CSA July 24, 2013

Notes from the Farm

Leon and Rye had a really great week.  They went on vacation.  I had the pleasure of running the farm solo, which was actually kind of fun, in a workaholic, heat-dazed sort of way.  The important thing is I kept everything alive!

Tomorrow we will start harvesting our garlic.  The bulbs are pulled up, bundled, tied and stored in a shady location for a number of weeks until completely dry.  The bulbs are then clipped, sorted for seed or eating and cleaned.  Storage garlic will be ready sometime in late August or early September.

We are harvesting more than weeding right now, and irrigating like crazy just to keep up with the hot weather.  We are in the heart of our season, with an abundance of root crops, brassicas, peas, lettuce, summer squashes, and herbs. Epazote is our new favorite culinary herb that we chanced upon two years ago.  I cannot describe flavors other than “tasty” or “not so tasty” and epazote falls into the first category.  For some reason it wants to go to seed early this year, so it has fewer leaves and more flower heads.  I am hoping it grows back with bigger leaves after this pruning.  Leon taste-tested the flower heads and gave them the thumbs up.

This Week’s CSA

This week’s share includes carrots, beets, green cabbage, peas (a mix of snow, snap, or shell), spearmint, and a small bunch of epazote.  Folks have also had a zucchini or two snuck into their shares over the past few weeks and there may be more to come in the upcoming weeks.

Storage Notes

All of this week’s items will do fine in plastic bags in the refrigerator.  Zucchini will mold if there is too much moisture in the bag so it can be left out of a bag in the crisper.  Remember to remove the tops to carrots and beets before storing.

Usage Notes

Checking the pages for carrots, beets, cabbage, peas, and zucchini will provide a few ideas on ways to cook these vegetables and notes on other flavors that go well each veggie.  The carrot and cabbage are perfect for one of my favorite coleslaw recipes.  Or the cabbage can be used to make sauerkraut for those of you who enjoy fermentation projects.  That sneaky zucchini is great in stir fries, grilled as a side dish, or added into baked goods.  The high water content of zucchini makes it perfect for salting to remove excess liquid before adding it to a salad or cooked dish.  The same logic goes for adding grated zucchini to baked goods, just toss the grated zucchini with granulated sugar in a colander and let drain for 30 minutes; do not rinse but squeeze well before adding to batter.

Also known as wormseed, epazote is a unique Mexican green herb with a distinct smell.  If you don’t plan on using it fresh, the herb can be dried for adding to your winter meals. If used fresh, the leaves make a great addition to many Mexican or Caribbean inspired dishes.  If you love corn on the cob, try this Mexican take on corn that will encourage the use of fresh epazote.


Carrot and Jalapeno Salad

(serves 4)

Courtesy of The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld

This salad makes a great side dish to grilled meats pack it for a picnic salad, as the salad travels well and lasts up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

3 quarts water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 pounds young carrots, scrubbed well and peeled if so desired

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced

grated zest and juice of 1 large lime

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fennel seeds

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh spearmint

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

Combine the water and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Slice the carrots 3/4 inch thick using the rolling cut:  Make the first cut at an 45 degree angle, then roll the carrot 180 degrees and make another cut at the same angle.  The result will be uniform wedge-shaped pieces.  Cook the carrots in the boiling water until the tip of a paring knife can pierce them with moderate resistance, 2-3 minutes.  Drain the carrots in a colander and run cold water over them until they are completely cooled.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the jalapenos, lime zest and juice, olive oil, honey, fennel seeds and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Add the herbs and blanched carrots and toss to combine.  Cover and let the salad marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.