Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 25 Newsletter

To all the Food Rainbow Eaters:

Did you notice anything bright or crisp in your bin last week?  This is my favorite time of the year to visit the farmers market to see all the bright colors and the wide spectrum of each color.  This week you will find a few new additions in your bin.  The stands-out are: tender red lettuce, deep colored eggplant and fuzzy little edamame pods.

Green vegetable soybeans (edamame) are large soybeans that are harvested when the beans are still green and sweet tasting.  They can be served as a snack or a main vegetable after boiling the pods in slightly salted water for about 15 minutes.  They can also be removed from the pods and the green soybeans can be added to salads, casseroles or other mixed dishes.  They are high in protein and fiber  and contain no cholesterol.

The warm weather this past week has finished off the second wave of melons. The varieties I choose to grow are developed to be icebox sized and are suppose to be on the small side.  It still seems like they are too big for the black bins, so do keep an eye out for a side bin filled with melons this week. Everyone will receive one large melon or 2-3 small melons this time around.

This week's line up:

Red Lettuce
Sweet Peppers - Red/Yellow
Green/Purple Pole Beans

Beyond the Bin:

Peaches/qt                 4.00
Black Radishes         2.00
Basil                         2.00
Jalepeno Peppers      2.00
Raspberries/pt           5.00
Nectarines/qt             4.00
Honey/ 8 oz              4.00
Honey/ 16 oz            6.00

Here are a couple of eggplant recipes.  This is my "go to" soup recipes when the garden is producing a stream of eggplant and vine ripen tomatoes.

Eggplant and Tomato Soup   (Zuppa Di Melanzane E Pomodoro)        

Serves 6-8

4 ½ lbs. purple globe eggplant
2 oz. olive oil
3 medium red onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. crushed chili pepper flakes
32 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 qt. chicken stock
3 sprigs basil
3 sprigs mint
Pecorino Romano

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and lay out skin side up on a sheet pan lined with lightly oiled parchment paper.  Roast for 1 hour until soft and collapsing.

Peel and thinly slice the onions and garlic.  Sweat onions, garlic and chili pepper flakes in olive oil in a 5 qt soup pot over medium heat. Add a generous pinch of salt.  Add tomatoes and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Cool the eggplant and then scoop out the flesh and roughly chop it up.  Transfer the eggplant to the cooked onions and add the chicken stock.  Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes.  Stir occasionally and re-season with salt as necessary.

Remove the leaves from the basil and mint, finely chop and stir into the soup for the final 10 minutes of cooking.  Serve with grated Pecorino Romano.

Grilled eggplant

Makes 4 servings
1 large eggplant
1/4 c olive oil
1 long loaf crusty French bread
1/4 c basil pesto
1/4 lb provolone cheese, thinly
6 sliced mild peppers, such as
banana peppers
1 fresh tomato, optional

1. Slice eggplant 1/4-inch thick. Brush
with olive oil on both sides. Grill over
low to medium coals, turning once,
until golden brown on both sides, 5-7
minutes total.
2. cut bread in half lengthwise. Spread
pesto on cut faces of bread. Place
eggplant, cheese, peppers and
optional tomato in layers on one half
of loaf. Top with other half of loaf.
3. If desired, wrap loaf in foil and heat
at 350 degrees 20 minutes. Cut
crosswise into 4 sandwiches and

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 18 Newsletter

To all the Tomato Lovers:

It has been a very long wait and finally this last blast of heat is changing the color of the tomatoes. This week will kick-off what we hope will be another tomato tsunami. They have grown into a wall almost as tall as your friendly gardener! From canning to grape tomatoes, there are lots of varieties to look forward to!
Also this week, we began picking nectarines and they are super sweet! This is probably the last time blueberries will appear on the roster, so grab a 5 lb. box from the beyond-the-bin if you are hoping to freeze some this summer!
The weather is supposed to heat up this week and that should put some more color on those tomatoes and sweeten up the melons. It is a beautiful time of year in the garden with lots of colorful peppers, eggplants and flowers popping up everywhere. Cherry harvest is finally wrapping up and we are very happy to say that the operations went safely and smoothly this year! Most of our crew has finished for the season except for the year-round crew and a few extras to help with the upcoming apple harvest. With cherries behind us, we begin thinning apple trees and making other preparations for the next harvest. It looks like it is going to be a big crop this year so I hope you guys like Honey Crisps!

Week 10 bin will include:

Tomatoes (Early Girl - a small slicer)
Red, White and Purple Potatoes
White Onion
Green/Yellow/Purple Beans

Beyond the Bin:

Zucchini                   2.00
Blueberries/qt           5.00
Blueberries/ 5#       11.00
Cherries/qt                5.00
Basil                         2.00
Broc/Cauliflower     2.00
Honey  4 oz             4.00
Honey  8 oz             6.00


2 cups, fresh or frozen blueberries, if frozen – thawed
4 whole eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1  teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
powdered sugar, for dusting, optional
Non-stick spray
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the inside of 8 ramekins with non-stick spray and add just enough blueberries to cover the bottom. Set aside.
2) Using a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on the highest speed until doubled in size and light yellow, about 2 minutes.
3) Reduce the speed to medium-low then gradually add the salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, baking powder, and flour, scraping down the sides.
4) Add the milk and mix slowly until just incorporated.
5) Pour the mixture over the blueberries. 

Cucumber Yogurt Dressing

  • 1 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried dill

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate dressing in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 11 Newsletter

Hola Fruit & Veggie Explorers!

What are the reviews on the black radishes?  I have heard them described as  the big bad brother of red radishes because of their punchy flavor and large size.  They do mellow out if used as a cooking radish and can add an almost horseradish like flavor to other dishes.  Hopefully, these handsome radishes delighted you!

The post cherry harvest clean up has included many hours this past week in the orchards.  The crews have been cutting out downed limbs, raking brush and the mowers have been zipping around.  It is  surprising to see how when the orchards are freshly mowed the green apple size seems to double.  Always on to next big thing!

This week you will find in your bin:

Peppers - Jalapeno (hot - small)
                Green Carmen (mild- large)
Broccoli/Cauliflower mix
Red Norland Potatoes
French Filet Beans or Pole Beans
Swiss Chard
Summer Squash

Beyond the Bin:

Sweet Cherries/qt            5.00
Blueberries/qt                  5.00
Blueberries/ 5# (4 qt)       11.00
Red Potatoes                   3.00
Yellow Beans                 3.00
Sunflowers                     3.00
Cucumbers                     2.00
Parsley                          2.00

Here are a couple of recipes we have used at our house during the past week:  ( I did reduce the olive oil in the Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes recipe)

Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes

  • 12 to 15 baby red or yellow potatoes (about 1-1/2 oz. each; 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter)
  • 2-3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Boil the potatoes:
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan (preferably in one layer) and cover with at least an inch of water. Add 2 tsp. kosher salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook the potatoes until they are completely tender and can be easily pierced with a metal or wood skewer. Make sure they are cooked through but don’t overcook. The total cooking time will be 30 to 35 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, set up a double layer of clean dishtowels on your countertop. As the potatoes finish cooking, remove them individually from the water, and let them drain and sit for just a minute or two on the dishtowels.
Flatten and cool the potatoes:
Fold another dishtowel into quarters, and using it as a cover, gently press down on one potato with the palm of your hand to flatten it to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Repeat with all the potatoes. Don’t worry if some break apart a bit; you can still use them.
Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes Recipe
Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; put a sheet of parchment on top of the foil. Transfer the flattened potatoes carefully to the baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature.
Roast the potatoes
Remove the pan of potatoes from the refrigerator, if prepared ahead. Heat the oven to 450°F. Alternatively, if you have a convection function, turn it on and set the temperature at 400°F. Sprinkle the potatoes with about 3/4 tsp. salt and pour the olive oil over them. Lift the potatoes gently to make sure some of the oil goes underneath them and that they are well coated on both sides. Roast the potatoes until they’re crispy and deep brown around the edges, about 30 minutes if using a convection oven, 30 to 40 minutes if roasting conventionally, turning over once gently with a spatula or tongs halfway through cooking. Serve hot.
Make Ahead Tips
Do the busy work—boiling and flattening the potatoes—up to 8 hours ahead. Let potatoes cool completely, and store them on the pan, lightly covered, in the fridge. Then all you have to do at the last minute is coat with oil and salt and roast.

Fine Cooking 

Roasted Summer Squashes with Caper Gremolata


  • Preparation
  • Gremolata:
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • garlic clove, minced
  • Squash:
  • 4 cups multicolored pattypan squash, halved lengthwise
  • 3 cups baby zucchini, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 475°.
  2. 2. To prepare gremolata, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Set gremolata aside.
  3. 3. To prepare squash, combine pattypan squash, zucchini, and 2 teaspoons oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange squash, cut side down, in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 475° for 15 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned, stirring after 7 minutes. Sprinkle gremolata over the squash. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 4th Newsletter

Hello CSAers,

We are in the cherry season wrap-up mode.  The mechanical harvesting was completed last Friday and tomorrow will be the last day of hand picking cherries for this year.  We still have quite a few pounds of cherries in the cooler and will continue to pack and deliver cherries for at least another week.  All in all it seems like the harvest went well!

This week you will find the following items in your bin:

Sweet Cherries
Yellow Beans
Red Norland Potatoes
Black Radishes

Beyond the Bin:
Black Sweet Cherries/qt           5.00
Balaton Cherries/qt                   5.00
Blueberries/qt                           5.00
Broccoli                                    2.00
Kale                                          2.00
Banana Peppers                        2.00

I hope that the folks who stopped out for tart cherries Friday evening were able to find time over the weekend to make some delectable treats! We are all done with the Montmorency, the variety you picked up if you came out to the farm, but if you are still in a cherry-baking/canning/freezing frenzy, we threw Balatons on the BTB list this week. Balaton cherries are a Eastern European variety that are used for cooking and have a dark red color and are firm like a sweet cherry.

Roasted Zucchini and Radishes

Makes 8 servings

Radishes, when roasted, lose their bite and perfectly complement the mellow sweetness of cooked zucchini.
  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 bunches large radishes (2 1/4 lb total with greens), greens discarded
  • Special equipment: 2 large (17- by 11-inch) shallow baking pans

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, then put baking pans on racks and preheat oven to 450°F.
Halve zucchini lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss with 1/4 cup oil, teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Halve radishes lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss with remaining 3 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in another large bowl. Working quickly, spread zucchini in pan on lower rack and radishes in pan on upper rack.
Roast vegetables, without stirring, until lightly browned and tender, 20 to 30 minutes, then toss together in a large bowl.