CSA Newsletter: Week 9

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Watermelon or Cantaloupe // 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.

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

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

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.

Eggplant (full shares + some half shares) // 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.

Pickling Cucumbers (full shares only) & Cucumbers // Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Try to use within one week.

Colored or 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.

Shishitos (half shares who did not receive cherry tomatoes or eggplant) // Store the same as any other sweet pepper (see Green Bell Peppers above).

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.

Sweet Corn // Keep corn unhusked in the fridge until ready to use. Use as soon as possible. If you don’t think you’ll use it right away store it on ice.

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We’ve got ourselves a pack shed folks! We have a (pretty much fully) enclosed building on the farm and it feels huge and weird and like serious progress even though there are still a whole bunch of steps that need to happen before it’s useable.

The cement pouring and installation of the garage doors are both dependent on sub-contractors with very busy schedules so we’re keeping their numbers on speed dial and checking in regularly. Once the concrete is complete, Kyle can begin building out that cooler: a step we are over the moon excited for. Then comes the call to our water guy who will trench water lines and put in hydrants so we have water near the building and our own lines for irrigation. The plan is to run electric for the building at the same time so we only have to dig one trench. It’s a lot of phone calls and a lot of people managing before we’ll have a new home to wash and pack our vegetables in, but we’re incredibly ready for this space of our own. Expect many pictures as this all gets under way!

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In other news, the tomatoes are just beginning to turn. The cherry tomatoes are always the first to start with the slicing tomatoes not far behind. We’re so excited to nibble up these first tomatoes of the season! The first sungolds of the season always taste like pure sunshine.

We can’t quite tell if this is going to be an average or bad tomato year for our farm. Although it’s been dry in many parts of the state, those 3-4 inch deluges we received in June and early July have kept our soils soaked. Our soil is a heavy clay loam so it really holds onto moisture. Despite no substantial rain for a couple weeks, we haven’t had to irrigate at all. That’s the great part about heavy soils. The downside is that several vegetable crops don’t want it to be so wet.

Disease spreads when things remain damp for too long and our tomato plants, as appears to be normal in these past few years, have become riddled with disease quite early in the growing season. Because so many green tomatoes are already on the vine, we don’t think the disease will affect yields dramatically but only time will tell. This year, we planted three separate plantings to try and keep the early summer moisture disease issues at bay and we hope this keeps us swimming in tomatoes until late September.

A lot is changing at the farm. The peppers are beginning to change color and the potatoes are nearly ready to start digging. The spring brassicas are finally wrapping up. Our cabbage beds have already been mowed into the ground and seeded to fall cover crop. The cauliflower beds will be next. The fifth planting of broccoli is just about finished and then that will be put to sleep as well.

The first planting of zucchini and cucumbers have pretty much ceased producing which means a little less of each in your box. We were hauling in literally a couple thousand pounds of zucchini, cucumbers and summer squash each week of July so we’re pretty happy for this crop to slow. The onion crop is also finished growing which means one of August’s big projects is getting all those babies in from the field and curing in the greenhouse. I’ll explain more about what that means in later newsletters.

It’s a fun time at the farm watching things shift and making serious preparations for fall. The workload isn’t any less, but for a moment it is physically lighter and we’re relishing in the extra energy that comes with it.

-L&K

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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

Sweet Corn

Cherry Tomatoes or Regular Tomatoes

Beans

Cucumbers

Pickling Cucumbers

Zucchini

Summer Squash

Eggplant

Sweet Pepper

Hot Pepper

Collard Greens or Chard or Curly Kale

Daikon Radish

New Potatoes

Fennel

Shallots

Garlic

Mixed Herbs (Parsley, Basil, Thyme, Sage, 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. 

Gold Medal Corn Zucchini Casserole // Zucchini or Summer Squash, Sweet Corn

3 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, diced

2 medium zucchini (or summer squash), cut into thin, halved slices

3-1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 6 ears), boiled or raw

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup flour

1-3/4 cups whole or 2% milk

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Crumb Topping:

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried oregano

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Add onions and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes. Add corn, cook another 3-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Stir in flour, cook another 5 minutes. Pour in milk all at once, cook and stir until thickened. Stir in cheese. Pour into greased 2-1/2 quart dish.
  3. Melt butter for crumb topping in a small pan. Add garlic, breadcrumbs and sauté for 5 minutes until combined. Pour on top of casserole. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

 

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: Epicurious

photo by: Epicurious

Grain Bowls with Grilled Corn, Steak & Avocado with Creamy Jalapeno Sauce // Sweet Corn, Jalapenos, add halved Cherry Tomatoes if you feel like it, skip the Scallions or use Walla Walla from last week // Yes yes, I know it is incredibly tempting to just eat corn on the cob with butter, salt and pepper. Yes, I know that is also perfect. But honestly, there are even more enticing ways to enjoy sweet corn. This is my number one meal when we hit corn season. Grain salad, meet simple summer joy.

Gluten-Free (depending on your grain)

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Easiest Fridge Pickles // Pickling Cucumbers // Let the fridge pickles begin! I've got two recipes for fridge pickles for you all because full shares will get pickling cucumber this week and half shares will begin to get them next week. You don't have to make pickles out of them. You can absolutely just eat them (and they are so incredibly crunchy!) but I really love to have homemade pickles in my fridge this time of year. There is no canning necessary and because they aren't canned they stay so dang crunchy. Yum!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Bread & Butter Pickles // Pickling Cucumber // Here is another beautiful pickle recipe that doesn't require any actual canning and takes about all of 10 minutes (after the chilling phase is over). Enjoy!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: The Modern Proper

photo by: The Modern Proper

Honey Mustard Salmon with Summer Vegetable Salad // Zucchini & Summer Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, skip the scallions and microgreens and/or feel free to use any herbs you have lying around // Is there anything better than a beautiful hunk of fish (our friends just brought us some from a fishing trip in Lake Michigan) slathered in a delectable sauce and covered with fresh veggies? This recipe is simple and perfect- a celebration of summer goodness. I'd sub some other nut for the pine nuts though (probably walnuts). They're hard to find and silly expensive.

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Blistered Green Beans with Tomato Almond Pesto // Green Beans, Cherry Tomatoes // Roasted tomatoes ground up with almonds and other goodies makes for one heck of a great sauce for pretty much everything, but I really love them over blanched green beans. Sadly you're going to have to halve this recipe because we're not swimming in cherry tomatoes or green beans just yet but I bet this will be just as good as a snack as it would be for dinner. 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Takeout Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumbers // Cucumbers, consider adding some thinly sliced Jalapeno // Never did I think that sliced cucumbers would be so delicious served over noodles with a mess of chopped peanuts and peanut sauce, but it really really is. It's probably because the peanut sauce has so much good stuff in it (rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil and garlic chile paste). These are all things that you really need to stock in your pantry. You won't regret it. 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free (with the right noodles)

 photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Charred Green Beans with Harissa Yogurt // Green Beans // Have I convinced you to just grill everything yet? It's really just never the wrong answer. These green beans are heaven and the spicy yogurt sauce they're served with is equally to die for. 

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Corn & Zucchini Salad with Feta // Corn, Zucchini (or Summer Squash), skip herbs and squash blossoms (unless you happen to have them on hand) // I know I already shared a favorite sweet corn recipe and said it was my favorite, but that's more of my favorite for a whole dinner situation. This is my actual favorite sweet corn recipe out of all the sweet corn recipes that exist in this world. Especially if you add in some raw Walla Walla onion from last week. I pretty much always leave out the squash blossoms or herbs out because I rarely have them. Thinly sliced squash + sweet corn + raw sweet onion + fresh chevre or goat cheese (in lieu of the feta) & red pepper flakes. Pure heaven.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: The Kitchn

photo by: The Kitchn

Roasted Shishitos with Magic Summer Sauce // Shishitos // This little recipe from The Kitchn has everything you'd ever need to know about shishito peppers and how to prepare them (so DEFINITELY check it out!), but also includes a recipe for roasting them until they're charred and then serving them with this creamy summer dip. YUM! Shishitos are about to be  your favorite vegetable!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Zucchini Rice & Cheese Gratin // Zucchini or Summer Squash, toss a Sweet Pepper or Jalapeno in there if you feel like it // Smitten Kitchen is queen of simplicity when it comes to getting a nourishing, seasonal meal on the table. This recipe tosses shredded zucchini with rice, onion, garlic, butter, some olive oil and some Parmesan for a meal that's as comforting as it is easy.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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One Pot Green Curry // Sub Eggplant & Summer Squash for Potatoes, Green Beans, Onion, Bell or Italian Frying Pepper, add Jalapeno if you feel like it // A pile of veggies boiled in a pot with rich, creamy coconut milk and green curry paste served over rice. This recipe takes next to no time and is a perfect combination of flavors. I actually prefer eggplant to potatoes (because of the creaminess they lend) but didn't have any on hand when I originally developed the recipe.

Vegetarian (if you skip the meat), Vegan (if you skip the meat and substitute butter), Gluten Free