Friday, December 4, 2009

Isn't Farmers Market over for the season?

We get this question alot, and the answer is nooooooo!

Cold weather has set into Central Kentucky, and the number of freshly harvested produce items lessens, but several area farms and producers move inside to the warmth of the Indoor Market at Victorian Square for the winter. Elmwood Stock Farm is one of those farms and our first indoor market is this week - Saturday, December 5th. We will also be attending Dec. 12th and Dec. 19th.

Elmwood will be at the indoor farmers market several Saturdays this winter offering an assortment of Kentucky Proud seasonal produce, eggs, meats, and even "Elmwood Gift Certificates" for your gift giving this month - available in any amount to use towards healthy, wholesome organic farm foods all next season!

Produce items (depending on weather as always) include: organic potatoes, beets, winter radish, turnips, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cooking greens, lettuces, celery, fresh herbs, and more. Don't forget our organic eggs, organic chicken and beef. You might want to inquire about an organic heritage turkey for your winter special occasion.

Visit our website or phone ahead to arrange special meat orders - remember that all of the meat and egg items we sell are grown by us under organic certification at our Scott County farm. Go to our website to contact the farm and inquire about your family's needs for premium organic locally raised meats or vegetables.

The indoor market is inside Victorian Square, the block along Broadway between Main and Short Street in downtown Lexington. Hours 8am-noon. Free parking along Short Street and our booth is right inside the Short Street entrance.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Frost

No need to "stick your toe in to test the water." You know it is cold. The temperature reached down to 26 degrees early, early Sunday morning for the first frost (and freeze) of the season.

Monday, October 5, 2009

CSA News, Final Week 22

Thanks from the farm . . .

We want to give you our whole-hearted thanks for your commitment to Elmwood Stock Farm this year. Your partnership with the farm allows us to make plans in advance of the season of how much to grow, how much seed to purchase, how many employees to hire, and orga-nize a true business plan for the farm. This is so different from the unpredictability of sales at farmers markets and wholesale quantity produce markets.

Our belief is that the future of sustaining local, organic farming depends on the direct link from the farm and its products to you and other families making conscious choices to eat healthy and locally. By establishing a relationship with Elmwood through your commitment to share in its production, you are an extremely important partner in this locally-focused community food system. Thank you for the work on your part to pick up your share each week, make time to prepare healthy dishes from whole foods, and even sharing news about the program with friends and neighbors. We will continue to work as hard as we can to grow good food, choose tasty varieties, negotiate challenging weather, and get items to you as clean and fresh as we can!

● Elmwood Stock Farm will continue to attend the Saturday farmers market in downtown Lexington through Thanksgiving, and the Southland Drive Sunday market through Nov. 1 -- we hope to see you there (you can return your boxes or baskets!) We also attend the indoor market, Victorian Square, Lexington, the first Saturday morning of the winter months (Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar) with a few winter veggies, fresh eggs, and organic meats. You can always contact the farm to stock up on items for the pantry or freezer.

● If you are interested in the Fall CSA (Oct-Dec), please visit the website homepage to review details and contact the farm about the few shares that remain.

● We survey our membership each season to help us improve our CSA program. Some things we cannot change (like a warmer climate to grow olives or figs in KY), but we always appreciate your time in sharing your comments. A survey is being sent by email this week – if you need a paper copy mailed, please let us know.

● We are taking signups for our Heritage breed Certified Organic Turkeys. Please visit our website for information on our pastured poultry and contact the farm for details on reserving your holiday season organic heritage turkey.

● After we evaluate records of this year’s production and make any necessary changes, we can open the signup for the 2010 CSA season. You, our current members will get first opportunity to renew your share with the farm. Look for an email this winter!

In Your Share . . .
Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Every share may not have each item listed below.

Beets – organic
We harvested a mixture of Heirloom Chioggia (pink outside, pink and white striped on the inside), Dark Red Beets, Golden Beets, and some Sweet White Beets. They all can be cooked whole, steamed, sautéed, oven-roasted, or pickled.

Roasting brings out a sweet flavor enjoyed by folks who think they don’t care for beets. Refrigerate the beetroots several weeks if desired, but cut off the tops 1-2 inches just above the root for long-time storage. The greens should be used fairly soon, are desirable as a mild salad or cooking green. You can substitute the beet greens in any recipe calling for spinach or Swiss chard. We’ve shared several recipes this season, but find a new recipe below.

Brussels Sprouts – organic
Fresh sprouts have so much flavor and can be prepared various ways. Store refrigerated and try to use within a few days for the tenderest results. As a result of all the rainfall and cloudy days, you will need to remove any loose or discolored leaves from the little sprouts. The easiest way to do this is to slice off the elongated stem. A few of the outer leaves will then fall away more easily. Depending on your preparation technique, you can then score an “x” in the bottom of the larger sprouts for faster and more even cooking.

Cabbage, Green – organic
Enjoy one more share of little green cabbage heads this week. You can sauté, steam, or use in soups. Will store refrigerated for several weeks.

Celery – organic
You may recall from earlier in the season that flavorful celery can be the star of your meal. Visit the blog for soup recipe 8-27-07.

These late cucumbers seemed to have survived the colder temperatures (38 last week, 39 on Sunday night) without damage to flavor or appearance. Have you made Benedictine spread this season? Or, try a sweet salad with the new recipe below. Store refrigerated.

Garlic - organic

Garlic Powder – organic
Included this week is a little packet of our own garlic powder made from our organic hard neck garlic bulbs. We peeled, dried, and ground the cloves into a flavorful powder. Enjoy!

Peppers, Bell

Potatoes – organic
These all-purpose golden potatoes will keep for you if you desire (refrigerated and out of light is best). They hold their shape when cooked and also make great masked potatoes.

Radishes, Spanish Black – organic
Many varieties of radishes are well-liked in Europe and grown all over. Most popular are sandwiches made with thinly sliced breakfast radishes and good butter with freshly baked bread. You can enjoy yours many ways and know that they are interchangeable in most recipes. Have you seen something you want to try that calls for a Daikon radish? Substitute instead. You might want to peel the skin before pre-paring. They will keep in the crisper for weeks.

The greens are also edible and can by used in soups, stews, stir-fry; a great source of Vits. A, C, B and helps to cleanse your blood.

Radishes - organic
Add these Easter Egg and French Breakfast baby radishes to your fresh cucumber salad. You can also oven roast with other root vegetables – peeling the skin is optional. Store refrigerated and don’t forget to throw your radish tops in with your beet greens to get the most nutritional benefit of this healthy item.

Raspberries - organic

Squash, Acorn
This item will keep well for you, no need to refrigerate until you cut into it. We’ve included a recipe below that has proved quite popular over the years – you may have seen different versions, but it still remains a tried and true favorite!

Squash, Spaghetti

Squash, Yellow Summer

Turnips, Purple Top White - organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Pickled Beets, a Martha Stewart recipe

2 to 3 red or golden beets
1 Thai chile pepper (optional)
1 C rice vinegar
¼ C sugar
1 bay leaf
½ tsp black peppercorns

Slice beets thinly and transfer to a jar. Split chile in half. Bring chile and remaining ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour hot mixture over beets. Seal jar, and refrigerate. Beets will keep for 1 month.

Stewed Beet Greens, a Martha Stewart recipe

Reserved beet stems and green from pickled beets
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp coarse salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1T fresh lemon juice

Thinly slice beet stems, rinse well and drain. Coarsely chop beet greens, rinse well and drain. Recipe expects 3 cups of stems and greens. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute.

Raise heat to medium-high. Add beet stems; cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice, and serve.

Sweet Cucumber Salad Recipe
Thanks to a CSA member for sharing this tasty Cooks Garden recipe earlier this season.

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/8 C rice wine vinegar
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
1 T sugar
1 T soy sauce
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
fresh chopped dill, as garnish

Thinly slice 2 cucumbers and place in bowl. Add in vinegar, olive oil, sugar, soy sauce, and pepper. Stir thoroughly to coat cucumbers. Garnish with dill. Allow to marinate an hour or more before serving.

Baked Acorn Squash with Apricot Preserves
internet recipe from

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
salt, to taste
2 tsp butter
3 T apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash halves cut side down in a baking dish. Fill the dish with water to a depth of ¼ inch. Bake 40 minutes in a preheated oven. Remove squash from oven and set oven to broil. Turn squash cut side up in dish and season lightly with salt. Place 1 tsp butter and 1 ½ T preserves in each squash half. Return to oven and broil 5 minutes or until butter is melted and squash is lightly browned.

Monday, September 21, 2009

CSA News, Week 20

From the Farm

We started the fall potato harvest this week. A few years ago, we acquired an antiquated potato harvester that cuts underneath the soil and brings the potatoes up into the machine where we can pick out rocks; cull potatoes, and plant material from the good potatoes that then fall into a large bin. It was probably used for baking potatoes as smaller potatoes fall through; so we still walk the rows to hand gather all of the potatoes pulled up to the surface.

In Your Share . . .
Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed.

Bean, Half Runner - organic
Find some beans this week, an unexpected harvest from the last planting. Refrigerate.

Beets – organic, new this week for all the shares!
This week’s beets may be white, red, golden, or a pinkish rose color. The rose skinned beet has a striped flesh inside: Chioggia variety. Each color has similar beet flavor and makes a striking dish when prepared. You can also enjoy the beet tops in any recipe that calls for spinach, kale or chard. Store your tops and beetroots separately and use your tops soon while they are fresh. The beetroots will keep for several weeks in the crisper area of your refrigerator.

It seems this late in the season that some items will never be ready to harvest (we’ve been watching these cucumbers for several weeks). But definitely worth the wait. Though late in the year, they have a crisp flavor and the skin is not yet bitter since this is the first harvest from the last planting. Refrigerate to prevent dehydration as cucumbers are mostly made up of water.

Herb, Fresh – Sweet Basil – organic

Peppers, Bell
This week find both a sweet red bell and the little more tart green bell pepper. We wrote before about the ripening process of the pepper plant. They have high levels of Vits. A, C, E and iron and potassium. Store refrigerated. You can also freeze peppers either whole, chopped, or cut into strips for use later on.

Potatoes – organic

Raspberries - organic

Squash, Acorn
No need to refrigerate, can be stored for a few weeks.

Squash, Yellow Summer

Garlic – organic

Lettuce – organic

Radishes, French Breakfast – organic
Radishes, Easter Egg - organic
Radishes, Black Spanish - organic
Radishes are well-liked in Europe and grown all over. Most popular are the sandwiches made with thinly sliced breakfast radishes and good butter with freshly baked bread.

You can enjoy many ways and know that radishes are interchangeable in most recipes. Have you seen something you want to try that calls for a Daikon radish? Substitute instead.

The greens are also edible and can by used in soups, stews, stir-fry, and more. They are a great source of Vits. A, C, and Bs and help to cleanse your blood.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Best Acorn Squash
Thanks to a CSA member who pulled this from The Joy of Cooking. She says, "Hands down, the best squash dish I've ever had.”

Preheat oven to 375°F. Scrub acorn squash and place on a rack. Bake until it can be pierced easily with a wooden pick (1 to 1.5 hours). Cut in halves; remove seeds. Peel the squash and mash the pulp.

For each cup of squash, add:
1 T butter
1 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp t salt
1/8 tsp ginger
enough orange juice mixed in to make a good consistency

Place in a serving dish. Sprinkle on top:
raisins or nutmeats
¼ C crushed pineapple

Squash Casserole
Thanks to a CSA member for this recipe. She says, “It is truly delicious and I was genuinely amazed at how well it turned out - pretty easy to prepare, and it doesn't last long once its on the table. A real winner.” Serves 6.

1 lb squash
1 large sweet onion
1 egg
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ to ¾ C mayonnaise
½ to ¾ C parmesan cheesebread crumbs or Ritz-style cracker crumbs for topping
1/3 C butter, melted

Slice squash into bite-sized pieces and dice onion. Boil or steam together until just soft (5-8 minutes). Meanwhile, mix egg, mayo, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl until well blended. Pour cooked onion and squash into a casserole dish and pour Parmesan mixture on top. Stir gently to cover vegetables. Sprinkle with enough bread or cracker crumbs to cover the mixture and then sprinkle all over with melted margarine. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens
Recipe from Bon Appetit magazine, makes 6 servings, beets can be roasted the day ahead and refrigerated

6 medium beets with beet greens attached
2 large oranges
1 small sweet onion, cut into thin wedges
For dressing:
1/3 C red wine vinegar
¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim greens from beets. Coarsely chop leaves and stems, reserve. Wrap each beet in foil. Place beets directly on oven rack and roast until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool. Peel beets, then cut each into 8 wedges. Place beets in medium bowl.

Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Cool. Squeeze greens to remove excess moisture. Add greens to bowl with beets. Cut peel and white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release segments. Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture. Whisk vinegar, oil, garlic, and orange peel in small bowl to blend; add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Flourless Chocolate Beet Cake

Though a little unusual to plan beets for dessert, we don’t bat en eye when thinking of carrot cake or zucchini bread. This recipe is absent any flour so will be dense and chocolaty = yummy! Thanks to a friend of the farm for suggesting this recipe she loves; found online at just braise (dot) com.

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 T butter
¼ C sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1 egg, separated plus 2 egg whites
1 ½ C grated (cooked) beets plus 2 T cooking juice
¼ C cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter an 8-inch cake pan, line it with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper. In a double boiler set over medium heat, melt the chocolate and butter. With an electric mixer, begin beating egg whites with a pinch of salt and the beet juice. As whites build, add the sugar, egg yolk and zest into the chocolate mixture, stirring to incorporate evenly. Add grated beets to the chocolate and incorporate. Gently fold in the egg whites and cocoa powder until just combined. Pour into the buttered cake pan and bake 25 minutes in the center of the oven. Cake is ready when a toothpick comes out clean on the sides, but slightly wet in the middle. Removefrom the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Invert the cake on a plate and refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 19, CSA

From the Farm . . .

There are a few more details we can share with you about crop production this season. As we mentioned in an earlier news report, the rainy weather is much preferred over drought conditions; it just brings its own set of challenges to the farm. Plant diseases are more prevalent and spread rapidly without enough of the sun’s solarization that helps kill disease spores. Even farms with regular chemical usage have found it difficult to eliminate airborne diseases. Cloudy conditions with heavy morning dew, cool temperatures, and regular rains encourage weed growth (as we shared earlier with you), promote high insect activity, and reduces the ripening times for warm-weather loving peppers, tomatoes, squashes, and other items.

From the farm’s perspective, the onions this season are disappointing to us in respect to the extremely low yield of good quality onions we were able to dry after harvesting the entire crop. Like the garlic, the onions require a lot of attention and labor to grow organically. Rather than using onion sets in the spring you see available locally (not organically grown), we must start onions from organic seed. We prepare our own transplants (not direct sown into the field) requiring greenhouse space, potting soil, someone’s time to handle each seed individually and then daily monitoring of the watering – this is during the late summer to put out in the fall. We keep weeded and mulch with straw over the winter. In the spring, we continue with weeding and fertilization to encourage the onion bulbs to size up for summer harvest. This year many onions had soft spots due to the summer rains keeping the soil so moist, and unfortunately could not be dried out to be edible. The smaller onions tended to dry better than any of the larger ones, reflected in your shares. We know that nationwide, many onion growers experienced this similar situation with wet soil conditions this year.

On the other hand, with summer rains we did not have to put so much work into irrigation as the last two years. Water-loving crops like cucumbers, beans, squashes, and tomatoes were still set up on the drip irrigation system to ensure their needs were met, but we did not have to set up pipe and move lines on root crops, early greens, sweet corn, potatoes, berries and herbs. This allows time for other work and reduces the long hours of keeping the water pumps going around the clock.

The fall raspberries have been producing well for only their first harvest season. We experienced bird pressure last month but in recent weeks the birds have backed off a little (maybe the tine thorns on the berry briars have something to do with it?) The raspberries seem to be one of the most fragile items on the farm with the shortest “shelf-life”. This term refers to the time period from harvest to when something is prepared or eaten. Grocery stores want items with a long shelf life so they have more days to sell their inventory. Raspberries taste best when picked really ripe – so days to keep before eating may be as few as one or two. Store refrigerated if you do store them. Or, lie out on a baking sheet in the freezer; once individually frozen, gather up in another container for efficient freezer storage to enjoy this winter.

In Your Share . . .
Shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.

Brussels Sprouts - organic
Store refrigerated and remember to cut the ends removing the outer wrapper leaves before preparing.

Corn, Sweet
This is really the last of the season – we are taking down the electric raccoon fence this week also – it seems to work as well as anything we have tried the last few years. We removed ends that may be damaged. Store refrigerated until ready to prepare.


Garlic – organic

Lettuce – organic
With cooler temperatures we have some lettuces ready for harvest this week. We sure have missed it this summer and you probably have also! We planted a mix of several varieties and your share may have a red or green head. Store refrigerated.

Onions, Red - organic

Potatoes – organic
These all-purpose cranberry all-red potatoes are wonderful baked. You can also boil to serve with a little herbs and butter, or make potato salad. Try slicing, coating with olive oil, and oven-roasting at a high temperature for more healthy French fries.

Raspberries - organic

Squash, Spaghetti
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use, as this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole; or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water until done; remove seeds, then enjoy with a little butter, fresh pesto, or your favorite pasta sauce.

Tomatoes – organic
Most likely this is the last tomato harvest of the season, one to enjoy with your lettuce salad this week.

Beets – organic
This week’s beets may be white, red, golden, or the pink skinned, striped flesh Chioggia variety. Each color has similar beet flavor and makes a striking dish when prepared. You can also enjoy the beet tops in any recipe that calls for spinach, kale or chard. Store your beet tops and beetroots separately and use your tops soon while they are fresh. The beetroots will keep for several weeks in the crisper area of your refrigerator.

Herb, Fresh – organic – Rosemary and Tarragon

Okra - organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp or Scallops
Thanks to a CSA member who shared this great recipe! She was thrilled that her whole family really enjoyed this one-dish meal. You can use your beet tops this week if desired.

1 med. spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs.)
¼ C olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
½ pound shrimp, shelled and cleaned (or scallops)
2 T lemon juice
1 ½ T fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 sm. tomatoes, chopped
1 lg. bunch watercress or ½ bag spinach, washed
¼ C toasted pine nuts (optional)
1 C crumbled Feta or grated Parmesan cheese

Cut squash lengthwise; bake face down on oiled cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until easily pierced by fork. Cool; scoop out insides. Heat oil and sauté garlic. Add shrimp, lemon juice, and spices. Sauté, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and watercress or spinach and cook 1 minute longer until vegetables are wilted. Add pine nuts and cheese and toss with squash. Serve heaped in squash shells or individual casseroles. Makes 2 generous servings.

Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter
Recipe from Bluegrass Winners

2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
½ C unsalted butter
juice and zest of 1 orange
1 tsp Dijon type mustard
cracked black pepper to taste

Remove outer leaves and trim bases of sprouts. Rinse and score stems with an “X” to cook more evenly. Steam for 5 to 10 minutes until just tender and still bright green.

Melt butter in large sauté pan; add orange juice, zest, and mustard. Add sprouts to the sauce and coat. Outer leaves of the sprouts will begin to caramelize, yielding a lovely brown color. Serve immediately. Recipe serves 6 to 8, can be adjusted for quantity of sprouts on hand.

Eggplant Cakes

2 eggplant (roasted and mashed)
¼ C mayonnaise (preferable from scratch)
½ C whole wheat bread crumbs
¼ C chopped fresh parsley
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
1 whole egg (for breading)
¼ C whole wheat bread crumbs (for breading)
¼ C all purpose flower (for breading)

Cut both eggplants in half lengthwise, using a paring knife score the inside of the eggplant in a checkerboard pattern. Place the eggplants flesh side up in a sheet pant. Brush the eggplants with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 375 for thirty to forty-five minutes until golden brown, and allow cooling.
Using a spoon, scrape the meat away from the skin and lightly mash.

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the eggplant, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, and parsley. Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper, refrigerate for ½ hr.

For breading; place the flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs on three separate plates. Using your hands, form golf ball sized balls out of the cooled eggplant mixture. Lightly coat the balls first in flour, then egg wash, and finally bread crumbs. Using light pressure flatten the balls into discs. In a medium sized sauté pan on medium heat, carefully brown both sides of the cakes in vegetable oil. Drain on paper towels and season again with a touch of salt.

Monday, September 7, 2009

CSA News Week 18

From the Farm . . .
It has been a little while since we gave you a crop report from the farm. We have been very busy with harvesting, seeding, harvesting, transplanting, harvesting, weeding, weeding, weeding. Well, you get the picture.

The wonderful spring and summer rain gives everything an equal opportunity to grow and flourish – including both perennial and annual weeds. In the spring we plant ryegrass between some crop rows to crowd out the weeds and we can then mow those strips later on. Some crops are planted through mulch that shows its importance now as it keeps the weeds from taking over the desired crop. In other fields, between the plants within each row we can use tractor driven cultivators to remove small weeds. But, with lots of rain resulting in wet field conditions, we will not use the tractor as it will compact our precious soil (creating more of a long-term problem), and we resort to hand weeding and hand hoeing.

We are direct seeding fall season roots, cole crops, lettuces, and greens for harvest in October and later. Other crops must be planted this fall for harvest next year including onions (we start from seeds in the greenhouse to transplant out), strawberry cuttings we root for new plants, and garlic. These will all be transplanted out by hand, watered, and mulched with straw that we have been cutting and baling during the last few months to hopefully buffer them a bit during our winter weather.

We harvest most mornings (before the sun has a chance to wilt the plants) for your CSA shares, the farmers market, or a special restaurant or bulk order and try to work on other jobs in the afternoons. We feel fortunate to still have a few tomatoes to harvest with so much early and late blight disease around the area. So far, our late potato crop also seems unaffected by the devastating blight, as we still have the fall crop to harvest and get into storage, along with the sweet potatoes that take the entire summer season to grow.

In the weeks ahead we have late plantings of squash, zucchini, peppers, and cucumbers we hope to harvest before frost. There are early crops of beets, cabbage, lettuce, and the hard shelled winter squashes on the harvest schedule also. Both plant and vegetable growth slows down as the day length lessens and the temperatures cool a bit, but fortunately the weeds do too!

In Your Share . . .
Items in shares may vary depending on your harvest day and share size. Every share may not have every item listed below.

Beans, Green - organic
Enjoy a flashback to the middle of the season with such summer staples as corn, beans, potatoes and tomatoes this week. These stringless green beans are the first harvest from our last planting and really did not suffer from bean beetles or the rust spots that come when it rains so much. You can enjoy simmered with potatoes or blanched and prepared as a green bean salad. Store refrigerated for up to a week; or wash, snap, blanch and throw into a freezer bag.

Celery – organic
Your fresh celery can also be washed, cut into ½ inch pieces, and put in the freezer for use later on. Remember the leaves are useful as a fresh herb replacement (try in any recipe that calls for parsley, a cousin of celery). Dice it fresh into potato or egg salad – remember from earlier weeks that the center stalks are tenderer than the outer stalks – the darker green, the better for cooked dishes. Celery is a difficult crop to grow so we don’t see it very often at our local markets. As a result, most folks are surprised at how flavorful KY grown celery can be! Store refrigerated.

Corn, Sweet
Yeh! We are excited to have more corn, even though it is late in the season for it. The last for the year, enjoy it boiled to just eat off the cob, or put on the grill. It stores best in the husk in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

Garlic – organic
We shared the conditions of this season’s garlic crop in an earlier newsletter. As described, any more cleaning by us at the farm will result in the cloves being too exposed to keep well. Store in your pantry or a dry, dark space, not in your refrigerator.

Herb, Fresh – organic – Sweet Basil

Peppers, Bell

Potatoes – organic
As we do rinse the field dirt off the potatoes, you will want to store them in your refrigerator if possible. Also remember that light will cause the skins to turn green since the organic potatoes are not chemically treated to prevent it. If you do get greening while storing them, just cut it away before preparing. Try the large potatoes baked whole, or cut into 1-inch pieces and boil. The gold potatoes don’t even need butter, as their yellowy flesh is creamy already. Eat the skin also to get your full source of complex carbohydrates and minerals (especially potassium).

Squash, Acorn – new this week!
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use, as this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole; or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water until done; remove seeds, then enjoy with a little butter and honey or maple syrup.

Tomato, Salad, Heirloom & Red Slicing - organic

Purple Topped White Turnips – organic
Turnips as well as the turnip greens have so many vitamins as well as potassium and calcium. They are also one of the cruciferous vegetables said to help prevent cancer. The spicy, yet sweet, flavor is tempered when cooked. Turnips can also be peeled and eaten raw as an apple; or grated and eaten with radishes, kohlrabi, cabbage or carrots as a fresh salad with vinaigrette dressing.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Fresh Tomato Salad
a Mark Bittman recipe. He reports that since the garlic in the dressing is strained out, it does not overpower the dish. Peeling the tomatoes is not necessary, but nice. Makes 4 servings.

4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
salt and black pepper to taste
1 T red wine vinegar
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds tomatoes, cored, peeled if desired, sliced
20 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Whisk together the garlic, salt, vinegar, and olive oil. Place the tomatoes on a platter and strain the dressing over them. Top with basil leaves, a little more salt, and some pepper. Serve immediately.

Variation: Instead of dressing tomatoes, toss green beans with the strained dressing and place on top of the tomatoes. Then finish with basil, salt and pepper as above. To prepare beans, trim the ends of 1 pound of beans. Cook them in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes or until bright green, then immediately drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.

Balsamic Vinaigrette with Fresh Basil
Recipe from Bluegrass Winners: New Recipes and Menus from Kentucky’s Legendary Horse Farms

1 C good quality olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
½ C aged balsamic vinegar
1 T chopped fresh basil
1 tsp Dijon type mustard
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in Mason jar. Shake well and vigorously. Makes 2 cups.

Maple Glazed Turnips
Recipe from Culinary Institute of America’s Cook for the Home, serves 4. At a farm crew lunch, even the so-called turnip haters really enjoyed this dish. They assumed it was potatoes or never would have tried it to start with.

2 lb purple top turnips
2 T butter
3 T maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 T parsley, for garnish
2 tsp lemon juice

Peel turnips and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat 1 T butter in a pan on medium heat. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add turnips and ¼ inch water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and pan steam until tender, 7-8 minutes.

Remove cover and continue to cook the turnips until water has cooked away and syrup has glazed the turnips evenly, 3 more minutes. Add remaining T butter and lemon juice. Sprinkle with parsley and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Winter Squash with Jam

1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
2 tsp butter
1 T raspberry, apricot, or peach jam

Heat oven to 350°F. Place squash in ovenproof dish. Fill each cavity with butter and jam. Cover and bake until tender, 35-45 minutes. Serves 2.

Monday, August 31, 2009

CSA News, Week 17

In Your Share
Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed.

Brussels Sprouts – organic
Store refrigerated and try to use within a few days if possible. As we told you last week, you will need to remove any loose or discolored leaves. The easiest way to do this is to slice off the elongated stem. A few of the outer leaves will then fall away more easily.

Chard, Swiss - organic


Herbs, Fresh – organic – Cilantro
Use fresh in recipes or add to fresh salsa. Store refrigerated.

Okra - organic

Yellow Onions – organic

Peppers, Bell
The weather has finally allowed the bell peppers to begin turning from green to red. You may already know, but we get regular questions about the red bell peppers (cost and less availability), so to clear up the confusion: there are many varieties of peppers. Green bell peppers, if not harvested and left on the plant, will eventually turn yellow, red, orange, chocolate brown, or maybe just rot – it depends on the variety grown. During these weeks of the pepper changing color (and the flavor becoming much more sweet), the plant does not continue setting blooms for more peppers. Production is reduced, more peppers are lost to insects, disease, or wea-ther, and costs to grow each pepper increase.

Roasting red bell peppers is an easy process. The final peppers can be frozen for use anytime.

To roast peppers: Over a gas range top or outdoor grill, place fresh peppers directly onto the flame. Char the peppers all the way around each side; the pepper skins should turn black and blistered. After the peppers are charred, place them in a paper or plastic bag and allow steaming for twenty minutes. Steaming allows the skins to be removed more easily. After the peppers have cooled, remove them from the bag and peel them. Discard the seeds and the charred skins, remember to save the pepper juice, it has a lot of flavor. You can also roast peppers in the oven, lightly oiled on a sheet pan. Roasting in the oven works well if you do not have a gas range, but the end result is not quite as good. Save whole strips or chop into desired pieces.

Raspberries – organic

Squash, Spaghetti
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use, as this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole; or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water until done; remove seeds. Fleck out strands with a fork and enjoy with ‘spaghetti’ sauce, pesto, or butter and seasonings. This is a great substitute for those on a pasta-free diet.

Tomato, Heirloom – Red Slicing – Yellow Slicing - organic
Your salad heirlooms include Black Plum and Chadwick Cherry. We try to pick our tomatoes often to let them ripen as much as we can on the vine, but some of the blacks or pinks you may want to ripen a little more on the counter at home. The thin skins make transporting and boxing super ripe ones difficult. Do not refrigerate for best flavor.

Garlic – organic

Potatoes – organic
This week find a popular gold flesh all-purpose potato. Store these out of light to prevent the skin from greening.

Cooking Radish, Spanish Black - organic
This root vegetable grows for the cooler fall season and is meant to be enjoyed cooked rather than eaten raw as a salad radish. The greens keep less time, so try to utilize them in a few days as they wilt rather quickly. View the week of 6/30/08 newsletter for a nice recipe shared by a CSA member that works well for the radish tops – Cinnamon Spiced Pancakes (they turn out more like fritters).

Recipes to Enjoy

Cross Creek Shrimp and Okra
recipe from Greene on Greens, serves 4

4 T unsalted butter
2 whole green onions, bulbs and green tops, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound raw shrimp, shelled, deveined
½ pound okra, cut into ½ inch thick rounds
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt 2 T of the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the green onions; cook until slightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Add the remaining 2 T butter to the skillet. Add the shrimp and cook, tossing constantly, 3 minutes. Add the okra and cook, tossing constantly, 3 minutes longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet and Sour Swiss Chard

from Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert’s Simply In Season, serves 4

1 pound Swiss Chard
1 medium onion
¼ C dried cranberries or raisins
2 cloves garlic
3 T white or cider vinegar
1½ T sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and pat dry chard. Remove stems and chop diagonally into small pieces. Stack leaves, roll up, and slice in 1 inch strips; keep separate from stems and set aside. Sauté onion about 2 minutes in deep fry pan over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rest of ingredients and chard stems to pan, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Place chopped leaves on top of the mixture, cover and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir and serve.

Cilantro Vinaigrette
from Cooking with Nora. This can be used over a green salad, for roasted vegetables, or as a marinade for items for the grill.

1/3 C cilantro leaves, tightly packed
2 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small green jalapeno pepper
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 T tamari
1 T rice wine vinegar
3 T water
3 T oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put garlic and onion in non-reactive baking dish. Add 1 tsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 30-40 minutes until soft. After roasted, put all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth.

Eggplant Caviar, an Alice Waters recipe, makes 2 cups, can reduce ingredients to meet the quantity of eggplant you have on hand

2 medium eggplant
2 T fresh lemon juice
4 T olive oil
fresh-ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled and pounded into a puree
2-4 T chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut in half lengthwise 2 medium eggplants. Sprinkle the cut surfaces with salt, fresh-ground black pepper, and olive oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast until soft. Test for doneness at the stem end; eggplant should be very soft. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scrape the flesh out of the skins into a bowl and stir vigorously to loosen into a puree. Add rest of ingredients. Mix well, taste for salt and lemon

Master Recipe for Braised Radishes
Recipe adapted from Perfect Vegetables by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated

1 T unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 pound radishes, leaves and stems removed, cut into bite sized pieces
½ C organic chicken broth
2 tsp minced fresh herbs (thyme or chives are great but feel free to try other favorites)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the onion and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the radishes and cook for 1 minute longer.
Add the broth, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the radishes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the cover and simmer until the liquid thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week 16 CSA

In Your Share . . .
Items may vary in shares depending on your harvest day and share size. Each share may not have every item listed below.

Beans, Green- organic
Enjoy another harvest of snap beans this week. You can top with a few new potatoes and throw in a little onion too for some flavoring to jog your tastebuds of childhood memories in grandma’s kitchen!

Brussels Sprouts – organic – new this week!
We always enjoy when the delicious and nutritious Brussels sprouts are ready for harvest. Fresh sprouts have so much flavor and can be prepared various ways. Store refrigerated and try to use within a few days for the most tender results. You will need to remove any loose or discolored leaves from the little sprouts. The easiest way to do this is to slice off the elongated stem. A few of the outer leaves will then fall away more easily. Depending on your preparation technique, you can then score an “x” in the bottom of the sprouts for faster cooking. Think of sprouts as tiny cabbages. When you last had cabbage, we removed several of the discolor-ed outer leaves for you here at the farm. Your sprouts will keep longer with the outer leaves intact, so allow a little time when ready to cook for this step. We agree with the author of a popular web site, forget boiling! Her golden-crusted version of sautéed sprouts will “turn around the most vigilant sprouts-hater.” We shared her recipe last season in the 8/8/08 newsletter. Find another recipe below.

Garlic – organic – new this week!
You have a whole head of organic garlic this week harvested from cloves we planted last fall. Garlic is one vegetable that needs attention for about ten months of the year. That may be why you don’t see a lot of farms growing it. This year the garlic was ready for harvest right during our many days of rain and wet conditions. We waited as long as we could, but eventually had to go ahead and dig up the heads while the soil was really too wet. As a result, the heads had more soil clinging to the wrapper skin and did not clean up as nicely as in past seasons. Also, by keeping the garlic waiting in the field for more dry conditions to harvest, we have less wrapper leaves on the heads. It doesn’t affect flavor or usage, just appearance and possibly reduces long-term storage time. Store garlic in a dry, airy place, preferably your pantry, not refrigerated.

Herbs, Fresh – organic – Rosemary or Thyme, and Sage
Use fresh in most any recipe, store refrigerated.

Yellow Onions – organic

Potatoes – organic
This week’s freshly dug potato is the Cranberry All-Red variety with red skin and a whitish, pink striped flesh. They have a higher moisture content than a storage potato and will keep well for you refrigerated in the dark. Find a new recipe below for these all-purpose tasty potatoes.

Raspberries – organic
This is our first season of harvesting from the fall-bearing raspberry plants we put in last spring. They seem to be doing well in the organic production system this season. We are trying to not pick them too early so you experience full sweetness. This does mean they have a very short shelf life. Refrigerate as soon as possible, and rinse and eat within 2 days.

Squash, Spaghetti
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use, as this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole; or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water ntil done; remove seeds. Fleck out strands with a fork and enjoy with ‘spaghetti’ sauce, pesto, or butter and seasonings. This is great substitute for those on a pasta-free diet.

Tomato, Heirloom – organic
Heirloom varieties are grown from seeds that are pollinated naturally and are non-hybrid cultivars. Seeds can be saved (and passed down through generations) and will reproduce true to the parent. Some well-known varieties may be a hybrid, but act like an heirloom with their open polli-nation, thin skin, cracking tendency and won-derful flavor. Varieties we are harvesting right now include: Black Plum, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Purden’s Purple, Chadwick Cherry, Green Zebra, Arkansas Traveler, Pink Rose, and Striped German. We try to pick often and let them ripen as much as we can on the vine, but some of the blacks or pinks you may want to ripen a little more on the counter at home. Their thin skins make transporting and boxing difficult. If tomatoes become over ripe: try freezing whole, cooking into sauce, or making juice and then freezing or canning.

Tomato, Red – organic

Tomato, Yellow Slicing - organic

The watermelons seem to have handled the recent rains better than cantaloupe and other melon varieties. We have lost loads of those melons to cracking in the field. This week you should have a pink flesh or yellow flesh (we are getting reports that the yellow are sweeter right now!) watermelon. Store either on the counter or in the refrigerator.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
This Gourmet July 2006 recipe is great for using really ripe tomatoes or those that are a little misshaped since you don’t need the perfect round slice. Try various color tomatoes for a striking and beautiful result.

1 small garlic clove

3 lb tomatoes
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 lb dried angel hair pasta
½ C chopped fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil for dressing

Mince the garlic and mash it into a paste using a pinch of salt.

Core and roughly chop two thirds of the tomatoes. Halve the remaining tomatoes crosswise then rub the cut sides of the tomatoes against the large holes of a box grater. Remember to use the largest holes possible. Grate into a large bowl, reserving pulp and discarding the skin. Toss the pulp with the chopped tomatoes, garlic and salt paste, lemon juice, salt, sugar (optional) and black pepper. Let stand until ready to use, at least 10 minutes.

While the tomato sauce is standing, cook your pasta in boiling salted water, uncovered until al dente, 2 minutes or so. Drain in a colander and immediately add to tomato mixture, tossing well to combine, Sprinkle with basil and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt before serving.

Oven Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe

1 ½ lbs potatoes, scrubbed, dried, cut into pieces
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix the oil, garlic, and rosemary. Add the potatoes and toss well. Transfer to a shallow baking dish and roast until potatoes are tender when tested with the tip of a knife. Serve immediately or chill them if you prefer.

Sesame Garlic Brussels Sprouts
From Asparagus to Zucchini, makes 6 servings, can reduce depending on your needs

¼ C soy sauce
3 T toasted sesame oil
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ T minced garlic
1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
4-5 T peanut oil

Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed pepper, garlic and 3 T water in a large bowl. Blanch the sprouts in boiling water until partially tender, about 3-4 minutes (do no overcook here). Drain well. Heat wok or large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add a small amount of the peanut oil, swirl the pan to coat the surface, and add about a third of the sprouts. Stir-fry until bright green and crisp-tender. Drain on paper towels. Stir-fry the remaining sprouts similarly, in batches. Add cooked sprouts to soy sauce mixture and toss well. Can serve immediately or allow to marinate one or more hours before serving.

Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad
Thanks to a CSA member for sharing this unusual but tasty salad. With yellow watermelon, and pink and black tomatoes, it will really liven up your meal! Recipe for 2 entrée-size salads.

2 large or 3-4 smallish heirloom tomatoes, washed and cut into wedges
1 pint small salad tomatoes, rinsed and halved if necessary for bite sizes
1 small watermelon, seeds removed and cut into small wedges or slices, about 8 slices per plate
1 C crumbled fresh chevre goat cheese
1 small bunch fresh basil, washed and dried and smaller leaves kept whole, large leaves torn
good quality extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)

Arrange watermelon slices on plate as desired to form the base of your salad. Scatter heirloom tomato slices over the watermelon and place smaller tomato halves across the plate. Sprinkle basil leaves over the entire plate and add dabs of goat cheese, to taste. Drizzle the plate with a thin stream of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If you want to take this more into the realm of a Caprese salad, you can add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to the salad. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 17, 2009

CSA News, Week 15

In Your Share . . .
Items may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.

Basil, Sweet – organic
Time to enjoy with fresh sliced tomatoes, a nice mozzarella or goat cheese, and a drizzle of good olive oil or fresh vinaigrette. Also, you have enough this week for pesto making. Our 8/13/07 newsletter has a couple of quick, easy recipes. Try the roasted tomato and basil pesto for something a little different; or the easy traditional basil, garlic, cheese pesto is always a favorite.

You can also process basil leaves with a little olive oil, freeze in ice cube trays. Pop out when frozen and store until ready to use this winter in sauce, soups or add your cheese then to finish the pesto.


Okra – organic
Find a new okra recipe below – you can also add to your tomato pie!

Onions, Yellow (mini shares) or Cipollini Sweet Onions (larger shares) - organic
You will have either a freshly dug round yellow onion, or the flatter round Cipollini onions. We really enjoy growing the specialty Cipollini onions and once you have them, we hope you appreciate their special flavor compared to a traditional onion. Not as sweet as a “candy” type, these Italian onions are excellent cooked whole in liquid, they retain the juicy goodness until you cut or bite into them. We suggest the Gourmet magazine recipe found in 8/18/08 newsletter (or on the site). It is difficult right now to get all the onions dry enough to store in your pantry – high humidity and frequent rainfall prevents the dry conditions necessary to properly cure onions. You may want to store refrigerated or try to use fairly soon.

Potatoes – organic
This week’s freshly dug potatoes are a gold skin, gold flesh variety, one of the farm’s favorites. Like all new potatoes, they will have higher moisture than a storage potato, and you will want to keep out of the light to prevent the skins from greening. Find a new recipe below.

Tomato, Green
We’re not sure how long before the killing tomato blight arrives, so we added extra while we have them. Wrap in newspaper individually to let ripen. Use green tomatoes in salsa, fruit chutney, or oven/pan fry. See 7/10/06 news on Elmwood site for recipes.

Tomato, Heirloom – organic
The mid-season heirloom varieties of tomatoes are finally ripening the last several days. We try to pick often and let them ripen as much as we can on the vine. This means the cracks, slits, and other somewhat ugly attributes of heirloom tomatoes are front and center – however the wonderful flavor and taste are well worth it! Most all have a little discoloration on the stem end or inside the center core – uneven ripening is weather related and almost every heirloom grower we know is also experiencing it. Just cut away and enjoy the rest.

Generally these tomatoes are lower in acid and have a thinner skin than most hybrid tomatoes.

Tomato, Red – organic

Tomato, Yellow Slicing - organic
Enjoy sliced on a platter with other tomatoes for a colorful summer side dish.


Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Henkle’s Herbs and Heirloom’s Tomato Pie
We’ve shared tomato pie recipes before, but this one comes highly recommended by a CSA member and we thank her for sharing it. Recipe from Velvet Henkle, a local caterer who grows heirloom tomatoes with her husband and sells at the Lexington Farmers Market

4 large heirloom tomatoes
1 C mayonnaise
5 large leaves of fresh basil
¼ C pine nuts
1 9-inch piecrust
¼ C feta cheese
1 C grated mozzarella cheese
3 T Parmesan cheese
1 C grated cheddar cheese

Pre bake the pie shell for 8 minutes at 450, remove pie shell, and then lower the oven temperature to 350.

Slice heirloom tomatoes and place in a colander to drain. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh pepper and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Layer the heirloom tomatoes and basil into the pie shell, then top with pine nuts. Mix the grated cheese and mayonnaise together and spread them over the tomatoes. Top with feta cheese and Parmesan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to congeal for 5 minutes and enjoy!

Eggplant Fritters
Recipe from Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things, can adjust ingredients for quantity of eggplant desired to prepare

2 medium eggplants, peeled
1 T salt
1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Dash of pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 C cold milk
1 T salad oil

Cut eggplants into fingers. Toss with salt. Let stand 20 minutes. Drain and dry.

Combine remaining ingredients. Dip eggplant in batter. Drop eggplant into hot oil a few at a time. It takes about 5 or 6 minutes to fry. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Potato Puffs
A Mark Bittman recipe originally from France, served as a side dish. You can omit the onion and dip in sugar to serve as a dessert, makes 4-6 servings.

1 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
salt and black pepper to taste
½ C flour
1 egg
½ C minced onion
favorite cooking oil

Boil potatoes in salted water to cover until soft, at least 15 minutes. Drain, then mash them well or put them through a food mill or ricer. Combine with the remaining ingredients except the oil. (You can prepare this mixture several hours ahead if you like; cover and refrigerate.)

Put at least 1 inch, preferably 2 inches, of oil in a heavy skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the oil to a temperature between 325 and 350° F. Roll the potato mixture out on a floured surface and, using a cookie cutter or glass, cut into 2 inch circles; or simply roll into small balls with your hands. Fry the circles or balls until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Okra and Tomato Salad
Adapted from a Bert Greene recipe

¼ C olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1small clove garlic
1 T sour cream
¼ pound tender young okra, stems lightly trimmed, cut in half lengthwise or sliced into pieces
1 large ripe tomato, cut into ½ inch thick wedges

Combine the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic in a small jar. Seal the jar and shake well. Let it stand about 30 minutes. Remove the garlic clove. Add the sour cream. Seal and shake well again.

Place the okra halves and tomato wedges in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over, mix gently, and let stand 15 minutes. Serves 2.

Optional: Can be served over chopped fresh greens such as lettuce, spinach, or finely chopped cabbage.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 14, CSA News

Jeorg's Perspective on Eating Locally . . .

Nothing quite gives the full picture more than the voice of experience. We thank Elmwood CSA members Jeorg and Thomas for sharing their story . . .

Several years ago, Thomas, my husband, read a book - the book really. The bible of eating locally. Being a person who does not read a lot of non-fiction, I only knew that he was reading this book about an experiment in food. Little did I know that it would change our lives forever. While we were living in Paris, he explained to me why we were going to do this, eat locally and how it would make us better people and enrich our lives. I said yes; we were in Paris after all.

We started going to the farmer's market, we joined a CSA and really, I could not complain. I love vegetables and would eliminate most meat from my diet very easily. Economically, the advantages are great. It supports the local economy, a farm or many farms that supply what I would have bought at the grocery store anyway for the same price. I feel a stronger connection to the food that I eat since I know when it is in season and how crops are doing based on weather. At first, it was not so bad, however, I married a man who goes all in on the first day. I slowly noticed that this eating locally thing was no easy task. It meant careful planning for the winter months, it meant arguing about "luxury" items such as coffee, tea, and candy. It meant negotiating with eating habits, cooking styles and cookbooks. But it has been worth it.

My perspective has remained steadfast through this whole thing. I love supporting the local farms where we get our veggies and our meats. I love digging around the co-op to find local products and knowing that the meals we make are almost 100% local and organic (I cannot give up almonds, lemons, or olive oil...). I love knowing what it is that I eat and where it came from. Best of all, I love encouraging others to start buying local too and supporting the farms by making that connection with their food. We still eat out, we still buy lemons and olive oil, and we still buy candy. But this experiment has changed my life- I now put my money where my mouth is, eats, and lives.

In Your Share . . .
As always, items may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.

Cabbage, Green – organic
Find your last head of summer cabbage this week. Enjoy in fresh cole slaw, sliced thinly and sautéed, or oven baked with butter. It will keep refrigerated for you for a couple of weeks if desired.

Celery – organic
The celery needs to be harvested and will keep better for you in your refrigerator than out in the field with the heat that has moved into the area. We are glad to get your positive feed-back on this flavorful vegetable. You can enjoy it chopped into tuna, potato or chicken salads; oven roasted with potatoes along side chicken or beef roasts; or in vegetable soup or cold gazpacho. The outer stalks with a darker green color are best used in cooked recipes, while the inner more pale portions can be enjoyed raw, as the texture is less tough than the outer stalks more exposed to the sun. Store in your crisper area of the refrigerator. Find a new recipe below.

Okra – organic
Store your okra in the refrigerator before preparing. You can pan fry, oven roast, or stew with tomatoes for Cajun style. You only need to remove the stem end. You can also lay out on a cookie sheet either sliced pieces or whole okra and freeze. Once frozen, bag it up to use in gumbo or soups during the winter season.

Sweet Onions and/or Red Onions - organic
As we mentioned to you last week, the sweet onions do not store as long as dry storage onions. With this season’s rains, sweet onions should be used within a couple of weeks. If your refrigerator is below 45°, the sweet onions will keep best for you there. If it is warmer, then it will only encourage the onions to sprout and soften. You can also store in your pantry. When cut, the sulfur of an onion reacts with the water in your eyes resulting in sulfuric acid that causes the tears in your eyes. Remember to rinse your cutting board after onion cutting, as it will retain the onion flavor.

Green Bell Pepper

Potatoes – organic
This week’s potato is the blue skinned bluish-white flesh variety or a red skin white flesh variety. You can use either as a baking potato, or for most all purposes as they each hold their shape when cooked.

Squash, Spaghetti
Store in your pantry until ready to use, this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole or halve and bake with flesh side down until done. Remove seeds, fleck out strands with a fork and enjoy with ‘spaghetti’ sauce, pesto, or just butter and seasonings.

Squash, Acorn
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use as this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water until done; remove seeds. Enjoy the acorn squash with butter, seasonings, and honey or maple syrup.

Squash, Yellow Summer

Tomatoes, Green
We’re not sure how long before the killing tomato blight arrives, so we added extra while we have them. Wrap in newspaper individually to let ripen. Use green tomatoes in salsa, fruit chutney, or oven/pan fry. See 7/10/06 news on website for recipes.

Tomatoes, Heirloom - organic
Find a mixed selection of varieties; more details next harvest but generally our heirloom varieties have lower acid, thinner skin, ugly sometimes, but very much worth it!

Tomatoes, Red - organic

The dark green melons should have a red flesh and are said to be seed-less. Seedless melons will have small white seeds that are edible and from time to time they will have regular black seeds like a traditional watermelon. The striped skin melons have a yellow flesh, and you should have one or the other.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Cabbage Pie
A Mark Bittman recipe adapted from old Russian recipe

2 T butter plus more as needed
1 medium or ½ large head cabbage, cored and shredded, about 2 pounds
1 medium onion, sliced
salt and black pepper to taste
2/3 C chopped fresh dill leaves
6 eggs (3 hard boiled)
1 C whole milk yogurt or sour cream
3 T mayonnaise
½ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ C flour

Preheat oven to 375°. Put butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is quite tender, about 10 minutes; do not brown. Remove from heat, add dill, taste and adjust seasonings.

Meanwhile, hard boil 3 eggs if not already done. Peel and coarsely chop. Add to the cooked cabbage mixture and let cook while you make the batter.

Combine yogurt, mayo, and remaining 3 eggs. Add baking powder and flour and mix until smooth. Lightly butter a 9 x 12 inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Spread half the batter on the bottom, then top with the cabbage filling, smear the remaining batter over the cabbage, using your fingers or a spatula to make sure there are no gaps in what will be the pie’s top crust.

Bake for 45 minutes until shiny and golden brown. Let pie cool for about 15 minutes before slicing. Eat warm or at room temperature, serves 4 to 6.

Celery Puree
Barbara Kafka reports that celery used to be served as a specialty item, even having its own dishes just the length of a trimmed celery stalk. She advises to peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler to remove any strings before steaming. Her recipe makes 1-½ cups and takes about 15 minutes to prepare.

1 pound celery, peeled and cut across into ¼ inch pieces
2 T chopped celery leaves
1 potato, cooked, peeled and riced
½ C heavy cream
3 T unsalted butter, softened
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the celery in the top of a two-part steamer or on a steaming rack. Fill the bottom of the steamer pan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Place the celery on top, cover and steam for 7 minutes or until very tender. Transfer to a food processor, add celery leaves, potato, cream and butter, process until well combined. Season to taste.

Broiled Tomatoes
Recipe from local cookbook, Bluegrass Winners

6 fresh tomatoes, unpeeled
6 T sherry
½ tsp dill (or other favorite herb, fresh preferred)
1 tsp black pepper
6 T mayonnaise
8 T Parmesan cheese, grated

Remove core from each tomato and cut in half. Place cut side up on a cookie sheet or glass baking dish. Pierce each tomato several times with a fork. Sprinkle each half with sherry, herb, and pepper. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes. Top each half with a mixture of mayo and Parmesan and return to broiler for 1 minute. Serve immediately. Serves 12.

Monday, August 3, 2009

CSA News Week 13

In Your Share . . .
Items may vary depending on your share size and day of harvest. Each share may not have each item listed below.

Celery – organic
We are excited to have the celery ready for harvest this week – its fresh vibrant taste puts to shame the more bland supermarket celery that has traveled cross-country to reach us in Kentucky. West coast celery plants are hilled with soil, blanching the stalks white, while local celery is grown without the hilling – it results in a more green and flavorful vegetable. Taste it when preparing to realize you may not need as much in some recipes to get an excellent flavorful result. It really adds to tuna, egg, or chicken salads when used raw – use the more tender inner stalks, and save the outer stalks for your cooked recipes, oven roasted with meats, braised as a side dish (see Joy of Cooking), or cream of celery soup (see the index at right, 8-27-07, for wonderful soup recipe). Leaves can be chopped for use as a fresh herb (see the herb dressing recipe below). Store refrigerated and it will keep for up to two weeks.

Swiss Chard – organic
The Rainbow Swiss Chard is still yummy this time of the year. Use as you would spinach in quiches, pies, lasagna, for wraps, or in soups. You can also sauté with your fresh onions for a quick and easy side dish.

Several new types of eggplant are ready this week along with the traditional type. Larger shares may have a solid white or purple and white stripe. Store and prepare as you would the dark purple eggplant. Large eggplant will store up to a week, smaller ones less time.

Fresh Herb Bundle – Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme – organic
Store refrigerated or in a water vase like flowers to keep fresh. Can be left out at room temperature to dry (put inside paper bag to keep herb leaves dust-free).

Specialty Melon
We have several varieties ready for harvest right now. Two are Pixie and Sensation. They both will not be as dark orange as commercial cantaloupes and have a thinner rind. You may have cracking at one end (which in a drier season indicates perfect ripeness for these types of melons, and actually ones with cracks are the first choice of restaurant chefs who realize the difference). Sometimes cracking is caused by lots of rain where the fruit retains its moisture and the inside of the melon grows faster than the outside skin. Store refrigerated.

We have a greenish melon ready for harvest right now called Napoli. Although similar in appearance to a honeydew this is an Asian melon with a different flavor – it also can keep several days for you before using unlike some types of cantaloupe. The Asian melons also experience the cracking indicating either sweetness or possibly due to the fast absorption of water. Also store refrigerated after cutting.

Sweet Onions – organic
The sweet onions do not store for you as long as regular yellow onions. And, with this season’s rain, onions will store even less time than last year. This means you should use them within two to three weeks rather than storing them for fall or winter use. You can store in your pantry or on the counter, but once cut, store refrigerated.

Green Bell Pepper
It’s the season for stuffed peppers – find a new recipe below. Peppers have high nutrition in Vits. A, C & E.

Potatoes – organic
This week’s potato is the red skinned, white flesh variety called Sangre, a little larger size potatoes than last week. You can use as a baking potato, or for most all purposes as they will hold their shape. Remember to store organic potatoes refrigerated and covered from light to prevent the skins from greening.

Radishes – organic
Your handful of summer radishes can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Thinly slice and add to a sandwich or wrap or salad. To cook, cube and oven roast with potatoes or other root vegetables, add to a stir-fry, or steam and enjoy with an Asian style vinegar-soy-sesame dressing. When cooked, the radish loses a little of its bite.
Store refrigerated.

Tomatoes, Red – organic
You may have seen or heard a recent news story about the presence of late blight in this area – including Kentucky. We are experiencing early blight on some of the tomatoes, which kills the plant, leaves and exposes the fruit to the potential of sunburn. If late blight settles in, we will lose the entire plant including all fruit within a matter of days. There are fungicides to try to combat, but not any we would want to use and not any for organic production. So far, no late blight found close by – let’s hope it misses us this season!

The dark green melons should have a red flesh and are said to be seed-less. Seedless melons will have small white seeds that are edible and from time to time they will have regular black seeds like a traditional watermelon. The striped skin melons have a yellow flesh, and you should have one or the other. Some of this season’s melons may have a little hollow spot in the middle – we see this more in rainy years.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Braised Celery with Vermouth-Butter Glaze
Recipe from Perfect Vegetables, a best recipe classic authored by editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

½ C dry vermouth
3 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp celery seeds
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 head celery, leaves trimmed and reserved; stalks separated, rinsed, and outer fibers removed with a vegetable peeler; each stalk halved lengthwise and cut on the bias into 2 inch lengths
2 T minced celery leaves
2 T minced fresh parsley leaves (optional)

Bring 1 C water, the vermouth, butter, salt, celery seeds, pepper, and celery to a boil in a medium sauté pan. The liquid should come about three quarters of the way up the celery pieces. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer, stirring several times, until the celery is tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and stir in the celery leaves. Continue to simmer until the broth reduces to a light glaze, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, if using, adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Stuffed Peppers
Recipe from From Asparagus to Zucchini, makes 8-9 peppers; double, halve or quarter ingredients depending on how many or few peppers you want to stuff

Your favorite oil for sautéing
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, chopped
3 C raw brown rice6 C water, chicken or vegetable stock (or tomato juice½ tsp allspice
½ C almonds, chopped
1 C chopped tomatoes
¾ pound cheese, cheddar (or your favorite), grated
salt and pepper
8-9 large peppers, tops cut off, seeds removed

Heat oil in large skillet, add and sauté garlic and onions. Add rice and brown about 5 minutes. Add desired liquid and allspice. Cover and cook until rice id done, about 40 minutes. Toast almonds in dry skillet or hot oven several minutes, tossing often. Stir in tomatoes, cheese, almonds, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook peppers in boiling water 2 minutes. Drain and stuff peppers with rice mixture. (Can be frozen at this stage). Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Fresh Herb Vinaigrette
Adapted from a Sally Fallon recipe. Use this all-purpose vinaigrette as a salad dressing for lettuces, bean salads, potato salads, or as a marinade for grilled vegetables.

1 tsp Dijon-type mustard
½ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 T + 1 tsp red wine vinegar
½ C olive oil
½ tsp fresh thyme
½ tsp fresh rosemary
½ tsp fresh sage
1 tsp fresh parsley or basil or celery leaf

Chop all herbs until fine, either by hand or in food processor. In smallish bowl, whisk together mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Pour in oil and whisk until combined. Add chopped herbs, makes about ¾ cup. Store in a jar or bottle in refrigerator up to 2 weeks, bring to room temperature to allow oil to reblend, and shake when ready to use.