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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 CSA Week 16

Greetings all,

I'm feeling very sad this season is coming to a close for the summer bounty from Sustainable Harvest Farm. I feel the healthiest I've ever been from eating all of the wonderful organic goodies the Waterstrat family work hard to provide for us. A big thanks to all who contributed!

Don't forget there are a couple other memberships available.
You can sign up here for the following:

  • 5 Month Fall-Winter Veggie Share
  • 6 Month Winter Meat Share
In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
Tomatoes room temperature ~1 week
Green Beans unwashed in fridge 3-4 days
Kale or Chard washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
Sweet Corn shucked or with husks on in the coldest part of your fridge (usually the bottom vegetable crisper) Enjoy as soon as possible!
Watermelon fridge Enjoy right away! Melons are very ripe
Peppers unwashed in fridge 2-3 weeks
Large bunch of fresh basil fridge or room temperature Enjoy as soon as possible!

From Amanda...

We have been saving a little extra of our very best for a CSA grand finale during week 16 as an expression of our gratitude to you for supporting our family farm this summer. Since the middle of May, you have faithfully made the extra effort to pick up your shares and incorporate farm-fresh, unprocessed food into your weekly meals. In our modern world of conveniences, it's no small task to be committed to fresh, local food. You are the real heroes of local agriculture because without a market for our products neither the CSA program or the farm, as we know it, could exist. Please soak up the delicious, final summer harvest. Some excellent recipes are provided below to help you make the most of your final share.




Tomato Bread Pudding
recipe from Edible Ohio Valley, adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

Butter, for preparing pan
8 oz. challah or brioche, cut into cubes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Salt & pepper
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 ½ cups (6oz.) shredded Parmesan
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x13-inch glass baking dish, add the bread crumbs, set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the tomato mixture and Parmesan over the bread cubes and combine well.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper until smooth. Pour the custard over the bread mixture and gently toss to coat. Bake in the center of the oven until puffed and golden and the center is firm, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

##### 


Tomato Basil Sorbet
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
6 T minced fresh basil leaves
1 lb tomatoes peeled, cored, cut
½ lemon

In a small pot, bring water to a boil. When boiling, add sugar and let boil for 2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Cool the sugar syrup for a few minutes, then add the minced basil and allow it to steep for 30 minutes. Strain the basil from sugar syrup and set aside. Juice the tomatoes and lemon in a juicer. Combine tomato juice and sugar syrup and set in refrigerator to cool for a few hours or overnight. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions or in an airtight container until firm, at least 3 hours. Serve softly frozen and garnish with fresh basil.

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Garlicky Green Beans food on the food The author of this recipe reports: The kids used to hate green beans prepared this way, but now they love them. We love the basic recipe, but there are lots of variations, too. You can add 1 T of chopped scallions and/or minced fresh ginger. You can add a splash of toasted sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Or you can heat things up with a half teaspoon of sriracha or some sliced fresh chilies. It's all good.
1 lb green beans, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 T vegetable oil
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp hoisin sauce (or honey)
1 T rice wine or white wine (or water)
1 T finely chopped garlic
Pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté the green beans, tossing occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until they blister and brown in places but are still crisp-tender, not mushy. Remove the green beans to a plate. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and rice wine. Set aside. Add the garlic to the hot pan and stir-fry for about 20 seconds until fragrant but not browning. Add the beans and sauce, and stir until heated through and the sauce reduces to a thick glaze, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

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Sweet and Sour Greens from Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert’s Simply In Season, serves 4
1 bunch fresh greens (kale!)
1 medium onion
¼ C dried cranberries or raisins
2 cloves garlic
3 T white or cider vinegar
1 ½ T sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and pat dry kale. Remove stems and discard. Stack leaves, roll up, and slice in 1 inch strips. Saute onion about 2 minutes in deep frypan in 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rest of ingredients to pan, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes. Place chopped leaves on top of the mixture, cover and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir and serve.

##### 

These all sound delicious!

It's been a pleasure to publish the weekly blog throughout the 2015 season. I'm looking forward to next year! Hopefully, some of you have been able to can or freeze some of the summer's veggies to have during the cold of winter.

Wishing everyone health and happiness,
Nancy

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2015 CSA Week 15

Greetings,

Although I had a wonderful vacation last week, I missed out on two weeks of shares and am really feeling the need for nourishment with SHF organic veggies!

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
Tomatoes room temperature ~1 week
Spaghetti Squash (or Kale) room temperature 2-4 weeks
Kale (or Spaghetti Squash) washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 1-2 weeks
Butternut Squash room temperature weeks
Melons fridge or room temperature Enjoy as soon as possible!

From Amanda...

Depending on the rain and the looks of our kale crop you may receive another spaghetti squash this week or a bunch of kale. The fall greens are beginning to come and and we're pleased to see the return of leafy greens. We hope to provide you with a hint of fall flavor here in the last two weeks of the regular harvest season.

Additionally, we are offering the second of our fall/winter squashes - butternut. This is my absolute favorite fall veggie. It will probably be familiar to many of you, but if you haven't tried it I think you'll fall in love. It has a rich, creamy texture that is as smooth and buttery as the name implies.
Many of our favorite fall/winter dishes include baked, pureed or cubed butternut squash. Since the weather is still warm, you may like it best baked and topped with a hint of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon served as a side dish. You can slice the baked halves into thin wedges for single servings.

The basic recipe is below:
Basic Baked Butternut Squash
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice squash length wise, remove seeds, and place, cut-side-down, into a 9x13" baking dish.
Add a bit of water around the squash in the pan (~1/4 to 1/2").
Bake for 60-75 minutes. (Check after 1 hour.)
The flesh should be very tender when pierced with a fork.
Carefully invert the squash and add butter, cinnamon and brown sugar or maple syrup to taste. Slice each half again into 3-4 strips and serve.

If you hold onto this veggie for a few weeks (it will store well for months in a cool, dark location) you can use it to make an amazing souffle or risotto!

Butternut Souffle



Butternut Risotto

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As for me, I'm still enjoying fresh tomatoes which are at their peak of ripeness! A tomato and mayo sandwich tastes so good! Add fresh avocado and/or cheese with leafy greens and it is most definitely an incredible summer dinner, especially now that kids and teachers are back in school.

Enjoy!
Nancy

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2015 CSA Week 14

Hello fellow members,

We just have a couple weeks remaining of the season's CSA shares! I hope you are taking advantage of the available grass fed beef and pork that are offered from Sustainable Harvest Farm, too. It's all great stuff!

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 ~1 week
Sweet Corn shucked (my preference) or with husks on in the coldest part of your fridge (usually the bottom vegetable crisper) Enjoy as soon as possible!
Spaghetti Squash room temperature 2-4 weeks
Green Beans unwashed in fridge 3-4 days
Basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks

From Amanda...

Amid some of the very best of summer veggies is one new item that whispers, "fall is on the way." Spaghetti squash, the first winter squash of the season, offers a great opportunity for seasonal eaters to transition from summer veggies to hearty fall meals. Here are the basic cooking instructions.
You can bake up a spaghetti squash, fork out the flesh into tender strings that resemble spaghetti noodles and serve it with marinara and cheese and pretend it's a low calorie noodle. That works. ...but there are also some really yummy, slightly more creative approaches. Here's a great recipe with helpful photos from Steamy Kitchen for Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Butter.


Let us know what you think! How do you do spaghetti squash?

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Sweet Corn

Here's one of the Waterstrat's family favorites that was published in the September 14, 2012 blog:

...We call it “fried corn” on Pistol Creek, but don’t worry, there’s no batter or deep fryer involved. It is best eaten with a big bowl of fresh tomatoes, a few slices of fresh onion, and cornbread. YUM!

“Fried” Corn according to the instructions of my mom (Margie Baker) as passed from her mom (Daisy Johnson)

6 ears of fresh sweet corn, washed, silks removed, patted dry

Option 1 - Leftover batter from a batch of cornbread OR

Option 2 - 2 tsp cornmeal 2 tsp flour

water

milk

1 Tbsp butter
Prepare your corn and set aside.

Option 1 – Stir up a batch of your favorite cornbread, pop it in the oven but DON’T wash the bowl you used to stir up the batter! Instead, cut the kernels of corn into that bowl.

Here’s an important step: once you slice the kernels off all the way down the cob, go back and scrape the cob with your knife to remove the milky residue at the base of the corn kernels. This is a little messy, so you should probably put the bowl you’re cutting the corn into down in your sink because the corn juice goes all over the place. Trust me; this makes all the difference in the world.
Option 2 – Stir together cornmeal, flour and enough water and milk (about half & half) to make a thin batter. Add the corn as described above.

Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet until melted, then add the corn mixture and cook for 10-15 minutes. Mom says to stir it very often or it will stick! Try not to eat the whole bowl all by yourself if possible.

#####
Enjoy!
~ Nancy

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2015 CSA Week 13

Greetings,

It seems too early to be sending kids off to school, and for Amanda and Ford back to respective universities, but, so it is! There's still summer left and plenty of fresh eating to come!

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
Peppers washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Early Tomatoes room temperature ~1 week
Cucumbers washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Summer Squash and Zucchini unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Melons fridge or room temperature Enjoy as soon as possible!
Green Beans unwashed in fridge 3-4 days
Basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks

From Amanda...

This week I'll share some links to nice recipes for the items in your share but rather than focusing on cooking the veggies, a task most of you have mastered far better than me, I'd like to express my thanks to you for supporting small scale, diverse agriculture through your CSA membership in Sustainable Harvest Farm.







The harvest season is really at it's peak now with such a wide variety of produce coming in daily. We harvested over 8,000 lbs of melon in the last week and have lots more to harvest this week. It's exciting to see so much goodness come from God's blessing on tiny seeds.

Despite our best efforts, however, while one crop grows beautifully and produces a bountiful harvest, other crops wither, rot, or fall victim to pests. This year our white potato crop was a huge disappointment. While digging around in the dirt with my favorite guys was the highlight of my day, from a business standpoint, it was a little disappointing.


That's why we're so thankful that you support our small, scale, diverse farming practices. Because you purchase a membership in our harvest rather than push us to produce enormous quantities of a single crop, we can much more easily sustain the loss of one or two crops in any given season and keep on doing what we love in a way that is kind to the earth. Thank you so much.

Thank YOU, Amanda, Ford, and boys!
~ Nancy

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 CSA Week 12

Hello friends,

Boy, this summer is going fast! I'm so glad we are getting such amazing fresh produce from Sustainable Harvest Farm for another month! Wait 'til you see below - sweet corn is ready! I'm excited!

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
Peppers washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Early Tomatoes room temperature ~1 week
Cucumber washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Eggplant unwashed, wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a reusable container or perforated plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator 5-7 days
Sweet Corn shucked (my preference) or with husks on in the coldest part of your fridge (usually the bottom vegetable crisper) Enjoy as soon as possible!
Melons fridge or room temperature Enjoy as soon as possible!
Green Beans unwashed in fridge 3-4 days
Basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks

From Amanda...

It is now week 12 of our regular summer CSA share program which means there's only one month to go! Wow! It seems like summer just began, but already the "return-to-school-rush" and preparation for fall are upon us. We hope you're enjoying the harvest and the summer.

This week you'll be getting a break from the steady flow of squash and zucchini in exchange for eggplant, green beans, sweet corn, melons, basil, cucumber, tomatoes, and peppers. It is such a good time of year for fresh veggies! Please take advantage of these great products while they are at their peak. You may have noticed that the long, slender eggplants in your share aren't the typical grocery store variety. We love these because they're a little more tender and less fibrous than the larger, pear-shaped variety. They're great sliced and sauteed in olive oil for pastas, pizza topping and more, but, if you like hummus, you may also love a wonderful, creamy eggplant dish called Baba Ganouj. The recipe is provided below.



Baba Ganouj
from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
(*note from Amanda - This freezes really well so whip some up, freeze it in a freezer bag and forget about it until you want a fresh, healthy dip at a fall party or a great vegetarian sandwich spread!)

2 medium-small eggplants (up to 3 if they are the small slender variety like the ones in your share)
Juice from one good-sized lemon
½ cup tahini (sesame paste – check the health food/organic section at Kroger to find this locally)
3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup finely-chopped parsley
1 tsp salt (more, to taste)
¼ cup finely-minced scallions (optional)
lots of fresh black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400oF.
Remove stem-ends and prick eggplants all over with a fork. (WARNING – if you don’t do this, they’ll explode!)
Roast 45 minutes. (When they are sagging, wrinkled, crumpled and totally soft, you’ll know they’re ready.)
Remove them from the oven to cool a bit, then as soon as you can touch them, discard the skin, scoop out the flesh and mash well.
Combine with all remaining ingredients except olive oil.
Chill completely, and drizzle the oil over the top just before serving.

(Note from Nancy: I love baba ganouj and will be making this! Thanks Amanda!)

We also hope your are enjoying our fresh, tasty melons. I know, they're super cheap at the grocery store right now but you just can't match the flavor of FRESH, LOCALLY GROWN, USDA-CERTIFIED ORGANIC melons! The only catch is that, despite our BEST efforts, we occasionally harvest a melon that has all the marks of ripeness but is STILL not quite ripe. See the photo below of a "test kitchen" trial about 2 weeks ago. We cut open about 6 watermelons and only 1 was perfectly ripe.


....so, we waited a little longer to begin harvesting them for you. We hope yours is perfect but if it's not, let us know and we'll do our best to replace it with another melon or a product of equal value.

We also sometimes have interesting experiences with our plants and veggies when there's a little glitch in our production system. Ford had a few extra melon plants in the greenhouse that never made it into the field (we over seed just a little in case there's a mishap in the greenhouse). Those neglected little plants were determined to pass on their DNA so, they fruited while still in a seeding tray and produced these cute little melons. Finley insists that we should use them for decoration around the house but his curious little mind also figured we better try one to see if it's ripe. This was the result: a golf ball sized melon that was pink (and tasty, according to Finley) on the inside! Who knew!
Happy melon eating!

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Here's a nice fresh summer salad recipe found on Sparkpeople.com that utilizes some of the items in this week's shares - corn, cucumber, tomatoes and basil, and includes a great multipurpose vinaigrette recipe. You could even add beans. I can live on this stuff! Click on link for full recipe.

Summer Vegetables in a Basil Vinaigrette


Here's to healthy living and eating!

~ Nancy

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 CSA Week 11

Hello,

Hope everyone's summer is going well! As usual, be sure to send me or Amanda any recipe ideas with photos!

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 ~1 week
Cucumber washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Summer Squash and Zucchini unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Cabbage unwashed in fridge 2-3 months
Melons fridge or room temperature Enjoy as soon as possible!
Green Beans unwashed in fridge 3-4 days
Basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks
Fresh red or white Onions unwashed in fridge ~1 week

From Amanda...

New items in your share this week include melons, green beans and fresh white or red onion bulbs.

You probably have no trouble thinking of ways to enjoy fresh melon, but I would like to offer some guidance on the onions and green beans. Much like our fresh garlic bulbs, the fresh onions may look like grocery store varieties but they have NOT been dried and they won't last in a dark spot in your kitchen cabinet for weeks. Use them up right away. Enjoy their intense flavor and, put what's leftover in your fridge. I LOVE fresh onions with soup beans, cornbread, and fresh tomatoes.

The stringless green beans in your share are NOT like the green beans used for canning. If that's your favorite way to eat green beans, then check out this blog post from 2013 with my own recipe for turning "Fresh Pick" green beans  into a side dish like my grandma use to make. If you're not a fan of overcooked, southern-style green beans, you can stir fry or blanch them until bright green and enjoy a crisp, tender bean. (Nancy's note: add sliced almonds, too!)

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I see the makings for a wonderful summer salad with most ingredients from this week's bounty!
Here's an interesting take on the http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/tomato-and-cabbage-tabbouleh site:


Tomato and Cabbage Tabbouleh
A proper tabbouleh will be mainly vegetables and herbs, with just a smattering of bulgur threaded through.

Ingredients
Servings: 8
1 cup bulgur (not quick-cooking)
½ medium head green cabbage, cut into 1”-thick wedges, then very thinly sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)
1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia), finely chopped (use fresh onion in share)
4 cups assorted small tomatoes, halved, quartered if large
3 cups coarsely chopped fresh mint (add the basil from the share)
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ½ crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

Preparation
Place bulgur in a large bowl and add 1½ cups boiling water. Let soak until softened and water is absorbed, 40–45 minutes.
Toss bulgur, cabbage, onion, tomatoes, mint, oil, lemon juice, and Aleppo pepper in a large bowl to combine; season with salt.
Do Ahead: Tabbouleh (without oil and lemon juice) can be made 4 hours ahead. Toss with oil and lemon juice just before serving.
Recipe by Anissa Helou
Photograph by Peden + Munk

Bon appetit, for sure!
~ Nancy

Monday, July 13, 2015

2015 CSA Week 10

Greetings,

Will this weather ever settle down? Maybe not, so let's just enjoy each long day of our summer, especially when we can eat this well!

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 ~1 week
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
Cabbage washed or unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
Eggplant room temperature 3-4 days
Sweet Corn shucked or with husks on in the coldest part of your fridge (usually the bottom vegetable crisper) Enjoy as soon as possible!
Basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks

One of the Waterstrat's favorite recipes, Zucchini Cheddar Squares, is a creamy, delicious casserole full of zucchini and cheese that is perfect in any shape (like the round dish below)!  Just add a salad, like the Creamy Mexican Kale Salad I found (recipe below) to make a complete meal with almost all of the veggies in your share!



Zucchini Cheddar Squares
from Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

- 3 cups grated zucchini
- 2 tsp salt
-1½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups grated Cheddar (I prefer sharp or extra sharp.)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper or lemon pepper
-1/2 cup canola oil
- 3 large eggs

Combine the zucchini and salt in a colander and toss to mix. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes. Squeeze out excess water.
Preheat oven to 350oF.   Grease a 7- by 11- inch baking dish with butter or use cast iron skillet.

Stir together the flour & baking powder in a medium bowl.  Add the onion, zucchini, cheese, thyme, and pepper.  Mix well with a fork, breaking up any clumps of zucchini.

Whisk together the oil and eggs and pour into the zucchini mixture, and thoroughly combine.

Spread evenly in the baking dish.

Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature or serve immediately as a warm, cheesy casserole.

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This salad from the website ifoodreal.com utilizes kale, tomato and corn from our shares.


Healthy Creamy Kale Salad

Ingredients
Salad:
4 cups baby or full-grown kale (stalks removed & coarsely chopped), packed
14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used my cooked beans)
1 cup corn (thaw if using frozen)
2 large bell peppers (any colour), finely chopped
1 + 1/2 large avocado, finely chopped
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp jalapeño peppers, seeded & minced
Dressing:
1/2 large avocado
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 lime, juice of
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions
Add Salad ingredients to a large bowl. In a food processor, blender or Magic Bullet, process Dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour over salad, toss and serve. P.S. You could prepare Salad and Dressing in advance and combine before serving. The Dressing does get brown a bit but once mixed with the Salad, it's not noticeable.

Storage Instructions: Refrigerate tossed or separately for up to 24 hours.

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And, eggplant! I love it! The eggplant SHF grows is not the large, pear-shaped variety. They're long and slender and closer in size to zucchini.

This recipe on the same website ifoodreal.com looks super yummy and healthy.



Low Fat Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip

I found gluten free chips at Aldi's that would go really well with this dip.
Enjoy and have a great week!

~ Nancy