Monday, July 14, 2014

CSA News, Week 9

USDA funded research out of the University of Connecticut looked at perceptions and misperceptions of local and organic food with comparisons of US and Canadian consumers. Overall, it found that consumer misperceptions regarding organic and local are widespread. US consumers were more likely to believe local was organic. One in four US participants perceived organic to be a characteristic of local com-pared to one in five Canadians. Another 17% said organic and local were the same thing. Researchers reported “participants in our study often showed naïveté, thinking when they buy local, there are no pesticides in the product or that organic is local when it is not.”  This is striking because when participants were asked how knowledgeable they were on characteristics of local and organic, the more they thought they were knowledgeable, the more misperceptions they had between local and organic. 

      While many suggestions of how to incorporate a local food-sourcing plan into your lifestyle can be found on the internet, a CSA member shared her 4 top tips with us last season:

“Accentuate the positive.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by creating ironclad rules. Focus instead on what you are trying to accomplish. Sourcing anything locally is a success, especially if you would never have thought to do so before.  Every time you buy something from a local producer, you are creating a positive ripple in the local economy. 

Get a reality check. Go to your usual grocery and ransack the shelves looking for locally produced foods. Your cart may have about two items rolling around in it by the time you get to the checkout. Don’t worry; you have just learned something (in very concrete, unforgettable terms) about how far most food is shipped before someone eats it. You have accomplished something.

Ask questions.  Produce managers in supermarkets can be a great source of information. Most of them do the buying, so they can tell you the source. You’ll find that some stores are much more committed to localism than others.  And if you can make it to a farmer’s market on the weekend, a couple of queries can reveal fascinating details about where your food comes from. Finding out the story makes the process of preparing and eating food far more pleasurable.

Make every choice count, whether it’s local or not. If you commit to eating better, you have to make some decisions about the sourcing of your food. Let’s take coffee as an example. You might take the opportunity to quit your 3-cups-a-day habit, or you might replace your jarred instant with fair-trade organic whole beans. You take something in your kitchen that’s questionable at best and replace it with something that actively does some good.”

      As consumers, when we become more educated on organic, local, natural and other descriptors, we demand more accountability in the products we purchase, appreciate the integrity of third-party verification, and are more confident in the foods we feed to our family. Certified organic is the most stringent holistic food production system in the world, and is third party verified as such. Of all the attributes one can use when sourcing, USDA organic certification does provide a benchmark. Locally sourced, high quality food benefits the local economy. Put the two together and choose local AND organic, you’ll have the best of both!

In Your Share 



Sweet Corn


Green Beans

Kale Greens


Yellow Squash

Green Zucchini



Potato, Squash, & Goat Cheese Gratin, serves six, our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this quick-to-prepare recipe from  She used lemon goat cheese and half-n-half with fantastic results.

2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound
4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves (optional for garnish)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Use a mandoline or chef's knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less. Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl.

Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — no need to layer them squash-potato-squash; just spread evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns. Scatter on the fresh basil, if using.


Process 1-2 peeled cucumbers in the food processor and drain processed cucumbers in a metal strainer or using a cheesecloth.  Once drained, mix cucumber puree with 8 oz. of room temperature cream cheese and mix well.  Season with garlic powder or salt.  Serve on toast with lettuce, tomato, and bacon for an Elmwood Stock Farm favorite.  Benedictine can be enjoyed as a sandwich spread, or as a dip for raw veggies or crackers.  Store in the refrigerator.

Country Green Bean Bundles

1 pound green beans (washed and ends trimmed)
1/3 red bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
1 small onion
7oz bacon
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp mustard powder
½  tsp onion powder
1 ½  cup beef broth

Peel the bell pepper with a vegetable peeler and finely mince it along with the onion and garlic.  Pre-boil the beans in very lightly salted water until they are ‘al dente’, so to speak and rinse in cold water when done.  To make a roux based sauce, mix 2 slightly heaping tbsp flour with 1 tsp mustard powder and 1/2 tsp onion powder and give everything a good stir.  Heat 2 tbsp butter and cook the onions over low heat for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.  Then add the bell pepper and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the flour mixture to the roux and cook on low for 1-2 minutes and then mix in the beef broth.  Dip 5-10 beans in the sauce and wrap in bacon.  Beans can be grilled or baked/broiled in the oven.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Flip bundles to evenly brown the bacon.  Note:  You can make these beans without the bacon and add or omit any ingredients that you wish.

Curried Zucchini & Couscous, our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this Eating Well recipe, makes 4 servings; she added white raisins with winning results!

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium zucchini or other summer squash, diced

¼ C finely chopped onion

1 C water

1 T lime juice

1 tsp curry powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

1 C couscous

1 C grated carrot

¼ C slivered almonds, toasted 

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. To the pan, add water, lime juice, curry, cumin, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add the couscous and carrot to the bowl with the zucchini; stir to combine. Serve topped with almonds.

Waldorf Salad

3 apples chopped (peel on)

1 bunch celery chopped (leaves can be included or not)

¼ C walnuts, chopped

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sour cream

Combine apples (approx. ½ inch chunks), celery and walnuts in a mixing bowl.  In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and sour cream and fold in the apple mixture.  Transfer salad to a bed of lettuce and serve immediately.

Zucchini Butter, recipe found on Food52 online.  It makes about 2 cups, and can be enjoyed on toast, or as a side dish all summer long whenever you have squash or zucchini!  Thanks to a CSA member for sharing!

2 lb zucchini or assorted summer squash (feel free to use less or add extra -- cooking times will vary)

¼ cup olive oil or butter

2 minced shallots, garlic, or combination of both

salt and pepper

Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time, squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean cloth towel.

In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter. Sauté the shallots or garlic briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency, about 15 minutes. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the butter for added flavor -- you can splash in a little water to help deglaze the pan.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam.