Monday, August 3, 2015

CSA News, Week 14

Quite the Specimens this Year

April showers may bring May flowers, but July monsoons bring weeds! Big beautiful botanical specimens the likes of which we have never seen. Most likely you are seeing them in places you normally don’t, or had a monster appear seemingly overnight. So, it’s timely to share a little bit about weed control strategies at Elmwood Stock Farm and tips for your own encounters.

Biology: It always starts with the biology. Understanding the principles of the basic growth habits of the different “types” of weeds unveils a series of strategies to manage them. The factors are perennial/bienniel/annual (that’s 3) X cold/hot loving (2 more) X broadleaf/grassy (2) X wet/dry (2) X reproductive orientation i.e. seeds/root suckers (2 more). That’s 48 different combinations of growth habits to consider. In practical terms, you need to know what stage of life a plant appears to be in, to know when to implement your strategy.

We can watch the wave of different weeds go through the growing season, and they are actually a pretty good indicator of where in the season we are. We have seen the prevalent weeds in various fields shift over time, as weeds are also a good indicator of soil chemistry. It is a bit counter-intuitive, but plants high in a particular mineral will grow in a site deficient in that mineral. The plant scavenges and mines the soil, accumulating that mineral with its roots, which accumulates it in the soil profile, thus repairing the imbalance and eventually the weed-plant will go away in that field.

While knowing that there are 48 basic plant growth options of the hundreds of weed species looking for a nice organic farm on which to propagate, we really only have two tools to work with, so timing is everything. Let’s start with tool number one, cutting. If you cut the stalk of a broadleaf weed when it is young, it will send out new shoots at the soil level and at any leaf attachment points below the cut. Now, instead of one weed stalk, you will have several. If you let the stalk mature, to where you see the flower forming, and then chop the stalk low to the ground, the hormones will not trigger sprouting since it thinks it made a flower/seed. But sometimes, you really have to grit your teeth watching them, especially this year, waiting for just the right time. Grassy weeds keep the growing point below ground, well out of harm’s way of mowers that clip only the leaves we see. Not until the seed stalk is extended, can you effectively stop its growth before it can produce viable seeds in the self-fulfilling prophecy mandate that weeds seem to have a lot of.

The other basic control strategy, tool number two, is destroying the root system. Ripping them out of the ground in some fashion to let them desiccate on top of the soil, or chewing them up and mixing them in the soil by tilling, releases their nutrients for the next plant. Whether it be a hand hoe, or some type of metal implement that runs along the rows with a tractor, or a rototiller, you have to destroy the weeds’ ability to get moisture, or even to even have a vascular system at all. We have various types of tillage tools designed to get the job done, but only when the soil conditions are right.

The alfalfa hay fields, one foundation of our organic farming program, are cut low to the ground in a way that lets the plants fall cleanly to the ground to dry in the sun, several times each year from 30-50 days apart. This is fairly effective in eliminating weeds attempting to claim that space, which over time reduces the number of weed seeds produced in those fields, which in turn means we will have less weed pressure in that field when it goes into vegetable production. Rotating the cattle through the pasture and other hay fields on 30-40 day cycle is a very effective weed management strategy. Young tender weeds may be just as tasty as bluegrass and clover, so when the cows eat the tops off repeatedly, the reproductive capacity of the plant is disrupted. The plant will use up all its energy trying to make a flower, and then run out of time or energy to actually make a seed. Depending on the rest period between grazings, the livestock actually like to eat the flowers and seed heads on the weeds that almost got away. Sheep are especially known to be good browsers this way. You can mimic this process when mowing your lawn. Let the weeds stick their head above the grass, grit your teeth and look the other way a few days, then go out there and whack ‘em once and for all.

With the tropical forest type of conditions this summer, the soil tillage tools never left the shed. The cattle and sheep have so much to eat in each pasture, their rotation is slowed. Any time available spent on hand-weeding is focused within the vegetable crop rows. Therefore we have some remarkable weed specimens in some out-of-the-way locations. Some renegade horse weeds are about that could be close to 12 feet tall, and some dandy stands of Johnson grass, our nemesis, almost grow before you eyes. The past week’s weather has allowed the mowers, cultivators, and hoes to run hard to reclaim our territory before this week’s rains bring the next wave of weeds.

In Your Share

Sweet Corn
Fresh Herb
Sweet Bell Pepper
Yellow Squash
Kale Greens
Lime Cabbage Slaw with Chiles, from Sprouted Kitchen: The dressing is the consistency of a creamy vinaigrette. If you like it to cling to the slaw a bit better, a tablespoon or two more of Greek yogurt or mayonnaise will help with that. You could bulk it up with some cucumbers, and maybe black beans if you need to stretch it. Or if cabbage is a bit harsh for you, you could add in some chopped lettuce to calm down the roughage quality.
zest and juice of two large limes
1 T honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pasilla chile powder (chipotle or ancho chile work as well)
1/4 cup olive or grapeseed oil
2 T Greek yogurt or mayonaise
1 head green cabbage
1/4 C finely diced red onion
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
3/4 C toasted macadamia nuts
1.In a small bowl, combine the zest and juice of the limes. Add the honey, salt and chile powder and whisk to combine. Mix in the yogurt or mayo and the oil and whisk well. Taste and alter as preferred. Set aside in the fridge.
2.Chop the cabbage super thin, using a mandoline if you have one. In a large salad bowl, combine the cabbage, red onion, three quarters of the cilantro, reserving some for garnish and mango. (Everything can be done in advance up to this point and kept covered in the fridge until ready for serving). Add desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. Chop the toasted macadamia nuts and garnish the top with the remaining cilantro and mac nuts. Give it a grind of fresh pepper and serve. The law benefits from a good 10-15 minute rest in the dressing if you have the time. Serves 6 as a side dish.

Tomato Pie, Sheri Castle recipe

one 9-in deep-dish pie shell
1 ½ lb tomatoes
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
¼ C lightly packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
½ C crisp bacon pieces
¼ tsp celery salt or celery seed
¾ C high-quality mayonnaise
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 ¼ C grated Asiago cheese, divided
½ tsp ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/3 C crushed cracker crumbs
1.Bake and cool the pie shell.
2. When ready to bake the pie, heat oven to 350°F.
3.Use a serrated knife to cut the tomatoes into ¼ -inch-thick slices. Cover a wire rack with several layers of paper towels and set the rack over the sink to catch the drips. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on the rack. Sprinkle them with the salt and let drain for at least 10 minutes. Pat the tomatoes dry with fresh paper towels.
4.Arrange half of the tomatoes over the bottom of the pie shell. Scatter the basil and bacon over the first layer of tomatoes, and arrange the rest of the tomatoes on top.
5.Stir together the celery salt, mayonnaise, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir in ¾ C of the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mayonnaise mixture over the tomatoes.
6.Toss together the remaining ½ C of cheese and the cracker crumbs in a small bowl; sprinkle over the top of the pie.
7.Bake until the top of the pie is nicely browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Summer Corn Soup with Shrimp, serves 4 from Sprouted Kitchen. Notes from the author: I strongly suggest making this with fresh corn. I can't really imagine the fresh flavor being duplicated with frozen or canned. If you don't eat shrimp, you could use chicken, black beans, or omit a protein all together.

4 ears sweet corn

3 ½ C vegetable stock

1 T butter

1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin

1 Large gold potato

1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

red pepper flakes, to taste

1-2 tsp oregano, to taste

salt/pepper, to taste

sour cream, to taste

1 lb shrimp

1 T olive oil

1 avocado

1 poblano or pasilla Chile

juice of one lime

1/4 C finely chopped cilantro or basil or mix

1.Preheat oven to 425°F. Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and saute to coat. Cook until the onions just start to turn light brown. Peel the potato and cut into cubes, add it to the onion. Cut the kernels of corn off the cob with a sharp knife, add them to the soup pot. Add the broth, spices and a few grinds of fresh pepper and allow everything to simmer to cook the corn and potatoes through.

2.If using raw shrimp, toss them in the olive oil and a grind of fresh pepper, and put on a baking pan. Cut the poblano or pasilla chile in half length wise, and place it skin side up on the pan as well. Bake on the upper rack for about 5 minutes for shrimp to cook through. Remove the shrimp and set aside, put the pepper back in until the skin blisters (about 5 more minutes). While waiting, peel the skin and tails from the shrimp and cut into 1'' pieces. Remove the pepper and put it in a ziploc bag to cool, this will make the skin easy to peel off.

3.Check on the soup to make sure potato and corn are cooked through. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend the soup to create a puree. I like to leave it a bit chunky, this is up to you.

4.In a separate bowl, combine the shrimp pieces, lime juice, and chopped herbs. Peel and cut the avocado into small cubes, add to the bowl. Rub the skin off the roasted chile, cut into chunks. Toss gently together. Taste the soup for seasonings and adjust as you prefer. Allow people to stir in their sour cream as desired. Serve each portion of soup with a big scoop of the shrimp and avocado mix on top.


Summer Squash Latkes, food on the food

2 medium summer squash

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional)

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 C all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

4 T vegetable oil

Greek yogurt, for serving

Grate the squash with the large holes of a box grater. Wrap the shredded squash in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze it dry. In a medium bowl, combine the squash with the scallions, jalapeño, egg, flour, and baking powder. Season with salt and pepper. Mix gently just until combined.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 T of the oil until shimmery hot. Spoon 1/3-cup mounds of batter onto the hot pan and press lightly to flatten. Cook over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes. Flip them and cook 3 minutes more until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter, adding oil as necessary. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Makes six.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 13, CSA News

Current Event: Thought You Would Want to Know

As Congress debates whether or not foods containing Genetically Modified ingredients should be required to be labeled as such, it’s time for us to weigh in on the issue. From our vantage point there are some substantive concerns, and we thought you would want to know our thoughts on what is currently going on.

What if these foods, with genetic codes that could never have possibly occurred in nature, only in a laboratory, disrupt the human microbiome in some yet to be seen way? When genes are transferred from one species to another, the naturally occurring chromosomes are altered to allow the organism to express certain traits that before were not possible. Sure they are ultimately just proteins, peptides, and such, most likely degraded by our digestive juices and microbial partners in our gut. But ecosystems evolve over long periods of time, and sudden mutant gene sequences are an anomaly.

The jury is still out on the impact of these foods on humans, and on the livestock that consume them, then producing meat and milk for our society. The fact that there is evidence of concern by legitimate scientists is enough to cause push-back until the science is clarified, one way or the other. But, there is more to the story.

In the Wild West days of genetic engineering of food crops, foreign genes were literally splattered into the crop plant with a type of gun. The resulting mix of cells were grown out using tissue culture techniques, and the ones that expressed the desired characteristics the best were saved for seed production and commercialization. Now, a bacterium is used to deliver the genes to a precise location on the chromosome where it is known to be the most advantageous, saving years of trial and error. So, if you need worm control for your corn, simply insert a virus into your corn genetics that kills the worm, and that trait will be in every cell of that corn plant. Problem solved. In those early days, corn farmers were required to keep some percentage of non-Genetically Engineered corn in their fields to allow the worms some refuge, and slow their ability to develop resistance to this low-dose killer. These refuge areas are no longer deemed necessary, thus there is now concern whether naturally occurring viruses will continue to be effective if ever needed.

Attempting to stay ahead of Mother Nature with technology is proving futile, at best. Now, “stacking” is the norm. Depending on which weeds and insect or disease pests you have, a corn farmer can select a designer package for their farm. The idea that farmers would spray less chemical toxins because GE would replace the need to control them with messy spray mixes, has not panned out. Now the genetic manipulation is tightly tied to a prescribed spray regimen. The most commonly used herbicides, Round-up (glysophate) and 2 4-D, are being linked to serious environmental and personal health issues. Round-up resistant weeds are showing up around the country as well. Please remember, farmers that grow these crops are not the bad guys. The marketplace and farm policy drives them to this as the only way to survive in the system that they know.

And if that is not enough, if a neighbor’s GMO corn pollen blows over and pollinates an organic farmer’s corn, it cannot be sold as organic. In fact, if the farmer saved some corn for seed that unknowingly had been contaminated, they can be sued by the seed company for stealing the “technology!” What? This flies in the face of an American farming culture that is known for responsibility: if the neighbor’s bull comes over the fence and destroys the corn, the neighbor is liable for the value of the corn. There are relatively few corn strains remaining that have zero degree of GE contamination. Certified Organic is the only way to know.

Organic certification agencies evaluate their organic farmer’s ability to keep GMOs out. Whether it is planting corn at a different time to reduce the risk of contamination, or verifying the seeds purchased are free of these technologies, documents and field buffers are scrutinized to the N’th degree. Processed foods that carry the organic label have undergone an un-imaginable dissection of the ingredients to assure consumers there are no genetically altered ingredients contained in them.

You will hear various numbers, but 90+ percent of the corn and soybeans in this country are now GMO! And since these show up in many thousands of processed foods, it is virtually impossible to avoid them without sourcing organic. Virtually all the beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and dairy products are from animals consuming these genetically engineered grains.

Just a few days ago, members of the US House of Representatives passed a potential law that consumers do not need to know whether or not a food product contains genetically engineered ingredients. It is now headed to the Senate to establish a federal policy that will supersede any state laws. This is in reaction to several states that passed laws declaring that foods containing GMOs sold in their state must be labeled because their citizens want to know. Why would our federal representatives mandate withholding information that generates concerns for so many people? Making a call or sending an email might make a difference. Sadly, bad public policy will force these GE foods upon our society, our environment, and our bodies. Ultimately, sourcing certified organic foods is the only way to know you are not supporting such practices.

In Your Share :

Red Beets

Sweet Corn


Lacinato Kale Greens


Hot Chile Pepper

Sweet Bell Pepper




Potatoes and Kale Baked with Tomatoes and Bacon recipe by Katherine Deumling, Chair of Slow Food USA.  She says that “this makes quite a bit but it makes a great main dish and is excellent the next day so it’s seems worth making the whole amount but by all means reduce the quantities if you like.”
5-6 medium to large waxy potatoes (gold, red, fingerlings –use more if you’re using fingerlings), scrubbed and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 bunch kale, well washed and stems trimmed if they seem tough and then all of it chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 slices bacon, diced
1 ½ – 2 C chopped, drained canned tomatoes or chopped roasted tomatoes
1 ½  – 2 T olive oil
1 ½ tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper
½ C whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400°F.  In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except the cream. Toss everything together well and transfer to an 8 x 13 or other large-ish baking dish. Pour the cream over everything. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir everything well—this is important to get the kale mixed in well and re-coated with liquid since it may still be a bit chewy. Return to oven, covered and bake another 20 – 30 minutes. If there is quite a bit of liquid in the pan you can remove the foil and bake uncovered to reduce it a bit.

When everything is tender remove from the oven and add the pepper and taste for salt.  Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts, smitten kitchen updated recipe.  We’ve shared several kale salad recipes in past newsletters, but there is not a week that goes by that someone doesn’t mention how they finally tried eating kale as a salad, and how good it is!  We get a lot of requests for this type of salad recipe.

½ C walnut halves or pieces
¼ C golden raisins
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T water
¼ C panko or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs (from a thin slice of hearty bread)
1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
coarse or kosher salt
3 T olive oil
1 bunch kale, washed and patted dry
2 oz (about ½ C) pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor
juice of half a lemon
freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Prepare raisins: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.

Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 tsp of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.

Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. I always find removing the ribs annoying with a knife, because the leaves want to roll in on the knife and make it hard to get a clean cut. Instead, I’ve taken to tearing the ribs off with my fingers, which is much easier for me. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.

Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 T olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 tsp drizzle of olive oil.

Roasted Beet and Barley Salad, serves 6, recipe from Substitute another healthy grain for the barley if not already in your pantry.

1 lb small red beets
6 C water
¾ C pearled barley, rinsed
1¼ tsp salt, divided
¼ C cider vinegar
2 T olive oil
1½ T whole-grain mustard
1 T local honey
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 C thinly sliced celery
1 C thinly sliced radishes
¼ C sliced green onions
¼ C slivered fresh basil
½ C walnuts or pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub beets under running water. Wrap in foil, making a packet, and place in the oven. Roast until tender, about 1-1½ hours. When cool, slip off the skins with your fingers and quarter the beets. Meanwhile, combine water, barley, and ¾ tsp salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes, until barley is just tender. Drain well and let cool. Whisk vinegar, oil, mustard, honey, pepper, and remaining salt in a large bowl. Add the beets, along with the rest of the ingredients, except for basil and nuts, and toss to coat. Let the mixture marinate in the dressing for about 15 minutes. Top with basil and nuts just before serving.

Calabacitas Soup (Cheesy Squash and Corn Soup) Our thanks to a CSA member who shares that she found this soup more than 10 years ago on the Cooking Light community board. She says, “I have altered it through the years and I have found it to be extremely flexible. Have lots of corn? Use more. Like less heat, opt out of the jalapeno, etc.” Some versions call for canned green chilies.

1 T olive oil
1 C chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cumin
At least 2 C of chicken or vegetable broth
1½ C chopped tomatoes
4 medium squash and/or zucchini, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
3 oz light cream cheese, cubed
½ C shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté the onion until tender. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook 1 minute longer. Add the squash and/or zucchini and corn and cook an additional 1 minute. Add chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, or until squash is barely tender. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream cheese and shredded cheese. Stir until cheeses are melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with additional shredded cheese and cilantro.

Five Minute Beets, Deborah Madison recipe, serves 4-6
3-5 beets, about 1 pound
1 T butter
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
Lemon juice or vinegar to taste
2 T chopped parsley, tarragon, dill, or other herb

Grate beets into a coarse shred. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the beets, and toss them with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add ¼ C water, then cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the beets are tender. Remove the lid and raise the heat to boil off any excess water. Taste for salt, season with a little lemon juice or vinegar—balsamic or red wine is good—and toss with the herb. Stir in a tablespoon of yogurt or sour cream if desired.

Monday, July 20, 2015

CSA Week 12

Spreading the Word

As new-this-season Elmwood Stock Farm farm share members are finding out, we work hard to educate our “people” about the virtues of organic farming and eating through our CSA newsletter. We have been writing these newsletter posts weekly, for many years, the majority of which can be found on our Elmwood blog. We hope to help ya’ll know more of what we know, and you can then spread the word to friends and family. A recent posting about pesticides and genetic engineering of food crops seems to have resonated with several of you, and you may want to learn more, and know more about how to deal with such issues.

First we suggest you take a few minutes to search some websites like the Non-GMO Project Report, or google “Dirty Dozen Foods”. A consumer watchdog group, Beyond Pesticides, works tirelessly to educate folks about how food is raised and processed. Did you know that unless you are eating organic zucchini, yellow squash, or sweet corn, there is a good chance it will be a GMO? One needs to be careful about the accuracy of online research, but as we stated in an earlier post: there is a preponderance of evidence that such crops are not good for the environment or the consumer of these foods. There are no labeling requirements, so the grower or the retailer don’t have to tell you, in fact the farmer may or may not know themselves if a crop is a GMO unless they have asked for confirmation one way or another.

Dig a little deeper into the scary toxins out in the environment and you will find a recent Harvard Study about the use of a modern day class of insecticides, neonicotinoids. Used by many grain farmers, it is now believed to be responsible for the decline in the honey bee population, as well as the development of chemical-resistant weeds that can only be controlled by mechanical methods. These things do impact the environment, if not you directly. Every time you buy commercially raised beef, pork, chicken, or milk you are supporting the use of these chemicals and GMO technology.

The Organic Association of Kentucky (OAK) is adding consumer education to its Mission, alongside its ongoing work of helping farmers adopt organic production practices. In fact, there will be several consumer sessions at the annual conference next March 6-7, held just south of Louisville in Shepardsville, KY. OAK plans to offer seminars on home cheese making with dairy farmers showing the quality difference of organic versus commercial milk. Sessions on fermenting and preservation of organic foods will be popular, to learn how to eat local, organic foods all year. We think it will be great to have organic farmers and consumers breaking bread together with opportunities to network and learn from each other.

In its other work, the OAK board of directors is developing a set of talking points that allows any of its board members to deliver a wealth of information to school groups, civic or church groups, book clubs, or any other collection of interested individuals. Dates are booked at wellness centers, environmental conferences, and neighborhood associations; and OAK will gladly make time to present at meetings or conferences you may be organizing. OAK’s farmers are targeting the medical community this winter because of the obvious link between diet and health.

Once you delve in and learn a little more, we know it will motivate you to eat organic foods. Every time you take a bite you can marvel at the flavor, know you are doing your part to help the environment, and don’t have to worry about what else might be in there affecting your health. Thanks for your support by partnering with an organic farm, and eat in Peace.   

In Your Share :


Green Beans

Savoy Cabbage

Sweet Corn



Fresh Herb

Fresh Onion

Yellow Squash OR Zucchini


Red Russian Kale


Braised Chicken with Kale, serves 4-6 (adapted from
2 T olive oil, divided
1 cut-up whole chicken or 4 each Elmwood thighs and drumsticks
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb kale, trimmed of any tough stems
1 jar Elmwood salsa
2 C chicken broth
1 T red wine vinegar
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl and use to dredge pieces of chicken. Brown chicken in olive oil (reserving 2 tsp for kale) in Dutch oven, about 1 ½ minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add remaining oil and garlic to pan and cook briefly, until fragrant. Add kale and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Return chicken to pan. Cover and bake at 325°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove chicken and stir in vinegar. Serve chicken over kale mixture. 

Easy Squash Chips, makes about 1 C, recipe from Persnickety Plates
1 yellow squash or green zucchini
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Any additional seasonings
Preheat your oven to 250°F and line a baking dish with aluminum foil; set aside. Slice the squash very thinly, either by hand or with a mandolin. Put the squash disks into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, as well as any additionally seasonings (herbs, seasoned salt, red pepper flakes, etc.) Lay the squash in a single layer on the prepared baking dish and bake for 2 hours.

You can make the recipe as large as you want by increasing the number of squash or zucchini used.

Bread Salad with Corn, Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs, serves 4-6, adapted from Fresh
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove
Salt to taste
2 T red wine vinegar
½ C packed fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, mint, or your favorite)
½ loaf rustic French or Italian peasant bread (something firm and chewy), crusts trimmed and bread cubed
½ C plus 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
Corn kernels from 4-6 ears of corn (about 3 C), blanch ears in boiling water for 1 minute before cutting away from husks
1½ C cherry or plum size tomatoes, cut in half and lightly salted, or 2 small beefsteak tomatoes, cut into large dice and salted
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the onion slices in a bowl filled with ice water. Mash the garlic clove with a pinch of salt and whisk the paste into the vinegar. Bruise 1 T of fresh herb leaves and add to the garlic/vinegar. Put the bread cubes on a baking sheet, toss with 2 T olive oil, and bake until crisp and golden brown on outside but soft inside, about 10 minutes; let cool. Drain the onions and remove/discard the bruised herb leaves. Whisk the remaining oil into the vinegar mixture and toss with the corn, onion, tomatoes, and bread. Check for seasoning. Let sit between 15-30 minutes. Roughly chop the remaining herbs and toss with the salad just before serving. 

Coleslaw with Fennel, adapted from Simply in Season, serves 4-6

½ head savoy cabbage, shredded
1 bulb fennel, cut in quarters, cored and thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded
¼ onion, thinly sliced
¼ C mayonnaise
1 ½ T apple cider vinegar
1 ½ T honey
1 t fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp Dijon type mustard
½ tsp fennel seeds
Toss together cabbage, fennel, carrot and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together other ingredients in a smaller bowl. Pour dressing over vegetables. Toss well to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Roasted Squash & Fennel with Thyme, 4 servings, about 2/3 C each, our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this tasty recipe!

2 small summer squash
1 ½ cups sliced fennel bulb (about 1 small bulb), plus 1 T chopped fennel fronds, divided
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T chopped fresh thyme
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ C thinly sliced garlic

Preheat oven to 450°F. Quarter squash lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Combine the squash with sliced fennel, oil, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread the mixture evenly on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and roast until the vegetables are tender and the fennel is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more. Stir in fennel fronds and serve.

Fennel Cucumber Salsa, makes 4 C, from

1 cucumber, diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
½ red onion, chopped
½ C pickled banana peppers, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 T local honey
3 T fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and let sit at least 20 minutes. Serve with tortillas or sliced baguette or as an accompaniment to grilled meats.


The original Benedictine recipe is said to have been created in Louisville by Jennie Benedict. When folks move away from KY, they are surprised to learn that this popular creamy spread used for sandwiches or as a dip is not known in other parts of the country. The version below makes quite a bit (3-3 ½ C), you can reduce to meet your needs if desired; keeps very well refrigerated.

1 ½ lb cream cheese, softened to room temperature
4-6 cucumbers, depending on size; peeled, seeded, pureed
1 medium yellow onion, grated
1 tsp salt
1-2 T mayonnaise
5-7 drops hot sauce

Peel, seed, crude chop cucumber. Puree. Strain through cheesecloth. Gently squeeze out all possible liquid. Return to rinsed and dried food processor with remaining ingredients. Adjust salt and hot sauce to taste.