From the Field
This week our cucumbers continue to pump out juicy, flavorful fruits. Our varietal selections this season were chosen for their flavor, thin skins, and resistance to tropical diseases. We’re very pleased with how they’re performing!
You’re also receiving some of the first picks of our bush bean crop. These are string-less green beans that are probably quite familiar to you. Enjoy them steamed, stir-fried, or in pasta.
We’re currently hosting 12 high-school students from the states through an organization called Overland, which takes such groups to various locations around the world for volunteer work, experiential education, and various service projects. They’ve been helping out quite a bit on the farm, although the oldest is only 15! We’re excited to have such an awesome organization living and learning on the farm. They harvested the bags of chaya you have in your box this week. Remember, Chaya should be cooked before eating - try the recipe below for Chaya Cream Soup. Also be sure to check out the quote below, and the website link for inspiration and information about Chaya.
Enjoy the harvest,
Jim & the crew at Ridge to Reef Farm
Photo above: Salad Mix in our upper terraced fields
"Chaya is one of the richest sources of nutrients among all the leafy greens with high levels of protein, calcium, potassium, iron, and carotene. It has shown glucose-lowering capacity in the lab and thus may be useful in preventing diabetes. The leaves are especially rich in antioxidants, which counteract aging and inflammation. Research suggests that chaya improves blood circulation, weight loss, lowers cholesterol, stimulates the liver (to improve digestion), and alleviates constipation."
Mayan Chaya Cream Soup
20 leaves chaya
2 cups milk or milk substitute
4 leaves basil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small onion, diced
1 cup vegetable bouillon
salt, to your taste
1) Place Chaya leaves, chopped onions and crushed garlic in a pot with the bouillon and cook for two minutes or until leaves are blanched (use mid-heat).
2) Add milk and let it cool.
3) Using a stick blender, mix to a smooth velvety texture the remaining ingredients, or puree in a blender (be careful blending hot soup!)
4) Cook another five to ten minutes or until mixture gets really hot but does not boil.
7) For a zesty taste, sprinkle a bit of crush dried red chili as well.
Recipe courtesy of Food.com
Pesto Crudo a la Patchi Palace
Your bag of basil
1 bunch of garlic chives (optional)
1 clove garlic
½ cup nuts or seeds (sunflower seeds, pine nuts, almonds, etc)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ cup parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
1) Toast nuts or seeds to a golden brown in either a toaster oven or in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
2) Remove basil leaves from stems and chop finely
3) Chop finely the garlic chives, garlic and cooled nuts/seeds, and combine with the basil and all other ingredients.
4) Stir thoroughly and serve immediately over pasta or toasted bread
Quick pickled cucumbers
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water, plus more, if needed
2 teaspoons each: kosher salt, pickling spice
1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1) Combine cider vinegar with 1/2-cup of water, salt and pickling spice in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil.
2) Place cucumber in a clean, dry glass container just large enough to hold all the slices. Pour boiling brine over cucumber slices to cover completely. If all cucumbers are not submerged, add cold water to cover. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pickles will keep for about 10 days.
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 2 minutes Chill: 1 hour Makes: 1 pint
Recipe from the Chicago Tribune (for the full story, click here)
This Week's Harvest
Chaya - Mayan Spinach
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).