What's in the share this week?
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.
BABY MUSTARD GREENS - Mustard greens are peppery-tasting greens that come from the mustard plant. This is part of the Brassica family, which includes kale, collard greens, broccoli, and cauliflower, among others. There are several varieties, which are usually green or red and have a mild spicy flavor. Hotter weather makes for spicier leaves. 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: slice off tough bottoms of stems, and chop or mince leaves and remaining stem together. To cook: Add uncooked mustards to to a mixed green salad, or use in place of lettuce when you won't mind a bit of spice (think for tacos). Mix mustards 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. Mustards are done once wilted, which should only take a minute or two.
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 baby arugula or baby mustards. 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.
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.
CARROTS - Carrots are sweetest in the fall and winter when they start to store their sugars in the root! To store: Remove the green tops as soon as you can, leaving about an inch of stems. 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. Fresh carrot tops can be chopped into a green salad or stir-fry too! The greens can be dried and used as an herb like parsley. 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.
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.
DILL - 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 leaves and stem before cooking. To cook: Use dill as a standard in pickling. It also combines well with green beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, parsnips, potatoes, spinach, cucumber, squash, eggplant, and eggs. To freeze: Trim off the long stem ends leaving only an inch attached to the feathery foliage. Place a couple of sprigs together inside a resealable plastic freezer bag; press out all of the air and seal. When you need fresh dill for a recipe, remove the frozen sprig and snip off what you need while still frozen. Do not let it thaw.
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 MIX - To store: Place lettuce mix 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: Discard any damaged or leathery 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.
RADICCHIO - Radicchio is a member of the lettuce family and has a bitter, peppery taste. Raw radicchio provides a pretty accent for a green salad, while cooked radicchio gives a wonderful savory-sweetness to a dish. To store: Keep unwashed radicchio in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper for up to a week. To prep: Discard any old limp outer leaves and wash the head in cold water. To cook: Radicchio is sometimes sliced and added to salads, but really shines when cooked a bit. Halved and brushed with oil, it's great on the grill. It pairs particularly well with olives, blue cheese, apples, and walnuts. To cut the bitterness, boil the leaves until just tender and dress with lemon juice or vinegar and salt. You can also sauté or stir-fry in oil or butter. To roast radicchio: quarter tight heads or halve loose heads, lightly coat them in oil, and roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. To freeze: Blanch for 1 minute in hot boiling water. Cool in ice water for 1 minute, drain, and pack into muffin cups or ice cube trays to freeze.
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!
SWISS CHARD - Swiss chard has expansive, pocketed leaves with stems in a spectrum of colors: red, white, green, yellow. 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.
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.
Eating with the Seasons
It's garlic season. Maybe the heat is getting to me, but I think garlic has so much personality for a vegetable. It's one of the things that I love to grow best. The shape, the flower stalk, the smell and taste. The ease of pulling it out of the ground, the fact that you can braid some varieties. There's a lot to love, and I know many people feel the same way. The trouble is that we're not growing it this year. Garlic needs to be planted in late September or early October, and we didn't get onto this land until January. The ground was already frozen by that time. No chance there of sneaking a few cloves into the ground!
Eating with the seasons has a long preparatory time. Garlic is probably the longest annual crop that we grow, with a span of nine months. The shortest amount of time it takes for a plant to grow from seed to harvest is 23 days, and that's a radish. There's a whole range of vegetables in between 23 days and nine months, and we're growing as many as possible! I remember feeling pretty amazed when we first began growing our own food, just over 10 years ago now, at how much prep and work each crop took, and how cool it was when they all came to fruition. I remember thinking how I hadn't realized that greens were a cool weather crop and that peppers needed a long, hot season. And so I have a question for you all -- do you feel the same way? How are you feeling about eating with the seasons?
Farmer Seth's Field Notes
I love the start of a new week because we get to begin by doing field work, which makes us all feel productive. This past week it was putting in a couple of beds of eggplants and peppers to see if we can get any before the final frost. We also trellised the tomatoes and saw a few starting to blush up so we'll have tomatoes at some point in the next week or so.
We spent another day laying out our occultation tarps to prepare beds for the fall plantings. This is a big task: first, I mowed down any remaining crop stalks and leaves in the spent beds. We call this crop residue, and I use a flail mower to make sure the plant matter is chopped up extremely fine, with a string trimmer to tidy the edges. Then we hauled out our big occultation tarps. They're 100'x24' and we pulled them down the field and laid them over the beds I just mowed. Then we finished the task by putting 25-30 sandbags all along the edges to prevent the wind from blowing our hard work away. We did this for two tarps, and in a month most of the crop residue will be broken down and ready to plant into, while any weeds will have germinated under the tarps and died.
The harvest was pretty hot. It's tough working outside in such high heat and humidity. We all move a little bit slower and take more water breaks. The cucumbers don't seem to mind the heat though, and in fact kept producing well beyond our expectations. It's mind boggling that we didn't water them at all this season, and yet we're pulling in 700+ lbs. per week. Harvesting and washing that many cucumbers makes the harvest take the whole day instead of just the morning. The afternoons spent immersing cucumbers in tubs of water are nice and cool and a good way to beat the heat.
We spent a good portion of one day packing cucumbers into boxes and bags to sell in bulk quantities at the farmers market. The heat proved to be a bit much for farmer market-goers, and so while we sold some cucumbers, we still have hundreds of pounds in the cooler. Must be time to break out the canning jars!
Week 7 Announcements
Our weekly share unpacking video will be a live Facebook video again this week, sometime on Wednesday late afternoon. You can find the Facebook group at this link.
We're now offering eggs, thanks to McNaughton Farm in Weathersfield, VT. They have 100+ happy hens in a chicken wagon who free range on pasture. Their hens are fed with local, non-organic grain. You can pre-order them in our farm store and pay when you pick up your share, or bring cash to the pickup and we'll have some extras.
Week 7 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 box! Share a photo and you might be featured in next week’s newsletter!
Best Ever Summer Panzanella
Baby Greens Salad with Bacon Dressing
Sesame Soy Napa Cabbage Slaw
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches with Arugula and Basil-Chive Aioli
Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner with Beets and Carrots + Herby Yogurt Sauce
Easy Restaurant Steak with Basil Garlic Steak Butter
Creamy Cacio e Pepe Greens and Pasta
Parmesan Chicken and Kale Sauté
Apple Kale Cake with Apple Icing