How to use your share

 

Typically, Farmer Karen and I (Kate) are the ones to write the blog posts. However, we thought you might appreciate a different point of view from time to time. So, introducing Kris, one of our new Work Share Members this year!

SFC_kohlrabi_labeled

 

As a fairly new CSA member, I sometimes find myself overwhelmed and perplexed by some of the produce I receive in my share, as I’m sure many new members do. However, this is not an issue as long as you push yourself to be (and stay) creative! A recommendation for everybody: Try each of your share items RAW, at least once (like kohlrabi–it is delicious)! You may be pleasantly surprised and discover your new favorite vegetable! This also helps you get an idea for the taste, and more easily allows you to imagine it in some of your more familiar recipes…

SFC_garlic_scapes_labeledWhich brings me to another recommendation: Add your new produce to your old dishes! Your macaroni and cheese recipe that’s been in the family for decades may benefit with a little added kale mixed in! Throw some sauteed green onions or garlic scapes in there to give it a more savory flavor.  Don’t confine yourself to one recipe per dish—slowly add and/or omit ingredients, tweak ratios, taste test, and bulk up your cookbook! This process is very inventive and fun, and you typically get a very tasty end result!
OK, so worst case scenario, you hate a dish you created…what now? Well, this is a learning experience! Get back up and try again! Or totally scrap that dish and try something completely new. Just remember: CSA shares are for your health and happiness, don’t be afraid to use what has been given to you!
And one more (obvious) recommendation for you: Search the net!  The internet is the best tool SFC_beets_labeledfor finding new recipes and preparation ideas for unfamiliar produce. Websites like Pinterest, Yummly, and AllRecipes are top notch resources. All you need is the name of the vegetable or fruit you want to use, plug that into the search bar, and get ready to be bombarded with mouth watering recipes! You will be shocked by the clever things people can do with food! Who knew you could make DELICIOUS red velvet cupcakes using beets? (we also have a recipe on our site that we made last year–either way, give it a shot. They are delicious!) Or homemade ketchup with rhubarb? Possibilities are endless, as long as you are open to trying new things and experimenting!
So, from one seasonal eater to another, I urge you to be curious and brave with your food!
Eat, drink, and be merry!
—Kris

Grilling vegetables…

I have been at the beach for a week, so am feeling a little out of touch. I received an update from Huffington Post Taste today, with an article on grilling vegetables. Gone are the days of a grilled portobello on a bun as the only vegetarian option at a BBQ (though I should point out, many of these should satisfy the meat eaters in the group too)! I am just going to include the link to this article, because there are way too many delicious recipes for me to list here. I cannot wait to get my share this week and start testing some of these out. Here are just a few of my favorites:

 

New Recipes!

I realize I am falling behind in my posts. My excuse is that I have been farming. The weather, and the barrage of insect pests, has been crazy this summer! Things seem to be settling down somewhat, so I am hoping to find more time for the fun stuff—finding recipes and making samples for pickup days!

Today we harvested our first (ever), experimental celery crop. We learned a couple of things, and will apply these lessons when we grow it next year. While this celery does have good flavor, the texture is a little tough. This isn’t so much a crudité type of celery, but a gumbo, potato salad or soup celery.  It would definitely benefit from some cooking or spending some time in a marinade or dressing.  The leaves are also very flavorful and can be chopped and used in egg or tuna salad, or used as a garnish for a bloody Mary.  Or frozen and added to heartier soups this Fall.

Anyway, as I said, it was an experiment. One of the benefits of joining a CSA is that you often get to experiment right along with us. So please give us your feedback!

 

What do I do with that?

Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers Markets

One thing we do here at the farm is talk about food and how to cook it. A lot. We want to share this with you as much as possible to help you enjoy what you get each week, otherwise, what is the point of getting all this fresh produce? We realize that not everything in your share box may be familiar to you, but that is all part of the CSA adventure! Each week we try to make sure we have recipes available when you pick up your share, especially for some of the more challenging items, such as kohlrabi, pea tendrils, or Swiss Chard. We find these things to be quite delicious and hope that you will give them a try! Most weeks, I will have a set of recipes that you can take with you. I also will be posting these recipes weekly in our blog, in case you didn’t pick any up.

Many share members have been asking where we find our recipes. I (Kate) subscribe to several food blogs that always provide me with great ideas. Two of my favorites are Alexandra’s Kitchen and Smitten Kitchen. The photographs on both blogs are beautiful and will, at the very least, make you hungry, but will hopefully inspire you to try something new.  A couple of other great sites are  My Recipes (all skill levels, with lots of quick and easy recipes) or Epicurious, for the more experienced cook. Or, when in doubt, just Google it! If you are looking online, checking out the reviews of a recipe can really help weed out some poor choices, or give you ideas on how to tweak something. For instance, last night I was debating what to do with my Swiss Chard stems (which is new for me) and came across this recipe:

The photo is beautiful, so I had to try it. Several reviewers commented however that the brine was too sweet, so I greatly reduced the amount of sugar. I am awaiting the results, but as these are sitting in the cooler at the farm, I am sure there will be some sampling involved in the pickup tomorrow night…If my revised recipe is good, I will include it here.

A unique cookbook organized by plant part to help fresh food lovers make the most of their seasonal shares and purchases.

No one likes to waste food, and I know it can be disheartening to get your share and not know what to do with any of it. Even experienced cooks sometimes have no idea what to do with piles of produce ALL AT ONCE, or need inspiration. Do yourself a favor, and get a good cookbook or two. Check out a few out from library and give them a test run before committing to anything. Some of my favorite cookbook authors are Deborah Madison, Molly Katzen, Mark Bittman and Alice Waters. ALL of these people work miracles with vegetables, but Deborah Madison is one of the best. In fact, check out her book Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America’s Farmers’ Markets. Two other produce-centric cookbooks recommended by Local Harvest are From Asparagus to Zucchini, and Farm-Fresh and Fast. These focus on tasty ways to eat deliciously, healthfully and seasonally. Having great recipes at your fingertips takes a lot of the fear out of the unknown. Try something new this week!

Here are the recipes for the shares during the week of June 23rd: