Wednesday, October 17

It’s the last box of the season…

Tomatillos from Amara Farm are in the box this week! Check out the Tomatillo salsa recipe below :)

I am seriously going to miss delivering veggies to you all winter. I love doing this work, and I love that you have been a part of it!

I hope you’ll considering coming out in November for our big old TANK ROLLING PARTY! We’re going to get the water system set to collect rain water, and that means a giant 2500gal tank needs to roll down to the barn. Details will be forthcoming, and costumes will be encouraged!

I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to all of you for being a part of my first CSA box program this year. It’s been an amazing 20 weeks growing and delivering fresh veggies to you. Big thanks for all of your encouragement, participation at the farm and most of all, thanks for eating local veggies!

I found this birds nest in the golden delicious tree today as I was harvesting apples!

I want to be your farmer next year too… and am cooking up plans with some other local farmers to expand and better our CSA program for next year. Stay tuned!


What’s in the Box?

  • Baby beets
  • Amara Farm chard
  • Amara Farm tomatillos
  • Apples
  • Baby leeks


Tomatilo Salsa

This delicious green salsa, also known as “salsa verde” is a delicious topping for quesadillas, burritos or even rice and beans. Adjust the spice as you like…

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh tomatillos
  • about 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a dash of salt, to taste
  • 1-4 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • a handful of chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tsp sugar or agave nectar

Remove the husks from the tomatillos (some of you may have received some that grew out of their husks!) rub them with oil and broil them on a baking sheet until they get charred and collapsed.

Sautee onion until translucent and add garlic and jalapenos till the garlic is golden brown. Remove from heat and cool.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend till completely pureed.

Remember Chardsagna?

Check out this previous Ripple Farm post with Tracy Marks’ famous gluten-free chardsagna idea! The giant Amara Farm chard in your box is perfect for this recipe!

Thanks again for 20 weeks of sharing food and I will be in touch soon! All the best :)



The autumn Mists of Mervillon roll in at Ripple Farm

Hoping for rain…

It’s been so dry the soil is getting very hard, and the salmon are struggling to wait for rivers to rise. I am sending out a hope and a wish for rain soon, to relieve our tinder dry forests, the parched soil at the farm, and to send the salmon on their journeys upriver to seed the next generations. Luckily, there is still much to enjoy from the farm!

What’s in the box?

  • Lutz Green Leaf Beets
  • Baking apples
  • Amara Farm Carrots


Everyone loves carrots in love

Thanks to Amara Farm!

I am thankful that Arzeena Hamir at Amara Farm is stepping up for our last two boxes to ensure that you
get a full range of delicious farm treats. Arzeena spent many years working for Richmond Food Security and

Sharing Farm, and her family just moved to the Comox Valley to share their farming talents (hooray!)

Find out more about them on the Amara Farm Facebook page!


I’ve done it before and I’m doing it again. I’d like to refer you to Deborah Madison’s blog for a lovely carrot soup recipe. Hers is an ivory carrot soup using white carrots, but you can make it with orange carrots instead and it will be just as delicious. Maybe next year I’ll try growing white carrots and we can make a comparison!

Check out the lovely carrot soup recipe here.

And if you’re feeling really adventurous… why not try adding a peeled and sliced apple to this recipe? It will make a sweet and creamy soup that kids will probably love!

Young leafy beets

If you’re wondering what to do with all those leafy beet tops… check out my former post about Chard. Beets and chard are in the duckfoot family and can be used the same way. Enjoy!



Ripple Farm grapes from an old vine that twines amongst the Douglas Firs - watch out! They have seeds!

What’s in the box?

  • Braising mix
  • Two kinds of apples (a mystery baking apple and Purple Spartans)
  • Squash
  • Grapes
  • The last cucumbers

An apple discovery…

CSA members Medwyn and Karin discovered that the big green mystery apples in their box last week were perfect for baking! Medwyn says: “they went all puffy the way a good cooking apple is supposed to!!”

And baked apples are simple to make, and a lovely treat for dessert, or even a snack.

Baked apple options

Most baked apple recipes have tons of butter and sugar – and there’s nothing wrong with that! But if you’ve got vegans, low-sugar eaters or lactose intolerant folks in your life, there are other options!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

You’ll need:

  • One apple per person
  • Brown sugar, coconut sugar (low on the glycemic index), maple syrup or honey
  • Butter or coconut oil
  • Cinnamon (and maybe some ground cloves and nutmeg)

Using your creative skills, dig out a well in the centre of the apple with a short pairing knife and maybe a tiny teaspoon. Try not to dig a hole all the way through to the bottom! You want to be able to keep the gooey goodness inside of the apple.

Once you’ve dug the middles out, line up those apples on a baking sheet and fill them up with the oil and sweetener of your choice – you want to pack this down so you get lots of yummy gooeyness.

Sprinkle spices over top, not too much, especially the nutmeg.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until apples are tender and mushy (or puffy, as Medwyn likes them!) and the sweetener gets all caramelized. Cool for a few minutes before you chow down.




What’s in the box?

  • Squash
  • Fall salad greens
  • Kale or chard bunch
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Garlic

Roasted Squash Soup

This pureed and creamy squash soup is a delicious fall or winter meal. And it’s flexible! Check out the soup flavouring options below.


Cut in half, seed, roast at 400F, cool and peel:

  • 1 med sized squash

Chop and sautee in a large pot with olive oil or butter:

  • 1 large onion or two shallot cloves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Savoury-style: add a blend of fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano into the sautee blend
  • Thai-style: add ginger, galangal, lemongrass and chili, or use Thai Kitchen chili paste of your choice (about 2 tsp)

Add the squash to this mix and sautee a bit. Then add 4-8 cups of water or stock of your choice, depending on how thin or thick you want your soup. The chunks of squash should be covered by about an inch of water or stock.

Cook for about 10 minutes and puree with a hand blender.

For Savoury-style, pour a generous dollop of whole or 1/2 cream into each serving bowl.

For Thai-style, add one can of coconut milk into the pot before serving.


The Bartlett pear tree was so loaded with fruit, some of the branches snapped! I'll be sure to give the tree TLC this winter and spring.

What’s in Box #15

  • Apples (Gravenstein)
  • Pears (Bartlett)
  • The last tomatoes
  • Braising greens bunch
  • Cucumber or Baby summer squash
  • Hakurei turnips (cook them well! not as tender)
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Recipe: Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic is like butter: it can make almost any savoury dish into a rock star. It’s simple to make, if you give yourself enough time. You can also roast it in advance and refrigerate to use it throughout the week in various meals. It tastes best when it’s still warm though.

Roasted Garlic

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

With a pair of garden shears, or a very sharp knife, cut the top off of the garlic bulb, cutting off the tips of each clove. Arrange the garlic bulbs in a casserole dish (preferably one with a lid.)

Liberally drizzle good quality olive oil over the bulbs. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the bottom of the dish.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes. To be honest, I never time anything in the oven. You know the garlic is done when it is fragrant and you can stick a fork into it. Sometimes, I’ll even take it out and open a clove to see if it’s done. Roasted garlic should be completely mushy, barely holding it’s clove shape.

Allow the garlic to cool, and then peel each clove as best you can. It’s a messy job, but you get to lick your fingers at the end, and that’s the best part!

P.S. Roasted garlic is like butter, and you can make roasted garlic butter. Simply mix together roasted garlic (cooled to room temp) and butter (warmed to room temp) together. Try adding a pinch of minced sage, thyme, or oregano.



Rescued tomatoes ripen in the shelter of the upper hoophouse. Tomatoes are always a gamble in September, watching for the telltale signs of blight, a fungus that sets in when conditions get damp and cold. This year, it set in early - which means I'd better work on hoophouse ventilation and improve conditions for next year!


It’s happened already… this past week has been a mad dash to rescue tomatoes from the damp cold and get more of the harvest in from the fruit trees. I hope to have tomatoes in your boxes next week, so don’t give up hope yet. As I write, they are carefully arranged on the seedlings tables in the upper hoophouse, soaking up the last rays of summer.

What’s in Box #14?

  • Apples
  • Potatoes (Sieglinde and Red)
  • Cucumbers (Lemon and Green Finger)
  • Braising mix
  • Cabbage or Broccoli


I was late getting this blog post up! I’m sorry if anyone was missing the weekly recipe. Hoping you still have some of the contents of your box, here’s this week’s recipe:

Apple Cheddar Pie

This one is my favourite fall pie. I can’t resist the sharp cheddar and the tart apples!

Step one: make flaky butter pastry from the Joy of Cooking. Recipe here. (I never add shortening, as this recipe suggests. It’s all butter, all the way for me. You can substitute the shortening with butter, or lard if you’re so inclined.) This recipe works really well with white spelt flour as well.


  • 6-8 apples (cored and finely sliced)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated Natural Pastures Smoked Borenkaas (optional)
  • 2 TBS flour

Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Divide pie dough in half and roll out into a circle, move to a standard pie plate. Put the filling in the pie shell and top either with another solid, rolled out circle of dough (remember to poke lots of holes!) or latticework (cut into strips and criss-cross them across the pie, lots of fun to play with!)

Bake at 375 until done. I know, it sounds cheeky, but I never time things. Signs of “done” include: mouth-watering smells, bubbling filling, golden crust and poking a fork in and finding the apples are soft and juicy.


the cabbage field. credit: Nokomis Rhodes

baby cabbages waiting to be planted for spring harvest. Credit: Nokomis Rhodes

Well, it’s September and I’m getting ready to rip out tomato plants (and hang the green fruit to ripen in the greenhouses) and plant cool-weather loving spinach and greens.

I’m already enjoying the signs of Fall and the crunch of cottonwood leaves beneath my feet. Here at the farm, we’re eagerly awaiting the Sandhill Crane migration which is an amazing thing to behold.

What’s in Box #14?

  • Onions (Rosa di Milano and Yellow Cippolini)
  • Garlic
  • Kale or Chard bunches
  • Mini red cabbage
  • Summer squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Salad greens

Recipe: The basics of soup

Or, what my Mom taught me about cooking

When I graduated high school back in 1997, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I stayed home for a year to spend time with my Mom and learn life skills. I asked her to teach me to cook. The first thing she taught me was soup.

I was chatting with Janet last night (she comes to help every Monday – thank-you Janet!) and we were talking about my Mom’s simple but genius soup methodology. Seeing as fall is upon us, I thought it would be timely to include my Mom’s soup tips, here’s how it goes:

  • Sautee your onions or leeks first in a good amount of olive oil
  • Add other vegetables, such as roots, squashes or tomatoes (except for greens)
  • Add your garlic, stir for about 1 minute
  • Add stock or water

The sauteeing releases the aromatic oils and juices of the onions, garlic and other veggies. Even if you don’t have stock to add, this is a good way to make a flavourful soup base.

Here’s a basic soup recipe that you can tailor to whatever you have on hand:

Heat in a large pot:

  • 3 TBSP olive oil

Sautee until soft and aromatic:

  • 2 small or 1 large onion, sliced
  • herbs such as oregano, thyme or rosemary

Add and sautee for 3 more minutes while stirring occasionally:

  • Summer squash, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage
  • Protein (animal or vegetable) such as: sausage, chicken, beef, veggie sausages, beans, lentils

Pour in:

  • 2 cups stock (chicken or veggie)

Heat to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until all veggies are cooked. Add finely chopped tender greens such as kale or chard at this point.

Pour into bowls and serve. You can add a dash of cream or whole milk to each bowl to make the broth richer. You may also want to try adding a bit of shredded cheese (I like the smoked kind!).

Happy soup making!


crunchy orange goodness!

It’s a blue moon month (two full moons in the month of August) and this box is lucky #13!

Thanks to everyone for being understanding about the extra box this week! I am looking forward to connecting with my pagan community next week and recharging my batteries! Regular Tuesday box deliveries will resume on September 4th.

What’s in Box #13?

  • Onions (Rosa di Milano and Yellow Cippolini)
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli, Cabbage or Baby Summer Squash
  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes

I promised you a recipe every week… but I’ve got to be honest, I am exhausted tonight after getting things ready at the farm so I can go away for a week. So I promise that next week I’ll make sure there’s an extra special recipe ;)

Enjoy the veggies, the last week of August and the crunchy leaves beneath your feet! I’ll see you in a little over a week.


This week’s box is brought to you by…


Many thanks to helpers who have made the past few weeks possible! This week’s box is brought to you by Medwyn McConachy and Janet Smitheringale who came out Monday evening and Tuesday morning to harvest. If you’d like to come out for some harvesting fun on the farm, drop me a line at


What’s in the box this week:

  • Lettuce mix
  • Baby turnips
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer squash
  • Red cabbage
  • Chard bunch
  • Basil bunch

Recipe of the week: Toasty tomato and turnip sandwiches!

Medwyn and I enjoyed these tasty open-face sandwiches for lunch today after harvesting for the morning. One thing I love about this time of year is the abundance of fresh food choices and how easy it is to prepare delicious, local meals!

What you need (serves 2):

  • 6 slices of your favourite bread (we used homemade sourdough spelt)
  • 4 or 5 small tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 Hakurei turnips, thinly sliced
  • Basil leaves
  • Sliced pepperoni, or smoked tofu
  • Shredded cheese (we had sharp cheddar, yum!)
  • Grainy mustard
  • Mayo

Preheat oven broil on high. Assemble! Arrange bread slices on a baking pan. Spread mustard and mayo on each slice, layer with tomatoes, turnips, basil leaves and pepperoni or smoked tofu and top with shredded cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese starts to bubble and brown – watch carefully!



Anthony and Esther harvesting turnips

What’s in the box this week:

  • Lettuce mix
  • Baby turnips
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer squash
  • Beans
  • Transparent apples
  • Broccoli sprouts or cabbage
  • Kale bunch
  • Basil bunch


There are round fuzzy yellow aliens in my box! Help!

Lemon Cucmber

Nope, don’t be alarmed, those fuzzy little yellow things are lemon cucumbers.

They are delicious and sweet and they are very abundant. All of you will eventually find one in your veggie box.




What to do with your transparent apples

Yellow transparent apples are amazing for baking and sauce – and they’re extra early this year! I recommend making applesauce with them, adding them to porridge, or making pie or tarts. If you bite into one, you’ll probably be disappointed by the texture – it’s in baking and cooking that they shine!