CSA Newsletter: Week 16

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

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.

Plum 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.

Poblanos (some full shares only), Shishitos (full shares who did not receive poblanos only), Early Habaneros 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 (half shares only) // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Cabbage // Cabbage is one of the best storage vegetables. It can easily last three weeks to two months. You don’t need to do much to it. Keep it in the fridge in the crisper drawer. A plastic bag can help retain moisture, but it doesn’t matter much. The two outside leaves are used as storage leaves. Remove them before eating.

Collards // Refrigerate in a plastic bag until ready to use. Do not wash before storing.

Festival or Butternut 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.

German Butterball 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.

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

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The seasons are really changing out here on the farm. The weather is a bit more hot and humid than we’d like—than we’d all like I’m sure!—but the work at the farm is changing nonetheless.

Last week, we completed the very last of the transplanting. We hustled to get romaine, arugula, spinach and scallions into the ground. It feels good (and strange) to say with certainty: this task is done for 2018. We have a few odds and ends we’re still keeping alive in our greenhouse, things we decided probably wouldn’t make it to full maturity before the bitter cold comes. I’m not sure why we’re keeping them alive exactly other than the fact it feels weird to clear out the greenhouse for good. We’ve been watering and caring for seedlings in the greenhouse since March so it’s strange to shut that part of the farm down. We got a few more beds of spinach and radishes seeded and though not quite done for the season, we’re 99% finished with the seeding for 2018 outside of cover crops.

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The focus is transitioning from planting and production to clean up and getting the farm ready for winter. Which seems a little crazy since fall just began, but taking apart a farm for the season is a big task. We’ve got irrigation lines to remove from the field, tomato trellises to take down, landscape fabric to roll up, among a dozen other odds and ends.

We’ll also hopefully complete digging the regular potatoes this week too—a task Kyle nearly finished last week despite the slow and steady pace he claimed he was going to have—and then we’ll begin digging the sweet potatoes. We’re so excited to unearth these beauties and see how they turned out! We’ve never grown sweet potatoes before so we don’t know for certain how big they will get or how they liked growing in our soil, but we’ve dug a few test areas to see if they’re ready and so far, so good! After we dig them, the sweet potatoes will then need to spend some time curing in the greenhouse. This is what gives them their sweetness. You should be receiving sweet potatoes in your box next week (or in two weeks at the absolute latest!) and then, ideally, we’ll be able to keep them coming for the remainder of the season!

We’re still sad about the bummer of a tomato and pepper year here at Raleigh’s Hillside Farm but really grateful the rain stopped just in time for the fall crops to look great! This past weekend, Kyle and I ran through the breakdown of what we plan to give in each box for the rest of the season and things are looking quite lovely. We may even be able to offer a small storage share add-on in early November!

Thank you for rolling with the successes and struggles of this past season. Thank you for understanding how seasonality varies based on the weather of that particular season. And thank you for your words of support and encouragement as we problem solved through a very challenging season. We feel stronger than before and much wiser as farmers. Every year brings new and unexpected difficulties and every year teaches us something else about what it really means to make your living growing food.

Now bring on that fall weather!!!

-L&K

P.S. Did you see that we’re having one more fabulous party at the farm?! Come join us!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

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

Cherry Tomatoes or Tomatoes

Eggplant

Sweet Peppers

Hot Peppers

Beets

Lacinato Kale or Rainbow Chard

Napa Cabbage

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Butternut Squash

Sweet Potatoes

Shallots

Onions

Mixed Herbs (Mint, Chives, Sage, Thyme)

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VEGGIE ID: RED EARLY HABaNEROS

WARNING: THESE BABIES ARE HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

These lovely Primero Red Habaneros are part of a farm-to-flavor research trial we are participating in this year. We never thought we’d grow habaneros since they are such a hot pepper, but these beauties have been fun. They carry about 1/3 the punch of a regular habanero (which typically dials in at around 100x that of a jalapeno). I love them most made into a quick hot sauce, but you could also make a simple pepper jelly to be stirred into cream cheese and served with crackers come Christmas time. You could dry them and add bits and pieces to winter cooking to spice things up. We probably won’t be giving them again so have some fun and experiment with these beauties. Whatever you do, just don’t snack on them raw!

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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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. 

Cabbage Soup with Cheese // Onion, Leek, Cabbage, Potatoes

½ pound bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 leek, chopped

½ head cabbage, coarsely chopped

2 potatoes, peeled & diced

5 cups chicken broth

1 ½ teaspoon fines herbes (can make your own : 1 tablespoon each marjoram, savory & thyme + 1 teaspoon basil + pinch of sage)

Salt and pepper to taste

4 ounces shredded Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese

2 ounces Gouda, shredded or sharp cheddar

¾ cup half & half

½ teaspoon dill

Dash of tabasco or cayenne pepper

  1. Saute bacon in kettle until almost crisp. Pour off all but 3-4 tablespoons fat. Add chopped onion, leek and cabbage to pan.

  2. Saute for 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes, then fines herbes, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes until potatoes are quite tender. Just before serving, slowly add cheeses, stirring until melted but do NOT allow to boil.

  3. Add remaining ingredients and adjust seasoning.

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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 Festival or Butternut Squash for sweet potato, add a Poblano or two, 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, Sub Collards for Kale, Jalapenos, Sub Sage or Chives for Thyme // It never ceases to amaze me how two of the most basic things--collards 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: The Awesome Green

photo by: The Awesome Green

The Ultimate Veggie Burger // Beets, Sub Festival or Butternut Squash for Sweet Potatoes, Onion // It’s the burger of your dreams, and guess what, it’s totally vegan. Whoever thought of adding sweet roasted sweet potatoes (or squash) AND guacamole to a burger is pure genius.

Vegetarian, Vegan

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Leek Soup with Shoestring Potatoes // Leeks, Onion, Potato, skip the Garlic and Parsley // A CSA member reminded me of this favorite recipe over the weekend and I’m so overjoyed that they did. I made it for a farm to table event a few summers ago without the fried herbs (mine just turned into a greasy mess) and added a simple jalapeno oil (poblano oil would also be fabulous). The soup has a lot of butter and a lot of cream, actually a lot of cream generally, but don’t let that stop you. It’s the best leek soup you will ever eat.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: New York Times

photo by: New York Times

Winter Squash & Tomato Gratin // Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes, Festival or Butternut Squash, sub Onion & Leek for red onions // I wait all year for the winter squash to overlap with the tomatoes so I can share this beautiful recipe with you! It’s so simple and so tasty. You can use any winter squash and any tomatoes (though the winter squash we gave this week really should be peeled before use).

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Grilled Beet Salad with Caramelized Citrus // Beets, Chives if you got them // Grilling season is nearly finished so let’s do one last masterpiece. This recipe requires you to grill your beets AND your citrus (lemon and orange) for a very long-time, allowing you to linger outside on the back patio and savor every last minute of summer. The grill does most of the work here so you only have to add a couple more ingredients for this delectable dish.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Cabbage Patch Soup // Poblanos, Colored Pepper (skip it if you don’t have any), Onion, Jalapeno, Cabbage, Sub any Tomatoes from this week’s box for the canned tomatoes (a cup of diced tomatoes is about 8 ounces of canned tomatoes) // This is a Kathy Wells (m momma) classic that I’ve stolen and made my own. There is nothing tastier than this soup on a cool fall day (so maybe wait until Friday to make it). It’s thick and creamy, tomato-y and sweet, deeply flavorful and deeply nourishing all in one bowl.

Gluten-Free

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Leek & Pepper Pretzel Dip // Leek, Colored Pepper, Jalapeno // Many thanks to CSA member and worker share Amy who reminded me putting random vegetables into cream cheese is ALWAYS a great idea. Leeks, jalapenos and a sweet pepper (if you still have one lying around) are a match made in heaven.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Crockpot Caramelized Pork Ramen Noodle Soup with Curry Roasted Acorn Squash // sub Festival or Butternut 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

Sheet Pan Chicken with Cabbage & Leeks // Cabbage, Leeks// I need more recipes like this: recipes that come together on ONE PAN and require next to no dishes but are still absolutely delicious. This recipe is a sure winner!

Gluten-Free (sub tamari for soy sauce)

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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.