Posts tagged ‘UBC farm’

September 10, 2013

Squash blossoms: delicious with cheese.

This summer I took a Maya Cooking workshop at UBC farm where we walked into the farm kitchen, took a seat and the Maya gardeners cooked us at least 6 meals accompanied by family chatter and the most delicious corn tortillas I’ve ever tasted.

The table setting had delicate greens and squash blooms, baby sunburst squashes and mystery herbs like Zapote and Yerba Mora.
Mayan Cooking UBC

We were cooking with Faviana, Francesca, Maximo, Nattie, Martina, Juanita, and Leche. Martina showed us a handful of greens, Amaranth/”bledo” and served us our mystery greens, blanched, sauteed with onion and served with pinto beans.
Nattie showed us Yerba Mora, “Very good in soup” and used as medicine, teas and poultices. She had also created her very own Yerba Mora juice- mixed with blueberries, acai, and pomegranate, and taken as a shot.
Slowly the wine from the night before faded away.

We ate a salad of Purslane, Macuy, Yerba Mora. The dressing: sea salt and lime juice. The mix of every single ingredient was magic. It didn’t need a coverup. All cooking techniques used minimal oil. No broth, just water. A pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime.

We had a harvest of squash blooms for our soup, complete with baby sunbursts and even the squash stems. I learned how to differentiate a male and female blossom. To leave some male flowers in the garden to pollinate the females. A female blossom has a small bulb under her bloom that will be a baby squash. Sex education for gardeners. A family tip to never remove the stamens from the bloom- “that is where the flavour is!”.

And this was summer.
This soup.

UBC: Squash Blossom Soup

Squash Blossom Harvest

I left the class and spent the next couple of weeks studying my sunburst squash plant. A few blooms. A boy. A girl here and there. Harvest, zero. I wanted a big bowl of squash blossom soup.
A bit of powdery mildew set in the leaves. I babysat my plant with a rescue remedy.
September rolled around and bloomless, with a harvest of one sunburst and a few babies, I considered chopping the stem and making a soup out of the whole plant.
Then last weekend I wandered up to the garden early enough on Saturday, and there were two beautiful blooms and a baby. Enough to make breakfast for two.

Saturdays Harvest: Squash blossoms, a baby squash, a handful of juliet romas and yellow pear tomatoes, a lemon cucumber.
garden harvest: squash blossoms
Our last meal with the Maya cooks was sauteed baby squash and blossoms. I remember the tastes and flavours of every single dish but with my prized two blossoms all I could hear was the clever and often repeated wise words from Nattie: Squash blossoms “delicious with cheese”.

Squash blossom scrambled eggs "delicious with cheese"

Squash blossom scrambled eggs “delicious with cheese”

Credit to my husband for piling the breakfast bounty on a bagel. I present to you: Breakfast bagel with Squash, blossoms, and cheese:

sh Blossom Breakfast Bagel

Squash Blossom Breakfast Bagel


-Thanks to my dad for documenting the class with beautiful photos, while I ate.
-And a very special thank you to the Maya families who cooked the most incredible dishes of my summer.

Maya cooking workshops are held at UBC farm:Three Sisters in the Kitchen- A Traditional Maya Cooking Class
The Mayan Garden is an initiative of the Vancouver Native Health Society, the VNHS Garden project has been growing and preparing food at the UBC Farm since 2005. The garden project runs a weekly community kitchen with urban Aboriginal participants who grow, prepare, and eat food while sharing knowledge and skills with members of the UBC community and beyond. Ceremonies and celebrations throughout the year mark important seasonal shifts in traditional food ways, such as harvest feasts and the use of the cedar smokehouse for fish (part of the project’s work to bridge land and sea).

November 7, 2012

Dear UBC Farm, thank you. (A 20 week CSA roundup)

At the harvest potluck someone asked us our favorite veggie. I think I said the Red Russian Kale.
I now know my favorite carrot is a purple haze. My favorite squash is delicata. My favorite weed is purslane. My new favorite herb is summer savory. I love golden beets. I can cook mustard greens and like it. I’m obsessed with the over 300 varieties of delicious apples you cannot get in the store.

I can walk through a community garden and identify herbs and varieties of vegetables.

It’s that time of year. It’s time for me to say goodbye to my CSA box. Well, I still have some carrots and pumpkins to play with. So in the meantime I will say, thank you UBC farm. Thank you for teaching me how to cook each week. Thank you for feeding us fresh flavourful veggies. Thank you for the apples, the eggs, the recipes, the crop updates. Saturdays at the farm with my dog.

Wow before I get too choked up here is the 20 week roundup of this year’s (and my very first!) CSA farm box share:

Week 1/June 22: I picked up my very first farm market harvest box today. I have little lettuce heads, kale, radishes, herbs, a few strange things that I’ve never tried before. We tasted a few leaves- mizuna! and chive like creatures and garlic scapes. And we are going to get all these greens, and more, every single week. and farm eggs. I’m in heaven. 

Week 2/June 30: strawberries, garlic scapes, mizuna, red russian kale, savory, salad mix, and baby chard.

Week 3/July 7: Salad mix, arugula, baby chard, garlic scapes, broccoli, wild marjoram and strawberries.

Week 4/July 14: Radishes, Rapini, Red Dandelion Greens, 2 x Mini Lettuce Heads, Chives, Raspberry, Salad mix

Week 5/July 21: Spinach, baby chard, carrots, blueberries, snap peas, salad mix, savory

Week 6/ July 28: Blueberries, potatoes, head lettuce, dill, turnip greens, purslane, shelling peas, carrots

Week 7/August 4: Blueberries, carrots, beets, harukei (Japanese) turnips, parsley, kale, grilling onions

Week 8/ August 11: Collards, ruby streaks, salad mix, zucchini, yellow bush beans, carrots, garlic, corn, eggs!

Week 9/August 18: Daikon, beets, zucchini, kale, salad mix, mixed beans,  basil

Week 10/August 26: Chard, mustard greens, green beans, cucumber, leeks, garlic, pac choi, purslane

Week 11/September 1: Turnip greens, leeks, potatoes (red chieftan), bulk carrots, bunched beets, head lettuce

Week 12/ September 8: yellow carrots, radicchio (Chioggia), potatoes (Red Chieftain), pink chard, flat-leaf parsley, fresh shelling beans (Teggia), and a jalapeño.

Week 13/September 15: carrots (purple haze), fresh shelling beans (Teggia or Black Coco), hot Hungarian peppers, a jalapeño, sweet marjoram, leeks, acorn squash, and kale (Red Russian or Starbor).

Week 14/September 23 :kale (Starbor), beets, fennel, turnips (Hakurei), thyme, delicata squash, purslane, and two apples (Chehalis and an unknown variety)

Week 15/September 29: garlic (first quality), leeks, pak choi, rosemary, spaghetti squash (Tivoli or Pinnacle), and apples (one each of Priam, Nova Easy Grow, Fameuse, and Blenheim Orange).

Week 16/ October 6: golden beets, fennel, ruby streaks, thyme, collards, a sugar pie pumpkin, and apples (one each of Belle de Boskoop, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Nova Easy Grow, and Margil). 

Week 17/ October 13: parsnips, carrots (orange and purple varieties), orange Hubbard squash (Hubba-Hubba), garlic (second quality), kale (Starbor), arugula (Surrey), and apples (one each of Grimes Golden, Spigold, King of Tompkin’s County, and Cornish Gilliflower)

Week 18/ October 20: kabocha squash (Sweet Mama), beets, collards, garlic (2nd quality), winter radishes (Black Spanish), parsley (flat or curly), and multiplier onions

Week 19/October 27: parsnips, leeks, garlic (first-quality), rainbow chard, and a speckled hound pumpkin.

Week 20/ November 3:
mixed mini lettuce heads (Pomegranate Crunch, Little Gem, Magenta Batavian, and Concept Batavian), garlic (a paper bag of second-quality cloves, and a bulb of first-quality), carrots (Purple Haze and Yaya), beets, rosemary, and Butternut squash

Favorite Mystery Vegetable: scapes
Favorite Overall Veggie: Tough one, but I’ll stick to the simple farm lettuce! I’d go so far as to say that the farm lettuce is a symbol for everything you can expect in a CSA: it is an experience you cannot get in a grocery store. You think you know what lettuce tastes like until you get it fresh picked that day off the farm. Then you know what lettuce tastes like.
Most traded item in the swap box: Beets
CSA Casualties: Hubbard Squash, Ruby Streaks
Was it worth it? Absolutely.

UBC Farm Entrance, Vancouver, BC

Submitted to: “What’s in the Box?” at In Her Chucks
& Fresh Foods Wednesday Link-up.

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September 3, 2012

Using up my CSA Farm Veggies, Part 1

My farm box vegetables have been piling up in the fridge. This week my leftovers included zucchini, basil, daikon and the new box of: chard, mustard greens, green beans, cucumber, leeks, garlic, purslane, and farm eggs.
Something had to be done:

    *The biggest pot of zucchini soup I have ever made (with leeks, garlic and basil)
    *Purslane salad,
    purslane quino, purslane in soup
    *My favourite pesto recipe from Lidia’s Italy
    *Pasta & roasted tomatoes with lots of garlic and a bit of pesto and some fresh basil
    *a beautiful Chard tart, with leeks, garlic, basil, tomatoes, my farm eggs and goat cheese

Instead of adding yet another tart to the web I thought I’d share some techniques. To make a perfect tart every time you need to master three things:

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