Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Week 5: Squishy, Wet Spring!

Week 5: This Squishy,Wet Spring

~Thank you for bringing back your empty boxes so we can reuse them!~ The boxes are high quality, waxed boxes to ensure that your produce stays fresh…and they are pricey.

Read the Farm News today to see important crop updates! In this newsletter…Kale pesto recipe, Swiss chard frittata recipe, sugar snap peas.

Farm Fresh Harvest
Summer squash and Zucchini-The first of the summer squash!  The rain has not been kind to the squash.  Too much damp causes problems with the fruit.  But yesterday’s sunshine (and more days to come) will help the squash produce their delicious fruit.
Sugar snap peas-Peas are a great spring treat.  Enjoy their sweet crunch plain as a snack, in a stir fry, or in a salad.
Scallions- Scallions are a spring or green onion.  Eat the white stalk and the green leaves! They add a sweet, mild onion flavor to any dish! Great raw or substitute a few scallions for a big onion in cooking.
Radishes, Baby “French Breakfast” This variety is easy to slice or grate. It is milder than other types. (The radishes are a little spicier this week since the weather has warmed up.)
        ~Do you think radishes are spicy? Much of the spiciness is a volatile, aromatic flavor that will dissipate once you slice or grate the radish.  I make sure to dress the sliced or grated radishes with a bit of salt, olive oil, and sweet white balsamic vinegar and let them marinate for at least 5 minutes before serving.
-Head lettuce- Buttercrunch or summer crisp (The best lettuce! Try using the leaves as a fun wrap for sandwiches or egg salad.  Also works well as a wrap for tabbouli
Hakurei and scarlet red queen turnips- These smooth white salad turnips are sweet! The red turnips have more spice to them like a radish.  Both are good sliced and eaten raw in a salad. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt and olive oil over the chopped or sliced turnips and marinate for 5-10 minutes before using in a salad.  You can also try sautéing them lightly- you still want to keep the crunch.  No greens this week on the turnips because the warmer weather has brought out the insects to devour them.
 “Red Russian” Kale- Large Shares only this week red-purple stems, light green leaves.
Curly Kale-  Best for kale chips! Also great raw in a salad… chop finely, marinate with balsamic vinegar for 10 minutes, and add to a salad.
Swiss chard- Rainbow swiss chard.  Adds color and dark healthy green to any dish.  We use in place of spinach in many dishes-in a tomato sauce, in omelets and quiches, or just sautéed with onions and served as a side. Recipe below
Parsley- “What do I do with parsley?” Almost any meal tastes better with a couple of tablespoons of minced parsley sprinkled over the top or cooked in.  Well, for starters, parsley freshens breath, is great for digestion, and is packed full of iron.    A sprinkle of chopped parsley doesn’t make the meal taste like parsley; it makes the meal’s flavors more balanced. Check out recipes below.
        ~Add to sandwiches. Make a baby salad and hummus wrap.

Coming soon…
From Rain Comes Rainbows!
Farm News
          We hope you continue to enjoy the crops from an extended cool spring-kale, chard, and other greens.  You’ve noticed the bounty of rainstorms lately, and you’ve heard about flooding from everyone from the weatherman to your co-worker. What does this mean for you and your farmer? Summer crops will be late in coming.  Late June and July boxes might be a little less full than usual.  This is because spring crops will be finishing, but the summer crops won’t be ready for harvest yet.  CSA shares vary from week to week based on what and when vegetable crops are ready for harvesting. 

In what is becoming a familiar refrain I will blame it on the rain!  Since last week’s box we have received about another 4 inches of rain-3 of them in a 3 hour downpour on Sunday.  In May we had over a foot and we are around 8 inches for June.  In Burke County the average for May and June is a little more than 4 inches each month.  A little extra is nice to recharge ground water depleted from past droughts.  But 4-8 inches extra!?

The extra water has nowhere to go at this point.  It is just sitting in our vegetable field.  Jace, who owns Silver Creek Farm where we lease our large vegetable field and pastures, told me that in the 25 years he’s lived there he has only seen standing water like this one other time.  It is a wet year!  All in all, we are lucky that our field is not under 4 feet of water or that hail has not shredded the crops, or that a tornado has not twisted life around it…It could always be worst than it is! And we are very thankful for what we have!

All that water means we don’t have to irrigate (we can’t actually because the creek is too high for the pump to work).  But it also causes other problems.  Excessive moisture is creating fruit rot on squash.  It also makes certain soil nutrients unavailable by leaching them out of the soil.  A healthy soil is about half pore space and half actual soil particles.  Right now that half pore space is all water.  Plant roots do need air to be healthy, so 100% soil saturation is not beneficial for proper root functioning.
The water also prevents us from entering the field with heavy tractors.  They would compact the soil, tear it up, and possible get stuck.  This means that the weeds are way ahead of us.  The weeds and moisture have kept us from following our planting calendar.  In yesterday’s sunshine we finally planted beans that were supposed to be planted a month ago!
Check out the awesome recipes below. The kale pesto recipe is from the farm of one of my favorite farm “characters,” John Peterson of Angelic Organics.  If you haven’t seen it, you must see the vibrant and hilarious documentary, The Real Dirt on Farmer John.  And also, you should purchase the quirky, down to earth farm cookbook, Farmer John’s Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables. Every CSA member should have one!  There is also a tasty season frittata recipe contributed by CSA member Caite McKinney.


Veggie tips: 
·         Store your greens and head lettuce in plastic bags in your crisper drawer to keep them hydrated and fresh.  
·         Place herb stems in a little glass of water to keep them hydrated and fresh.
·         Remember to wash and swirl veggies in a bowl of cool water to clean the field dirt before eating.  
·         We like to store a washed head of lettuce in a salad spinner in the fresh for easy access to washed lettuce.


Kale Pesto
This recipe is a winner.  Almost everyone loves kale chips ,right? Well, this recipe is the 2nd best sneaky food trick you can do with kale right next to making kale chips.  I add more garlic and salt to my version of this kale pesto.  I also double the recipe and use 2 bunches of kale. If you are going to dirty your food processor, may as well make some extra, right?  
Recipe is as follows…from Farmer John’s Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables
While your Italian grandmother might cringe at this being called a pesto, reassure her that this is just a contemporary spin on that classic dish and you will continue to also make it with basil and pine nuts.  But still, make this dish for her- she will certainly be won over.  This version of pesto is particularly good over roasted potatoes, but it works great over pasta, too.  You can freeze it, but if you do, don’t add the cheese; simply mix it in after the pesto has thawed, when you are ready to serve. Shareholder (adapted from the Seed Savers Calendar, 1998).

Kale Pesto
Makes about 1 cup

¼ cup                        chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon plus
½ teaspoon                salt, divided
½ pound                     kale coarsely chopped (1 bunch)
2 cloves                      garlic
½ cup                         extra virgin olive oil
½ cup                         freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ½ ounces)
                                  Freshly ground  black pepper

1.        Toast the chopped walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat, stirring constantly, until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant.  (Be careful not to over toast them, as the will burn very quickly once they are toasted.) Immediately transfer the walnuts to a dish to cool.
2.       Bring two quarts of water to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon salt, then add the kale.  Cook kale until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. (I only cooked the kale 5 minutes.)
3.       Put the garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse until minced.
4.       Add the walnuts and kale; pulse until well combined.  With the blender or food processor running, pour in the olive oil in a stead smooth pencil-thin stream.
5.       When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer to a bowl.  Stir in the Parmesan, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper.  Serve hot or chilled.

Garlic Stir-Fried Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas are a real garden treat.  The entire crunchy pod and juicy peas are edible. Just break off the tiny stem.  Every year we thick about not growing sugar snap peas, because their window of pea production is so short and it takes forever to pick them!  We end up growing them because they are so delicious, and we want to make sure our CSA members get some special veggies! Their season is very short; we’ll only have them for a few weeks. 

From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce.  Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. Submitted by Oak Ridge Farm
3 cups sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon oil (any mild one)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked rice (optional) (you can also try quinoa)
Heat oil in skillet. Stir in garlic. Add peas; cook and stir 2-4 minutes on medium-high heat.  Remove and sprinkle on lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Serve over rice, if desired.  Makes 3-4 servings.
Note: I add scallions to my stir-fry when I add the peas.  Stir-Fried Snap Peas goes well with stir-fried kale. Blanch chopped kale for 5 minutes, drain well and pat excess moisture with paper towel.  In a separate pan, over medium high heat, stir-fry 1 tablespoon oil, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and blanched kale …stir-fry for 2-4 minutes. Combine with Stir-Fried Snap Peas and serve.

Check out the link above for this delicious recipe!
“ I made it tonight with your eggs, and chard, onions and goat cheese from other market vendors. Yummy!”  Caite McKinney, CSA member.

From Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine, Abourezk
Marie’s comments in italics…
Go ahead and switch the recipe up a bit!  I recommend adding sweet peppers and cucumbers with feta cheese and basil. You can also use curly kale instead of parsley! Yep!

½ cup bulgur wheat (I’ve used cous cous before too)
½ cup water
4 cups finely chopped ripe tomatoes
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
2 large bunches parsley, about 5 cups finely chopped (1 large bunch is plenty! Chop parsley very fine- almost to a fluff) You can also use curly kale instead of parsley!
1 cup chopped onions
1 tbl dried mint flakes

1.        Rinse the bulgur, drain and then add ½ cup of the water and let stand for 15 minutes.  Place the bulgur in a large mixing bowl, then add the tomatoes and lemon juice.  Chop the parsley (very fine-almost to a fluff).  Place on top of the bulgur and tomato mixture.  Add the onion, mint flakes, and the oil and mix thoroughly.
2.        Tabbouli can be prepared a couple hours ahead of time if you wish.  Simply leave out the oil and lemon juice dressing until you’re ready to serve.  Adding the dressing too soon makes the parsley wilt and creates too much liquid in the bottom of the salad bowl.
3.       In the Arab world, tabbouli is scooped up and eaten with lettuce leaves, rather than with silverware.  Putting each serving of tabbouli inside a lettuce or a cabbage leaf rather than displaying them in a flat dish is a very tempting presentation.  Or, for an elegant looking and tasting hors d’oeuvre, cut cherry tomatoes in half, remove the center, and fill them with tabbouli.

Parsley Hummus with Whole Wheat Pita Chips
Marie’s notes: This is a recipe that is very similar to the parsley hummus that I make with my food processor.  I assemble all of the ingredients, whip up a batch of hummus, and stick the food processor in the dishwasher.  Voila! Healthy, quick, and economical hummus for snacks and lunches.  We like to include hummus in veggie wraps and sandwiches. 
 I never use a recipe for hummus; I use approximate ratios.  The hummus that I make does not have any sour cream in it, but it has a total of 5 or 6 tablespoons of olive oil instead.  Sour cream is not traditionally used to make hummus. 
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups hummus, recipe adapted from Parsley Hummus in The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh.)

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped parsley (pack parsley into half-cup measure, then chop in food processor)
1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2-3 garlic cloves)
1/4 cup sour cream (I used low-fat sour cream)
3 T tahini sauce
1 1/2 T lemon juice
2 T sesame oil
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. salt (or less, this seems like a generous amount of salt, so add salt to taste)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or hot sauce
1 T water (more or less, depending on how thick you like it)
3-4 pieces whole wheat pita bread, cut into triangles
olive oil, for spraying pita and baking sheet

1.  Preheat oven to 450 F. Drain chickpeas (garbanzo beans) into a colander placed in the sink, then rinse until no more foam appears and let the water drain off.
2.  Put parsley and garlic into bowl of food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade. Process about 1 minute, until parsley is well chopped. Add drained chickpeas and process 1-2 minutes, until beans are mostly smooth. Add sour cream, Tahini sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, olive oil, cumin, salt, and cayenne or hot sauce. Process until mixture is very smooth. Test thickness and add a bit of water if you'd like it to be a little thinner.
3.  Cut whole wheat pita into triangles. Spray baking sheet with olive oil, then arrange pita triangles in a single layer. Spray top of chips with olive oil. Toast chips 4-5 minutes, then turn and toast 1-2 minutes more. (Watch them carefully at the end because they can get too brown rather quickly.)

Serve hummus with pita chips. Can also be served with cauliflower, celery, carrot sticks, or red bell pepper strips.

This printable recipe from
Posted by Kalyn at 8:17 PM 

Tangy Honey Dill Salad dressing

½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup good grainy Dijon mustard
2-6 cloves garlic (depending on personal tastes)
½ tsp salt
5-6 grinds black pepper
1 bunch dill, stems removed
2 tablespoons honey
 1 cup extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil

Combine the vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, dill, and honey in a food processor.  
Start the machine and, with the motor running, gradually drizzle in the oil.

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