Monday, September 6, 2010

Week 18, CSA

From the Farm . . .

Your summer CSA season runs for 22 weeks. After this box, you have four more weeks with your last distribution the week of October 4th. If you are interested in our Fall/Winter CSA season, we have a few shares available and can send you the signup details by email. During the Fall CSA (October, November, and December) we harvest and distribute every-other-week, 5 times over 10 weeks.

Please just contact the farm for more information as we will not be posting our fall season signup online. If you already signed up for fall along with your summer share, we will be contacting you soon to verify pickup location options.

Another option to continue with fall vegetables is to visit us at the Lexington Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

We are set up outdoors in Cheapside Park through Thanksgiving, then move inside Victorian Square Shoppes on Saturday mornings during the winter. Though our Fall CSA shares will get the first items harvested, whenever we have plenty of product, we will take the extra to the market along with our eggs, beef, and poultry (both chicken and turkey).

Our Heritage breed and broad-breasted breed Certified Organic turkeys are sizing up nicely. Elmwood is one of just a few farms in the US that grow heritage breed turkeys that are also Certified Organic, making these holiday turkeys a very special item. We keep the breeding stock hens and toms here year-round and hatch out our own heritage breed poults from the eggs the hens lay.

Some of the heritage breeds we raise: Bourbon Red (named for Bourbon County, KY and first recognized in 1909), Slate, Royal Palm, and Narragansett are recognized by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) as breeds in danger of extinction.
As ALBC describes, “These breeds are threatened because agriculture has changed. Modern food production now favors the use of a few highly specialized breeds selected for maximum output in a controlled environment. Many traditional livestock breeds have lost popularity and are threatened with extinction.” Of the four breeds we have at Elmwood, two have moved from the “critical” list to either “threatened” or “watch” during the past six years.
As most farms cannot afford the costs and upkeep of keeping heritage breed animals without a supporting source of income to offset the expenses, Slow Food USA is helping to spread the word and promote heritage breed products as a food source. By creating demand for heritage foods, then farms can work to produce and maintain heritage breeds. Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste is described as a “catalogue of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction. By promoting and eating Ark products, we help ensure they remain in production and on our plates.”

We do take pre-orders for Elmwood turkeys either in person or though email. They are processed at KY’s small USDA inspected facility outside Bowling Green and will be ready for pickup the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. Just contact the farm (best by email) and we’ll share more details with you on expected available sizes, the differences in taste and appearance dependent on heritage or broad-breasted breeds, and pricing.

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

Acorn Squash

Stringless Green Beans - organic

Sweet Corn
This planting of sweet corn offers very few ears to harvest – and it is the last planting for the season. High temperatures during pollination and extremely dry growing conditions have resulted in less than desirable ears. But we did make the decision to include some in your shares rather than just let it all go to the birds. You may want to cut from the cob rather than eat roasting ears – it will sweeten when pan fried – or pop into a freezer bag to enjoy this winter.

Okra - organic
Red Onion and Yellow Onion – organic

Sweet Potatoes – organic
This first harvest includes all sizes of potatoes as we dug out one row and distributed them directly into your share boxes. Later on this month, when the vines begin to die back, we’ll dig the entire crop, cure them for several days to harden the skin, and then store for use later on. One of the most nutritious veggies, fresh sweet potatoes are very delicate with tender skins – they develop more sweetness over time, so the longer you keep them, the sweeter they will be. Do not refrigerate, just store at room temperature.

Tomatoes, Heirloom Salad – organic

Swiss Chard – organic

Garlic – organic

Raspberries - organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .
Okra Fritters
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this new recipe. She also brought a sample for us straight from her kitchen, still warm – YUMMY!

2 C vegetable oil
½ C all-purpose flour
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 C okra, coarsely chopped (can use frozen, sliced)
½ C yellow onion, diced (about ½ small onion)
1 large egg
¼ C butter

In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil over medium. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add okra and onion and toss to coat. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk. Add to okra mixture and stir just until combined. In two batches, drop batter in 2 tablespoonful mounds into oil. With a small spatula or butter knife, gently flatten each mound and fry until golden, about 4 minutes per side, flipping once (adjust heat if browning too quickly). Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and serve warm. Makes about 10.

Sweet Potato Quesadillas
from Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert’s Simply In Season. You have several ingredients in your share this week and the amounts can adjust depending on how many quesadillas you want to make.

1 ½ C onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1½ tsp each dried basil, marjoram, chili powder
1½ tsp ground cumin (optional)
pinch of ground red pepper to taste
4 C sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
8 tortillas
1 C sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Sauté onion and garlic in large fry pan in 1 T oil until translucent. Add herbs and spices and cook another minute. Add sweet potatoes and heat through, frequently stirring to prevent sticking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread about ½ C filling and 2 T cheese on half of each tortilla, leaving a ½ inch border on the sides. Fold tortilla in half and place on oiled baking sheets. Brush tops with oil and bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees until brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Variation: Use shredded raw sweet potatoes, sautéing with onions and garlic in fry pan until soft.

Thai-Spiced Acorn Squash Soup
Adapted from cookbooks 101 website. Serves 6.

2 acorn squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon (or more) red Thai curry paste
water or stock (amount to your preference)
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt (or to taste)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven racks in the middle.

Carefully cut each squash into halves and remove any seeds. Slather each piece of squash with butter, sprinkle generously with salt, place on a baking sheet skin sides down, and place in the oven. Roast for about an hour or until the squash is tender throughout.

When the squash are cool enough to handle, scoop it into a large pot over medium high heat. Add the coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender, you should have a very thick base at this point. Now add water a cup at a time pureeing between additions until the soup is the consistency you prefer - a light vegetable stock would work here as well. Bring up to a simmer again and add the salt. (Add more curry paste if you like, but keep in mind that different Thai curry pastes have differing strengths. Start with a teaspoon to start and then build from there until the soup has a level of spiciness and flavor that works for your palette.)