Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 17, CSA News

Certified Organic . . . The Best of the Best

We try to be clear in our newsletter each week of what is organic, and the few items that are not. Though we grow 5 vegetables that do not yet meet the criteria for certification, we do employ lots of the same earth friendly techniques. Let’s look at what we must do and who determines if we fulfill our obligations to achieve organic certification and use the word “organic” in referencing products.

Each year we submit our farm plan to Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) which is accredited to administer the USDA Organic Certification production and labeling program. OEFFA staff evaluates our plan to verify we document the purchases of inputs that will not contaminate our fields or products, maintain and enhance the environment and farm ecosystems, and harvest and deliver items to you with assuredness they meet standards. An inspector is sent at least once a year to visually inspect the farm, look at records, and document we are following the plan submitted.

The farm plan is based upon “The Rule.” The rule is a comprehensive Federal regulation agreed upon in the mid 1990’s and fully implemented in 2002. The rule addresses everything from GMO exclusions, environmental stewardship, animal welfare, food processing, packaging, and labeling. The volume of record keeping, auditable activity logs, and worker training is a tremendous burden, especially since we produce such a wide variety of crops and livestock. But we feel that the benchmark of organic certification is worth the hours of time and extra effort.

Mac administers the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture Organic Certification Program for KY farmers, which is why we use an out-of-state agency to prevent any conflict of interest. Earlier this year, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Mac to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a 15-member board that oversees “The Rule” and makes recom-mendations to the Secretary and the administrative branch of the USDA National Organic Program. This board deals with international compatibility issues, new products being requested to be allowed, and general guidelines that give the 53 accreditation agencies (like OEFFA and KDA) the tools they need to effectively monitor the operations they certify as organic. Members of the board range from chemists to food manufacturing professionals, consumer advocates, livestock and crop professionals and certified organic farmers.

So rest assured when you see the logo, there is a tremendous degree of scrutiny from thoughtful caring individuals that you are consuming the best of the best!

In Your Share
Items in shares may vary depending on share size and harevst day. Each share may not contain every items listed below.

Sweet Basil–organic
This week find a little fresh basil to use in your favorite dishes, not enough to make pesto for the freezer. Basil can be stored in your refrigerator as long as there is an extra cushion of air to protect from below 40°. Keep in the bag and put into another container. If the leaves do dry, remove from the stems and use as dried basil all year long.

Swiss Chard–organic


Edamame – organic

Leeks - organic

We have enough of the small French cantaloupe type melons today for all shares. They are picked ripe and have a thin skin, so go ahead and cut up into a container for your refrigerator now. We like the size, taste, & growth habits of this variety, so probably will grow again next season. As you know we continue to try out melons looking for non-GMO varieties that grow well for us in Kentucky.



Tomatoes – organic
We have at least 4 different recipes for Tomato Pie on our web blog (also a Chard Pie recipe), just enter Pie in the search spot at the top of the screen. Scroll down. You can enjoy these like quiche, served hot or cold, for dinner or breakfast, or pack for your lunch!

Garlic – organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

African Pineapple Peanut Stew
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe she adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.

1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T vegetable or olive oil
1 bunch chard
2 cups undrained canned crushed pineapple
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 T Tabasco or hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
chopped salt

Sauté onions and garlic in a saucepan in oil for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Slice greens into 1-inch thick slices. Add pineapple and its juice to onions and bring to a simmer. Stir in greens and simmer for 5 more minutes. Mix in peanut butter, Tabasco, cilantro and salt and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over couscous.

Tomato and Bread Salad

¼ lb Italian bread, torn into chunks (4 cups)
¼ cup olive oil
½ small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large tomatoes (1 ½ lbs), diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves

1. Toast bread on baking sheet in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes.
2. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Cool onion and garlic over medium-high heat, 2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, then stir in tomatoes, vinegar, slat, and pepper.
4. Place bread in large bowl and toss with tomato mixture, cucumber, and basil.

Steamed Leeks with Ginger Sauce
Recipe from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated who researched and tested all the best recipes for leeks prior to recommending this one.

3 to 4 small to medium leeks
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 T soy sauce
1 T sugar

1. Trim the leeks about 2 inches beyond the point where the leaves start to darken. Trim the root end, keeping the base intact. (Did you know that the root ends can be dropped into oil and pan-fried similar to tiny French fries or okra? Very trendy these days.) Slit each leek lengthwise upward through the leaves, leaving the base intact. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of dirt.

2. Fill a large pot with enough water to come to a depth of 1 inch. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Arrange the leeks in a single layer in a steamer basket. When the water comes to a boil, carefully place the steamer basket with the leeks into the pot. Cover and steam until the leeks are tender and the tip of a knife inserted into the thickest part of a leek meets no resistance, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. While the leeks are steaming, whisk the ginger, soy sauce, and sugar together in a small bowl.

4. Place the leeks on a serving platter, drizzle the ginger sauce over the leeks, and serve hot or warm.

Cool Cucumber Spaghetti,
a Bert Greene recipe, serves 4

4 cucumbers, each about 7 inches long
½ C plus 1 T red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 large shallot, minced
2 T water
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 T chopped fresh dill

Peel the cucumbers, then scrape the flesh with a vegetable zester lengthwise to form long spaghetti-like strands. Place the strands in a colander; sprinkle them with 1 T vinegar, the salt, and ½ tsp sugar. Let stand 30 minutes.

Shake the colander to remove any excess liquid. Do not squeeze the cucumber strands. Transfer them to a bowl and add the shallot.

Combine the remaining 1/3 C vinegar, 1 ½ tsp sugar, and the water.

Pour the dressing over the cucumbers; add the pepper and 2 T dill. Toss lightly with two forks. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 T dill.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Recipe from Sunny Season Flavors, serves 6

6 vine-ripened tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 T brown sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 T torn basil leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Halve the tomatoes horizontally and place, skin-side down, on the prepared tray. Add a piece of garlic to each half, sprinkle with the sugar and drizzle the vinegar and oil over the top. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 1 hour or until softened and lightly charred. Set aside to cool. Serve tomatoes at room temperature garnished with the torn basil.

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.

Monday, August 15, 2011

CSA Newsletter, Week 15

Communing with Mother Nature

Our relationship with Mother Nature is the compelling motivation to care for this land and produce food for you. In past weeks, we have briefly described the intricacies of soil microbes, fungi, and minerals. We have briefly discussed the fascinating diversity of the insect world, and the wildlife that call the farm home. We have portrayed the frustration of relentless rain and the death of drought. Planning and preparing for the range of environmental conditions Mother Nature may send our way is the job of farming. Manipulating the ecosystem to efficiently harvest healthy food is the work of farming. Being in a position to see, feel, touch, smell and taste the bounty is the joy of farming.

This past Saturday Mother Nature came calling. She unleashed a torrential storm so violent that it laid over two 150-year-old trees, dozens of younger trees, and twisted limbs and branches off of countless others. Crops that stood tall and proud, now are bent or broken, lying on the ground. Some are resilient and will continue growing and producing, others compromised enough to be economically considered a total loss. Shorter plants like sweet potatoes are just disturbed for a few days, other taller plants like sweet corn, peppers, and tomatoes are blown over or the leaves stripped off that will cause sunburn on any existing fruit. Some of these we will just have to wait and see if they can bounce back as it is too late in the season to replant. One of the greenhouses suffered damage and electrical power was knocked out to the entire farm for about 30 hours.

The cattle and sheep, laying hens and broiler chickens are a little wind-blown, but happy to have cooler temperatures the weather front brought in. The turkey trailer flipped over and the young turkeys freaked out, but we found them safe and sound huddled together in the corner of the field. Several fences are down from fallen trees, but are shored up temporarily until we have more time to properly repair. Several electric fences are already running off battery systems, so the loss of power did not affect those areas helping to keep livestock safely where we want them.

In spite of the adjustment to our workload and schedule, the livestock are secure and thriving. Most of the crops will weather the storm and your boxes will show the stamina of the plants.

Last Thursday and Friday nights we saw one of the brightest fullest moons in awhile; it was so large and orange just before dawn on Friday it could have been mistaken for the rising sun. Just a day later, Mother Nature spoke loudly in a different voice reminding us to pay attention to her more subtle message of providing our nourishment while enjoying the beauty of her artistry.

In Your Share

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

Fresh Berries – organic

Sweet Corn-organic


Edamame – organic
These fresh soybeans are podding up and ready to eat! Do not use the shell beans raw. Rinse the pods and put into boiling, salted water. Cook 5-8 minutes. After draining water, you may salt or season as desired. Pop beans out of the pod into your mouth for a healthy snack. Refrigerate.

Okra- organic

Yellow Onion – organic

Bell Pepper-organic

Acorn Squash
Find your first fall season squash of the year, no need to refrigerate, it stays fresh in the pantry or basement for several months if desired.

Tomatoes – organic
Depending on your situation, you may find yourself with too many tomatoes, or possibly wanting more. If you take the time to put some in the freezer now, you may find them useful for sauce or soup this winter. For best results, put whole tomatoes in boiling water, remove with slotted spoon and put into ice water to stop the cooking. When cool, remove the skin and pop whole or chopped tomatoes into a freezer bag.

If you find yourself wanting more, we have #2 tomatoes by the boxful at a very discounted price – just call or email the farm to arrange for an order.

Garlic – organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Fresh Summer Salsa
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing her recipe, she reports, “My kids and husband eat my fresh summer salsa as fast as I can make it! Too yummy not to share the recipe! “ Serve with a bag of tortilla chips.

Dice the following and add to a medium size bowl:
4-5 ripe medium to large tomatoes
½ onion
1/3 large green pepper

Stir in:
1 spoonful minced garlic
2 spoonfuls of diced jalapeno peppers & juice (pickled) (more of less depending how spicy you like it)
Splash of white vinegar
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt to taste

Corn and Tomato Salad Recipe
Our thanks to another CSA member for sharing one of her favorite summer recipes!

4 ears fresh corn husked and removed from the cob or one bag of frozen organic corn, thawed
1 pint baby tomatoes, cut in half
3 T fresh chopped basil leaves
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Mix tomato halves with corn kernels in a bowl. Add the basil and remaining ingredients, mix gently until well combined and let sit to marinate for a few minutes at room temperature.

Okra Fritters

We are sharing a recipe from a few years back as it became a favorite. Originally given to us be a CSA member, she even brought a sample for us straight from her kitchen. You owe it to yourself to try fried okra at least once this summer, it has an original flavor that is satisfying and can’t be duplicated.

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.

Benedictine Finger Sandwiches
Though we have shared recipes for Benedictine before, this one comes from Entertaining with Bluegrass Winners. Recipe as written makes 24 small sandwiches.

1 ½ large cucumbers, seeded and chopped
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 green onions, white part only, finely chopped
a drop of green food coloring (optional)
2-3 T mayonnaise
6-7 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
2 loaves of very thin white or wheat bread

Using a paper towel, squeeze most of the water from cucumber pieces. Combine cucumbers, cream cheese, onions, food color, and mayonnaise with electric mixer. Add bacon and salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare slices of very thin bread by removing crusts. Spread Benedictine mixture on brad. Cover with second slice and cut diagonally to make two triangular sandwiches. Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash
Recipe from 101 Cookbooks dot com

1 small (2 lb.) acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded

1 T clarified butter or olive oil

1 C milk

1 egg plus 2 egg whites

½ C fresh corn kernels (or more if you like)

¼ tsp anise seed, chopped

¼ C chopped scallions (or use regular onion)

a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

¼ tsp fine grain sea salt

1/3 C grated white cheddar cheese
another ¼ C chopped scallions for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees with a rack in the middle.

Rub the orange flesh of the squash with the butter/oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. You will want it to sit flat (and not tip), if you are having trouble just level out the bottom using a knife. If the squash is tilting on the pan, the filling will run out - bad news. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash starts to get tender.

In a bowl combine the milk, eggs, corn, anise seed, scallions, nutmeg, and salt. Fill each of the squash bowls 3/4 full (you may have extra filling which you can put in a buttered ramekin and bake alongside your squash). Carefully transfer the squash back to the oven without spilling (tricky!). Continue baking uncovered for another 30 - 50 minutes, or until the squash is fully cooked through, and the pudding has set. The amount of time it takes can vary wildly depending on the squash and oven.

At the last minute sprinkle with cheese and finish with a flash under the broiler to brown the cheese. Keep an eye on things, you can go from melted cheese to burnt and inedible in a flash. Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining scallions.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 14, CSA

Good Stuff Behind the Local Food Movement

Most of you know that our farm is not open to the public, as we don’t have an on-farm store. We are not organized to offer tours of the farm, don’t have adequate parking lots & restrooms for school groups and u-pick. Maybe one day in the future, but not right now as all of our efforts are needed in growing good organic food in a sustainable manner.

However, this past week, we hosted a tour for university researchers and educators from around the country. As part of the Sustainable Agriculture Educators Association annual meeting held at the University of Kentucky, we opened the gate for about 1 hour to share our sustainability philosophy with many of them. We barely finished loading that day’s CSA boxes on the truck for delivery before they arrived, then we could take a few minutes to tell our story. These brief encounters with knowledgeable professionals are one of our ways of giving back for all the help we have received over the years to develop the sustainable organic system of farming we employ.

Kentucky has much to offer as a vibrant organic and sustainable agriculture community. UK, Kentucky State University in Frankfort, and Berea College all have certified organic acreage for research and demonstration purposes. Each of them has strong student programs as part of their mission. Diversification dollars available to producers through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy have spurred not only infrastructure growth for farmers, but expanded the conversation about sustainable development of the local food movement.

At the researcher/educator’s dinner program last week, it was obvious that Kentucky has something special going on as local chefs prepared a Kentucky Proud meal with food stations bursting with dishes of local flavor. Guests saw the leadership from the universities, state government, & non-profit groups sharing the podium declaring continued commitment of resources to further the cause of consuming locally grown foods.

What really got their attention was the reading of a short story by Wendell Berry. He graciously stayed at the podium fielding questions from the audience about specific aspects of developing local food economies. One guest at the dinner said it best, “Guess you folks got to get it right when you know you have to answer face to face with Wendell Berry!”

We thank you, our CSA members, for your support of the local food movement. Your partnership with the farm is an important piece that allows us to provide this food for you, your family and friends.

In Your Share

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

Fresh Berries – organic

Cabbage – organic
Prepare cabbage by cutting the head first into quarters, then diagonally across the wedge. Cut into thin slices for tossing raw into salads, or cut into thicker slices for steaming or boiling. Steam cabbage for 5-7 minutes, top with butter, a pinch of salt and pepper and some grated cheese. Over cooking will result in too strong of an odor and flavor. Cabbage is great sautéed and stir-fried with other veggies.

Sweet Corn – organic

Garlic – organic

Leeks - organic

Related to onions, leeks can be cooked whole on the grill, steamed, braised, or baked. They have a mild flavor and sweeten when cooked. Store refrigerated, leeks will keep for two weeks; can be substituted for onions in recipes for a different flavor.

Yellow Onions – organic

Red Bell Pepper – organic

Tomatoes – organic

Collard Greens – organic

Fennel - organic

Fennel is known to aid in digestion, cure poor eyesight, help a nervous condition, and even repel insects. Refrigerate realizing that the anise aroma will spread throughout your fridge, store in closed containers. Fennel is quite popular as a fresh herb seasoning for fish along with lemon. Visit our online blog, entering fennel in the search space to see several recipes.

Recipes to Enjoy

Fresh Tomato Pie
“The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best From Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes,” by Sheri Castle. Makes: 1 pie, or 8 servings.

One 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
1 ½ pounds large sun-ripened tomatoes (peeling is optional)
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ C lightly packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
½ C crisp bacon pieces (optional)
¼ tsp celery salt or celery seed
¾ C high-quality mayonnaise
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 ¼ C grated Asiago cheese, divided
½ tsp ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/3 C crushed Saltine cracker crumbs

1. Bake and cool the pie shell.

2. When ready to bake the pie, heat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Use a serrated knife to cut the tomatoes into ¼ -inch-thick slices. Cover a wire rack with several layers of paper towels and set the rack over the sink to catch the drips. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on the rack. Sprinkle them with the salt and let drain for at least 10 minutes. Pat the tomatoes dry with fresh paper towels.

4. Arrange half of the tomatoes over the bottom of the pie shell. Scatter the basil and bacon, if using, over the first layer of tomatoes, and arrange the rest of the tomatoes on top.

5. Stir together the celery salt, mayonnaise, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir in ¾ C of the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mayonnaise mixture over the tomatoes.

6. Toss together the remaining ½ C of cheese and the cracker crumbs in a small bowl; sprinkle over the top of the pie.

7. Bake until the top of the pie is nicely browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

Scalloped Tomatoes
Here is an easy-to-prepare Southern recipe for those of you craving the flavors you grew up eating before we were told not to eat our fats. Nutritionists now say that not all fats are the same and your body actually needs good fats for true health. Use organic, pasture raised pork bacon if you can find it, and your favorite tomatoes.

4 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

3 medium tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick

1. In small bowl in the microwave, cook bacon, covered, on High 3 to 4 minutes until crisp. Remove bacon; set aside.

2. Discard all but 1 tbsp fat. To fat remaining, in bowl, add onion. Cook, covered, 1 minute.

3. Stir in breadcrumbs. Cook 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes until brown and crisp, stirring often during cooking.

4. Around edge of 9-inch pie plate, arrange tomato slices overlapping. Sprinkle crumbs and bacon on tomatoes. Cook on High 3 to 4 minutes until heated through.

Fresh Tomato Sauce for Pasta
Our thanks to Wash House Herb Farm in Scott County for sharing this tasty recipe – special since it does not require cooking. Serves 2.

4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped, use more if you like it
¼ C fresh basil, chopped
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients, cover and let set for about an hour. Do not cook. Serve over hot pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Cherry Tomatoes in Oil & Vinegar

Wash House Herb Farm

Mix together and marinate overnight:
¼ C olive oil
2-3 T balsamic vinegar
1 T minced garlic
1 T chopped fresh basil or other favorite herb
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds cherry type tomatoes

Fresh Cabbage Slaw
Recipe from Barbara Boltjes. We’ve tried this with both savoy cabbage and green cabbage, interchanging the radishes for kohlrabi, or whatever we have on hand that day. It is very versatile.

2 C shredded cabbage
½ C shredded carrot
½ C sliced green onion
1/3 C sliced radishes
¼ C chopped fresh cilantro
¼ C coarsely chopped peanuts (optional)
¼ C rice vinegar

Add vinegar to all other ingredients; toss.

Monday, August 1, 2011

CSA, Week 13

Yes, these are Yummy Beet Cupcakes!

What Does it Take?

Wow! Haven’t the veggies been out of this world this year! One of the main reasons we hear about why you all like the CSA program is you have tried to grow it yourself. Between the bugs, weeds, and watering, it is hard to grow this stuff. So, let’s look at the equipment we use to make it happen.

Seeds come in all sizes from tiny turnips to big beans. For starting seeds in the greenhouse, we can use our vacuum seeder. It sucks the seeds into a small hole, in a pattern the same as the tray holding the soil mix. We push a button, releasing the vacuum, allowing the seeds to drop into one of 220 or 253 1” by 1” squares in the tray. Unfortunately, long skinny seeds like lettuce or chard (which looks like asteroids) won’t work with the vacuum and must be carefully placed individually into those little squares by hand.

John also has several planters that can plant rows of seeds directly into the soil. In order for this to work, the plant cover and soil must be strategically prepared to accept the seeds and provide nutrients and water for it to grow. A different machine allows the crew to ride behind the tractor dropping the transplants from the greenhouse into a cup, which then opens at the precise time to place the roots into the soil at the proper spacing. This can be done through strips of mulch, previously laid out, to control weeds and conserve moisture, or directly into bare soil.

That is the easy part – other than working around the rains, maintaining the equipment in sound condition, providing water, and keeping the crop charts accurate.

Those little seeds or transplants are placed in soil containing tens of millions of weed seeds, left from years gone by. The ones that are awakened by movement in tillage and warming temperatures are also competing for space to grow. To manage this competition, John has implements for tillage along the rows to carefully unearth the weeds between the rows. Those implements are designed to “work” very closely to the tiny vegetable rows without damaging them. This equipment is set specifically to match the row width and bed shaping capabilities of each planter or transplanter. There is often a fair bit of old fashioned hoeing between the individual vegetable plants.

All of this must be choreographed around the weather, size of the produce plants, irrigation schedules, and available daylight hours to get it done. Those of you that grow a garden will know how good it feels when you get it all right.

In Your Share

Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Every share may not have each items listed below.

Beets – organic

Fresh Berries – organic

Celery – organic

We get mixed reviews on the celery each season, so our goal this year is to provide a super great description so your usage will meet expectations. This is nothing like celery purchased in the supermarket! Think of it as an herb. You want to use the leaves, you want to use the stalks also (but first they must be finely chopped). It is very flavorful, not bland and watery, and a little goes a long way.

Commodity celery is hilled up with sandy soil to blanch the stalks & crown white, most in the US is grown in California where the soil is conducive to this. Here, the sunshine gives color to the stalks and causes it to be much more fibrous. Chop finely or use a processor if eating fresh in egg, tuna or chicken salad. Wrap to store in the refrigerator. Like many members, you just might find that fresh celery is a favorite!

Swiss Chard – organic

Sweet Corn – organic

Oregano & Thyme – organic

Green Onions – organic

Green Bell Pepper – organic

Summer Squash

Tomatoes – organic
Your shares have included red slicing tomatoes (both heirloom and hybrid) along with black, pink, striped, and gold heirloom tomatoes. They are known to be uglier, tastier, more sweet due to less acid, ripen quickly, have thinner skins, are prone to cracking and can make the most delicious dishes! To speed up ripening, close tomatoes up in a bag where the natural ethylene will be trapped (you have heard this for peaches). To slow ripening, refrigerate, but know that flavor may be affected by refrigeration.

Recipes to Enjoy

Very Versatile Creole Squash
Our thanks to Chef Lisa for sharing one of her special recipes offered just for this week’s CSA harvest. Lisa has been the Sous Chef at Holly Hill Inn in Midway since Ouita and Chris Michel opened the restaurant. Lisa also has been an Elmwood CSA member since we started the program, and we always enjoy her tasty original recipes!

1 medium onion or large green onions, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic
4 C peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes
¾ T fresh thyme, chopped
¾ T fresh oregano, chopped
1 ½ tsp Worstershire sauce
hot sauce, as much as desired
salt/black pepper
1 bay leaf, if desired
3-4 C summer squash, chopped

Options: Can include cabbage, eggplant, cooked chicken or sausage, blanched kohlrabi; any combination of favorite vegetables or meats.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, sauté onion until it turns translucent. Add celery and pepper and cook until soft. Add garlic, tomatoes, herbs, and sauces. Add squash or any other optional items.

Cook 15 minutes. Serve.

Black Bean and Chard Enchiladas
Our thanks to a CSA member who adapted this recipe from one found in Weight Watchers magazine. She says it is pretty spicy as written, but can be made milder by using another cheese, reducing or eliminating the cumin, and choosing a milder salsa.

3 C chard (about ½ pound or 1 bunch)
¼ C chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C black beans
½ C pepper jack cheese, grated
1 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
8 corn tortillas
¾ jar salsa verde, or your favorite salsa

Wash chard, trim stems, and cut into ribbons. Place in skillet over medium heat and wilt with water clinging to leaves. When wilted, remove to plate and set aside.

Spray pan with cooking spray or coat with a little oil. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook until softened. If desired, dice chard stems and add to pan with onions; this adds a little extra crunch and nutrition, and eliminates waste. Stir in beans, cumin, half of cheese and salt to taste. Remove to plate with chard. Pour salsa in pan and bring to simmer. Dip a tortilla in salsa, turning to coat. Place on another plate or work surface, fill with about 1/8 of chard and bean mixture being careful not to overfill, roll up, and set aside. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Return enchiladas to pan, spoon additional salsa over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and simmer until cheese melts. Let stand about 5 minutes. Yummy!

Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Many Beet Cake recipes can be found online, some use cooked beets, some raw like this one. This recipe originally in New York Times Magazine, adapted from Kathryn “Katzie” Guy-Hamilton at the Breslin.


12 ounces butter

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon salt

4 eggs at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups shredded red or purple beets (in season try yellow for a corn-like flavor)

½ cup orange juice

½ cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, spices and sugar on high speed for six minutes until fluffy and pale.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down after each egg. Add the vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, stir the orange juice into the shredded beets that have been squeezed of most of their juice. (Save the juice for sorbet, a cocktail, what have you.) Mix until combined, then stir in the nuts. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

4. Scoop into paper-lined cupcake tins, or spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray and scoop batter directly into tins.

5. Bake for 20 minutes until brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool before frosting and adorn with toasted hazelnuts. (Toast your nuts slowly at a low temperature for even toasting from inside out.) Makes 12 cupcakes.

Cream-Cheese Frosting:

12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

8 ounces butter, softened

8 ounces confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of a quarter orange

1. To keep it smooth and dense, paddle your cream cheese in the bowl of standing mixer on medium speed until smooth.

2. Put the cream cheese in a separate bowl. Add the butter to the mixer and mix on medium speed until smooth. Now add the cream cheese back into the butter, being sure to avoid “whipping” the mixture. Add the confectioner’s sugar, salt, vanilla and orange. Paddle until smooth.