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.

+++

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.

+++

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.

+++

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

+++

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.

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