Lettuce Queen

IMG_1163 maggie iceberg 2
We grew iceberg lettuce for the first time, at Maggie’s urging. She’s the boss of the lettuce patch, so we generally go along with whatever she wants.  At least with lettuce.  Iceberg seems an odd choice for a farm like ours, doesn’t it?  We enjoy growing varied, interesting lettuce varieties.  I quizzed Maggie why she was eager to grow iceberg.  “You know, everyone secretly loves iceberg lettuce,” she said, then described breaking down in winter and buying iceberg when all our leafy greens are done for the year.  It’s just an experiment for us this season.  Turned out pretty well, a challenge this time of year when the weather is wet and warm.  As an experiment, it’s a small planting so we have iceberg for most members but some members will get red bibb or red leaf lettuce instead.

IMG_1148 evening sky
The weather has been lovely this week, a real treat.

Q&A – Answers to a few recent questions from members

Why do we take the leaves off our carrots?
It’s common to find bunched carrots with tops for sale at farmers’ markets.  They are pretty but keeping the tops on is a bad idea!  The leaves pull moisture out of the carrot roots, drying them out.  We remove the carrot tops at harvest so the roots stay sweet and crisp.
Beth and Steve, did you bottle the tomato juice yourselves?
No, no, no.  That would be quite a project, wouldn’t it?  We had the juice bottled last year at peak season by a small food processor called Contract Comestibles in East Troy, WI.  We are well-sized for each other.  Many food processors would consider a batch of 500 jars of juice too small to mess with.  They’ve done a nice job for us the last two years.  We plan to bottle juice again this year (for next year’s CSA boxes) as long as we have a big flush of tomatoes at peak season.
Should we return the empty juice jars?
Please keep the jars or recycle them.  We cannot re-use them for juice.  Please do not return them to us – we don’t want to risk shattered glass at the pickup sites.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (July 23/24, 2015, week #10, green EOW)

Caraflex cabbage
Fresh garlic, 1 bulb
Carrots, 2 lb
Green beans, about 3/4 lb
Iceberg OR red bibb OR red leaf lettuce
Zucchini/summer squash, 2 to 2.5 lb
Cucumbers, 2 OR pickles OR Silver Slicer cucumbers
Walla Walla onions
Cilantro, 1 bunch
Cherry tomatoes OR a slicing tomato(es) + a bell pepper

Next week’s box will probably contain Swiss chard, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, cucumbers, herbs and more.

Caraflex cabbage – This is a return of the pointy cabbage we delivered three weeks ago.  We’ve chosen this variety for summer production because the leaves are tender and perfect for raw slaws and salads.  The small size is helpful this time of year when we have so many other options for the CSA box.
Fresh garlic – Here’s a treat.  Harvested fresh this week and sent to you without drying the skins, this garlic is super crunchy and tasty.  Eat soon before the skins dry for the easiest peeling.  Now we will harvest the rest of the garlic field but will need to wait while the skins dry before we can deliver garlic again.
Carrots – First carrot harvest of the year!
Tomatoes – Tomato harvests have just begun.  Soon we will be swimming in tomatoes. Everyone gets cherry tomatoes OR slicing tomato(es) plus a green bell pepper.
Cucumbers – This week, we have small amounts of pickles and a white cucumber called ‘Silver Slicer’ which is interesting and tasty.  We don’t have enough for everyone this week, but we will try to distribute them to all the sites over the next few weeks.  You will receive 2 slicing cucumbers OR a Silver Slicer and a small amount of pickles.  Don’t worry about pickling the pickles.  They are excellent for salads because of their thin, tender skins.  That’s what we choose for salads.  Don’t peel the pickles or the Silver Slicers; it’s unnecessary.

IMG_3042 cukes silver pickles
We will pack for you at least one of these types: slicing cucumbers (top), ‘Silver Slicer’ cucumbers (middle) or pickles (bottom).

Mixed Beans with Cilantro Pesto

This recipe is from our farmer-friend Lauren Rudersdorf of Raleigh’s Hillside Farm.  I tasted a batch Lauren made and it was delicious.  Lauren offered the recipe in her blog The Leek and The Carrot and wrote “I used mixed green and yellow beans with the addition of some snap peas because well, that’s what we had in abundance. You could just use green beans or just use yellow beans or just use peas if you really wanted to. The mix looks pretty but is in no way necessary.”
Takes 15 minutes
Makes enough for 4 as a side (or 1-2 as a meal, as it is for me often)

4 cups beans, ends trimmed
1 cup snap peas, ends trimmed, optional (Beth’s note; choose a substitute from the CSA veggies.)

Cilantro Pesto(makes approximately 2/3 of a cup):
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup parmesan
1 cup cilantro (stems and leaves are fine; it was just about 1 bunch for me)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh if you’ve got it
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Blanche (submerge in boiling water) beans for three minutes. Remove from water and cover with ice cubes or place hot beans in an ice bath to stop the cooking immediately. This will help keep their crispness. Blanche the snap peas for 1 minute, if using. Remove to an ice bath or cover with ice cubes. Strain the beans and peas in a colander and shake a few times to make sure most of the water is removed.

Prepare the pesto by pulsing garlic and almonds in a food processor until very fine. Add cilantro. Pulse until the mixture resembles a course meal. Add lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper. Turn the food processor on and slowly add the olive oil. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor occasionally.

Add 1/4 cup of cilantro pesto to the cooled and dried beans and peas. Save the rest in the fridge for some other use. Add more salt and/or red pepper flakes to taste. Enjoy!

THIS WEEK’S RECIPES

Comforting Classics

Spicy Caraflex Cabbage Slaw
Zucchini Soup Base
Cumin Roasted Carrots
Garlic Confit
Green Beans with Parmesan, Garlic and Black Pepper
Bleu Cheese Dressing

Outside the Box Recipes

Roasted Caraflex Cabbage with Gruyere
Zucchini Saute with Vermouth
Carrot and Cucumber Kimchi Style Salad
Spicy Cilantro Garlic Peanut Sauce
Thai Green Bean, Cucumber, Cilantro, and Tomato Salad
Cilantro Vinaigrette

Kitchen Sink Recipe

Zucchini Gazpacho

Quick and Easy Dinner

Szechuan Grilled Shish Kebabs with Zucchini and Shrimp

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