What's in the share this week?
There's more than in these pictures! See the end of the newsletter for the full list of veggies and their storage information.
Farmer Seth's Field Notes
Last week was all about the harvest for us. Our weekly harvest for CSA and farmers market takes up quite a bit of time, but we also began building our second walk-in cooler for our vegetables. We can barely fit all of our vegetables into our first walk-in cooler, so having a second will give us a little bit of ease and also allow us to store our veggies at two different temperatures. Potatoes do best at a temperature of 50 degrees, for example, and so do tomatoes. While we aren't growing potatoes, it would be nice to buy some for the CSA in bulk quantities and have a place to put them where they won't sprout immediately.
Our cooler consists of 3" insulated metal panels for the ceiling, and 4.5" insulation sheets for the walls and door. We cool our veggies using an air conditioner that has a device called a CoolBot to override its low temperature settings. We're still in the walls phase of building the second cooler, but it's coming along nicely, and working in the barn was a good respite from the 90 degree afternoons in the fields.
Our famers market was another success, thanks in large part to the green tomato salsa verde Christine made, and the watermelons and cantaloupes that we brought. Some of the larger watermelons are topping out at 20 lbs.!
Week 11 Announcements
We will have a limited amount of eggs for sale this week. Please ask at CSA pickup if you would like a dozen.
Week 11 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.
Baby Kale Iron Man Mix - This is a blend of three different types of kale, all of them tiny, tender, and delicious. Treat this like you would arugula. To store: Spin water out of leaves and store in a plastic Ziploc bag with a dry paper towel inside to absorb moisture. To prep: chop or mince leaves and stems together. To cook: Add uncooked kale to to a mixed green salad, or use in place of lettuce when you want a heartier flavor in a dish. Mix with other milder greens and sauté until tender in a covered pot or large sauté pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic or onion. Baby kale is done once wilted, which should only take a minute or two.
Basil - To store: Basil is very sensitive to cold. Keep basil in its plastic bag in the warmest part of your fridge (typically in the door). If basil gets too cold, it will turn black. To prep: Mince well. Add to butter, cream cheese, or your favorite pasta sauce. Make a batch of pesto with pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil, salt, and garlic. To dehydrate: Remove leaves from stem and place on a piece of paper towel on a glass plate. Cover with another piece of paper towel. Microwave plate 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: Basil does not freeze well. Instead, make a batch of pesto and freeze it flat in Ziploc bags.
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.
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.
Lettuce Mix - 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.
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.
Radishes - (Save the greens to eat too!) To store: Remove radish leaves if they are still attached. Store the unwashed greens in a loosely wrapped plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. Store radish roots unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 1 week. To prep: Scrub radishes well. Trim off the stem and rootlets. To use: Eat radishes raw with a sprinkle of salt. Slice radishes into matchsticks or grate them and add to slaws and salads. Try small young radish leaves in salads or scrambled eggs. Blanch whole radishes in boiling salt water for 5-10 minutes, or steam them until just tender, 8-12 minutes. Top with butter, salt, and pepper or with a vinaigrette. They’re also great grilled and pickled. Radish greens are slightly hairy and are best cooked or blanched.
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.
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.
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.
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 different colors, 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.