CSA Newsletter: Week 10

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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.

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.

Cherry Tomatoes (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 only) // 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 (half 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.

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.

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.

Walla Walla (full shares only) // 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.

Shallots (half shares only) // Store in a cool dark place until ready to use. These have been cured and should store for months, though you should use within a month for best quality.

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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Things are getting heavy out here! We have officially moved into the fall storage harvest season, which may seem early since we are still several weeks away from the fall, but one-time harvested crops are already ready to come in from the fields! Crops like onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes (!) all take a long time to grow. We tend to them for months, weeding them every few weeks, seeing no reward for our constant attention until much later. We wait for months for these crops to become ready and then as soon as August hits we begin to reap the rewards.

We began with shallots last week and followed that up by pulling half of the yellow onions on Sunday. The shallots, which only filled one bed, weighed in at right around 250 pounds! The two onion beds we harvested are probably closer to 700 or 800 pounds. We harvest these alliums—which were one of the first things planted in the spring—with their green tops still on, lay them out on tarps in the greenhouse and allow them to dry for about a week in there. This is the beginning of a process called curing. Once the tops begin to dry out, we top them (which just means we remove the tops with a knife or snip) and toss the half-cured alliums into crates. These crates will remain in the greenhouse for another week or so until all the moisture has left the onions and shallots. Once the alliums are fully cured, they go into large mesh bags and get moved to our dark, cool basement for long-term storage.

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Full shares are receiving the last of the fresh onions this week and half share the first of the cured shallots. From here on out, it will only be storage onions, shallots and garlic you will receive—fully cured and ready to hang out in your panty or basement until you’re ready to use them.

As we work our way though the onion field, we’ll also be working our way through the potatoes. We have twelve beds of potatoes and just dug the first two for this week’s CSA harvest. Potatoes are just like onions in that they take a lot of patience and diligence before you see any reward. Digging the potatoes with our heavy soils is also a major feat since we still use a pitchfork. Digging the thousands of pounds of potatoes and setting them to cure will be a month-long project. In September we hope the potato harvests will be done and then we’ll move to the sweet potatoes which will also need curing in our greenhouse.

The potatoes in your box this week were freshly harvested and therefore NOT cured. These are known as new potatoes. They have more delicate skins (hence the beat-up nature of the skins this week) and a bit more water content.

In addition to all these mass harvests, we’re still hauling in loads of melons, zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers. The first planting of all these crops is almost wrapped up and we’re pretty happy about that. With the density of these fall crop harvests and soon the tomatoes, we’ll easily be hauling in a couple thousand pounds each week not even including the melons! We’re beginning to harvest onto pallets and use the new tractor to haul crops to the cooler or wash area to save our backs a bit.

In other news, we hosted an array of events at the farm this weekend for Soil Sisters and though exhausted from all the hosting, we are also inspired, motivated and energized by all the great questions, amazing energy and sunshine. Thanks so much to members who joined us. We loved teaching you in our food preservation 101 workshop and showing you our fields. Having people out to the farm and showing them where their food comes from is one of our favorite parts of what we do. If you haven’t been able to get out to the farm yet, don’t distress! We’ve still got great events coming up!

On September 15th, we’ll be hosting a women’s wellness retreat (see flyer below) and on October 13th we’ll be having a low-key fall harvest party with good food, great drinks (a Rusty Dog Coffee Stout with our dried chile peppers in on the menu), cider pressing, and a bonfire. We’re also contemplating some August work days where folks can join us in the fields helping with the onion or potato harvests, getting their hands dirty with some transplanting or even just helping us maintain the weeds in fall beds. Stay tuned for more information on these potential work days!

Lots of love to you all. Congrats on making it to the halfway point of this stupendous growing season!

-L&K

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Veggie ID: Shallots ↓

The pretty pinkish purple thing in your box this week that looks a lot like an onion is actually a shallot. Their flavor is a lot richer and sweeter than an onion. They lend a lot of flavor to any dish, but I really love to mince them finely and use them raw in salad dressings made of buttermilk or caramelized and the focus on a pizza or other savory dish. I also love to use them in any salad that calls for raw onions because they have the perfect amount of subtle pungency.

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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

Zucchini

Summer Squash

Eggplant

Sweet Pepper

Hot Pepper

Chard or Curly Kale

Daikon Radish

Carrots

New Potatoes

Fennel

Shallots

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. 

Taste of Summer Pasta// Sweet Pepper, Shallot or Onion, Sweet Corn, Cherry Tomatoes (or diced Tomatoes)

8 ounces fettuccine or spaghetti pasta                               

4 thick sliced bacon strips, chopped                            

1 sweet pepper, diced                                                       

1 shallot or ½ onion, diced                                                 

3 cups fresh or frozen corn                                                

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried basil (can use fresh if available)      

1 tablespoon flour             

1 cup half & half or whole milk

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or diced tomatoes)

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Optional: 1 -2 cups diced ham, cooked chicken or salami

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook pasta until just al dente, reserve ½ C. pasta water.  
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon, drain some of grease, reserving at least 2 tablespoons. Add peppers, onion and corn, and saute until vegetables are almost tender. Add spices.
  3. Add flour and stir until it coats vegetables. Add half and half and reserved pasta water out of pot. Drain pasta, stir into corn sauce. If adding meat, stir in now.
  4. Just before serving, add cherry tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Add more half & half if not enough sauce.                                            

 

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, add halved Cherry Tomatoes if you feel like it, sub raw Walla Walla (or Shallot) for the Scallion, maybe add some diced Sweet Peppers or even roasted Summer Squash or Eggplant to the mix // 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; full shares should use their Chives // 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

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: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Cornmeal Fried Pork-chops & Smashed Potatoes // Potatoes, Chives, for the Relish: Summer Squash or Zucchini, Walla Walla or Shallot & Red Pepper // This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen from a totally fabulous cookbook that I just discovered this spring (even though it was published way back in 2015). Sean Brock's Heritage is an awesome tribute to Southern cooking at its finest chock full of fried things, cornmeal and heavy cream. I made these potatoes for a potluck and my mind was blown. You smash the potatoes instead of mashing them then combine them with not only butter and cream but also goat cheese and a ton of chives. It's a perfect side dish for any meal (not only cornmeal friend pork chops) though if you do make the pork chops, may I suggest you put some Zucchini or Summer Squash Relish all over them. The bright relish really livens up an otherwise heavy meal.

Gluten-Free

 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: Tasty

photo by: Tasty

Watermelon & Cucumber Salad // Watermelon, Cucumber, Walla Walla or Shallot (instead of red onion) // Full shares are on their third melon and half shares are only on their second (and a lot of you will be receiving your first muskmelon this week!) so it's hard to know if you are melon-ed out already or not. But just in case you are, here's a super great savory melon recipe. Savory melon may just blow your mind. Bonus: this recipe link has a video!

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

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Zucchini Rice & Cheese Gratin // Zucchini or Summer Squash, Walla Walla or Shallot, toss a Sweet Pepper 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 (or use a mixture), Green Beans, Onion (or Shallot), Bell or Italian Frying Pepper // 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

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Tomato & Sweet Corn Pasta // Tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), Cucumber, Onion (or Shallot), Sweet Corn //  I love the combination of tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumber, onion and basil, and in a pasta salad, it tastes like pure summer in a bowl! The ratios for this pasta salad are based on the many pasta salads of my youth with a pretty hefty amount of noodles. You can absolutely feel free to use half the amount of pasta if you like more veggies than noodles in your pasta salad.

Vegetarian