2016 CSA – Week 8: The Value of Variety

CSA Week 8 Graphic

CSA Newsletter – Week 8


The Value of Variety

A seemingly simple question was posed to me the other week: Why grow this yellow flying saucer squash when you can just grow a regular green zucchini? In the moment, I didn’t have a great answer, but the question got me thinking about the many reasons that variety and biodiversity are important to our farm system.

On a farm, there are so many factors and considerations that determine what we grow. Of course, we want to grow products that we can sell and that are tasty. Because we sell at a variety of markets, to chefs and restaurants, grocery stores, and directly to people like you, there is a wide variation of products, sizes desired within our broad market creating a diverse demand therefore, more variety means more possibilities of meeting people’s needs. Also, product diversity certainly makes our farmers market setups look beautiful and inviting!

On the farm, the seasons often dictate what we grow, and we can extend seasons by growing varieties that are early season, heat tolerant, overwintering, etc. Other on-farm considerations include days to maturity (how long it takes to grow), yield, ease of harvest, disease resistance, and storability.

In the case of the flying saucer squash, its fun shape and firm, nutty texture make it a squash we’ll continue to grow. With all of the complexities and variables in agriculture, sometimes it’s that simple!

Happy August and enjoy your salsa box!

-Lily, CSA Coordinator

Table of Box Contents

Lettuce ($2.00)

☐ 1½ lbs Potatoes ($2.25) – Store in dry, cool, darkness. Don’t scrub until you’re ready to eat them.

2 Poblano Peppers ($2.00) – Stuff as chile rellenos, or incorporate into a potato and corn hash

Bunched Golden Beets ($3.00)

☐ 1 Fresh Sweet Onion ($1.50)

1 Red Torpedo Onion ($1.50) – The long, cylindrical shape of this onion lends itself well to slicing rounds for salad.

☐ 1 Jalapeno ($.50) – Add a little kick to your salsa or pico de gallo

☐ Bunched Carrots ($3.50)

Cilantro ($2.00) – Use in salad, salsa, or to garnish any dish

1 lb Tomatillos (4-6) ($3.00) – Roast them and make salsa verde

☐ 4 zucchini ($3.50) – Grill, sauté, or make zucchini bread

2 Big Beef Tomatoes ($4.50)

4 Ears of Corn ($3.00) – Boil or grill and eat straight off the cob or cut off the ear and add to stir-fry or salsa

Box Market Value: $32.25

Recipes

Pico de Gallo

Make this simple, fresh salsa using your tomatoes, white onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.

The tomatoes will most likely be the limiting factor so chop those first and add chopped onions and cilantro to taste. Depending on your heat preference, add chopped jalapeno. Add a little salt and lime and adjust ingredients to taste.

Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients

  • 5 medium tomatillos
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 serrano chiles (or jalapeno)
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Peel and wash the tomatillos. Split and seed the chiles. Place the tomatillos and chiles under a broiler for about 4 minutes each side.
  2. Transfer the blackened tomatillos, chiles, and any juices from the pan to a blender or food processor. Simply add the rest of the ingredients and blend.
  3. This is the absolute basic recipe. Try adding garlic, cumin, avocado, and/or lime.

Poblano, Potato, and Corn Gratin

This dish is a bit indulgent but potatoes, corn, and poblanos are such a great combination, I couldn’t resist!  For a lighter version, cut the potatoes into chunks, salute with onions and olive oil for 10 minutes and then add the poblanos and corn. Sauté until ingredients are cooked through and add salt and pepper to taste.

 Ingredients

  •  3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large fresh poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, cut into 2×1/4-inch strips
  • 1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 cup cooked corn, cut off the cob
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Oaxaca cheese or whole-milk mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub 9 1/2-inch-diameter deep-dish glass pie dish or cast-iron skillet with 2 teaspoons oil. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add poblano strips and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Arrange 1/3 of potato rounds, overlapping slightly, in prepared pie dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of poblano strips over, then 1/3 of corn and 1/3 of cheese. Repeat with 1/3 of potatoes, 1/3 of poblanos, 1/3 of corn, and 1/3 of cheese. Top with remaining potatoes, poblanos, and corn, reserving remaining 1/3 of cheese. Place dish on rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Whisk half and half, flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in small bowl. Pour over potato mixture in pie dish; press potatoes to submerge. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle remaining cheese over gratin. Continue to bake gratin until potatoes are tender and cheese is golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Read More: Bon Appétit