What's in the share this week?
There's more than in this picture! See the end of the newsletter for the full list of veggies and their storage information.
Farmer Christine's Field Notes
Welcome to the last week of the 2023 CSA! We have had such an amazing season growing vegetables for you all. Thank you for being a part of something that is special to us.
This past week we had help with the beaver situation between our front field and our back field. Our property is a part of the VT snowmobile network of trails, and the local snowmobile association connected us with someone who is an expert at removing beavers from culverts. Every day for the last week-ish this expert has been on the property setting traps and mucking out the beavers' dam. And on the way out, he has been chatting with me while I'm in the chicken yard, wearing my pajamas, feeding the chickens. You get all kinds of experiences on a farm.
Our farmers market continues for another few weeks, so we'll be there! We traded vegetables with another local farmer to give us potatoes and winter squash for the CSA this week, and any extras will head up to the farmers market this weekend. We're looking forward to it, and then to a season of rest. If you're interested in signing up for the CSA next summer, be on the lookout for our emails in December and January. We will have a special sign-up period for returning CSA members, so that way we can guarantee you all have the first shot at getting a CSA share before we sell out next year. Is it strange that I'm already crop planning for next year? Of course not! It's farming!
Week 16 CSA Recipes
These recipes are designed to inspire you to use your share this week. Please check inside our private Facebook group to find your fellow members sharing ideas for what to make with their veggies!
Vegetable List and Storage Information
Arugula - Arugula has a peppery, slightly bitter flavor. It is stronger than most lettuces, so it’s often paired with other greens. Mature arugula has sturdy leaves, whereas baby arugula tends to be more tender and milder in flavor. Hotter weather makes for spicier leaves. To store: Arugula is highly perishable. Store in the fridge inside a perforated plastic bag. If you decide to wash it first, be sure to spin the leaves dry before placing them loosely into a Green Bag with a dry paper towel to absorb the moisture. To freeze: Blanch leaves in boiling water or steam for two minutes, followed by soaking in ice water. Remove from ice water and drain well. Freeze "balls" of arugula on a cookie sheet in individual portions. When frozen, pop them into a Ziploc bag.
Celery - Farm-fresh celery often includes skinnier stalks than what you'd find at the grocery stores. They are celery flavor bombs! To store: You can wrap your celery tightly in foil and place it in the fridge. This will keep it crisp for weeks. If you don't want to use foil, try chopping the celery into smaller stalks and putting them in a bowl of water in the fridge. To prep: Rinse well. Cut a half-inch off the base. Cut the tops off the celery. Save these for your freezer scrap bag and make broth later! You can also save the tops and use them for salads, for dried herbs, or DIY celery salt. To freeze: Freezing celery is not recommended. But if you do so, you'll need to use it for soups as it will lose its crispness. Chop celery to desired size. Blanch in boiling hot water for 3 minutes. Plunge into ice water for 3 minutes. Drain. Lay celery on a cookie sheet and flash freeze in a freezer. Place frozen celery into a Ziplock container.
Cilantro - Cilantro looks like parsley, but has a strong smell and flavor. It is used in ethnic cuisine — Asian, Indian, and Mexican (especially salsa). Since it doesn’t stand up to much heat, it is usually added to a dish right before serving. This plant grows in cool weather conditions, so you won’t see it in the heat of the summer months. To store: For short-term storage, stand upright in a container with an inch of water. Then cover the herbs loosely with a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. To prep: Chop the stem and leaves with a butcher knife. The stems and flowers can be eaten too. To freeze: Mince well. Place Ziploc freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Seal and freeze.
Dill - To store: For short-term storage, stand upright in a container with an inch of water. Then cover the herbs loosely with a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. To prep: Chop the leaves and stem before cooking. To cook: Use dill as a standard in pickling. It also combines well with green beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, parsnips, potatoes, spinach, cucumber, squash, eggplant, and eggs. To freeze: Trim off the long stem ends leaving only an inch attached to the feathery foliage. Place a couple of sprigs together inside a resealable plastic freezer bag; press out all of the air and seal. When you need fresh dill for a recipe, remove the frozen sprig and snip off what you need while still frozen. Do not let it thaw.
Fennel, baby size - Both the fronds and the bulb are edible. Fennel has a distinct licorice taste. To store: Cut off the stalks where they emerge from the bulb, and if you want to use the feathery foliage as an herb, place the dry stalks upright in a glass filled with two inches of water. Cover the glass loosely with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for few days. The unwashed bulb may be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator drawer for 2 weeks.
To prep: Remove the tip base of the white bulb. Cut off the stalks. Chop or mince the stems and leaves for garnish or seasoning. To use: Try fennel raw: brush raw slices with olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve as an appetizer. Use the fernlike tops as a licorice-flavored herb or garnish. Use the stems in soup stocks in place of celery. Grill, braise, or roast fennel. The feathery leaves are great on baked or broiled fish with butter and lemon. To freeze: Cut bulb into quarters and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Then plunge into ice water for 1 minute. Drain and freeze in Ziplock bags.
Kale - Kale is a member of the brassica family. Kale comes in blue-green, reddish green, and red varieties and may have flat or curly leaves. All types of kale have thick stems. It has a mild cabbage flavor when cooked. To store: Place kale unwashed, wrapped in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Best used very fresh, but may last for a week. To prep: Wash leaves in basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. If your greens have thick stems, you must remove them. Fold each leaf in half and slice out the stem. Then stack the leaves up and slice them diagonally into 1-inch-wide strips. To use: Sauté in olive oil. Use in soups, spaghetti sauce, pesto, quiche, or kale chips. You can also eat the stems. To freeze: Blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold ice water to stop the cooking process, drain, and pack into airtight containers. Stems can also be frozen.
Leeks - To store: Cut off the green tops (save those greens and put them in your veggie freezer bag to make veggie stock). Loosely wrap unwashed leek bottoms (with roots attached) in a plastic bag and store them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator where they will keep for 2 weeks. To prep: Cut the leek about 1 inch above the white part, where the leaves begin changing from dark to light green. Save the unused greens; they’ll give great flavor to your next vegetable stock. Slit the leek lengthwise and soak it in lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Fan the leaves under running water to dislodge dirt, then pat dry. chop the white part of the allium finely. To use: Use leeks in salads, casseroles and soups or wherever you'd use onions. They can be braised, boiled grilled, or steamed. To freeze: Cut the white parts of the leek into slices and flash freeze in Ziplock bags.
Melons - Watermelon has dark green skin. Some varieties have speckles or light green stripes on the outside, and the inside can be pink or yellow but it always crisp, tender, sweet, and hydrating. To store: Refrigerate watermelon right away. They do not ripen off the vine or emanate a ripe smell. Cut melon should be covered in plastic wrap, and chunks or slices should be kept in an air-tight container. Eat melons within a week. To prep: Using a big knife, cut melon in half, then cut into quarters or slices. To use: Use in salads or eat it raw in slices. Blend watermelon, water, and sugar or honey for a refreshing aqua fresca.
Napa Cabbage - Napa or Chinese cabbage has tall crinkly leaves, and the heads are not as tightly wrapped as the regular kind of cabbage. To store: Place whole in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use quickly before the leaves yellow. To prep: To prepare the entire head at once, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the core, and chop as desired. You can slice the leaves from the stem. Chop the stems and use them in stir fry. To use: Napa is great sliced and sautéed with onions and garlic. It goes well in a stir fry or soup. For a caramelized flavor, cut the cabbage into wedges and roast them until the cabbage is tender. Or slice in half and grill the entire wedge until charred. To freeze: Cut into quarters, wedges, or shred it. Cook in boiling pot of water for 90 seconds. Douse in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the cabbage and dry as much as possible. Place in Ziplock freezer bags and remove as much air as possible.
Parsnips - Parsnips have a nutty-sweet taste and a tender-hearty texture. Due to a very long growing season, parsnips are not available until late fall, and improve in sweetness
after exposure to frost. To store: Trim off parsnip tops and refrigerate unwashed in a loosely-wrapped, or perforated plastic bag for 2 weeks in the crisper drawer. To prep: Young parsnips don't need to be peeled. Simply scrub them under cold running water. Larger parsnips should be peeled, and you can cut out the core if it seems woody. To use: Boil 1-inch chunks for 8 minutes until tender, then season with butter or oil, salt, and pepper for a side dish. Grate parsnips raw into salads or cut into sticks for dipping. Bake them in a cake or quick bread. Sauté them with butter and parsley, roast with whole cloves or unpeeled garlic, or puree well-boiled parsnips. Add them into soups. Bake or roast with other root veggies on a cookie sheet with olive oil. To freeze: Blanch peeled 1-inch chunks for 2-3 minutes, run under cold water, drain, and pack into Ziplock freezer bags.
Potatoes - To store: Keep unwashed potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard. They will keep for two weeks at room temperature. Light turns them green, and proximity to onions causes them to sprout. Don’t put them in the refrigerator, as low temperatures convert the starch to sugars. To prep: Scrub well and cut off any sprouts or green skin. Peeling is a matter of preference. In soups, the skins may separate from the flesh and float in the broth, but when baked, pan- fried or roasted, the skins acquire a crisp, crunchy texture. To cook: Boil potatoes in water for 20-30 minutes until tender. If desired, mash them. Use potatoes in soups, hash browns, and salads. Roast sliced or whole small potatoes with fresh herbs, salt, and olive oil at 400 degrees until tender, about 20 minutes. To freeze: Cool cooked or mashed potatoes and freeze them in a Ziplock bag.
Salad Turnips - (Save the greens to eat too!) Turnips are a root vegetable, related to arugula and radishes, which are members of the mustard family. Large or old turnips can be unpleasantly “hot” if not cooked properly or combined with the proper vegetables (like potatoes), but younger and salad turnips add great zip to dishes. They are best in the fall or spring, when they are small and sweet. To store: Remove the greens from the turnips and store in a plastic bag to use within 3 days. The turnip roots should be stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge for up to a week. To prep: Cut off the green tops (which can be eaten as well). Wash and cut the white roots into wedges or slices. To cook: Serve raw with dip in a veggie tray. Or grate and add them to a salad. Turnips are delicious when roasted with other root vegetables (like carrot, potatoes, rutabaga, garlic). Add a turnip or two to your favorite mashed potato recipe. Or add them into soups and stews. To freeze: Blanch for 3 minutes in hot boiling water. Cool in ice water for 3 minutes, drain and pack into freezer containers or freezer bags.
Summer Squash/Zucchini - Summer squash is a general term for 70 different types of fast- growing, tender-skinned, soft-fleshed squash. Zucchini is the most famous, followed by yellow squash (either straight or crookneck), and scallops (or patty pan) which look like flying saucers. If you get a giant-sized zucchini, use it for making zucchini bread. It will be too tough and seedy for other recipes. To store: Store squash unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable bin. In the refrigerator they keep for about a week. To prep: Rinse under water to remove the dirt or prickles, and slice off the stem and blossom ends. Then slice or chop. Scrape out seeds from baseball bat sized zucchinis before using them to bake. To use: Slice tender, young summer squash raw into salads. Try them in stir-fry or with pasta. Lightly steam (4-5 minutes) and dress them with fresh herbs or pesto. Or coat squash lightly in oil and roast at 350 degrees whole or sliced in half for 15-45 minutes. Stuff whole squash with your favorite stuffings. Bread them and make zuke fries. To freeze: You can freeze grated zucchini for use in breads and muffins. Squeeze as much liquid out as possible before adding to the freezer bag.
Swiss Chard - Swiss chard has expansive, pocketed leaves with stems in a spectrum of colors: red, white, green, yellow. We think the green variety has the best flavor. It is actually in the beet family but doesn't develop a bulb. Its leaves are more tender and delicate than other greens. Eat small leaves raw in salads and blanch or steam larger leaves. You can freeze chard for recipes later To store: Keep dry, unwashed greens in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. To prep: Wash leaves in basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. Remove the thicker stems by folding the leaves down the center and cutting out the stem. Stack several leaves on top of each other and slice into 1-inch wide ribbons. To use: Add uncooked greens to a mixed green salad. Steam stem pieces 8-10 minutes, and leaves 4-6 minutes. Or sauté greens until tender in a large sauté pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic or onion. Watch for color to brighten as this signals they are done. Serve cooked chard alone as a side dish or use them in soup or with pasta, beans, rice, or potatoes. Chard also goes great in stir-fries or in any recipe calling for spinach. To freeze: Blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and freeze.
Winter Squash - One of these varieties: Honey nut, acorn, delicata. These squashes are harvested in the fall and have sweet orange flesh. It's best not to eat the skin of the first two varieties, but delicata skin is tender enough to be edible. To store: Store in a cool, dry, dark place at around 50 degrees, but make sure they do not freeze. Under the best conditions, they should keep for 3-4 months. They get sweeter in storage as the starch converts to sugar. To use: To bake, slice in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place facedown on cookie sheet. Add 1/2 inch of water to pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until shells are soft and starting to collapse. Remove from shells, and fill with butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, seasoning or fillings. To freeze: Pour pureed squash into ice cube trays and freeze. Pop the frozen cubes into freezer Ziplock bags.