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
I put in some time planting fennel in our new field at the start of the week, which will be a nice addition to the CSA share. We're at the point in the season where the greenhouse seeding is slowing down, the weeds are ramping up, and we're in the last hurrah of planting out crops for this year.
It's especially important that we plant because the local herd of deer are decimating some of our crops. They've eaten a full bed of chard, a full bed of kale, a large section of carrot greens from our newest planting, and a section of beans. The plants will most likely recover if we can protect them from further depredation. The deer are persistent but there are ways to discourage them from coming back, and we're trying them all.
Another pest we've been dealing with is the tomato hornworm! One of those yearly milestones that I could do without, but this one is kind of cool to see. Tomato hornworms look almost exactly like a curled up tomato leaf. They're so good at camouflage that they can be impossible to spot unless you know what their poop looks like, and then you examine each leaf carefully in that area to find them. Last year we used a blacklight at night to see through their excellent disguises -- they fluoresce a blue-green color. I have yet to convince any of our chickens that tomato hornworms are tasty, so for now we snip them in half so they don't eat the growing tips of our tomato plants and stop them from producing.
We had another good day at market -- the wax beans continue to be a big seller, and we had the first of our purple beans which sold out quickly too!
Week 7 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 7 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
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. If you don't have a Green Bag, store them in a vented plastic bag or a brown paper bag so the beans can breathe. 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, yellow. 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 Ziploc freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Seal and freeze.
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.
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.
Cucumbers - Cucumbers are in a family known as cucurbits that includes melons, squash, pumpkins and gourds. To store: Place cucumbers in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to a week. To prep: Slicing cucumbers are often peeled. Pickling cukes are not. If the seeds are bulky, slice the cucumber lengthwise and scoop them out. Scoring the skin of a cucumber with a fork or zester gives it attractive stripes. Slice, dice or cut into chunks according to recipe. To freeze: You can freeze cucumbers in a vinegar brine, but they will be mushy when you eat them later. 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.
Lettuce Heads - 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.
Napa Cabbage - Napa or Chinese cabbage has tall crinkly leaves, and the heads are not as tightly as the regular kind of cabbage. To store: Place whole in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use quickly before the leaves yellow. To prep: To prepare the entire head at once, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the core, and chop as desired. You can slice the leaves from the stem. Chop the stems and use them in stir fry. To use: Napa is great sliced and sautéed with onions and garlic. It goes well in a stir fry or soup. For a caramelized flavor, cut the cabbage into wedges and roast them until the cabbage is tender. Or slice in half and grill the entire wedge until charred. To freeze: Cut into quarters, wedges, or shred it. 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 and remove as much air as possible.
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.