CSA Newsletter – Week 6
The Art of Noticing
Though not many of us work on a farm these days, there are still things that we notice about the changing seasons. This past week we all experienced this summer’s first major heat wave. Many of us respond by packing away sweaters and thick pants and turning our attention to clothing that is light and/or able to survive a jump into the river. Some of us may feel a craving to eat lighter, cooler foods as opposed to the heavier, hotter foods that we glom onto in the winter months. Though we may be far removed from our subsistence-farming lives, we cannot escape the need to respond and adapt to our changing environment.
On the farm the heat wave produced a thousand new things to notice. The crops seem to be doubling in size every few days, but that means that the weeds are doing the same thing. Suddenly the hoop houses that have been giving our hot-weather crops the head start they need are holding more heat than the plants can withstand. Within just one week, the amount to harvest has pretty much doubled, the weed pressure seems to have tripled, and the need to shade all of our hoop houses with hand-thrown mud one Nancy’s yogurt cup at a time has become immediate.
The more energy the sun gives us in a day, the more the plants capture, and the more work there is for us all to do. It is known that we will not get to everything on the to-do list every day, and so a highly educated triage of tasks must be done to decide what must be done when. The weeds in the salad field may be five times taller than the lettuce, but that field will get tilled in next week so it’s a better use of our time to weed the winter squash that has tiny weeds but will be in the field until October.
Those who have been farming for their entire lives have spent their lives honing in the art of noticing required to adapt and respond to the changing seasons. Farming is so beautifully complicated, so realistically chaotic just like the weather that it depends on. All we can do is continue to hone in our own art of noticing so that we know how best to ride the ups and downs of the seasons year after year.
Best, Laura Bennett
Table of Box Contents
- Gold Beets—If you already love beets, then you’ll definitely love these gold beets. For those who struggle to enjoy beets however, gold beets can be an excellent first step into appreciating a milder version of beet flavor that is particularly sweet. Out in the field, we’ve come to call these “mangos,” because when you peel them the inner color looks just like the tropical fruit.
- Summer Cabbage
- 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 as an onion substitute in everything!
- 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.
- Sweet Slice Cucumbers— These cucumbers may have thicker and more rumply skins, however their flavor is by far the sweetest out of the other cucumbers that we grow. Thinly slice into salads to avoid the skin’s texture, or peel if desired. If you have a mandolin or a spiralizer, thinly slice long strips of cukes and season with toasted sesame oil, vinegar, and salt for a delicious fresh salad
- Nicola Potatoes—their waxy and buttery flavor makes these perfect for roasting as they hold their shape well.
- Lettuce Surprise—this week’s box contains a mix of different lettuce types.
- Semi-Sweet Onions
Beet Slaw with Pistachios and Raisins
“The pistachio butter underneath the slaw is like an Asian peanut sauce, bringing a much fuller nut flavor than the pistachios could offer alone. As you eat the dish, the juices from the slaw dissolve the pistachio butter and make a crazy good sort of vinaigrette.
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar (or any acid)
- 1 1/4 lb beets; use a mix of colors if you can
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, lightly packed
- 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
- salt & pepper
- olive oil
- pistachio butter (or any nut butter)
- Suggested Additions: cabbage & fennel, sliced thinly
Combine the garlic, raisins, and vinegar in a large bowl and let sit for 1 hour.
Grate the beets on the large holes of a box grater or cut into fine julienne. Yes, your hands will get stained, but the color fades quickly.
Remove the garlic from the raisins and discard. And the beets, lemon juice, most of the parsley and mint (save the rest for finishing), and chili flakes. Season with 1.5 tsp salt and lots of black pepper and toss. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and then taste—the slaw should be tart, spicy, peppery, and sweet. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then add ¼ cup olive oil. Toss and taste again.
To serve, plate and top with the slaw. Finish with reserved fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
“Imagine it’s 100°F with 90 percent humidity; the air is still and sodden. You are hot and sticky, and even breathing requires effort. What you need is a nice, cold drink. Cucumber Fennel Fizz is the perfect blend of tangy and refreshing. The cucumber is the standout flavor with a hint of fennel in the background. The lime juice and vinegar add a nicely sour edge. The fizz makes everything livelier. You feel invigorated; you can once again face the world.”
- 1 large cucumber
- 1/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz apple cider vinegar
- 4 ice cubes
- 1 inch fresh fennel bulb
- 1 can club soda or ginger ale
- 2 short stalks fresh fennel for garnish
- 10 (frozen) blueberries
- 3 oz gin (optional)
Skin cucumber, cut into 4 chunks, and toss into blender.
Add lime juice, apple cider vinegar, ice, and 1-inch fresh fennel bulb. Add gin if using. Blend until smooth and foamy, about 1 minute. Don’t be tempted to add more liquid unless your cucumber is exceptionally dry and it refuses to blend. (In which case add a dash of soda.)
Split the cucumber mix between two glasses, adding either club soda or ginger ale in a 1:1 ratio. Add 5 frozen or fresh blueberries to each glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh fennel.
— adapted from Food52
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1/2 cup grated potato
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 pinch breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp sour cream or yogurt
Grate your zucchini and potato using the largest hole on your grater. Let stand in a colander for at least 30 minutes to drain. They will hold together better when you drain out maximum moisture. Salt generously
In a bowl, beat egg, chopped parsley, and lemon zest. Add pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Roll and squeeze zucchini/potato mixture in a towel to soak up moisture. Add pinch of breadcrumbs to soak up any leftover wetness.
Combine zucchini/potato mixture with egg mixture. Stir well and coat.
Turn on oven to 200°F and place cookie sheet with foil in there to keep your pancakes warm as you make them.
Heat 13” skillet on medium high heat. Melt 1 Tbsp of butter. You can use olive oil if you prefer, but butter is delicious. When foam subsides, drop a spoonful of your pancake mixture in. You don’t really need to form it in advance, but pat it with a spatula and try to flatten it out as much as possible—it’ll be more crispy that way.
Cook 2 at a time until golden brown on each side, then place in oven to keep warm to make additional pancakes. Serve as soon as possible, with a dollop of sour cream or (drained Greek) yogurt on top for extra richness.