Friends, it has been hot and humid out here! But just because it’s hot, doesn’t mean we stop. We are right around the peak of the season. There are lots of root crops to get out of the field, hopefully before any rain comes. If you don’t follow us on Instagram, you’ve been missing out on all of our pretty carrot pictures!
Don’t forget, You-Pick hours are available THIS Saturday, July 22nd from 9-11am. There are plenty of flowers, herbs, green beans and cherry tomatoes just waiting for you and your family!
Emails went out earlier this week regarding tomato and cabbage boxes. Make sure you email us at uk.csa@ uky.edu to reserve yours. We will start a list of reservations and work our way through it as boxes become available.
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.
Items Available for Purchase this Week:
+ Rainbow Carrots
+ Summer Squash
+ Sweet Corn
Note from an Apprentice
This week’s note is from Alex Ball.
Hello everyone, my name is Alexandra Ball and I am a junior majoring in Sustainable Agriculture. Despite my desire to own my own farm and to grow vegetables crops, I did not grow up farming. My upbringing was in mostly urban areas, yet my parents found it imperative during my childhood to emphasize the crucial role of nutrition and that I appreciate where my food came from. This translated later into a deep desire to grow the healthy food I valued, and by middle school I began helping out on various farms.
When reflecting on my summer as an apprentice at South Farm, what has come to mind most is not one particular day, task, or class- but rather the collective experience. Each day has been a valuable lesson, whether I realized it in that moment or not. It can be easy to see a long day’s work through the narrowed lens of just performing tasks as efficiently as possible to bring the best quality to each CSA member. When summer days require hours of weeding carrots, or harvesting squash and zucchini three times a week, I admit I find it easy to lose sight of the importance of each and every one of those tasks. The reality is, however, in farming everything has an intricate connection that must be recognized and valued. From each plant taking root in the ground, to the complex composition of the soil, to the equipment and labor. Every component plays its own part in the art of farming.
And it most definitely is an art. In the words of Wendell Berry, a good farmer is “a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist”. I truly believe that is one of the greatest reminders I have been given through this experience. To grow and provide each crop, one can painstakingly go by step by step through every textbook, manual, or method claimed to be the most optimal. However, unsurprisingly, the guidelines for seeding, transplant, and maintenance of a given plant are not foolproof.
Take the tomato for example. This crop can be a challenge for any grower. Structures such as t-posts must be installed over numerous hours, as well as layers of twine to support the rapidly growing plants. Pest pressures and annuals diseases are often high. And the health of the crop all balances delicately on what mother nature will bring that season. This is where a crucial characteristic of a good farmer comes into play. The farmer not only has to be prepared for any challenge that may come, but also must be ready to problem solve or maybe try a unique approach, so that a harvest will still take place in the weeks to come. It is anything but an exact science, and many times successful seasons are the result of skills, preparation, and also the willingness to experiment.
But despite the fact that farming proves always to be challenging, the art produced as a result (yes I am comparing the produce in a share to art) is beyond valuable. It can be shared and appreciated by others. It can be transformed into meals, become the topic of conversation, and also a powerful connection between community members.
What’s In Your Share
For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Rainbow Carrots
+ Summer Squash
+ Shishito Peppers
+ Banana Peppers
+ Mixed Sweet Peppers
+ Sweet Corn
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.
+ Green Beans
+ 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)
+ Corn is best stored with the husks on in the refrigerator. Use it within the first couple of days for the best quality. The corn looks beautiful, but if you do happen to see a friend or two in the ears, don’t panic – it’s organic! Hopefully there won’t be any friends in the corn, but if there is, they are super easy to just pick out before cooking. We tried very hard to only give you nice ears, but if there is a bit of a mushy spot, you can just cut that part off. You may find in your corn:
And especially hopefully not:
For your convenience this week’s recipes in a printable format.
Meal Plan Menu
If you don’t already have plans on how you’re fixing your sweet corn. Either try boiling it or grilling it.
Bring a large pot to boil. Add corn, cover it and boil about 10 minutes or so. Then add whatever toppings you like (salt, pepper and butter!)
Set the grill to high heat. Peel back the husks on the corn and pull the silks off. Add butter and seasonings to each ear and then cover again with the husk. Wrap the ears in foil and place on grill, cooking for 30 minutes or so, turning occasionally.
Friday night pizza and movie night. You can add any veggies you want as toppings. Add peppers or you can even do fresh tomato slices or chunks instead of a tomato sauce. Get creative!
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.
This is something you should prep the night before or morning of.
Savannah’s Crock Pot Beans
Choose whatever beans you like best. (Pinto beans are good). Depending on how many servings you need, put the dry beans in a crock pot and cover with water. Turn on low and cook until tender. (overnight works well or all day). Do not season with salt (if needed) until after beans are cooked.
Pair crock pot beans with other sauteed veggies (like summer squash and carrots). Add rice if you want or make tacos or nachos. You can even cook up some eggs to go with it. Delicious!
These rainbow carrots are too pretty not to show off. Pair this recipe below with a protein of your choice.
Roman Buttered Carrots
From A Feast of Ice and Fire by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer
2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cup raisins
2-3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. wine vinegar
2 tsp. cumin
ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
2 tbsp. sweet wine, red or white
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the carrots into disks or chunks. Put them in a pot of water and bring it to a boil, then drain them immediately and place them in an ovenproof dish. Add the raisins, honey, vinegar, cumin and pepper. Drizzle the butter over the top, then shake well to coat the carrots, and roast until they are tender. Add the wine to deglaze the sticky pan and dislodge the carrots, then pour the whole contents of the pan into a serving dish. Serve warm. Serves 2-4.
If you haven’t already gotten into your watermelon, try this refreshing salad below. And don’t throw out the seeds…you can roast them and eat them later!
Watermelon and Tomato Salad
From NY Times
2 1/2 cups seedless watermelon, in 1-inch cubes or
balls (cut over a bowl to catch the juice and
1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup finely diced or crumbled Stilton, Gorgonzola,
Roquefort or Maytag blue cheese
1/2 cup minced scallions
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1. Combine the watermelon, tomato, cheese, scallions and salt in a bowl.
2. Whisk or blend together about 2 tablespoons of the watermelon juice, oil, vinegar and cayenne. To serve, dress the salad with this mixture and garnish with parsley. Do not refrigerate and serve within 30 minutes.
Roasted Watermelon Seeds
1 cup raw watermelon seeds, rinsed and dried
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Toss seeds with a little olive oil and sea salt. Spread on baking sheet and roast in oven for 10-15 minutes.
From Farmer John’s Cookbook
“Traditionally used as a cooling complement to spicy Indian foods, raita also makes a refreshing dip or sauce for raw or cooked vegetables” (think zucchini and summer squash)
3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed coarsely grated
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 cups plain yogurt
1 medium tomato, halved, stem and seeds
removed, cut into thin strips
1 green chile pepper, stem, seeds, and membranes
removed, thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh cilantro
1. Place a large strainer over a bowl or a pot. Put the grated cucumber in the strainer; set aside to drain for 30 min.
2. Place a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and stir constantly until toasted and fragrant, 3-5 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning them. Immediately transfer seeds to a mortar and pestle and grind (or use the back of a wooden spoon to crush).
3. Pour the yogurt into a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Set it aside for 10 minutes to drain.
4. Remove the drained, grated cucumber from the strainer with your hands and gently squeeze out the excess moisture. Spread the grated cucumber on clean dish towels and pat dry.
5. In a medium bowl, gently combine the cucumber, crushed cumin and coriander seeds, yogurt, tomato, chile pepper, scallions, and white pepper. Garnish with cilantro Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1 hour.
Clean out the fridge and prepare for more awesome veggies coming Thursday!