June 27, 2012

CSA News for the Week of June 25th

This Week's Vegetable Harvest:
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Gold Beets
  • Red Tropea Onions
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard
  • Head Lettuce
  • Parsley (Italian or Curly)
  • Zucchini

This Week's Fruit Harvest:
  • Sour Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
Changes to Next Week's Delivery Schedule
Due to the Fourth of July holiday, there will be no produce pickup on Wednesday or Thursday next week. Allstate members will pick up on Monday the 2nd. Everyone else, including those who come to the farm, will pick up on Tuesday the 3rd during regular pickup hours.

Farm Photo Journal

After the farmers' market on Saturday, Matt and I packed up the kids and went to the Wisconsin farm to check on animals and crops.

It came as no surpise that the sheep had pretty much eaten up all the grass in the pasture. There won't be any regrowth until it rains again. Until then, we'll keep pitching hay bales down from the barn loft and filling the feeders.

While they certainly don't love hot weather, it seems like the sheep have been faring alright in the heat. Yesterday they kept cool under the shade of a big mulberry tree.

The tomato crop doesn't seem to mind the heat at all. The plants look great. Hundreds of  metal posts have been pounded in...

...and all of the plants have had two rounds of trellising so far. We'll add another layer of trellising twine each week as the plants grow taller and taller.

The potato crop also looks really good. Today we dug around a little bit, checking on the five different varieties we planted in March. Norland Red seems to have the biggest tubers so far. We'll harvest some for the CSA share next week or the following. The others four varieties-- yellow, purple, white and pink-- still need some growing time before we can harvest them.

And most exciting of all--the pumpkins are starting to set fruit. Right now the baby pumpkins are somewhere between marble-size and golf ball-size. In the photo above you can see a little pumpkin at the base of the flower. It will be a full-size pie pumpkin by the end of the summer. 

Notes from the Farm Kitchen

Gold beets are one of nature's superfoods. They are high in vitamins A and C as well as calcium, iron and folic acid. For an easy and healthy way to prepare beets, leave the skin on and cut them in halves or quarters, being careful to leave a bit of the root and about an inch of the stem on. Then steam or boil them until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to cool before gently rubbing the skins off. Slice or cube them and toss with a light dressing. If you're short on time and don't feel like cooking beets, try grating raw beets on top of a salad for dramatic color and great crunchy texture.

Despite a greatly reduced yield this year, Mick was able to pick enough sour cherries for everyone to receive a quart this week. Sour cherries are rounder, softer, and more tart than sweet cherries. They can be eaten fresh, but I prefer to bake with them.  If you're not interested in making a pie, try a batch of muffins or the crumb cake recipe that appears below. On a different note, don’t forget that tart cherries can be useful in creating savory dishes. There's a great sour cherry glaze on our website that can be used for pork and other meats. If you aren’t going to use your cherries this week, pit them with a chopstick or a paring knife and pop them in a freezer bag for use later.

This Week's Featured Recipes

Sour Cherry Crumb Cake
For the topping:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for dish
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dish
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups pitted sour cherries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  2. Make the topping: Stir together butter, flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Make the cake: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. With a mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar in another bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Working in alternating batches, add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Dot top with cherries, and sprinkle with crumb topping.
  4. Bake until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool before cutting.

Zucchini-Chard Couscous with Parsley
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp saffron threads
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 zucchini, large dice
1 bunch chard, chopped into ribbons
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous
1 cup chopped parsley leaves

  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a small saucepan, and turn off the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and saffron threads and allow to steep for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the chard and cover with a lid until wilted. Turn off heat.
  3. Bring the stock just back to a boil. Place the couscous in a large bowl and add the garbanzo beans. Pour the hot stock over them. Cover the bowl tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini and chard, and parsley. Toss with a fork and serve warm or at room temperature.


Fun Farm Photo of the Week...

Sheep and chickens and.... snakes, oh my! Two weeks ago we found this amazing snake skin on the lawn. It is currently serving as a decoration on the mantel above the fireplace, and it stretches from one end clear down to the other end. It must be quite a snake--I just hope it isn't living in the basement!

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... cabbage, carrots, zucchini, lettuce, blueberries, garlic, new potatoes and more!