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Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 CSA Week 8

Greetings,

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
Peppers washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Tomatoes room temperature several days
Cucumbers washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Summer Squash and Zucchini unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Swiss Chard washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
Broccoli or Cabbage washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks

As stated on the site: http://gluten-dairy-sugarfree.com:
Were you totally aware that tomatoes are one of the top 12 foods you should always buy organic, because of their thin skins and tendency to retain pesticide residue.  Non-organic produce not only contains traces of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, but also contains fewer nutrients because it is often a mass-produced monoculture grown in poor soil that has been stripped of nutrients from too many years of growing the same crop.

With the 4th of July holiday approaching, and if you are watching your gluten, sugar and dairy intake, this is a beautifully simple yet tasty salad using tomatoes and cucumbers. Add chopped green peppers, too!

Tomato Cucumber Cilantro Salad

Just chop each ingredient, add a fresh squeeze of lime, and season with sea salt and cracked pepper.

1 cucumber
2 ripe organic tomatoes
1 bunch scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime
1/4 tsp sea salt
fresh cracked pepper

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From Amanda...

Here's a cool hummus recipe that incorporates Swiss Chard from site food52.com:


Tara Duggan's Chard Stalk Hummus
By Genius Recipes • June 23, 2015
Makes 1 cup

Chard stalks from 1 pound whole chard, trimmed and chopped
1 whole clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the stalks until very tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain.

Place the garlic in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the chard stalks and purée, then add the remaining ingredients and process until very smooth.

Transfer to a shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve at room temperature. The hummus also can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature before serving.

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On another note:
Update from the farm

Summer is in full swing. Favorite summer veggies like squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes are plentiful, these beautiful sweet potato vines are really taking off, and we’re scrambling to keep our farm’s finest produce out of the hands of our sneaky, four-legged neighbors.

The most recent acts of wildlife thievery have been from groundhogs. They’re really cute - like big, floppy, cuddly animals your children would like. One in particular likes to lay on the warm pavement in front of our house and I always think he’s injured until I get close and he scurries away. Those furry creatures seem cute and pleasant but I’ve learned that the groundhogs on Pistol Creek Road are NOT nice neighbors, particularly for farmers.

This year groundhogs have eaten no less than 200 young, tender fennel plants, 100 tomato plants, countless green beans, and more. …and once the young plants are snatched from the field, there’s not much you can do. We started the seeds weeks before in the greenhouse, so when the plants in the field are gone, if we don’t have extras going in the greenhouse, that crop is essentially gone for the entire season.

There’s no 24-hour super center for USDA-certified organic vegetable plants and, due to timing issues, sometimes it’s not even practical to try to start new plants from seeds. …so, farmers must plan carefully to have enough crops for all customers with enough excess to account for unexpected damage or loss but not so much excess that we are wasteful or compromise our profit margin. This is tricky because every year is different and the crop that the produces abundantly one year may be the one that is compromised the next. That’s why I’m so thankful that Ford is so smart, resourceful, and hard working. You won’t believe some of the cool tricks he uses to protect your food from our four-legged and winged neighbors.

So what did we do about the groundhogs? Ford went on a wild groundhog chase in the field last week that culminated in his throwing a box (open-side down) on top of a young groundhog. He thought he’d captured the little guy but, ironically, the box landed right on top of one of their burrows so it escaped into the earth. …almost too cartoon-like to believe.

Since running like a wild-man out in the field to chase surprisingly fast groundhogs is neither practical or successful (and potentially dangerous – they’re not as friendly as they look), my crafty husband uses tricks like this electrified netting to create a fence between the groundhogs and the veggies. It doesn’t even go all the way around the crops but it’s enough to create an effective barrier that fools the groundhogs and redirects their attention to other sources of food.

As you probably know, crows also prize young corn plants and ears of corn. One way we combat those feathered “friends” is with the tape from old VHS cassettes. That’s right. We take old VHS videos (I know, our kids don’t even know what those are), rip out the tape and hang them up in the corn field. It deters the crows. If you have old VHS cassettes you plan to discard, please consider donating them to us. We can always use extra tape in the corn.
The story doesn’t end there, however. In just a few weeks Ford will be using the same electrified netting to keep raccoons out of our sweet corn. Their nimble hands find the golden ears at their peak so if we aren’t careful, we’ll find evidence of a raccoon party in the corn field with only empty shucks on the ground.

We use single strands of electrified wire with metal squares covered in peanut butter to keep deer away from fruit and young plants. The deer are enticed by the smell of peanut butter but, upon tasting, they receive a mild shock that lets them know the area inside the fence is off-limits. Can you imagine getting shocked the next time you sneak into the peanut butter jar? We also use solar-powered, flashing, red lights to discourage the deer in areas where the electric fences aren’t practical.

The moral of the story? Farmers have to work extremely hard to grow food in ideal conditions, and they are always facing interesting new challenges presented by wildlife, weather, and all the things that everyone else faces when it comes to work / personal life balance. We hope it encourages you to know that we protect your crops in safe, humane ways that do not involve dangerous chemicals or unnecessary cruelty. We love living and farming out here even if it means finding creative ways to coexist with our four-legged and feathered neighbors. Thank you for supporting us and making it possible for us to do what we love in a way that we believe it should be done.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 CSA Week 7

Greetings friends,

Can you believe it's been 7 weeks already? I know I feel the healthiest I've been in months from eating all the fresh organic produce provided so graciously by our hosts the Waterstats. They obviously work very hard in order to supply so many people with perfect food. I suggest we all take the time to thank them in an email or better yet, in person at the farmers markets. Thanks Ford, Amanda and boys!

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
Fresh Garlic unwashed, in fridge up to 1 week
Kohlrabi washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Summer Squash and Zucchini unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Cabbage washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Cucumbers washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Basil stored in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks
Early Tomatoes room temperature several days

From Amanda...

The fresh basil in your share marks the height of summer flavor.  Add it to almost ANYTHING.  Although you'll receive a small quantity this week, look for more in the weeks to come!

Fresh garlic is a delight.  If you've never had the pleasure of enjoying freshly harvested garlic, you may be surprised, as I was, at just how nice and vibrant it is compared to the dried version in grocery stores.  For a lovely description of fresh garlic and step-by-step instructions for how to get the most out of every single morsel of your garlic, check out Fresh Garlic from Chocolate and Zucchini.



fresh garlic bulb - photo from Chocolate and Zucchini site.
Another new item in your share this week is cabbage.  I was never a big fan of cabbage until I tried the small tender heads that we grow here on our farm.  They are much more flavorful and tender than the large, mostly-white cabbage heads my grandparents grew.  These little beauties are delicious finely chopped in slaw or a salad like the famous house salad at Alfalfa in Lexington or slaw but our all-time favorite cabbage recipe is the simple, creamy cabbage casserole below.


Creamy Cabbage Casserole

1 small cabbage head, washed and cut into slender wedges

½ tsp salt

½ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

1 small onion, finely chopped

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Dash of paprika or ground red pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

-Bring pot of water to boil (enough to immerse all cabbage wedges simultaneously).-Immerse cabbage in boiling water for about 4-5 minutes, then drain.-Combine cabbage with salt, yogurt and onion and spread evenly into a 8x8” square baking dish.-Top with shredded cheddar and paprika/ground red pepper.-Bake for 30 minutes.
 *Note – this is very easy to double if you have two small cabbage heads or one large cabbage head. Just prepare in a 9x11” casserole dish.
##### 

I'm still enjoying chopping everything up and cooking in my wok with a little coconut oil & olive oil and water to steam, adding fresh herbs from my garden with other spices. I will cook either rice or lentils then ladle the veggies on top. One trick I've learned to complete the different tastes is squeezing lemon juice while cooking. Try it, you'll love it!

Have a great week!
Nancy

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

2015 CSA Week 6

Greetings,


Everything should be familiar in this week's shares EXCEPT the garlic scapes. These are beautiful and tasty morsels. See Amanda's description and photos below.

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
Swiss Chard washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
Kale washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
Summer Squash and Zucchini unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Bell Peppers washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Cucumbers washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Garlic Scapes washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Tomatoes room temperature several days

I really enjoyed the tomatoes from last week. I chop them into salads and pasta, then made big slices for sandwiches. Heaven!



From Amanda...

Garlic - a primer
In the spring and early summer, our garlic plants send up lots of long leaves and a thin shoot with a few interesting loops and a little knot called a "scape."  It is essentially the "flower" of the garlic plant although it doesn't actually look like a flower.


Finley dissected one in the field and exclaimed - "Look, there are garlic babies inside!"  



We clip these thin, curly shoots and scapes for two reasons: 1) they are delicious! and 2) it allows the plant to direct energy into the roots for a better harvest of garlic bulbs in the fall.  You can think of these as you might green onions - thin, tender versions of the familiar bulb.  Grill or sautee them as you might any other green vegetable and serve them as a flavorful side alone or mixed with other veggies.  If you're not a huge garlic fan and you'd prefer to use them as an accent rather than a main ingredient, chop and sautee them and add them into a salad, hummus, or pesto or create your own herbed butter.  The good news is, you can't go wrong. Enjoy!

#####

We express special thanks to Dr. Tara Horn for this beautiful shot of bok choy sauteed in sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic.  We LOVE seeing the creative ways our CSA members enjoy products from the farm and this lovely photo and simple recipe delighted us.  Thank you Dr. Tara Horn!


 Have a great (and nutritious) week!
~Nancy

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2015 CSA Week 5

Greetings!
I hope everyone is doing well.

I enjoyed seeing both Ford and Aurora at the Market on Main in Somerset last Thursday! Tell your friends these incredible organic goodies are available for sale at the market, as well as a supply of their naturally raised meat.


This week members are getting their FIRST TOMATOES of the season!   ...and the green onions, bok choy, and kohlrabi are also new for this season.

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
1 Green Onions (bunch) Lightly rinsed, dried, and stored in plastic wrap of fridge container 1-2 weeks
1 Bok Choy (head) washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
2 Summer Squash (lb)​ unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
2 Kohlrabi (each) washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
1 Cucumber (lb) washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
1.5 Broccoli (lb) washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
1 Early Tomatoes (lb) room temperature several days

From Amanda...

Just when you thought you'd figured out how to prepare everything in the share, just like the rhythm of the farm, it changes.  This week you'll see the season's first harvest of bok choy, kohlrabi, green onions and, yes, .....TOMATOES!!  You'll probably know just what to do with the green onions and tomatoes, so I'll save those recipes for another time, but if you've never tried bok choy and kohlrabi, please allow me to introduce them.  Bok choy is an Asian green with a flavor somewhere between cabbage and tatsoi.  If you liked the spice of tatsoi you'll find and even stronger "kick" from the larger, stronger bok choy leaves.  My favorite way to enjoy bok choy is in a salad.  The mild white stems complement the stronger greens so, combined, they make a great base for salads like this:

Bok Choy Apple Salad     1 large head bok choy
     2 large or 4 small apples (sweet & crunchyarebest)
     1/2 cup sliced almonds
     ½ cup raisins
     1/4 cup olive oil
     1/4 cup cider vinegar
     2 tablespoons soy sauce
     1-2 Tablespoons sugar
            
     Rinse bok choy and separate stems.  Clean thoroughly – dirt likes to hide out down at the bottom of those long white stems! 
Layer the leaves in stems in one tall stack then chop off the stems and dice them into ¼ thick pieces.  Roll the leaves up tightly into a log shape and slice into fine ribbons.

     Toss chopped bok choy with remaining dry ingredients except sugar.
     Combine remaining ingredients and whisk vigorously.  Pour over salad, stir and enjoy!
This will last 3-5 days in the fridge.


Kohlrabi is a very spicy veggie in the cabbage family.  The edible root looks very alien-like and have an almost rubbery outer skin covering a tasty, crunchy white bulb.  You can eat roots and leaves, but for a photo and a more exhaustive intro to kohlrabi, please check out this great post on "kohlrabi and what to do with it."


~ Amanda

 Don't forget about the farm tour coming up this Saturday! You will be amazed!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

2015 CSA Week 4

Hello all,

Don't forget about the upcoming Farm Tour on June 13! If you haven't been to the Waterstrat's farm, you will be amazed! It's a fun time too! Take a look at pics from last year here.

NOTE:
This week's Thursday pick up will take place at the fountain at Somerset's Judicial Center during the first Market on Main! Hope to see everyone there!

Here's Aurora and Bear passing out goodies last week to CSA members Marcie and Addie.
(Bear was more into socializing than posing)  Thanks guys!
 


I just couldn't resist taking a still life photo of my beautiful goodies.
Don't forget to turn in the bags to be reused.

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
1 lettuce (head) washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 3-5 days
2 salad greens (bag) washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 3-5 days
1 summer squash (lb) unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
1 swiss chard (bunch) washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 3-5 days
1 tatsoi (head) washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 3-5 days
1 sugar snap peas (pint) - Thurs. only store in fridge after opening 1-2 weeks
broccoli - Sat. only washed or unwashed in refrigerator 1-2 weeks

From Amanda...

If you're feeling extra "green," this week's share is for you.  There's plenty of tender green lettuce - both head lettuce and mixed salad greens - along with our first harvest of Swiss chard, Tatsoi, broccoli, and sugar snap peas.   ...but don't worry, you'll also get to enjoy the very first harvest of beautiful, yellow summer squash!  Perfect for grilling, stir fries, and much more.

Tatsoi
 

If you've never tried Swiss chard (it's not roasted cheese) you might be surprised by the earthy flavor.  It's in the beet family and you'll recognize that taste when you try it.  If you like it, slice it into thin ribbons and toss it into a salad but if not, you might prefer this DELICIOUS creamy dish called Swiss Chard Gratin from Serving Up the Harvest.

Swiss Chard Gratin serves 6; from Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

Ingredients:
-2 pounds (12-16 stems with leaves) chard, stems sliced & leaves
cut into 1-inch ribbons                
*hint – it’s easier to get the “ribbons” if you stack the leaves, roll them up jelly-roll style, then slice down the roll perpendicular to the long side.
-4 Tbsp butter
-1 onion, halved & sliced
-¼ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
-2 cups milk
-1 cup grated Gruyere or parmesan cheese
-salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
-1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (optional; it’s great without)

Directions:
Boil large pot of salted water.  Add chard stems and cook 2 minutes.  Add leaves and cook 1 additional minute. Drain well.
Preheat oven to 350oF & grease 1.5 quart casserole or 9x13 inch baking dish with butter.
Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan.  Add onion and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.  Whisk in flour to form a paste.  Now whisk in milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and fold in chard.
Transfer chard mixture to prepared dish & sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Bake 25-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is browned.  Serve hot.


Have a great recipe you'd like to share? Please email it to me and I will include it in the blog. Send to nanjp10@gmail.com.
~Nancy

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2015 CSA Week 3

Hello all,
I hope everyone enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend and all the fresh goodies from the farm!

Don't forget about the upcoming Farm Tour on June 13!

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
kale washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
salad greens washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
strawberries unwashed in fridge 2-5 days
salsa store in fridge after opening 1-2 weeks

From Amanda...

I think this week screams "Green Smoothie!"  ...so here's a recipe I found and liked that uses the kale and strawberries as well as coconut oil.


Strawberry Kale Green Smoothie

Author: Skinny Mom's Kitchen


Ingredients
2 cups frozen strawberries
2 cups fresh kale
½ cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 banana, optional for sweetness
1 – 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, optional for sweetness
water to reach consistency like.


Instructions
Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. If needed add water till you get the consistency you want.

Make Ahead Instructions

You can make a smoothie freezer kit by putting the strawberries, kale, and yogurt into a freezer bag. Take out the night before and let thaw slightly in the refrigerator. Put in blender with rest of the ingredients and blend till smooth.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 smoothie (makes about 3 cups) Calories: 441 Fat: 32 Carbohydrates: 41 Fiber: 10 Protein: 6

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Ford's Famous Kale Chips (photo below)

Utilize everything in your share in one fun dish! You'll want to save the strawberries though for the dessert recipe found below that Amanda said is AMAZING! :-)



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Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Strawberry-Cream-Cheese-Cobbler/

Submitted By: Nauntie; Photo By: Ruizaid; Prep Time: 15 Minutes; Cook Time: 30 Minutes;  Ready In: 45 Minutes; Servings: 12;

"Fresh strawberries and cream cheese are a naturally delicious combination in this cobbler-like dessert."

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh strawberry halves
1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, cut
into small pieces

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Pour melted butter into the bottom of a 9x13-inch glass baking dish.
3. Mix milk, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl; pour over the butter in the baking dish. Arrange strawberry halves in a layer into the baking dish. Dot the strawberries with the cream cheese pieces.
4. Bake in preheated oven until top is golden brown and edges are bubbling, 30 to 45 minutes.

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If you have any recipes and photos you'd like to share from the week's bounty, feel free to send them to me and I'll include them in the blog! nanjp10@gmail.com

Happy Summer!
~Nancy

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2015 CSA Week 2


Hello all,

I think this is one of my favorite times of year when we can enjoy fresh greens from the garden. My body seems to crave the rich nutrients after a long cold winter of deprivation.

And, strawberries! Words can't describe the most wonderful sweetness and flavor that bursts from this heart shaped fruit from Sustainable Harvest Farm! I'm sure Finley has been busy as a little bee picking these just for us! Thanks, Fin!

In shares this week...
Item How to store it How long will it last?
kale (Thursday pu) washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
spring mixed salad greens (Saturday pu) washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
sweet potatoes (Th + Sa pu) unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
strawberries (Th + Sa pu) unwashed in fridge 2-5 days
cornmeal (Th + Sa pu) store in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag weeks

From Amanda...

This week your share contains the perfect combination for a stellar salad!  Everyone will be receiving some type of spring green (kale or spring mix) along with sweet potatoes, strawberries and cornmeal. 

If you’ve never tried a fresh spring salad topped with roasted sweet potato fries and/or fresh strawberries with balsamic vinaigrette and feta cheese, this is the time to try both!  Here’s a great version of a spring strawberry salad from www.pickycook.com


If you’d like a hearty side to go along with your salad, you can use the cornmeal to whip up your very own polenta like this recipe from the same website: Soft Polenta with Grilled Vegetables.

A similar salad recipe with crisp fries can be found on our blog from this 2013 post: Tatsoi, Sweet Potato, Feta and Walnut Salad.  This one used a green called Tatsoi but you can use any spring green as a base for this hearty salad!

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Fellow CSA member, Amy Rose Karr, wanted to share how she and her husband also enjoy the strawberries. From Amy...


"My husband and I receive a weekly CSA share and I noticed you asked for recipe ideas for how we use our shares. Well, I thought I would pass along this one (which isn't really much of a recipe). The strawberries are really hard to not just gobble up all by themselves, but one thing my husband and I enjoy doing with them is making strawberry basil water. Simply cut up a few strawberries, drop them in a pitcher with some basil leaves and fill the pitcher with water. I try to press the leaves against the side of the pitcher with the back of a spoon to help muddle the leaves or release the basil flavor a little. Refrigerate for a few hours and it's ready to go. It's refreshing and delicious. You can also refill the pitcher one or two times, depending on how fast you drink the water and how strong you want the strawberry basil flavor. Anyway, not sure if that is something you can share on the blog or not. People probably don't need very many ideas on how to eat more strawberries. Haha."
Thanks Amy! I'm definitely going to make this!

Feel free to share more ideas and photos!

Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend!
~Nancy