July 13, 2009

13 Jul

We are now at half way through the Summer CSA Season and our tomatoes are soon to start flooding out of our fields. This year we set our sights on raising our CSA numbers to 300 members, but due to the staff changes and building projects we were not able to put as much energy into advertising as we had hoped. We have approximately 230 CSA Summer members and would like to see 70 more join for the second half of the Summer Season. I am coming to you as my main source of advertising. Most of you have heard about our CSA program through a friend, coworker, or family member who told you about the farm and the benefits of eating locally grown organic produce fresh from the field. We are asking that you continue inviting people to join our CSA. I will have brochures at the picnic table for you to take and ask that you spread the word. The cost for the small share is $20 per week and a large is $36 per week. The share would be pro-rated (i.e. 6 weeks left means a newcomer would pay $120 for a small and $216 for a large). We hope to advertise in the Independent and NPR, but would appreciate any other connections you may have. Please let me know as soon as possible and tell potential members that they can call or email me with their questions or concerns. Thank you in advance.

Pickles:

My grandfather made a lot of tsukemono, Japanese pickles. My favorites were his pickled cucumbers, cabbage, and daikon. We ate them with most dinners, as a side dish along with rice, of course, and this opened the gateway for my love of all things picked, cucumbers, olives, capers, peppers, and the list could go on. I crave the salty tangy that makes my mouth water even as I sit at my desk and think about them.

I have always loved pickles and tonight I decided I would share my love with you. After a little bit of internet research, I have learned that pickling is a method of preserving food through fermentation. There are two main types of pickling; one process uses vinegar and the other uses salt. The process of fermentation either limits bad bacteria or encourages the production of good bacteria, both of which being beneficial to your health. (http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/pickles/index.html) Pickles can be sweet, spicy, sour, salty, or a combination of many flavors. They have been around since 2400BC and in 2001 New York City celebrated the first annual International Pickle Day (http://www.nyfoodmuseum.org/_ptime.htm). This week a CSA member and friend of mine, Kelly Soifer, shared with me a recipe for “Refrigerator Pickles” (see below for the recipe) which inspired this brief look into my love for pickles. As you wonder what to do with your veggies this summer, I suggest, try pickling one week and see what you learn.

This weeks share also includes a few exciting new items: corn, garlic, and if today’s sunshine nourished our crops enough, tomatillos for everyone.  

SNEAK PEEK

Small Share

Strawberries

Squash

Cucumber

Fennel

Lettuce

Basil

Garlic

French Beans

Corn

Large Share

Strawberries

Radish

Avocado

Squash

Fennel

Cucumber

Lettuce

Garlic

French Beans

Corn

Tomatillo

Basil

RECIPES

Fresh Refrigerator Pickles (from CSA member Kelly Soifer, http://www.cooks.com)

 3 large cucumbers

 1 bell pepper (green or red)

 1 onion

 1 tablespoon salt

 2 teaspoons celery seed

 1/4 cup granulated sugar

 1/2 cup white vinegar

Wash and scrub cucumbers. Slice into a medium sized bowl, leaving peel on, about 1/8″ thick. Wash and remove seeds from pepper; remove skin from onion and scrub well under cold running water. Finely chop the onion and pepper; add to cucumbers. Sprinkle with salt and celery seed. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.

In a small saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil then remove immediately from heat. Stir in sugar, stirring until dissolved. Allow to cool, then pour over cucumbers (after they have been sitting for 1 hour, as above).

Mix well; cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

p.s. Kelly added Chioggia Beets which made her jar pink and did not use bell pepper…experiment as you desire

Pickled Green Beans (from One United Harvest; Creative Recipes from America’s Community Supported Farms)

4 lbs. green beans

1-¾ tsp. crushed red pepper

3-½ tsp. mustard seed

3-½ tsp. dill seeds

7 garlic cloves

5 c. water

5 c. white vinegar

½ c. canning salt

Wash beans and remove ends. Cut beans into 2 inch pieces, divide among several pint jars. Put ¼ teaspoon of red pepper, ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon dill seeds, and 1 clove of garlic into each of the jars. Combine water, vinegar, and salt and bring quickly to a boil. Pour boiling liquid over beans, leaving ½ inch in headroom. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Grandpa Higuchi’s Namasu (from my memory of my grandfather’s pickles)

4-6 cucumbers thinly sliced

½ cup rice vinegar

½ cup sugar

1 tsp. grated or finely chopped ginger

Combine and marinate over night. Enjoy cold with a soba noodle stir-fry or broiled fish and rice.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Tomatillo-Salsa-102586)

1 ½  lbs fresh tomatillos

5 fresh serrano chiles

3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

½ cup fresh cilantro

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons coarse salt

Preheat broiler. Remove husks and rinse under warm water to remove stickiness. Broil chiles, garlic, onion and fresh tomatillos on rack of a broiler pan 1 to 2 inches from heat, turning once, until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes. Peel garlic and pull off tops of chiles. Purée all ingredients in a blender. Salsa can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Also good with chopped avocado, lime juice, chipotle pepper, or jalapeno for added excitement.

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