A new season is upon us

Here we are, getting ready to start our third full week of the CSA season…and I am just now writing our “welcome” blog. Gives you an idea of how nuts it has been this year! The weather has been full of extremes: a cooler and way drier than normal spring…moving into summer with days of extreme heat and drenching rains.vibrant rhubarb

Because of the cool dry spring, many early season crops were a little late getting in the ground…BUT, this also allowed us to get many of our summer crops planted much earlier. There is always a flip side in farming…

One of my goals with this blog is to present ideas on how to use your share. It does neither of us any good if you pick up a crate of vegetables each week, just to have them slowly rot away in your fridge. We take the utmost care to make sure we harvest early in the day, and get the produce into the cooler as quickly as possible, to make sure that it stays as fresh and tasty as possible. Once you get your share home, here are a few tips to help you store your veggies correctly. Now that you have everything stored correctly, what do you do with it???

Eating seasonally can take some getting used to. When people picture joining a CSA, they often have visions of cucumbers, melons, tomatoes and peppers dancing in their heads. not necessarily kohlrabi and turnips. BUT, all of the above make their appearance later in the summer–July at least, so, we grow what does well in season until we get to “the good stuff.” Another goal of mine is to get our members to see all of the produce as good stuff! Just because you have never heard of it doesn’t mean it isn’t good!

If you find yourself stumped for ideas, check out the word cloud on the right hand side of the page. Click on whatever vegetable interests you and you will see all the blog posts written on that topic.  Other social media sites are full of ideas: Facebook and Pinterest are great places to see what is happening with food.green onions

One of my favorite food blogs, and where I often go for inspiration is Alexandra’s Kitchen. She is a devoted CSA fan and has many wonderful, delicious ideas to get you going. As the mom of two young kids, her recipes are pretty easy to follow and don’t tend to involve any overly complicated kitchen sorcery.

Some of the recipes I have shared lately are Rhubarb Glazed Shrimp and Roasted Rhubarb and Asparagus Pasta Salad.

Without a doubt, one category of produce that continues to mystify and overwhelm people is GREENS. Particularly Asian greens: bok choy, Chinese cabbage, Yukina Savoy, Asian Salad Greens. These are pretty abundant in the spring and fall. They are so good for you, and so tasty once you figure out what to do with them!

Most of the time, a simple saute or braise can be used on many of our greens. They cook way down, so what seemed like a lot, becomes much more manageable. Fritters and slaws are a great way to handle many veggies as well. Fresh bok choy and apple slaw makes a great cool side dish–perfect for a hot day.

 

More Lettuce?

Nancy B

Nancy Butterhead, the most delicious butter crisp lettuce you will encounter.

Lily and lettuceSometimes Mother Nature does not work on our schedule. What we planned to be a leisurely harvest of lettuce over the course of the Spring season, has turned into a full-on race to get it all harvested before it rots in the field. This condensed schedule was brought on by close to 8 inches of rain in the past two weeks, which caused two things: the lettuce to grow extremely quickly and for its shelf life to be reduced somewhat due to the rapid growth. So yes, more lettuce in your shares, yay! Not to brag or anything, BUT, it is absolutely gorgeous lettuce, and varieties you won’t find in anywhere else. For instance, our favorite variety this year is Nancy Butterhead. For one, we just love saying the name, but it also is one of the best, most delicate and flavorful varieties we have come across in a long time. You will never find this in a grocery store because it is just too delicate to ship.

lettuce 2

Delicious, crisp, lovely, lettuce!

So, besides making a salad, what can you do with lettuce? You can add it to a sandwich, for an extra bit of flavor and crunch. Or, why not try a refreshing chilled lettuce soup? Lettuce cups or wraps are showing up on menus everywhere lately, from P.F. Chang’s to Chez Panisse. Basically, take any “filling” you like, such as egg or chicken salad, or spicy Thai chicken or pork, and wrap it in a lettuce leaf—voila! no fork required—just roll it up and eat like a burrito!

Below are some of the recipes we have been handing out on share days, plus online links to few fun spots. Huffington Post has a new weekly column, highlighting the more unusual things you might find in your share box. Last week they featured kohlrabi, and this week it is garlic scapes. Two very timely, and underrated, vegetables.

Joy and Kate

Joy and Kate harvesting pea tendrils in the early morning.