Share Notes Oct 12, 2023
CSA Share Notes:
The last few tastes of summer will be coming to you in the beginning weeks of the CSA before we start to harvest the cool weather crops. The drought delayed our fall planting by a good bit, so they’re farther behind than in most years. The plan reveals itself as we go along and we see what Mother Nature does for us. Enjoy the crisp juiciness offered this time of year before the transition to leafier crops once it gets cold.
Last week we delivered to only our ETX members. This week DFW is getting their first box. So since it’s mostly a fresh group, I’m sending you guys all the same culinary tips as last week. Next week I’ll share some fresh kitchen inspo ideas.
Here’s your vegetable line-up:
- Squash – Our late summer planting of these cucurbit crops are going wild! Enjoy our heirloom zephyr (Large shares), along with our more standard yellow summer squash (All shares) Plan a big squash casserole this week to help use yours up!
- Zucchini – Plenty of big, beautiful zucchini. Everyone received an heirloom Italian, and the Larges and Regulars also received a few regular zucchini. If you’ve never tried gut-healing lacto-fermented zucchini pickles (I’m crazy about these) they are super easy and delicious. If you didn’t get a chance to try our zucchini boats recipe yet, it happens to be gluten free, keto, and without the shredded cheese dairy free, Paleo, and Whole30 friendly. You can use up giant Zukes for this.
- Taco Zucchini Boats (this served 2 adults and 2 little kids and we were very full)
- Saute an onion and a few cloves of garlic, (also use some hot peppers if you don’t have wimpy kids like mine telling you apples are too spicy) and then add 1 lb of grass fed ground beef and brown it. Add 1 Tbs total of your favorite taco seasonings (smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, cumin, a little oregano).
- While this is all cooking, slice in half 2 small or 1 large (even a jumbo is fine!) zucchini lengthwise. Lay them flat and scoop out the center with a spoon, making plenty of space for your beef filling. If they are trying to roll around on you, shave a flat bottom on the back of your zucchini halves so they’ll sit still. Don’t try this on your kids, trust me.
- Fill your boats with the beef mixture and bake at 350 for 12-20 min, depending on zucchini size. You want the zucchini to be cooked to al dente, not mush.
- Top immediately with shredded cheese so it’s gets all gooey and wonderful, and have on the table any manner of toppings like avocado, cilantro, green onions, spicy salsa, your favorite hot sauces, sour cream or tangy unsweetened greek yogurt
- Taco Zucchini Boats (this served 2 adults and 2 little kids and we were very full)
Does anyone have an Italian version of this simple recipe you love? Please share with us on social media/Instagram Stories! We are eating a LOT of zucchini in the farm household and would love more ways to enjoy it.
Peppers: refer back to our instagram post of our different pepper varieties. It can be hard to tell some of them apart, and to remember which ones are spicy and which are sweet. Hope this post helps!
- Sweet Italian Peppers – Everyone received these this week, but different varieties. The Large and Mini shares received mostly Goddess peppers- a range of pale yellow-green to dark orange. The Regular shares received Carmen peppers- a range of dark green to deep red. See the instagram post mentioned above to help you identify them. These are delicious, crunchy, long and slender Italian sweet peppers, NOT spicy! These will be very similar to bell peppers in flavor. Use yours in our summer green curry recipe!
- Cayenne Peppers – Just a few to everyone, with our gorgeous red ones going to the large shares. These are all ultra hot, and best used in preparation of something special like a home made hot sauce. My Deep South grandma would take ultra hot peppers and put them in a big tall jar, and top them with white vinegar and store in the fridge. It was used to top her “mess” of greens, or bowl of ham and peas, anything, really. She’d top it back off with vinegar whenever it got low, and swap out the peppers whenever they lost their spark- the everlasting jar of pepper vinegar. This is still a tradition all across the south and is excellent on different types of meat dishes, beans, veggies, etc. Today’s your day to start one!
- Tips: #1 If your peppers are too tall for your jar, cut them in half, but don’t chop them up small or your vinegar may become too powerful. #2 Don’t you dare touch your face or eyes, and #3 be sure to wear gloves. Or use our dirty kitchen trick: use two empty grocery sacks as gloves. Small bottles of this make great gifts for friends who love spice. Enjoy!
- Additional tip! If you want to turn your green cayennes red for the fullest depth of flavor, don’t refrigerate them. Leave them out on your counter for 1-2 weeks and you’ll see that gorgeous color emerge. They may start to dry out and shrivel a bit, but this is completely fine. If any molding occurs you’d want to cut that part off before preparing. Refrigerate once desired redness is achieved.
- Basil – For everyone this week. If wilted, rehydrate in a lengthy cold water plunge. And DO NOT REFRIGERATE. Instead, store it bouquet style, in a glass of cool water on the counter.
- Beans – Beautiful green beans and a special favorite: Dragons Tongue! These are fantastic right now, young and tender. But they’re a short lived crop- we will probably have them for the next couple of weeks of the CSA harvest.
- Eggplant – Our Large shares received Long Japanese eggplant. Regular and mini shares received the lovely Italian eggplant (some pale purple or white heirlooms went to the Regular shares). The Japanese types are really excellent in Asian dishes- Thai or Indian Curries, Stir Fries, etc. The Italian eggplant is super versatile as well. And these are so fresh that you shouldn’t need to sweat out any bitterness. I see Baba Ganoush in your future! Or try our summer stacks which can use up your zucchini, eggplant and a few peppers all in one go.
- We suggest roasting eggplant at high heat to bring out its sweetness and get the yummiest texture. 400+ degrees in a hot oven, a grill, or a smokin-hot cast iron. A little bit of char on them is a very delicious thing.
We have items for you this week which were not grown by Red Moon Farm:
- Sweet Potatoes from Tony Phillips, Grand Saline, TX.
This year we actually tried for the first time to produce sweet potatoes for you, but we had labor shortage and a huge spike in the heat index right around planting time, which made all but the most critical tasks un-attainable for us physically. Result? Our sweet potato planting ended up not succeeding this year. We learned a few lessons from our initial trial, though and hope to have better success next year.
In the meantime, we’ve got the same wonderful sweet potato producer just a couple of miles from Red Moon Farm, Tony Phillips. He’s been in Sweet Potato cultivation for decades and uses no synthetic herbicides or pesticides. Additionally, he never uses post-harvest growth-inhibitors (endocrine disruptors!) which you’ll find in regular grocery store potatoes. One thing we want to mention: these potatoes are TINY! This is due to the crazy summer heat index and drought conditions while the plants were maturing throughout July-Sept. Also, Tony mentioned to us that he is beginning his annual harvesting nearly 2 months later than a typical year. All of this feels like additional proof and confirmation that this summer was as nuts as we felt it to be. Enjoy your teeny-tiny-taters!
- Baby Okra from Zillmer Farm, Lindale, TX. For Large and Regular shares. Our okra plantings at Red Moon Farm ended up becoming a food source for our native deer population in the intense summer drought. We’re not too mad at them, deer gotta eat too, and we love having a few around. So it’s Victor Zillmer to the rescue.
If you’ve been a member for a while, this name will sound familiar. Victor Zillmer also provides us with the best in pesticide-free fruit jams and jellies in our online store. (They are fantastic. Snag a jar next week) But he also grows a few veggies each year, too. While he doesn’t strive in *all* ways to be organic like we do at Red Moon Farm, he is committed to no chemical pesticides or herbicides. His synthetic use is limited to the fertilizers he uses on his soil before planting. We feel like this is about the best compromise one can get. **Be warned** Okra has a short shelf-life, which is why you don’t see much of it on the grocery store shelves. Refrigerate it and eat it up on day 1 or 2 after you receive yours for best quality.
Veggie Storage tips:
- Everything wants to be washed well before cooking, but keep the dirt on till then, to prevent faster spoilage.
- Basil must not be stored in the fridge. Keep it in a glass of water in a cool place, and out of direct light.
- Sweet potatoes prefer room temperature, dry conditions.
- Okra prefers to be around 45 degrees which can be tricky in modern refrigerators. If it goes below about 38, it’ll turn black so be forewarned not to put it in the coldest part of your fridge.
- Squash, zucchini, eggplant, hot and sweet peppers, and beans all want to be sealed up in plastic and stored in the fridge.
We’d love to hear stories and recipes of your culinary adventures this week. Tag us on Instagram or Facebook, showing us how you’ve used your CSA share.
Your farmers, Jess & Justin