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 saut├ęs, 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?)

Monday, July 10, 2017

2017 CSA Week 10

Hello fellow CSA members!

I can't believe we've reached the halfway mark of the season. These July shares are some of my favorite (though I sometimes think my favorite is whatever share we are getting that week or month). I am very excited to let you know we'll be getting our first ears of corn this week! Ford says they're smaller, but I am positive they are tasty. :) Here's the details of our full share:


Produce
Storage
Longevity
summer squash and zucchini
unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
tomatoes
room temperature
1 week
kohlrabi
washed or unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
sweet corn
shucked or with husks on in coldest part of fridge
enjoy as soon as possible
turnip
in fridge crisper
up to a month or longer
bell pepper
washed or unwashed in fridge
1-2 weeks
cabbage
unwashed, in fridge
up to a month or longer

These are good tomatoes. From my share our first week with
tomatoes. A caprese-inspired salad.

I may have shared with you all before that I am a bit of a tomato snob. I argue that I actually love tomatoes - I'm just very picky about them. My mom and I call the store-bought, white. grainy tomatoes you get in the off-season "imitation tomatoes." But this time of year, when there are more delicious tomatoes than a girl can eat, I tend to think about ways to preserve them. Salsa is a favorite that comes to mind quickly. Also, chili sauce, tomato juice, marinara. There are mixes at the grocery store that I have used in the past with much success, but there are a plethora of recipes available too. Here is a tried and true tomato sauce recipe from last season.

Friend and fellow CSA member Alisha Wackerly served an amazing tomato soup for dinner one night about a month ago and shared the recipe with me. I immediately thought it would be great to use fresh summer tomatoes and then can batches to have delicious homemade tomato soup throughout the cold winter months. If you love the cooler weather that rings in fall (like I do), this will get you even more excited.

*If you do plan to do large batches of canning with tomatoes or other produce, check with Ford. Some weeks he has extra produce to sell.

Monday, July 3, 2017

2017 CSA Week 9

Happy Independence Day!

I hope you all are getting some extra rest and relaxation over the holiday, as well as time with family and friends, as we all celebrate our country's independence. Of course, our democratic freedom is what July 4th is all about but I've been reflecting a lot this weekend on our other freedoms. Namely, the freedom we have to eat what we choose.

I had the pleasure of eating lunch with the Waterstrats this weekend. As I talked about some of the restaurants and foods I enjoyed on my recent trip we began to ruminate on the blessing it is to have the financial means to eat delicious, healthy food. So many people in the world (and even in our community) do not have the opportunity to choose what they eat. And especially as parents, we are so thankful we have the access and resources to feed our children healthy, nourishing meals. Often, in my kitchen, I offer prayers of thankfulness that the Lord allows me such an abundance of food.

I visited Amanda's dad last week and he invited me to pick some wild blackberries on the hill behind his house. To me, nothing says July is here like blackberries. The sun and clouds and skies filtering through the trees. The humidity that seemed thicker and heavier with each step of the climb. Wildflowers and briars and my sweet boy who ate the ripe berries as fast as I dropped them in the green bucket. I was flooded with memories of my grandparents and cobblers and my own efforts to eat the bucket empty. And was overcome with thankfulness to live in such a beautiful, agriculturally rich place.

So too am I thankful that all of you choose the Sustainable Harvest Farm CSA to feed your family. We know you have the freedom to choose from many wonderful options, and we are so glad you are investing in the work and efforts of Ford and his family and crew to nourish the earth and the community through sustainable organic farming.

With all of that, here's what's coming your way this week:


Produce
Storage
Longevity
summer squash and zucchini
unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
tomatoes
room temperature
1 week
kohlrabi
washed or unwashed, in fridge
1-2 weeks
swiss chard head
unwashed, in fridge
1 week
broccoli
unwashed, in fridge
1 week
beets
remove tops, in fridge
1 month +


The Swiss Chard Head is a brand new CSA item. Ford is trying it for the first time. It is an effort to get more lettuce-like leafy greens in our shares for a longer period. This is more heat-tolerant than lettuce.

I'll be excited to see how you all use it this week. Be sure to post in our Facebook group!

You'll also be receiving double the amount of beets this week (compared to last week). If you are not a beet lover, do not dismay. They keep for more than a month in your fridge. You've got some time to figure out how to eat them, pickle them, preserve them, or pass them on to someone else.

As I said last week, beets haven't always been my favorite, but I do like them pickled and, as it turns out, in chocolate cake. But I am growing even more impressed by beets' nutritional profile. I had a cold-pressed juice concoction a few weeks ago that had a good serving of beets and I loved it. I added it to my short list of ways I enjoy eating beets.

I prefer having other people make my juice for me, but I may just dust off the old juicer this week and mix up some beet juice drinks. If you'd like to, here's a recipe to get you started. If you don't have a juicer you can look up videos for hand-juicing beets. I watched one and I'll just stick with my juicer, but it might be neat to do as a science experiment with younger kids (and let them do that grating and squeezing). They might be more willing to drink it if they made it. Also, if you're making your own juice, I've learned a little apple goes a long way. If it is tasting not-so-pleasant, just throw an apple in there. It helps.

Hope you all enjoy!