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Weekly CSA Box Recipes

Hello everyone! In this week’s CSA share box we have:

  • Sweet onions
  • Spring (green) onions
  • Bell Peppers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Egg Plant
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Blueberries
  • Green Beans
  • Tomatillos
  • Bag of Tomatoes (seconds for processing), A few Jalapenos and a bag of Tortilla Chips – Stay tuned for our fresh salsa post this week!

And here’s some yummy recipes to get you inspired!

Eggplant Steaks (by Alton Brown)

See also: Purging eggplant

Balsamic-Glazed Grilled Sweet Onions (by Ruth Lively)

Chicken Broccoli Casserole (by Trisha Yearwood)

Pasta peperonata (by Jamie Oliver)

Pan-roasted Pork Chops with Yellow Pepper Mole Sauce (by Bobby Flay)

Charred Green Beans With Spicy Garlic Aioli

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Weekly CSA Box Recipes

Hello everyone! In this week’s CSA share box we have:

  • White bulb onions
  • Spring (green) onions
  • Red potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Kale

And here’s some yummy recipes to get you inspired!

Zucchini Pancakes (by Ina Garten)

Garlic Mashed Red-skinned Potatoes (by Sunny Anderson)

Spring Onion Soup (by Martha Stewart)

Cucumber-Orange Water (by Adela Jung)

Sauteed Green Beans with Soy, Shallots, Ginger, Garlic and Chile (by Tyler Florence)

Blueberry Zucchini Bread (by Laura Moody)

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Biofortification: Growing for Nutrition Density

What is Biofortification?

Great question! Like humans, plants also require a healthy and balanced diet of necessary nutrients. Biofortification is the practice of making sure our plants are fully fed and happy, and it is the main focus here at Soil Friends. Through a variety of means, we ensure each food item we sell from our farm has been fortified with as much nutrition as physically possible.

What do plants eat?

Aside from the normal inputs of water, and sunlight, there is a huge range of additional nutrients that plants must have available in order to fully grow as healthy and whole as possible. In varying amounts and ratios, most plants require the same set of nutrients, and they are broken down into what are called macronutrients and micronutrients.

What are micro and macro nutrients?

Macronutrients are things the plant uses in larger amounts, and includes things like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur; and these are usually supplied in the soil. In relatively small amounts, the soil also supplies iron, manganese, boron, molybdenum, copper, zinc, chlorine, and cobalt, known as micronutrients.

  • Calcium builds cell walls.
  • Magnesium supports chlorophyll production.
  • Sulfur builds protein.
  • Boron is a regulator of other nutrients. Plants need it for seeds and fruit.
  • Copper helps plants reproduce and boosts metabolism in roots.
  • Chloride is another aid to plant metabolism.
  • Iron assists in producing chlorophyll.
  • Manganese breaks down carbohydrates, cooperating with enzyme systems.
  • Zinc helps convert carbohydrates into sugars, and aids growth enzymes.

But there’s a problem..

In a healthy ecosystem, there are plenty of these nutrients in the soil to go around, but we run into a problem on our conventional industrially farmed soils – they have been drained of these vital nutrients. Over farming and unsustainable practices such as chemical use have only accelerated this trend, and it has nutritionists and scientists worried for the future. It’s clear that it’s time for a change in farming practices, for the sake of health.

Biofortification to save the day!

Back to biofortification. So how do we fix it? How do we fortify our food with nutrients? Well, we can get some of these nutrients free, from nature. Check out our recent article on cover cropping – by minimizing mechanical disturbance of the soil and ensuring plant and soil biodiversity, we can employ symbiosis to get free nutrients as waste from plants and animals sharing the same root zones. There are also fungi and bacteria in healthy soil that break down organic matter and rocks to provide some of the nutrition our plants will need. Worms and other bugs also break down soil and leave behind free plant food.

Amendments for Plant Nutrition

In most cases, however, our soil isn’t going to be enough on it’s own, and we can help our plants along by amending it with some nutritional (organic) boosts. The first step is to do a soil lab test to see exactly what your soil is lacking. These additional ingredients can be mixed into the soil or added later either by sprinkling or watering at the base of the plant with properly diluted solutions:

The importance of nutrition

These nutrients that we supply to our plants ultimately end up in our bodies, and that’s what we need to survive. All of the body’s functions are dependant on a nutrient-dense diet, and when we don’t get enough of them, a wide variety of symptoms can arise. We like this infographic from Dr. Axe:

  • Fiber: lowers cholesterol, helps control blood sugar, helps with that “full” feeling and with digestion
  • Potassium: lowers blood pressure, helps combat heart disease
  • Vitamin A: antioxidant that fights free radicals, help with skin and eye health, fights cancer by stopping DNA mutations in cancerous cells
  • Vitamin B12: helps produce hemoglobin which carries oxygen throughout the body, fights fatigue
  • Vitamin C: improves immune function, prevents oxidative stress, fights cancer and common illnesses of the skin, eyes, etc.
  • Vitamin D: promotes healthy bone metabolism, helps prevent depression, might help fight cancer
  • Vitamin E: has antioxidant properties, protects cell membranes, protects heart
  • Vitamin K: critical in blood clotting, works with vitamin D, protects against heart disease, osteoporosis, and other types of cancer
  • Zinc: boosts the immune system, supports brain functioning, improves cardiovascular health
  • Iodine: important for fetal development and thyroid health
  • Beta-carotene: turns into antioxidant vitamin A in the body, helps with strengthening the immune system and mucous membranes
  • Calcium: maintains bone strength, helpful antacid, regulates high blood pressure
  • Choline: prevents fat accumulation in the liver, promotes brain development, helps prevent liver damage
  • Chromium: removes sugar from the bloodstream and converts into energy, helps control blood sugar in individuals with type 2 diabetes
  • Copper: anti-inflammatory, helps combat arthritis, known as a brain stimulant
  • Flavonoid (antioxidants): reduce the risk of cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, help fight free radical damage, protect brain health
  • Carotenoid (antioxidants): help protect eye health, fight macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Folate: role in fetus development, cervical cancer prevention, antidepressant properties
  • Iron: helps transport oxygen to the entire body, prevents anemia and low energy
  • Manganese: improves bone density, helps combat free radicals, regulates blood sugar, plays role in metabolism and inflammation
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): helps prevent cervical cancer, fights headaches and migraines, can help with acne, muscle cramps, carpal tunnel and fatigue
  • Selenium: has antioxidant properties, reduces the chances of prostate cancer, helps with asthma, arthritis and infertility

Micronutrients from food

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Treat Dad early! Come to our Strawberry Ice Cream Social on Saturday!

Announcing our first annual Strawberry Ice Cream Social!

Spring is waning and we’re coming into the action-packed summer months here at the farm! We would like to invite you out to meet us and to share in our bounty. This Saturday, we’re hosting an ice cream social at our Farm Market! Check out the event on Facebook for more information and to let all of your friends know where you’ll be the day before Father’s Day!

Strawberry Ice Cream Social

Local, fresh food!

Just because we’re eating ice cream doesn’t mean we can’t feel good about it! We will have local, fresh Moo-ville ice cream, and of course, the strawberries will travel about 100 yards from the farm to your ice cream bowl. The benefits of eating food where you grow it is that you can relate more closely to what you’re putting in your body. We feel good about that, even when it’s ice cream we’re eating!

Lots of fun activities, too!

  • Bouncehouse for the kids! Or small, spry adults!
  • Fun carnival / yard games
  • Feed cups for the goats, chickens and horses
  • Opportunity for fun photos

Shareholder benefits

If you’re a Soil Friends shareholder, we invite you to join us for the ice cream social at no cost! You are part of our family, and we feed our own! Also, as a token of our appreciation, we invite our shareholders to enjoy access to you-pick strawberries from our lush strawberry patch! Nothing beats eating a fresh berry right off of the plant, and we want to share this experience with you.


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Strawberry Comparison ’16

We knew our strawberries were going to be delicious this season, but wow! These things explode with flavor! When you grow with nutrition in mind, flavor is the side effect. This side by side comparison with some supermarket (California) strawberries should help sway you. But if you decide to taste them, it will be all over!

The rich, deep red is indicative of high concentrations of phytonutrients—including anthocyanins, ellagitannins, flavonols, terpenoids, and phenolic acids—it’s not surprising to find increasing research interest in the anti-inflammatory properties of strawberries! We achieve these nutrient contents by starting with healthy soil, and by ensuring the vital micronutrients the plant needs to produce these ruby red jewels are present in the plant’s diet throughout the growing season.

The supermarket berry is very firm – bordering on hard, dry, fibrous, chewy and packs a small punch in terms of flavor. It’s been picked before reaching peak ripeness, as the berries need to be very hard in order to survive the shipping process. The ripening stage is when the berry really starts to drink in nutrients from the plant, so picking them early results in low nutrient levels and as a result, low flavor levels. 🙁

Our berries are picked at peak ripeness, after the plant has delivered its nutrients to the fruit, which gives us the deep red color and big puddles of delicious juice. Keeping our food local means we don’t have to worry about our strawberries surviving a trip across the country in the back of a semi-trailer, just the trip home to your fridge. Well, I suppose that could be equally dangerous for these juicy little morsels.. better get an extra quart while they last!