Notes from the Farm
For many people, part of the CSA experience is trying new vegetables they might not normally purchase or prepare. We aim to consistently provide the vegetables you use most — lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers — for as long as conditions allow, along with some unique and seasonal items, which add a of diversity of colors, tastes and textures to your home culinary adventures. This week we are harvesting red calaloo for the first time here at Massaro, plus escarole and fennel, which we usually offer just a few times each season. If these are all new to you, no worries, each of these vegetables are easy to use in salads, pair wonderfully with tomatoes in sauces or stews, and we have provided a bunch of recipe ideas in the section below.
The red calaloo is a leafy green commonly grown and prepared in the Caribbean. It is part of the Amaranth family and behaves very much like chard or spinach. Some of our favorite leafy greens like spinach, kale and lettuce don’t love the heat of summer, so we decided to give the calaloo a try this year, knowing that it thrives in hot conditions. As for the nutritional profile, calaloo leaves have three times more vitamin C, ten times more carotene, fifteen times more iron and forty times more calcium than tomatoes, and three times more vitamin C, calcium and niacin than spinach leaves. Cook it up and let us know what you think.
U-Pick Notes and Tips
When you arrive at the farm to get your produce, please check on the big board to see what crops are available for U-Pick, and how much to pick. Picking can take some time, so you may want to do the U-Pick first, then return to the barn to get the week’s distribution of produce. Thank you for reusing your pint and quart baskets for picking each week! The last couple weeks we noted that the cherry tomatoes were just beginning to ripen so picking would be fairly limited. Though more are ripening now, we are still waiting on more sunshine and warmth to bring the plants to the peak production, which we typically begin to from mid-August to mid-September. Green beans remain abundant, especially near the ends of the beds. Know that if you find yourself picking mostly larger beans, the larger ones may be fibrous and so they will be best for cooking, stewing or pickling rather than eating raw.
We often get requests for eggs and from time to time in the past we have offered eggs from the chickens we have here or from a nearby farm. Last week we offered eggs from our friends at Hartwoods Farm in Guilford for the first time. Learn more about them when you pick up your produce in the barn. We’ll bring their eggs in the next few weeks, and if there is interest we may set up a CS-Egg subscription for the remainder of the season so that you can be sure to get a dozen or half-dozen eggs each week.
Get your tickets now for this year’s Dinner on the Farm, set as always for the Sunday, September 3, (Labor Day Weekend). You won’t want to miss this once-a-year feast in the field, catered by Denise Appel of Zinc New Haven. The dinner always features our Massaro vegetables, plus other locally sourced ingredients. Incredibly delicious, vegan and vegetarian friendly, here is a peak at some of the menu for this year:
- Clams and Oysters
- Harissa marinated lamb with cilantro chimichurri
- Roasted boneless chicken thighs/Texas-style BBQ sacue
- Slow roasted honey-cumin great northern beans with Aleppo peppers
- Traditional slaw of carrot, fennel & shredded beet
- Fire roasted red peppers with garlic, rosemary & fried capers
- Bulgar wheat and French lentil salad/feta cheese and preserved lemon/tomato, radish & mint
- Petit arugula with tomato/balsamic reduction/Tuscan olive oil
- Curried bread and butter cucumber pickle
Can’t make it to the event? Check out some exclusive items that you can bid on at our ONLINE AUCTION!
Farmer Steve and our Farmers: Adam, Alyssa, Dan, Jalyn, Kelsey, Nikki, Sara, Shannon, TW and Tyler
In This Week’s Distribution
Our Harvest: Tomato, Escarole, Fennel, Red Calaloo, Cucumber, Lettuce, Mixed Zucchini and Yellow Squash, Kale
U-Pick: Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
Fruit Option: ‘Red Haven’ Peaches
Know Your Farmers
There are many reasons why you might have signed up for our CSA this year, one of which might be that you want to know more about your food, including where it comes from, how it is grown, and who is growing it. Put simply, you want to know your food and know your farmer. We have an incredible team of farmers here working to bring you a bounty of fresh, organic, delicious produce, and over the course of this CSA season, we’ll include a note about someone from the farm staff so that you can get to know your farmers.
In addition to the farm crew working each day to plant, maintain and harvest our crops, we have a few dedicated volunteers who help once or twice per week with work in the field. And on some occasions we’ll even have a group out to help with a particular task. Last week had about a dozen volunteers from the CT Food Bank help harvest some kale, chard and cucumbers for donation. We are committed to donating at least 10% of our harvest each year and partner with hunger relief organizations like CT Food Bank to provide our fresh produce to people in need.
Recipes and Cooking Tips
Calaloo Jamaican Style: adapted from africanbites.com
- 1 bunch of fresh Callaloo or chard or kale
- 2 thick bacon strips cut in pieces
- 3-4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium onion
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 fresh tomato
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 ripe plantains
- cooking spray – or very little cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut leaves and soft stems from the callaloo branches, them soak in a bowl of cold water for about 5-10 minutes or until finish with prep.
- Proceed to slicing the onions, mincing the garlic and dicing the tomatoes. Set aside
- Remove callaloo from water cut in chunks.
- Place bacon on saucepan and cook until crispy. Then add onions, garlic, thyme, stir for about a minute or more
- Add tomatoes; scotch bonnet pepper, smoked paprika. Sauté for about 2-3 more minutes.
- Finally add vegetable, salt, mix well, and steamed for about 6-8 minutes or until leaves are tender. Add a tiny bit of water as needed. Adjust seasonings and turn off the heat.
- Using a sharp knife cut both ends off the plantain. This will make it easy to grab the skin of the plantains. Slit a shallow line down the long seam of the plantain; peel only as deep as the peel. Remove plantain peel by pulling it back.
- Slice the plantain into medium size lengthwise slices and set aside.
- Coat a large frying pan with cooking oil spray. Spray the tops of the plantains with a generous layer of oil spray and sprinkle with salt, freshly ground pepper.
- Let the plantains “fry” on medium heat, shaking the frying pan to redistribute them every few minutes.
- As the plantains brown, continue to add more cooking oil spray, salt and pepper (if needed) until they have reached the desired color and texture.
- Remove and serve with calaloo
Grilled Escarole with Lemon-Parmesan Dressing: from jessicaseinfeld.com
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
- 1 large head escarole
Heat the grill to medium-high. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the oil, the Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Quarter the head of escarole through the core and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Grill 1 to 2 minutes per side, until wilted and slightly charred. Arrange on a large plate and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with a little more Parmesan and pepper.
Calaloo, Feta and Roasted Tomato Pizza: adapted from jessicainthekitchen.com Ingredients for the dough (for 4)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (1 packet)
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons honey * 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
PIZZA (MAKES ONE PERSONAL PIZZA)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup cooked callaloo or spinach
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Basil
- 1/2 teaspoon Parsley
STOVE-TOP ROASTED TOMATOES
- 5 Cherry tomatoes ( to be roasted ), sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine water and yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved.
- Add in flour, honey, salt, and olive oil and use a wooden spoon to combine. Once the ingredients are well combined with the spoon, use your hands to knead the dough for a few minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and roll each piece of dough out so that it is very thin in the shape of a circle.
- Bake 1/4 of the dough, to make one pizza, for 10 minutes.
COOKING CALLALOO/SPINACH: I used cooked callaloo, but you can easily cook raw spinach or callaloo
STOVE-TOP ROASTED TOMATOES
- Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a pan over medium high heat until hot.
- Add the tomatoes and sprinkle salt and pepper over them for quickly seasoning.
- The tomatoes will begin to crackle and reduce heat to medium heat until tomatoes break down slightly; about 5 minutes. Keep the remaining olive oil (to be drizzled over the pizza). Remove from heat.
- Cover the baked pizza crust with a teaspoon of the olive oil.
- In a bowl, add 1/4 cup of feta cheese and microwave for 15 seconds. Spread the melted feta cheese on the pizza crust.
- Arrange the callaloo and roasted tomatoes as you please. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of feta cheese and drizzle with the remaining olive oil from the stove top roasting.
- Bake for 5 more minutes in the oven.
- Remove and enjoy!
Tomato, Avocado and Escarole Salad: from giadzy.com
- 1 (8 ounce) container cherry tomatoes,
- halved 1/2 cup pitted castelvatrano olives, quartered
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large head escarole, dark green leaves removed, remaining leaves chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 avocado, chilled and diced
- 1/2 cup toasted pinenuts
In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, olives, basil and salt. Add the escarole, white balsamic and olive oil and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle in the avocado and the pinenuts.
Tomato, Fennel, and Cucumber Salad: from peapod.com
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 1 fennel bulb (reserve fronds for garnish)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and honey.
- While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Whisk until combined.
- Add cucumber, fennel, and onion. Toss in dressing.
- Add tomato and gently toss to combine. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fennel fronds.
Roasted Tomato and Fennel Sauce from MarthaStewart.com
- 1 fennel bulb, fronds removed, bulb cored and cut into pieces
- 2 pints grape tomatoes, half of them halved
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 sprigs thyme
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, toss together fennel, tomatoes, wine, oil, thyme, and pinch of sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, tossing occasionally, until fennel softens and pan juices thicken, 35 to 40 minutes.
Open Farm Days
On break for Summer Camp. We’ll be back on Tuesday, August 22. Not limited to any specific age, all kids are welcome. Be sure to look for the announcement board at the garden entrance to see what’s happening. Open Farm Days alternate Tuesdays & Fridays from 2:30-5:30pm throughout the summer.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Friday, September 1, 2017