CSA Newsletter Week #14 August 28th

Farm Notes
Many of our fall transplanted crops, like broccoli and cauliflower, have been tended this week with weeding. Sometimes we have to weed crops by hand, but other times we can utilize our tractors and implements to do the job of weeding more efficiently. One such implement is the “finger weeder” which runs right next to the plant’s stem to get rid of weeds.
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Tiffany in the “hot seat”: getting ready to steer the finger weeder

This week was the last week at the farm for our Thai students, Boat and Aum. We have appreciated their help this summer! IMG_5106

Our student apprentices are also back in class, which means it is quieter around the farm. Their exodus also signals to us that autumn is around the corner. A preview of fall is in your share this week: greens and winter squash.

We have numerous changes to our U-Pick offerings. Please read the information below, as some items will be disappearing after this week and other items in different locations are available. As always, if you have questions about U-Pick items, don’t hesitate to ask a farm staff member. We ask that you refrain from driving your vehicle to the fields.

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What’s In Your Share

For August 28th, you’ll receive:

+ Arugula
+ Greens Mix (Kale, Collards, Chard)
+ Radishes
+ Tomatoes
+ Peppers
+ Onions
+ Garlic
+ Delicata Winter Squash

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The following crops are available for U-Pick:

+ Flowers – LAST CHANCE! Most of the flowers will be mowed by Tuesday. A few flowers, like Zinnias, may still be around a little longer, but everything else will be gone.
+ Okra – LAST CHANCE! These will be mowed by Tuesday.
+ Basil and Dill Flowers (both in 5th field on left) – LAST CHANCE! These will be mowed by Tuesday.
+ Herbs
+ Cherry Tomatoes – These plants are loaded with fruit! Now is the time to get them!
+ Hot Peppers – NEW! Hot Peppers are in the 7th field on the right side. The row with Hot Peppers will be clearly marked with a U-Pick sign. We collect data on the harvests of other pepper varieties, so ONLY HOT PEPPERS may be U-Picked at this time! See map image below.
+ Eggplant – NEW! Eggplants are in the 7th field on the right side. This is the same field as Hot Peppers. Again, other peppers between eggplant and the hot peppers are NOT for U-Picking! See map image below.
+ Green Bush Beans – NEW! Beans are located behind the tunnels for picking. See map image below. They are young and tender!
+ Basil – NEW! This basil is also located behind the tunnels. See map image below. While the plants are fairly diseased, you should probably be able to find a few nice leaves to enjoy with your tomatoes.

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Please refrain from driving your vehicles to the fields as we often need the drive-rows for tractors and you may not be aware of irrigation crossing the drive-rows that should not be driven upon.

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

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Veggie Tips

+ Radishes make their way into the share again. French D’Avignon Radishes are 3-4″ long, slender, and mostly red in color but with a white tip. Radishes are a good source of vitamins A, C, potassium, zinc, and dietary fiber. Roasting radishes will bring out their sweetness, or add them raw to salads for more “crunch and punch.” Try radish crudités (a raw appetizer combined with a dipping sauce) — soak them in ice water for 20 minutes, drain and pat dry. Then dip the radishes in softened butter followed by coarse sea salt, and enjoy! You can also try pairing them with chives or parsley from our U-Pick herb field. Don’t forget that the radish greens are edible! Mix them with the Arugula for a spicy salad or mellow these peppery greens by sautéing them (see recipe below).

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+ Delicata Squash is the first winter squash for your share this year! This sweet squash contains lots of beta carotene, vitamins A and C, and only has 20 calories for half a cup. Unlike many of the other winter squashes, Delicata has a thin skin that doesn’t need to be peeled off if you don’t want to go to the trouble. Try it roasted with salt or cinnamon, or stuffed (see recipe below),

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Recipes

Stuffed Delicata Squash
From Eating Well magazine

Ingredients:
2 small delicata squash, about 12 oz each, halved and seeded
6 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup water
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz lean ground beef (90% or more)
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup nonfat or low fat plain yogurt
4 tsp toasted pepitas

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 2 tsp oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Place facedown on a large baking sheet. Bake until tender and browned on the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring bulgur and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

4. Heat the remaining 4 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add beef, chili powder, and the remaining 1/4 tsp salt; cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until the meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and cook 1 minute. Stir in yogurt.

5. Spoon about 3/4 cup filling into each squash half. Serve sprinkled with pepitas.

Serves 4, 1/2 squash each.

Sauteed Radishes with Radish Greens or Arugula
From Farmer John’s Cookbook

This is a fantastically simple recipe, because we rarely think to COOK our radishes, let alone eat the radish greens. Both of which can spice-up your dinner table. The peppery bite mellows when cooked, but if you want the best of both worlds (the succulent sweetness of cooked radishes and the bite of raw radishes) add some mustard or horseradish or cayenne to the dish.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1 pound radishes, quartered
4 cups radish greens or arugula
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the radishes; cook, stirring constantly, until tender but still crips, about 5 minutes depending on size. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

2. Put greens in skillet with the wash water still clinging to the leaves. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until wilting, 2-3 minutes.

3. Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and radishes to the skilet; stir until well-combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Smoky Tomato Salsa

The season for making fresh salsa will soon be past! Take advantage of the tomato and peppers in your share while you can.

Ingredients:
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and quartered
2 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, parsley, or basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Place the tomatoes, green onion, bell pepper, garlic, and your herb of choice in a food processor or blender. Pulse to blend and chop the ingredients. Pour the vegetable mixture into a large bowl. Mix in the olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to blend the flavors.

Recipes update

Have you eaten your cantaloupes yet? We ate ours in salsa form this week (!) Similar to Mango or Peach Salsa, we found a recipe using cantaloupe and cucumbers mixed with tomatoes, onions and hot peppers. We ended up pureeing ours, but this recipe leaves the chunks intact:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cucumber-melon-salsa/

Also, have your noticed our updates recipes pages?  Kristi has compiled all our recipes from past newsletters for easy clicking through the recipe page.  Check out our cantaloupe page here: http://ukcsa.wordpress.com/recipes/cantaloupe/.

 

CSA Newsletter Week #13 August 21st

Farm Notes
This week, apprentices and farm staff alike took a field trip to Louisville to visit other farms and gardens. We visited Rootbound Farm, Foxhollow Farm, and the 7th Street Community Garden in the Louisville urban area. The farm tours and conversations increased our knowledge, inspired us, and filled us all with greater appreciation for our fellow food producers.

IMG_4904Ben Abell, former South Farm Manager, shares with apprentices about his enterprise, Rootbound Farm

This trip was a perfect way for the students to wrap up their tenure at South Farm. With classes starting next week, we are bound to see less of the apprentices in our fields. But while our labor supply may decrease, the harvests remain plentiful!

This is the last week for yellow squash and zucchini. We are getting ready to turn a corner as we head towards fall; greens, radishes, turnips, and potatoes will be coming soon!

Note From an Apprentice
By Sarah Newman

Hello, all! You may have seen me at the CSA distribution site, but let me formally introduce myself. My name is Sarah Newman. I am a native Oklahoman, lover of watermelon, student of horticulture science, and a current apprentice in the sustainable agriculture program at the University of Kentucky. As many of my classmates have expressed in previous postings, the hands-on approach to education we are experiencing out at the Horticulture Research Farm has been fun and immeasurably valuable. I can now drive a tractor, repair minor leaks in a drip irrigation system, and (barely) arc weld a straight line on a scrap piece of metal. I have seen the implementation of practices I have been studying in textbooks and the literal fruits of our labor. For me, the most important thing that I have taken from this apprenticeship is a hefty reminder as to why I am trying to earn a B.S. degree in Plant and Soil Science at all; why sustainability even matters. It’s the people. It’s YOU.

14814876466_e208f12469_zSarah helping with a recent pepper harvest

I have been pursuing an undergraduate degree since 2003. It’s been a long journey to this specific path that I am on and, honestly, after spending long nights in the library and long months processing data for a senior project, I have become increasingly jaded. Thankfully, because of the apprenticeship, I have been introduced to a community of people who care about their food, their land, their future and, really, each other. I have been reminded that, as poet John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Your faces and stories each week remind me that humanity binds us and I have a part in making this community stronger. What a lesson to take with me as the summer comes to a close and I embark on my final year as an undergraduate student. I am so grateful.

Although classes for the apprenticeship ended yesterday, I plan on being a part of the CSA distribution and farm work well into the fall. I look forward to seeing you all as the temperatures cool, the harvest begins to look different, and my over caffeinated, long nights of the semester return. It’s truly been a joy to get my hands dirty and bring you food every week. I hope your summer has been just as rewarding!

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What’s In Your Share

For August 21st, you’ll find:

+ Cantaloupe
+ Roma Beans
+ Tomatoes
+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers
+ Onions
+ Sweet Peppers
+ Hot Peppers

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The following crops are available for U-Pick:

+ Flowers
+ Herbs
+ Okra
+ Cherry Tomatoes
+ Basil and Dill Flowers – There is a newer crop of basil to U-Pick in the middle of the row, closest to the Dill Flowers. Both crops are in the 5th field.

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

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Veggie Tips

+ Roma Beans, also known as Romano or Italian Flat Beans, differ from other green beans due to their flatter, stringless pods and a texture that is meatier. These beans pack great flavor into their pods. The texture and flavor of Roma beans stand up to canning well. To eat, trim off ends, but don’t overcook them! Lightly cook to keep their crunch.

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Recipes

Roma Bean Salad with Tomato Garlic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh and crisp roma beans
2 cloves pink fresh garlic
6 cherry plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon mustard– preferably hot pepper mustard, but any nice smooth not sweet mustard will do
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions:
1. You get to use your mortar and pestle for this one! Lightly smash the plum cherry tomatoes. You do not want them to become a pulp, but you want them thoroughly deseeded and juiced. Pour this, skins and all, into the bowl you’ll be using for the salad.

2. Smash the garlic, either in the same mortar and pestle or using a meat hammer. Add to tomatoes.

3. Whisk together the mustard, olive oil and vinegar, and pour over the crushed tomatoes and garlic.

4. Boil abundant salty water. Blanch the beans. They shouldn’t stay in the water for not much more than three minutes or so– you want them to retain crunch but not be a challenge, and you want to emphasize their fresh flavour. Once you’ve removed them from the water, snip off their pointy ends and slice into inch-long pieces. Place, still hot, onto the tomato-garlic vinaigrette, and mix.

Enjoy! This salad is great still slightly warm.

Serves 2 as a side dish.

Zucchini Chips
From madeinourkitchen.com

Ingredients:
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini
Cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve immediately.

CSA Newsletter Week #12 August 14th

Farm Notes
The newest plants in our fields exuded tiny droplets of sap from the edges of their leaves, shimmering in the morning light. While new life is beginning in some fields, others were bursting with vegetables ready for harvest this morning.

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More of the quintessential summer vegetables grace your share this week: squash, peppers, and tomatoes. Furthermore, the long awaited summer fruit is here: watermelons! These melons are very large and heavy, averaging around 25-30 lbs each, so be prepared for a heavy load. These are the only watermelons for the season. Next week you can expect another round of cantaloupes. Soon, winter squash will also be in your shares.

This week’s onion variety is Sierra Blanca, a white onion with mild flavor and thick rings. The garlic variety is Music.

We hope our guides to picking out the right peppers and tomatoes for you in our previous newsletters were helpful. But if you have questions about the varieties, don’t hesitate to ask our farm staff at distribution, or put an apprentice in the hotseat to share their farm knowledge with you!

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What’s In Your Share

For August 14th, you’ll find:

+ Watermelon
+ Corn
+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers
+ Eggplant
+ Tomatoes
+ Peppers
+ Onions
+ Garlic

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The following crops are available for U-Pick:

+ Flowers
+ Herbs
+ Okra
+ Cherry Tomatoes
+ Basil and Dill Flowers – This may be the last week for basil! Both crops are in the 5th field.

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

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Veggie Tips

+ The Corn variety in your shares is Honey Select, a super sweet yellow corn with tender kernels. Keep the corn cool in your fridge until you eat it, as this is the best way to preserve its sweetness and keep the sugars from turning to starch. Corn has higher caloric values than most other vegetables, but behind those calories is dietary fiber, vitamin A, and a host of antioxidants.

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+ Moon and Stars is the variety name for the Watermelons in the share. This variety is an heirloom that dates back to 1924, but was thought to have gone extinct until it was rediscovered in 1981. The name comes from the bright yellow mottling on the dark green skin — usually there is one larger yellow “moon” and then several pea-sized yellow “stars.” The flesh is sweet and pink. Watermelons are excellent sources of lycopene, vitamins A and C.

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+ Speaking of Watermelons, why don’t we grow seedless watermelons? Seedless watermelons are the “mule” of the plant world. They result from crossing a normal watermelon with a watermelon that has double the chromosomes as a result of a chemical process. This “horse and donkey” cross gives you sterile seedless watermelons. So one reason we don’t grow seedless varieties is that the pollen on the plants is sterile — which means, we would have to plant a seeded variety just for pollination purposes. At least a third of our plants would be there just for pollination, which is not the most efficient use of our land and resources. Another reason is that these plants suffer poor germination, thus requiring more effort and frustration than they’re arguably worth. A final reason we don’t grow seedless: they simply don’t taste as sweet!

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But now for an even more interesting fact: the seeds of watermelons contain high levels of protein, and an important amino acid arginine that regulates blood pressure, along with zinc and iron. Many people in China and Africa grow watermelons specifically for their seeds. If you want to give them a try, save the seeds, dry and roast them.

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Recipes

Fresh Corn Salsa

Ingredients:
4 sweet corn ears
4 tomatoes medium sized – seeded and diced
1 onion medium sized – diced
3 jalapeños – seeded and diced fine
1 lime – juiced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup cilantro – fresh and chopped

Directions:
Husk and boil the sweet corn until desired doneness. You could also grill the sweet corn if you prefer. When the corn if done, set aside to allow it to cool.

Dice the tomatoes, onions and jalapenos and place them in a mixing bowl. Cut the corn from the ears and add it into the mixing bowl. Add in the juice from one lime, salt and garlic powder. Chop the cilantro and mix all together.

Can be served immediately or covered and refrigerated until ready to use.

Eggplant Fritters with Honey (Berenjena Con Miel)
This dish is a specialty of Andalusia.

Ingredients:
1 eggplants (about 1/4 pounds)
About 2 cups milk
Flour for dusting or dredging
Salt
Oil for deep-frying
Honey

Directions:
Peel the eggplants and cut them into slices about 1/3 inch thick. Put them in a bowl, add enough milk to cover, and put a small plate on top to hold them down. Let soak for 1 to 2 hours; drain.

Cover a plate with plenty of flour mixed with a sprinkling of salt. Working in batches, turn the eggplant slices in this so that they are entirely covered with flour, then shake them to remove the excess. Deep-fry in sizzling but not too hot oil, turning the slices over as soon as the first side is brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with a dribble of honey, and let people help themselves to more honey if they like.

Roasted Watermelon Seeds

Ingredients:
1 cup raw watermelon seeds, rinsed and dried
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F.

Toss seeds with a little olive oil and sea salt. Spread on baking sheet and roast in oven for 10-15 minutes.

CSA Newsletter Week #11 August 7th

Farm Notes
Believe it or not, today marks the halfway point for your CSA share! We are 11 weeks in, and we have 11 more weeks to take us to the season’s end.

Many of our fields are covered in a lush growth from our cover crops. Cover crops, like buckwheat, cowpeas, and rye to name a few, serve multiple purposes for us. Some of those purposes include reducing soil erosion, adding organic matter with lots of nutrients back into the soil, and attracting pollinators.

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In your share this week, expect an abundance of cucumbers! This would be a great time to make pickles, and we’re including a recipe below. We also have corn back in this week’s share, a bicolor variety. The garlic variety is Bogatyr, and the onion variety is yellow Candy onions again.

On deck for next week is watermelons! So be prepared to take home a heavy share next week.

Note from an Apprentice
By Nancy Savage

Hello UK CSA members! My name is Nancy Savage, and I am a student in the Sustainable Agriculture program in the College of Agriculture. I am a non-traditional student who made the decision, after much soul-searching, to leave my career of 18 years and return to school. This was not easy to do, and in fact it was quite scary. Some may say I was having a mid-life crisis, but without a doubt it was one of the best decisions that I ever could have made in my life. I love school and learning, all of my professors have been wonderful, and my fellow students are supportive and very passionate about their respective degrees in the College of Agriculture. It is a wonderful environment to be in and I know that I am very fortunate.

I started off the summer with a trip of a lifetime by visiting Costa Rica with the UK Horticulture Club. Upon return, I began my apprenticeship at the UK South Farm, which again has been one of the “best experiences of my life.” You often hear people talk about having a revelation in their life when they make statements like this, and you wonder, do they really mean that? Well I do! I am having so much fun at the farm, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a lot of work, because it has required me to pull from some energy reserves that I haven’t had to use in a long time. But, it is all worth it, especially on distribution Thursday, which is my favorite day. When we hop on the wagon in the morning, the ride out to the fields is so peaceful that I want it to last a little bit longer. We work together as a team to harvest the vegetables that are in your share. Honestly, they are so pretty when they are in the fields, but we all talk about how much fun it is to see them getting picked up by everyone that evening. Your enjoyment of these fresh healthy vegetables really does give us an energy boost after a long day of harvesting, cleaning and bagging the vegetables that you receive.

IMG_7276Nancy holding a bucket of harvested banana peppers

As an apprentice, some of the skills that I have learned are bee keeping, plant disease and pest identification, fixing leaky irrigation lines and how to drive a tractor. On an additional note, I have also been working on the farm since February with the Viticulture team. I have fallen in love with “grapes” since having a lecture on them in one of our classes last year. In fact, it is an area that I may eventually pursue a profession in upon graduation. I have learned so much about pruning and maintaining grape vines in the last six months, and now it is pay off time as the grapes are starting to finally ripen. In fact, you will find a surprise in your share this week of delicious grapes. The cultivar is called “Mars”, and I think the clusters are beautiful and tasty, so I hope that you all enjoy them along with all of the awesome fresh vegetables. I think the CSA is one of the greatest programs that you can join and I am doing all that I can to be a great ambassador by spreading the word of its benefits.

Finally, I would like to say “Thank You” to all of the people who work at the UK South Farm. They are such a dedicated group of people who make their living to ensure that the food they grow is of the highest quality. I know I will never look at food the same way that I used to, because there are people who work very hard for all of the produce that we eat. I am proud that I could play a very small part in this role this summer. And I am so glad to have worked with all of my fellow classmates who really are the best ambassadors and the future of farming.

Oh, and if you are ever at a point in your life like I was, I would encourage you to make a choice to follow your heart. For me it was making some sacrifices financially, but the personal payoff has been rewarding in more ways than I can ever have imagined. Enjoy your share this week!

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What’s In Your Share

For August 7th, you’ll find:

+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers
+ Tomatoes
+ Carmen Peppers
+ Yellow Bell Peppers
+ Green/Red Bell Pepper
+ Hot Peppers
+ Corn
+ Garlic
+ Onions
+ Conventional (this means NOT ORGANICALLY-grown) “Mars” Grapes . These are a gift from the Viticulture Unit here at the Horticulture Research Unit–thank you to Sean, Jeff, Patsy, Nancy and Jared!

The following crops are available for U-Pick:

+ Flowers
+ Herbs
+ Okra
+ Cherry Tomatoes
+ Yellow Wax Beans – The beans are overripe, and will benefit from being cooked down. This is your last chance to get more!
+ Basil and Dill Flowers – There is a newer crop of basil to U-Pick in the middle of the row, closest to the Dill Flowers. Both crops are in the 5th field. Dill Flowers would be a great addition to refrigerator pickles!

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

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Veggie Tips

+ Surprise, surprise — we are including Grapes in your share this week! As Nancy mentioned, the variety is called Mars. This is a seedless red grape. Please note that these grapes were grown conventionally; they are not organic. But that doesn’t change their flavor — they are a favorite of many people at the farm for their juicy sweetness.

+ There are many varieties of Tomatoes to choose from each week. We’d like to highlight the main varieties you’ll come across.

Top row, left to right: Cherokee Green (green), BHN 871 (golden orange), Persimmon (creamy orange)
Middle row, left to right: German Johnson (pink), Vinson Watts (pink), Speckled Roman (striped paste, two sizes), Riviera (oxheart red)
Bottom row, left to right: Big Beef (red), Mountain Merit (red), Plum Regal (red paste), Black Velvet (dark brown/red)
Not pictured: Amish Paste (similar to Plum Regal), Cherokee Purple

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The heirloom tomatoes at our farm include: Amish Paste (not pictured), Cherokee Green, Cherokee Purple (not pictured), German Johnson, Persimmon, Riviera, Speckled Roman, Vinson Watts
The hybrid tomatoes include: BHN 871, Big Beef, Black Velvet, Mountain Merit, Plum Regal

Paste tomatoes are ones ideally suited for making sauce, salsa, or canning. They have fewer seeds, are firmer and less juicy.

Fun fact: the Persimmon Heirloom dates back to 1781, reportedly grown first by Thomas Jefferson!

To try: Riviera is a type of “Oxheart” tomato, named for it’s heart shape. Try them stuffed (recipe below)!

Want to learn more about Heirloom vegetables? One of our local tomato growers, Bill Best, wrote a book called Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste that is worth checking out! The Vinson Watts tomato is one of the many varieties written about in the book.

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Recipes

Kosher Pickles
Adapted from MarkBittman.com
You can get dill flowers from our U-Pick fields!

Makes: About 60 pickle quarters or 30 halves
Time: 1 to 2 days

Note: No vinegar here, so these don’t keep for very long (about a week), but they’ll be eaten quickly enough that you’ll never see one go bad. If you miss your vinegar, you can always add it to the brine after curing or sprinkle a few drops on the pickles directly right before eating. That gives you better control over the acidity anyway.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 cup boiling water
2 pounds pickling cucumbers, washed (scrub if spiny) and halved or quartered lengthwise
At least 5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large bunch fresh dill, preferably with flowers, or 2 tablespoons dried dill and 1 teaspoon dill seeds, or 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

Directions:
1. Combine the salt and boiling water in a large bowl; stir to dissolve the salt. Add a handful of ice cubes to cool the mixture, then add all the remaining ingredients.

2. Add cold water to cover. Use a plate slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl and a small weight to keep the cucumbers immersed. Set aside at room temperature.

3. Begin sampling the cucumbers after 4 hours if you’ve quartered them, 8 hours if you’ve halved them. In either case, it will probably take from 12 to 24 or even 48 hours for them to taste pickly enough to suit your taste.

4. When they are ready, refrigerate them, still in the brine. The pickles will continue to ferment as they sit, more quickly at room temperature, more slowly in the refrigerator. They will keep well for up to a week.

Other Pickle Recipes to Try:
Bread and Butter Pickles
Refrigerated Pickles (without dill)

Provencal Stuffed Tomatoes
From foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:
6 ripe tomatoes (2 1/2 to 3-inches in diameter)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Good olive oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the cores from the tomatoes, removing as little as possible. Cut them in half crosswise and, with your fingers, remove the seeds and juice. Place the tomato halves in a baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, scallions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle the tomato halves generously with salt and pepper. With your hands, fill the cavities and cover the tops of the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture. Bake the tomatoes for 15 minutes, or until they’re tender. Sprinkle with the cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 seconds more. Serve hot or at room temperature.

CSA Newsletter Week #10 July 31st

Farm Notes
The storms over the weekend blew down some of our corn, but otherwise the farm and your food appreciated the rain we received. With the rain, we’ve had lots of growth — including the squash, zucchini, and cucumbers, which are back in the share! The cucumbers are a pickling variety, so unlike the smooth and soft slicing cucumbers from earlier weeks, these vegetables have bumpy thin skin, crisp flesh, and small seeds.

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This week’s garlic variety is Siberian. This garlic has a medium heat, so it complements other flavors nicely without overwhelming them. This garlic caramelizes readily when roasted.

The onion variety is Candy, a yellow onion, for this week.

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What’s In Your Share

For July 31st, you’ll find:

+ Tomatoes
+ Yellow Wax Beans
+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers
+ Eggplant
+ Yellow Bell Peppers
+ Carmen Sweet Peppers
+ Hot Peppers
+ Onion
+ Garlic
+ Cantaloupe

The following crops are available for U-Pick:

+ Flowers
+ Herbs
+ Okra
+ Cherry Tomatoes
+ Yellow Wax Beans – This may be the last week for the beans, so get them while you can!
+ Basil and Dill Flowers

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

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Veggie Tips

+ In addition to the Flavorburst Yellow Bells in your share, you will also receive Carmen Sweet Peppers, an Italian bull’s horn type. They are named “bull’s horn” for their elongated shape that tapers at the end. These peppers are mild, and are ideal for fresh eating, roasting, or frying.

+ Your share includes Carson Yellow Wax Beans, which are also available this week on U-Pick. Perhaps the name is misleading, because these beans are not waxy at all! They are a stringless bean, with a light yellow color, and can be used as you would any green bean. They have a mildly sweet and nutty flavor.

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+ There are many varieties of Hot Peppers in your share! They vary in their levels of heat, so here’s a “cheat sheet” to help you pick out the right peppers for the right amount of heat you want.

Top Row, left to right: Aristotle Green Bell Pepper, Flavorburst Yellow Bell Pepper, California Golden Wonder Bell Pepper
Middle Row, left to right: Carmen Bull’s Horn Sweet Pepper (red), Canario (yellow), Boris Banana Pepper (light yellow), Highlander Anaheim Peppers (both red and green), Numex Suave Orange (yellow orange)
Bottom Row, left to right: Tiburon Poblano (dark green), Jalafuego Jalapeno (both red and green), Padron (both red and green), Red Flame Cayenne Chili (red), Capperino Cherry (red), Mayan Red Habanero (red), Magnum Orange Habanero (orange), Fatali Pepper (yellow)

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For no heat, stick to sweet Bell Peppers, Banana Peppers, and the Carmen Italian Pepper or Canario Pepper.

For mild heat, go with Anaheim, Poblano, Padron, and the Numex Orange Peppers.

For medium heat, Jalapenos or the Capperino Cherry Peppers.

For hot peppers, Red Flame Cayenne Chili Peppers.

For very hot peppers, you want Habaneros.

For dangerously hot, Fatalli peppers, if you are brave!

+++

Recipes

Panzanella Bread Salad Recipe
From Simply Recipes

As you cut the tomatoes, remove some of the seeds and liquid. Your panzanella will be juicy enough. Leave the crusts on the bread chunks; they will stay chewier and give the panzanella more substance.

Ingredients:
4 cups tomatoes, cut into large chunks
4 cups day old (somewhat dry and hard) crusty bread (Italian or French loaf), cut into chunks the same size as the tomatoes*
1 cucumber, skinned and seeded, cut into large chunks
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, torn into little pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
* If you don’t have hard old bread sitting around, you can take fresh crusty bread, cut it into big cubes, lay the cubes out on a baking sheet, and put in a 300°F oven for 5-10 minutes, until the outer edges have dried out a bit (not toasted, just dried). If you use fresh bread without doing this, the bread may disintegrate into mush in the salad.

Directions:
Mix everything together and let marinate, covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to 12 hours. Do not refrigerate or you will destroy the texture of the tomatoes.

Serve at room temperature. Yields 6-8 servings.

Ribbon Zucchini with Yellow Wax Beans
From marthastewart.com

Ingredients:
1 pound small zucchini, 4 to 6 zucchinis
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
4 ounces yellow wax beans, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Slice the zucchini into long ribbons: Cutting lengthwise, slice the sides from around the seedy core of each squash; discard core. Cut each side into long, thin strips.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil. Add the onion and yellow wax beans, and saute until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and 1/2 cup water, and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until zucchini is tender and flexible, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato, chives, salt, and pepper, and remove from heat.

Jalapeño Pepper Jelly Recipe
From Simply Recipes
Tart green apples have more pectin in them than sweet apples, so use tart green apples for this recipe, earlier in the season the better. This is especially true if you are not also using cranberries, as cranberries have their own natural pectin as well.

Ingredients:
4 lbs of tart apples (e.g. Granny Smith), unpeeled, chopped into big pieces, including the cores
6 jalapeño chili peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, the seeds and ribs removed from 3 of them (for mildly hot jelly. If you want a hotter jelly leave the seeds and ribs in all of them.)
1 green bell pepper (or red if you want the color), seeds and ribs removed, chopped
1 cup cranberries (optional but recommended, will help with color and with setting)
3 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
3 1/2 cups sugar (7/8 cup for each cup of juice)

Equipment Needed:
One 6-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel)
A candy thermometer
A large fine mesh sieve (or several layers of cheesecloth, or a muslin cloth jelly bag)
4-5 half-pint canning jars

Directions:
1. Combine the apple pieces, apple cores (needed for their pectin content), jalapenos, bell pepper, cranberries (if using), water and vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for about 20 minutes, or until the apples, cranberries, and peppers are soft. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan where it might burn. Use a potato masher to mash up the apple pieces to the consistency of slightly runny apple sauce. If the mash is too thick, add more water.

2. Spoon the mash into a fine mesh sieve, muslin cloth, or a couple layers of cheesecloth, suspended over a large bowl. Leave to strain for several hours (even overnight). If you want a clear jelly, do not squeeze or force through the mesh. Just let it drip. If you want a fuller flavor jelly and don’t mind that the result won’t be clear, you can force some of the pulp through the mesh. If your pulp is too thick, and nothing is coming out, you can add an extra 1/2 cup or cup of water to it. You want to end up with about 4 cups of juice.

3. Measure the juice, then pour into a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot. Add the sugar (7/8 a cup for each cup of juice). Heat gently, stirring to make sure the sugar gets dissolved and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

4. Bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes, using a spoon to skim off the surface scum. Continue to boil until a candy thermometer shows that the temperature has reached 220-222°F (8-10°F above the boiling point at your altitude). Additional time needed for cooking can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or longer, depending on the amount of water, sugar, and apple pectin in the mix.

Candy thermometers aren’t always the most reliable indicators of whether or not a jelly is done. Another way to test is put a half teaspoonful of the jelly on a chilled (in the freezer) plate. Allow the jelly to cool a few seconds, then push it with your fingertip. If it wrinkles up, it’s ready.

5. Pour jelly into sterilized jars* to within 1/4″ from the top and seal.

Makes approx. 4 half-pint jars.

Serve with cream cheese on crackers.

*There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

Note that jalapeño jelly can be pretty “hot” if you have included a lot of the seeds in your cooking. The fat molecules in the cream cheese absorb the hot capsaicin of the jalapeños, reducing the heat, but leaving the flavor of the chiles. This is also why sour cream tastes so good with spicy Mexican food.

CSA Newsletter Week #9 July 24th

Farm Notes
We all know it’s really midsummer when the tomato harvest begins! While the cool days have slowed down tomato ripening, we will have plenty for this week and several more weeks to come. This week, we were also busy weeding and getting new fields ready for fall crops.

In this week’s share, the garlic variety is the same as last week, Bogatyr. Also, you’ll receive the first batch of onions that are cured and ready to eat — Cabernet Red Onions. This week is the last of our bush green beans, but yellow wax beans and romano beans are still to come later. You will note we have added yellow wax beans to the U-Pick selections as well!

Recently we’ve had some great recipe submissions from CSA members. Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? We’d love to include more recipes from members in the weekly newsletter or in our recipe index. Just send us an email: uk.csa@uky.edu

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Note from an Apprentice
By Lauren Krukiel

Hello, neighbors! I hope this newsletter finds you comfortable during this hot and muggy week! My name is Lauren Krukiel and I transferred into UK’s Sustainable Ag program last fall. Like my fellow apprentices have shared, this experience on the South Farm of bringing you fresh, delicious produce is one of the most amazing I’ve had throughout my academic life. As a girl from the suburbs of Baltimore who grew up eating a processed diet and avoiding yard work, my current endeavors are a complete one eighty from where I was expected to end up (Grandma still can’t believe I work on farm and I gave her a tour a few weeks ago)! But I can’t even begin to express how much passion I have for the food that we grow and how rewarding this experience has been, bringing me joy, energy, education, yummy treats and new friends!

My interest in Sustainable Agriculture began after seeing a nutritionist in my freshman year of college. The visits with the nutritionist not only challenged me to rethink what I was eating, but also where it came from and how it was grown. Once I started doing a little research into agriculture, organic and sustainable practices, I couldn’t stop. From that day forward, everything changed, eventually bringing me to the University of Kentucky. I’ve been studying hard and have learned so much, but no textbook can really help you grasp the life of a farmer. That is why I am so thankful for this opportunity.

I had no idea what it really took to manage a farm before this summer. I could tell you all about the different aspects of a sustainable farm in theory, but putting them into practice is a whole other world. Things don’t go as smoothly as you usually hope, you will almost always be sore, sometimes Mother Nature just isn’t on your side, and harvesting is far more labor intensive than I ever thought. BUT! There are also some awesome tools that work super well in practice that make sustainable farming amazing. Some of these tools are used to control weeds organically, such as the stale seed bedder (fun to pull behind a tractor, even more fun when it keeps nearly 80% of weeds from growing without the use of any chemicals). If you rotate your crops each year, you lower the risk of your plants getting diseases! And planting crops that attract beneficial insects along your plots aids in lowering pest pressure that will damage your produce! It takes trial and error and the techniques need to be fine-tuned, but Tiffany and the staff have done an amazing job using these techniques, tools and more on the South Farm. I can’t imagine a better place to learn and gain real-world experience as a sustainable farmer.
IMG_7229Lauren helping with the leek harvest last week.

Even aside from these tools, the experience of farming – working with food and seeing how the whole system fits together – is spiritual in a way. As the season progresses, the sense of community grows between both staff members and those we serve – you! Our creative thinking is often put to the test, but when the team puts their heads together, the ideas are about as bountiful as our carrot harvest! And I’d have to say that my favorite part is tasting the delicious foods we grow and having the South Farm become part of me.

I’ve had so much fun getting up early and getting my hands in the dirt this summer and I hope you will join us out on the farm – for the U-pick or for parties – and get a taste of just how COOL sustainable farming really is! In the meantime, enjoy your veggies (and fruit!) and I hope to see you at distribution again soon!

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What’s In Your Share

For July 24th, you’ll find:

+ Green Beans
+ Carrots
+ Red Onions
+ Garlic
+ Basil
+ Eggplant
+ Tomatoes
+ Flavorburst Bell Peppers
+ Green Bell Peppers
+ Banana Peppers

The following crops are available for U-Pick:

+ Flowers
+ Herbs
+ Okra
+ Cherry Tomatoes
+ Basil and Dill Flowers (located in the 5th field)
+ Yellow Wax Beans (located in the 1st field)

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

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Veggie Tips

+ The Flavorburst Bell Pepper in your share has a nice goldenrod color. They are very sweet, and are one of our favorite bell peppers to eat!

+ At the farm, we grow both Heirloom Tomatoes and Hybrid Tomatoes. Hybrid tomatoes are an intentional cross of two different tomato varieties. Often, hybrids are crossed and grown to highlight certain features, like disease resistance, yield, or fruit quality. Most likely, the tomatoes you would buy at a store are hybrids. Heirlooms, on the other hand, are not crossed with any other variety; rather, they have been kept the same for many generations. Most heirloom varieties are at least 50 years old. The fruit quality may be unpredictable, with varying appearances and sizes. Many people, however, prefer the taste of heirlooms. In a future newsletter, we’ll highlight some of the varieties you can choose from at distribution.

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+ Tomato Storage Tips: Don’t put tomatoes in the refrigerator! Refrigeration damages the interior fruit membranes, causing the fruit to lose flavor and develop an unpleasant mealy texture. Leave them on your counter, out of direct sunlight. Place tomatoes with the scar from the stem facing down, to prolong their shelf life.

+ Tomato Ripening Tips: Some tomatoes are harvested before reaching full ripeness. Ripening can continue after harvest indoors. Darkness, warmth, and ethylene gas hasten the ripening process. If tomatoes already have some color, they will produce their own ethylene to finish ripening. Green tomatoes, however, will be benefited by placing a fruit that releases ethylene, like a nearly ripe banana, near them to speed up ripening. While warmth is desirable, you want to keep tomatoes out of direct sunlight. Sunlight can toughen the skins and encourage rot. Instead, keep them in a brown paper bag or in a covered cardboard box, and if possible, leave room for air circulation between the fruits.

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Recipes

Gajar Halwa or Carrot Halwa
Submitted by apprentice Lauren Krukiel
This is a sweet, warm, Indian dessert that Lauren made for lunch at the farm this past week. It can be made vegan or vegetarian.

Ingredients:
2 and ½ cups grated organic carrots or gajar
2 and ½ cups almond milk or regular dairy milk
8 tbsp organic unrefined cane sugar or regular sugar (add more or less as required)
¼ or ⅓ cup almond paste or evaporated milk/khoya (optional)
5-6 cardamom, powdered or crushed
8-10 unsalted whole or chopped cashews
7-8 unsalted pistachios – sliced or chopped
12-15 golden raisins
a pinch of saffron (optional)
2 or 2/12 tbsp neutral flavored oil (sunflower oil) or ghee

Directions:
1. Wash, peel and grate the carrots (gajar).
2. Mix the almond milk or regular dairy milk and grated carrot together in a pan.
3. Keep on stovetop and allow the mixture to simmer.
4. Continue to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally.
5. After 15-20 minutes, add cardamom powder and stir.
6. When the mixture has started thickening, add sugar & oil/ghee.
7. Stir and continue to cook.
8. When the mixture has almost dried, add the almond paste and dry fruits.
9. Stir and cook further for 2-3 minutes.
10. Serve carrot halwa hot or warm. The carrot halwa can also be refrigerated and served cold. Carrot halwa stays good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Serves 4.

Eggplant Gratin in Parmesan Custard
From Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
This recipe uses many items in your share: eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and basil! Bake in either a single gratin dish or individual ramekins.

Ingredients:
2 lbs eggplant
Sea Salt
2 eggs
1 cup heavy cream or milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for coating the dish
1 large onion, finely diced
1 large clove of garlic, minced or pressed
About 1 lb of tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
Freshly ground pepper
8-10 Basil leaves, torn or minced

Directions:
Peel the eggplants and dice them into small cubes. Unless the eggplants are very fresh, toss the cubes with 1 tsp salt, put them in a colander set over a bowl, and set aside while you ready the rest of the vegetables and make the custard.

To make the custard, whisk the eggs with the cream, all but a few tablespoons of the cheese, and the basil.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil an 8×10 inch gratin dish or six 1-cup ramekins.

Blot the eggplant with a kitchen towel. Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a wide nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cubes are soft and golden brown in spots, 12 to 15 minutes. Scrape the eggplant into a bowl.

Add the remaining 2 Tbsp oil to the pan and return it to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, again stirring occasionally, until it has softened and colored just a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more, then add the tomatoes and the cooked eggplant. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes. Taste to make sure there is enough salt, then transfer the eggplant mixture to the prepared gratin dish or ramekins.

Pour the custard over the eggplant and scatter the remaining cheese over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes for the gratin dish, closer to 20 for the ramekins. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. If using ramekins, serve them in their dishes on a plate, resting on a folded napkin.

Serves 4-6.

Variation with Saffron: Cover 2 pinches of saffron threads with 1 Tbsp boiling water, let steep for 5 minutes, then add to the custard.

Peppers with Tomato Sauce
Submitted by CSA Member Hayriye Cetin Karaca from turkishfoodandrecipes.com

Ingredients:
2-3 green peppers, cut into bite sizes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tomatoes, crushed or 6-7 tbsp crushed tomato in a can
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp salt to taste

Directions:
In a skillet shallow fry peppers with olive oil. Sprinkle half of the salt. When peppers become soft and light brown, place them in a plate. Then place crushed tomatoes, minced garlic and remaining salt in same skillet. The remaining oil in the skillet will be enough for tomatoes. Cook tomatoes over low heat for 3-4 minutes.
Finally pour the tomato sauce on shallow fried peppers. You can garnish with sweet corn pieces.
You can serve Peppers with Tomato Sauce cold or warm with any kind of meat and poultry dishes.

Sauteed Carrots and Leeks
Submitted by CSA Member Betsy Adler

Ingredients:
2 leeks, finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:
Combine leeks, carrots, chicken broth, butter, sugar, thyme, salt, and pepper in a skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes. Cook and stir mixture until leeks and carrots are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.