What's in the share this week?
There's more than this photo! See the end of the newsletter for the list of veggies and their storage information.
Seth and I talk a lot about how to store the vegetables in your share. We want you to make the most of them! But in the last few newsletters, we've also been talking a lot about storage vegetables, which are different from the ones you're getting now. Storage vegetables are veggies that we grow that are bred to keep their flavor and texture in cold storage for weeks or months. Dry onions are a good example of this that most people know. These are the yellow and red onions you can find year round in grocery stores. Someone, somewhere is storing these onions at the proper temperature to keep them from sprouting before they get shipped to the grocery store and then you buy them.
We're doing that here on a smaller scale. We're growing vegetables that will keep in our cooler into November, December, and beyond. These are the daikon radishes, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, and cabbages. They're all tasty veggies with a good shelf life. Others include potatoes, garlic, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and onions that we're not growing here.
While we plan to sell these at farmers markets, we're also thinking about putting together a November CSA share and a December CSA share, where you would come by the farm once during each of those months and pick from the storage veggies we have available, as well as the greens we'll be growing in our greenhouses. If you celebrate any holidays in these months, it can be nice to choose local veggies to share at your gatherings. And if you don't celebrate any holidays, it's still a treat to get vegetables so late into winter. Do you think this is something you'd be interested in?
Farmer Christine's Field Notes
Seth and I turned over several beds last week so that we could put in our fall and storage cabbage, as well as another round of bok choy for the share. If you remember, I mentioned in a previous newsletter how we used those big black tarps to cover the ground and help suppress weeds, as well as to break down any plant residue. Well, last week we saw the results of those efforts! Our beds looked great in terms of weeds. They could have used some additional time to compost down the plant residue, but we raked the beds free of the big stuff left and planted into them, and we were happy with how it went. We hustled to get the cabbage in before the rain on Tuesday night, which was why the newsletter went out late last week. Then on Wednesday morning, I used the Paperpot transplanter to put in the bok choy and we were pleasantly surprised at how much easier it was to use the transplanter in damp soil than in dry soil. We'll save that as a note to our future selves.
We also worked together to clear the old napa cabbage beds, and Seth direct seeded storage beets into those. We moved the irrigation over and watered well. At some point in the week, I also managed to seed a few trays of lettuces in the propagation greenhouse, and I put them outside to germinate since lettuce don't enjoy growing in hot weather. Seth spent a whole morning trellising the cherry tomato beds since it was looking pretty jungly in there.
We were only in one market on Saturday, the Norwich Farmers Market, so our harvest was much smaller. Seth was in charge of the vegetables, while I pulled together six eye popping bouquets. I must say, it was almost like a vacation being in one market instead of two. We were much more relaxed! Our sales were pretty slow and we brought home four of the six bouquets, which went to hang in the barn to be turned into dried wreaths over the next month or two.
Week 13 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. Moving the chickens to the farm has triggered a molt in many of the hens, which means they've stopped laying for now and are regrowing feathers instead. If you want to reserve a dozen for yourself, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll set some aside for you.
Week 13 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!
Egg and Carrot Stir Fry
Ultimate Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie
Garden Harvest Vegetable Bread
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Sesame and Soy
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Walnuts, & Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette
Greens, Eggs, and Ham Quiche
Yellow Summer Squash Casserole
Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes
Easy Chickpea-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Fresh Tomato Spice Cake
Vegetable List and Storage Information
BEANS - There are many varieties of string bean -- green, purple, yellow, or speckled. To store: Store unwashed beans in a Green bag in the veggie bin of your fridge for up to 1 week. Rejuvenate limp beans by soaking them in ice water for 30 minutes. To prep: Wash beans. Cut off the tips and remove strings. Cook whole or chop. These beans do not need to be shelled. To freeze: Remove tips. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, rinse in cold ice water for 2 minutes, drain, dry well, and pack into airtight containers.
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.
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.
CILANTRO - Cilantro looks like parsley, but has a strong soapy 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 can be eaten too. 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.