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
Last week we had an eventful week. We received notice that there was an issue with our well and spent much of the week working on a resolution so that we had enough water to wash the vegetables -- we use upwards of 200 gallons per wash, which means at least 400 gallons of water per week. Thankfully, we have the well problem resolved, which included a couple of visits to the health department and changing out the flow valve on our well's pressure tank. With that taken care of, we can get back to work on the second walk-in cooler.
A hunter also came out to the farm to help us with the deer situation. It was not the first solution we thought of, but we continue to sustain heavy losses in our kale and in some of our other crops that we had hoped to have available at this point. Funnily enough the deer eat the purple kale before the green curly kale, and seem to prefer the dinosaur kale the least. They very much enjoy kohlrabi as well, so if you ever feel like you want to attract deer to your yard, I have some tips for you!
I taught a class on how to harvest and use herbs at the Library on Thursday, which was a lot of fun. SAPA TV was there filming, which means the video will be out soon if you'd like to see the highlights of the program.
Our market was the same day that Hurricane Lee blew through with strong gusts of wind that made for a breezy Fall-ish day. The Norwich Farmers Market has many committed regulars who showed up in force and gave us another solid showing.
Week 12 Announcements
I've had a few CSA members ask how long the CSA goes to. We have 16 weeks of veggies for you across this farming season, so after this week there are 4 weeks left! If you've been enjoying the CSA, please consider leaving us a Google review or a Facebook review. And thank you!
We will have a limited amount of eggs for sale this week. Please ask at CSA pickup if you would like a dozen.
Week 12 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!
Ikarian Longevity Stew (one of mine and Seth's favorite recipes!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.