CSA Newsletter: Week 6

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Red or Green Cabbage (full shares + most half shares) // 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.

Broccoli (full shares + the half share who did not receive cabbage) // Store in the crisper drawer of the fridge. The colder the better for broccoli. Try to use within a few days. 

Rainbow Chard // 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 (full shares) or Curly Kale (half shares) // 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.

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.

Snap Peas // Peas are very perishable. Keep them in the fridge and eat within 2-3 days for best flavor. Snap peas are best eaten fresh, but snow peas can be used in cooking (and taste delicious) after a few days.

Zucchini & Summer Squash // Zucchini and 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.

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

Green Bell Pepper // 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.

Walla Walla 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 about a week.

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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Oh, dearest CSA members, what can I say? Our hearts are so full. This weekend meant everything to us; absolutely everything. We really can’t express the gratitude we feel for the life we’re able to live and the people we’ve met since starting this journey.

We just want to extend the most heartfelt thank you to everyone who showed up to our first event of summer on Saturday night. We were nervous about the reschedule; nervous that we made the right decision in changing the date of a party that was already published all over our website and CSA materials. Nervous that people would be upset or worse, that no one would be able to show up on such late notice to our rain date.

We couldn’t have been more wrong. This farm party was the farm party we’d always dreamed of. Car after car just kept driving up our little hillside driveway trying to find spaces to park. Folks unloaded their lawn chairs, excitedly shared their potluck dishes and settled right in: making friends, asking questions, petting farm kitties, and just generally embracing everything that Raleigh’s Hillside Farm is all about.

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Slowly but surely, we watched the farm we’d dreamed of six years ago take shape right before our eyes. We watched it turn into things we both wanted desperately and also never imagined. Long ago, we dreamed of building a community space and a place where children would learn about what it looks like to produce real food; what broccoli looks like on the plant; what tomatoes look like before they ripen; which snap peas are ready to be harvested and which need a little more time. We dreamed of a world where people deeply connected with the farmers who grew their food and had parties of strangers becoming friends that stretched late into the night. We’ve never really had one of those moments where it all came together. We’ve certainly had many of these moments in small ways and in bits and pieces, but everything we dreamed of really came together on Saturday night. I saw that space I always knew was possible materialize right in front of me.

But that wasn’t all. I also saw things I never imagined. On Saturday night we were joined by CSA members, farming friends, crew members, worker shares, neighbors, and distant family we’d never met.  I watched my fields turn into a place of love, healing and understanding. In a confusing, complicated, sometimes deeply overwhelming world, I don’t think there are a lot of community spaces where we can all just be ourselves in our truest, most vulnerable beautiful forms and be accepted. I saw that on Saturday night. And I can honestly say that of all the things I thought we were building out here, a sanctuary was not one of them.

Thank you to all who came out to spend a summer Saturday evening with us and putting up with the mosquitos for as long as you could and finding comfort and beauty alongside our greenhouse. And to those of you who couldn't make it, don't you worry about a thing. We've got a whole slew of fabulous events coming up! Check out the full calendar here: https://www.raleighshillsidefarm.com/events/

Now, after that love fest let’s take a moment to embrace the hard things about this past week because I really think it’s important to share the good and the bad of this crazy life. The parts of farming that are beautiful, and also the parts that are completely out of our control and totally unglamorous.

  1. We discovered that the excessive rain of late June did cause a few problems. The third planting of broccoli rotted out (thank goodness we have FIVE spring/summer plantings) so you aren’t receiving as much broccoli or as large of heads as we planned. The red cabbage also had a lot of rot issues so we had to peel back several leaves to find the good stuff underneath. That means we didn’t have enough heads for everyone (don’t worry, that just means you received broccoli instead!) and many of the heads are smaller than we want (which means we doubled them up for some of you).
  2. The pack shed (aka our first ever shed which will serve as a pack and wash area for our veggies as well as providing some storage and being the home of our second—and much needed-- cooler) was further delayed due to contractor hoopla. We really believed our contractor would break ground this weekend (okay, we thought he’d break ground about a month ago). Yes, we’re naïve about many things; building project timelines definitely being one of them but we’re feeling a bit weighed down by the massive loan we took out for a building this year; a building that has not yet provided any added efficiency to our growing operation.
  3. Excess moisture in the fields plus these super hot temperatures means we are DEFINITELY still battling the weeds. They have been voracious. We’re still winning in most places but we really can’t let up at all or we risk losing crops which means we’re continuing to work longer days and as of yet, haven’t had a full day off since early May.

That’s all for now. So much love and gratitude and joy to you all for being part of this adventure and making the effort to cook healthy meals and bring summer abundance into your homes.

All our love,

L&K  

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VEGGIE ID: RAINBOW CHARD ↓

There's a green in your box this week that you may or may not be familiar with. It has giant leaves and colorful stems. It's rainbow chard and it's the best rainbow chard we've ever grown at our farm so expect a good amount of it!

Chard is a beautiful tender green that can be added to pretty much any dish from scrambled eggs to pizza (see amazing pizza below I made last night with chard instead of kale) to soups to pasta or eaten raw in a salad. The colorful stems should be removed before working with the leaves but can also be eaten. The colorful stems do great sauteed but take a bit longer to cook then the leaves, which is why I always remove them.

If chard is stumping you, check out this resource from Bon Appetit that lists 31 recipes that utilize rainbow chard.

If you are overwhelmed by greens, always remember that dark leafy greens (chard, kale, collards, spinach) stand up well to freezing for winter soup making. Find freezing tips in the recipe/box inspiration portion of the newsletter.

 photo cred: Rachel Joy Barehl

photo cred: Rachel Joy Barehl

VEGGIE ID: BEETS ↓

Beets are one of my favorite vegetables. They add a lot of color and beauty to a time of year that is usually filled with more greens than anything else.  They are a root vegetable grown under ground like a radish or carrot with a sweet, earthy flavor. They have a thick skin that you will want to peel and greens that are similar to chard and are great to cook with. 

So how do I use it?

You can peel them raw with a vegetable peeler. If you are going to eat the beets raw, this is the best way to peel them, but if you are going to be using cooked beets then you can cook them first. This makes  removing the peel much easier. Trim both ends from the beets and either submerge them in boiling water  for 45 minutes or wrap them in foil and roast them for 45 minutes. When they are finished, you should be able to easily remove the peel just by sliding it off and then dice, slice or chop them according to your recipe preparation.

What is the best way to prepare beets?

I've done a lot with beets over the years. After peeling them there is a huge range of ways beets can be used! I've mashed them into burgers and falafel, put them on pizza, pureed them into a hummus (similar to the recipe below), grilled them, pickled them, shaved them raw on salads, thrown them in tarts, roasted them. What I've learned  is that beets are incredibly versatile. I really love to pair them with fennel, arugula, snap peas, lentils or citrus. Need more help? Check out any of the recipes included in this week or last week's newsletter!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 8-9 of these items in your box next week

Bok Choy

Lettuce

Collards

Lacinato or Curly Kale

Broccoli

Beets

Cucumbers

Zucchini

Summer Squash

Bell Pepper

Jalapeno

Walla Walla Onion

Mixed Herbs (basil, parsley, mint, chives)

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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. 

Red Cabbage & Apples

1 to 1 ½ # red cabbage, shredded

¾ cup boiling water

3 large apples, firm

¼ cup vinegar

1-1/2 teaspoon flour

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1-1/2 - 2 teaspoons salt

Place cabbage in a lg. saucepan. Add boiling water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add apples, cook 10 minutes more.  Stir flour and brown sugar together, add them and all remaining ingredients and heat through. Serve warm or room temperature.

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

Garden Greens Goddess Pizza // Zucchini, Kale or Chard, skip the Arugula/Watercress (unless you still happen to have some lying around), consider adding some thinly sliced Walla Walla onion and/or diced Jalapeno // I love a good veggie pizza and this one is going to be on rotation this summer for two veggies that can overwhelm me quickly (abundant zucchini and abundant greens). You likely won't have enough basil in your box this week to make pesto so feel free to use prepared pesto from the grocery store instead of making your own, and save the fresh leaves for topping the pizza at the end. I also recommend you add a 1/4 cup of very thinly sliced fennel before baking or some fronds after it's finished. 

P.S. Let shaved zucchini be your new favorite method for using the summer treat!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free (with the right crust)

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Cucumber & Charred Onion Salad // Cucumber, sub Walla Walla Onion for Red Onion, Green Pepper and/or Jalapeno // This salad is one of my go to snacks when the cucumbers come on strong. I love the pairing of fresh, crunchy cucumbers with smoky grilled onions. I always skip the Fresno chile opting for a jalapeno instead or a mixture of diced green pepper and jalapeno. 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Freeze your greens! // Kale, collards, chard // These are the optimal steps for freezing abundant CSA greens if you are tight on space. It will tell you to blanch, submerge in an ice bath and squeeze the liquid out of your greens. These are definitely the best steps for storing greens compactly. But know that chopping and freezing raw will also work just fine (though it will take up more space!).

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Vegan

 photo by: The Kitchn

photo by: The Kitchn

Golden Beet & Barley Salad with Rainbow Chard // Beets, Chard, sub Walla Walla for Red Onion // Simple grain salads are such a lovely way to turn a pile of vegetables into a hearty, robust, flavorful meal. This recipe calls for golden beets and red onion but it will be just as good with red beets and a sweet Walla Walla onion. A fried egg on top of this dish and you've got yourself one heck of a simple meal.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free (with a grain substitution; barley is not gluten-free)

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Beet, Pea & Avocado Salad // Beets, Snap Peas, sub Walla Walla Onion for Red Onion, add some Chives, skip the herbs if you don't have any on hand // Crunchy, sweet, creamy, tangy: this recipe inspired by the chef Ottolenghi is an absolute explosion of flavors and textures. It's simple and well worth using up your limited number of snap peas. 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Creamed Chard & Spring Onions // Chard or Kale, sub 1 Walla Walla onion for 3 Spring Onions // This dish is rich, no doubt about it, but it's also pure heaven with a silky white sauce. We added fennel and served this with grilled steak and a simple salad (see below). Simple, hearty, decadent. 

Vegetarian

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Charred Cabbage with Goat Cheese Raita and Cucumbers // Red Cabbage, Cucumbers, skip the herbs if you don't feel like buying some or don't have any on hand // Grilled cabbage is such a treat! I discovered this fun way to eat cabbage last summer and really enjoyed the smokiness that comes from grilling. You will get a deep char on the outside and a nice wilt and softness on the inside that is just a perfect contrast especially when paired with something bright and crunchy like cucumbers and yogurt. 

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Zucchini, Chard & Chickpea Tacos // Zucchini, Chard, Scallions if you sill have some lying around or Walla Walla if you don't // I developed this recipe just for you all because I know that we're giving you a lot of greens this spring and I know it isn't always intuitive how to use them. But here's one of many solutions I have to offer, wilt them quickly in a heavy skillet and throw them on tacos with a bunch of grilled veggies and avocados. It's a quick meal with minimal ingredients and it's incredibly tasty. Get the grill going and give it a try!

Vegetarian, Vegan (with no feta or sour cream), Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Kale & Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing // Kale, Cucumbers (use our regular cucumbers for both the hothouse and Persian versions called for), sub Walla Walla for red onion, sub Jalapeno for Thai chile in dressings, skip the Cilantro if you don't have any on hand (or sub Chives or any other herb you have on hand) // Kale salads are my jam. I love kale as a salad green more than anything else. I know lettuce and lettuce mix are endlessly popular, but kale still has my heart. I love the heartiness and way it can stand up to massive amounts of toppings and flavors (as it does here). 

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Jalapeno Cheddar Scones // Jalapeno, possibly add Chives if you've got them // I'm a big fan of biscuits for breakfast (which call for butter and no eggs which is different from this recipe) but these scones rival any of my favorite biscuits. They have a crunchy almost caramelized exterior and soft center with just enough heat to be interesting. 

Vegetarian

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Grilled Zucchini Ribbons with Pesto & White Beans // Zucchini, Summer Squash // Smitten Kitchen is always so timely. She was right here with this super simple recipe that used loads of zucchini and summer squash at a time when I was overwhelmed by these veggies and in need of new inspiration. I made this with prepared pesto because I didn't have any basil on hand and add a half pound of pasta to make it a bit heavier but it would be just as good as written with some roast chicken or steak. Yum!

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

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Ginger Pork Burgers // Red Cabbage, sub Walla Walla for shallots and ramps in burger patty // A burger made from ground pork packed full of onion, herbs, and ginger on a toasted bun with a quick red cabbage slaw and spicy sauce; there's not much I find more decadent for dinner than a burger like this. It may have some ingredients that aren't normally in your fridge (like hoisin sauce and sesame oil) but boy is it worth it anyway.