Monthly Archives: October 2015

Dwindling palette

IMG_3717 asparagus
The farm colors are dwindling but beautiful.  Asparagus fronds are brilliant yellow for just a week or two.

IMG_3623 carrot ccrop green
Carrot-green at left, cover-crop-green on the right.  We’ve begun harvesting carrots to store and sell through the winter but have a long way to go.

IMG_3693 bins asparagus
Empty bins lined up and ready for carrots.

IMG_3731 red green kale
The red and green kale are hanging in there.  They can handle a lot of cold without damage.

IMG_3686 caitlyn daikon
Our workers are the brightest thing in the landscape in their rain gear.  Caitlyn after a muddy daikon harvest.

Delivery count-down

November 5 = final delivery for purple EOW members
November 12 = final delivery for weekly and for green EOW members

Last chance to get a 2015 receipt

Go to this link to send yourself a receipt for your 2015 CSA shares.  I need to wrap up the books for the year, and will disable the receipt link in about one week.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (October 29/30, week #24, green EOW)

Butternut squash OR sweet potatoes
Broccoli, a modest amount
Cauliflower OR Romanesco broccoli
Red mustard greens, 1 bunch
Carrots, 2 lb
Parsnips, 1.5+ lb
Kohlrabi, 1
Frying peppers, about 5
Yellow onions, about 2

Next week’s box will probably contain German butterball potatoes, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, beets, onions, celeriac, cauliflower OR Romanesco broccoli, and more.

Butternut squash – These are the ‘Metro’ variety again.
‘Beauregard’ sweet potatoes – Here are a few things we’ve learned about sweet potatoes:
– For best flavor, cook your sweet potatoes so they brown and caramelize.  We have a simple, favorite way to roast sweet potatoes.  We used to prepare sweet potato fries.  Now we just quarter the potatoes, rub with olive oil, dust with salt and place cut-side-down on a cookie sheet.  Roast in a 450 F oven without turning until soft.  The flavors will caramelize (like sweet potato fries) but preparation is simpler and the cooking time less exacting.  Slender sweet potato fries go from undercooked to overcooked in the blink of an eye.  Larger slices are less exacting, and therefore are easier.  Small sweet potatoes can be cut just in half.  Jumbos will need to be chopped into pieces.  Otherwise, they will take a long time to cook.
– Store your sweet potatoes at room temperature.  They suffer chilling injury below 50 F.
– The sweet potatoes we grow require slightly longer cooking than ones from the supermarket, perhaps because they contain higher moisture so soon after harvest.
– Sweet potatoes are good at any size. We have cooked everything from tiny to jumbo and consistently find that all sizes taste good.
Red mustard greens (bundle of red and green leaves) – These might be the final greens for the season.  We’ll see.  We grew two types of red mustard greens this year, one of which looks like red bok choy.  As usual, you can eat both the stems and leaves.
Parsnips (tapered, cream colored roots) – Those long, white roots are not carrots, they are parsnips. The two vegetables are related.  When cooked, parsnips are sweet and starchy.  For the best flavor, brown them to caramelize the sugars.  Here are a few ideas for parsnip preparation:
– Caramelize the parsnips by roasting them in a vegetable medley.
– Parsnip fries are delicious: cut like French fries, coat very lightly with oil, place on a cookie sheet and roast in a hot oven until brown and cooked through.
– Try substituting grated parsnips in a potato pancake recipe. They brown beautifully and are very tasty.
– Steve loves pan-fried parsnips with onions and garlic.
Kohlrabi (pale green, round vegetable with thick skin) – Crunchy and sweet, kohlrabi is a great addition to salads.
Storage:  Kohlrabi bulbs will store for a month in the refrigerator.
Uses:  Kohlrabi are good peeled and eaten out of hand, or added to sandwiches.  It is good mixed into salads, or prepared as a salad on it’s own.  You can grate it, slice it, or cut it into matchsticks.  It’s also good cooked.  If you have it, the Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook has a long list of kohlrabi suggestions.
Frying peppers (sweet red or green peppers) – Eat these soon!  We don’t think they will store for long.


Comforting Classics

Savory Butternut Scones
Cheesy Orecchiette with Ricotta and Mustard Greens
Braised Brisket with Parsnips
Tangy Kohlrabi Slaw, with Cumin and Honey Dressing
Bourbon Ginger Glazed Carrots
Roasted Romanesco

Outside the Box Recipes

Butternut Squash Tahini Spread
Smoked Pork and Quinoa Soup with Mustard Greens
Parsnip Pancakes
Smoked Trout Salad Sandwich with Kohlrabi, Apple and Onion, on Rye
Curried Carrot Pilaf with Kohlrabi
Decadent Cauliflower Puree

Kitchen Sink Recipe

Mashed Fall Vegetables with Bacon Vinaigrette

Quick and Easy Meal Idea

Fajitas with Chicken, Onions, and Peppers

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We finessed an interesting deal this week.  As I’ve explained before, we buy potatoes from organic farmers that we trust.  When we started our CSA, I made Steve agree that we would grow everything except potatoes.  He would want every piece of equipment needed to grow potatoes, and it’s a big line-up.  Our friends/neighbors Peg and Matt Schaeffer of Sandhill Family Farms have a bumper potato crop this year but not enough employees to get them harvested. We have an unusually large crew working for us this fall.  We made a deal – our crew will help dig the potatoes, and we’ll buy them at a reasonable cost.  They have nice varieties; German butterballs for the November 5/6 box, and Carolas and Red Marias for the storage share.  Matt dropped samples at our house and we enjoyed a mini potato-cooking festival.

Oddly, the toughest part of the deal was finding enough containers to hold the potatoes.  Every economy has its currency.  Right now, both our farms are running short of plastic crates for harvest.  We filled all ours with sweet potatoes and winter squash.  They filled theirs with potatoes.  We scrounged and washed out every crate available while Matt emailed “Beth, we are DESPERATE for crates.”

Two employees at a time have gone to the Schaeffers’ to help.  We have heard nothing about the harvest, only about the ducks, chickens, sheep and a donkey named Daisy.  That’s all anyone has talked of.  I am afraid we will lose our entire crew to the Schaeffers’ petting zoo.

IMG_20151020_161004870 kelcie daisy
Kelcie and Daisy.  Photo by Madeleine.

IMG_3137 butternuts crates
Where oh where could our crates be hiding?

Alien vegetables – Romanesco and colored cauliflower.

Let’s talk about the striking vegetables in your box.
Romanesco broccoli (pale green conical head, possible tinged with purple) – This is the prettiest vegetable we grow.  Look at it closely to appreciate its branched beauty and repeating spiral pattern.  It is called broccoli, but is closely related to cauliflower which it resembles in flavor and texture.  Like broccoli and cauliflower, it is fine eaten raw or cooked.  It requires cooking times intermediate between the two.  Don’t overcook it.  I usually steam it, then dress it simply with a butter-lemon-garlic-mustard sauce.
Purple, white or orange cauliflower – Cauliflower comes in brilliant colors besides white.  We planted purple and orange varieties this year, and will rotate the types are they are ready to harvest.  Treat the colored types like white cauliflower for cooking.  There is a slight flavor difference between white and purple but it is subtle.  Purple cauliflower gets its color from anthocyanins, the same compounds that color red cabbage.  The color of purple cauliflower fades to blue during cooking.  I’ve read that it will stay purple if you acidify the cooking water, but haven’t tried it yet.  Orange cauliflower gets its color from beta carotene, which means more vitamin A in your diet.

IMG_3511 romanesco
Romanesco broccoli, the prettiest fractal on the farm.

IMG_3496 purple cauliflower

IMG_2907 cheddar caul
Purple, white and orange cauliflower.

IMG_2913 cheddar caul stem
Even the stems of orange cauliflower are permeated with color.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes

Savoy cabbage
Butternut squash
Leeks, 1.5 – 2 lb
Carrots, 2 lb
Frying peppers, about 5
Poblano chiles, 2
You’ll receive two of these:
– cauliflower
– Romanesco broccoli
– broccoli

Next week’s box will probably contain cauliflower OR Romanesco broccoli, winter squash OR sweet potatoes, mustard greens, carrots, onions, and more.

IMG_3568 frying vs poblano
Sweet frying peppers on the left.  Mildly spicy poblanos in bondage on the right.  We avoid sending similar-looking peppers together when some are hot, some are sweet.  It’s the end of pepper season, and our options have dwindled.  Respect the rubber bands if you want to keep the types separate.

Frying peppers (long, slender, green or red) – These are sweet.
Poblano chiles (triangular, shiny, green or red) – These are mildly hot.  Poblanos are the creme de la creme of chiles.  They have lots of great flavor in combination with manageable heat.  Steve protected these plants from frost so we would have the chiles for you.  Roast and add to soup or casseroles.  For our household, they are emblematic of fall cooking.
Savoy cabbage (round green cabbage with pretty, crinkled leaves) – Savoy cabbage can be handled and cooked the same as green cabbage.
Butternut squash – This is our “Metro” variety, a favorite because it cures and sweetens quickly after harvest.  These are medium-sized squash, average weight <2.0 lb.

Tip for cutting winter squash

If you want to peel or dice your butternut squash, microwave the intact squash on high for one minute.  That’s enough to warm and soften the squash, making it much easier to peel.  I find this trick useful even when just cutting the butternut in half.


Comforting Classics

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Sauteed Savoy Cabbage
Squash Cabbage and Tofu Thai Curry with Glass Noodles
Carrot Leek Soup
Parmesan Roasted Romanesco
Mashed Cauliflower
Salisbury Steak with Pepper and Mushroom Gravy

Outside the Box Recipes

Oven Braised Savoy Cabbage
Butternut and Poblano Quesadillas
Creamy Braised Leeks
Steamed Romanesco with Mustard Butter
Cauliflower Latkes

Kitchen Sink Recipe

Braised Chickpeas with Butternut Squash and Cabbage

Quick and Easy Meal Idea

Roasted Savoy Cabbage with Tomatoes and Sausage

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Sweet season

Fall weather does not get better than this.  Our farm work is so pleasant when the weather is sunny and mild.  Prepping parsley bunches when it’s sunny and 65oF?  That’s perfect – our fingers are ungloved and nimble, we can handle rubber bands.  Try tackling that job when it’s 35oF and raining and you are dressed in bulky layers.  We know frost is coming soon, but we are trying to extract as much pleasure as we can from these last warm days.  The sweet potatoes and winter squash are all harvested (yeah!), and we’ve begun harvesting cabbage for winter storage.  These are satisfying milestones.  Here are photos from the last few weeks.  Beth

IMG_3176 undercutting sweet potatoes

IMG_3182 sweet potatoes in crate

IMG_3172 jeremy sweet potato
Sweet potatoes pop out of the ground when the soil is just right – not too dry, not too wet. From top, Steve mows the vines and undercuts the roots to bring them to the surface. We pick them up by hand. They need to be handled very gently at this stage.  At bottom, Jeremy finds a favorite.

IMG_3348 billy kyle
Billy tosses cabbage to Kyle.

IMG_2823 maggie butternuts

IMG_2852 butternuts on belt

Maggie and team sort winter squash as it comes up the conveyor belt.

Winter squash primer

We will pack several types of winter squash this week, although each member will receive just one type.  We tried a few new varieties this year, and are sharing ones that passed our taste tests.  Some new varieties are great but others are duds.  We only send the good ones.  If you have a strong opinion about the squash you receive this week (good or bad), could you let us know?  We’ll keep track of where the varieties are delivered.

IMG_3408 mixed squash
Clockwise from top right, Sugar Dumpling (2), TipTop acorn, sweet dumpling (2), and Honey Boat delicata.

IMG_3138 butternuts greenhouse
The early winter squashes were not very productive because of pest problems.  On the other hand, the butternuts did great.  Above, keeping the butternut squash warm and dry in the greenhouse so they cure and sweeten.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (Oct. 15/16, 2015, week #22, green EOW)

Yellow potatoes, 3 to 3.5 lb
Red beets, 2 lb
Broccoli AND/OR cauliflower
Frying peppers, mixed colors, ~4
Bell AND/OR Oranos peppers
Zavory “mild” habaneros, small handful
Yellow onions, about 2
Scallions, 1 bunch
Parsley, 1 bunch
Winter squash; acorn OR sweet dumpling OR Sugar Dumpling OR delicata

Next week’s box will probably contain cauliflower OR Romanesco broccoli, winter squash, cabbage, leeks, carrots and more.

Peppers! – It’s a pepper medley this week. We are stripping the plants in anticipation of frost in a few days.  It is so hard to let the pepper season end.  We’ll protect a few varieties with floating row cover so we have peppers for you next week.
Frying peppers (red, green or yellow; long & slender) – Don’t confuse these sweet peppers with last week’s HOT anaheim chiles, in you have any left in your fridge.  Look at photos in last week’s newsletter to see how similar they appear.  This is our biggest delivery of frying peppers so far this year.  Frying peppers are my favorite pepper, so let’s share how we cook them at our house:
– The classic use; pan fried with ones and garlic, then used to top sausages.
– Grilled or roasted, then served atop cheesy polenta.
– I keep a few roasted peppers in the fridge, to top pizza or salads, or dress up grilled cheese sandwiches. They are handy to dress up simple pasta dishes.
– Roasted then pureed with grilled or sautéed onions and garlic to make a chunky spread for bread.
Zavory “mild” habanero chiles (small; red, orange or green) – Well, these chiles have gotten hotter than the last time we delivered them.  Not sure why.  They are still pretty mild, about the same as an Anaheim, with lots of interesting flavor.
IMG_3420 frying zavory
At left, sweet frying peppers.  At right, mildly hot Zavory habaneros.


Comforting Classics

Cream of Broccoli Soup
Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes
Russian Beet and Potato Salad
Sweet Italian Pepper Sauce with Capellini
Cauliflower with Olives (works with broccoli too!)
Honey Soy Squash Rings

Outside the Box Recipes

Grilled Marinated Broccoli
Potato Enchiladas
Vegan Beet Chocolate Lava Cakes
Sloppy Joe’s with Pickled Sweet Peppers or Vegan Sloppy Joe
Hot Pepper Hash Browns with Cheddar
Oven Fried Squash Rings

Kitchen Sink Recipe

Moroccan Stewed Vegetables over CousCous

Quick and Easy Meal Idea

Sausage and Pepper Frittata

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U-Pick Wrap-Up

Steve and I are still coasting on the energy from our pumpkin u-pick this past Sunday.  Lots of members wandered the farm to pick pumpkins and glean some extra produce.  We’re happy to share.  Much of the gleaned produce would be lost to frost in a week or two.  Some of you have brought your children to our gleaning party since they were babies.  We always hope mucking around during the u-pick will encourage open-mindedness about food in a few more children.  Parents told us lots of broccoli and carrots were munched on during the u-pick.  For those who are curious, here’s the final list of gleaning crops we offered: carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, tomatillos, Italian beans, kale, jalapeños, cilantro, peppers and raspberries.

I’ve posted photos from the u-pick on our Facebook page, but here are more.

chatting with my farmers-smaller
Steve and I enjoy the chance to visit with members. We’ve fed you all season!

IMG_3061 2nd runner up cauliflower
IMG_3060 guess the cauliflower
Second runner-up winner in the ‘guess the weight of the giant cauliflower’ contest, with her prize. The giant cauliflower would fit in a CSA box, but there would not be room for anything else.

IMG_6243 glean wagon
I love this photo because it captures the scale of our farm. First-time gleaners mentioned the unexpected distance they covered while gleaning. The farm feels big when you are on foot.  FYI, the grassy planting on the right is a rye-vetch cover crop.

IMG_6277 not just pumpkins
It’s not just pumpkins that are interesting.  Thanks Marty for the last two photos!

rain slickers-smaller
Julie Garrett found the beauty in our raincoats hung up in the washroom.

Questions that arose during the u-pick.

If one person asked, then others are probably curious too.

What about that tomato u-pick?
We are busted – we promised a tomato u-pick this season but did not pull it off.  For a u-pick to work, we need a big surge of tomatoes.  We planted two tomato fields (as usual) but the early one did poorly because of the wet spring.  The second tomato planting did great, and really carried the load for the CSA boxes.  Week after week, we had enough tomatoes for 4 lb per box, but those were all harvested from one field.  We had just enough extra tomatoes to bottle tomato juice for next season.  Without two fields ripening at once, we never reached a moment when we were sloshing in tomatoes and ready to host a u-pick.  Maybe next year?

Are you going to put raspberries in the CSA boxes again?
Nope, our raspberry-production days are over, due to the fruit fly that arrived in Wisconsin a few years ago.  We mowed down half our raspberry planting but can’t bear to rip it out completely.  That’s where members picked berries this weekend.

Is the CSA season over now that the gleaning party has happened?
No, there are six deliveries to go, including this week.  See below for the final delivery dates.

A member asked if this is the first time the gleaning party happened before frost.
He remembered many years when frost came a day or two before the gleaning party, and how much it affected the tomatoes he tried to glean.  That’s pretty accurate.  We time the u-pick for near the average first frost date for this area, October 8.  If we host it too early, we won’t be ready to offer crops for gleaning.  If we wait too late, most of the gleaning crops will be badly damaged.

Six boxes yet to pack

November 5/6 = final delivery for purple EOW members
November 12/13 = final delivery for weekly members and green EOW members.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (October 8/9, 2015, week #21, purple EOW)

Sweet potatoes, about 2+ lb
Broccoli, 1 head, some are small
Red kale, 1 bunch
Carrots, 2 lb
Bell peppers, red or green, about 3
Yellow onions, about 2
Fennel, 1 head with fronds
(You might not get fennel if your cauliflower is big.)
Cauliflower OR globe eggplant OR Japanese eggplant
Anaheim chiles, HOT, 2 – 3
Scallions, 1 bunch
Baby ginger, 1 chunk
Garlic, 1 head

Next week’s box will probably contain potatoes, peppers, winter squash, broccoli or cauliflower, and more.

Sweet potatoes – Some of these are BIG.  The early samples we dug seemed so modest in size.  At harvest, we found they had grown quite a lot.  Don’t worry, quality is fine for the big ones.  Just don’t try to roast them whole.  It will take a long, long time.  Big ones, small ones, all are excellent cut into pieces, oiled, and roasted at 425oF , e.g. as sweet potato fries.
Anaheim chiles (long slender peppers, red or green) – These are HOT peppers. Anaheims usually have medium spiciness although it varies from pepper to pepper.  As usual, the heat is concentrated in the seeds and midveins.  Remove the seeds and midveins is to lessen the chili’s heat.  Anaheims are easily mistaken for Italian frying peppers. We never send them in the same box for that reason. Keep this in mind if you have peppers left over from previous weeks.

DSCF4130 anaheims.JPG
See how much this week’s HOT anaheim chiles (above) resemble last week’s SWEET frying peppers (below)? Keep them separate if you still have peppers leftover from last week.
DSCF4129 frying peppers.JPG


Comforting Classics

Crunchy Broccoli and Carrot Salad
Kale with Smoked Paprika
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Hot Sauce
Caramelized Fennel
Stir Fried Eggplant with Tofu and Peppers
Curried Cauliflower

Outside the Box Recipes

Broccoli Latholemono
Sweet Potato Kale Hash
Chai Scented Sweet Potatoes
Fennel and Sausage Risotto
Spiced Peppers and Eggplant
Cauliflower and Fennel Vegan Bisque

Kitchen Sink Recipe

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie with Carrots and Broccoli or with Lentils

Quick and Easy Meal Idea

Fennel Olive Goat Cheese Flatbreads

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Ginger harvest

IMG_2997 ginger jory
We harvested half our ginger this week.  It’s time – nights are chilly inside the greenhouse, and we don’t want the tropical ginger to get damaged by cold.  I have loved this small planting.  It feels garden-like on this scale, at least in contrast with our vegetable fields.  It’s always interesting to grow something new and unusual.  Above, Jory digs the ginger from the ground.  Aren’t the plants lush?  Most of what you see are ginger but the taller plants on the left are turmeric.  We planted a few seedlings for fun and were surprised at how big they grew.

IMG_3009 ginger caitlin
Caitlin’s job was to grade and trim the ginger root.

IMG_2610 ginger
This is baby ginger, bright white and pink because it hasn’t grown a brown epidermis yet.  It takes a long season to grow into the mature ginger you find in stores.  It’s usually grown in warm places like Hawaii.  Baby ginger is special because it has the full ginger flavor and spiciness but almost no fibers.  That’s why it’s used to make the pickled ginger served with sushi.

IMG_2619 ginger cut
We cut the roots into plump pieces to distribute in this week’s CSA boxes.  We’ll harvest the remaining ginger next week, so the purple EOW members get to try some too.  See the brown piece at bottom right?  That’s the seed piece we originally planted in spring.

Storage Shares

We have just a handful of storage shares left.  Sign up by the end of this weekend if you are still interested.  You can read here about what we delivered in last year’s storage share.
Current Tipi members, sign up here.
New members, sign up here.

Please scratch your name off the checkoff list every week.

One of our site hosts called last week to tell me there was one unclaimed box at her site, but six names still on the list.  She didn’t bother making reminder calls that week.  Please scratch your name off the checkoff list.  Please take care of it before you take your box – your hands are empty and you are less likely to get distracted by your beautiful produce.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (October 1/2, 2015, week #20, green EOW)

Red bok choy OR Yukina
Edamame soybeans, 1 bundle
Carrots, 2 lb
Broccoli OR cauliflower
Italian beans, 1 lb
Frying peppers, 3
Oranos peppers, 2 – 3
Tomatoes, 1 to 3
Yellow onions, about 2
Jalapeño chiles, 2
Basil, 1 husky sprig
Baby ginger, 1 knob

Next week’s box will probably contain carrots, onions, peppers, ginger and much more.

Some sites will get red bok choy, some will get Yukina.  These related vegetables are similar, although Yukina is larger and more strongly flavored.  They can be used interchangeably in recipes.
Red bok choy (loose rosette with thick stems and magenta leaves) – This Asian green is good for stir-frying or sautéing or in soup.  It’s also good as a raw, marinated salad, like a fresh unfermented kimchi.  You can think of the stems and leaves as two separate vegetables.  The stems require longer cooking.  The leaves will cook almost as quickly as spinach.  Refrigerate in a plastic bag.
Yukina (large heads of dark green leaves) – This is my favorite fall green.  It is nutritious, delicious, a great combination of mustard-like leaves with crunchy stems.  These yukina look big, but will shrink once cooked.   We usually steam and drain chopped yukina, then dress it with a cooked mixture of fried garlic and ginger simmered with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, a little sugar and a lot of paprika or hot pepper flakes.
Edamame (bundle of stems with pods attached) – See our notes from three weeks ago about how to cook.
Carrots – The first fall carrots!
Italian beans – The last summer beans!  Really, that’s the end.  We added an extra bean planting this year, for a total of seven deliveries.  We hope you enjoyed them.  These Italian beans are mature enough that they will be best braised.  Pat came up with a nice braised chicken and Italian bean dish for us.
Tomatoes – Well, tomato season is ending.  It’s so hard to let go.  Enjoy these last few tomatoes we picked for you this week.
Jalapeño chiles (small green chiles) – These are HOT.  Handle with caution.  Remove the seeds and midveins to lessen their heat.
Baby ginger – See above.  Wrap in a damp cloth or paper towel, and keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.  Eat soon; baby ginger is perishable and we plan to send more next week.  This stuff bruises easily so we gave it just a light washing, and figured you could do the fine washing when you cut it up.


Comforting Classics

Chilled Lemon Marinated Cauliflower
Cheesy, Creamy Brown Rice, Broccoli and Greens Casserole
Braised Chicken with Romano Beans
Sesame Salad with Bok Choy or Yukina
Slow Braised Goulash
Ginger Curried Carrot Soup

Outside the Box Recipes

Cauliflower Gallette Crust
Broccoli Hummus
Yukina Savoy with Sweet Chili Sauce
Braised Sausage, Pepper, Onion and Scrambled Egg Sandwich
Japanese Carrot Ginger Dressing

Kitchen Sink Recipe

Roasted Fall Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Quick and Easy Meal Idea

Basil Marinated Caprese Sandwich

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