CSA Newsletter – Week 10
I love the look on people’s faces when they see a watermelon for the first time that defies the red color they’ve come to know and love. What is this alien thing?! Along with puzzled looks I get many questions at the farmers’ market. “Are these genetically modified?” “What did they do to make them that color?” “Do the other colors even taste any good?” The truth is, the genetic diversity for nearly every color of melon in the rainbow is always present in each watermelon seed. Even as I type this, I’m looking at a poster of eggplant varieties up in the GTF office, vibrant with orange, white, red, pink, green, and of course purple eggplants of all shapes and sizes. At some point in time, red became the most popular variety of watermelon, purple became the most popular eggplant, and red became the most popular tomato. So no, these melons are not genetically modified; we didn’t do anything except breed for different colors over hundreds of years, and yes, they all taste delicious.
The most common question I get at market, however, is “how do I know if a melon is ripe?” followed by a series of deeply analytical melon tapping, knocking, sniffing, and probing. We are all used to needing to riffle through melons at the supermarket, hoping not to receive the highly disappointing experience of some unsweet, pithy unripe melon. We need to do this at supermarkets because all the watermelons are harvested in giant sweeps, specifically in an unripe state so that they can travel across vast distances. So it is a rare gem that you can actually find a ripe melon amidst the mounds of unripe melons. All of our melons are harvested by hand the day before they get to you. We pick through our fields daily and only harvest the ripe ones. We guarantee that all our melons are perfectly ripe, so despite how fun it is to tap a melon and listen for it to sing back to you, there is no need when you’re buying local. Each variety of melon has a different trick to know when it’s ripe and our melon master, Joelene, has the pulse on each variety and each field. While there’s no easy answer to tell when a melon is ripe, all you need to do is crack open your watermelon, slice, and enjoy.
–Laura Bennett, firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Box Contents
- Anaheim Pepper—These peppers can pack quite a punch, and this year they seem hotter than ever. They’re not as spicy as a jalapeno, but definitely spicier than the poblanos from last week.
- Sweet Bell Pepper—I’ve been eating our peppers raw like apples, they’re just as sweet.
- Fresh Cipollini Onions—High sugar content makes them perfect caramelizers.
- Mountain Rose Potatoes
- Red Beets—perfect shredded raw in salads or slaws; green are just like spinach and can be added into any salad or saute.
- Watermelon—You’ll either be receiving a yellow or orange fleshed melon this week, enjoy!
- Cilantro—Add a fresh burst to any dish you have going with some cilantro leaves on top. Make into a pesto if you have trouble using it up.
- Purple Haze Carrots—Purple carrots are often less sweet than orange so try roasting them to bring out their full sweetness; try adding the greens into a stock or bone broth for an amazing flavor.
- Red Torpedo Onion—red onions have a wonderful acidity making them perfect for enjoying raw; these torpedos are especially mild in their raw state.
- Sweet Onion—The high sugar content makes these perfect for caramelizing in a sauté.
- Pickling Cucumbers
- Summer Squash
Anaheim Tacos with Pico de Gallo
- 1 Anaheim Pepper, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 Sweet Pepper, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp hot sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- pinch salt more to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, chopped
- corn tortillas (3-4 per person)
Lime and Cilantro Slaw
- 3 Purple Carrots, sliced into matchsticks or grated
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- pinch salt
- 1/3 bunch Cilantro
- 1 Beet, sliced into matchsticks or grated
- Beet Greens, sliced thinly
Quick Pico de Gallo
- 2 Tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 Cipollini Onions, sliced thinly
- 1/2 bunch Cilantro, sliced thinly
- salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste
Crank your oven to 400 degrees F. Grab a rimmed baking sheet.
Chop your onion into thin slices, and chop the Anaheim and sweet pepper into ½ inch slices; set both aside.
In a saucepan, warm the broth, lime juice, tamari, hot sauce, and garlic over medium heat. Add the onion and simmer for about 1-2 minutes, then add your peppers in and sauté about 3-5 minutes.
Toss the spices, salt, and olive oil together in a large bowl.
Add the pepper mixture in and stir around until thoroughly mixed.
Dump it on a baking sheet and bake until browned, stirring half-way, about 20 minutes.
To make the tacos, warm the tortillas in the oven or microwave for a hot minute or heat each side gently in a cast iron pan, then pile them high with the pepper filling, slices of avocado, some of the slaw, and plenty pico de gallo.
You’ve all received enough pickling cukes this week for a quart jar of pickles, a perfect quantity for the beginning fermenter. Feel free to slice your cukes up in a salad, but if you feel like picklin’, here goes!
- Enough Pickling Cukes to fill a mason jar (about what you have)
- 1/3 bunch fresh dill (sorry it's not in your box, but it is available at market and at the Farmstand!)
- 1/89 cup pickling spices, or better yet, your own spice concoction
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 5 1/3 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic
- Anything else you'd like to throw in, such as turmeric, honey, sweet or hot peppers, etc.
Wash and drain cucumbers. Place half the pickling spices and one layer of dill in a clean pickling container.
Add cucumbers to within 4 inches of top.
Combine salt, vinegar and water in a pot; lade over cucumbers.
Place a layer of dill and remaining pickling spices over the top. Add garlic, if desired. Weight cucumbers under brine.
Store container in a cool place. Let cucumbers ferment until well flavored with dill and clear throughout. Pickles should be ready to can (or in the case of this small batch, to be eaten!) in about 2 to 3 weeks.