2016 CSA – Week 8: The Value of Variety

CSA Week 8 Graphic

CSA Newsletter – Week 8


The Value of Variety

A seemingly simple question was posed to me the other week: Why grow this yellow flying saucer squash when you can just grow a regular green zucchini? In the moment, I didn’t have a great answer, but the question got me thinking about the many reasons that variety and biodiversity are important to our farm system.

On a farm, there are so many factors and considerations that determine what we grow. Of course, we want to grow products that we can sell and that are tasty. Because we sell at a variety of markets, to chefs and restaurants, grocery stores, and directly to people like you, there is a wide variation of products, sizes desired within our broad market creating a diverse demand therefore, more variety means more possibilities of meeting people’s needs. Also, product diversity certainly makes our farmers market setups look beautiful and inviting!

On the farm, the seasons often dictate what we grow, and we can extend seasons by growing varieties that are early season, heat tolerant, overwintering, etc. Other on-farm considerations include days to maturity (how long it takes to grow), yield, ease of harvest, disease resistance, and storability.

In the case of the flying saucer squash, its fun shape and firm, nutty texture make it a squash we’ll continue to grow. With all of the complexities and variables in agriculture, sometimes it’s that simple!

Happy August and enjoy your salsa box!

-Lily, CSA Coordinator

Table of Box Contents

Lettuce ($2.00)

☐ 1½ lbs Potatoes ($2.25) – Store in dry, cool, darkness. Don’t scrub until you’re ready to eat them.

2 Poblano Peppers ($2.00) – Stuff as chile rellenos, or incorporate into a potato and corn hash

Bunched Golden Beets ($3.00)

☐ 1 Fresh Sweet Onion ($1.50)

1 Red Torpedo Onion ($1.50) – The long, cylindrical shape of this onion lends itself well to slicing rounds for salad.

☐ 1 Jalapeno ($.50) – Add a little kick to your salsa or pico de gallo

☐ Bunched Carrots ($3.50)

Cilantro ($2.00) – Use in salad, salsa, or to garnish any dish

1 lb Tomatillos (4-6) ($3.00) – Roast them and make salsa verde

☐ 4 zucchini ($3.50) – Grill, sauté, or make zucchini bread

2 Big Beef Tomatoes ($4.50)

4 Ears of Corn ($3.00) – Boil or grill and eat straight off the cob or cut off the ear and add to stir-fry or salsa

Box Market Value: $32.25

Recipes

Pico de Gallo

Make this simple, fresh salsa using your tomatoes, white onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.

The tomatoes will most likely be the limiting factor so chop those first and add chopped onions and cilantro to taste. Depending on your heat preference, add chopped jalapeno. Add a little salt and lime and adjust ingredients to taste.

Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients

  • 5 medium tomatillos
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 serrano chiles (or jalapeno)
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Peel and wash the tomatillos. Split and seed the chiles. Place the tomatillos and chiles under a broiler for about 4 minutes each side.
  2. Transfer the blackened tomatillos, chiles, and any juices from the pan to a blender or food processor. Simply add the rest of the ingredients and blend.
  3. This is the absolute basic recipe. Try adding garlic, cumin, avocado, and/or lime.

Poblano, Potato, and Corn Gratin

This dish is a bit indulgent but potatoes, corn, and poblanos are such a great combination, I couldn’t resist!  For a lighter version, cut the potatoes into chunks, salute with onions and olive oil for 10 minutes and then add the poblanos and corn. Sauté until ingredients are cooked through and add salt and pepper to taste.

 Ingredients

  •  3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large fresh poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, cut into 2×1/4-inch strips
  • 1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 cup cooked corn, cut off the cob
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Oaxaca cheese or whole-milk mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub 9 1/2-inch-diameter deep-dish glass pie dish or cast-iron skillet with 2 teaspoons oil. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add poblano strips and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Arrange 1/3 of potato rounds, overlapping slightly, in prepared pie dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of poblano strips over, then 1/3 of corn and 1/3 of cheese. Repeat with 1/3 of potatoes, 1/3 of poblanos, 1/3 of corn, and 1/3 of cheese. Top with remaining potatoes, poblanos, and corn, reserving remaining 1/3 of cheese. Place dish on rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Whisk half and half, flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in small bowl. Pour over potato mixture in pie dish; press potatoes to submerge. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle remaining cheese over gratin. Continue to bake gratin until potatoes are tender and cheese is golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Read More: Bon Appétit

June 25th Market Recipes – Spinach Basil Salad and Fresh Pico de Gallo

Summer is officially here, and with it has come another slew of seasonal produce. It’s now that time of year when a few quick chops is all that stands between you and a meal of simple fresh food. The following recipes focus on quick raw dishes that can be enjoyed without turning on the stove, although I did break down and cook up some zucchini, I just missed it so much all winter.

  • Fresh Cucumber with Lemon and Salt20160622_090504 (2) 700 pixels wide
  • Fresh Kohlrabi with Lemon and Salt (June 4th post)
  • Cocozelle Squash Sauté with Black Kale and Garlic
  • Spinach Basil Salad
  • Pico de Gallo

FRESH CUCUMBER WITH LEMON AND SALT:

Cucumber season is in full swing! Eat them whole like an apple, slice them up with lemon and salt, mince them into a salad- cucumbers are good for everything.

COCOZELLE SQUASH SAUTE WITH BLACK KALE AND GARLIC:20160625_104941 (2)

Summer squash and garlic are soul mates, and when they are together, deliciousness is sure to result. Many people asked me, “One head of garlic? You must mean 1 clove?” No sir, no ma’am, I mean one head! Though garlic is most commonly treated as a seasoning, I prefer to treat it as a vegetable as it provides a savory flavor that makes vegetarian dishes feel especially filling. Feel free to add as much as or as little as you wish! I used Cocozelle in this dish, a type of zucchini that has thicker skin which helps the squash maintain its form without getting mushy in the pan.

  • 3 Cocozelle Summer Squash, sliced into discs
  • 1/2 Willamette Sweet Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 head Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch Lacinato Black Kale, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Coat the bottom of the pan in olive oil and bring it up to medium-high heat.
  2. Once up to temperature, add in the chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add in sliced squash and garlic, stirring around to coat everything in oil. Sauté for about 7 minutes.
  4. Stir in the black kale and add a couple pinches of salt. Sauté for about 3 minutes. Timing is somewhat key here, as we don’t want the squash to get mushy. Make sure to add in the kale while the squash is still a little bit raw so that both the kale and the squash finish cooking about the same time in the pan.
  5. My favorite way to eat this dish is for breakfast topped with two fried eggs and some hot sauce. However it is also delicious along side rice and chicken, or just by itself.

SPINACH BASIL SALAD:20160625_104933 (2)

Spinach is not the biggest fan of hot weather, so I made this dish in an effort to enjoy it in its prime before we all have to go a month or two without its tender greens in our lives.

  • 1 bunch Spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 bunch Basil, finely chopped
  • ~6 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • ~4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 Willamette Sweet Onion, minced
  • Salt to taste, 2-3 pinches

Directions:

  1. Mince the garlic and onion and place them in a medium bowl.
  2. Pour the olive oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar into the bowl, and mash the onion and garlic into the dressing a bit with the back of a spoon. This is the magic secret! All those onion and garlic juices will release into your dressing making it incredibly flavorful.
  3. Chop up the spinach and basil and toss them in the dressing.
  4. This salad is delicious as is, although if you let it sit 10-15 minutes before serving, the vinegar will break down the spinach a bit making for an extremely tender salad.

PICO DE GALLO:20160625_115024 (2)

Pico de Gallo is one of my main dinners during the summer. All you have to do is roughly chop up the following ingredients, dump them all in a bowl, and mix them around. Serve with tortilla chips, on top of tacos, or if you’re crazy like me, grab a spoon and experience just how fresh summer can taste. You’ll notice from this picture that I like my pico with heavy quantities of onion; for those of you who prefer less onion, feel free to add less.

  • 4 medium Tomatoes
  • 1 medium-large Willamette Sweet Onion
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro
  • 1/3 bunch Basil
  • Lemon Juice to taste
  • Salt to taste