CSA Newsletter: Week 9

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IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

Watermelon (most Large Shares) // 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 (Large Shares who didn’t receive watermelon received 4 extra ears!) // 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 (Large Shares and most Small Shares) // 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 (Small Shares who did not receive Cherry Tomatoes receive an extra 2 pounds of 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 Italian Frying Peppers // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag.

Jalapeno // 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.

Chives // 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.

Thyme // Lay on a damp paper towel and wrap tightly. For long term storage and drying instructions, see here.

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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Today, we’re going to take a brief break from talking about what’s happening in the fields to talk about the people who got us where we are today because a) you largely already know what’s going on (fall crops are going in, irrigation has continued to be a top priority, tomato bounty has just begun!) and b) we are just coming off of Soil Sisters’ weekend and our hearts are full of gratitude for the community that got us where we are today.

But before I even mention Soil Sisters and all the support and love and growth we’ve gotten from this amazing group of women, I need to spend a little time telling you about our most important farm partners, the silent behind-the-scene heroes of this little farm who are rarely seen by you, but have been absolutely instrumental as we have built this business over the past seven years—my parents!!

I told you all in the first newsletter that we lease land from my parents. Our farm is built on a corner of the homestead where I grew up as a child. When we began this farm venture as only a dream in 2012, my parents immediately supported us and our crazy idea to become organic farmers. They leased us land without asking any questions (about how we would get water, where we would store things, or how it would affect them). They just supported us blindly—as they have always done. But that is just the beginning. I still can’t believe they stood by quietly as we grew our CSA membership from 8 to 200 members, using their back patio as our wash area and their garage to pack CSA boxes. Luckily for both of us, those days of washing and packing in their space are finally over with the use of our new pack shed.

Over the years, my parents have taken on varied roles in our small business outside of just offering up their land and other spaces. From loaning us their rototiller in year one to helping with tillage and mowing in the early years when our own equipment was not big enough to manage our land quickly or efficiently, my parents have always been a big part of this business. My mom is always around to talk out business strategies and act as my therapist. As a farm dreamer who also built a business with her life partner, she reminds me to be patient, kind, and focused on solutions instead of problems. She also has this beautiful habit of coming to our rescue when regular life tasks feel like too much burden to balance with farming. She buys us groceries when we can’t make it to the store and makes us dinner when we’re too exhausted to feed ourselves.

In addition to all that, my parents have generously offered to act as our bank as we scale this little business into something bigger. In early 2018, when we decided it was time to invest in ourselves, we reached out to my parents for a loan to purchase our pack shed, our tractor and some other equipment, and they immediately moved money around to help us move this dream forward. It’s truly amazing all they have done for us.

Which all brings me back to the Soil Sisters: a collective tour de force started in 2010 by a group of powerhouse female farmers and entrepreneurs in Green County. Formally, Soil Sisters is a weekend-long events that celebrate Wisconsin women in agriculture and rural life in our region (this took place last weekend), but informally, the Soil Sisters are a network of dynamic female farm leaders who are there to catch you when you fall, lend you a hand or some land, and exist as a resource for one another as we all work to better this food system. Just like my parents, the Soil Sisters have been a supportive force for us—a greenhouse space for our baby plants before we put in a greenhouse of our own, a friend to call to bounce ideas off of, a partner farmer to swap produce with, a restaurant owner to buy our produce, a mentor to support new business ventures and projects.

All of these people have done so much for us and I find it vitally important to acknowledge all of our community when we look at this farm and this life we’ve been lucky enough to build over the past several years. We are so grateful to you all, our members, for your deep and loyal support, and are also so grateful to our employees for caring so deeply about what they do, but that’s only the beginning. We are held up not just by these two tremendous groups of people but also by land owners, mentors, family, and friends.  So thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for showing up and caring and being a part of something so beautiful.

-L&K

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

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

Watermelon or Muskmelon

Sweet Corn

Cucumber

Zucchini

Summer Squash

Eggplant

Cherry Tomatoes

Slicer Tomatoes

Bell Peppers or Italian Fryers

Shishitos

Celery

Carrots

Daikon

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. 

Zucchini Ham Frittata

4 cups finely cubed zucchini or summer squash

1 or 2 kale stalks, stripped and chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

¾ teaspoon salt

Pinch or 2 of black pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar

1 cup fully cooked ham, small cubes

  1. In a 9 or 10” microwave-safe pie plate or equivalent shallow casserole dish, combine zucchini, kale  and onions. Microwave, partially covered on high for 4 or 5 minutes or until tender; drain.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together eggs & seasonings. Stir in cheese and ham. Carefully pour over zucchini mixture. Adjust ingredients so they are distributed evenly.

  3. Microwave at 70% power for 8-9 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let sit 5 minutes before cutting.

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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

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Easy Eggplant Parmesan Bake // Uses Eggplant (and/or Zucchini or Summer Squash), feel free to add in sliced Tomatoes to the layers, skip the chard or kale if you don’t have any lying around or substitute any dark leafy green (collards, spinach, etc), add Thyme or Chives to ricotta sauce // 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

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Hummus Heaped with Tomatoes & Cucumbers // Uses Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onion, Chives or Thyme, feel free to add some diced Green Pepper or Jalapeno // 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: Smitten Kitchen

photo by: Smitten Kitchen

Frozen Watermelon Mojitos // Uses Watermelon, make it a little spicy by adding one diced and seeded Jalapeno // I know, I know, I know. You just want to eat your watermelon and not make anything fancy with it. BUT let me just spell this out one more time for you all: F R O Z E N W A T E R M E L O N M O J I T O S!!!!!!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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Tomato & Sweet Corn Pasta Salad // Uses Cherry Tomatoes (or Slicers), Onion, Cucumber, Sweet Corn and/or add some Green Pepper or Jalapeno // 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

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Cucumber & Charred Onion Salad // Uses Cucumber, sub Walla Walla for red onion, sub 1-2 Green Fryers for fresnos // I’ve been sharing this recipe with you since probably year one of our CSA because it is just so simple and perfect. I always always always use Walla Wallas instead of red onion and green peppers instead of fresnos.

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: 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

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