What's in the share this week?
See the end of the newsletter for the list of veggies and their storage information!
Days to Maturity
Enough of our CSA members have asked that we decided to grow beans this year. This was a crop that we didn't anticipate putting in during our first season because harvesting them is labor intensive and we weren't sure how many people-hours we'd be able to manage with just the two of us.
Seth prepped beds and seeded them in week 9, and last weekend's hot weather made them pop out of the ground, unfurling their baby leaves.
Beans are one of my favorite crops, so it's no skin off my back to have them in abundance. But for our CSA, we calculated backwards from the end of the share to see if we had enough time to grow them. When Seth planted them, there were 8 more weeks of CSA pickups. The variety that we picked says it's 50 days until maturity. That's 50 days from planting to harvest. So if we have 8 more weeks of pickups, we should be able to squeeze in some beans for you on the last share, or maybe a week earlier. That's our hope, and we're crossing our fingers that the weather holds for them to grow.
Days to maturity is usually a suggestion because everyone's climates are different, but it's valuable information for our planning purposes for exactly this reason. Back in January when we were planning crops and buying seeds, we looked at days to maturity and entered that information into our spreadsheets. We figured out how long the crop would last, how many times people would want the crop in their CSA share, and what kind of labor that would mean for us in which week of the growing season. Of course, much of that has gone out the window what with weather and equipment availability and childcare availability! But planning for as many possibilities as we can is how we get through the season. May our beans grow!
Farmer Christine's Field Notes
I can't believe I'm saying this, but our cucumber plants are done. We spent a day at the start of last week removing them from the field. We had put our cucumber plants in landscape fabric, so it was no trouble to pull the old plants up, pile them into the tractor, and drive them down to the compost pile. We rolled up the landscape fabric, organized our floating row cover, rolled up our irrigation drip tape, and called those beds good. Seth took some time to harrow the beds after putting down some organic fertilizer and minerals, and seeded carrots directly into those cucumber beds. Yum! They popped by the weekend. Now that's what I call field turnover.
I spent a little time seeding trays of cabbage and kohlrabi in the greenhouse and moving a few other trays around. It's hard getting lettuces to germinate in a hot greenhouse so I put them outside and I'm crossing my fingers that last week's hot weather didn't hurt us too much.
Seth spent a bunch of time in the tomato greenhouse. We procured some blacklight flashlights, and one night Seth went hunting for hornworms. He found dozens and dozens of them: big ones, tiny ones, and even one that had been colonized by a parasitic wasp and had the wasp's cocoons sprouting down its back. Check out this alien-looking creature:
The rest of the week was spent in harvesting and moving irrigation to water our newly seeded crops. We went to two farmers markets again on Saturday, and it was hot! We're in the midst of tomato season now; if you want any extra tomatoes with your share, we've got loads of canning tomatoes now as well as the heirlooms and slicers. And if you know of anyone who wants some, send'em our way.
Week 11 Announcements
We're getting our chickens this week, and there's bound to be a hiccup with egg collecting and distribution. If you want us to reserve you some eggs to be sure you get them, speak now! We'll set a dozen or more aside for you to collect with your share.
Week 11 CSA Recipes
Members can download these recipes as a PDF here. 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!
Crispy Hash Browns (Diner-style)
Ciabatta Egg Sandwich with Tomato Jam
Pink Beet Pancakes
Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad
Grilled Vegetable Salad
Summer Veggie Chili
Fresh Corn and Potato Chowder
Mexican Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Carrot Whiskey Cocktail
Contest-winning Chocolate Potato Cake
Vegetable List and Storage Information
BABY 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.
BEETS - Beets come in many colors -- red, gold, striped. You can eat the green tops too! To store: If your beets still have greens attached, cut them off, leaving an inch of stem. Store the beet roots, with the rootlets (or "tails") attached, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks. To prep: Just before cooking, scrub beets well and remove any scraggly leaves and rootlets. If your recipe calls for raw beets, peel them with a knife or a veggie peeler, then grate or cut them according to the recipe. To remove the skins, you can roast them in foil or boil them, and the peels will slip right off. To freeze: Boil or bake beets until done. Cool them in ice water or let them come to room temperature. Remove peels. Trim the beets into 1/4 inch slices or keep them whole (if they are small). Place in Ziplock freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Seal and freeze.
CARROTS - Carrots are sweetest in the fall and winter when they start to store their sugars in the root! To store: Refrigerate these carrots in a plastic bag. You can also store them in a bin of water (like celery) to keep them crisp, hanging out the water every few days. Save the tops in a plastic bag. To prep: Organic carrots don’t need to be peeled. Boil 2-inch cubed carrots in rapidly boiling salt water, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes. To freeze: Blanch cut coins for 3 minutes in boiling salt water, dunk in cold ice water for 3 minutes, drain, let dry, and pack in airtight container.
EGGPLANT - Eggplant is a close relative of tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. They are smooth-skinned, oval to elongated, and range in color from white, to black to purple to pink! To store: Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not plastic) to absorb any moisture, and keep it in the veggie drawer of your refrigerator. Or store unrefrigerated at a cool room temperature. Use within a week and it should still be fresh and mild. To prep: Eggplant is usually peeled. The flesh will brown when exposed to air. To prevent browning, coat in lemon juice or keep submerged in water. To use: Brush 1/2-inch to 1-inch slices of eggplant with olive oil or melted butter and broil or grill until brown. It also makes an excellent baba-ganoush dip. Casserole: chop eggplant into cubes. Layer in a Pyrex dish with tomatoes, onions, mozzarella, and basil. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and bake at 400 F for 25 minutes. To freeze: Peel and cut into slices 1/3-inch thick. Blanch for 2 minutes in steam. Cool immediately in cold water. Package in layers with each slice separated with two pieces of wrap.
HEAD LETTUCE - To store: Store unwashed lettuce in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. To store lettuce that you have already washed and dried with a spinner, place back in a plastic bag with a dry paper towel in the bag, and place the package in the vegetable crisper bin. Use within 4 days. To prep: Slice the head at its base with a knife and let the leaves fall open. Discard any damaged or leathery outer leaves and tear large leaves into bite-size pieces. Wash leaves in a basin of cold water. Dry in a salad spinner. To freeze: Not recommended.
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.
PARSLEY - 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. The stem can be used to flavor soups and stews too. To dry: Place a piece of paper towel on a glass plate. Layer the parsley evenly around the plate being sure not to overlap. Cover with another piece of paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Leaves will be dry. Crinkle them with your finger and place them in a dry container, such as a Mason jar with a lid. To freeze: Chop parsley finely and freeze in ice cube trays with water. Pop out frozen cubes and freeze in a freezer bag.
POTATOES - We have partnered with a neighboring farmer in Springfield to bring you these potatoes, grown using only organic methods. 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 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.
SCALLIONS - To store: Chop off the top inch of the tender green tips and stand the scallions in an inch of water in a tall container covered loosely with a Ziplock bag, refreshing the water every 3 days. To prep: Remove roots. Chop the leaves and stem before cooking. To use: You can eat the entire scallion. Rinse scallions in cold water and snip off anything that’s floppy. Use chopped scallions as a garnish; they are less pungent. The minced greens of scallions are a good substitute for chives. Use them in stir-fry. Use scallions in almost any recipe calling for onions, raw or cooked. They are excellent in soups and stew. To freeze: Chop into desired size and place on cookie sheet and freeze. Then pop into a Ziplock baggie and store in the freezer. You can even freeze the green tops!
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.
TOMATOES - To store: Do not refrigerate tomatoes. Store them at room temperature out of the sun stem side down. Putting them in a paper bag will accelerate the ripening process. Heirloom tomatoes will have strange shapes and cracks. These are highly perishable and
should be eaten within 1-2 days. To prep: If you’ll be cooking tomatoes, consider removing the skins so they don’t float around in your dish. To do so, score the end of the tomato with an “X,” dunk whole tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds, lift out with slotted spoon, plunge into ice water, and the skins will slide off. To freeze: Tomatoes can be frozen whole with the skin on. The skins will slide right off when they thaw. Simply pop the washed tomatoes whole into a Ziplock bag. Thawed tomatoes are appropriate only for cooking sauces, salsas, or purees.