Monday, August 23, 2010

Week 16, CSA News

From the Farm . . .

It has come to our attention that we would be remiss to not give you a report on the current growing conditions at Elmwood. With such scattered pop-up showers and storms over the past month, we realize that many of you may not know of the exceptional dryness we have been experiencing at the farm along with the high temperatures. From speaking each week with other farmers at the farmers market, we are surprised to learn of some areas of the region (and even our own county) not lacking in rain-fall and in fact, hoping that they don’t get anymore rain soon.

Unfortunately, we received only six-tenths of an inch when others got inches during the past 2 weeks, and this past Saturday morning when it rained on our market booth 3 times, the farm received only one brief shower-just enough to dampen the dust.

Some of your crops are irrigated from the day they are transplanted with a drip irrigation system that utilizes less water by trickling it directly to the plants’ roots underneath mulch that prevents the water from evaporating.

Other crops like potatoes, beets, radishes, and corn are being irrigated with our overhead traveling circular water gun – it is more mobile and less permanent that the drip under mulch system – and it can water crops that are planted in dirt as it moves down the rows next to the crop, but it uses more water – so we have it available to use if needed like now, but some years won’t need to, like last season.

Unlike recent dry years (2007 and 2008), this season’s super high temperatures create undue stress on plants as they try to pull more water through their roots to stay cool. Just like people, the plants will feel the high temperatures and begin to “wilt.” In fact, one problem for many growers across the area is the lack of fruit set on vegetable crops. When it is extremely hot, a plant will either drop its blooms, or not even produce blooms that eventually grow into tomatoes or peppers or pumpkins.

Another concern with high temperatures is the inability to get fall season crop seeds to germinate.

A news report came out this week announcing that the six time winner (and 2-time defending champion) of the largest pumpkin at the Kentucky State Fair would not be able to compete this year. With a goal of besting his 929 ½ pound Grand Prize Champion pumpkin of last year, Frank Mudd’s entry for this year finally succumbed to the high heat and died on the vine at only 430 pounds.

The ideal temperature for growing pumpkins is 85°, but watermelons actually prefer closer to 90 degrees. Frank luckily also had a watermelon vine planted, and took home the KY State Fair grand winner blue ribbon with a 224 ¼ pound watermelon.

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

Acorn Squash
One of the most popular hard squashes, the acorn stores very well for you – no need to refrigerate.

It is not our plan to give you eggplant three weeks in a row any year of the CSA program. Well, why then this year, you ask? This is one of those times you get to “share in the bounty” as we have an abundance of eggplant and your next round of yellow squash and zucchini is just ready to bloom and not quite ready yet. Also, many of you really enjoy eating it at least once weekly. Our farm chef, Sarah, shares her secret special eggplant recipe (that the farm crew happily eats as a sandwich spread because they don’t realize it is eggplant). You might want to try it.

Lacinato / Dinosaur Kale Greens – organic

Red and Yellow Cipollini Onions – organic
These pungent, deliciously sweet onions should be the stars of a meal. A favorite of chefs every-where, these flat onions will store a little while for you if you need them to. Find a recipe below, or sauté with fresh herbs and 2-3 T butter on low heat for 20 minutes or so until they begin to brown and caramelize.

Raspberries – organic

Tomatoes, Heirloom Salad – organic

Cabbage – organic

Garlic – organic

Okra – organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Sarah’s Special Eggplant Dip

2 eggplant
juice of 2 lemons, squeezed
¾ C Italian breadcrumbs
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ C feta cheese
handful pecan pieces
2 T minced parsley

Pierce holes in eggplant and broil whole for 1 hour.

When smashed down and done, remove from oven and let cool. Scoop pulp out into bowl.

Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Add enough breadcrumbs to soak up some of the moisture, depending on how liquidy you want your final product.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve with favorite bread, pita chips, or crackers. Store refrigerated.

They Won't Know Raspberry Coffee Cake
Our thanks to a CSA member who shared this recipe she likes from the website She describes it as SUPER delicious and easy – it gets great reviews and 5 stars! And, they won't know it is low fat . . .

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened raspberry (fresh or frozen, if using frozen do not thaw)
1 tablespoon sliced almonds

1/4 cup
confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon nonfat milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine the flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Combine the egg, yogurt, butter, and vanilla: add to dry ingredients just until moistened.

Spoon two-thirds of the batter into an 8-in round baking pan (a pie or cake pan work great for this) coated with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine the brown sugar and raspberries; sprinkle over batter.

Spoon the remaining batter over the top.

Sprinkle with almonds.

Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched and is golden brown.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients and drizzle over coffee cake.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cipollini with Bay Leaf and Golden Raisins
recipe serves 4, from July 2008 issue of Gourmet, can be adapted for other favorite fresh herbs

¼ C golden raisins
1 T sugar
1 T unsalted butter
¾ lb cipollini onions, peeled
1/3 C dry white wine
½ fresh or dried bay leaf

Soak raisins in hot water until ready to use. Cut out a 10 inch round of parchment paper. Heat sugar in center of 10 inch skillet over medium heat until it starts to melt. Cook, tilting skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until golden brown. Stir in butter, then add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add wine, bay leaf, ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper, and drained raisins. Reduce heat to low, cover with parchment and lid. Gently simmer, shaking skillet occasionally, until onions are tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove lid and parchment, then simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Serve warm or at room temperature.