Notes from the Field: Week 8
Notes from the Kitchen
This time of year our CSA board often reads like a LexFarm Greatest Hits line-up. Our fruiting crops (zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, eggplants and eventually peppers, husk cherries, tomatilloes, and tomatoes) produce every week regardless of whether or not we are tired of eating or picking them. I know, I know, it’s a lot of zucchini and cucumbers. But remember how it was snowing in April? Let’s celebrate summer’s harvest while we can!
I am no kitchen goddess. During the day I imagine myself coming home preparing a wonderful meal, and then canning summer’s bounty to eat during the winter. In twelve years of farming this has never once actually happened. My partner and I are both farmers and in summer we come home late, tired, and hungry. I imagine you know the feeling! When we first started farming full-time we bought cases of Annie’s mac’n’cheese to get through the summer. These days we’ve figured out a few tricks to enjoy eating our own produce in season and to save a little for later.
1. Keep all fresh produce (except tomatoes and potatoes) stored in a plastic bag or Tupperware in the fridge. Reuse it! If any produce seem wilty by the time you get home, soak it in very cold water, shake it dry or wrap it loosely in a towel, then store in a plastic bag. Take the greens off carrots, beets, and radishes right away and store them separately if you’re using them. The greens will dehydrate the root otherwise. Keeping produce fresh allows you to use it throughout the week!
2. Make dinner plans after you see what’s available from the harvest.
3. Draw inspiration from cookbooks, online cooking blogs, Pinterest or Instagram cooks who have similar seasons to you! Whenever I’m looking for inspiration I type “easy + [insert vegetable] recipe” into the search bar to filter out 2 hour long intensive cooking projects.
4. Toss any parsley, dill, or cilantro you won’t use this week in the freezer in a ziplock bag (learned this from our work-for-share Ashley!). This takes up very little room and gives you fresh herbs when you need them later.
5. Pat yourself on the back! Though humans have been cooking from scratch for millenia, using fresh ingredients to make dinner at home is becoming more and more rare in today’s busy economy of convenience. Farms like ours depend on customers continuing the tradition of cooking from scratch using fresh produce. Thank you for choosing this!
Here’s what I’ll be cooking this week:
– Zucchini + eggplant + green beans + sweet onion + garlic: Sauteed with 2 T chili-garlic sauce, 2 T soy sauce, and 1 T sesame oil. Plus chopped ham. Over rice.
– Cucumbers (I’ll skip these this week but have leftovers from last week), garlic, and dill: making refrigerator pickles for the first time this year!
– Basil + garlic: a simple pesto with lemon, salt, parmesan, and olive oil. I’ll use half over fresh Valicenti pasta and freeze the rest for winter.
– Steamed red potatoes from the stand + kale from the stand (CSA members, don’t forget you’ve got store credit for fresh produce!): sauteed with veggie oil, sweet onions, caraway seed, salt and pepper. Crack a few eggs on top and broil until cooked.
– Chopped cabbage + scallions from the stand + salt + white wine vinegar + a little dill + peanut oil–>into the fridge for a couple hours and then into black bean (sauteed with garlic + zucchini + scallions + salt) tacos. This will only use up about 1/2 the cabbage. The other 1/2 I’ll store in a tight plastic bag and it will last for weeks.
Still looking for ideas? Come to our first farm potluck of the season this Friday for community and inspiration!
1. Jalapenos are sizing up. They’ll be in the farm stand this week, and CSA next week.
3. We call this field “The Back 40.” Our watermelon and winter squash plants are looking lush!
4. This week we’ve been finding honeybees everywhere, pollinating our cucurbits. Sometimes we see up to 4 bees in one zucchini flower! This lady bee is working on a future watermelon.