Sogn Valley Farm CSA Newsletter Week 13 | Aug 28-29, 2018
What's In The Box
Heirloom tomatoes: We are loaded up with ripe heirloom tomatoes this week so there are plenty to go around! These can be used in this week's gazpacho recipe, or if you can bear to do that, you can use cherry tomatoes or leftover slicer tomatoes from a previous week.
Assorted peppers: All members will be getting a red or orange sweet pepper, and a few full shares may receive a green pepper, as well. Use them in this week's recipe.
Cucumbers: Slicer cukes for full shares and English for half shares this week. Use in this week's recipe.
Watermelon: We have lots of varieties in the mix this week. Half shares are receing one of our smaller-fruited varieties with red or yellow flesh. The yellows, like last week, may exhibit some hollow heart, but don't be alarmed, they're still delicious! I've yet to eat a yellow watermelon wasn't nice and sweet. The red-fleshed small watermelons are either 'Tom', a new one to us this year, or 'Sugar Baby,” an old standard “icebox” watermelon. Full shares are receiving 'Crimson Sweet' watermelon, which are large, sweet, with rather soft and light-colored flesh. All varieties in this week's boxes contain seeds, but you should see seedless watermelon in the next couple of weeks.
Cherry tomatoes: If you're ready for a break from eating these raw, throw them in the blender along with some heirlooms when making this week's gazpacho recipe.
Sweet onions: Mild-flavored and generally large in size, sweet onions are versatile, being suitable for cooking but also raw consmption, in dishes such as the gazpacho outlined in this week's recipe. Sweet onions don't store as well as our yellow and red onions, but they'll still last a while. Due to lack of space in our greenhouse during drying process, the sweet onion crop had to be put below our main greenhouse benches and piled a few onions deep. The result was somewhat uneven drying. Some of these onions don't look quite as pretty, but peel off the outer layer and they're just fine inside. Probably best to store these in the fridge.
Zucchini/summer squash: These might have had a two-week hiatus from CSA boxes, but these plants are still pumping out the fruit. Grill them, make some ratatouille, stir-fry them, or even turn them into zucchini bread.
Gold potatoes: Just in from our friends at Driftless Organics, we're glad to be sending you the first of this year's potatoes. Reds and blues to come in future weeks.
Microgreens (half shares only): This week's microgreens will be a surprise - mild mix, spicy mix, arugula, or pea shoots. Stealing a term used by a neighboring microgreens grower, these are like vegetable confetti. Put a pinch on your entree for a crispy, nutrient-packed, and flavorful upgrade.
Green beans (full shares only)
Each week, we’ll give some hints about what new items may show up CSA shares in the next 1 -2 weeks. Please note, this is not a guarantee, but our attempt to give you an idea of what’s coming up.
Paste tomatoes — Cilantro — Garlic — Hot and sweet peppers >>> SALSA
As of about an hour ago, we got our first decent rain in about six weeks - hooray!! Three-quarters of an inch wasn't quite as much as I'd been hoping for, given how dry we've been, but it's enough to tide us over until the next one (hopefully).
We did get some strong winds that lodged — or blew over — sweet corn, broccoli, and some peppers. Most should recover reasonably well, but we lost a number of Scotch Bonnet plants, which snapped off at the base. This is a variety that grows for over six months before we pick a single pepper, so there's a lot invested in those plants at this point of the season. To see those pepper-laden plants get broken off is heartwrenching.
But in the end, that rain was sorely needed and it'll be fun to watch the crops jump over the next week.
Almost two years ago, upon realizing that the land we were renting wouldn't be enough to accomodate our planned growth, we began renting another eight acres of adjacent land. This land had been managed conventionally up until that point, so we began “transitioning” it to organic. To be considered certified organic, land must first be managed organically for three years.
During transition, we use the exact same practices as we do in our organic fields, from seeds to fertilizer to soil and biodiversity conservation practices. This transitional field spent all of last season in cover crop, and this year we started growing vegetables on a portion of it it.
Nearly all of what we're growing on that land is intended for wholesale customers that don't require their produce to be certified organic—mostly peppers, along with some tomatoes and watermelons.
My goal was to constrain crops bound for CSA boxes and the farmers' market to only the certified organic fields, and we have done that thus far. But we had some super tasty watermelons ready for harvest in a transitional field, and a smaller number of ripe watermelons in our certified organic fields. So I decided to include some transitional watermelons—'Crimson Sweet' variety—in this week's full shares.
I know that our certified organic status was a factor in some of your decisions to join our CSA, and 99% of the items that have/will end up in CSA boxes are, in fact, certified organic. I hope I've made it clear that our transitional vegetables are, for all intents and purposes, the same as our organic vegetables. With that said, I welcome your feedback or questions about concept of transitional organic produce and their inclusion in CSA boxes
One more heads up - next week will be a “salsa box,” with a good amount of roma tomatoes, plus sweet and hot peppers, cilantro, onions, and garlic. So get ready for that! There'll be other stuff, too, but it'll just be a good week to make salsa.
Have a great week,
Gazpacho (8 to 12 servings, about 1 quart)
Author's note: More of a drink than a soup, served in frosted glasses or chilled tumblers, gazpacho is perfect when it is too hot to eat but you need cold, salt and lunch all at the same time. Gazpacho is everywhere in Seville, Spain, where this recipe comes from, but it's not the watered-down salsa or grainy vegetable purée often served in the United States. This version has no bread and is a creamy orange-pink rather than a lipstick red. That is because a large quantity of olive oil is required for making delicious gazpacho, rather than take-it-or-leave it gazpacho. The emulsion of red tomato juice, palest green cucumber juice and golden olive oil produces the right color and a smooth, almost fluffy texture.
About 2 pounds ripe slicer, cherry, or heirloom tomatoes
1 red or orange sweet pepper
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 of a large sweet onion, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste, plus more for drizzling
1. Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
2. With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.
3. Strain the mixture through a strainer or a food mill, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Discard the solids. Transfer to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.
4. Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few tablespoons ice water. Serve in glasses, over ice if desired. A few drops of olive oil on top are a nice touch.
Recipe source: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017577-best-gazpacho