IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK
Broccoli // Store in the crisper drawer of the fridge. The colder the better for broccoli. Try to use within a few days.
Cauliflower (full shares only) // Cauliflower does not store well. Keep in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge, but try to eat within 5 days. It takes on strange flavors after that. Also, soak the head upside down in cool, salty water before use. Garden bests love to hide out in organic cauliflower.
Curly Kale (full 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.
Collards (half shares) // Refrigerate in a plastic bag until ready to use. Do not wash before storing.
Lettuce // Store loosely in a plastic bag (ideally) or in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Keep unused leaves on head. Use within a week, but may store for up to two weeks.
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.
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 or Italian Frying Pepper // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag..
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.
Basil (full shares only) // Keep bag, with some air in it, in your fridge-- preferably in the crisper drawer. If you are gentle with it, it should last a week.
Parsley (half 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.
Can you all believe it’s already mid-July? Can you believe we’ve already spent 7 weeks together and we’re nearing the time of year when tomatoes, melons and sweet corn will be coming out of the fields by the crateful?
I can’t. Every year, time flies. Every year, the first few months of the season are a total blur. I remember late April like it was yesterday: biding my time, waiting for that freak blizzard to thaw so I could get planting. We were so eager to get into the ground and get started on our 2018 plans. I don’t think we’ve stopped planting since.
We spent April getting all the long season and early crops in: the onions, broccolis, cabbages, scallions, and spinach. Though they take over three months to grow, the onions are now nearing their harvest time. Their tops are beginning to brown and bend, a sign that they are almost finished. Onions let you know when they are ready. It’s one of my favorite things about them. The Walla Wallas, the fresh sweet onions in your box this week and last, are always the first to come out of the field; their growing window several weeks shorter than their neighbors.
Everything else we planted those first weeks of our planting season is finished. It has been harvested, mowed down, tilled back into the Earth, and seeded to a cover crop for the summer days that remain. Where the first, second and third broccoli plantings once stood, there are now newly seeded fields of buckwheat and crimson clover; a blend of crops that both fix nitrogen back into well-used soil while also suppressing weeds and helping with our weed pressure in the longer term. Many of the beds of cabbage, bok choy, kohlrabi, scallions and early fennel have met the same fate. Now out of production for 2018 and seeded to something that allows it to rest.
Other beds are getting doubled cropped. This means that once the crop is finished, the bed is again tilled back in, but this time we don’t seed it to cover crop and let it rest; double cropping means we plant something else in that bed. We do this with beds that are especially “clean” meaning we did a good job of keeping the weeds down while the first crop grew. We also do this with crops that are short season (aka take less than 60 days to grow to full maturity) if they don’t have high nutrient needs. Crops like broccoli, cabbage and other brassicas all take a lot of nutrients from the soil (these crops are called “heavy feeders”) so we seed them to cover crop to start replenishing the soil. Crops like lettuce, spinach, beets, and radishes all take minimal nutrients from the soil while they grow so we can plant something else there. Late last week Kyle seeded the beginning of the fall carrots and beets into beds that had already contained other crops.
In other words, it may be mid-July, but we’ve got our minds on the fall diligently seeding crops that will fill your boxes in September and October. A good farmer is always looking to both the past and the future; feeling gratitude for the things already grown and the hurdles accomplished while also preparing for the issues that lie ahead and planning the successions of future harvests.
The work certainly isn’t slowing but we’re making sure to find moments for rest. The heavy harvests will begin soon and we’ll need all our energy.
VEGGIE ID: Walla walla onion
A Walla Walla onion isn't all that different from a regular yellow or white onion but there are a couple important ways it differs. First, it's a sweet onion so it's going to lend more sweetness to a dish than regular yellow or white. Secondly, they have a very high water content which means they do not caramelize well. They will reduce to practically nothing before they begin to take on color. Use them raw or cooked down slightly for best flavor.
Also, don't forget we are giving these onions FRESH which means they have not been cured. You should store them in your fridge and use within a couple weeks.
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!
IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK
You can expect 8-9 of these items in your box next week
Collards or Lacinato Kale
Walla Walla Onion
Mixed Herbs (basil, parsley, mint, chives)
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.
Hot Sandwich "Spread"
This is a sautee'd combo of veggies you layer onto grilled cheese, paninis or any hot sandwich. Make a batch when you get your box and use it all week!
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
5 or 6 kale leaves, chard or other greens; ribs removed, diced
1 zucchini or summer squash, shredded - unpeeled
Salt and pepper
could also add: shredded cabbage, herbs, jalapeno or poblano peppers
To make: In a skillet, using a tablespoon of butter or olive oil, saute' onion and pepper 2 -3 minutes. Add kale and shredded zucchini. Season with salt and pepper as well as garlic, parsley, or whatever other seasonings you want. Saute' until greens are cooked down and moisture is gone. Store in a container in fridge until ready to use.
To use: Layer buttered bread, cheese, thick layer of veggie mixture, (slices of ham, or turkey - optional), another layer of cheese and final slice of buttered bread. Grill over medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown. Can also use in a panini instead of grilling. I don't have a panini press so I use my George Foreman grill. Also good on baked sliders.
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.
Summer Squash Soup // Summer Squash, Onion, sub Cauliflower for Potato if you received it this week, sub Basil or Parsley for cilantro, skip the Carrot // Velvety smooth and perfect for the abundance of summer squash we're experiencing right now, this soup is as simple as it is tasty. Plus it's vegan! I often use a whole can of coconut milk to make it a bit heavier.
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free
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
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
Raw Beet & Cucumber Salad // Beets, Cucumbers, sub Onion for scallions, sub half Green Pepper for Banana Pepper, sub Jalapeno for the fresno chile if you've still got one or sub red pepper flakes if you don't, Basil or Parsley // I love this recipe. I love the rawness of the beets paired with crisp, sweet cucumbers and the abundance of fresh herbs. The recipe calls for English and Persian cucumbers but regular old cucumbers work just as well. I like to peel strips of skin away (as the recipe suggests), halve the cucumbers, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then thinly slice. I do, however, find this recipe to have way too many poppy seeds though so feel free to reduce the quantity or leave them off altogether.
Vegetarian, Vegan (without the cheese), Gluten-Free
Summer Squash Tuna Cassarole Melt // Summer Squash, Onion, Pepper // I'm not an especially big fan of tuna or tuna melts (or casseroles for that matter) so imagine my surprise when I found a recipe like this in my new favorite fancy cookbook (Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden). I made it one night in a pinch when we had a ton of summer squash in our fridge and not much else and I was so pleasantly surprised that I've made it three times now. Hope you enjoy as much as we did!
Obsessively Good Avocado Cucumber Salad // Cucumbers, sub Onion for scallions (unless you happen to still have scallions in your fridge), Parsley or Basil // The name says it all. This salad is obsessively good. I love to grill or roast some salmon and eat this salad on the side for the most simple dinner.
Vegetarian, Vegan (with the right mayo substitute)
Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls with Garlicky Kale // Kale or Collards // Brown rice + beautiful wilted greens + a protein makes for a delicious, healthy dinner packed full of flavor when paired with this teriyaki sauce (and plenty of garlic!!). If you want to try something really crazy, full shares can try their hand at cauliflower rice instead of brown rice. Instructions found here.
Gluten-Free (with soy sauce substitute)
Seared Salmon with Gnocchi and Roasted Cauliflower // Cauliflower, Basil or Parsley // This time of year as the abundance really begins, simplicity is key. A simple piece of seared salmon. A bag of pasta dropped into boiling water. A pan of roasted cauliflower. All showered with a quick sauce of fresh herbs. There's nothing better.
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).
Vegan Collard Green Burritos // Collards, sub Walla Walla for red onion, sub Parsley or Basil for cilantro & sprouts, add sauted Green Pepper (and whatever else you feel like tossing in-- again Cauliflower Rice could be fun if you want to give it a whirl) // This recipe as its written is totally vegan with walnut meal and vegan cheese spread so if you are vegan, absolutely give it a try. But if you aren't ground beef with taco seasoning and your favorite shredded cheese would work just as well. The real lesson to learn here is that collard greens make amazing vegetable wraps. Our friends at the Good Food cart did it a couple weeks ago and we just love the way it looks and tastes! Blanche the collards first for the best flavor and texture.
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Beet Hummus // Beets, Basil or Parsley // Who doesn't love eating food so colorful and vibrant?! This hummus is clearly a work of art but it is delicious too. I love to beet hummus simply with crackers or some pita, but it's also great on a burger, in a wrap or even as a sauce for a Mediterranean style pizza. Yum!
Yellow Summer Squash Relish // Summer Squash, Onion, Pepper // Oh how I love a good relish. This tasty summer squash treat is perfect for serving over pork chops or on a brat, though I'm sure there are dozens of ways to use it.
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free