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Monday, August 21, 2017

2017 CSA Week 16

Happy Solar Eclipse Day! I hope you all enjoyed it. I stayed here in London and peeked out every few minutes while watching my toddler, but I was just so impressed. I'm already gearing up for 2024!

I am excited to tell you what we have in our shares this week. As we creep toward fall, we'll begin to see new items in our shares each week, as other items fade away.

Produce
Storage
Longevity
celery
unwashed, in fridge
up to a week
onion
room temperature
up to a week or longer
tomatoes
room temperature
enjoy as soon as possible
potatoes
Cool, dark place
up to two weeks
acorn squash
room temperature
weeks
purple cabbage
unwashed, in fridge
up to a month or longer
bell pepper
washed or unwashed in fridge
up to a week

Ford mentioned that the tomatoes will be especially ripe due to all the rain. Enjoy them as quickly as possible. The tomatoes are also almost at the end of the harvest. We won't see them very much from here on out.

I've shared with you my love of sauerkraut before, and I think the purple lettuce would be just beautiful for that. You also have the makings of a great stir fry. And actually, several of these items - peppers, onions, potatoes and cabbage - could be used to make one of my family's favorite childhood recipes.

Another great recipe (that makes up in taste what it lacks in health) that would use a few of the share ingredients this week is Frito Corn Salad! (Yum!) There are several different versions. Some use peppers, some use different flavors of fritos. I got this one from friend and fellow CSA member, Olivia Post.

Frito Corn Salad

1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 c chopped purple onion
2 cans fiesta or Mexi-corn
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1 bag chili cheese fritos
1/2 cup mayo
3 Tbsp ranch dressing

Mix together the celery, onion, corn and cheese. Mix mayo and ranch separately then pour on veggie mixture and stir until well combined. Just before serving, mix in fritos.

(If you are making this for a small group, you can just leave the fritos out and add them in individually. Once you mix the fritos in, it should be eaten pretty quickly. It can't be saved. You can save the other ingredients for a day or two and mix the fritos in with each individual serving.

Acorn squash is making its debut. If you, like me, didn't have much exposure to this particular squash outside the CSA, here are ten recipes you could try with it. If you're curious about the nutritional value of acorn squash, I did a little research. While it is high in (complex) carbohydrates, it is also very nutrient dense. This squash is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, especially A, C and several of the B family.

I was feeling especially thankful for our cheese share from Wildcat Mountain Cheeses this week. I used my two favorite cheeses from them: Cheese curds and Bernstadt Swiss. I shredded the swiss to top some eggplant parmesan (or eggplant swiss, I suppose). And while I was breading and frying I decided to do the same for the cheese curds. Those did not turn out quite as beautifully BUT boy they were delicious!

I got a picture that actually showed some
eggplant under the cheese and sauce. The
whole family loved it, and I loved having a
healthy meal from local products that my
son and husband enjoyed!
 

Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 CSA Week 15

Good evening fellow CSA members,
I can't believe we are three-fourths through our season. We've even got a little nod toward fall coming in our shares this week...


Produce
Storage
Longevity
cantaloupe
peeled and sliced, in fridge, or unpeeled
enjoy as soon as possible
tomatoes
room temperature
about a week
eggplant
unwashed, in fridge, wrapped in a paper towel in crisper
5-7 days
bell pepper
washed or unwashed in fridge
1-2 weeks
cucumber
washed or unwashed in fridge
1-2 weeks
spaghetti squash
room temperature
2-4 weeks


We'll start to see more fall and winter squash in our shares toward the end of the season (and into the winter share season, if you choose to continue).

I just bought a new cookbook (woohoo!) specifically for crockpot recipes. I am always looking for ways to cook and eat at home more (without the hassle) and thought 1400 slow cooker recipes might help me out.

I'll share with you the recipe I made tonight (with SHF steaks and peppers), as well as another I thought might be good for the peppers and other produce this week. You can visit some previous posts to see what we've done with eggplant and spaghetti squash in the past. (Even my husband likes eggplant parmesan, so I'm excited for that!)

Slow-Cooked Round Steak
Kathy Lapp - Halifax, PA
4-6 servings
15 minutes prep, 4-5 hours cooking
Ideal slow cooker size : 4 quart

1 3/4 lb round steak
1/4 cup flour
2 onions, sliced thickly
1 green pepper, sliced in strips
10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup

Cut steak into serving-size pieces. Dredge in flour. Brown in nonstick skillet. Place browned steak in slow cooker. Top with onion and pepper slices. Pour soup over all, making sure steak pieces are covered. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours.

Variations: Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper to flour in step 1. If you like a lot of gravy, add a second can of soup to step 3.

Fix it and Forget it Big Cookbook, page 226

My variations: I didn't cut up or brown the steak. (We're looking for SUPER EASY here!) I only used one onion and three peppers. I added a second can of soup and five diced potatoes. It was yummy. The gravy especially!

I haven't tried this one yet, but it's on my list. You could use several of this week's ingredients in it. Feel free to sub fresh tomatoes or eggplant in. You could even use the spaghetti squash in place of the macaroni. (page 101 of the same cookbook)

Pizza in a bowl
Laurie Sylvester - Ridgely, MD
6 servings
10 minutes prep, 5-6 hours cooking
Ideal slow cooker size: 3 1/2 quart

26 oz jar marinara sauce
14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
4 oz pepperoni, sliced or diced
1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 large red onion, chopped
1 cup water
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 cup dry macaroni
shredded mozzarella

Combine all ingredients, except cheese, in cooker. Cover. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.

I'm sure you've gotten notifications through facebook or email about the upcoming events: Farm to Fork to Film that SHF is doing in conjunction with The Lavender Farm at Woodstock in Somerset and the Fall Harvest Celebration at the farm. Please consider attending both as your schedule permits.

Many of us are fans of Wendell Berry. I'll leave you now with the trailer from the film, Look and See, that will be screened at the first event. It gave me chills.

Monday, August 7, 2017

2017 CSA Week 14

Good evening fellow CSA members!

We have another great share this week:

Produce
Storage
Longevity
summer squash and zucchini
unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
cabbage
unwashed, in fridge
several weeks
tomatoes
room temperature
about a week
bell pepper
Unwashed, in fridge
about a week
cantaloupe
peeled and sliced, or unpeeled in fridge
enjoy as soon as possible

One of my favorite summer meals is meat and fresh garden
veggies. Tonight for supper we had SHF New York Strip steaks
with sautéed peppers and squash from last week's share. The basil
was so bountiful I made pesto and put it on some potato skins.
Each week I get the produce list from Ford I feel thankful (and excited) about the delicious things in store for me and my little family. Matthias enjoys several of the share items and it makes me smile every time I see him eating them. I even learned from him (and my mom) that you can just slice summer squash and eat it raw. What could be better than raw, fresh, local, organic summer squash for a toddler to eat?! Except for maybe the raw tomatoes and peppers he also enjoys. This week's share will pretty much be his menu for several meals! Little prep work and loads of nutrition.

I had the chance to visit the farm recently. I had scheduling conflicts on both farm tour dates this summer and asked Amanda if I could bring Matthias out to tour the farm. She, and the sweet boys (Finley, Silas and Josiah), were gracious hosts. I am in awe of the beauty of the farm each time I visit and am thrilled to see it grow from year to year. It seems each season brings new crops, new greenhouses, new equipment and new markets. The dreams for the farm are flourishing much like the crops: With a lot of hard work, blessing from the Lord and devoted CSA members. Thanks for partnering with "us."

Because of the commitment to sustainable farming and the quality of the food grown, its not uncommon for the farm to get some media coverage each season. Did you catch the Kentucky Living article a few weeks ago? It also included Amanda's tomato pie recipe (as well as links to other tomato recipes).

As I am reflecting on my thankfulness for the food and the farm, I also want to share my thankfulness for friends. I hosted a super-casual outdoor dinner party at my house last night and was filled with gratitude anew about the people I am privileged to call friends. I love sharing food with people I love and I love seeing people all work together to make a beautiful evening. I hosted but I did little work other than greet people and give them assignments as they asked. One guest manned the grill and asked if I happened to have any peppers and onions to throw on. Thanks in part to SHF, I was able to say yes. His sweet (amazing) wife even enthusiastically volunteered to make cole slaw last minute from a SHF head of cabbage. I loved seeing friends in my house and kitchen and backyard and I loved getting to share delicious food with them. And while we all probably have our own preferred cole slaw recipe, I decided in the spirit of spur-of-the-moment side dishes, I'd share some new cole slaw recipes with you.

May we all continue to be blessed with great food, great farmers and great friends and family.

Monday, July 31, 2017

2017 CSA Week 13

Good evening fellow CSA members,

I hope you have accomplished everything you were planning for July. Tomorrow ushers in August and brings us another great share...


Produce
Storage
Longevity
summer squash and zucchini
unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
green beans*
unwashed, in fridge
3-4 days
tomatoes
room temperature
about a week
sweet corn*
shucked or with husks on in coldest part of fridge
enjoy as soon as possible
blackberries
unwashed, in fridge
3-5 days
basil
ends snipped, immersed in water
1 week+
cantaloupe
peeled and sliced, or unpeeled in fridge
enjoy as soon as possible


*Tuesday members will receive sweet corn. Thursday and Saturday members will receive green beans this week.

Allow me a minute to talk about one thing not in this week's share: Beef. I am very much a carnivore and beef is my meat of choice. After our first winter meat CSA with Sustainable Harvest Farm I was so impressed with the quality of their beef I tried to get a full year's worth of beef from them for the following year (I didn't get enough). But I did get several cuts of beef I wouldn't normally prepare. I love smoked beef brisket but had never prepared a brisket before and don't own a smoker. So, I've been testing several "oven smoked" (faux-b-que) recipes throughout the year and just this week found the one I am going to stick with. Delicious. I used several of the week's share ingredients to round out the meal.

One last thing. Probably sign up for a winter meat share if you're interested before I buy it all. I think Ford has increased his meat production over the years but once, while I was pregnant, he sold out of several cuts of meat. It was a sad day. And I always think about that when I decide how much meat to buy during the winter share.

I am excited for the sweet corn this week but even more excited for the cantaloupe. I love cantaloupe and only learned in the last couple of years (from my husband) that it is an especially healthy fruit. Since he isn't actually a nutritionist (not even close) I did a little research and learned it has one of the highest levels of vitamin A of any fruit. It is also packed with vitamin C, several B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium and fiber.

I love eating cantaloupe plain (especially with a meal of fresh green beans, corn, tomatoes and cornbread this time of year), but just yesterday I learned cantaloupe soup exists. (You can get it at the Greentree Tea Room in Lexington during the month of August.) I did a search for recipes. I have no idea what different varieties there are of cantaloupe soup, but this recipe sounded yummy to me.

You'll have to let me know if you make it!

Happy eating!

Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 CSA Week 12

Hello fellow CSA members!

We are reaching the peak of summer, and our shares are reflecting that. These shares remind me of the bounty I enjoyed growing up from my grandparents' garden in late July.


Produce
Storage
Longevity
summer squash and zucchini
unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
cherry tomatoes or yellow tomatoes
room temperature
1 week
bell pepper
washed or unwashed in fridge
1-2 weeks
green beans*
unwashed, in fridge
3-4 days
sweet corn*
shucked or with husks on in the coldest part of fridge
enjoy as soon as possible
blackberries
unwashed, in fridge
3-5 days
basil
snip off bottom of stems and immerse in water
1-2 weeks
My apologies for the produce-to-child
ratio in this picture. (I'm a proud mama.)
We get more blackberries this week! And fresh basil to pair with the tomatoes. I have discovered that my little one and a half year old loves tomatoes. He will eat a whole tomato chopped up! I love having these delicious ones for him to enjoy. I'm sure you all feel similarly when you watch your children enjoy this healthy food.

*We always say that a CSA share is highly dependent on a number of factors, including the weather. And this week is no different. Because of the dry weather, our sweet corn will not be ready in time for Tuesday shares. Those of us getting shares on Tuesday will be receiving green beans instead of sweet corn. Those receiving Thursday or Saturday shares will have sweet corn, but no green beans. Ford expects all of us to have sweet corn in our shares next week.

Also, an additional note about the green beans. If these are the same variety Ford has grown in years past they are a little different than the half-runners many of us are more accustomed to. These beans are well suited for stir-fries and sautés, but I can attest that you can still break them up and boil them like your half-runners and they're delicious.

There are a number of reasons why you may not have the time or energy to enjoy your shares from week to week. You have a number of options to prevent a crisper full of wonderful produce rotting away. If given enough notice, you share can be cancelled for the week. You can also gift your share to a friend (you can work those details out on your own). Another great option is to preserve your share. Everything in this week's share could be frozen to enjoy later in the year. (You can dry the basil.) I found this short guide that gives some great tips for blanching and freezing veggies. There's also some versatility. Most people cut their corn off the cob before freezing it, but my family always stuck some in the freezer on the cob, and I usually freeze my corn on the cob too. I love having "fresh" corn on the cob in the middle of winter.

If you're eager to jump right into your share this week, I was reminded of a ratatouille recipe someone shared with me last year. When I went looking for it, I realized these recipes using zucchini, bell peppers and tomatoes might be better suited to revisit this week. And the link to the ratatouille recipe is in the comment section of that post. I appreciate our seasonal foods.

Hope you all have a great week! There were a couple of delicious cabbage recipes posted on the Facebook page this week. Try them out and post your own recipes too!

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 CSA Week 11

Hello fellow CSA members,

I hope everyone is having a good week. We've got a great share coming our way:


Produce
Storage
Longevity
summer squash and zucchini
unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
tomatoes
room temperature
1 week
bell pepper
washed or unwashed in fridge
1-2 weeks
cabbage
unwashed, in fridge
up to a month or longer
BLACKBERRIES!
unwashed, in fridge
3-5 days

If you've never tasted SHF blackberries, I'm excited for you. Last year we got a small surprise cup in our shares one week and I was so excited I ate them all on the way home. Thus began my tradition of eating my blackberries on the way home. These are a sweeter variety than some. If you are patient enough, they'd make a good cobbler or jam, but you have my permission to eat them within seconds of receiving them.

We've been getting bell peppers for a couple weeks now. I used mine last week in a succotash side dish with the zucchini and sweet corn. I actually combined this recipe and this one. I like to use them in stir-frys and fajitas, and have fond memories of stuffed peppers from my childhood. But I didn't really know very much about their nutritional value and decided to do a little research. Bell peppers are loaded with vitamins, particularly vitamin C and A. They're also a good source of potassium, folic acid and fiber. Their nutritional value coupled with their low calorie content make them a particularly healthy choice. So, even if you dip them in a little ranch or bread them and fry them (one of my go-to methods for just about any veggie) you can still feel good about eating them. :)

I heard it was another great weekend of farm tours. I hope you all enjoyed! Unfortunately, I had schedule conflicts on both farm tour dates this summer and was disappointed to miss them. If you are in a similar situation, please consider contacting Ford and Amanda to arrange a visit to the farm another time. If you've never been out, it is such a neat experience. Once you meet Fin, Josiah and Silas your food will taste even better when you think of their sweet little hands helping harvest it. (Did you see this video?)