CSA Newsletter: Week 4

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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.

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.

Lovelock 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.

Lettuce Mix (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. Lettuce mix is much more perishable than lettuce so try to use immediately or within a couple days.

Snap & Snow Peas // Peas are very perishable. Keep them in the fridge and eat within 2-3 days for best flavor. Snap peas are best eaten fresh, but snow peas can be used in cooking (and taste delicious) after a few days.

Zucchini // 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.

Fennel // Remove delicate leaves (also known as fronds) before storage if you plan to use. Store the bulbs in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Store the leaves in a moist paper towel in the fridge and use within a week.

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.

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Hello CSA members and welcome to such an exciting box of produce!

We can see the seasons changing right before our eyes. The summer solstice seems to always align with a new phase of abundance and work on the farm. The greens slow (though only slightly until the real heat of summer begins), the onions swell in the field, the broccoli doubles in size overnight, the melons begin to vine, the summer squash and zucchini start to produce at their full capacity (the first couple weeks of production are always slower than I remember with strange, uneven pollination due to both the plants’ young age and the fact that they were under row cover for many weeks of life), and the peas start to grow heavy and full on their trellising vines. The fennel, kohlrabi and cabbage bursts from a balance of rain, heat and cool nights. The tomatoes begin to flower. The first tiny sweet peppers appear.  

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The pace hasn’t slowed just yet but we can feel it nearing. If abundant rains hadn’t kept us off track all last week (the farm received nearly 6 inches in four days on our heavy, saturated soils; a vegetable field desires only one inch of rain each week on average), we likely would be ahead of schedule this week, but by my sixth year of farming I’m realizing weather rarely allows for that. The heavy rains made certain tasks slow or impossible so we have one more big week of work ahead of us.

We have a second planting of sweet corn to get in the ground. That’s the only major crop left to transplant that is more than 3 or 4 rows. There are also four beds of late tomatoes, some dill, summer kohlrabi, and the next round of scallions to get in this week, but those are quick tasks and after they’re finished the busy chaotic transplant season of May and June will be completely wrapped up.

We also need to finish trellising our tomatoes, a meandering and at times overwhelming task that involves pounding stakes, weaving the tomato plants upward with string, weeding between the tomatoes, laying fabric between the rows (in some cases) and mulching the heck out of the plants to keep weeds down. With over twenty 100-foot rows of tomatoes this year, it’s no small feat.

But after the last round of transplanting and this trellising work we move to the more balanced schedule of July which focuses only on harvesting, keeping the weeds down, adding a string to the tomato trellis when the plants need, and slowly but diligently getting the fall crops into the ground.

In other words, it’s really the perfect time to have a party: to celebrate all we’ve already achieved (85% of our fields are planted after all!) and relish in the start of our sixth season with you all. We’re excited to spend Saturday with so many of you! Whether you can come for an hour or stay for the evening, we can’t wait to share our fields and growth with you all!

Love,

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: FENNEL ↓

Fennel is one of those vegetables that everyone thinks they don't like just because they don't know how to use it yet. I know because I was one of those people for a very long time. Fennel is a beautiful vegetable used in a lot of Italian cooking.  It's got a white bulb, green stalk and beautiful scented fronds at the top.  You can eat all of these things but most commonly folks eat the bulb or the fronds.

The bulb is pretty comparable to an onion (and can be used as such) but has a slightly anise (black licorice) flavor. I think this is why it gets such a bad wrap. Because people hate black licorice (I do too!). But anise is actually a flavor used in lots of common favorites like Italian sausage and pepperoni. When it's subtle it adds a lot to a dish. I know this is a less of a description of a vegetable and more of me begging you to try a vegetable, but I'm begging you people, try the fennel in one of the recipes below! You might be surprised! Also, here's an awesome article from a chef in Columbus, Ohio asking you to do the same :)

So how do I use it?

Because lots of people are stumped by fennel, there are lots of great tutorials online for how to cut it up. You will cut the bulb away from the stalks in an angle matching the shape of the fennel and then slice off the bottom where the fennel sat on the ground. Place the fennel flat on it's base and slice it in half lengthwise. From there you'll see a little core near the bottom of each half. It will look solid and triangular. Remove that and then get to chopping! This link will teach you how to slice, dice and shave it. I most often shave it because I love how delicate it is when added to any dish, but this is much easier with a mandolin than trying to do by hand. This link will teach you how to store and use every part of the vegetable.

What is the best way to prepare fennel?

Honestly, you can keep it so simple with fennel. You can shave it and throw it on pizza or in pasta. You can roughly chop it and throw it in a stew or braise. You can slice it and grill it (I'm so excited to try this over the weekend!). You can use a similar technique and roast it in the oven. You can shave it and toss it with some apple and lemon juice  for a quick salad. You can throw it in a quiche or a tart. You can really do a ton.

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

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

Lettuce Mix

Red Cabbage

Chard

Broccoli

Snow Peas

Snap Peas

Beets

Cucumber

Zucchini

Summer Squash

Fennel

Scallions

Parsley

Basil

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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. 

Pasta Salad Primavera

You could add diced kohlrabi, roughly chopped collard leaves, sliced radishes or pretty much any other veggies in your box but these are the tried and true veggies I use over and over again year after year.

1-1/2 pounds pasta of choice, I use tri-color rotini

3-4 cups. fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces, blanch for 1-2 minutes, then shock into ice water

1 bunch scallions, sliced, use some of the green

6-8 ounce shredded cheddar

1 small can sliced black olives

1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced

3-4 ounces pepperoni, sliced thin or ½# hard salami, diced

Dressing:

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3  – 1/2 cup vinegar

1 can evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed!)

3 – 4 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning

2 tablespoons garlic salt

½ cup fine shred parmesan cheese (powdery type works best i.e. “Kraft”)

Cook pasta al dente, drain. Rinse under cold water. Blanch broccoli if desired, shock in ice water to stop cooking. Place all salad ingredients in very large bowl. Prepare dressing by whisking or shaking all dressing ingred. together. Pour over veggies and pasta, gently combine. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.

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, 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: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Freeze your greens! // Kale, collards, chard, spinach // These are the optimal steps for freezing abundant CSA greens if you are tight on space. It will tell you to blanch, submerge in an ice bath and squeeze the liquid out of your greens. These are definitely the best steps for storing greens compactly. But know that chopping and freezing raw will also work just fine (though it will take up more space!).

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Vegan

 photo by: Food & Wine

photo by: Food & Wine

Chicken Stir Fry with Collard Greens // Collards, sub Red Scallions for both onion & garlic // Collard greens are incredibly versatile. I love them raw in salads or made into something resembling coleslaw or kraut. But it has the added benefit of being amazing cooked down. It gets almost velvety. I love this simple stir fry that celebrates all the goodness that collards bring to the table.

Gluten-Free (if you sub tamari) 

 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 // Lovelock Lettuce, Scallions, Radishes //  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

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Cabbage & Snow Pea Rice Bowl with Warm Coconut Peanut Sauce // Cabbage, Snow Peas, Radish, Scallion // A bowl of warm rice topped with abundant veggies and a creamy, rich peanut sauce? Is there a better way to get through your CSA box? I think not.

Vegetarian, Vegan (with a substitute for fish sauce used), Gluten Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Charred Corn Tacos with Zucchini & Radish Slaw // Zucchini, Radish, sub Scallion for onions // 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 lovely zucchini & radish slaw before topping with a ton of scallions, cojita (or feta) cheese,  avocado and lime. Skip the herbs if you don't have any on hand.

Vegetarian, Vegan

 photo by: Dishing Up The Dirt

photo by: Dishing Up The Dirt

Buttered Radish & Ricotta Toast // Radish // By now there is a good chance you're tiring of radishes a bit. You've had them raw, had them roasted, had them pickled so what now? I think it's high time you made up some buttered radishes and ate them over ricotta-slathered toast. Leave off the sumac and parsley if you don't have any. Breakfast of champions.

Vegetarian

 photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Apple, Fennel & Kohlrabi Salad // Fennel, Kohlrabi // Fennel and kohlrabi are, in my humble opinion, two of the most misunderstood vegetables we grow. My solution? Throw them together with some fresh apple, funky blue cheese and toasted walnuts for a quick salad that is delectable as it is simple. Raw fennel is hard for folks to get behind but shave it real thin and put it with some strong flavors and I guarantee you'll be happy you did!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Collards & Radish Raita // Collards, Radish (use for the Daikon, Cucumber and Red Radish called for; aka grate some and slice some), skip the Mint if you don't have any // I don't know what it is about salmon but I swear it tastes amazing with every single vegetable we grow in June and July. Roasted broccoli, crunchy snap peas, spicy radish, scallion, collards; they all pair so well with salmon in classically simple ways. For this recipe, I grated some radish and tossed it together with yogurt before pan-roasting the salmon and simmering the collards until tender. Dinner on the table in 30 minutes flat.

Gluten-Free

 photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Broccoli Melts // Broccoli, consider adding some Fennel & Scallions instead of the garlic // Broccoli is always an easy vegetable to cook with but I still like to find fun preparations that go a bit beyond the ordinary. These broccoli melts are simple and silly and as great for a party as they are for a quick dinner. 

Vegetarian, Gluten Free (with the right bread)

 photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

BA's Best Fried Chicken Sandwich // Cabbage // I listed this recipe last because I know most of you probably won't make it. There are plenty of other great things to do with cabbage. However, should you want to take on a fun project this weekend here is what I do with storage cabbage all winter long: I make up some of the world's best fried chicken and then a giant batch of classic coleslaw (I usually just do green cabbage if it's all I have on hand; for this recipe I also usually do a mixture of mayonnaise and Greek yogurt instead of the full cup of mayo).