From the Field
Welcome to the Fall Community Supported Agriculture program at Ridge to Reef Farm! We have an abundance of Certified Organic produce in the fields that we're growing just for you as shareholders of the farm.
Seasons here in the Virgin Islands are a little different than in the states. While we reap the benefits by having pleasant, warm weather and refreshing Christmas winds in the winter, the plants experience experience different micro-climates and different forms of insect pressure throughout the year. In order to account for these changes in weather and the resulting pests and diseases, we grow a diversity of vegetables, fruits and herbs and rotate them in our fields. This means we don't always have a certain crop like tomatoes or pumpkins (which we will have in the winter), but we do grow as much and as diversely as possible. In addition, as the only certified organic farm in the territory we commit to a nationally recognized standard of farming called the National Organic Practices (NOP). You can count on us to use only sustainable farming practices at Ridge to Reef Farm. If you're curious, feel free to ask your farmers question when you pick up your produce.
Thank you for helping us grow food for the Virgin Islands! We couldn't do it without you.
Enjoy the harvest,
Claudia & the crew at Ridge to Reef Farm
Photo above: Beans in the CSA terraces
What's in Your Box
Yardlong Beans (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis) are a type of legume that can be prepared and eaten just like green beans, even though they belong to a different genus than the common stringbean. Despite the name, they are only actually about 1.5 to 2 feet in length. They are also known as chinese long beans or asparagus beans, and are a tropical/subtropical annual vine. There are several different colors and varieties, ranging from green to red. Their flavor and texture are best when the beans are cut into smaller sections and sauteéd, stir-fried, braised, steamed, stewed, roasted or cooked in a curry. The beans are an excellent source of protein, vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, phsphorus and potassium.
Sweet Peppers come in many shapes, sizes and colors. This fall we're growing both bell and pimento-type sweet peppers that come in shades of purple, yellow, orange, red and green. Some of these have a pointed tip and may deceive you into thinking they're hot, but they are in fact sweet peppers. Today you'll find mostly green bell peppers in your share.
Cucumbers from our most recent planting are just starting to produce fruit. You're getting the pick of the crop today. Try these tasty, thin-skinned Asian cucumbers sliced in any salad.
Cranberry Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella), or False Roselle, is a delcious and versatile green vegetable. Its sweet, tangy flavor and striking burgundy color make it an excellent addition to salads. It's also great stir-fried, especially in combination with other greens. Just pick the leaves off of the stems, and enjoy! More information on Cranberry Hibiscus can be found at the blogs Eat the Weeds and The Back Forty.
Thai Basil can be stored in the refrigerator, bagged as-is, or you can place the stems in a vase or jar of water and harvest the leaves as needed, while enjoying it as a flower bouquet. The flowers are edible, and make a nice tea as well. The leaves are extremely aromatic, can be eaten raw and also stand up well when cooked.Check out this ingredient spotlight (with recipes) from the Kitchn.
Mixed greens can be eaten raw as salad greens, or cooked briefly until just wilted. We grow a gourmet blend of highly nutritious greens, whose young leaves are tender and tasty. Try making a salad with radishes sliced on top! Radish greens are edible and similar in taste to mustard greens, so they are best cooked to remove some of their spicy flavor.
Stir-Fried Yardlong Beans
1 Tbsp peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb yard-long beans, washed and trimmed to 3-inch lengths
¼ cup water
1 Tbsp chili & garlic sauce
1 tsp low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
Heat wok over medium-high heat, then add oil and garlic. Stir-fry for just a few seconds, then add the beans. Stir to coat the beans with the oil.
In a small bowl, combine water, chili & garlic sauce and tamari. Add to wok, stir and cover. Let the beans steam over medium heat until tender, but not soft (about 5 to 7 minutes). Uncover the wok and cook few minutes longer to let liquid evaporate. Serve immediately.
CUCUMBER YOGURT SALAD
CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP
This Week's Harvest
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).