Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CSA Week 16

Thinking About Fall?

A few years ago, several CSA members asked Elmwood Stock Farm to consider offering a fall and winter CSA program. After discussion and evaluation of several factors including field rotation schedules for summer crops, expenses of production in winter months, and our own experiences in growing crops during fall and winter, we arrived at the decision to offer a Fall Season CSA. We do not expect all members to be interested in fall crops. But, for those folks who want to continue eating locally grown, healthy and nutritious vegetables, we are pleased to offer a seasonal eating option.

We grow items outside in our regular crop fields and in the ground inside the unheated high tunnel, and we have items in our cooler grown for storage into winter. With cold weather and much shorter day lengths, each vegetable will be slower to grow and cannot be harvested as often as we do in the summer. We offer one size share for the fall season that contains at least seven up to a dozen different types of vegetables – enough for two weeks of eating including some items to store for later in the winter. Items could be lettuce, cooking greens, crops like broccoli or cabbage, potatoes, winter squash, and other items such as root crops, herbs, or specialty greens. If we have a late freeze this fall, some warm weather summer vegetables will also be in the early shares.

During the Fall Season, we offer distribution in Lexington on Thursday afternoon or Saturday morning and at the farm on Friday afternoon, every two weeks, a total of five pickups over 10 weeks. The first pickup this fall is October 20-22. Visit the CSA page of our website to review a signup form – though it indicates the price good through August 1 ($275), shares are still available now in late August at that price – just print out and send in to the farm. Meat shares and Egg shares can also be added.

Which brings us to another fall food event, the Thanksgiving meal. One of the Fall CSA distributions is the weekend prior to Thanksgiving so you will be well stocked for your holiday cooking. The last outdoor farmers market is the Saturday before the holiday with seasonal veggies, eggs for your baking or puddings, and organic meats. It is also known as Turkey Pickup Day. We raise Heritage Breed Certified Organic Turkeys outdoors, and make them available for the holiday season. We’ll write more next week with details on breeds, sizes, pricing and how to pre-order.

In the meantime, pop any extra veggies in your freezer for later this fall or winter. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the fresh flavor on a dreary December day, and proud of yourself for the extra effort now.

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

Fresh Berries – organic

Savoy Cabbage – organic

Sweet Corn-organic


Garlic – organic


Bell Pepper-organic

Stripetti Squash

Tomatoes – organic


Watermelon Radish – organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Our recipes this week are created by culinary experts who live and cook right here in the Bluegrass area. You can enjoy a little local flavor by reading more online, as most have a website with much to offer!

Tiny Tomato and Orzo Salad
Local celebrity chef, Brigitte Nguyen, appears regularly on television with Wellness Cooking to inspire and teach healthier eating. Her blog, Counting the Beans and Cooking the Books, includes lots of recipes, a simple tomato salad. Visit brigittenguyen dot com.

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 tbsp olive oil, plus additional if desired
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup red grape tomatoes
1 cup yellow pear tomatoes
½ cup or 5 oz fresh mozzarella, diced (or purchase the small pearls)
¼ cup chopped or chiffonade basil

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook orzo to your desired doneness, 8-10 minutes for al dente. Drain in a colander and immediately transfer to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil while still warm and season with salt and pepper.
Any time you’re dressing a pasta salad, do so while the pasta is still warm, which will allow it to soak up the most flavor. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, cut grape and pear tomatoes in half or quarters, depending on size. Toss tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil with the cooled orzo, adding extra olive oil if desired. Season heavily with salt and pepper and serve.

Spicy Thai Vegetable Slaw
This is a farm favorite recipe created by Vanessa Oliver. To get more of Vanessa’s culinary talents, you either have to signup for a cooking class at The Wholesome Chef dot come, or stop by Elmwood’s booth at the Saturday morning farmers market in downtown Lexington and visit with her.

1 head Savoy cabbage
4 medium radishes
1 cucumber
1 jalapeno
2 T spicy sesame oil
4 T cider vinegar
1 T honey
3 T smooth peanut butter
½ tsp chili paste
2 tsp grated ginger zest
juice from one lime
handful of peanuts

Cut the cabbage into shreds, cut the rest of the veggies intro strips. In a large bowl, mix dressing ingredients without the peanuts. Add the vegetables and peanuts, and let sit for about a half hour. Good cold or at room temperature. You can control the spiciness of this slaw by using just regular sesame oil, not adding the jalapeno and putting in a regular bell pepper instead, not adding chili paste. It’s a very flexible recipe, so experiment.

Probably Almost Mother’s Homemade Ketchup
Continuing our salute to local blogger friends and CSA members, we suggest you visit Savoring Kentucky dot com where there is way more information about using your tomatoes, onions, and peppers to make homemade ketchup. She has links to other recipes you may want to review, step-by-step photos of the process, tips on handy gadgets to make the process easy, and lots more!

Please note that this recipe has quite a few steps, none of them hard, but still – there are steps and processes. It may help to read all the way through before launching in.

In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot, begin simmering:
8 quarts fresh tomato juice

Note the level of the juice as you begin. Simmer until reduced by half.including this one for As the tomato juice reduces, in a non-reactive heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium-low heat, add a little bit of neutral oil (grapeseed, for example). Sauté these ingredients until soft:
2 small onions, chopped
1/2 of a sweet pepper, chopped

Add to the following ingredients to the onion-pepper mixture, and cook gently until reduced by half:
2 Tablespoons pickling spice
1 Tablespoon whole celery seed
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups vinegar (I used cider vinegar; distilled may work, too)
When both the tomato juice and the cider-spice-onion mixture are reduced by half, set a colander over a large bowl, and line the colander with heavy cheesecloth or a very clean piece of old tee shirt or other soft fabric, about 10 inches square. Gather up the spices inside the cloth, and tie the corner together to make a packet. Note the level of the reduced tomato juice in its stock pot, and add both the cider and the spice packet to the reduced tomato juice. Continue simmering until the combined mixture reduced to the level noted — the level of half the tomato juice.
Now add sugar to taste. You add the sugar last, according to the recipe, “to prevent scorching and ruining your day’s work.” If the tomatoes are highly acid, you may want the higher amounts of sugar. For regular acid-y garden tomatoes, this recipe suggest the following:
1 pound brown sugar (2 cups, more or less)
Up to 2 cups white sugar

Cook again until well integrated and as thick as you want. Homemade ketchup will be like a thin sauce, not a thick paste. Keep tasting and adjusting, particularly checking for salt, until the ketchup tastes just as you want. Remember that cold foods, as your ketchup will be when you use it, need a touch more sweetness than you think when you are tasting them warm.
This amount of juice and add-ins will make about 7 pints of ketchup.

Berry Reduction for Favorite Berry Ice Cream
This recipe is borrowed from the blog of one of our favorite local pastry chefs. Enjoy her writing, recipes and learn where to go when you want to skip the work and just enjoy her tasty creations visit Bravetart dot com.

To make the creamiest fruit ice cream, don’t use raw fruit. Fresh fruit contains a good deal of water, which will freeze into icy crystals. By using a homemade berry reduction, that water is gently removed, leaving behind a concentrated fresh-berry flavor. This means no pesky ice crystals in the ice cream.

18 oz blueberries, blackberries, raspberries (frozen work well too)
8 ½ ounces sugar
the zest of 1 lemon or 1 small orange (optional)
a few drops of orange or rose flower water (also optional)
¼ tsp salt

Blitz the berries and sugar together in the bowl of a food processor, or do it by hand by smashing them together with a fork/potato masher. Cover and macerate for one hour. After the hour has passed, place the berries and juice in a medium sauce pot and turn the heat to medium low. When the mixture begins to bubble, turn the heat down to low. Maintain the barest simmer, you should only see very occasional bubbles. Simmer until the mixture reduces by about half. Reducing the mixture on low heat helps preserve the fresh berry taste. When the liquid has sufficiently reduced, whisk in the citrus zest, flower water, and salt. Store refrigerated for about a week, or freeze indefinitely.