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

CSA Newsletter Week #8, July 16th

Farm Notes

Finally we’ve had some nice, dry weather! The next few days will be busy as we’ve been needing to start some of our fall plantings. We’ve also completed our onion harvest. In about 4 weeks you can expect some onions in your share after they have dried. Additionally, you can expect corn, beans and peppers starting next week! For those of you who pick up at the farm, our back gate is now working and you may enter through the back if you so desire.
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There will be a Twilight Farm Tour at the UK Horticulture Research Farm Tuesday July 28th starting at 6pm. There will be tours highlighting the different research projects across the farm. Everyone is welcome to attend!

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Note from an Apprentice

This week we have a note from 2 different apprentices. The first note is from Raya Stearn.

Lexington has been rain free for the past twenty-four hours! What an odd celebration especially in the middle of July, hopefully it will still be this way when I see all of your beautiful faces tomorrow at pick up!

Due to this sunny and warm evening we were able to practice yoga outside tonight and I found myself reflecting on my time spent on the farm and everything I have learned up to this point. Most things are related to the art of farming but I mostly think about you, the shareholders. We grow vegetables to learn about them but also to provide wonderful, beautiful, and nourishing food to sustain you and your families. Before I began studying sustainable agriculture I viewed food as dispensable, which is the way companies and marketers want it to be portrayed. This is not the case. Working on this farm has given me insight into the relationship we have with each other, the land, and the food being grown. The fact that each one of you cares enough to purchase a share is equally important as the people out here growing the food for you.

It takes time, much time and not everything goes according to plan (due to endless rain storms). Personally, I feel this has been a valued experience; farming is not easy, there are obstacles and the best way to learn is by doing, under all conditions. This weather has definitely slowed us down but there is always something to be done, farming never stops. Some corn stalks have fallen over and the tomatoes and peppers do not like this much rain but our veggies are tough and are still growing through these gloomy days. Preparation for the fall crops has been in full swing. I, along with other apprentices and staff have spent hours in the greenhouse sowing seed and thinning trays. Our vacuum seeder is an awesome tool that allows an entire tray to be seeded in a timely fashion which is really nice when you have to prepare 40 to 60 trays of little baby seeds just waiting to germinate!

Time has been the focus in this letter. Sure, everything is on a time schedule but we must adjust when things get off track, and that is okay. We finished our practice tonight by thanking ourselves for the time we spent, the time we gave to grow our minds and bodies. On behalf of the entire farm, I would like to thank the CSA members for your support, we have much time left to provide you all with delicious food but the time thus far has been rewarding and enjoyable. I love seeing you all sharing veggies with friends or neighbors, spouses, and your children.

Raya in between Alex and Clifton thinning flats in the greenhouse.

Raya in between Alex and Clifton thinning flats in the greenhouse.

The second note is from Savannah McGuire.

Hi everyone, my name is Savannah. I’m going to be a sophomore in the fall and am majoring in Sustainable Agriculture.

The ample weeds in our rows are evidence of the furious rainstorms that we have been seeing in Kentucky this week. Despite the wet ground, we headed to the fields to do some damage control and weeded with the wheel hoe. We harvested lots of onions this week and spent time racking them so that they can dry out for storage. Tomatoes are starting to ripen and everyone has been really excited about that- the bugs too. I enjoy tying tomatoes, so this week was fun for me as we all spent lots of time in the sun, stringing up wandering vines to make the plants stand tall.

During class this week, Dr.Bessin spoke about integrated pest management and we spent some time in the fields bug hunting. He showed us all kinds of bugs, including the infamous Colorado potato beetle, which is unfortunately not partial to potatoes. The beetles crawled around the tomato stems and chewed through eggplant leaves as Dr.Bessin identified their larvae to us.

I have been trying to take in the exceptional beauty of the farm this week. During the hot, humid times, I love the way that I can smell the peppers and tomatoes just by walking through the fields. I love watching tremendous thunderstorms roll in over the gravel driveway and how everyone is able to chat and laugh as we wait for the clouds to pass. I love being able to bite into a ripe, juicy tomato seconds after yanking it from the vine.

The way that we farm at the South Farm isn’t just about producing food- it’s about fostering community. I’ve seen that so clearly this week as we’ve sweated together, laughed together, and been exhausted together. I love the fellowship that we can all have as we devour Thursday lunch and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Our culture has turned food into something fast, convenient, and very individualized. We are paying the price of cheap food by forsaking the experience of a meal.

Working at the farm has shown me everything that goes into making a meal. Something spiritual happens when people eat together. Each day we look to the ground below us for nourishment, yet most of us (myself included) forsake the precious gift of fertile land that we have. We ought to be good stewards of this land and that begins with obtaining a proper gratitude and understanding of our reliance. Being on the farm reminds me of how small and dependent I am on things outside of myself. It reminds me of how much something so fundamental to my existence is being neglected. Every complex piece of farming- from irrigation to pest management- points me to a Designer that must be so much more glorious than I can fathom.

When it comes to eating, being an individualist won’t work. We all ought to take time to teach each other the importance of our connection to the land and take action to ensure that it can continue.

Savannah picking tomatoes.

Savannah picking tomatoes.

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Cabbage (probably one more next week)
+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers (the last for at least a couple of weeks)
+ Tomatoes
+ Eggplant (we will start including Asian Eggplants as an option)
+ Chioggia beets (the last beets until fall)
+ Leeks (the only time we will give out)
+ Turnips (mix of “Scarlet Ohno”: Red salad turnip and “Hakurei”: White salad turnip)*
+ Carrots (last until fall)
+ Shishito/banana peppers

*We are not very proud of these turnips. Peel outer layer off, and cook rather than eat raw. We will give out better turnips this fall.

Asian Eggplants

Asian Eggplants

You-Pick

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 (or Facts!)

Some of the apprentices and my fellow coworkers have been wondering what some of the plant families are that our vegetables fall into. It is important to know for several reasons, particularly for weed, disease and pest management. In controlling for weeds, if you were wanting to use an herbicide, it would be good to know whether or not the weed is in the same family of the crop. If it is, then it could also be harmful to your crop. The same thing occurs in disease and pest management. Crops that are in the same family need to be rotated to other parts of the field, so you do not have a build up of disease and pests in the soil. Crops of the same family will be susceptible to the same things, therefore rotation is paramount! Below is a table of different crop families and examples of vegetables found in that family.

Family Name Aliases Members
Crops Ornamentals Weeds
Solanaceae solanaceous crops; potato, tomato or nightshade family peppers (bell and chile), tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, tobacco, tomatillo petunia, million bells nightshade, jimsonweed, henbane, groundcherry, buffalobur, horsenettle
Brassicaceae Cruciferae; brassicas; cole crops; cruciferous crops; mustard family horseradish, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnips, Chinese cabbage, radish, rapeseed, mustard, collards, watercress, pak choi, bok choi, rutabaga stock, alyssum, candytuft shepherd’s-purse, field pennycress, yellow rocket
Cucurbitaceae cucurbits; cucumber family; squash family cucumber, melons, watermelon, summer squash, pumpkin, gourds, winter squash
Rosaceae rose family, rosaceous plants apples, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, pears, cherries multiflora rose
Fabaceae Leguminosae; leguminous crops; legumes; bean, pea or legume family beans, peas, lentils, peanut, soybean, edamame, garbanzo bean, fava beans, hairy vetch, vetches, alfalfa, clovers, cowpea, birdsfoot trefoil, black medic various vetches, clovers, black medic
Poaceae Gramineae; grass family corn, wheat, barley, oats, sorghum, rice, millet, rye, ryegrass, sorghum-sudangrass, fescue, timothy ornamental grasses brome, wild oats, crabgrass, orchardgrass, barnyardgrass, quackgrass, fall panicum, foxtail, Johnsongrass
Polygonaceae Knotweed family buckwheat, rhubarb knotweed, smartweed
Liliaceae lily family; alliums (for members of the Allium genera) asparagus, onions, leeks, chives, garlic, shallot tulips, daffodils, hosta, hyacinth, daylily wild garlic and onions
Lamiaceae Labiatae; mint family lavender, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, mints, catnip salvia, Molucella (bells-of-Ireland) mints, catnip, henbit
Ericaceae heather or blueberry family blueberries, cranberries rhododendrons, azalea, heather
Chenopodiaceae goosefoot family spinach, beets, chard, sugar beets kochia, lambsquarters
Apiaceae Umbelliferae; carrot family carrots, parsnips, celery, dill, chervil, cilantro, parsley, caraway, fennel Trachymeme, Buplerum poison-hemlock, wild carrot
Asteraceae sunflower family; aster family, Compositae sunflowers, lettuce, endive, escarole, radicchio, dandelion, Jerusalem artichoke, artichoke, safflower, chicory, tarragon, chamomile, echinacea, sunflowers marigold, mums, zinnia, aster, Calendula, cosmos, Rudbeckia, Tithonia, Centaurea, Helichrysum, yarrow, Leucanthemum, echinacea, sunflowers dandelion, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory, echinacea, thistles, knapweeds, cocklebur, yarrow, ragweeds, goldenrod, groundsel, galinsoga, sunflowers

The table and further information can be found here.

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Recipes

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.

+++

Roasted Root Vegetable Medley
From Food Network

Ingredients:
8 to 12 slender carrots, peeled and trimmed
8 to 12 baby turnips, peeled
6 to 8 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise in halves
1 or 2 large parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
1 or 2 medium onions, trimmed, peeled and halved, each 1/2 cut into quarters
1 or 2 large beets, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1 or 2 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1 celery root, trimmed and halved, halves cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
1 whole head garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put all the vegetables and the herb sprigs in a large baking dish. Season well with salt and black pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil, and toss them with your hands to coat them evenly.

Put the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve the vegetables from their baking dish or transfer them to a platter to accompany a roasted main course.

+++

Carrot Turnip Fluff
Submitted by Cheryl Kastanowski

Ingredients:
1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced
1 lg. turnip, peeled and diced
2/3 c. lowfat milk
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Salt and white pepper to taste
Shredded carrots
Dash of red pepper (optional)

Directions:
Cook carrots and turnips in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain. Place in blender or food processor while slowly adding milk. Blend in butter, salt and white pepper. Blend until pureed.

Reheat. Transfer to serving dish. Garnish with shredded carrots and dash of red pepper.

CSA Newsletter Week #7, July 9th

Farm Notes

This week we’ve finally started our onion harvest! The process is very similar to garlic. We just pull them out of the ground and chop the stem off to about 3 or 4 inches. Then, just like garlic, we lay it out to dry for about 4 weeks. So along with garlic, you have onions to look forward to in about a month!

I am pleased to announce that next week will be a large share. We will be giving out more summery crops. So don’t forget your bags and baskets!

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Note from an Apprentice

This week’s note is from Laura Cleary.

Laura cutting the tops off the carrots.

Laura cutting the tops off the carrots.

Una apis, nulla apis – ‘One bee is no bee’

Most of the apprentices have reached our halfway mark here at UK’s South Farm before the fall semester resumes and I’m sure we can all reflect and agree upon what a fertile summer it has been thus far! While the past few weeks have been heavily saturated with showers, cultivation and production ensues full throttle in an effort to ensure you receive the fruits of our labor. Despite our clothes being drenched and boots heavily coated with inch-thick layers of mud as we harvest beets and carrots, we all seem to carry on with gracious attitudes and gratitude for the opportunity at hand.

I, for one, appreciate being surrounded by such a positive group of people who view our landscape as a being to be nurtured, sustainably cultivated and also preserved. I have found in my recent farming experience over the past couple summers that it involves a great deal of repetition and toiling before the land ever offers a bountiful harvest. This kind of incessant labor was the subject of one of our most recent class meetings, in the form of that of honey bees. In this class we were able to visit a hive at the farm, inspect it for its queen and observe the overall health of the colony. There are few other species that work so tirelessly as beneficial pollinators and yield an abundance of healthy products that their human counterparts are able to use and/or consume, ranging from the delicious honey we extracted and paired with freshly picked blueberries to the long list of health and biological benefits of royal jelly. Yet these products require the relentless efforts of their workers and a carefully constructed relationship with the beekeeper that can’t happen overnight. Just as the landscape requires thoughtful and careful cultivation, the hive takes its time to produce and flourish. This unit cannot exist with only one working bee, but rather a unified colony working towards the same goal.

These insects are continually fascinating to me due to their innate sense of collectivism and as a female in a female dominated group of apprentices this year, it’s especially intriguing to see a thriving matriarchal family. The only male honey bees that exist are larger drones which serve the short and sole purpose of mating if called upon by the queen and then quickly fall to their death. Sorry boys! As I’ve learned, agriculture greatly depends on the work of the honey bee and as a future female farmer, my respect and admiration for my fellow female bees abounds this summer. I’m very fortunate to have cultivated such a rewarding learning environment with hard-working individuals and much of this thanks goes to our instructors and shareholders who support the future of sustainable farming systems and the local Lexington hive. You guys are the bee’s knees!

Quote Reference:
http://sociologicalinsect.com/tag/queen-bee/

laura bees

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers
+ Eggplant
+ Cabbage
+ Dill OR Cilantro OR Basil
+ Green tomatoes
+ Red tomatoes
+ Carrots
+ Banana peppers 

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You-Pick

The following items are available for You-Pick:
*NEW*+ cilantro
*NEW*+ dill
*NEW* + cherry tomatoes
+ hot peppers: jalapeños, serranos, and *NEW* capperino cherry peppers
+ 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

Savoy cabbage has a much milder flavor than the other cabbages we’ve had so far. The leaves are also more tender and are better raw in salads. Savoy cabbage has high nutritional value. It is low in calories, contains no fat or cholesterol, and is a good source of dietary fiber and protein. It is also rich in many vitamins and minerals, such as: Thiamine (B-1), folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, manganese, calcium, copper, phosphorous, and copper.

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Preservation

+With all the cucumbers we’ve been giving out here are a few pickle recipes to try out! All recipes are taken from The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients:
1 qt. vinegar
1 qt. sugar
1/3 cup salt
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 ts. mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp. tumeric
cucumbers
onions

Directions:
Mix all but cucumbers and onions together until sugar is dissolved. This mixture does not have to be heated. Fill quart jars with thinly sliced unpeeled cucumbers. Slice one onion into each jar. Fill jars with syrup mixture; cover with lid and store in refrigerator. Keep refrigerated. Can be stored for several months.

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Bread and butter pickles

Ingredients:
2 gallons thinly sliced cucumbers
1 qt. sliced onions
1/2 cup salt
2 qts. water
2 qts. vinegar
4 cups sugar
1 tsp. tumeric
1/4 cup whole mustard seed

Directions:
Cover sliced cucumbers and onions with brine made by mixing salt and water. Let stand 3 hours; drain. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers and onions in a kettle. Place on low heat and heat just to boiling. Pack in jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

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Freezer cucumber pickles

Ingredients:
4 lbs. pickling cucumbers, sliced
8 cups thinly sliced onions
1/4 cup salt
3/4 cup water
4 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar

Directions:
Combine cucumbers, onions, salt and water in two large bowls. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Add sugar and vinegar; stir until sugar dissolves. Pack into 1-pint freezer containers, leaving 1-inch headspace. Cover and freeze for up to 6 weeks. Thaw at room temperature for 4 hours before serving. Yields 10 pints.

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Recipes

Zucchini Muffins
Recipe from The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover

Ingredients:
2 cups flour (or whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated zucchini
2/3 cup raisins (or chocolate chips)

Directions:
Combine dry ingredients. Beat eggs, milk and oil. Fold in zucchini and raisins. Add dry ingredients, stirring only until combined. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake at 375° for approximately 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

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Spicy Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 tsp sweet or hot curry powder
2 cups green tomatoes, diced (3-4 large tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste
If desired, add baked or grilled chicken, fish, or maybe tofu!

Directions:
Heat the oil (or melt butter) in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes, and cook slowly until well heated, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder; if the mixture seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water. (After 5 minutes, add the chicken, fish, or tofu). Season with salt and pepper (or, try adding a bit of honey for a sweet and spicy variation!) and serve with rice!

Serves 2

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Carrot and Zucchini Latkes

CSA member, Carol, added that shredded beets are also an excellent addition!

Ingredients:
1 lb. carrots, peeled
1/2 lb.  zucchini
1 small onion
2   eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp.  salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup  oil
1/2 cup BREAKSTONE’S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1 Tbsp.  chopped fresh chives

Directions:
Grate carrots, zucchini and onion using large holes of box grater; place vegetables on center of large clean kitchen towel. Bring up ends of towel and twist together to form pouch. Holding pouch over sink, squeeze out excess moisture from vegetables. Place vegetables in large bowl. Add eggs, flour, salt and pepper; mix well.

Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. For each latke, carefully add 1 Tbsp. of the vegetable mixture to skillet, cooking 2 to 3 latkes at a time. Immediately spread each mound into thin circle with back of spoon. Cook 3 to 4 min. on each side or until golden brown on both sides. Remove latkes from skillet; drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining vegetable mixture.

Serve each latke topped with 1 tsp. sour cream. Sprinkle with chives.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Substitute matzo meal for the flour.

Latkes can be made ahead of time. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To reheat, place in single layer in shallow pan. Bake in 350°F oven 10 min. or until heated through.

Recipe can be easily doubled for a larger crowd. Prepare as directed, doubling all ingredients. Makes about 4 doz. or 16 servings.

You Pick Orientation.

This week we are opening up the rest of our You-Pick field for your picking pleasure. Below you can read a few notes to orient you to what is available.

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Cherry Tomatoes are just starting to ripen. You will find a few handfuls at the bottom of the plants, but there will not quite be enough to stock up yet. Most likely you’ll find yourself eating everything you pick!

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There are two beds of Okra plants. The okra pods that you harvest grow very fast — so even if you don’t see much one day, they will grow back very quickly. The best size to harvest is when they are around 3-4″ in length. It is best to bring pruners for harvest as the stems are hardy. Larger, tough pods should be cut off so the plants continue to produce; do your fellow you-pickers a favor and cut the woody okras off the plant.

There is a mixed bed of Herbs which include Onion Chives, Garlic Chives, Flat Parsley, Curly Parsely, Oregano, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Chamomile, Savory, and Marjoram. Please harvest sections of the plant but not all of the leaves of one plant; this will allow the herbs to continue to grow and get bigger for the rest of the season.

We also have Cilantro, Dill, and Basil plants located at the far end of the field in two different rows. These herbs are also available for You Pick.

In addition to Herbs, there are also You Pick Hot Peppers! There are multiple varieties of hot peppers to harvest, however not all of them are currently ready. Each variety is labeled with a sign. There is also a corresponding number on the sign which is our method of giving the peppers a “heat index.” Peppers with a “1” and “2” are mild; “3” is a moderately hot pepper; “4” indicates solidly hot pepper, while “5” is reserved for the hottest peppers — our habaneros.

Currently, the only peppers ready for harvest are the Capperino Cherry Peppers, the Jalafuego Jalapeños, and the Hot Rod Serranos (see photo, below.) While the Jalapeños look similar to the Serranos, they are larger. The Capperino Cherry Peppers are great for stuffing with cheese. These should be harvested when they are red. The Jalapeños will eventually turn red, but they are ready when they have a dark green hue. Serranos will also turn red but are fine to pick when green.
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Capperino Cherry Peppers, Jalafuego Jalapeños, Hot Rod Serranos

While other plants have peppers on them, they are not mature and should be left on the plants until they finish growing. Varieties NOT ready include the Anaheim, Numex Suave Orange, and the Habaneros.

Last but not least, we have a nice selection of Flowers. While the varieties aren’t labeled, you’ll find marigolds, calendula, celosia, poppies, verbena, borage, cosmos, phlox, frosted explosion ornamental grass, gomphrena, zinnias, and mexican sunflower, among others. There are also sunflowers. As with herbs, pick individual flowers but leave the plants to continue to grow and produce more blooms to last for the whole year.

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Some items we have not mentioned because they are NOT yet ready. These include our Tomatillos and Husk (or Ground) Cherries which are located after the Hot Peppers. We will let everyone know via our newsletter when they are ready to be picked!

Social Media and CSA previews

Did you know we have an Instagram, Facebook and Flickr account in addition to this blog?  We share pictures of our day on Instagram.  With a new camera from UK surplus, our resident photographer, Assistant CSA Manager Kristi Durbin, has been adding some beautiful pictures on the Flickr account.  I have also been trying to give you a sneak peek of what’s in your share, weekly, on our Facebook page a couple of days before Thursday.  Please know that the final list isn’t final until Thursday.

Stay in touch and see what we’re up to!

Instagram: “@ukcsa” https://instagram.com/ukcsa

Facebook: “UK Community Supported Agriculture” https://www.facebook.com/pages/UK-Community-Supported-Agriculture/156654497725600?fref=ts

Flickr: “ukcsa” http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukcsa/

Tiffany Thompson
CSA Manager

CSA Newsletter Week #6, July 2nd

Farm Notes

It’s already July and my how the time has been flying! We have been in the process of harvesting and processing the garlic the past week. It is a long process as we have to lift the garlic up using either the plastic lifter on the tractor (which is what we did) or the long way with a fork. After that, we must then pull all the garlic up out of the holes and cut the stems down to about 2 to 3 inches and cut the roots off. Usually we do all of this in the field as to leave the most organic matter out there. But due to the rain, we had to go ahead and bring everything in to the packing shed, where we have been working on it. Finally, on Wednesday we finished the rest of the garlic and laid it out on racks to dry for about 4 weeks.

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Note from an Apprentice

This week’s note is from Mohammad Alsabri

“I’m the Lucky Guy”
I came to this country as a graduate student in 2013 with a desire to study organic agriculture. Recently I have had the opportunity to work at the UK Organic Farming Unit, where they produce fruits and vegetables in accordance with USDA organic certification standards. Not only do I enjoy riding and drivin­g the tractors, but the knowledge and hands-on experience of preparing seedlings, to seeing them grow, mature and harvest into healthy produce is beyond comprehensive.  Even better is the idea of producing health-giving crops to a customer’s satisfaction, something that I have not fully appreciated until now. It is without doubt that the farm is a more social place, where lots of ideas are shared between us as workers. This experience is definitely something that I will take back home where everyone can enjoy the fruits of my knowledge as I try to increase organic production in my home city (Babylon) and my country.

Muhammad, the second one from the front of the picture, clipping the greens off the carrots.

Mohammad, the second one from the front of the picture, clipping the greens off the carrots.

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Broccoli (this is the last of the broccoli)
+ Green or Red cabbage
+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers
+ Eggplant
+ Chard
+ Cylindra/Red Ace beets mixture
+ Cilantro
+ Oregano

Garlic processing crew

Garlic processing crew

You-Pick

The following items are available for You-Pick:
*NEW* + hot peppers: jalapeños and serranos
+ 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!

Cabbage toss!

Cabbage toss!

Veggie Tips

Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids which are antioxidants and good for your immune system. Green cabbage is good fixed any way whether that be raw, in salads, cooked, steamed, braised, fried or grilled. Red cabbage has a sharper flavor and a coarser texture so it needs to be cooked longer. Cabbage can be stored for 3-4 months in cold storage with high humidity, though the flavor will get stronger the longer it is stored.

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Eggplant is nutritionally lacking due to its low calories, however it is valued for its meaty flavor and texture in vegetarian dishes. Eggplant is good steamed, baked, fried, boiled, sauteed or stuffed. Sometimes it is helpful to slice and salt the eggplant then drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Lightly squeeze out the moisture and pat dry. This removes any bitterness the eggplant may have. This is usually only a problem in over-ripe eggplants, so it shouldn’t be an issue for you. Use your eggplant soon, because it will lose its moisture fast due to its high water content. It will keep for about a week, but I recommend using it for dinner tonight!

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Recipes

Eggplant Parmesan
From allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
2 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
Kosher salt
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
4 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 lbs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

Directions:
1. Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander. Weigh down the slices with a couple of plates and let drain for 2 hours. The purpose of this step is to have the eggplant release some of its moisture before cooking.

2. While the eggplant is draining, prepare tomato sauce. Combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to tasted and set aside.

3. When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine flour and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pour beaten eggs into another wide shallow bowl. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in a half inch of olive oil. When oil is shimmering, dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg. Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bottom of a 10×15 inch glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce. Top with one third of the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil leaves.

5. Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining basil. Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan.

6. Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

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Eggplant Burgers
From Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into 3/4 inch rounds
1 tablespoon margarine
6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
6 hamburger buns, split
6 leaves lettuce
6 slices tomato
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 cup dill pickle slices
1 (20 ounce) bottle ketchup
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard

Directions:
Place the eggplant slices on a plate, and cook in the microwave for about 5 minutes, or until the centers are cooked.

Melt margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry eggplant slices until lightly toasted on each side, and place one slice of cheese onto each one. Cook until cheese has melted, and remove from the skillet.

Place eggplant on hamburger buns, and allow each person to top with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, and dress with ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard.

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Grilled Cabbage
From allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 large head cabbage, cored and cut into 8 wedges
8 teaspoons butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt, or to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.
Arrange the cabbage wedges into the bottom of a large metal baking dish. Pour the water into the dish. Place a teaspoon of butter on each cabbage wedge. Season liberally with garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Place the dish on the preheated grill; cook until cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes.