce a hole through each one. I used my meat thermometer, but an ice pick or skewer will also work.

Next, pack the okra and tomatoes into their respective jars. Don't be afraid to really pack in the okra, but be sure to leave the tomatoes some breathing room. Set the packed jars aside.

In a saucepan, add the water, vinegar, and salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and carefully pour into the prepared jars. Screw the lids on until they just stop turning and let them cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

Let them sit for at least 2 weeks and up to 4 for more pickle-y pickles. I think they get more delicious the longer you let them go! Use them within 3-4 months.

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CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF JULY 25TH

07/26/16 — Scott

CSA Box Contents Week of July 25th CSA Box Contents Week of July 25th

Large Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Cucumber, Pickling
Eggplant , Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Herb, Basil
Leek
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Tomato, Farmers Choice
Medium Box
Beet, Red
Cucumber, Pickling
Eggplant , Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Shishito
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Small Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Cucumber, Slicing
Eggplant , Black
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Squash, Butternut
Individual Box
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Spinach, Malabar
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Squash, Butternut

THE DAILY DIRT ON YOUR DAILY DOSE OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES

07/22/16 — Heydon Hatcher

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

How many fruits and veggies should we all really be eating every day? It’s common knowledge that fruits and veggies are the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle; however, in the rush of daily life, it’s hard to remember if you ate enough of this or that, and probably don’t have the time! The prospect of making sure that you are consuming enough of these two food groups might be an ominous task, but after a little research, it turns out it’s super easy to meet the advocated daily quota of each.

According to the USDA, moderately active adults should consume around 2 cups of fruit per day, and 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables per day. These nutritional guidelines vary depending on activity level, age, height, and gender; however, for the most part, most sources seem to concur on a healthy individual adhering to this rough nutritional guideline. Seems simple, right? Well, unfortunately, CDC researchers have found that only 13 percent of US citizens get their recommended dose of fruit, and less than 9 percent consume the suggested amount of their daily vegetables (read more from that study here)! Whoa, nelly! However, with very little effort we can all make tiny adjustments to ameliorate our diets and become healthier!

You might be wondering how exactly it works with regard to aforementioned measurements. It’s pretty straightforward for the most part. If you cut up your selected fruits and veggies, raw or cooked, and it measures to be one cup, you are on your way to a balanced diet! There are a few caveats though according to the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations. If you choose to consume dried fruit, ½ a cup is equivalent to one cup. A cup of 100 percent juice is also considered to be one cup of your daily serving of fruits or veggies, though some argue that one misses out on certain beneficial nutrients and fiber this way. We say to each their own! If leafy greens are your jam, two cups are equivalent to one cup of daily veggies.

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

This is what a daily serving of fruit and veggies looks like (more like three cups of fruit). You could get all your servings in one meal if you wanted! Based off of the ingredients in the image above, you could make an Italian masterpiece of a meal: prosciutto-wrapped melon, 2 cups of steamed sweet potato greens, a baked eggplant, a pasta with delicious tomato sauce, and a cup of grapes to snack! Don’t forget watermelon for dessert!

A couple of quick and easy ideas to integrate more of these food groups into your diet:
  1. Chop up veggies & fruits, and bring them with you to snack on throughout the day. You can bring some hummus or dip to add a little more flavor if you please!
  2. Make a smoothie with your favorite fruits and veggies.
  3. Adorn your grains with a medley of fruits for breakfast.
  4. VEGGIE PIZZA!! Who says pizza is bad for you? Embellish your regular pizza with tons of colorful vegetables.
  5. Make an easy salad as a snack or side! Our greens-free summer favorite: chunky diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado, dressed with basil and mint, salt, pepper and a light touch of dressing. Mm!
 

summertime breakfast of champions @jbgorganic #melonsareback #galia #?

A video posted by nellie stephenson (@wooohnellie) on





Here’s to happy and healthy snacking! ‘Til next time, folks!

WEEK 29 IN PHOTOS

07/22/16 — Heydon Hatcher



This past weekend, we visited the Wolf Ranch Farmers Market in Georgetown on Saturday and popped over to the Lone Star Farmers Market in Bee Cave on Sunday to check out the scene.  Another scorching hot week on the farm, and the watermelons are FINALLY here!

Wolf Ranch Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Wolf Ranch Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Wolf Ranch Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Wolf Ranch Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Wolf Ranch Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Wolf Ranch Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Lone Star Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Lone Star Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Lone Star Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Lone Star Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Lone Star Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Lone Star Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Fields of green. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Fields of green. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Harvesting sweet potato greens. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Harvesting sweet potato greens. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Sweet potato greens. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Sweet potato greens. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Eggplant harvest. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Eggplant harvest. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Eggplant harvest. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Eggplant harvest. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Watermelon tosses. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Watermelon tosses. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

The wealth of watermelons. Photo by Scott David Gordon. The wealth of watermelons. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

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

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & OAT MUFFINS

07/20/16 — Heydon Hatcher

by Megan Winfrey

You'd never guess how much these muffins have going on by the looks of them. Super filling and packed with nutrients, these will keep you plenty satisfied from breakfast to lunch, and will "squash" any hunger attacks throughout the day. Yes, that's a pun and you'll get it once you read this recipe!

Butternut Squash & Oat Muffins
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup prepared oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.)
 

Preheat oven to 400ºF

Grease or line 2 muffin tins (for 24 muffins).

Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Place each face down on a cookie sheet. Add a little layer of water to the pan and roast the squash until fork tender, about 35 minutes. Set aside to cool down for handling.

Once cool, scoop the squash into a large bowl. Add the eggs, water, vegetable oil, and both sugars and mash together.

In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly, using a mixer, until you have a smooth batter. Fold in the cooked oats, nuts, and fruit.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups, about 1/2 to 1/3 full.

Bake about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Freeze some for a later date or enjoy right away! These will keep for 1-2 weeks in a sealed container.

CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF JULY 18TH

07/19/16 — Scott

CSA Box Contents Week of July 18th CSA Box Contents Week of July 18th

Large Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Cucumber, Pickling
Eggplant , Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Herb, Basil
Leek
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Tomato, Farmers Choice
Medium Box
Beet, Red
Cucumber, Pickling
Eggplant , Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Shishito
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Small Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Cucumber, Slicing
Eggplant , Black
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Squash, Butternut
Individual Box
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Spinach, Malabar
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Squash, Butternut

JULY FLYING BY

07/15/16 — Heydon Hatcher

Racing from one thing to the next, farm life is one of ebbs and flows, a balance of looking forward, relishing in the present, and gaining invaluable insights from the past. We bask in our successes for a moment, turn a corner, and find yet another obstacle that needs hurdling. The constant stream of problem-solving keeps our minds sated, but our stress levels pulsing. Thankfully, we have moments like we did this past weekend where we can hang up our hats, loosen our boots, sink into our lawn-chairs, enjoy the company of one another over a cold beer, and disappear into the magic of the big screen.

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

The Alamo Drafthouse’s screening of The Seer this past Saturday on the farm was a massive and resounding success. We couldn’t believe the turn-out, and were absolutely astounded by the support of our community. Around 400 people showed up, not even including the kiddos! Local farms from all over Central Texas were represented, and the panel lead by Evan Driscoll of the Sustainable Food Center was enriching. The farmers featured on the panel, including Jonathon Cobb from Green Fields Farm, Leah Gibson from The Boxcar Farm + Garden, Tim Miller from Millberg Farm, and our own Brenton Johnson, delved into the challenges and benefits of farming in Central Texas, the importance of water conservation and soil health, among an amalgam of other topics. The weather was kind to us, and as the sun descended and the movie screen lit up, we had an unforgettable heat lightning show as a backdrop. Ben McConnell from Bouldin Food Forest joined us in Garfield, and made drone videos that show the event in a very altitudinous perspective.  Check it out below!

 


Last week, we worked really hard to tidy up our farm in preparation for all the movie-goers. This week we are tidying up the farm in preparation of Fall planting. Another season is just around the bend, can you believe it? Mid-July and the time is flying by. With the funds raised from The Seer screening, we are also starting on the reconstruction of the greenhouses destroyed by the Springtime storms in the next couple of days.

As of late, we’ve had an influx of inquiries from our CSA community regarding what kind of summertime crops are good for juicing. Well, folks, we’ve got tons of crops that would be delectable in your daily liquid concoction of choice. Our beets, red and golden, and carrots are some of our year-round crops that are a mighty delicious addition to any recipe. Other great hot weather ingredients of the green and leafy variety would be amaranth, mint, sweet potato greens, kale, malabar spinach, and our array of bok choys. Currently, we are introducing a super green, Egyptian spinach, otherwise known as Saluyot or Mulukhiyah. This green is a heat-thriving superfood mostly utilized in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine, and is chock-full of vitamins and minerals. Come by one of our market stands this weekend, grab some greens, and get that juicer started! Your skin and body will be real happy about your decision-making skills later.

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

Our bees, albeit aggressive as we mentioned in last week's post, are happy and thriving at the farm. We are integrating local native flowers that attract pollinators into our planting plan to attract and provide habitat for beneficial insects. With growing fragmentation of land via urbanization and the widespread use of pesticides, these pollinators have suffered immensely. Our precious honeybees provide so many benefits: better pollination of crops leads to higher yields (more veggies!) with fewer inputs from us.  Bees have a quite a large nectar-gathering range, so habitat around the farm benefits as well!  We hope that by keeping bees at JBG, we’re doing what we can to promote healthy, diverse ecosystems both on and off the farm.

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

Well, that’s all we've got this week! Until next time, folks. See you at the markets this weekend!

Want to work on the farm? We are looking for the cream of the crop to join us here at Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Check out the listings here, and see if you are interested!
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