Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This week on the farm, and in your CSA bag

         By the second week of CSA, we are just beginning to get into a rhythm of sorts. All the planning, the sweat, the teaching, the learning, the relearning and the finally made visible in the bags of vegetables delivered to waiting CSA members, and the packed cars ready to drive off to market.

Seynab Harvests Garlic Scapes
         But...the real reward happens at the point of caring, and at the point of connection. In a way, it seems like a miracle that the plants decided to grow again this year. It feels like this every year. It somehow takes us all by surprise. Regardless, the fields bloom and put forth fruit (though perhaps we should not take this for granted). What we really do not take for granted, however, is the way that each farmer grows into his or her business, taking such care to cultivate beautiful fields and connections with customers. It is more than just growing a business, it is becoming a part of this community, and at the very same time, changing the culture of this community through sustainable agriculture, and sustainable economy. Every person involved with this project is responsible for this local, yet global, shift.

           For creative uses for the shades of green in your bag, see our previous post. The squash plants are starting to trumpet forth blossoms and small tender zucchini and yellow summer squash fingers. Thanks to our intern Emma for sharing some of her favorite recipes for these, plus the beets and kale that are finding their way into your bags!

 ~Summer Squash....
is a surprisingly versatile vegetable, from breads, to patties, to dipping sauces, squash does it all. The easiest, though space consuming way to eat zucchini is to cup into slices, of whatever thickness you prefer—I usually do ¼ inch thick slices—and then simply put on an oiled pan with some salt and pepper, or even garlic or hot pepper, flip once and cook until soft to enjoy as a tasty and healthy side to any main course. Zucchini can also be a delicious addition to a Tzatziki dipping sauce—traditionally a Greek yogurt based sauce. Blend spinach, kale, garlic, scapes, salt and zucchini with a touch of olive oil in a food processor or blender, and stir that mixture into a bowl of plain yogurt for a delicious and healthy ranch or cheese sauce replacement. Flavoring like dill, parsley, or cilantro, can make the dipping sauce a bit for flavorful when standing alone, or alongside a wheat cracker. This can even be used in place of mayo on a sandwich as a healthy alternative. Squash can also be a main course when stuffed with cooked grains, ricotta or feta, herbs and onions. 

The Fields become brighter on these foggy grey days

~Superfood smoothies...
can be a great way to get veggies into your diet—especially ones that can be hard to incorporate, like kale and beets. As a rule of thumb when experimenting with these smoothies chop all hard veggies that would usually be roasted—carrots, or beets—and tear leafy greens—like kale or spinach—before putting them into a blender. Add berries, orange juice, bananas, skinned apples, any kind of juice (orange, apple, or grapefruit are some easy ones that mix well with many ingredients) or lemonade to add some sweetness to the sometimes bitter or strong veggie flavor. If you notice your smoothie isn’t mixing, or old mixing the bottom add a little more juice, and push all the ingredients down, and mixing should happen quite a bit faster. Supplements like chia seeds, wheat germ, oatmeal, protein powder, yogurt, and flax can be added to any recipe for a smoothie that is filling and nutritious. Adding some more exotic fruits, like mangos, acai berries or agave syrup, can add texture flavor and hidden nutrients. These are a great way to get nutrients, especially vitamins that are usually only taken in in small quantities. They can really come in handy for people on the go—make a batch on Sunday night and grab a glass each morning for a quick and healthy nutrient packed breakfast, or pack in a water bottle for lunch! Our favorite smoothie vegetables are avocado, beets, kale, carrots, and spinach—you’ll be surprised how the fruit flavor complements these vegetables.

Super Beet Smoothie

1 Chopped beet
4-6 leaves of kale, torn
1 loose cup of whole frozen berries
1 banana, broken
1 cup orange juice

Blend all ingredients, options for additions 3 table spoons of yogurt, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 tablespoon chia or flax seeds. Can replace orange juice with lemonade for a summery tang.

Green Power Smoothie

6 leaves of kale
1 skinned and chopped apple
½ avocado
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 banana
1 cup lemonade

Just blend all ingredients and enjoy!

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