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.

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