CSA Newsletter Week #7 July 11th

Farm Notes
The thunder rolled in over the farm this week. There has certainly been no lack of rain, and no lack of vegetables blooming forth from the fields, either. In light of that, we have an announcement: the U-Pick fields are now OPEN!

The following crops are available for U-Pick:
+ Okra (you want to cut the okra pods when they are 3″ or less, if you find a larger okra pod, do everyone a favor by cutting if off the plant to encourage more pods to grow)
+ Basil (pinch off the tops of the plants to encourage more growth)
+ Herbs (these plants are still young, but feel free to cut a bit off, they will continue to grow)
+ Cherry tomatoes (these are not in full production yet, but check the row out and see if you can find a handful or two)
+ Flowers (these are also young plants)

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Note from an Apprentice
By Cheryl Kastanowski

I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Cheryl Kastanowski and most shareholders may recognize me as the ‘much older’ student distributing produce each week. I’m a senior in Horticulture, Plant and Soil Science with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture at UK. This is a second degree for me — one which I think makes a real difference. During the 1980’s, I was a member of the US Air Force and worked as a print and photo journalist, along with public relations duties. Despite serving in peace times, I became disabled due to a training accident and also developed a life-long medical condition during this time. Thanks to the VA and the American taxpayers, I have been able to go back to college and pursue a degree in something meaningful not only to myself, but to my family, friends and community. The knowledge I take with me each and every day is good for the mind. The sweat I produce from my work is good for the body. And the feeling I get doing it all is good for the soul. Before entering this program, I was sitting around waiting to die. Now every day is new and different — and I’m hoping I can get enough done while I’m still able!

One of my major personal interests/hobbies is cooking and each week I research and/or write recipes appropriate for that week’s share contents. As the season progresses, I’m finding more and more delicious ways to cook that beautiful produce and will share these with you. I’ve been a single mom to sons Sam and Tom for twenty years and have done a great deal of cooking in that time. But even this old dog is learning some new things about veggies — kohlrabi?! — not my great grandparents’ German turnip anymore — just as tasty as can be when cooked right. Feel free to ask me for tips and/or additional recipes when you see me Thursdays!

After graduating next May, my hopes are to find a small farm in the Bluegrass and begin growing heirloom tomatoes. During recovery from a heart attack last October, I realized that most ‘heart healthy’ foods sold in stores taste horrible. My love for cooking and my love for tomatoes, along with my desire to see people eating good tasting food that’s also good for them, has prompted me to develop an extremely healthy and delicious tomato sauce. The outcome of this venture will not only provide income for me, but help others as well. I don’t have a lot of money to leave my boys, but now I can leave them with something far more important. The honesty of working the land. The understanding that we were put on this earth to take care of it, not to dominate it. We take care of the soil and it takes care of us. As I said earlier: good for the mind, good for the body and good for the soul.

Farm apprentices Cheryl and Layne
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What’s In Your Share

For July 11th, you’ll find:
+ Savoy Cabbage
+ Broccoli
+ Purple Haze Carrots
+ Green Beans
+ Green Onions
+ Squash
+ Cucumbers
+ Tomatoes
+ Basil

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Veggie Tips

+ This is the last week for Cabbage, Broccoli, and Carrots until the fall! The carrots are a variety called Purple Haze, and yes, you guessed it: they are purple!

+ This is our first picking of Squash. Since this is our first picking, some of the crop was more mature than we would have liked; the following harvests should provide smaller, more tender vegetables.

+ One quick tip for Basil: keep this herb dry or it will go bad quickly! Try making a pesto (see recipe below) if you need ideas for how to use it. It also goes great with freshly sliced tomatoes; add a wedge of mozzarella and some onion for a caprese salad.

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Recipes

Grilled Scallions with Sesame Oil
From “Farmer John’s Cookbook”
It’s hard to beat a recipe that only has 4 simple ingredients!
Ingredients:
8 green onions (also called scallions), trim greens to 5 inches, cut in half lengthwise
Toasted sesame oil
Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat the broiler or lightly oiled grill to medium-high heat. Arrange the scallions on a shallow baking sheet or a piece of aluminum foil.

2. Pour a little toasted sesame oil into a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to completely coat the scallions with a thin layer. Season with salt and pepper. Place the scallions under the broiler or on the grill and broil until they are golden brown on all sides, 3-5 minutes.

Serves 2.

Panzanella Bread Salad
From Simply Recipes

Ingredients:
4 cups tomatoes, cut into large chunks
4 cups day old (somewhat dry and hard) crusty bread (Italian or French loaf), cut into chunks the same size as the tomatoes*
1 cucumber, skinned and seeded, cut into large chunks
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, torn into little pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

* If you don’t have hard old bread sitting around, you can take fresh crusty bread, cut it into big cubes, lay the cubes out on a baking sheet, and put in a 300°F oven for 5-10 minutes, until the outer edges have dried out a bit (not toasted, just dried). If you use fresh bread without doing this, the bread may disintegrate into mush in the salad.

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

Serve at room temperature.

Fresh Basil Pesto
From Simply Recipes

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

Makes about 1 cup.

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