CSA Newsletter: Week 11

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

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.

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.

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.

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 // 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 (full shares only + half shares who do not receive eggplant) // 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.

New Red Potatoes // Early in the (potato) season you will receive new potatoes, which have not been cured. They have much more delicate skin that storage potatoes and a bit more water in them. They can be stored just like regular potatoes, however they will not last as long at room temperature. Try to use within a couple week or keep in the fridge for longer term storage. 

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.

Parsley (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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We’ve got fall on the brain. These last couple of weeks, in addition to harvesting summer bounty (hey melons, peppers, sweet corn, eggplant and first tomatoes!!) and getting all those onions in from the field, we’ve been diligently working to get ready for fall out at the farm. Though it’s still scorching outside, it’s time to get cool-loving fall crops seeded in the greenhouse, transplanted and seeded in the ground.

Our old greenhouse may be covered with shade cloth and filled with curing alliums (see above), but our new greenhouse (that beautiful structure with roll-up sides that Kyle built this spring) is filled with lettuces, arugula, scallions, spinach and fennel plants for the October CSA boxes. It’s a perfect fall arrangement. In past years, we were drying onions next to seedlings that needed water every day which made both a bit more challenging. This set up with two separate spaces makes life so much easier!

Almost everything that needs to be seeded in the greenhouse is finished. We’ve got 8-10 more flats of spinach and bok choy to seed this week and then that phase of the farm is totally done for this year. It feels good to wrap up even one task for the season so we can clean up the seeding supplies and focus more fully on the other myriad of farm tasks to get done.

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Seeding in the field is still an important task but that too is nearing its end. Last week Kyle seeded more beets, carrots, and beans alongside fall turnips and radishes right before the rain. This week we have to make sure to weed them to ensure they grow well and then over the next month or so we’ll continue to seed more radishes and turnips alongside another bed or two of beets and carrots destined for the fall storage boxes. Hopefully we’ll even seed some cilantro. Cilantro never tends to do very well for us (the weeds always seem to take it over), but we keep trying again anyway. We are growing tomatillos for the first time this year and we’d love to give some cilantro in the early fall with the last of the tomatillos!

Transplanting is the last thing that rounds out our weeks after harvesting, seeding and weeding. One by one we take trays from the greenhouse and bring them down to the field. Last week was a bed of scallions and fennel alongside the last few beds of broccoli and several beds of lettuce. We’re getting lettuce mix and thyme in this week.

It may sound like a busy time of year, but the work is finally waning a little bit. We’re able to take days or nights off here and there. This past Thursday we were done at the farm by 5 p.m. ready to eat pizza together and cozy up on the couch to watch the Packers pre-season game. On Saturday and Sunday, we worked eight hours in total as opposed to our usual 12-15 hours throughout the weekend. My grandma stopped by for a visit and I gave her the full tour of our operation before heading out for a family dinner in celebration of Kyle’s birthday.

And honestly, looking towards fall and planning for fall at the height of summer abundance feels good. Dreaming of cooler, slower days with cabbage, broccoli, spinach and radishes cools us down and reminds us of the beautiful cyclical nature of our lives. Farm life may be totally crazy for four months out of the year with constant work, total exhaustion and not enough time for ourselves but it balances out with fall days worthy of celebration for all we’ve accomplished and a more balanced rhythm.

We hope your August is bringing you just as much joy as ours is bringing us!

-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

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Beans

Cucumbers

Summer Squash

Eggplant

Sweet Pepper

Hot Pepper

Chard or Curly Kale

Carrots

Celery

Yellow Onions

Garlic

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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. 

Ratatouille Pasta // Sweet Pepper, Onions, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Zucchini or Summer Squash

1 pound ground meat; hamburger, pork, turkey, whatever!

1 or 2 mild or sweet peppers, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

2 teaspoons Italian seasonings

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 – 3 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled (dip in boiling water for 30 seconds so the peel comes lose easily) and diced

1 medium eggplant, cubed in ½” cubes

1 zucchini or summer squash, cubed

4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed

8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked

Shredded parmesan, optional

  1. Cook ground meat in a large skillet. Drain fat. Add peppers, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Saute 5-10 minutes. Add seasonings, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Add cream cheese, stir until melted. Stir in cooked, al dente pasta. Top with shredded parmesan just before serving.
  2.  

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 the 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: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Fried Onions & Parsley // Potatoes, Onions, Parsley // I think perhaps we should all start having boiled potatoes in our fridge all the time because then you can make mashed potatoes, potato salad or my new favorite SMASHED POTATOES (!!!) in 5-10 minutes flat. I made these on the grill Sunday and they were like crispy dinner hash browns in all the best ways. One word of warning: boil the potatoes whole regardless of the size and then quarter or halve the largest ones before "smashing" for best results.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: The Modern Proper

photo by: The Modern Proper

Honey Mustard Salmon with Summer Vegetable Salad // Zucchini and/or Summer Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, skip the scallions (maybe sub some Onion) 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: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Zucchini, Swiss Chard & Chickpea Stew // Zucchini, Swiss Chard, Onion // I know it's not exactly stew season but this stew feels light and bright and like something you could eat even on a 90-degree day.. Packed full of veggies and nourishment, this recipe is incredibly easy to throw together and so worth a try!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Hummus Heaped with Tomatoes & Cucumbers // Cherry Tomatoes (or diced Tomatoes), Cucumbers, sub Walla Walla or Shallot for red onion, add Colored Peppers or Chives // Hummus isn't usually something that qualifies as a meal, but hummus isn't usually covered with so many vegetables that you can't even find it buried beneath. This is one of my favorite quick meals this time of year because I can buy a huge tub of my favorite hummus and a bunch of pitas (usually I get both from Banzo in Madison) and just dice up some veggies quickly. Yum!

Vegetarian, Vegan (depending on your hummus), Gluten-Free (depending on your pita)

 photo by: Heather Christo

photo by: Heather Christo

Lemon Summer Squash Bread // Summer Squash // Every once and awhile someone shares a recipe to the Facebook group that just totally blows my mind and I can't resist sharing it here especially when it involves using up summer squash because that crop just can't seem to slow down for us this season. Apparently this summer squash bread is reminiscent of my favorite Lazy Jane's lemon scones so it's made it right to the top of my to make this week list!

Vegetarian

 photo by: Wisconsin From Scratch

photo by: Wisconsin From Scratch

Mapo Eggplant // Eggplant, sub Walla Walla or Shallot for scallions // I generally just cube eggplant real small and roast it to throw into pretty much anything. Once it is roasted it takes on a really caramel-y rich texture, but when I'm feeling more creative I like to either do some eggplant parm (I'll include my favorite recipe next week!) or this awesome Mapo Eggplant dish. It's incredibly simple (essentially just ground pork, eggplant and rice) once you track down the one mystery ingredient (doubanjiang). And so tasty. A little taste of China right at home.

Gluten-Free

 

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Grilled Chicken Wings with Shishitos & Herbs // Shishitos, Parsley, 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