The first cicadas have been heard buzzing at the crowns of the treetops, a sound so synonymous in my mind with the heat and humidity of a Midwestern summer that I simply can't separate the two. The days have finally become arduous and sweaty, where a good shower at the end of the day is in order. Squashes are simply popping off the vines, zucchinis and yellow zephyrs are in big supply and are on their way to the CSA table. You may also buy them from us at market!
The sun's rays have ripened this year's first sun gold tomatoes (not quite ready for CSA yet, though!) which we picked on Sunday; just a small helping so far but tasty and golden-orange, so hard to resist. Peppers and eggplants are forming their first pre-ripe green fruits. The borders of our woods are lush with black raspberries.
The roadsides and our herb garden are alive with color as a whole new wave of flowers have bloomed....echinacea, yellow coneflower, cup-plant, marshmallows, yarrow, valerian, bee balms and sweet leaf, tiger lilies, bright yellow mullein, and more...and what with all the flowers opening and pollen flying through the air, almost everyone is struggling with sudden summer head colds and allergies! So stay healthy, stock up on Vitamin-C, eat plenty of local honey to boost your immune system, and see if you can't find any nettle seeds out there in the wilds of your backyard, or a neighborhood park, etc... A strong tea can make you forget your allergies ever plagued you....
.....and eat some delightful organic veggies!
What to look forward to this week:
- Garlic Scapes
- Green Onions
- Candy (white) Onions
- Collard Greens
- Bunch Mixed Kales (Winterbor, Redbor, Red Russian)
- Squash (zucchini or yellow zephyr summer squash)
This week is a big showcasing to all you CSA members for our alliums! Alliums are what we call a group of veggies that consist of garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, etc.; you know, the stinky and pungent bulbs that you chop up so small and throw into a delicious dish knowing that it just wouldn't taste the same without them. Alliums are actually in the same family as lilies, grouped together in the big family Liliaceae. They are super good for you, boasting great amounts of magnesium which is integral to your health, and also contain antioxidants and other chemical aspects that provide a great boost to your immune system! (There you go...a help with your summer allergies right there!)
We know....how do you make a dish for dinner that somehow involves leeks, garlic scapes, and onions together? Too stinky. Don't do it. Well, we suggest you just stock up! Alliums store for longer periods of time (if stored correctly; keep your green onions, garlic scapes, and leeks in the fridge!) so you can hold onto these vegetables for use in a week or so. That's the great thing about them! We have plenty of scapes, onions, and leeks that you will probably receive some next week! But no worries. We will also provide a couple recipes that use alliums specifically as the main focus, turning your alliums into an awesome part of your dining experience. Alliums don't just have to be something to throw into your stir-fry or your burrito anymore!
We are proud to have pulled up our first harvest of carrots today! Yes, they made it this year! Last summer was much too dry for them to flourish, but this summer has been the immense amount of wet that they love; their orange roots swell and grow deliciously sweet. Did you know?: carrots were not originally orange! The native wild carrot has a long white taproot, and other species had purple or scarlet roots. It wasn't until a few hundred years ago, the Dutch got together and thought orange carrots should be the norm, and started breeding and growing them. Now we're all eating orange carrots and think that that's normal, thanks to the Dutch.
Well, it looks like you'll be kept quite busy for the next week with so many veggies...and so much to learn about them. We'll see you at market!
A big thank you to CSA Member Naomi Hertsberg for sending us the following two recipes! They are a smart rhapsody of recipes with Echollective ingredients. The original recipes you can find online, but these new versions have been a huge hit with her friends....so try them!
Kale Market Salad (inspired by www.101cookbooks.com recipe of same name)
Garlic Scape Dressing:
- Garlic scapes, rinsed and chopped (~1/4 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons ripe avocado
- 1 teaspoon honey, or to taste
- fresh pepper to taste
- 1/2 bunch kale, destemmed, torn into pieces
- 1 cup / 5.5 oz cooked farro or wheat berries (semi-pearled or whole)
- 4-5 farmers' market carrots, very thinly sliced
- 1 small bulb of fennel, transparently sliced
- 1 avocado, cut into small cubes
- a big handful of almond slices, toasted
Make the dressing by using a hand blender or food processor to puree the scapes, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, avocado, honey, and pepper until smooth. Taste, and adjust with more salt, or honey, or lemon juice.
Before you're ready to serve, combine the kale with about half of the dressing in a large bowl use your hands to work the dressing into the kale, softening up the kale a bit in the process. Add the farro, carrots, and fennel, more dressing, and a couple pinches of salt, and toss again. Taste, and add the last of the dressing if needed. This is a salad I like quite heavily dressed. Add the avocados and almonds and give one last gentle toss.
Prep time: 10 min
Collard Green Olive Pesto (inspired by www.epicurious.com)
- 1 3/4 lb collard greens
- 7 large brine-cured green olives (2 1/4 ounces), pitted
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped (or 2-3 garlic scapes, chopped!)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut stems and center ribs from collard greens and discard. Stir collards into water in batches, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer collards with tongs to a colander to drain, gently pressing on greens to extract excess water. (If making pasta, reserve water in pot for cooking pasta.) Coarsely chop collards.
Blend olives and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add collards, water, vinegar, salt, cayenne, and pepper and pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream. Turn off motor, then add cheese and pulse to combine.