Archive for the ‘Organic Produce’ Category

Unfortunately, due to this spring’s record breaking rains we are low on available crops. So we will be taking a short break so the garden can catch up. Our next harvests should be

Tuesday July 8

Friday July 11

The good news is we are looking at the setup for our best tomato harvest in years! The plants haven’t looked this good, this early in years. The cucumbers, melons, and squash are all looking amazing. Even with the ridiculous rains this spring we’re looking forward to an excellent season. It’ll just be a little bit later than usual.

Thank you so much for your patience and support!

 

The zucchini looks amazing!

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This 2nd planting of carrots has had an awesome germination rate. That’s the biggest struggle with carrots, so they are past the danger zone.

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Your onions have recovered from the flooding and are growing strong

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We had to replant the watermelon 3 (!) times but it finally took and look how great they look!

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I can’t emphasize enough how good the tomatoes are looking

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Look! Little tomatoes!

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To have a visual representation of how the constant heavy rain affected the spring crops, here is a photo of our peppers:

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The big green ones in the lower left and upper right are transplants we put in this week. The itty bitty things in the upper left and lower right are our transplants we put in over a month ago! They actually got smaller over time. The rain was slowly killing them.

 

 

Here’s another comparison:

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These are eggplant, again the big plants are transplants from last week, the little ones are from over a month ago. Talk about frustrating!

 

 

Back to the positive:

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The best news of all; you can expect peas in your next basket!

 

There is a lot of good stuff coming your way. ;-)

 

Last week I included some tomatillos in some of the baskets. This very distant tomato relative is a staple in Mexican cooking, it puts the verde in salsa verde. At the farm we use it fresh chopped with cucumbers and onion in this recipe:

http://crazydaisycsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Tomatillo-Salsa.pdf

Or in enchiladas verdes

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/authentic-enchiladas-verdes/

They’re good at all stages of development and keep very well. The greener ones have a more tart flavor and the riper yellowish ones tend to be a little sweeter. I usually use a mix of green and yellow for a balanced flavor, but they are fun to experiment with so use whichever you like!

I also got this link from a customer, a perfect happy soup for a chilly day!

 http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/happiness-soup-207

With summer such a busy time, sometimes the greens and herbs from your weekly harvest basket don’t get to the fridge in time and end up looking a bit wilted. But don’t throw them out! Rinse them in cold water, wrap them in a damp paper towel, and put the whole works in a plastic baggie in the vegetable crisper of your fridge. This little trick will revive all but the most sensitive greens.   Works great for carrots, cucumbers, and beets too!

Want to have ripe tomatoes all week long? Grab some from the extras section that are still a bit green. They will ripen beautifully if left out on the counter for a few days.

Some of the tastiest tomatoes are the big ugly cracked ones. Don’t be afraid to cut the cracked top off and eat the rest, it would be a really bad idea to try this will produce from the grocery store, but these babies are so fresh you’re in the clear to enjoy them.

 

Patty Pan Squash

It’s not a new addition to our farm, but if you’ve never seen it before it would probably lead you to ask, ‘what IS that?’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patty Pan squash, also called scallopini, or button squash, is an adorable member of the summer squash family. We grow a light green variety (pictured above) as well as bright yellow and deep green varieties.

It’s used in all the same ways as other summer squash. The smaller ones are a visually interesting addition the your plate steamed whole, and they’re fabulous grilled.

So if you find a bunch of these little beauties in you basket have fun with them!

 

 

Fennel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each year I plant a few fennel bulbs. Fennel hails from the sandy shores of the Mediterranean and is widely used in their cuisine.  You may recognize the taste from Italian sausages and meatballs. It’s not a mainstream favorite here, but it’s licorice-y flavor adds some interest to your summer menu.

Customer, friend, and excellent cook Judy recommends this recipe: Provencal pork stew _with fennel_ to get you started with fennel.

My good friends Tim and Necole sent me this recipe with the note that it was delicious. They both have fabulous taste so I’m going to give it a try!

 

Here’s the recipe:

2 long purple eggplants (1 1/2 pounds each)

8 fresh kaffir lime leaves, minced, or 1 teaspoon lime zest

½ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup soy sauce

1 red Thai chili, minced

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 Tablespoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 Hass avocado- halved, pitted and thinly sliced

1 large carrot, julienned

1 medium English cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise

½ pound cherry tomatoes, halved

½ medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced

3 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon snipped chives, for garnishing

½ cup roasted cashews, coarsely chopped

 

~Directions

Light a grill. Using a fork, prick the eggplants in a few places. Grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until the eggplants are very soft and blackened all over, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and let cool slightly. Cut the stems off the eggplants and scrape off the charred skin. Tear the eggplants into long strips and discard the seeds. Transfer to a bowl.

 

In a small bowl, mix the lime leaves with the lime juice, soy sauce, chili, brown sugar, garlic, and lemon zest. Stir 3 tablespoons of the dressing into the eggplant.  Arrange the eggplant, avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and red onion on a platter. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the vegetables. Sprinkle the chives, mint, and cashews over the salad and serve.

In the baskets this week you’ll notice the first carrots of the season. We leave the tops on the carrots for a couple of reasons, the main one is that it allows us to use rubber bands on them instead of having to bag them. That helps us conserve our bags for the crops that really need them.

If you leave the tops on the carrots, they will leech moisture out of the carrot leaving it soft and rubbery. To prevent that, first thing you should do when you get them home is to cut or twist off the tops. Then you can run them under cold water, wrap them in a damp paper towel and put them in the fridge. That should keep them fresh and crispy for about a week.

Our First Harvest of Carrots

As an addition to our Greens Guide, I thought it necessary to have a Washing Greens page.

The thing is, if you’ve ever bitten into a dish of homemade greens and gotten even a tiny piece of grit in your teeth you know why a washing guide is so important. It’s gross. It’s like finding a hair in your food. Ew.

So to prevent that from ever happening again, it’s pretty important to master the art of washing greens. Which, luckily, is very simple, though slightly time consuming.

Step 1.) Fill your sink or a large bowl with water and soak the greens for a few minutes. This allows time for the dirt to dislodge and fall to the bottom of the sink. Remember to swish them occasionally. Adding salt to this step will dislodge any caterpillars or bugs that may be hiding out. Adding vinegar will help deter bacterial growth if you plan on keeping the greens in your fridge for a while. Adding both…well I don’t know,  but I’d think it wouldn’t hurt.

Step 2.) Remove the greens. Drain and clean the sink, or bowl. Depending on how dirty the greens are you may need to repeat step 1. If they seem reasonably clean you can move on.

Step 3.) Rinse the greens one leaf at a time under running water. Pay special attention to the underside of the leaf where dirt and bug/eggs can hide out.

That’s it, enjoy your greens!

Greens, while more popular in the south, are a great addition to our harvest baskets here in Minnesota.

On our farm we grow; collards, kale, mustard, Swiss chard, arugula, tatsoi and bok choy. Any of these may show up in your basket over the course of the season, although they are tastiest in the spring and fall, when the weather is cooler.

Packed with nutrients, like vitamins A, C, and E, they’re low in calories and high in fiber. They’re like a delicious multi vitamin.

 

Collard Greens & Kale:

Kale (left) Collards (right)

Traditionally boiled with ham hocks or smoked turkey legs until tender. I like to season them with adobo seasoning, for a little kick try adding Cajun seasoning. Every couple of months I get a super craving for them. The liquid left behind from boiling them is called pot likker and is fantastic sopped up with corn bread.

A word of warning about collard greens. Like other members of the brassica family, collards may contain goitrogens which may cause swelling of thyroid gland and therefore, should be avoided in individuals with thyroid dysfunction. However, it may be used liberally in healthy person.

Also keep in mind it should be used sparingly with people suffering from oxalate kidney stones.  A serving of collard greens provides more than 500 mcg of vitamin K which is well above daily recommended value; it is therefore, should be used cautiously in people taking anticoagulants like warferin.

 

Kale:

My favorite way to cook kale is in soup with peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, and onions. You can find the recipe in our Crazy Daisy cookbook here: http://crazydaisycsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/crazydaisy_cooks_081.pdf Try adding some Brie to it. I love this soup!

Kale can also be seasoned with salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil then baked in the oven until crispy, so yummy.

 

Swiss chard:

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is actually a member of the beet family that is grown for the green tops rather than the root. Thus the green tops of beets can be used exactly the same way you would use chard. This is one of the reasons we leave the greens attached to the beets when we harvest them, it’s like getting two vegetables in one!

Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically sauteed as their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a delicate flavor.

 

Tatsoi (tah tsai):

Tatsoi A.K.A. Tah Tsai

These beautiful little plants have a soft, creamy texture and a mild taste that blends well in any recipe that calls for spinach. Also great in a stir fry. Although my favorite recipe is sauteing it with bell peppers, onion, shallots, tomatoes and Cajun seasoning, and serving it over rice.

 

Mustard Greens:

Mustard Greens

Mustard contains large amounts of beta carotene and vitamin C. Mustard greens are also a source of calcium that can be important to lactose intolerant individuals. And are contain a significant amount of iron.

For cooking you can prepare them the same way you would collard greens.

 

Bok Choy (A.K.A pak choi):

Bok Choy

Cultivated in China for centuries, bok choy’s popularity comes from its light, sweet flavor, crisp texture and nutritional value. Not only is bok choy high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium, but it is also low in calories.

When it comes to cooking, you’ll find that bok choy is very versatile. Boiling, steaming, stir-frying and even deep-frying are all possibilities. With large bok choy you should want to separate the leaves from the stalks, because the thick stalks have a longer cooking time.

 

Arugula:

Arugula

Arugula looks similar to kale but has tender lighter green leaves, unlike kale’s waxy blue green leaves. An ancient leafy plant, it’s been grown around the Mediterranean since roman times. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, and potassium. It’s described as having a peppery taste but I think it tastes more nutty.

Very versatile to prepare, it can be eaten raw in a salad usually mixed with other greens, it’s also great either raw or cooking in a pasta dish, or even used to top pizza.

 

So the next time you get a big bunch of greens in your basket, enjoy them!

 

 

 

The time has finally come for the first harvests of the season! The dates are Tuesday June 28th, and Friday July 1st.

The first Newsletters are on the site. They have details of when and where to pick up your veggies and a great recipe that will have you using the first veggies in an amazing salad.

Tuesday:

http://crazydaisycsa.com/?page_id=25

Friday:

http://crazydaisycsa.com/?page_id=32

If you’re not sure what day you signed up for send me an email and I will let you know. Also please remember that all balances are due at the time of your first pick up.

The first baskets should have a nice mix of lettuce, various greens, fresh herbs, peas and radishes. And our first featured recipe makes good use of them in a wonderful balsamic vinaigrette.

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