Summer CSA 2023
How was your week? Did anyone make it to the state fair? Pearce and I were able to sneak off the farm for a day to enjoy the festivities last Thursday. We have so much fun taking our sweet time, seeing all the animals and sights, and tasting some new food. Of course, our favorite place is the agriculture building. We love geeking out over all the big vegetables and ringing in apple season with a First Kiss apple.
Other than going to the state fair, this week on the farm really had us feeling the fall feels. Many of our crops are maturing early this season. Our winter squash was suffering from some mildew and had already produced all the squash they were going to bear, so this week called for the pumpkin and winter squash harvest! We rolled in lots of pie pumpkins, spaghetti squash, and a few hubbards. They are currently curing for a couple weeks in the greenhouse. The curing process allows their outer skin to harden and dry, and preserve the flesh and seeds on the inside. It also allows the water to evaporate from the fruit which condenses the natural sugars and makes them sweeter. Once they are ready, you will see some of them in your CSA.
I’m curious how all of you feel about fall food? Any favorites? Will you miss the summer veggies? What do you anticipate will hit your plate once fall arrives? Feel free to respond to this email, I’d love to hear your thoughts! The food we nourish our bodies with is so dependent on the seasons. I’m excited to feel my body crave new, more dense and warm foods as fall arrives.
We also harvested all of our dry beans, which are finishing up drying in the greenhouse. In a week or so we will pop the shells open and winnow the beans. I’m not sure what our plants will yield, maybe enough for the CSA? We’ll keep you posted. This is our first season playing with dry beans, but they look super beautiful and I will forever grow them!
Unfortunately no one participated in the “how many ways” challenge…. so I don’t have a winner to announce. But, the fact that no one participated is super valuable to me! I’m always looking for new ways to engage you all with the rest of the CSA community and the food in your box. Some methods of engagement are super successful, and some are not. It’s all part of growing this little foodie community and making it the BEST possible corner to explore new foods and support the local food system.
In your box….
Here are photos of what you’ll find in your box this week!
Celery, carrots, shallots, sage, potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, shishito peppers, watermelon, edamame, and broccoli microgreens.
Celery, carrots, shallots, sage, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, edamame, broccoli microgreens.
Here is a little information on some of the veggies in your share:
Edamame: I’m sure some of you are familiar with this veggie, but for those who aren’t: edamame is just a fresh soybean. It’s a powerhouse vegetable because it contains all of the essential amino acid chains, making it high in protein. The best way to prepare these is by boiling for about 10 minutes in a pot of water, then popping them out of the shell to eat. You can add them to stir-frys, quesadillas, eggs, about anything really! Or you can eat them straight out of the shell for a snack. Amazing!
Here is what edamame looks like on the plant.
Broccoli Microgreens: We planted these seeds last Monday, just after I finished the CSA email. They took about 3 days to germinate and another three to grow to just the right height for harvest. Microgreens are incredibly nutrient dense. Here is a note from April about their benefits: “Broccoli sprouts are a superfood! They contain anywhere from 10-100 times higher levels of sulforaphane than adult broccoli plants do. Sulforaphane is a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables that helps decrease inflammation and support detoxification in the body.” You can eat them fresh, on everything! Or just eat a little handful as a snack. Another farmer friend of mine once referred to microgreens as “food confetti”. You really can’t go wrong in how you eat them. Sprinkle them fresh on your toast, eggs, soups, etc. Enjoy!
LARGE CSA ONLY: Large shares received a watermelon this week! I’ve never thrived at growing melons, but this season we tried to grow a small watermelon crop under landscape fabric and it produced the sweetest little personal-sized watermelons! I didn’t have enough for all the shares, but the larges can enjoy the sweetness of these little melons. The scariest thing about growing melons is that I can’t open them up first to make sure they’re fully ripe, or ready to eat. Please understand that if yours is a little bit of a dud, I’m still learning and please let me know your feedback! The few I’ve opened up and eaten have been perfect, so I hope yours is too!
Soup ideas for the week…
April and I both made soup this week, using quite a few StrongHeart veggies! Some of the veggies in your share this week make an excellent soup combo.
April made an incredible borscht recipe this week using carrots, celery, yellow onions, potatoes, and beets from the farm. Here is the recipe she used: BORSCHT RECIPE. Happy cooking!
Chicken soup recipe:
I have been really into making classic chicken soups with our veggies lately. This week I made a chicken and rice soup using StrongHeart carrots, celery, shallots, bell peppers, and sage. Written below is my recipe:
1 bunch celery
2 bell peppers
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch sage
2 cups shredded chicken
5 cups chicken broth
1-2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
1-2 cups starch/noodles/grain (I used sprouted brown rice, but you could use noodles or potatoes instead!)
Salt and pepper
Directions: Chop the carrots, onions, and celery. Heat a pot over the stove, melt the butter, or add the olive oil (about 1 tablsepoon). Toss in carrots, onions, and celery and sauté at medium heat. Chop the bell peppers, mince the garlic and sage. Once onions and carrots have softened, add the sage, garlic, and bell peppers. Shread/chop the chicken. Splash a little broth into the sautéing veggies to help them soften. Add a little more butter or olive oil if needed. Once veggies have softened, add the chicken and heat through. Once chicken is heated, add the broth and a little salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and add your starch of choice. For potatoes, you can add them raw and boil them until they are soft. I recommend cooking the noodles or rice and adding them into the soup as you bring it to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 mins to allow the flavors to infuse the broth. I added some kale to mine at the end, just before serving. Serve with your favorite sourdough and enjoy!
For the chicken: I slow-cooked a chicken then night before I made this soup in the instant pot. This gave me the shredded chicken and the broth I needed for the recipe which helped it come together nice and quick. The whole bird definitely gives you the most nutrients and the best, gelatinous broth for this soup. Animal protein is SO important for our bodies and using the whole animal will definitely give you the most nutrients. If you want a whole chicken for this recipe, here are the three farms who are raising chicken the way it should be: on pasture, outside, and organically:
Gardner Family Farm (find them at the northeast farmers market!)
Nelson Grass Farm (pickup at ToxyFree in Stillwater, or order online)
Boos lake Farm (pickup in Lindstrom, MN)
We hope you enjoy all the veggies!
Soup and sunshine,