07/20/11 — Aaron
From the Farmer's Perspective: Here in Central Texas, we have just experienced the driest nine-month period on record. This is an historical drought, and if we do not receive significant rainfall by September, it will turn into the most severe drought since reliable record keeping began in 1895. At River Road, we are lucky to have two very good wells that have been charged and pumping all summer long. Our electricity bills have really gone up, but we have been able to keep our crops well irrigated. Without these wells, we would not be able to produce any vegetables in these severe drought conditions. While we are extremely grateful for this underground water source, we are also aware of the tremendous need for rain. Yesterday, when afternoon clouds rolled in, we briefly got our hopes up, but, unfortunately, we only received a sprinkling. Our beautiful large pecan trees at the Hergotz location are in need of a deep soak, and we've already lost a few due to lack of rain. This drought underscores how dependent we are as farmers on the weather. We have put a lot of time, money, and resources in building deep wells that, luckily, are producing the water we currently need. However, like many Central Texans, we are frightened by the length and severity of this drought. We remain optimistic but are also humbled by our lack of control over such a vital resource. 1) Farm News * JBG is now accepting CSA Members * Week of July 19th CSA Box Photo & Contents List * The Wholesale Perspective by Leslie Lilly: Spotlight on La Condesa * The Nitty Gritty: Home Birth on JBG Farm 2) Updates, Meetings, and Events * Slow Money & JBG Long-Term Subscription Opportunity 3) Recipes, by Melissa Vance, JBG CSA Member * Glazed Acorn Squash with Spicy Onions and Currants * Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes
1) Farm News JBG is now accepting CSA Members! Help us spread the word! Click here to join. Week of July 19th CSA Box Contents Okra Sweet & Hot Peppers Cucumber Basil Parsley or Chard Onions Mixed Summer Squash Beets Garlic Eggplant Winter Squash Potatoes The Wholesale Perspective by Leslie Lilly La Condesa 400A West 2nd Street. Austin, TX 78701 More often than not American consumers are incapable of tracking the food they eat to its' production source. This is unfortunate because the story of how your food gets from the farmer's field to your plate in a restaurant describes the hard work, partnerships, and love of food that goes into that process. This week I will tell you a story about La Condesa, one of Austin's critically acclaimed restaurants, which serves exciting and creative contemporary Mexican cuisine. La Condesa has shown consistent commitment to locally sourced organic produce by working with JBG to turn our fresh veggies into some of the most delicious dishes in Austin. Every week, we receive vegetable orders from our wholesale partners which we then harvest and deliver. Just like clockwork, we received a phone call on Monday from La Condesa's Assistant Executive Chef, Jessica Peterson, placing an order for a variety of veggies used in their weekly specials. With order in hand, we contacted our Field Manager Vicente Castillo and asked for his crew to harvest the items on our list. Vicente and his crew, as usual, brought us beautiful vegetables for La Condesa's order, and Tuesday morning we packaged the produce and delivered it downtown (a mere 10 miles from the farm). Tuesday evening I had the privilege of eating those very same vegetables and it was truly delicious. Thanks to the creative genius of Executive Chef Rene Ortiz and Pastry Chef Laura Sawicki, we ate six lovely and tasty dishes that feature JBG produce. The experience was made better by the hip, bohemian interior which provides an unique dining experience. We started off with a watermelon martini cocktail which was wonderfully fresh and sweet, using locally grown watermelons. The first dish we tried featured our eggplant in an amazing orange-eggplant marmalade topped with corned duck gizzard and garnished with cilantro. Then we started working our way through La Condesa's Especiales Del Día. To start, we had the Chili Japonés (Japanese peppers) which were grill-blackened shishito peppers from JBG, in a garlic epazote oil with lime and queso cotija. Following the shisitos, we had the Ceviche de Callos, buttery Maine diver scallops juxtaposed with flavorful habanero-carrot puree, using JBG carrots, and topped with crispy garlic and crispy basil. To cleanse our palettes, we moved on to the Ensalada de Melón, made from JBG's cantaloupe and honeydew melons with preserved yuzu, yogurt, toasted pumpkin seeds, tajin, and Pure Luck feta. For our main course we had the signature vegetarian dish, a chili relleno in a spicy tomato broth, stuffed with JBG's butternut squash, quinoa, corn and manchego, and topped with pumpkin pesto salsa. La Condesa's creative twist on the traditional chili relleno is absolutely delicious. To wrap things up we had an amazingly diverse and unique beet and coconut desert featuring JBG beets. The dish was composed of a scoop of coconut sherbet atop chocolate crunchy crumbles and paired with super moist sponge beet cake and a chocolate mouse surrounded by compressed beets, crispy ginger, and smoked hazelnuts. An incredible experience to say the least. Home Birth on JBG Farm World, meet Wesley James Mattern! As the proud father, I'd like to introduce everyone to our first child, born on July 13th in the old farm house on JBG's Hergotz farm. Grit and I are happy beyond words to have had a safe, fast and beautiful home birth. After a long, ten-day wait from the due date, labor eventually began and the progressed quickly. In the end the birth experience went just as we had wanted: in our home, surrounded by family and able midwives. Grit labored heroically for just 3.5 hours and gave birth naturally and did not require interventions. I believe her good health, physical & mental strength and a diet rich in JBG's hearty vegetables (!) played to her advantage. I assisted with the birth and "caught" caught Wesley as he came into this world. Upon being born we laid him on Grit's chest and for a few moments didn't yet know his sex. It was an interesting moment. I would have been completely happy with a girl, but that he's a boy warms a special place in my heart. The Nitty Gritty will be taking a few weeks off of newsletter article writing to focus on our new family. We'll be back in August! Steven & Grit 2) Updates, Meetings, and Events Slow Money & JBG Long-Term Subscription Opportunity Now that JBG has purchased the 146 acres adjacent to our River Road farm, help us get this land ready for farming by purchasing a long-term CSA subscription at a discounted price. Preparing this land for farming will be a costly venture. For example, we will need to dig another well and install irrigation. By signing up for one of these long-term subscriptions, you can help JBG and lock in a lower price of $28.85/box for the term of the subscription. We have included the details below. If you would like to sign up or for more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 1 year weekly: $1500 (52 pickups in a fixed 12 month period) 1 year bi-weekly: $750 (26 pickups in a fixed 12 month period) 2 year weekly: $3000 (104 pickups in a fixed 24 month period) 2 year bi-weekly: $1500 (52 pickups in a fixed 24 month period) 3 year weekly: $4500 (156 pickups in a fixed 36 month period) 3 year bi-weekly: $2250 (78 pickups in a fixed 36 month period) 4 year weekly: $6000 (208 pickups in a fixed 48 month period) 4 year bi-weekly: $3000 (104 pickups in a fixed 48 month period) 5 year weekly: $7500 (260 pickups in a fixed 60 month period) 5 year bi-weekly: $3750 (130 pickups in a fixed 60 month period) Note: Prices are for community pickup subscriptions. Please add $5 per pickup for Home Delivery. Subscriptions must be completed in the given fixed period and cannot be extended beyond this. 3) Recipes, by Melissa Vance, JBG CSA Member Glazed Acorn Squash with Spicy Onions and Currants 1 acorn squash Olive oil 3 tablespoons butter 1 red onion, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon paprika Pinch cayenne pepper 2 tablespoons dried currants 2-3 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar Kosher salt and black pepper Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds. Cut each half into several lengthwise slices. Combine squash and a generous drizzle of oil in a bowl and toss to coat. Season with salt and black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until browned and tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar and reduce completely. Add garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, currants, and honey, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are glazed. Stir in red wine vinegar, and season with salt and black pepper. Serve the squash hot, coated with sauce. Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes 1/3 cup shredded gruyere cheese 1/3 cup shredded young gouda or butterkase cheese 2 tablespoons butter 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick Kosher salt and black pepper 2 cups heavy cream 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the gruyere and gouda in a bowl. Butter a large casserole dish. Add half of the potatoes, spreading them out. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, half of the shredded cheese blend, and half the cream. Arrange the remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Pour the remaining cream over the potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes with the parmesan and the remaining shredded cheese. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.