CSA Newsletter: Week 18

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Plum Tomatoes (Full Shares Only) // 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.

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

Jalapeno //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.

Broccoli (Full Shares + a couple Half Shares) // Store in the crisper drawer of the fridge. The colder the better for broccoli. Try to use within a few days.

Brussels Sprouts (Most Half Shares) // 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.

Red Napa Cabbage //For maximum storage, remove any wilted or browning outside leaves, place in a plastic bag and store in the fridge.

Carrots (with greens) //Separate roots from greens. Wash greens and wrap in a paper towel and place in the crisper drawer of your fridge. They should last up to 5 days. Refrigerate carrot roots in a plastic bag. They will easily keep for 2-4 weeks this way.

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.

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.

Daikon Radish //Daikon always seems to last for forever in the crisper drawer of my fridge, especially if it has not been cut. It will get a little soggier the longer you store it, but will still work quite well pickled. You within a month and you should be a-okay.

Mint // 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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Well it would appear we have re-entered monsoon season and I can hold firm to my opinion that this sixth growing season just has no desire to cooperate when it comes to weather. We’re used to falls that are crisp and cool, full of blue skies and lingering afternoons spent harvesting because we want to spend as much time outside as humanly possible. We had several days like this: several truly beautiful days. Luckily, we savored every minute and got an incredible amount of work done before things took a turn towards the dreary. 

Before the rains, we got four of five beds of sweet potatoes out of the ground. A task you’ll know is no small feat if you read last week’s newsletter. The yields were a little lower than we expected but since it was our first time growing them and we also had to plant them into a new field with heavier, more compacted soils, we’ll very much consider this crop a victory! We already feel like we know what the plants need to thrive better and can’t wait to experiment in a new field next year. We also mowed pretty much everything, got the rest of the early fall cabbage out, weeded all the young greens and got the first tomato trellis down (just tomatillos, cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes to go). We’re feeling right on track despite the miserable weather and just hoping for no more Madison flooding and no more rot issues. 

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And even with the dreary weather, we still consider ourselves lucky. Mostly because that surprise late September frost on Friday night missed us. We spent Friday afternoon covering hot peppers, baby lettuces and green beans just in case but our little northern valley kept things warm. Our hillside takes forever to warm in the spring, which drives us mad with anticipation, but on the flip side, it also takes forever to cool and freeze in the fall which is truly wonderful. Every piece of land has its quirks and it’s mysteries. It’s been fun discovering ours. We also harvested plum tomatoes on Friday- just in case the frost did come- and we expect these to finally be the last. 

For those of you still receiving tomatoes, you may wonder how the heck this works since we told you a good month ago that the abundant rain had led to a disaster of a tomato season. That’s still true. It was a very short, very light tomato season in general, but the great thing about purchasing a CSA from an increasingly experienced grower is that at least some of the nasty weather has been planned for. It’s still Mother Nature. We can’t foresee every obstacle or fluke weather pattern, but we can recognize over five seasons of production that our tomatoes start late because of their spot on a northern facing slope and end early because of abundant late August rains that are increasingly becoming a new Wisconsin way of life. Though the August rains have never before been quite so strong, we still knew that we needed a late planting of tomatoes that was resistant to cracks and splits as well as strong against disease. 

Cherry tomatoes, slicers and heirloom tomatoes all ended way early since they are not resistant to any of those things. Heirlooms especially are incredibly susceptible to disease. But we mediate that potential loss with a late planting of plums. Plum tomatoes generally don’t get hit too hard by disease. They also come on heavy and stay strong for 5-6 weeks. They have the added benefit of being hardy as hell. They’re a firm tomato that generally won’t crack, split or show any sign of age. They’re tremendous. But we know they don’t taste quite as delicious as their cherry, heirloom, and sliced tomato counterpart so we don't exclusively grow plums. 

We plant them late so they produce when most other tomatoes are beginning to fizzle out. It’s a strategy we can’t take credit for. We learned it from Kyle’s time at Tipi Produce up the road. What long-time members might notice is that these are the most rough plum tomatoes we’ve ever grown. We’re so grateful to still have tomatoes to give but we know they’re not perfect. The fact that the plum tomatoes have been showing signs of disease just goes to show how crazy of a season this has really been. And how much moisture there really is in the soil. 

This season has been one heck of a ride and we can’t believe after today’s delivery there’s only two more boxes to go! If you want to keep your season going a little longer, be sure to check out our fall storage share. There are only 23 spots to go! Use discount code FALLLOVE10 for $10 off any order! 

-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 9-11 of these items in your box next week

Hot Peppers

Lettuce or Lettuce Mix

Arugula

Beans

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Kohlrabi

Carrots

Celeriac

Sweet Potatoes

Onion

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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.

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 few recipe suggestions listed below (I’m obsessed with the steak noodle salad!!!), but check out this link at Food52 for more options!

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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. 

Butternut Mac & Cheese // Butternut Squash,

3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash                                     

8 ounces cavatappi or elbow pasta                                              

1 tablespoons butter        

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced   

3 cloves garlic, minced OR 1 leek, sliced OR 3 scallions, sliced

2 tablespoons flour                                                                               

1 cup milk          

Salt & Pepper                              

6 ounces fontina cheese, shredded

2 – 4 slices bacon, cooked and diced

  1. In a medium micro safe bowl, combine squash and 2 tablespoons water. Cover with vented plastic wrap, microwave on high for 4 minutes, stir, microwave for another 4 minutes or until very tender. Mash squash, set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta, drain.

  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute’ mushrooms and onions until tender. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture, cook and stir for 1 minute. Add milk and small amount of salt and pepper. Cook and stir until thickened.

  4. Remove from heat, stir in squash & cooked pasta. Pour half into greased baking dish. Top with half of cheese. Repeat layers. Top with bacon , bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden and melted.

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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

Rejuvenating Winter Broccoli Salad // Broccoli, Sweet Peppers, Carrots, skip the Kale if you don’t have any leftover or try it with Napa Cabbage // This gal is really trying to take the lead for my favorite blogger. Her salads are some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen and there are always 3+ CSA veggies in every one. It also isn’t quite the time of year for citrus or pomegranates yet, so feel free to substitute apple and/or dried cranberries/cherries if you prefer.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Weeknight Steak & Rice Noodle Salad // Napa Cabbage, Daikon, Mint, skip Cucumber (unless you happen to have one) // 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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BBQ Butternut Squash & Pulled Pork Pizza // Butternut Squash (or Sweet Potatoes), Sweet Peppers, sub Jalapeno for Poblano // CSA members Skip & Lindsey first gave me the idea for this pizza several years ago now and I’ve been making it every fall. There is just something so decadent about a pizza HEAPED (and I do mean heaped) with BBQ pulled pork and sweet butternut squash. .

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Roast Salmon & Broccoli with Chile Caper Vinaigrette // 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 favorite.

Gluten-Free

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Slow Cooker Beef & Sweet Potato Chili // Sweet Potato or Butternut Squash, Sweet Pepper, Fresh Tomatoes if you got them (instead of canned), add some Jalapenos, feel free to add some carrots too // With this cool, dreary weather, a giant batch of chili is definitely in order. I pretty much always add sweet potato or butternut squash to my batches of chili now. It is just the bit of sweet complexity regular old chili always needed.

Gluten-Free

 photo by: New York Times

photo by: New York Times

Penne with Brussels Sprouts, Chile & Pancetta // Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Jalapeno // If you got Brussels sprouts in your box this week (only a handful of you did), here’s a super simple weeknight pasta to make with them!

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Miso, Sweet Potato & Broccoli Bowl // Broccoli (or Brussels), Sweet Potato (or Butternut) // 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

 photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Kohlrabi Carrot Slaw with Smoked Tuna // Carrots, sub Daikon for Kohlrabi // Daikon and kohlrabi aren’t so different. Daikon has a bit more heat and spice (like a radish), but it’s still mild, crisp and just the faintest bit funky (just like a kohlrabi). When I first saw this photo I actually thought it was daikon because carrot, daikon and smoked tuna is a match made in heaven. Try it out and see if you can earn to love the simplicity of fresh daikon. If you’d prefer it pickled, check out this great recipe for Sesame Noodle Bowls with Lemongrass Meatballs and Picked Carrots & Daikon.

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Spicy Kimchi Slaw // Napa Cabbage, Daikon Radish, Carrots, think about adding Jalapeno (depending on how spicy the kimchi you bought is) // Napa cabbage and daikon 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, daikon 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

 photo by: Minimalist Baker

photo by: Minimalist Baker

Curried Butternut Squash Soup // Shallots or Leeks (if you still have them), Butternut Squash // Creamy, spicy, sweet, nourishing: this simple soup is a fall gem warming you from the inside out. I bring it to every potluck I’m invited to October and November. Oh, and don’t use light coconut milk. Always full-fat. Always!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free