We’ve been faced with quite a few challenges this week. First, our well was dug and although they did find a little water at 200ft it isn’t enough for us to sustain this farm. We will be hydro fracturing the well this week in hopes of more water. If that doesn’t work it mean digging another well. p.s. I’ve lost faith in the water dowser. Darn it.
The second thing is our tractor mechanic finally looked at our tractor only to tell us the repair is going to cost about as much as we bought the tractor for. Without going into the technical details, it sucks.
On a good note, the farm has never looked better. The steps we have been taking in the last 4 years are coming together and we are seeing the results of our hard work. We’ve never been more confident in our CSA boxes, our farmers market presence, and our wholesale capacity. There are some things that we can’t control but many things that are just stepping stones along our path. We will keep trucking along!
June 27th , Week 4
Clockwise from top: Kale, garlic scapes, salad mix, oyster mushrooms, cucumbers, fennel, parsley, strawberries, sugar snap peas, beets, zucchini
CSA delivery will be on Tuesday, July 3rd next week.
All dropsites are closed on Wednesday, July 4th
In your box this week…
Red Russian Kale
Weekly Serving Suggestions:
*(You should have either gotten peas or mushrooms last week. Our plan is to get the other of these to you next week, as everyone should receive both this week.)
Salad mix– This fresh salad mix has been handled with care and prewashed for you. It should keep pretty well if you can keep it dry, but hydrated. What this means is not having wet leaves, but also not causing it to dry out. Refrigerators are very dry environments for veggies. The best option for long storage is to wash and spin or air dry the leaves then place them in a plastic bag with a paper towel. We usually eat ours pretty fresh, but even so it tends to keep for about a week in just the bag we send it in. Its lovely and fresh and works as a great base for fresh veggies all summer long. Using it couldn’t be easier, just add your favorite toppings or dressings. Also piles well onto sandwiches and wraps!
Beets– Beets are rich and lovely, but they can take over a dish. Try them as a stand-alone side dish. Simply remove the bulbs from the stalks and greens (set those aside in their own bag for later). Wash and trim, then boil or roast the whole bulbs. Once just heated through, allow them to cool slightly and “slip” the skins. Use your hands if cooled enough or a rubberized oven mit if possible. Chop to desired shape and size, then dress with your favorite dressing. Add a little feta and some fresh chopped scapes for a dramatic, impress your friends, side dish to bring for a BBQ or potluck! Store separated from greens. Greens can be used just like chard, or chopped, blanched and frozen for winter-time stews.
Cucumbers– These are fresh and good, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try some quick refrigerator pickles. Or cucumber lemonade! Cucumbers can be purees then squeezed through a strainer to remove the big pulp. Mix this bright green juice with water, ice, lemon, and sugar to taste. A sprig or two of fresh mint goes a long way too! I like mine extra cold and a little diluted. Keep it stronger and sweeter for use as a mixer with Gin or Vodka. Cucumbers store well in the crisper drawer and also make a great addition to salads.
Red Russian Kale-Tender and sweet, this is my favorite Kale. So tender it can just be chopped into its own salad or mixed with lettuce mix for a more dynamic texture. Massaged kale salads are great in the summer months as well as the winter ones! Just remove the thick part of the stems, then tear the kale into bite size pieces. Dress with salt lemon and oil and any herbs of your choice. Then literally massage (squeeze) the dressing into the kale. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least half an hour, then toss and dress with sliced cukes or strawberries, and fresh curls of parmesan. Stores best in a bag in the fridge.
Garlic scapes (whistles)– similar to the green garlic from last week, but just the funnest part. Sturdy scapes can be chopped and will hold up to a fair bit of heat. Garlic scape pesto has long been a family favorite in our house, but it is very strong! Try making a bigger batch cut with enough carrot tops to taste, and freezing the extra! Easy to use and gives bright fresh flavor to anything you make from now through next scape season! Add late or after the cooking process for a brighter garlic flavor. Add earlier for a more mild and sweet flavor. Try making Garlic scape pesto, to save that fresh flavor and have it on hand, ready to use. In a food processor, puree 1 bunch scapes chopped, (optionally ½ cup parsley or 1-2 cups chopped tender carrot tops), ¼-1/3 cup good olive oil, several Tbsp. of lemon juice (with rind if using fresh) and salt/pepper to taste until smooth. Keep in mind that it should be salty and strong enough to flavor whatever you’re putting it on. Combine it with carrot tops for a milder, but more complex flavor. Freeze in ice cube trays or in small scoops on cookie sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag for convenient storage.
Sugar Snap Peas– Perfect for snacking! Just snap the top off toward the concave seam and strip that string down the length—ready to enjoy, pod and all. Also, good in a salad, can be chopped for smaller bites. These are so sweet and good that I think they are best fresh. But, if you have a favorite recipe that calls for them, just be sure to add them at/near the end of heat so as not to overcook—it’s easier than I think! Store covered in the fridge for a couple days.
Mushrooms– fresh Oyster mushrooms this week. Fresh mushrooms have a lot of moisture in them. So be sure to cook them down uncovered until the pan dries out enough that they start to brown. I recommend using plenty of oil/butter and getting them almost caramelized before adding to whatever dish you like. (Mushrooms will absorb a lot of oil. If you don’t like to use that much, you can splash in a little water or wine to get let oil to coat the mushrooms more evenly.) Great in soups and stews, also great with eggs or as a stand-alone side dish. Stores best in a paper bag inside the crisper drawer. My favorite is butter and garlic (scapes will do) sautee them until nicely browned. Dress them with a little salt and vinegar/lemon juice/wine and swirl around the hot pan for just a second before removing from heat and covering to absorb the liquid. Works well as a side.
Strawberries- We don’t wash strawberries, so they’ll keep as long as possible. These are perfect for fresh eating. But if you don’t get to them right away, we recommend chopping or pureeing with a few tablespoons of maple syrup (macerating). This will store in your fridge all week and is ready to use as a sauce, garnish or the basis of a fancy cocktail. These are organically-grown, never sprayed strawberries, they taste amazing and you don’t have to worry about pesticides/herbicides or wheat (we don’t mulch with straw). If you need to keep them, I recommend topping them and freezing them loose on a cookie sheet, then storing in a freezer bag. Try them plain—they are fabulous. Store covered loosely in the fridge.
Zucchini– these are young and tender and they are still coming! Marinated zucchini is a hit around our house. Simply slice or wedge zucchini and soak in a mix of olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and soy sauce or salt and pepper. Allow a minimum of one hour in the fridge before eating them as a side or on a salad. Marinated zukes can also be grilled just long enough to put lines on them. Also try shredding them, then add to salads, noodle or egg dishes, or make zucchini fritters. Just shred and mix with enough egg to form a thick paste. Stir in salt pepper and fresh dill or basil. Fry in a skillet over medium heat with butter or oil until just cooked through (think pancakes). Store whole zucchini in the fridge until ready to use.
Fennel– Such a fun and underutilized veggie! Fennel walks the line between herb and vegetable. It’s got a lovely anise flavor that is concentrated in the delicate fronds. The bulb is robust and sturdy, holds up well to being quartered and grilled with salt pepper and oil. Chop fronds finely for dressings or adding to a salad. Fennel bulb can be roasted or grilled, or shaved for wonderful slaws! Store them separated. Fronds in a bag and bulb in the crisper.
Parsley- This is Italian Flat-leaf parsley. Loaded with fresh flavor, not the pale flavorless stuff that comes on the side of the plate at the local diner. Flat-leaf parsley has a great flavor and firm texture that pairs well with almost any dish. It may be the most versatile fresh herb. Chopped finely, it can be added to almost any dish just before serving or at least after removing from heat. Perfect for topping soups and hot-dish, but also great stirred into sour cream to use as a veggie dip! Stores best n a bag in the fridge. Can easily be made into or added to a fresh pesto for long-term storage in the freezer.
Recipe of the week…
Mushroom Fennel Zucchini Boats:
I just invented this recipe to showcase several items in the box this week. It got rave reviews from everyone at lunch today, but it’s not thoroughly researched so use it as a guide, but trust your own intuition.
-1 medium/large zucchini
– approx. 1/2lb mushrooms
-1 medium fennel (or half a large one)
-2-3 garlic (scapes or cloves)
– ¼ cup olive oil
-1/4 lb feta cheese crumbled (any shredded cheese will work too)
-3 or 4 Tbsp fresh parsley
-2-3 Tbsp Orange juice concentrate
-1/4 lb bacon or sausage crumbled
-1/4 lb cream cheese
-1 beet diced and sautéed or roasted
-1/4 cup toasted almonds chopped
*Feel free to add/subtract or substitute almost anything you like () Amounts are used for example only.
-Preheat oven or grill to 400.
-Cut Zucchini in half lengthwise so that it will lay flat (curve toward the side, not vertical)
-Scoop the softer middle containing any seeds to create a hollow “boat” discard the insides or reserve them for another use. The thicker the walls the longer it will need to pre-cook.
-Orient lightly oiled zucchinis into walled roasting pan or directly on grill grates. Allow them to roast for about 30 mins before filling them.
-Sautee mushrooms uncovered in plenty of oil, reserving some oil for later if needed. Over medium heat until golden brown (10-15 mins).
-Add chopped garlic and thinly sliced fennel bulb, reserving the fronds for later (add oil if necessary.) Sautee until fennel is tender-crisp. Add salt and pepper to taste.
-Add Cheese, chopped fennel fronds, orange juice concentrate, and any of the optional ingredients you like (cream cheese will give the whole dish a more cohesive texture).
-Stir in the hot pan to begin to melt the cheese and coat the filling.
-Fill “boats” with stuffing until heaped and return to the hot oven or grill. Cook an additional 15-30 mins until nicely browned on top. Allow a few minutes to rest before slicing and serving.
-Top with chopped parsley and serve hot with diced cucumbers in sour cream or greek yogurt if desired.
Best Guess for next week: