Sogn Valley Farm CSA Newsletter Week 5 | July 3-5, 2018
What's In The Box
Cucumbers: This time of year, we're eating a lot of these straight up, perhaps with a basil leaf, slice of mozzerella, or hunk of summer sausage. We've also included dill in this box, which is a natural pair for cukes. Full shares are receiving a combination of English cucumbers and “regular” American slicing cukes. The English cukes are thin-skinned and seedless.
Fennel: This Anise-flavored vegetable isn't a staple for most Midwesterners, but it's one worth giving a shot. Try it roasted, breaded and baked, in a raw salad, or in this week's recipe for Fennel, Sausage, and White Bean Hash.
Green top carrots: These petite, tender carrots are from our very first dig. While summer carrots tend not to be as sweet as fall-harvested carrots, the ones I've eaten have been pretty tasty. Eat fresh or add to a stir-fry with cabbage, snow peas, onions, scapes, and eggplant or zucchini. The greens can be added to a fruit smoothie for a nutrient boost.
Radishes: This first harvest on our last planting of spring radishes are fairly young and tender. For an unconventional use, try out this radish spread.
Dill: This fragrent herb gets along nicely with cucumbers in a salad or tzatziki sauce.
Green cabbage: Great in stir-fries, ferments, and slaws.
Snow peas: These snow peas, while used traditionally in Asian stir-fries, are sweet and great for fresh eating, as well. These peas were developing during the prolonged wet period we had up until last week. Because peas are very dense plants, the stagnant moisture on the peas caused some surface discoloration, which, from my experience, is mostly superficial. We have rinsed them (since they were quite dirty after all the rains) but you'll still want to wash before use. Peel the “string” before eating.
Sweet onions: These mild onions are good for both raw consumption and for cooking. Use the greens and part of the bulb in this week's recipe.
Garlic scapes: Scapes can be chopped up and added to anything you would add garlic to. Another easy way to use them is just blend them up with a little oil and put in the fridge. Scoop a little into any dish you want to make garlicky. They store well in a plastic bag in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Asian eggplant (full shares) or zucchini or summer squash (half shares): This is one of those “first taste” weeks as summer crops begin to bear fruit. Harvest starts out slow, but expect more of these in the coming weeks. These are both great for stir-fries or grilling.
Cherry tomatoes (Rotational - full shares only this week): Like eggplant and zucchini, tomatoes begin ripening very slowly at first, so just a modest helping for full shares this week. This is a mix of red and orange cherry tomatoes.
Microgreens (full shares only): This microgreens blend is our Mild Mix, consisting of kale, cabbage, mizuna, and kohlrabi seedlings. Add it to a sandwich, eggs, salad, or meat entree.
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.
Beets – Hot peppers - More eggplant and zucchini - Celery
We had a banner week on the farm. The rain halted long enough to give us two small windows with dry soil conditions to catch up on transplanting, and each one was followed by some rain. Though Friday's transplanting was a bit stressfull (on plants AND humans) because of the extreme heat, we got every plant in the ground that we needed to last week.
We were also able to bring in an outside crew that works, on a contract basis, primarily on weeding and wholesale pepper harvest. These folks, mostly Hmong women who were farmers in Laos before coming to the U.S., play a critical role in the workflow on the farm. Our farm crew is kepy very busy with the weekly harvest/wash/pack routine, and any extra time is spent doing greenhouse seeding, field transplanting, tomato trellising, or other tasks. The ability to bring in 6-8 people for a day here and there allows us to catch up on handweeding and bring in thousands of lbs of hot peppers that we grow for local hot sauce and salsa makers.
Pivoting from our fields to your kitchen, I wanted to plug a new resource that may be of interest to many of you. The StarTribune just launched a new Facebook group called, “Out of the Box: Getting the Most Out of Your CSA,” which is intended to be a place for CSA members and farmers' market customers across the state to share ideas for using their veggies. They'll be a buying a CSA share each week from a farm in the region (ours included) and contributing some recipes and usage ideas. But the page will only be as strong as the involvement of its members, so consider joining and getting involved!
Now, onto Aaron's next installment of staff bios!
Sam, a Minneapolis native, joins the farm fresh from a three-year stint with the Peace Corps in Malawi, where he worked on rural agriculture and natural resource management at the International Potato Center (a real place...we checked). Before his global travels, he studied at Brandeis University in Massachusetts before embracing his first farming position with Drumlin Farm.
He currently delivers CSA shares every Wednesday but will join the crew full-time out in the fields starting this week. Not one to be surpassed, he also works at Seeds Farm in Northfield, making him the most sought after farmer south of the Twin Cities.
Away from the dirt, Sam slaps the bass, strums the guitar, plucks the mandolin, and bows the cello; one may call him a musician. He loves bluegrass but, out of left field, his ultimate dream is to make a good pie crust. By his own admission, he’s got the innards down \
but has to work on the crust
Sam, how long have you been “The Man”?
Since my bar mitzvah brother, fourteen years.
Describe an eye-opening experience from your time in Malawi.
Subsistence farmers give away twenty-five percent of their final product. Sharing is so ingrained in their culture that you include in your own household’s production what is meant for other people.
What would be your special power of choice?
Closing and opening windows and doors with my eyes. Or shooting yogurt out of my palms.
The roll-call for Minnesota natives continues! Elyssa grew up in St. Michael before transferring to Luther College in Decorah, IA to study Biology and International Studies. During her tenure, she studied social justice issues for a semester in Thailand, a time best summed up by the tattoo on her arm: “The revolution is slow.” She returned to Minneapolis afterward, where she worked as a Restoration Technician for Landbridge Ecological. And because I know you’ve been asking yourself, her last name is pronounced “isle.” How those four letters sound like “isle” is beyond our collective comprehension.
Admittedly, her interest in farming developed recently but she has taken to it like green on kale (Yee-haw!). In October, she’ll leave our fields for The Farm School in Athol, MA. Meanwhile, Elyssa cuts her teeth with just about every farm activity minus tractor work. She drives the truck every Sunday morning to St. Paul to woman the farm stand and sling our goods at the farmer’s market
In her free time, she likes to cook, bike, and devour delicious sour beers at Fair State Brewing. She also considers herself a feminist, fighting the good fight for gender equality.
Who’s your favorite Muppet?
The one that sings the driving the truck song! (Found on the Muppets on Wheels VHS; Muppet’s name is unknown. -ed)
You realize you drive the farm truck...
If you were a vegetable, what would your prominent emotion be?
Ahhhhh!!! Why are you weeding me so much! I just want to sit here with my friends.
Have a great week!
Fennel, Sausage, and White Bean Hash (Serves 2)
Source Note: Fennel and sausage—two foods born to be together—form the major flavor components of this dish, while filling, creamy cannellini beans make a perfect bridge between the two. We like to make this recipe heavy on the fresh fennel and slightly lighter on the sausage. (Italian sausage usually contains fennel seeds, so it’s a natural choice, but any tasty sausage—pork, chicken, or even vegetarian—will work great.) This hash can come together in a jiffy on a weeknight. Add a refreshing green salad to complement the bold flavors of the hash—and don’t cheat yourself by skipping the crusty toast!
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb (about 10 ounces)
2 links fresh Italian sausage, or 5 ounces fresh bulk sausage
1 cup cooked or canned white beans, such as cannellini, drained
2 to 3 green onions, chopped [Try substituting the “necks” from this week's bunched sweet onions]
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley or other fresh herbs
2 tablespoons cream, sour cream, or yogurt (optional)
2 thick slices crusty Italian or sourdough bread
1. If there are still feathery green fronds attached to the fennel bulb, cut them off and chop them for later use. Trim away any dried or brown areas. If the outer surface of the bulb seems fibrous, use a vegetable peeler to remove some of it; this will make that outer layer much more tender and usable. Cut the bulb into quarters and remove the inner core that keeps all the leaves attached (it’s great for munching!). Slice the fennel into long strips.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Remove the sausage from its casings and crumble it into the pan, spreading the pieces so they cook evenly. Cook without moving the sausage for several minutes, until one side has a crispy brown crust. Add all of the fennel and stir. Continue cooking until the fennel has softened about halfway.
3. Meanwhile, butter or oil the bread slices. Toast them (your oven broiler works great for this) until the top side is golden and crunchy. Set aside and keep warm.
4. Add the cannellini beans and green onions to the pan; stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until all the ingredients are hot and the fennel has softened a bit more. Add the parsley and fennel fronds. If you’d like to add more moisture and richness, add the cream. Place a piece of the crusty toasted bread on each plate and spoon the hash on top.
— Lisa Gordanier
Recipe source: Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe