Monday, June 30, 2008

Week 8, CSA, July 2008

News From the Farm . . .

In order to offer certified organic produce, we must first start with certified organic seed. We can grow crops for the seeds ourselves (as we do some tomatoes, beans, and grains), or we must make sure that the seed we use comes from parent stock that is also certified organic. There are a handful of seed companies we source from including Seeds of Change, Peaceful Valley, and Johnny’s Select Seeds. A problem arises when we find a specific variety, lettuce for example, that grows well in KY climate, has a nice appearance, and tastes great – but may be no longer available from one year to the next – a crop failure, or the seed producer changes plans, or the seed company just discontinues it. Each year we seem to be holding our own “seed trials” to find a new “favorite” variety of something. We often include heirloom varieties that are more conditioned to producing well in the regions where they have been grown for many years – they may not be the newest trend or fancy color, but they remain consistent with flavor, production, and we can count on them to do well in our humidity.

We continue to only source non-genetically engineered seeds and plants. The genetically modified organism (GMO) seeds – those that have been developed in a lab will not be found in nature. We do use some open pollinated seeds, heirloom seeds, and hybrid cross seeds. There is much more to learn for all of us on seed saving, seed banks, and protection of seed stock.

In Your Share . . .
Items will vary depending on your harvest and pickup day and the share size - every share may not have every item listed.

Broccoli – organic
Our last broccoli planting for spring harvest is now coming on ready to go. The organic varieties come from European types. They are not as dense or domelike heads that we are used to seeing in our California supermarket broccoli. The color also varies from a bluish-green to more of a sea-green. Use as you would any broccoli, and be sure to wash carefully. If you plan to eat it raw, you can soak the heads a little bit in light soapy water to remove any loopers. They are very difficult in cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) this late in the season.

Carrots – organic – new this week!
The slow growing carrot acts as a barometer of moisture and dryness in the soil – its shape an indicator of the ease or challenge of spring weather. We continue working to build good soil structure by adding compost, trying to avoid compaction, plowing when the soil is not too heavy with moisture, and other good practices.The long straight Daikon radish grows in a row nearby to the curly, crinkly carrots – the soils are the same, so why aren’t both veggies smooth and straight? We don't have one answer, but the temperament and growing needs of the carrot are higher than the radish. This week’s harvest was transplanted from the greenhouse, which also may contribute to its octopus–like appearance. Hopefully, later plantings will be straighter. Enjoy raw, or steam, sauté, bake or puree. Keep refrigerated.

Cauliflower – organic – new this week!
This week brings the first harvest of cauliflower. This organic variety takes the warmer KY springs better than others. The cream tint (rather than more snow white we see in fall cauliflower) is from sunshine and heat. The cauliflower packs a punch with nutrition containing lots of vitamins and minerals. Enjoy raw with dip or in a green salad. Marinate with radish or cucumber in favorite dressing. Steam and top with lemon-butter sauce. Find a new recipe below.

Cucumber – new this week!
Our first patch of slicing cucumbers is ready this week. Store refrigerated as cucumbers are mostly made of water and will dehydrate quickly. Peel if desired but not necessary.

Daikon Radish – organic – new this week!
Possibly a new veggie to your household, the daikon radish is a basic to the Japanese diet. It is often served raw, or pickled as a condiment, or a cooked vegetable. The greens should be eaten fairly soon, but the long white root can be stored refrigerated for several weeks. It can grow up to two feet or more in length without losing quality as a small round red radish might.
Slice the daikon into rounds and serve with cream cheese or dip. Sauté slices or quarters with garlic or ginger. Shred with carrots and make cole slaw. Add vinegar to make quick pickles, either alone or with carrots and cukes.

Garlic Scapes – organic
Remember that you can use all of the green part that is tender as you would regular cloves of garlic. You can also replace green onions with the finely chopped garlic scapes. The heads can be use as well, offering a milder garlic flavor than the traditional clove coming from the head. This gets harvested a little later on.

Lettuce Head – organic
As we move from spring into summer, lettuce growing becomes more challenging. This week’s share contains one head of several types: Green Leaf, Romaine, Butterhead.

Yellow Summer Squash

Swiss Chard - organic
The Swiss chard can be enjoyed so many different ways. Use on sandwiches; wilt in hot water, then use to wrap other foods; use as the green layer in lasagna. Find a new recipe below.

Zucchini Squash

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Cinnamon-Spiced Swiss Chard Pancakes
Thanks to a CSA member who shared this recipe from
, originally from April 1999 issue of Bon Appetit. She has successfully substituted other types of greens for the chard, sometimes adding a little more flour – try yogurt as a dipping sauce.

2 bunch Swiss chard, stems cut away, leaves rinsed well and chopped
4 large eggs, beaten to blend

1 cup chopped onion
½ cup unsalted matzo meal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
5 tablespoons (about) olive oil

Lemon wedges

Stir chard with any water still clinging to leaves in large pot over medium-high heat until just wilted but still green, about 3 minutes. Place in sieve; press out moisture. Cool completely. Combine eggs, onion, matzo meal, cinnamon, salt, allspice and pepper in medium bowl; blend well. Mix in chard.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place baking sheet in oven. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, drop heaping 1 tablespoon Swiss chard mixture for each pancake into skillet; flatten to 1/2-inch thickness. Fry pancakes until golden brown and cooked through, adding more olive oil to skillet as necessary, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet in oven to keep warm after each batch. Serve warm with lemon wedges.

Cauliflower Gratin with Capers and Bread Crumbs
Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without

2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-large cauliflower
1 C chopped onion
1 to 2 T capers, drained
½ C fine bread crumbs
¼ C grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese

freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking tray with foil and brush it with 1 T of olive oil. Coat the bottom surface of 1 ½ quart grain pan with other 1 T of oil. Cut or break cauliflower into ¾ inch florets and spread them on baking sheet. Roast in center of oven for 10 minutes. Shake the tray to loosen the cauliflower, then sprinkle on onion and capers and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove tray from oven and transfer all to the prepared gratin pan. Combine bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle over top of vegetables. Let it sit until shortly before serving, then place under a preheated broiler for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the top is crisp and brown. Watch it carefully as it can burn very easily. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Add pepper to taste. Yields 3 to 4 servings.

Shredded Daikon with Scallions and Sesame Seeds

from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors

1 ½ pound daikon, peeled
1 bunch scallions (green onions), including the greens (try your garlic scapes)
1 T sesame seeds
1 T light sesame or vegetable oil
1 tsp dark sesame oil
sea salt
soy sauce

Coarsely grate the daikon or cut into matchsticks. Slice the scallion on the diagonal into large pieces. Heat a skillet and toast the sesame seeds, shaking often until the smell good, about 3 minutes. Pour them into a dish, return the pan to the heat and add the oils. Add the scallions, cook for 1 minute, then add the daikon. (If it feels wet, it will exude water as it sits – squeeze it before adding to pan). Season with ½ tsp salt, sprinkle lightly with soy sauce, and sauté over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Tate for salt, add more soy if needed, toss with sesame seeds and serve. Serves 2 to 4.