CSA Newsletter: Week 8

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Watermelon // Store in the fridge. Once cut open, store leftover melon in the fridge wrapped with plastic wrap. The flesh will dry out if left exposed. Use them quickly.

Cherry Tomatoes // 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.

Slicer or Heirloom Tomatoes // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms much more quickly, immediately if you can.

Eggplant // Eggplant is very perishable. Use quickly or at least within the week. Many people recommend not storing in the fridge because it will get soggy quickly, but we generally do and just use it within a couple days. You can cube it and freeze it for soups or curries if you know you won’t get to it right away.

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

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.

Zucchini or Summer Squash // 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.

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

Green Italian Frying Peppers // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Shishitos or Banana Peppers // 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.

Fresh Walla Walla Onions // 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 about a week.

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Last week I told you we were going to switch our focus to fall and boy did we ever! Once the CSA boxes were packed Wednesday morning, we pivoted straight into fall planting. Kyle sent the crew out to the fields to bring in all of our garlic and while they harvested, he began to prep the fields for planting. He began in the herb field while I weeded the rutabaga. Once the first bit of tillage was done, I got straight to work planting the next successions of fennel, parsley and scallions.

The planting list for last week was ambitious but we got through it all. In addition to the herb additions, Zoe got three beds of broccoli, two beds of Napa Cabbage, and a bed of regular cabbage all planted alongside the cauliflower in the fall brassica field. We seeded more beans along with five beds of carrots, four beds of beets, three beds of watermelon radish and another one of daikon radish.

Planting in the midst of such a couple of dry weeks always proves difficult (though it makes the ground much easier to work than it did this spring when it was constantly sopping wet!). Well-established crops can survive without water for a week or two, but newly transplanted seedlings have much greater irrigation needs. We had to set up drip irrigation as soon as we plant to make sure that the seedlings get enough water. It doesn’t make much sense for us to lay drip irrigation in the root fields so Kyle had to set up wobbler sprinklers everywhere he seeded roots to get those wet and germinating.

In general, irrigation was a pretty major priority this past weekend. In addition to the irrigation needs of our newly planted and seeded crops, it had been a couple weeks since we’d received any substantial rain and you could tell it would soon begin to effect production. Though crops can certainly stay strong through two weeks without water, their production slows down considerably.

We set up irrigation in three new fields on Saturday so that the peppers, squash, cucumbers, and watermelon could all keep putting out fruit quickly. We made some major upgrades to our irrigation system this past year and Kyle was practically giddy when he discovered that he could irrigate four fields at one time. And on Monday morning it rained, an easeful gentle rain that meant Kyle didn’t need to set up the last few fields of irrigation or spend time Monday moving sprinklers around.

The focus of the week ahead will be continuing to get some storage crops into the ground. We have several more beds of cabbage to plant, a few more roots to seed, and a lot of things to row cover so that they will grow quickly through August and September.

It feels like perhaps last week was the peak of our summer crazy of setting up systems and getting things into the ground. And just in time I’d say. The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen!

-L&K

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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!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

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

Watermelon or Muskmelon

Sweet Corn

Curly Kale

Cucumber

Zucchini

Summer Squash

Eggplant

Cherry Tomatoes

Slicer Tomatoes

Bell Peppers or Italian Fryers

Jalapenos

Carrots

Daikon

Fresh Onions

Garlic

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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. 

Impossible Ham or Bacon & Veggie Pie

½ pound bacon, diced or ham, diced

3 leaves kale, striped off stem, chopped into small pieces

1 pepper, chopped

1 onion, diced

Other veggies as desired: tomatoes, seeded and diced; zucchini, cut into sm. cubes; mushrooms, sliced etc.

Seasonings

1 cup milk

¾ cup biscuit mix (Bisquick)

3 eggs

Salt, pepper

1 cup shredded cheese of choice

  1. Grease 9 or 10” pie pan. Preheat oven to 375⁰.  If using bacon, place in medium skillet, begin to cook over medium heat. Add veggies (except tomatoes), saute’ until tender. If using ham, add to skillet at same time as veggies. Drain if necessary. Season as desired – salt, garlic, pepper, basil, thyme, etc.

  2. Place milk, biscuit mix, eggs and a little salt and pepper in blender. Blend until smooth.

  3. Place all sautee’d ingredients in pie plate. Top with tomatoes if using. Sprinkle grated cheese over top. Pour egg mixture over. Thump to level.

  4. Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.

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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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Creamy Cucumbers // Uses Cucumbers & Fresh Onions // This is a Midwest staple found at many a potluck and for some reason for me, it NEVER gets old. This is what I'm snacking on the full first month of cucumber season and even then I don't seem to tire of it.

To make, slice 2-3 cucumbers into 1/8-inch slices (ideally using a mandolin for ease) and toss into a large bowl with 1-2 halved and sliced fresh onions. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Pour dressing over cucumbers and onions. Cover and set in the fridge. Let sit for an hour or two before diving in. Over a 72 hour period, this salad will only get better so don't feel you need to rush eating it.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Easy Eggplant Parmesan Bake // Eggplant (and/or Zucchini or Summer Squash), Sub Kale for Chard, skip the Mint, feel free to add in sliced Tomatoes to the layers // You are really only receiving enough eggplant for a half batch batch of this yummy meal but guess what? Zucchini, summer squash and eggplant are really not that different at all. Use whatever you want to use up for this yummy dairy packed dish.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Garlicky Runner Beans with Fennel // Uses Beans, sub Onion for fennel if you are out // This dish is simple summer perfection. Make it on the grill if you don’t want to heat up your house.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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Tomato & Sweet Corn Pasta Salad // Uses Cherry Tomatoes (or Slicers), Onion, Cucumber, skip the Sweet Corn if you don’t have and/or add some Green Pepper or Banana Pepper // I never thought I was one for pasta salad and then I realized I was doing it all wrong. For this recipe, I doubled the veggies most pasta salads have in them and made a dressing with just as much yogurt as mayonnaise. Suddenly a healthy pasta salad that felt like a meal!

Vegetarian

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Jim Lahey’s 5-Ingredient Summer Squash Pizza // Uses Zucchini or Summer Squash, feel free to add thinly sliced Onion and Bell Pepper // Shredded zucchini mixed with cheese and topped with breadcrumbs. Sounds kinda bland. Tastes AMAZING.

Vegetarian

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Kale Peanut Salad with Peanut Dressing // Uses Kale, skip the carrots and red bell pepper and put in some raw Onion, Cucumber and Green Pepper instead // This recipe is my all time favorite CSA salad recipe and honestly, I need to apologize that it took me this long to share it. Martha Stewart’s version uses kale, carrots and red peppers. My version uses pretty much whatever I have on hand. The dressing is the real gem and the rest can be swapped around.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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Vegan Sloppy Joes // Uses Walla Walla, Green Pepper // Lentil sloppy joe’s that remind me of my childhood AND use up a couple box ingredients. So in love with this fun little recipe :)

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free (with the right buns)

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Shishito Dog or  Shishito Pepper Bison Burger // Uses 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.

photo by: Wife Mama Foodie

photo by: Wife Mama Foodie

Spicy Tomato Kale Linguine // Uses Cherry Tomatoes (or Slicers), Kale, feel free to leave out the basil // Sometimes simple and quick is best— especially when dining on summer staples like kale and cherry tomatoes.

Vegetarian

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Eggplant Salad Toasts // Uses Eggplant, sub Onion for scallion // This recipe is such a favorite. And honestly, it doesn’t even need the toast. Whip up a little bowl of the salad that goes on top and snack on it before dinner.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free (without toasts)

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Zucchini Bread with Chocolate, Cherries & Cardamom // Uses Zucchini // Oh zucchini bread, such a treat once the zucchini has been in our lives for over a month and we’re no longer quite what to do with it. I love this recipe because it’s packed full of not so common zucchini bread ingredients.

Vegetarian