Finca Santa Marta – An Organic Finca in Panama

Organic farming in Panama

Preparing Our Greens for Market May 31, 2012

Filed under: Greens — kimlmiller @ 1:37 am

One of our specialties here at Finca Santa Marta is our flavorful greens.

Hellen is busy washing and drying our greens shortly after they have been harvested.  This process is to hydrate, clean and cool the tender leaves and get the produce ready for sale on market day.

By giving the fresh leaves a cool, quick swim and then a good spinning to dry them, we can ensure maximum crispness and freshness for market and a longer storage life throughout the week for our customers as well.

This large salad spinner makes processing the large amount of greens we harvest and prepare for market each week a much easier job.

Our team at Finca Santa Marta take great pride in bringing you fresh, flavorful  and nutritious organic produce.

Greens grown are:  arugula, bok choy, dandelion, lettuces, kale, collards, tatsoi, salad mix, chinese cabbage, mustard, beet greens, swiss chard and more.

It is a good practice to include different greens in your diet.  Each one has different nutrient profiles, so variety is good and we do offer a variety.

What other greens would you like to see us grow?


Collard Greens January 15, 2012

Filed under: Greens — kimlmiller @ 3:45 am

Collard Greens are a very nutritious green.  They are in the same family as kale and cabbage, contain high levels of  Vit A, C & K, calcium and anti-cancer agents.  The good news is that they taste great too.  This variety has a very mild flavor.

Use the leaves as wraps to save carbs.  These wraps are still raw even though they seem slightly cooked.  Very tasty and high in nutrition.

Remove the large stem down the center of each leaf and separate it into 2 pieces.  In a pie plate or lasagne pan, combine 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 tsp sea salt.  Stir to dissolve.  Dip both sides of each collard leaf in the lemon juice liquid and lay them in a casserole dish stacking as you go.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.  This is to soften the leaves so that they roll easily and chew and also the leaves take on a different texture that is very appealing.  Nutritious and satisfying.

Lather on some of your favorite sauce or filling across the center on each leaf.  Julienne some vegetables making them long enough to hang out both sides of the wrap.  Zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, jicama, sweet pepper, celery, and scallions are good choices for this.  Adding shredded carrots and beets to add texture and flavor to your creation.  A variety of sprouts such as alfalfa, red clover, broccoli, mung bean, sunflower or others add nice crunch.  Herbs such as cilantro, parsley, garlic chives, or your favorite round out the creation.  When you have the wrap full enough, roll them up.  Serve with additional sauce and enjoy!

A wonderful sauce to use is Raw Cashew Lime Ginger Coconut Dip!  Cover 2 cups raw shelled cashews with water and soak for 2-4 hours.  Drain the cashews.  In a blender, add the cashews, 1 lime, peeled, 1 inch ginger (Cut into smaller pieces before adding to the blender.), 1 Tbsp Nama Shoyu (raw soy sauce) or soy sauce, 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted.  Blend together well and use.  Scrap the blender good as you’ll want every drop.

Experiment with other sauces, nut and seed pates, other fillings and different vegetables and herbs.  Find out your favorite and share it with us.


Lemon Dijon Mustard Kale Salad June 19, 2011

Filed under: Greens — kimlmiller @ 11:35 am

This salad has become one of my favorites because it tastes great and it allows me to eat kale raw, which retains many of it’s nutrients.  The dressing for this salad is very flavorful and can also be used as a salad dressing on lettuce salads.  For this reason, when I make this dressing, I have started tripling the quantities and keeping the extra in the refrigerator.  Other greens, such as spinach can be added or substituted and some shredded carrots or diced red pepper would be an attractive addition to this salad as well.  Enjoy eating your greens!

1 Bunch Kale – Dinasour or other                           1 1/2 Tbsp pine nuts

Mustard Lemongrette

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil                                     1 Tbsp light miso

2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice                        2 tsp minced red onion or scallion

2 tsp agave syrup                                                       1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp salt                                                                   Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of these ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Remove the stem that runs down the center of the kale stem.   Then tear the kale into pieces in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over and massage it into the kale with your hands for a few minutes.  After a short time, the kale will take on a “cooked” appearance and will reduce in volume.

To serve, mound each serving onto a plate and  garnish with pine nuts.

This recipe comes from the book “The Raw Food Revolution Diet” by Cherie Soria, Brenda Davis, and Vesanto Melina.


Kale and Recipe for Using it Raw May 11, 2010

Filed under: Greens — Ron Miller @ 11:29 am

Lacinato or Dinasour Kale Named Toscano

Kale is full of nutrients and can be eaten raw or cooked.  Very high in Vit K and high in Vit A and Vit C and also has more calcium per calorie than milk.  It’s almost a complete protein (92 out of 100 percent), containing almost all the essential amino acids.

There are several varieties.  This is lacinato or “dinasour” variety in the photo currently growing at the farm.  There are also Red Russian, White Russian (which I haven’t tried) and a great tasting variety called Winterbor.  The last variety is type I used in the recipe, but any will work fine.

Chopped kale can be added to omelets, soups, stir-fries, just about everything but desserts.

But raw, it’s wonderful too.  Here is a recipe from the book “Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People” by Jennifer Cornbleet.  The recipe calls for pinenuts, but I modified it when I made it yesterday because I was out of pinenuts.

Mediterranean Kale with Pecans and Raisins

4 kale leaves, stems removed, 1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1/8 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp raisins, 1 Tbsp pecans (I cheated and toasted these a little.)  Stack 2 of the kale leaves with the stem end facing you.  Fold in half lengthwise and tightly like a cigar.  Slice crosswise into this strips.  Repeat with the remaining 2 leaves.  Chop the kale strips crosswise a few times so they aren’t too long.  Place in mixing bowl along with the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.  Toss well and massage the kale with your hands, working the dressing into the greens.  When finished, add the raisins.  (The recipe called for golden raisins, but I only had dark raisins.)  Serve immediately or store up to 3 days in refrigerator.  When serving, top with the pecans.  If storing, keep the nuts separate or they’ll get soggy.  Ron’s comment was, “This salad is different, interesting and pretty good”.


Growing Good Greens April 26, 2010

Filed under: Greens — Ron Miller @ 1:30 am

12 Flats of Greens & Cabbage

This is our temporary nursery area.  There is some shade, breeze and it’s fun to watch the chickens while working.

Varieties planted:  Two varieties of pac choi (same as bok choy) – Black Summer which is a green variety and Red Choi which is a red variety;  Chinese kale which is also called Chinese broccoli; and a variety of cabbage.

We’ve also planted Toscano Kale recently directly in the greenhouse.  It is also known as “dinasour” kale.  Give it a try if you haven’t.  A nice dark green that is full of vitamins and minerals.  Great raw or cooked.

Most of these greens can be eaten raw by washing and drying.  Take a leaf and roll up your favorite sandwich filling in it.  Or roll up a small amount of salad with a little dressing and enjoy.  Crunchy – tasty – no need for bread!