CSA Newsletter: Week 5

IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Snap 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 and/or Summer Squash // These are the first zucchinis of the year which means they are imperfect. Imperfect produce always needs to be used quickly so store these beauties in your fridge and use within a couple days. They will get soft after that.

Cucumbers // Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Try to use within one week.

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.

Lacinato or 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. Also freezes well for soups.

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.

Beets // Beet roots 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.

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.

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.

Chives (Large 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.

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Hello dear members and welcome back to reality after what was hopefully a long and relaxing holiday weekend for you all!

Your farmers had a wonderful long weekend spending just enough time in the fields weeding, keeping those peas, zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers harvested, continuing to string up tomatoes, and seeding the first of the fall root crops while still saving some time for fun. We spent an evening canoeing before heading to our local fireworks show, an evening with family shooting off fireworks, and an afternoon with our amazing CSA members, friends and family at our annual summer CSA bash! It was a beautiful balance of work, play and rest.

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The CSA bash was an absolute joy and one of the real highlights of our weekend. Every year these parties get a little bit better and this bash was certainly no exception. The spread of food was sprawling, barely fitting on our three tables. The Cucumber Kolsch CSA member Duane brewed up for us was absolutely heavenly. The weather could not have been more cooperative with lovely temperatures, a gentle breeze, and what felt like no humidity. With no blazing sun, our farm tour was able to be lingering and we had so much fun sharing every inch of our fields with you from the hemp to the snap peas to the onion field we’re so proud of.

And perhaps my favorite part of the whole night was the Beeswax Wrap station that core group members Lindsey and Jessica lead throughout the party. Inspired by our Climate Change Challenge, these ladies took the lead on creating an activity that would help our members create less waste and use less plastic. This moment of true community, of members working together to educate and teach each other something new without any effort from us, was beautiful. We have always dreamed of our CSA becoming a community like this; of becoming a community that can sustain itself in the winter months or even after we stop farming one day.

Because in the end, this CSA really has nothing to do with us. It is all about you and your family and a box of food that inspires your week, your summer and maybe even your life. It’s about a box of food that helps you become healthier, sit down to eat dinner with loved ones more, and find joy in the bounty of Wisconsin summers. It’s about a box of food that hopefully brings connection, community and a better life. We may be the party hosts and we may be the people who grow your food, but you all are just as much a piece of this whole movement as we are.

So, thanks for showing up—even if you couldn’t literally show up at this particular party. We know you are showing up every day in different ways. Thanks for leading. Thanks for dreaming. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for being part of this community. We’re so happy to have you.

-L&K

P.S. It’s never too early to save the date for our Fall Harvest Party!!! We’ll be making apple cider, decorating caramel apples, having a chili cook-off and just celebrating the success of another year on Saturday, September 28th from 11-3 p.m.

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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 9-10 of these items in your box next week

Broccoli

Fennel

Cucumbers

Zucchini

Red Cabbage

Summer Squash

Rainbow Chard

Collards

Snap Peas

Bell Pepper

Lettuce Mix or Lettuce

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. 

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: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Green Goddess Cobb Salad // Uses Lettuce, Fennel as well as Scallions and Chives in the dressing (though I think it’s a-okay if you use bottled Green Goddess dressing and just add raw Scallions and Chives to the salad instead of the Red Onion), skip the Pea Shoots if you don’t have any // Summer entree salads are exactly why we keep giving you lettuce week after week after week. There is never a summer night I don’t want to be eating something exactly like this. Also, feel free to substitute bacon or prosciutto for guanciale since that can be seriously hard to find.

Gluten-Free

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Grilled Sugar Snap Peas with Spicy Peanut Sauce // Uses Snap Peas // I know most folks will just eat their snap peas straight out of the bag, but in case you didn't get enough grilling in this past week, I want to open your mind to the wonderful world of grilled snap peas. They are one of the most amazing summer treats I've ever experienced. The spicy peanut sauce is also out of this world.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Garden Greens Goddess Pizza // Uses Zucchini, Kale, skip the Arugula/Watercress (unless you still happen to have some lying around), maybe add some Scallions or Chives // I love a good veggie pizza and this one is going to be on rotation this summer for two veggies that can overwhelm me quickly (abundant zucchini and abundant greens).

P.S. Let zucchini ribbons be your new favorite method for using the summer treat!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free (with the right crust)

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Beet, Pea & Avocado Salad // Uses Beets, Snap Peas, feel free to sub Scallions for the onions and add some Chives, skip the herbs if you don't have any on hand // Crunchy, sweet, creamy, tangy: this recipe inspired by the chef Ottolenghi is an absolute explosion of flavors and textures. It's simple and well worth using up your limited number of snap peas.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

photo by: Dishing Out Health

photo by: Dishing Out Health

Cucumber Sesame Salad with Garlicky Chile Oil // Uses Cucumbers, feel free to add a thinly sliced Scallion or two, skip the mint, throw in some Chives if you got them this week // I make a variation on this salad all summer long. I slice my cucumbers super thin (thinner than pictured here) or even slice them into ribbons on a mandoline and toss them with some scallions, whatever herbs I have on hand, a handful of sesame seeds, and some garlicky chile oil for a quick snack. Eat this dish with or without the yogurt alongside any grilled meats for a super fast weeknight dinner.

Vegetarian, Vegan (without the yogurt), Gluten-Free

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Simple Ribboned Zucchini Salad // Uses Zucchini, Summer Squash

This is one of my go to recipes when I have a few extra zucchinis or summer squash in my fridge and I'm in need of a super quick side dish. After trimming the ends off of 2-3 zucchini or summer squash, I use a mandolin to cut my zucchini and summer squash lengthwise into very thin slices. If they are too long, sometimes I will cut them in half. I throw them in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons champagne (or rice wine vinegar) and a hefty amount of salt and pepper. I toss it, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then top with 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts or almonds as well as a good amount of shaved parmesan and red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust any of the seasonings as much as you like.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Grilled Steak Salad with Beets & Scallions // Uses Beets, Scallions, sprinkle Chives all over the top if you received them (or stir them into the aioli), if you don’t have spicy greens on hand, throw some Lettuce or Kale on the side and serve the grilled veg with those greens // Grilled veg, grilled meat, abundant greens, mustardy aioli. The summer dinner dreams are made of.

Gluten-Free

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Apple, Fennel & Kohlrabi Salad // Uses 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: Brooklyn Supper

photo by: Brooklyn Supper

Fennel, Radish & Kale Salad // Uses Fennel, Snap Peas, Kale, skip the Radish, Parsley and Mint if you don’t have any, feel free to add Scallions and/or Chives // The best CSA meals are simple. They are salads packed full of a handful of things that are all in season at the same time.

Vegetarian, Vegan (without the cheese), Gluten-Free

photo by: Dishing up the DIrt

photo by: Dishing up the DIrt

Kohlrabi & Beet Salad with Yogurt & Dill // Uses Kohlrabi, Beets, sub Chives for other herbs // Crunchy, earthy, bright, this is the salad you want on the side of every summer meal.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free