CSA Newsletter: Week 18

IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Sweet Potatoes // These sweet potatoes have been cured and can be stored much like regular potatoes: in a cool, dry place. A semi-dark spot in the basement or pantry will work best.

Sweet Peppers // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Cabbage // Cabbage is one of the best storage vegetables. It can easily last three weeks to two months. You don’t need to do much to it. Keep it in the fridge in the crisper drawer. A plastic bag can help retain moisture, but it doesn’t matter much. The two outside leaves are used as storage leaves. Remove them before eating.

Cauliflower (Large Shares & Most Small Shares) // Cauliflower does not store well. Keep in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge, but try to eat within 5 days. It takes on strange flavors after that. Also, soak the head upside down in cool, salty water before use. Garden bests love to hide out in organic cauliflower.

Broccoli (Large Shares & Small Shares who do not receive Cauliflower) // Store in the crisper drawer of the fridge. The colder the better for broccoli. Try to use within a few days.

Brussels Sprouts // Take out of plastic bag and store in a bowl or open container in the fridge. Do not trim or discard outer leaves before storage. Brussels sprouts should last up to a month this way. The outer leaves might get a little shriveled but you typically remove them anyway.

Purple Top Turnips (Small Shares Only) // Store loose in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. You can also store them in an open plastic bag to best retain moisture but they may mold faster. Either way, turnips can store weeks.

Celeriac // Store in the crisper drawer of your fridge with the skin (and dirt) left on. Root vegetables store much better before they are washed. You can also store in a plastic bag or plastic wrap to help it keep longer. It should last 4-6 weeks with no issues. After that it will soften but still have great flavor.

Lettuce (Small Shares Only) // Store loosely in a plastic bag (ideally) or in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Keep unused leaves on the head. Use within a week, but likely will store up to two weeks.

Leeks // Store in the fridge and try to use within a week. Store in a plastic bag for best storage.

Chives (Large Shares Only) // Store in the fridge in a small glass with about an inch of water, stem side down (like flowers in a vase) for best storage.

Thyme (Small Shares Only) // Lay on a damp paper towel and wrap tightly. For long term storage and drying instructions, see here.

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 We made it friends! We’ve made it through eighteen weeks of glorious vegetables together and after a season like this, it’s so bittersweet to say goodbye. You have been the most incredible group of CSA members we ever could have dreamed up. It has been an absolute joy to grow food for you all.

You’ve shared feedback throughout the season, called with your questions, attended events and made new friends, sent photos and notes of your kids getting giddy over our vegetables, participated in our Climate Change Challenge, and you’ve shared great recipes in the Facebook group. So many of you have been incredible collaborators and partners. You have all been such a big part of our year and we’re just so grateful to be able to be a part of all your families each summer and fall. We seriously feel like we have the best CSA members of any farm and we are so filled with gratitude that you feel just as committed to us as we are to you!

For once, there is no giant sigh of release as we pack our last box. This season has been, in so many ways, easy. We’ve changed a lot of things each year we’ve been farming (in large part due to all your great feedback and wisdom over the past six years) and this year has certainly been no exception. It feels great to keep dialing in this little business.

2019 was our first season with many new pieces of infrastructure—pieces of infrastructure that made formerly difficult aspects of our CSA effortless. Washing, bagging and packing CSA boxes inside a shed with a larger walk-in cooler, dolly and mini pallets has been an absolute joy. Sending our packed boxes off with a local courier service every Wednesday has changed the flow of our week completely. Working with an expanded crew of both paid employees and worker shares while further defining Kyle and my roles on farm during CSA harvest and pack has made everything run smoother. It’s been a beautiful year of expansion for us with so many simple but mind-blowing changes.

This season went fast though. And a bit faster than usual as we enjoyed our first CSA season of 18 weeks instead of 20. We’re thrilled with the decision to eliminate a week at the beginning and end of the season while expanding our fall storage shares. We hope you also found the 18-week season a bit more manageable for your family. If you have thoughts about this or anything else related to our CSA (quality, quantity, value, events, communication), please take 10 minutes to fill out the annual CSA survey. It means the world to us and we really take every comment seriously.

And even though the CSA is winding down, there is still plenty of farming to do. We’ll be harvesting through October for our restaurants and storage shares. In November, we’ll plant the garlic for next year and continue our clean up of the fields. We’ve got a lot of hemp left to harvest and hopefully we’ll be e-mailing you all later this fall with beautiful dried hemp flower available for you to purchase. We’ll balance the end of season work with little trips we’ve been dreaming of all summer long. We’ll go camping up north in celebration of our anniversary. We’ll head to Door County in a month for my birthday. We’ll host one more lovely Women’s Wellness event. It’s going to be a beautiful fall wind down filled with preparations and excitement for next year.

We’re heading into October with more joy, enthusiasm and energy for the future than ever before and we’ve already got a plan for next year. We know how much more land we’re going to need and have already set next year’s new fields into cover crop. We’ve talked to our site hosts, evaluated which shares were working (and which ones weren’t), and we’re already ready to kick off the sign up period for 2020!

It’s a perfect way to close a perfect season with you all. We hope you have a lovely fall and winter—a beautiful season of warmth, hibernation and regrowth. We cannot wait to connect with you all again come springtime.

-L&K

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VEGGIE ID: LEEKS

Leeks are the super tall vegetables in your box this week that look almost like a giant green onion. These are one of my all time favorite veggies and I hope you learn to love them too!

They are in the allium (onion, garlic, shallots, etc) family so have that delicious allium flavor. They can be used any place where you would use an onion but I LOVE them in potato leek soup! To use them, you want to cut a tiny bit of the bottom off (the fringy part that was in the ground) as well as the leaves (use the parts that are white and pale green, skip the parts that are dark green- though they can be used for soup stock) and you can then cut them into rings or slice the leek in half and slice it much as you would an onion.

For more info on leeks and how to cut them, head over here!

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VEGGIE ID: CELERIAC ↑

Celeriac is not the prettiest vegetable you will ever encounter and because of that fact, folks often think they're not gong to like it. But celeriac is a wonderful fall veggie with loads of flavor. It's also a long-season crop (meaning it takes over 100 days to grow) with tiny seeds and for that reason, this is our first time actually growing it successfully. It's a hard crop to grow and we have often lose ours to the weeds. This year we transplanted the delicate crop in late May and kept it in a low field with lots of shade and lots of moisture. It did very well here! We're so excited to have celeriac for our members for two weeks!

What does it taste like?

Some people call it celery root as it is essentially a celery plant bred to grow large roots instead of large stems and leaves. It tastes much like celery but with a more nutty, sweet flavor.  It's also rather starchy and potato-like.

How do I eat it?

First and most importantly, you are going to need to peel the celeriac and you will want to do so aggressively. I cut off both ends and then peel it with a knife rather than a vegetable peeler. I'll lose a little bit of flesh this way but its a much faster and easier way to peel it. Then the options are limitless! I love celeriac mashed with potatoes. It's great in soups to impart a little creaminess and celery flavor (you can always sub it for celery in soups). Even just roasted with a bunch of other root veggies, celeriac really shines. But if you want to find some more creative ways to use this interesting veggies, head over to Rodale's Organic Life. They have some really awesome ideas for how to use your celeriac!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

The regular CSA season is a wrap! But if you aren’t ready to say goodbye to veggies, be sure to check out our Fall Storage Share.

KATHY'S RECIPE CORNER

Early on, Lauren's mom instilled in her a great love of cooking. She's always had a garden and knows what to do with abundant produce better than anyone. We hope you enjoy her classic Wisconsin preparations of summer abundance. 

Holiday Cauliflower Deluxe

 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

2 cups sour cream (16oz)

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, could substitute other flavorful cheeses

3 teaspoon chicken soup base dissolved/mixed into 1/4 cup milk or cream

1 ½ teaspoon dry mustard

Topping:

1/4 cup butter

1 cup stuffing crumbles

¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Steam cauliflower until almost tender. Drain well. In large bowl, mix sour cream, cheese, milk & chicken base and mustard. Gently stir in cauliflower. Transfer to a greased 13” X 9” baking dish.

  3. For topping, melt butter, add stuffing and walnuts. Cook and stir until toasted. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake uncovered 25 – 30 minutes.

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box inspiration:

Every week I'll share the links to some of my favorite recipes for the produce in your box from my own blog as well as my favorite bloggers and chefs. I am a master recipe substituter so be sure to read my notes before clicking through to see what vegetables I am swapping for others and how I adapt favorite recipes time and time again with whatever is in season! Though some of the recipes I share may look complicated, I also love sharing tips for streamlining or suggesting other preparation suggestions in the notes of the recipes.

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Roasted Roots with Turmeric Tahini Sauce // Uses Turnip, Sweet Potato, add in Celeriac if you like and skip the carrots, rutabaga, and parsnips if you don’t have any around // This box is just begging to be roasted. All those root veggies will taste swell together, especially if covered in a delectable sauce. This simple turmeric tahini sauce is rich, vibrant, healthy and hearty at once. It’s sure to be a new favorite.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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Leek & Apple Cornbread // Uses Leeks // My favorite holiday recipe, my favorite cold day recipe, my favorite fall/winter breakfast, snack or side dish. I love this cornbread heaped full of fruit and veggies and really believe corn bread should perhaps never exist any other way.

Vegetarian

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Crock Pot Pork Carnitas with Roasted Vegetables // Uses Sweet Potatoes, Celeriac (add some more in place of the parsnips), Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, sub Turnips for carrots // Slow cooker + sheet pan and a boat load of vegetables. My favorite kind of cooking. Simple, healthy, quick to pull together, delicious.

Gluten-Free

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Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Peanuts & Apples // Uses Brussels Sprouts // There is so much one can do with Brussels Sprouts. You can always roast them for the world’s simplest, tastiest side dish, but I love to go a bit further, cut them small and eat them raw in a salad— especially when I can pair them with fresh fall apples.

Vegetarian, Vegan (without fish sauce), Gluten-Free

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Silky Cauliflower Soup // Uses Cauliflower, sub Leek for onion and garlic // A handful of ingredients, a simple recipe, and the most elegantly beautiful bowl of soup. It’s chilly this week. Whip up some soup and enjoy this lovely October.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Spicy Chickpea & Sweet Potato Salad // Uses Sweet Potatoes, Lettuce, sub shredded raw Turnip for the daikon, skip the scallions (or sub Leeks) // I fell in love with this recipe late last winter. I would make it on repeat every Sunday and bring it to work, on hikes, to meetings, pretty much anywhere I had to go. This is a very batchable, very portable fall salad. Hope you enjoy it!

Vegetarian, Vegan (depending on dressing), Gluten-Free

photo by; Smitten Kitchen

photo by; Smitten Kitchen

Miso, Sweet Potato & Broccoli Bowl // Uses Broccoli (sub Brussels if you didn’t get any), Sweet Potato, toss some roasted Celeriac in there too if you feel like it // The first time I made this dish I actually found it quite boring. Can you even imagine? Since then I’ve realized a grain + some roasted veggies + a killer sauce is the key to using up loads of vegetables in one healthy bowl of goodness. This recipe is super simple with one exception: finding white miso if you don’t already have some on hand. Head to the co-op and pick up a jar. You won’t regret it!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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Sheet Pan Chicken with Cabbage & Leeks // Uses Cabbage, Leeks // I need more recipes like this: recipes that come together on ONE PAN and require next to no dishes but are still absolutely delicious. This recipe is a sure winner!

Gluten-Free (sub tamari for soy sauce)

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Pork Chops with Celeriac & Potato Mash + Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Maple Apples and Brown Butter Hazelnuts // Uses Celeriac and Brussels Sprouts // I made this celeriac and potato mash and these pork chops (yes, I brined them the day ahead of time and it was the right decision) then just added some simple roasted Brussels sprouts (halved and roasted for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees). You could leave those off or include them. Same goes for the maple apples (cubed apples sauted in maple syrup for five minutes) and brown butter hazelnuts (two tablespoons of butter just beginning to brown combined with 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts over medium low heat until it all smells toasty and nutty).

Gluten-Free

photo by: The Recipe Critic

photo by: The Recipe Critic

Autumn Chopped Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing // Uses Lettuce // This recipe really elevates a simple head of lettuce by turning it into a dreamy fall dish. Apples, pears, bacon, dried cranberries, pecans and feta cheese— no better way to eat your greens.

Gluten-Free

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Hummus with Curried Cauliflower // Uses Cauliflower // Yes, this is a theme of mine. Hummus piled with vegetables with store-bought pitas for dinner. And most of the time, I wind up buying the hummus too. What a quick and easy hack to make a vegetarian dinner in a snap!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Root Vegetable Gratin // Uses Sweet Potatoes, Celeriac (also known as celery root), Thyme, Sub Leeks for onion, skip the Potatoes or sub Turnips, use Fennel if you still have some from last week (just skip if you don’t) // All the root vegetables you’re receiving this week can totally stand alone, but you might be catching onto a little bit of a theme. Yes, I LOVE them all together.

Vegetarian

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Cabbage, Leek & Pepper Runza // Uses Cabbage, Leek, Peppers, sub fresh Thyme, skip the sage // What the heck is runza you ask? Well, officially, it is the state dish of Nebraska. But closer to home, it is a dish I grew up with when my mom had extra cabbage in her garden. It’s essentially a German-style calzone packed full of ground meat (traditionally beef, but here I used pork because it’s what I had on hand), cabbage, and onions. Peppers are a fun addition and leeks also take it up a notch! I know making your own dough can seem intimidating but give it a try. It’s easier than you think.

CSA Newsletter: Week 17

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Red Napa Cabbage (Large Shares & some Small Shares) // For maximum storage, remove any wilted or browning outside leaves, place in a plastic bag and store in the fridge.

Cabbage (Small Shares that do not receive Red Napa) // Cabbage is one of the best storage vegetables. It can easily last three weeks to two months. You don’t need to do much to it. Keep it in the fridge in the crisper drawer. A plastic bag can help retain moisture, but it doesn’t matter much. The two outside leaves are used as storage leaves. Remove them before eating.

Sweet Peppers // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Jalapenos (Smalls Only), Poblanos & Banana Peppers (Larges Only) // Hot peppers keep well in the fridge, especially in the crisper drawer. I often keep hot peppers in a plastic bag so that they don’t spread their heat or flavor to other fridge items.

Beans (Small Shares Only) // Refrigerate in a plastic bag and use as soon as possible. They are quite perishable.

Cauliflower (a few Large Shares) // Cauliflower does not store well. Keep in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge, but try to eat within 5 days. It takes on strange flavors after that. Also, soak the head upside down in cool, salty water before use. Garden bests love to hide out in organic cauliflower.

Broccoli (Large Shares who don’t receive Cauliflower & Some Small Shares) // Store in the crisper drawer of the fridge. The colder the better for broccoli. Try to use within a few days.

Brussels Sprouts (Small Shares who do not receive Broccoli) // Take out of plastic bag and store in a bowl or open container in the fridge. Do not trim or discard outer leaves before storage. Brussels sprouts should last up to a month this way. The outer leaves might get a little shriveled but you typically remove them anyway.

Rutabaga // Store loose in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. You can also store them in an open plastic bag to best retain moisture but they may mold faster. Either way, rutabagas can store weeks if not months.

Celeriac // Store in the crisper drawer of your fridge with the skin (and dirt) left on. Root vegetables store much better before they are washed. You can also store in a plastic bag or plastic wrap to help it keep longer. It should last 4-6 weeks with no issues. After that it will soften but still have great flavor.

Butternut Squash // Store winter squash in a cool, dry place and try to use within a week or two. Do not store in the fridge! This will cause it to spoil much more quickly.

Fennel // Remove delicate leaves (also known as fronds) before storage if you plan to use. Store the bulbs in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Store the leaves in a moist paper towel in the fridge and use within a week.

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There’s only one more week of regular season CSA veggies to go (!!!) and per usual, the weather can never let us off too easy. Rain fell at the big fundraising dinner for REAP, strong winds and heavy clouds turned to mist at the fall harvest party, and every day seems to greet us with some degree of high humidity or precipitation. It’s not the most fun way to end the season: returning to painful memories of last year (to the days and weeks and months spent working in the mud), but learning to go with the flow is a skill you have to develop as a farmer (right along with trusting things will all work out and not borrowing trouble).

All things considered, we’re grateful the rain held off this long. If we really are destined to work in a wetter Wisconsin, the later in the season those rains can fall, the better. As you know by now, the summer weather was next to perfect: mild temperatures to work in, beautiful dramatic skies, just enough rain pretty much exactly when we wanted it. That perfect summer allowed us to hustle hard and keep up with crops that were growing like crazy. As we’ve shared before, the tomatoes and winter squash were the best we’ve ever grown. Bar none.

But as we’ve also discussed in the past and as will be a theme every year we’re farming, it’s inevitable to not have some failure. Even the best seasons will still be plagued with some poorly timed rains or some other dramatic weather event. Even the best seasons will have weed pressure in areas we weren’t expecting, a disease issue that came in on a seed, or a pest population that’s booming. That’s farming. There is no perfect. Ever.

Which is why we so deeply love CSA. It’s a model that inherently understands a diverse crop mix is integral to success. It’s a business model that can accept a different crop mix every year. There will always be some degree of consistency, but every year will look different as a CSA member because every year will look different as a farmer. It’s beautiful.

With the exceptional season we’ve had this year, it has been easy to forgot to talk about the hard stuff, the things that have gone wrong. But some things have been far from perfect, and although one week from the end of a season we’ve adored is an odd time to bring up some of our struggles, we believe in full transparency about all the dimensions of farm life so here we go: some of the hardest parts of 2019.

Without question, the hardest part of this season has been the cabbage loopers: those icky green worms that turn into little white moths. They are the green worms that often hide in heads of cabbage and broccoli on organic farms. As with most pests, cabbage loopers are present on an organic farm every year to some degree. This year was an exceptional year for them. No one ever quite knows why a insect population booms on a particular year, but nevertheless that was the case. Cabbage loopers love tender brassica crops—newly planted broccolis, cabbages, bok choy, cauliflower, kale. They go nuts on them. We row covered these crops longer than usual to try and keep the plants safe, just as we always do, but this year the populations were so large they descended on the crops anyway. This affected pretty much every brassica crop we grew to some extent.

The only solution to this kind of pest pressure is to spray for them. As an organic farm, we can only use sprays approved for organic use and even then, we won’t use every spray that’s approved. We will use the sprays we believe in ethically and honestly, often those are not altogether powerful. The sprays we trust to put into our body aren’t going to be able to take down an insect population. It makes sense. We were able to keep pests down, but they still ravaged the kales. We had to stop selling kale for nearly 8 weeks, and let me tell you, it’s a rare day that a farmer is hoping for more kale. The broccoli and cauliflower were also just not where we liked them yield-wise. Plants with leaves that are holey don’t take up as much sunlight and plants that are stressed from too many pests, just don’t grow as well. Our broccoli yielded much less than usual and our cauliflower is way behind schedule.

Then there were the fall rains. Excessive quantities of rain are just never good for a crop. Roots rot, plants rot, disease spreads, crops are muddier than usual and take much longer to harvest. Too much rain is just never good. Luckily, the rains are falling late enough that far less damage will be done.

The peppers have been affected slightly. Colored peppers are very susceptible to rotting with too much moisture so we’re picking them often and early. It’s why many of your colored peppers are not fully turned. Most of them will have 10% of green on them because if we were to allow them to turn fully, they will rot. With this much rain, there is also some chance of storage root vegetables splitting but we’re working to get things out of the ground much earlier than usual to keep this from happening. We’re also harvesting cabbages early for the same reason. Cabbages filled with too much moisture will literally split and then begin to rot.

The Brussels sprouts again got the perfect storm of the more negative aspects of the season. The cabbage loopers decimated their leaves and because Brussels are a long season crop (meaning they take more than four months to grow) they had greater effects than other shorter season crops. More time in the field means more impact on yields. Fall rain is also pretty bad for what is essentially just a small cabbage. Splitting and rotting were common and our yields in this field were about a quarter of what we expected them to be. We were excited to still get a little over a hundred pounds of lovely Brussels sprouts from our field last week. We’re letting the remaining small Brussels size up (since many of the largest ones split) and hoping to give some of these next week and perhaps in the storage share.

We still wanted more of our members to have an opportunity to get some Brussels sprouts though so we bought it from a friend who harvested hers early (before much of this dramatic rain). However, because she harvested them early, they will not store long. We had to sort these heavily to find the best sprouts and suggest you use them with a day or two for best results.

Over the years we’ve learned that the thing that separates the farms that succeed from the ones that don’t is planning for the failure. Crop failure is inevitable. Pests, disease, inconvenient or dramatic weather; it’s all a part of the equation. It’s all part of farming. Some years are far worse than others. Some years are a bit better. It’s a beautiful, challenging whirlwind of a life we’ve embarked on as farmers, and honestly, we couldn’t be happier to share it all with you.

-L&K

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VEGGIE ID: NAPA CABBAGE ↑

Napa cabbage is not so different than regular cabbage. It's a member of the brassica family (along with broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, Brussels sprouts and so many of our favorite veggies). It comes in a head, loves cool weather and stores exceptionally well. What makes it different is the oblong shape and much more tender leaves. The taste is a little sweeter and milder than regular cabbage while the texture is a bit softer. It cooks down much easier than regular cabbage, but I think where it really shines is in its raw form.

This particular Napa cabbage is a red variety which doesn't change the flavor much but does make it more striking and beautiful. There are a couple recipe suggestions below, but check out this link at Food52 for more options!

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VEGGIE ID: CELERIAC ↑

Celeriac is not the prettiest vegetable you will ever encounter and because of that fact, folks often think they're not gong to like it. But celeriac is a wonderful fall veggie with loads of flavor. It's also a long-season crop (meaning it takes over 100 days to grow) with tiny seeds and for that reason, this is our first time actually growing it successfully. It's a hard crop to grow and we have often lose ours to the weeds. This year we transplanted the delicate crop in late May and kept it in a low field with lots of shade and lots of moisture. It did very well here! We're so excited to have celeriac for our members for two weeks!

What does it taste like?

Some people call it celery root as it is essentially a celery plant bred to grow large roots instead of large stems and leaves. It tastes much like celery but with a more nutty, sweet flavor.  It's also rather starchy and potato-like.

How do I eat it?

First and most importantly, you are going to need to peel the celeriac and you will want to do so aggressively. I cut off both ends and then peel it with a knife rather than a vegetable peeler. I'll lose a little bit of flesh this way but its a much faster and easier way to peel it. Then the options are limitless! I love celeriac mashed with potatoes. It's great in soups to impart a little creaminess and celery flavor (you can always sub it for celery in soups). Even just roasted with a bunch of other root veggies, celeriac really shines. But if you want to find some more creative ways to use this interesting veggies, head over to Rodale's Organic Life. They have some really awesome ideas for how to use your celeriac!

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VEGGIE ID: FENNEL

Fennel is one of those vegetables that everyone thinks they don't like just because they don't know how to use it yet. I know because I was one of those people for a very long time. Fennel is a beautiful vegetable used in a lot of Italian cooking.  It's got a white bulb, green stalk and beautiful scented fronds at the top.  You can eat all of these things but most commonly folks eat the bulb or the fronds.

The bulb is pretty comparable to an onion (and can be used as such) but has a slightly anise (black licorice) flavor. I think this is why it gets such a bad wrap. Because people hate black licorice (I do too!). But anise is actually a flavor used in lots of common favorites like Italian sausage and pepperoni. When it's subtle it adds a lot to a dish. I know this is a less of a description of a vegetable and more of me begging you to try a vegetable, but I'm begging you people, try the fennel in one of the recipes below! You might be surprised! Also, here's an awesome article from a chef in Columbus, Ohio asking you to do the same :)

So how do I use it?

Because lots of people are stumped by fennel, there are lots of great tutorials online for how to cut it up. You will cut the bulb away from the stalks in an angle matching the shape of the fennel and then slice off the bottom where the fennel sat on the ground. Place the fennel flat on it's base and slice it in half lengthwise. From there you'll see a little core near the bottom of each half. It will look solid and triangular. Remove that and then get to chopping! This link will teach you how to slice, dice and shave it. I most often shave it because I love how delicate it is when added to any dish, but this is much easier with a mandolin than trying to do by hand. This link will teach you how to store and use every part of the vegetable.

What is the best way to prepare fennel?

Honestly, you can keep it so simple with fennel. You can shave it and throw it on pizza or in pasta. You can roughly chop it and throw it in a stew or braise. You can slice it and grill it (I'm so excited to try this over the weekend!). You can use a similar technique and roast it in the oven. You can shave it and toss it with some apple and lemon juice  for a quick salad. You can throw it in a quiche or a tart. You can really do a ton.

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 9-10 of these items in your box next week

Sweet Potatoes

Celeriac

Cabbage

Curly Kale

Beans

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Brussels Sprouts

Sweet Peppers

Hot Peppers

Lettuce

Leeks

Shallots

Thyme

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KATHY'S RECIPE CORNER

Early on, Lauren's mom instilled in her a great love of cooking. She's always had a garden and knows what to do with abundant produce better than anyone. We hope you enjoy her classic Wisconsin preparations of summer abundance. 

Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup (with sneaky cauliflower)

2 tablespoons butter
1 leek, diced
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
3 -4 ribs celery, finely diced (or bok choy if you have any left)
2 cups plus cooked chicken, diced
2 cups plus cooked ham, diced
1 cup half & half
1 cup milk
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ - ½ cup shredded swiss or gouda cheese

  1. Melt butter in a stockpot and saute leek. Add cauliflower, garlic and chicken broth. Simmer until cauliflower is very tender, 20 minutes plus.

  2. Remove pot from heat and puree until completely smooth with an immersion blender.

  3. Return pot to stove, add celery, turn soup to low, simmer 10 minutes. Stir in ham, mustard and half & half.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Add to soup, stir until thickened. Add chicken and shredded cheese. Remove from heat, stir gently until cheese is melted. Adjust seasonings as needed.

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box inspiration:

Every week I'll share the links to some of my favorite recipes for the produce in your box from my own blog as well as my favorite bloggers and chefs. I am a master recipe substituter so be sure to read my notes before clicking through to see what vegetables I am swapping for others and how I adapt favorite recipes time and time again with whatever is in season! Though some of the recipes I share may look complicated, I also love sharing tips for streamlining or suggesting other preparation suggestions in the notes of the recipes.

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

One-Skillet Hot Sausage & Cabbage Stir Fry // Uses Napa Cabbage or sub regular Cabbage, add thinly sliced Fennel and any Hot Pepper you feel like, skip the Chives (unless you happen to have some) // A quick one-pan weeknight meal packed full of meat and veggies— what’s not to love here?!

Gluten-Free (with the right tortillas and tamari instead of soy sauce)

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Crock Pot Pork Carnitas with Roasted Vegetables // Uses Celeriac (add some more in place of the parsnips), Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, sub Rutabaga for carrots and sweet potatoes // Slow cooker + sheet pan and a boat load of vegetables. My favorite kind of cooking. Simple, healthy, quick to pull together, delicious.

Gluten-Free

photo by: Brooklyn Supper

photo by: Brooklyn Supper

Shaved Fennel & Brussels Sprout Salad with Apples // Uses Fennel, Brussels Sprouts, skip the red onion and dill (use fennel fronds instead if you got some this week) // Oh how I love this beautiful simple salad that only asks you to cut things thinly and then savor all their perfect flavors together.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

photo by: Dining In Cookbook

photo by: Dining In Cookbook

Blistered Green Beans with Creamy Tahini & Fresh Hot Sauce // Uses Green Beans, Jalapeno // This is one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks. The heat, the creamy sauce, the char on the beans. It’s perfection. I did blanch my beans for 5 minutes first to ensure they got properly blistered while still being cooked through.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Sprinkles and Sprout

photo by: Sprinkles and Sprout

Roasted Rutabaga with Maple Syrup // Uses Rutabaga // Even more than winter squash and sweet potatoes, for some reason the sweet, earthy rutabaga is always the signal of fall for me. There is something about it’s purple top and creamy brown skin that just make me want to roast some veggies and curl on the couch with a warm blanket. Give this simple recipe a try and learn to love rutabaga just as much as me.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

photo by; Bon Appetit

photo by; Bon Appetit

Steak Sandwich with Fennel Slaw // Uses Fennel, skip the red onion (unless you happen to have one on hand) // Hopefully by now you’ve learned I’m on a personal mission to make the world love fennel. I promise it’s easy to love once you get a little creative. I throw it in pretty much every toss salad I eat nowadays but if that’s still a little too daring for you, try it in a simple slaw and throw it on something with a ton of flavor (like a steak). You will learn to love it’s raw, crunchy bite.

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Rutabaga Fritters with Apple Compote // Uses Rutabaga (small shares got 1.5# and large shares got 2.5# so use the rutabaga for both the rutabaga and potato called for in this recipe) // Rutabaga are one of my favorite root vegetables because of the way they can go sweet or savory. They caramelize easily and taste amazing with all your favorite fall flavors: apples, cinnamon, brown butter, maple syrup. Enjoy this for breakfast, dinner or dessert. Feel free to leave the cashew cream out or sub in regular old whipped cream.

Vegetarian

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Pork Chops with Celeriac & Potato Mash + Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Maple Apples and Brown Butter Hazelnuts // Uses Celeriac and Brussels Sprouts // I made this celeriac and potato mash and these pork chops (yes, I brined them the day ahead of time and it was the right decision) then just added some simple roasted Brussels sprouts (halved and roasted for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees). You could leave those off or include them. Same goes for the maple apples (cubed apples sauted in maple syrup for five minutes) and brown butter hazelnuts (two tablespoons of butter just beginning to brown combined with 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts over medium low heat until it all smells toasty and nutty).

Gluten-Free

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BBQ Butternut Squash & Pulled Pork Pizza // Uses Butternut Squash, Colored Peppers, Poblano or Jalapeno // A few years back, we hosted a pizza night on the farm where I fed CSA members pizza until they felt nauseous. I made six different styles of pizza and loaded everyone up on so many slices. It was such a fun event and I still love each and every one of the pizzas I invented that night, but this one takes the cake. It’s got a bit of everything: sweet, salty, rich, fiery, filling, packed full of veggies. What else could one want?

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Hummus with Curried Cauliflower // Uses Cauliflower // Yes, this is a theme of mine. Hummus piled with vegetables with store-bought pitas for dinner. And most of the time, I wind up buying the hummus too. What a quick and easy hack to make a vegetarian dinner in a snap!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

Napa Cabbage Noodle Salad // Uses Napa Cabbage, Sweet Pepper, sub a thinly sliced Fennel for garlic and scallions, skip the Daikon, add any herbs you have on hand // This recipe is a dream. Healthy, simple, exotically flavored in ways you might think you’d only get at a restaurant, and packed full of CSA veggies. I made this recipe in June for the first time and have been waiting desperately for our fall Napa cabbage every since.

Gluten-Free with the right noodles

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Roast Salmon & Broccoli with Chile Caper Vinaigrette // Uses Broccoli, Jalapeno // I may be so obsessed with this recipe because I have a freezer full of salmon and a fridge full of jalapenos, but I swear to you, once you try this recipe you will never go back to plain old broccoli. It will be roasted and a little charred for the rest of time. And you won’t regret it. I love the simplicity and big flavors of this Bon Appetit recipe.

Gluten-Free

CSA Newsletter: Week 16

IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

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Red Napa Cabbage (Large Shares & a handful of Small Shares) // For maximum storage, remove any wilted or browning outside leaves, place in a plastic bag and store in the fridge.

Bok Choy (Most Small Shares) // Store unwashed in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Use within a couple days for best texture. Greens will wilt relatively quickly. Stems will retain firmness a while longer.

Salanova Lettuce // Store loosely in a plastic bag (ideally) or in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Keep unused leaves on the head. Use within a week, but likely will store up to two weeks.

Plum Tomatoes (Large Shares Only) // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms much more quickly, immediately if you can.

Sweet Peppers // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag..

Beans // Refrigerate in a plastic bag and use as soon as possible. They are quite perishable.

Brussels Sprouts // Take out of plastic bag and store in a bowl or open container in the fridge. Do not trim or discard outer leaves before storage. Brussels sprouts should last up to a month this way. The outer leaves might get a little shriveled but you typically remove them anyway.

Watermelon Radish // Store loose in the crisper drawer of your fridge. They will easily store for a month, after that they will begin to get a bit softer but will remain usable for 2-3 months

Butternut Squash // Store winter squash in a cool, dry place and try to use within a week or two. Do not store in the fridge! This will cause it to spoil much more quickly.

Leeks // Store in the fridge and try to use within a week. Store in a plastic bag for best storage.

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What a beautiful week we have had out at Raleigh’s Hillside Farm. Despite the heavy rains and muddy fields, we celebrated the fall solstice in a pretty exceptional way this year: we hosted two joyful soul-nourishing community events out at our farm this past weekend.

On Saturday, we began our Women’s Wellness series. It’s something I dreamed up after visiting a beautiful farm out in Nehalem, Oregon that had turned it’s old farm house into a retreat center. Something about our experience at that beautiful space had me dreaming up ways to incorporate wellness and workshops and retreats onto our farm. Last year was the first Women’s Wellness Retreat. It was amazing but ultimately a little too long of a day for folks. Without actual accommodations on site, I realized it’s a lot to ask of folks to spend 8-9 hours on our farm and then drive the 60-90 minutes back home.

This year, we changed the retreat into a Wellness series with three similarly themed but ultimately much shorter events held every other Saturday through the fall. Saturday was our first workshop. It was a dreary rainy day, but we built a small sanctuary inside the greenhouse. We stacked seedling trays and butternut squash crates sky high, moved pallets around, and created just enough room for seven women to do yoga in a circle under gentle falling rain. After the yoga class, our former farm employee and dear friend Kristen did a 90-minute class on nourishment and intuitive eating. It was a beautiful kick off to this series and we’re thrilled to have Erin Schneider out October 5th to talk about medicinal herbs and making digestive bitters from scratch as well as Stephanie Mullis out on October 19th to introduce folks to medicinal herbs and walk folks through the fields to forage for some of their own.

On Sunday, we hosted another event—a much larger event that I can only describe as a dream come true. This event, called Heritage on the Hillside, was a 100-guest fundraising dinner in honor of REAP Food Group. The food was prepared by chef Jon Rosnow and his incredible team at Heritage Tavern (who incorporated every dang vegetable and herb we had in season at this specific moment in time as well as all our partners’ products—Landmark cheese, Meadowlark grains and polenta, Atoms to Apples apples). The beer was provided by Working Draft Brewery. All the logistics were handled by thoughtful and intentional REAP staff.

As you can maybe imagine with a team like that, it was a perfect event in pretty much every way. There was rain and wind and mud and flies, but no one even seemed to notice. The beer was flowing, the charcuterie and shared plates were piled high, the conversations were boisterous, and the warmth of a community supporting and celebrating local food kept us all in amazing spirits. When Kyle and I headed off on a farm tour before dinner, half the guests strapped on their rain boots, grabbed their umbrellas and joined us in the muddy fields to hear about cover crop, hemp, and the growth of our business over these past seven years. It was truly a dream of an event and an amazing way to begin to wrap up this season that has felt, in so many ways, effortless.

We’ll be hosting three more events this fall: our CSA harvest party and end of season celebration this Saturday from 11-3 p.m. and two more Women’s Wellness events. Please do try and find some time to join us out here. We absolutely love sharing our farm with you!

-L&K

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VEGGIE ID: Leeks

Leeks are the super tall vegetables in your box this week that look almost like a giant green onion. These are one of my all time favorite veggies and I hope you learn to love them too!

They are in the allium (onion, garlic, shallots, etc) family so have that delicious allium flavor. They can be used any place where you would use an onion but I LOVE them in potato leek soup! To use them, you want to cut a tiny bit of the bottom off (the fringy part that was in the ground) as well as the leaves (use the parts that are white and pale green, skip the parts that are dark green- though they can be used for soup stock) and you can then cut them into rings or slice the leek in half and slice it much as you would an onion.

For more info on leeks and how to cut them, head over here! For our video on how to cut them, check out the video on our YouTube channel!

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VEGGIE ID: WATERMELON RADISH ↑

Like so many vegetables, watermelon radishes were a thing I’d barely ever tasted before I started farming. They certainly weren’t something I would choose myself on a trip to the grocery store. But after three years of growing them, I have fall completely in love.

They do not in fact taste like a watermelon; instead their name comes from their appearance (green on the outside, pink on the inside). They are a hybrid of a daikon so they have that sweeter, less spicy, more robust flavor similar to a daikon.

Cooking them is quite simple. You do not have to peel them before use and they taste best raw and thinly sliced. Instead of throwing the slices on a salad as an afterthought, I prefer to use watermelon radish as the main ingredient.

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VEGGIE ID: BOK CHOY ↑

Be not afraid of that leafy green vegetable with white almost celery-looking stalks in your box this week. Bok Choy is one of the vegetables I had never heard of before we began farming that I have grown to have a deep love for. It is a member of the brassica family (I'll mention the brassica family a lot; it includes lots of popular veggies like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts as well as some odd ducks like kohlrabi, bok choy and rutabaga).

It sometimes also referred to a pac choi or Chinese cabbage. This green is mild and sweet with an almost silky texture. A lot of dark leafy greens can be bitter or harsh, but bok choy is the complete opposite. The leaves are light and tender. The stalk is crunchy and crisp.

So how do I use it?

The first step is getting it clean. We washed the field dirt off the bok choy, but dirt still likes to hide between the layers. I fill my sink with cold water, rip off as many leaves as I plan to use and then soak them for 5-10 minutes. I rub my fingers over any dirty parts of the stem after they soak and then swish them through the water before use.

Then all that's left to do is cut it up. This will vary a little bit based on what recipe you are using, but I like to cut the stems from the leaves. I usually roughly chop the leaves and slice the stems.

What is the best way to prepare bok choy?

Because the leafy greens are so tender and the stalks so crispy, I love to eat bok choy raw in salads. There is an amazing salad recipe below that calls for bok choy as well as one that turns bok choy and radishes into a simple slaw. My friend Sarah loves to grill bok choy because it stands up well to the heat. Lots of folks stir fry it or add it to soups. You can also make a quick ferment or kimchi out of it. I've also simmered it in coconut milk (ala creamed spinach, but vegan and so much better!) and that was one of my favorite simple preparation. And as always, never forget that you can roast literally anything. The sky is the limit with this leafy green so be not afraid. You too will learn to love it!

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VEGGIE ID: NAPA CABBAGE ↑

Napa cabbage is not so different than regular cabbage. It's a member of the brassica family (along with broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, Brussels sprouts and so many of our favorite veggies). It comes in a head, loves cool weather and stores exceptionally well. What makes it different is the oblong shape and much more tender leaves. The taste is a little sweeter and milder than regular cabbage while the texture is a bit softer. It cooks down much easier than regular cabbage, but I think where it really shines is in its raw form.

This particular Napa cabbage is a red variety which doesn't change the flavor much but does make it more striking and beautiful. There is one recipe suggestion below (and there will be even more next week), but check out this link at Food52 for more options!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 9-10 of these items in your box next week

Rutabaga

Celeriac

Watermelon Radish

Napa Cabbage or Cabbage

Beans

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Sweet Peppers

Hot Peppers

Fennel

Leeks

Red Onion

Parsley or Mint

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KATHY'S RECIPE CORNER

Early on, Lauren's mom instilled in her a great love of cooking. She's always had a garden and knows what to do with abundant produce better than anyone. We hope you enjoy her classic Wisconsin preparations of summer abundance. 

“Smothered Sauce” for pork chops or chicken breasts

3 tablespoons butter

1 large green pepper or Italian fryer, cut into strips

1 large red or yellow bell pepper or Italian fryer, cut into strips

1 large leek, thin sliced

3 tablespoon flour

1 ½ cups chicken broth or stock

2 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Saute peppers and leek in butter until soft, about 10 minutes.

  2. Sprinkle flour over sautéed vegetables, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in chicken broth and stir until thickened. Stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste. 

  3. Meanwhile grill, broil or fry your pork chops or chicken breasts. Season lightly, serve by ladling sauce over each. 

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box inspiration:

Every week I'll share the links to some of my favorite recipes for the produce in your box from my own blog as well as my favorite bloggers and chefs. I am a master recipe substituter so be sure to read my notes before clicking through to see what vegetables I am swapping for others and how I adapt favorite recipes time and time again with whatever is in season! Though some of the recipes I share may look complicated, I also love sharing tips for streamlining or suggesting other preparation suggestions in the notes of the recipes.

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Better Than Takeout Szechuan Noodles with Sesame Chili Oil // Uses Bok Choy, skip garlic, red onion and scallions (unless you happen to have some) sub Leeks for any and all of these other alliums, maybe add some Sweet Peppers // I am so excited to have greens again and you can probably tell because I shared FOUR recipes that you can use your bok choy in. I’m such a sucker for greens— and noodles.

Gluten-Free (with the right noodles)

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Spicy Kimchi Slaw // Napa Cabbage, sub Watermelon Radish for Daikon, sub Leek or scallions, shred your own Carrots if you still have them // Napa cabbage and watermelon radish are a match made in heaven, but I didn’t want to give you a kimchi recipe because I know most folks won’t go home and make a vat of kimchi (but if you do happen to want to, check out this great recipe). This recipe calls for prepared kimchi mixed with Napa, watermelon radish and carrots for a light, bright salad that would taste great paired with some ribs or fried chicken. The only veggie it calls for that we didn’t give you is scallions, and I recommend buying some because scallions are an essential part of kimchi.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Peanuts & Apples // Uses Brussels Sprouts // We’ve finally made it to brussels sprouts season!!! And there is so much to get excited about with these tasty treats. You can always roast them for the world’s simplest, tastiest side dish, but I love to go a bit further, cut them small and eat them raw in a salad— especially when I can pair them with fresh fall apples.

Vegetarian, Vegan (without fish sauce), Gluten-Free

photo by; Vegetarian Times

photo by; Vegetarian Times

Green Bean Salad with Feta & Walnuts // Uses Green Beans, Lettuce, sub Leek for red onion // This salad feels more summery than fall, but if the fields are going to keep producing summer delights like green beans, then it’s salad we’ll be eating. Blanched beans, crunchy lettuce, creamy feta, nutty walnuts and the bite of raw onion all in one lovely bright bowl of veggies. Toss in some cherry tomatoes if you still have them laying around. It’s a perfect simple dinner.

Vegetarian, Vegan (if you leave off the feta), Gluten Free

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Radishes with Burrata // Watermelon Radishes // It isn’t always easy to find burrata, but if you can, make this recipe immediately. Watermelon radishes are still a little spicy like a regular radish but more sweet and flavorful. They don’t take much to make them tasty, but tossing them with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and throwing them on a bed of creamy cheese is one really great way to go about it.

Vegetarian, Gluten Free

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Crispy Korean Rice Bowl // Uses Bok Choy, make your Quick Kimchi out of the Watermelon Radish and Leeks // This recipe is top of the list for a reshoot. It is one of my absolute favorite blog recipes because of it’s versatility, but that picture is no good at all. Today, don’t eat with your eyes, just trust me that this bowl is incredible! The bulk of the meal is the coconut milk braised bok choy and sweet sticky mushrooms served over rice, but a ton of quick homemade kimchi over the top is what really makes it exceptional.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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BBQ Butternut Squash & Pulled Pork Pizza // Uses Butternut Squash, Colored Pepper, Poblano or Green Pepper, sub Leek for onion, skip the Jalapeno if you don’t have one available // A few years back, we hosted a pizza night on the farm where I fed CSA members pizza until they felt nauseous. I made six different styles of pizza and loaded everyone up on so many slices. It was such a fun event and I still love each and every one of the pizzas I invented that night, but this one takes the cake. It’s got a bit of everything: sweet, salty, rich, fiery, filling, packed full of veggies. What else could one want?

photo by; Alexandra Cooks

photo by; Alexandra Cooks

Watermelon Radish, Orange & Goat Cheese Salad // Uses Watermelon Radish, sub Leeks for shallot and/or chives // If this salad doens’t make you fall in love with the lovely watermelon radish, nothing will! The creamy cheese, the crunchy walnuts, the sweet oranges and the tender crisp radishes. It’s a match made in heaven.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

Napa Cabbage Noodle Salad // Uses Napa Cabbage, Sweet Pepper, sub a thinly sliced Leek for garlic and scallions, sub Watermelon Radish for daikon (or leave it out), add any herbs you have on hand // This recipe is a dream. Healthy, simple, exotically flavored in ways you might think you’d only get at a restaurant, and packed full of CSA veggies. I made this recipe in June for the first time and have been waiting desperately for our fall Napa cabbage every since.

Gluten-Free with the right noodles

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Hasselback Butternut Squash with Hot & Spicy Brown Butter Sauce // Uses Butternut Squash // Winter squash, brown butter, maple syrup, red pepper flakes. Fall doesn’t get much tastier than this.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Dining In Cookbook

photo by: Dining In Cookbook

Blistered Green Beans with Creamy Tahini & Fresh Hot Sauce // Green Beans, leftover Jalapeno or other hot pepper // This is one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks. The heat, the creamy sauce, the char on the beans. It’s perfection. I did blanch my beans for 5 minutes first to ensure they got properly blistered while still being cooked through.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

Iceberg Wedges with Grilled Bacon & Croutons // Uses Lettuce // These little salanova lettuces are so cute and delicate that I think they make a lovely little wedge with a bit more nutrient content than a traditional iceberg. Top them with this yummy combo of grilled bacon and croutons or whatever else you feel like!

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Slow Cooker Beef & Bok Choy Fried Rice // Uses Bok Choy, sub Leeks for garlic, add Watermelon Radishes cut into matchsticks at the end instead of scallions // Fried rice. The perfect answer to what’s for dinner.

Gluten-Free

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Jammy Pepper Pasta Salad // Uses Sweet Peppers, Leeks

In a Dutch oven, heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium high heat until it glistens. Add 4 cups of diced sweet peppers (the fryers and baby bells will all work great!) along with 5 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes until the peppers are softened and perhaps just a bit brown in spots. Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and reduce heat to medium low. Partially cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes throughout cooking.
While those cook down, prepare pickled leeks by combining leek with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Toss to combine and let sit until ready to use.

Once peppers are cooked, remove from heat and add in 8 ounces cooked pasta (I love cavatappi here), 8 ounces cubed fresh mozzarella, and pickled leeks. Serve at room temperature or cold.

CSA Newsletter: Week 15

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Bok Choy // Store unwashed in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Use within a couple days for best texture. Greens will wilt relatively quickly. Stems will retain firmness a while longer.

Cherry Tomatoes (Some Large Shares) // Most tomatoes should be kept out on the counter at room temperature, but cherry tomatoes need to be stored in the fridge or they over-ripen quickly.

Heirloom Tomatoes (Large Shares) and Slicer Tomatoes (Large Shares who did not receive cherry tomatoes) or Plum Tomatoes (Small Shares) // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms much more quickly, immediately if you can.

Sweet Peppers // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Daikon Radish // Store loose in the crisper drawer of your fridge. They will easily store for a month, after that they will begin to get a bit softer but will remain usable for 2-3 months.

Beans (Some Small Shares) // Refrigerate in a plastic bag and use as soon as possible. They are quite perishable.

Carrots (Large Shares and Small Shares who did not receive green beans) // Refrigerate carrots in a plastic bag. They will easily keep for 2-4 weeks this way. If your carrots had tops, remove them prior to storage and store the tops separately in a separate bag. They should last 2-3 days.

Acorn or Festival or Butternut Squash // Store winter squash in a cool, dry place and try to use within a week or two. Do not store in the fridge! This will cause it to spoil much more quickly.

Leeks // Store in the fridge and try to use within a week. Store in a plastic bag for best storage.

Chives (Large Shares) or Mint (Some Small Shares) // Store in the fridge in a small glass with about an inch of water, stem side down (like flowers in a vase) for best storage.

Thyme (Small Shares who did not receive mint) // Lay on a damp paper towel and wrap tightly. For long term storage and drying instructions, see here.

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We did it! We have hauled all the winter squash in from the fields and I can now stop crossing my fingers and officially announce that we had one heck of an amazing winter squash season!

When the rain started coming down heavy over the last couple weeks, we got nervous. Too much moisture can be devastating to a winter squash crop still sitting out in the field to finish ripening. We had already hauled in a full melon bin of festival squash and a half bin of acorn squash when the rains began so we knew the winter squash harvest wouldn’t be a total bust, but there was still a lot left in the field. Four beds of butternut to be exact and about 150 more acorn/festival squash we had left to finish ripening.

It has been years since we’ve had a successful butternut harvest. Butternuts take a bit longer than acorn style squashes and requires a little more time in the field to finish ripening. The last four seasons it happened the same way: it looked great until a bunch of rain came down, and then it didn’t. It happened just that fast. We had a feeling this year would be different. The squash went into the ground earlier (meaning it could also come out much earlier) and the fall rains came a little later than past seasons.

We brought in the beautiful little brulee butternuts some of you are receiving this week on September 5th. Despite a couple early September rains, they yielded exceptionally. Two beds brought in several hundred squash—nearly as good as our high yielding festival squash! They had some skin damage from moisture but they were still a beautiful color inside and out. We moved them to the greenhouse to begin curing and watched as the skin damage remained the same. This is actually a great sign! Sometimes what you think is just a discoloration due to too much moisture in the field winds up being some sort of disease or rot and you watch as hundreds of pounds of squash turn to liquid as they cure.

This has been the story of the butternut the past couple years. It’s disappointing to watch the pounds you hauled in literally melt before your eyes, and absolutely disgusting to deal with. But not this year! This year, the brulee held fim with no signs of disease, rot or decay after nearly two full weeks of curing. If you get a brulee squash this week or next and it has a little bit of darker orange discoloration, know that we have brought many home and tested them (aka cooked them up and ate them) and they still taste absolutely amazing. The discoloration has nothing to do with their quality or flavor, and it appears to also have no effect on their storage.

After the brulee, we still had two more beds of butternuts to haul in and the rain kept falling pretty consistently. We looked at the forecast and planned two large butternut harvests right before big storms. The first half of the full-size butternuts came in after we finished the CSA pack last week and then we brought in the remaining fruits on Saturday. We knew the second half needed a little more time to ripen, but it was important to get it in before more storms began. Luckily, butternut always spend a couple weeks in the greenhouse curing which helps them finish the ripening process if they weren’t able in the fields. Large shares will begin receiving the first full size butternut squash next week and likely get two weeks of them!

When we expanded the CSA to 200 members this year (and with our past bad luck in the winter squash field), we never imagined we’d be able to give winter squash in such great quantities to members four or five times in one season but we are thrilled about it! We hope you are enjoying the winter squash bounty just as much as you enjoyed all the tomatoes (which are finally on their way out). We expect it to be the last week of tomatoes which is truly great timing—we’ve got a lot of root vegetables, greens and fall vegetables to make room for!

-L&K 

P.S. We just wanted to let you know that we’ve got a date for the Fall Harvest Party!! It will be September 28th from 11-3 p.m. and we’re so excited to have a CSA-member led CHILI COOKOFF at this event!! We’ll also have fresh apple cider alongside more apples for pressing as well as a caramel apple building station again for the kiddos. It should be a perfect fall day at the farm. You can find our Chili Cookoff and party sign-up form here.

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VEGGIE ID: Leeks

Leeks are the super tall vegetables in your box this week that look almost like a giant green onion. These are one of my all time favorite veggies and I hope you learn to love them too!

They are in the allium (onion, garlic, shallots, etc) family so have that delicious allium flavor. They can be used any place where you would use an onion but I LOVE them in potato leek soup! To use them, you want to cut a tiny bit of the bottom off (the fringy part that was in the ground) as well as the leaves (use the parts that are white and pale green, skip the parts that are dark green- though they can be used for soup stock) and you can then cut them into rings or slice the leek in half and slice it much as you would an onion.

For more info on leeks and how to cut them, head over here! For our video on how to cut them, check out the video on our YouTube channel!

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VEGGIE ID: DAIKON RADISH

Daikon is not all that different from a regular radish (crisp and sweet with a little bit of spice). The main difference is just that it's MUCH larger. Daikon can get anywhere from 3-15 inches long. You can enjoy them raw, sliced, shaved, or cut into matchsticks. They add a great crunch to pretty much any dish with just a very subtle spice. I especially love to pickle them and toss them on sandwiches or grain bowls.

Have fun experimenting and if you want to learn more about this unique veggie: head over to Food 52 where they give you loads of  information and ideas for how to use it.

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VEGGIE ID: BOK CHOY ↑

Be not afraid of that leafy green vegetable with white almost celery-looking stalks in your box this week. Bok Choy is one of the vegetables I had never heard of before we began farming that I have grown to have a deep love for. It is a member of the brassica family (I'll mention the brassica family a lot; it includes lots of popular veggies like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts as well as some odd ducks like kohlrabi, bok choy and rutabaga).

It sometimes also referred to a pac choi or Chinese cabbage. This green is mild and sweet with an almost silky texture. A lot of dark leafy greens can be bitter or harsh, but bok choy is the complete opposite. The leaves are light and tender. The stalk is crunchy and crisp.

So how do I use it?

The first step is getting it clean. We washed the field dirt off the bok choy, but dirt still likes to hide between the layers. I fill my sink with cold water, rip off as many leaves as I plan to use and then soak them for 5-10 minutes. I rub my fingers over any dirty parts of the stem after they soak and then swish them through the water before use.

Then all that's left to do is cut it up. This will vary a little bit based on what recipe you are using, but I like to cut the stems from the leaves. I usually roughly chop the leaves and slice the stems.

What is the best way to prepare bok choy?

Because the leafy greens are so tender and the stalks so crispy, I love to eat bok choy raw in salads. There is an amazing salad recipe below that calls for bok choy as well as one that turns bok choy and radishes into a simple slaw. My friend Sarah loves to grill bok choy because it stands up well to the heat. Lots of folks stir fry it or add it to soups. You can also make a quick ferment or kimchi out of it. I've also simmered it in coconut milk (ala creamed spinach, but vegan and so much better!) and that was one of my favorite simple preparation. And as always, never forget that you can roast literally anything. The sky is the limit with this leafy green so be not afraid. You too will learn to love it!

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VEGGIE ID: Winter Squash Varieties

Folks received one of these three types of winter squash today. The tan one on the far right is the Brulee variety of butternut. It is a mini butternut (perfect for those small share boxes!) and has a beautiful dark orange flesh. It is super sweet and one of our absolute favorite squashes. The speckled squash on top that almost looks like a gourd is the Festival winter squash. It is absolutely edible— you can even eat the skin! For those receiving it for the first time, check out Newsletter 13 for more variety specific info. The blue-ish squash on the right and bottom is acorn squash. We’ve been growing this for quite some time and you are likely familiar with it as it’s one of the most common in Wisconsin. For this one, you can’t eat the skin but the flesh is quite sweet and wonderful.

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Understanding tomato blemishes

As I’ve said before, the tomatoes are beginning to go down hill. This will very likely be your last week of receiving any tomatoes. It’s very common for tomatoes to begin going down in quality after 5 weeks and this is your EIGHTH week of tomatoes!! The fruits are still great to eat but there are a couple things to watch for.

On the left you will see some yellowing on the top of the fruit. This is called sun scald. It is very common for tomatoes to have sun scald on their tops after 5 weeks of production because at this point in the growing season, all of the tomato leaves have died off and there is nothing left to shade the ripening tomatoes. We remove the worst sun scald fruits when we clean tomatoes each week and give them to our restaurants as “seconds” or discounted damaged produce. However, since we are moving towards the end of the tomato season, we will begin to give you tomatoes with just a touch of yellowing. There is nothing wrong with these tomatoes. They will still taste delicious. We recommend just trimming the yellow portion off when you core the tomato since that portion rarely develops much delicious tomato flavor.

On the right you will see the effects of a tomato disease we get every year around this time. It is called anthracnose and it is a fungal disease that causes certain varieties of tomatoes to rot faster. Again, it is a common occurrence in organic tomatoes and is absolutely fine to eat. It is a disease that makes the tomato decay faster. It does not do anything to your body.

The photo above is just for reference. We will NEVER give you a tomato that looks like that. Any tomatoes with that much damage will be tossed into the compost. However, anthracnose is present in some of our tomatoes at this point of the season and can’t always be seen at harvest. A tomato may look perfect but due to anthracnose, decay very quickly on your counter.

At this point in the season, we recommend using CSA tomatoes within 1-2 days. This means using them within 1-2 days if you plan to eat them raw OR cooking with them in 1-2 days. The disease will not spread or have any effect in a cooked product.

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 9-10 of these items in your box next week

Rutabaga

Watermelon Radish

Bok Choy OR Napa Cabbage

Beans

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Leeks

Sweet Peppers

Hot Peppers

Butternut Squash

Salanova Lettuce

Parsley or Mint

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KATHY'S RECIPE CORNER

Early on, Lauren's mom instilled in her a great love of cooking. She's always had a garden and knows what to do with abundant produce better than anyone. We hope you enjoy her classic Wisconsin preparations of summer abundance. 

Dill Glazed Carrots // Uses Carrots

1 pound carrots, peeled or well scrubbed, sliced ¼” thick

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons water

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dill seeds (can substitute dill weed if you have to)

  1. Place carrots, butter, water and salt in small heavy saucepan. Bring quickly to a boil, cover pan, reduce heat. Simmer for 10 – 12 minutes or until carrots are crisp tender. Remove cover, continue to simmer until water is almost gone. Gently stir in dill.

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box inspiration:

Every week I'll share the links to some of my favorite recipes for the produce in your box from my own blog as well as my favorite bloggers and chefs. I am a master recipe substituter so be sure to read my notes before clicking through to see what vegetables I am swapping for others and how I adapt favorite recipes time and time again with whatever is in season! Though some of the recipes I share may look complicated, I also love sharing tips for streamlining or suggesting other preparation suggestions in the notes of the recipes.

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Better Than Takeout Szechuan Noodles with Sesame Chili Oil // Uses Bok Choy, skip garlic, red onion and scallions (unless you happen to have some) sub Leeks for any and all of these other alliums // I am so excited to have greens again and you can probably tell because I shared FOUR recipes that you can use your bok choy in. I’m such a sucker for greens— and noodles.

Gluten-Free (with the right noodles)

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Slow Cooker Beef & Bok Choy Fried Rice // Uses Bok Choy, sub Leeks for garlic, add Daikon cut into matchsticks at the end instead of scallions // Fried rice. The perfect answer to what’s for dinner.

Gluten-Free

photo by; Dishing up the Dirt

photo by; Dishing up the Dirt

Daikon Radish & Soba Noodles with Chickpea-Miso & Ginger Sauce + Fried Egg // Uses Bok Choy, Daion, Carrot, sub Leeks for all garlic and scallions in recipe // Usually I just tell folks to pickle their daikon but I love this recipe because it has you do something totally different. It has you cut your daikon into long thin matchsticks so they transform into a kind of noodle along with the soba and carrots. The crunch they bring is incredible.

Vegetarian, Vegan (without the egg), Gluten-Free

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Shaved Carrots with Charred Dates // Uses Carrots // A salad can be made from any base of raw vegetable and carrots are no exception. You may not usually eat them this way but you should give it a try!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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Crispy Korean Rice Bowl // Uses Bok Choy, make your Quick Kimchi out of the Daikon, Carrots, and Leeks // This recipe is top of the list for a reshoot. It is one of my absolute favorite blog recipes because of it’s versatility, but that picture is no good at all. Today, don’t eat with your eyes, just trust me that this bowl is incredible! The bulk of the meal is the coconut milk braised bok choy and sweet sticky mushrooms served over rice, but a ton of quick homemade kimchi over the top is what really makes it exceptional.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

photo by: Things I Made Today

photo by: Things I Made Today

Winter Squash & Tomato Gratin // Uses Tomatoes and/or Cherry Tomatoes, Winter Squash, feel free to sub Leek for onion, add a Sweet Pepper, skip the parsley and maybe add some Chives or Thyme instead // I wait all year for the winter squash to overlap with the tomatoes so I can share this beautiful recipe with you! It’s so simple and so tasty. You can use any winter squash and any tomatoes (though the winter squash we gave this week really should be peeled before use).

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Leek & Pepper Pretzel Dip // Uses Leek, Colored Pepper, skip the Jalapeno (unless you still have one lying around), maybe add some Chives if you like // Many thanks to CSA member and worker share Amy who reminded me putting random vegetables into cream cheese is ALWAYS a great idea. Leeks, jalapenos and a sweet pepper (if you still have one lying around) are a match made in heaven.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Making Thyme for Health

photo by: Making Thyme for Health

One-Pot African Peanut Stew // Sub a couple Tomatoes for the tomato paste (I used 2 cups plus a tablespoon of maple syrup), sub Leeks for garlic and onion, sub Festival or Butternut Squash for sweet potato, skip the greens unless you don’t have a home for the Bok Choy greens, add a Sweet Pepper or two, and some Carrots if you feel like it // Every time of year, I  get this exact same craving and share this exact same recipe. It's the perfect dish to celebrate the time of year when tomatoes and peppers smash into winter squash. It may look like a lot of substitutions but I promise it's really not. This time of year is made for African peanut stew and the flavors of this box are just begging you to make it. Even if you want to leave out a suggested veggie ingredient or two, it will still be perfect. I promise.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

photo by: Dining In Cookbook

photo by: Dining In Cookbook

Blistered Green Beans with Creamy Tahini & Fresh Hot Sauce // Green Beans, leftover Jalapeno or other hot pepper // This is one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks. The heat, the creamy sauce, the char on the beans. It’s perfection. I did blanch my beans for 5 minutes first to ensure they got properly blistered while still being cooked through.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Butternut Squash & Leek Soup // Uses Winter Squash (use whatever you received this week), Leeks, Thyme, Chives // Leek and squash soup is such a fun twist on leek and potato soup. It’s just as rich and smooth and velvety with just a pop more sweetness and complexity. You don’t have to follow this recipe to make a great squash soup— play with whatever amount of squash and leeks you want to use and use the rest of the recipe simply as guidance.

Gluten-Free

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Crockpot Caramelized Pork Ramen Noodle Soup with Curry Roasted Acorn Squash // Uses Winter Squash, Carrots, skip the Jalapeno, sub Leeks for green onions, add some matchsticked Daikon to the topping // This clearly qualifies as a PROJECT recipe. I prefer not to share project recipes for all you lovely CSA members because I know your preference is usually to cook maximum vegetables in minimum time with limited crazy techniques and/or ingredients, but this recipe, this recipe is oh so worth it. And it uses a crock pot, so that equates ease, right?

Gluten-Free

CSA Newsletter: Week 14

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Cherry Tomatoes (Large Shares Only) // Most tomatoes should be kept out on the counter at room temperature, but cherry tomatoes need to be stored in the fridge or they over-ripen quickly.

Plum or Slicer Tomatoes // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms much more quickly, immediately if you can.

Tomatillos // Store in the crisper drawer of your fridge. They should last at least a week.

Sweet Peppers (Large Shares and most Small Shares) // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Jalapenos // Hot peppers keep well in the fridge, especially in the crisper drawer. I often keep hot peppers in a plastic bag so that they don’t spread their heat or flavor to other fridge items.

Carrots (Large Shares and Small Shares who did not receive sweet peppers) // Refrigerate carrots in a plastic bag. They will easily keep for 2-4 weeks this way. If your carrots had tops, remove them prior to storage and store the tops separately in a separate bag. They should last 2-3 days.

Acorn Winter Squash // Store winter squash in a cool, dry place and try to use within a week or two. Do not store in the fridge! This will cause it to spoil much more quickly.

Gold Potatoes // Early in the season you will receive new potatoes which have not been cured. They can be stored just like you’d store regular potatoes, however they will not last as long at room temperature. Try to use within a few days or move to the fridge if you think it will take a couple weeks to use them.

Leeks // Store in the fridge and try to use within a week. Store in a plastic bag for best storage.

Red Onion // Store along with your garlic and potatoes in a cool dark place and try to use within a couple weeks. In the proper conditions, pure darkness and cool temperatures, they can store up to 6 months.

Thyme (Large Shares) // Lay on a damp paper towel and wrap tightly. For long term storage and drying instructions, see here.

Chives (Small Shares) // Store in the fridge in a small glass with about an inch of water, stem side down (like flowers in a vase) for best storage.

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The winter squash has arrived!!! And it is absolutely perfect!

As so many of you who have been with us for years know, our winter squash fields have really let us down the past couple of seasons. Our early years of farming were marked with overwhelming production of this fall favorite and then suddenly the last couple of seasons were excessively wet and we lost the crop again and again to disease and rot. I’d like to say we’re learning what we are doing, but really winter squash production is soaring this year for a few reasons and only some of them have anything to do with us.

We’ve learned a lot through our couple years of crop failure. We learned we were planting the crop a bit too late and were not keeping it covered long enough. We planted the crop a full ten days earlier this year than we had in 2017 and 2018. We love the idea of letting squash ripen a bit later so that we don’t have to move straight from mass harvest of onions to mass harvest of squash, but have learned year after year that friends who got their squash in much earlier weren’t plagued by the massive disease and rot issues we had been experiencing. Getting this crop in almost two weeks earlier than we had before and letting the plants grow to full maturity in the summer heat seemed to be much better for its production overall.

We also continued to row cover this crop (aka cover it with that white sheer fabric) until the very last possible moment—until the plants literally grew too large and pushed their way out from under it. This is really helpful for both pest and disease resistance. Our first winter squash failure came from the squash vine borer. This is a pest that literally bores into the vines and kills the plant from the inside out. Their population spreads fast and because they are living and laying eggs inside of the plant, it’s almost impossible to stop them once a population begins. Keeping the crop covered helps keep this pest away until plants are fully mature and have already set many fruits.

Together, these two techniques have really helped our crop immensely, but we’ve also had a wonderful late summer season. The past six weeks have been much drier than the August and September of the past couple of seasons. Last season in particular was incredibly wet with 22 inches or rain falling on our farm in the month of August. Even though we had row covered our winter squash and got it into the ground in mid-June instead of late June last year, the amount of moisture just decimated the crop. That much rain brought both disease and rot to our beautiful stand of plants. They went from looking perfect to essentially looking dead in ONE week’s time.

Farming is like that. Experience matters, but so does the weather and the specific patterns of that particular season. You can think you’ve learned a lesson and implement all the right strategies for success and have a total crop failure for reasons you had never experienced before. You’re never done learning in this profession. And you’re never really in control.

Over the years, we have been lucky enough to have learned from a lot of truly talented growers and CSA farmers. The best of the best tell us to plan for 20% crop failure. 20%!!!! The best of the best tell us that each year 1/5 of what we grow may very well not turn out. Those odds are crazy.

And I’m learning that is exactly why most farmers you meet are incredibly humble and gracious. They operate under the assumption that the craft they spend their days and their weeks and their months and possibly even their lifetimes working to perfect, can never actually be perfect because it’s always at the mercy of something bigger. They have to do their best for all their customers and all of their crops, and 20% of the time that still won’t be enough. How many of us can say that? How many of us experience failure 20% of the time even when operating at 100%?  

It’s amazing to ride this roller coaster and to find ourselves at the top with crops we’ve really struggled with in years previous. It’s a crazy world we’ve gotten ourselves into. And for that, we are immensely grateful.

-L&K

P.S. We just wanted to let you know that we’ve got a date for the Fall Harvest Party!! It will be September 28th from 11-3 p.m. and we’re so excited to have a CSA-member led CHILI COOKOFF at this event!! We’ll also have fresh apple cider alongside more apples for pressing as well as a caramel apple building station again for the kiddos. It should be a perfect fall day at the farm. You can find our Chili Cookoff and party sign-up form here.

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VEGGIE ID: Leeks

Leeks are the super tall vegetables in your box this week that look almost like a giant green onion. These are one of my all time favorite veggies and I hope you learn to love them too!

They are in the allium (onion, garlic, shallots, etc) family so have that delicious allium flavor. They can be used any place where you would use an onion but I LOVE them in potato leek soup! To use them, you want to cut a tiny bit of the bottom off (the fringy part that was in the ground) as well as the leaves (use the parts that are white and pale green, skip the parts that are dark green- though they can be used for soup stock) and you can then cut them into rings or slice the leek in half and slice it much as you would an onion.

For more info on leeks and how to cut them, head over here!

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VEGGIE ID: TomatilloS

First and foremost, a tomatillo is not just an under-ripe tomato even though it does kind of look like that once you remove the husk. A tomatillo is a relative to the tomato and is sometimes known as a the Mexican husk tomato because of the way the fruit grows inside of a papery skin. It is a bit brighter, less sweet, and more acidic than a typical tomato.

To use them, you peel away the papery skin and give them a quick rinse under water since the skin of the actual fruit is always a bit sticky. Tomatillos are more commonly used in salsa verde (the green salsa often offered to you at Mexican restaurants). I love to use them this way or in a salad dressing with similar ingredients. Typically they are turned into a salsa or sauce of some kind.

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Understanding tomato blemishes

I mentioned is last week’s CSA email that the tomatoes are beginning to go down hill. It’s very common for tomatoes to begin going down in quality after 5 weeks. The fruits are still great to eat but there are a couple things to watch for.

On the left you will see some yellowing on the top of the fruit. This is called sun scald. It is very common for tomatoes to have sun scald on their tops after 5 weeks of production because at this point in the growing season, all of the tomato leaves have died off and there is nothing left to shade the ripening tomatoes. We remove the worst sun scald fruits when we clean tomatoes each week and give them to our restaurants as “seconds” or discounted damaged produce. However, since we are moving towards the end of the tomato season, we will begin to give you tomatoes with just a touch of yellowing. There is nothing wrong with these tomatoes. They will still taste delicious. We recommend just trimming the yellow portion off when you core the tomato since that portion rarely develops much delicious tomato flavor.

On the right you will see the effects of a tomato disease we get every year around this time. It is called anthracnose and it is a fungal disease that causes certain varieties of tomatoes to rot faster. Again, it is a common occurrence in organic tomatoes and is absolutely fine to eat. It is a disease that makes the tomato decay faster. It does not do anything to your body.

The photo above is just for reference. We will NEVER give you a tomato that looks like that. Any tomatoes with that much damage will be tossed into the compost. However, anthracnose is present in some of our tomatoes at this point of the season and can’t always be seen at harvest. A tomato may look perfect but due to anthracnose, decay very quickly on your counter. At this point in the season, we recommend using CSA tomatoes within 2-3 days. This means using them within 2-3 days if you plan to eat them raw OR cooking with them in 2-3 days. The disease will not spread or have any effect in a cooked product.

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 9-10 of these items in your box next week

Cherry Tomatoes

Slicer and/or Heirloom Tomatoes

Colored Bell Peppers or Italian Fryers

Festival or Butternut Winter Squash

Carrots

Purple Daikon

Leeks

Fennel

Green Beans

Broccoli

Napa Cabbage or Bok Choy

Lettuce Mix

Mixed Herbs

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KATHY'S RECIPE CORNER

Early on, Lauren's mom instilled in her a great love of cooking. She's always had a garden and knows what to do with abundant produce better than anyone. We hope you enjoy her classic Wisconsin preparations of summer abundance. 

Quick Fresh Tomato Soup

 

1 cup chopped celery

1 leek, white and pale green parts, chopped

1 medium carrot, shredded

½ green pepper, chopped

¼ cup butter

4 ½ cups chicken broth, divided

4 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped (dip tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins)

½ teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

4 teaspoon sugar

¼ cup flour

  1. Saute’ celery, onions, carrot & green pepper in butter in stockpot. Add 4 cups of the broth, tomatoes, spices and sugar; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer for 20 minutes. Blend flour with remaining ½ cup chicken broth. Stir gradually into soup, cook until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.

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box inspiration:

Every week I'll share the links to some of my favorite recipes for the produce in your box from my own blog as well as my favorite bloggers and chefs. I am a master recipe substituter so be sure to read my notes before clicking through to see what vegetables I am swapping for others and how I adapt favorite recipes time and time again with whatever is in season! Though some of the recipes I share may look complicated, I also love sharing tips for streamlining or suggesting other preparation suggestions in the notes of the recipes.

photo by: Alexandra Cooks

photo by: Alexandra Cooks

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion, Simplified // Uses Tomatoes, Red Onion, feel free to add Leeks and/or 1 of any of the Peppers you received this week // If you are feeling sick of tomatoes, it’s time to freeze some! I love this super simple sauce and after pureeing, it freezes great in bags or wide mouth mason jars.

Vegetarian, Vegan if you substitute olive oil for butter, Gluten-Free

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Acorn Squash Quesadilla with Tomatillo Salsa // Uses Tomatillos, Acorn Squash, Jalapenos, Onion (use red or yellow), skip poblanos and use whatever Sweet Peppers you received this week // I’ve been just waiting for the day we pulled off growing tomatillos and winter squash together so I could share this perfect summer meets fall recipe.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free (with the right tortillas)

photo by; Bon Appetit

photo by; Bon Appetit

Leek Soup with Shoestring Potatoes // Uses Leeks, Onion (use red or yellow), Potato, skip the Garlic and Parsley // A CSA member reminded me of this favorite recipe over the weekend and I’m so overjoyed that they did. I made it for a farm to table event a few summers ago without the fried herbs (my fried herbs just turned into a greasy mess) and added a simple jalapeno oil. The soup has a lot of butter and a lot of cream, but don’t let that stop you. It’s the best leek soup you will ever eat.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Shaved Carrots with Charred Dates // Uses Carrots // A salad can be made from any base of raw vegetable and carrots are no exception. You may not usually eat them this way but you should give it a try!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Fried Onions & Parsley // Uses Potatoes, Onions (use red or yellow), skip the Parsley and perhaps finish with Chives instead // I think perhaps we should all start having boiled potatoes in our fridge all the time because then you can make mashed potatoes, potato salad or my new favorite SMASHED POTATOES (!!!) in 5-10 minutes flat. I made these on the grill Sunday and they were like crispy dinner hash browns in all the best ways. One word of warning: boil the potatoes whole regardless of the size and then quarter or halve the largest ones before "smashing" for best results.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

photo by: Things I Made Today

photo by: Things I Made Today

Winter Squash & Tomato Gratin // Uses Tomatoes and/or Cherry Tomatoes, Acorn Squash, Red Onion, feel free to add Leek, Jalapeno or Sweet Pepper, skip the parsley and maybe add some Chives instead // I wait all year for the winter squash to overlap with the tomatoes so I can share this beautiful recipe with you! It’s so simple and so tasty. You can use any winter squash and any tomatoes (though the winter squash we gave this week really should be peeled before use).

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Leek & Pepper Pretzel Dip // Uses Leek, Colored Pepper, Jalapeno, maybe add some Chives if you like // Many thanks to CSA member and worker share Amy who reminded me putting random vegetables into cream cheese is ALWAYS a great idea. Leeks, jalapenos and a sweet pepper (if you still have one lying around) are a match made in heaven.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Making Thyme for Health

photo by: Making Thyme for Health

One-Pot African Peanut Stew // Uses Onion (red or yellow), Jalapenos, sub a Tomato or Two for the tomato paste and maybe a handful more for some of the vegetable broth, sub Leeks for garlic, sub Festival or Butternut Squash for sweet potato, skip the greens unless you happen to still have some kale in your fridge, add a Sweet Pepper or two, and some Carrots if you feel like it // Every time of year, I  get this exact same craving and share this exact same recipe. It's the perfect dish to celebrate the time of year when tomatoes and peppers smash into winter squash. It may look like a lot of substitutions but I promise it's really not. This time of year is made for African peanut stew and the flavors of this box are just begging you to make it. Even if you want to leave out a suggested veggie ingredient or two, it will still be perfect. I promise.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

photo by: Clean Living Guide

photo by: Clean Living Guide

Roasted Tomatillo Verde Chicken Enchiladas // Uses Tomatillos, Jalapenos, Onion (red or yellow), sub in Leek for some of the onion if you don’t have enough, sub in other Peppers for the poblanos, add in roasted or sauteed Acorn Squash if you like // Roasted chicken + roasted tomatillo verde salsa + a whole bunch of cheese a corn tortillas, it’s weeknight dinner perfection.

Gluten-Free

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Baked Squash Mac & Cheese // Uses Acorn Squash, Onion (red or yellow or could swap in a Leek), add in whatever Peppers you feel like and maybe a handful of Chives // Even though you only got 1-2 squash this week, I still love this recipe for this box and think you should make it anyway. You can absolutely half your squash to have more to stuff, but who really cares if you wind up with some extra mac & cheese left over. Enjoy!

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Crockpot Caramelized Pork Ramen Noodle Soup with Curry Roasted Acorn Squash // Uses Acorn Squash, Carrots Jalapeno, sub Leeks or Red Onion for green onions // This clearly qualifies as a PROJECT recipe. I prefer not to share project recipes for all you lovely CSA members because I know your preference is usually to cook maximum vegetables in minimum time with limited crazy techniques and/or ingredients, but this recipe, this recipe is oh so worth it. And it uses a crock pot, so that equates ease, right?

Gluten-Free