Week 9 ~ CSA Newsletter July18-July24, 2011

This Weeks Share: Endive/Escarole, Chard, Beets or Carrots, Summer Squash, Shelling Peas, Garlic Tops or Green Garlic Bulbs, Fava Beans, Broccoli or Cauliflower and Blackberries (Broccoli/Cauliflower missed the photo!).

Endive/Escarole: Lovely braising greens with flair, endive and escarole make a wonderful side dish with other strong flavors such as cheeses or honey-nuts, or simply spice up your salads with this bag of greens and just enjoy them raw. We have no lettuce for your regular share this week, so hopefully these greens can fit in somewhere on the table.

Chard: I do love the word lovely, but  greens are that indeed. We have baby chard leaves mixed in with older leaves and their colorful, bright savory stems for you. We love our chard in salads and also braised….you really can take your pick. I see and endive/escarole/chard green salad in some of your futures.

Beet or Carrots: We are harvesting some of each this week. The beet greens (lovely chard) are really gorgeous this week as well, so if you get beets you get bonus greens too!

Peas: We have shelling peas for you all again this week. It is a little work to shell all the smallish, bursting pods, but you are rewarded with little sweet orbs of spring. Our bushes have yielded heavy, but a bit late so we have super plump peas for the picking. Cook them lightly with a gentle steam, or throw into your favorite stir-fry.

Summer Squash: More summer squash for all. The start is on, of this harbinger of summer crops….may they be plentiful. Zucchini squash and round zucchini are the forerunners this week. The round, Italian zucc’s are great for the grill and also for stuffing and baking. The longer, larger zucchini make fabulous sweet breads or a great chunky, red sauce with garlic and pasta.

Green Garlic heads or tops: We are a garlic loving farm. Hope you are a garlic lover too, and are enjoying the garlic in its different forms and flavors. The plant is truly versatile. While to some it seems uncustomary to harvest a crop in different stages other than the one most “known”, it is industrious to us. Don’t worry, we will have plenty of the cured garlic heads this fall for you as well.

Fava Beans: These large-pod gems are usually earlier in the season, but due to our long spring they are just now ready for the table. If you are new to Fava-beans you are in for a treat. They are a bit labor-intensive, but delicious and so worth it!

I enjoyed this article about Fava Beans on NPR. Please have a read…http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9163283 . It explains the double husking necessary to truly enjoy them. Fava beans have a distinct flavor and creamy texture that makes them a great addition to a wide variety of dishes. A quick par-boil of the beans (post-pod) will help you to easily squeeze-slip off the waxy shell that is still over the delectable, bright-green, buttery bean, perfectly preparing them to add to your favorite dish.

Fava Beans and Seared Zucchini with Garlicky Croutons adapted from Lucid Food

  • About 2 cups shelled, fresh fava beans
  • 2 zucchini
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil, plus some
  • 1  1/2  cloves garlic (3 cloves green garlic)
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • A few slices stale baguette or other crusty bread, torn or diced (or pre-made croutons)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese, big shavings
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees if making your croutons.
  2. To shuck the fava beans, pull on the stem edge unzipping the side of the pod. Each pod holds 3-6 beans. Put the opaque, whitish (with thin skin still on) beans in a small pot with water to cover. Add 1 Tbsp of salt and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the favas are just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool in an ice bath. Peel or slip off the skins revealing the bright green, smooth beans and set them aside. Discard skins and pods.
  3. To make croutons, in large bowl whisk together 2 Tbsp of the olive oil with some of the chopped garlic, the thyme and 1 tsp salt. Add the bread and coat evenly all pieces. Spread onto baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, stir, then continue baking until croutons are crisp and golden, about 5 minutes more. Taste and season with salt. Let cool then set aside in airtight container.
  4. Trim ends of the zucchini and cut them in half. Cut halves into slices 1/4 inch thick and season with salt. Heat a skillet to medium-high and add2 Tbsp of olive oil. Working in batches the size of the pan, sear the pieces of zucchini by leaving them 2 minutes on one side then turning and searing 1 minute more, until pieces are cooked through, but still firm. While searing drizzle more oil as needed. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.
  5. Cut zucchini into bite-size pieces and toss with remaining garlic, the favas, mint, Parmesan, lemon juice and the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Plate salad and top with croutons. Serve immediately.

This salad is time consuming to make but the flavors are delicious together. The lemon and mint really compliment the fava beans as well as the seared zucchini squash. Hope you enjoy it!

Broccoli or Cauliflower: We are harvesting both of these for your share’s this week. Tender, sweet and full of vitamins these brassica heads are a firm choice in many dishes for the family meals. Some of you may even get a cabbage I hear…..but that may be more for next week. We enjoy these lightly steamed alone with butter. The girls eat them raw. I have loved the addition of bits of broccoli and cauliflower in my crock on the counter, where I ferment my own sauerkraut. yummm.

Blackberries: Delicious blackberries make it into everyone’s share today. We are harvesting one of our “experimental” varieties, of which we have several. They don’t have names, as much as numbers, but we are starting to rely on their early availability, consistent performance and sweet flavor. Oregon berries- there is nothing quite like them!

BERRY-SHARE MEMBERS: Delicious black-berries are in the two pints for berry-share members this week. The blackberries are looking beautiful and tasting sweet and lusciously rich! They don’t need any honey or sugar if you ask me….just serve over ice-cream or add to your smoothies. This is week 4 of the berry-share with 6 more yummy berry weeks to come.

FARM NEWS: Yesterday came and went with a fury. It was a rough day on the farm with only Kip, myself, and our little “helper’s” finishing up most of the work. We also, for which we are very grateful, had a couple of hours help from a member, but that was it! Where we usually have many more hands on deck, this week started with only a few. That always adds to the chaos, but alas we made it through. This Spring into Summer season has been a strange one, we all can attest. It was 56 degrees at 9 am today on July 19th, which to me is frigid! This weather is setting us up for slow and gradual ripening of the summer crops again :(. Also, we are at greater risk of berries starting to mold. Come on out sunshine….don’t be shy…we could really use you out here! This temperate weather is great to work in, however! Gotta look at the bright side, right? I hope to pin a date on the pickle-party soon….the cucumbers are slowly starting. Again a huge thanks to all of you for supporting our farm! We couldn’t do it without you. Until the next time….

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