CSA Newsletter Week #7 July 10th

Farm Notes
This morning was pleasant and peaceful in the fields, as staff and apprentices got busy harvesting corn, eggplant, and peppers for your share. The corn is a different variety that should have fewer pests to “bug” you; but after today, we won’t see corn again until later this summer. We will most likely have a break from squash, zucchini, and cucumbers for a few weeks. The next round of cucumbers will be pickling cucumbers. The broccoli is also our last batch until fall.

Some of the crops are still plentiful and should be reappearing in your share – including carrots and garlic! We spent some of our time this week working to process our garlic, and we have a few different varieties that will show up in your share. This week’s variety is Music, a hardneck garlic variety with large cloves and a medium hot flavor.

We hope that tomatoes may be ready next week or the week after, so there is much to look forward to in your upcoming shares!

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Note from an Apprentice
By Diane Crossfield

Hello UK CSA members! My name is Diane Crossfield, and I am a student in the Sustainable Agriculture program at the College of Ag. The apprenticeship at the South Farm that my fellow students and I are so fortunate to be a part of this summer is by far the richest, most ‘hands on,’ involved, and thought provoking learning environment I have ever had the pleasure to be involved in. Each day on the farm presents new opportunities to expand and remold our perspectives on something that is part of the basic foundation in all our, and your, lives: where our food comes from, how it is grown, the hands that do the work, the creative minds that plan the crops each season, and the passion of all those involved. For me, and many others out there on South Farm, passion is the driving force; the push that had us finding ourselves, at one point or another in our lives, gravitating toward the soil, finding the bliss in digging our hands in the earth, inhaling the scent of the dirt, and feeling the peace settle deep within ourselves. This is what burns at the heart of each of us, regardless of what we each seek at the outcome.

IMG_6991Diane helping with a recent Chard harvest

With that peace also comes fountains of new and fun things to learn. One of my first days on the farm, I found myself riding on the back of the transplant tractor, along with Sarah, as we tried to keep up with filling the holes made by the tractor with young plants, all the while getting drenched in water and fish emulsion. The plants absolutely love the fish emulsion, but I must say, my daughter was none too impressed when I picked her up later that day, reeking of ground up fish.

Learning to drive the tractors has been fun, and so far, we haven’t wrecked anything. Going out to the fields at 7am on harvest days, as a group of still sleepy but eager apprentices, creates a camaraderie that carries us through the day, regardless of how hot, or rainy, or long it may be. As we explore our relationship to the soil, and the food it produces, we forge new friendships that will last long after this crop season is over. We laugh as we dig up carrots and find one in the shape of a stickman, we talk about a multitude of recipes as we cut the basil, with the scent driving our hunger, or the amazing colors of the rainbow Swiss chard. We all share a meal, made of the very food we’ve harvested and prepared to bring to you all at the CSA pickup. The jovial spirit that follows us from the field to the wash bins and packing shed, to the kitchen and midday meal, to packing up the truck for the CSA, is one we are happy to share with you, as you all arrive to pick up your weekly share of the bounty that we are fortunate enough to call our “classroom.”

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What’s In Your Share

For July 10th, you’ll find:

+ Corn
+ Broccoli
+ Carrots
+ Green Beans
+ Cucumbers
+ Squash and Zucchini
+ Eggplant
+ Green Bell Peppers
+ Banana Peppers
+ Garlic

The following crops are available for U-Pick:

+ Herbs
+ Flowers
+ Okra
+ Cherry Tomatoes – these are just starting, so this week, expect modest harvests only
+ Basil and Dill Flowers- the bed of basil and dill is on the same side as the main U-Pick field, but it is located in the 5th field. You can spot the basil planted over white plastic, next to the plants covered by white netting, and the dill is on the opposite end. There will be a U-Pick sign also to direct you, or a farm staffer will be happy to show you where the basil and dill is to be picked!

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

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Veggie Tips

+ Both Peppers in your share today are sweet (Green Bells) and mild (Banana) peppers – they have little or no heat. A tip for slicing them: cut open the pepper first, then slice with the inside of the pepper facing your knife. The inside of peppers are easier to cut than the slick, outer skin. To roast bell peppers: you can place the whole pepper directly over gas or charcoal fire. Turn them frequently with tongs until skins become wrinkled and loose. In an oven, cut peppers in half lengthwise, remove stems and seeds, and press down to flatten. Place cut side down on sheet pan, brush with oil, and roast at 400 degrees F or higher or under broiler until skin blisters. For soft and slightly smoky flavor, roast until skins are completely charred and peppers have collapsed. After roasting, you can place the peppers in a covered bowl for 10 minutes, after which time the skins will slip off easily.

+ There are many herbs available in our U-Pick fields, but one lesser known herb is Lemongrass. Lemongrass is common in Asian cooking, and pairs well with coconut milk, garlic, chiles, and cilantro (a recipe pairing it with coconut milk is below). In warmer climates, the lemongrass stalks grow much larger when able to grow perennially year-round.  The stalks on our lemongrass won’t get too big, however, if you find some larger stalks, the bottom inner-portions are quite tender and tasty.  Harvest stalks at the soil level, and remove any tough outer leaves. You can then finely chop the thicker part of the stalk’s bottom that is yellow and fleshly for use in salads or stir fries. What you will mainly find in the fields are larger sections of stalks and leaves can be used for flavoring. Pound the stalks and leaves first to release some of the oils, if desired. Try using whole stalks in soups and stocks as you would use a bay leaf, but remove before eating. Or tie a few stalks together and lay on top of fish for grilling or baking, or stuffing some in chicken. Pieces of lemongrass leaves can also be steeped in hot water with herbal teas, or used for infusing flavor into cocktails.

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+ The Green Bean variety is called “Provider” – this bush bean variety produces stringless beans that are great for fresh eating, freezing, or canning. They will hold their form for canning, and are also firm enough to do well in casseroles or boiled with potatoes, for example. These beans are also incredibly sweet! Store them in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper, and when ready to use, trim ends off.

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Recipes

Fresh Basil Beans
From The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh green beans
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
1/4 tsp salt
1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop in the beans and cook for about 5 minutes, until bright and crisp. The actual cooking time depends on the thickness and maturity of the bean. Drain and immediately plunge the beans in ice water. Drain again, and keep the beans cool or refrigerated. To reheat the beans, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beans, toss, and cook until warm. Add the garlic, basil, salt, and red pepper flakes, stirring to cook the garlic and coat the beans.

Variations:
Gremolata Beans – substitute 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley and 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest for the basil.
Lemon Parmesan Beans – substitute 1 Tbsp lemon zest and juice of 1/2 lemon for the basil. Stir in 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese just before serving.
Sesame Ginger Beans – substitute 1 tsp minced fresh ginger, 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari, 1 Tbsp dark sesame seed oil, juice of 1 lime, and 1 tsp sesame seeds for the olive oil, garlic, basil, and salt.

Broccoli Cornmeal Cakes
From Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 and 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups broccoli, chopped and cooked

Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Whisk in milk, eggs, and oil until smooth. Stir broccoli into batter. Pour 1/2 cup batter into a hot, lightly greased skillet. Cook over medium heat 1-2 minutes on each side. Repeat three times. Top with goat cheese and bacon if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Zucchini Crumble Dessert
Submitted by apprentice Sarah Newman

Prep Time: 30-45 Min. Total Bake Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16-20

Ingredients:
Crust
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups cold butter (Earth Balance buttery spread for vegan version)
Filling
8 to 10 cups peeled and cubed zucchini (4 to 5 pounds)
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt for the crust. Cut in butter until crumbly; set aside 3 cups. Pat remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13 in. x 9 in. baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, for filling, place zucchini and lemon juice in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; cover and simmer for 5 minutes (the mixture will be thin).

3. Spoon the filling over the bottom crust. Cover the filling with the 3 cups of crumble mixture set aside earlier. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar (optional). Enjoy!

Indonesian Lemongrass Scented Coconut Rice
From the Food Network

Ingredients:
2 cups jasmine rice
1 quart water
3 stalks fresh lemongrass, bruised with the side of a knife and tied in a bundle
1 -inch piece ginger
5 fresh lime leaves (or substitute lime zest and 1/2 tsp lime juice)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon crushed peanuts, for garnish

Directions:
In a 2-quart saucepan, add the rice and 1 quart of water. Scoop out any rice that floats to the top and gently swirl the rice in the water until it becomes cloudy. Drain the water and repeat the process several times until the water begins to run fairly clear. Leave the washed rice in the pot.

Add all remaining ingredients to the pot except the crushed peanuts. Stir well to combine. Make sure the aromatics are fully submerged in the rice.

Place the pot over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil, stirring to prevent any of the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The liquid will thicken slightly as it comes to a boil. Once the liquid boils, immediately reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Continue to cook until the rice tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow the rice to steam with the lid on for an additional 10 minutes.

Discard the lemongrass, ginger and lime leaves. Gently fluff the rice with a fork and transfer to a deep serving bowl. Garnish with the crushed peanuts. The rice may be served hot or just warm.

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