CSA Newsletter: Week 10

IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Cantaloupe (Small Shares Only) // 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.

Sweet Corn // Keep corn unhusked in the fridge until ready to use. Use as soon as possible. If you don’t think you’ll use it right away store it on ice.

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.

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

Shishitos or Poblanos // 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.

Carrots // Refrigerate carrots in a plastic bag. They will easily keep for 2-4 weeks this way. If your carrots had tops, remove them prior to storage and store the tops separately in a separate bag. They should last 2-3 days.

Garlic // Store in a cool drafty place, preferably out of direct sunlight. Use within a couple weeks. They will store for several months but the quality will begin to suffer the longer you wait to use them.

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This time of year just always seems to sneak up on us in the most wonderful way. We are so laser focused on getting all the fall crops into the ground, harvesting the first of the tomatoes, preparing for Soil Sisters, figuring out how to get away for Kyle’s birthday (more on this later!), and just generally trying to survive the mania that is July on a vegetable farm, that all of a sudden we look up, realize the CSA is half over, and discover that we’ve made it to the most beautifully abundant time of the year.

From now on, the fields will only get less full. And though there are parts of that that feel bittersweet, it’s mostly the exhale we’ve been waiting for since early May. The scales have tipped. There is still plenty to harvest and the pace certainly isn’t slow, but it stops feeling so much like a race—like we can’t sleep a full 8 hours or take a full weekend off because we may never catch up.

The biggest focus of our weeks now, aside from getting a succession of lettuce, scallions, and fennel transplanted every couple of weeks, is keeping up with the zucchini and tomatoes (which really demand constant attention through at least the end of August) and hauling in all the storage crops.

We began with the garlic in mid-July. The crew got most of it dug on one lovely Wednesday afternoon after we packed your CSA boxes. We covered our greenhouse with shade cloth and transitioned the space into a curing house for our alliums. This is the same garlic you are receiving in your box this week. You will likely only receive it once since we love to hold onto the smallest garlic for next year’s green garlic and keep saving more and more of the biggest garlic for seed garlic (the less we give this year means the more we can plant for next year). We’ve only been growing our own seed garlic for three years so we are still working on increasing our little patch exponentially.

Next up on the storage crop harvest list was the shallots. We harvested all of these at the end of our Tuesday CSA harvest last week and brought them into the greenhouse for curing on Wednesday. If all goes to plan you will receive these next week! Over the weekend, our crew member Rebecca took care of the farm while Kyle and I headed to a cabin on Lake Waubesa to celebrate his birthday with his family. Rebecca not only kept the greenhouse water and zucchini harvested, she also hauled in 300 feet of yellow onions! This is what you see below.

We’ll keep chipping away at the remaining five beds of onions, harvesting them and dragging them into the greenhouse whenever we have a spare moment. Once they’ve dried a bit in there, we will begin to clip the tops and move them into crates and then bags. Hauling in the onions and getting them stored away will likely take the rest of August and then, before you know it, we’ll begin to bring in the potatoes and winter squash!

Late summer into early fall continues like this. We harvest what’s ready in the field while also focusing on getting storage crops curing. It’s some of the most fun we’ll have on the farm—some of the onion times you get to clear a whole crop at one time and take it to the scale. It feels amazing to write things like 283 pounds of shallots of 1000 pounds of Walla Walla onions in the harvest log. It’s our chance to really see what our fields are capable of, to understand the gravity and weight of all our little four acres produces. We’re giddy to be here in the middle of late summer, and we hope you’re savoring just as much of these August days as we are.

-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 11-12 of these items in your box next week

Sweet Corn

Cucumber

Zucchini

Summer Squash

Eggplant

Cherry Tomatoes

Slicer Tomatoes

Colored Bell Peppers or Italian Fryers

Curly Kale

Celery

Carrots

Daikon

Shallots

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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. 

Ratatouille Pasta 

1 pound ground meat; hamburger, pork, turkey, whatever! 

1 or 2 mild peppers, diced 

3 shallots or 1 large onion, minced 

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced 

2 teaspoons Italian seasonings 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

2 – 3 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled (dip in boiling water for 30 seconds) and diced

1 medium eggplant, cubed in ½” cubes

1 zucchini or summer squash, cubed 

4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed 

8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked 

Shredded parmesan, optional 

  1. Cook ground meat in a large skillet. Drain fat. Add pepper, shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Saute 5-10 minutes. Add seasonings, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini.  Simmer for another 10 minutes. Add cream cheese, stir until melted.

  2. Stir in cooked, al dente pasta. Top with shredded parmesan just before serving.

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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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Mason Jar Caprese // Uses Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Chives // Meet one of my absolute favorite summer lunches (especially when I’m about to run out the door on my bike and realize there is nothing in the fridge for me to take to work). This recipe came to being because of that exact reason. This is the world’s most portable caprese and making it in the morning when you plan to eat it for lunch will really give all the flavors time to meld and come together.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Better Than Takeout Drunk Noodles // Uses Garlic, Carrots, Zucchini, sub an Onion from the last couple weeks for the Shallots and Green Onion, sub Poblano or a couple Shishitos for the Fresno pepper, sub Green Pepper for red one // I’m not sure if you’ve ever had Thai drunken noodles before but it is one of my absolute guilty pleasure dishes from pretty much any Asian restaurant. Some are great. Some are not that good. And I’m so excited for this amazing version from one of my favorite recipe developers so I can have this comforting dish whenever I want!

Gluten-Free

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Hummus Heaped with Tomatoes & Cucumbers // Uses Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, feel free to add some diced Green Pepper or Poblano // Now that we’ve made it to tomato season, simple dinners are key. Smitten makes her own hummus here but you absolutely would not have too. One of our favorite meals is taking a pita and dragging it through hummus and a few veggie salads. This puts that all together into one giant bowl of snacky dinner goodness. I am currently also obsessed with the roasted eggplant from this recipe and highly recommend you add some of that to your platter.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free (with the right pita)

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Smoky Eggplant Dip // Uses Eggplant, Garlic // For me, a good loaf of bread is essential for August eating. I LOVE how easy the eating is this time of year (you’ll see my favorite tomato toast recipe below!). Grill up some veg and eat it with a side of crusty bread or in this case, roast some veg and process it into a spread for your bread and eat it alongside a cucumber and tomato salad. Voila. Dinner time!

Vegetarian, Vegan

photo by: Bon Appeit

photo by: Bon Appeit

Grilled Corn & Poblano Chile Salad // Uses Sweet Corn, Poblanos (or substitute a few Shishitos or a Bell Pepper), feel free to skip the Scallions and throw in a whole bunch of garlic instead // Not much better than a grilled corn salad ESPECIALLY when paired with the incredible poblanos in some of your boxes this week!

Vegetarian, Vegan

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Roasted Carrots with Avocado & Yogurt // Uses Carrots, Garlic // The carrots we gave you this week are PERFECT. No need to peel them or really do anything to them at all, but if you must, I love this simple sheet-pan dish. It’s a late summer favorite paired with some steak or grilled chicken.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Spicy Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Involtini // Uses Zucchini or Summer Squash, sub Green Bell Pepper for red pepper, sub 2-3 cups roughly chopped Tomatoes for tomato sauce // This recipe is a little putsy but damn is it delicious. I love it with fresh tomatoes instead of sauce and some store-bought (or frozen) pesto to keep things a little easier.

Gluten-Free

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Tomato Toast // Uses Tomatoes, Garlic // If you haven’t started or ended your day with a giant piece of tomato toast, you have not yet experienced the beauty of summer eating at its simplest. I love this crunchy yet fresh topping of sesame seeds and chives, but you could really play around with what exactly you sprinkle on top (maybe some fried garlic?). You can also make it vegan by using avocado instead of the mayo (still mix it with the garlic and lemon).

Vegetarian

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Zucchini Quesadillas // Uses Zucchini or Summer Squash, Jalapeno, feel free to add some diced Green Pepper or Onion to the saute // Dealing with too much of a particular veg? The answer almost always is quesadillas!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Wine Braised Eggplant & Tomato Pasta // Uses Eggplant, Cherry Tomatoes, sub Chives for Parsley, add some Thyme if you have it // This dish would be amazing even without the wine braising, but that really takes things to the next level.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free (with the right pasta)

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Takeout Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber // Uses Cucumber, Garlic, add in Green Bell Pepper, Poblano and/or a couple Shishitos (I usually finely dice about a cup of peppers to sprinkle on top) // Okay okay, two takeout-style noodle recipes in one newsletter. Clearly I am having a craving. But I just had to share this recipe before the cucumbers are finished!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free (with tamari instead of soy sauce)