Monday, September 12, 2011

CSA News, Week 19

What Is a Normal

Growing Season?

Did you notice the big change in the weather this past week? The plants sure did! Remembering the extended cool wet April and May that led to a hot and wet (for us) June, July, August, and now an abrupt cool wet Labor Day week, we know there is a dramatic effect on the plants that supply your food.

Every year it is “something” as is to be expected when growing over 60 kinds of vegetables each year (over 200 different varieties). Each has its own internal clock and growth habit. Often different varieties of the same crop behave differently to the same environmental condition. So, we have our target dates to plant and the subsequent predicted harvest dates. As you are probably are aware by now, this year’s big swings in weather has altered the plan.

Your boxes were a little light early in the season simply because we could not get into the fields to plant due to the rain and mud. Once we were able to work the ground the “early stuff” went out the same time as the “mid season stuff.” We packed the shares more fully because it all came ready together and we wanted to make sure you shared in the doubled-up harvesting.

Then the hot temperatures told the plants to grow like crazy. That caused the tomatoes to flush their growth and the fruits to ripen at the same time, rather than the normal first fruit first, and later fruit set later. Some cooler natured plants just bolted into flower, never fruiting, because they were so unhappy they just wanted it all to be over.

Now, the welcome cooler weather has settled in rather suddenly telling the same summer plants that their season is over. The cool season crops for fall are planted and should do well; depending on how much sun they see this month. So, hopefully you put some of those greens or tomatoes in the freezer to enjoy this winter. The boxes always look different each week, as it is the plants’ way of showing you that it is in fact “always something.”

We appreciate your interest in eating seasonally, and going with the flow as we all work through this particular growing season. Sometimes even we still wonder, what is an average growing season?

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

Swiss Chard – organic


Popcorn – organic
Find a deep yellow colored ear of popcorn, ready to shell off the cob and pop up for a family treat. Store at room temperature or in your pantry – the more dry your popcorn, the easier it will PoP! To prepare freshly grown corn, heat the oil in a covered pan at medium high. Then carefully add a few corn kernels to the oil, using care to not splash oil, and top with the lid. Listen for the kernels to begin popping. After a couple of minutes, shake the pan slightly across the burner to prevent any kernels from burning. When the popping stops, remove and enjoy.

Potatoes – organic

Raspberries - organic

Fresh Sage – organic

Stripetti Squash
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use, as this item will keep for you for weeks with no need to refrigerate. Boil whole; or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water until done; remove seeds. Fleck out strands with a fork. Not sure how to flavor or season? Try using your faavorite pasta recipe and substitute the stripetti squash for the angel hair or spaghetti or linguine. It has lower calories than pasta, and is a super-veggie for those who watch their gluten intake.

Tomato – organic

Garlic – organic

Leeks – organic

Pepper –organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Asian Chicken Salad Wraps
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this favorite recipe. She substituted Swiss chard for the greens! She mentioned that this recipe is heavenly, but also a little labor intensive.

1 T Soy Sauce
3 T Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 T Honey
1 scant T sesame oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don't like spicy)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ C cooked chicken, chopped
3 C torn romaine
1 C torn spinach
2 green onions, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
2 Roma tomato, chopped
½ C red pepper, chopped
2 T cilantro, minced
6-8 tortillas

Combine dressing ingredients. Combine chopped chicken and rest of ingredients. Toss with dressing. Warm tortillas in sauté pan, spoon filling into tortilla. Serve immediately

Recipe from Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert’s Simply in Season

3-4 T butter
4 C potatoes, shredded
½ tsp salt or more to taste
1-1½ C Colby or cheddar cheese

Melt butter in large frypan. Sauté potatoes with salt until cooked and slightly browned, stirring occasionally. Press potatoes into pan, allow to cook another minute, then flip and fry the other side. While bottom gets crisp, top with cheese. When melted, cut into wedges and serve. Serves 4.