CSA Newsletter Week #14, August 27th

Farm Notes

What absolutely beautiful fall-like weather we are having! Our fall fields look fantastic and can you believe it – some crops are already ready for harvest! As the summer crops continue to slow down, you all can start to look forward to winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and lots of green leafy veggies to come in the following weeks.

We’ve got a bountiful share this week, so please don’t forget your bags and boxes!

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Note from an Apprentice

This week’s note is from Clifton Matekovich.

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it.

That pretty much sums up my feelings towards farming.  It’s difficult to explain how much of a breath of fresh air this class has been for me, but being on the farm has truly been a therapeutic experience.  I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here since most of the people reading this, I’m going to assume “get it”.  I, on the other hand am quite new to the farming game.  In fact I was completely unaware of the program until one evening out, having a few beers, I overhead someone talking about UK’s “very well renowned” Sustainable Ag program.  It peaked my interest and reenergized the notion of exploring a different career path.  So after some digging around, here I sit.

I thought it was important to get my rookie status out there before I start in on what I think is the coolest, most interesting, best smelling aspect of the farm.

Dirt.

Yes, there were a few of the other apprentices that made it close, but dirt takes first prize.  I went back and read through some of the other apprentice’s entries and saw quite a bit about squash, tomatoes, blueberries… pssssht.  Mere window dressings.  Dirt is where it’s at people.  Microbiome?  It sounds like magic because it is magic.  The vast of amount of processes and interactions going on in the ground beneath our feet is mind blowing.  Not only that, but almost every aspect of the farm revolves around keeping that dirt good and dirty.  The good kind of dirty.  A healthy soil that aids the plants you know and love in the absorption of the nutrients they so vitally depend upon.  Googling “microbiome” will give you a much more detailed explanation but for fun I’ll list my top 10 reasons for keeping the dirt dirty, otherwise known as soil management.

10 Qualities of Healthy Soil:

  1. Good soil tilth (good for planting and cultivating)
  2. Sufficient depth
  3. Sufficient, but not excessive, nutrient supply
  4. Small population of plant pathogens and insect pests
  5. Good soil drainage
  6. Large population of beneficial organisms
  7. Low weed pressure
  8. No chemicals or toxins that may harm the crop
  9. Resilience to degradation and unfavorable conditions
  10. You win at farming
Here is Clifton weeding the carrots earlier in the spring.

Here is Clifton weeding the carrots earlier in the spring.

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Delicata squash (first of the winter squash)
+ Potatoes (of the Magic Molly variety)
+ Garlic
+ Aristotle Bell peppers (green and red)
+ Sweet peppers
+ Mild Peppers (Banana and Shishito)
+ Eggplant
+ Tomatoes
+ Corn
+ Radishes
+ Butterhead lettuce
+ Onions

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You-Pick

The following items are available for You-Pick:
+ ground cherries
+ hot peppers: jalapeños, serranos, and capperino cherry peppers
+ cilantro
+ dill
+ cherry tomatoes
+ okra
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley,  curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil*
+ flowers
* Note: some of the herbs are still very small, so please be mindful to only harvest a small portion of each plant. In particular some of the rosemary plants and basil are still quite small.

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

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Veggie Tips

Delicata Squash are an excellent source of vitamin A and C and are also fat free. They hold their shape well during cooking making them a great choice for stuffing with other vegetables, grains and meat. The skins of the delicata are also edible if it gets cooked long enough. You can store this squash in a cool dry place for up to 3 months.

+ Here is a neat trick to keep your radishes fresher for longer. After rinsing and removing the greens from your radishes, place them in a gallon size bag or a wide mouth glass jar, alternating a layer of paper towels and damp radishes. If keeping in a bag, squeeze the air out before sealing. These will keep your radishes crisp all week long and beyond.

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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.

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Creamy Radish Soup
From Eating Well magazine

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced radishes (from 2 bunches), divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium Yukon Gold potato (about 8 oz), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups low-fat milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp white or black pepper
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 Tbsp chopped fresh radish greens or parsley

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 and 3/4 cups radishes and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are beginning to brown and the radishes are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add potato, milk, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potato is tender, about 5 minutes more.
2. Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender (or in the pan with an immersion blender) until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids).
3. Slice the remaining 1/4 cup radishes into matchsticks. Serve each portion of soup topped with 1 Tbsp sour cream, some radish matchsticks, and a sprinkling of radish greens (or parsley).

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Country Cooked Beans with New Potatoes
Ingredients:
1 lb Runner Beans, strung and broken
4 oz Salt Pork, Bacon, Jowl, or Butter
1/2 lb New Potatoes, scrubbed
Salt & Pepper

Directions:
Place green beans in a large pot and push salt pork into center.
Add water to cover beans and bring to boil.
Reduce to medium-low heat and cover.
Simmer until beans are tender (about an hour) then taste, adding additional salt and water if necessary.
Lay potatoes over beans and replace cover to simmer another 30 minutes.
Serve hot.

CSA Newsletter Week #13, August 20th

Farm Notes

The last three days have been very productive days for us. We had several apprentices show up to work on Wednesday and we got a lot done. We’ve also finished the winter squash harvest and have brought the rest in to cure for several weeks. Already the weeds have started to show up in our fall fields and the scuffle-hoeing and hand-weeding have begun. But we don’t mind!

We also have ONE tomato box available for sale. It will be at the campus pick-up location on a first come, first serve basis.

SAVE THE DATE!
Our annual fall potluck will be Saturday, October 3rd this year. More details to come soon!

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Note from an Apprentice

apprentice Victoria

apprentice Victoria (she’s really excited!)

This week’s note is from Victoria Bastin.

500 Days of Squash

Wow, what a summer! I didn’t expect to be thankful for so many sweet memories and learning experiences on the farm. I also didn’t expect to grow close with one of my new favorite vegetables! While spending numerous hours harvesting squash of many different shapes and sizes, I started to wonder exactly how much a squash grows. We would harvest every two days, but it seemed that because the squash were being harvested at different sizes, many were much too large and seedy to be given in the CSA share. Sorting was difficult… what was the size of a perfect squash? Everyone had a different opinion. Conventional wisdom estimates that the average harvest size is 5-7 inches, but some consumers prefer baby squash or larger squash to use in cooking or baking. I’ve also heard that flavor and tenderness are affected the larger a squash grows. So in an attempt to resolve the perfect size conundrum, two yellow squashes and one zucchini were tagged in the field (although one yellow squash was killed in an unfortunate harvesting accident :) ). I measured the length for four days, the last measurement coming back from a weekend. Both the zucchini and the squash grew an average of an inch per day. As the squash became larger, the growth rate slowed, yet was heavily influenced by rainfall. I was amazed at how quickly the plants could grow overnight! Although I would advise consistently adhering to a 5-7 inch harvest size to keep a squash from getting too large before the next harvest day, the perfect size really is dependent on consumer preference. In my own personal cooking I didn’t notice a difference in flavor between small and large squashes, but I noticed that CSA shareholders would typically choose squashes in the bin at pick-up around 6 inches in size. With that said as a harvester and consumer this summer, I have enjoyed the larger squashes from the simple fact that there is more squash to eat! One thing I have continually learned on the farm is there is always something to learn. Future observations for this remarkable vegetable may include measuring diameter, growth in relation to daily rainfall, flavor/tenderness analysis, and surveys among consumers for ideal size.

squashcomparison

victoria

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Cantaloupe
+ Green Bell Peppers
+ Squash (this is the last week)
+ Zucchini (this is the last week)
+ Eggplant
+ Tomatoes (possibly the last week)
+ Corn
+ Onions (Will be second quality like a couple weeks ago. Use within the week)
+ Chard
+ Sweet peppers
+ Mild peppers

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You-Pick

The following items are available for You-Pick:
+ ground cherries
+ hot peppers: jalapeños, serranos, and capperino cherry peppers
+ cilantro
+ dill
+ cherry tomatoes
+ okra
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley,  curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil*
+ flowers
* Note: some of the herbs are still very small, so please be mindful to only harvest a small portion of each plant. In particular some of the rosemary plants and basil are still quite small.

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

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Veggie Tips

Chard
Chard is harvested as a green, leafy vegetable.  Chard is in the spinach family but contains no oxalic acid which makes it easier for us to absorb the nutrients from the chard.  These greens are high in vitamins A, E, & C and the minerals iron & calcium. 
 

Storage Tips
+ Place chard in a plastic bag in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator.
+ Chard is best if eaten within 5 days.                                      

Cooking Tips
+ If leaves are large & mature, remove the stem to cook separately.     
+ If the greens are young, cook whole.       
+ Use in place of spinach in most recipes.
+ Saute the leaves in garlic butter or olive oil & garlic.                                    
+ Steam large stem pieces for 8-10 min. & leaves for 4-6 min.                       
+ Raw baby leaves are great in green salads.
+ Toss steamed leaves with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. OR with seasame oil, rice vinegar or soy sauce.

+++

Corn
Sweet corn can be kept for several days if refrigerated. Leave the husks on until you are ready to use it.
Corn is an excellent source of thiamine and folate and some vitamin A and C, potassium and iron.

last weeks Thursday Lunch was made by the two Thai exchange students, Benz and ??? It was delicious!

Last week’s Thursday Lunch was made by the two Thai exchange students, Benz and Yang, It was delicious!

Recipes

Corn Fritters
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. milk or cream
2 cups fresh cut corn (or leftover corn on the cob)
4 tbsp. vegetable oil (or use 1/2 oil and 1/2 butter

Directions:
Beat eggs and add dry ingredients. Blend in cream and corn. Drop by spoonful into hot oil in skillet and fry until brown, turning once. Serve with butter and syrup.
Variation: Use only eggs, corn, salt and pepper.

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Swiss Chard and Cheddar Quiche

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 large eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
kosher salt and black pepper
2 ounces Cheddar, grated (1⁄2 cup)
1 prebaked 9-inch piecrust

Directions:
Heat oven to 350° F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chard and onion and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the half-and-half; season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the Cheddar and chard mixture and mix to combine. Pour into the pre-baked 9-inch pie crust and bake until set, 40-45 minutes.

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Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) Smoothie
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups diced muskmelon
1 1/2 cups sliced, peeled peaches
1 1/4 cup orange juice or pineapple juice
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:
Combine every thing in a blender. Blend until smooth.

CSA Newsletter Week # 12, August 13th

Farm Notes

For those of you that picked up on campus last week, thank you…for your patience! Our box truck has been having problems starting and it was an adrenaline filled rush to get everything on trucks and over to the Good Barn. But we had an excellent crew to help us get everything together and wonderful customers who bear with us! We hope this week our truck will be back in working order, otherwise, we’ll see you in the  rental truck we used to get.

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As crazy as it sounds, we have begun the winter squash harvest. The plants have been dying back and its time to get the squash out of the field, lest they become sun scalded. This week we harvested 2 varieties: acorn and delicata. We will store them and let them process before they are ready to be handed out in several weeks.

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Note from an Apprentice

This week’s note is from Maggie Reams.
I have learned a lot of the logistics of vegetable production and farm management in all of the classes I have taken in my 3 years at UK, nothing can compare to the knowledge I have gained in the past twelve weeks.

It all started with weeding. The first day I worked at the farm a whole crew of us practically spent all day in the carrot field picking out tiny weeds with our hands.

This may seem like a horrible, backbreaking task but for some reason I absolutely loved it. Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh it was her first day, of course she didn’t mind the labor”, but as time went on I really never stopped enjoying the hard work that comes with farming. Part of this is because I am already a very driven person, but mainly it is because I know all of the labor we put into this farm results in the beautiful vegetables we provide for you, and a sense of appreciation and protection that we are giving to Mother Gaia and her land.

Another task I have really grown to enjoy is every part of irrigation. Hooking up the irrigation system in all of our fields and repairing leaks and tears in the drip tape with special valves and emitters is a challenging task, but it is also very rewarding. Irrigation is an essential part of the farming system; the vegetables require a certain amount of water, and being able to help fix this is a great feeling (not to mention the water spraying all over you on a hot day is FANTASTIC).

In the past month or so there hasn’t been much need for the irrigation system because of all the rain we have been getting. The rain this year has caused many problems on our farm as well as farms around Kentucky. An increase in pest populations and not being able to work in the fields as much as possible has impacted the health of the plants and the farm schedule. However, the amazing crew has worked around it and with it to make sure everything is in order. In the past couple of weeks when we got some dry weather we were out transplanting and seeding the fall crops. Just about two weeks ago I helped direct seed the beets and carrots with the vacuum seeder. It was a long process of making sure the containers of seed were full, checking the depth and placement of each seed, and refilling the fertilizer bins with bags and bags of our organic fertilizer. A monotonous task that I loved every second of. In about a month or two all of you will be able to enjoy the final product!

Working with the crew has been, by far, my favorite part of this apprenticeship. Building relationships with people that share the same interests and drive that I do, as well as different views, has been such a learning experience. I have always heard the saying “work smarter, not harder” and that does really apply to farming and finding the most efficient way to do something, but one thing that someone said to me while cooking lunch for the farm crew is “different strokes for different folks”. Combining these two mottos you really are able to understand the whole picture of my experience with these people. Learning from your peers whether it is a new idea or a way of completing a task is so essential to your growth as a person. I loved that I was able to share and gather knowledge from the family at the south farm.

When I was a little girl, I never would have imagined myself having a deep passion for farming flowing through my soul, and even though 3 months may not seem like a long time to some of you, I believe I have truly grown as a person along side the beautiful crops and land we have here at the farm.

Here is Maggie with the vacuum seeder.

Here is Maggie with the vacuum seeder.

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Watermelon (Sangria variety)
+ Yellow squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers (the last week of cucumbers)
+ Tomatoes
+ Eggplant
+ Potatoes
+ Sweet and Mild Peppers
+ Corn
+ Grapes (organic “Mars” variety)
+ Garlic

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You-Pick

The following items are available for You-Pick:
+ ground cherries
+ hot peppers: jalapeños, serranos, and capperino cherry peppers
+ cilantro
+ dill
+ cherry tomatoes
+ okra
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley,  curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil*
+ flowers
* Note: some of the herbs are still very small, so please be mindful to only harvest a small portion of each plant. In particular some of the rosemary plants and basil are still quite small.

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

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Veggie Tips

Here are some storage tips on some of the veggies in your share this week:

CUCUMBERS
Cucumbers are mainly water and once they are harvested they tend to shrivel very fast (for this reason, most commercial cucumbers are sold waxed).   Cucumbers help replenish the fluids & minerals we lose during the hot summer months.  Cucumbers can be an effective skin conditioner because they are high in vitamin E.  
Storage Tips
+ Store cucumbers in the hydrator drawer of your fridge for up to 1 week.             
+ Sliced cucumbers deteriorate very quickly.

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TOMATOES

Storage Tips
+ Hold tomatoes at room temperature for up to 1 week
+ Do not store in fridge. Fridge will deteriorate flavor within minutes.
+ Cut tomatoes deteriorate quickly
+ Not fully ripe tomatoes will continue to ripen stored out of the sun at room temperature

Culinary Tips
+ Sauté, bake, broil, grill, or eat them raw
+ Slice tomatoes and arrange on a plate.  Drizzle with olive oil or a vinaigrette, chopped fresh basil or parsley and salt and pepper.
+ Add tomato chunks to summer soups and pasta sauces
+ Sauté plum tomatoes and add to an omelet
+ Hollow-out partially, stuff and bake or grill
+ Roast halved tomatoes on a lightly oiled baking pan in a 250„a oven for 3 hours (season with minced garlic and fresh, chopped basil before you pop them in the oven)

+++

PEPPERS
All green peppers are unripe red or other colored peppers.  Peppers are high in iron and vitamins A,C, and E.

 Storage Tips
+ Ripe peppers spoil faster than green peppers.
+ Store in the fridge for up to a week, unwashed.

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Recipes

Summer Squash Tomato Skillet
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Ingredients:
1 large onion
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions:
In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in oil until soft. Trim, halve and slice yellow squash and zucchini. Add to skillet and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and seasonings. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender crisp and liquid is absorbed.

+++

Quick Chicken Fajitas with Peppers
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless chicken breast
1 tbsp. oil
1 green pepper in 1/4 inch strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup chunky salsa
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
8 8-inch flour tortillas

Directions:

Cut chicken into thin strips. Heat oil in a large skillet. When hot add chicken, pepper and onion. Stir fry 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Combine salsa and chili powder and add to chicken; cook and stir until thoroughly heated. Warm tortillas. Place about 1/2 cup of the mixture on each tortilla. Fold up bottom; fold in sides and secure with a toothpick, leaving top open. Serve with sour cream if desired.

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Watermelon Salad with Mint Leaves
From Paula Dean

Ingredients:
1 5-lb. watermelon
1 red onion or sweet onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
6 whole mint sprigs

Directions:
Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Peel and slice the onion into rings.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.
In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.
To serve, divide salad among individual plates and garnish with mint leaves.

 

CSA Newsletter Week #11, August 6th

Farm Notes

Can you believe it? This week marks the half-way point of our season for this year! This week has been busy as we’ve been in a rush to get our fields ready and our transplants in before the rainy weather hits us again.

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We’ve also got a new implement on the farm. It is a conveyor to assist with our harvest. It is essentially a ladder with a belt attached to it and it extends out into the field. All we have to do is place the bucket on the conveyor and it takes it right to the wagon where it gets loaded. Below is a photo of it in action while we harvested squash:

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Here are a couple of notes about this week’s share. It seems as though our cucumbers are about done. They are definitely slowing down. Also, our tomatoes are coming to an end as well. I expect to maybe get another 1 or 2 weeks out of them before the plants die back completely. The grapes this week are from the conventional side of the farm, so they have been sprayed with pesticides and fungicides. Make sure you wash them. Additionally, we will have “seconds” onions at the share this week. Because it has been so wet, a lot of the onions have begun to rot. We have cleaned them up quite a bit for you, but please use them this week. They will not store for very long.

There are no extra tomato boxes for sale this week.

Crawling through the corn field thinning the corn to 6 inch spacing.

Crawling through the corn field thinning the corn to 6 inch spacing.

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Yellow squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers
+ Tomatoes
+ Corn
+ Potatoes
+ Grapes (from the conventional side)
+ Mixed sweet peppers
+ Onions
+ Garlic

Potato harvest!

Potato harvest!

You-Pick

The following items are available for You-Pick:
+ ground cherries
+ hot peppers: jalapeños, serranos, and capperino cherry peppers
+ cilantro
+ dill
+ cherry tomatoes
+ okra
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley,  curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil*
+ flowers
* Note: some of the herbs are still very small, so please be mindful to only harvest a small portion of each plant. In particular some of the rosemary plants and basil are still quite small.

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

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Aaron flame weeding the carrots.

Veggie Tips

Here is a guide to the peppers you may choose from this week at distribution:

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+ From the top left:
Banana pepper, Shishito (which can also be red), Carmen, Canario
+ The three grouped on the right are all the same pepper variety, Zsa Zsa, just in different stages.
+ From the bottom left:
Flavorburst and Aristotle

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Preservation

Mild Salsa
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Ingredients:
8 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes (about 5 lbs.)
2 cups seeded and chopped green, red or yellow bell peppers
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. minced cilantro
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vinegar
2 drops of hot pepper sauce

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Carefully ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Makes about 7 half pints.

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How to Freeze corn
+ Whole kernel: Husk, remove silks and trim ends. Blanch for 4 minutes; chill immediately in cold water. Corn not thoroughly chilled may become mushy. Cut corn from the cob about 2/3 the depth of the kernel. Put in freezer containers and freeze.
+ Corn on the Cob: Husk, remove silks. Blanch for 6-8 minutes; chill immediately in cold water very thoroughly. Pat ears dry. Package whole ears individually, then into a second package. If steam forms in wrap, ears have not completely chilled.
+ Creamstyle: Husk, remove silks. Blanch for 4 minutes; chill immediately in cold water. Cut corn at center of kernel; scrape cobs to remove juice. Put in freezer containers and freeze.

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Recipes

Zucchini and Feta Fritatta (with Potato)
Source: Kitchen Daily

Ingredients:
2 medium red potatoes, about 3/4 pound, cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 large eggs
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, about 3 ounces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Preheat broiler.
Bring potatoes to a brisk simmer in a small saucepan of salted water, then cook until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.  Whisk together eggs and 1/4 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Cook zucchini in 1 Tablespoons oil in a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in potatoes and tomatoes, then pour in eggs and cook, lifting up cooked eggs around edge using a heatproof rubber spatula to let as much raw egg as possible flow underneath, until edge is set, about 2 minutes (top and center will still be very loose).  Sprinkle cheese evenly over top and broil frittata about 6 inches from heat until set, slightly puffed around edge and golden, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Loosen edge of frittata and slide onto a cutting board.  Cut frittata into wedges and serve topped with salad.

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Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:
1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked white rice
4 bell peppers
1 lb ground beef (ground chuck, 16% fat)
6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1 1/2 tea spoons dried basil)
1/2 teaspoon dry summer savory
1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram (or 2 teaspoons of fresh chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Paprika

Directions:
1. If you haven’t already made the rice, start cooking the rice following the package instructions (usually 1 cup of raw white rice plus 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.)
2. Cut the tops off of the bell peppers. Remove and discard the stem and seeds. Place bell peppers cut side up on a steaming rack over an inch of water in a large covered pot. Bring to boil, let steam for 10 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl mix together the ground beef, basil, summer savory, marjoram, salt, several turns of black pepper, and rice.
4. Remove bell peppers from steamer pan. Place cut side up in a pyrex or other oven-proof casserole. Gently stuff the peppers with the ground beef rice mixture. Drizzle olive oil over the stuffed peppers, along the outside of the peppers, and into the pan. Rub the oil over the outside of the peppers; it will help with browning. Sprinkle the tops generously with paprika.
5. Place on middle rack and cook for 35-50 minutes, or longer, until the meat is cooked through.
Serves 4 to 6. Serve with ketchup.

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Chunky Potato Salad
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Ingredients:
2 lbs. small red potatoes, quartered
3 cups cubed cheddar cheese
1 cup 1/2 inch sweet red or green pepper pieces
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cups sliced green onions
3/4 cup Italian salad dressing

Directions:
Cook potatoes in salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool to room temperature. Meanwhile combine cheese, peppers, celery and onions. Add potatoes and toss with dressing.

Half-way point!

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We are at the half-way point of CSA boxes! This week will be CSA week #11 out of 22 total weeks of delivery. Kind of crazy we are only half-way there, huh?  But, it is also exciting to think about all that is still to come. Fall is a bountiful season when summer crops (like tomatoes, peppers and corn) meet-up with storage crops (like potatoes, winter squash and sweet potatoes) right about the time that fall crops (like lettuce, broccoli and cabbage) are maturing.   We are looking forward to continuing to sharing the harvest with you during this abundant upcoming season.

Part of joining a CSA is understanding the risks associated with farming—vegetable production in our humid climate of Kentucky can be a tough environment—and sharing in those risks with the farmer because the rewards are worth it (a fresh, heirloom tomato!).  We hope that both the quantity AND the quality of various crops will average themselves out over the course of the year to provide a unique and worthwhile experience.

We have struggled a bit to keep all our crops happy with already 38 inches of rain this year (the average yearly rainfall in the past six years has been 50 inches). Every year has its challenges, but the rain has caused some more intense disease and insect pressure along with some poor fruit set that has gotten the best of us in some cases. For example, we are expecting the tomatoes to be less plentiful, are still waiting on our peppers to ramp-up production, and are patiently sorting through our onions and garlic, both of which didn’t appreciate the rainy June/July.

I am both proud and relieved to be on schedule for our fall crops after a period of unusually wet ground in July. Apprentices and staff worked non-stop last weekend to plant broccoli, cabbage, beets, carrots, kale, lettuce and many other things that have been soaking up the sun.  We harvested potatoes today and have a special surprise: GRAPES! (although not grown organically) that our friends from the Viticulture Unit are sharing with you this week. Many of the winter squashes are getting very close to being ready and the next round of green beans is starting to shape-up.

We continue to appreciate your support, welcome your comments for improvement, and are excited to keep learning. Here’s to more summer bounty and a smooth transition to fall!

Best,
Tiffany Thompson
CSA Manager

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And just for fun I’ll share my lunch with you today, Corn Smut: a fungus that grows and transforms corn ears into an edible ‘mushroom’.  It is a Mexican cuisine delicacy also known as “Huitlacoche” that has a distinct corny flavor.  While hoeing the corn field today, I found some and quickly reserved it after snatching a photo.  I sautéed it with onions, zucchini, eggplant, squash and a bit of hot pepper, topped with tomatoes and cilantro and served with beans and cheese.


CSA Newsletter Week #10, July 30th

Farm Notes

Man, this Kentucky weather! We’ve had rainstorms every day for several weeks and now that we’ve had a nice stretch of dry weather, it has just been as hot and humid as can be. And now we want some cool rainy weather back. It seems like we can never find a good balance. We have been working through the heat though and are excited to see you all again this Thursday at distribution.

We have also found a pair of blue handled scissors, if anyone lost a pair while they were out You-picking. Contact us by email or at the distribution and we will get them back to you!

There are no extra tomato boxes for sale this week.

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Note from an Apprentice

This week’s note is from Sarah Gosser.

I have always grown and eaten vegetables. As a child, I loathed being called in from playing outside just to be ordered to string and snap gallon after gallon of green beans. In school, I was the weird kid because in my lunch my parents packed cherry tomatoes instead of fruit rollups and cucumber slices instead of potato chips. Even during college when I lived on beer and ramen noodles, I always had fresh tomatoes that I grew in a pot on the outdoor fire escape. However, despite coming from a vegetable-eating family, I never really considered my diet to be that healthy, that is, until I became a CSA shareholder.

Two years ago my fiancé and I bought a share of the UK CSA. Each week we would pack up our reusable bags and cardboard boxes and each week we would have to somehow stuff all of those ginormous, fresh veggies in our refrigerator. Much of the produce was familiar, but some of it was quite foreign: Pac choi? Arugulahuh? Kohlrabwhati?? And it seemed like before we could even put a dent in our first share it was already Thursday again, and our poor little fridge was nearly busting at the seams.

The fiancé and I decided to get serious. In order to keep up with this crazy purchase, we needed to get creative. Where we could throw in vegetables, we piled them in. Adding chard to smoothies? Let’s try it! Grating up this weird, alien plant (kohlrabi) and frying it like hash browns? Okay, sure! Dehydrating green beans and zucchini so we could munch on them during our roadtrip to California? Goodbye, gas station junk food!

Soon we were not only adding vegetables to every meal, but omitting what we originally thought we needed to have to make a tasty meal.  Who knew that something called “nutritional yeast” could give food a similar taste as would shredded cheese? And beet burgers now trump my all time fave, the classic cheeseburger.

Fast-forward to today.  The fiancé is now the husband, and I am now an apprentice with the CSA I fell in love with two years ago. Not only do I now work somewhere that feeds my vegetable addiction, but twice a week I get to be in a field in the sun, laughing with friends as we make up ridiculous vegetable puns (the “cornier” the better).  This summer has deepened my love for not just vegetables, but also being a healthier and happier individual. Hurray for the CSA!

Sarah in the foreground, harvesting kholrabi earlier in the season.

Sarah in the foreground, harvesting kohlrabi earlier in the season.

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Tomatoes
+ Green Beans
+ Yellow squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers (of the pickling variety)
+ Corn
+ Onion
+ Herb of your choice (cilantro OR basil)

Taste test!

Taste test!

You-Pick

The following items are available for You-Pick:
*NEW* + ground cherries, also know as husk cherries. The ground cherries are ready for harvest when the outer husk has browned. You can pick them off the plant or you can also pick them from the ground as they will fall to the ground when they are ripe.
+ hot peppers: jalapeños, serranos, and capperino cherry peppers
+ cilantro
+ dill
+ cherry tomatoes
+ okra
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley,  curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil*
+ flowers
* Note: some of the herbs are still very small, so please be mindful to only harvest a small portion of each plant. In particular some of the rosemary plants and basil are still quite small.

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

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Veggie Tips

+ For this week’s green beans, we suggest that you rewash and cook your beans before eating them. They aren’t quite up to the “snacking in the car on the way home” caliber.

+ Again, as with last week’s corn, there may be a friend in the ear. You can just pick them out and cut off the eaten part before you cook it. Our friend is most likely going to be either the European corn borer, the corn earworm or the sap beetles.

European corn borer

Corn Earworm

Sap beetle

The corn borer has two generations every year. The first generation occurs in June and July where the borer tunnels through leaf midribs and the stalk. The second generation occurs in August and September and those borers tunnel through the ears and stalks. The corn earworm is an even more damaging worm because it will feed directly on the corn itself. This is most likely the “friend” that is in your ear. And finally, the sap beetle is a scavenging beetle that may be present only because the corn was already damaged from the earworm. Controlling for these pests can be difficult on an organic farm. At least for controlling the earworm, Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) does not work and a different pesticide (spinosad) which can be found in an organic formulation is also difficult to use due to the frequency in spraying the plants. With all this rainy weather, even if we wanted to spray, we just simply can’t. So please have patience with our corn!

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Recipes

Grilled Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Sage

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (about 1 ounce), divided
1/2 cup soft fresh goat cheese
2 teaspoons sliced green onions
1 shallot, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 medium tomatoes

Directions:
Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons fresh sage and fry 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer fried sage to paper towel.

Combine cheese, onions, shallot, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon fresh sage in bowl. Season with pepper. Using small sharp knife, remove cone-shaped piece 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep from top of each tomato. Divide cheese mixture among tomatoes; top with fried sage.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place tomatoes on grill rack; cover barbecue with lid. Cook until tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes.

+++

Ground Cherry Pie
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Ingredients:
2 9-inch pie crusts
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
3 1/2 cups ground cherries
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter

Directions:
Put one crust in the pie plate. Combine sugar and flour and put in the crust. Fill with the ground cherries. Sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon juice. Dot with butter. Put the top crust on and seal the edges. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes then at 350° for 40 minutes or until done.
Variation: To top with crumbs instead of a crust, combine 3 tbsp. flour, 3 tbsp. sugar and 2 tbsp. butter.

+++

Onion and Green Bean Casserole
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Ingredients:
3 cups sliced onions
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups lightly cooked green beans
2 tbsp. bread crumbs

Directions:
Sauté onion slices in butter until they are limp. Blend in flour, salt, mustard and pepper. Add milk, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Add cheese and green beans. Put into shallow 2-qt. casserole and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

CSA Newsletter Week #9, July 23rd

Farm Notes

Hurray for warm, dry weather! Now if only it will continue to stay dry for the rest of this week, then we can get into our fields. Although we have been enjoying these last few rain-free days, our fields are still too wet to get into. Instead, we have been processing garlic and trying out our “new to us” bean picker! This week’s beans have been picked with the Pixall Green Bean Harvester. It is a machine that runs off the PTO of a tractor. There are tines that rip the whole plant from the ground and shake it up to get the beans off of it. Then the beans ride a conveyer belt and spit out the back into a bin. The chaff is blown out the side of the machine. It is a pretty nifty machine and makes the harvest of beans so much faster.

 

Pixall Green Bean Picker

Pixall Green Bean Picker

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I have two additional notes for you all. The first is that the corn may have some worms in them. No need to worry, just take them out before cooking/eating. The second note is that we will have 25 lb. boxes of second tomatoes available for sale at distribution. They are $25 each. We prefer cash or check, however we can also charge you online.

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Tomatoes
+ Eggplant
+ Beans (of the Furano variety)
+ Corn
+ Cabbage (last until the fall)
+ Green pepper
+ Garlic (of the Music variety)
+ Thyme
+ Cantaloupe

Melon toss!

Melon toss!

You-Pick

In case any of you all were wondering what the different types of cherry tomatoes are this year, here is a picture with their names.

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The following items are available for You-Pick:
+ hot peppers: jalapeños, serranos, and capperino cherry peppers
+ cilantro
+ dill
+ cherry tomatoes
+ okra
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley,  curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil*
+ flowers
* Note: some of the herbs are still very small, so please be mindful to only harvest a small portion of each plant. In particular some of the rosemary plants and basil are still quite small.

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

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Veggie Tips

+ The Furano Green Beans are a Romano type of bean that is wide and flat. They can be eaten either raw or cooked. Green beans are rich in folate, vitamin A and vitamin C.

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+ This year, all the garlic we are growing is of the Music variety. Music is a hardnecked variety with a sweet pungent flavor. Hardneck garlic is so called for the flowering stalk that grows through the middle of the bulb. Softneck garlic does not have a flowering stalk so it will usually produce more cloves. Generally you can expect 4-7 cloves per bulb for the Music variety.

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+ Below you will find a picture of the type of tomatoes we are growing this year.

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Top row, from left to right are the hybrids and paste tomatoes: Big Beef, New Girl, Amish Paste and Speckled Roman.

The bottom row, from left to right are the heirloom variety: Black Velvet, Cherokee Purple, German Johnson, Persimmon and Pineapple

Recipes

Italian Flat Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic
Submitted by Cheryl Kastanowski

Ingredients:
1 lb green beans, cut on the diagonal into 3-inch pieces (Italian flat, Romano)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, cut into very thin slices (a 1/4 cup)
1 tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice (8ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
6 -8 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (stacked, then rolled tightly and cut into very thin strips, optional garnish)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Drain immediately. While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a medium sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the garlic slices, distributing them evenly. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the slices become almost translucent and start to brown on the edges; be careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the diced tomato and salt and pepper to taste, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, so that the tomato is heated through. Add the cooked green beans and heat through for 1 to 2 minutes; mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the basil, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

+++

Fresh Corn Salsa
Submitted by Cheryl Kastanowski

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 sweetcorn 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.

+++

Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Salad
Submitted by apprentice Cheryl Kastanowski

Ingredients:
For the salad:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds total), cut into 3 x 3/4 x 3/4-inch strips
2 large green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips

Dressing:
8 large garlic cloves (unpeeled)
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
3/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the sesame spread:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt

8 warm pita bread rounds, cut into wedges

Directions:
To make the salad: Place rack in top third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Spray large heavy baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Combine eggplant, peppers, garlic and oil in large bowl. Toss well. Transfer to prepared sheet. Bake until eggplant is brown and vegetables are tender, stirring every 10 minutes, about 50 minutes. Remove garlic and reserve. Scrape vegetables and all pan juices into bowl.
To make the dressing: Combine vinegar, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne in processor. Peel roasted garlic; add to processor. Puree until smooth.

Toss vegetable mixture with 1/4 cup garlic dressing. Cool, tossing occasionally. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill vegetables and remaining dressing separately. Bring to room temperature.)

Mound salad in center of large platter. Surround with pita wedges. Serve, passing remaining dressing and Sesame Spread separately.

To make the sesame spread: Beat butter, sesame seeds and salt to blend in small bowl. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Yield: 8 servings