Summer CSA Week 13

Every day was super eventful on the farm this past week. The crew adjusted the solar panels along the driveway to match the sun’s fall position in the sky. We are also gearing up for the fall harvesting that will be happening soon, especially for the storage crops. On Wednesday we harvested about 13 tons of carrots – all before lunch. It’s days like those that really make us realize the impact we have on the local food system. Also, not to scare anybody but there are at least 30 more tons (hopefully) that still need to be harvested before late October. And those are just the carrots. Our list of things to do seems like it should be getting smaller but let’s be honest – it’s definitely going to get bigger.

Early this week we said a heartfelt goodbye to Karin who has been the backbone of the farm crew for 7 seasons. She will be deeply missed, but we all wish her the best of luck with this transition in her life. In her honor we built a huge shrine with some parts we found laying around in the barn and it’s just outside the pack shed so she is never forgotten. It doubles as a second bucket-drying rack. Just kidding – that’d be weird. But truthfully, she deserves the recognition for being so cool.

As many of you probably experienced this week, the air quality was very poor from the wildfires burning north of us. As a farmer, I never realized how much I had been taking good air quality for granted. Luckily, wearing a mask helps a lot. There was some rain at the end of the week (yay!) that helped improve the air quality. As a bonus we got to finally experience some autumn-ish weather that the storms brought with them – cool breezes and chilly mornings. Rain also gives us all some excitement knowing that our veggies will be that much happier.

Our newer hens have been adjusting nicely to their new home in the last month. They live on the far side of the farm in a mobile coop that gets moved every few days. This ensures the field they are in is getting an equal distribution of fertilization from the chickens. Earlier this season Farmer Janaki taught us that the fields that have had chickens rotated around in them are significantly more fertile than their non-chicken bearing neighbors. This is just another way the Food Farm builds soil and improves soil quality. What that means for our share members is more nutrient dense veggies.

Thanks for reading my first newsletter, I am excited to carry on this task.

Emily

In your shares this week:

Cucumber – Zucchini – Potatoes – Carrots – Hot Peppers – Red and Green Peppers – Onion – Dill – Tomatoes – Greens Mix – Beans – Beets

Zucchini Lasagna from PBS

  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 1 – 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or about 4 pounds of fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fennel seed, crushed slightly to release the flavor
  • 1 tsp. ground oregano
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • For the Cheese Filling:
  • 1 pound of ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • For the Vegetables:
  • 2 to 3 medium-sized zucchinis, no bigger than 4 inches diameter (or 4 to 5 small zucchinis)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard or spinach (about 4 cups, chopped)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour (can be gluten-free flour)
  • A dozen or so fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella (about 1 pound)
  1. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise to between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Use a mandolin if you have one, it will help you slice the zucchini faster and in perfect consistent slices. Otherwise, slicing with a knife is fine too. Place the slices on a clean towel and pat the zucchini very dry. Rub 1 Tbsp of olive oil onto an extra-large baking sheet (or 2 smaller ones) and place the zucchini slices in a single layer. Roast in a 375F oven for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. If using fresh tomatoes, deseed the tomatoes (if you wish remove the skins). Bring the tomatoes to a boil and add the minced garlic, chopped basil, crushed fennel seeds, ground oregano, olive oil, sugar, and salt to taste. Simmer until thick and reduced. It’s important to use a thick lasagna sauce in this recipe because the lasagna can otherwise be on the soupy side without the pasta to soak up the extra liquid as it bakes.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté the onions for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking. Once the mushrooms are soft, add the chopped swiss chard. When the chard is cooked, remove from heat and drain any juices (save these for great soup stock). Add 2 Tbsp flour to the mixture and mix well to incorporate.
  4. Oil a 9 x 13 inch lasagna dish and spread about one third of your sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of roasted zucchini to cover the tomato sauce. Add the ricotta and parmesan cheese mixture and spread evenly. Add another layer of zucchini slices. Add a second round of tomato sauce and spread evenly, followed by the vegetable mixture and half of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Add a last layer of zucchini slices followed by the third and last round of tomato sauce. Place the twelve basil leaves on top of the sauce and sprinkle the rest of the shredded mozzarella on top. Pro tip: place a baking tray on the rack beneath the lasagna pan to catch any bubbling juices from falling to the bottom of your oven. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350F until the cheese is melted.

Cucumber Tomato Salad from Spend With Pennies

  • 2 cucumbers (sliced)
  • 2 large tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 onion (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon of dill
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a boil and toss well.

Summer CSA Week 11

I am sure I have said in newsletters of yore that recipes aren’t really my thing. Finding them for the newsletter – I just do the laziest thing which, depending on what I’m looking for, is either just googling “spinach recipes” or whatever, or going to a couple of my go-to sites for ideas and seeing what they say. Recipes aren’t really my thing, but I do like pretty pictures of food, and being forced to look up new ideas for the newsletter does help me snap out of a rut (re: last week’s zucchini fritters comment).

A lot of the way I cook (when I’m not “cooking” eggs and toast) feels like just throwing what I have lying around together, often in one or two pots and then eating all of whatever it is in a bowl. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts as a “meal”- the Midwest concept of what a meal is has imbedded itself in my brain. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts unless there’s meat (duh) and two sides (one being potatoes) and dessert. I’ll skip the glass of skim milk at dinner… but thanks for offering.

With shares like this week’s especially, I feel like all the food is just waiting to be chopped up and eaten together. I do recommend cooking the potatoes first. All these veggies would be great in a grain bowl for example. Is that so 2017? 2017 BCE? I just made a salad that is not unlike the quinoa chickpea salad below, but instead of a mustardy dressing, I used a huge scoop of fresh basil-pesto in the dressing. So good.

You also don’t have to chop all the veggies and mix them all together this very night. So much chopping! So much time! No matter what I do, I don’t feel like I get any faster at processing whole veggies and working with any whole food takes time. You’re allowed to cut a zucchini in half, cover it in cheese and store bought sauce and roast the living daylights out of it. You can even call that dinner. No milk and no meat, no problem!

All of this is partially a pep talk to myself to get me to do something with the cauliflower in my fridge before another one ends up there!

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Basil – Beans – Cabbage (Monday), or Cauliflower (Thursday) – Carrots – Cilantro – Lettuce Mix – Melon – Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – Red Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Zucchini Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ¾ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, or you could use seasoned
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

FOR THE NOODLES
2 medium zucchinis, zoodled with a spiralizer (or…https://topwithcinnamon.com/lazy-girls-zucchini-spaghetti-no-fancy-tools-required-with-peas-creme-fraiche-and-pesto/)

Your favorite pasta sauce


Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.
Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Using your hands, gently work all the ingredients together, careful to not overwork the meat.


Using a two tablespoons, scoop meat into individual balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Once all is scooped, form the meat into balls. Freeze 20 of them in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and place 10 of them onto a plate to set aside to cook.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil.


Once the oil is hot, carefully place the meatballs into the skillet and let brown on one side then turn with tongs. Continue cooking until meatballs are all cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.
For the zoodles, you can either just blanch them in hot water and add sauce on top along with the meatballs or you can throw them into the same skillet and cook them until softened and pour sauce on top along with the meatballs.
Serve warm!

The meatball mixture makes roughly 30 meatballs. They freeze really well and I love having the ability to pull them out of the freezer during busy work weeks! 🙂

Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Summer Veggies!

From the Crowded Kitchen

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced (1 small onion)
  • 2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 1 cup finely chopped spinach (or any leafy green)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, finely diced
  • ¾ cup grated carrot
  • ¾ cup finely diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 14.5 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed well
  • ¼ cup grated vegan parmesan (or regular)

VINAIGRETTE:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoon maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and add ½ teaspoon of salt to the water.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, add olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 
  3. Once the quinoa is done cooking, transfer to a bowl to cool slightly (you can place in the fridge or freezer to speed this up). 
  4. Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
  5. Prep the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, pepper and parsley.
  6. Add all ingredients (cooked quinoa, onions/garlic, vegetables, parmesan) to a large mixing bowl and toss well with the vinaigrette.
  7. Optional: refrigerate for 30 minutes-1 hour before serving (or enjoy right away!).

Summer CSA Week 10

We’re just over half way through the 2021 summer share! We hope you’ve been enjoying the ever more summery selection! Our item list on the white board hardly fits any more – time to write it smaller. The crew has more of a routine as the summer goes on as different people take on a different, regularly harvested crop like daily zucchini and cucumbers, and almost daily melons (for a while), peppers and broccoli (never ending!). The addition of increasingly more harvesting is butting up against some later-than normal season weeding as rains have helped both crops, and the little (and not so little) unwanted plants in our fields.

We will be getting into a more regular rhythm of harvesting large amounts of things at a time too, to have available for a week or two at a time. The first planting of carrots got harvested a week and a half ago, and we have a few bins of cabbage in the cooler waiting for wholesale orders and for CSA delivery. The garlic is out of the ground, a couple weeks ahead of usual, and is curing in the greenhouse for now. Soon we’ll trim those stalks and move the garlic to make way for onions. Bit by bit the harvest ramps up, and we can start ticking entire crops off the list.

How about all of you? Do you feel like you’re in a good rhythm of using your share, or are you stuck in a rut? Hopefully you won’t ever feel too stuck since the veggies change throughout the season, though I think my household is already ready to move on from zucchini fritters… Time to move on to my regularly occurring (but it’s been a while!) potato salad I guess!

August in Minnesota always feels so full and so fast with late summer camping trips, or weddings and planning for the fall and school season ahead. Even if school isn’t a part of your life any more, there seems to be a different pace to things come September. I hope you are all finding satisfying ways to spend these last summery weeks. Perhaps in a couple of weeks, on the 21st (3-5pm), you’ll find yourself out here at the Food Farm for our farm gathering, or up the road for the Free Range Film Festival (7pm)! What could be more summery than an afternoon drive out to Wrenshall?

For the busy crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Green Beans – Broccoli – Carrots – Cucumber – Dill – Melons! – Sweet Onion – Green Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Cream of Broccoli Soup, By Farmer John

One large head of broccoli “the biggest you can find”, chopped
One large onion, the biggest you can find, chopped (not a sweet onion… sorry)
One large carrot, also the biggest you can find, chopped

2 Cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp, (but he uses 3) butter
2 Cups chicken or veggie broth
Salt to taste
1 Cup milk

Cook veggies in broth until quite soft, and then blend the living daylights out of it with an immersion blender. Add milk, stir and taste.
We talked about the option of freezing the soup – perhaps freeze it before blending, and adding the milk, so as to simplify the reheating. Then thaw, heat, blend and add milk when you’re ready to serve.

Ultimate Zucchini Bread

From The Smitten Kitchen

I have been making this like it’s going out of style… but it never will in my house! If you want a fun little description about how she got to this recipe from other less satisfying versions, look it up on her website – all her complaints about plain old zucchini bread were also my own- but I love this recipe! Disclaimer… it is basically eating cake for breakfast.

  • 2 cups (13 ounces or 370 grams) grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) raw or turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup or 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until combined. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over surface of batter and mix until combined — and then, for extra security that the ingredients are well-dispersed, give it 10 extra stirs. Add flour and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the raw or turbinado sugar — don’t skimp. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the middle cake but also into the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.

Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so not to ruin flaky lid) and serving in slices. Zucchini bread keeps for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. I wrap only the cut end of the cake in foil, and return it to the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.

Summer CSA Week 15

There is no denying: fall is in the air. Mornings and evenings are cool, and dark. The first few red and yellow leaves are turning with the cold nights, and the ones that have fallen already have that spicy-autumn smell. I love that smell. I love fall arriving, and picking up a caramel apple, making soups again (after a too-hot for soup summer!) and maybe having a back-yard fire to two.

I also have some trepidation about this fall. As far as the farm goes, we have seen a lot of rain towards the end of the season many years in a row, and it leads to some nail biting when thinking of getting into the fields to harvest our main storage crops. We’re hoping for a drier fall this year, but it’s quite dry right now so we wouldn’t mind a little rain.
We are also hoping for a full and healthy crew. It is hard to not look ahead, as if through a fog, and worry about what will happen when, inevitably, people start coming down with colds or worse and are waiting for COVID tests back.

Looking ahead to fall is difficult this year, because of all the uncertainty. The cold will bring more distance between friends and family, and many of the things we look forward to about this time are not happening (like Friday football and Harvest Fest). I am resolute to find fun where I can, and to sit around with friends outside while I still can, too.

I hope your week, and first bit of fall, start off well as you are replenished with fresh veggies. Maybe you will turn them all into a healthy, hearty soup to warm you and yours up.

For the farm crew,

Karin

In your share this week:

Green Beans – Broccoli – Carrots – Chard – Cucumbers – Dill – Onions – Red Peppers – Russet Potatoes – Daikon Radish – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Vegan Zucchini Fritters from The Crowded Kitchen

For the Lemon Cashew Cream:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour and up to 4 (the longer the better)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white miso paste
  • You may need ¼ cup cashew soaking water or more, to blend

For the Zucchini Fritters:

  • 4 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 tbsp scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp basil, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plain gluten free regular or panko style bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt plus 1/2 tsp more to season mixture
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil for cooking

For the Lemon Cashew Cream:

  1. Drain the cashews, reserving soaking water in case you need it to blend the sauce. 
  2. Combine the cashes, garlic, all the lemon zest, juice from one lemon, salt, and miso in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding cashew soaking water one tablespoon at a time if necessary to achieve a creamy sauce.  

To make the fritters:

  1. Grate zucchini. Place in a mesh colander inside a bowl and toss well with 1 1/2 tsp of salt. Let sit for about 35 minutes. Be sure to toss and squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini 3-4 times while it is sitting. (The zucchini will release a lot of moisture!) After 35 minutes, transfer zucchini to a clean dish towel and squeeze out as much remaining moisture as possible.
  2. While the zucchini is sitting, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp of salt, garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp of pepper.
  3. Add flax meal to a bowl with water, stir and let sit for 20 minutes. Stir once or twice.
  4. Add zucchini to a bowl with scallions and basil. Mix well, then add in all of the dry ingredients. Add flax + water mixture and mix well. Let mixture sit at room temp for 20-30 minutes so the flax egg has some time to bind the mixture together. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if desired.  
  5. Heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup so patties are the same size. Form into a ball in your hand and press flat, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cook for 4- 5 minutes on each side over medium heat, until golden brown and crispy.

Gluten-Free Pan Pizza from King Arthur Flour

Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, for the pan
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast

Topping

  • 6 ounces mozzarella, grated (about 1 1/4 cups, loosely packed)*
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup tomato sauce or pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • freshly grated hard cheese and fresh herbs for sprinkling on top after baking, optional*
  • Veggies from the Food Farm!!

Instructions

  1. To make the crust: Place the dry ingredients (except the yeast) into the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly blended.
  2. Place the warm water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, yeast, and a scant 1 cup of the dry mixture into a small bowl. Stir to combine; a few lumps are OK. Set aside for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and smells yeasty.
  3. Add this mixture to the remaining dry ingredients and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. The mixture will be thick and sticky, but not elastic; it won’t feel like regular yeast dough. Note: You must use an electric mixer to make this dough; mixing by hand doesn’t do a thorough enough job.
  4. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes or so.
  5. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil into a cast-iron skillet that’s 10” to 11” diameter across the top, and about 9” across the bottom. Tilt the pan to coat the bottom with the oil. This heavy, dark pan will give you superb crust; but if you don’t have a cast-iron pan, use a 10” round cake pan, a 9” square pan, or other oven-safe, similar-sized, heavy-bottomed skillet.
  6. Scrape the dough from the bowl into the pan. Starting at the center of the dough and working outward toward the edges, use your wet fingers to press the dough to fill the bottom of the pan.
  7. Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  8. While the dough is resting, place one rack at the bottom of the oven and one toward the top (about 4″ to 5″ from the top heating element). Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  9. When you’re ready to bake the pizza, scatter about three-quarters of the mozzarella (a scant 1 cup) evenly over the crust. Cover the entire crust right to the edge, so the cheese will become deep golden brown and crispy as the pizza bakes. Dollop small spoonfuls of the sauce over the cheese (putting the cheese on first will prevent the top of the crust from getting soggy under the sauce) then sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella.
  10. Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 to 22 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the bottom and edges of the crust are golden brown (use a spatula to check the bottom). If the bottom is brown but the top still seems pale, transfer the pizza to the top rack and bake for 3 to 5 minutes longer. On the other hand, if the top seems fine but the bottom’s not browned to your liking, leave the pizza on the bottom rack for another 2 to 4 minutes. Home ovens can vary a lot, so use the visual cues and your own preferences to gauge when you’ve achieved the perfect bake. You’ll notice the pizza has shrunk away from the sides of the pan, and perhaps deflated a bit; that’s OK.
  11. Remove the pizza from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Carefully run a spatula between the edge of the pizza and side of the pan to prevent the cheese from sticking as it cools. If desired, sprinkle freshly grated hard cheese and fresh herbs over the hot pizza. Let the pizza cool briefly, and as soon as you feel comfortable doing so transfer it from the pan to a cooling rack or cutting surface. Serve pizza hot or warm.
  12. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for a day or so; freeze for longer storage.

Summer CSA Week 12

When I first started farming, in Texas (in August…) I didn’t know what kale was. I thought sorghum sudangrass was corn. I had never heard of okra and didn’t know when to pick a cabbage.
Most of us all lived on the farm, and volunteers and interns all did the bulk of the work and farm chores in the morning, followed by lunch together. Afternoons were a time for informal classes for anyone on the farm or more chores and farm or office work for interns and devoted volunteers.

There were usually anywhere from 15 to 30 (but usually 20 something) mouths to feed at the group lunch time, and lunch prep was done on a rotating basis. I had never cooked for that many people before, and never been so “limited” by the ingredients at my disposal. We had our pick of anything the farm produced, other than meat. From the store, we had dried beans, other legumes, rice and quinoa (another new one me!). Oils, vinegars, spices. No cheese. No meat. Very few quick cans of anything, no convenience food. The quickest thing we had was eggs and toast. But if you did anything with store-bought bread for lunch, we’d run out quick and have none for breakfasts.

My first meals consisted of large, deep baking pans filled with onions, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and so, so much yellow summer squash. I’d season the veggies, bake them, and serve them over whatever grains or legumes I made up. Anyone on lunch duty was given the whole morning work time to make up enough food, and I quickly learned to chop fast out of necessity. I chopped whatever veggies were around, and while I did, I planned what I’d make with them.

Looking back I feel like I learned more about cooking by doing, and from watching and eating what other people prepared, in a few short months than I had up to that point. Sorry mom.
I guess most of what stood out was the newness of eating in-season so thoroughly. Obviously I didn’t keep the same menu through the year, as summer produce faded to winter greens and squashes and roots. The variety of dishes from all the same simple ingredients we were able to enjoy was amazing to me. If left to my own devices, I’d probably just make pizza, miso soup and hash-browns until I died. But because of cooking alongside other people I learned about so many tips, tricks, and ways to use vegetables and grains that made them interesting, new feeling and delicious: homemade dressings! massaged greens! more salt!

The best thing about food is sharing it with other people; either by prepping together, or by eating together. It’s hard now to see the next time I’d possibly cook for so many people again. We don’t even cook together on the farm these days, we just bring lunch and talk together about what we make at home. At least that’s something.

I hope you’re finding ways to stay inspired about cooking (or roasting, grilling, baking, frying…) throughout the season, even if you aren’t maybe sharing as many meals this summer as you might otherwise. Pass on what’s keeping you interested in using our in-season veggies! Maybe someone scrolling by will be inspired.

My tip: just start chopping veggies until inspiration hits.
And, especially when it comes to other people passing through the kitchen, a timely saute of onions and garlic in a pan always makes people hopeful for a delicious meal, even if you don’t know what it is yet!

For the farm crew,

Karin

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In your share this week:

Green Beans – Carrots – Cauliflower – Cucumbers – Greens Mix – Kale – Green Onions – Onions – Sweet Red Peppers – New Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


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Kale Pesto

From Taproot Magazine

2-4 garlic cloves (or, maybe 1 Food Farm garlic clove!)
1/4 to 1/2 cup unsalted nuts such as sunflower seeds, walnuts or pine nuts
1/4 to 1 cup grated or chopped cheese such as Parmesan, Asiago or Romano
2 to 4 cups destemmed and roughly chopped kale
1/4 to 1 cup olive oil
Salt to taste (don’t forget the cheese adds a lot!)
Ground black pepper

Pulse garlic in food processor until well chopped. Add nuts and pulse until just chopped. Add cheese and blend until it is the consistency you want your pesto to be. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
In processor (no need to clean in between steps) combine kale, oil and salt and pepper and pulse until the kale is well chopped.
Add nut + cheese mixture back into food processor, and pulse briefly just to mix together. Add more oil, or salt, or pepper as needed. Use, store within 2 weeks or freeze.

 

Zucchini Bread

From the Smitten Kitchen

The best zucchini bread I have ever had, and I can’t get enough of it!

  • 2 cups grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw or turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup or 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until combined. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over surface of batter and mix until combined — and then, for extra security that the ingredients are well-dispersed, give it 10 extra stirs. Add flour and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the raw or turbinado sugar — don’t skimp. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the middle cake but also into the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so not to ruin flaky lid) and serving in slices. Zucchini bread keeps for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. I wrap only the cut end of the cake in foil, and return it to the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.

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Summer CSA Week 9

I was blathering on to my one-year-old over breakfast this morning, trying to describe the taste of the cucumber sticks he was eating. I seem to be driven by this need to cram as many adjectives into his first years as humanly possible. I think perhaps it will backfire someday, but I’m not sure how.

Anyway, the cucumber.
I was informing my son, that though I prefer most fruits (especially) and vegetables (generally) at room temperature, cucumbers are one I love right out of the fridge.
Cool, as they are generally thought of, they taste like the feeling of walking through the woods and noticing that there must be running water near by because of the coolness in the air. Maybe even such a small spring it’d be hard to pin-point, but the feeling in the air is still there.
He also got a short lesson in evaporation over breakfast, and I’m sure he understands it quite well now.

When my sister and I were kids, she was the reader. She always had her nose in a book, and read very, very fast. Like, the sixth Harry Potter book in a day kind of fast. But I’d watch her sometimes skipping whole pages at a time. She said it was “just” description, and she didn’t have the patience for that. I’m sure Tolkien was rolling in his grave.

I hope this week you can find ways to notice how things taste and feel and sound and smell and to be present in the here and now. Plenty of times (and reasonably) the here and now can be stressful, or boring. But even so, there can be a lot that’s worth pausing for and noticing.

We’d be lucky if you thought our veggies this week were some of those things!

For the farm crew,

Karin

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In your share this week:

Green Beans – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Lettuce Mix – Green Onions – Green Peppers – Kale – Jalapeno Pepper – Tomatoes – Zucchini


 

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette

From The Smitten Kitchen

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

Filling:
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

Glaze:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

 

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Pico de Gallo

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 medium jalapeño ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 ½ pounds ripe red tomatoes (about 8 small or 4 large), chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (about 1 bunch)
  1. In a medium serving bowl, combine the chopped onion, jalapeño, lime juice and salt. Let it marinate for about 5 minutes while you chop the tomatoes and cilantro.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and cilantro to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste, and add more salt if the flavors don’t quite sing.
  3. For the best flavor, let the mixture marinate for 15 minutes or several hours in the refrigerator. Serve as a dip, or with a slotted spoon or large serving fork to avoid transferring too much watery tomato juice with your pico. Pico de gallo keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.

Summer CSA, Week 14

Much of this week was spent conversing around the carrot box. Filling an infinite amount of bags. Some for you, our trusted CSA members. Some for the co-ops and some for Harvest Fest.

I met many a wonderful faces at Harvest Fest this year. I was lucky enough to stand next to John Fisher-Merritt most of the afternoon. To my perception everyone knew John and those who didn’t found themselves buying peppers from him. After he sliced them a sample with his pocket knife of course.

This week I listened. Chose to speak less and absorb more. I gathered from my listening around the carrot box and reading this or that before bed that we are Earth.

Everyone that I talk to and experience daily knows this. Everyone that went to Harvest Fest knows this. Perhaps even those who disagree with us understand this as well.

We are Earth. Everything we created came from Earth. Everything we use today is derived from Earth.

This very broad statement can send you into a head spin. It can make you think of all the ways humans are ruining Earth and causing her pain. Or you can think of all the ways humans can be kind to the Earth and show our appreciation everyday.

Talking nice to the carrots as we put them in their bags. Telling the beans they are growing great and we are happy to be harvesting them in the rain. Listening to the coyotes and wolves roam in the distance. Choosing in any certain moment not to add your own two cents but rather to absorb what others have to say.

We are Earth. Our journey with Earth to grow and evolve has not always been beautiful. But I’m grateful.

I’m grateful someone invented a carrot harvester and that we used it this week. I’m grateful the mini-Food Farmers went back to school and are enjoying learning! I’m grateful the new laying hens are starting to lay little eggs.

But most of all I’m grateful I get to spend each day working with people who make me smile and laugh.

From an Earthly farm crew,

Tiffany

P.S. The Thyme would enjoy it if you hung it in a place in your kitchen with airflow. Maybe a window or such. It would enjoy making your kitchen smell lovely and not being in your refrigerator.


In your CSA Box:

Yellow Beans, Carrots, Cucumbers, Leeks, Onions, Green Pepper, Hot Wax Pepper, Potatoes, Thyme, Tomatoes, Zucchini


Zucchini Muffins

  • 2 Small zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop zucchini into small pieces and purée in food processor. Combine zucchini purée with sugar, eggs, vegetable oil. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Combine wet and dry mixtures together. Add chocolate chips for pazazzz.

Line a muffin pan with cute liners or grease. Place batter in pan and cook 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Roasted Carrot Soup

  • 1-1/2 pounds of carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and cumin two cooking sheets. Enduring the veggies do not crowd each other roast carrots, onion and garlic for 25-30 minutes.

Working in two batches add half the veggies to a food processor. Add half the tomatoes and purée until smooth. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Add both batches into a large pot. Add basil and remaining salt. Bring to a simmer and let sit for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Summer CSA, Week 9

Fort Minor sang it best:

This is 10% luck

20% skill

15% concentrated power of will

5% pleasure

50% pain

100% reason to remember the name

Leptinotarsa decemlineata…..aka the potato bug

I haven’t decided if we should be “remembering the name” of the potato bug or the name of the fantastic farmers who have fought bravely in the fight to protect the potatoes. Nevertheless, perhaps all names should be considered.

This summer our farm crew has been fighting the good fight. So that we all may enjoy potatoes, not just in a week or two but through the long cold winter months.

Some interesting facts brought to you by the University of Minnesota Extension Office:

  • Potato bugs feed off of leaves; if left alone they will likely completely defoliate a potato plant
  • They spend the winter 5-10 inches underground, plotting their mischievous plans for the spring
  • They prefer temperatures in the mid 80s, allowing the larva to complete metamorphosis in 10 short days

Potato bug removal is 10% luck-because sometimes they can be sneaky and hide in the leaves. It is also 20% skill because we are trained experts in our profession. It is 15% concentrated power of will because the good fight has been a never ending story. It is 5% pleasure because there is satisfaction in a 5 gallon bucket of bugs. There is also 50% pain because it’s difficult to be hunched over for many hours.

I believe I speak for everyone who works and volunteers on the Food Farm when I say we are happy to do whatever it takes to protect these veggies. You deserve the best produce in a CSA box.

Speaking of protecting veggies, the fencing is going up across the road! Janaki, Garrett and I started to unroll fencing on Friday. The season of bounty is upon up; plenty of vegetables, plenty to do, and plenty of irrigating.

From a beautiful busy farm crew-

Tiffany


In your CSA box:

Basil – Green Cabbage – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Kale – Lettuce – Green Onion – Snap Peas – Green pepper – Hot pepper – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Garlic Parmesan Roasted Snap Peas

  • 3 cups sugar snap peas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss peas in olive oil to evenly coat. In separate bowl combine bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic. Add the panko bread crumb mixture to the peas and toss until evenly covered.

Arrange peas on greased baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

  • 1-1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of one large lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 cup grated zucchini

For the glaze!

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bread pan and set aside.

In large bowl whisk together dry ingredients; flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another bow combine sugar and lemon zest. Add olive oil, lemon juice and eggs until smooth.

Combine dry ingredients to wet mixture. Fold in Zucchini last. Add mixture to bread pan. Bake 40-45 minutes.

Summer CSA, Week 7

This week I’ve been thinking about life in miniature.

What would life be like as a carrot? What does a potato bug think about?

When a human is thundering towards you, hunched over and wielding a bent steak knife as a carrot, I would be terrified. Standing at a height of no more than 4 inches tall carrots line up in rows. They stand together through wind whipping across a field, giant rain drops, humans with knives, and absent minded deer.

I imagine those little carrots are scared out of their minds by all the gigantic things that could hurt them in this world. But I also imagine those little carrots working through that fear, talking to each other with their little voices and radiating confidence. The more confident the carrot the tastier it is, obviously.

However I do not think that same theory applies to a potato bug. Do not eat potato bugs, gross. We spent a lot of time with potato bugs this week. Leaving much opportunity to mull over the possibility of them being some sort of indestructible super bug.

So what does a potato bug think about? Their whole world is around a couple of potato plants. Until they are adults they can only inch along like slugs. So do they chit chat with their friends while munching and destroying precious potato leaves? Do the adult bugs whisper sweet nothings into each others ears?

I don’t imagine a potato bug being afraid of much. They seem like simple minded creatures. Worry is low on their list of priorities. The potato bug is more into socializing, gluttony, and hibernation.

Seeing the world through a miniature perspective is a helpful reminder of how lucky we are to not be so mini. The wind across a field won’t blow us down. I cannot be shaken off a plant and put in a 5 gallon bucket.

That is pretty cool.

From a larger than life farm crew,

Tiffany


In your CSA box: Basil – Beets – Broccoli – Carrots – Cauliflower – Cucumbers – Garlic Scapes – Lettuce Mix – Green Onions – Zucchini – and a few surprise tomatoes!


To throw everyone for a loop I went with sweet treat recipes.

Zucchini Brownies

  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil or Olive Oil
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded Zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oil, sugar, vanilla in medium bowl.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl.

Combine flour mixture to sugar mixture. The batter is crumbly.

Stir Zucchini into batter. Batter should now be moist and thick.

Place batter into 8 x 11 inch baking dish.

Bake 25-30 minutes. Or until brownies are firm on edges of dish.

Flourless Orange Cauliflower Cake

  • 1-1/2 cup cooked puréed cauliflower
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2-1/2 cups ground almond meal
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a spring foam baking pan. This is a sticky cake you need a spring foam pan.

Purée cauliflower and combine eggs. Mix until fully combine. Add sugar, zest, almond meal, corn starch, extracts, salt and baking powder.

Bake in prepared pan for 50-60 minutes or until set. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Sprinkle cake with powdered sugar and orange zest once completely cooled and serve!