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CSA week 15

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Today’s share is a base box of a small sugar pumpkin, a spaghetti squash, bell pepper, carrots, tomatoes and dry edible beans. At pick up, members can choose another store-able squash: a Spaghetti squash, Small Sugar pumpkin or Cinderella pumpkin. Both of the pumpkins are great for eating! If you are looking for different ways to use the spaghetti squash, here are 25 different ways to serve it up! Just scroll through the photos on that link. It’s easy to preserve the pumpkin for later. You can wash it down with a 10:1 water to bleach ratio and keep them cool, but not cold for several months. You can also very easily freeze, dehydrate or can them. Please note that a pressure canner is needed to can pumpkin and any non-acid food. You should NOT can pureed pumpkin only cubed. Freezing is the best method for pureed pumpkin.

Left to right: Spaghetti Squash, Small Sugar Pumpkin, Cinderella pumpkin

Members can also choose 2 peppers: a basket of chili peppers, habaneros, jalapenos or another bell pepper. The red jalapenos are more mature than the green, therefore hotter, but also a sweeter taste. Any of the peppers can be chopped to your desired size, put into a freezer safe container and will last you several months. We used the last of our 2012 peppers this July and they held up quite well.

Clockwise from top left: red chili peppers, green jalapenos, sweet bell peppers, red mature jalapenos, habenero peppers

Clockwise from top left: red chili peppers, green jalapenos, sweet bell peppers, red mature jalapenos, habanero peppers

The dry beans are a variety called Jacob’s Cattle. So pretty! We haven’t tried these yet, but they are supposed to be very tasty. I just finished winnowing these today, so I was happy for the wind to help.

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This is the last CSA box for the 2013 season. We’ve learned a lot from this way of marketing and we hope to learn more from our members in the near future. A one page survey will be included, we hope you’ll fill it out and send it in so that we can make any necessary changes for next season. That said, there are already things that we plan on doing differently next year if we choose to continue the program! Thanks to all who participated, and to those who have shown interest in purchasing shares in the future. Look for information on Facebook, here on the blog, or in your mailbox this winter.

CSA week 14

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It seems as if we will make it to 15 weeks this year! Many gardeners are already done due to a frost last week. We didn’t get that one, fortunately, so we still have time to get more produce out.

This weeks box includes cabbage, tomatoes, a variety of hot peppers (jalapenos, the long red ones are chili peppers and the orange ones are habaneros), beets, sage and potatoes. The cabbage, tomatoes and peppers would go well in this Creole Cabbage recipe. Instead of the can of tomatoes and rotel, use some fresh tomatoes and your choice of peppers the jalapenos are generally the milder and the habaneros the spiciest! Any peppers that you don’t immediately use can be frozen. We slice or chop them then freeze directly in freezer bags to use in cassaroles, stir frys and scrambled eggs as needed.

The amount of sage in the box is probably too much for most recipes, so I would encourage you to preserve it for later. Here is a great photo tutorial on how to freeze any herb in oil for use later.

Unfortunately, this is about it for the potatoes. We had issues with gophers in the garden that really took a toll on the potatoes and some of the beets too. The skins are slightly imperfect so they won’t be good for saving. It should be a good amount to use quickly.

CSA week 13

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In the box today: this will be the last of the corn, bell peppers are still going strong, as are the summer squash and tomatoes for now. You’ve also got a good amount of carrots and a few small onions. Our onions didn’t get very big this year, I’ve heard from one other gardener that had poor luck this year too, not sure what the problem was with those.

Here is the first of the pumpkins! This is called ‘Small Sugar’ and is a great one for baking pies with it’s sweet flesh. If you aren’t into pumpkin pies how about Roasted Pumpkin Soup or Pumpkin Pancakes? Pumpkin bread made into french toast is one of our favorites! The recipe for the pumpkin soup has a run down on how to cook and make a puree from your whole pumpkin.

CSA week 12

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We’re very excited about today’s box, We will be using the same ingredients for supper (tonight and probably for a few more!) The tall yellow-ish squash in the back is spaghetti squash. Click here to find out how to cook this baby. Once cooked you can shred the insides to use it as the pasta in your spaghetti, hence the name. The rest of the ingredients can be used for a yummy homemade pasta sauce and then some. The rest of the box is tomatoes (all ripe regardless of the color!), onion, oregano (the smaller leaved herb), basil, bell peppers of varying colors, summer squash (the round, flat white squash) and an eggplant. Several boxes got 2 bell peppers instead of an eggplant as our plants haven’t been producing much.

The eggplant and summer squash are optional ingredients in the following recipe. If you choose to use them, peel and either chop or slice them to your desired size and saute at the same time as the onion and bell pepper. Or, click here to lean how else to use the eggplant, and here to find out about the summer squash.

Square Peg’s Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

3 lbs tomatoes roughly chopped (seeded or not, your choice)

1/4 cup chopped onion (add more if you like more onion flavor)

1 cup chopped green pepper (more or less to your taste)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 cup chopped summer squash (optional)

1 cup chopped mushrooms (optional)

1 cup chopped eggplant (optional)

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Splash of white wine or balsamic vinegar (optional, but recommended)

salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil to your pan on medium heat. I always use my large cast iron skillet. Once the pan and oil are warmed, add onion, pepper, squash eggplant and mushrooms to the skillet and saute till the onion is translucent and the other vegetables are tender. Add the garlic basil and oregano to the mix and stir constantly for about a minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and the vinegar of your choice and allow this to start to bubble, turn heat to med-low and simmer until the consistency is how you like it. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over spaghetti squash or pasta.

If you prefer a smoother texture, pop it in your food processor or blender when done or blend all the ingredients and add to a stock pot to simmer until it reached the desired consistency.

This is just a base recipe, I don’t often cook it from a recipe and just add what sounds good!

CSA week 11

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A good mix this week! Corn, green beans, carrots, beets and tomatoes. Tomatoes are a favorite at this house, we usually have at least 5 varieties planted in various colors. Pictured are a ‘Black Trifle’ which looks more purple to me a red and yellow that I couldn’t find tags for, probably ‘Beaverlodge’ and ‘Lemon Boy’ and the ‘Green Zebra.’ The green is my personal favorite. When they are ripe they take on a more yellow hue than the unripe ones.

Not pictured is the mint, but I am going to send it this week, promise. See CSA week 10 for recipes for the mint.

Here is an interactive Farmer’s Market Recipe Generator to help you out with using this weeks produce. It has some very tasty looking recipes!

Almost all of this week’s share was picked after the rain, either last night or this morning. I only washed the root crops. Veggies store best when they are unwashed. With everyone’s varied cooking and eating habits, I want your produce to last as long as possible if it isn’t eaten immediately!

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

CSA week 10

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Well, here we are, at what we hope will be the halfway point of our CSA season. Exactly how long we run will depend on the weather. Since we had a later spring than we had hoped, maybe we’ll have a late fall as well!

The summer squash plants are still going strong, but I feel that the last 2 boxes have been heavy enough in squash that everyone will appreciate a rest. Corn, though, seems to be a popular item at the Farmer’s Market, and I certainly can’t get my fill of fresh sweet corn. So, corn is again included. Carrots also have a repeat performance. If you are looking for a new way to enjoy them you might try Chipotle-Lime Roasted Carrots or steamed, buttered and sprinkled with dill (still my favorite!)

The hot weather got me thinking about the many ways to spice up drinking water to make sure it’s easy to stay hydrated. That’s why I’ve included fresh mint in this week’s share. Gently crush a few sprigs and toss into a pitcher of water to store in the fridge for an extra refreshing glass when you need it. If you want to get a bit fancy, fix yourself a Mint Mojito or the non-boozy version here. It’s also very refreshing to just chew a leaf or two of mint throughout the day…better and better for you than store bought chewing gum!

The rest of the box will be perfect for some fresh salsa: tomatoes, green pepper, onion and jalapenoes. This is what I always most about fresh garden tomatoes since I pretty much refuse to buy those round cardboard things from the supermarket in the winter…unless I am really, really desperate. I don’t have a real recipe and that’s probably OK because everyone has their own taste when it comes to salsa.You will probably want to use all the tomatoes if you make salsa, as for the peppers and onions, it’s totally up to your taste. You will probably have some left over for another dish!

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I just do a rough chop of the ingredients and let them sit together for a few hours for the flavors to meld. If you like, you could put everything in the blender, once it’s chopped, for a smoother texture. I like it chunky. Chop your tomatoes and add to your bowl. I do a fine chop for my onion and jalapeno to make sure the spice and flavor are distributed. I do the same for the green pepper (you can use any sweet pepper) just so the salsa isn’t too crunchy. Use more or less jalapeno and onion to your taste and a tip: adding some of the seeds of the jalapeno will add more heat to your salsa. If you have cilantro, fresh or dried, it’s a great addition. You can also add cumin to taste. I always use a few splashes of lemon or lime juice but some folks use cider vinegar.

A note about the tomatoes: we grow a wide variety of them! Red is only the beginning, some of my favorites are yellow and green when ripe. In the boxes this week there are a fair amount of reds with a yellow here and there and even a few purple-y looking ones. I couldn’t find the tag for those, so I’m not positive, but I think they are technically called a ‘black’ tomato. Enjoy the colors!

CSA week 9

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More sweet corn! Dave and I have tested quite a few ears now and we just aren’t impressed with the taste…I think we’ll try another variety next year. This was the earliest variety that Dave could find when buying seed. It just goes to show you, when you start breeding for certain characteristics, taste sometimes suffers.

This is the debut of carrots! Our favorite way to enjoy them is cut lengthwise, steamed till tender and served with butter and dill. This is also the first week that cabbage has made an appearance. The way I like it best is with corned beef. One of our CSA customers boils it in beer and the pickling spice you get with the corned beef, it’s great. Boiled and served with salt and pepper is good too!

This photo shows a green pepper, but some members did receive a purple one. The purple is sweet pepper just a bit more fun to look at. You’ll  notice yellow squash in the photo and something else. The little white disk shape is also a summer squash and can be used the same way as a yellow squash or zucchini. The variety is called Bennings Tint. I think it’s fun to cut it in half, into two bowls, scoop out the seeds and stuff it like a stuffed green pepper and bake in the oven.

Tucked in behind the carrots and corn is fresh basil. I love it in a caprese salad, so slice up the tomatoes in the share and some fresh mozzarella and your basil put it all on a plate and sprinkle with olive oil and, if you like, a bit of balsamic vinegar. Yum!

CSA week 8

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Now this is how I envision a CSA share! It’s been a slow summer till now, but things are finally starting to come in. This weeks share includes: beets, summer squash (here’s are recipe for Parmesan Garlic Roasted Summer Squash), kale, a few tomatoes, green beans, corn and a green pepper.

I was surprised to find corn ready, since I was just telling folks at the farmers’ market that it would be 2 weeks at least. We had just enough to send 4 ears to each of our members and try a couple ourselves. Our favorite way to cook is on the grill INSIDE the husk! Here‘s a like to the directions.

You’ll notice peas are missing from this box. There are absolutely peas in the garden, but we’ve heard from a few members that peas are getting tiresome. We’ll get our fill in the freezer this week and go from there. On that note, feedback is ALWAYS appreciated. We may have much different tastes and ideas than you. Let us know what you love and what you don’t so we can try to accommodate! This may also be a good reminder that when you find you have too much produce left over from the share, you may want to freeze it to save for some cold winter’s night when you are 3 months from your next share. I will try to find some recipes to use peas before I send more your way.

There is something different going on with the green beans. We use a lot of disposable plastic. By we, I mean Dave and I and the culture as a whole. So, I am trying something a little different to get away from all the little one-use plastic bags. I loaded up on food baskets, the kind that you get your burger and fries in at some joints. It seems to me that things like peas and green beans need to be contained in some way so that I don’t just had you a box or bag with them all mixed together at the bottom. This is also an easy way to designate the portion that will be given. I’m going to give this a try at the farmers’ market as well. I’ll have several baskets of beans or peas ready and when purchased the lot will go into the customers bag and the tray will get refilled. We’ll see how that works, we’re straying quite a ways from the box. I am going to sweeten this new deal with a giveaway at market, in keeping with the plastic reduction theme, customers can enter our drawing each time that they use a re-usable shopping bag at our table. Stay tuned for what the prize will be, I suppose I’ll have it figured out by Tuesday!

P.S. I will reuse these new baskets and any boxes that I send your produce in, save ’em and bring ’em next Thursday. Thanks!

CSA week 7

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This week’s share included: peas, snow peas and green beans which have all been staples for a while. Summer squash made an appearance again, a few members received zucchini and the rest yellow squash. There are lots of squash on the plants, but for some reason they just aren’t growing as fast as they should be.

Beets have made their debut this season! One member’s favorite is the beet greens so I made sure that these were included. They can be sauted like any green with a little butter and onion or garlic.

Tomatoes are also a first. We have had a few small handfuls of these little yellow cherry tomatoes in the past week. There were finally enough to divvy up between our CSA members today. There was a mix of regular red tomatoes (I couldn’t find the marker, so I can’t tell you what variety specifically), red grape, yellow cherry and a few red cherry tomatoes.

CSA week 6

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More peas! The plants are finally producing well, but now our snow peas have slowed down. We have second plantings of both kinds of peas that are just starting to produce, so peas will just keep coming. We hope that is a good thing!

This week, we’ve included something special: squash blossoms! These are a great treat, we’ve included just enough in this week’s share for a bit of an appetizer. We’ve got two recipes one with breading here, and the other without here. The first recipe calls for mint, but Heather just can’t get behind that, so we’ve included enough oregano for this recipe.

The bunch of kale would be great as Kale Chips substitute any seasoning if you don’t have the nutritional yeast. You can use kale any way you would use spinach: in scrambled eggs, added to casseroles or as a cooked green.

Green beans can get a bit boring if you eat them too often. To help yo out with that, try this simple recipe for Spicy Green Beans. Yum!  P.S. the green beans are coming to you a bit dirty because of the recent rains. This may seem like a rookie move, but they will actually stay fresher for you longer if you store them unwashed and clean them just before you prepare them.

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