CSA Newsletter: Week 14

IMG_8719.JPG

IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Yellow or Red Watermelon // 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. 

Heirloom & Slicer 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 (full shares and most half shares; those who do not receive cherry tomatoes will get extra beans) // 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.

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

Shishitos (full share only) and Poblanos (half shares only) // 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 // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Rainbow Chard (full shares and some half shares) // 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.

Lacinato Kale (half shares who do not receive chard) // 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.

Blue or All-Red 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.

Red Onion // 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.

Garlic // Store in a cool drafty place, preferably out of direct sunlight. Use within a couple weeks.

IMG_8471.jpg

Hello friends,

It appears it’s time for another teachable CSA moment in the midst of the hardest season we’ve ever dealt with because in case you haven’t noticed, this rain just won’t quit. We know we’re not in this alone. We have so many farmer friends who are also scrambling to figure out what to do and how to fill their boxes, so many CSA members in affected areas we’re worried about who we know are dealing with flooding in their homes, and so many small towns that have it so much worse. But that doesn’t change our reality: which is that the fall just got a whole bunch more complicated. And since you are the folks who mean the most to us—the people who committed to support our business and livelihood during times of feast and famine— it’s time we remind you how CSA works. 

CSA is a beautiful concept that has captivated me from the moment I learned of it. A concept without which we would not be farming. CSA stands for community supported agriculture and it is a model that goes a step further than just buying local or being dedicated to purchased from a farmer you have a relationship with, it’s a way of literally supporting agriculture through thick and thin, through hard and easy, through abundance and strife. 

IMG_8682.JPG

Since we started our farm in 2013, we’ve never really had any strife. We’ve had issues with pest and disease and weather to be sure, but never something so bad we couldn’t bounce back or make an alternate plan. No floods, no droughts, no hail or tornado. Just some crops that did exceptional and some crops that did average. Of course there was a crop failure here or there, winter squash has been a tricky beast for the past few seasons, but we’ve consistently given our CSA members 10-25% more value than they paid for every single year since we started. As young farmers, it’s been an honor to have your support and be able to give so freely. 

And, let me stress that I don't know for certain that things will be any different this year. We have been giving you oversized boxes for six straight weeks now to make up for any lacking that may come in the fall due to rot. If I had to guess, I expect you will get what you paid for. No more, no less. At the end of the day, that’s a beautiful result of what’s been three weeks straight of heavy rains and dramatic, extreme weather for our region. 

But because CSA is built on honesty and communication surrounding expectations, I want you to feel full informed about what's happening in the fields. The fall roots and greens are still looking great. Fall brassicas also look incredibly promising. We’re only a couple weeks from fall broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. We began hauling in the winter squash yesterday and, fingers crossed, we think it will all turn out fine.  

This time of year is usually cause for celebration. Making it to September means 3-4 weeks of abundance followed by loads of beautiful fall days tucked into layers of warm clothing cleaning up the fields, and if we’re lucky another couple weeks of beautiful cool November extended season harvests. It also means a bit more balance, shorter days and less stress. That isn’t the case this year.

Tomatoes are winding down a month ahead of schedule and peppers appear to be on their way downhill too. The boxes may get a little less full. There will be less to choose from in the fields and the boxes you receive may be a little more haphazard. Generally, I am very thoughtful about what’s available in the field and what goes well together while cooking. I make sure not to give you too many herbs or greens or “weird veggies” at one time. This year, the priority will be on making sure you get enough produce and not so much on perfecting the boxes. The quality also may be a little less perfect than we want to give due to water issues. With the 20-30% rot in the field we’re projecting, quantities may be a little smaller as well. We are sorry that we may not be able to live up to our own high standards but also thankful to have your commitment and support through all seasons. 

I also want to make sure I stress that if this is your first year with us or your first year with CSA, please do not be deterred. I want you to know that such drama, stress and hardship is not the norm. Bounty and beauty and celebration and joy (albeit entangled with a lot of really hard work) is much more normal. Please don’t let a year of struggle taint your view of CSA because in fact, this is exactly why it’s so important. Your season with us this year is a lesson in what supporting a local farmer really looks like in a time of excess rain and extreme weather. And like we do every year, we'll take a lot of time in the winter to think about how to pivot and adjust to make our farm more resilient in all seasons.

Thanks for standing with us and supporting us. We hope your experience so far has been deliciuos.

-L&K

IMG_7591.png

IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

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

Melons

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Beans

Sweet Pepper

Hot Pepper

Beets

Curly Kale

Acorn Squash

Potatoes

Leeks

Onions

Mixed Herbs (Mint, Parsley, Sage)

IMG_8603 (1).jpg

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!

IMG_7561.jpg

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. 

Butterstuffing and Tomatoes // Pepper, Onion, Tomatoes, Celery if you've still got some

1/3 cup butter           

½ cup diagonally sliced celery                            

1 pepper (green or colored), cut into strips                      

¼ cup chopped red onion

1 teaspoon salt                                        

1 teaspoon dried basil      

1 cup seasoned stuffing mix or seasoned croutons                        

4 tomatoes, cut in 8 wedges each       

2 teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

In large heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, green pepper, onion and seasonings. Saute until crisply tender-- about 10 minutes. Add stuffing, toss. Add tomatoes and sugar, toss gently. Cover, continue cooking until tomatoes are hot yet firm.

IMG_8687.JPG

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.

IMG_8406.JPG

Mason Jar Caprese // Tomatoes (slicers or heirlooms), Cherry Tomatoes, use whatever herbs you have lying around (Chives, Parsley, Basil, Mint would all work here; no herb is fine too) // May I take this moment to not link to any particular recipe and instead simply remind you that it's summer and the eating is so easy. This has been my lunch the past week. Sliced tomatoes (1 or 2) + halved or quartered cherry tomatoes (about a half pint) + 2-3 ounces of sliced fresh mozzarella + some olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper all thrown into a mason jar for easy packing into my backpack without any spillage.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Creamy Swiss Chard with Lemony Breadcrumbs // Rainbow Chard, Sub some Garlic & half Red Onion for the shallots // I could eat greens like this every single week of the year. Silky greens covered in a delicious white sauce, sauted down to something that feels manageable and easy to get through. This recipe is a go to when I'm not feeling like using my greens as the base for a salad. 

Vegetarian

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Roasted Red Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes and Ricotta // Colored Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, mix some Garlic into the ricotta and skip the Basil sauce (unless you have some basil lying around) // For the full shares who received a whole bunch of colored peppers this week, I know that knowing what to do with peppers when you keep getting them week after week may be overwhelming. I have a solution: stuffed peppers! You can stuff any pepper, regardless of size or color, this recipe just happens to talk specifically about red bells. Substitute whatever you have lying around. But whatever you do, just don't substitute anchovy paste for anchovies. It doesn't work or taste good. Best to just leave them out if you can't find (or don't feel like using) fresh anchovies.

Vegetarian (without anchovies), Gluten-Free

 photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Cheesy Hasselback Au Gratin // Poatoes, Garlic // You aren't receiving huge quantities of potatoes from us yet, 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

IMG_8633.JPG

Sweet Corn Polenta with Grilled Vegetables // Peppers, Red Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, sub Poblanos for the Jalapenos, 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: Cookie & Kate

photo by: Cookie & Kate

Watermelon Mimosas // Watermelon // Sick of watermelon yet? Yeah, me either, but just in case they’re somehow getting old may I recommend you whip up a batch of these watermelon mimosas. It's the last watermelon you'll be receiving this season so why not go out with something special!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Garlicky Runner Beans // Beans, Garlic // Simple, flavorful side dish that comes together in two easy steps. Yes please!

Vegetarian, Vegan, 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

kale-blt-salad.jpg

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: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Swiss Chard Tahini Dip // Rainbow Chard, Garlic // Okay, I have to admit I haven't tried this one yet but it was in the most recent issue of Bon Appetit and spoke to me immediately because I know folks have trouble with rainbow chard. It reminds me a healthier version of spinach & artichoke dip so I really really want to try it. Though actually, now that i think of it, chard would make a great subsitution for spinach in spinach & artichoke dip!

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Martha Stewart

photo by: Martha Stewart

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

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free