Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CSA Share Week #3

CSA members harvest garlic scapes for this week's share.

After having a number of CSA members say they miss the blog, we’re returning to this format to keep everyone up to date. 

This weekend we had our annual CSA Open House. We had an enthusiastic crew of  members zip through a few rows of garlic to harvest scapes for everyone’s share. This task served a secondary purpose. Scapes are the flower portion of a garlic plant, and  snapping them off helps the plant redirect its energy into growing the bulb of garlic underground.

Members also helped to prep Thai basil plants that were ready to be moved from the greenhouse into the field. After watching a planting demonstration by two of our staffers, a few brave souls even took a turn riding on our water-wheel transplanter and planting the basil into the soil (see pic).

It’s great for us to meet members and get their take on what they enjoy most about the CSA experience. And we are always so impressed by how much they want to understand the intricacies of growing food organically. After a short harvest exercise in the field, everyone seemed to especially appreciate how hard the work can be—bent over plants, in the hot sun, lugging, lugging, lugging--and that was easy stuff.

If you are inclined to give thanks before eating a meal that includes food from the CSA, these would be a few names worth noting: Ken (your farmer) and Armando, Sergio and Ariel (our staff). They are the ones here really making it all happen in the fields, whether it’s scorching hot like last week, pouring rain or the wind is cold and strong like it is today. 


1/2 pound garlic scapes
5 summer squash*
1 head Romaine lettuce
1 bunch beets
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 bunch kale
5 1/2 ounces arugula
1 bunch basil


1/2 pint fresh black currants

This week's currants come from farmer Ray Tousey in Germantown, NY. He uses them to make some incredibly thirst-quenching juice he sells at the Kingston Farmer's Market on Sundays as well as for making wine. Currants go in "anything boring," according to Ray. That would be anything neutral-flavored that could use some kick, like muffins, a quick bread, oatmeal, pancakes or scones. Currants are extremely high in Vitamin C and antioxidants believed to help prevent cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's. 

notes from the farm's kitchen 

maryellen's tips

Caesar Salad. Hold the bottled dressing! A homemade dressing for Caesar salad can be really simple and so much tastier. Maryellen can vouch for ThreeManyCooks.com’s version of Caesar salad as being both terrific tasting and simple. This is a blog by cookbook author and friend Pam Anderson and her two wry-humored, 20-something daughters Maggy and Sharon. Pam has a great, practical approach to developing recipes. Maryellen was lucky to learn a lot from her 10 years ago when helping her work on her book "CookSmart." It's worth checking out all of her books. 

Arugula. If you’re looking for something different to do with it this week, here is a recipe for Fettucine with Arugula-Walnut Pesto and, similarly, one for salmon with arugula-walnut pesto.

Garlic scapes. While this week’s garlic scapes could be used with this week’s basil to make and freeze more pesto or a white bean garlic scape dip, you could also use it to make an olive-garlic tapenade. With a knife or in a food processor, finely chop some of the scapes with kalamata olives (seeds removed) and extra-virgin olive oil. In a bowl stir in some red wine vinegar to taste. A little minced basil would work nice too. This could be served with bread for an appetizer or tossed with pasta along with some chickpeas or white beans and goat or feta cheese or spoon over fish or chicken.

Swiss chard. This green as being a lot like spinach. Of course, that means it’s something our kids won’t readily eat. (They’re in a, sigh, fussy stage.) We'll see if tucking it into some stuffed shells this week might sell them on this highly nutritious green. Like kale, you’ll want to strip the stems off. The stems are edible but, if you want to cook them with the greens, you’ll need to chop them up into small pieces and start sautéing them first (before adding the greens), because they take a little more time to cook.

Beet greens. You can search this blog for past information on how to roast beets (this cooking method seems to convert just a bout anyone who has never liked beets before). The greens this week are in great shape for eating. They are very good for you too. Last night, dinner had to be quick, so I layered the leaves on top of eachother and rolled them up (like a cigar) before slicing thinly (see pic). In culinary terms, this is called chiffonade. Then I sautéed diced patty pan squash (zucchini would work too) and added minced garlic, onions (from last week’s share) and the beet greens in when the squash was golden brown. The greens need just a couple of minutes to wilt. I added a squirt of lime juice and would have added some currants or raisins if I had some. This went in a burrito with refried black beans and brown rice with some tomatillo salsa from Trader Joe’s. A relatively quick fix that was both satisfying and healthy too.

Summer squash. We didn’t have enough of the same kind of squash for all of our members, so not everyone got the same type. Whether you received zucchini or short, stout yellow patty pans or the light green Cousa-style squash, they are all terrific this time of year sliced ¼ inch thick and browned on an outdoor grill or an indoor electric grill (aka a “George Foreman”). You can then dress simply with basil oil made from your basil. The blanching step might seem tedious, but it sets the color so that it’s a striking emerald green.