Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

September Thirteenth

The family meal continues to increase in value for me as our small family grows.  In the hustle and quickening pace of our modern-day lives, we still manage to find a pause for all three meals sitting together as a family at my grandmother’s old scratched-up kitchen table.  My mom says that grandma would roll in her grave if she could see that table now.  Meal time is the single most important ritual that holds our family together among the in-the-door/out-the-door happenings on the farm with the crowds of people coming and going.  We somehow manage to protect our little meal-time bubble space and convene over a home-cooked repast. DSC 0345 1

Protecting the space of the family meal feels more important to me than almost any other activity we do together or separately as a family or individuals.  The family meal offers a structure to the day and a known healthy routine in the home.  The parents and the children can take solace in knowing that no matter what happens on this day, we will eat at the said time.  It offers a nutritious meal made from scratch by mom or dad or another husband or wife comprised of home-grown farm-fresh, local and organic ingredients.  It also provides a time period for rest, re-grouping and giving thanks. 

We are not a particularly religious family, but we do practice expressing our graditude for what we have before we eat.  We take turns saying aloud at least one thing we are thankful for on this day.  Aliza almost always says she’s thankful that mom and dad are back.  Ayla has something new to say every day, but many times she’s thankful for the friends who come and play with her.  Adam and I are usually thankful for the weather cooprating, the nice harvest, our health, our family, our sometimes something more specific.  But it’s a good practice, I think, to express appreciation aloud.  This simple pause before the meal is also an exercise in communion and patience and an awareness for what we are doing.  It makes the act of eating more deliberate.  More intentional.  Even more satisfying and wholesome. 

It’s also really fun to work on dinner table etiquette with small children!   Teaching a two year old to stay seated for dinner takes years of practice!  Teaching a 5 year-old how to set the table and ask to be excused also takes practice.  Remembering to make sure everyone has gone potty and washed their hands before we begin is my ongoing work.  ‘Pleases’ and ‘thank you’s’ have always been important to me, engrained into me by my own mother from my own childhood dinnertime experiences.  Mom never used to tolerate reaching across the table or putting your elbows on the table either.  I guess I follow these rules now too.

And because the food we are preparing comes from a place that is very intimate and meaningful to us, the meal is elevated beyond just a means for fuel.  The home-made meal feels entirely different than a purchased meal from a store or a restaurant.  It warms the kitchen, it makes the home look lived-in and it becomes a comforting daily mini-celebration of food, family and culture. 

I sincerely hope that by receiving these CSA boxes this summer from a small, local, organic vegetable farm you are creating beautiful meals in your home, huge messes that everyone has to help clean up together and that you are trying new recipes and becoming a more confident and innovative cook.  I commend you and applaud your efforts at keeping something endangered alive and well; the home-cooked meal! IMG 0017

Soooo….What’s in the Box?

TomatoesNew note about tomatoes!  If you are not already unpacking your tomatoes from the plastic bag we deliver them in, please begin doing this.  Do not allow your tomatoes to sit on your counter still inside the plastic bag.  Condensation can build up and cause some of the tomatoes to go bad.  They will ripen much more evenly and nicely if laid out on the counter.  Another week with a hefty and hearty giving of tomatoes.  1 full bag weighing about 8-9lbs.  We pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripe and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in refrigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!

Tomatillos-  These are at the top of your tomato bag.  Just a couple of these in each bag.  They have the paper wrapping around each one.  Tomatillos are great chopped into your fresh salsas or cooked in with a salsa verda or cooked tomato sauce of many different kinds to add a unique tomato flavor.  Tomatillos are sometimes green and sometimes a little yellow when fully ripe, but they can be eaten both ways. 

Spaghetti Squash-  These are the large yellow squash shaped a little like a football with a hard stem on one end.  Spaghetti squash will keep fine on your countertop for months if you need time to use it up.  These have been mistaken for melons in the past, so please note the differences between melons and spaghetti squash! 

Edamame-  These are the small bean-looking vegetables in the plastic bag.  .33lbs per member.  Edamame is an edible soybean that must be cooked before you eat it.  Boil them in boiling water for three to five minutes, strain and then toss them with a little salt.  The pod is not edible.  You simply bring the pod up to your mouth and pop the bean out of the pod into your mouth.  The pod should open fairly easily.  It’s a fun finger food and we found that kids really love them!   

Sweet Bell Peppers-  2-3 Sweet Bell Peppers per member.  If you only received one bell pepper, you also got a small clamshell with some mini-sweet peppers in it. 

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easily be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. There were just a couple stuck in the top of your tomato bag. 

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag. 

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

Melon-  2 -3 melons per member this week.  A bit of a mix of melon varieties again this week.  You may have received a watermelon, a cantelope and/or a honeydew.  Watermelons do not ripen off the vine once they have been picked.  So if you got a watermelon, go ahead and cut into that baby as soon as you like!  If you received a cantelope or honeydew, we recommend leaving it sit on your counter until it starts to smell like a delicious melon that is ready to eat.  We are learning to harvest our cantelopes and honeydews a little under-ripe because we have had so many issues with rotting of melons from leaving them in the fields too long to become ‘ripe’ on the vine.  A ripe cantelope or honeydew should have a smell.  If they still look, smell and feel under-ripe, they probably are.  Just be patient and allow them to ripen on your countertop, not in your fridge! 

Yellow Onion-  A yellow onion for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion!

Green Curly Kale-  Kale is such a nutritious addition to almost any meal.  We hope you are becoming more comfortable cooking with kale this season.  We put it on pizza, in quiche or fritattas, smoothies, or even just fried in a pan until crispy and tossed with some soy sauce.  My two year old love it! 

Beets-  A nice giving of about 1 pound of beets.  Beets keep very well in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.  Or just boil them up, slip the skins off and toss with a little butter and salt.  Sweet and yummy!  It doesn’t have to be complicated! 

Dill-  A fun herb for this week.  Dill keeps best in a cup with water like fresh-cut flowers.  If you get it in water soon enough, it will keep well like fresh-cut flowers for several days.   If you don’t intend to use all of this dill up, you can also un-bunch your dill, lay it on the dehydrator trays, and dry it so you have your own home-made dried dill in the winter months. 

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  These are the small, orange tomatoes in the pint clamshell.  We have been able to give one pint to everyone the last couple weeks.  These cherry tomatoes ripen orange.  They may just possibly be the best tasting food on earth.  

Recipes

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut Sauce

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

Beet Burgers

Crispy Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut