ATHENS HILLS SUMMER CSA:
Welcome all to the Summer 2009 CSA season! Thanks so much for joining us for what promises to be a bountiful twenty weeks. I am looking forward to the surprises, challenges, and culinary wonders that come with the hotter months of the year here on the farm. In the midst of the winter CSA season I longed to be at this wonderful point in the year when the sun shines through long warm days and you can actually get things done outside after work, and now we are here! I am so happy to begin this season with all of you along for what promises to be an exciting ride.
There will be a big change in store this season for me as your CSA coordinator that I wanted to make you aware of as we begin. As some of your know, in a few weeks I am expecting my first child and will be taking time off from the farm to enjoy my baby & family. When my little "Sprout" decides to come, Becky and Rob will be your CSA contacts here at Green Edge. If you have any questions or concerns, they will be more than happy to help, so give them a call or email anytime. I am hoping to return in some capacity in the early fall, so keep your eyes out for me then.
Everyone here is excited for the season and having great folks like you who support us through the summer & autumn make those hot, humid, stifling days that lay ahead worth all the hard work. I hope you have a wonderful week and thanks again. Enjoy your first shares!
Claudia (on behalf of Kip & Becky, Dan, John, Cale, Rob, Penny, Eric, and our interns: Corey, Becky & Julia)
(Check out the rest of the newsletter for serving suggestions, storage advice, etc. for each of these vegetables.)
Salad Mix (We have a delicious and beautiful array of lettuces that we combine to make this mix. You can find a couple of romaine varieties, red & green leaf lettuces, some butter heads, and others throughout the season.)
Sunflower Microgreens (These gorgeous, healthy & crunchy delights are similar to other sprouts that you may have seen before only they are grown in soil instead of just water. This means they are more nutritious and delicious.)
Mushrooms (This week’s fungi of choice are our fantastic shiitakes. This variety of mushroom is useful beyond the stir-fry wok.)
Beets with Tops (You can't get much more out of these late spring beauties. Their roots are soooo delicious & sweet and the leaves are vitamin-packed and wonderful sautéed with the garlic scapes as a side.)
Head Lettuce (You know what to do with these :)
Sweet Basil (Yum! Yum! One of my favorite tastes of summer is here in your first share. See the back of this newsletter for the best way to store it so that you can savor it over the next couple of weeks, but don't take too long, this is a G.E. favorite that will show up in your share again and again.)
Garlic Scapes (The wonderful taste of garlic early in the season. See the back for more preparation suggestions.)
Summer Squash (Crunchy & fresh, you can't go wrong with eating these any which way you chose. Zucchini, yellow & patty pans are the varieties you'll enjoy this season.)
FYI ALL MEMBERS…
●Just a reminder that starting with WEEK THREE we will no longer print out copies of the newsletter. Instead you will be able to find it posted on our weblog at: www.greenedgegardens.blogspot.com
If you would like to receive the newsletter via email each week, please let us know ASAP, so that we can add you to our list. Thanks for helping us do our part for Mother Earth!
·In the same vain, please return any of our wax boxes &/or green cloth bags from your previous shares when you pick up your next share.
●We are so happy to host yet another Open Farm Day this summer. Come join us Sunday July 19th, from 2pm-6pm for farm tours, a potluck dinner, and fun, fun, fun!
·Please make sure that you check your name off of our lists each time you pick up your share--this helps your host solve any problems should they arise.
●If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pick-up location, hours, etc. please contact your pick-up host first. Most likely, they will be able to help. If not, we will be more than happy to answer your questions.
●We are looking forward to a great season and we hope you are too! Enjoy!
SO WHAT IS THIS VEGETABLE AND WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?
To get us all started off on the right foot, I thought I would include some history, serving suggestions, and storage recommendations for each of the vegetables in this week’s share, in lieu of recipes. I hope you find these helpful and if you have anything to add, please feel free to comment on our blog—we would love to hear from you!
SALAD MIX & HEAD LETTUCE: While these are vegetables that most of you are familiar with, I thought that I would make a few suggestions anyway. I would recommend that you wash the mix & head lettuces before serving since we have only rinsed them before packing them up. In the summer the shelf life can be extended by spinning it dry after washing, or by placing a paper towel or two in the bag along one side to capture some of the moisture. Store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. We try to grow varieties that will do well in the heat, but sometimes temperature, etc. can cause damage to the leaves that will shorten its shelf life after harvest, so be sure to eat these earlier in the week to get the most out of them.
SUNFLOWER MICROGREENS: This particular “micro” is the hardiest of the five that we grow and the most substantial. Unlike sprouts, our microgreens are vitamin and fiber-packed, all of which helps to maintain a healthy diet. Add these beauties to your salad mix, your sandwiches, make a bed of them to lay your eggs or pasta on for an interesting and tasty presentation. If you would like more information on their nutritional value, please email us.
SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS: As with the salad mix, I am sure many of you are familiar with these fungal wonders. While they do add wonderful taste and texture to any stir-fry, they can do the same for many other dishes. I am a fan of including them in any egg dish especially quiche, omelets, scrambled eggs, etc. They also make a great addition to different pasta sauces, homemade pizzas, grilled meats, etc. Shiitakes make great soups even better and can stand on their own as a rich & earthy side dish. The stems tend to be fibrous & woody and I generally do not eat them. Instead I set them aside to boil later to make a lovely mushroom broth.
BEETS with TOPS: As many of you know, beets are chock full of wonderful vitamins and minerals that help keep us healthy. The leaves are iron-rich and make a great cooked side dish similar in taste & consistency to Swiss chard & spinach. The roots make a stunning impression grated raw on top of a salad, or as a slaw. If you are going to enjoy them cooked, wait to peel them until you've boiled them. The peel can be easily removed then with your fingers once the beets have cooled a bit.
SUMMER SQUASH: We grow a tasty medley of summer squashes that thrive in the heat of the season. Our zucchini, yellow & pattypan varieties can be enjoyed raw, but also do well grilled whole alongside your favorite meat, fish or other veggies. Marinated or not, their flavor suits any barbeque or picnic. If you find that you prefer to cook them on the stovetop, try adding them to a pasta dish, pizza, stir-fry, or curry.
GARLIC SCAPES: In order to produce wonderful, savory bulbs of garlic in the fall, you have to top the plants (cut the flower off before it blooms) right around now so that the plant can concentrate its efforts below the soil instead of above. The hidden advantage to doing this is the fresh taste of garlic in early summer in the form of the flower head, or scape. You can use these in any dish just as you would a clove of garlic. Chop the whole thing and enjoy in your next dinner adventure.
SWEET BASIL: When this fragrant herb hits the scene then you know it's summer. The best way to store your bunch of basil is to fill a glass jar or cup with water and place the bunch in it as you would a bouquet of flowers. If you keep the water filled, you should be able to keep the basil for at least two weeks this way. The stems will even start growing roots! The main thing to avoid when storing basil is moisture and cold, both of which rot the leaves almost immediately. So, only wash the leaves right before you use them.
I hope you find this information helpful! Enjoy your first share and keep in touch throughout the season. Have a wonderful week!