We hope everyone had a nice summer solstice weekend. The gardens have been going crazy. This morning, Will and Kevin harvested 3 bushels of summer squash (about 120 lbs), and our second planting is about to start producing on top of that. When it rains, we get lots of squash and cucumbers! The good thing about summer squash is that its very productive and can feed a lot of people. The downside is that sometimes you get tired of it and have to be creative in how you use it. If you've got more than you know what to do with, just freeze it. I've got a great squash casserole recipe that you'll find below as well. But for now, we're just really enjoying stirfrying the squash with onions, salt, and pepper. So simple, but its got such a great summer flavor! The green beans are almost ready, and hopefully we'll have them for you next week. We've got a couple of nice surprises for you this week: freshly dug carrots and the first cucumbers of the season! The kale should hang on for another week at least. But for you greens fans, don't worry. We hope to have swiss chard (and maybe collards) throughout much of the summer, and maybe arugula as well. We dug our bulbing onions, and got quite a haul. We're currently drying them out to hopefully get them to store well. We're in a really tough climate for storage onions, because its so humid that the onions sometimes will begin to rot before they can cure properly. We'll hopefully start giving those to y'all within the next couple of weeks regardless of whether they are curing or not.
This week, we know that we’ll have lettuce, green onions, and a cooking green for you, plus plenty of other goodies. Below are some specifics about other items you might find in your boxes (note: this week, we’re not sure that there will be enough of each item for everybody, but everyone will get an equivalent veggie or herb).
Carrots: Spring carrots aren't quite as sweet as fall carrots after a frost, but they're still a delicious treat that many farms don't offer! Enjoy them uncooked or use them for a soup base.
Green Onions: Bunches of scallions! Be sure to use both the bottoms and the tops. Great in salads as well as stirfries. If you don’t have a place to store them whole, you can prechop and store in a sealed container in the fridge.Red Potatoes: Our first potatoes of 2013, this is a multipurpose variety called "Red Norland", known for its earliness but not for its a long storage qualities. Use these within a week or two, keeping them in a dark place at room temperature (you can keep them in the fridge if you want to).
Beets: Some people go nuts over these red roots! They're known to have antioxidant properties and be good for your cardiovascular health. Pickle 'em, roast 'em, or grate 'em raw for salads. Don't forget to eat the greens!
Cucumbers: The first variety of cukes that you'll receive is called "Poona Kheera", originally from India. These short fruits are unique because they will be anywhere from small and almost white to fat and brown like a russett potato. They're crisp and delicious at any stage, skin and all. Use in salads, as crunchy snacks, in cool soups, in pickles, etc. We're expecting a bumper crop this year, so get ready!
Summer Squash: Enjoy our first squash of the season. We have two varieties...Sunburst Patty Pan, which looks kind of like a flying saucer, and Zephyr, which is longer and half-green. Both are delicious! Get creative with recipes, but when in doubt, stir fry it!
You will receive a bunch of one of the following cooking greens this week:Kale: We have both “Red Russian” and “Lacinado/Dino” varieties, both of which we prefer to the more common curly kale. These nutritional powerhouses can be cooked in soups and stirfries, made into “kale chips” in the oven, or sliced thinly and eaten raw.
Collards/Broccoli Greens: These delicious greens get a bad rap from some people due to the common way of boiling them and serving them with vinegar, but really, collards are extremely similar to Kale and be cooked and enjoyed in many of the same ways. Try blanching whole leaves briefly with a bit of steam to soften them and then use them as a low-carb sandwich wrap.
You will most likely get only one of the following herbs this week:
Dill: This is one of our favorite herbs. Hopefully, we can keep it around until the cucumbers come in. It's not only great for pickles though...try making tzatziki sauce with plain yogurt or chopping it up in your salad for a fresh taste. Be creative!
Cilantro: This common herb is often used in Latin American cuisine. Try adding it to salsa for a fresh taste!
Sage: Delicious and fragrant herb goes well with meats and potatoes. If you don’t get to use it, hang it up to dry for later use. Dried sage also makes great incense and is reputed to have medicinal benefits as well.Oregano: Aromatic herb that dries very well. It adds an excellent flavor to pizza and Italian dishes. Pairs very well with tomatoes!
French Tarragon: Culinary herb known for highlighting meat dishes. Mix with softened butter for a flavorful spread or make a tasty herb vinegar by soaking the fresh or dried leaves in your choice of vinegar. Some people prefer the stronger flavor of the dried leaves