Updated: Aug 30, 2022
What's in the share this week?
See the end of the newsletter for the list of veggies and their storage information!
There's talk in organic circles about regenerative farming, which is the act of farming so that you're building up the soil instead of wearing it out. In a nutshell, soil that is built up, i.e. has a high organic matter content, is better able to withstand weather extremes and grows more nutrient dense vegetables. That's one of the reasons why vegetables grown with care taste better than vegetables you can find at a big box store.
So how does a farmer practice regenerative farming? Here are the basics:
Biodiversity: grow a wide variety of crops so that the soil is never exhausted by growing the same thing over and over again. This includes different vegetables but also using cover crops in the fall and winter to help the soil rest and avoid runoff from the freeze/thaw cycle, and insectary plants to promote a range of insects and birds on your farm.
Decrease tillage: stop or reduce churning up the soil with a tiller so you retain the soil's natural structure. This promotes microbial life within the soil which makes for healthy plants, and it means the soil can better sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in plant roots.
Reduce or eliminate artificial fertilizers to give the soil's natural mineral balance a chance to self regulate. This also avoids fertilizer runoff into watersheds, making for a healthier ecosystem as a whole.
Where applicable, use planned grazing for livestock that mimics the way animals graze in nature. Plants are used to this type of grazing and will grow healthier because of both the grazing and the fertilization that comes with it.
It's this last bullet that we've been working on this week. Animal inputs are an essential part of regenerative agriculture because they help build up the soil so much faster than the previous three bullets combined. We're thinking about ways of using our new chickens around the farm. We don't have the infrastructure available yet to graze them in our fields, but I'd like to use the compost they generate to feed the soil on our crops. My hope for the short term is that we can add wood chips yearly to the chicken pen and then as the chicken manure and wood chips compost, we can scoop that off and use it where needed. My long term goal is to use the chickens and goats to eat down the cover crops in our fields before we close the fields down for the winter. We'll need electric net fencing to get this done, like what we've got on our Amazon wishlist. The manure from the chickens and goats will break down over the winter and fertilize the fields, while the grazing action stimulates the plants to grow as much as possible and sequester more carbon dioxide in the soil before the plants die for the winter.
All dreams are possible with time! We'll keep working towards our long term goals, and in the meantime practice those first three bullets so we can make the land as healthy as the way we eat.
Farmer Christine's Field Notes
We spent most of our fieldwork time last week working on the chicken coop and chicken yard in preparation for our chickens that arrived last week. The outside of the coop isn't pretty yet, but the inside is predator proof and has our homemade rollaway nesting boxes. This chickens have a large fenced yard that we're planning to cover in wood chips. We signed up for a free Chip Drop in hopes that wood chips will just appear at the farm one day. The chickens will have supervised free range time until we can get a moveable electric net fence.
We got our chickens on Wednesday night after dark because chickens are easy to catch when they roost for the night. The neighbor who gave them to us put them into cardboard boxes and Seth drove our market van over to get them. We were so rushed getting the chickens that we didn't think to count them, but our neighbor told us there were 28, including 3 roosters. We put them into the coop, and the next morning when we let them out, we realized that there were in fact 33 chickens, and 2 were roosters! We had to increase the size of their pen to accommodate them all.
The rest of the week was spent harvesting for our double farmers markets on Saturday. We're finding that we have some regulars as both markets now, including one who brought me a squash recipe she loves to make. I love interactions like this. Meeting people and talking about food is one of the nicest ways to get to know someone. We only have three more weeks of guaranteed booth space at the Norwich farmers market before we switch to being a backup vendor for the last six weeks of the summer market. Gotta make these last few weeks count!
Week 12 Announcements
We have a limited amount of our own eggs available this week! Our chickens are fed organic, soy-free grain and we're selling the eggs for $5 a dozen. Huck is happy to vouch for their tastiness, he eats one egg every morning for breakfast.
Week 12 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!
Savory French Toast with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
Arugula Scramble with Kale Pesto
Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic
Honeycrisp Salad with Crispy Sage and Maple Vinaigrette
Avocado and Marinated Kale Salad Sandwich
Veggie & Hummus Sandwich
Basil Roasted Eggplant with Heirloom Tomatoes
Easy Bean Burger with Mustard Mayo
Churrasco Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce
Zucchini Potato Casserole
Easy Shakshuka with Feta
Honey Sage Bourbon Cocktail
Apple Pie with Kale and Lemon Pastry
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.
BROADLEAF MESCLUN - A delicious mix of different varieties of lettuces. 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: Wash leaves in a basin of cold water. Dry in a salad spinner. To freeze: Not recommended.
CABBAGE - To store: Place dry, unwashed cabbage heads in the refrigerator, preferably in the vegetable bin. The outer leaves may eventually get floppy or yellowish, but they can be removed and discarded to reveal fresh inner leaves. Store for up to 3 months! To prep: Rinse the cabbage under cold water before use. Cut cabbage head first into quarters, then diagonally across the wedge. Be sure to remove the stem end and triangular core near the base. To use: Eat raw in salads, steamed, braised or fried. Turn raw cabbage into coleslaw or sauerkraut. Roast cabbage steaks/slices at 400 F drizzled with olive oil and salt. Or try stir-frying shredded cabbage in olive oil until wilted with a little bit of minced garlic. To freeze: Choose how to cut your heads based on your end use. 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 based on your portions you plan to use, and remove as much air as possible. Put in freezer.
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.
CHERRY TOMATOES - To store: Do not refrigerate tomatoes. Store them at room temperature out of the sun. Putting them in a paper bag will accelerate the ripening process. To prep: Wash. Remove the stem top. 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.
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.
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.
SAGE - To store: Roll sprig in a damp paper towel and place it in a resealable plastic bag. Or stand your sage stems up like a bouquet of flowers in a drinking glass or jar with about an inch of water inside. To dehydrate: Place stems evenly on a paper-towel-lined glass plate. Cover with another paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Leaves will be dry. Strip them off the stem with your finger and place them in a Mason jar with a lid. To use: Strip leaves from woody stem with your fingers. Mince leaves to release their flavor. Or add whole sprigs into the cavity of a chicken. To freeze: One frozen herb cube is equal to 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried herb. Just add a cube when your recipe calls for the herb. To prepare herbs for freezing: Chop the leaves coarsely. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the herb into each compartment of an ice cube tray, add about 1 inch of water to each compartment, and place the tray in the freezer. Remove the frozen herb cubes from the trays and bundle all the cubes in a plastic freezer 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.