The summer veggies are starting to slow down around here. While we still have tomatoes and pickling cucumbers, we are about to transition into more root crops and storage vegetables. This weather has also been a really nice break. Cooler weather always makes field work much more enjoyable!
This week’s share will be a little heavy, so make sure you bring an extra bag or bin as you are getting 2 (!) melons today!
We are still taking pre-orders for tomato canning boxes. Make sure you email email@example.com to reserve yours now. Tomato boxes are $25 for 25 lbs. of “seconds” tomatoes. Which means you will want to can them by the weekend. Let us know what your preference is on variety (i.e.: Heirloom, Hybrid, Paste or Mixed) and we will fill it on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Mark your calendars! We will be having another Saturday You-Pick day on August 19th from 9am to 11 am. Bring your family and enjoy a wonderful day picking flowers, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, herbs and okra!
The CSA Farm Stand (which is for purchasing “extras”) will be set up at both the campus (from 4-6pm) and farm (from 3:30-6:30pm) locations. Items available will be on a first come, first served basis. For the campus location, we will be set up a little differently this year. The Farm Stand will be located all the way to the right of the pick-up line with it’s own tent and table. So please do not go through the regular pick-up line to buy a la carte. At the farm, the Farm Stand table will also be set up separately from the regular pick-up line. We accept cash or check only please.
This week’s note is from Viktor Halmos.
Hello everyone, my name is Viktor Halmos and I am a junior majoring in Natural Resources Environmental Science (NRES) with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture. My two concentration areas for NRES are Global Sustainable Food Systems and Field and Lab Analysis.
I was born in Kenner, LA and as a first-generation Hungarian American, I was fortunate enough to spend most of my summers in a small town called Szeged located in the southern region of Hungary. Despite my upbringing being in urban areas, my summers consisted of spending quality time with my relatives on the various organic family farms cooking with farm fresh ingredients and gathering around the table to appreciate where the food came from. It was those summers that sparked my interest in farming and its ability to provide ingredients that are unrivaled in flavor and in nutrition.
When reflecting on my summer as an apprentice at South Farm, what stood out most to me was being able to connect others with organic ingredients that truly speak for themselves. My generation seems to be losing its palate to the current industrialized food system that is largely centered around large-scale monocultures, meat production in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), and heavy use of chemical pesticides/herbicides and fertilizers. It seems like many people have forgotten what it means to cook with local ingredients and simply, how much better it tastes. Eating food that is prepared with local, fresh ingredients has numerous benefits. Fresh vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals that are essential to your overall health. You are far less likely to develop or worsen food allergies when consuming local, fresh produce rather than industrially farmed produce. Purchasing produce and ingredients from local farmers will help support the local economy and allow those farmers to continue their work. Lastly, in my opinion, locally farmed produce simply tastes better.
As someone that enjoys cooking, I already took the first step in redefining what it means to eat locally. I encourage you to buy more locally sourced ingredients and reap the same benefits that I have since a young age. Try experimenting with various recipes containing locally grown vegetables and meats and I am sure you will not regret it. I hope to be able to directly work with farmers one day and improve the connection between farmer and consumer. The knowledge that I gained, such as how to keep bees and extract honey or how to utilize fresh ingredients for the community lunches, have made this summer immensely valuable and enriching. I hope to apply that knowledge to further understand and improve the concept of ‘farm to table’ especially in Kentucky.
What’s In Your Share
For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Summer Squash
+ Pickling Cucumbers
+ Sweet Peppers
+ Green Beans
+ Dill OR Basil
+ Sorbet Swirl Watermelon
Please review You-Pick guidelines under Member Information.
Items available for you-pick:
+ Flowers: There are several flowers blooming, but please be mindful of the plants as they are still growing and if they get cut too short, they won’t grow back again.
+ Herbs: As with the flowers, there are herbs out there, but again, be mindful that you do not cut whole plants down as they are still growing.
+ Hot Peppers: There are lots of hot peppers! The numbers on the signs that name the variety are on a heat scale of 1 to 5. The 1 indicates mild peppers while 5 is the hottest of the hot (e.g. habanero).
+ Cherry Tomatoes are JUST starting to come on… there are a few varieties available for picking. For your convenience, there is a cut-through in the middle of the bed between the T-posts so you can get around more easily.
+ This year we have started a perennial herb bed. It is located next to the road leading out the back gate. The perennial herbs are on the black landscape fabric. Most everything is already in the regular you-pick field, but there are a few plants such as spearmint and a couple of flowers that are not in the regular field.
Please be advised that there is a bed of brussels sprouts on the opposite side of the cherry tomatoes that is NOT for you-pick. Only beds that have a you-pick sign are open for picking, but please ask a farm staff member if you have any questions at all.
Veggie Tips (or Facts)
+ We are done with the slicing cucumbers for the season and have moved on to the pickling variety. Really, you could pickle the slicing cucumbers, but the actual pickling variety are preferred as they have a smaller, more uniform size which makes them much better for pickling. You can, of course, still eat the pickling cucumbers like a normal cucumber. There are 2 varieties that we grew this year, Boothby Blonde (a pale yellow) and Supremo (a green). Check out a refrigerator pickle recipe in the preservation section below!
+ The last watermelon of the season is a variety called Sorbet Swirl. This has a beautiful yellow-pink flesh and is quite tasty, if I do say so myself! It does have seeds, but may be a little less than what the Sugar Baby watermelons had.
+ The second round of cantaloupes have come from the organic research section where Dr. Mark Williams and Dr. Ric Bessin have been researching the use of protective netting on cantaloupes to exclude pests such as cucumber beetles. These melons are a bigger variety than what the CSA had a few weeks ago and are much prettier. We hope you enjoy them!
+ The green beans are mostly sorted and clean, however there are some stems and you may find some dirty beans in your bag. Even though we have a piece of equipment that helps us harvest the green beans, it does not always work perfectly. But because we have a bean harvester, we are able to plant more beans which means you can enjoy several rounds of beans in the CSA.
+ The chard bunches are smaller this week and they may be a little holier. We apologize for the quality, but hope you are excited about getting a little bit of green in your share!
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
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.
For your convenience this week’s recipes in a printable format.
As you will be receiving more carrots next week, here is one of my favorite cookie recipes to help you use up any carrots you have left.
Carrot Ginger Cookies
From The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup tightly packed, shredded carrots
Combine first 6 ingredients. In another bowl, beat brown sugar and shortening until fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Add dry ingredients then fold in carrots. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375º approximately 12 minutes.
Meal Plan Menu
If you decided to go with chard instead of the dill (which you can use in the refrigerator pickles), I recommend a delicious quiche for tonight. You can also add any other veggies you have left over from last week. In fact, if you have a lot of veggies to use up, double the recipe and freeze one for a quick and easy meal later on!
Swiss Chard and Cheddar Quiche
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
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 prebaked 9-inch piecrust and bake until set, 40-45 minutes.
Green Bean Lasagna
about 2 lbs. green beans
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
1/4 cup butter, divided
2 large sweet onions, halved and sliced
8 oz. assorted mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1 15 oz. container Ricotta cheese
5 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (or mozzarella), divided
Parmesan cream sauce*
1 1/2 cups crushed buttery crackers
1 6 oz. container french fried onions
3 tbsp. butter, melted
*Melt half a cup of butter in a 3 quart sauce pan over medium-high heat. Whisk in 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in 4 cups of milk. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse, clean and drain green beans; pat dry with paper towels. Cut or snap in half if needed. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onions, and sauté 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer onions to a large bowl, and wipe skillet clean. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in skillet; add mushrooms, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add wine, and sauté 3 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add mushrooms and green beans to caramelized onions in bowl; toss. Stir together ricotta cheese and 1 cup Italian cheese blend. Layer 1 cup Parmesan Cream Sauce, 3 noodles, half of green bean mixture, and 1 cup cheese blend in a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch baking dish. Top with 1 cup Parmesan Cream Sauce, 3 noodles, and all of ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 3 noodles, remaining green bean mixture, 1 cup cheese blend, and 1 cup Parmesan Cream Sauce. Top sauce with remaining 3 noodles, 1 cup Parmesan Cream Sauce, and 2 cups cheese blend. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Toss together crackers and next 2 ingredients. Remove lasagna from oven; sprinkle cracker mixture over top. Bake 10 more minutes. Let stand on a wire rack 20 minutes before serving.
Although it won’t look quite the same, you could also use the zucchini squash in this recipe. Either cut it into rounds and they will be miniature or just slice long-ways.
Baked Patty Pan Squash Parmesan with Garlic Breadcrumbs
3 to 4 large pattypan squash (about 1 3/4 pounds total), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella or fontina cheese
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil; brush with oil.
Toss squash and onion slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Spoon marinara sauce over squash slices.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes (depending on the thickness of the squash); sprinkle with cheeses and bake for 5 to 7 minutes more, or until squash is tender and cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
Meanwhile, to prepare garlic breadcrumbs, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat, until oil is hot and garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bread crumbs, herbs, and salt and pepper and stir until breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over squash slices and serve.
Have pasta for dinner with your own fresh, homemade tomato sauce.
The Quickest Tomato Sauce
Recommended by a CSA member from jamieoliver.com
4 cloves of garlic, peeled, and finely sliced
Bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and torn
3 x 400g tins of good-quality, whole plum tomatoes (or substitute fresh tomatoes)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place a large non-stick frying pan on the heat and pour in 4 generous glugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, shake the pan around a bit and, once the garlic begins to colour lightly, add the basil and the tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mush and squash the tomatoes as much as you can.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve into a bowl, using your wooden spoon to push any larger bits of tomato through. Discard the basil and garlic that will be left in the sieve, but make sure you scrape any of the tomatoey goodness off the back of the sieve into the bowl.
Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavours. It will be ready when it’s the perfect consistency for spreading on your pizza.
Store the sauce in a clean jar in the fridge – it’ll keep for a week or so. Also great to freeze in batches or even in an ice cube tray, so you can defrost exactly the amount you need. But to be honest, it’s so quick to make, you might as well make it on the day you need it.
If you haven’t used all the tomatoes up yet, try this fresh tomato salad recipe, paired with a protein of your choice.
Submitted by CSA Member Hayriye Cetin Karaca from turkishfoodandrecipes.com
2 medium red ripe tomatoes or 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in bite sizes
½ medium red or white onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vinegar or 1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ tsp basil (optional)
1 small green pepper, diagonally sliced (optional)
¼ bunch of fresh parsley for garnish
½ tsp salt
Place tomatoes, onions and pepper (optional) in a salad plate. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, salt, vinegar/lemon juice and basil (optional). Pour this mixture on the salad and mix. Then add the crumbled feta cheese on top. Garnish with the parsley. You can also chop the parsley and mix with the salad.
Pizza night during the week. Use your peppers and any other extra veggies you have laying around for toppings.
Friday Night Pizza
from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Makes 2 12-inch pizzas
3 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 cups WARM water
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sliced onions
2 peppers, cut up
16 oz. mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh tomatoes in season or sauce
other toppings such as spinach, chopped
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. rosemary
To make crust, dissolve the yeast into the warm water and add oil and salt to that mixture. Mix the flours and knead them into the liquid mixture. Let the dough rise for 30-40 minutes.
While the dough is rising, prepare the sliced onions: a slow sauté to caramelize their sugars makes fresh onions into an amazing vegetable. First sizzle them on medium heat in a little olive oil, until transparent but not browned. Then turn down the burner, add a bit of water if necessary to keep them from browning, and let them cook 10-15 minutes more until they are glossy and sweet. Peppers can benefit from a similar treatment.
Once the dough has risen, divide it in half and roll out 2 round 12-inch pizza crusts on a clean, floured countertop, using your fingers to roll the perimeter into an outer crust as thick as you like. Using spatulas, slide the crusts onto well-floured pans or baking stones and spread toppings. Layer the cheese evenly over the crust, then scatter the toppings of the week on your pizza, finishing with the spices. If you use tomato sauce, spread that over the crust first, then cheese, then other toppings. Bake pizzas at 425F for about 20 minutes, until crust is browned on the edge and crisp in the center.
Leftovers day! Clean out that fridge for new vegetables coming Thursday.