Monday, May 24, 2010

CSA, Week 3

From the Farm . . .

Although it is really early in the season, this is one of the busiest times at the farm. We are still planting regularly, harvesting something almost everyday, and trying to squeeze in some weeding whenever possible. From week to week, vegetables that are ready for harvest will vary, thus our schedule of harvesting, rinsing, cooling, and packing your boxes some days gets pretty tight. As you might imagine, harvesting a pound of asparagus or snap peas will take quite a bit longer than cutting one head of lettuce. Our approach is to pack your boxes with items that are as freshly harvested as possible. We know vegetables have the most nutrition when just picked, taste better, and you know that your vegetables are days fresher than anything you might purchase at a supermarket. This knowledge allows you to organize your weekly cooking schedule in a way that best suits you.

We have been transplanting peppers, tomatoes, okra, squash, cucumbers, melons, eggplant, flowers, and winter squash. We have also been seeding beans and corn. The hot temperatures this week lead us to think that we have had our final frost this spring. Our current work plan includes laying out irrigation lines and hooking up header pipes; pruning the early tomatoes; mulching the perennial herb beds and berries; more transplanting; and, the daily harvesting and weeding. From the production side, we love the CSA program as it lets us know how much of each item to grow rather than speculating on wholesale market supply/demand. But, we also like growing for real families that want and appreciate healthy, wholesome, organic food! Enjoy your share this week.

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


Kohlrabi - organic
The round, ball-like item is your kohlrabi. This alien-looking vegetable grows best in cooler weather and is in the same family as broccoli. It has a lot of fiber and is high in Vits. A and C. You do want to peel the outer tough skin, then enjoy either raw or cook. Kids like the raw, sweet kohlrabi sticks – but you can also add to fresh green salads.

At the farm, we sauté in a little butter or olive oil, then eat as a side dish topped with black pepper or other seasonings. Kohlrabi has an unexpected sweetness that you really have to try to appreciate! It has a short season and is only available in KY in the spring and fall. Refrigerate to store and kohlrabi will keep well for two weeks.

Lettuce Heads - organic
Recent rains push the lettuces growing faster than ever. Enjoy fresh salads all week – review last week’s newsletter for storage and refreshening tips. Varieties this week include Bronze Arrow and Emerald Oak – both oakleaf types, along with a fluffy red romaine in the larger shares.

Sugar Snap Peas – organic
The first spring peas are ready! With sugar snaps, eat the entire pod. Enjoy 1) raw, 2) lightly blanch then plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking and add to salads, 3) steam and add a little butter or other seasoning, or 4) use in a quick stir-fry – they don’t take very long at all.

Fresh peas are high in Vits. A and B-complex and a good source of calcium and potassium.

Store refrigerated in a closed container and use fairly soon as they will lose crispness over time. Sugar snap peas can be frozen after blanching.

Easter Egg Radishes - organic
Add these Easter Egg radishes to your fresh salad. Though the skin resembles the colors of Easter eggs, the interior is the familiar crisp white. Rainfall has sped up their growth this past weekend! Store refrigerated.

Spinach – organic
This week’s spinach harvest is from a new spring-planted variety. Enjoy with lettuce as a fresh salad, or lightly sauté to eat in sandwiches, wraps, pasta salads, or use with soft cheese and eggs on toast. Store refrigerated in the bag or other container.

Strawberries – organic
We harvest as ripe as we can to ensure you get full flavor. Enjoy as soon as possible – store refrigerated if needed.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash
Thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe she found on the Smitten Kitchen internet site. She used Elmwood green garlic in place of onions, and used regular bacon rather than pancetta with wonderful results!

This is indeed a flexible recipe. The core idea is a one-pan hash that is lighter than the expected versions and full of texture. You don’t even need to put an egg on it, if you’re serving broiled salmon or grilled chicken. Serving ideas: Fried eggs, dabs of goat cheese and slivers of green onions. Makes enough to top with four fried eggs

¼ lb pancetta (a cured pork that is less salty than proscuitto, and not smoked like bacon), cut into ¼ -inch dice
1 lb gold potatoes, peeled and cut into a ½ -inch dice
1 small yellow onion, chopped small
½ lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a 12-inch cast iron frying pan over medium heat. Fry the pancetta, turning it frequently so that it browns and crisps on all sides; this takes about 10 minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon and drain it on paper towels. Leave the heat on and the renderings in the pan. (With a well-seasoned cast iron, this should be all the fat you need to cook the remainder of the hash. If you’re not using a cast iron, you might need to add a tablespoon or so of oil; if you’ve skipped the pork, you’ll want to start with 2 tablespoons oil.)

Add the potatoes don’t move them for a couple minutes. Use this time to season them well with salt and pepper. Once they’ve gotten a little brown underneath, begin flipping and turning them, then letting them cook again for a few minutes. The idea is not to fight them off the frying pan, once they’ve gotten a little color, it’s easier to flip them and you’ve gotten closer to your goal of getting them evenly browned.

When the potatoes are about three-fourths as crisped and brown as you’d like them — this takes about 15 minutes — add the onion (add this now, not earlier, because it often burns before the potatoes are done.) Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, cover the pan and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until crisply cooked. (Skinny asparagus will take just 5 minutes; thicker asparagus will take longer.) Remove the lid, return the pancetta to the pan for another minute, to reheat. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve immediately.

Green Surprise Dip
from Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert’s Simply In Season, yields about 2 ½ Cups. This is a fun way to get kids (or reluctant adults) to eat their healthy greens.

1 C steamed kale, Swiss chard, or spinach
1 C plain yogurt
1 C cooked chickpeas
¼ C mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic
½ onion, chopped
1 T lemon juice or to taste
½ tsp salt or to taste

Puree in blender or food processor. Serve with vegetables, crackers, or tortilla chips.

Wilted Peas and Lettuce
adapted from a Bert Greene recipe. The original was from Thomas Jefferson as penned by his daughter, Martha, in the kitchen notebook at Monticello.

1 C chicken or vegetable stock
1 lb fresh peas, sugar snap or fresh shelled
1 C heavy cream
1 C torn lettuce leaves
2 T finely chopped favorite fresh herbs – can use garlic greens, green onion tops, scallions, etc.
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the stock to boiling in a medium saucepan. Add peas and cook 1 minute, then drain (will not use the stock, can be reserved for another recipe).

Heat the cream to just boiling in a medium skillet, reduce the heat. Simmer until the cream has reduced to half, about 12 minutes. Stir in the peas and lettuce. Toss until the lettuce is just wilted, about 3 minutes. Add any fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.