Week 13; September 10, 2015

What's in the box?  

medium share (potatoes not pictured)

medium share (potatoes not pictured)

  • Braising mix
  • bok choi
  • sweet and bell peppers
  • hot peppers
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • broccoli or cauliflower
  • green top beets
  • potatoes (large and medium)
  • cantaloupe or musk melon

Some of our "eat like a farmer" members got nasturtiums.  They are edible floweres with a peppery flavor.   A perfect garnish for salads or to fancy up a plate.  If you didn't get them this week, hopefully next week if it's not raining at harvest time!  These are very limited and will only make it to the eat like a farmer share members.  

Notes on the box.

This is the last week for tomatoes.  We had another succession planted but tomatoes don't like the wet weather and we have had quite a lot of that lately.  Disease spread quickly and the second succession died.  It was a pretty good run anyway, we think.  We are sorry that we ran out of time before getting to pick the cherry tomatoes.  Next season!  

Cantaloupe may be under-ripe.  That moisture and the cool temps do not bode well for ripening in the field without going bad, so we made the call to send them your way even though they are aren't quite ready yet.  They should be stored on your counter, not in the fridge.  We are bummed that the flavor of the melons is underwhelming this season.  We are guessing it's because of the extreme amount of rain and cool temps are both things that don't lend well to sweetness and ripening of these crops which originate in desert climates.  When Michael Pollen was on NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me; Paula Poundstone had this to say about cantaloupe "I try to teach my kids to eat healthy food, but you get a cantaloupe, and you don't know when it's going to come of age. You have no idea - that period between when it's like, hard as a rock to when it's smushy inside, is about 10 minutes...And sometimes you got to wake the kids in the middle of the night because the cantaloupe's ready."  Pretty spot on for this season!  Let them hangout on your counter until they smell like ripe cantaloupe and then have at it. Hope it goes well! We have about a 50% success rate here at the farm.  The sweetness and flavor will be better if they are eaten at room temp, not cold from the fridge.  

The greens of the beets are edible and nice on these bunches.   You can add the beet greens to the braising mix  for a big serving of greens.  The beets will store longer if you remove the greens from the beet roots.  Both should be stored in plastic bag in the fridge.  

Please check your peppers to see if they are spicy or sweet before cooking with them.  Slice off a tiny piece and taste.  The spicy peppers are hungarian hot wax or jalapeno. The hot wax peppers are generally smaller, smoother and taper to a shareper point than the sweet peppers.  They start as a lime green pepper and ripen to orange and then bright red.  They have only two lobes, where the sweet peppers have 3 or 4.  See the photos below

Cheese shares.

Ricotta this week and a youngish Asiago style of cheese.  Some members got wedges from smaller wheels that are drier and others got wedges from a lager wheel with a more elastic texture.  This cheese was made in the Spring when the cows were on the Rye grass.  It is about 5 months old, which is still young for a grana style of cheese.  There are a lot of flavors going on in this one!    The rind of this cheese can be cut off and saved to use in a soup stock or to enhance the flavor of sauces.  Here's more about how to do that.  This cheese isn't named yet.  We are waiting to see which cheeses we like the most so that we can focus on perfecting them.  The names for cheeses that we are coming up with are generally related to the night sky and the constillations that your farmer/cheese maker, Rama, sees when she goes out at 4 AM to the aging room, or to cut and wrap cheese, or to make cheese.  A lot of cheese work gets done while kids are asleep and fieldwork is waiting.  Walking from the house to the make room or the aging cave, the night sky is observed and the constillations or stars that are prominent suggest that cheeses should be named after them. Let us know when a cheese stands out to you as one that you like.  We get a lot of feedback at the farmers market and we would love to hear more from our CSA members as well.  

The ricotta looks like a tub of butter.  Gotta love that 100% grass-fed cows milk!  

Recipes.

Beet and Ricotta Terrine with Arugula Salad looks like quite an undertaking.  But maybe worth it if you have time for a project!

Grape, Avocado, and Arugula Salad

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque

 On the farm.   

It's raining a lot!  And the forecast has some cooler temps, so we are pulling things out of the field as quickly as we can.  We have (literal) tons of potatoes to dig, but have not had any dry days to get it done.  We have been sad to see a beautiful stand of spinach wilt and die in the low spots of the field as it drowns in rain.  This seems to be the norm for the fall for the last few seasons.  We are trying to get potatoes out and winter squash harvested.  They will do better out of the field than in the field at this point.  We could really use a week without torrential downpours.  Think dry thoughts for us, please!  

We are so grateful to our crew for allowing us to get off the farm this past weekend to head to a wedding in Iowa.  It's the first weekend since early May that we have gotten to spend together as a family.  We listened to podcasts about farming on the car ride down and gleaned a lot of great information.  Then we had a great time at a water park and got to spend time with family.  We saw some beautiful sunsets and some really amazing spiders that we had never seen before.  It was fun and so valuable to be able to spend some time together.  

When we got back it was time for Otto to begin his first year of school!  We know that some of our members remember pictures of him still in the belly.  How amazing to be able to share the progress of our family and family farm with our CSA members.  The community part of CSA feels very real as we share these milestones and we see yours as well.  We are full of awe and gratitude.

And then we saw some red and yellow leaves on the trees.  We aren't quite ready for it, but it seems that fall is coming anyway!  Don't worry, though.  There's still 4 weeks left of the regular CSA season.  We are looking forward to more broccoli, cabbage, Winter squash, leeks, carrots, and frost sweetened greens.  Soups and roasted veggies.  Yum yum yum.  We also have 4 weeks after the regular CSA ends for our optional season extention share.  Lots of storage veggies to look forward to for those that don't want to stop eating local foods just yet.  We will provide more information about the season extention in the coming weeks.  

Don't forget that we will be having our harvest party on September 26! We really hope that you can make it out.



Week 1 delivery, June 18, 2015

Welcome to our new members and welcome back to our returning members!  We are happy to have the first box of the season out to you.  This is our online newsletter.  It will follow a format each week.  A picture and list of the contents of the weeks box followed by notes about the veggies and storage tips.  Next a few recipes focusing on veggies that you may not be familiar with or that we have in quantity.  Finally, pictures of what's been going on at the farm, musings from your farmers, and news about farm events or announcements.  Your CSA experience will be greatly enhanced if you look at the blog each week!  It will help you feel connected to the farm and use up your veggies.  So here we go...  

What's in the box?

All Shares -

  • herb pot
  • dino kale
  • salad turnips
  • radishes
  • spinach
  • arugula
  • garlic scapes

Medium and Large 

  • pac choi
  • green onions
  • vitamin greens

What's what with the green stuff?!

 

Notes on the box...

 This box has quite a few veggies that might be new to first-time CSA members.  We grew a lot of them after getting positive feedback last season from members.  They were enjoyed and we hope that you like them!  If a lot of these are new to you, we invite you to taste, try, and experiment.  

 Kale should be stored in the fridge in your crisper in an open plastic bag.  It will last for at least a week and likely closer to two.  If it seems a little limp from the heat or from sitting in your fridge too long,  you can soak it in cold water and it will perk back up.  Remove the stems before cooking.  Hearty greens like kale are great simply sautéed in butter or oil with some chopped garlic (or garlic scapes!) until it is bright green.  You can add leaves to smoothies.  Kale can be washed, de-stemmed, blanched and frozen.  If you have tried kale before and thought that you didn’t like it, we encourage you to try it again.  Sometimes people have tasted kale from the heat of summer when it is at its toughest and most bitter.  We won’t give you tough, bitter kale.  If our kids won’t eat it raw, it won’t go in the box! 

Arugula, vitamin greens, and turnip and radish greens should be stored in an open platic bag in your crisper.  They are tender leaves and all make wonderful pestos and additions to salads.  

Radishes These are called french breakfast radishes.  Take the tops off of the radishes and put them in a baggie in your crisper.  The tops are edible as well. You can add your radish tops to stir fry or salads.  Radishes are a great spicy snack and if you've never tried thinly sliced radishes on buttered bread with a little salt, now is the time to try it!  We’ve been enjoying radishes diced small and added as a seasonal replacement to celery in egg salad and pasta salad.  They add a nice crunch and a little spicy flavor.

The lovely white globes are hakuri or Salad Turnips.  The tops of the salad turnips are edible.  They are nice chopped and added to salads or you can saute them.  They are very mild for turnip greens.  The turnips themselves are so sweet and nice sliced and added to a salad.  We rarely do that as we mostly just eat them whole as snacks.  They can also be sauteed or roasted, but try them fresh first!  

Bok Choi is perfect for stir fry.  The key to good pak choi is to cook it briefly (we add it to the very end of a stir fry) so that the stems stay crunchy and the greens aren't mushy.  Try it!  Last season it was almost unanimous in our survey that people trying it for the first time liked it, so here we have it! 

Green Onions and Garlic Scapes can be paired together where you would use green onions.  Or you can substitute the scapes for green onions.  The garlic scape is the flowering part of the garlic plant.  We pull the scape off to enjoy before the garlic bulb is ready.  Pulling the scape off helps the bulb size up more.  The scapes can be made into a pesto, chopped and added to scrambled eggs or salads, or put into a vase and enjoyed for its beauty (before you eat it).  They can also be grilled or roasted whole till tender.  If you are intimidated by them you can keep them in your crisper drawer until you work up the courage to eat them, as they won’t go bad for a long time. 

Recipes

 

Garlic Scape and Arugula Pesto

several garlic scapes, cut into bits
1/2  bunch arugula (or spinach, kale, or turnip greens) chopped
1/2 c seeds or nuts (optional)
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1/4 – 1/3 c olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon (or more)
1/2 t  salt
1/2 t chili pepper flakes

Combine the garlic scapes, arugula, nuts, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times. Let the machine run and slowly pour in half the amount of oil along with the lemon juice, salt and chili flakes. Slowly add the remaining oil until you’ve reached a good consistency (you may not need all the oil). Store in a lidded jar in the fridge for a week or freeze in small jars. Serve with pasta, spread on sandwiches, mixed into eggs, drizzled onto pizza, tossed with roasted potatoes.... 

Goodness Greenness Pasta

  • pasta of your choice
  • 1 bunch garlic scape cut into 1 inch pieces
  • avocado
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • fresh parsley, thyme, and/ or mint chopped
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup sour cream, quark, cream cheese, chevre, or greek yogurt
  • olive oil
  • spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 salad turnips, thinly sliced
  • chopped arugula, vitamin green, turnip greens, and/or spinach
  • salt and pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook 6 minutes. Add the garlic scapes and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Drain.
  2. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: Add the avocado, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, and fresh herbs to a food processor or blender. Process on high for 20-30 seconds, or until smooth. Scrape into a small bowl and stir in the sour cream or your choice of creamy dairy. Set aside.
  3. Heat a little oil in a large pan set over medium heat. Add the spring onion and turnips and cook 2-3 minutes, or until soft. Add the arugula (and/ or other greens) and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until the greens are wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked pasta, garlic scapes, and sauce. Stir to combine; season with salt and pepper.

 

Radiant bok choi, adapted from Vegetable Love

  • 1-2 heads of bok choi and a bunch of turnip greens or vitamin greens
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • fresh ginger, minced
  • A few mushrooms (shiitake or oyster are best), de-stalked and caps sliced
  • Tamari or umeboshi vinegar 
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  1. Cut base from bok choi, seperate leaves and wash well.  Wash additional greens well and chop roughly.  
  2. Add the turmeric, sea salt, coconut milk and ginger in a lidded frying pan. Bring to a boil, cover and turn the heat down to medium. Simmer for 3 minutes.  Add bok choi and simmer 3 more minnutes with lid on. 
  3. Add the mushrooms, stir, and cover again. Simmer for 6 minutes.  
  4. Add aditional greens and cook til wilted.  
  5. Serve over rice with a little tamari or umeboshi vinegar and squeeze of lime.  

 

Cheese Shares!

Welcome to our cheese share members!  We have been really busy with getting this part of the farm up and running.  WOW!  We will tell you more about it in the coming weeks.  for now, we will let you know that the aged cheeses are ripening and so the first few weeks we will get to enjoy some fresh cheese. If you would like to add a cheese share, please contact us and we will be happy to pro-rate a share for you.  This week...

  • Cheese curds
  • Quark

These are cheddar cheese curds.  A Wisconsin classic.  If you like squeaky curds, allow them to warm up and the squeak will return.  If you don't like squeaky cheese, you can have them cold or let them age for a few weeks in the fridge.  At market we noticed that a lot of people said they don't like their cheese to squeak, but they still love these curds!  Curds are most commonly eaten just as they are as a snack.  They are also very popular fried (Dana likes to make a little batter out of flour, egg, a little baking powder salt and pepper then pan fries them in a little bit of oil.  SO yummy!)  And we love to float them in a vegetable or lentil soup!  We just throw them in at the end and they become soft while still holding their shape.  

The quark cheese is a type of fresh cheese very common in Europe.  It is versitile and can be enjoyed fresh or used in baking where you would cream cheese, but it has a slightly more tangy flavor.  We have made a garlic scape and arugula pesto and drizzled it over the quark and spread that on crackers or bread.  It's also nice on a baguette with thinly sliced radish and black pepper.  And a good friend suggests using it in a sauce for mac and cheese.  Hope you enjoy it!  

Want to see a cool time lapse video of boxes being packed??  Click the link at the bottom of the blog that goes to our facebook page to check it out!

First delivery information for new members: 

We are so happy to be your farmers!  Thanks for signing up.  A few things to remember to make your Summer of vegetables more enjoyable: 

1. Don't forget to pick up your box! We send an email when your box is delivered.  Picking up sooner on hot days will help keep your veggies fresh longer.  Always only take veggies from the box with your name on the label.  If you are unable to pick up, let your host know so that they may hold it for you until you can pick up or even better, arrange to have a friend or neighbor pick up your box.  Certain dropsites (such as the co-ops) are sometimes unable to hold your share.  If you have any problems or questions, please contact your host or the farm as soon as you can. 

2. If you are splitting a box it is your responsibility to decide how to divide the share.  Some members alternate weeks picking up.  Some members get together and decide who gets what.  Some members cook dinner together and then split up what wasn't used.  It's up to you!

3. We wash greens and lettuce before delivering them, but we suggest another rinse just in case of lingering dirt or sand.  

4. Some veggies hold for a long time, and others have a shorter shelf life.  When deciding what to cook, keep this is mind to get you box used up!  For certain crops such as tomatoes, we try to pack some of varied ripeness so that you have some to use earlier in the week and some to use later.  Try to use up veggies from the previous week before getting your next box so that you don't get overwhelmed and veggies don't get lost. 

5. Be sure to read storage tips to get the best flavor and value from your veggies.  Little things, like taking the tops off of radishes and carrots or putting a head of lettuce in a plastic bag will make these veggies hold a lot better. 

6. If you have any questions or issues or comments or suggestions, contact us.  We will do our best to get back to you right away.

 

Next week...

  • head lettuce
  • peas!
  • radishes
  • turnips
  • green onions 
  • garlic scapes
  • broccoli?