2013 CSA week 3 June 19thJune 19, 2013
Ryder and Lori check on the tomatoes – photo by Chloe
I want to start this week by saying WOOOOOHOOOOO! We did it. After months of negotiation and anguished loan applications the current owner of the new farm has very generously worked with us to find a creative way to make it all possible. Attorneys have been instructed to begin drawing up the contract and we are planning to close on the 28th of this month. We will be finishing out the growing season at the current farm while we begin the transition and look forward to being able to invite you all out to the new site soon.
We have a lot of work ahead of us and this year looks like it will be the whackiest of my farming career, but once we are settled in, the potential that exists at the new farm is truly exciting.
We’ve had to reschedule our dinner night at Lincoln Restaurant, my apologies for any inconvenience. The new night will be Wednesday June 26th. So next week, pick up your box then come by Lincoln any time for a meal, snack or just a drink and a portion of the nights proceeds will go toward the farm relocation fund.
Those of you that have been with us know that I look forward to the first potato harvest of the season with the same eager anticipation that I have for fava beans and tomatoes. True new potatoes are a rare treat. A new potato is not a small potato but a fresh potato harvested from a green, growing potato plant. A somewhat scuffed, frayed appearance to the potato skin is a frequent consequence of harvesting such tender spuds and is unavoidable because the skin has not yet hardened. New potatoes wilt and must be treated like green vegetables and stored in a bag in the fridge. When I get them as a first treat of the potato crop I never store them at all but eat them promptly. I like to steam them briefly and then roll the hot little potatoes in a little butter, a pinch of salt, and twist of pepper and voila! Do potatoes get any better?
While the first harvest wasn’t all that I had hoped it would be, we were happy that it was there to be had at all. Our first early spring planting was hit by a frost and the greens all but killed completely. The resilient plants managed to bounce back allowing for today’s dig, but the yield and quality was somewhat diminished. They were referred to as ‘zombie potatoes’ in the packing shed this afternoon due to their rise from the dead.
The next rotation of potatoes is almost ready and looks to be a good stand.
The bulk of the short season summer crops have planted out into the fields and high tunnels and are doing well. Green beans, cucumbers, zuchinnis , tomatoes, peppers and melons are all doing well and will start to show up in the boxes in the coming weeks. The first sweet corn planting will be chest high by the fourth of July and the subsequent plantings aren’t far behind it. We are staying on top of our weekly rotational plantings and our spring planted fava beans should be ready next week (we lost our fall planted fava crop.)
We hope to see you at Lincoln next week, until then enjoy.
Dave, Lori and the crew
Please remember that our pick up site hosts generously provide space for us and we ask that you keep the area neat and tidy. You can either ‘grab and go’ with the tote or transfer to your own bag or box and leave the empty in a neat stack.
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In The Box:
2 Lettuce ‘Parris Island Cos’ Romaine
1 bunch Baby Fennel
1 bunch Carrots – ‘Sugarsnax’
1 ½ lb New Potatoes
1 ½ lbs Sugar Snap Peas
1 Walla Walla Sweet Onion
1 ½ lb Broccoli OR Cauliflower
Crop Notes and Recipes:
Everything in your box this week will store best in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Remove the greens from the carrots if you plan to hold them for more than a couple of days as they will pull moisture from the roots.
Fennel: popular as a vegetable in Italy, it can be thinly sliced and eaten plain or as part of a vegetable platter. It is often served with just salt and olive oil as a simple appetizer or salad course. It can be chopped up into salad as celery, and indeed used almost anywhere celery is used. It was a popular herb in the ancient world of the Greeks and Romans. A recipe from Columella, a Spaniard who served in the Roman army in Syria in AD 60: “Mix fennel with toasted sesame, anise, and cumin then mix that with pureed dried fig and wrap in fig leaves and then store in jars to preserve.” (From Spencers The Vegetable Book)
Fennel is high is vitamins A and E, calcium and potassium. Fennel and ginger make a good digestive tea. (Steep the fresh leaves with a bit of sliced ginger for 5 minutes in boiling water.)
SOME IDEAS from The Victory Garden Cookbook
- Sprinkle chopped fennel leaves on hot baked oysters or clams.
Add cooked fennel to omelets, quiches, stuffings or sauces.
Add stalks to stocks for their flavor.
Add sliced sauteed fennel to fish chowders.
Cook fennel in your favorite tomato sauce.
Place stalks and leaves on barbeque coals as they do in France. The fennel scent permeates the grilled food.
Slice steamed or blanched fennel, cover with a vinaigrette and serve chilled.
Chop raw fennel and add to tuna fish sandwiches.
Slice fennel thin and layer with raw potatoes, cream and cheese to make a potato au gratin
- Saute fennel with olive oil until edges start to carmelize
Oven Potatoes with Fennel
20 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in 1/2″ cubes
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cut in 1″ slices
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced finely
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper — to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a baking sheet. In large bowl, combine potatoes, fennel, onion, parsley, oil, salt and pepper; toss gently until well coated. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Bake, turning occasionally, until potatoes are crisp on all sides, 30-35 minutes. Serve immediately.
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