CSA Newsletter, Week 9 - July 27 and 30

11:17 AM Mandy 0 Comments

Here we are at the forefront of climate change! The farm experienced the hottest day in 16 years this week, and then buckets of rain fell-- tumultuous conditions for the plants. We're really hoping the drying onions survive an untimely four storms. The extreme heat has stifled the flowering of many of the tomatoes, peppers, and zukes; however, our succession plantings should allow us to fill in gaps. Now it's nearly time to begin planting fall lettuces and brassicas.

** High summer is also a time when many people leave town for trips and vacations. In the past two weeks Farmer Derek has been flooded by requests from CSA members to switch their pick-up days. Though he can usually accommodate requests, at this time of year they tend to come all at once, bringing chaos into normally hectic but manageable weekly and daily picking schedules. Our farmers would greatly appreciate you keeping your scheduled pick-up day if at all possible. If you have to miss a pick-up day, have a friend pick up for you. Or, trade off pick-up days with another CSA member. **

On the table this week:
  • Leeks
  • Candy onions
  • Basil. If you have too much basil for your weekly cooking needs, you can freeze cubes to have on-hand for making sauces, post-season. Chop fresh basil and then process with just enough olive oil to make a paste-like consistency. Freeze in ice-cube trays, then transfer to freezer bags for storage.
  • Zucchini. If you are tired of zukes in savory entrees and side dishes, try the sweet recipe below.
  • Cucumber. Make a delicious cold salad with seeded and chopped cukes, fresh sweet corn, chopped tomatoes, and finely chopped candy onion. Nice tossed with a dry mustard-cider vinaigrette and feta crumbles, cheese curds, or paneer.
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage. Yummy stir-fried with carrot in fennel seed-infused oil, and topped with fresh chopped tomato.
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant. Plus basil, delicious in a green curry. Soup recipe offered below. Ratatouille recipe also below, though probably not enough eggplant this week to fill out the whole recipe.
  • Carrots

Creamy, Spicy Eggplant Soup
  • 1 lb eggplant
  • 2 cups water or veggie broth
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tsp salt, pepper
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 3 T sour cream
  • 2 T tahini (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on your preference)
  • fresh parsley for garnish, chopped
Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes face down on an oiled tray. Cool and scoop out flesh. Saute garlic and onions in some oil with salt and pepper, until onions are soft. Puree with food processor or immersion blender the eggplant pulp, water/broth, onion and garlic. Pour puree into a heavy saucepan. Add sherry, cover and heat gently. When soup has become hot, whisk in tahini (or soy sauce), sour cream and cayenne, until smooth. Cover and keep warm, serve garnished with parsley. Each serving could also be topped with yogurt, chopped tomatoes, or peppers.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (depending on your preference)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (coconut oil makes these divinely moist)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups zucchini, grated (the more zuke, the moister the cupcake)
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Set up a 12-cup muffin/cupcake pan(s) with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat together sugar, oil, egg and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes for an electric mixer. Using a large spoon, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in zucchini, then chocolate chips.

Divide evenly between lined muffin cups. Fill cups almost to the top, because these cupcakes don’t rise much. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool and enjoy! Makes 12 cupcakes.


  • 2 lbs. eggplant, cut into cubes
  • 1 3/4 tsp plus 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed, chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed, chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 lbs. onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 lbs. zucchini, cut lengthwise and then into ½-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

Place a single layer of paper towels on 2 large plates. Place the cubed eggplant onto the plates and sprinkle with 1 and 3/4 tsp salt. Allow the eggplant to sit for 20 minutes.

In a large saucepan, cook the tomatoes, garlic, black pepper, basil, and parsley, uncovered, over medium heat. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and bell peppers in a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the browned vegetables to the tomato mixture. Pat the eggplant dry with a fresh paper towel and add it, along with the zucchini to the tomato mixture. Cover the pot and stew over low-medium heat for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the white wine and 3/4 tsp salt, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve over a bed of quinoa.

--recipes adapted from those published by Golden Earthworm Organic Farm in Long Island, Hilltop Farms in Willow Springs, NC, and http://straightouttachocolate.wordpress.com.


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!


CSA Newsletter, Week 8 - July 20 and 23

11:26 AM Mandy 0 Comments

Onion harvest is beginning, and garlic harvest continues, despite the intense summer heat. Farmers are watering the summer crops like crazy, all hours of the night, and finding time for siesta during the hottest parts of the day.

Garlic picking.

** Call for volunteers and work trade for farm and market runnings: we need people to help us haul in onions, garlic, and potatoes. This will be ongoing, through this month and next. We also need folks to lend a hand on the CSA table setup down at the market, Wednesdays at 4:30pm and Saturdays at 7:00am. Email echocsa@gmail.com if you are available. **

On the table this week:
  • Garlic
  • Candy onion
  • Basil
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini: great in a veggie lasagna, along with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and onion. See below recipe.
  • Beet
  • Kale
  • Broccoli: try it stir fried with garlic butter and toasted cashews.
  • Turnip
  • Cabbage: try it in the miso soup recipe offered below.
More picking.


Miso with Steamed Greens and Cabbage
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup miso
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 bunch chopped kale and beet greens
Put water, lemon, ginger, and miso in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the miso. Add vegetables and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove lemon pieces and strain out any lemon seeds prior to serving.

Veggie Lasagna
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese (or tofu)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 1/2 lbs. summer squash
  • olive oil
  • 8 oz. no-boil lasagna noodle
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, grated or crumbled
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • other ingredients from your box, such as onions or garlic (diced and sauteed just a bit, or added in raw), kale, and/or basil
Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 9" X 12" baking pan. Make the tomato sauce. Prep the ricotta or tofu-- if wet, strain, or if dense, mash a bit-- and add salt and pepper to taste. Cut zukes in half lengthwise, then on the diagonal in thin slices. Heat oil in a skillet and add zukes to cook on medium-high heat, turning frequently until tender, about 5 minutes.

Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in the baking pan, then add 3 noodles on top of it. Cover with 1/3 of the ricotta or tofu, then 1/3 of the nuts, and 1/3 of the zukes, then salt and pepper. Then spread on 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/3 of the mozzarella, and a little shake of parmesan. Cover this with a layer of noodles, then repeat process twice more. Top final layer with remaining sauce and parmesan.

Tent the dish with foil, and bake until bubbling hot, about 40 minutes. Let rest for several minutes before serving.

(Credit to Full Belly Farm for these yummy recipes.)

Littlest garlic partier.


Farmer Derek received a letter from the The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition requesting public comment on a proposed rule which could affect the ways farmers receive credit and financing for their farms. Eat locally, comment thoughtfully...

Ask the FCA to adopt this new rule and bring badly needed capital to small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers producing for the local and regional market-- http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5735/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=4284.

[The Farm Credit Administration (FCA) is asking the public to comment on a proposed rule that, if adopted, would direct Farm Credit System lending associations to be more responsive to the credit needs of small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers producing for local and regional food markets. The Farm Credit Administration is the federally chartered agency that oversees the nationwide network of locally-controlled and borrower-owned cooperative lending associations that make up the Farm Credit System (FCS). FCS supplies nearly 40% of all U.S. farm financing and has the capacity to provide millions of dollars in capital and technical assistance to local food producers, and to leverage other sources of capital for the task of rebuilding our local and regional food system infrastructure.]

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!


CSA Newsletter, Week 7 - July 13 and 16

8:34 AM Mandy 0 Comments

Not much news this week, beyond garlic garlic garlic. Thanks to the folks who came out this weekend and braved the 90+ temps and blazing sunny skies, the harvest was begun in earnest. More news next week, and hopefully some tomatoes by then, along with photos from the garlic party.

On the table this week:
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes
  • Kale
  • Scapes
  • Zucchini
  • Basil
  • Leeks
  • Candy onions

Basil Walnut Vinaigrette (adapted from a Mariquita Farm recipe)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic, or garlic scapes
  • about 20 basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
Whirl the above ingredients together. Then toss with a couple of handfuls of chopped walnuts and one chopped candy onion.

Sweet Onion Tart (from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter cut in cubes
  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water
  • 2 lbs thinly sliced candy onions (or other sweet onions)
  • few sprigs of thyme

Use a pastry blender or a plastic scraper to cut the butter into the flour and salt, until a few large clumps remain. Pour in 3/4 of the water, and stir it in with a fork. Using scraper, continue lifting and folding the dough over onto itself until it holds together, about a minute. Add more water, a few drops at a time, if needed. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate it for an hour.

In the meantime, cook onions in a large skillet with four tablespoons of butter or olive oil (or both) and a few sprigs of thyme. Cook at least thirty minutes, until they are very soft and juicy, keeping in mind that they will still cook nearly an hour in the oven. Season well with salt. When they are cooked, cool onions for at least ten minutes in a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Roll out dough on a floured surface to a fourteen-inch circle. If the dough is hard when it comes out of the fridge, let it sit on the counter for twenty minutes to soften up. Pinch together any cracks that form while rolling. Place the circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let it firm up in the refrigerator.

Spread the onions on the dough, leaving a small border all around and removing the thyme sprigs as you go. Fold the border over the onions, brush it with egg wash if desired, and cook for about 50 minutes, until the bottom of the crust is well browned. Let it cool completely on a rack. This tart tastes twice as good at room temperature, so try to be patient.

Potato and Leek Soup (adapted from a Golden Earthworm Farm recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise andthinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • 4 medium potatoes (about 18 ounces total), peeled, diced
  • 4 1/2 cups (or more) vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, or garlic scapes

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, and stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan, and cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften but do not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Thin with additional broth if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with chives or scapes.

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!


CSA Newsletter, Week 6 - July 6 and 9

10:56 AM Mandy 1 Comments

Hot, dry days at the farm! A little rain before the weekend would make the farmers happy and the weekend's garlic pulling somewhat easier. This week we are stoked to have a meager, yet yummy carrot offering. And in solidarity with the majority of cool climate people of the world, we offer potatoes. We have some tasty turnips, too, from our friend Pete Flynn at Dirty Face Creek farm. (From time to time we throw in a product from friends' farms to give the veggie share more variety.)

* * *
Garlic harvest fest this weekend!

July 8-10, at Echollective Farm (879 Echo Ave., Mechanicsville, Iowa)
An all-day, multi-day work party.

Pick, clean, and trim garlic for as long as you please.
All are welcome, the more the merrier. Bring potluck vittles, gloves, hat, sunscreen, music makers. Wear workin' shoes.
Camping overnight, with notice. RSVP echocsa@gmail.com.

* * *

On the table this week:
  • Basil: pesto time! Nothing is better for wraps, sammies, and pasta. Ever tried pesto fried rice?
  • Broccoli
  • Onion: look at these beauties-- yum yum!
  • Scapes: throw a couple of scapes into your pesto (blanching them first makes them more digestible and more easily pulverized)-- process the scapes before adding the basil, parsley, oil, and salt and pepper.
  • Lettuce: perhaps the last week for it-- dress it generously, the taste may not be as good compared to earlier weeks.
  • Parsley: don't forget to put parsley in your pesto-- 1:3 is a good ratio of parsley to basil.
  • Kale: steam, dice, and add it to pasta salads before dressing. White bean and kale soup recipe offered below.
  • Zucchini: raw, grated coarsely, and dressed with a simple balsalmic vinaigrette, zukes make a nice addition to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Grated zukes can be a tasty, slightly sweet filling for quesadillas.
  • Potatoes: find below a recipe for potatoes with olive, feta, and mint.
  • Beets: raw, grated or roasted, beets are delicious in salad. See recipe below for roasted beet and orange salad. You could even toss the finished product of this recipe with some crisp fresh lettuce!
  • Carrots
  • Turnips: nice in bean soups or stews. Can be added to salads raw, grated, and dressed-- pairs nicely with dill.
  • Purslane
Storage tips:
  • Cut the greens off beets and turnips, and refrigerate to preserve. Otherwise, greens will rob moisture from the root, and your root veggies will shrivel quickly.
  • Don't refrigerate scapes; rather, preserve in a dark place, inside an untied plastic bag. Use the same method of storing for basil.

Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Beet Greens

1 bunch of beets with beet greens attached
2 medium oranges
1 small onion, cut through root end into thin wedges
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim greens from beets. Cut off and discard stems. Coarsely chop leaves and reserve. Wrap each beet in foil. Place beets directly on oven rack and roast until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool. Peel beets, then cut each into 8 wedges. Place beets in medium bowl. Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Cool. Squeeze greens to remove excess moisture. Add greens to bowl with beets. Cut peel and white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release segments. Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture. Whisk vinegar, oil, garlic, and orange peel in small bowl to blend; add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Serve.

Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup

2 (15 oz) cans Cannellini beans
2 T olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
8 c vegetable stock
1 bunch kale, de-ribbed and cut into 1-inch ribbons
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper
parmesan (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot and add onion, garlic, carrots and bay leaf. Reduce heat to medium, cook until onions are translucent. Add stock. Bring stock to boil, reduce heat to simmer and beans, kale, and tomatoes. Simmer 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper and Parmesan, if desired.

Potatoes with Olives, Feta, and Mint

1 3/4 pounds small potatoes, cut into quarters
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
8 ounces feta-cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup brine-cured black olives (such as Kalamata), pitted, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin oil

Place potatoes and 3 tablespoons mint in large pot of salted water. Bring water to boil, reduce heat and simmer potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes; transfer to large bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons each of mint, cheese and olives; add remainder to warm potatoes. Mix in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish potatoes with reserved mint, cheese and olives. Serve warm.

--credit to Golden Earthworm Organic Farm in Long Island, NY for this week's recipes

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!