CSA Newsletter: Week 4

55EAFC49-EE5B-4BD3-A084-4780AE706C97.JPG

IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Snap Peas & 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.

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.

Lettuce Mix // Store loosely in a plastic bag until ready to use. Should last up to a week.

Butterhead or Romaine 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.

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.

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.

Beets // Trim the leaves off the beets. Store the leaves in a plastic bag if you plan to use them (the leaves should last 2-3 days). Once leaves are removed from the beet roots, the 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.

75BAB6A4-5BF8-4456-AADF-BCB107594923.jpg

Hello dear members!

And welcome to week 4 of the CSA season!! In case you haven’t noticed, this green bounty of early summer is definitely going to continue here at Raleigh’s Hillside Farm.

With days above 80 degrees and (what feels like) non-stop rain, the fields are really beginning to burst with flavor and abundance. Though the zucchini and cucumbers have just begun, within a week of our first harvest we were able to haul in a couple hundred pounds. These crops are absolutely loving the humidity and moisture. Lettuce heads continue to grow more and more massive. Kale, chard, and collards are begging to be picked every week. Kohlrabi and beets are also massive and full. Parsley beds are overflowing. It’s absolutely crazy out here.

And above everything else, it appears to be the best season for snap peas we have ever encountered in our seven years of farming. Because it stayed so cool and wet for so long, the peas grew comfortably in their perfect climate. Since we dialed in our pea trellising system four years ago, every May and June have been pretty hot causing the peas to stress and put out lackluster fruits. This year they flowered like mad while in a perfectly low stress environment and now that the heat has come, it’s encouraging the peas to fruit and size up more quickly. This week and next should be massively abundant with high quality snap peas. We could not be more excited.

And how is the rainfall affecting other things? Mostly the rain feels annoying. It means the heavy weeding season will definitely last until mid-July (at the earliest) and it’s making planting near impossible. Luckily, we have a two-week gap in any urgent seeding or transplanting so though frustrating, the rain isn’t actually putting us behind schedule. We’re keeping up with the weeds just well enough to keep things growing, but it has been a pretty overwhelming task at times. With no tractor cultivation, keeping things well-weeded is a very physical task.

As for the crops, a couple things seem unhappy with the excessive rain—mainly the peppers, beans and watermelon—but generally things are doing really well. The worst damage we’ve seen is to the basil. This crop is prone to a disease called downy mildew and with increased rain and humidity, every year this disease seems to come a bit earlier and earlier. This year, the plants seem to be affected already even though they’re less than a month old. We will likely remove the plants, re-till that bed and plant something new.

All in all, the rain really just means we can spend the week focused on finishing one of the season’s biggest projects: trellising the tomatoes! Over the last couple weeks, we have been laying landscape fabric in between the tomato rows and mulching them to keep the weeds down. The most recently planted five beds of plum tomatoes still need landscape fabric and mulch and then everything (all 22 rows!) will need to be trellised. This means pounding 25 posts into the ground for each row and then weaving them together with tomato twine to help the tomatoes grow upright instead of sprawling everywhere. It’s a huge project we have to set up and take down every year, and with 22 rows of tomatoes, it feels more daunting than ever but we’ve already got two rows done and will start doing more just as soon as the CSA boxes are packed and out on delivery.

Now that the harvests are so full, it’s becoming harder and harder to balance field week with all the harvesting but we’re overjoyed with the bounty we have for you all and we can’t wait to share our overflowing (and maybe a little weedy) fields with you all this Saturday!

-L&K

IMG_8871.jpg

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!

6EB54E82-3DF4-4214-BDA3-913BF7EDAB20.JPG

IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 11-12 of these items in your box next week

Lettuce or Lettuce Mix

Red Cabbage

Broccoli

Kohlrabi

Beets

Fennel

Scallions

Kale

Snap Peas

Snow Peas

Zucchini

Cucumber

Parsley

Chives

IMG_8880.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. 

2 Variations on “Caprese”

#1 Grilled Zucchini & Pepper “Caprese”

Fresh Mozzarella, sliced as thin as the zucchini

Zucchini, sliced diagonally, lightly grilled

Roasted red peppers (larger pieces), from a jar

Lay slices of mozzarella, zucchini and lg. pieces of peppers on a serving platter, overlapping about 2/3rds, alternating items to make a row. When row is complete, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Chill until serving.

#2 Roasted Beets & Honey “Caprese” 

Fresh Mozzarella, sliced as thin as the beets

Beets, roasted (see instructions below)

Honey

Walnuts, chopped and toasted

Microgreens if desired

First, prepare the beets. Cut greens off, leaving about an inch. Wash beets, wrap loosely in foil. Smaller beets can be roasted together. Roast beets until tender, about 50min.@ 400⁰, longer at lower temps. When beets have cooled somewhat, rub w/ paper towel to remove skins. Allow to cool completely, slice thinly.

To make the “Caprese”: On a long serving platter, lay slices of mozzarella and sliced beets, overlapping about 2/3rds, alternating items to make a row. Drizzle honey overall, sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Sprinkle microgreens over if using. Chill until serving. You may need to use a paper towel on either side of row to keep the beet juices from running on the platter. Remove paper towel before serving. 

036B2496-52A5-437B-9BBE-FA2E567966FF.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.

photo by: Dishing Up The Dirt

photo by: Dishing Up The Dirt

Grilled Sugar Snap Peas with Spicy Peanut Sauce // Snap OR Snow 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 // Zucchini, Kale, skip the Arugula/Watercress (unless you still happen to have some lying around) // 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 shaved zucchini be your new favorite method for using the summer treat!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free (with the right crust)

Spring Recipes-hr-by-Crystal-K-Creative-253.jpg

Beet, Pea & Avocado Salad // Beets, Snap Peas, 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: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Iceberg Wedges with Grilled Bacon & Croutons // Uses Mirlo Lettuce // The Bibb/Butterhead lettuce most of you received this week is the closest thing to an Iceberg we grow on our farm and I think it makes an absolutely beautiful wedge salad. This salad is super simple and just feels like what we all should be eating before we head out to watch fireworks.

CSA3- Noodle Lettuce Wraps with Pork Meatballs & Crunchy Garlic Chile OIl.jpg

Noodle Lettuce Wraps with Pork Meatballs & Crunchy Garlic Chile Oil // Uses Kohlrabi, Lettuce, and leftover Garlic Scapes & Scallions if you’ve got ‘em //  There is just something I love about a cold noodle salad with warm pork meatballs. This dish is so yummy. My favorite part might just be the garlic scape chile oil— so whatever you do, don’t leave that out!

Gluten-Free (depending on the noodle)

Photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Winter Beet and Pomegranate Salad with Maple Candied Pecans + Balsamic Citrus Dressing // Uses Lettuce, Beets // I made this salad for Christmas this past year and it blew everyone’s mind. The amount of flavor packed into one salad is truly incredible and I’ve been waiting to give you beets just so I can share it with you all! Even though this recipe is titled as a winter salad, the only thing that really keeps it in the winter category is the pomegrante which you can absolutely leave off. Feel free to substitute strawberries or cherries if you still want a fruit on there.

Vegetarian, Gluten Free

img_8672-21.jpg

Summer Vegetarian Cobbler // uses Zucchini or Summer Squash, substitute Kale for Collards // Top this summer mix of veggies with fresh homemade biscuits or premade biscuits from the fridge section of your grocery store. Either way, you’re going to love them!

Vegetarian

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Raw Beet & Cucumber Salad // Beets, Cucumber, use whatever herbs you have lying around or toss in your Lettuce Mix instead, sub red pepper flakes if you don't have any chiles //  I love this recipe. I love the rawness of the beets paired with crisp, sweet cucumbers and the abundance of fresh herbs. The recipe calls for English and Persian cucumbers but regular old cucumbers work just as well. I like to peel strips of skin away (as the recipe suggests), halve the cucumbers, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then thinly slice. I do, however, find this recipe to have way too many poppy seeds though so feel free to reduce the quantity or leave them off altogether.

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

photo by: Yay! For Food

photo by: Yay! For Food

Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls with Garlicky Kale // Kale // Brown rice + beautiful wilted greens + a protein makes for a delicious, healthy dinner packed full of flavor when paired with this teriyaki sauce (and plenty of garlic!!).

Gluten-Free (with soy sauce substitute)

Photo by: Dishing Up the Dirt

Photo by: Dishing Up the Dirt

Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic & Herb Cashew Cream // Kohlrabi, any leftover Garlic Scapes you still have in your fridge // Fritters are one of our absolute favorite ways to transform vegetables we may be sick of, or at the very least, are out of ideas for how to eat them. I love these fritters so much, but typically don’t make the sauce. It’s absolutely delightful, but we usually opt for a quick yogurt sauce with any leftover goodies we have on hand instead (scallions, garlic scapes, random herbs).

Vegetarian, Vegan (with an egg substitute)