CSA 2017 – Week 10: Delicious Diversity

CSA Newsletter – Week 10


Delicious Diversity

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, markets@gatheringtogetherfarm.com

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 OnionThe high sugar content makes these perfect for caramelizing in a sauté.
    • Pickling Cucumbers
    • Broccoli
    • Summer Squash
    • Lettuce
    • Tomatoes

Recipes

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Anaheim Tacos with Pico de Gallo


Author Adapted from Thug Kitchen

Ingredients

Anaheim Filling

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Crank your oven to 400 degrees F. Grab a rimmed baking sheet.

  2. Chop your onion into thin slices, and chop the Anaheim and sweet pepper into ½ inch slices; set both aside.

  3. 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.

  4. Toss the spices, salt, and olive oil together in a large bowl. 

  5. Add the pepper mixture in and stir around until thoroughly mixed. 

  6. Dump it on a baking sheet and bake until browned, stirring half-way, about 20 minutes.

  7. 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.

 

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Brined Pickles

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!

Author Adapted from Ball Canning Book

Ingredients

  • 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.

Instructions

  1. Wash and drain cucumbers. Place half the pickling spices and one layer of dill in a clean pickling container. 

  2. Add cucumbers to within 4 inches of top. 

  3. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a pot; lade over cucumbers.

  4.  Place a layer of dill and remaining pickling spices over the top. Add garlic, if desired. Weight cucumbers under brine.

  5. 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.

CSA 2017 – Week 9: From Seed to Table – The Story

CSA Newsletter – Week 9


From Seed to Table – The Story 

This week you have some specialty varieties in your box, such as Masquerade potatoes and Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers. It’s common to think that peppers are one vegetable, tomatoes are another, and so on, but in reality a term as general as the word “pepper” represents thousands of distinctly different varieties, and each has its own story.

Jimmy Nardello was one of 11 children from an Italian family, and was the only one of his siblings to inherit his mother’s love of peppers. Though he was the first in the family to be born in America, he built terraces in Naugatuck, Connecticut just as his family had built on the hillsides in Italy for generations. There he continued saving seeds and breeding his favorite peppers until the end of his days.

Until recently in human history, every family saved their own seeds to plant again every year, and so every family had its own unique line of plant varieties. The diversity in colors and flavors was like patchwork across the lands, and each person was able to use their own varieties as currency. The Nardello’s were just one of millions of families who had their own beloved varieties, but their seed happened to make it all the way to farmers markets in the United States, and their peppers are now loved by all.

Before Jimmy Nardello died in the eighties he donated his pepper seeds to the Seed Savers Exchange, who have been stewards of the pepper for nearly forty years. Despite their popularity, Jimmy Nardello peppers are still listed on the vegetable version of the endangered species list by the US Ark of Taste.

The Seed Savers Exchange’s goal is to collect, grow, and share heirloom seeds, keeping genetic diversity alive and food property rights in the public domain. Seeds have always belonged to the people, not to corporate stake-holders, and because of organizations like SSE hopefully they can stay that way.

So the next time you’re getting ready to cook up some vegetables, take a moment to appreciate that each one has a history as rich as your own family’s. Share a meal with your loved ones and know that the food you’re enjoying is only there because of the thousands of years of shared seeds and shared meals that came before us. Have a great week everyone!

Laura Bennett, markets@gatheringtogetherfarm.com

Table of Box Contents

  • Poblano Pepper—Poblano peppers are one of the tastiest peppers on the planet. Their seeds are spicy, but once removed their flesh has a hint of heat with a full, mole-like flavor.
  • Fresh Sweet Corn
  • Jimmy Nardello—quite a nice fellow! Jimmies are a very sweet and flavorful specialty pepper, great added into a sauté or eaten raw like an Italian pepper.
  • Eggplant—Although eggplant can be tricky to cook at times, it can also be a perfect meat substitute when done right.
  • Masquerade Potatoes—These are gorgeous purple potatoes with yellow spots surrounding the eyes, as well as a buttery yellow flesh similar to Nicolas.
  • Bunched Carrots—Sweet roots perfect for raw munching or savory roasting; try adding the greens into a stock or bone broth for an amazing flavor.
  • Red Onion—Red onions have a crisp texture, with more of an acidic bite than sweet flavor; great for using raw in salads.
  • Sweet OnionThe high sugar content makes these perfect for caramelizing in a sauté.
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Recipes

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Poblanos & Potatoes w/ Fried Eggs

Author LB original recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ sweet onion chopped finely
  • 3-5 potatoes: slice each potato in half then slice in half again before making thin slices down the length of the potato (thin slices are the goal)
  • 1-3 poblano peppers roughly chopped
  • 1 Jimmy Nardello sliced into discs (it’ll brighten up the dish visually and in flavor!)
  • 1 head garlic chopped finely
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Eggs fried
  • Optional: cheese of some kind

Instructions

  1. I like to chop everything in this dish before I even turn on the pan, because the timing needs to be right so that the potatoes and peppers finish at the same time. I often have trouble burning potatoes when cooking them with other vegetables, but I’ve found a little trick that takes away most of that risk. After you chop your potatoes thinly, spread them out on the cutting board and place a cloth or paper towel over them. Press down on the potatoes to remove as much water from them as you can. It makes a big difference! (And it works perfectly for hash browns.)

  2. Note that the poblano seeds are often very spicy, so you’ll want to wash your hands well after removing them. 

  3. Coat the bottom of the pan in olive oil and heat it up to medium high temperature; if a piece of onion sizzles in the oil it’s up to temp.

  4. Add in the onions and let cook about 2 minutes.

  5. Add in the poblanos next, as they will take longer to cook than the thinly sliced potatoes. Cover and let cook 7-10 minutes.

  6. The peppers should be about halfway done at this point; add in the potatoes and the garlic and let cook with the lid on another 5 minutes.

  7. Remove the lid and add in 3-4 pinches of salt; stir. Let cook another 2-5 minutes with the lid off until the veggies are done to your satisfaction. I usually take out a sample to taste before deciding when a dish is done.

  8. I always make this dish for breakfast, and on top I always add cheese, fried eggs, and hot sauce to tie everything together, and I highly recommend it. I even freeze bags of raw poblano slices so that I can make this all winter long. You can throw frozen raw peppers straight into the frying pan in the morning and have a delicious warm, summery breakfast in the middle of winter.

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Tasty Eggplant Filling

Stuff some tortellini with it (which is what I did yesterday and highly recommend), or stuff squash or a pepper with it, or just straight up put it on top of pasta or roasted veggies, it’s good everywhere.
Author LB original recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet onion chopped finely
  • 1 head garlic chopped finely
  • 1 eggplant diced finely
  • ½ cup walnuts chopped finely
  • 1/3 bunch basil finely chopped.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup soft cheese chevre is great!

Instructions

  1. Finely chop your onion and garlic and add them into a sauté pan once your oil is up to temp. Cook slow and low to draw out sugars and deeper flavors.
  2. Meanwhile, mince up your eggplant. I do it by chopping it into discs and then stack the discs in little piles to slice into matchsticks, then I finally mince them up. Add the eggplant into the pan as soon as you’re done chopping.
  3. Let cook another 5-8 minutes, finally adding the basil, walnuts, salt, and pepper. After stirring around to combine flavors thoroughly for a minute or two, turn off the pan.
  4. Add in the hefty dollop of chevre and stir around to mix evenly, and you’ve got yourself a tasty filling.

CSA 2017 – Week 8: Fermentation for the Soul

CSA Newsletter – Week 8


Fermentation for the Soul

This week I’m including a recipe for sauerkraut since you all have a cabbage in your box. In addition to writing these newsletters and coordinating our farmers markets, I also run fermentation here at the farm and am quite passionate about helping people incorporate more fermented foods into their lives. Many people love sauerkraut for its flavor and texture, however eating fermented products is so incredibly beneficial to your body and mind as well. I never ate fermented foods as a kid, and I’ve still been able to develop a taste for them and now even crave them, so it’s never too late!

As many of you know, we have bacteria and other microbes living in our gut that aid in our digestion of specific nutrients and minerals. These little creatures produce dopamine and serotonin, among other compounds, which travel to our brain and alter our moods. We all know that when we drink alcohol, the compounds within it travel to our brain and make us feel inebriated. What we don’t often realize, however, is that everything we consume does this, just often to a much less perceptible extent. So when we eat fermented foods, you might feel a little chiller, a little more upbeat, and maybe like you have more energy in your body.

Incorporating fermented foods into your diet is more important now than ever, as we are consuming many products that contain herbicides and pesticides. Even those of us who eat primarily organic are still absorbing these synthetic chemicals from the environment in other ways. Before they can be released, these chemicals must be classified as being non-toxic to mammals, but what is so important to note is that our bodies are made up of mostly non-mammalian cells. We are more bacteria than we are human, and all of those bacteria are what really keeps us in balance. Because these chemicals enter our body and kill the bacteria that keep us healthy, it has become imperative to foster their growth by eating fermented foods. The easiest way to do that is to experiment with your own ferments, so have fun and try it out!

Laura Bennett, markets@gatheringtogetherfarm.com

Table of Box Contents

  • Green Beans—Crockett is hands down the best variety of green beans we have yet to find.
  • Fresh Sweet Corn—Our first corn of the season is a bi-color variety called Temptation. Farmer John steamed us all up the first pick for lunch last week, and it was pure summer perfection!
  • Leeks—First dig of the season! Leeks can be used to replace any onion in any dish. They have a very mild, buttery onion-like flavor.
  • Bunched Carrots—Sweet roots perfect for raw munching or savory roasting; try adding the greens into a stock or bone broth for an amazing flavor.
  • Cabbage—At this time of year when most greens are wilting in the heat, it’s nice to have raw cabbage around to fill the need for something sweet, leafy, and crisp.
  • Moss Parsley—I love making pesto out of any herb I can lay my hands on. A parsley pesto is especially delicious; try a dollop on top of eggs or potatoes or pasta.
  • Superstar OnionThis white onion, also known as a Spanish onion, is low in sugars, high in acidity, and great for soups and roasts.
  • Garlic
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • 5 lbs Potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes

    Recipes

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    Summer Pad Thai

    Normally I don’t like to repeat recipes, however green beans are SOOOOOO good in pad thai, I just couldn’t resist.

    Ingredients

    Veggie Sauté

    • 1 lb Green Beans (de-stemmed and left long)
    • 1 bunch Moss Parsley (roots in sauté, leaves raw as garnish)
    • 1 bunch Leeks (1/2 in sauté, 1/2 raw as garnish)
    • 1/2 bunch Carrots, sliced long and thin
    • 1/2 head Garlic, roughly minced
    • 1 Zucchini, sliced long and thin
    • 1 Superstar Onion, sliced thin
    • Oil (I use coconut)
    • Fish Sauce, Tamari, Garlic, or whatever you'd like

    Pad Thai Sauce and Noodles

    • 2/3 cup Stock (pork, chicken, or veggie)
    • 6 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
    • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
    • 6-8 tbsp Brown Sugar Sugar (it may sound strange, but you can substitute the sugar with strawberry jam 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!)

    Instructions

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. Then add your green beans, 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!

    5. Boil some water and cook your noodles, careful not to overcook them. Drain noodles, mix into sauce to coat them.

    6. Plate noodles, put veggies on top, and garnish with raw cilantro and scallions. Enjoy!

     

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    Easy Sauerkraut

    A head of cabbage goes a long way, so even if you make a slaw, and add some into your pad thai, you still may have half a head left over. Try making your own fresh summer kraut with whatever you have left! Try using the salt: cabbage ratio in this recipe, and always feel free to add other veggies in, like garlic and chilis.

    Ingredients

    • 1 head Green Cabbage, shredded or sliced thinly
    • 1 tbsp Salt
    • 1 Clean Quart Jar
    • If you need extra brine (our cabbage this time of year should be plenty juicy) use 1 additional tbsp salt and 4 cups non-chlorinated water

    Instructions

    1. Shred up all your cabbage into a large bowl, sprinkle the salt and mix with your hands to incorporate evenly. 

    2. Let sit about 15 minutes to let the cabbage start releasing water (making its own brine). Then use your hands to firmly massage the cabbage to get the juices flowing. 

    3. Once you’re happy with your mashing dance, start packing the kraut into a jar, packing it down with a spoon to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible. 

    4. Leave about 1-2” headspace before closing up the jar, and let sit on your counter out of direct sunlight for at least a week. It’ll leak a bit, so put a tray underneath and burp the jar regularly. 

    5. Taste the kraut after a week and if you like the tang level, put it in the fridge and start eating! If you want it tangier, leave it out a while longer.

    Recipe Notes

    Jar Method – The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz.  “A jar filled with any raw food submerged under liquid will ferment… Many ferments, such as sauerkraut or cultured milks, do not require either oxygen or microbes from the air. These may be fermented in sealed jars. However, in many cases, if you seal a jar containing an active ferment, be aware that pressure may build from the production of CO2. You usually need to release pressure, or it can build to the point where jars explode. Leave the jar on the kitchen counter, where you will see it daily, gauge pressure by the bulging top, and release pressure by loosening the lid, as needed. Alternatively, you can place the lid loosely on the jar so that pressure will be released.”

CSA 2017 – Week 7: “Don’t Spoil Them Rotten”

CSA 2017 – Week 7


“Don’t Spoil Them Rotten”

Even I am guilty of just tossing a bunch of beets in my fridge completely unprotected, only to find the greens wilted and roots shriveled the next day. It’s a fast-paced world we live in, so hopefully the following excerpt from The CSA Cookbook will help everyone eat more of the food that they’re bringing home.

“Did you know that vegetables are composed of primarily water? Even something as solid as zucchini is made up of 95% water, and white potatoes—which have the lowest water content—are still 79%. When a vegetable is pulled out of the soil or picked from a plant, depriving it of precious water, the cell walls start to lose moisture and eventually collapse, causing wilting.

The key to preventing vegetables from going limp is to create a breathable barrier between the moist vegetables and the dry air of your fridge; that means creating an environment that ‘s airy and damp, but not stifling and wet. Plastic bags and kitchen towels work wonders for this; I like to reuse produce bags and repurpose clean rags, as they are thrifty, take up little space, and can be tucked into any available nook in the fridge. I tend to store all my vegetables this way on the shelves, where I can see them (forgetting what you have is often the first cause of wilted produce).

If you are anti-plastic, you can also roll up your vegetables in flower sack towels or linen tea towels before storing them in your crisper drawers. In general, keep vegetables and fruits in separate drawers, and keep leafy greens in their own drawer if you can. The tender greens are most susceptible to wilting if kept in close proximity to ethylene-emitting produce.

A good rule of thumb for determining how to store a vegetable is to visit the produce section of a supermarket. Vegetables that are kept chilled and damp with overhead misters need cold and humidity. Vegetables that are kept dry in the middle of the produce section thrive in the same environment as your kitchen.”

-Laura Bennett, markets@gatheringtogetherfarm.com

Table of Box Contents

  • Fresh Shallots—Shallots are a cross between garlic and onions, which you can see from the way they often bulb up in twos or threes. Their flavor is a perfect balance, much stronger than onion, yet not tricky to peel like garlic. I use them in everything!
  • Gold Beets—Gold beets are lovely because they have a much milder beet flavor with the extra added bonus of not turning everything red in your dish.
  • Purple Haze Carrots—Absolutely gorgeous and delicious sliced lengthwise and roasted.
  • Radicchio—Radicchio is perfect for cutting in half lengthwise and grilling for a hot salad. Try balancing out the bitterness with other ingredients, like vinegar, garlic, or cheese.
  • Green Bell Pepper—I recently thinly sliced little stars of green bell pepper fried in a cornmeal flour, and it was AMAZING.
  • Mint—Mojitos!!! Or, try out adding mint into your everyday salads and beverages.
  • Sweet OnionsHigh sugar content that makes them perfect for caramelizing, and they’re great roughly chopped in Pico de Gallo.
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • New Potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes

Recipes

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Perfect Crisp Roasted Potatoes

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, by Francisco J. Robert. “After weeks of testing, we discovered the secrets to the crispiest, creamiest roasted potatoes: the right spud, the right shape, and—surprisingly—a not-so-delicate touch.”

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • Cold Water
  • 5 tbsp Olive Oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

Roast

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 450F. 

  2. Place potatoes and 1 Tbsp salt in dutch oven and add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat. 

  3. Reduce heat and gently simmer until exteriors of potatoes have softened but centers offer resistance when pierced with paring knife, about five minutes. Drain potatoes well and transfer to large bowl. 

  4. Drizzle potatoes with 2 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Using rubber spatula, toss to combine. Drizzle with another 2 Tbsp oil and ½ tsp salt. Continue to toss until exteriors of potato slices are coated with starchy pate, 1 to 2 minutes.

  5. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp oil oven surface. Carefully transfer potatoes to baking sheet and spread into even layer (skin side up if end piece). Bake until bottoms of potatoes are golden grown and crisp, 15-25 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes.

  6. Remove baking sheet from oven and, using spatula and tongs, loosen potatoes from pan carefully flipping each slice. Continue to roast until second side is golden and crisp, 10-20 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed to ensure that potatoes brown evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Perfect Potato Principles

Disks, Not Chunks—half-inch rounds require only one flip, making it far easier to ensure that each side gets equal time face-down in the pan.

Parcook—Simmering the potatoes brings the starch to the surface, jump-starting the crisping process. The potatoes should be just under-cooked when they are removed from the boiling water to ensure that they don’t overcook while baking.

Preheat—A hot, rimmed baking sheet gives the potatoes a head start when placed in the oven, a step that guarantees crispier results.

Toss Vigorously—Roughing up the parboiled potatoes with salt and oil damages the surface cells, which speeds up evaporation. This creates a layer of fluffy potato goodness that keeps the outside crispy and the inside creamy.

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Shaved Raw Beet Salad w/ Warm Pecan Dressing

Adapted from The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 2 gold beets, thinly sliced or matchsticks
  • 2 purple carrots, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 2 cups beet greens, thinly sliced
  • feta cheese, crumbled for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing, combine the oil, shallot, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar and honey until well blended, then add the pecans, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and keep warm. 

  2. In a large serving bowl, toss the beets and beet greens with the warm dressing. Serve with a sprinkle of feta on top.


Recipe Notes

*Beet greens are right in between chard and spinach and should always be enjoyed when you have them! They’re great on sandwiches too.

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Chicory Greens with Cheesy Pasta

Here's hat to do if you want to get kids on board w/ chicory greens—pair them with cheesy pasta!

Because I grew up on boxed pastas and have only found a love for vegetables in the past five years, I used to make some pretty wacky dishes during my transition to farming. Those who love veggies may think that dish is a disgrace to the vegetables in it, and those who don’t know vegetables well yet tend to be put off by the veggies that are in it. So if you happen to be in a middle ground like I was, try out sautéing your chicory greens and mixing it in with cheesy pasta! It’s a great way to fall for chicories.

Author Laura Bennett

Ingredients

  • radicchio
  • garlic
  • shallot
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • box of cheesy pasta

Instructions

  1. Prepare packaged pasta per box instructions. 

  2. Sauté shallot, garlic, and radicchio with olive oil and salt.

  3. Mix veggiesd together with prepared pasta. Serve. 

CSA 2017 – Week 6: The Life of a GTF Tomato

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 6


The Life of a GTF Tomato

Before I worked at this farm I had no idea why organic produce was more expensive than conventional. Conventional herbicides and pesticides are really expensive, so to me it seemed like it should balance out that organic doesn’t spend money on expensive chemicals but spends more on labor. What I have come to understand is that the issue is so much more than just a question of organic vs. inorganic. Methods of production is a huge factor in differentiating our farm from others. As an example, this is an extremely abbreviated list of all the work that goes into producing a GTF tomato. The full version is available on our blog.

  • Seed selection—takes years of farming knowledge
  • Seeding—make compost, make potting mix from that compost, seed the tomatoes, graft them, up-pot them, and plan for disease rotation in the fields.
  • Grafting—grow disease-resistant rootstock and splice desired varieties on top and let graft union heal.
  • House preparation—soil testing, ground tillage, irrigation installation, plastic mulch installation, trellising installation
  • Transplanting—we transplant all our tomatoes by hand. Hundreds and hundreds
  • Trellising & Pruning—as the plants grow we twist them around hanging strings and prune them as we would a perennial.
  • Greenhouse Mudding—Either by hand or via a mud-cannon, we throw mud onto our hoop houses so the temps don’t get to crazy high for the plants in the summer.
  • Weeding—regularly throughout the growing season.
  • Pest & Disease Monitoring—throughout season
  • Irrigation—constant vigilance!
  • Harvest—It’s really hard to walk through a greenhouse packed 10 feet tall with tomato plants while carrying a flat that weighs 30 pounds!
  • Grading—every tomato we harvest gets sorted by quality by hand, depending on where it’s destined to end up.

-Laura Bennett, markets@gatheringtogetherfarm.com

Table of Box Contents

  • Eggplant—“Eggplant may be the trickiest vegetable to cook, and therefore it can inspire some ambivalence. But when handled correctly, it is sublime.”—Joshua McFadden
  • Jalapeño—They’re a little milder than they will be later in the season, which can be nice for certain dishes especially.
  • Fennel—Use both the fronds and the bulb! The bulb is great grilled or roasted, or even slice thinly raw on top of meat. The fronds can make a delicious addition to pesto, salad, or soup.
  • Chard—Chard, spinach, and beets are all cousins in the same plant family, and all can be used in similar ways.
  • Carrots—sweet and wonderful raw or roasted with a little crunch still maintained.
  • 2 Sweet OnionsHigh sugar content that makes them perfect for caramelizing, and they’re great roughly chopped in Pico de Gallo.
  • Cucumbers—Eat fresh like an apple or slice into salads for a nice, sweet crunch.
  • Summer Squash—Though there are many types of squash that are great for different dishes, all can be used interchangeably.
  • 5 lbs New PotatoesThis week we have Nicola potatoes.
  • Lettuce—Various varieties
  • Tomatoes—Sweet & fresh!

Recipes

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Peak-of-Summer Roasted Ratatouille

From The CSA Cookbook.  Though this dish is traditionally sautéed, roasting the vegetables brings out a richness and sweetness that you just don’t get from the stove top. Little more is needed than a generous glug of olive oil, a fresh sprig of rosemary, and some salt and pepper to marry the flavors while they caramelize. You can serve ratatouille as a side dish or make it a full meal with a loaf of crusty bread and a glass of red wine. Leftovers go great on a bed of mixed greens the next day.

Author Linda Ly

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 lb summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, cut lengthwise into eighths
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed with a knife
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 rosemary sprig (or another herb of choice)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

  2. As you prepare all the vegetables, cut the tomatoes first and let them drain in a colander while you break down the remaining ingredients.

  3. In a large bowl, gently toss all the vegetables with the garlic, oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated.

  4. Strip the leaves off the rosemary sprigs and scatter them on top.

  5. Spread the vegetables across two large rimmed baking sheets in a  single layer, with the  tomatoes cut-side up. You want the vegetables packed in tightly, but not piled on top of each other.

  6. Roast until most of the vegetables are soft, shriveled, and slightly browned, about 45 minutes. If your baking sheets are on two separate racks, swap their positions halfway through the roasting time for even cooking.

  7. Transfer the vegetables and all their juices to a serving bowl and toss with the basil. Serve warm or chilled.

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Caramelized Fennel and Onion

—Adapted from The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly.  Many people shy away from fennel, which they describe as having too strong of a licorice-like flavor. When you put that same fennel in the oven under high heat, however, its love-it-or-hate-it aroma mellows out into a warm slice of sweetness. Fennel bulb caramelizes beautifully the way onion does, turning soft and fragrant with only the slightest hint of anise. After a long roast, the sumptuous flavors of fennel and onion marry and make a deep, rich, and smoky sweet side to a savory steak.

Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.

  2. In a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the fennel and onion with the oil, salt, and pepper until thoroughly coated.

  3. Scatter the vegetables across the baking sheet in a single layer and roast until golden brown and slightly charred on the edges, 35-45 minutes. Halfway through the roast, give the fennel and onion a quick stir for even caramelization on all sides.

 

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Chard, Basil, and Boysenberry Salad w/ Hazelnuts

Author Laura Bennett

Ingredients

  • Onion
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard
  • 1 bunch Fresh Basil
  • Boysenberries
  • Hazelnuts

Instructions

  1. First, mince up some onion and smash with the back of a spoon in a large bowl with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. This changes the flavor of the dressing and you can smell this change almost instantly. 

  2. Then finely chop up your chard and basil (an entire bunch of each) and toss in the salad dressing. The longer the greens sit in the dressing the more soft and delicate they will become; I recommend serving at least twenty minutes after you finish making the salad.

  3. Top with sliced up boysenberries (or any fruit, really!) and some chopped up hazelnuts. This is a wonderful salad to bring to parties as it only gets better with time.