Small Family Farm CSA

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July Tenth, 2019

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All too often in life we long for all that which we do not have in front of us. We wish for our children to be older, for winter when it’s too hot, for summer when it’s too cold. We wish for tomatoes in the Spring and Strawberries in the Fall. We live in terms of tomorrows, yesterdays and somedays. But I am learning to, and it is a constant practice, to live in the now.

I too am guilty of longing for the fruits of the farm that are not yet here. My mouth literally waters when I think about Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes. My kids are so excited for fresh carrots that they are pulling them up even thought they are still as thin as pencils. I have paid ridiculous money for a cucumber in the winter. I have hunted the fields for the last remaining melon laying out there trying to eeek out the season one more day. Now it is Strawberry season and I feel as happy as a lark.

Being part of the production on the farm is helpful in exercising patience. If I can see that the cucumbers are flowering and setting fruit, I can wait a little longer. If I can weed the carrots and beets, I can rest easy and wait quietly for them. If I can watch the sweet corn grow, I can know in my heart that it is coming. Anxiousness is never helpful, but patience is.

While so many greens in our boxes this time of year may feel overwhelming in the moment, I challenge you to remember those dreary March days when you would have done anything for a leaf of spinach, tender Spring lettuce or even the humble kohlrabi greens. We can always go to the grocery store if the urge is too strong or if we find a recipe that simply can’t wait, but it is never truly satisfying. I feel like I’m cheating when I buy vegetables out of season. I feel like I’m not honoring the seasonal rhythms or even what my body may be needing to feel more seasonally attuned. Greens are abundant in the Spring because it is a time for cleansing from the winter of heavy, warming foods. Summer offers cooling, watery cucumbers and tomatoes, and melons. Fall gives us the sweeter, starchier foods that are meant to sustain us through the underground-root-ier winter months.  Now is the time to be eating our greens.  Look around you!  There is GREEN everywhere, I think we are maybe supposed to be eating green.  

This past weekend I made a simple vegetable dip with mayo, sour cream and dill. I peeled a few kohlrabi and broke apart a couple broccoli heads. We ate simple, crunchy and fresh. I have a tendency to over-complicate dinner or lunch. I often feel like I haven’t done a good job if I haven’t spent a couple hours in the kitchen making dinner. But what is so lovely about summer foods is that they are simple. Dinner in the summer can be heavy on raw foods when it’s too hot to cook too much anyways. We can spend hours in the house making squash bread and apple pie in the Fall when we’re trying to warm the house up. For now it can be shaved fennel on salad or strawberries and cream.

Living truly in the now for me means enjoying every morsel of the sweet peas. I must appreciate the uniqueness and the fennel and the earthiness of the swiss chard. Swiss Chard and I are old friends-but I do have to try a little harder to love swiss chard. It is very easy to love the sweet fruits and vegetables, but I have slow myself down to appreciate swiss chard. I have to remember that it is somewhat difficult to grow, it is highly nutritious and that once I have committed myself to preparing it in some delicious way, I always enjoy it and feel thankful.

If not for your CSA share, you may not buy many of the vegetables you receive in your box. You may not plant them in your garden. You signed up for a CSA box because you wanted more diversity in your diet and you wanted to try new things and eat more vegetables. So here it is! I invite you to pause and enjoy this day. Soon enough the tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans and melons will be here and we will enjoy their richness so much more because we had to wait so long and we were so loyal and patient.

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

Green Cabbage-  This variety is called Quickstart.  It earns it's name well.  Quickstart early cabbages are a lighter, airier, fluffier head of cabbage.  They aren't as dense as the storage varieties, but they get us through just!  You can make egg rolls, coleslaw, cabbage rolls or sauerkraut.  Check out the unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe that's much easier than rolling up the cabbage rolls but still contains all of the same ingredients!  

Cauliflower-  Summer Cauliflower is harder to grow.  Some of the heads we had were huge and some were on the smaller side.  We tried to size up the other items in your box to make it all even out;)  

Broccoli-  Summer Broccoli is also harder to grow, so we can be thankful for these moderate heads.  They varried in size quite a bit this week.  Some were larger and some were smaller.  

Kohlrabi x 2-  We gave everyone a white kohlrabi and a purple kohlrabi this week.  All kohlrabi are delicious, no matter their skin color.  Just peel them and enjoy their crunchy, juicy insides.  Always rememer you can use your kohlrabi greens like you would use kale if you want more GREEN in your life!

Lettuce x 2-  Two beautiful heads of lettuce per member this week!  Everyone received a red leaf lettuce head and a romain lettuce head.  The romain lettuce is somewhat of a rare seasonal treat as well.  Romain does not love the hot summer months so we really only grow it early and late in the season as well.  Romain is great in a Ceaser salad with a home-made cesar dressing, chicken, crutons, and parmesan!  Romain leaves can also be used to make wraps.  Use the romain leaves like a tortilla and wrap up hummus, shredded meat, cheese, beans, or whatever you like on the inside!  Romain also holds up well in a home-made 7-layer salad!  

Sweet Peas-  SUCH a TREAT!  How I do love sweet peas!  Almost a full pound per member this week!  Imagine how long it must have taken us to pick all of these peas for everyone!  These are terrific for snacking, adding to stir frys or slicking up on top of a salad.  Don't let a single pea go to waste!  Such a treasure and seasonal treat!

Swiss Chard-  Some people love Swiss Chard.  Some claim they don't love it.  I confess, I have to try a little harder to love it myself, but I find really fun and creative ways to get it in my families bodies!  Think of it like spinach (and everyone loves spinach) and you'll find ways to use it!  I blanche it and puree it with ricotta, egg, onion, garlic, and herbs and stuff it into pasta shells with cheese and pasta sauce to make one of my personal favorite dishes, Spinach Stuffed Shells (or we could call it Chard Stuffed Shells!)

Strawberries-  Quarts!  Remember that Strawberries are extremely perishable!  Use them up quickly to keep them from going bad.  Get them into referigeration until you have had a chance to use them up-if they even make it home!  Strawberries go remarkably well with dairy, like cream cheese and whipped cream, if you do that sort of thing!  

Garlic Scapes-  These adorable scapes are actually the garlic plant's attempt at making a seed head.  The garlic plant sends up a little nodule that would grow and swell into a bulbous roud head with small garlic 'seeds' inside.  But we snap them off early to tell the garlic plant to put more of it's energy into making a larger garlic bulb below ground and not to bother putting energy into making a seed head.  It just so happens that they are delicious to eat!  We chop up the scape from the base of each stalk up to the tiny little nodule.  Everythig above the nodule is just a little tougher and chewier to eat, so not as ideal for cooking.  Use garlic scapes in your cooking like you would garlic in almost any dish!  

Green Bunching Onions-Bunching onions are only available on our farm for about 5 weeks in the early summer like this.  They are such a nice treat to hold us over until true onions are ready for harvest.  Remember that you can use these guys from the bottom of the white part all the way up to the very last tip of the green onion if you like!  The greens make a nice garnish or sprinkle on top of almost any dish!  

Fennel-  This is the final giving of Fennel for awahile.  Fennel is such a fun early summer treat!  Fennel has a mild licorice flavor when eaten raw.  It is lovely shaved very thinly onto a green salad or featured in it's own raw fennel salad.  Or, if you don't love the licorice flavor, just sautee up your fennel like it's an onion and add it to any stir fry, italian dish of pasta or even soup or egg bake.  You can sneak these guys into almost anything!  They're in the celery/carrot/parsley (umbelliferae) family, but they don't taste anything like celery, carrots or parsley. They have their very own unique flavor and texture!

Summer Squash and/or Zucchini-  It begins!  Summer squash and zucchini will begin to produce now and will generously offer bountiful harvests if we are lucky.  Dig up your favorite zucchini and summer squash recipes, dust them off and have fun!  These two can be used almost interchangably.  Their textures vary a little, but they are very similar and can be used interchangably in most dishes.  Summer squashes prefer storage at about 50 degress.  The counter is a little too warm and the fridge is a little too cold, so you migh thave to pick your zone for keeping these guys.  They are best when eaten fresh, so don't be conservative when using them up!  I'll do my best to share as many of my favorite recipes as I can.  If you have a tried and true one, feel free to share it with me and I can post it next week!

Next Week's Best Guess:  Sweet peas, summer squash and zucchini, lettuce, kale, parsley, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, bunching green onions, cauliflower and or broccoli?, cucumbers?  Carrots or beets?

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Recipes

Savory Zucchini and Chard Muffins

Spinach Stuffed Shells (or Chard Stuffed Shells-one of my all time favorite foods!)

Swiss Chard Fritatta

Quinoa and Chard Cakes

Zucchini Fritter with Pistou

Garlic Scape Pesto

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup (This is Good!)