Tag Archives: Weekly news

Happy Father’s Day!

Hello everyone! We hope you are enjoying this lovely June. It’s time to gear up for Father’s Day barbecues, so this week we have a special post on one of our favorite springtime veggies- the spring onion.

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What is the difference between a regular onion and a spring onion?

Spring onions are harvested very early in the season (hence the name) before the bulbs have had a chance to grow to their full adult size. They are delicious little treats with a very sweet taste. Although some people and stores refer to spring onions, shallots, and green onions interchangeably, these three food items are quite different.

Green onions are the stalks of very immature onions, even younger than spring onions, and they have a very mild taste. Shallots are elongated and brown. They look a bit like heads of garlic, but darker in color. Spring onions, on the other hand, have a small bulb and a more intense flavor than green onions, but are a different species than shallots (though both are in the genus Allium).

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These juvenile onions have less of the volatile compounds that cause your eyes to water when you cut an adult onion, which is a great benefit if you are cutting a lot of them for a barbeque! The lack of these compounds also makes the taste of these onions sweeter.

 

Side note:

Did you know that when onions are cut, they release a gaseous compound called propanethiol S-oxide, which reacts with the water in our eyes to form sulfuric acid, causing the burning sensation? Yikes! Here’s a fun little explanation of that process from a chemist. Wiki-How also has a page of fun suggestions on how to avoid burning eyes while cutting onions.

So this weekend, if the weather permits, enjoy a few grilled spring onions with your Father’s day barbecue!

 

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Tips for Novice Composters

It’s ok. We’ve all been there. You have your box of tasty, fresh produce, and you’ve cooked a few meals, but you’re busy. You forget to use an item. Maybe it sits in your produce drawer in your fridge until it is too soft to use. You could throw it in your trash can… Or you could think about recycling the nutrients in your waste food! According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, food scraps and other organic waste currently comprise about 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, and when these nutrients go into landfills, compostthey are no longer usable for agricultural and horticultural applications. When trapped deep inside a landfill, without oxygen, decaying food scraps also produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Why not complete the system and return those nutrients into the soil?

 

Home composting is easy, and if done properly, it shouldn’t be the least bit stinky. If you are a gardener, you can use the compost to fertilize your garden (or you can donate it to a friend if you aren’t the green thumb type). All you have to do is add the right ingredients and do a little bit of maintenance.

 

Proper composting boils down to three main ingredients: browns, greens, and water. According to Umbra Fisk of the web magazine Grist, browns are “dry, carbon-rich materials like cardboard, dry yard waste, potting soil, leaves, sawdust, and wood chips”, while greens are “wet, nitrogen-rich organics like food scraps and grass clippings”. You’ll notice that wormbrowns and greens are meant to supply the two main elemental necessities for healthy plants- nitrogen and carbon. If you mix these two ingredients together with some water, you create an environment that is very hospitable to decomposers like bacteria and fungi, who will process
the waste materials into a rich, dark brown soil-like substance that will instantly enrich any gardening soil. If you want to try something really crazy, build a vermicomposting system, which uses earthworms to do the work of decomposing the food scraps.

 

An important note here- it is important to keep dairy, meats, oils, and pet poop out of your compost. These can contain harmful pathogens that will also grow in the decomposition environment, and the heat that is naturally generated by decomposition will not be enough to destroy them!

 

All in all, composting can be a fun way to help the environment and your garden. It’s fascinating to watch yucky waste food be transformed into a rich soil additive before your eyes.

 

Enjoy the last weekend of May!

 

 

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The Humble Dandelion

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

 

Now that spring is in full bloom, we wanted to take a moment to discuss the humble dandelion. Most homeowners probably think of this little yellow flower as an annoying weed to be controlled. It’s true that dandelions do grow everywhere and can kill a nicely manicured lawn. However, dandelions have many under appreciated properties that make them valuable as a food item and a part of the local ecosystem.

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Food

If you pick a dandelion from the ground and eat it (and you should never do this with dandelions that grow along roads or in treated lawns), you’ll find that it is quite bitter. However, this can be fixed by blanching the leaves and sautéing them like you would cook kale or spinach. Once the bitterness is cooked out, dandelion greens are nutritious and delicious! Use them like any other sautéed green- to accompany meat and potatoes, or in pasta.

 

Beverages

Dandelion roots can also be dried and ground to make a surprisingly tasty coffee substitute for those of us who can’t have the real deal. The website Rose’s Prodigal Gardens gives a number of recipes for dandelion root coffee and tea here. You can even use the petals of the dandelion flower to make wine!

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The Environment

Dandelions are a spring favorite of honeybees and other pollinators. The early spring flowers give them an important source of nutrition before most flowering plants are ready to yield their pollen and nectar. The dandelion, while it is a weed, can also be beneficial for gardeners. Its taproot brings nutrients in deeper soil up to the surface for shallower plants, as well as serving as a magnet for bees and other pollinators. Also, being a weed, dandelions are easy to cultivate!

So enjoy those dandelion greens and feel good about helping the environment and your body.

 

Have a great holiday!

 

 

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Spargelzeit! (Asparagus time!)

Good morning harvesters!

As our hardy Washington box customers know, this week was the first time this year that we have seen Washington-grown asparagus in our boxes. We were so excited by the appearance of this prickly, poky little plant that we decided to dedicate a whole blog post to the wonders of Asparagus officinalis. Image   Asparagus was well known in the ancient world. The vegetable appears in the oldest known cookbook in the world, De re coquinaria, by the third-century Roman gourmet Apicius. The emperor Augustus even created a special fleet of ships to haul asparagus across the Mediterranean! It has since become a popular traditional recipe in the countries of northwestern Europe, such as Germany, Switzerland, and Poland. In these countries, asparagus is usually served in its white form, which is created by “hilling”, or mounding soil over the plant as the shoots grow. This prevents photosynthesis and keeps the stalks from producing the chlorophyll that turns them green. Asparagus is a common ingredient in late spring and summer seasonal recipes, which earns the season the German moniker “Spargelsaison” or “Spargelzeit” (asparagus season or asparagus time, respectively). Image These little stalks are surprisingly nutritious! They are a good source of vitamins C, E, and K, as well as dietary fiber and protein and a variety of minerals like iron, phosphorous and potassium. The amino acid asparagine, one of the most common amino acids on Earth, is named after asparagus because it was first synthesized from asparagus juice.

Enjoy your asparagus, everyone!

 

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Egg-lovers rejoice! Duck eggs are here!

Hello foodies! We hope you are enjoying the first few weeks of spring veggies. As you may have noticed, we have been working hard on expanding our Online Farmers Market to bring you a great variety of locally grown and crafted food items that you can add to your box. We are really excited to announce a brand new product that has been in the works for a while: pasture-raised duck eggs!

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Our new partners at Sky Valley Farms have just presented us with the first sample dozen of their fresh duck eggs. In order to celebrate this addition to our food family, we want to take a moment to explore the virtues of duck eggs and compare them with the traditional chicken eggs.

 

Baking

The egg is the workhorse of pastry and cake baking. The foaminess created by a beaten egg white helps fluff up delicate pastries. Because duck eggs contain more egg white (or “albumen”) than chicken eggs, pastry chefs love to use them to give their confections that extra bit of lightness or to give meringue extra volume. Duck eggs also contain more fat than chicken eggs, so they give baked goods a richer, creamier taste.

 

Nutrition

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Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs, averaging about 70 grams per egg (as opposed to 50 g for chickens). The eggs contain more fat and protein than chicken eggs, as well as higher concentrations of Vitamin A, calcium, and iron.  Yes, duck eggs do have significantly higher cholesterol content than chicken eggs. However, the cholesterol in duck eggs is mostly HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which nutritionists regard as the “good” cholesterol. The Mayo Clinic actually recommends that people increase their HDL cholesterol levels as high as possible to promote a healthy heart!

 

Allergies

Some of our friends and neighbors are allergic to chicken eggs! For these people, duck eggs pose no threat at all, allowing them to enjoy quiche and sunny-side-up eggs just like the rest of us.

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photo credit: Nienetwiler

Check out our Online Farmers Market to get your hands on these scrumptious pasture-raised duck eggs today!

 

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Grilled Chicken Tacos with Mango, Bell Pepper, and Avocado

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Ingredients

8 ounces grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 avocado

1 mango, sliced

1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin

1 small yellow onion, sliced thin

1 bunch red dandelion greens

4-6 corn tortillas

2 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon coriander

Juice of ½ a lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Onion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sautee bell pepper and onion until

onion is translucent and peppers are tender, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Mash avocado and season with coriander, salt, and pepper. Assemble tacos by adding

all remaining ingredients, topping each with a squirt of lime.

Tip: to get corn tortillas soft, lightly fry in some oil or butter in a medium skillet before

assembling tacos.

Makes 4-6 tacos

 

 

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Happy Labor Day!

Hi Friends,

Here’s what we hope will be the start of regular PCH updates.  We will try to bring you all the latest news from the company, what to expect from farms in the upcoming weeks, and any exciting news in the organic produce community.

First off, we want to thank Davey and George for their fantastic job driving this summer. We wish them the best at college. I will definitely miss our banter during packing. With that in mind, we want to welcome Peter to the PCH family! Peter is a great guy who is eager to be working for the company. Be sure to let us know how he’s doing so we can make sure he quickly reaches the level we expect from your drivers.

More great news out of Sanford farm! After talking to Jeremy, we will now be getting fresh, local veggies from his green house this winter. We here at PCH are excited about the chance to bring unique produce to break up the usual Washington Winter root veggie routine.

Last, but certainly not least, we are proud to announce the return of a familiar face. Our trusty old manager John will be back helping us on some fun changes to the website. John will be making sure the web knows just how awesome PCH really is!

So that’s it for this week. But be sure to drop us an email to let us know how we’re doing. Also, if you want us blog more about something, or would like to see more fun recipes, we are always happy to hear from you.

Have a happy, safe Labor Day.

~Reece