Week #8, July 6 2017

I queried our crew members about their favorite fruits and vegetables that we grow.  Here are some of their responses plus a photo for each.  I’ll post more people’s responses in a future newsletter.  Think of our hard-working crew when you enjoy one of their favorites!  Beth

Smitty Bietila (2008 – 2013, returned in 2017)  Kale, the gift that keeps on giving all summer long.
Jory Carlin (2014)  Carrots because they are delicious.
Jon Fagan (2013)  Crenshaw melons.  Jon loves crenshaw melons because they are delicate, ephemeral, sweet and delicious.  They are very difficult to grow in Wisconsin so we only get a few each year.
Billy Frain (2013)  Onions.  He likes the steps in harvesting onions; pull from the ground, leave to dry, pull off tops, gather to cure in the greenhouse.  Also … “Carrots.  They bring the whole crew together during weeding, despite the tedious, arduous nature of the work.”
Charlotte Hammond (2016)  “Watermelons because our watermelons are the best on the planet.  I can eat a whole watermelon every day during melon season.  If I ever have my own farm, it’s gonna be a watermelon farm.”  It’s also her favorite crop to harvest.  Charlotte is on Steve’s melon harvest crew because she’s very strong and can catch.  Out of season, Charlotte stays in shape with a ‘watermelon chair’ exercise routine, using a Roman chair at her gym (google it for photos).  She works with 20+ lb weights to mimic picking up and stacking melons.
Kristin Knoener (2008, returned in 2016)  Kristin likes cherry tomatoes, lettuce and watermelons.  “There’s nothing like watermelon at 3:00 pm on a hot day.”
Kelcie Morgan (2015)  Sweet corn.  “It’s a fast-paced straight-forward harvest, a race to the end of the row.  Then we get to eat it on the wagon on the way back to the buildings.”  Strawberries and peas are other favorites to eat but are not her favorites to harvest.  (Beth’s note; these low-to-the-ground crops are hard on everyone’s backs.)
Maggie Schley (1999?)  Maggie loves cucumbers because she loves pickles and salt and fermentation.  Tipi carrots are a big part of Maggie’s life.  They were pictured on her wedding invitation.  She has lots of carrot jewelry.  Everyone on the farm saves ‘lover carrots’ for Maggie; carrots that have grown together in a spiral.  Maggie is always on the carrot harvest crew.
Dana Teske (2015)  Sweet corn.  It’s her favorite to harvest and favorite to eat.
Jim Walker (2016)  Rhubarb.  He likes the fact that you can make dessert from a vegetable with mildly poisonous leaves.  (Actually, it’s a petiole.)  Also, it reminds him of home because rhubarb grew at all the houses where he grew up.


Jory (center) helped re-insulate and re-cover our cooler roofs last year.

Jon loves melons.

Billy shows off some ‘farm bling’ he unearthed in a field.  We find all kinds of things.

From left, Maggie and Charlotte retrieve an old tractor tire from the farm.  It weighs 284 lbs.  They took it to Charlotte’s farm for strength training, where they train by flipping the tire.  These are two strong women.

Kristin in an untilled area of our farm.  I want to establish prairie plantings and Kristin is helping me figure out how to do it. She’s worked in prairie restoration for years and has deep knowledge about prairie management.

Kelcie and Billy harvest Brussels sprouts two falls ago.

Maggie, our ‘Lettuce Queen.’

From left, Kelcie and Dana weed carrots.

Jim stacks watermelons at harvest.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
(July 6/7, 2017, green EOW)

Fennel, 1 bulb with fronds
Broccoli, 1 – 2 nice heads
Snap peas, 1.3 lb
Zucchini & summer squash, ~3 lb
‘Salanova’ lettuce (red or green)
Kohlrabi, 1 (or 2)
Sweet Walla Walla onion, 1 large
Basil, 1 husky sprig

Next week’s box will probably contain some type of greens, carrots, Walla Walla onion, zucchini, basil, fresh garlic and more.

Fennel (large vegetable with a fat bulb and lacy fronds) – Fennel is a ‘swing vegetable’; it can be used raw or cooked.  Clean well and slice as thinly as possible for use in raw salads.  It is good simply prepared with olive oil, lime or lemon juice, salt and shaved parmesan cheese.  Cooking softens and sweetens fennel, and mellows its anise flavor.  Both the bulb and leaves are edible.  Here are ideas from Alice Water of Chez Panisse about how to use fennel:  ‘It’s strong anise characteristic seems to suit fish particularly well.  … We use fennel all the time.  We add the feathery leaves to marinades for fish and to numerous salads, sauces and soups and we use them as a garnish, too. … The bulbs are sliced and served raw in salads in various combinations with other vegetables, parboiled for pastas; caramelized and served as a side dish; braised whole; or cooked in vegetable broths & fish stocks.”

Snap peas – We harvested two varieties this week.  One has strings, the other is stringless.  You’ll just have to figure out which one(s) you receive.

Kohlrabi (round, pale green) – See our June 15 newsletter for info on kohlrabi.

Walla Walla onion – Yeah for the first Walla Wallas!  These are sweet onions, crisp and very mild.  Wonderful raw or lightly cooked.  Try cutting into wedges, threading on a skewer and grilling.  Do not try to fry these onions – it doesn’t work because of their high water content.  Storage:  It’s OK to store at room temperature for up to one week.  Otherwise, refrigerate.

Basil (curly-leaved sprig) – Almost everyone receives the ‘Napoletano’ variety this week. The leaves are larger and more frilly than most basils.  We like this variety because it remains tender and flavorful even as the plants mature.  Storage:  Basil will blacken if stored in the refrigerator.  It is best stored at room temperature with the cut ends in water, for example in a jar or vase.  Treat it like a flower.  Give the stem a fresh trim.  You will receive one sturdy sprig this week.

‘Salanova’ lettuce – This is a new innovation in lettuce breeding that lets you prepare salad mix easily.  It also has nice flavor and texture, even during the summer when it’s otherwise difficult to grow lettuce.  Cut the head across the base and it will fall apart into individual leaves.  Dunk and swish in a tub of water.  Drain and spin dry to store.

We’re pleased with the new ‘Salanova’ lettuce variety.  Cut the lettuce head at the base and it falls apart into salad mix.  Isn’t that great?!  You’ll get either red Salanova or green Salanova this week.


Visit our Recipe Log, a list of all our 2017 recipes.  We’ve already accumulated several zucchini recipes over the past two weeks.


Comforting Classics
Chopped Salad of Kohlrabi, Snap Peas, Chicken (other options listed) and Sweet Basil Dressing
Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts, Lemon and Parmesan
San Franciscan Cioppino
Sweet Onion Rings with Basil Buttermilk Dip

Outside the Box Recipes
Snap Peas with Japanese Seasoning
Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Zucchini, Basil, Feta and a Medley of Olives
Roasted Chicken and Fennel with Oranges and Olives
Curried Squash Soup

Quick and Easy Meal
Kohlrabi and Lamb Stew


Summer Pad Thai
Pad thai is a quick easy meal, but it does require quite a bit of slicing and dicing. Get all your vegetables prepped before you start as things will move very quickly once you begin cooking.  Lauren.

Takes 45 minutes
Serves 4-6

8 ounces rice noodles (Thai Kitchen is in most every grocery store and has great Pad Thai noodles)
1/4 cup peanut oil or other mild oil (vegetable or olive oil would both work fine), divided
1/4 cup tamarind paste (if you can find it, I never seem to have any on hand so I substitute 2 tablespoons lime juice with 2 tablespoons brown sugar or raw sugar)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 Walla Walla onion, diced
3 garlic scapes (if you have some leftover, skip it if you don’t)
2 eggs
1 head broccoli, finely chopped
2 pounds zucchini and summer squash, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup chopped peanuts plus more for garnish
1/2 pound snap peas, end removed and thinly sliced, for garnish
Basil, thinly sliced, for garnish
Limes, quartered

  1. Place noodles in a large bowl.
  2. In a large stock pot bring enough water to cover the noodles to a boil. Pour over noodles and let stand for 7 minutes. Drain noodles, return to bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon peanut oil.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan combine tamarind paste (or substitutions), fish sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine and then heat over medium heat until sugar and honey dissolve. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic if using. Saute for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add eggs and scramble gently. Once eggs are most cooked add the broccoli. Continue sauteing and cooking the eggs for 5 minutes until broccoli is bright green.
  5. Add noodles, zucchini, summer squash and sauce. Stir to combine then cook for 2 minutes until everything is warm and zucchini is just barely cooked. Stir in 1/2 cup peanuts just before serving.
  6. Serve warm with peanuts, snap peas, basil and lime wedges.

Fennel & Kohlrabi Salad
Borrowed from my dear friend Andrea Bemis of Dishing Up the Dirt
I always thought I couldn’t eat fennel raw until I shaved it real thin and paired it with some apple and a light homemade vinaigrette. Something about this simple salad transformed the way I looked at fennel. Now I love to eat raw fennel as a side to something real rich and hearty (like a grilled steak or porkchop). This recipe takes things a bit further pairing fennel with crunchy kohlrabi and onion alongside some walnuts and blue cheese. Together it makes for a powerhouse dish. PS Feel free to sub feta for blue cheese if you are a real blue cheese hater. It won’t make much of a difference.  Lauren.

Takes 20 minutes
Serves 4

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-1/3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 smaller kohlrabis, stems and greens discarded, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 large fennel bulb, stems removed (and saved for another use), halved, cored and very thinly sliced (if you have a mandoline- use it!), plus a few fronds for serving
1/2 Walla Walla onion, very thinly sliced
1 apple (honey crisp or granny smith work best in my opinion), sliced into thin matchsticks
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
1/4 cup good quality blue cheese, crumbled

  1. In a large bowl wisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, celery seeds, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil until well combined.
  2. Add all the thinly sliced vegetables (and fruit!) to the bowl and toss well to combine.
  3. Divide between plates and top with toasted walnuts, crumbled blue cheese and a few fennel fronts. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if need be.


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