Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Heat of Summer!

Hello everyone.  The real-deal summer is finally here!  Now we are starting to see our days become shorter and shorter, if only by a few minutes.  Our cool crops will soon fade away, making way for our hotter ones.  FarmHack was a great success!  We hope those that attended enjoyed it, as they all seemed to do. We had a storm that night, but that did not deter our campers!  In fact, the weather in general has been pretty good to us.  We got quite the dumping of rain on us Sunday morning!  At least an inch.  The soil in some places is still wet, and it's been nice to get the watering break, while seeing all our broccoli and kale flourish!

Our head lettuces may be almost all gone, but the zucchinis are just popping right off the vine!  This past week has also seen our first sizable harvest of Sungold cherry tomatoes.  We've been selling both to the restaurants and co-ops this week.  Sungolds won't make it into the CSA shares yet, but the zucchinis will, along with our Yellow Zephyr squashes.  Basil has been picked in plenty, and CSA'ers will be seeing that too!  We've still got some braising and salad mixes to boast, one last harvest of beets and turnips, and this week will feature pea tendrils (or shoots) again.  What to look forward to in the coming weeks with the arrival of hot weather: several hundred pepper transplants have been plugged in, some of which are flowering and bearing fruit already.  Eggplants have been freshly transplanted into our greenhouse, with more on the way into the ground.  Cucumbers have been direct seeded and will sprout soon.  Our green bean plants are looking huge!  We'll expect beans to bear in about a week.

This week also signifies the start of our great garlic pull!  Several of us have been out in the field already pulling up plant after plant.  It's a bit early this year, but so it goes.  Though it looks like garlic problems have been rumored and rampant throughout Iowa, the cloves we've been pulling up are big and gorgeous, for the most part.  No problems here!  We've taken on a lot of extra people for the garlic endeavor so we can get all our stuff into the barn and cleaned for sale as quick as possible, ideally by the end of summer.  Thank yous so far for the garlic pull go to: Colin, Charlies, Dominic, Claire, Jesse, Lucas (our intern), Matt, and Chimo.  Over a ton of garlic has been pulled, cleaned, chopped, and hauled into the barn to be crated for curing.  Wow!  Which reminds me: The weekend of July 7th is our big garlic party!  I know, in the last newsletter I said it was a weekend earlier, but the date changed!!!  Come out with your tent, gloves, maybe some good food and some laid back garlic work where you'll get to meet other like-minded folks interested in sustainable, local agriculture!

Well, that's all the farm news we got for now.  Hope you're ready: CSA is switching gears for the heat of the summer!  Hope to see you at market, and taste a little of the summer!

In this week's box:
  • Braising mix
  • Salad mix
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Zephyr Squash
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Pea Tendrils

Recipes

Crunchy Zucchini Rounds with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese (www.health.com)

Ingredients
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/4 teaspoonsalt
  • 1/4 teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ouncessun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil (about 24)
  • 3 ouncesgoat cheese
  • 2 tablespoonschopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

1. Slice zucchini into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. (You should have about 24 slices.) Lay out on large platter; season with salt and pepper.
2. Place a sun-dried tomato on each slice, then top each tomato with a pinch of goat cheese. Sprinkle tops with chopped chives, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil; serve.
 
Orange and Avocado Salad with Pea Tendrils (goodcheapeats.com)

Ingredients
  • 2 handfuls mixed greens, including a generous portion of pea tendrils, coarsely chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Tarragon Balsamic Dressing or other favorite dressing
Instructions
 
Layer the ingredients on a dinner plate in the order listed.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 1

Beet Ravioli Stuffed with Ricotta, Goat Cheese and Mint (www.marthastewart.com_

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese (about 6 ounces), drained 30 minutes
  • 3/4 cup fresh goat cheese (about 5 ounces), room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, plus small sprigs for garnish
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 recipe Fresh Beet Pasta Dough (click link for recipe!)
  • Semolina flour or fine cornmeal, for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Make the filling: Stir together cheeses and herbs; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Make the ravioli: Dust a baking sheet with semolina or cornmeal. Work with each sheet of dough just after it's been rolled. Cut sheet in half crosswise, and trim each half to a 3-inch-wide strip. Space tablespoons of filling 3 1/2 inches apart along center of 1 strip. Top with remaining strip, and gently press around filling to seal, working from center out. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut into 3-inch squares. Transfer ravioli to sheet, and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining pasta dough and filling. (To store, lightly dust ravioli with semolina, and refrigerate between layers of parchment in an airtight container for up to 4 hours. Alternatively, freeze ravioli in a single layer on a baking sheet, about 15 minutes, and then pack as described above; freeze for up to 1 month. Do not thaw before cooking.)
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt and half of the ravioli. Cook, stirring occasionally to separate, until edges are just tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander to drain. Drizzle with oil, and toss gently to coat. Transfer to a bowl, and loosely cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining ravioli.
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes.
  5. Divide ravioli among plates (if first batch has cooled, return them to hot water for 15 seconds, then drain). Spoon brown butter over ravioli. Serve immediately garnished with mint.
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 Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!


 

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