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Posted 8/3/2012 7:49am by Dave.

I’m writing this Note on Thursday afternoon, trying to get a head start on the Friday morning rush for Harrisburg and Selinsgrove deliveries. Our farm computer has gotten increasingly ornery of late, often stalling up for a minute or more at a stretch before snapping back to attention on whatever you’re trying to do. For a farmer with too much to do outside all the time, it’s not an easily tolerated situation. So the computer is off to a specialist in the morning and we are trying to get done what we can beforehand. Our farm crew has a lot of talents and skills, a great work ethic, a tolerably good sense of humor, and a fine touch in the kitchen, but on the whole we are not well versed in the workings of technology. Roy and Steve have a good grasp of machinery and can often fix a stubborn starter or bent driveshaft, but modern technology doesn’t seem to respond to the same treatment as our vintage tractor collection. (Where does one spray the starter fluid, for one?) Meanwhile the crew is hard at work harvesting the onions – no longer shall we pull up five hundred here, six hundred there, before each CSA day – now they are all in and drying down for the winter. Time to weed this afternoon, time to take care of the oh-so-close-to-harvest sweet corn, and the endless tasks of picking tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and more tomatoes. The endless drama of clouds and sunshine, thunder and wind, geese and moonlight plays out overhead and its no wonder that a day or two can go by before I realize I need to check the farm email. Thank you all for your patience with we busy farmers and our slow, tomato-stained computer keyboards. - Dave

Produce and Cooking Notes

Basil – The intoxicating smell of fresh basil continues to fill up our greenhouses and our lives. We may also have a few other herbs in the morning – parsley or cilantro, most likely.
Potatoes – The last of our new purple Vikings.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers are trying to make a comeback, so a few for all today.
Zucchini – Another planting is coming in so zucchini are picking up a bit.
Hot Peppers – We will have a selection of hot peppers available today, from mild Hungarian Hot Wax to jalapenos to spicy red cayennes.
Eggplant – Only full shares are getting eggplant today, as supplies are scarce.
Beans –More beans than expected yesterday (although some are not so pretty), so full shares get over 2 pounds and mediums get a little over a pound. Beans are a summer staple, delicious steamed or lightly boiled.
Beets Full shares are getting beets today as we continue to harvest them.
Tomatoes –Lots of tomatoes for everyone today – you’ll get a mix including regular red slicing tomatoes as well as a selection of heirlooms.

Bell Peppers - A regular sweet bell pepper or two for everyone today.

Jimmy Nardellos –Everyone is getting these big, skinny, red peppers. They are not hot, but are deliciously sweet. We will not put cayennes in Friday boxes, so if you see a skinny red pepper it is a sweet one.
Yummy Peppers– These sweet little orange peppers are delicious eaten out of hand. We didn't have quite enough today, so unfortunately only full shares are getting them.


Fantastic Fajitas
- adapted from Simply in Season

• ½ lb. chicken breasts, sirloin beef or seitan (wheat gluten) cut into thin strips (optional)
• 2 slivered onions
• 3 large sliced peppers
• 3 sliced (lengthwise) summer squash and/or sliced portabella mushrooms
• 1 c. fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 tbsp. oil
• 1 tbsp. chili powder
• 2 tsp. ground cumin
• juice of 1 lime

Mix ingredients from cilantro down and use to coat meat or seitan, summer squash and mushrooms. (Keep meat and veggies in separate bowls.) Let stand at least 15 min. Stir-fry meat until cooked through, and set aside while stir-frying first onions and peppers, and then summer squash and/or mushrooms. Serve with warm flour tortillas, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, salsa, diced cucumbers and yogurt or sour cream.

Pork Chops with Tomatillo Chile Sauce
From From Asparagus to Zucchini

  • 4 pork chops
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3-4 finely chopped jalapenos
  • 12-14 tomatillos, husked and coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp chile powder
  • 1-2 tsp sugar

Season pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high flame. Add chops and brown well on both sides. Reduce heat to medium, transfer chops to a plate, and add onions, garlic, and jalapenos to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is saucy, about 20 minutes. If it is very tart, stir in sugar to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Return pork chops to the skillet, nestling them in the sauce. Cover and simmer until chops are cooked, about 10 minutes. Corn bread is a great accompaniment.


Green Beans with Tomatoes and Herbs
From From Asparagus to Zucchini

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup sliced onions
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried ground thyme
  • 1 pound green beans, ends clipped, cut in half
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves torn off
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • Salt to taste or 2 tbsp salted butter

Heat olive oil in deep pan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes; sauté until fragrant. Add onions, sauté until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add ¼ cup water, the dried spices, and green beans. Stir, cover, and steam-cook beans until nearly done, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the rosemary and tomatoes. Cook very briefly, until tomatoes are warmed through and beans are done. Season with salt, or if you prefer, melt salted butter over the beans before serving.

Posted 7/27/2012 8:49am by Dave.

The rolling waves of thunderstorms continue to move through our little valley, sporadically enough that we are able to get plenty of work done! The tomato harvest this week has taken us all by surprise. We set out early in the week to plan for the CSA: lots of things to do, harvests to bring in, potatoes, eggplant, beets, and zucchini, berries, melons, cucumbers and basil. And probably to grab a few tomatoes along the way, maybe enough to toss a ripe red one or two into everyone’s boxes to complement their sungolds. Four hours later, we are all still knee-deep in tomatoes, running out of buckets, carrying them out by the ton, and wondering when we’re going to get to everything else on the list? Every year this moment comes and takes us like a red storm and we’re reminded of what a bounty farming can really provide us with. As July slips away we’re still trying to get caught up, a little, on the weeding and planting, so that we can stay productive into the fall, but the tomatoes keep knocking at our door. Like a particularly persistent salesman they have arrived and don’t intend to be delayed for long. So hopefully we are ready for them! – hopefully our crew knows their tasks and can work long hours together in harmony, bending, picking, sorting, packing, pound after pound, bushel after bushel, of fresh tomatoes. August, here we come!

Produce and Cooking Notes

Basil – The intoxicating smell of fresh basil continues to fill up our greenhouses and our lives.
Cucumbers – Cucumber harvests have fallen off recently but I think (as I write this) that we will have enough for everyone. Zucchini, on the other hand, are in a lull; you might get one as a surprise but don’t expect it.
Hot Peppers – We will have a selection of hot peppers available today, from mild Hungarian Hot Wax to red hot cayennes.
Sungolds – The sungolds continue to rise as reliably as their namesake.
Eggplant – Everyone can get an eggplant today, although some are admittedly not as big as others!
Beets A few weeks later than the carrots they were planted alongside, our summer beets have started to come in nicely.
Onions - The onion harvest continues to come in, so we should keep having them in your boxes.
Tomatoes –Lots of tomatoes for everyone today – you’ll get a mix including regular red slicing tomatoes as well as a selection of heirlooms.
Bell Peppers – Everyone is getting some bell peppers today, either yellow or purple sweet peppers. In addition full shares are getting the big, skinny, red Jimmy Nardellos, a sweet frying pepper (not a hot pepper!), and the bright orange Yummy Peppers which are a tasty snack for lunches or after work.

 

Community Tomato Canning Days! “Many hands make light work.” We’ll be canning whole tomatoes at the FoodShed on Wednesday, August 8 and Wednesday, August 22 starting at 9 am and would love for you to join us! Working together, we hope to be done by lunch time or soon after. Space is limited to four additional persons, but there is the possibility of adding more days. Purchase canning tomatoes from Village Acres, bring your jars and lids, and we will all work together on the large six burner stove to get our combined tomatoes canned in one fell swoop. Whole tomatoes are quick and versatile. Canned whole tomatoes make great pasta sauce, can be blended for tomatoes soup, added to stews, or chopped into a wintertime salsa. They are one of the most energy efficient ways to store tomatoes as well! If find there are more folks interested in community canning at a different time, let us know and we’ll try to make it happen. Register by emailing Julie at foodshed@villageacresfarm.com First come, first serve.

Luscious Beet Salad
– from Feeding the Whole Family Cookbook

• 4 large beets
• 1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds, toasted
• 1 bunch beet greens
• 2 scallions, finely chopped
• 1/4 lb. feta cheese
• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• 3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
• 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
Cut cooked beets into cubes. Tear greens into bite-sized pieces and steam lightly (30 seconds or less), if you like, though it’s not necessary. Squeeze excess water out of greens if you steamed them. Toss beets and greens with seeds and scallions. Shake dressing ingredients in a jar and pour over salad. Toss again and sprinkle cheese on top.

Easy Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Salad
From From Asparagus to Zucchini
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small cucumber
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
salt to taste
1 tbsp minced cilantro

Stem the cherry tomatoes; slice in half. Cut cucumber in half crosswise, quarter the halves, and slice. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or so. Serve at room temperature.

Panzanella
from The Farmer’s Market Cookbook

• 2 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled, and chopped
• 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 2 lbs ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped, juices reserved
• 4 tbsp best olive oil
• 1 cucumber, chopped
• 1 ½ loaves day-old Italian bread
• 25 basil leaves, cut in strips
• 1 small jar capers, rinsed and drained
• 1 small jar anchovies, rinsed and drained

• In a mortar and pestle, make a dressing with the garlic, vinegar, tomato juice, and oil. Or chop all ingredients as finely as possible and mash them together.
• Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks and toast it lightly. Put it into a salad bowl and toss it in the dressing. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil. Scatter over the capers and anchovies and marinate for at least 1 hour. Season to taste and eat at room temperature.

Posted 7/13/2012 9:13am by Dave.

We're well into July now, enough that the Fourth has faded to a smoky memory and people have stopped asking what happened to June. Now summer seems to stretch off into a hazy infinity on every horizon. Children can’t remember what school was like, and none of us can believe that the land was recently covered with snow or that the vibrantly green leaves on the trees were not so long ago blazing red and orange. Even on the farm, where the seasons march incessantly onward and we are always thinking two or three months in the future, we seem to be stuck in time for a bit, or maybe poised at the top of a Ferris wheel waiting to slide down the other side. (By “poised at the top of a Ferris wheel” I mean weeding). It feels like we could wait here, weeding and watering, forever, but actually time is still marching on. Just yesterday we started to harvest garlic – after a few weeks of curing it’ll be ready for distribution, hopefully just in time for tomato season to kick off. Onions are also ready for harvest; you’ll see the first few fresh onions in your boxes today. Blueberries are declining, raspberries are increasing, and every day, even if we can’t picture the red-leaved fall foliage on the hill, we can see the tomatoes and bell peppers following the same trajectory – a little less green every day, and a little more red and beautiful. Soon the whole farm will be awash in color and taste! - Dave


Produce and Cooking Notes

Lettuce – The lettuce is just about done – you will see that today’s heads are pretty small and yet still desperately trying to bolt in the heat.
Basil – A little basil, a few sungolds, and some balsamic vinegar sounds like the start to plenty of delicious summer salads.
Carrots – Full shareholders are getting a bunch of summer carrots today, versatile, sweet, and tasty.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches.
Zucchini – We are well into the second planting now – you might see the small UFO-shaped patty pan squash mixed in with today’s zucchini.
Hot Peppers – The mildly hot Hungarian Hot Wax peppers were doing very well this morning, so we’re packing them into everyone’s boxes today.
Sungolds – These tasty cherry tomatoes, good on their own or in salads, are starting to really fruit well now.
Eggplant – We’re mostly getting Oriental eggplants, whose long cylindrical shape makes them easy to slice and portion, but the globe-style Italian varieties are also starting to come in.
Watermelon – So much for berries! Instead of a box of tiny fruit, this week everyone is getting a big watermelon and an almost-as-big cantaloupe. Make sure you have a watermelon – since they’ll be available for pickup outside your box at most sites.
Canteloupe – Not just for breakfast, cantaloupe are an easy snack any time of day.
Fresh Onions - These onions, fresh-picked Monday morning, should have a milder, sweeter taste than regular storage onions. Otherwise you can use them wherever you normally enjoy onions.
Tomatoes – The first of our tomatoes are starting to come in – mainly the tiny but oh-so-early Belstar variety. We’ll see bigger and more numerous tomatoes soon for sure, but enjoy these for the moment.

Recipes

Ratatouille Bake
- from Rolling Prairie Cookbook

• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 c. eggplant, peeled and diced
• 2 c. summer squash, chopped
• 1 green pepper, diced
• 2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped
• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
• ½ tsp. salt
• 1/8 tsp. pepper
• 8-10 oz. frozen cheese-filled pasta (tortellini or ravioli)
• 4 oz. mozzarella, grated

Saute garlic, onions and eggplant for several minutes, stirring constantly. Add zucchini, pepper, tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook over medium heat several minutes more, reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook until veggies are tender and flavors are blended, about 30 min. While veggies are simmering, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Lightly oil a casserole and line bottom with cooked pasta. Cover with hot veggies, top with grated cheese and broil until nicely brown on top.


Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup with Yogurt or Sour Cream
Angelic Organics Kitchen (adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook).
Serves 4 to 6

• 4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 4 cups)
• 1 to 2 cups water
• 2 cups plain yogurt (or 1 cup plain yogurt combined with 1 cup sour cream)
• 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
• several fresh mint leaves
• 2 tablespoons fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 scallions, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

1. Combine the chopped cucumber, 1 cup water, yogurt, garlic, mint, dill, honey, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor. Purée the ingredients, adding more of the water until the soup is a consistency you like. Season with more salt to taste.

2. Transfer the soup to a large bowl and chill for several hours. Garnish each serving with chopped scallions.

 

Baked Zucchini Halves Stuffed with Wild Rice and Quinoa
Angelic Organics
Serves 4 to 6

• 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
• 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
• 1/2 cup cooked wild rice

 

• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 ounce)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
• 1 rib celery, chopped
• 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
• 1 teaspoon salt
• butter (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

2. Cut out the center from each half of the zucchini with a paring knife, being careful not to puncture the bottom or the sides; reserve the centers. Transfer the hollow halves, cut-side up, to a baking dish.

3. Coarsely chop the zucchini centers and put them in a large bowl. Add the quinoa, wild rice, and Parmesan. Stir until well combined.

4. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the bread crumbs and salt. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the bread crumbs are well mixed in and heated through, about 1 minute.

5. Add the bread crumb mixture to the quinoa/rice mixture and combine well.Stuff hollow zucchini halves with the quinoa/rice mixture. Cover with aluminum foil; bake for 40 minutes.

6. Remove the foil. If you wish, dot each half with a pat of butter. Continue baking until zucchini is very tender and the filling is golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Posted 6/29/2012 8:14am by Dave .

A busy week on the farm, as the sun burns away the last of June and drives us on into July. The farm work is changing, too, as the heat of summer comes on. We just finished transplanting leeks, and winter squash are already in the ground and vining out. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are still awaiting their turn, and after that the big transplanter will sit idle for long months, unless we pull it out to help plant a couple hundred lettuce here and there – almost too few plants to make it worthwhile hooking up a machine. And there are still fall roots to sow – carrots and beets, turnips and rutabagas – but all in all the season of sowing is almost done and year is turning towards daily harvesting. But first, year after year, comes July, a season of soaring highs and crushing lows, as evident by the two main tasks marked for it by a long-ago apprentice in our CSA Manager’s Guidebook: Weed everything, it says, and Eat berries. Most of July is busy with these two tasks (although I think it’s just supposed to say “pick” for that second verb). On Wednesday we all picked berries an hour past our quitting time – we didn’t even realize the day had flown on by. Trust me that this doesn’t happen when the crew is knee-deep in weeds. And so it is with July – the heat can be unbearable, but the cantaloupe are about to come in; the tomatoes need constant attention, but they’re getting riper every day. One big month-long push on weeds, that’s what we need – and then (let’s hope) we’ll just harvest, harvest, harvest, until the snow flies. - Dave

Produce and Cooking Notes
Lettuce – Lettuce production may start to get iffy if July gets hot and dry, but we’ll keep it coming as long as we can.
Chard – Some rainbow chard for full shareholders, who love to eat their greens.
Basil – Basil is possibly the very smell of summer, right up there with grilled meat and fireworks.
New Potatoes – We had a row of fingerling potatoes that we must have missed harvesting last fall, on a dreary rainy day in September. They all sprang up again this spring and we got them up out of the ground on Friday so they wouldn’t pass any diseases on to nearby tomato plants.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches.
Zucchini – The zucchini planting seems to have hit a lull, so hopefully they pick up soon or their backups will have to take over.
Hot Peppers – Our greenhouse plantings of hot peppers seem to be doing well, and you might get one of three types today– the cute purplish Czech Blacks, the small green jalapenos, and the long yellow-green Hungarian Hot Waxes. The first two are comparable in strength; the latter are our mildest hot pepper and are similar to a spicy banana pepper – too hot to eat out of hand, but good for slicing into sandwiches or salads.
Sungolds – Sungold production keeps picking up, but for today we only have enough for full shares.
Eggplant – Still coming in just enough for full shareholders, but more are on the way.
Berries – Today members will be getting either blackberries or blueberries, both picked here on the farm for a taste of July.
Rhubarb – It’s been a good year for late rhubarb, and the 4th is a good day for a rhubarb pie too.
Eggs – We have been trying since April to keep up with our overly productive chickens, but with little luck! – so everyone gets a free egg share today. Let us know if you’re a vegan, or if you have a bunch of egg shares already and can’t keep up – we have a few other options for folks that can’t eat more eggs.

Fingerling Potato Salad with Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette
from Bon Appetit (Sept ’06)

Vinaigrette:
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar
•¼ cup canola oil
•1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
•½ tsp chopped fresh tarragon
•Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Potatoes:
•2 cups coarse sea salt
•2 pounds fingerling potatoes
•2 ¼-inch thick slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ¼” thick strips
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
•2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
•2 green onions, thinly sliced

For vinaigrette, combine mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in oil, then herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

For potatoes, preheat oven to 400 F. Spread sea salt in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet; arrange potatoes over salt, spacing slightly apart. Cover sheet with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, uncover, and cool to lukewarm.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Peel potatoes, cut in half lengthwise. Place warm potatoes in a medium bowl. Add bacon, shallots, eggs, onions, and vinaigrette. Toss well and serve warm.

Salad Greens with Chinese-style dressing
From Asparagus to Zucchini

• 1/3 cup sesame oil
• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger
• dash of cayenne
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp sesame seeds
• 1 tbsp chopped green onion
• Salad greens

Mix all ingredients and toss with greens. Peas and cucumbers also make good additions. 



Baked Summer Squash
From Asparagus to Zucchini

• 1 ½ lbs summer squash
• salt and pepper
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1-2 tsp thyme
• ½ tsp curry powder
• 1/8 tsp oregano
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ cup safflower oil
• scant 1 cup tomato juice

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a large baking dish. Slice squash lengthwise or diagonally 1/8 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in a baking dish to make overlapping layers. Combine remaining ingredients and spread on top of squash. Bake until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.

Cinammon Zucchini Cake
From Asparagus to Zucchini

• 2 ½ cups flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 4 eggs
• 2 cups shredded zucchini
• ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Frosting:
• 4 oz cream cheese, softened
• 4 tbsp butter, softened
• 1 tbsp milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Mix oil and eggs in another bowl until smooth; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Add zucchini, stir until thoroughly combined. Fold in walnuts if desired. Spread mixture in prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Cool thoroughly. To make frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Frost cake.

Tags: summer
Posted 6/22/2012 8:14am by Dave.

 

Last week was truly hot, a fitting start to the official start of summer that’s marked by the longest day of the year. I have never held with those official dates for seasons much, personally. If I have to set a date, I usually go with whole months: all of June seems summery, and all of December tends towards winteriness. We in the US tend to unofficially run summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, including more of June, but not September – and yet September is definitely still summer on the farm, hot and humid, full of tomatoes, bell peppers, and sweet corn, and if the leaves are starting to take on a brown hue towards the end of their days so be it. I heard, once, that in the old Celtic calendars of Ireland they only had two seasons: summer ran from May through October, and winter occupied the dark days of November through April. That seems appropriate, and simple enough. But really, all of this is artificial, a result of humanity’s need to define Nature and fit it into a neatly ordered box. Summer arrives, sometime around the middle of June, in ripening strawberries, flickering fireflies, and days that are not just comfortably warmer but downright hot. A warm front drifts in and you just can’t call it spring anymore. Instead of banking fires at night we lay in sweaty beds, carefully arranging fans around the room, planning out canoe trips and picnics, getting up early to pick lettuce and can cherries before the day gets too hot. It is summer! – and no season for philosophy. Like all of these vegetables, it comes precisely when it is ready, and not a moment before. - Dave

 

Produce and Cooking Notes
Lettuce – The lettuce survived last week’s heat and seems happy to be back to slightly cooler temperatures.
Basil – We’ve started packing the basil right into the boxes; not only does it smell delicious, but it makes sure that folks coming later to distribution have some left to get.
New Potatoes – These are from the Hostetlers (unsprayed, but not certified organic), although we have a big planting of our own that we are just starting to harvest. So we should new potatoes for quite a bit this July. These have a fresher flavor than storage potatoes and take well to boiling; I love them in potato salads too.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches.
Zucchini – Zucchini season seems to be going well on the farm, and as we get used to picking regularly the abundance of giant ones should drop.
Hot Peppers – Our greenhouse plantings of hot peppers seem to be doing well, and three types – the cute purplish Czech Blacks, the small green jalapenos, and the long yellow-green Hungarian Hot Waxes – are available today. The first two are comparable in strength; the latter are our mildest hot pepper and are similar to a spicy banana pepper – too hot to eat out of hand, but good for slicing into sandwiches or salads.
Sungolds or Peas – The beginning of one treat and the end of another; full shares are getting a choice between sungolds or peas today. If you pick peas, you might get shell or snap peas; we’ll label the bags so you won’t be too surprised.
Eggplant – The beginnings of our eggplant crop make me fairly hopeful for the rest of the year, although there’s only enough today for full shares. These long, thin Asian eggplant are ideal for slicing into rounds.
Blueberries – These blueberries are from Byer’s in Allenwood; they are unsprayed but not organic.

 

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Salad with Attitude: The Final Frontier -- Makes about 3 cups. Submitted by Lindsay Williambrown, a fellow CSA member.

 

This recipe is for those of us who never got what all the cucumber salad fuss was about. Those of you who did will like it, too, though.

 

• 2 small cucumbers, the smaller a dice the better
• 1 small fresh onion, quartered and sliced thinly
• 3-4 T. raw tahini (I like Spectrum, but if you can do better, by all means do)
• 1 T. pure maple syrup
• ½-3/4 t. Louisiana hot sauce
• 1/3 t. kosher salt

 

Combine all ingredients. If you have the bad fortune of having to share, serve as an accompaniment to salads, meats, breads, cheeses, or as an accent to a fruit tray. If not, a spoon and a glass of wine will do the trick. I would tell you what it tastes like after it sits for a day, but I really don't know.
Note: to go lower fat, substitute half the tahini with a raw lowfat yogurt.


Papas a la Huancaina (Traditional Peruvian potato salad)
From Asparagus to Zucchini
Juice of 1 lemon

  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds potatoes
  • 10 oz queso fresco
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 hot peppers, seeded
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup black olives
  • 3-4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

Combine lemon juice, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Add onion, separated into rings, and marinate at room temperature, tossing often.  Boil potatoes in salted water until barely tender. Drain and keep warm. Blend cheese, heavy cream, and hot peppers in blender or food processor until thick and smooth. Heat olive oil and turmeric over low heat in large pan, add cheese mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth. Drain onions. Arrange potatoes on platter and pour sauce over them. Garnish with onions, olives, and eggs. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8-10 servings.

Posted 6/15/2012 8:07am by Dave.

“No price is set on the lavish summer/ June may be had by the poorest comer.” 
― James Russell Lowell


 

The weather has finally turned, if not especially dry, into something June-like. Aside from today and Monday, the rain has mostly come in fierce summer thunderstorms and the days in between are hot enough that the ground gets a little workable. Those dry days are muggy, thickly hot and humid, but we are relishing them and trying to get caught up. The strawberry season, delicious though it is, was a short-lived one this year, and we’re not as sad to see it go as you all probably are. Two days a week, full of nothing but picking and picking, were making it hard to take advantage of the few dry days we’ve had. Now the forecasters are calling for clear skies and hot days on to the beginning of summer, so the farm crew will just keep on rolling, rolling, rolling along behind the transplanter, popping those seedlings into the ground. We’ve got to get this done! – the blueberries look to be coming in early this year. - Dave

 

Produce and Cooking Notes
Lettuce – More lettuce for your boxes – today we’ve got red leaf lettuce, green romaines, or reddish-green head lettuce.
Chard – The chard and kale are now the only survivors of the “early spring” plantings that brought radishes, arugula, and spinach to late winter and early summer shares. Everything else is tilled up and ready for a second round of crops.
Garlic Scapes – Garlic scapes are the flowering stalk of the garlic plant, pulled out so that the plant puts all of its energy into sizing up the bulb. They can be used like a scallion, or, with a bit of olive oil, make a delicious pesto ground up in a food processor.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches.
Zucchini – Zucchini season looks like it will be here for a while, but just to be sure we got a second generation planted yesterday afternoon.
Snap Peas – The snap peas are round, fat peas in cardboard tills (berry boxes) and vary a bit in quality depending on which planting they come from. Some are beautiful and green, enough to eat raw – while most could use a little cooking and a few sad pods might be better off shelled. They should all be tasty though.
Snow Peas – Today’s snow peas (the flat pea pods in plastic bags) are from the Hostetler’s, our Amish friends. They are spray- and pesticide-free but not certified organic. Snow peas are not as sweet as snap peas, but their crisp texture makes them just the right ingredient for any stir fry.
Radishes – Full shares are getting a bunch of radishes. They’re small but should still be a fun addition to a salad or snack bowl.
Cabbage or Spinach – Full shares are also getting a choice between a spring cabbage (from a fellow co-op member’s surplus, so they’re certified organic but not from our fields) or a bag of spinach from our planting. Odd weather makes for odd choices, I guess, but you can decide whether you want a springtime spinach salad or a summery cole slaw. 

 

Cucumber Moons Sautéed with Fresh Dill – From Asparagus to Zucchini

• 2 large or 3 medium cucumbers
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
• 2 tablespoons fresh dill
• salt and pepper
Peel cucumbers with potato peeler and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds with a spoon. Slice about ¼ to 1/3 inch thick. Heat butter in large, heavy skillet over medium flame. Take care not to let the butter brown, but get it good and hot. Add cucumbers and onions and cook, tossing often, until cucumbers begin to get tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in dill plus salt and pepper to taste. Continue to toss and cook until crisp-tender, 1-2 minutes longer. Serve immediately. (Note: The cucumbers in this recipe could also be cut into “hoops”: use a long spoon to scoop the seed out of a peeled cucumber, then slice it into rounds.) Makes 4-6 servings.


Spicy No-Mayo Cole Slaw
From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
• 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 small clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh chile, like jalapeño, Thai, serrano, or habanero, or to taste (optional)
• 1/4 cup peanut oil or extra virgin olive oil
• 6 cups cored and shredded Napa, Savoy, green, and/or red cabbage
• 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced or shredded
• 1/3 cup chopped scallion, more or less
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1. To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl, along with the garlic and chile. Add the oil a little at a time, whisking all the while.
2. Combine the cabbage, bell pepper, and scallion and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve. (It’s best to let the slaw rest for an hour or so to allow the flavors to mellow; the cabbage will also soften a bit and exude some juice. You can let it sit longer, up to 24 hours, if you like. Drain the slaw before continuing.) Just before serving, toss with the parsley.


Stir-fried Beef with Snow Peas
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/beef-with-snow-peas/

• 1-1/2 pound Flank Steak, trimmed of fat and sliced very thin against the grain
• 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
• 3 Tbsp sherry or cooking sherry
• 2 Tbsp brown sugar
• 2 Tbsp cornstarch
• 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
• 8 ounces fresh snow peas, ends trimmed
• 5 whole scallions (or scapes), cut to ½”
• Salt as needed
• 3 Tbsp peanut or olive oil
• crushed red pepper, for sprinkling

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Add sliced meat to bowl and toss with hands. Set aside.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is best) or wok over high heat. Add snow peas and stir for 45 seconds. Remove to a separate plate. Set aside.
Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions. Spread out meat as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.) Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.
Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas. Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. Mixture will thicken as it sits.
Serve immediately over rice. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.

Posted 6/14/2011 11:53am by Dave.

After last week’s water problems the farm crew was finally forced to muster our resources and attack the irrigation problem from every angle.  One person setting up the system just wasn’t cutting it anymore, even if there were plenty of other tasks at hand.  Finally we had to send everyone out – running drip tapes, moving overhead sprinklers, fixing leaks and pumps, networking all the miles of tubing together and trying to keep track of how it lays in a way that makes sense later.  Finally, by late Thursday evening, the thirsty crops all had a direct line to the cold water in Lost Creek.  Thunderheads moved in as if on cue and dark rumblings sounded off in the distance, but aside from a few sprinkles the rains never came – so all the work seemed worthwhile.  We did get a good soaking over the weekend, but the crops under plastic mulch are much happier for the water and having the system set up is a great weight off our shoulders.

      Otherwise the farm crew is settling into summer.  We found ourselves slowly adapting to last week’s heat, so that the cool mornings this week have taken us by surprise. The weeds are as dense as ever, but the strawberries are (sadly) diminishing already, and the constant rush of transplanting occasionally abates.  Before long blueberries will be ripening, and then tomatoes, and summer will be over before we know it – so I hope you all can take some time to enjoy June while it’s here!  

Tags: summer, water