CSA Newsletter – Week 1 – June 20, 2018

by jennifer on June 20, 2018

summer share week 1

Welcome to Rising River Farm CSA! We are so glad you chose to spend the summer with us. It is shaping up to be a bountiful season. Our first box was surprisingly abundant thanks to the warm, dry spring weather. We are always a little nervous a few weeks before the first box. It is hard to tell exactly when a crop will be ready. Rain and 60’s verses sun and high 70’s produce very different outcomes.  After last spring’s incessant rain and cool temperatures which made us seriously question our career choice, we are grateful for long windows of cooperative weather to keep up with scheduled plantings and just as importantly, keep up on the weeds. The fields are looking full and well-tended. It is a luxury to catch the weeds when they are small and easy to pull, rather than trying to find crops in a carpet of unwanted vegetation.  So let’s get to it….

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
lettuce
spinach
kale or chard
shell peas
snow peas-large shares only
green onions
garlic scapes (see photo below)
cilantro
kohlrabi

WASH YOUR PRODUCE:
We field wash everything before it comes to you, but it is always a good idea to give in another rinse before you eat it. Some items like beans or basil don’t like to be stored wet, so wash right before use.

A WORD ON ROTATION:
Not everyone gets everything mentioned in the newsletter every week, but on balance, all the box values are the same. Very often we will give half of you one thing and half the other. Then next week it’ll switch. We also rotate items around the sites when there is not enough for all. Eventually you will all receive roughly the same things with the same value. We keep careful track of who gets what when. It all evens out in the wash.


PICKY EATER SPIEL:
I say it every year, but for the benefit of the new members I will say it again. Please try everything you receive in your box at least twice before you decide you are not a fan. Fresh-from-the-field veggies are nothing like what you buy in a store and are leagues better than canned or frozen versions. I am a bona fide picky eater since childhood. I hated nearly every vegetable except iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and russet potatoes. I would choke down the occasional canned green beans, but nearly any other veggie I was served would cause me to recoil and protest mightily. However, once I grew my own, tried them raw or lightly cooked, I was converted. I am still learning to like new things and am all the better for it. I also have two kids, 20 and 16, and have weathered many phases of kids loving then hating then loving any given vegetable.

Here are a few tips for converting veggie haters into veggie lovers (or at least tolerators):

  1. Try things raw. They tend to be sweeter, obviously crunchier, and lack the mushy texture that just freaks some people out.
  2. If you are going to cook things, aim for ”al dente”. Most of the time crunchy or firm is more appealing than mush.
  3. Try meals that are deconstructed. For example, a build your own burrito where each person can add as much or as little as they want. Making a casserole? Try serving the contents of said casserole separated out. Some kids (and yes, some adults) cannot deal with a whole bunch of unidentifiable ingredients all mixed together. I clearly remember mining out every onion and mushroom fleck in my mother’s meatloaf. I am not necessarily a proponent of catering to and preparing separate meals for whiny, picky kids, but if you can serve them what you are already making but in a different form, then it doesn’t seem as bad. Remember, the goal is to get them to love veggies! I just remember texture and mystery in regard to food being huge obstacles for me as a kid. (I still feel the need to apologize for the hell I probably put my mom through at dinner time.)
  4. Have your family/household members help unpack your weekly share, sample veggies, and brainstorm menu ideas. Most veggies can be eaten raw so sampling should be encouraged.
  5. Have your picky eaters help cook, or at least play sous chef. They will be way more likely to eat it if they know what is in it.
  6. Explore our website for recipes. Most of what is posted is easy to prepare. Rarely will you need some exotic vinegar, spice, or pantry item that you use maybe once a year.

BARTER BOX:
Even after all your experimentation and open-mindedness, you may still dislike a vegetable or perhaps have an allergy. To address that issue, we try to supply a barter box so that you may swap out something you don’t want for something else.

HOUSEKEEPING & FAQ’S
-Please return your box each week. We love it when you unfold them without tearing the flaps!
-Keep the pick up site neat and tidy.
-Observe the established pick up hours, esp. at someone’s home. Generally speaking, your box could arrive as early as 1:00 or as late as 3:30. It takes us a few weeks to work out the best route. As the season goes on, there is more to pack, so things may take longer.
-If you have someone pick up in your stead, make sure they take the correct box.
-If you forget to pick up your box, call your site host to figure out when/how to pick it up. If you know in advance that you will miss a box, email me and we can make other arrangements.
-Payments: We don’t send regular bills, so please check your account periodically to make sure you are keeping up with payments. To log into your account, follow this link. If you have any trouble, let me know.
-If you show up and there is not a box with your name see if the site host can help figure out where the error occurred. If they are not present or cannot help you, call me and I will find a way to get you a box. Please don’t take a box with someone else’s name.

BEST WAY TO CONTACT THE FARM
For general questions and non-pressing issues email us at info@risingriverfarm.com or call the farm phone. 360.273.5368
For more urgent matters call or text Jen’s cell 360.584.6720

SOCIAL MEDIA: We have a Facebook and Instagram account (rising.river.farm). I try to post a lot of pictures of the farm and crew, as well as recipe ideas. Check us out!

VEGGIE ID:
There are 2 oddball veggies in your box this week: kohlrabi and garlic scapes.

purple kohlrabiKohlrabi-comes in purple and white

garlic scapes

Garlic scapes

 RECIPES AND TIPS:

Garlic scapes: They are the seed stalk of the garlic plant. Scapes have the texture of green beans or asparagus when cooked and taste like, you guessed it, garlic! Not as potent as cloves of garlic, so you can be liberal with them. I tend to use them in lieu of garlic this time of year. Chop them in bite sized pieces and add them to stir fry, soup, pot roast, beans, etc. Keep them whole, marinate with your favorite marinade and grill on the bbq or toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven at 400 until tender. Garlic scape pesto is another popular recipe. Find more scape recipes here.

Kohlrabi: It is in the brassica family (think broccoli, cabbage, and the like.) We prefer it raw, however you can cook it if you are so inclined. The flavor is sweet and subtle with a hint of fresh broccoli or sweet salad turnip. The texture is crunchy and juicy. You’ll want to peel it as the outer skin is tough. The easiest way is to cut it in half and then again into half moons. Peel the skin off with a paring knife. I usually cut one up as described and put it out on the dinner table to accompany whatever we are having. It makes a great addition to packed lunches. For more info and recipes about kohlrabi, follow this internet rabbit hole. (I almost got sucked in, but then remembered I had to finish this letter.)

Kale: You either got red Russian kale or Swiss Chard (see below). The Russian is sweet and tender and lends itself well to salads, green smoothies, and light cooking. In the future you may see Lacinato or curly kale. Lacinato is perfect for kale chips or a kale Caesar salad. Curly is hardier and more substantive and is ideal for soups, stir fries, and other recipes where you want your kale to keep its texture. Our favorite kale recipe is kale quesadillas. We could easily eat this one a week all year. Find that and other recipes on our kale page.

Chard: If you didn’t get kale, then you get to enjoy chard, which is a cousin to the mighty beet. One was bred for lush leaves and the other for bulbous roots. Chard can be used interchangeably with spinach in many applications. If you are a dairy person, it pairs well with feta cheese. We usually sauté onion and garlic (or scapes) until translucent then toss in the chard until just cooked. Serve over rice and add crumbled feta on top. A nice bratwurst on the side makes it even better. You can use the stem, but add it a good 5 minutes before you add the leafy portion. More chard ideas here.

Shell Peas: These are the type that you have to open up and retrieve the peas inside. The shell is a little fibrous. Folks often confuse shell peas with sugar snaps where you can eat them pod and all. I hardly ever cook shell peas. They are just so sweet and tasty raw. I add them to salads or just put a bowl of unshelled peas on the dinner table and let everyone shell their own. Most kids love shelling and eating raw peas.

Snow Peas: We choose to let our snow peas grow bigger than what you usually see in the grocery store. We find them to be sweeter this way. They are still great in stir-fry. Use them to dip in hummus, peanut sauce, or a number of other tasty concoctions.

Green onions aka scallions: They can be used fresh or raw. Use in place of an onion if you are out, or check out the scallion page for other ideas.

RECIPES ARE MERELY A GUIDE: One final word on the recipes we suggest. For the most part you can use them as a guide and substitute ingredients and amounts pretty liberally. Just because a recipe calls for 2 lbs of something and you only have 1lb or it lists onion but you only have green onions, don’t let that stop you. Prepare a half recipe, use green onions instead, add a different vegetable to help fill it out. Get creative and wing it a little. Most of all try to enjoy the process and savor your results.

I imagine you are tired of reading and want to get chomping, so until next week….

Jen, Jim and Crew

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