Walnut Run Farm

Walnut Run Farm

certified organic CSA in Williamsport, PA

Archive for August 2013

CSA Newsletter August 27

Sorry this is delayed. I tried to post it earlier in the week but wordpress was acting funny on me. Here it is:

This week on the farm we continue to seed crops for winter, prepare next year’s growing fields, and are still pulling onions to cure.

In your share you will find:

  • Salad Mix
  • Sage
  • Zucchini
  • Paste Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomato
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Red Peppers
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Sweet Corn
  • Shell Beans

 

This is the time of year when it is such a pleasure to cook because the ingredients are so inspiring and beautiful.    The shell beans included in your share are fresh or just barely dried.  There are a few different varieties—Calypso, Tiger Eye, Hutterite Soup Bean, and Cannelini.   They are not meant to be eaten whole, but shelled for the dry bean inside.  It is a lot of work for a very small amount of food, but the result is beautiful and delicious.

We are including a recipe for fresh shell beans and a recipe for beets.  The varieties of beets are Touchstone Gold and Chioggia.  There may be a few red beets too, but the other two varieties do not dye your hands and everything else that loud beet red.  And the Chioggia are candy striped on the inside!

We are also including cards for another incredible local business—Awesome Cupcakes!

Sarah Fedchak is a young mom who bakes delicious and beautiful cupcakes.  They are the kind of cupcake that I dream about making for my friends and family.   Unfortunately, my baking creations never quite come together the way I want and typically fall apart on the plate or look like a three year old baked them.  Luckily, Sarah has been generous enough to trade us cupcakes for produce because farmers need cupcakes too!  Now I can serve truly awesome cupcakes to our friends (giving her full credit of course!) and have my cupcake ideal fully realized.   You can check out Sarah’s card in your box for more information.

Our next two recipes come from the New York Times. We made something very similar to this first one a few nights ago and it was a fantastic.

Pasta With Shell Beans and Tomatoes

This is a very comforting pasta. I like to use large shells or tubes, which catch the beans and sauce.

1 to 1 1/4 pounds shell beans (about 1 3/4 to 2 cups)(we used a handful of shell beans)

1 small onion, halved

7 cups water

4 large garlic cloves, 2 crushed, 2 minced

A bouquet garni made with a few sprigs each of parsley and thyme, a sprig of sage, a Parmesan rind and a bay leaf

Salt to taste

2 pounds tomatoes(we used about a quart)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of sugar(optional)

1 large basil sprig, plus a handful of fresh basil leaves, slivered(try sage)

3/4 pound pasta, preferably large shells or tubes, or bow ties

Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

1. Combine the beans, onion, water, the crushed garlic cloves, bouquet garni and salt to taste in a heavy saucepan or soup pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Taste and adjust salt. Remove and discard the onion, the bouquet garni and the garlic cloves. Drain though a colander set over a bowl.

2. While the beans are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop in the tomatoes. Blanch for 30 seconds, then transfer to a bowl of cold water. Drain, core and peel. Cut the tomatoes in half. Place a strainer over a bowl, and squeeze the seeds out of the tomatoes into the strainer. Press the seed pods against the strainer to extract as much juice as you can, and then discard the seeds. Chop the tomatoes.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the minced garlic. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and add the tomatoes, sugar, the basil sprig and salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down to a thick sauce and smell fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. Stir in 1/2 cup of the bean broth and mix together. Stir in the beans. Keep warm while you cook the pasta.

4. Bring the water back to a boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Cook al dente, until firm to the bite, following the timing instructions on the package. (Check the pasta a minute or two before the end of the suggested cooking time.) Drain the pasta and toss with the beans, tomatoes, and slivered basil. Serve with Parmesan on the side.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: You can make the sauce several hours before cooking the pasta and serving. Thin out with bean broth or pasta cooking water if desired. The cooked beans will keep for three days in the refrigerator.

Grated Raw Beet Salad

1/2 pound beets

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon minced chives, mint or parsley (or a combination) (or sage!)

Salt to taste

Leaves of 1 romaine heart (salad mix)

1. Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler, and grate in a food processor fitted with the shredding blade.

2. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with the beets and herbs. Season to taste with salt. Line a salad bowl or platter with romaine lettuce leaves, top with the grated beets and serve.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The grated beets can be dressed and kept in the refrigerator, covered well, for a couple of days. They become more tender but don’t lose their texture, and the mixture becomes even sweeter as the beet juices mingle with the citrus. Toss again before serving.

Next week we are hoping to include:  Salad mix, tomatoes, carrots, parsley, maybe a melon if they’re ready, and plenty of other things.

 

CSA August 20

 

On the farm this week we are busy harvesting bushels and bushels of paste tomatoes. We are also really hoping for some rain, but will most likely have to irrigate. We are hoping to have fresh shell beans next week too.

In your share you will find:

  • Arugula
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Paste Tomatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Zucchini
  • Cabbage

 

We have been making tons of salsa, bruschetta and pasta with a simple red sauce(garlic, paste tomatoes, salt, pepper, cooking sherry if I feel like it.) I am continuously amazed by how much salsa we can devour in a sitting.  The hot peppers are a great addition to salsa.  You can also try making your own hot sauce!  Very simple recipes—usually add vinegar, salt, carrots in you like.

The cabbage I usually cut in half—use half to make coleslaw and the other half I save to grate into salads and stir fry.

The following recipes are from the Splendid Table website.  They always feature incredible ways of using fresh seasonal food.   Take a look if you get a chance.

Flash-Sautéed Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce by Martha Holmberg

“This sauce is a pleasure simply tossed with penne and a handful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. But it’s also delicious on grilled polenta or grilled fish.”

 

Ingredients

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp minced, seeded jalapeño, serrano, or other fresh hot chile or pepperoncino

Kosher salt

5 cups ripe cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved if large

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp lightly packed finely grated lemon zest

1 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed

3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, basil, mint, or a mixture

1 tsp unsalted butter

Instructions

 

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chile and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring often, until soft and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until they begin to burst and release their juice, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so, then stir in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the pan from the heat, add the parsley and butter, and swirl the pan to blend them into the sauce. Taste and balance the seasoning with salt and lemon juice if needed. Serve right away.

 

Storage: This sauce loses its vibrancy after a few hours, so use it as soon as possible after making it.

Quick Change: Add 1 tbsp drained capers or chopped, pitted green olives with the garlic.

Crash Hot Potatoes

(from Splendid Table)

Ingredients

 

12 whole new potatoes (or other small round potatoes)

Kosher salt to taste

3 tablespoons olive oil

Black pepper to taste

Minced rosemary (or other herb of choice) to taste

 

Instructions

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, boil the potatoes in lightly salted water about 20 minutes, or until fork tender.

2. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

3. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Using a potato masher, gently press down to mash each one. Rotate the masher 90 degrees, then mash again.

 

4. Drizzle the tops of the potatoes with the olive oil.

5. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and rosemary.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. These are absolutely irresistible!

Variations:

Place 1/4 pat of butter on top of each smashed potato before baking.

Top each smashed potato with grated Cheddar before baking.

 

Carrot and Cumin Salad

(From Splendid Table)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb medium carrots , scrubbed and cut into 1/4-in-thick rounds
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 small lemon , halved
  • Heaped 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

 

In a medium saucepan, boil the carrots in lightly salted water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water.

 

Transfer the carrots with a slotted spoon to the cold water to stop further cooking. Once the carrots are cooled, remove with the slotted spoon and drain for a few minutes. Spread out on paper towels to dry completely.

 

In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, cumin, and paprika; season with pepper; and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook, stirring gently, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Squeeze half of the lemon over the carrots and sprinkle with the parsley. Turn the carrots to coat evenly.

 

Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

 

Just before serving, squeeze the remaining lemon half over the carrots and turn to coat.

 

Next week—possible vegetables include beets, salad mix, sage, fresh shell beans, sweet corn, tomatoes and more!

 

CSA August 13

On the farm this week we are picking the last big flush of heirloom tomatoes.  We will continue to have them, but this is the last big harvest.   Also, we are starting to sow cover crops, seed winter crops, and pull onions for storage.

In your share this week you will find:

  • Squash Blossoms
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Romas
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Sweet Corn

Over the next few weeks we plan to include information about a few small, local food businesses and producers.   We are so excited about good food and in our area and we would love to share these connections with you.   This week we are featuring Sinner or Saint Catering & mobile food truck.

Sinner or Saint Catering serves local food at different places in the Williamsport area.  It is owned and operated by one of our CSA members and wholesale customers, Chenoa Lindsay, a graduate of Penn Tech’s Culinary Program.  The Sinner or Saint Food Truck uses local, sustainable food sourced from farmers in the area.  Please take a look at the included information for a sample menu, upcoming events (one on Wednesday!), and more information about their mission.

We are including a few tips on storing produce and also a recipe for basic gazpacho soup.

The squash blossoms are the male blossoms on zucchini plants.  They can be stuffed, battered and deep fried. We usually treat them as a fast food.  We stuff them with whatever cheese we have on hand—usually cheddar, feta or chevre are the best—then sauté’ them in butter until the cheese is melted.  Let cool for a few minutes and then eat the cheesy blossoms.  It is a great vehicle for melted cheese and butter.  Pesto and other herbs are also great additions.

 

Storing Produce

Zucchini, cucumber, peppers, and tomatoes should all be kept at room temperature.  They lose taste, quality and texture when stored below 55 degrees.  In the fall, winter squash and sweet potatoes should also be stored this way.   I usually try to keep them in a bowl or just somewhere where I can see them so that I remember that I have to keep including them in meals.

Roots—like carrots and beets(also fennel), should have the greens cut off if we have not done that already, then they should be stored in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge.  A few ventilation holes is helpful.

 Herbs should be stored the same way or put in a jar or vase in water on the counter.   Just like a bouquet.  Other greens too, like kale or chard should be stored in plastic in the fridge.

Beans and peas should be put in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Cured garlic and onions, and potatoes can be stored in a cool dark place.  Fresh garlic, onions, leeks and potatoes should be stored in the refrigerator.

 Green Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad

(reduce recipe to fit share or add in peppers or cherry tomatoes to sub for additional bean and corn)

Ingredients

Coarse salt

3 ears corn, husks and silk removed

1 1/2 pounds green beans, stem ends snapped off

3 cloves garlic, peeled and gently smashed

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium yellow tomato, sliced 1/2-inch thick

2 cups of small, mixed red and green heirloom tomatoes, halved

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove corn with tongs and set aside on a cutting board to cool. Using a strainer, remove any corn silk remaining in the pot.

Add the green beans, return to a boil, and cook until very tender, about 8 minutes (timing may vary depending on the size of the beans). Meanwhile, cut the corn kernels off the cobs and put kernels in a large bowl. Drain the beans in a colander, shake to remove excess water, and put in bowl with corn. Add garlic and 3 tablespoons of oil. Toss well and let stand at least 30 minutes for flavors to blend; refrigerate if longer than 30 minutes.

If necessary, bring beans and corn to room temperature by removing them from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Just before serving, remove the garlic and add the remaining tablespoon of oil along with vinegar, onion, and tomatoes. Add salt to taste and serve at room temperature. –from Whole Living

Gazpacho (The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

Ingredients

1 cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled

2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded

4 plum tomatoes

1 red onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess! After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Next week we hope to include—tomatoes, beets, potatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic, lettuce and more.

 

CSA newsletter August 6

 

In your share you will find:

  • Lettuce Head or Mizuna
  • Basil
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Fennel
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Sweet  Corn

We are including some suggestions on ways to use up extra produce and a recipe for roasted corn soup with tomatoes.

A note about our sweet corn:

Our sweet corn is just starting to be ready for harvest. We don’t sell sweet corn at market or wholesale it to restaurants; we grow it just for our CSA customers and our family and friends. We would have to sell our corn for almost 12 times the price of conventional sweet corn to make it worth our while, so instead we give it to you.

Curing Herbs:

Dry

Herbs—hang or spread out on a screen.  When dry, pack  into glass or plastic.  Crush just before using for incredible flavor.  Paste tomatoes are excellent dried—sweet like sun-dried tomatoes.  You can dry on low heat in an oven(200 degrees F), but a small food dehydrator works best.  Hot peppers—hang and dry.  (Chilis and poblanos—not jalapenos.) Also, we add leftover herbs to drinks like lemonade or even just water. Basil is especially wonderful for this.

Pickle—  Almost everything tastes even better with salt and vinegar.  For a quick pickle, heat two cups water, two cups vinegar,  and 2 tsp salt.   Pour over vegetables-let stand for  a few minutes to a few hours to a few days.   Beans, onions,  and peppers are excellent pickled.  Radish, beets, carrots, zucchini, and garlic are also amazing.  For great recipes, how to process and preserve and new ideas for pickling –please reference the Joy of Pickling.

Grate–  grate your produce into everything.  When in doubt, grate carrots, celery, turnips, zucchini, radish, beets and cabbage.  Toss onto salads or onto your partner’s plate when they are not looking.  The texture will be different, add a splash of color and a lot of nutrition to your salad, soup or meal.  Grated zucchini and carrot s are both excellent in cakes and I have heard of using beets in the same manner.  They add moisture and make even the richest chocolate cake seem healthy!  Potatoes, also, are excellent grated and fried for quick hash browns.  All of the vegetables listed above can be made into fritters using a little egg, mayonnaise, bread crumbs and/or flour. Shaped, seasoned and fried they are a light but satisfying meal.

Freeze—We freeze bags of peppers every year and it is never enough.  We core them and dice them and then pack into freezer bags.   Throughout the winter we take out what we need for each meal and use them for stir fry, pizza, chili, omelets— almost the same way we use them fresh.  Paste tomatoes are great packed whole into a freezer bag.  When you want them, defrost and then peel off the skins (this part is really easy due to the freezing).  Then dice and use for sauce or cooked salsa.  Corn, peas, spinach, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower all need to be blanched (dunked in boiling water for a few seconds or minutes to stop enzymes), but then freeze very well.  Artichokes can be boiled.  Allow to cool—then remove hearts and freeze.    Grated zucchini freezes well and can be used in the winter for chocolate zucchini bread or in soups.

 

Roasted Corn Soup with Tomatoes

Ingredients:

2 ripe but firm tomatoes

Kernels from 6 ears of fresh corn (about 3 cups)

2 red bell peppers

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

About 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed

1 tsp. chipotle chili powder

1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste

1 cup heavy cream

Sliced avocado for garnish

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Paprika for garnish

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Put the tomatoes in a lightly greased glass baking dish. Roast until the skins darken and the tomatoes are caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Keep the oven on.

Spread the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the edges begin to turn golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, when the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard. Set the flesh, with the juices, aside in the baking dish. Remove the corn from the oven and let cool.

Place 1 bell pepper on each of 2 gas burners. Turn the burners on high and sear the peppers directly over the flame, using tongs to turn as needed, until the skins are blackened all over, 10 to 15 minutes total. (Or place the peppers under the broiler and broil, turning as needed, until charred and blistered on all sides, about 15 minutes.) Transfer the peppers to a brown paper bag and close tightly. Let stand for 15 minutes, then remove the peppers from the bag. Remove and discard the skins, core and seeds.

In a soup pot, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, yellow and red onions, garlic and corn, reserving a handful of the roasted corn for garnish. Add just enough broth to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and the 1 tsp. salt.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. While blending, slowly drizzle in the cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish each portion with a couple of avocado slices, a few drops of olive oil, a scattering of the reserved roasted corn and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Adapted from This is a Cookbook, by Max Sussman and Eli Sussman (Olive Press, 2012). Ingredients