CSA Newsletter Week 12

newsletter with photoWe are at the half-way point in the CSA season! Eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash have replaced peas, berries, and yellow and purple beans. Sweet corn will likely show up next week. The onions are drying on racks, (this will be the last of the Walla Walla onions before we turn to some of the other varieties we planted this spring), and on Saturday I walked the pumpkin patch, setting pumpkins on their bottoms to help them grow evenly. Already a couple are beginning to turn orange.

How satisfying to walk the food cycle throughout the season! Right now we’re enjoying plants that like it particularly hot.  Speaking of hot–stay hydrated these hot days by to adding cucumber slices and/or add mint leaves to a pitcher of water. Let the flavors infuse the water for a few hours in the fridge.

We are anticipating 100˚ weather this week–so for those of you who can come on the early side of the 2-5 window–we recommend it.

Anticipated in the Market

Chehalis Apple
Cherry Tomatoes
Assorted Tomatoes
(Celebrity, Baby Cakes, Amarillo, San Marzano, Copia, Rutgers…)
Copenhagen Heirloom Cabbage (great for slaws, sauerkraut and slow cooking)
Heirloom Gold & Red Beetstomatoes-eggplant2
Slicing Cucumbers
Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans
Russet & Yukon Gem Potatoes
Zucchini
Butterstick & Crookneck
Broccoli
Walla Walla Onions
Kale (Dinosaur, Red Russian & Siberian)
Collards
Garlic & Mint

Pick Two

Yellow or Burgundy beans
Patty Pan Summer Squash
Tromboncini Squash
Fennel
Kohlrabe
Listada de Gandia & Black Beauty Eggplant
Baby Potatoes
Various Peppers
Rhubarb
Extra Braising Greens

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New From The Garden: Eggplant

Eggplants are actually Very Big berries. We grow two varieties at Fern Creek, both of them heirloom, and pictured above. The beautiful purple and white stripped ones are Listada de Gandia, which have come a little earlier than the dark black/purple Black Beauties, which we’ll also have this week.

Eggplant is much loved in Italy and rather misunderstood in the United States, partly because good eggplant dishes require some prep. I used to avoid eggplant.  I had tried cooking it once (it probably showed up in our CSA bag) and didn’t much care for the rubbery texture. But since we started growing it for our CSA I’ve learn how to prep it.  While not all recipes have you do the following, I generally do it anytime the eggplant is going to be front and center in a recipe. Slice, score and salt your eggplant and then let the slices drain for 30 minutes.  Pat them dry and proceed with your recipe. You can halve eggplant lengthwise and after the salt prep, brush it with oil, set the cut side on a sprig of oregano, bake, cool and eat. Enjoy experimenting with them. We’ve included one recipe this week that looks terrific.

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You Voted. Your Favorite Summer Squash is…

Zucchini!zucchini

Tromboncini came in a fairly close 2nd, followed by Crookneck as a distance 3rd, and Butter Stick and Patty Pan tying for last place. It’s possible, some of us think, that zucchini is the favorite because it is the most familiar. All that to say…. try them all! But given the winner–this week you’ll find suggestions for making zucchini boats, which is a good way to use a lot of zucchini (or butterstick) quickly!

Tromboncini and the neck of the Crookneck are more firm–they hold up in cooking without going soft and mushy. Tromboncini is particularly smooth and buttery. Butterstick is essentially a yellow zucchini–the flavor and texture are similar, and you can use them in similar ways. Patty Pan and Tromboncini would win for the most visual interest. Slice the patty pan and saute it in butter with a bit of salt and pepper for an attractive summer side dish.

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Junior Farmer’s Corner

Side View

Side View

Calling all Junior Farmers– Take a look at this incredible teepee!

Front View

Front View

It has been great fun to monitor the growth of the pole bean plants throughout the summer. Can you believe the moment we have all bean waiting for has arrived? The bean stalks have reached the tip top and the pole beans are ready to be harvested. Bring your Junior Farmers to Fern Creek this week and while you pick up your crate we will demonstrate how to harvest pole beans from inside the teepee!

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Recipes of the Week

Zucchini Boats. Serves 2.

Slice a zucchini in half longwise and scoop out the center, making a canoe-like shape. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven (350˚). Or microwave the shells for 1-2 minutes to begin to soften and cook them.

Fill with something savory. Examples: tuna seasoned however you like yours seasoned (I like dijon mustard and an herb soft cheese), or a blend of something like cooked quinoa, the zucchini parts that you scooped out, some garlic, onion and herbs, or mix some quinoa and tuna, or rice and beans… really… the possibilities are endless.  Bottom line: make a filling that tastes good to you. Fill the boats, and then as an option grate some cheese over the top.

Bake another 15 minutes or so, until everything has married happily and the zucchini is soft, but not mushy.

If you used your microwave for the 1st step, then finish them on the stovetop in a skillet. Put a little oil in the bottom, add the boats, cover and cook on medium low until the shells puncture easily with a fork.

Eggplant and Squash Tian. Serves 6-8.Submitted by Liz, who plans to make this soon for one of our upcoming Fern Creek suppers. It comes from Love and Lemons.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for the pan)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • leaves from 2 sprigs fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, add the eggplant slices and cook, flipping once, until both sides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Oil a large baking dish or tian. Make a pinwheel pattern of the eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and tomato slices, layering in the onions and garlic, until all the vegetables are used.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, cream, parmesan, basil and red pepper, season with salt and pepper, and pour into the baking dish. Bake the tian until the vegetables are tender, the custard is set, and the top is nicely browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve right from the baking dish.

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