Wednesday, July 18, 2018

July 19, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring New Potatoes




Cooking With This Week's Box:

This Week’s Summary of Recipes and the Vegetables They Utilize:





Green & Yellow Beans:  Summer Farmer Skillet 

Red Amaranth:  Summer Farmer Skillet 

   


White Cauliflower:  Cauliflower Patties


Alas, it’s time to cook new potatoes!  The first potatoes of the season are always the best tasting and really, the key to preparing them is to just keep it simple.  Simple is the key to this week’s cooking strategy, partly because of time and partly because the vegetables themselves just don’t need to be fussed with to be tasty and delicious.  Many of the items in this week’s box qualify as “Nature’s Fast Food.”  If they can’t be eaten raw, they can be prepared with minimal cooking time.  So, if you are short on time, hungry and tempted to order a pizza, pause for a minute and consider that you can pull off a simple dinner in the same time it will take you to order and pick up the pizza, or have it delivered.  Potatoes are likely the item that will take the longest to prepare, so lets start there.

New potatoes are delicious on their own, so simply boiling them until tender in salted water and then eating them with butter and black pepper is delicious.  If you want to kick it up a little bit, try one of the recipes featured below.  Nigel Slater’s recipe for Potatoes with Crème Fraiche and Dill (See Below) is super simple.  Boil the potatoes and add a spoonful of crème fraiche or sour cream along with a handful of dill or other fresh herbs.  That’s it—so delicious.  Karen from familystylefood.com posted this recipe for Cracked and Smashed Potato Salad with Tarragon Aioli and Sweet Peas  (see below) on her blog last week.  It’s pretty darn simple to make, but we don’t have peas anymore!  No worries—substitute fresh green or yellow beans for the peas and you’ll be good to go. 

Summer Farmer Skillet
This is the week to pull out the recipe for the Summer Farmer Skillet, a recipe I shared in a newsletter last year.  This is a dish I turn to whenever I need a simple, yet hearty meal that is heavy on vegetables and easy on preparation time.  Yes there’s some chopping involved, but it really doesn’t take long.  Everything goes in one pan and leftovers are excellent.  This recipe will make use of some of your green and yellow beans, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, amaranth and/or sweetheart cabbage as well as some fresh herbs from your garden.  In just one dish you can utilize seven to eight of the vegetables from this week’s box plus herbs!

This week I’m going to use some of the zucchini with the white Spanish onions to make the Zucchini & Onion Gratin featured in one of our 2016 newsletters.  This is a super simple dish to make and very tasty.  As I was looking for this recipe, I came across this recipe for Chilled Cucumber-Tahini and Herb Soup with Cumin-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas.  It will take you about 15-20 minutes to roast the chickpeas, but the soup is made by putting everything in the blender and that’s it!  You can use either green or silver slicers in this recipe along with some fresh garlic and fresh herbs.  There’s enough fat and protein from the chickpeas and tahini to make this soup substantial enough to enjoy for lunch or a light dinner.  

Thai-Style Slaw with (or without) Chicken
Last year we featured this recipe for Thai-Style Slaw with (or without) Chicken that is excellent made with the sweetheart cabbage.  The recipe calls for green onions and red onion, but the white Spanish onion will be just fine.  It also calls for carrots and snow peas, but this week I’ll substitute some of the green beans in place of the peas.  The beauty of this recipe is that it is adaptable to whatever vegetables you have available at the time.  I like to serve this as a main dish salad and then use the leftovers to make spring rolls that are easy to take for lunch. 

I’ve been hungry for Broccoli & Cheddar Soup, so that’s where all of this week’s broccoli will be used.  I’m hoping there are some leftovers I can freeze to have something quick and easy to turn to some evening when I need a break from cooking.  While you could make soup with the cauliflower, I think I’m just going to use that to make Cauliflower Patties to serve for Sunday brunch along with our bacon and eggs.

Well, I think we’ve reached the bottom of another CSA box.  We’ll have peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and sweet corn coming in very soon…possibly even next week for some of these vegetables.  Don’t forget, if you’re going on a summer vacation, camping or any other road trip, take your vegetables with you so you don’t miss out on any of the summer CSA bounty.  You’ll also feel better eating good food while you travel and will save money along the way!  Have a great week!

—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature:  New Potatoes

The potatoes in your box this week are a variety called Red Norland.  They are an early variety red-skinned potato with creamy white flesh and this week they are classified as a “new potato.” The difference between a new potato and other potatoes we’ll deliver this season is not the variety or the size, but the way they are harvested.  New potatoes are classified as such if they are harvested off of a plant that still has green leaves on it.  With latter varieties, we’ll mow down the potato vine about a week in advance of harvest.  In the week between mowing down the vines and actually harvesting the potatoes, changes take place that help to set the skins and make them better for storage.  They are also easier to handle without damaging the skin. 

New potatoes have a very thin, tender and delicate skin.  They need to be handled with care so as not to disturb the skin and expose the flesh.  Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place, but not in the refrigerator.  It’s important that they are not exposed to light or they will turn green and be bitter.  In general, potatoes will store for a few weeks at room temperature in a brown paper bag.  However new potatoes will not store as well and are best eaten within one week. Do not store potatoes in a plastic bag or in the refrigerator.

New potatoes are, in my opinion, the “best of the best” potatoes of the season.  They are tender & creamy with a fresh, pure potato flavor.  This week’s variety is a “waxy” variety.  They lend themselves well to basic boiling, roasting or pan-frying.  You could make “smashed” potatoes with them, but I’d discourage you from making mashed potatoes out of them as waxy potatoes have a tendency to become sticky when mashed. 

Last year's potato harvest
We still have six more varieties of potatoes to dig this year.  Some potatoes are classified as “waxy” while others are classified as “starchy,” or possibly a mix of the two classifications.  These classifications are assigned based on the type of starch that comprises the flesh of the potato.  Waxy potatoes are generally more moist and hold together better.  They are best used for roasting, boiling or steaming, and potato salad.  I do not recommend mashing them because they usually become sticky.  Starchy potatoes tend to be more dry and fluffy.  This is a variety of potato appropriate for mashing as well as for making roasted potatoes, pan frying, etc.  Starchy potatoes are also useful for thickening soups.  We’ll tell you more about each new variety of potatoes in the “What’s In the Box” section of every email, so check there for more info from week to week.

I encourage you to slow down and really savor the flavor of these fresh, delicate potatoes.  They have a unique “fresh” potato flavor that will never be the same as it is this week when they are freshly dug.  You really don’t need to do much to these potatoes and, in fact, I’d encourage you to do as little as possible!  Treat them simply and enjoy the flavor.  They are excellent with nothing more than a little butter, salt and pepper. 

Potatoes with Crème Fraiche, and Dill

Yield:  However much you would like

Gently rub the potatoes clean, washing them well under running water.  Leave the skin be if it is young and thin.  Peel it if not.  Put the potatoes into cold water and bring to a boil.  Salt generously, then simmer until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife—a matter of anything from ten to twenty-five minutes, depending on the variety of your potatoes.  Drain and return them to the stove, this time over gentle heat.

Put a large dollop of crème fraiche into the pan and a handful of chopped dill fronds.  Cover with a lid until the cream has melted.  Fold the potatoes gently over in the melted cream and herbs until they are lightly coated, then eat with ham or oily fish.

NOTE FROM CHEF ANDREA:  This recipe was borrowed from Tender: A cook and his vegetable patch, by Nigel Slater.  The recipe is exactly as he wrote it in his book.  It’s a loose recipe that will guide you through a very simple way to prepare new potatoes.  If you don’t have crème fraiche, sour cream is an appropriate substitute.  If you don’t have fresh dill, just substitute any other fresh herb you have available, such as parsley or basil.


Cracked and Smashed Potato Salad with Tarragon Aioli and Sweet Peas

Yield: 4-6 servings
photo from familystylefood.com

2 pounds new potatoes, preferably golf-ball size
¾ cup kosher salt (or plain table salt)
2 cups sugar snap peas or thawed frozen sweet peas*
1 cup prepared mayonnaise 
1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest and juice 
1 small pressed garlic clove
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon*

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  1. Put the potatoes and salt in a large pot (at least 5 quarts). Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat and partially cover the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 - 25 minutes. Throw the peas into the pot for the last 15 seconds of cooking. Drain and cool the potatoes 15 minutes.
  3. Stir together the mayonnaise, fresh lemon zest and juice and garlic.  Add the tarragon and a good 15 - 20 grinds of pepper.
  4. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl. Using the back of a large wooden spoon, press down on the potatoes to lightly smoosh and crack them. Add ¾ cup of the aioli to the potatoes and toss gently to coat.  Taste and add more aioli if you like.
*Note: This recipe was borrowed from familystylefood.com.  Since we’re done with sugar snap peas for the season, consider using green beans in place of the peas in this recipe.  Also, if you don’t have fresh tarragon available, you could also substitute chervil from your herb garden.

King of the Farm


By Andrea Yoder

Crack it, Plant it, Cover it, Mulch it, Pray for it, Wait for it, Hope for it, Fork it, Catch a Glimpse of it, Feed it, Water it, Weed it, Feed it, Weed it, Feed it, De-scape it, Dig it, Bundle it, Dry it, Select it, Clean it, Store it, Eat it, Be grateful for it, and do it all over again.  The “It” is Garlic.  It’s a lot of work.  It’s a lot of gamble.  It’s a lot of skill.  It’s a lot of patience.  It’s a lot of trust.  It’s not negotiable.  In our minds, it’s a staple.  It’s essential.  It keeps us healthy, nourishes us, enhances our meals and life without garlic would just be pretty bland.  It just might be the King crop of our farm.

Our first load of garlic harvested in 2018!
We started our garlic harvest last Thursday afternoon.  Thus far we’ve harvested 33,720 bulbs of garlic and hope to finish harvesting the remainder of the field before the end of the week.  We only have about 10% of the crop remaining in the field.  Garlic harvest is a big deal.  Timing is everything and it takes a lot of hands on deck to make it happen in a timely manner.  The crew has done an excellent job once again.  We’ll be honest with you, this is not the best crop we’ve ever harvested.  We lost some garlic to rot early in the spring when it was cold and wet.  Once we saw the sprouts starting to try to push through the mulch, the crew went out and loosened the mulch so they could make it through the thick, insulating layer.  The next day, April 18, we got a foot of heavy, wet snow that packed the mulch back down on top of the delicate sprouts.  Some sprouts didn’t fare so well.  Once the snow melted, we forked the mulch off the plants again, the survivors pushed through and we carried on.  So, this year’s garlic crop isn’t as plentiful as we were hoping for, but we still have garlic!  The bulbs are smaller and we’ve noticed they don’t have as many cloves of garlic per bulb as they usually do.  Italian garlic generally produced 8-10 cloves per bulb and Porcelain garlic generally produces 4-5 cloves per bulb.  This year we’re seeing more in the range of 7 per bulb on the Italian and 2 per bulb on the porcelain. 

Garlic sprout peeking through the ground this spring
Garlic growth is heavily regulated by day length and spring is a very important time of the year for garlic to grow and develop.  The conditions were not very conducive for “normal” growth this spring, yet the biological clock inside the plant continued to tick along with the changing day length.  Once we did get back on more of a “normal” weather pattern, the garlic resumed normal growth rates however it was unable to compensate for the lost growth time and thus, we have small garlic.  That’s our theory. 

The good news is that we have garlic and will be able to select seed from this year’s crop to replant in the fall for the 2019 crop.  We will need to be very careful with our selection this year and will likely take a larger percentage of our overall crop for seed than we normally do, which means the garlic available for eating may be more limited.  Another piece of good news is that this year’s garlic looks really healthy and we aren’t seeing much, if any, disease on the bulbs.  This is important both for storage potential, but also for selecting seed stock.  We don’t want to replant any cloves from bulbs with disease as we risk carrying disease from one year into the next.

Richard enjoying the 2011 Garlic Diner
So that’s the state of this year’s crop.  It isn’t the biggest, most plentiful crop, but we’re thankful for what we have and that we’ll be able to continue to preserve our varieties by saving seed for the next crop.  Even though there’s less garlic on the tables in our greenhouse this year, we still feel rich when we walk down those aisles.  

Last Sunday we attended the annual garlic dinner hosted by Tami Lax at Harvest Restaurant in Madison,Wisconsin.  Tami has been hosting this dinner every year in July for seventeen years!  We enjoyed a five course meal that included garlic in every course!  Chefs Josh and Evan, along with their culinary crew, used almost forty pounds of our garlic in the meal.  They used our fresh garlic, which is harder to peel.  I think Chef Josh said it took them nearly 6 to 7 hours to peel all the garlic!  It is always fun to see how they choose to use the garlic in each course and the dinner always serves as a representation of just how versatile garlic can be in its uses.  We enjoyed whipped, rendered pork fat that had been infused with garlic and was served with grilled bread and a simple fennel and radish salad.  They made a delicious cucumber salad featuring burnt garlic salt and crisp garlic chips with mint and feta.  This was an interesting dish featuring our porcelain garlic.  The garlic chips were the perfect shade of golden and sweet, not bitter.  Chef Even had the idea to actually burn garlic by roasting it in the oven and then ground it with salt to make this cool black salt that was infused with the garlic flavor!  This was one of my favorite dishes.  Yes, they even incorporated garlic into the dessert!  They were not shy in making a garlic streusel topping for a cherry crumble and they served it with ice cream made from black garlic.  Black garlic is a means of preserving garlic by very slowly roasting it over the course of weeks.  The process develops the natural sugars in the garlic and the end result is much different than fresh garlic!  We had a fun evening and were grateful for the opportunity to share in this celebration of garlic.

We hope you enjoy the garlic you receive in this year’s remaining boxes and appreciate what we have as we look forward to another crop in the future.  Garlic is our labor of love and we’re grateful for each and every hand that helps along the way.
Some of the many hands helping us with our labor of love

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July 12, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Red Amaranth



Cooking With This Week’s Box: 

This Week’s Summary of Recipes and the Vegetables They Utilize:

Purple Cipollini or Sierra Blanca Onions: Black Beans with Amaranth (see below); Detox Summer Slaw

Fresh Porcelain Garlic: Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Rice



Green & Yellow Beans: Green Bean Satay

Red Amaranth: Black Beans with Amaranth (see below)

   
Broccoli: Broccoli Slaw

Green Top Red Beets: Creamed Beets with Greens

Sweetheart Cabbage:  Detox Summer Slaw


This week’s box has some colorful new vegetable selections, starting with the gorgeous Red Amaranth!  This has become one of our favorite, and most striking, summer vegetables.  We’ve been growing this vegetable for several years, so you’ll find the most diverse recipe collection for this vegetable on our website in our searchable recipe database.  There are a few recipes popping up here and there on the internet, including the recipe we’re featuring this week.  This recipe for Black Beans with Amaranth (see below) was originally featured at Cooking.nytimes.com.  Several years ago one of our market customers brought me a copy of this recipe and raved about how good it is.  The next year, I had another market customer recommend this recipe, followed by yet another.  Needless to say, this recipe came highly recommended by several other members as well as one of my colleagues so I figured it must be a winner!  Serve these flavorful beans along with rice, meat or grilled vegetables to make it a full meal.

The other most colorful vegetable in this week’s box is the bunch of green top red beets!  You’ll want to utilize both the root and the greens, which is the reason I created this simple recipe for Creamed Beets with Greens.  This is one of Richard’s favorite recipes for preparing beets.  It’s a simple recipe that comes together very quickly and makes a nice side dish for grilled or roasted meat.

Sweet Rice with Carrots & Nuts
Photo from food52
If you haven’t noticed, we encourage our members to make full use of the vegetables in the boxes by utilizing the green tops attached to selections such as the beets and carrots in this week’s box.  So, this week I’m going to turn those carrot tops into Carrot Top ChimichurriIt’s a great condiment to enjoy with grilled flank steak.  This recipe will also make use of some of the fresh herbs in your herb garden including parsley and oregano.  As for the tender, sweet carrots, use them to make this interesting Persian dish of Sweet Rice with Carrots & Nuts.  This dish features jasmine rice seasoned with cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric with a touch of honey and the sweetness of shredded carrots.  You also add some fragrant orange zest along with pistachio nuts and almonds.  The author of this recipe recommends serving this with roasted chicken.

Detox Summer Slaw
Photo from with food + love
This week’s “salad green” is sweetheart cabbage, a variety of cabbage specifically grown to be eaten raw as a salad.  This recipe for Detox Summer Slaw is a simple way to use the sweetheart cabbage.  I’m not a fan of the name of this recipe, but I like the simplicity of it.  You combine shredded cabbage with green onions (use thinly sliced onion tops), fresh parsley and slices of fresh peaches (I’ll substitute nectarines from this week’s fruit share) tossed with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.  Garnish the slaw with sunflower seeds and avocado—that’s it!  Serve this salad for dinner with a piece of grilled or broiled salmon.  If you have leftover slaw, take it for your lunch the next day wrapped in a tortilla along with some shredded roasted chicken and a touch of mayonnaise.

Zucchini & Summer Squash Soup with Oregano & Chickpeas
Photo from with food + love
I know it’s the middle of summer and soup may not be at the top of your list, but this simple recipe for Zucchini & Summer Squash Soup with Oregano & Chickpeas looks like a great way to use some of the zucchini in your box along with more fresh herbs from your herb garden and some of the fresh garlic.  This soup will come together quickly if you need a quick dinner option, and the author suggests freezing it as well.  So, perhaps you want to make a double batch and freeze part of it to enjoy later in the year.  This soup can also be pureed and served chilled.

If you have some zucchini remaining after the soup, consider using it to make this Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Rice.  This dish could stand alone for dinner served with this Broccoli Slaw or serve it as a side dish with grilled sirloin steak or Grilled Portobello mushrooms.  The broccoli slaw I mentioned will make use of both the florets and stems of your broccoli.  This recipe also calls for dried cranberries and sliced almonds for some crunch.

Green Bean Satay
Picture from Create kids club
I have to admit I ate a lot of overcooked green beans as a kid, so green beans have never been one of my favorite vegetables.  However, I do really like properly cooked, fresh green beans and was happy to find this recipe for  Green Bean Satay. You make a simple peanut sauce to serve over sautéed green beans.  The author specializes in tasty, nutritious recipes that are attractive to kids and per her report, this recipe is a winner!

Kelly made some delicious refrigerator pickles with turmeric over the weekend.  Pickles are often considered a condiment, but if you slice them thin, you can use this concept to make a tasty cucumber salad. Here’s a recipe for Sweet Turmeric Pickles.  You can actually use this brine to pickle other vegetables too, such as zucchini or beets.

Well, that brings us to the end of the box.  The only thing remaining is a little bit of basil from the choice box.  Lets finish off this week with a little celebratory cocktail.  Here’s a recipe for a Basil French 75 Cocktail.  You make a basic basil simple syrup by blending fresh basil with honey and water in the blender.  Strain that out and combine it with gin, lemon juice and sparkling wine for a refreshing, light summer cocktail.  Until next week, Cheers! –Chef Andrea



Vegetable Feature: Red Amaranth 

Red Amaranth is a stunning “green” that actually has dark, burgundy colored leaves.  It is an ancient plant that was part of the diets of Aztec civilizations in Mexico up to 7,000 years ago.  It was also an important staple food for the Incas of South America and the people of the Himalayan region of Asia.  In these ancient cultures, amaranth was also used medicinally and in cultural rituals.  It was held as a symbol of immortality and means “never-fading flower” in Greek.  Like many other vegetables, amaranth was a multi-use vegetable.  The seeds were used as a winter staple and the young leaves were eaten as a fresh vegetable.  There are about 60 different varieties of amaranth, some grown to harvest seeds, others for the leaves, and several ornamental species.  The variety of amaranth we grow is referred to as “Polish Amaranth”….and there’s a story to go with this name.

We actually purchased the seed for this year’s crop from Wild Garden Seeds (WGS), which is kind of funny because Richard is the one who actually gave them the seed originally!  Some of you may have heard this story already, but for those of you who don’t know it the story goes like this.  One day Richard was driving to town and saw a beautiful red amaranth plant growing in a garden along the way.  He stopped and asked the people who lived there about this plant.  They said their Aunt May brought the seed with her from Poland and they were happy to share it with Richard.  So Richard collected some seed and started growing it, mostly as a baby green to mix into his gourmet salad mix.  It didn’t do so well as a salad mix ingredient, but in later years we found success growing it as a mid-summer bunching green used for cooking.  Since we aren’t in the business of seed production, Richard passed the seed onto Frank Morton at WGS and he has been maintaining this variety of amaranth.

Antonio S, Jose Luis, and Alfredo showing off the
amaranth they just harvested.
Amaranth greens have become an important part of our seasonal diet because of their ability to grow in the heat of the summer when other greens, spinach and lettuce do not thrive.  Amaranth is able to adapt to variable conditions with little impact from weather or disease.  It is able to survive in extreme heat or drought conditions because it is able to convert twice the amount of solar energy using the same amount of water as most other plants.


Nutritionally, amaranth is a power house.  The leaves of this plant are high in calcium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin C, carotene, iron, B vitamins, and trace elements including zinc and manganese.  Compared to spinach, amaranth leaves have three times more vitamin C, calcium and niacin!  Of course we know vegetables that have rich colors like the magenta leaves of amaranth are also packed with important phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Amaranth is similar in flavor to spinach, except better!  You can prepare it similarly to spinach or other cooking greens.  While amaranth may be eaten raw, the more mature leaves and stems are best when cooked.  The stems and leaves are both edible, however the stems might need a little longer cooking time so it’s best to separate the leaves from the stem.   Amaranth greens may be steamed, sautéed, added to soups, stews, wilted and stir-fried.  Amaranth pairs well with so many other summer crops including onions, fresh garlic, zucchini, peppers, corn, green beans, basil, oregano and tomatoes. 
Red Lentil Soup with Amaranth Greens, one of the
many amaranth recipes from our searchable recipe database.
Amaranth is thought to have originated in Central and/or South America, but has made its way around the globe.  It can be found in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, which means there are many options for finding ways to use this vegetable.  Season it with cumin, coriander, oregano and serve it with black beans for more of a Mexican approach.  Stir-fry it with garlic, onion, ginger and a drizzle of sesame oil for more of a Chinese influence.  Mix it with pasta, tomatoes, oregano, basil and Parmesan for an Italian flair, or take it in more in the direction of Indian cuisine by choosing curry spices & lentils.  When I was first introduced to amaranth ten years ago, you could hardly find any recipes in cookbooks or on the internet.  That has changed a lot and now I’m confident you will be able to find at least one way to prepare amaranth that will become your “favorite” way to enjoy this vegetable.  We have some tasty recipes from previous newsletters available on our website as well.  We hope you enjoy this lovely green, for its aesthetics, nutrition, history and flavor!

Black Beans with Amaranth 

Yield: 6 servings



Photo from Cooking NY Times
1 pound black beans, washed, picked over and soaked for six hours or overnight in 2 quarts water
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt to taste
2 to 4 Tbsp roughly chopped cilantro, or a few sprigs fresh epazote
1 bunch amaranth, leaves and stems separated

  1. Drain and rinse the black beans, discarding the soaking water.  Put the beans in a large, heavy bottom soup pot or Dutch Oven.  Add fresh water to cover the beans by two inches.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and skim off any foam. Add the onion and half the garlic, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer one hour. 
  2. Next, add the remaining garlic, the epazote (optional) and salt. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Add the cilantro and finely chopped amaranth stems.  Simmer for another 30 minutes, until the beans are tender and the broth aromatic.
  3. While the beans are simmering, wash the amaranth leaves. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the amaranth. Blanch for two minutes, and transfer to the ice water. Drain, squeeze out excess water (it will be a beautiful plum color) and chop coarsely.
  4. Just before serving, taste the beans and adjust seasoning. Stir in the amaranth, simmer very gently for five to 10 minutes, and serve.

Author’s Note:  The beans will taste even better if you make them in advance, and they can be made up to three days ahead of serving. The blanched amaranth will keep for three days in the refrigerator. 




This recipe was adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s original recipe featured at cooking.nytimes.com

Summer Farm Update


By Farmer Richard

Wow, how time flies when you’re having fun, or too busy to notice!  What happened to “Summertime, and the livin' is easy, Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high….”   Seems like we just started the season with late spring plantings and now here we are planting our late fall crops!  We’re nearly done with transplant production and the greenhouses are being prepared for drying the garlic & onions we’ll be harvesting soon.  It’s hard to believe we’re already nearing the halfway point in July, but that means tomatoes are just around the corner and we still have a lot of good summer eating coming our way!

Wall of tomato plants
Despite the late start to the season, our summer crops are coming in pretty much on schedule.  We planted tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and eggplant during one of our chilly May weeks.  Thankfully they acclimated well to the field and have responded well to the fertilizer we’ve given them through the driplines.  Couple this with two hot spells and they look fantastic!  We started harvesting eggplant last week and little peppers are starting to hang on the plants in the pepper field which we just finished weeding this week.  The first tomato planting has been tied with 5 strings to anchor the plants to the stakes and keep them growing upright.  We have formed a wall of tomato plants with a lot of fruit hanging on the vines.  Pretty soon we’ll see them start to ripen!  Our second plantings of zucchini and cucumbers are looking good and will soon be ready to replace the early crop which has already peaked and is slowing down with production.

While we’re just starting to harvest summer crops, we’re also planting our fall crops.  We now have two fields of fall carrots planted and up!  The last planting needed to be watered to soften the hot dry soil crust so the new sprouts could push through.  This week we’re harvesting the first beets of the season, but we’re also planting the last crop of beets for storage into fall and early winter.  Only turnips, daikon, storage radishes, and tat soi remain.  Of course, we’ll continue to plant our weekly plantings of cilantro, radishes, dill, mustard, baby arugula, etc until early September.

Little peppers starting to grow
We have four crops of sweet corn, beans and edamame planted and growing well.  The edamame was attractive to some hungry deer so we had to put a fence around the field earlier than we anticipated.  The first crop of corn will be a little smaller due to the fact that black birds ate some of the seed before sprouts were even up!  Nonetheless, tassels and ears are setting on and the following crops look even better.  We’re happy to be picking our first beans this week and we’re looking forward to harvesting potatoes next week.  The potato field is full of blossoms and the plants are setting a nice crop of tubers.

It looks like garlic harvest will start in earnest probably next week and we’ll have a beautiful onion crop to harvest shortly after.  Once we bring the onions and garlic in from the field, they’ll need several weeks to dry in our greenhouses before we put them into storage for the fall and winter.  Simon and Antonio have been working hard with the help of several other crew members to get the shade cloth on the greenhouses, clean up the benches, drain down the water and prepare to receive garlic and onions soon.

Silvestre "scratching" between the broccoli rows
Our weeding and cultivating crews have done a great job, and it hasn’t been an easy job.  Even though we were able to dislodge and disturb many weeds, a constant series of rain allowed them to regrow before they totally died.  Thus we’ve had to utilize a technique we call “Scratching” to disturb the weeds several times in order to totally knock them back to a final death.
 
In between rain and storms, we managed to cut and bale our rye mulch for next year’s crops as well as feed for our cows this winter.  We now have 47 big round bales wrapped for winter.  The cows are still belly deep in grass as they graze the lush pastures, but they will appreciate and find the hay bales attractive this winter when the snow flies.

Did I forget the two crops of melons and watermelon?  They are looking great and it will likely only be a few weeks until they’re ready for harvest.  I also wanted to mention our pollinator gardens which are beautiful and in full bloom attracting a wide variety of creatures.  We’re happy to see more monarchs this year including four that have been flitting and playing in our front yard for several weeks!

In the midst of all the work that needs to be done, we’ll be taking a break this weekend to enjoy some leisure time with our hard working crew.  This Saturday is our annual crew appreciation party!  Feel free to join us at the Legion Park on County Road O just above our farm for lots of fun including volleyball, soccer and lots of food!  Our campgrounds are available if you’d like to make it a weekend getaway! 


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 5, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Kohlrabi



Cooking With This Week’s Box: 


This Week’s Summary of Recipes and the Vegetables They Utilize:

Purple Cipollini Onions:  Pizza with Spring Onions & Fennel





Sugar Snap and/or Snow Peas:  Shrimp and Baby Bok Choi Stir Fry

Kohlrabi:  Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce (See below);  Shanghai-Inspired Stir-Fried Pork with Kohlrabi & Bok Choi




Welcome to July!  This week we are cooking out of our 10th CSA box of the season.  Don’t worry or fret yet, we still have twenty more delicious boxes to enjoy before winter closes in on us again.  Green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, corn and more will be here before we know it….with some of those coming as early as next week! (A little birdie told me beans and potatoes will likely be in next week’s box).  This week we are wrapping up strawberry season with our last pint of berries.  Thank goodness for our late variety that has performed very reliably this year, AC Valley Sunset.  As the sun sets on our valley this week, we hope you enjoy and savor these last few tastes of fresh, sweet strawberries.  You can do something fancy with them if you’d like, but I really think just eating them as they are will imprint the best memory to hang on to until next summer.

Shrimp and Baby Bok Choi Stir Fry
Picture from food52
This week’s featured vegetable is kohlrabi.  This is another unique vegetable, like fennel, that really is in a class all its own.  In this week’s newsletter, we’re featuring another tasty recipe from Dishing Up the Dirt by Andrea Bemis, Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce (See below).  This farmer girl knows her vegetables and has even more recipes featuring kohlrabi on her website.  My other recipe suggestion for kohlrabi this week is the Shanghai-Inspired Stir-Fried Pork with Kohlrabi & Bok Choi, a recipe featured in our newsletter back in 2015.  This is the perfect way to use both kohlrabi and some of the bok choi in this week’s box.  Bok choi is such a good candidate for stir-fry, as are the sugar snap and/or snow peas in this week’s box.  So, lets do this Shrimp and Baby Bok Choi Stir Fry with the bok choi, peas and some of the tender little carrots!  This recipe doesn’t call for the carrots, but I think they would be a nice, sweet colorful addition to the vegetable mix. 

Pizza with Spring Onions & Fennel
Picture from New York Times Cooking
This is the perfect week to make Green Top Carrot Soup!  In my first year at the farm, Richard challenged me to find a way to use the green tops on carrots.  Truthfully, I had never eaten a carrot top and didn’t know it was even possible.  I was up for a challenge and came up with this recipe that uses not only the carrot tops in the box, but also fennel and some basil!  It’s a light, creamy pureed soup that is great served with a good piece of bread for dinner or lunch.  If you aren’t in the mood for soup, use the carrot tops and basil to make Carrot Top Pesto.  You can use this delicious creation as a spread for sandwiches or toast, scramble it into your morning eggs, or toss it with pasta for a quick dinner.  If your fennel is still available, use it to make this Pizza with Spring Onions & Fennel.  The purple Cipollini onions in this week’s box are an excellent onion for this recipe.  As for the fennel, you’ll mostly be using the bulb, so take whatever remaining fronds you have from the tops and use them to make Blended Lemonade with Ginger and Fennel.  Serve it with the pizza for a light dinner!

Kale & Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing
Picture from bon appetit
Ok, lets talk cucumbers and zucchini, as both of these crops are in the peak of their production this week and they are plentiful in your box!  Lets start with cucumbers.  BonAppetit.com has a collection of 53 Cool Cucumber Recipes That AreShockingly Easy!  Surely you can find a few recipes here to put these beautiful cucumbers to use this week.  Check out the recipe for Kale & Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing using the lacinato kale, cipollini onions and the fresh garlic in the box.  I also want to make the Falafel Fritters Bowl with Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce and I want to try this recipe for Cucumber Lime Paletas (popsicles).  I never would’ve thought to make a popsicle from cucumbers, but why not!

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake
Picture from 101 Cookbooks
Ok, now for the zucchini.  Zucchini is one of those vegetables that can be used in a wide variety of applications, so even if you think you don’t like zucchini, look around and I guarantee there will be some way you can use zucchini in your meals this week.  At the very least, use it to make this simple Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  As long as we’re on cake, we might as well use some of the zucchini to make this savory Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake.  Serve it with a simple creamy cucumber salad and you have a simple dinner with plenty left over for lunch the next day.
 
Still have some zucchini left?  Don’t forget about breakfast!  Use it to make Zucchini and Dark Chocolate Pancakes with Maple Yogurt.  I think it’s totally fine to have chocolate for breakfast when you serve it with zucchini!

We’re almost at the end of the box, but we do still have some kohlrabi tops remaining.  You didn’t think I would forget about those did you?!  I will slice the kohlrabi tops thinly and saute them with some fresh garlic, a little minced onion and some bacon.  Once they’re wilted down, they’ll get scrambled with eggs and Richard will enjoy them for breakfast.  If you are into green smoothies, you could add the kohlrabi tops to your smoothie as well.  Not into smoothies or eggs?  Then how about pasta?  Thinly slice the kohlrabi leaves and saute them in olive oil or butter with some garlic.  Toss in some cooked pasta and top it off with Parmesan.  See those kohlrabi tops are pretty useful!

Have a great week and I look forward to cooking with you again next week!—Chef Andrea

Featured Vegetable: Kohlrabi 

Kohlrabi growing in the field
The name for kohlrabi is derived from “khol” meaning stem or cabbage and “rabi” meaning turnip.  While it is in the cabbage family and resembles a turnip, it grows differently than both.  Many people mistake kohlrabi for being a root vegetable that grows under the ground, but it is actually an enlarged stem that grows above the soil level.  Its stems and leaves shoot up from the bulbous part to give it a unique appearance unlike any other vegetable. 

Kohlrabi is seeded in the greenhouse in early March and transplanted to the field as early as possible in April, along with other vegetables in the same family of cole crops including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.  Kohlrabi is reliably the first of this family of vegetables to be ready, so it has earned its “niche” in seasonal eating while we wait for broccoli and cauliflower to make heads. 

Kohlrabi can be prepared in many different ways, both raw and cooked.  It can be sautéed, stir-fried, braised, roasted, grilled and baked. The simplest way to eat it is to peel it and munch on slices plain or with just a touch of salt, a little lime juice and some chili powder.  It can also be shredded and used in slaws with a variety of dressings or sliced and added to sandwiches or salads.  Over the years we’ve featured a variety of kohlrabi recipes in our newsletters, which are archived on our website.  If you ask Farmer Richard what his favorite way to eat kohlrabi is, I guarantee he’ll say “Creamy Kohlrabi Slaw!”  If you search the recipe database on our website, you’ll find several different slaw recipes including Kohlrabi Slaw with Coconut & Cilantro and Kohlrabi with Creamy Cole Slaw Dressing.  One of my favorite recipes comes from the Dishing Up the Dirt cookbook by Andrea Bemis.  We featured her Kohlrabi & Chickpea Salad recipe in our newsletter last year.  You’ll also find her recipe for BLK sandwiches (Bacon, Lettuce & Kohlrabi) in that newsletter.  Trust me…they’re delicious! 

Shanghai-Inspired Stir-Fried Pork with Kohlrabi & Bok Choi
While kohlrabi pairs well with creamy sauces and is great in refreshing salads, it is actually an adaptable vegetable that also pairs well with a lot of other flavor profiles from around the world.  Don’t be afraid to use kohlrabi in curries or stir-fries such as this Shanghai-Inspired Stir-Fried Pork with Kohlrabi & Bok Choi recipe we featured back in 2015. 

To use kohlrabi, first remove the fibrous peel from the bulb prior to eating.  You can do this easily by cutting the kohlrabi into halves or quarters and then peeling away the outer skin with a paring knife.  The flesh is dense and crisp, yet tender, juicy and sweet with a hint of a mild cabbage flavor.  The leaves on kohlrabi are edible as well, so don’t just discard them.  They have the texture and characteristics of collard greens, so you could use them in any recipe calling for collards.  They are also good eaten raw.  Just make sure you slice them thinly and toss them with an acidic vinaigrette to soften the leaves.  To store kohlrabi, cut the stems and leaves off.  Store both leaves and the bulbs in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  The leaves will keep for about 1 week, and the bulbs will last up to several weeks if stored properly.


Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce 

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

1 large or 2 medium kohlrabies, peeled (about 1 pound)

1 medium-sized russet potato, peeled (about ½ pound)
1 small onion, diced
1 ½ Tbsp minced fresh dill
1 ½ Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp fine sea salt
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
⅓ cup grapeseed oil (or other oil for high heat cooking)
Garlic Cashew Herb Sauce (recipe below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.  Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the kohlrabies and potato.  Alternatively, you can use the grating attachment on a food processor to do the same thing.  Transfer the grated vegetables to a dish towel, wring out any moisture, then put them into a bowl.
  2. Add the onion, dill, parsley, salt, and flour to the grated kohlrabi mixture.  Stir in the eggs and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  3. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Spoon ¼ cup of the mixture into the skillet and flatten it gently with a spatula.  Add 2 or 3 more fritters to the pan.  Cook this batch of fritters until they’re golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Drain them on a paper-towel-lined plate before transferring them to a baking sheet to keep them warm in the oven while you finish making all the fritters.
  4. Serve the fritters with the sauce and enjoy.

Garlic Cashew Herb Sauce 

Yield:  1 to 1 ½ cups

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
2 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ Tbsp minced dill
2 ½ Tbsp minced parley

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Drain the soaked cashews and rinse them under cold water.  Place the drained cashews with ½ cup water, lemon juice, oil, garlic, dill and parsley into a high-speed blender.  Whirl away on high until smooth and creamy;  this will take about 2 minutes, so be patient!  
  2. Scrape down the sides and add extra water, a little at a time, until you reach a smooth and creamy consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add more water to thin if necessary.
These recipes are from Andrea Bemis’ book, Dishing Up the Dirt and were recommended by a couple of CSA members who tried the fritters and really liked them!   She has more great kohlrabi recipes on her website as well, dishingupthedirt.com.