CSA Newsletter Week 1, May 24th

Farm Notes

Welcome to your first UK CSA Newsletter of 2018! I’ll be your host for your midday reading, so let me introduce myself, and put a face to a name you’ve seen popping up in your emails lately. I’m Kristi Durbin, the UK CSA Manager, and I couldn’t be more excited to have you along for the food adventure that awaits us all. This time of year is when I feel like I’ve been inching up an incline on a huge roller coaster at an amusement park. We are cresting the hill today and now we’ll be flying on down to the other side, with a seeming never ending stream of delightful veggies to grow and harvest each week. 22 weeks of twists, turns, ups, downs, and lots of fun await.

It’s a lot of work to grow food, as my years of farming experience have taught me. Eating and cooking with healthy food and vegetables – LOTS of vegetables – can likewise present a challenge for the omnivores among us. But none of us are alone in these challenges; that’s what makes a CSA subscription unique. Being in a CSA program is so much more than just a transaction. It’s a commitment that we as farmers will do our best to bring you the best despite the challenges. It also means we are a community that cheers and applauds when we all try new things, get our kids to eat more greens, and hear the testimonies of how CSA membership changes lives. We’ll be there to help, too – whether you need to find a recipe or have questions about certain vegetables, just reach out. Over 22 weeks, we’re going for a wild ride and I’m glad to have you join us. I genuinely thank you for your support of farmers, our farming community, and educational programs.

Want to know more about farming behind the scenes? Over the years we’ve had numerous CSA members join us for a day to get their hands in the dirt, bring their kids for a morning of harvesting, and share a meal with us in our outdoor kitchen. If this interests you, send us an email at uk.csa@uky.edu.

Lots to smile about when this tractor just helped us plant a third acre of potatoes!

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:

+ Mirlo Butterhead Lettuce, 1 head
+ Spinach, .5 lb bag
+ Arugula, 1 bag
+ Kale, 1 bunch
+ D’Avignon Radishes, 1 bunch
+ Sweet Potatoes, 5 lbs
+ Frozen Ginger, 1 bag

Butterhead lettuces looking nice for our first CSA distribution on May 24!

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Farm Stand

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, check and *NEW* this year, credit cards.

Items Available for Purchase this Week:

+ Transplants: Herbs (Basil!, Spearmint, Parsley, Thyme, Oregano – $3 each), Cherry Tomatoes, Banana Peppers, Hot Peppers, Bullhorn Sweet Peppers ($3 each), Flowers
+Sweet Potatoes
+Frozen Ginger
+D’Avignon Radishes

First day some of the apprentices have joined us in the field. #weedingfordays

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Veggie Tips (or Facts)

+ Most of the greens last 3-7 days in the refrigerator. It is usually best to use Kale & Spinach first, followed by Lettuce, Arugula, & Radishes. Cut greens off radishes to hold them longer. Sweet Potatoes are a storage item that can last for several weeks in a cool area (pantry storage works fine). The Ginger will be good up until December as long as it remains frozen.

+ One of the Kale varieties in today’s share is known by several names: Lacinato, Tuscan, Dinosaur (RAWR!), Black, Palm Tree, Italian…  the variety is the go-to in Italian cuisine, like minestrone.

+ The Arugula was decidedly NOT a fan of the 90 degree F weather we’ve had for the past two weeks or so. As a result, it got elongated stems. The best part of arugula is the leaves, which still have their characteristic peppery bite. Need to mellow the spice? Try sauteéing. Other great uses are raw in salad, a base for pesto in lieu of basil, wilted on top of pizza (to try: pair with a fried egg and prosciutto), or wilted in a bowl of steaming pasta with some olive oil. An Arugula Gremolata recipe is below.

+ A real treat in today’s share is the frozen Ginger. This ginger was harvested last December and frozen. It will last for a full year in the freezer, so you can hold on to it until this next fall. This ginger is not mature, which means the skin is more tender and can be used in cooking. It is not necessary to peel it. We advise to KEEP the ginger FROZEN. Don’t let it thaw or its texture will not be as appealing and it will lose its shelf life.

To use the frozen ginger, all you need to do is pull it out of the freezer and use a grater or zester to include this specialty item in dishes. Return unused portion of the ginger to your freezer. Try grating it into stir fries, smoothies, hot tea, or even baked goods for a yummy kick. Ginger is an amazing food with health benefits which include reducing inflammation, tempering nausea, increasing circulation, and aiding the body’s absorption of nutrients.

Volunteer bachelor button flowers by our potato field, getting cultivated today.

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For your convenience this week’s recipes in a printable format.

Meal Plan Menu


Make a salad with your butterhead lettuce and add some sliced radishes for a peppery bite!

Basic Vinaigrette
From Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

1 cup olive oil
4-5 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2-1 tsp. salt
1-2 medium cloves garlic, minced

Optional Variations:
~ add 3-4 tbsp. orange or apple juice, or 2 tbsp. lemon juice plus a little grated lemon rind, plus
~ very finely minced parsley and/or
~ very finely minced other herbs (fresh or dried basil, dill, marjoram, chives, thyme)
~ substitute some of the olive oil with a nut oil
~ substitute different flavors of vinegar (fruit-infused, balsamic, champagne, etc.)
~ add 1-2 tsp. good quality mustard
~ for creamy vinaigrette: add 2-3 tbsp. mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt

Combine everything in a jar, cover tightly and shake well.


Since the arugula is a bit stemmy, it will be great in things like pesto or a gremolata where it is being processed.

Farfalle with Arugula Gremolata
From The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen

3/4 pound farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
2-3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 recipe Arugula Gremolata (below)
1/2 cup (heaping measure) crumbled gorgonzola
2-3 Tbsp golden raisins
1 cup very small, very sweet cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup minced walnuts, lightly toasted
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water until al dente.  Drain and transfer to a serving bowl.  Immediately toss with olive oil.  Add remaining ingredients, except walnuts and pepper.  Toss until thoroughly combined.  Serve immediately topped with the walnuts and a generous application of black pepper.

Arugula Gremolata

2 cups (loosely packed) young arugula, or older arugula (without stems), about 2 ounces
4 tsp finely minced garlic
4 tsp finely minced lemon or orange zest
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine the arugula, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor.  Pulse to finely chop-don’t purée!  Season to taste with the salt and pepper.


This massaged kale salad will be great after a farmer’s market trip to pick up some local strawberries!

Massaged Kale Salad with Strawberries and Pine Nuts

1 bunch kale, hard stems removed and torn into pieces
3 oz strawberries, sliced
2 tbsp pine nuts, raw or toasted (optional)
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place kale pieces in a large bowl, add olive oil and salt.
2. Massage kale until it turns a darker shade of green and becomes soft.
3. Combine lemon juice and honey in a smaller bowl and add to the massaged kale.
4. Add salt and pepper.
5. Drizzle with more EVOO and add more honey if a little bit more sweetness is desired.
6. Add the slices strawberries and pine nuts.
7. Chill in the fridge for a few minutes and serve cold.


Breakfast for dinner? Add eggs and bacon to the pancakes. Rather have it as a dinner entree? Pair with a protein of your choice and sautéed greens. These sweet potato pancakes will be good either way.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
From Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

4 cups, packed, coarsely grated sweet potatoes (approx. 1 large or 2 medium)
1/2 cup grated onion
3-4 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
black pepper, to taste
4 beaten eggs (yolks optional)
1/3 cup flour
optional: 1/4 cup minced parsley, oil for frying
toppings: sour cream or yogurt or applesauce

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet until it is very hot. (It should sizzle a fleck of batter upon contact.) Use a non-slotted spoon to form thin pancakes, patting the batter down. Fry on both sides until brown, adding small amounts of additional oil, if/as needed. Serve hot, with toppings.

Note: The batter stores well for several days if kept in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.


Pair this braised spinach dish with an entree of your choice.

Spinach Braised with Soy and Ginger

2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, grated (Use your frozen ginger!)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 bunch spinach

Skip the butter. Put 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a large saucepan, along with 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Add spinach and braise until completely wilted and soft, about 10 minutes.


Nice warm soup for a rainy day. A few of the ingredients we don’t have ready yet at the farm…like tomatoes and carrots. But you can use your store-bought ones or if you’ve canned some tomatoes from last year, I’m sure those will work just fine as well.

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

From allrecipes.com

“This was my favorite winter-time recipe last year…truly delicious.” -Tiffany

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root (or grate your frozen ginger)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
4 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped, unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot, and continue to cook and stir about 5 minutes.

2. Pour water into the saucepan, and season the mixture with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

3. Remove the soup mixture from heat. In a food processor or blender, blend the soup and peanuts until almost smooth. Season with cayenne pepper. Return to the saucepan. Whisk in the peanut butter, and cook until heated through. Serve warm topped with fresh cilantro.


Leftovers day! Clean out that fridge for new vegetables coming Thursday.


Preview: CSA Week #1

This Thursday is our FIRST CSA distribution of 2018! We are QUITE excited and know you all must be equally so.

Each Monday we will seek to provide a preview of what to expect in the share. Actual items and quantities will be determined on Thursday, so expect additions and the occasional revision. Hopefully, the preview will give you some ideas as you think about meal planning for the next week.

Preview for CSA Week #1 on May 24th:

-Butterhead Lettuce (great used with lettuce wraps)
-French Breakfast Radishes
-Sweet Potatoes (5 lbs)
-Frozen Ginger (must be kept frozen. Best used by grating into dishes)

Butterhead lettuces looking nice for our first CSA distribution on May 24!

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Introducing the 2018 CSA Staff!

Good morning folks! The first CSA pick-up day is less than a week away and we thought now would be a good time to introduce you to some new and familiar faces here on the CSA team.

Kristi Durbin is returning for her 3rd year as the CSA Manager and (can you believe it?) 7th year out here at the farm. Although Kristi did not grow up on a farm, agriculture is in her family history. Her grandmother sold peaches at the train station as a little girl in the 1920s and she has two uncles that are both involved in agriculture. One of whom is a pecan expert! It’s neat to rediscover your family history and how it connects to farming and agriculture.

As a whole farm family, we like to have community lunches on Thursdays with what vegetables we grow on the CSA. When asked what her favorite community lunch is, Kristi decided that kohlrabi hashbrowns are what stand out to her the most. She’s made them at least twice for lunch, and they are quite delicious!

There are many things to be excited about for this upcoming year, but maybe the most exciting part for Kristi are all of the new things we are trying out. Be on the lookout for Instagram photos and posts about new things such as rhubarb, parsnips, berries and our new aluminized plastic for cucurbits!

When Kristi isn’t at the farm, she enjoys bike riding, reading and dance parties with her kids.

Diane Crossfield is returning for her third year as staff on the CSA. As a Sustainable Agriculture student, she completed her apprenticeship in 2015. One of the things that got her really interested in farming is looking at how sustainability and agriculture can be used to empower communities that are affected by high unemployment, crime and obesity to become communities of abundance.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait a few more months for Diane’s favorite community meal, low country boil. She says its an easy meal to throw together for a crowd with fresh corn on the cob, crawdads, shrimp, new potatoes and kielbasa sausage which can be dumped on the table to eat or even dumped on the ground. It’s fun and the chickens will eat all the scraps!

Diane is looking forward to seeing all the familiar (and new) faces at pick-up and sharing food ideas with you all. (She does know a lot about cooking and what goes good with what!)

Some of the things she likes to do in her free time are create craft cocktails with botanicals and play with her new grandson, but not at the same time, of course! 😉

Viktor and Rin transplanting basil in the haygroves.

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Viktor Halmos is a new staff member for this year. He will be a senior in the fall with a double major in NRES (Natural Resources and Environmental Science) and Sustainable Agriculture. He completed his apprenticeship last year and got so excited about working and learning with the CSA that he welcomed the opportunity to come back as staff for this summer. Even though graduation is still a ways away, he is thinking of pursuing a career in extension or some kind of practical agriculture field work. Eventually, property with a mixed vegetable and animal enterprise would be the dream.

Sweet potatoes are Vik’s favorite vegetable. He loves them baked and insists that they go good with anything and even if they don’t, he’ll eat them anyway! Check out our collection of sweet potato recipes here.

One of the things that Vik is excited about is creating a better connection between the production of our crops and our customers. He is looking forward to interacting with you all, our CSA members at pick-up.

Vik enjoys wood working, mechanic work (on both bikes and cars) and has recently started getting into rock climbing. He loves to cook and I, personally, am looking forward to any community lunch he makes!

Hattie with a happy bunch of turnips.

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Hattie Nunley is the second new staff member for this year. She is also a senior with a double major in NRES and SAG. She cites Krista Jacobsen as one who encouraged her to sign up for the SAG apprenticeship, which she completed last summer with Vik. She has always had an interest in agriculture and especially in any literature or prose. Hattie is very community oriented. She would like to continue working on farms after graduation and either pursue the non-profit field, working with community gardens or perhaps a career in extension.

Hattie’s favorite community lunches are just that – community lunches. Any lunch we’ve had with the exchange students at the farm or even the farm potluck last year are some of her best experiences cooking and eating as a group.

Similiar to Diane’s response, Hattie is also excited about seeing new and familiar faces at the CSA pick-up, but she is also excited about this year’s apprentices and getting to know them and share and compare experiences. Learning more and seeing new improvements on the farm are always things to look forward to.

Hattie also has an internship with the Arboretum this summer. So when she isn’t at the farm or at the Arboretum helping out in the children’s garden, she enjoys playing piano and doing all sorts of outdoorsy things like hiking, plant identification and botany.

Transplanting never seems to stop this time of year!

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Aaron German is back again for his 6th year on the CSA staff. He got his start into the farming life as a volunteer with Seedleaf and as a former UK CSA member. If you all remember from previous years, he is also a part time teacher of philosophy in the spring and fall semesters.

Any kind of leafy green is Aaron’s favorite vegetable, but maybe especially spinach. I hope you all are looking forward to some fresh, leafy greens in the coming weeks, because they are ready to go!

Aaron is continually learning and improving things on the CSA. One of the things he most looks forward to for this year is continuing to improve our fertility and irrigation programs by trying to reduce inputs of both water and fertilizer so that, hopefully, with healthier plants we can reduce our spraying.

When I posed my last question for Aaron, “What do you like to do in your free time?” he scoffed and said “Free time?!?! What’s that?”. But really, when he does have a bit of time to himself, he enjoys brewing beer and scouring the internet for information about vegetable farming. I ask hard questions.

Potato chitting!

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Ben Yates is also returning for his second full year as CSA staff. His concern about global food supplies and peak oil, along with self-sufficiency are what first drew him to farming.

Ben is our potato guy. He was in charge of planning the potatoes for both 2017 and 2018 and will be in charge of scouting for pests and managing the potato fields during the season. Suffice it to say, his favorite vegetable is the potato.

One of the things Ben is looking forward to for this year is weed management. Along with our trusted scuffle hoes and fingerweeder, we invested in a new flame weeder this year and a tine weeder for the potatoes. It will be interesting to see how the flame weeder works, especially for crops such as carrots. If you haven’t seen the flame weeder in action already, you can check it out on our Instagram page!

When not working at the farm (or rigging for concerts and shows) you can find Ben climbing in the gorge or catching some zzzs.

Christmas cheer brought to you by collards and Katie’s troll earrings. 🌲🌲

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Katie Fiske is returning for her 6th year at the farm as CSA staff. Although she didn’t grow up on a farm, she has fond memories of playing Harvest Moon, a virtual farming game, which has been a partial influence on her current career choice. Someday she hopes to have land and a farm of her own where she can grow vegetables and raise animals and can to her heart’s delight.

Pizza is a great community meal. On several Thursdays we made homemade pizza with fresh vegetables. Everyone chipped in on cutting veggies up, making a homemade tomato sauce and grilling the pizza. Also, it’s pizza. Everyone likes pizza.

Katie is most excited about the You-Pick field for this season. She has been in charge of planning the herbs and flowers and it is her goal to make sure the field is maintained and doesn’t become a weedy jungle, like last year, ha! She hopes you all will enjoy the variety of flowers and herbs especially, but also the cherry tomatoes, hot peppers and okra.

When Katie isn’t farming, you can still find her farming on Harvest Moon, or the new favorite, StarDew Valley. But she also enjoys reading and quilting and is looking forward to hiking and camping on the weekends.



Transplant Pre-Order!

Our Farm Stand will be back next week, Thursday May 10th, on campus from 4-6pm!

We have a lot of lovely transplants to sell for your yard and garden. Want to attract pollinators and add color to your backyard with flowers? Do you love having a ready supply of hot peppers for salsa, frying, stuffing? Do your kids enjoy picking cherry tomatoes? Always wish you had herbs right at your fingertips in your kitchen? We can help you take home a variety of plants. The proverbial wisdom to plant tomatoes and peppers after Derby Day means now is the perfect time to get plants in the ground.

Herbs destined for our “you pick” field for CSA members!

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Meanwhile, at the farm, we have had a busy week doing just that: peppers, eggplant, cabbage, parsnips (crossing our fingers!), potatoes, and soon the tomatoes will join them. We still have a handful of CSA spots open that we would love to fill before May 24. Referral bonuses are still in effect: refer a member and receive $20 good towards Farm Stand goodies, Thanksgiving Boxes, or swag like tote bags and Tshirts.

Show off. #tomatoes

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Click here for pre-order of transplants and other farm goodies: green onion bunches $2, turnip bunches $2.50, cilantro bunches $2, and ground ginger $7.

Tomato, Pepper, and Eggplant Transplants – $3 per pot or 4 for $10, mix and match

Herb Transplants – $2 per pot or 3 for $5, mix and match

Flower Transplants, – $2 for 6, mix and match

Click here to snag a spot in our CSA — before it is too late!

Farm Stand April 19th

Our Farm Stand is back this Thursday at April 19th on campus only from 4-6pm!

Accepting Pre-orders through Wednesday at midnight here: https://goo.gl/forms/JCuEk8Fy7lAkgR2c2

Fresh green scallions make their first appearance at the stand this week.

Scallions for sale this week at our Farm Stand!

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Hope to see you all this week on campus!

P.S. Still accepting CSA sign ups for our 2018 season! Price goes up May 1st.


CSA Referral Bonuses

The CSA model is a unique model with both risks and rewards, for farmer and consumer. As a farmer, one of the biggest risks is CSA member retention. The national CSA retention average hovers around 50-60%. It’s a risk to find new members each year. All the more when your customer base is fairly limited to one university campus!

At UK CSA, we have a wonderful group of members who care about the local economy, organic and delicious food, and our community of farmers, students, and eaters. We know that many of our members have like-minded friends, family members, and co-workers who would also enjoy CSA membership.

Therefore, we are pleased to offer referral bonuses for 2018! If you are a 2018 CSA subscriber, you can receive $20 for every NEW CSA member you recruit. Any new CSA member cannot have been a UK CSA subscriber in the past year. New recruits do not have to be UK employees. Bonuses will be given once the new CSA member has completed their registration and submitted a deposit.

$20 will be issued as a gift certificate good for:

  • Extra items at our Farm Stand in the off season OR during the main season
  • Non-produce items like canvas Tote Bags or SAG T-shirts
  • Thanksgiving Box pre-orders

Just ask your recruited CSA member to give us your name during registration (enter in the text box where it says “If any attendees above have special needs please give their name and their needs.”), or email us directly with the information so we can issue you the bonus.

Please help us to share the veggie love across the campus! Request a copy of our flier to hang in your office building, break room area, or to give to a friend. Just send your flier request to: uk.csa@uky.edu

Early Bird Prices End SATURDAY!

4 more days to snag your 2018 CSA spot at the Early Bird Price: $650 for non-students and $584 for students. Don’t delay!!

Click here to register. Early Bird prices only offered through 3/31.

Perks of a CSA membership include:

  • 22 weeks of fresh, Certified Organic vegetables, herbs, and fruit​, from May 24-October 18. We also grow many types of heirloom vegetables you won’t find at a store. The flavor is incomparable!
  • Access to special you-pick items on the farm, like cherry tomatoes, flowers, herbs, okra, beans, peppers, and more! Members can pick unlimited amounts in season at no extra charge. Occasional Saturday you-pick events also offered. You-pick is a wonderful time to bring your kids or a friend to experience the farm in person.
  • Flexibility with your share items thanks to a Swap Box at pick ups. In addition, some weeks we will give members a choice between two items for whichever suits your family best. All share items you choose out of bins so you can get just the right size of zucchini or your preferred color of peppers to take home.
  • Invitation to a CSA member potluck on farm, including a farm tour.
  • Weekly newsletters containing recipes and stories from student apprentices.
  • Face-to-face time at pick-ups with CSA staff, students, and fellow members to swap recipes, ask questions, and solicit suggestions for food prep and storage. Get the “insider’s scoop” on the food you are eating!

Here’s a little glimpse from 2017 of what might be in store this year!!