Large Shares: Lacinato kale, Romaine lettuce, slicing cucumbers, lemon cucumber, bell pepper, summer squash, carrots, Romano beans or green beans, yellow onion, red onion, cherry tomatoes, Penasco blue garlic, cilantro
Small Shares: carrots, golden beets, green cabbage, yellow onion, lemon cucumbers, kohlrabi, cilantro, green beans
Dear CSA members,
Week 10 and mid August! We are certainly in the peak of the summer season. With warm/hot temperatures forecast for some time to come we should indeed see a significant upswing in harvests in the near future. Everyone who ordered boxes of tomato seconds hang in there, they are coming! We may be adding quite a bit to the bulk order list including green beans and pickling cucumbers.
New this week is Romano Beans: Green Romano beans are broad and flattened in shape, averaging about five inches in length at maturity. The beans have a stringless seam that opens rather easily while still young. The pods cling loosely to a series of about six tiny lime green to white colored peas. The beans are crisp and fleshy in texture, extremely succulent, offering a subtlety sweet and grassy flavor. They are great both raw and cooked.
This week I wanted to share with you some thoughts on the benefits of organic agriculture, just to reiterate the reasons why we do what we do. As well as why you choose to spend your food dollars with us.
Soil. Soil building practices such as crop rotations, inter-cropping, symbiotic associations, cover crops, organic fertilizers and minimum tillage are central to organic practices. Organic practices encourage soil fauna and flora, improve soil formation and structure and create more stable systems. In turn, nutrient and energy cycling is increased and the retentive abilities of the soil for nutrients and water are enhanced, and soil erosion is reduced. If we treat our soil right our crops will show it by increased vigor, flavor and disease/pest resistance.
Water. In many agriculture areas, pollution of groundwater with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a major problem. As the use of these is prohibited in organic agriculture, they are replaced by organic fertilizers (e.g. compost, animal manure, green manure) and through the use of greater biodiversity (in terms of species cultivated and permanent vegetation), The enhanced soil stucture and better nutrient retention and water infiltration of well managed organic systems greatly reduce the risk of groundwater pollution.
Air and climate change. Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high quantities of fossil fuel to be produced). Organic agriculture contributes to mitigating the greenhouse effect and global warming through its ability to sequester carbon in the soil. Many management practices used by organic agriculture (e.g. minimum tillage, returning crop residues to the soil, the use of cover crops and rotations, and the greater integration of nitrogen-fixing legumes), increase the return of carbon to the soil, raising productivity and favoring carbon storage. A number of studies revealed that soil organic carbon contents under organic farming are considerably higher. The more organic carbon is retained in the soil, the higher the potential of agriculture to mitigate climate change.
Biodiversity. Organic farmers are both custodians and users of biodiversity at all levels. By utilizing traditional, heirloom and adapted seeds and breeds organic farmers choose varieties that have adapted resistance to diseases and climactic stress and therefore reqire less inputs to create a marketable crop. Organic farms also by and large maintain natural areas within and around their lanscapes, that combined with the absence of chemical inputs creates suitable habitats for birds, pollinating insects and other species that may benefit our crops. Many recent studies have concluded that organic farming produces more biodiversity than other farming systems.
Thank you and have a great week,
Oriental Cilantro Slaw: Shred 1 medium cabbage (6 cups). Place the cabbge in a large serving bowl. Mix in 1 large shredded carrot, 1 cup tightly packed minced fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup thinnnly sliced scallions. In a jar combine, 3 tbsp canola oil, 3 to 4 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp tamari, 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and finely chopped and sea salt to taste. Shake well to blend, pour dressing over the salad and toss well. Add more lime juice and tamari as needed. Garnish with 1/2 cup chopped toasted and salted peanuts.
Sesame ginger Romano Beans: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium high heat, heat 1 cup vegetable oil. Add 3 small shallots, thinly sliced, and fry, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss 1 lb fresh romano (or green) beans (stem ends trimmed), with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger, and 1 tsp salt to coat. Roast beans until tender but still green, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer beans to a serving dish and toss with sesame seeds. Top with reserved shallots.
Cucumber Salad with Caramelized Onions and Herbs: slice onions into ¼ inch thick slices (enough to yield 1 cup) and toss to separate into rings. Have a slotted spoon and double layer of paper towels ready. Heat 2 cups vegetable oil to 275 in a small, deep heavy saucepan and drop in onion rings. Cook onions, stirring often, until they turn a uniform light brown, about 8 to 12 minutes. They’ll brown faster toward the end, so be careful. Lift onions from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tsp onion oil for vinaigrette; let cool. For the vinaigrette: whisk together 1 tbsp each champagne and rice vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tp salt, and ½ tsp pepper together in a bowl until salt and vinegar dissolve. Add reserved onion oil and 1 tbsp minced onion and whisk well to blend. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and lemon juice. Slice several fresh cucumbers into ¼ inch thick slices with a knife. Toss cucumbers and 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette. Add 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, and 1 tbsp roughly chopped red or green shiso (optional). Arrange salad on a platter and top with finely diced mild cucumber pickles and fried onions.
Tomato, Red onion, and Purple Pepper Salad with Yogurt Dressing: Thinnly slice 1 medium red onion, place in a salad bowl, sprinkle on 2 tbsp fresh lime juice and 1 tsp salt and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes. Slice 1 hot chile into matchsticks and add to the onion, cut one medium purple bell pepper into ½ inch wide strips about 1 inch long and toss with the onions and chile. Just before serving add 2 to 3 tomatoes cut into ½ inch pieces and ¾ cup full fat yogurt and toss gently to mix. Taste for salt and adjust, if you wish, and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Green (or Romano) Beans on the Grill: put 1 lb of green beans on a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to fold and seal. You may need to fold two sheets together. (you can also use one sheet of foil to set the pouch on. This way if any liquid seeps out or it pulls apart it dosen’t leave a mess.) drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the beans. Add 2 – 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 tsp crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Toss beans with tongs until well coated. Add 1 to 2 tbsp water and fold aluminum foil together at the top and pinch the sides closed. Cook the green bean pouch on the grill until the beans are tender. (food.com)
Roasted Golden Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens: trim one bunch medium beets with tops to 1 inch. Wash and chop greens and stems. Scrub beets and wrap tightly in heavy duty foil. Roast in the 400 degree oven until tender, 50 minutes. Cool, peel and cut into wedges. Sauté greens, stems and 2 tsp minced garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat until tender, 6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, 2 tbsp each pistachios and goat cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. ( from Prevention magazine June 2012)
Lemon Ricotta Summer Squash Galette: thinly slice 2 medium zucchini ( about 2 ½ cups) and sprinkle lightly with salt. Transfer to a colander; drain for 15 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, on a large piece of lightly floured parchment, roll ½ of a 15oz package of refrigerated unbaked dough to a 12 inch circle. Transfer parchment and dough to a large baking sheet; set aside. For ricotta filling; in a medium bowl whisk together ¾ cup ricotta cheese, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Using a spatula spread the ricotta filling over dough, leaving a 1 ½ inch border. Top with squash rounds. Drizzle with more olive oil. Gently fold over pastry edges, pleating as necessary. In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg yolk and 1 tsp water. Lightly brush pastry edges with egg mixture. Transfer galette to oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Sprinkle with fresh dill weed, if desired. Serve warmor ar room temperature. Makes 6 servings.
Cilantro Pesto: In a food processor or blender combine. 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 cup tightly packed minced fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, finely chopped, 2 large cloves roasted garlic, or 1 small clove raw garlic peeled and minced, 1 tsp mild chili powder, 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds, 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp sea salt. Great served over beans and grains, bean and grain salads, this pesto is delicious brushed onto grilled corn on the cob or tossed with cooked corn kernels.