CSA Week 13: Declaring War!

Week 13.1

I do believe that all of the critters here at Sapsucker Farms have joined together to attack all of the delightful, organic goodies all over the farm. The primary attack has taken place in my beloved hoop house. Never before, have I ever experienced such a coordinated attack by so many critters, that I am convinced that they have conspired to make it happen.
In the hoop house, there is a ground hog who has been able to get in and do a ground assault on the peppers. Meanwhile, I have had two deer… a mama and a baby… who are the first ungulates to figure out how to get inside the hoop house. And they have covered the aerial assault on the peppers, and have decimated the remaining beet crop. ARGH!.

Meanwhile….in the tomato patch, the chipmunks have indulged on all of the big, beautiful, gorgeous, delicious, gigantic, vine-ripened tomatoes. The most perfect, stunning, tomatoes, that I have been drooling over this past week, have each had one, big chomp from Alvin and his friends. I really hate chipmunks. And I hope that you too, have changed your mind about these greedy, and toothy little furry monsters.

Sigh.

Ok, but not all is lost. I am still able to scrounge up some pretty good things to put in your box this week. Even though it’s not what I originally planned. So here is what you’ll find.

Week 13.2

Shiitake mushrooms – the full share members were able to indulge in these meaty, delicious shrooms, and I’m happy to say that the crop has continued to produce so that everyone will get a taste of them this week. If you’re not familiar with shiitakes, you can google it to learn more. Otherwise, here are some easy recipes for you to enjoy.

Eggplant or Kale – I have lots of eggplant in the field this year, and so far nothing has tried to devour it. However, I only have a small amount of eggplant that is large enough for putting into boxes this week. So the folks in St. Cloud and Vital Images will get the eggplant this week. The rest of you will find kale instead. However, the roles will be reversed in a couple weeks, when the eggplant crop gets bigger, and is ready to be picked. Unless, of course, the field gets attacked by a flock of pterodactyls, which is entirely possible. Personally, I LOVE eggplant. It is such a versatile veggie with so many ways to prepare it. And here are some recipes for you to try.

Artichokes – actually, I should say “artichoke.” There are plenty of artichokes to have one in each box this week, but many more are on the way. Artichokes are easy to prepare. Here are some easy recipes to try, but be sure to google more ideas. I like to just boil them to tender, then pluck each pedal and dip in mayonnaise.

Potatoes – four different colors of spuds: red, blue, yellow, and white. Living in the Midwest, the land of meat and potatoes, I know you already know what to do with them. However, I should warn you, that the potatoes are very dirty…on purpose. Keeping them dirty will allow them to store for awhile longer. If I were to clean them up, I would also need to dry them out, and once they are cleaned and dried, they start to deteriorate. You’ll be seeing a lot more potatoes in the future, so just plan on some dirty, but delicious bags of spuds.

Mini onions – The crop of onions this year ended up being very small. Small in terms of size, not small in terms of what was planted. I don’t know why the onions were so small this year, I did ask the onions what was up with it… but I quickly learned that onions don’t speak English. Whatever. At any rate, even though the onions are small, they are still tender and delicious. So just pretend that they are shallots an you will be very happy with the results.

Basil – I am so impressed with my basil crop this year. Even though it is growing in the hoophouse, so far, there have been no critters – furry or multi-legged insects that have attacked them. That means you will have another batch of pesto to enjoy.

Peppers mostly hot peppers. As mentioned, the ground hogs and the deer have decimated my pepper crop. However, they seem to not like hot peppers. The Jalapenos, Hot Wax, and other hot peppers have been spared. I hope that at one point the deer and ground hogs took a nice big bite of a jalapeno, and fire blew out of their nostrils. Is that bad? Oh well. I have found a few sweet peppers too, so you might find some of those too. The good news is that there are lots of baby peppers on the plants, so if I can keep them out of the hoophouse, we may get some more yet this season.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes. Sorting through the rubble of the chipmunk attack, the good news is that there are plenty more green tomatoes on the vines. Unfortunately, this week the harvest is going to be significantly less than what you’re used to. My heart sinks as I think of the damage they have done. But I remain hopeful that there will be plenty more big beauties for you in future boxes…with the help of [an organic] bb gun…

Meanwhile… other news from the farm… On Saturday, August 20th, we participated in the St. Cloud Cider Fest. And we won the “People’s Choice” award for best cider! There were about 175 other beverages at this event, and the discerning consumers at this event voted that Yellow Belly was their favorite! We want to thank everyone for all of your support. And if you would like to give our cider a try, you can find some near you right here.

Week 13.3

Wishing you a delightful, fun, and safe Labor Day weekend. And be sure to enjoy some Yellow Belly as well.

Cheers,
Debbie

0

CSA Week 12: Shrooms go Boom!

Week 12

While we humans may not appreciate all of the damp, rainy weather, the shiitake mushrooms have taken advantage of it and went boom! And picking them kept our WWOOFer, Joe, busy to haul in about 50 lbs of yumminess. That’s right, this week you are in for a real treat. Here is what’s in your box:

Shiitake mushrooms – these are large, fleshy mushrooms, that can serve as a meat replacement. I simply sautee them with some butter and garlic and eat them as an appetizer. But here are a number of different recipes you may want to try. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, please don’t just throw them away. If you were to buy organic shiitake mushrooms at your local co-op, they fetch a price of $12 per pound. So give them to someone who does like them and you will make them very happy.

Artichokes – At last the artichokes are ready to harvest. They come in all sizes ranging from teeny tiny to large. My favorite way to enjoy them is to simmer them in water for about 45 minutes until tender, then pull the pedals and dip them in mayonnaise.

Gnarly carrots – some more funny shapes, sizes, and colors of sweet, tender, carrots.

Swiss Chard – A nice big bunch of rainbow chard. If you need a refresher course of how to prepare them, here are some recipes.

Mini cabbages – what is a mini cabbage? It is a very small cabbage that just didn’t get as big as the rest of the crop. They taste just the same, they’re just really little. So rather than letting them go to waste just because they are smaller than normal, how about we just eat them? That’s the plan this week.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – A big bunch of juicy, delicious tomatoes in many beautiful colors.

Mint – Since this is the unofficial last week of summer, I thought it might be a great opportunity for you to celebrate the summer with a nice cool beverage with fresh mint – a cucumber cooler, or mojito, whichever you choose, cheers to you.

Have a veer blessed week.

Debbie

0

CSA Week 11: Lots of Color.

Week 11

I just sat down on the porch, got all ready to write this week’s newsletter and remembered that I forgot to take a photo of this week’s harvest. So instead, I’m pulling up a photo from the Mora Farmer’s market last Saturday. While it’s not the same ingredients in your box this week, it is a very colorful display of what’s coming out of the veggie field these days. So here is what you will find in your box this week:

Beets with greens – Dark red, green, and gold colors. You’ve had the beet greens earlier this season, now you get a handful of the entire root with the greens. You will find a combination of golden and red beets. And don’t forget that the greens are also delish. If you’re looking for some preparation inspiration, here are some recipes to try.

Gnarly Carrots – Orange and white. These are NOT your typical, boring, straight, thin carrots that are common in the grocery store. These carrots have character and come in many different sizes and shapes. Some are chubby, some are skinny, some have multiple legs, some are white, most are orange, and they are all crispy, sweet, and tender.

Beans – green, purple, cream, and striped. Another helping of the multi-colored beans like you had in your box a couple weeks ago. You discovered that the purple beans turn green when they are cooked.

Kale – dark green, and a little lavender. A handful of the food that turns ordinary folks into super cool kids.

Peppers – yellow, green, red. A combination of sweet and hot.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – red, yellow, purple, pink. A nice big package of a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

The delivery schedule is as usual:
Good Earth Co-op St. Cloud – Tuesday by 10:30
St. Cloud Offices Tuesday by 11:00
Vital Images – Tuesday between 12 noon and 1pm
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
World Headquarters – Thursday by noon
City Center Market Co-op, Cambridge – Friday by 10 am
YB

And for all of you cider and craft beer fans, there are TWO fun events this Saturday August 20th that you might be interested in attending. We will be pouring samples of Yellow Belly at both the St. Paul Beer Dabbler at CHS Field in St. Paul, or the St. Cloud Ciderfest at Dick Putz field in St. Cloud. Both events are super fun, so we hope to see you there!

Cheers,
Debbie

0

CSA Week 10: Summer Sweet Corn.

Week 10

The one crop that exemplifies Minnesota summers is sweet corn. And tomatoes. And this week you’ll find both of these in your box, which means this is the ultimate Minnesota summer box.

Here is what you’ll find:

Sweet Corn – This is really a specially crop of sweet corn. Why? Because I didn’t grow it. Those of you who are veterans of my CSA know that I really don’t like growing sweet corn. And this year is no exception. I didn’t grow this, but this crop is still very special. My church in Cambridge owns a few acres of land on which is grown this sweet corn. When it’s ripe, an army of volunteers harvest the sweet corn, then sell it for $5 per Baker’s Dozen. Then 100% of all proceeds from the sale of this sweet corn is donated to the Cambridge food pantry. Last year over $7,000 was raised for the Cambridge food pantry just from the sale of this sweet corn. So as you enjoy this luscious rite of Minnesota summer, you can also celebrate the fact that the proceeds from this corn is feeding many more mouths in Cambridge and Isanti County.

Quirky Carrots – I confess, I’m not the best carrot farmer. While I do grow carrots, they are not straight and perfect looking. Quite the contrary. They are rather gnarly and creative. So you will find a healthy fist full of very unique looking carrots. But despite their unconventional look, they are tender and delicious.

Swiss Chard Even though this is the first time that Swiss chard has made an appearance in your box, you have already had a similar experience with this green. Swiss chard is a member of the beet family. So however you have prepared your beet greens from previous boxes, you can do the same with Swiss chard. And if you’re still looking for inspiration, you can browse through these recipes on our website.

Purple Turnips with greens – These turnips are much larger than the small white Hakurei turnips in a previous box.Turnips are in the brassica family, along with radishes, cabbage, broccoli, and more. Not only are the turnips edible, but so are the greens. For inspiration, here are some recipes to try.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – a nice big pack of a variety of color, sizes, and shapes of delicious heirloom tomatoes.

Broccoli – A head of broccoli, just like last week.

Enjoy the harvest,

Debbie

0

CSA Week 9: Caprese Salads – Where have you Bean all my Life?!

Week 9

If you haven’t heard of Caprese salads, you are in for a real treat. This week, your boxes will contain [almost] all of the ingredients you need to create this summer favorite.

Here is what you will find in your box this week:

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – this is the most anticipated, and most favored crop of the Minnesota growing season. So what is so different about heirloom tomatoes? Here are just few things to know: 1.) They are unbelievably delicious (remember this main point as I explain the other characteristics. 2.) They are very fragile. The majority of tomatoes grown or imported into this country are varieties that have been developed to travel long distances without getting mangled. Many varieties of heirloom tomatoes are so fragile that the skins are easily cracked when they are on the vine, while picked, or in transport to you. Therefore, I guarantee that you will definitely be seeing some tomatoes with cracked skins. In fact, one delicious variety I’m growing is a purple tomato called Black Krim, and I find that at least 90% of them have cracked skin. No joke. But they are worth the effort, so don’t be concerned. I promise I will only provide you with wholesome, healthy tomatoes. So if the skin is cracked when you get it, I recommend you eat those tomatoes first. 3.) They’re gnarly. While most store-bought tomatoes are perfectly round, heirlooms are very wonky and wild in their shapes. Last year I found one that looked just like Mr. Magoo. True story. 4.) These are vine-ripened. That means they are picked at the peak of flavor, rather than for the convenience of traveling thousands of miles to get to you. With all of that pre-amble, I should mention that I love to grow them. So it is my goal to keep your pantry bulging full with heirloom tomatoes throughout the rest of the season.

Basil – This culinary herb is the second ingredient needed to make caprese salad. The other popular use for basil is pesto. And you can have fun with either of these recipe options by using either the green or the purple basil.

Broccoli – Everyone gets a nice big head of broccoli this week. And if all goes well….if Mother Nature goes along with my plans…you’ll be seeing more broccoli throughout the rest of the season.

Beans – you’ll find a nice big bunch of multi-colored beans: purple, green, yellow, and dragons tongue. Dragon’s tongue is a larger bean which is a yellow/cream colored bean with purple stripes. However, you should know that the purple beans turn green when they are cooked. All of the beans can be used in any of your favorite fresh bean recipe, or try one of these on our website.

Peppers – a combination of sweet and hot varieties.

Cabbage – you’ll find either a pointy-headed heirloom cabbage, which is really cute, or a purple cabbage.

Cucumber – Sadly, this will be the last of the cucumbers for the season. My crop of cucumbers have fallen victim to the notorious cucumber beetle. Darn. So savor the last one of the season.

Enjoy the bounty,

Debbie

0

CSA Week 8: Emerging Summer Crops.

Week 8

Now that it is mid-July, there are many crops that are just starting to emerge. It’s so much fun to see them ripen up and even more fun to harvest ’em, pack ’em, and deliver ’em for you to enjoy. However, while the crops are indeed ripening up, it’s only just the beginning of the season, so what we have this week are the over achievers – the first little bit that is ahead of the rest of the crop of their kind.

But first… just a reminder for the full share folks THERE IS NO CSA NEXT WEEK. The CSA boxes will resume for everyone the week of August 1.

So here is what you’ll find in your box this week:

Kale OR Broccoli – Broccoli is one of those emerging crops right now. While there will soon be an ample supply of broccoli in the next few weeks, this week there are not enough broccoli heads for all boxes. So the broccoli heads will be randomly places in boxes, and the remaining boxes will be finding kale. Now kale is the super food for really cool people. Everyone knows that really cool people eat kale. And eating kale makes you really cool too. As a fellow cool person, I too love kale, and my favorite way to prepare kale is to simply chop it up, then sautee in olive oil and garlic. Kale chips are another fave of mine. And here are a few more recipes for you to try. Storage: both broccoli and kale can be stored in your veggie drawer in your refrigerator and will last for up to two weeks.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – Since this is the very first little bit that is ripening up, you will find just a VERY SMALL PORTION of tomatoes. I debated as to whether I should just eat the entire harvest of ripened tomatoes myself, or to share a very small portion with you all. As you can see, I opted to share them with you, so you can have just a little taste, knowing that there will be much more coming throughout the rest of the season. I’ll explain more about the characteristics of heirloom tomatoes, and how to store them in the next newsletter. Storage: If you haven’t already eaten your small portion by the time you bring your box home, keep you tomatoes on the counter. Do not put them in the refrigerator as that will significantly reduce their flavor.

Fennel Confession… I have tried for five years to grow fennel and have failed…until this year. The biggest reason for my previous failures is because I would get greedy, thinking “if I just leave them grow for a little longer, they will get a little bigger.” But every time I thought that, the fennel would just bolt. So this year, I opted to pick the fennel while it was still pretty small. I decided that it is better to have small fennel bulbs than to have no fennel bulbs. If you’re not familiar with fennel, it is a lovely veggie, a member of the carrot family, with white stalks and frilly, lacy, leaves. I like to just roast it and add it to salmon dishes, but here are a handful of recipes to try. Storage: keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Peppers – I’m growing about 10 different varieties of peppers, a combination of sweet and hot ones. Some are big, some are small, some are yellow, some are green, and eventually, if left on the plant for a long enough time, all varieties of peppers will turn red. You will find a combination of hot and sweet peppers to enjoy. Storage: Just like cucumbers, they can be stored either on the counter or in the refrigerator veggie drawer. Choice is yours.

Turnips with greens – Hakurei turnips are a small white turnip that looks like a radish. In fact, you can even eat them raw like a radish if you like. Otherwise there are a number of delicious savory recipes to try. And don’t just cut off and throw away the greens. Just like radish greens, turnip greens are also delicious. Yes, I know, these greens have already been enjoyed by some sort of toothy little bug, but don’t let the bug bites bother you, it’s just cosmetic. After all, when you get a bug bite on your arm, you don’t just cut it off and throw it away, just because it now has a couple of little red bumps on it, do you? Storage: keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Cucumbers – one or two for you to enjoy.

Zucchini – yes indeed. You’ve already had some practice with this versatile veggie.

Delivery Schedule
Good Earth Co-op in St. Cloud – Tuesday by 10:00 am
St. Cloud offices: Tuesday 10:00 – 10:30 am
Vital Images – Tuesday between noon and 1:30 or so
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
World Headquarters – Thursday noon or later
City Center Market Co-op – Friday 10:00 am

Cheers,

Debbie

0

CSA Week 7: Beet it.

Week 7

Don’t ask me why, but the famous Michael Jackson tune keeps running through my mind. But I guess that’s ok, because I’m quite sure the song is all about one of my favorite garden veggies, right?

Now that we are in the middle of summer, some of the heartier, more colorful veggies are ripening up. And nothing is more colorful than beets. In fact, be careful as you slice up these beauties, as their juice is a natural food coloring so you can easily stain your clothes too.

Enough preamble… here is what you’ll find in your box this week.

Beets with greens – a nice bunch with a combination of three different varieties: Golden beets, and two different kinds of red beets. If you’re not familiar with how to prepare fresh beets, here is a selection of recipes from the website. Also, the greens are equally nummy, which of course you already know because you’ve had beet greens in your box previously, so don’t just toss them out. Instead, toss them into a salad, are cook them up as a savory side dish. Both are full of antioxidants.

Kale – three different varieties of this trendy, nutritious green: Toscano (long, thin, dark green leaves), Russian (flat, smooth, medium green with blueish/purple veins), and curly kale (curly leaves…duh). All three can be used in any of the recipes from the website.

Kolrabi – You were introduced to this crunchy brassica last week. So you can try a different recipe this week if you like.

Zucchini – you’ll find two or three this week. I’m growing several different varieties, so they could be either dark green, light green, striped, yellow or ridged. All of them can be used in any of your favorite zucchini recipes, including all of the recipes on the website.

Cucumber – You’ve had some practice with this one. And since you’ll be getting a handful of mint this week too, you can make a refreshing cucumber, mint, and lemon or lime water beverage to kick back and cool down this week.

Mint – combine with cucumbers, lemon, or lime in a pitcher of cold water and enjoy.

Until next week… enjoy.

Debbie

0

CSA Week 6: The Great Zucchini.

Week 6

Our Australian WWOOFer Em, demonstrates how to balance the magical zucchini. I say magical, because zucchinis are such an incredibly versatile, gentle, refreshing, prolific, and delicious veggie that is grown. What’s so impressive about the great zucchini is that it can be consumed raw, or cooked in a savory dish, or even made into a dessert. Considering it’s vast versatility, it’s a good thing that it grows so prolifically, in order for us to enjoy the many ways it can be prepared.  So you guessed it. You will see zucchini in your boxes starting this week and will probably be seeing them in your box throughout the majority of the remaining season. Good thing I’ve got a nice collection of recipes on our website for you to try.

But first… just a reminder to the folks in St. Cloud that due to the holiday weekend, some of the offices I deliver to are closed on Tuesday, so this week’s delivery to St. Cloud and Vital Images will be on WEDNESDAY instead of Tuesday. Deliveries will resume on Tuesdays next week.

So here’s what’s in your box this week:

Week 6 too

Garlic scapes – These are really fun. They are the long, curly-stemed flowers that sprout from the garlic plants. The flowers need to be removed, then the garlic bulb will stay big and strong, ready to harvest in about a month. Meanwhile, the garlic scapes can be used just like garlic. Chop them up nice and fine, and add to your recipe as if it was garlic, although it is a little milder than regular garlic bulbs. Storage: keep in your fridge veggie drawer and it will last for up to three weeks, maybe even longer.

Zucchini – if you skipped the above paragraph, now is the time to go back and review it :-). Storage: in the fridge veggie drawer, should be good for a little over a week.

Cucumbers – Another popular cucurbit that you will be seeing quite frequently throughout the summer as well. Storage: You have a choice here. There is a debate… some experts say to store in the fridge, other experts say store on the counter. I’ve tried both and they both work, so you can decide which storage method works for you.

Red Cabbage – Actually, I think it’s more of a purple color, but historically, and according to the seed package which says “red express,” it has been called “red” cabbage. It can also be easily used in any of your favorite cabbage recipes, no matter what kind of cabbage is cited in the ingredient lists. And here are a few more to try. Storage: In a plastic bag in the fridge, should last up to two weeks, even longer.

Kohlrabi – If you’ve never had this before, you’re in for a treat. It’s a member of the brassica family, just like cabbage, broccoli, radishes, and more. It’s best to peel it, and don’t be too quick to throw away the leaves as they are tasty too. My favorite way to eat it is to slice it very thin, and add a dash of salt. And another favorite way to enjoy is to shred it up like a potato, and fry it up like hash browns. It has the consistency of a radish, and the flavor of a cabbage. Here are a few recipes to try. Storage: in a plastic bag in the fridge, will last a good two weeks or more.

Parsley – a nice bouquet of this popular herb. If you feel inspired, you can make a tabouli salad, a popular Mediterranean dish. Storage: place in a vase on your counter to enjoy like a bouquet of flowers, or place in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge. Should last about 5 days.

Lettuce – I know, i know… I keep threatening you saying that this is the last time you will be having lettuce in your box. That’s because lettuce does not tolerate hot weather, so it bolts. Usually all of the lettuce bolts by now, but I still had a couple of heirloom varieties that have a high tolerance to bolting, so you’re in luck. But this is definitely the very last of the lettuce for the season, as everything is now picked. Storage: keep in a sealed plastic or glass container and store in the fridge, should last about 5 days.

You will notice that I don’t have a photo of the box ingredients included this week. That’s because the sugarhouse, where I clean and pack the veggies, was already in use by my husband as he is mixing up a new batch of Yellow Belly hard cider. The sugarhouse is a multi-use room. In the spring it is where we make maple syrup. In the summer it is where I clean and pack the veggies for the CSA. In the fall, it is where we press apples into fresh cider. And in addition to that, it is used all year long as it serves as our winery to make Yellow Belly hard cider. And today was one of those days where the winery took over, so there wasn’t any room for me to set up a photo of all of the ingredients today. But I will take a photo of it all and will add it to this post on our website later this week (photo now added).

As always, please return your box and cooler packs so I can refill them for you again. Here is the delivery schedule for this week:

Good Earth Co-op, St. Cloud Wednesday by about 10:30 a.m.
St. Cloud Offices Wednesday mid-morning
Vital Images Wednesday Between 12:30 and 2pm
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
World Headquarters – Thursday by noon
City Center Market Co-op, Cambridge – Friday morning by 10 a.m.

Enjoy,

Debbie

0

CSA Week 5: An Eclectic Array of International Cuisine.

week 5

Hello CSA Members,
This week’s box is quite a collection of favorites from many different regions of the world. Asian. Italian. Mediterranean. American. In honor of the multi-cultural delicacies, I thought it might be fun to highlight the items by their regions of origins…as I understand them to be.

Italian – a hefty handful of purple and green basil. This is such a versatile herb that it is frequently used in a multitude of Italian dishes. It can be added to your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce, or used all by itself as a pesto, which is my personal fave. Storage: you can either keep it in a vase of water, like a bouquet of flowers, right on your counter top, or store them in a plastic bag or container in the fridge. Both options should keep this herb fresh for about 4 to 6 days.

Mediterranean – a nice stack of grape leaves. I know, I know, you’re thinking “What? Seriously?? What the heck do I do with grape leaves??!” Those of you who have been a member of our CSA for the past few years will know what to do. But for those of you who have never heard of eating grape leaves, you are in for a wonderful Mediterranean treat. Here at Sapsucker Farms we regularly feast on stuffed grape leaves, also known as Dolmas. You can google and find numerous different recipes for dolmas, and there are some delicious options out there. But I keep it really simple, and have prepared this step-by-step guide on how to make stuffed grape leaves, a.k.a. dolmas. And by the way, I’ll be enjoying stuffed grape leaves this week as well. And you may even see grape leaves in future boxes as well. Storage: Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge, and they should be good for at least a week.

Asian – I had a very abundant crop of bok choy this year, but alas, this is the last of this popular Asian green. I’m sure by now you have found your favorite way to prepare it. As it happens, I had it for supper tonight in a stir fry, and it was delish. [Burp]. Storage: perhaps you still have a bok choy from a previous box. Just keep them in the veggie drawer of your fridge, and they should last at least a week to 10 days.

American – ok, I admit that these items are popular all over the world, including here in America, so in honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I opted to give these items a nod to our own heritage.

Cucumbers – The beginning of the cucumber season is now here. I should mention that cucumbers win the Sapsucker Farms MVP award every year, as they are a very prolific crop, so you will probably be seeing them in every box starting now through at least the end of August…unless some plague of locusts, rabbits, or other hungry beasties overtake them. Here are a few starter recipes to try. Storage: There is conflicting opinions about the proper storage of cucumbers. Some experts say to just keep them on your counter and they should last about 5 days. Others say put them in the fridge and they should last about 5 days. I’ve tried both, and they both work, so you can decide which method works best for your family.

Zucchini – This crop wins the runner up for 2nd most prolific crop of the season. You’ll be seeing a lot more zucchini in your future boxes, and the great news is that this is such a versatile veggie that can be used in savory dishes as well as deserts. This first box will only include one, maybe two small zucs, so it’s a great opportunity to start thinking about new recipes to try. I have a few here that can get you startedStorage: much like cucumbers…you can keep them on your counter or in your fridge. Both options give them a lifespan of about 5 to 7 days.

Lettuce – This is definitely the last of the lettuce. I’ve been able to eek out one more week of either romaine, or heirloom heads of lettuce, but the majority of the remaining lettuce has bolted.  I only wish I could keep it going for just a couple more weeks when the tomatoes will be ready, because there is nothing better than home-grown BLT sandwiches. Ok… I know… bacon doesn’t grow on a tree… but if I could grow it I would. However, I will plant a new succession of lettuce in the fall, so hopefully there will be one more opportunity for fresh local lettuce (and maybe even spinach) towards the end of the CSA season.

I wish you all a very happy 4th of July holiday. And as you are planning your summer festivities, I’d like to suggest that you add our Sapsucker Farms Yellow Belly hard cider to your shopping list. Available in two flavors: original semi-sweet, and ginger Yellow Belly.

Cheers,
Debbie

0

CSA Week 4: Transitioning from Spring to Summer

week 4

Welcome summer. The season that we Minnesotans to eagerly look forward to, fill up with fun, and then all of a sudden, it’s fall. Knowing that summertime is full of vacations and complicated schedules, for you half share members, if you plan on being out of town during the week you would normally get your box, just let me know and I would be happy to switch up the schedule so you can get your box the following week instead. And with that thought in mind…

SLIGHT SCHEDULE CHANGE FOR 4th OF JULY: Since July 4th is on a Monday, many offices are also closed on Tuesday as well. So the delivery to St.Cloud offices, Good Earth Co-op, and Vital Images will be on Wednesday July 6th instead of Tuesday July 5th. All other deliveries that week will remain the same for those of you who pick up your box in Mora, here at World Headquarters, or at City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge.

So now… back to the veggie boxes. Just as our weather is transitioning from spring to summer, so are the crops transitioning from cool weather to warm weather produce. So here is what you’ll find in your box this week.

Sunflower shoots – a handful of these nutty, tender, and delicious sprouts from sunflower seeds. These are best enjoyed raw, either on a salad, or just as a snack. Storage: keep the plastic clam shell it comes in closed and store in the fridge.

Rosemary plant – I have an exceptionally good crop of rosemary this year. You’ll be seeing it again in future boxes, but for this first appearance, you will get a rosemary plant. The great thing about having a plant is that you have three options: 1.) put it in a window, water it, and let it grow big and tall. It has the potential to grow as big as a floor plant in just a couple of years. 2.) cut it up and use it in your favorite dish right now as a fresh herb. 3.) completely neglect it, let it dry up, then use it as a dried herb in your favorite dish. So you can’t go wrong in any of these scenarios.

Wombok – I know… you’ve never heard of womboks, right? Well neither did I until we had a WWOOFer from Australia stay with us for a few weeks. One day she mentioned to me “You have some huge womboks in the hoop house!” My immediate reaction was “What?! Womboks??!” and I pictured these hungry little monsters, like Tasmanian Devils devouring everything in sight. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and it turns out that a wombok is the Australian translation for Napa cabbage. Whew. Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a popular, tender and mild, oblong-shaped cabbage used in stir fries, slaw, kimchee and more. Here are some recipes to try. However, they are also quite a bugger to clean. As they grow, the leaves are spread out wide and relaxed, so dirt and grime easily drops down inside. So pay close attention to clean it thoroughly before you prepare it. Storage: in a sealed plastic bag or container.

Arugula – This spicy green made it’s first appearance a couple of weeks ago, as one of the ingredients in the salad mix. The full share members found it in their box last week. As the spring season comes to a close, so do some of the early greens, including arugula. This is also a fancy green that is often used in fancy dishes at fancy restaurants. One of my favorite ways to use it is as a pesto. Here are a few recipes to try if you’re not familiar with it. Storage: in a sealed plastic or glass container in the fridge.

Farmers Choice As the season transitions, I have some crops that are finishing up, while other crops are just starting to emerge. Since there are not enough of each of these crops to put in everyone’s box, you will find one of these items in your box: radishes (the last of the season crop, and don’t forget that the greens are edible too) OR cucumbers OR zucchini OR scallions.

Lettuce – The lettuce season will soon be coming to a close as well. It has always been my desire to try and have lettuce make it all the way to the tomato season. But since lettuce is a cool season crop, and tomatoes are a warm season crop, it can only be one or the other. Doesn’t seem fair, since BLT’s are such a great summer treat. Anyhoo… I digress… I think I might be able to eek out one more week of lettuce after this, before it all starts to bolt. So this week you will find some combination of romaine, and/or heirloom bibb lettuce. Storage: in a sealed plastic bag, or plastic or glass container and store in the fridge.

REMINDER: Please return your wax produce box and cooler packs to your pick-up location so I can re-fill them for you with more fresh, organic produce throughout the summer.

Here is the schedule for this week:
Good Earth Co-op, St. Cloud – Tuesday around 10:30 am
St. Cloud Offices – Tuesday between 10:00 to 11:00
Vital Images – Tuesday between noon and 2pm
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms World Headquarters – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday 10:00 am

Enjoy,

Debbie

0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes