This week's projected CSA menu:
Store in the fridge
Sugar Snap Peas
Store in the fridge
Red Leaf Lettuce
Store in a bag in the fridge with a paper towel to absorb any extra moisture
Store in a sealed bag in the fridge
Cut the tops and store both in the fridge separately
Do not refrigerate
Mixed Lettuce Greens
Store in the veg drawer of the fridge
Japanese White Turnips
Store in the veg drawer of the fridge
It's strawberry season now! We hope you are all enjoying the very delayed, yet worth the wait, luscious fruit. The two varieties we are growing this year are called Galletta and AC Valley Sunset. Although Pennsylvania isn't known as a good strawberry producing state, the weather lately has proven otherwise. Strawberries like it hot and dry. The lack of rain recently mixed with constant dry winds has provided the perfect climate for strawberry plants. When the weather is like this, we need to pick our strawberry field every 2 days to keep up with the fast-ripening fruit. If we were to experience a lot of rain during strawberry season, the delicate berries would rot as they ripen. Thankfully, it looks like we have a great week ahead of us for harvesting.
We have been irrigating around the clock lately with the dehydrating winds that do not seem to let up- even overnight. At the advice of a hydrologist, we dug an irrigation well about 20 years ago that we have yet to regret. Our farm is watered with one 300 gallons per minute capacity well. Of course, we cannot water all the fields at once due to water pressure, so we must prioritize what crops get turned on (and when). We do some overhead irrigating but most of our fields are watered using drip irrigation. Drip tape is laid along each row as it is planted for a more efficient watering system that does not evaporate and allows the water to go exactly where we need it to the root system.
"Pain staking / tomato staking" but it's got to be done! Once a tomato plant reaches about 1-2 feet in height, it will begin to droop over and it is our job as farmers to provide support for this plant to grow successfully-vertically. We have been busy putting stakes in the ground and stringing up All of our tomato plants in efforts to bring on a great crop coming in early July till the end of October. I can personally testify that this is one of the hardest jobs on the farm but it's got to be done.
New this year, we are also growing cucumbers vertically in a large greenhouse. All of the cucumbers you have been seeing randomly have been coming from this indoor trial. The plants are now 16 feet tall, vined and trellised vertically for maximum greenhouse space and use.
The Kawasaki Mule is what we use to get around on the farm. The "Mule" is an ATV, which stands for All Terrain Vehicle. We use the Mule to carry tanbark from one place to another to mulch our fast growing garden. We also use another vehicle called the four-wheeler for checking the irrigation pipes. These vehicles are very important because they help us get daily jobs done much faster. Instead of sprinting up hills when you forget to water the plants, you can simply hop on the four- wheeler or Mule, hit the gas, and go. It takes a much shorter time to get many tasks done. The farm would not be in such good condition if it weren't for the Mule and the four- wheeler. So, if you live on a farm and want to get a job done fast, use a Mule.
STEAMED BEET GREENS
6-8 cups loosely packed beet greens, 4 T butter, 6 T finely chopped onions, 3T lemon juice
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
Rinse the beet greens well and leave the water clinging to the leaves. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the greens and lemon juice; cover, and cook for 5 min. Add the onions and seasonings, stir well, cover, and cook until the greens are wilted (approx. 4 min.). Serve immediately.
Oven Roasted Veggie Chips
1 Medium beet, 2 Parsnips, 1 Turnip, Coconut oil melted, salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel veggies and slice 1 / 16th of an inch thick with a very sharp knife, the thinner the better. In a mixing bowl, toss veggies with coconut oil. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and then arrange a single layer and sprinkle with salt. You may have to cook a few batches. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges start to dry out, turn them over and bake an additional 20 minutes. As the beets cook they will become lighter in color. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool, the chips get crispy when cold.
Shredded Beet Carrot Salad ** turnips are great shredded raw on salads as well!
1 Bunch Beets, 6 Medium Carrots, 3 Cups Cabbage, Your favorite dressing
Peel and shred carrots and beets. Shred cabbage. Steam each ingredient separately or in layers of a steamer until barely tender, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, plate and dress with your favorite dressing. Serves 4-6
3 cups diced peeled turnips, 1 / 4 cup water, 1 cube chicken bouillon
1 tablespoon butter, or more as needed
2 tablespoons white sugar
Place the turnips into a skillet with the water and chicken bouillon cube over medium heat, and simmer until the water has evaporated and the turnips are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the butter, let melt, and sprinkle on the sugar. Gently cook and stir the turnips until the butter and sugar cook into a brown, sticky coating on the turnips, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup with cilantro and ginger
1 / 4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
2 serrano chilies, stemmed, halved, and seeded
6 cups homemade or canned low-salt chicken broth
4 oz. fresh Chinese egg noodles (look in the produce section of your supermarket)
2 Tbs. fish sauce (preferably Thai Kitchen brand); more to taste
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut into 1 / 4-inch-thick slices (this is easier if the chicken is partially frozen)
Fish sauce varies in its saltiness from brand to brand. So it's a good idea to prepare the soup with the modest amount specified in this recipe, and then at serving time, pass around the fish sauce so people can season their portions with a touch more if they wish.
SWEET POTATO BUTTER
2 Garlic cloves, 2 Sweet Potatoes, Fine Sea Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium Carrots, 2 Tablespoons chopped Parsley
1 / 2 to 3 / 4 Cup Vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons chopped Cilantro (Optional)
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin Olive Oil
Put unpeeled garlic cloves on aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F. in oven or toaster oven for about 10 minutes, until soft.
Microwave or boil unpeeled potatoes until done. Peel carrots, cut into large chunks and microwave or boil until soft.
Drain carrots, peel potatoes and put both in a food processor. Squeeze in the baked garlic. Add 1 / 2 cup broth and blend. With motor running, add oil and keep blending, adding more broth until puree is fairly smooth and full.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Dip can be made as long as a day in advance, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature for serving and stir in the optional herbs right before serving with raw vegetables and bread sticks.