Summer is here, even if it’s not official on the calendar. It’s hot, humid and thunderheads lurk about late afternoon. Our farm crew schedule has changed to a 6:00 am start time to get ahead of the heat as much as possible. We’re finished picking strawberries and have tilled under overgrown kohlrabis and the remains of the last lettuce harvest. We now look towards cucumbers, okra, basil and potatoes to sustain the farm through the summer.

In your shares this week you will find:

Cucumbers – Try a cool cucumber soup! Here are two recipes to try:
Chilled Creamy Cucumber Soup – try Avocado instead of yogurt for a vegan version
Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho

For a quick Asian style salad, slice thinly and tossed with sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and a little seasoned rice wine vinegar. For snack time, mix some celery salt with plain whole milk yogurt. Cut cucumbers into long thick, sticks, dip and enjoy!

Cantaloupe Melons – These melons have been carefully defended from marauding deer using a variety of techniques. Farmer John looks at the lunar cycles and patrols the field at times when deer activity is likely, usually around dusk and 3:00-5:00 am. We have a depredation permit which allows hunting of deer at night and out of the regular season. We have also posted guard dogs near the field, as well as parking vehicles and tractors nearby the melons to discourage deer from sampling the fruit. Wash melon rind carefully, then slice and enjoy! These beauties are ripe, eat promptly or refrigerate if you will keep them longer than a day or two before eating.

Arugula – Grown in the shade for season extension. I love a bed of arugula with some feta cheese sprinkled on top, sliced cucumbers, a few good olives and a splash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.

Kennebec White Potatoes – enjoy them roasted, in potato salad, or Salad Nicoise linked below. No need to peel.

HT-Nicoise-Salad12

Nicoise Salad, photo credit: The Kitchn blog

Fennel – Caramelized Fennel with Goat’s Cheese. Yum! Also excellent minced and added to spaghetti sauce when cooking onions. The fronds may be used as an herb, sprinkled on salads, or a bed to steam fish.

Green Cabbage – Try this slaw with Fish Tacos! I also love a simple braised cabbage with chicken stock, or sweetened with some apples.

1 small cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups) – Use the slicer attachment in your food processor if you have one.
1 small carrot, grated
2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño chile, seeded and minced, optional
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (this is optional, you can also dress with olive oil)
Sugar, honey, or agave nectar to taste (optional)*
Salt and pepper

Daikon Radish – Slice thinly or grate and add to salads or slaws. I also love Daikon radish cut into chunks and added to soups, or diced and in stir-fry.

Yellow & Orange Carrot Mix – Grate together for a colorful salad topping! Try roasting together and serving with the potatoes in this week’s share for a hearty side dish. You can also pickle them in long sticks for a pretty, crunchy treat ready to eat anytime!

Tricolor Beans – or – Squash, depending on what we harvest the day your shares are packed. One of my absolute favorites for green beans is a light blanching, then chilling, and use in salads anytime later! Try this recipe for Salad Nicoise to use both your green beans and potatoes. Then sub out the arugula for your greens and you’ve made a CSA box salad!

 

 

In your share this week will be:

 

Carrots: This sweet baby variety holds a high natural sugar content that makes it great for salads or raw snacks, but I’ve also found them to be a good candidate for a carrot puree. Follow the recipe link here.

Red Basil: Sneak peek of summer! These flavorful and aromatic sprigs can be used for pesto, in a pasta sauce, a pizza topping or finely chopped and paired with our cucumbers, and romaine  lettuce for a bold flavor salad.

Red Russian Kale/Lacinato Kale:

Cucumbers: I recently tried a cucumber based salad dressing by pureeing the cucumber fruits, oil, vinegar, chives, parsley, yogurt, mustard,  honey and salt (I did equal part tablespoons for the oil, vinegar yogurt, etc and teaspoon applications of honey and salt, sweeten/salt to your own liking) in a blender until smooth. Adding finely chopped basil is a great cooling addition!

Romaine Lettuce: Full of phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, green romaine is crisp in texture and carries a slightly mild flavor. Here is a great site detailing romaine’s wide range of health benefits.

Red Cabbage: This post from Serious Eats details 18 unique and flavorful cabbage preparations that I felt needed to be shared again here as we begin to whittle away at our cold storage cabbage inventory. Follow the link here, these suggestions have kept me trying new cabbage uses all season long!

Peaches/Plums: These fruits are picked daily from multiple tree lines between our larger planting blocks. For both fruits, deeper hues and a small amount of “give” when slight pressure is applied means the sweetness is set and the fruit is ripe! Toss into a salad, smoothie, or eat them as is!

Watermelon Radishes: A vibrant magenta center and green rind offers an aesthetic treat on your plate, and the mild peppery, subtle sweet notes of its flavor are even more impressive. These roots store very well and are super versatile: I thinly sliced them raw into a salad for dinner one night and roasted them in the oven with some salt, pepper and olive oil the next.

 

White Carrots: This new variety carries a mild sweetness that is really brought out by cooking, be that steaming, blanching or roasting.

Arugula: I’ve been amazed we still have arugula as tender and flavorful this deep into spring and rapidly approaching the peak heat of summer. We have consistently planted new blocks to maintain younger, more vibrant leaves. Try an arugula pesto, utilize in your sandwiches, or mix with our kale and romaine to spice up your salad!

Green Cabbage: As we are on the edge of a season/crop shift, now is the time to experiment with a sauerkraut/pickling batch while we are still working down our inventory of these flavorful and nutrient dense heads!

Fennel: Fennel bulbs are a perfect transition crop into summer barbeque season: quarter or half the bulbs and toss them on the grille with your other grilling meat and veggie favorites! The fronds of fennel makes for a delicious garnish, soup/stock addition. Here too is an awesome recipe for a Fennel Frond Orzo!

Red Russian Kale: Don’t miss this Sauteed Kale with Smoked Paprika recipe!

Romaine Lettuce: The hardiest of our lettuces, crisp, semi-sweet Romaine hold very well and are amazingly mineral and vitamin rich, proteinaceous, and replete in Omega 3s. If you are a fan of green smoothies, our Green Romaine is an awesome candidate for getting all of that nutritional benefit without an overwhelming “green” or bitter flavor!

Sweet Onions: We’re at the tail end of our spring “sweet onion” pick; these small bulbs can be quickly halved for the cast iron or stuck through for a kabob on the grille!

Red Potatoes: These Red Potatoes are incredibly rich, creamy and tender. Let the natural flavors do their thing: a simple potato mash with avocado, butter and salt made my night last week!

Daikon Radish: Say you’ve already pickled, sauteed and roasted Daikon and you’re looking for a new preparation method. This recipe for Daikon Cakes is a unique way to enjoy a very versatile root crop!

Daikon Radish Cakes
Adapted from various sources, including this recipe 

  • 1.5 cups grated daikon
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • a dash or two of white pepper (can substitute ground black pepper if you can’t find white pepper)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Place grated daikon and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the radish and cooking water and stir to form a dough.
  • Transfer dough to a greased 8×8 pan and press down with a spatula to smooth the top (the dough should be about ½ inch high and will only fill about two-thirds of the pan).
  • Place the baking pan in a steamer and steam for 35-45 minutes.  Remove the dough from the pan and slice into squares. 
  • Heat about 1-2 tsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer squares to the skillet and sauté for about 3-4 minutes per side, until they are lightly browned.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Makes 8 squares.

Cucumbers: This is the first wave of a plunge into curcubit season; these fruits can be juiced, snacked raw, made into a relish, or pickled any way you want!

In your share this week will be:

Red Cabbage:

(From Bon Appetit)

Rainbow Carrots: These are incredible cooking carrots, be they roasted, boiled, steamed, sauteed or grilled!

Fennel: Fennel may not be around for many more weeks as we face increased heat (and therefore pest) pressures. To get into summer mode, try tossing the bulbs on the grille after soaking in a homemade barbeque marinade. Follow the link here for the recipe!

Red Russian Kale:   Red-stemmed Red Russian Kale may be the sweetest of all the Kale varietals, and is sweetened and tenderized even more with a very slow simmer with a little bit of olive oil and garlic in a pan.

Kohlrabi:   You’ve got to try my new favorite way to prepare kohlrabi: fritters! Shred the bulb and mix with an egg and a few tablespoons of flour or breadcrumbs. Heat oil or butter in a flat skillet, drop on small mounds, and flatten slightly with the back of your spatula. Turn after a few minutes, and serve when both sides are crispy.

Scallions: Scallions are excellent in stir-fries, soups, salads or root vegetable roasts. For those interested, I found an awesome article detailing different knife techniques associated with different scallion preparations. I learned a lot from the embedded Youtube video. Follow the link here. Enjoy!

Mixed Squash: Cousa, crooknecks, patty pans and zucchinis, you can’t go wrong with summer squash. Steamed, grilled, or sauteed, squash always improves a dinner plate.

Baby Tokyo Turnips:  These very small roots are incredibly tender and make for easy pre-cook processing (most can simply be halved to be cooking ready). If our Turnips haven’t graced a stir-fry yet for you this season, time is running out!

Cucumbers:  Most of us know about cucumber’s amazing health and revitalizing benefits...we all know cucumbers are excellent juicing or thinly sliced into a salad. I think what we’re really missing is this fantastic cucumber-mint-basil-simple syrup recipe. As it gets hotter and hotter outside, it doesn’t hurt to have a crisp, cooling and refreshing cocktail base waiting in your fridge! Follow the link here and make your own!

Try out making your own quick pickles with these easy recipes using cucumbers, dill and beans.

Quart Fridge Pickles

2 c cucumbers, sliced
1/2 c dill/dill flowers
3-4 garlic cloves, halved
Brine:
2 1/2 c white or apple cider vinegar
3 c water
1/4 c sea salt
optional:
chopped onion, red pepper flakes, sugar, bell pepper, celery seed, black pepper corns…..whatever flavor you desire!
To make a brine, heat water, vinegar, and salt (just to simmer) on stove and mix until salt dissolves.
Layer veggies in quart jar. You can put the garlic, dill, and other optional ingredients in the bottom and stand sliced pickles on top.. Pour or label the brine over the veggies. Leave about 1/4 in. of space at the top.
Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least three days before eating. Quick pickles are good for 3-4 months in the fridge.
Quart Dilly Beans
1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
3-4 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 cup dill/dill flowers
add optional ingredients such as red pepper flakes, chopped onions, sugar, etc., if you like.
Brine:
2 1/2 c white or apple cider vinegar
3 c water
1/4 c sea salt
Trim beans to fit jars (about 1/4 in. from top)
To make a brine, heat water, vinegar, salt, and sugar, (just to simmer) on stove and mix until salt/sugar dissolves.
Layer veggies in quart jar. You can put the garlic, dill, and other optional ingredients in the bottom and stand beans on top.. Pour or label the brine over the veggies. Leave about 1/4 in. of space at the top.
Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least three days before eating. Quick pickles are good for 3-4 months in the fridge.

You can double the brine, and make your fridge pickles and dilly beans at the same time. Yum!

Today’s heavy rains were much needed on the farm, with recent heat wicking up even the slightest residual moisture in our soils. As we break into the month of May we want to remind our members of all the amazing produce coming your way in late spring and early summer: we’re already picking peaches, plums and nectarines on our trees on the farm and we expect an influx of melons, blueberries, sweet corn, and peppers soon!

For those members interested in receiving weekly distributions of flowers like sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons and bachelor buttons, the “Cut Flower Bouquet” is available as a subscription add-on item through your Farmigo account. The distribution window is very short, so if you’re interested, sign up now or email/call us for more info!

PICKLE PACK WEEK! Try pickling our green beans, cucumbers or watermelon radishes with our dill/dill flower mix! Try this Quick Pickle Recipe here.

In your share this week will be:

Green Beans: Try a zesty lemon sautee with these tender beans: Sauté beans, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in olive oil or butter (preferably clarified!) in a large skillet until beans are hot and cooked tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze lemon half over beans, and serve immediately.

Cucumbers: Our first crop of cukes for have come in for the season! I couldn’t be more thrilled to have my salad/raw snack staple back in my kitchen. Beyond the cool, tender-crisp flavor, cucumbers contain a high density of  phytonutrients that play a key role in providing key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits as well!

Mixed Summer Squash: Your squash medley may include any combination of cousa, zucchini, crookneck, or patty pan squash. These fruits are very tender and carry a relatively high water content which makes for easy cooking, whether thats baked, sauteed or grilled!

Curly Kale: Don’t listen to anybody that says healthy snacking can’t also be rich and satisfying: I’ve found the light. If you’ve never make kale “chips” before, you’re welcome in advance. Please do yourself a favor and try this very accessible, delicious recipe for parmesan-pepper kale chips. Follow the link HERE.

Red Romaine Lettuce: We’re picking from a new block that affords us to still pick small, young and tender heads. The red romaine has an amazing flavor profile that will spoil you for lettuces forever.

Red Onions: Red onions are most often used in salads, salsas, and other raw preparations for their color and relatively mild flavor. One of my personal favorite uses for red onions, perhaps other than lightly grilling them, would be a pickle! Follow the link to Simply Recipes here for an ingredient list and method breakdown. Remember to use your dill and dill flowers!

Watermelon Radishes: Watermelon Radishes pair well with fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, creamy based dressings, vinaigrettes, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, and  stir-fry noodles. Thinly slice them over a salad bed for an colorful plate that won’t fail to impress your friends! You can also pickle these guys with our red onions!

Dill/Dill Flowers (pickling mix): This annual herb belongs to the celery family Apiaceae. Chopped dill is an eclectic garnish for soups, a driving ingredient in dressings, enhances a sour cream baked potato, a cut of salmon and of course, a necessity in pickling! The flowers too bring a lot to the table in terms of flavor and aesthetic, these can be used as garnish for a salad or slaw and also in your pickling batch!

In your share this week will be:

Bok Choi: Here’s an excellent recipe from Yummly.com:

Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, including green ends
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound baby bok choy, rinsed, larger leaves separated from base, base trimmed but still present, holding the smaller leaves together
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped, roasted, salted cashews

Method

1 Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add onions, then garlic, then bok choy. Sprinkle with sesame oil and salt. Cover, and let the baby bok choy cook down for approximately 3 minutes. (Like spinach, when cooked, the bok choy will wilt a bit.)

2 Remove cover. Lower heat to low. Stir and let cook for a minute or two longer, until the bok choy is just cooked.

3 Gently mix in cashews.

Red Cabbage: Today I was able to sample some slaw made by a customer we vend to in Gainesville, the head chef there utilized our small, tender red cabbage heads and made an insanely good slaw. If you’re interested in trying your own, here’s an ingredient ratio list from Yummly that shouldn’t disappoint:

 

  • 1 head red cabbage (thinly sliced, about 4 cups sliced cabbage)
  • 2 medium carrot (coarsely grated, about 1 cup grated carrot)
  • 1/2 cup green onions (sliced)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (crushed in mortar and pestle or with a heavy rolling pin)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or light mayo, can use half plain yogurt and half mayo) ? Tasty tip
  • 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar (Splenda, or agave nectar, use Splenda or agave nectar for South Beach diet)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt (Vege-Sal, vegetable seasoned, or salt)
  • 1 tsp celery seed (optional)

 

Dill: If you haven’t yet done a pickling session this season, now’s the time before this season’s Dill runs its course! You can pickle our carrots, onions, radishes, etc!

Curly Kale: Follow the link here for an unbelievably tantalizing recipe from Serious Eats!

Red Romaine: The color, crunch and zest of a Red Romaine based salad are pretty difficult to top. Slice our Red Onions, Red Radishes, some strawberries, sprinkle in some Dill and you’ve got a salad starter kit!

Red Onions: These early Red Onions carry a comparable savory sweetness to the white “sweet onions”. Grill, roast or sautee them to showcase their color and flavor!

Snap Peas: Remember I mentioned some pickling earlier? How about some pickled peas! This recipe from The Kitchn will guide you through a very simple sweet pickling process here.

Red Radish: The sharp, biting flavor of red radish provides a juicy crispness that can boost a salad mix, a fish taco or a stir-fry!

Strawberries: There’s not much upselling we need to do with these guys. Once they fully color up, their sweetness will open up a whole range of options, from salad toppings to smoothies.

Potatoes: I found this awesome baby spring potatoe salad recipe from Skinnytase and tried it two night’s ago for dinner!

 

  • 4 cups baby red potatoes, cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
  • salt and fresh pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water until soft, approx 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.

While the potatoes are boiling, combine red onion, green pepper, mustard, olive oil, vinegar and mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and let the flavors marinade while the potatoes cook. Once the potatoes are done and cool, mix into the bowl and add scallions and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.

It’s been a very busy and rewarding plunge into the spring season: we’ve invested in a new irrigation rig, opened up all of our greenhouses, dealt with some vehicle breakdowns, and hired some wonderful new staff! We thank you all for your continued support and membership!

 

In your share this week will be:

Parsnips: This is a new crop for us on the farm! These roots can be sauteed or roasted. I’m including a link here for a parsnip puree that sounds fantastic, you can adjust the recipe ratios accordingly.

Carrots: These high natural sugar, high beta-carotene carrots typically don’t ever make it to the cooking stage in my kitchen. Eaten raw with hummus, juiced or pureed, this variety is pretty difficult to beat.

Easter Egg Radishes: The crisp flesh carries a mild pepperiness and is a great source of Vitamins A, C, potassium, zinc and dietary fiber. Include in a simple sautee with butter and salt OR try  chopping and adding them to tacos and sandwiches for satisfying crunch and radishy zing.

Collards: Stemming from the original classification as a colewart (wild cabbage plant), collard greens have a rich history of cultivation and processing by the ancient Greeks with evidence support at least 2,000 years of human use.

Arugula: Here is an excellent recipe for an arugula pesto that can serve as a side to meat, fish or dressed atop a bed of rice.

Kohlrabi: If you haven’t tried a kohlrabi based slaw yet this spring season, here’s the recipe to do it with.

Fennel: The fronds can be used in a salad, though the bulb, which is very firm and crunchy, is the real “meat” of the crop. It has a fresh anise/licorice flavor and is excellent as a slaw grilled/braised until tender

Strawberries: These beautiful berries fruits are excellent in salad mixes, in pastries or tarts, in your ice-cream, or as a vinaigrette base.

Sweet Onions: Sautee ’em, braise ’em, or slice raw into a salad!

 

 

Try Rob’s Carrot-Dill Massaged Kale Salad with Ginger, Citrus, Tempeh, and Strawberries!

CSA

 

In your share this week will be:

Baby Arugula: Its distinctive vibrant green color, lobed leaves and spicy leaves can grace pastas, pizzas, quiches, salads, seafood dishes and much more. Harvesting arugula consistently ensures the younger, more tender and flavorful leaves are the only ones that make it into your share. Stores best wrapped tightly in plastic and kept in the crisper in your refrigerator. If you find the pepper flavor a tad overwhelming, add arugula to a green smoothie/juicing regimen, or steam it slightly to neutralize the “kick”.

Red Russian Kale: The LA Times has a great little profile here for Red Russian Kale, including preparation and storage tips, plus recipe suggestions!

Watermelon Radish: Watermelon Radishes pair well with fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, creamy based dressings, vinaigrettes, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, and  stir-fry noodles.

Beets: A new crop on the farm for the season! Try this recipe here for a brown sugar glazed roasted root medley!

Bok Choi: This Chinese cabbage is best friends with finely minced garlic and freshly grated ginger or turmeric. Combine with a cooking oil of choice (sesame oil or ghee butter work great) over medium-high heat and cook until stalks and leaves are tender.

Dill: Fresh dill is the tangy kick to any pickling recipe, salad dressings, or seafood dish. If you have a back-stock of root crops like carrots, radishes or turnips in your fridge, try pickling them with dill!

Red Butter Lettuce: After one of our farm lunches, I’m hooked on this new bibb variety. These large, soft and incredibly tender leaves are awesome for wraps, sandwiches and can be added to soups for flavoring. Serve butter lettuce with an oil and vinegar dressing, chopped nuts, crumbled goat cheese and you’re well on your way to salad greatness.

Broccoli: The “Green Magic” variety we grow on the farm carries a very palpable natural sweetness and tenderness. Braise, steam, sautee or make a slaw! You really can’t go wrong!

Snow Peas: Crisp, tender and sweet, the pods are eaten whole with these, as opposed to the shelling peas we’ve also got coming in from the field. Here is an awesome glazed pea recipe with chopped scallions! (Scallions not in the box this week but we’ll have them at our markets)

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