What's in the share this week?
See the end of the newsletter for the list of veggies and their storage information.
We are so very much enjoying the savvy customers we're seeing both in the CSA and at the farmers markets. Our market customers notice changes in our vegetables and our display right away, and they're not shy asking about them. This past week, I brought only the striped zucchini, the Safari varietal to the market, and I got question after question about it. Does it taste different? Is it still a zucchini? How does it grow? I've never seen one like this before!
These questions do my heart good because I love placing the seed order in the winter and finding new and beautiful vegetables. Tomatoes are one good example of the range of varietals, especially now that we're in the depths of tomato season. There are slicing varieties, canning varieties, cherry types, snacking types. But the same applies to all types of vegetables. We're growing two different varietals of peppers that will hopefully come in before the end of the share (fingers crossed!): a red blocky type and an orange pointed type, and both of these varietals will give us green peppers as well (which are really just unripe peppers, in case you didn't know that). Kale has seemingly endless varietals: red, green, dinosaur, Russian, and each of those have subtypes too, with their own growing preferences and flavor differences.
It's amazing how much diversity there is among plants. It's also amazing how much a grocery store doesn't use that diversity -- mainly because certain varietals don't ship well, or they don't "hold" in the cooler, or because they come in a range of sizes instead of a standard size. Then there's the grocery store customer's preference, i.e. for smooth cucumbers instead of bumpy, or round tomatoes instead of ribbed. The impact of varietals is all around! And it's worth checking out and looking into a little bit more.
Farmer Christine's Field Notes
We had some nice rain at the start of last week which was great for the farm, although it makes it tough to harvest cherry tomatoes. Whenever they get a lot of rain, they split and are no good for the CSA because the fruit flies get to them before we can give them out. We had hoped to plant before the rain came but we were all feeling a little under the weather because Huck had a rough few nights. Instead, we spent our Monday recuperating, canning, working on admin work, and redoing the chicken perches in our coop. Seth did the harvest on Tuesday in the rain, and I worked in the tomato house the morning of the CSA pickup.
Thursday we had some extra help from our CSA member Terri, which was extra delightful. Terri came the week before too, but I forgot to mention it. Thanks Terri! It's always nice to have another set of hands as we work, which makes the work that much smoother and more fun. Seth and I enjoy each other's company of course, but one of the things about farming for yourselves is that it's easy to go several days without seeing anyone outside the family. Terri helped us get our harvest in and we were so glad to have her help.
We were in two markets again on Saturday so our harvest was large and in charge. The markets were on par for what we've been selling so far this year. We put together salsa kits for the farmers market and people exclaimed over them all day, which was kind of a nice thing to hear. We're toying with canning our own products for sale, now that we've had a little extra headspace to look into Vermont's cottage licensing laws. It would be nice to do something with all these tomatoes!
Week 14 Announcements
We're now selling our Late Fall CSA Share online. There will be one pickup in November and one pickup in December, and you can sign up for each share separately or together for a discount. These pickups will be a little bit different from our current pickups in that it's going to be a LOT of food for cooking, preserving, or sharing, and we are going to pack your share for you. This avoids keeping the vegetables (and the farmers!) outside in any potential freezing temperatures for too long. We'll send out our normal newsletter with a list of veggies to be included in the share a week before the pickups. To give you an idea of what's in it, we're currently growing beets, carrots, daikon radish, turnips, kale, and other greens, and we'll almost certainly have potatoes as well. We're also hoping to trade our veggies to another organic farm in exchange for winter squash, sweet potatoes, and/or onions to help round out the share. To sign up, visit our website here.
Week 14 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!
Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Vegetarian English Breakfast: Baked Tomatoes, Beans, English Muffins
The Best Zucchini Bread
Deb’s Kale Salad with Apple, Cranberries and Pecans
Raw Turnip Salad Recipe
Mama's Best Broiled Tomato Sandwich
Alton Brown's Crookneck Squash Frittata
Grilled Steak with Tomatoes, Red Onion, and Balsamic
Zucchini Juice Tonic with Ginger and Lemon
Zucchini Dessert Squares
Vegetable List and Storage Information
BEETS, BABY SIZE - 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.
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.