Sunday, July 31, 2016

Week 7 Newsletter 2016

Hello CSA Members,

Last week the New York Times had a wonderful article titled “When Community Supported Agriculture Is Not What It Seems” by Julia Moskin.  In the article she outlines how the success of the CSA concept has lead to the use of the name to sell other kinds of food box programs.  It seems to me that to have many different options available to purchase good quality food is not a bad thing, but the term CSA has a special meaning to me. 

CSA removes the middleman, the grocery store, the distributor from the equation bringing the customer and the farmer into a very direct relationship.  Just how that is done varies from farm to farm.  Transparency, mutual benefit, and mutual support are key ingredients to the relationship along with sharing in the risk of farming.  While we do everything we can to ensure you as our members rarely have to feel the risk, we know that you are there if something uncontrollable happens (such as floods, hail, other natural events).  Even with last year's August 2nd storm, we managed to keep the bins filled with produce for the rest of the season.

There are all kinds of ways to connect local farmers, other food producers, people who bring in food items we can’t grow (maple syrup, honey), to CSA members. The maple syrup that was in an early season bin was produced by my brother, who owns the farm I grew up on. The honey that also made an appearance was from the Hilbert family and they have provided us with beehives for pollination our fruit trees for 3 generations.
Here is the link to the NY Times article:

What to expect to find in your bin this week:

Black Cherries
Tart Cherries
Yellow Peppers

Black Cherries
Tart Cherries

Cherry Crisp

4 cups sour cherries, washed & pitted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread cherries evenly in a 9-inch pie pan or baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Spread crumbs evenly over cherries. Sprinkle cinnamon over crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.

Sour Cherry Galette 

A simple, rustic sour cherry galette recipe that highlights the tart flavors of sour cherries beautifully.

Author: Brooklyn Supper

Makes: one 12-inch galette


For the crust

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour (sub all-purpose flour, if that's easier)

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
8 tablespoons cold butter
4 - 5 tablespoons ice water

For the filling

3 heaping cups pitted sour cherries (about 4 1/2 cups un-pitted)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons finely ground instant tapioca (I use my coffee grinder for this)
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
egg white, lightly beaten


In a medium-sized bowl, use a fork to whisk the flours, sugar, and sea salt together. Grate in the butter, using fingertips to massage butter into the flour mixture. When mixture is well combined and crumbly, drizzle in just enough water for it to hold together. (If you're new to homemade dough, add enough water to handle the dough easily – it will be fine.)
Mound dough into a disc, wrap tightly with plastic, and chill for an hour or longer.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
To prepare the filling, fold the pitted cherries, sugar, tapioca, lemon zest, sea salt, and cinnamon together. Set aside while you roll out the dough.
Take the cut parchment from the prepared baking sheet and dust very lightly with flour. On the parchment, roll out the dough into a rough 14-inch circle. Place parchment with dough round on the baking sheet.
Working very quickly, mound the filling in the center of the dough, doing your best to leave excess juices behind. (Paper towels can be used to sop up any running juices, if needed.) Fold the dough up in 4-inch sections and lightly press together. Brush with egg white, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and slide into the oven. Immediately turn heat down to 425 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate galette, turn heat to 375 degrees F and bake until galette is a deep golden brown and juices are bubbling, 20 - 25 minutes longer.

Cool for two hours before serving. Scoops of vanilla ice cream are optional.

Ravioli & Vegetable Soup

From: EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016

Fresh or frozen ravioli cook in minutes and turn this light vegetable soup into a main course. Look for whole-wheat or whole-grain ravioli in the refrigerated or frozen section of the supermarket. Tortellini can be used instead of ravioli as well. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups frozen bell pepper and onion mix, thawed and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (optional)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
1 15-ounce can vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon dried basil or marjoram
1 6- to 9-ounce package fresh or frozen cheese (or meat) ravioli, preferably whole-wheat
2 cups diced zucchini, (about 2 medium)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pepper-onion mix, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, broth, water and basil (or marjoram); bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add ravioli and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add zucchini; return to a boil. Cook until the zucchini is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with pepper.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Week 6 Newsletter 2016

Hello Everyone,

Cherry Season is marching on and we will start shaking tart cherries later this week. 

The other big news.... the garlic has been harvested.

Garlic is a crop with many steps. We last purchased seed garlic in 2010.  Which means we bought garlic bulbs from another farmer.  In October, we split the garlic bulbs into individual cloves and then we plant one clove every 9 inches in a raised bed.  Then we cultivate the garlic beds a few times in October to prevent any weeds from coming up that fall.  Once the ground freezes in November we apply a heavy mulch of straw over the garlic section.  This straw insulates the garlic and the soil during the spring to prevent the frost from shoving the garlic bulbs out of the soil.  When we have a warm fall/early winter the cloves start to sprout and the little green sprouts are sheltered under the straw over the winter.

In the spring as the weather warms the green sprouts shoot up out of the straw.  All spring the garlic continues to grow.  In early June the garlic we grow sends up a curly Q out of the middle of the plant.  These are garlic scapes. You may remember seeing garlic scape in one of the earlier bins.

In mid-July the garlic is ready to harvest.  If you wait too long the garlic begins to split in the ground which means it won't store very long.  We gently loosens the soil around the garlic bulbs making it easy to pull them out of the ground. We pull out the bulbs, gently twist off the roots and place them boxes.  Then they need hot, dry conditions to allow the bulbs to dry quickly to prevent any molds from developing.  The garlic you are receiving in your bin is fresh garlic and it has not been cured.

Garlic 2016

What to expect to find in your bin this week:


Sweet Banana Peppers
Salad Greens

Banana Peppers


Fingerling Potatoes


Rosemary & Thyme

Fresh Garlic

Small share:



Banana Peppers



Roasted Shrimp With Rosemary and Lemon

  MARK BITTMAN  YIELD 4 to 6 servings  TIME 25 minutes


 Several rosemary branches
1 ½ pounds peeled shrimp
 Olive oil
 Fresh lemon juice
 Lemon wedges, for garnish


Heat the oven to 500.
Lay a bunch of rosemary branches in the bottom of a roasting pan, and put 1 1/2 pounds peeled shrimp on top. Sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
Roast, turning the shrimp once, until they’re pink all over, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Parsleyed or Dilled Potatoes

PIERRE FRANEY  YIELD 4 servings  TIME 30 minutes


12 small new red potatoes (about 2 pounds)
 Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup finely chopped parsley or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill


For an attractive touch, use a paring knife to remove a thin band of skin around the middle of each potato. Leave the rest of the skin intact.
Wash the potatoes and put them in a saucepan with water to cover. Add salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and add the butter, pepper and parsley or dill. Toss well, and serve hot.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Week 5 Newsletter 2016

Hello Everyone,

It has been a busy week on our farm. We had a GAP (Good Agriculture Practices) audit as we were in full swing with cherry harvest. It went well and is an important step to take to continue to expand locations to market our fresh black sweet cherries.

The cherry crews have been working long days. This past week we were picking and packing fresh cherries and also mechanically harvesting cherries. It not only takes many people in the field but also folks to transport the cherries to the receiving area. Then there are the others in the receiving area where they unload the boxes of cherries from flat bed trucks and load onto semi-trucks. We have a small truck which makes steady runs moving small boxes of hand picked cherries from the field to the cooler. We have another crew who work the packing line. The hand picked fruit is sorted on a packing line, weighed and the boxes are assembled on pallets. Of course, we cannot forget the the people who keep all the spinning plates spinning! Everyday is different, it takes planning, scheduling and marketing to make it all happen.

Here are a few pictures I took late this afternoon as we were loading a refrigerated truck that is heading down state this evening to deliver cherries early tomorrow morning.

Wrapping pallets of boxes

Moving the pallet of cherries

Loading the pallet in the truck

What to expect to find in your bin this week:
Cherries - Ulsters (my favorite!)
Emperor Francis 
Cherries - Emperor Francis
Purple Onions

Small Share

Cherries - Ulsters
White Turnips

Marinated Zucchini Salsa



1 pound medium or small zucchini, preferably a mix of green and yellow
 Salt to taste
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, mint, chives, dill or a combination


Slice the squash as thinly as you can. Sprinkle with salt, preferably kosher salt, and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse and drain on paper towels.
Mix together the lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Toss with the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for four to six hours.
Remove from the refrigerator, and remove the garlic clove. Add the fresh herbs, and toss together. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.
Advance preparation: This dish will keep for a day or two, but it is best served just after the herbs are added. The lemony zucchini will lose its flavor over time.

Yogurt Parfaits With Cherries and Pistachios


Yogurt parfaits are easy to make, and they make great desserts and snacks.


½ pound cherries, pitted and quartered or cut into eighths, depending on the size (about 1/2-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons mild honey, like clover
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups drained low-fat yogurt or low-fat Greek-style yogurt
3 tablespoons lightly toasted pistachios, finely chopped (1 ounce)


Combine the cherries and sugar in a bowl and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. The cherries should be slightly softer and sitting in a syrup.
Place a strainer over a bowl and drain the cherries. Divide the cherries into two equal portions. Stir the syrup into the yogurt. Add the honey and the almond extract and mix together well.
Spoon 1/4 cup yogurt into the bottom of each of four 7- to 8-ounce tumblers or parfait glasses. Distribute the first portion of cherries among the glasses. Sprinkle pistachios over the cherries. Repeat the layers but do not sprinkle pistachios over the top until you are ready to serve. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, sprinkle the remaining chopped pistachios over the top of the parfaits.


Advance preparation: The assembled parfaits will hold in the refrigerator for a day. Sprinkle on the pistachios just before serving.

Cherry Salsa

2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T sugar
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 – 2 jalapenos, very thinly sliced
2 Cup black sweet cherries split in half

Mix all together. This goes well with grilled fish.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Week 4 Newsletter 2016

Dear CSA Crew,

We have officially begun cherry harvest 2016! Now the chaos really begins. . . The storm that moved through the area on Friday did not reach the north end of Old Mission Peninsula, the equipment is put together and tuned up, the customers are calling for cherries. It feels like it is all coming together. We are very lucky to have a fabulous crew and are looking forward to a safe and successful harvest. As the season kicks-off, expect to taste your first Michigan dark sweet cherry of the year this week!

Here is the full line-up:

Black Sweet Cherries
Mixed Greens
Swiss Chard
Sugar Snap Peas

Small Share

Black Sweet Cherries
Snow Peas
Chocolate Mint

Morning Oatmeal With Cherries and Pistachios



½ cup steel-cut oatmeal, preferably the quick-cooking variety
 Salt to taste
1 ½ cups water
1 to 2 teaspoons honey, brown sugar or agave nectar
1 to 2 tablespoons pistachios, lightly toasted
3 ounces cherries 12 to 14, depending on the size, pitted and halved
 Milk or almond beverage as desired


The night before you plan to make this dish, place the oatmeal in a large microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan with the salt. Bring the water to a boil, and pour over the oatmeal. Cover tightly and leave overnight.
In the morning, stir in the honey, pistachios and cherries. Cover and microwave three to five minutes, or simmer for 10 minutes or so until the oatmeal has absorbed the liquid remaining in the bowl. Stir in milk or almond beverage as desired.
Advance preparation: I like to have this oatmeal cooked and ready in the refrigerator to reheat before I leave in the morning. It will keep there for three days.

Green Salad With Asian Vinaigrette

 MARK BITTMAN  YIELD 4 servings  TIME 10 minutes.


⅓ cup peanut or other neutral oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups torn assorted greens, like mesclun or any lettuce


Combine all the ingredients except the greens in a blender and turn the machine on; a creamy emulsion will form within 30 seconds. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more vinegar if necessary until the balance tastes right to you.
Put the greens in a bowl, drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Week 3 Newsletter 2016


Hello Everyone,

Happy Fourth of July!
It is time to celebrate with the Fourth of July and Cherry Festival week upon us once again. I hope that you are able to enjoy this time of year with your family and friends. This year we are celebrating the 90th year of the Cherry Festival with an emphasis on how the cherry industry has made our region so unique. When not working as a dietitian or weeding my garden, I also volunteer on the Cherry Festival Board. I am not a big crowd person and have to push myself during this week. The mission of the Cherry Festival is to celebrate and promote cherries and a special event that should support this is the return of the Heritage Parade.

The downside of festival week is all of the traffic. Hopefully your bins will save you a trip to the grocery store this week!

What to expect to find in your bin:

Purple/Green Snow Peas
Sugar Snap Peas
White Turnips
Mixed Greens

Small Share

Sugar Snap Peas

Rat Tail Radish

Classic Deviled Eggs

ALEX WITCHEL  YIELD 12 halves  TIME 45 minutes

This recipe is adapted from ''U.S.A. Cookbook," a tribute to classic all-American dishes, written by Sheila Lukins, a co-author of the Silver Palate cookbooks that were popular in the 80s and 90s. There are no newfangled ingredients here - no lemongrass or curry or pesto - just eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, a dash of Tabasco and a festive sprinkle of paprika (if you're feeling fancy, garnish with chives). They are basic, but spectacular, and always a welcome addition to the picnic table.


6 large eggs
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 to 2 dashes Tabasco sauce, to taste
 Salt, to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
 Paprika, for garnish
 Whole fresh chives, for garnish


Rinse eggs with warm water, and place in a small saucepan. Cover with cold water, place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for 10-12 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and peel. Cool in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for 15 minutes.
Halve eggs lengthwise, and carefully scoop out yolks. Place yolks in a bowl, and mash with a fork. Add mustard, Tabasco, salt, pepper and snipped chives. Stir in mayonnaise.
Fill each egg white with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the egg-yolk mixture and dust the top with paprika. Arrange in a spoke design on a platter; garnish with whole chives.