CSA Newsletter – Week 1
Welcome to the 2018 Summer Farming Season
Hey there folks,
This is John here, and as owners of the farm, Sally and I would personally like to thank you for your membership support. Even a casual overview of our farm finances makes it abundantly clear that your financial support is one of the cornerstones of our revenue stream that allow us to stay in business. Our awareness of your importance to the GTF community is something we take to heart. They are the thoughts in the back of Sally’s mind when she is creating the weekly box selection. Indirectly, as the season progresses, this may lead to boxes of such abundance you will have to enlist friends to get through it.
And this is Laura! I will be writing your newsletter this season and am so looking forward to connecting over the produce that is to come. Though I am but one cog in our CSA effort. If you’re registered for CSA, then you already know our office guru, Will, who takes care of the tangle of logistics. Behind the scenes, Marina is our packing shed master, managing the careful placement of every item in your box. Together we will do our best to bring to you a diverse selection of produce and vegucational material.
We would love to know how you are enjoying your vegetables this season! Please send us pictures, recipes, and stories of the meals that you have, and any questions that you regarding food or farming. Here’s to a great farming season, everyone! Things are ramping up.
Sincerely, The CSA Crew—Laura, Will, Marina, and John & Sally
Table of Box Contents
- Huckleberry Gold Potatoes—These are our favorite potatoes on the farm right now. Their deep purple and violet skins give way to waxy, yellow flesh that holds its shape after cooking. (1.5 lbs)
- Thyme—We often forget that some of our foods have powerful medicinal value. Thyme, named after its effect on the thymus gland, is known for enhancing immune function and being a great remedy for colds and coughs.
- Zucchini—My personal favorite spring vegetable, zucchini is incredibly versatile. The trick with it is to not let it turn to mush. Whether you’re grilling, stir-frying, or baking, wait to salt until you’re done with the cooking process. Salt tends to break cell walls, draw water out, and turn things to mush.
- Fava Beans—The truth is, favas can be a high maintenance food. But whether you take the time to peel your beans bare; just shuck the beans and leave the skins on; or go the super easy route of grilling or steaming them in the pod, salting them, and eating the beans out edamame-style, you’ll surely be happy with their nutty, buttery flavor. (1.5 lbs)
- Katrina Cucumbers—We grow these cukes for their sleek, thin skins. They’re the perfect cucumber to slice into spears and dip into hummus.
- Carrots—Carrots are one of the first fresh digs of spring that we all look forward to, a marker of the season’s new start. I recommend enjoying these morsels raw, however they are excellent roasted as well.
- Spring Lettuce—This week you either have green butter or green oak compact lettuce. Green butter heads up a bit like a cabbage, and the oak has a multi- lobed leaf.
- Swiss Chard—excellent braised or sautéed with garlic and onion until melt-in-your mouth smooth.
- Bulb Onions—these onions are quite sweet with a slight acidic punch.
Crushed and Fried Potatoes with Crispy Herbs & Garlic
Adapted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden, p. 365
- 1.5 lbs yellow-fleshed potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1.5 tbsp thyme leaves optional: more herbs!
- 1/4 tsp chile flakes
- 4 wedges lemon
- olive oil for frying
- salt & pepper
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F
Spread the potatoes on baking sheet and bake until fully tender when poked with a knife, about 30 minutes, depending on how big they are.
Let the potatoes cool enough that you can handle them, then crush each one with your palm or the back of a pan. You want to create a patty shape, with lots of craggy surface area to crisp up in the hot oil. If you have larger potatoes, tear them up into smaller pieces after smashing.
Heat ½ inch of olive oil in a large skillet until quite hot. Put a corner of a potato into the oil to test the heat; if it sizzles nicely, the oil is ready. Working in batches, fry the potatoes until nicely browned on one side. Flip and cook until both sides are browned, about 5 minutes total, but about 30 seconds before the potatoes are done, toss in some of the garlic, thyme, and any other herbs you have. Transfer the potatoes to paper towels to drain. Continue frying the potatoes, scraping out the bits of garlic and herbs between batches so it doesn’t burn.
Season with salt and black pepper and the chile flakes. Serve with a lemon wedge for each diner.
Chard Stalk Hummus
“This is my favorite recipe for using up the stems and stalks of greens rather than throwing them away. Chard stalk hummus is a traditional Lebanese dish that resembles baba ghanoush in flavor.” Dip carrots, cukes, and lettuce to serve.
- 2 cups chopped chard stalks (approximately)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- swirl of olive oil
- chopped herbs: parsley, thyme, etc., for garnish
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the chard stalks and boil for 5-10 minutes (depending on how thick they are) until the stalks are very soft.
Drain well, squeezing out any excess water, and add the stalks to a food processor, along with the garlic, tahini, salt, and lemon juice. Pulse continuously until the dip is slightly chunky and still has some bite to it, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Serve with a generous swirl of oil on top and a sprinkle of fresh chopped herbs, if desired.
Adapted from Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar, p.93
- Thyme, flowers & leaves plucked from stems
- Honey (meadowfoam is a favorite variety)
Fill a widemouthed glass jar half full of fresh thyme leaves and flowers. Gently warm a batch of raw, unpasteurized honey, so that it will better extract the properties of the thyme. Do not overheat or boil; heat over 110°F will kill the honey’s enzymes and destroy its medicinal benefit. Add enough honey to the jar to cover the herbs, and place the jar in a warm spot (near a sunny window will work). Let steep for approximately 2 weeks. (You could also use a slow cooker set to 100°F. It will take only a few hours of constant warm heat to make a strong medicinal honey.)
When the honey tastes and smells strongly of thyme, its finished. You can leave the tiny thyme leaves in the honey, which is what I do. Of course you can also strain them out for a more professional look, but it can be messy! Bottle and store in a cool pantry or in the refrigerator, where the honey will keep for several months.
Use by the spoonful. Enjoy this delicious thyme honey by itself, [spread it on toast with butter], or use it to sweeten teas for additional medicinal benefits.