A LAST TASTE OF SUMMER!
Encyclopedia of Vegetables – What’s In the Box?
Scarlet Nantes Baby Carrots – Eat these raw! They taste like candy! Every baby carrot ever sold in a supermarket wishes it was even one-tenth as delicious as these Nantes baby carrots! The frosts have made these carrots out of this world. Seriously, friends, these are amazing! This succession will hopefully get bigger as the weeks go on, but for now, enjoy these little sunbursts of sweetness and crunch.
Gypsy and Imperial Broccoli – Fall broccoli is the best broccoli. This is the last of the heads of the main successions of the broccoli from the Easy Bean season. Florets and more heads to follow. Get thee to a steamery!
Purple Viking Potatoes – We will feature a different potato variety for each share, and this one is a new one for us. These Purple Vikings looked fun when I was looking at seed potatoes this spring. They are funky and kinda gnarly, and some of them really have that bright fuschia and purple swirling action. Enjoy the crisp white flesh, and the bright skins. Try baking them whole to keep the bright skins intact.
Italian or Japanese Eggplant – The last of the eggplant! Stir-fry ‘em up; grill them; put them in a bowl and paint them; put a nose, eyes, hands and hat on them and make a homemade Mr. Eggplant Woman/Man/Being.
Tomatoes: Jaune Flame, Wapsipinicon Peach, Costuluto Genovese, Empire, Federle – On this past sunny Monday, Seth and I walked up and down the long rows of dead and dying tomato plants gleaning these last few gems. Solanaceae family plants like peppers, eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes are all summer crops that are hard-hit by frost. The Easy Bean pepper, tomatoes and eggplants were planted in our field across the river, which is higher up and so more protected from the frost. Even so, we’ve had three frosts so far, and all of the Solanaceaes are on their way out, so these tomatoes are a last taste of Summer. Our younger sister Esther got a great recipe for salsa from our dad’s friends—which is in the recipes section. All the veggies you need for it (except a few onions) are the box this week: tomatoes, leeks, cilantro and jalapenos. Esther made a batch at Easy Bean earlier this season and it was pretty amazing!
Bell Peppers – Taste the rainbow! Our peppers are high on the rise across the river, and in addition some are under protection of floating row cover, so we should hopefully have peppers for a little while longer. A ripe red pepper contains more Vitamin C than any other vegetable or fruit! Whopee!
Carmen Sweet Peppers – These Carmens are my (Seth’s) favorite snack on the farm. I love finding a reason to bike or drive across the river so I can munch one or two or three. Mmm…
Jalapeño Peppers – Okay, so you might be wondering, “Why are these Schlotterbeck boys attacking us with mountains of jalapeños?” Well, one of my favorite fall crafts (Seth speaking here) is to string up garlands of chili peppers and hang them in the kitchen to dry. Just take a needle and thread, alternate red and green jalapeños if you feel so inclined, and pass the needle through the stem of each pepper. After you have them all strung up, tie a loop on each end of the thread and find a corner to hang them up. Watch as the green ones turn red as they dry! If edible beautification is not your thing, make a simple, delicious hot sauce with your peppers. Just blend them up in a food processor and add vinegar.
Summer Squash – Making one last cameo appearance in this week’s box, after their starring role in the bottom of nearly every week’s Easy Bean box, we bring you summer squash! Seth picked them just before the frost. It has been amazing to watch these plants continue to flower and fruit all summer long. Sometimes while picking them I would imagine the vegetable mass that had come out of each foot along the bed, and I had trouble wrapping my mind around how they could do it. If you’re looking for something new to use them in, we’ve posted Carol Ford’s Green Goddess Greens Pie, which is reportedly delicious, and also uses only vegetables from this week’s share!
Jet Acorn Squash – The smooth green skin is beautiful, and its sweet amber flesh is, well, sweet. Acorn squash are among the shortest-storing winter squash, which is why we chose to include it in this first share. Store this at room temperature before eating, as winter squash are damaged at temperatures below 50 degree Fahrenheit.
King Richard Leeks – This was not a good year for onions here on the farm. We lost an entire Easy Bean bed of onions, and my own plantings of onions: red, yellow, and cippolini also failed almost utterly. I also heard similar tales from other local growers. But leeks, on the other hand, we’ve got leeks coming out of our ears! So get to know them!These King Richard leeks are an old variety, and we have a long row left from the Easy Bean plantings. I (Seth) love, love, love leeks, and their affinity for butter is truly diivine. I remember a memorable Valentine’s dinner cooked with my sweetheart that involved buttery leeks, garlic, and asparagus over pasta. Mmm, yes. That was a good meal :c) It’s time to make your own leek memories!
Rainbow Lacinato Kale – I was enchanted by the effusive description in the seed catalog this spring and told Mike we just had to have it. A cross between curly red kale and lacinato kale, this variety combines the cold hardiness of red curly kale with the tenderness of lacinato. It took me three seasons of living within a hundred yards of 500 kale plants all before I figure out what it was all about. That happened when I was over at Moonstone Farm in the fall and Audrey Arner prepared lacinato kale sauteed with sausage. Oh. My. Land/Stars/Word/God. Heaven! Ever since then, I have loved it! My little 5 dollar metal steamer is my favorite friend when it comes to kale. Visit www.eatmorekale.com for some kale love inspiration!
Bright Lights Rainbow Swiss Chard – These tender, glowing leaves are so delicious. Try adding them to a salad, or steaming them lightly and making a bed of chard on a plate, adding some black beans, a fried egg over that, and some of the salsa from the recipe this week. One of my favorite simple meals!
Green Wave Mustard Greens – Some people love ‘em. Some people do not. But when they look and taste like these fall Green Waves, it’s hard to resist. These mustards are in prime condition, so bright and tender! Try making a fritatta with them and some extra-sharp cheddar cheese, or better yet, use them in the Garaden Goddess Greens Pie! For those of you who love ‘em or have a recipe, let us know and we’ll share it with everyone on our website and newsletter!
Lettuce Mix– The “brazing mix” of greens which appeared in multiple Easy Bean shares had a fair bit of lettuce in it, and so we thought we’d make a nice salad mix of smaller lettuce leaves picked from amongst the other greens.
Purple-top White Globe Turnips – A standard winter root crop for ages. Roast ‘em with some potatoes, put ‘em in a hearty soup with potatoes and parsley, or mash ‘em up with potatoes. Did I mention potatoes?
Italian Flat-leaf Parsley – One of my (Markus’) favorites! I used to nibble so much of our mom’s potted parsley plants that they didn’t grow so well. These plants have kept putting on new growth all year, and we’re hoping that they keep going for all of the Fall deliveries. Along with the mint and tomatoes (and cucumbers if you have any left) it makes a great Tabouli salad. If you’re not planning on using the parsley or any of the herbs for a while, you can hang them upside down and let them dry to use later.
Chives – They are sweet and mild, and would make a wonderful chives/dill sour cream sauce over baked potatoes. With our dearth of onions, we will do our best to include as many onion family crops every share as possible. Common Roots Cafe on Lyndale Ave in South Minneapolis stirs fresh dill and chives into their Organic Valley cream cheese. Why not make your own homemade herbed cream cheese? Mmm, that makes me hungry.
Dill – Dill goes great in creamy sauces, and is often paired with fish. If you have any cucumbers left, making some quick dill pickles is always a good idea.
Serrata Basil– The frost knocked out all of the Basil we didn’t cover and some of what we did (it’s a very sensitive plant) but we found plenty on these prolific basil bushes for this week. Our send off to this taste of summer!
Cilantro – This Cilantro popped up where we weren’t expecting it—either a bed that had failed to germinate properly, or a set of volunteers from an earlier planting. Although Cilantro is not my (Markus’) favorite herb (I’m one of those people who experiences a soapy flavor), I have to respect this plant which also produces one of my favorite spices: Coriander seeds. I’ve saved some of the seeds from an earlier succession of Cilantro and have been using this Coriander in soups and stir-fries and everything else I can think of. But as for the Cilantro, even I like it in the salsa recipe we included, or in a big pot of black beans.
Peppermint/Spearmint – I’ve been making lots of tea with this mint, and I can wholeheartedly recommend using it for that. It also makes a good different salad green. We’ve got these plants covered so you should be seeing them again! We had Spearmint and Peppermint interplanted (Spearmint has slightly more rounded leaves, Peppermint has slightly more pointy leaves) but you can use them interchangeably and we’ve tried to put some of both in every bunch.
Some words from Seth:
It was an exciting day here on the farm. I woke up at 4 in the morning and started harvesting in my mind’s eye. Instead of feeling anxious, though, I felt excited. I finally decided I should go back to sleep, and then had vivid dreams, including one about overcoming many obstacles and then flying. Today certainly felt like flying, and it has felt like a long road to get here.
Markus and I had a wonderful morning meditating together, then drinking tea and making some breakfast, finalizing our harvest list, and tweaking our new website. By the time we finally got out in the fields to harvest, it was 10 AM already. After some more steady but relaxed harvesting of herbs and carrots, it became more and more apparent that there was actually a lot of work to do for two people, and we had better get to it if we wanted to deliver on time. Our plans of doing more seeding in the greenhouse and writing our newsletter took a backseat to harvesting, washing, and packing the veggies. We ended up working on the shares up to the minute we needed to be on the road to Morris (and then a little bit more), and with Malena’s fortuitous help in packing the boxes and taking vegetable action photos, we made it to our drop site not too long after 5.
Although Markus and I both have experience putting together CSA boxes, it was an adventure seeing what would go into these boxes. Please let us know what crops you’d like to see more of, which you’d wish to see less of or more infrequently, and what dishes you are preparing with all this produce. If you find a recipe you want to share with the rest of us, please e-mail us, and we will put it up on our website and include it in the next newsletter.
Thank you to everyone for supporting us two young farmers. We couldn’t do any of this without you. So thank you, and enjoy. Thank you again and again to Mike and Malena for taking me in, for giving me the opportunity to try this farming thing out, and for their truly abundant generosity. And thank you very much to my dear brother, Markus, who has made the load so much lighter, both in the fields, and in my heart. I am so grateful to be working together with you, dear brother! It feels pretty amazing that after all these years of talking and dreaming, we are finally here.
Well, friends, until next time, happy eating!
Seth and Markus
(The following recipe comes from Carol Ford of Garden Goddess Produce in Milan, MN. It is a central recipe to her amazing 6-month winter CSA share, and I am so delighted to be able to share it with all of you. Thank you, Carol!)
GARDEN GODDESS GREENS PIE
3 lbs fresh greens (any combination of chard, collards, raab, spinach, arugula, kale, mustard, turnip greens, beet greens, choi)
2 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1 med. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. (1 med.) grated zucchini or summer squash *
1/2 cup of finely chopped green or red sweet pepper *
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil *
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley *
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sharp cheese (Swiss, Jarlsberg, Feta all work well. I love blue cheese, myself)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim greens, discard stems and coarsely chop the leaves. Heat butter and oil in a large pot (My cast iron dutch oven works best for me) on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cook 2 minutes. Stir in zucchini, peppers, salt and pepper, then cook for another minute. Add in the basil, parsley and chopped greens, mixing thoroughly. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 15 minutes (or until very tender). Remove cover and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until all liquid is evaporated (approximately 25 minutes). Transfer greens mixture into a large mixing bowl, mix in beaten eggs and half of each of the cheeses. Pour mixture into buttered pie pan, sprinkle remaining cheeses on top. Bake for 25 minutes, let set 10 minutes before serving.
- Note: this is a very forgiving recipe for substitutions. Use whatever’s available. I’ve shredded radishes, pac choi stems and kohlrabi into this dish when I’ve been shy of peppers or summer squash. Same goes with the spices. I have used rosemary, oregano and thyme to flavor this pie and like it. This dish provides a great excuse to splurge on top quality sharp cheeses, which compliment the greens splendidly. Also, if you are like Chuck, you prefer this dish baked in a pie crust. Works that way, too. Experiment and enjoy!
DANIEL’S SALSA RECIPE (we got this from our sister, Esther, who got it from a friend)
5 cups tomatoes (around 2.5 pounds)
1 1/2 cups leeks
1 1/4 cups onions
1/4 cup cilantro
1 Tablespoon Jalapeño peppers
2 Tablespoons cup garlic
3 Tablespoons honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 Tablespoon black pepper
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon tamari
Directions: Chop all ingredients, blend. Let sit before serving. The honey makes this a somewhat sweeter recipe than most, so use less honey if you’d rather it taste more like other salsas.