CSA Newsletter – Week 5
Nonstop Growth and Constant Change
One of the many benefits of working on the farm is getting the chance to watch the plants around you grow. Every day it amazes me that we, for example, go through every cucumber and zucchini patch every single day to only pick the fruits that are perfectly ripe, a choreographed dance around our patchwork fields.
There is such a science to knowing exactly how to do this that it becomes embodied by those who have spent their lives honing their craft. Many would describe this as an art—the art of harvesting, the art of weeding, the art of pruning tomatoes—yet somehow that word doesn’t seem to quite capture the impressive amount of knowledge needed to bring these plants to fruition. Growing vegetables requires the science of harvesting, the science of hoeing, the science of pruning tomatoes, knowledges on par with any complex calculus.
At certain times of the season with cucumbers, for instance, ripeness means a dead blossom, whereas in others ripeness is more dependent on a shift in color. Yet sometimes the fruits are a little lighter because they’re planted in a field that is slightly nutrient deficient and you can’t go by the same color test as you normally do in that field in this year. Instead you have to see whether or not the ribbing is filled out or not. And then the spring planting is ripped out to make way for something else and you must become accustomed to new summer varieties. You must embrace constant change and remain flexible.
Every single vegetable that comes off of this farm is first gazed upon by someone who is looking at it in order to decide whether or not it is ready, whether or not it is good. As we each make our way through the tightly packed rows of plants bursting with fruit, we take years of experience and embodied knowledge and shove it into a single glance where we ask ourselves—should I pick this? All the while knowing that what is not ready today only awaits our asking of the same question tomorrow. In this way we are reminded that there is always a relationship before there is food.
Best, Laura Bennett
Table of Box Contents
- Green Bell Pepper—We don’t actually grow green bell peppers, in fact, such a variety doesn’t really exist. Green bells are just unripe bell peppers that would turn color if left on the plant longer. But being “unripe” doesn’t have to mean that something is less delicious. It contains less sugars, but this just lends green bells to a more savory flavor profile than sweet.
- Broccoli—First broccoli of the season always goes to our beloved CSA customers. Enjoy!
- Purple Haze Carrots—bright orange inside and deep purple outside. Round slices in a salad really pop. These are also delicious roasted.
- Jalapeno—First of the season and they’re hot! Remove seeds and webbing to cool off.
- Scallion—I always try to use my entire bunch of scallions all the way to the top. The greens are excellent in eggs, sautés, or in stock.
- Zucchini—excellent grilled whole! A few of you got Cocazelle zucchini, which are striped and have thicker skins, great for holding up on the grill.
- Persian Cucumbers
- Colorado Rose Potatoes
- Lettuce—this week you have either green leaf or red leaf lettuce
- Semi-Sweet Onion
Summer Pad Thai
This is my personal pad Thai recipe that I’ve adapted. As someone who loves pad Thai and definitely never thought I could make it myself, I’m really happy with this recipe and it’s really easy to make. It’s definitely alternative as there is nut butter and not tamarind in the sauce, but it’s a delicious way to enjoy your vegetables nonetheless. Alter to your own taste as always! You can add pretty much any vegetable and as long as you chop it long and thin it’ll blend in just fine.
- 1 bunch Cilantro (roots in saute, leaves raw as garnish)
- 1 bunch Scallions (1/2 in saute, 1/2 raw as garnish)
- 1/2 bunch Carrots, sliced long and thin
- 1 Zucchini, sliced long and thin
- 1 head Broccoli, sliced long and thin
- 1 Sweet Onion, sliced thin
- Oil (I use coconut)
- Fish sauce, tamari, garlic, or whatever you'd like
Pad Thai Sauce & Noodles
- 2/3 cup Stock (pork, chicken, or veggie)
- 6 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 6-8 tbsp Brown Sugar (it may sound strange, but you can replace the sugar with strawberry jam or mashed fresh strawberries and it's delicious!)
- 2 tbsp Fish sauce
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce/Tamari (use 4 tbsp if you don't use fish sauce)
- 1 tbsp Hot Sauce/Chili Oil
- ~1 cup Nut Butter (I use peanut or sunflower seed)
- 8 oz Pad Thai noodles (or if you have a spiralizer you can make carrot and zucchini noodles!)
Chop all your veggies up beforehand. With Pad Thai, I have found that taking care to slice things thin and long really affects the final product’s taste and beauty! Set aside.
Put all sauce ingredients together in a pot (omit nut butter) and bring up to a simmer. Once it’s hot, add in your nut butter and stir around to dissolve into the sauce. You can control the thickness of the sauce depending on how much you add.
Meanwhile, heat up some oil in a big pan and get your veggie stir fry going. First add in your sweet onion, and after a minute or two add in some tamari or soy sauce and let sauté another few minutes more
Then add your cilantro root (everything below the twist tie), carrots, scallion, and zucchini. Let sauté about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a sprinkle of salt, and don’t let the veggies lose their fresh crunch!
Boil some water and cook your noodles, careful not to overcook them. Drain noodles, mix into sauce to coat them.
Plate the noodles, put veggies on top, and garnish with whatever you like. I suggest raw cilantro, peanuts, cucumber, and scallions. Enjoy!
Swiss Chard Cakes with Greek Yogurt
Makes 6-10 cakes.
“Greens and tart yogurt are a match made in heaven! These little cakes contain a mixture of blanched Swiss chard with ricotta, Parmesan, and herbs.” —adapted from https://food52.com/recipes/34567-swiss-chard-cakes-with-greek-yogurt
- 1-2 bunches Swiss Chard
- 4 leaves Basil, sliced thin
- 1 cup Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
- 3/4 cup Milk or Coconut Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 3 tbsp Ghee or Oil, plus more for frying
- 1/3 cup Greek Yogurt
Wash and drain the chard, then place in a pot of boiling water. Cover and cook over high heat until chard is just wilted, about 2 minutes (the chard should be tender but not overcooked, so watch it carefully). When the chard is done, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a colander to cool and drain.
In a small bowl, cover the thinly sliced basil leaves with two tablespoons of the boiling water and set aside.
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. In a larger bowl, mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, milk, and eggs until blended. Add the ghee and basil. Whisk in the flour mixture. Return to the chard and squeeze out as much water as possible, then chop it finely. It should yield between 10-12 cups. Stir the chopped chard into the mixture until well combined.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a few tablespoons of ghee. Drop the batter by the spoonfuls into the hot pan, making whatever sized cake you wish, to make between 6-8 cakes. The batter is quite thick, so you must give it plenty of time to cook through (about 3 minutes per side or longer, depending on the size). They should be golden brown. Only turn the cakes once and resist the urge to pat them down.
Remove the cakes from the pan and serve warm with a dollop of Greek yogurt and some fresh basil.