CSA Newsletter – Week 11
The Eclipse Box
There isn’t much of anything that can stop farmers from farming in the dead of August, but this celestial event sure did it. Just as the moon started peaking over the sun, we all dropped our hoes and harvest totes, grabbed some breakfast and eclipse shades, loaded into a couple flatbeds, and went out into our most expansive field to watch day turn to night and back. As I sat on the truck munching on some cantaloupe, I was overcome with a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the beautiful fields of produce being showered by irrigation, for the darkening purple mountains surrounding this valley, for the hardworking fellow farmers sitting on the back of the truck with me, and for the amazing fact that the sun and the moon happen to look like they’re the same size when viewed from our planet.
This is the time of year when we are all working 60 hours a week or more; the only thing on the menu is farming with a small serving of sleep on the side. We are all exhausted and winter is still far off on the horizon, but it’s moments of gratitude that keep us going. Yes, we’re tired. Yes, it’s hot out. And yes, we still love what we do. We get to spend our days in the gorgeous Willamette Valley, growing, eating, and sharing good food together. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but I surely can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.
Though you may not be working on a farm, I’m sure life still tries its hardest to exhaust you. Hopefully this box can provide you with something to be grateful for, something to make you feel—even for just a minute—like you have everything you need in this world. We’ve all got clean drinking water, access to some of the finest fresh produce in the world, and lovely people to eat it with. This week we tried to make your box as cosmic as can be! You’ve got a melon as white as the moon, potatoes that are as purple as the mountains during the eclipse, and otherworldly Barbarella eggplant, streaked with white and purple. Enjoy.
-Laura Bennett, email@example.com
Table of Box Contents
- Honey Orange Melon—Before working for GTF, I had never seen or tasted a melon like this one. It looks like a white alien egg, is actually a honeydew type melon, but is as orange and sweet as a cantaloupe inside. They are simply to die for, slice and enjoy!
- Sweet Italian Pepper—Italian peppers often are even sweeter than bell peppers, great fresh or in stir-fries.
- Sweet Bell Pepper—I’ve been eating our peppers raw like apples, they’re just as sweet.
- Purple Majesty Potatoes— These potatoes are purple outside and inside, with a creamy flesh similar to Nicola yellow.
- Barbarella Eggplant—This bodaciously bulbous eggplant remains sweet at all times, without as much has a whisper of bitterness. It was developed from an heirloom variety native to Sicily, and is the perfect variety to make you fall in love with eggplant.
- White Sweet Corn
- Jalapeno—The hotter it gets outside, the hotter the jalapenos get!
- Bunched Carrots
- Sweet Onions—The high sugar content makes these perfect for caramelizing in a sauté.
- Summer Squash
Pepper, Corn & Black Bean Quesadillas
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 sweet onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Barbarella eggplant, minced (minced eggplant is just like minced mushrooms, it'll act as a meat substitute)
- 2 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- butter for greasing
- 4 10-inch flour tortillas
- 2-3 cups shredded cheese of your choice
- sour cream for garnish
- Pico de Gallo for garnish (rough chop some tomatoes, onion, and cilantro, add salt and lemon juice and you're good to go!)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the oil, onions and garlic and cook until tender and fragrant, 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the eggplant, jalapeno, sweet peppers, salt, and pepper, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the beans and corn and heat through for 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
Heat another large skillet over medium heat. Grease the surface with butter, and place a tortilla in the skillet.
Layer the cheese (a heaping ¼ cup, or more if you’d like) and vegetables (a heaping cup) over half of the tortilla, then top with more cheese. Fold the tortilla in half, press down lightly with a spatula, and toast for about 2 minutes per side until the tortilla is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas and fillings. (If you can’t load up the tortilla that fast, you can assemble it on a plate before transferring it to the hot skillet.)
To serve, slice each quesadilla into halves or quarters and add sour cream and pico de gallo on top.
Zucchini & Corn Fritters
When you’re frying the fritters, be sure not to add too many at once to the oil or it will lower the temperature and make the fritters soggy. Fry them in batches and let them sit in a warm oven on a baking sheet lines with paper towels until all are cooked—makes about 24 fritters
- 1 tsp fast-acting yeast
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fine cornmeal
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup whole milk or low-fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 ears sweet corn, kernels cut off the cob
- 2 cups grated zucchini & carrots
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 1/4 cup sweet onion, minced
- 1/2 cup parmigiana cheese
- vegetable oil for deep frying
Whisk together the yeast, flour, cornmeal, 1 ½ tsp salt, and many twists of black pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in the yogurt and water to make a mostly smooth batter (a few lumps are okay; add more water if the dry ingredients aren’t fully moistened).
Cover the bowl and keep in a warm place for at least 1 hour and up to overnight (if for more than 2 hours, put it in the refrigerator, and then let it warm at room temp for about 30 min before continuing).
When the batter is bubbling and puffed up a bit, slice off the corn kernels, and add them to the batter. Then, with the back of a table knife, scrape the milky juice from the cobs into the batter too. Gently fold in the zucchini, carrot, jalapeno, onions, and parmigiana.
Arrange a double layer of paper towels on a tray. Pour at least 2 inches of oil into a large pan (with tall sides, so that the oil can’t bubble over when you add the batter). Slowly bring the oil up to 375 degrees F on a thermometer. (Or fry a small piece of bread: When it takes 60 seconds to get nicely crisp and brown, but not burnt, your oil is just about right.)
Using two tablespoons, scoop up some batter and carefully lower it into the oil. Continue until you have added enough fritters to fill the pan but not crowd it. Cook the fritters, turning with your spoon in order for all sides to get nicely browned. When puffy and a rich brown, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels. Season lightly with salt.
Serve the fritters warm (not piping hot), with butter, if desired. Or top with a fried egg for breakfast! Or top with pico de gallo!