July Fifth

If you were not part of a CSA farm this season, and unless you’re a hard-core foodie (and I do hope you’re on your way to becoming one), you probably would not have salad turnips, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, dill and fennel in your refrigerator this week. These are out-of-the-norm items that, unless your CSA farmer gives them to you, tells you that is what is in season and encourages you to try new recipes, you might not be eating these things.  But ‘Horray’ for YOU!  You are eating these things, they are local, organic and in season, and I for one, think you’re awesome for doing it!DSC 0357

This is how a CSA season starts out.  Lots of leafy greens, quick Spring crops that can be grown in the midwest like radish, lettuce, kale and so forth to help hold us over until the fun, classic and traditional items like tomatoes, sweet corn, potatoes, onions and green beans can be grown.  You’re feeling proud of yourself for shaving those turnips on top of your salad.  You’re feeling adventurous for trying new Kale and Swiss Chard recipes and you’re feeling progressive for being part of a local, organic farm.  You’re feeling brave for eating those garlic scapes and fennel.  You even feel good in your tummy for getting all of this nutritious stuff into your body!  And if this is your second or third or more year of doing this CSA thing, you’re probably even feeling confident and capable. 

The CSA experience really isn’t even entirely just about the box of food.  With the rise of the well-marketed Hello Freshes and the Blue Apron’s in the world that offer the home-delivered boxes of food with recipe cards, I worry about the loss of ‘community and place’ and ‘local’ and ‘organic’ in these programs.  CSA is also about the place that it comes from and the people who partake in growing it.  For me it is hugely about community and family and eating locally and seasonally.  The Hello Freshes and Blue Aprons are well-marketed, competitive and convenient, but missing all of the golden gems that can be offered inherently in a CSA box share.  CSA is so much more than a box of vegetables and some recipe suggestions. 

These vegetables are grown with love by people who you can contact and at a place you can visit.  When you see that we get rain, you know that your vegetables are getting rain.  When you know it’s been dry, you know the farm needs rain.  When you saw severe storms on the radar, you think of your farm and hope the crops are okay.  When you see the pictures of the workers and the farmers in the fields, you have and intimate association and connection with the food, something that you can only get through CSA, farmer’s markets or growing your own food. DSC 0354

Soooo......What's in the Box?????

Salad Turnips-  These are the smaller white turnips bunched with their greens on.  These are nice if sliced very thinly on top of a salad with a mandolin.  The greens are also perfectly edible in any way that you might normally incorporate greens into your cooking.  Omlet with turnip greens?

White and Purple Kohlrabi-  Each member received one white kohlrabi and one purple kohlrabi-or maybe two purple kohlrabis.  We tried to give everone one of each, but had a few more purples than whites.  Cut the leaves off of the top of the kohlrabi and use them in your cooking like kale.  Using a pearing knife or a small knife, peel the outer edge of the kohlrabi off before you eat it.  These kohlrabis are so mild and tender and have a hint of sweetness to them!  Once a kohlrabi has been cut open, the flavor is best if it is eaten within an few hours.  Also wonderful if chopped into veggie sticks, sprinkled with salt and eaten raw and whole!  Kohlrabi is also called the "ground apple" because its internal texture is so much like that of an apple. 

Broccoli-  Everyone's favorite!  A broccoli for everyone!  Broccoli likes to be kept very cold to be stay fresh.  It also keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

Red Oakleaf or Buttercup lettuce-  The red buttercups were holding up nicely in the fields and it won't be long before we aren't abe to get these tender varieties of lettuce as the heat season is approaching. 

Romaine Head Lettuce-  This romaine is maybe some of the nicest romaine we have ever grown.  Maybe soil improvement, maybe all the moisture, maybe the new variety, but we are happy with them!  We thought the huge leaves would make nice wrappers for chicken lettuce wraps or a spicy beef wrap.  Romaine is also great for making Ceaser salads with crutons, ranch dressing and chicken!  Yum! 

Sweet Peas-  Whaaaaaaaa?  Sweet peas?  .66lbs per member!  There isn't much in life that gets better than fresh-picked sweet peas!  And they have so much flavor!  So sweet!  We're expecting an even bigger giving next week!

Dill-  A super fun herb for making fun salad dressings, creamy dips or even soups with.  Dill is also nice dried if you can't use the whole thing.  We recommend laying the bunch out and dehydratig it.  Dill is very alkalizing in the body, so very healthy to eat!  This week it is flowering a bit, but the frawns are still perfectly edible even when the plant is at this stage.  

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  The zucchini and Summer Squah are starting!  Three this week.  The production on these goes up and up and keeps on going!  So dust off your old zucchini recipes, here they come!  Zucchini and summer squash are a very watery-soft squash that can be sauteed lightly into stir fries, marrinated and then grilled, or spiralized into a gluten-free pasta.  Zucchini and Summer squash don't have much flavor of their own, so they are great at absorbing the flavors of your home-made dressings.  They can also be used inter-changably in recipes.  The only thing really that differs about them is their color and shape. 

Garlic Scapes-  These are the long and skinney things that look a bit like a long string bean or something, but they should smell strongly of garlic.  These scapes are the garlic plant's effort at making a seed head.  Each garlic plant makes one scape.  If snapped off, the garlic plant will put more of it's energy into making a nice big garlic bulb rather than putting it's energy into making a seed head bulbous.  Fortunately for us, these scapes are delicious to eat!  Start chopping them up with your knife at the base of the bunch and use the little green chopped pieces like garlic in your soups, stir fries, pastas, eggs or wherever you might ordinarily cook with garlic!  You can also make a garlic scape pesto which has become very popular.  We like the chop up the garlic scapes beginning from the base of the bunch up until the little nodules on the scape-  the rest of the scape is still edible but a little more chewy.

Green Onions/Scallions-  The first giving of green onions.  These bunches of green onions are smaller this week.  This is the frist giving of them and the bunch size goes up as the onions grow and they get bigger over the next few weeks.  You can use every part of these onions in your cooking, all th way up to the tips of the greens!  

Lacinato Kale-  Lacinato is probably the most popular and trendy of the kale varieties today.  It is an heirloom variety (meaning open pollinated or not a hybrid).  Lacinato is a darker green than some other varieties of kale and has a smooth texture for cooking.  

Fennel-  Fennel is a vegetable in the umbelifferea family-the same family as carrots, celery, dill, parsley and parsnips (an impressive family, I know!).  It's flavor, when eaten raw resembles licorice.  It is nice eaten raw if shaved very thinly with a mandolin into or onto a salad.  When cooked, fennel looses most of that licorice flavor and looks and tastes a lot like caramelized onions.  There is a small core at the base of the fennel that I like to cut out before eating.  The white bulb of the fennel is most commonly used in cooking, but the stalks and frawns are edible as well if you really love that licorice flavor.  The frawns also make a beautiful garnish.

Next Week's Best Guess:  Lettuce x2, summer squash and zucchini, beets, kohlrabi, green onions, garlic scapes, fennel, sweet peas, broccoli and cauliflower


Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup (a long-time favorite of mine)

Spring Salad with Fennel and Orange

Risoto with Sweet Sausage and Fennel

Chocolate Kale Smoothie (Thank you Megan for these awesome Kale Smoothie Recipes!)

Classic Green Monster Smoothie with Kale or Greens

Sun Dried Tomato, Kale, Hemp Pesto (Thank you again, Megan, for this awesome Kale Pesto Recipe)