2016 CSA – Week #6

Notes from the Farm

More heat and more thunderstorms are on the menu for this week.  Heat loving crops like eggplants and peppers will happily continue to develop with the high temperatures as long as we keep them well irrigated and tomatoes will start to show their colors.  Cooler season crops like the kale that we’ve been enjoying over the last month gets stressed in the heat,  so we’ll likely take a break from harvesting it after this week.  Our lettuce needs to be watched very closely in the summer months and will often be harvested before reaching full size to ensure that the heads don’t go to flower and get too bitter to be enjoyed.  We strive to provide salad greens throughout the summer regardless of the high temps, and at the moment we look to be in great shape to make that happen once again.

The zucchini and yellow squash continue to come in nicely but our first cucumber plantings have not been as productive as we would like.  Hopefully more will be coming in the weeks ahead, but if you have been eagerly awaiting a pickling opportunity, know that the beets, carrots, kohlrabi, fennel, zucchini, and salad turnips we have had all offer the potential for delicious pickles.

Tomato update: A small amount of both the tomatoes and cherry tomatoes have begun to ripen, but there is not yet enough of either to pick this week.  Thus, next week we should have our first tomatoes and U-Pick cherry tomatoes.


Farmer Steve and our Farmers: Alyssa, Diane, Tyler, Ed, Genna, Dan, Jocelyn, Jon and Ella

In This Week’s Distribution

Our Harvest:  Carrots, Scallions, Escarole, Zucchini and Yellow Squash, Cucumbers, Beets, Kale, Fennel, Lettuce

U-Pick: Cherry Tomatoes ready next week

Fruit Option: Blueberries

Recipes and Cooking Tips

Fennel: The bulb at the bottom can be chopped up and added to wide range side salads, green salads and slaws.  Grill or roast slices of the root alone or along with potatoes, chicken, fish or pork.  Add the leafy fronds to any of the above including your salads for a hint of licorice, use them as a bedding to bake or grill your fish on,  add them to your green juice or smoothie, or add them to your vegetable stock.

Natural-Fermented Kohlrabi and Beet Pickles 
This brine would work for any number of vegetables. The principle is all that’s necessary.
Adapted from  A Platter of Figs by David Tanis

For the brine:

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Greek or regular oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric (omit if using beets)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound peeled root vegetables such as kohlrabi, beets, turnip, cut into matchsticks or small wedges
Combine the brine ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve. Pack the vegetables into a jar and cover completely with the brine mixture. Put in a plate on a shelf in the kitchen (in case it leaks while upside down) and turn over once a day for a week.
Refrigerate the pickles. They will keep for a month. Serve with charcuterie, in a sandwich, or all on their own.

Fennel, Escarole and Radish Salad

  • 1 head escarole, cut crosswise into 2-inch-wide ribbons
  • 1 bunch small or medium radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced crosswise, fronds reserved
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground  pepper

Toss together escarole, radishes, and fennel bulb in a large bowl.  Drizzle oil and vinegar on top, and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss. Garnish with fennel fronds.

*Sub in salad turnips for the radishes and add lettuce to increase the amount of salad and help cut the bitterness of the escarole.*

Sauteed Escarole

from marthastewart.com

Use as a side dish, toss with hot pasta or serve with fish or pork.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 small heads escarole (about 1 pound total), trimmed, leaves torn and washed well
  • Coarse salt
In a large skillet heat oil over medium. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant and lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in escarole; season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Baked Fennel with Parmesean and Thyme

from marthastewart.com
  • 3 fennel bulbs
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 sprigs thyme
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Boil 3 fennel bulbs, trimmed and split lengthwise, until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain fennel, cut side down, on paper towels, 5 minutes. Place fennel, cut side up, in a buttered 8-inch square baking dish and brush with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and top with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan and 4 sprigs thyme. Bake until cheese is golden brown, about 20 minutes.