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173 130th Street • Deer Park, WI 54007
507.923.6251 • sweettopfarm@gmail.com  
www.sweettopfarm.com
CSA Newsletter: Week Three
05 July 2017
scroll down to read what is in your CSA box, storage tips, recipes,
and see photos of the farm this week

* * * * *
Did you miss last week's newsletter? Click here to read it: Week 2 Newsletter

 

July!? It just doesn't seem possible that four months of this growing year have passed (we start seeding in the greenhouse in March). The crops don't look much like July--more like early to mid-June as far as size goes. Even the warm season weeds are coming on a little later (although still in great quantity). You'll see the first of the early season broccoli in the box, and while they are nice heads, they're smaller than we like. There are a number of factors at play: too wet, too cool, and as a result, poor use of available fertility. At least, that is what we think. Many other farms in the area that put their broccoli in the ground earlier than us had issues with "buttoning" (when broccoli puts on a small head due to hot temperatures). Ours went in a little later, and I don't think this is what happened to our brassicas. Cauliflower plants are quite small as well, and I am not confident that we will see heads from them this summer. The first round of fall broccoli and cauliflower went in last week, and fall tends to be a better time for growing them anyway. Stay tuned.

This has been the most bizarre and frustrating season for weather. We really need more than the surface of the soil to dry out as the excessive moisture is causing stunted growth in many crops. Adam is out on the tractor opening up soil just so it can breathe. We saw similar conditions in 2013 and 2014 when the soil was anaerobic, lacking oxygen. Once opened up, it smells pretty bad. Luckily, our soil is better on our current farm and conditions are not quite as bad. But, we could sure use some dry, warm weather. 


ABOUT THE BOX: During the winter, I help coordinate and edit an annual publication written by farmers in our region for Western Wisconsin CSA farmers called The Share. Each year, we include a question that is answered by CSA members. This issue's question: How do you eat through your CSA box each week--what's your "recipe for success"? Below is part of a response from a long-time member of a neighboring CSA farm. I really like Claudine's honesty, and I think it speaks truth to the experience that many CSA members have in the beginning. Her recommendations for how to cook using a "recipe template" is a great way to experiment using veggies you might not be familiar with and is escpecially appropriate for these early season boxes that have a lot of greens.


Looking back on those first years, I’ll admit that finding our rhythm with all of that fresh food was definitely a process. I wish I could boast that we were pros by the end of our first season, but I’d be lying through my teeth. During the first couple of years we bombed and had a whole lot of food rot in the bottom of our fridge. Oh, the guilt! But we were tenacious and stuck with it, every year vowing we would waste fewer of the beautiful veggies our farmers so lovingly grew for us.

Most people I talk to try and then quit a CSA after one season because they feel so badly about the food they waste. In my opinion, people should never join a CSA for a single season. There is simply too steep a learning curve for most (normal) people. Learning to eat with the seasons, which automatically ensures a diverse diet, is perhaps one of the most worthwhile practices we can do for our health (not to mention the environment). It is said that most families eat the same six meals over and over again; with a CSA, you’re forced to expand beyond those six meals.

So here are a few tips for making the most of one’s CSA delivery:

Think in terms of “recipe templates” rather than exact recipes. This is easier if one has a little cooking confidence - because it does require a smidge of creativity - but it’s still possible even if you’re a new cook. When I say “recipe template,” I’m referring to dishes, or concepts, that can be tweaked in countless ways. Soups, salads, and stir-frys are familiar examples, but also:
  • Quiches/Egg Dishes I’ve found very few veggies and herbs that don’t work with an egg base.
  • Casseroles Onions, greens, tomatoes, root veggies, cabbage, squash, herbs, etc. all pair effortlessly with protein/rice/broth bases. Play and find the combinations you like best.
  • Southwest inspired quinoa/black bean/chicken bowls Green onions, zucchini, summer squash, onions, garlic scapes, tomatoes, sautéed greens, squash, cabbage, cilantro, parsley, etc.
  • Homemade pizzas Caramelized onion/leek/roasted butternut squash, spinach/tomato/zucchini, even roasted kale/collards/broccoli with a protein – the possibilities are endless!
Another approach might be to ask yourself, “How can I incorporate some of this week’s veggies into the dishes I already prepare?” You might be surprised how greens fold beautifully into a favorite soup or pasta dish towards the end of cooking, or how you don’t even notice zucchini or carrot in a baked treat. Additionally, try the following substitutions when looking at recipes. If it calls for:
  • Spinach, try a different leafy green (arugula, kale, chard).
  • Garlic, try a garlic scape.
  • Carrots, experiment with other sweet root veggies: parsnips, beets, or winter squash.
  • Onions, play with leeks or green onions.
  • Broccoli, try kohlrabi or cauliflower.
  • One veggie, challenge yourself to add three!


Enjoy eating and cooking with this week’s vegetables. Having trouble using up all of this (or last) week's veggies? Try Adam's Fried Rice. I used an entire napa cabbage, 2 pac choi, sugar snap peas, garlic scapes, and green onions, broccoli, and an entire large kohlrabi (that is half the ingredients in your box). We had dinner and then lunch leftovers for a family of three. 

-Megan, Adam, Edith, and Harvey


The Bag Ladies
 
Megan's mom and grandmother made all of the cloth bags that we use for sugar snap peas and green beans. Please return them to your dropsite and put them in the clear tote for us to wash and reuse.
What's in your box and
where does it go?
 
  Fridge? Bag?
arugula-bunched yes plastic
broccoli yes plastic
kohlrabi yes plastic
lettuce yes plastic
napa cabbage yes  plastic
pac choi yes plastic
radishes yes  plastic
sugar snap peas yes plastic
zucchini/squash yes plastic
Recipes
 
Crunchy Napa Cabbage Slaw
1 pound coarsely shredded napa cabbage
3/4 pound sugar snap peas, chopped
1 bunch thinly sliced radishes
1 bunch thinly sliced green onions (including green tops)
1 bunch chopped cilantro cilantro
Creamy soy dressing (click for recipe)
²⁄3 cup slivered, toasted almonds


In a large bowl, combine cabbage, snap peas, radishes, green onions, and cilantro. Add about three-quarters of dressing and the almonds to cabbage mixture; mix to coat. Taste and mix in more dressing if you like. Pour into a serving bowl.

Adapted from Sunset Magazine July 2004


Ginger Chile Pac Choi
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 red jalapeno chile, seeded (optional) and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons water
Coarse salt

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook jalapeno, garlic, and ginger for 1 minute.

Add pac choi and water, and steam, tightly covered, until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Uncover, and cook until any remaining liquid evaporates. Season with salt.
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Click these recipes for additional ideas:
Details About Today's
CSA Box

Arugula
Last week for arugula until the fall. At this time of year, we prefer it cooked. Try this simple recipe and family favorite:
Arugula and Ricotta Spaghetti.

Broccoli
One or two heads of broccoli

Kohlrabi
The round green orbs in your box. Our favorite way to eat them: peel, slice, and top with a dash of salt.

Lettuce
Please wash and dry the lettuce right away. 


Napa Cabbage
This is the large head that has white ribs and a slightly rough leaf--both parts are edible (don't throw away those ribs!). Use shredded in slaw or saute in a stir-fry. If you ferment vegetables, this is often used in Kim-Chi.


Pac Choi
2-3 pac choi with dark green leaves and bright white stems. Great chopped and sauteed in sesame oil with a dash of tamari. 


Radishes
A bit spicy with a good crunch. If the spice is too much for you, chop and saute or roast. Cooking them takes the heat away.

Sugar Snap Peas
The poor plants took quite a beating in the hail storm and did their best to recover. We picked through all the rows yesterday and yielded enough for this week. Sadly, this is it for the season. Enjoy!

Zucchini/Summer Squash
The first of the season. Wonderful simply sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper. 

 
Left: Gold beets germinating in the greenhouse.
Top: Happy Fourth of July!
This week's produce (clockwise from the top): Napa Cabbage, Lettuce, Pac Choi, Arugula, Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Kohlrabi, Squash and Zucchini, and Radishes. 
CSA Member and Worker Share Tracy and your farmer Adam picking sugar snap peas.
What is hiding under this row cover?
Surprise: Zucchini and Summer Squash!
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Our mailing address is:
173 130th Street
Deer Park, WI 54007






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