Small Family Farm CSA

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August Seventh

We canned peaches this week.  We bought a couple cases of organic peaches and attempted to preserve the summertime flavor of the sunny North Carolina.  Every summer when we see the locals selling peaches and cherries and blueberries along the side of the road, there is a deep, child-like desire for a sweet, fuzzy, tangy, orange peachy peach.  When we’re working so hard and it’s so hot outside, it just seems so…. Hydrating or something. 

I always feel a bit of guilt when buying non-local fruit, like I’m betraying my family.  Like I’m not satisfied with the fruits and flavors of Southwest Wiscsonsin.  Like I’m selling out by passing up our seasonal blackcaps for the big juicy peach.  But I can’t pretend to be too much of a pure locavore when I certainly love my coffee, chocolate, lemons and avocados.  But my heart lies here at home on a breezy ridgetop in Southwest Wisconsin.  I promise you, Wisconsin, I won’t sell out.

It’s time to start thinking about preserving.  There is a new home for our dehydrator now on the countertop in the kitchen.  I dusted it off and brought it up from the basement from its winter’s rest.  I promptly filled it this weekend with oregano from a small herb patch in our yard and have plans to store a year’s worth of parsley, basil, dill, mint, nettles and more.  We will can tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes when the tomato glut is here.  We will freeze peppers, spinach, broccoli, sweet corn and beans.  The possibilities are endless for preserving and we have a lot of work to do before the winter sets in. 

I’m one of those people who loves living in the north.  I love a long, harsh winter with lots of storms, snow, wind and sub-zero temperatures.  I think I love it because we work so hard in the summer time that it offers the best excuse for staying indoors and cozying up with your family and slowing down the pace.  I’m the sort of person who needs to be forced to slow down, or it just won’t happen.  Preserving food for the winter is exciting for me.  I feel like a little squirrel stuffing my nuts into Ball jars and Ziploc bags.  It makes me feel resourceful, thrifty and even like I’m preserving a heritage craft or art of some kind. 

This experience you’re getting, especially if it is your first year as a CSA member or seasonal eater, is a rich one.  It’s a lesson in what the Midwest soil will give and when (there will be a quiz at the end of the season).  It feels like a long wait for tomatoes when you’re used to being able to buy a red-ripe tomato at the store every day of the week, all year round.  But here in Wisconsin, they ripen in August.  August turns our sweet corn sweet, our peppers red/yellow/orange, and our melons ripe.  August is when you start to realize that we really do know how to grow vegetables, it’s just that most of the ones that you were waiting for didn’t come into season until now. 

Sooo, What's in the box?????

Green Cabbage-  We had so many of these, we had to send them off to you.  I hope you're getting creative with cabbage these days!

Watermelon or Cantelope-  The watermelons are ripe when they have a nice yellow ground spot on them and won't do much ripening off the vine.  The cantelopes will ripen off the vine.  If yours needs a little more ripening, just leave it on your countertop until it your mouth is watering for it.  

Red Beets-  Some really nice sized red beets this week.  Remember that you can cook with these beautiful beet greens and use the greens like you would use swiss chard.  Large beets like these take a long time to boil, maybe 30 or 40 minutes for boiling.  You'll know they're done when you can easily slide a knife into them in the water.  

Cucumbers-  More of these wonderful cucumbers.  Keep your eyes peeled for a few of the small, yellow cukes rollling around at the bottom of your box.

Summer Squash, Zucchini and Patty Pans-  There isn't really any end in sight for these guys.  If it helps at all, the plants don't look quite as young and lush as they once did.  

Celery or Cauliflower-  A strong local, flavored celery or a cauliflower for when we ran out of celery.

Jalapeno-  Watch out for the spicy jalapeno rolling around at the bottom of the box.  

Green or Greenish-red pepper-  The pepper plants are looking really loaded up with peppers these days so we decided to start picking the peppers off of them even though they're not all turning colors just yet.  

Eggplant-  A plump eggplant for your eggplant parmesan.  Eggplants prefer 50 degree storage space, so remember that your refrigerator might cause them to get a little wilty.  Maybe your counter is the best storage space of all for a few days.  

Lacinato Kale-  Everyone's favorite variety of kale.  These leaves look fantastic this year.  Very minimal insect damage this year.  Enjoy the Zupa de Tuscano recipe below!

Lettuce-  One head of red or green leaf lettuce for all.  Lettuce keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  


Italian Kale Soup-Zuppa di Tuscano

Eggplant Parmesan

Sweet and sour cabbage with bacon