Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30th Newsletter

Dear CSAers,

       Love it or hate it, Cherry Festival week is upon us once again. We hope that you enjoy the festival with your family and friends. Rather wolfing down a cherry pie or racing down the Old Mission Peninsula, take some time to appreciate how the cherry industry has made our region so unique. When not working as a dietician or weeding her garden, my mom also volunteers as the Cherry Industry Liaison for the Cherry Festival Board of Governors. She believes that it is important to represent the cherry farming community seeing as the mission of Cherry Festival is to celebrate and promote cherries.
     The downside of festival week is all of the traffic. Hopefully your bins save you a trip to the grocery store this week! This week's line-up:

  • Strawberries
  • Lettuce
  • Lettuce Mix
  • White Turnips
  • Bok Choi/ Broccoli
  • Snow Peas
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Parsley

Beyond the Bin
  • Maple Syrup - $8.00
  • Strawberries - $3.50
  • Radishes - $2.00
  • Rhubarb - $2.00
     A reminder about how beyond the bin works: e-mail Barb with your order by Wednesday morning. Your extra items with be in your bin (so make sure you get the one with your name on it!) Barb will keep track of what you ordered and you can pay your entire BTB bill at the end of the season.

Recipes for the week:

Roasted Baby Turnips with Parsley-Mustard Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  1. 1 1/2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  2. 1 scallion, minced
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  4. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. 24 baby turnips (2 pounds), stems trimmed to 2 inches
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard, scallion, parsley and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Cut the turnips in half through the stems; quarter them if large. In a large bowl, toss the turnips with the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the turnips on the preheated baking sheet and roast for about 18 minutes, until tender. Transfer the turnips to a platter and let cool. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.

Ginger Snow Peas and Peppers

8 ounces snow peas, stems removed
2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Place a steamer basket in a saucepan filled with 1 inch water. Bring to a gentle boil. Add snow peas and bell peppers. Cover, and cook until crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Rinse under cold water; drain well

In a serving bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and ginger; season with salt and pepper. Add snow peas and peppers; toss.

The cherries are beginning to turn red and we are making preparations for the harvest. After last year's disastrous crop failure, it is exciting and relieving to once again see trees heavy with maturing fruit. In the garden, the strawberries are really producing. This would be a great time to get an extra quart in beyond the bin. Strawberries are always a crowd pleaser at 4th of July celebrations!

Yours Truly

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23rd Newsletter

Dear Garden Pals,

I hope you are all enjoying the first tastes of your CSA goodie box. I know the missing strawberries were a disappointment, but I promise (really!) that this week those elusive berries will make an appearance in your box. Besides strawberries, there are a lot of good things to look forward to. Here is this week's list:

  • Strawberries
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Mixed greens
  • Garlic scapes & green garlic
  • Lemon thyme
  • Tarragon
Beyond the Bin:

  • Rhubarb $2.00
  • Braising Greens $2.00
  • Maple Syrup $8.00
  • Radishes $2.

You might already be asking, what the heck do I do with taragon? Don't worry, we have you covered!

Chicken Salad with Tarragon

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat
1/4 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons dried tarragon (or 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning. Serve with lettuce for a simple salad, in a
tomato that has been cut open for a stuffed tomato, or with slices of bread for a chicken salad

Here is a link to another recipe that has tarragon:

The solstice marked the beginning of summer this week and the temperatures are finally beginning to rise. The garden is springing into life--the broccoli is forming buds, white turnips are forming and the strawberries get sweeter by the minute.

The first pick-up seemed to go as smoothly as possible. There are no forgotten bins in the cooler, so I guess that is a good sign! Don't forget to bring back your empty bin this Wednesday!

So there you have it, CSAers. Now you know the bin pick-up drill and can begin to think about all the yummy things you will make with this week's bounty. In the meantime, howl at the moon, crack open that maple syrup for a relaxed weekend brunch and enjoy the first beautiful days of summer!

Yours Truly

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16 Newsletter

See ya later, winter!
Dear Veggie-Lovers,

     The moment you have all been waiting for is here! It's time for the first box of the season, and we are excited to kick-off the season with a variety of great stuff. Okay I know the suspense is killing you, so here it is, the first list of what to look for in your box:

  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Lettuce
  • Spicy Mixed Salad Greens
  • Spinach
  • Radishes
  • Oregano
  • Chocolate MInt
Beyond the Bin:
  • Rhubarb  $3.00
  • Spinach   $2.50
       Can you handle the excitement? We are pretty thrilled to start the season too! It is always very rewarding to harvest after months and months of preparation and to see our little plants thrive in response to all the TLC they have received. This week on the farm, we have been attacking those pesky weeds with full force. It is really important to pull the weeds now while plants are still young and could easily be strangled by their proliferating competitors. 
       The other big excitement in the garden this week was the erection of our 12-foot tall scarecrow. While I am not sure if it is keeping the birds at bay, it has certainly tricked our neighbor's beagle pup! When he stopped by the garden for a visit, he put on quite the show in an attempt to get the scarecrow's attention.
     This week's recipe comes from one of our very own Peak Season members, Carol Danly. This will be Carol's third year as a member. Before joining Peak Season, Carol had an interest in dietetics and nutrition. As a CSA subscriber, she learned to research and experiment with a lot of new ingredients. She enjoyed the experience so much that she decided to commit to pursuing a culinary degree. She enrolled in NMC's Great Lakes Culinary Institute program. She has flourished in the classroom and in the kitchen. She volunteers with MSU Extension's Cooking Matters classes and will be working as a Banquet Cook for the Hagerty Center this summer. While we cannot take credit for all of Carol's hard work, we are very proud that Peak Season provided a spark of inspiration for one of our members!
   Here is Carol's recipe:
Rhubarb Lemonade

  • 3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb, about 10 to 12 stalks, depending on thickness
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 7 pods cardamom, split open (or 2 large pinches ground)

In medium, heavy-bottomed pot, combine rhubarb, sugar, and cardamom pods. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent any sugar from burning, until rhubarb melts unto itself and into a jammy pulp, maybe 20 minutes. The thinner the slices of rhubarb, the quicker the cooking, but the faster the compote cooks, the weaker the taste of cardamom. Your choice on the best approach.
Once rhubarb is completely cooked down, pass it through a fine food mill or strain out the cardamom and puree in a blender. Set it aside in large pitcher while making lemon syrup:

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice, and any accompanying zest
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Combine 1/2 of the lemon juice with zest and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until sugar is completely dissolved. Off heat, add remaining lemon juice and stir well. Add lemon syrup to rhubarb puree. Lastly, add:
7 cups cold water. Stir well and chill.
The consistency of this rhubarb lemonade will be more of nectar than typical “drink.” It allows you to pour in tall glasses with generous ice, but without too much dilution.
Yield: about 12 servings.

A few reminders about the logistics of bin pick-up:

  •  Your bin will have your name on it. Only take the bin with your name
  • Return empty bins the following week 
  • If you are sharing a subscription, you are responsible for deciding how the produce will be split between yourselves
  • Don't forget to pick-up on time please!
We cannot wait to see all of you/ meet newbies! It's going to be a great season!

Pre-Harvest Newsletter

Dear CSAers,

          Welcome (or welcome back) to the Peak Season CSA Community! Now, this may be the first official newsletter of 2013, but don’t rush off to your pick-up location just yet. I know it has been a long winter and the anticipation of diving into that first bin is unbearable, but hold out just a little longer CSAers! The cool temperatures this spring mean that kick-off will be delayed until the week of 16th.
          Maybe you were counting on preparing a father’s day feast of spinach and green beans, but do not panic. Even without your CSA bin, Dad’s special meal can still include some local flavors. Our recommendation? Morel mushrooms! One benefit of the wet weather to appreciate is that everyone’s favorite shroom seem to be popping up everywhere. Maybe you have a secret spot to go “hunting.” If not, you can always find some at the Sarah Hardy Farmer’s Market (Saturday 8-12, Wednesday 7:30-12 located in the old Clinch Park Zoo parking lot). Preparation is pretty simple: Step 1) rinse toughly Step 2) halve or quarter mushrooms, depending on the size Step 3) sauté in butter Step 4) Serve with steak, prepared however Dad likes it! Morel omelets are another delicious (and vegetarian) option. Father’s Day brunch is saved after all!
     While it may seem like a slow start, things are anything but torpid around the farm. The bees are working hard to pollinate last blossom and it seems that the farm crew has taken on the busy-bee work ethic. The pre-harvest preparations are therefore coming together quickly and efficiently. The crew even made some spare time to help plant eggplant, peppers and tomatoes in the garden this week. What goes down must come up and the days of roasted eggplant will be here before we know it!
         You can get ready for the season too! Clean out your fridge and cupboards now, you’ll need the space soon! Begin planning how you will make the most of your CSA bin. Maybe set a goal of trying one new recipe a week or start a journal to keep track of all the new foods you will soon be devouring. While it may not be time to come out and pick-up your bin, go for a cruise down the Old Mission Peninsula to enjoy the last of the spring blossoms.

Happy Father’s Day!