CSA Newsletter: Week 3

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Broccoli // Store in the crisper drawer of the fridge. The colder the better for broccoli. Try to use within a few days. 

Kohlrabi // The kohlrabi bulb will last up to a month in the fridge. Use within a couple weeks if you plan to eat it raw.

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.

Green Leaf Lettuce // Store loosely in a plastic bag (ideally) or in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Keep unused leaves on the head. Use within a week, but likely will store up to two weeks.

Baby Romaine Lettuce (full Shares + half shares who did receive Green Leaf Lettuce) // Store loosely in a plastic bag (ideally) or in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Keep unused leaves on the head. Use within a week, but likely will store up to two weeks.

Arugula (full shares only) // Store in plastic bag in fridge. Plastic bag will help arugula retain moisture which keeps it fresh for longer. Try to use it within a week. If it gets limp or wilted, you can still use in recipes that call for cooked or wilted greens.

Zucchini (half shares only) // 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.

Radishes // Store for us to 2 weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. Store greens separately, ideally gently wrapped in a damp paper towel. Use the greens as quickly as possible.

Red Scallions // Store in the veggie drawer of your refrigerator and try to use within a week. If you use after a week, you can peel off the dry and/or “slimy” outer layer of the scallion.

Parsley (half 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.

Garlic Scapes // Garlic scapes will last up to three weeks loosely wrapped in plastic in your fridge. They also freeze extremely well; just chop and freeze!

 photo by: Brandi Bonde

photo by: Brandi Bonde

I’m sure you’ve heard (or could assume) that vegetable farming takes a lot of labor. Regardless of the size of the vegetable farm, most vegetables have to be harvested by hand because of their delicate nature and the way they ripen. Then, especially for CSA, things need to be bunched, bagged or sorted which can take a lot of time. On a small-scale operation like ours, most weeding is also done by hand with hoes and other cool tools as well as all the transplanting and seeding. Aside from the root crops, which are direct seeded by Kyle, every single thing you eat this year was planted into the ground by us, one of our employees, or our worker shares.

 photo by: Brandi Bonde

photo by: Brandi Bonde

We lay mulch on the tomatoes to keep the weeds down and lay landscape fabric between the summer squash, winter squash, cucumbers, melons and sweet potatoes for the same reason; all of this work is done by hand. We sucker tomatoes (removing the flowers before the plants are old enough to put on fruit), pound posts for the trellis, and string the plants up by hand.

I’m sure this list is nowhere near comprehensive of all the work we do throughout the year, but it’s everything I’m thinking about at this moment in time, and I think you get the point: there is a lot of work to be done on a small-scale vegetable farm and since a lot of the work is done by hand, we need more than just our own hands.

We learned this fact four years ago and hired our first employee Eryn the following season and began a modest worker share program. A worker share is a CSA member who works in the fields throughout the CSA season in exchange for their box of produce. Still not being enough hands, we hired two employees the next year and expanded the worker share program to four members. Last year was lovely and the folks on our farm were positive, wildly creative and a joy to spend our days with but almost no one had prior experience in farming and it wasn’t quite enough help overall.

This year is different. We are so excited for the two employees who each work three days a week and team of five experienced worker shares (all but one is a returned worker share from last year!). It’s a beautiful group of people who are growing, harvesting and packing your boxes this season. We feel tremendously grateful for the energy, passion and experience every person brings to our farm.

Our two employees, Rebecca and Kristen, have long backgrounds in growing food and working with plants. Rebecca has spent seasons at Tipi Produce and Kopke’s Greenhouse (both place Kyle worked!) before coming to our farm. Kristen has been traveling the world farming (mostly in Hawaii and Canada) and has nearly as much experience as us. Both women are dynamic forces, working at a speed only experience brings. They have ideas for how to make our operation run smoother and are even taking some of our deliveries to (literally) lighten our load. Their support of us goes well beyond just being employees with offers to help on their days off and messages of encouragement when they see we’re spending our weekend at the farm again. The energy when either of them is out at the farm is transcendental.

 photo by: Brandi Bonde

photo by: Brandi Bonde

The worker share crew too is unbelievably capable and filled with either the wisdom of previous seasons or the drive of plans to start their own farm one day. Jessica has been with us for three seasons now. She works fast and works hard, taking leadership when she needs to, and connecting me to our members when we’re able to work side by side. She’s always chatting about what’s she cooking and the produce she finds difficult to use and I find her advice invaluable. Kara, a library director, neighbor of the farm and experienced CSA member of several other farms in the area, comes late in the day and is almost always our CSA bagger clean up crew. When she arrives, there is a long list of things left to be bunched or bagged into individual CSA quantities and she diligently gets to work. Her calm demeanor is everything I need at the end of a chaotic day. Dana is the life of the party. She’s also a returning worker share who is full of joy, good conversation and comic relief. She supports the farm all day every day with her enthusiasm and texts always wanting to make sure Kyle and I are taking time for ourselves in between all the hard work. Amy is new to the farm this year and has dreams of starting her own farm soon. She’s got the land, the drive and the education so she’s just looking for some hands-on experience. She picks things up quickly and loves being a part of our team even when that means back-to-back days of transplanting.

It’s funny to me how different the energy of a farm can feel from year to year based on the people you have supporting you. Even though we’ve been busy and continue to take on more growth in 2018, the energy feels good and our souls feel nurtured largely because of the amazing team of people we have beside us. They are dependable, caring, supportive, and kind, and we feel incredibly lucky they all found their way to Raleigh’s Hillside Farm. We hope you can taste that love in your food this week and throughout the season.

-L&K

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VEGGIE ID: kohlrabi ↓

Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage or brassica family. It is directly translated as cabbage turnip in German and that really alludes to the flavor. This vegetables has a strong brassica flavor. Once you remove the green or purple skin (more on that below), it essentially looks like a turnip, but tastes like cabbage. Kohlrabi retains a lot of water so it's crisp but softens when you cook with it. It is especially happy growing in cooler temperatures which is why you see them a lot in late spring or fall, but they are easy to grow year-round. The leaves are edible and can be compared to collards, but because you're already receiving so many greens this week (and because we weren't sure they'd fit in the box), we removed the greens.

So how do I use it?

You just want to eat the white interior part of the kohlrabi, not the green or purple skin. You will need to peel it before cooking with it (but leave the skin on while it's in the fridge for best storage). I do this with a knife not a vegetable peeler.  You want to remove both the peel and the fibrous tough skin beneath the peel. To do this, I cut off the top and bottom first so the kohlrabi can sit flat on my cutting board and then move down the sides with my knife, following the curve of the kohlrabi and letting the skin fall away. Once you are left with the semi-round peeled vegetable, you can cut into into chunks, matchsticks or slice it thinly depending on the recipe.

What is the best way to prepare kohlrabi?

You can eat kohlrabi a lot of different ways. You can just cut it into sticks and eat it raw with some veggie dip for a quick snack. You can use it raw in practically any salad (I added it to my favorite broccoli salad and it was amazing!) or make a salad that is all about highlighting the unique veggie. Cookie & Kate's Crispy Apple & Kohlrabi Slaw is delicious. I also love Wisconsin from Scratch's Spicy Thai Kohlrabi Salad. If you are nervous about eating it raw, you can also cook with it. I love it just simmered in some milk and then mashed like potatoes (especially if you throw in some of that green garlic!). You can roast it with other veggies just like you would a turnip. Things I Made Today turned them into gnocchi with kale. I've even seen it grated and turned into fritters! Try a few different methods and figure out which way you like kohlrabi best!

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VEGGIE ID: garlic scapes ↓

An edible shoot that hard-neck garlic puts out in the spring. It is the plant trying to flower and reproduce and we have to cut this shoot off before it flowers so that the garlic puts energy into its bulb. Luckily, this shoot is edible and delicate and everything good about garlic in one little crunchy green ribbon. Munch on them raw, mince and put on your asparagus pizza (below), or use in salad dressing. The sky is the limit. If you love garlic, you will love these beauties. 

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 8-9 of these items in your box next week

Lettuce

Lettuce Mix

Cabbage

Collards

Chard

Kohlrabi

Broccoli

Snow Peas

Snap Peas

Radishes

Zucchini

Summer Squash

Fennel

Scallions

Parsley

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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. 

White Vegetable Lasagna
This is a little extra work but so worth it! All veggie quantities are approximate and can be increased.

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 or 2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced thin

1 head broccoli, chopped approximately (2-3 cups)

8 ounces carton of fresh mushrooms, sliced

3 or 4 sliced scallions , white and light green portions only, sliced

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Black pepper

2 – 3 cups julienned kale leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

16 ounce container of cottage cheese (lowfat is fine)

2 eggs

~ 12 lasagna noodles

1/4 cup flour

2-1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

8 ounces sliced or shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese of choice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saute first 4 veggies until tender, season with garlic salt and couple grinds of pepper. Stir in oregano and kale. Stir until wilted, remove from heat, set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together cottage cheese and eggs, set aside.
  4. Once water is boiling, cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain, set aside.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter, stir in flour and cook slightly. Whisk in milk until mixture is smooth and cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in salt and parmesan cheese.
  6. Assemble lasagna: In greased 9 X 13 baking dish, layer 1/3 of noodles, 1/3 cottage cheese mixture, 1/3 veg. mixture and 1/3 shredded or sliced cheese. Top with 1/3 of sauce. Repeat 2 more times. For final layer, put cheese last after sauce. 
  7. Bake 40 – 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

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.

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Broccoli & Kohlrabi Salad // Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Garlic Scapes, Scallions // I've always been a huge fan of broccoli salad (especially when the broccoli is cut into very small, tender pieces as it is here). I love the combination of sweet dried fruits, crunchy roasted nuts, sharp raw scallions, and a creamy, tangy dressing all over a pile of fresh broccoli. This recipe is even better because of the small cubes of delicate kohlrabi. I eat bowl after bowl of this stuff for as long as the broccoli is in season and you really should too!

Vegetarian, Vegan

 photo by:  Martha Stewart

photo by:  Martha Stewart

Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing // Kale, sub Radishes for carrots, sub Scallions for peppers // I had this salad at a women in agriculture potluck nearly a decade ago and have never looked back. It is without a doubt my go to kale recipe. Although it technically calls for peppers and carrots, I'm always making substitutions. With this box, I put radishes and scallions along with the kale instead. Oh, and I often double the peanut dressing because it's so good I want a stash in my fridge.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

 photo by: Olla Podrida

photo by: Olla Podrida

Roasted Radish with Green Goddess Dressing // Radish, Scallion, sub Garlic Scape for garlic, Parsley // My love of green goddess dressing (that is super bright, herbaceous and simple) and my love of roasted radishes (that are mellowed, sweet and tender) comes together in one lovely recipe. And although it is a simple snack it uses up lots of the veggies in your box! 

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

BLK Sandwich // Lettuce, Kohlrabi, Parsley, sub Garlic Scapes for Garlic, skip the Basil // Substituting kohlrabi for tomatoes seems a bit strange, I know, but trust me that this sandwich made entirely of vegetables, bread and bacon is simple spring perfection. Andrea Bemis of Dishing up the Dirt, the woman who created this recipe, also happens to be a master of great vegan substitutions like cashew mayo. But for this recipe, which has bacon (and is therefore absolutely not vegan) I sub mayo for the cashews for a quicker sandwich spread.

 photo by: Naturally Ella

photo by: Naturally Ella

Avocado Romaine Wedge Salad with Pickled Radish // Romaine, Scallions, Radishes from last week if you've got them (substitute sliced scallions in the same pickling liquid if you don't), add your Basil to the dressing if you don't have another use //  The tiny heads of romaine in your box this week are a variety well-known for their crisp tender leaves and almost butter-head quality. They should be celebrated with very simple ingredients that allow the lettuce to take center stage. That's one of the reasons I love this salad. Avocado, scallions, sunflower seeds, pickled radish and a super simple dressing all enhance the lettuce without taking anything away from it. 

Vegetarian, Vegan (with cashew cream), Gluten-Free

 photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Simple Radish & Herb Salad // Radish, Parsley // Sliced radishes, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and sunflower seeds: it couldn't get much simpler. Serve this on the side of quick grilled steak or other show stopping meat and you'll have one heck of a quick meal!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Charred Corn Tacos with Zucchini & Radish Slaw // Zucchini, Radish, sub Scallion for onions, sub Garlic Scape for the garlic, sub Parsley for Epazote // I know there isn't a lot of sweet corn lying around right now (in fact, it's still months away) but I happen to always have some in my freezer and know that decent sweet corn is available in the freezer section of your grocery store year-round so pair sweet corn with a ton of scallions and zucchini & radish slaw before topping with cojita (or feta) cheese, parsley, avocado and lime. 

Vegetarian, Vegan

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Roasted & Charred Broccoli with Peanuts // Broccoli, Scallions, could add Garlic Scapes // I don't know what it is about broccoli salads but I just can't get enough. They are hearty enough to be a meal on their own but light and bright enough to feel refreshing and light. This giant bowl of roasted broccoli with scallions and peanuts winds up in my lunch more often than not this time of year. I never have nutritional yeast in the house and always skip it (sometimes substituting Parmesan) so don't let that ingredient slow you down!

Vegetarian, Vegan

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

A Kale Salad for Anyone who Thinks Kale Salads are Meh // Kale // I swear Bon Appetit named this recipe and not me, but still, are you all getting the hint that I want you to eat some salad this week? I too was not always a salad person. I understand how they can feel blah or uninspiring but I swear if you cut up an apple, add some cheese, some nuts and some lemon you will be impressed by the flavor of local greens. You too will fall in love with salad. I have enhanced this one with some quinoa in the past to make a full meal out of it or served it with pulled pork sandwiches. Both meals were perfect and light and just what I love about June flavors and the joy that comes from having fresh greens again. I also happen to love this salad in fall with roasted squash so expect to see it again.

Vegetarian, Vegan (if you skip the cheeses), Gluten-Free