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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

2017 CSA Week 20

Good morning fellow CSA members!

We have come to our final share of the season. It always seems so far away when we kick off the season with berries and the best of intentions for healthy eating. The summer ticks by and week twenty comes, unyielding.

The grand finale includes a good mix of fall and winter squash that are similar to what you'll continue to receive if you have signed up for the monthly fall share (my personal favorite of all the SHF options). Here's what's in store:

Produce
Storage
Longevity
garlic
in fridge
one week
tomatoes
room temperature
enjoy as soon as possible
butternut squash
room temperature
weeks
acorn squash
room temperature
weeks
delicata squash
room temperature
weeks
bell pepper
washed or unwashed in fridge
up to a week

Ford asked that I pass along his apologies for the quality of the tomatoes you've been receiving in your share these last few weeks. He understands that you might have had to cut a quarter or more off of each tomato, which can be pretty frustrating, both for us as CSA members and Ford as a farmer. The rain-heavy August increased the tomato crops susceptibility to certain disease. While there are a number of chemicals that have been formulated to help treat and prevent these diseases, they do not pass the rigorous standards for certified organic farming. While it is tempting to fall back on a short-term fix to help this year's harvest, the long-term quality of the soil and the produce -- and the environment as a whole -- pay the cost. So, as you cut off the bad spots in your tomatoes this week, rest assured that the portion you are sacrificing is helping your food supply in the future, and that the remaining fruit is top quality, healthy, certified organic. I am sure you all join me in the appreciation for the hard work Ford and his family and crew put in each week to bring us such delicious food. I'm happy to cut a black spot off my tomato to have the confidence that what remains is completely healthy for my little boy to gobble down.


A Sustainable Harvest Farm pork roast
baked in a cast iron skillet with potatoes,
sweet potatoes and delicata squash and
seasonings. This was an unforgettable meal.
So, I have to tell you about the new squash this week: Delicata. I didn't know this squash existed until Ford introduced me to it. This might be my favorite squash. It is more tender than the other winter squash. You can eat the peeling. It also has a sweeter flavor than the others. I cut it up and roast it with potatoes (and meat) and it is delicious! If you need some inspiration, here is a link to several delicata squash recipes.
A friend reminded me that we can use our squash
in our fall decorations until we eat them. I have
learned this year, though, that toddlers have no
patience for fake, decorative apples.

I hope you all have enjoyed your shares and your CSA experience this summer. If it didn't go quite like you had expected, give yourself some grace. I have had many CSA recipe (and storage) disasters in my kitchen over the years. Most recently, I was most disappointed to discover the horrible smell in our basement was a package of wonderful SHF beef that had been left out of the freezer accidentally. What a stinking (literally!) waste!

But with each season my skill and my recipe repertoire expand. I gain more confidence in the kitchen and my family eats healthier meals at the dinner table. For me, there are setbacks each season, but I also grow and learn. My appreciation and respect for the farming community -- especially those interested in sustainable farming -- flourishes with each share.

I have enjoyed your recipes and ideas this year and I hope you've benefited from my posts as well. May you all have a glorious fall and holiday season, and I look forward to starting a new CSA adventure together soon.

If you haven't already registered for the Harvest Celebration at the farm on October 7th, please do so. I anticipate this year might be the best yet! I'm also looking forward to the Farm to Fork to Film event at The Lavender Farm at Woodstock on September 29th. I hope to see you there!

As always, happy eating!

Monday, September 11, 2017

2017 CSA Week 19

Good evening fellow CSA members,

First of all, I want to thank you for sharing your recipes this week. Several of you answered my call for acorn squash recipes. I haven't taken the time to try any yet, but squash keeps AND we're getting more this week. I'm sure I'll find something yummy to make with them. Here's what else is in store:


Produce
Storage
Longevity
beets
unwashed, in fridge, can remove greens
up to two weeks
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
butternut squash
room temperature
weeks
bell pepper
washed or unwashed in fridge
up to a week

This share, along with today's cooler fall weather, made me think of potato soup. You probably already have your own recipe, but if not, try one of these! (Or take a look if you're wanting something new.)

I also added some shredded cheddar
from Wildcat Mountain Cheese.
When the weather turns cool I crave soups and stews and, of course, chili. Earlier today I started pondering a pot of chili. The day got away from me though, and I threw some ground beef in a skillet shortly before dinner and started rummaging the pantry. Turns out I didn't have any chili seasoning. I decided to substitute taco seasoning and make chili's delicious cousin: Taco soup. But I couldn't find any corn. I checked my pantry upstairs and my shelves downstairs (a small kitchen equals two storage areas). Looks like I wouldn't have the ingredients for that either.

In a last ditch effort I rifled through the freezer and found a forgotten bag of frozen corn from a previous share. Jackpot! I was excited because (1) I thought I had already eaten it all and (2) this was better than any other corn I could have found in my house! I had already planned to use a jar of tomato juice from a previous share.

As the meal started coming together I could only smile in thankfulness at what a blessing these shares can be. The summer share is a beautiful, fresh bounty week after week after week. But the fall and winter shares are wonderful in their own rite. One of the reasons I love them so much is because they keep blessing you for months and months. (I've also found a few forgotten "surprises" in my crisper from the summer share... Not quite as fun!)

Fall and winter shares include greenhouse veggies, winter squash and potatoes, and "preserved" items, like the tomato juice and corn I used in my soup tonight. I hadn't reserved my spot yet for the upcoming season, but I took care of that this afternoon. And now that I have my food reserved, I'm free to encourage all of you to do the same! If you've loved the summer share, the goodies can continue for a few more months. Even if the summer share wasn't quite what you were expecting, you may still consider a fall or winter share. Many of the items generally last longer and include a different variety. For example, the absolute favorite share item all year at my house is the delicious steaks we get in the winter meat share. There are several different size options. You can find more details and sign up at the SHF website.

Monday, September 4, 2017

2017 CSA Week 18

Happy Labor Day, fellow CSA members!

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday weekend. We made a somewhat impromptu trip to the beach and I got to see my baby (and my mom!) see the ocean for the first time this evening. What a sweet blessing.

No matter how you spent your weekend, we've got a great share headed our way:


Produce
Storage
Longevity
garlic
room temperature
Weeks
butternut squash
room temperature
2-4 weeks
acorn squash
room temperature
several weeks
potatoes
room temperature
2+ weeks
lunchbox peppers
washed or unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
bell pepper
washed or unwashed in fridge
1-2 weeks

In case you're like me and aren't sure what a "lunchbox pepper" is, I asked the question for both of us. Ford says they're small, sweet peppers. Basically bite size. Like the ones you find on some veggie trays.

This is our first butternut squash of the season, and so I must share with you my family's favorite butternut squash recipe: Black bean and butternut squash burritos. For all the Bs, it gets an A+. (I couldn't help myself.) Our second favorite recipe (which means I love it and Matthias loves it) is a butternut squash soup recipe shared with me by friend and CSA member Alisha Wackerly.

Please share your butternut squash recipes... And your acorn squash recipes! I have not found a go-to acorn squash dish yet. :)

I'll leave you with an apology for another baby picture. Matthias enjoying watermelon and eggplant "parmesan" from last week's share.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 28, 2017

2017 CSA Week 17

Hello fellow CSA members!

I was excited to see our share list this week. We're getting a new item that helps mark the end of summer... and sure is delicious: Watermelon!!! Here's the rest:


Produce
Storage
Longevity
watermelon
room temperature or refrigerated
3-5 days
spaghetti squash
room temperature
2-4 weeks
acorn squash
room temperature
several weeks
onions
room temperature
up to a week or longer
eggplant
unwashed, in fridge, wrapped in a paper towel in crisper
5-7 days
kohlrabi
washed or unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
bell pepper
washed or unwashed in fridge
1-2 weeks


This may sound a little weird, but I just thought the onion in my share this week was beautiful. I took pictures of it with my phone but none of them really turned out the way I hoped. I'm not a fan of onions, but I sliced it up for a crockpot Hungarian Beef recipe. I don't think I've ever purchased an organic onion outside my share and it made me reflect on the better quality of food we get when we purchase local, organic produce. I've been getting shares for so many years (and am not that great at eating my veggies anyway) that sometimes I think I forget or take for granted what a privilege it is to have access to such good -- in so many ways -- food.

A few of us CSA members were talking over the weekend about ideas for what to do about all the bell peppers we've been getting in our shares. They really are delicious, but I run out of ideas (and time) sometimes, and sometimes a pepper or two will wither away in my crisper. Sad. Beyond taking the time to slice and freeze them for later, I decided to look at recipes that may use them. Fajitas. Stuffed peppers. And then I start running out of ideas. I did an internet search and found recipes for Bell Pepper Frittata, Bell Pepper Muffins and Bell Pepper Soup.

Be sure to share in the comments below, or on our Facebook page, how you are using your peppers, and the rest of your share.

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!