Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week 11 Newsletter 2016

Hello Summer Fans,

It has been another great bird week in the garden. There is a large hawk who has been on rodent control early in the morning, a flock of geese visiting in the meadow and an assortment of sparrows enjoying the sunflower seeds.

One of my favorite Jim Harrison poems is called “Counting Birds” in which he confesses that he has been counting birds since he was a child. Here is the ending:

“On my death bed I’ll write this secret
Number on a slip of paper and pass
It to my wife and two daughters.
It will be a hot evening in late June
And they might be glancing out the window
At the thunderstorm’s approach from the west.
Looking past their eyes and a dead fly
On the window screen I’ll wonder
If there’s a bird waiting for me in the onrushing clouds.
O birds, I’ll sing to myself, you’ve carried
Me along on this bloody voyage,
Carry me now into that cloud,
Into the marvel of this final night.”
–From The Theory and Practice of Rivers (Clark City Press)

One of summer’s highlights is fresh watermelon. However, the watermelon found in stores are often not as ripe or sweet as homegrown watermelon. Melons sold in grocery stores are often harvested on the early side, well before they reach their peak maturity. This early picking diminishes their sugar content as well as nutritional value. I hope the melons that you are receiveing in your share are bursting with flavor.

What to expect to find in your bin this week:

Cherry Tomatoes
Pole Beans

and in the buckets:


Here are a couple of pictures of some garden helpers picking zucchini. 

Tomato and Watermelon Salad

 SAM SIFTON  YIELD 6 to 8 servings  TIME 15 minutes


4 to 6 large tomatoes, ideally heirloom varieties, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup feta cheese, torn into large crumbles


Combine the cubed tomatoes and watermelon in a large, nonreactive bowl and toss gently to combine. Add salt and let stand 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the dressing.
Whisk together the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cheese to the tomatoes and watermelon, then the dressing, and toss gently to combine.

Broccoli Pesto

MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN  YIELD1 1/4 cups  TIME 20 minutes


½ pound broccoli florets
2 garlic cloves, peeled, green shoots removed
1 cup basil leaves, tightly packed
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
 freshly ground pepper to taste
1 ½ to 2 ounces (1/3 to 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan, or a mixture of pecorino Romano and Parmesan, to taste


Steam the broccoli for 6 minutes, until very tender but still bright. Remove from the heat, rinse and drain on paper towels.
Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop in the garlic. When the garlic is minced and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the broccoli and the basil to the machine and turn on. When contents are finely chopped, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn on the machine again and drizzle in the olive oil. Purée until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and the grated cheese, and process until well blended.
Transfer to a bowl and serve as a dip, spread or sauce with pasta. If serving with pasta, this amount will be plenty for a pound of pasta. Thin out with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before tossing with the pasta.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Week 10 Newsletter 2016

Hello CSA Members,

Sand Hill Cranes
Here is a picture of the trio of sand hill cranes who have been hanging out in my long rows of strawberries snacking on grasshoppers. Every time I go to check on the zucchini and summer squash I am startled by their rattle. They are quite the noise makers.

Yes, it is time for tomatoes! The ripening process is well under way and each day a few more change from green to orange to red. You will find a few bright red slicers in you bin or bucket. It looks like we will continue to have a  nice supply of tomatoes to enjoy for the next few weeks. Please remember to store your tomatoes on your kitchen counter. Tomatoes do not like the cold temperatures and the texture and flavor will suffer if they are stored in the refrigerator.

What to expect to find in your bin or bucket:

Green Beans
Here come the tomatoes!

Small Share:

Green Beans

.... and eggplant too.

Are you wondering what to do with the eggplant, sage, or green beans? Below are some recipes that include these items as ingredients.

French Green Beans and Shallots

JACQUES PEPIN  YIELD 4 servings  TIME 21 minutes


4 cups water
1 pound very small, firm green beans, cleaned
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons peeled and chopped shallots
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice


Bring the water to a boil. Add the beans and cover the pot. Continue cooking the beans, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes until tender but firm. Drain and rinse under cold water.
At serving time, heat the butter in a skillet, add the shallots and saute for about 1 minute, until the shallots start to brown.
Add the beans, salt and pepper, and saute briefly. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with the chicken.

Pasta With Butter, Sage And Parmesan

MARK BITTMAN  YIELD4 servings  TIME20 minutes

Like many simple sauces, this one takes less time to prepare than the pasta itself. Fresh, fragrant sage is my choice of herb here, but substitutions abound. Try parsley, thyme, chervil or other green herbs in its place. Or cook minced shallot or onion in the butter until translucent. You may even toast bread crumbs or chopped nuts in the butter, just until they're lightly browned. In any case, finish the sauce with a sprinkling of Parmesan, which not only adds its distinctive sharpness, but also thickens the mixture even further.


 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cut pasta, like ziti
2 tablespoons butter
30 fresh sage leaves
1 cup or more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt it. Cook pasta until it is tender, but not quite done.
Meanwhile, place butter in a skillet or saucepan large enough to hold the cooked pasta; turn heat to medium, and add sage. Cook until butter turns nut-brown and sage shrivels, then turn heat to a minimum.
When the pasta is just about done, scoop out a cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta. Immediately add it to the butter-sage mixture, and raise heat to medium. Add 3/4 cup of the water, and stir; the mixture will be loose and a little soupy. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until some of the water is absorbed and the pasta is perfectly done.
Stir in cheese; the sauce will become creamy. Thin it with a little more water if necessary. Season liberally with pepper and salt to taste, and serve immediately, passing more cheese at the table if you like.

Miso-Glazed Eggplant

MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN  YIELD Serves 4 as an appetizer or side dish  TIME 45 minutes


2 long Japanese eggplants or 4 small Italian eggplants (about 3/4 pound)
 Salt to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil, plus additional for the baking sheet
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sake
2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
1 tablespoon sugar


Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and cut off the stem and calyx. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut an incision down the middle of each half, making sure not to cut through the skin, but cutting down to it. Salt the eggplant lightly and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and brush with sesame oil.
Blot the eggplants with paper towels and place, cut side down, on the baking sheets. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the skin is beginning to shrivel and the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the eggplants over, and preheat the broiler.
To make the glaze, combine the mirin and sake in the smallest saucepan you have and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 20 seconds, taking care not to boil off much of the liquid, then turn the heat to low and stir in the miso and the sugar. Whisk over medium-low heat without letting the mixture boil, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sesame oil.
Brush the eggplants with the miso glaze, using up all of the glaze. Place under the broiler, about 2 inches from the heat, and broil for about 1 minute, until the glaze begins to bubble and looks shiny. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool if desired or serve hot. To serve, cut the eggplant halves on the diagonal into 1- to 1-1/2-inch slices.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week 9 Newsletter 2016

Hello Everyone,

We have passed the halfway point of the CSA season. It is the time of year when it gets hard to decide what to put in the bins, because there are so many items that are ripening at the same time. I just hope I am providing you with interesting combinations and a few new items each week. The star combo this week are beans and parsley. I am sure everyone will be delighted to find vine-ripen tomatoes in their bins & buckets this week.

Please remember to return all of the bins & buckets when you pick up your Week 9 bin/bucket.

What to expect to find in your bin this week:

Wax Beans
Banana Peppers
Jalapeno Peppers

Small shares:

Here come the tomatoes!
Roma Beans

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN  YIELD 4 servings  TIME About 2 hours


1 cup black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
3 large garlic cloves, 2 of them crushed and left in the skin, 1 of them minced
½ onion, intact
1 bay leaf
 Salt to taste
2 medium tomatoes, in season only, diced
1 medium fennel bulb (about 1/2 pound), trimmed, quartered, cored and sliced very thin across the grain
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
 Freshly ground black pepper to taste
⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
⅓ cup chopped fresh dill
⅓ cup chopped chives
2 ounces feta, crumbled


Place the black-eyed peas, whole crushed garlic cloves, halved onion and bay leaf in a large, heavy saucepan and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until tender but intact, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and allow the black-eyed peas to cool for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the onion. Remove the garlic cloves, squeeze the cooked garlic out of the skins and back into the black-eyed peas, and drain through a strainer set over a bowl.
Transfer the black-eyed peas to a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, minced garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss with the beans. Add the remaining ingredients except the feta and toss together. If you want a bit more liquid with the beans, add back some of the broth (I found the dressing to be sufficient). Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the feta over the top and serve.

Pan-Roasted Green Beans With Golden Almonds

TARA PARKER-POPE  YIELD 4 servings  TIME About 30 minutes


 Kosher salt
8 ounces green and/or wax beans, trimmed
¼ cup blanched whole almonds, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced
1 lemon
 Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add salt (a teaspoon or so, or to taste). Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until bright green but still firm, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water. When cool, drain again. Pat dry with paper towels until completely dry.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the almonds and the oil, adding more oil if needed to just cover the almonds. Cook over medium heat until the almonds are golden, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shallot. It will cook in the residual heat.
Coat a large skillet with oil. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the beans and season with salt. Cook, tossing frequently, until charred dark brown in spots and tender-crisp, about 7 minutes.
Top with the almond mixture, then the parsley. Grate the zest from a quarter of the lemon directly over the beans, then cut the lemon into wedges for serving. Season with pepper and serve.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Week 8 Newsletter 2016

Hello Everyone,

We are at the tale end of cherry season. It has been a drawn out process due the abundance of fruit and the need to be on a quota. The mechanical harvesting is very close to the end and we are continuing to sell fresh black sweet cherries. We still have quite a few pounds of cherries stored away in our cooler and will pack and deliver cherries for at least another week. All in all it seems like the harvest has gone well!

What to expect to find in your bin this week:

Wax, Green or Roma Beans                                                               
Roma Beans 



Green Beans and Savory

Recipe from Kate Lawson

Wax Beans and Green Beans

1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh summer savory

1 tablespoon butter

Add beans to a pot with the salt. Add the summer savory and water to cover the beans. When the beans are tender, drain and toss with butter. Makes 4 servings.

Cucumber and Israeli Couscous Salad

MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN  YIELD 6 to 8 servings  TIME About 30 minutes


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
6 to 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
3 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 3 large bunches)
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
½ pound ripe tomatoes, very finely chopped
¾ pound cucumbers (1 European or 4 Persian), seeded if using regular cucumbers, cut in fine dice
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped, or 1/4 cup chopped chives
 Salt to taste
1 romaine lettuce heart, leaves separated, washed and dried


Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan and add the couscous. Stir until the couscous begins to color and smell toasty, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until the couscous is tender. Drain if any liquid remains in the pan.
Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice, parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions or chives and salt to taste. Add the olive oil, toss together, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with lettuce leaves.