Share Notes Oct 8 & 10
CSA Share Notes:
Welcome to your FIRST share of the Fall CSA! Thank you guys so much for partnering with us this growing season. We have loads of great crops in store for you over the next couple of months.
The first few weeks we should be bringing you some late summer crops that have held on through the heat and are beginning to produce again (peppers, jalapeños, basil, eggplant, and some storage onions, and garlic) Gradually, more and more of the fall crops will ripen and your shares will look less like summer and more like fall.
The beginning and ending shares of each season are typically a bit smaller than the rest, as crops are either coming in or waning. Expect each week to be a bit different in quantity, and in diversity.
Each week come back to this blog to see the share notes for the week and learn all about the contents of your share.
Here’s the vegetable line up for your first week:
- Genovese Basil—A big leafy bunch! We think we will have about 3 more weeks of these big pretty bunches, so make a plan to dry some or make a big batch of pesto. It’s also really nice to put a few big handfuls into a coconut milk Thai curry. Storing you basil: Get your basil out of the box quickly as it’s the most delicate thing in your box this week. Trim the stems 1/4 in. and place in a glass of cool water and store on the counter out of direct sunlight. Change the water every few days and you’ll have fresh basil all week. Do not store your basil in the fridge. It cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees and will turn black.
- Bell Peppers—Large shares received Purple and Green, Regular shares received purple, and Mini received green. We grow a huge array of colors, and each color has a slightly different flavor. Red and orange will be the sweetest, purple, or green will all taste more like your standard green bell pepper.
- Jalapeño —enough for stuffing! The jalapenos are really delicious this year. Or if you don’t care for so much heat, core them to remove most of the heat and then pickle them in a sweet pickle brine. The sugar will cut the spice.
- Japanese Eggplant—Large and Regular shares received a few of these tender, slender, lovely eggplant. These are great sliced down the middle and grilled, or roasted at high heat and sprinkled with parmesan, or we really love them in a Thai green or red curry coconut milk curry (which is also great with lots of bell peppers).
- Fairytale Eggplant—The mini shares received this pretty little crop. Prepare as suggested above! All eggplant performs best cooked quickly at really high heat to get a tiny bit of char on them and bring out their sweetness. Cooking at lower temperature results in a mushier result we’re not a fan of.
- Kale/Collard—Everyone received a nice big bunch of super nutritious greens. Red Russian kale to the mini shares, Lacinato kale to the regular shares, and Collards to the large. These grow really well in our soil, so you should see lots of it. Any of these are perfect for soups, sautes, veggie-egg-scrambles, making green smoothies, OR you can cook them up southern style, though they really cook down so you’ll end up with just a serving or two: saute a little bit of ham or bacon with lots of garlic, and then toss in your chopped greens and a half cup of chicken stock. A pinch of red pepper flakes really sets this off. simmer till greens are tender.
- Swiss Chard—For the large shares only this week. This crop makes a lovely fresh or “massaged greens” salad with pine nuts, parmesan, and dried cherries. Top with a white wine or parmesan focused dressing and you’ll have a wonderful side salad. If you wanna cook yours up with your collards, they’d be really nice that way too.
- Onions—lots of yellow and red onions. They’re tiny so you’ll have to do more work to peel and chop, but they taste great.
- Garlic—Heirloom Red Hardneck garlic, bred in Louisiana so it’s perfect to withstand our humid conditions. There are three different varieties, but they’re all mixed together so there’s no telling which one you received today! They’re flavorful and so, so delicious. Enjoy. We keep the largest bulbs as seed stock, which we will be planting in a week or two, and the rest we give out to you until we run out. We hope to have some for you for the next 2 weeks, then it’ll be gone till next summer.
- Sweet potatoes—This is the only crop we have for you that we do not grow ourselves (we just don’t have the space or equipment for a big sweet potato crop). These beauties are grown by Tony Philips, a great farmer just up the road from us here in Van. While Tony doesn’t grow in full alignment with organic practices, we’ve got a hole handful of reasons why we love eating these locally grown sweet potatoes, even though they’re not organic: 1. the soil of Van Zandt County is so incredibly perfect for growing sweet potatoes, they are a breeze to grow without chemicals. Very few pests bother them, so very few chemicals ever get applied. 2. Whenever he has (in prior years, not this year. How great!) needed to use any products on the crop to combat pests, only the leaves of the growing plant are sprayed while the harvestable potatoes are safe underground with little to no contact with the products, and 3. Unlike your conventional grocery store potatoes that have anti-sprouting chemicals sprayed on them (recently found to be quite serious hormone disruptors, specifically effecting they thyroid) Tony doesn’t apply anything to the potatoes post harvest, his team just sorts them for size and runs them through a quick rinse under plan, clean water to get the sandy soil off of them. All of this makes us feel really good about enjoying these awesome quality, 100% ETX local potatoes, even though they are not organic. We hope you feel the same!
Veggie Storage tips:
The hot peppers, sweet peppers and eggplant can be stored at room temp for a couple of days, or they’ll last at least a week in the fridge. The leafy greens like kale will want to be kept really cold. Make sure they’re sealed up in a bag or container so they don’t get wilty. Onions and garlic prefer to stay at room temp. Everything will need a significant washing before cooking, but leave the dirt on until you’re ready to use them to prevent faster spoilage.
We’d love to hear stories and recipes of your culinary adventures this week. Send us a note or post a comment of how you’ve used your CSA share.
Jess & Justin
Large Share: (top row left to right) Collards, colorful bell peppers, red and yellow onions, and basil. (Bottom row:) Swiss Chard, sweet potatoes and jalapenos, garlic and Japanese eggplant.
Regular share: (top row left to right) Lacinato Kale, purple bell peppers, red and yellow onions, garlic, and basil. (bottom row:) Jalapeños, and sweet potatoes, Japanese eggplant.