CSA Newsletter: Week 16

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Beets // Beet roots will easily last a couple of weeks. They’ll get soft after that but can still be used. Store the roots loose in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

Plum Tomatoes // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms or blemished tomatoes much more quickly, within a day or two if you can.

Poblanos (some full shares only), Shishitos (full shares who did not receive poblanos only), Early Habaneros and 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.

Colored Bell or Italian Frying Pepper (half shares only) // 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.

Collards // Refrigerate in a plastic bag until ready to use. Do not wash before storing.

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.

German Butterball Potatoes // Store just like you’d store any bag of potatoes from the grocery store: in a cool, dark place. Out of the light, they should keep for at least a month.

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

Sage (full shares only) // Store in the fridge. For long term storage and drying instructions, see here.

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The seasons are really changing out here on the farm. The weather is a bit more hot and humid than we’d like—than we’d all like I’m sure!—but the work at the farm is changing nonetheless.

Last week, we completed the very last of the transplanting. We hustled to get romaine, arugula, spinach and scallions into the ground. It feels good (and strange) to say with certainty: this task is done for 2018. We have a few odds and ends we’re still keeping alive in our greenhouse, things we decided probably wouldn’t make it to full maturity before the bitter cold comes. I’m not sure why we’re keeping them alive exactly other than the fact it feels weird to clear out the greenhouse for good. We’ve been watering and caring for seedlings in the greenhouse since March so it’s strange to shut that part of the farm down. We got a few more beds of spinach and radishes seeded and though not quite done for the season, we’re 99% finished with the seeding for 2018 outside of cover crops.

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The focus is transitioning from planting and production to clean up and getting the farm ready for winter. Which seems a little crazy since fall just began, but taking apart a farm for the season is a big task. We’ve got irrigation lines to remove from the field, tomato trellises to take down, landscape fabric to roll up, among a dozen other odds and ends.

We’ll also hopefully complete digging the regular potatoes this week too—a task Kyle nearly finished last week despite the slow and steady pace he claimed he was going to have—and then we’ll begin digging the sweet potatoes. We’re so excited to unearth these beauties and see how they turned out! We’ve never grown sweet potatoes before so we don’t know for certain how big they will get or how they liked growing in our soil, but we’ve dug a few test areas to see if they’re ready and so far, so good! After we dig them, the sweet potatoes will then need to spend some time curing in the greenhouse. This is what gives them their sweetness. You should be receiving sweet potatoes in your box next week (or in two weeks at the absolute latest!) and then, ideally, we’ll be able to keep them coming for the remainder of the season!

We’re still sad about the bummer of a tomato and pepper year here at Raleigh’s Hillside Farm but really grateful the rain stopped just in time for the fall crops to look great! This past weekend, Kyle and I ran through the breakdown of what we plan to give in each box for the rest of the season and things are looking quite lovely. We may even be able to offer a small storage share add-on in early November!

Thank you for rolling with the successes and struggles of this past season. Thank you for understanding how seasonality varies based on the weather of that particular season. And thank you for your words of support and encouragement as we problem solved through a very challenging season. We feel stronger than before and much wiser as farmers. Every year brings new and unexpected difficulties and every year teaches us something else about what it really means to make your living growing food.

Now bring on that fall weather!!!

-L&K

P.S. Did you see that we’re having one more fabulous party at the farm?! Come join us!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 10-12 of these items in your box next week

Cherry Tomatoes or Tomatoes

Eggplant

Sweet Peppers

Hot Peppers

Beets

Lacinato Kale or Rainbow Chard

Napa Cabbage

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Butternut Squash

Sweet Potatoes

Shallots

Onions

Mixed Herbs (Mint, Chives, Sage, Thyme)

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VEGGIE ID: RED EARLY HABaNEROS

WARNING: THESE BABIES ARE HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

These lovely Primero Red Habaneros are part of a farm-to-flavor research trial we are participating in this year. We never thought we’d grow habaneros since they are such a hot pepper, but these beauties have been fun. They carry about 1/3 the punch of a regular habanero (which typically dials in at around 100x that of a jalapeno). I love them most made into a quick hot sauce, but you could also make a simple pepper jelly to be stirred into cream cheese and served with crackers come Christmas time. You could dry them and add bits and pieces to winter cooking to spice things up. We probably won’t be giving them again so have some fun and experiment with these beauties. Whatever you do, just don’t snack on them raw!

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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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. 

Cabbage Soup with Cheese // Onion, Leek, Cabbage, Potatoes

½ pound bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 leek, chopped

½ head cabbage, coarsely chopped

2 potatoes, peeled & diced

5 cups chicken broth

1 ½ teaspoon fines herbes (can make your own : 1 tablespoon each marjoram, savory & thyme + 1 teaspoon basil + pinch of sage)

Salt and pepper to taste

4 ounces shredded Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese

2 ounces Gouda, shredded or sharp cheddar

¾ cup half & half

½ teaspoon dill

Dash of tabasco or cayenne pepper

  1. Saute bacon in kettle until almost crisp. Pour off all but 3-4 tablespoons fat. Add chopped onion, leek and cabbage to pan.

  2. Saute for 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes, then fines herbes, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes until potatoes are quite tender. Just before serving, slowly add cheeses, stirring until melted but do NOT allow to boil.

  3. Add remaining ingredients and adjust seasoning.

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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: Making Thyme for Health

photo by: Making Thyme for Health

One-Pot African Peanut Stew // Onion, Jalapenos, sub a Tomato or Two for the tomato paste, sub Leeks for garlic, sub Festival or Butternut Squash for sweet potato, add a Poblano or two, Collards // 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: Well and Full

photo by: Well and Full

Kale Detox Salad with Pesto // Potatoes (double the amount called for in the recipe and leave out the carrots), add some sliced Leeks and possibly even diced Poblanos to the roasting potatoes, Sub Collards for Kale, Jalapenos, Sub Sage or Chives for Thyme // It never ceases to amaze me how two of the most basic things--collards and potatoes--can be thrown together pretty much any which way and be perfect and glorious and interesting every single time. This salad, with some leeks thrown in and the carrots left out, is no different. It's heavenly and healthy and effortlessly simple with the use of prepared basil! 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Creamy Pappardelle with Leeks & Bacon // Leeks, Thyme (or Sage) // Leeks and bacon are a match made in heaven. As is pasta and cream. Yes, this recipe is decadent, but that's what leeks are for: simple, elegant decadence. Add some kale if you feel like being a smidge healthier.

 photo by: The Awesome Green

photo by: The Awesome Green

The Ultimate Veggie Burger // Beets, Sub Festival or Butternut Squash for Sweet Potatoes, Onion // It’s the burger of your dreams, and guess what, it’s totally vegan. Whoever thought of adding sweet roasted sweet potatoes (or squash) AND guacamole to a burger is pure genius.

Vegetarian, Vegan

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Leek Soup with Shoestring Potatoes // Leeks, Onion, 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 (mine just turned into a greasy mess) and added a simple jalapeno oil (poblano oil would also be fabulous). The soup has a lot of butter and a lot of cream, actually a lot of cream generally, but don’t let that stop you. It’s the best leek soup you will ever eat.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: New York Times

photo by: New York Times

Winter Squash & Tomato Gratin // Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes, Festival or Butternut Squash, sub Onion & Leek for red onions // 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

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Grilled Beet Salad with Caramelized Citrus // Beets, Chives if you got them // Grilling season is nearly finished so let’s do one last masterpiece. This recipe requires you to grill your beets AND your citrus (lemon and orange) for a very long-time, allowing you to linger outside on the back patio and savor every last minute of summer. The grill does most of the work here so you only have to add a couple more ingredients for this delectable dish.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Cabbage Patch Soup // Poblanos, Colored Pepper (skip it if you don’t have any), Onion, Jalapeno, Cabbage, Sub any Tomatoes from this week’s box for the canned tomatoes (a cup of diced tomatoes is about 8 ounces of canned tomatoes) // This is a Kathy Wells (m momma) classic that I’ve stolen and made my own. There is nothing tastier than this soup on a cool fall day (so maybe wait until Friday to make it). It’s thick and creamy, tomato-y and sweet, deeply flavorful and deeply nourishing all in one bowl.

Gluten-Free

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Leek & Pepper Pretzel Dip // Leek, Colored Pepper, Jalapeno // 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: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Crockpot Caramelized Pork Ramen Noodle Soup with Curry Roasted Acorn Squash // sub Festival or Butternut Squash, Jalapeno, sub Leeks for green onions, skip the Carrots unless you happen to have some on hand// 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

 photo by: Martha Stewart

photo by: Martha Stewart

Sheet Pan Chicken with Cabbage & Leeks // 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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Brown Butter & Sage Biscuit // Sage // I'm so excited for the herbs in your box this week because they just scream fall. They can really be put in any box with potatoes, leeks or squash, but you may still have extra and THEN you should definitely try your hand at these brown butter & sage biscuits! The alternative, of course, is to just make Pillsbury biscuits and make your own sage honey butter to slather all over them.

CSA Newsletter: Week 15

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Plum or Heirloom Tomatoes (full shares & some half shares) // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms or blemished tomatoes much more quickly, within a day or two if you can.

Cherry Tomatoes (full shares & half shares who do not receive Tomatoes) // 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.

Poblanos (full shares & some half shares), Shishitos (some half shares) and 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.

Colored Bell or Italian Frying Pepper (full shares and half shares who do not receive poblanos or shishitos) // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Curly Kale // Lasts at least a week if kept moist. Kale doesn’t taste as good once it’s dried out. Keep it in the crisper drawer of your fridge or loosely in a plastic bag to seal in the moisture.

Acorn or Honey Boat 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.

Blue Potatoes // Store just like you’d store any bag of potatoes from the grocery store: in a cool, dark place. Out of the light, they should keep for at least a month.

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

Yellow Onion // Store along with your potatoes in a cool dark place and try to use within a couple weeks.

Thyme (full shares only) & Sage (half shares only) // Store in the fridge. For long term storage and drying instructions, see here.

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You have all seen the forecast, right? You have all also looked at the Weather app on your phone only to be greeted by a ten-day stretch of sunshine after an already perfect weekend and start to the week, right? Doesn’t it feel just absolutely fantastic and exactly like what September should be? I know forecasters can be wrong and it might not stick, but for now I’m thanking my lucky stars for the 6 days straight of sunshine we’ve already had and the handful of dry days I’m pretty certain lie ahead.

For obvious reasons, we’re overjoyed for this span of dry weather and sunny days. The tomatoes pretty much met their demise a month ahead of schedule thanks to all that late August rain, but now that it’s turned dry for a bit, the peppers still stand a chance and the fall crops are much less likely to rot out on us. The rain stopped just in time. We’re back to being hopeful about the couple of months that lie ahead.

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We’re also glad for this spell of dry weather because we had a lot of work that couldn’t get done with all that rain. In addition to the crop hardship I’ve been telling you about the past couple weeks, the other frustrating thing about rain and wet soils is that you can’t really do much outside of harvesting. It’s super difficult to spray our organic sprays for pest or disease control because most need at least 48 hours of dry weather to be effective. Wet soils are impossible to till or seed into. We also can’t use any of our nifty hand-weeding tools in wet soils; they just won’t work. But even things that seem like moisture wouldn’t matter (things like hand weeding or mowing), also aren’t super doable because we don’t want our feet or our tractor in the field when the ground is so wet. This leads to soil compaction which is a disaster for soil health and microbial life. The goal when the land is wet is to minimize your presence in the field—easier said than done! We also haven’t been able to dig the potatoes because of the wet, heavy soils: a task we had originally hoped to complete by the end of this week.

So, now that it’s getting dry, we will be busy. But we’re so grateful for it. We’ll be busy in the ways we’ve wanted to be in the past several weeks: busy working, not busy fighting to save crops. We’ll be digging as many potatoes as we possibly can. We’ve got four beds out of twelve done and we’re hoping to dig at least one bed every day to finish just a bit behind schedule. We’ll be transplanting the very last of the fall crops since we finally can till the soil. That means lettuce, arugula, spinach, fennel and scallions will finally get into the ground. Most of these crops are intended for restaurants and the fall storage shares we’re still hoping to do, but the CSA may get a taste of that fall spinach too! We’ve got radishes and cover crop to seed. We’ve definitely got mowing and weeding to complete. We’ll start rolling up landscape fabric from crops that are done for the season. It’s going to be a big but important week.

The great news is that thanks to this recent span of weird weather, we got to get away from the farm for a few days this past weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were lovely but the fields were still far too wet to work in so we packed up the car. No responsibility, no obligations, just Kyle and I, our adorable dogs, some camping supplies and a serious yearning for adventure.

Even though Kyle & I work together and get more time together than most couples could ever dream of, we don’t get much time for real connection or romance. Our mornings and nights are filled with task management, strategies, and problem solving. Our days are filled with field work or work at other jobs. Our weekends are spent cooking, trying to keep our house in some semblance of order, and planning for the week ahead. It’s a rhythm that generally works for us. We are great business partners and even better teammates, but sometimes we forget to just be husband and wife. To be silly and stupid and play games and let loose. To talk about anything other than the enormous list of things that need to be done. This past weekend the weather and farming conditions were perfect for joy. Perfect for no stress, perfect for no guilt over not working, and perfect for fun.

We hope your past weekend was just as lovely. And that your September is off to a great start!

-L&K

P.S. Today is the last day to register for the Women's Wellness Day! Find details below and on our website!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 10-12 of these items in your box next week

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Sweet Peppers

Hot Peppers

Beets

Cabbage

Collards

Sweet Dumpling and/or Delicata Squash

Potatoes

Leeks

Shallots

Onions

Mixed Herbs (Mint, Chives, Sage)

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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: SHISHITO PEPPERS ↓

Shishito peppers are a relatively new variety to us. We grew them for the first time last year and fell absolutely in love with them. These peppers are a Japanese variety that became real trendy a few years back, but over time have proved they have staying power. The peppers are thin-skinned, crunchy and sweet, but the best thing about them is that they don't take much work. You don't need to seed them or even cut them at all.

I think these peppers are made for a vegetable skewer with some beef and onions,  but most folks swear by just tossing them in a pan until blistered. Here is a great link that teaches you how to blister them and also shares a few great recipes. If you aren't feeling too creative or like learning a new veggie, don't distress, you can also chop them up and throw them in anything that calls for green peppers or mild chile peppers.

We don't grow a ton of these peppers (because if we did you'd wind up getting them every single week) so instead these beauties will be rotated through your CSA boxes until everyone gets some!

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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. 

Roasted Potato Salad with Kale // Potatoes, Kale, Onion (or Leek), feel free to add Jalapeno or Poblanos

2# unpeeled potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
Seasonings, as desired
3 stalks kale, stem removed and roughly chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3-4 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked, drained and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Toss potatoes with olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons seasoning of your choice (my mom uses a mix of season salt, garlic salt and pepper). Roast potatoes for 35 minutes in a preheated oven until edges begin to brown and potatoes are tender.

2. Add kale to pan, toss to coat with oil and seasonings, and roast 10 minutes longer. In a small bowl, combine mayo, yogurt, mustard and parsley. Add bacon and onion.

3. Allow potatoes and kale to cool slightly. Toss with dressing, stir to coat. Adjust seasonings as needed/desired.

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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: Making Thyme for Health

photo by: Making Thyme for Health

One-Pot African Peanut Stew // Onion, Jalapenos, sub a Tomato or Two for the tomato paste, sub Leeks for garlic, sub Acorn Squash or Delicata Squash for sweet potato, add a Colored Pepper or two and/or a Poblano, sub Kale for Collards // 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: Well and Full

photo by: Well and Full

Kale Detox Salad with Pesto // Potatoes (double the amount called for in the recipe and leave out the carrots), add some sliced Leeks and possibly even diced Poblanos to the roasting potatoes, Kale, Jalapenos, Thyme (or Sage) // It never ceases to amaze me how two of the most basic things--kale and potatoes--can be thrown together pretty much any which way and be perfect and glorious and interesting every single time. This salad, with some leeks thrown in and the carrots left out, is no different. It's heavenly and healthy and effortlessly simple with the use of prepared basil! 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Creamy Pappardelle with Leeks & Bacon // Leeks, Thyme (or Sage) // Leeks and bacon are a match made in heaven. As is pasta and cream. Yes, this recipe is decadent, but that's what leeks are for: simple, elegant decadence. Add some kale if you feel like being a smidge healthier.

 photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Cheesy Hasselback Au Gratin // Poatoes, Sub Leeks for garlic, Thyme (or Sage), add diced Poblanos // You aren't receiving huge quantities of potatoes from us, and I know that means you could just roast them up and serve them as a simple side to literally any meal, but when receiving small amounts of something so lovely, I go straight to celebration and decadence. I love potatoes au gratin and I love the hasselback technique. This recipe yields maximum crispy edges and potato goodness. Try it out despite the knife work involved. You won't be disappointed.

Oh, and your potatoes are much bigger than the ones used here. I recommend halving your potatoes before hasselbacking and putting them in the pan cut-side down.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Sweet Corn Polenta with Grilled Vegetables // Peppers (maybe a mix of sweet peppers & some poblanos!), Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapenos, sub Yellow Onion for red onion, skip the Sweet Corn unless you were smart enough to freeze some // With a grill, a pot and a bag of cornmeal, this meal comes together fast while also utilizing loads of CSA vegetables. It seems like perhaps a very busy farmer focused on using the abundance of the season developed this recipe. Oh wait, that was me :)

Vegetarian (without candied bacon), Gluten-Free

 photo by: New York Times

photo by: New York Times

One Pot Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes & Kale // Cherry Tomatoes, Kale, think about adding some very finely diced sweet peppers to the pan along with the cherry tomatoes // Dinner on the table in 20 minutes, 8 total ingredients. Yes please!

Vegetarian, Vegan

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale // Potatoes, Kale, Leek, add some Thyme or Sage // I just have too many ideas for potatoes, leek and leeks. Sorry! This is the last one, I promise. Add some caramelized onions or sweet peppers to the mix if you like. (And leave the kale out if you already used it elsewhere). Twice-baked potatoes are super versatile and super tasty no matter how you make them! You could also stuff poblanos and sweet peppers with a similar mixture.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Shishito Dog or  Shishito Pepper Bison Burger // Shishitos // I'm not sure why I never realized that you could just cut the tops of your shishitos and blister them as usual for the world's best burger and/or hot dog topping. We'll definitely be doing this over the weekend. 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Kale BLT Salad // Lacinato Kale, Cherry Tomatoes // I've been waiting impatiently for us to give some of you lacinato kale again so I could share this incredible recipe for a "deconstructed BLT" sans bread. It uses kale instead of lettuce and a rich, creamy dressing to tie things together. I always just use thick-cut bacon since I have no idea where to find slab bacon. Also note this recipe calls for some frivolous ingredients you likely won't have on hand. Preserved lemon and creme fraiche are great but fresh lemon zest with a little lemon juice and sour cream are great substitutes.

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Crockpot Caramelized Pork Ramen Noodle Soup with Curry Roasted Acorn Squash // Acorn Squash, Jalapeno, sub Leeks for green onions, skip the Carrots unless you happen to have some on hand// 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

 photo by: Martha Stewart

photo by: Martha Stewart

Tomato & Onion Salad // Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, sub Yellow Onion // Just remember, fancy recipes are fun but it's always best to just keep it simple.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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Brown Butter & Sage Biscuit // Sage // I'm so excited for the herbs in your box this week because they just scream fall. They can really be put in any box with potatoes, leeks or squash, but you may still have extra and THEN you should definitely try your hand at these brown butter & sage biscuits! The alternative, of course, is to just make Pillsbury biscuits and make your own sage honey butter to slather all over them.

CSA Newsletter: Week 14

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Yellow or Red Watermelon // Store in the fridge. Once cut open, store leftover melon in the fridge wrapped with a  plastic wrap. The flesh will dry out if left exposed. Use them quickly. 

Heirloom & Slicer Tomatoes // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms or blemished tomatoes much more quickly, within a day or two if you can.

Cherry Tomatoes (full shares and most half shares; those who do not receive cherry tomatoes will get extra beans) // 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.

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

Shishitos (full share only) and Poblanos (half shares 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.

Colored Bell or Italian Frying Pepper // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Rainbow Chard (full shares and some half shares) // Do not wash chard before storage. Wrap in a plastic bag and try to remove most of the air from the bag. Store in the fridge and try to use within a few days.

Lacinato Kale (half shares who do not receive chard) // Lasts at least a week if kept moist. Kale doesn’t taste as good once it’s dried out. Keep it in the crisper drawer of your fridge or loosely in a plastic bag to seal in the moisture.

Blue or All-Red Potatoes // Store just like you’d store any bag of potatoes from the grocery store: in a cool, dark place. Out of the light, they should keep for at least a month.

Red Onion // Fresh onions, which are freshly harvested and have not been cured, should be stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge until ready to use. They will last a couple weeks in there.

Garlic // Store in a cool drafty place, preferably out of direct sunlight. Use within a couple weeks.

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Hello friends,

It appears it’s time for another teachable CSA moment in the midst of the hardest season we’ve ever dealt with because in case you haven’t noticed, this rain just won’t quit. We know we’re not in this alone. We have so many farmer friends who are also scrambling to figure out what to do and how to fill their boxes, so many CSA members in affected areas we’re worried about who we know are dealing with flooding in their homes, and so many small towns that have it so much worse. But that doesn’t change our reality: which is that the fall just got a whole bunch more complicated. And since you are the folks who mean the most to us—the people who committed to support our business and livelihood during times of feast and famine— it’s time we remind you how CSA works. 

CSA is a beautiful concept that has captivated me from the moment I learned of it. A concept without which we would not be farming. CSA stands for community supported agriculture and it is a model that goes a step further than just buying local or being dedicated to purchased from a farmer you have a relationship with, it’s a way of literally supporting agriculture through thick and thin, through hard and easy, through abundance and strife. 

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Since we started our farm in 2013, we’ve never really had any strife. We’ve had issues with pest and disease and weather to be sure, but never something so bad we couldn’t bounce back or make an alternate plan. No floods, no droughts, no hail or tornado. Just some crops that did exceptional and some crops that did average. Of course there was a crop failure here or there, winter squash has been a tricky beast for the past few seasons, but we’ve consistently given our CSA members 10-25% more value than they paid for every single year since we started. As young farmers, it’s been an honor to have your support and be able to give so freely. 

And, let me stress that I don't know for certain that things will be any different this year. We have been giving you oversized boxes for six straight weeks now to make up for any lacking that may come in the fall due to rot. If I had to guess, I expect you will get what you paid for. No more, no less. At the end of the day, that’s a beautiful result of what’s been three weeks straight of heavy rains and dramatic, extreme weather for our region. 

But because CSA is built on honesty and communication surrounding expectations, I want you to feel full informed about what's happening in the fields. The fall roots and greens are still looking great. Fall brassicas also look incredibly promising. We’re only a couple weeks from fall broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. We began hauling in the winter squash yesterday and, fingers crossed, we think it will all turn out fine.  

This time of year is usually cause for celebration. Making it to September means 3-4 weeks of abundance followed by loads of beautiful fall days tucked into layers of warm clothing cleaning up the fields, and if we’re lucky another couple weeks of beautiful cool November extended season harvests. It also means a bit more balance, shorter days and less stress. That isn’t the case this year.

Tomatoes are winding down a month ahead of schedule and peppers appear to be on their way downhill too. The boxes may get a little less full. There will be less to choose from in the fields and the boxes you receive may be a little more haphazard. Generally, I am very thoughtful about what’s available in the field and what goes well together while cooking. I make sure not to give you too many herbs or greens or “weird veggies” at one time. This year, the priority will be on making sure you get enough produce and not so much on perfecting the boxes. The quality also may be a little less perfect than we want to give due to water issues. With the 20-30% rot in the field we’re projecting, quantities may be a little smaller as well. We are sorry that we may not be able to live up to our own high standards but also thankful to have your commitment and support through all seasons. 

I also want to make sure I stress that if this is your first year with us or your first year with CSA, please do not be deterred. I want you to know that such drama, stress and hardship is not the norm. Bounty and beauty and celebration and joy (albeit entangled with a lot of really hard work) is much more normal. Please don’t let a year of struggle taint your view of CSA because in fact, this is exactly why it’s so important. Your season with us this year is a lesson in what supporting a local farmer really looks like in a time of excess rain and extreme weather. And like we do every year, we'll take a lot of time in the winter to think about how to pivot and adjust to make our farm more resilient in all seasons.

Thanks for standing with us and supporting us. We hope your experience so far has been deliciuos.

-L&K

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 10-12 of these items in your box next week

Melons

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Beans

Sweet Pepper

Hot Pepper

Beets

Curly Kale

Acorn Squash

Potatoes

Leeks

Onions

Mixed Herbs (Mint, Parsley, Sage)

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VEGGIE ID: SHISHITO PEPPERS ↓

Shishito peppers are a relatively new variety to us. We grew them for the first time last year and fell absolutely in love with them. These peppers are a Japanese variety that became real trendy a few years back, but over time have proved they have staying power. The peppers are thin-skinned, crunchy and sweet, but the best thing about them is that they don't take much work. You don't need to seed them or even cut them at all.

I think these peppers are made for a vegetable skewer with some beef and onions,  but most folks swear by just tossing them in a pan until blistered. Here is a great link that teaches you how to blister them and also shares a few great recipes. If you aren't feeling too creative or like learning a new veggie, don't distress, you can also chop them up and throw them in anything that calls for green peppers or mild chile peppers.

We don't grow a ton of these peppers (because if we did you'd wind up getting them every single week) so instead these beauties will be rotated through your CSA boxes until everyone gets some!

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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. 

Butterstuffing and Tomatoes // Pepper, Onion, Tomatoes, Celery if you've still got some

1/3 cup butter           

½ cup diagonally sliced celery                            

1 pepper (green or colored), cut into strips                      

¼ cup chopped red onion

1 teaspoon salt                                        

1 teaspoon dried basil      

1 cup seasoned stuffing mix or seasoned croutons                        

4 tomatoes, cut in 8 wedges each       

2 teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

In large heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, green pepper, onion and seasonings. Saute until crisply tender-- about 10 minutes. Add stuffing, toss. Add tomatoes and sugar, toss gently. Cover, continue cooking until tomatoes are hot yet firm.

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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.

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Mason Jar Caprese // Tomatoes (slicers or heirlooms), Cherry Tomatoes, use whatever herbs you have lying around (Chives, Parsley, Basil, Mint would all work here; no herb is fine too) // May I take this moment to not link to any particular recipe and instead simply remind you that it's summer and the eating is so easy. This has been my lunch the past week. Sliced tomatoes (1 or 2) + halved or quartered cherry tomatoes (about a half pint) + 2-3 ounces of sliced fresh mozzarella + some olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper all thrown into a mason jar for easy packing into my backpack without any spillage.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Creamy Swiss Chard with Lemony Breadcrumbs // Rainbow Chard, Sub some Garlic & half Red Onion for the shallots // I could eat greens like this every single week of the year. Silky greens covered in a delicious white sauce, sauted down to something that feels manageable and easy to get through. This recipe is a go to when I'm not feeling like using my greens as the base for a salad. 

Vegetarian

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Roasted Red Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes and Ricotta // Colored Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, mix some Garlic into the ricotta and skip the Basil sauce (unless you have some basil lying around) // For the full shares who received a whole bunch of colored peppers this week, I know that knowing what to do with peppers when you keep getting them week after week may be overwhelming. I have a solution: stuffed peppers! You can stuff any pepper, regardless of size or color, this recipe just happens to talk specifically about red bells. Substitute whatever you have lying around. But whatever you do, just don't substitute anchovy paste for anchovies. It doesn't work or taste good. Best to just leave them out if you can't find (or don't feel like using) fresh anchovies.

Vegetarian (without anchovies), Gluten-Free

 photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Cheesy Hasselback Au Gratin // Poatoes, Garlic // You aren't receiving huge quantities of potatoes from us yet, and I know that means you could just roast them up and serve them as a simple side to literally any meal, but when receiving small amounts of something so lovely, I go straight to celebration and decadence. I love potatoes au gratin and I love the hasselback technique. This recipe yields maximum crispy edges and potato goodness. Try it out despite the knife work involved. You won't be disappointed.

Oh, and your potatoes are much bigger than the ones used here. I recommend halving your potatoes before hasselbacking and putting them in the pan cut-side down.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Sweet Corn Polenta with Grilled Vegetables // Peppers, Red Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, sub Poblanos for the Jalapenos, skip the Sweet Corn unless you were smart enough to freeze some // With a grill, a pot and a bag of cornmeal, this meal comes together fast while also utilizing loads of CSA vegetables. It seems like perhaps a very busy farmer focused on using the abundance of the season developed this recipe. Oh wait, that was me :)

Vegetarian (without candied bacon), Gluten-Free

 photo by: Cookie & Kate

photo by: Cookie & Kate

Watermelon Mimosas // Watermelon // Sick of watermelon yet? Yeah, me either, but just in case they’re somehow getting old may I recommend you whip up a batch of these watermelon mimosas. It's the last watermelon you'll be receiving this season so why not go out with something special!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Garlicky Runner Beans // Beans, Garlic // Simple, flavorful side dish that comes together in two easy steps. Yes please!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Shishito Dog or  Shishito Pepper Bison Burger // Shishitos // I'm not sure why I never realized that you could just cut the tops of your shishitos and blister them as usual for the world's best burger and/or hot dog topping. We'll definitely be doing this over the weekend. 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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Kale BLT Salad // Lacinato Kale, Cherry Tomatoes // I've been waiting impatiently for us to give some of you lacinato kale again so I could share this incredible recipe for a "deconstructed BLT" sans bread. It uses kale instead of lettuce and a rich, creamy dressing to tie things together. I always just use thick-cut bacon since I have no idea where to find slab bacon. Also note this recipe calls for some frivolous ingredients you likely won't have on hand. Preserved lemon and creme fraiche are great but fresh lemon zest with a little lemon juice and sour cream are great substitutes.

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Swiss Chard Tahini Dip // Rainbow Chard, Garlic // Okay, I have to admit I haven't tried this one yet but it was in the most recent issue of Bon Appetit and spoke to me immediately because I know folks have trouble with rainbow chard. It reminds me a healthier version of spinach & artichoke dip so I really really want to try it. Though actually, now that i think of it, chard would make a great subsitution for spinach in spinach & artichoke dip!

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Martha Stewart

photo by: Martha Stewart

Tomato & Red Onion Salad // Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion // Just remember, fancy recipes are fun but it's always best to just keep it simple.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

CSA Newsletter: Week 13

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Yellow or Red Watermelon // Store in the fridge. Once cut open, store leftover melon in the fridge wrapped with a  plastic wrap. The flesh will dry out if left exposed. Use them quickly. 

Celery // Celery releases a gas known as ethylene. It therefore should not be stored in plastic — This will trap the gas and cause quick spoilage. For best storage, wrap in aluminum foil and store in the fridge.

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

Heirloom & Slicer Tomatoes // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms or blemished tomatoes much more quickly, within a day or two if you can.

Cherry Tomatoes // 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.

Cucumbers // Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Try to use within one week.

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.

Colored Bell or Italian Frying Pepper // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Carrots // Refrigerate carrots in a plastic bag. They will easily keep for 2-4 weeks this way.

Beets (half shares who do not receive carrots) // Beet roots will easily last a couple of weeks. They’ll get soft after that but can still be used. Store the roots loose in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

Yellow Onions // Fresh onions, which are freshly harvested and have not been cured, should be stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge until ready to use. They will last a couple weeks in there.

Garlic // Store in a cool drafty place, preferably out of direct sunlight. Use within a couple weeks.

Chives (full 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.

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This week looks like a lot of the same. The rain is still frustrating, unyielding, and making it extremely difficult to keep up. The pack shed is still not finished. The tomatoes are diseased but the harvest is still heavy and full. The last of the onions are curing in the greenhouse—the rest have been bagged and moved to storage in our basement! We’re still short on labor, but our crew is amazing and keeping our Tuesdays light and our CSA harvest days joyous. We’re getting the last few rounds of fall transplants into the ground—mostly intended for a fall storage share and November restaurant sales.  We’re still focused on weeding because the soil is staying so wet. We need to trellis the second planting of tomatoes. We’re grateful that there are still tomatoes to trellis.

The only significant changes are that the watermelons may finally be wrapped up after over a month of heavy, beautiful harvests, (We have A LOT in the cooler so we’re still hoping to give melons both this week and next!), the summer squash quality has gone down and is no longer worth harvesting (hard to believe we got nearly three months of summer squash this year!), and the winter squash appears to be approaching its first harvest. We’re predicting acorn squash in your boxes next week! We harvested the first of the leeks for an event this weekend and those aren’t far off either.

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We’re definitely feeling the transition into fall complete with messy fields, waning physical energy, and big dreams about all the fun we’re going to try and pack into the next couple months while the weather is still good but our to do list is a little less full. We’re also already strategizing what the next year should look like and what changes need to be made. After a year that has often felt unmanageable, it feels so good to think about how we could do things differently. Our first several years of farming were just us running around trying to figure out what the heck we were doing. I’m happy to say that isn’t the struggle of today. We feel confident in the growing, harvesting and maintaining of most vegetables. Now the challenge is figuring out how to farm in a way that is smart, purposeful and focused on a slim degree of balance. In other words, work to build a profitable and sustainable business.

I’m also transitioning from 100% of my free time spent in the fields to about 50% farm work, 25% relaxation and 25% time spent preserving the harvest. I’ve got 10 pounds of beans blanched and stashed in the freezer alongside ten (yes, ten) gallon bags of cubed cantaloupe; there was a lot of next to rotting cantaloupe in our life last week and I just didn’t know what else to do with it! I froze 20 pints of roasted tomatoes (which will make great pasta sauce and/or chili come this winter) and another 3 pints of roasted poblano and tomato soup. I cubed and roasted the last of the marginal summer squash and stashed that in the freezer as well. It’s destined for soups and winter curries. All this along with the 300 pounds of blueberries we bought from a farm in Michigan is keeping our deep freezer packed, but I know there are still pockets of space for diced peppers and more tomatoes. I’ve also borrowed a dehydrator and am stashing away some hot peppers. Our favorite charred salsa is next on the docket.  

I’m sure you all are having your own transitions into fall and I’m sure they look a lot different than ours, but I hope they are met with just as much joy and excitement.

-L&K

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 10-12 of these items in your box next week

Melons

Tomatillos

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Beans

Eggplant

Sweet Pepper

Hot Pepper

Kohlrabi

Beets

Acorn Squash

Potatoes

Onions

Garlic

Mixed Herbs (Mint, Parsley, Basil)

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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. 

Cucumber Carrot “Slaw” // Cucumbers, Carrots, Onion

I hope you have some cucumbers left from the last couple weeks to make this refreshing salad!

 

3 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded and sliced  (they will look like apple slices)

2 carrots (1 if very large), shredded

½ yellow onion, thinly sliced into rings

Dressing:

¼ cup  + 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

1 ¼ teaspoon ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ - ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Add vegetables, toss gently until well coated and combined. Ideally this would sit for an hour or 2 before serving.

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.

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Mason Jar Caprese // Tomatoes (slicers or heirlooms), Cherry Tomatoes, Chives (sub Basil if you have some, that's more traditional!) // May I take this moment to not link to any particular recipe and instead simply remind you that it's summer and the eating is so easy. This has been my lunch the past week. Sliced tomatoes (1 or 2) + halved or quartered cherry tomatoes (about a half pint) + 2-3 ounces of sliced fresh mozzarella + some chives, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper all thrown into a mason jar for easy packing into my backpack without any spillage.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Roasted Carrots with Avocado & Yogurt // Carrots (or substitute Beets), Garlic, Sub Chives for Sprouts if you have them or just skip the sprouts altogether // I love a good sheet pan meal: a meal that comes together on one pan and can be paired with perhaps some grilled sausages or grilled steaks. Voila! Your Labor Day dinner is done!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

 

Roasted Red Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes and Ricotta // Colored Peppers, Garlic, Sub Chives for Basil if you've got it (skip the Basil if you don't), Cherry Tomatoes // For the full shares who received a whole bunch of colored peppers this week, I know that knowing what to do with peppers when you keep getting them week after week may be overwhelming. I have a solution: stuffed peppers! You can stuff any pepper, regardless of size or color, this recipe just happens to talk specifically about red bells. Substitute whatever you have lying around. But whatever you do, just don't substitute anchovy paste for anchovies. It doesn't work or taste good. Best to just leave them out if you can't find (or don't feel like using) fresh anchovies.

Vegetarian (without anchovies), Gluten-Free

 photo by: Health

photo by: Health

Tomato, Cucumber & Green Bean Salad // Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber, Green Beans, sub Yellow Onion for Red, skip the herbs unless you happen to have some on hand // I never would have thought cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and blanched green beans could taste so good together, but there's something about tossing them with a walnut dressing that completely transforms them. I love this simple salad for a quick way to get a lot of veggies into my dinner fast.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Pork Chops with Celery & Almond Salad // Celery, sub Celery leaves for parsley, sub Onion for Shallot // In case you can't tell just by looking at it, fresh celery is NOTHING like store bought celery. The stems are thinner, the leaves are bigger, the green is more vibrant. Fresh, local celery doesn't need to be buried in soups or stocks (though I do use it for soup in the next recipe). It is worthy of starring as the main event on your dinner table. This simple salad from Bon Appetit is lovely and tender and delicate. It feels a little like fall thanks to the dried cranberries, but with the great cool weather we're having today, I'm feeling like fall anyways.

Vegetarian (if just making the salad), Gluten-Free

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Tomato Soup with Carrots & Celery // Tomatoes, Carrots, Celery, Onion // I know this lovely cool spell likely won't last long so I'm relishing in it eating all the delicious hearty, tomato-y soups I can. And I'm thinking to the future with them too! I actually just made a bunch of this tomato soup and froze the majority of it in freezer-safe mason jars. I can't wait to pull a jar of soup out of the freezer on a busy fall or winter day when I don't know what to bring for lunch and be met with amazing summer flavors!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons // Tomatoes // SCALLOPED TOMATOES WITH CROUTONS?! This is essentially one of my favorite winter Midwest recipes (scalloped potatoes) lightened up and made fresh with tomatoes instead of potatoes, basil instead of the usual pounds of cheese and a beautiful array of freshly=made breadcrumbs. This dish is tasty. Make it now and serve it up with poached eggs. 

Vegetarian

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Celery, Apple & Peanut Salad // Celery, sub Yellow Onion for scallions, sub Jalapeno for fresno chili, sub Celery leaves for parsley // In case you didn't get the hint above, here's another one: I really want you to make salad with your fresh celery. This one pairs salty peanuts, spicy peppers, sweet apples and a bunch of lemon juice for a light, bright perfect for late summer salad.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Heartbeet Kitchen

photo by: Heartbeet Kitchen

Cucumber Avocado Watermelon Salad // Watermelon, Cucumber, consider adding Tomatoes or Jalapeno // We're finally on the home-stretch when it comes to watermelon. There is likely only one more week for most of you. It could be the last week for some of you, but only time will tell. Either way, I'm guessing that you may be getting a little tired of fresh melon (if that's possible). If you are, give this salad a whirl. Feel free to add diced tomato and/or jalapeno to make things a little extra interesting.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Six Seasons (Joshua McFadden)

photo by: Six Seasons (Joshua McFadden)

Grilled Carrots, Steak, and Onion with Fish Sauce Sauce // Carrots, Sub Yellow Onion for red onion, Jalapeno (for chili used in sauce), Garlic, Chives or other herbs (whatever you've got on hand) // I've wanted to share so many recipes from this fabulous cookbook with you but can't always find the recipes online. I'm so glad that this one is because it's unbelievably simple, inspiring, surprising and delicious. Give it a go and if you love it, think about purchasing this awesome cookbook packed full of vegetable recipes!

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Better Homes & Gardens

photo by: Better Homes & Gardens

Freezing Green Beans // Green Beans // I know we are giving you a lot of green beans this week and it will likely continue into the next week so in case you are beaned out from earlier in the summer. Here is my quick and easy guide to freezing! Having green beans in your freezer will help make winter soups a breeze or make this Thanksgiving's green bean casserole extra special!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

CSA Newsletter: Week 12

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Cantaloupe (or Watermelon for a few half shares) // Store in the fridge. Once cut open, store leftover melon in the fridge wrapped with a  plastic wrap. The flesh will dry out if left exposed. Use them quickly. 

Celery // Celery releases a gas known as ethylene. It therefore should not be stored in plastic — This will trap the gas and cause quick spoilage. For best storage, wrap in aluminum foil and store in the fridge.

Heirloom & Slicer Tomatoes // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms or blemished tomatoes much more quickly, within a day or two if you can.

Cherry Tomatoes // 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.

Cucumbers // Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Try to use within one week.

Summer Squash // Summer squash spoil most quickly in very warm or very cool temperatures. They can be stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge, but try to use within a week as they will get soggy quickly in there.

Eggplant (most full shares; those who did not receive eggplant received extra cherry tomatoes) // Eggplant is absolutely best fresh and very perishable. Use quickly or definitely within the week. Many people recommend not storing in the fridge because it will get soggy quickly.

Shishitos (half shares only) & 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.

Colored Bell or Italian Frying Pepper // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Carrots // Refrigerate carrots in a plastic bag. They will easily keep for 2-4 weeks this way.

Yellow Onions // Fresh onions, which are freshly harvested and have not been cured, should be stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge until ready to use. They will last a couple weeks in there.

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Our tomato crop began gently this season. For the second year in a row, we were plagued early on by significant disease and the presence of the dreaded armyworm despite our best efforts at crop rotation and utilizing organic sprays at the correct times. This led to a lot of damage to our tomatoes early on. The tomatoes have been trickling in since early August but because of the pest and disease issues, the harvests were small.

A crate or two here, a few buckets of cherry tomatoes there. It actually felt nice. The cucurbit harvests were waning but still heavy, the melons had reached full intensity and the tomatoes were only taking a few hours to harvest each week. Though frustrated by the slow start of an important and profitable crop, this rhythm worked for us. It allowed us to get all the onions into the greenhouse and curing by August 14th—a record for us by several weeks. And we recognized that the pattern of early disease and pest infestation resembled last year. In fact, it was worse last year, and things turned out just fine.

Then came the rains. In the past two weeks we have had two sizeable storms that poured several inches on our fields in the span of a few hours. For reference, most vegetable crops want an inch of water each week. That’s pretty typical rainfall for Wisconsin and definitely typical for this time of year. On Monday, there were reports of 9 inches in some areas. We don’t know exactly how much we got but we’re guessing between 2-4 inches.

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Simply put, this is just too much water for most crops. It’s especially detrimental to all those beautiful tomatoes that are finally ripening. Already plagued by disease and pest issues, the tomato plants have been stressed. They just began putting mass energy into ripening green tomatoes to red. They ripened quickly, preparing for their end. Tomatoes produce for several weeks after the plants have died (or begun to die) so again we weren’t too worried.

The tomatoes began to peak last week, a time of real abundance that usually lasts for a few weeks before trickling off. But sadly these ill-timed rains have caused the beautiful red fruits to rot and split on the vine. There are good tomatoes out there too. Tons. But an unbelievable number of tomatoes, both red and green, are splitting before they even stand a chance of being harvested. We’re devastated by the 2000 feet of beautiful production potential out there that is likely going to be squandered due to poor timing of excessive rains.

This is, in essence, a CSA learning moment. This is after all what CSA is about. CSA is centered on the premise of supporting your farmers in good times and bad. It is a model of shared risk and shared bounty and a food system that is healthier for it.

The tomato season may look different than in years past. It may be many weeks shorter than usual with a huge heavy burst here in the middle that wanes into much smaller quantities. (Of course, the rain could subside and we could be surprised by how the plants bounce back. I’m not going to bank on that or even suggest that as a significant possibility. Plants are resilient. But diseased, peaking tomato plants are quite possibly the most susceptible crop there is when it comes to damage by excess moisture).

In a lot of ways, this tomato harvest is perfect for you to experience. It reflects the season honestly: a season that has been tumultuous and rainy packed full of extreme weather that confused our plants just as much as it exhausted your farmers. It’s the same season that led to five or six weeks straight of melons, excessive quantities of cucumbers, beautiful large onions, and radiant spring greens (and no doubt radiant fall ones as well); it’s a season of color and bounty and the most perfect sweet corn we’ve ever grown. It’s also the first season we ever had so much early summer rain that large patches of broccoli and cabbage rotted in the field. And the first season we lost so many successions of roots to wash out and excessive rain.

A good CSA farmer has a great diversity of crops to keep their members satiated through thick and thin. Every season looks different because every season is different. It’s both what I love and find stressful about CSA farming. Kyle and I both yearn for predictability and order in our fields. We hold tight to systems, plans and spreadsheets willing mother nature to oblige. It’s never that way. By late August, we’ve lost all illusion of control. The fields do the talking and we just try to keep up. It’s a delicate dance and a hard one at that.

All we can say following up on such dramatic storms is that we’re sorry about the likely bummer of a tomato crop and we thank you immensely for joining us on this journey.  

-L&K

P.S. Stay tuned for some potential weeding days as we assess how all this rain is affecting the fall crops. 

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VEGGIE ID: SHISHITO PEPPERS ↓

Shishito peppers are a relatively new variety to us. We grew them for the first time last year and fell absolutely in love with them. These peppers are a Japanese variety that became real trendy a few years back, but over time have proved they have staying power. The peppers are thin-skinned, crunchy and sweet, but the best thing about them is that they don't take much work. You don't need to seed them or even cut them at all.

I think these peppers are made for a vegetable skewer with some beef and onions,  but most folks swear by just tossing them in a pan until blistered. Here is a great link that teaches you how to blister them and also shares a few great recipes. If you aren't feeling too creative or like learning a new veggie, don't distress, you can also chop them up and throw them in anything that calls for green peppers or mild chile peppers.

We don't grow a ton of these peppers (because if we did you'd wind up getting them every single week) so instead these beauties will be rotated through your CSA boxes until everyone gets some!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 10-12 of these items in your box next week

Melons

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Beans

Cucumbers

Summer Squash

Eggplant

Sweet Pepper

Hot Pepper

Kohlrabi

Beets

Carrots

Celery

Potatoes

Yellow Onions

Garlic

Mixed Herbs (Mint, Parsley, Basil)

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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. 

Marinated Tomato Salad // Tomatoes, Peppers, Onion

6 ripe tomatoes, cut into large chunks or wedges (or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved)
3 bell or sweet peppers, any color, diced
1 onion, diced
1 cup (or so) pitted whole black olives

Dressing:
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, loosely chopped
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

  1. Place all sliced vegetables in a large bowl. Add olives.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over vegetables. Refrigerate 3-4 hours before serving.

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

Summer Gazpacho // Cucumber, Colored Pepper, Tomatoes, Sub Onion for the Shallots (unless you still have a Shallot lying around), Cherry Tomatoes, add Cantaloupe // Gazpacho used to seem weird to me. Cold pureed vegetable soup? Sure, it used half of the CSA veggies in one recipe but still a bit odd. THEN I began adding cantaloupe and watermelon to my gazpacho and it change everything. Make this recipe exactly as written but then add 3-4 cups of cubed, seeded cantaloupe. It will change everything.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Molly Yeh

photo by: Molly Yeh

A Savory Yogurt + Egg Breakfast Situation // Cucumber, Cherry Tomatoes, Herbs if you've got 'em // As soon as tomatoes come into season I switch gears from my usual (boring) bagel and butter and turn towards this much healthier (and more fun!) breakfast. Greek yogurt, some raw veggies and an egg may sound like an odd choice but I promise it works and will have you moving this into your morning routine!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Carrot Cake with Cider & Olive Oil // Carrots // Since we are finally receiving the first of the cider in our apple shares this week AND the first of the carrots (and I'm patiently willing fall into being), I thought this cake might be a lovely treat for your household. I'm all for summer abundance and non-stop simple tomato dishes, but I love to balance them with something fun and silly like a giant loaf of carrot cake!

Vegetarian

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Eggplant Parmesan Melts // Eggplant, sub Tomatoes or Heirloom Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes and Onion for packaged tomato sauce // I know only some of you got eggplant this week, but I have this feeling that you all may still have some lying around in your fridge from earlier weeks, and if that is true, here is what you should be doing with it. Thanks site host Erin for reminding me how much I love this simple eggplant parm recipe. It had somehow gotten lost from my memory.

Vegetarian

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Pork Chops with Celery & Almond Salad // Celery, sub Celery leaves for parsley, sub Onion for Shallot // In case you can't tell just by looking at it, fresh celery is NOTHING like store bought celery. The stems are thinner, the leaves are bigger, the green is more vibrant. Fresh, local celery doesn't need to be buried in soups or stocks (though I do use it for soup in the next recipe). It is worthy of starring as the main event on your dinner table. This simple salad from Bon Appetit is lovely and tender and delicate. It feels a little like fall thanks to the dried cranberries, but with the great cool weather we're having today, I'm feeling like fall anyways.

Vegetarian (if just making the salad), Gluten-Free

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Tomato Soup with Carrots & Celery // Tomatoes, Carrots, Celery, Onion // I know this lovely cool spell likely won't last long so I'm relishing in it eating all the delicious hearty, tomato-y soups I can. And I'm thinking to the future with them too! I actually just made a bunch of this tomato soup and froze the majority of it in freezer-safe mason jars. I can't wait to pull a jar of soup out of the freezer on a busy fall or winter day when I don't know what to bring for lunch and be met with amazing summer flavors!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Heather Christo

photo by: Heather Christo

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons // Tomatoes // SCALLOPED TOMATOES WITH CROUTONS?! This is essentially one of my favorite winter Midwest recipes (scalloped potatoes) lightened up and made fresh with tomatoes instead of potatoes, basil instead of the usual pounds of cheese and a beautiful array of freshly=made breadcrumbs. This dish is tasty. Make it now and serve it up with poached eggs. 

Vegetarian

 photo by: Minimalist Baker

photo by: Minimalist Baker

Summer Tomato & Cantaloupe Salad // Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Cherry Tomato, sub Yellow Onion for red onion // Whenever you get sick of cantaloupe and cucumbers, which I must admit I really almost never do, throwing them into a light, bright salad is a great solution. This little salad uses so many of the box ingredients beautifully and makes a great meal if paired with a side of tomato toast (see below). 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Grilled Chicken Wings with Shishitos & Herbs // Shishitos, skip the Shallot in the marinade and use an Onion instead // This is the number one thing I'm excited to eat right now. I wouldn't have buried it so far down in the newsletter if everyone was receiving shishitos, but I felt like I had to bury it a bit so all the half shares didn't get jealous. Grilled shishitos + crispy chicken wings + herbs. Yes please. I would like the rest of my summer to look just like this. Full shares, you best make this this week!

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Tomato Toast with Chives & Sesame Seeds // Tomatoes (heirlooms are the best here) // Keep it simple my friends and eat tomato toast any meal of the day. Your welcome. 

Vegetarian, Vegan (with the right mayo)

 photo by: Food Network

photo by: Food Network

Blistered Shishito Peppers with Browned Butter, Lemon & Parmesan // Shishito Peppers // I love shishitos pretty much any which way, but this was the first recipe I ever made with shishito peppers and it introduced me to their complexity and delicate flavor. They have been a favorite ever since. Thanks Food Network for encouraging me to toss my vegetables in butter and cheese.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free