Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday - Week # 4



Hi,

I hope you are all enjoying this first weekend of summer. We have a wonderful early summer bounty to share this week, including loose-leaf lettuce mix, savoy cabbage, a summer squash (either green/yellow zucchini, yellow crookneck, or patty pan), basil an fennel. In addition, the full shares have a bunch of rainbow chard, snow peas, and a slicing cucumber.

I know you were just getting addicted to kale, and now we've gone and switched it up by including cabbage this week--but I hope you'll forgive us once you've tried it. The savoy cabbage has a wonderful sweet, crucnchy texture, and is great boiled, braised, stir fried, used as a wrapper, shredded into a slaw, or fermented into sauerkraut. If you keep the cabbage wrapped well and in your fridge, it will also stay for up to a couple months, so if you're too busy to get to it this week, or even this month; don't sweat it. As it is the start of summer, we have included a summer squash (either green/yellow zucchini, yellow crookneck, or patty pan) in each share this week as well. These wonderful vegetables each have their own unique shape/size/color, but all have a similar flavor and can be prepared in the same ways. They can be cooked or pureed into stews, braised, stir fried, grilled, or deep fried. If you aren't acquainted with snow peas, they have a slightly sweet, deliciously green flavor to them. They can be boiled, sauteed, stir-fried, or eaten as is; just make sure to cut the tip off and remove the tough string that runs along the side. Snow peas are also best eaten as fresh as possible, as they will lose their sweetness quickly. We have also thrown in some fennel this week. You might notice that each one is a half-bulb; this is because the fennel was actually harvested for another order that got mixed up, and since we didn't want it to go to waste, we decided we'd include it in this week's share. They are pretty large fennel, so you should still have a good bit to use.

I almost forgot to mention the basil! Basil has got to be my favorite summer herb; I think it's great in pretty much anything--even just in water, like a lemon wedge. One of my favorite things to do with basil is to use it in a gimlet (gin & lime drink). I highly recommend trying it. Whatever you use the basil for, remember that it's a very tender and sensitive herb, so it won't stay well in your fridge, or in your house if it's too hot. It will stay best if you put the whole bunch in a glass and put a little water in the bottom so the stems reach it. Of course, the smartest (and tastiest) course of action is just to use it as quickly as possible.

In our full shares this week we have added some squash blossoms; which are another special springtime item with a very short season. They are the flowers of summer squash plants (zucchini, patty pans, crookneck), and have a tender, sweet, green flavor to them. They are a very popular item with the restuarants we sell to, and can be prepared in a number of ways, but stuffing seems to be the most popular. Zeb, who runs our cooperative, and is a big fan of the blossoms, just made this post to our blog today about them. The full shares also have some rainbow chard; which, as I said before, is my favorite green of all--so I hope you enjoy it. I know a lot of people cut off and throw away the stalks on their greens, but I encourage you to try them--I think they are some of the best part. You have to cook them for longer though, so make sure to put them in a few minutes before you add the leafs. You can also keep all of your 'clippings' in a bag in your freezer and every now and then make a vegetable stock ut of it. A friend of mine does this to great success; just boil everything together for a good while, strain, and you have your own home-made stock, made entirely of parts you would have thrown away otherwise.

Some of you might notice that your shares do not include a bunch or rainbow chard, and instead have 2 fennels. This is because we ran a little short on the chard when packing the shares. This is something that happens occasionally and that you should all be aware of. Each week, when we pick up orders from our growers, they give us a slip telling us what will be available for harvest later that week. We use these numbers to plan for what will be in the CSA, but, due to the unpredictability of such things, sometimes the projections are off by a little bit and we do not have enough of a certain item. When this occurs, we try our best to include a second of some other item that seems most appropriate. Sometimes, we might even include 2 extra items--it all depends on what we have available. This has only happened about a couple dozen times, out of ~1200 shares delivered so far, so it is not a common occurance, but please be aware, if you do not receive something but have 2 of something else--this is what has happened.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.

Enjoy!

-Mark

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