CSA Newsletter: Week 15

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Plum or Heirloom Tomatoes (full shares & some half shares) // 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 (full shares & half shares who do not receive 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.

Poblanos (full shares & some half shares), Shishitos (some half shares) and Jalapenos // 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 (full shares and half shares who do not receive poblanos or shishitos) // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Curly Kale // 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.

Acorn or Honey Boat Squash // Store winter squash in a cool, dry place and try to use within a week or two. Do not store in the fridge! This will cause it to spoil much more quickly.

Blue Potatoes // Store just like you’d store any bag of potatoes from the grocery store: in a cool, dark place. Out of the light, they should keep for at least a month.

Leeks // Store in the fridge and try to use within a week. Store in a plastic bag for best storage.

Yellow Onion // Store along with your potatoes in a cool dark place and try to use within a couple weeks.

Thyme (full shares only) & Sage (half shares only) // Store in the fridge. For long term storage and drying instructions, see here.

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You have all seen the forecast, right? You have all also looked at the Weather app on your phone only to be greeted by a ten-day stretch of sunshine after an already perfect weekend and start to the week, right? Doesn’t it feel just absolutely fantastic and exactly like what September should be? I know forecasters can be wrong and it might not stick, but for now I’m thanking my lucky stars for the 6 days straight of sunshine we’ve already had and the handful of dry days I’m pretty certain lie ahead.

For obvious reasons, we’re overjoyed for this span of dry weather and sunny days. The tomatoes pretty much met their demise a month ahead of schedule thanks to all that late August rain, but now that it’s turned dry for a bit, the peppers still stand a chance and the fall crops are much less likely to rot out on us. The rain stopped just in time. We’re back to being hopeful about the couple of months that lie ahead.

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We’re also glad for this spell of dry weather because we had a lot of work that couldn’t get done with all that rain. In addition to the crop hardship I’ve been telling you about the past couple weeks, the other frustrating thing about rain and wet soils is that you can’t really do much outside of harvesting. It’s super difficult to spray our organic sprays for pest or disease control because most need at least 48 hours of dry weather to be effective. Wet soils are impossible to till or seed into. We also can’t use any of our nifty hand-weeding tools in wet soils; they just won’t work. But even things that seem like moisture wouldn’t matter (things like hand weeding or mowing), also aren’t super doable because we don’t want our feet or our tractor in the field when the ground is so wet. This leads to soil compaction which is a disaster for soil health and microbial life. The goal when the land is wet is to minimize your presence in the field—easier said than done! We also haven’t been able to dig the potatoes because of the wet, heavy soils: a task we had originally hoped to complete by the end of this week.

So, now that it’s getting dry, we will be busy. But we’re so grateful for it. We’ll be busy in the ways we’ve wanted to be in the past several weeks: busy working, not busy fighting to save crops. We’ll be digging as many potatoes as we possibly can. We’ve got four beds out of twelve done and we’re hoping to dig at least one bed every day to finish just a bit behind schedule. We’ll be transplanting the very last of the fall crops since we finally can till the soil. That means lettuce, arugula, spinach, fennel and scallions will finally get into the ground. Most of these crops are intended for restaurants and the fall storage shares we’re still hoping to do, but the CSA may get a taste of that fall spinach too! We’ve got radishes and cover crop to seed. We’ve definitely got mowing and weeding to complete. We’ll start rolling up landscape fabric from crops that are done for the season. It’s going to be a big but important week.

The great news is that thanks to this recent span of weird weather, we got to get away from the farm for a few days this past weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were lovely but the fields were still far too wet to work in so we packed up the car. No responsibility, no obligations, just Kyle and I, our adorable dogs, some camping supplies and a serious yearning for adventure.

Even though Kyle & I work together and get more time together than most couples could ever dream of, we don’t get much time for real connection or romance. Our mornings and nights are filled with task management, strategies, and problem solving. Our days are filled with field work or work at other jobs. Our weekends are spent cooking, trying to keep our house in some semblance of order, and planning for the week ahead. It’s a rhythm that generally works for us. We are great business partners and even better teammates, but sometimes we forget to just be husband and wife. To be silly and stupid and play games and let loose. To talk about anything other than the enormous list of things that need to be done. This past weekend the weather and farming conditions were perfect for joy. Perfect for no stress, perfect for no guilt over not working, and perfect for fun.

We hope your past weekend was just as lovely. And that your September is off to a great start!

-L&K

P.S. Today is the last day to register for the Women's Wellness Day! Find details below and on our website!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 10-12 of these items in your box next week

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Sweet Peppers

Hot Peppers

Beets

Cabbage

Collards

Sweet Dumpling and/or Delicata Squash

Potatoes

Leeks

Shallots

Onions

Mixed Herbs (Mint, Chives, Sage)

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VEGGIE ID: leeks ↓

Leeks are the super tall vegetables in your box this week that look almost like a giant green onion. These are one of my all time favorite veggies and I hope you learn to love them too!

They are in the allium (onion, garlic, shallots, etc) family so have that delicious allium flavor. They can be used any place where you would use an onion but I LOVE them in potato leek soup! To use them, you want to cut a tiny bit of the bottom off (the fringy part that was in the ground) as well as the leaves (use the parts that are white and pale green, skip the parts that are dark green- though they can be used for soup stock) and you can then cut them into rings or slice the leek in half and slice it much as you would an onion.

For more info on leeks and how to cut them, head over here!

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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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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. 

Roasted Potato Salad with Kale // Potatoes, Kale, Onion (or Leek), feel free to add Jalapeno or Poblanos

2# unpeeled potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
Seasonings, as desired
3 stalks kale, stem removed and roughly chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3-4 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked, drained and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Toss potatoes with olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons seasoning of your choice (my mom uses a mix of season salt, garlic salt and pepper). Roast potatoes for 35 minutes in a preheated oven until edges begin to brown and potatoes are tender.

2. Add kale to pan, toss to coat with oil and seasonings, and roast 10 minutes longer. In a small bowl, combine mayo, yogurt, mustard and parsley. Add bacon and onion.

3. Allow potatoes and kale to cool slightly. Toss with dressing, stir to coat. Adjust seasonings as needed/desired.

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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: Making Thyme for Health

photo by: Making Thyme for Health

One-Pot African Peanut Stew // Onion, Jalapenos, sub a Tomato or Two for the tomato paste, sub Leeks for garlic, sub Acorn Squash or Delicata Squash for sweet potato, add a Colored Pepper or two and/or a Poblano, sub Kale for Collards // Every time of year, I  get this exact same craving and share this exact same recipe. It's the perfect dish to celebrate the time of year when tomatoes and peppers smash into winter squash. It may look like a lot of substitutions but I promise it's really not. This time of year is made for African peanut stew and the flavors of this box are just begging you to make it. Even if you want to leave out a suggested veggie ingredient or two, it will still be perfect. I promise.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Well and Full

photo by: Well and Full

Kale Detox Salad with Pesto // Potatoes (double the amount called for in the recipe and leave out the carrots), add some sliced Leeks and possibly even diced Poblanos to the roasting potatoes, Kale, Jalapenos, Thyme (or Sage) // It never ceases to amaze me how two of the most basic things--kale and potatoes--can be thrown together pretty much any which way and be perfect and glorious and interesting every single time. This salad, with some leeks thrown in and the carrots left out, is no different. It's heavenly and healthy and effortlessly simple with the use of prepared basil! 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Creamy Pappardelle with Leeks & Bacon // Leeks, Thyme (or Sage) // Leeks and bacon are a match made in heaven. As is pasta and cream. Yes, this recipe is decadent, but that's what leeks are for: simple, elegant decadence. Add some kale if you feel like being a smidge healthier.

 photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Cheesy Hasselback Au Gratin // Poatoes, Sub Leeks for garlic, Thyme (or Sage), add diced Poblanos // You aren't receiving huge quantities of potatoes from us, and I know that means you could just roast them up and serve them as a simple side to literally any meal, but when receiving small amounts of something so lovely, I go straight to celebration and decadence. I love potatoes au gratin and I love the hasselback technique. This recipe yields maximum crispy edges and potato goodness. Try it out despite the knife work involved. You won't be disappointed.

Oh, and your potatoes are much bigger than the ones used here. I recommend halving your potatoes before hasselbacking and putting them in the pan cut-side down.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Sweet Corn Polenta with Grilled Vegetables // Peppers (maybe a mix of sweet peppers & some poblanos!), Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapenos, sub Yellow Onion for red onion, skip the Sweet Corn unless you were smart enough to freeze some // With a grill, a pot and a bag of cornmeal, this meal comes together fast while also utilizing loads of CSA vegetables. It seems like perhaps a very busy farmer focused on using the abundance of the season developed this recipe. Oh wait, that was me :)

Vegetarian (without candied bacon), Gluten-Free

 photo by: New York Times

photo by: New York Times

One Pot Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes & Kale // Cherry Tomatoes, Kale, think about adding some very finely diced sweet peppers to the pan along with the cherry tomatoes // Dinner on the table in 20 minutes, 8 total ingredients. Yes please!

Vegetarian, Vegan

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale // Potatoes, Kale, Leek, add some Thyme or Sage // I just have too many ideas for potatoes, leek and leeks. Sorry! This is the last one, I promise. Add some caramelized onions or sweet peppers to the mix if you like. (And leave the kale out if you already used it elsewhere). Twice-baked potatoes are super versatile and super tasty no matter how you make them! You could also stuff poblanos and sweet peppers with a similar mixture.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Shishito Dog or  Shishito Pepper Bison Burger // Shishitos // I'm not sure why I never realized that you could just cut the tops of your shishitos and blister them as usual for the world's best burger and/or hot dog topping. We'll definitely be doing this over the weekend. 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Kale BLT Salad // Lacinato Kale, Cherry Tomatoes // I've been waiting impatiently for us to give some of you lacinato kale again so I could share this incredible recipe for a "deconstructed BLT" sans bread. It uses kale instead of lettuce and a rich, creamy dressing to tie things together. I always just use thick-cut bacon since I have no idea where to find slab bacon. Also note this recipe calls for some frivolous ingredients you likely won't have on hand. Preserved lemon and creme fraiche are great but fresh lemon zest with a little lemon juice and sour cream are great substitutes.

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Crockpot Caramelized Pork Ramen Noodle Soup with Curry Roasted Acorn Squash // Acorn Squash, Jalapeno, sub Leeks for green onions, skip the Carrots unless you happen to have some on hand// This clearly qualifies as a PROJECT recipe. I prefer not to share project recipes for all you lovely CSA members because I know your preference is usually to cook maximum vegetables in minimum time with limited crazy techniques and/or ingredients, but this recipe, this recipe is oh so worth it. And it uses a crock pot, so that equates ease, right?

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Martha Stewart

photo by: Martha Stewart

Tomato & Onion Salad // Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, sub Yellow Onion // Just remember, fancy recipes are fun but it's always best to just keep it simple.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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Brown Butter & Sage Biscuit // Sage // I'm so excited for the herbs in your box this week because they just scream fall. They can really be put in any box with potatoes, leeks or squash, but you may still have extra and THEN you should definitely try your hand at these brown butter & sage biscuits! The alternative, of course, is to just make Pillsbury biscuits and make your own sage honey butter to slather all over them.