Thursday, July 17, 2014

Weeks 1 & 2 cooking tips, recipes, and upcoming events

Please read on for some tips for using those not-so-common items, recipe ideas from fellow CSA members, as well as a list of upcoming events:

The farmers are harvesting all kinds of wonderful and delicious veggies. Here are some recipe links and tips for using and preserving some of the items you may be less familiar with and/or have received a lot of. 

Garlic Scapes

I often use my garlic scapes to make a type of pesto (or "scesto" as my farmer friend calls it). I make it without nuts and just toss the scapes into a food processor with some olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Adding grated parmigiana or romano cheese is also yummy. The following webpage has a ton of uses including a recipe for scesto that sounds good, though I haven't tried it.

Dill and Herbs

Often you will find that your farmer puts WAY more herbs in your CSA bag than you can eat in a week. Seynab's dill looks great and her bunches have been huge. One easy way to preserve herbs you can't eat fresh is to dry them. 

Here is some information about drying dill, although this also applies to most other herbs as well. 

One way to dry dill is to hang a small clothesline in the corner of a room or tall doorway. Use clothespins to to hang the plant by the stem [don't leave it on the root, it will take a lot longer to dry if you do ] upside down in a shaded, breezy area for about three days, until the stems and dill sprigs feels crispy and easy to crumble. This is easier when the humidity isn't very high.
You can also dry dill in the oven at about 110 F for 6-8 hours. If you have a gas oven, you can leave them inside the oven on trays all day with only the heat from the pilot light.

Dried herbs won't last very long on the shelf unless you have some way of keeping them airtight. If they are not completely dry when you store them they will mold.

You can also try adding a small amount of washed and chopped dill (or any type of herb) to ice cube trays with a little water and freeing them. Once frozen, add cubes to soups, stir fries, etc. for flavoring.
(Info. from

I found this webpage to be a good starting point for figuring out the many ways to use kohlrabi: The author of this page is using purple kohlrabi but the green variety you received in your bags (that grows exceptionally well here in Maine) can be prepared the same way.

I didn't think to use the leaves of kohlrabi until my husband cooked them up like collard greens last week. They do need to be cooked a while to become tender but are great for soaking up flavors! I cooked them with chopped garlic scapes, shallots and veggie broth with some sesame oil, a tad of brown rice vinegar, soy sauce and fresh, minced ginger. I also often cook greens in chicken broth and add (humanly raised, organic, antibiotic-free) chicken or pork sausage when I have a few extra dollars to spend. Spice this with Cajun spices and add a can of crushed tomatoes and wild rice mix for a sort of jambalaya-type dish. 

Member-to-member culinary share:
Thank you Lily DuVal who sent us the following CSA-inspired dishes. Feel free to send your CSA culinary successes to share with other members. Send to

My first Cultivating Community meal!

Mussels steamed with garlic scapes with a sirloin, young onion, greens and radish salad.

thank you, Khadija for adding some wonderful additions to my husband and my 18th anniversary meal!
Meal 2: Miso soup made with radish leaves and root, (surprisingly good in soup) with garlic scapes, young onion and beet greens. Sided with crab rangoon with garlic skapes and scallions and calamari.

Upcoming events to note:

Cultivating Community's Twilight Dinners

July 17th at 6:30pm - Urban Grazing Event at Urban Farm Fermentory at 200 Anderson Street in Portland; chef Brad Messier of Rosemont Market. Pairings provided by Urban Farm Fermentory. No BYOB. Other libations available from Urban Farm Fermentory. Sponsor: Rosemont Market & Bakery - Click HERE for tickets!

Also check out more upcoming Twilight Dinners that occur throughout the summer:

Farm Tour Volunteer Days for Fresh Start Farms CSA Members

This is a chance to come tour the locations where Fresh Start's farmers work and even get your hands a little dirty helping out!

Join us at our farm sites this season:

Friday, July 25 from 9:00a – 11:00a in Lisbon
Friday, August 22 from 9:00a – 11:00a in Lisbon
Friday, September 26 from 9:00a – 11:00a in Lisbon
Friday, October 3 from 12:00p – 2:00p in Lisbon
RSVP with Ashley if you would like to attend: & (207) 761-GROW

Thank you to volunteers who helped out with Christine and Alfred's fields in South Portland last month!

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