2016: CSA Box Week 5

Happy summer! The summer solstice this week represents a special time for farmers. It’s a deadline of sorts – the date by which we aim to have most of our plants in the ground. Over the last week we have transplanted tens of thousands of tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, sweet potatoes, and flowers. Left on our “to-do” list is our winter squash and pie pumpkin crop, which will be planted this week. The solstice marks the next major transition in the season from transplanting plants into the soil to caring for them: weeding, hoeing, trellising, irrigating (our first cycle, sowing seeds in the greenhouse, lasted from mid-March to mid-May). Eventually we’ll transition again into almost strictly harvesting late in the summer and in the fall – but let’s not get ahead ourselves – for now we’re still waiting for zucchini to arrive (next week!). Each season we work to improve the timing of our plantings, quality of our produce, and narrow in on the specific varieties of foods that are your favorites (so please tell us what you love!). We balance these production goals with our identity as a teaching farm, where our apprentices can learn, practice, make mistakes, and acquire the tools and skills that will help them pursue a career in agriculture, food policy, education, etc.

This week’s box contains a lot of luscious greens again. We hope you’re feeling fresh, vibrant, and healthy after this extraordinary spring greens season. We know this many greens can feel like a challenge, and we congratulate you for your effort. When we’re selecting the box for the week we try to strike a balance between giving you what looks the best in our fields, introducing some new items that haven’t made an appearance in the box yet, giving you a great value for the price of your membership, and giving you the opportunity to finish the box in a week! This is challenging for us early in the spring when there are many unfamiliar greens, so we hope you have found some new favorites over the last few weeks.  We farmers have a leg up because we’re so familiar with the food in your boxes, and get to play and experiment with these items every day. So for fun, here’s what I would do with everything in this week’s box (simple and easy – farmers don’t have a lot of time for cooking!). First I would unpack the box, transfer everything into plastic bags and put “like things” with “like things,” i.e. salad with salad and cooking greens together. Then, throughout the week:

This week’s box:

  • Curly Kale
    • ½ the bunch as a side dish one night, sautéed with garlic (scapes) and olive oil
    • ½ the bunch as a bed of green underneath a roasted chicken or fish
  • Napa Cabbage (the last of this for now)
    • Sliced in half the long way, and grilled
    • -or- used in a stir fry
  • Kohlrabi (the last of this for now)
    • Peeled, cubed, and roasted (tossed in salt, pepper, olive oil)
    • -or- peeled, sliced thinly, and eaten raw as a snack with hummus or pesto
  • Garlic Scapes
    • This is the last of these, so garlic scape pesto over pasta while there’s still time!
  • Parsley
    • Coarsely chopped will olive oil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary from the herb garden and drizzled over meat, fish, or that roasted kohlrabi
  • Purple Scallions
    • Chopped up (the entire thing!) and added to mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and ginger, served over a stir fry (maybe using the Napa cabbage…)
  • Barese Swiss Chard (a new variety for us – it resembles bok choy in appearance)
    • Finely chopped (including stems), briefly steamed, and tossed with a hot or cold pasta or grains salad (with goat cheese, and peas from the field, probably)
  • Radishes
    • Quartered and served as a snack or appetizer with a softened pad of butter and sprinkled with a course sea salt – like the French eat them!
  • Arugula
    • A simple light salad when there is no time for anything else – the greens are already washed, I just dump them in a bowl and do a light drizzle of olive oil and a good balsamic (Arlotta is our favorite, available at local farmers markets and the Red Horse Market).
  •  Lettuce
    • Use the larger outer leaves as wraps! (tuna salad, chicken and avocado, and Asian pork are some of our favorites)
    • The big beautiful lettuce holds up nicely in a more substantial salad (cob, ceasar, or your favorite blend of nuts, cheese, and dried fruit!)

 To pick in the fields:

  • Herb garden
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Nasturtium 

This is the first week of the fruit share!

  •  Strawberries and rhubarb

This week’s rotating cheese share:

  • Mecox Bay Dairy Cheddar

This week’s rotating bread share:

  • Sweet Potato & Potato Loaf: Carissa’s golden Sweet Potato & Potato Loaf is baked using bread flour, locally grown freshly milled whole wheat flour, (soon!) local sweet potatoes, local potatoes, butter, eggs, yeast & salt. Each loaf is washed with egg just before baking.