CSA Newsletter – Week 14 – September 14, 2016

by jennifer on September 14, 2016

week 14 2016 CSA

What’s in the box
Orange carrots
Purple carrots
Beets or chard
Watermelon
Red onions
Purple kohlrabi
Cauli -some of you (we are making the rounds)
Brocc-small shares
Sungolds-large shares
Red tomatoes
Slicing or amiga cucumber
Patty pan squash
Italian zucchini
Dill
Potatoes
Corn
Sweet pepper

MORE ABOUT THE VEG:
Purple carrots: In addition to your standard orange carrot, we have included a lovely purple carrot, which are even more nutrient-packed than the orange ones. We find the flavor to be heartier and the texture more substantial. They are good raw, but really shine when cooked. Actually carrots are one of a few veggies that have more available nutrients for you when cooked.
Gold beets-They have a milder flavor than red beets and they won’t bleed everywhere. They are perfect to use in dishes where you want to incorporate beets, but don’t want the whole thing to be magenta. They are also delicious roasted in the oven, or cut into rings and steamed.
Watermelon– Bonus round of yellow doll melon. We thought there would only be enough for a one time hand out. Gotta love hot summers!
Potatoes-King Harry is the variety. It has firm white flesh that holds together well. Good for boiling, steaming, potato salads, roasting, etc.
Cauliflower: I know there is still some of you who haven’t gotten it yet. Be patient. It’s making the rounds.

FOR THE MEAT EATERS: Selma is a long time farmer here in our valley, who raises mostly Icelandic sheep. She is our Icelandic Shepherdess. This spring her ewes gave birth to more lambs than ever before. Many ewes had triplets. Selma thinks this had to do with the very nice pastures they grazed on in late summer and fall. As a result she has many more lambs to sell. If you are into lamb, Icelandic lamb is considered one of the best in the world because of its fine texture and mild flavor. Here is a link to her meat brochures on her website. There are also brochures at our drop off sites. If you are interested you can contact her by email Selma@bonedryridge.com or give her a call 360 273 1045 or just send in the order form. We know a handful of other folks who do an amazing job raising meat in a sustainable and conscientious manner. Go to our links page to check them out.

Recipe Idea:
I was at a neighbor’s for dinner the other night and one of the ladies brought a simple, but amazing salad that is endlessly variable in regard to what veggies you can add. Quinoa is the base and the dressing is a mix of lemon juice, olive oil, tamari, and garlic. This recipe makes a fantastic lunch for the next day. Heck, I would have had it for breakfast with an egg if there had been any leftovers.
1. Cook 1 cup quinoa.
2. Chop up veggies, about 3 cups total, into little cubes. She used carrots, cucumber, and sweet pepper.
I made it the other night and added zucchini. Broccoli, chard, pre-cooked golden beets, tiny cauliflower bites, or tomato, are some other potential additions.
3. Combine veggies and cooked quinoa in a large bowl.
4. In a lidded jar, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 TBSP olive oil, 2 TBSP tamari, and 2 crushed cloves garlic. Shake well. Pour over quinoa and veggies.  Mix thoroughly.
5. Toast 1/4 cup sunflower seeds in a dry skillet until they brown a bit. Add to the salad.

Additions:
She added a bunch of minced parsley. I could see basil or cilantro working just as well. I made a no herb version and it was delicious.
Marinated tofu would also be a protein packed addition to the salad.

I gotta get back out to work. Enjoy these bonus days of sun and all the amazing food it provides!

Jen, Jim and the Rising River Farm Crew

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I got this recipe from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook whose title I will not type due to some unsavory language. Thug Kitchen cookbooks and blog posts are hilarious, and delicious. They swear a lot, so if you are not bothered by that, then check them out. I personally find them very witty and funny.

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs cauliflower
1/2 cup flour (any kind will do)
1/2 cup water

HOT SAUCE:
2 tsp oil
1/2 to 2/3 cup Sriracha or similar style hot sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tsp soy sauce or tamari

PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE:
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP creamy peanut butter
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 TBSP lime juice
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp maple syrup
1 cucumber cut into finger-long sticks

PROCEDURE:
1. Turn oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and chop cauliflower in thumb sized florets.
2. Whisk together flour and water in a big bowl until all the lumps are gone. Toss in the cauliflower and mix thoroughly. Spread cauliflower onto baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring once half way through.
3. Make the hot sauce by blending everything in a food processor or whisking by hand. Gently heat in a sauce pan. Turn off when hot, but not boiling.
4. Make the peanut sauce by first combining the peanut butter and warm water, then add everything else. Whisk until smooth.
5. When the cauli has cooked for 15 minutes, dump it in a bowl, pour in hot sauce mix, and stir to coat. Pour back onto baking sheet and bake for another 3-5 minutes.
6. Serve hot or room temperature and dip in peanut sauce.

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CSA Newsletter – Week 13 – September 7, 2016

by jennifer on September 7, 2016

sweet peppers

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
cabbage or broccoli
potatoes
rutabaga
onions
garlic
Italian Eggplant
corn
an assortment of squash
basil or cilantro
sweet peppers
red tomatoes
cauliflower (most of you)

rutabaga

rutabaga

CROP DETAIL:
Rutabaga: It is a root crop in the broccoli family. It is similar to turnips, but not as spicy. Rather it has an earthiness to it like beets. The flavor is subtle, but nice. No matter how you cook it, you’ll want to peel it. The outer skin is a little tough. It cooks much like a potato. Cut into chunks and add to soup, or add it to a batch of mashed potatoes.
Potatoes: The variety is called Desiree. It has creamy yellow flesh and makes the perfect mashed potato.
Cauliflower: Most of you got some today so the rest of you should get it next week. We were surprised by the earliness and size of this cauliflower. It was intended for fall harvest. Oh well! Try the recipe for roasted sriracha cauliflower bites with peanut dipping sauce courtesy of Thug Kitchen. I retyped it in a family friendly version! Cauliflower potato soup is also a winner.
Tomatoes: The rainy weather has taken its toll on the tomatoes. We have a lot, they just aren’t very pretty.
Peppers: We only grow sweet peppers for the CSA, so no matter the color or size, they are all sweet. We are trialing about 6 varieties of tiny, colored peppers. It can be very challenging to get colored peppers around here, as usually our summers are cool and/or wet. So far they seem prolific and tasty, so hopefully we’ll grow more next year.

WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE FIELDS
I was all resigned to rain and clouds for the rest of the summer, but lo and behold the forecast calls for a string of 80 degree days next week. Hurray! We need to haul in the rest of the onions, harvest the dry beans, dig all the potatoes, plant the garlic, and start getting some cover crop down. That’s a lot to tackle in a short window of time, esp. when we have all of our regular duties to attend to. We did get over half the onions into the greenhouses already.

curing onions

curing onions

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CSA Newsletter – Week 12 – August 31, 2016

by jennifer on August 31, 2016

farm crew 2016

2016 RISING RIVER FARM CREW

I finally got a crew picture, though not a complete one. I have been trying for over a month to get a good picture of everyone, but it seems like each day someone is on vacation, at market, at an appointment, or we are too crazy-busy to stop and pose. As my mother likes to quip, “it’s like herding cats.” Anyway, with 3 of our crew leaving this week, we had to just do it, although we are missing a key person-Jim! He was back east for a week visiting friends and family that he hadn’t seen in years. (That is partly why there was no newsletter last week!) I was so grateful for our awesome crew for picking up the slack so I didn’t go completely insane. A special shout out to Alex for keeping the irrigation flowing and Trine for helping to manage and orchestrate the crew.

This is the time of year when the crew starts to shrink. Like autumn leaves falling from the trees, a lot of our crew will drift off to new adventures: school, travel, other seasonal work, hibernation…. Three people will leave us by week’s end and 2 more will go in mid September. We will try to bang out a bunch of big projects before they go.

We are feeling mixed about the rain. On the one hand the plants, both wild and cultivated need it badly. The air smells fresher, and everything looks a little more alive and perky. The crew is happy to not be roasting to death out in the field. On the other hand, the onions and dry beans were all perfectly dry and ready to be hauled in to the barns and greenhouses for final curing. Now they are all wet. We don’t want to store them that way, so now it is a waiting game until the next dry stretch. We’ll get another one, right? It was odd packing the boxes today. It was cool, rainy and feeling like deep fall, but all of the veggies were height of summer fare. Strange to eat a watermelon on a cold day. All I could think about was soup-broccoli cheddar to be precise.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
potatoes-Yukon nugget
green beans
yellow wax beans
broccoli or green cabbage
watermelon-yellow flesh
red tomatoes
corn
storage onions
pickling cukes or lemon cukes
an assortment of summer squash
green bell pepper

VEGGIE DETAILS:
Potatoes:Yukon nuggets are super versatile. Bake ’em, mash ’em, fry ’em, roast ’em. I made pan fried potatoes last night with tons of garlic. So good.
Yellow Beans: They taste and behave like green beans. Use them together or separate.
Storage onions: They may be small, but they are potent. These babies will make your eyes water when you cut them. They are more of a cooking onion, unless you are needing a lot of personal space, then by all means eat them raw.
Watermelon: This variety is called Yellow Doll and has sweet, yellow flesh. We love this time of year when we can gorge on watermelon daily. We will have more for sale at the Olympia and Proctor Farmers Market if you need another fix.
Broccoli and cabbage: You’ll get one this week, and the other next week.

That’s all for this week. Happy eating!
Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Farm Crew.

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CSA Newsletter – Week 10 – August 17, 2016

by jennifer on August 17, 2016

week 10 2016
Today’s box is brimming with summer goodness. I hope you are hungry. Luckily most of what we gave you can be enjoyed raw or lightly cooked. It is supposed to get even hotter over the next few days and it might be hard to get excited about hanging out over the stove for too long. At most of our dinners we put out a cutting board with chopped up carrots, cucumber, sweet pepper, and kohlrabi. It is nice to have a raw, refreshing item at the table to balance all the cooked stuff.

Speaking of heat, we have been trying to get caught up on a bunch of work before Thursday and Friday roll around. It is supposed to be in the mid to upper 90’s. Yikes! Our crew usually works from 6:00-2:30 or 3:00, so we are able to retire to the shade or the river or whatever cools us. We bandied about the idea of starting at 5:30 so we could end early, but it is pretty dusky and hard to see at that time. Oh well. Wish us luck out there!

Hopefully the increase in heat will ripen that corn. It is soooo close! The tomatoes and peppers sure are responding. You all got some form of pepper and tomato.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
potatoes-Red Thumb
yellow onion-kinda sweet, kinda pungent
pickling cukes
slicer cuke or amiga cuke
lemon cuke
sungolds or red slicing tomatoes
lettuce
basil, parsley, or rosemary
an assortment of summer squash
red cabbage
green bell or sweet orange pepper
Italian or Japanese eggplant

VEGGIE DETAILS:
Pickling cukes: They are super tasty in their natural state, no need to pickle ’em if you don’t want to. They are a little sweeter than standard slicers and have more flavor. Occasionally they can be bitter, so do a little taste test before you commit them to that potluck dish! There is no need to peel any of the cucumbers we hand out.
Onions: These are called Zoey. They are not as sweet and watery as a Walla Walla, but won’t make you cry like a storage onion. Enjoy raw or cooked.
Red Cabbage: It’ll make a nice addition to salads, coleslaw, taco toppings, pad thai, etc.
Peppers: We grow several types of sweet peppers. You either got a classic green bell or a tapered orange one. Eventually we will have red tapered peppers and red, yellow, and orange mini bells.
Eggplant: You either got an Italian or a long, thin Japanese type. Eggplant has a subtle flavor but is an excellent sponge for sauces and herbs. Use either type in a curry, stir fry, or shish kabobs on the grill. Try this recipe for eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella rounds. Super fast and easy.
Summer Squash: Remember squash is really good raw. Add to salads, especially ones with marinades.
Rosemary: Ironically now that the tomatoes are coming on we have a gap in the cilantro. Rosemary will take its place in the herb rotation. If you don’t want to use your rosemary right away, hang it up in your kitchen to dry and enjoy it later.

CANNING AND FREEZING: We are still taking orders for pickling cukes, green beans, basil, tomatoes, and kraut cabbage. We can put you on the list and let you know when it is available.

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Stay cool and eat well!

Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Farm Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 9 – August 10, 2016

by jennifer on August 10, 2016

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WHAT’S IN THE BOX: Today’s box is brimming with summer goodness. It was challenging to close them!
carrots
beets or chard
red onions
garlic
an assortment of summer squash
lettuce
basil, cilantro, or parsley
potatoes-Cal white
green beans
kohlrabi
lemon cucumber
standard slicing or amiga cucumber
sungold cherry tomatoes or red slicing tomatoes

This season has been a funny one. I don’t recall ever vacillating between such extremes in weather. Usually we either get the cool, overcast, “non summer” or the insanely hot, no-rain-for-3-months kind of summer. This year we are all over the map. Most crops can roll with the changes pretty well, but some crops are not so resilient. The onions seem to be the worst affected. A disease called downy mildew has  become a problem in these parts. For the past few seasons we’ve had a touch of it near the end of the growing cycle. This year, thanks to week long stretches of warm but rainy weather, the downy mildew did a number on the onion crop. There is one variety that seems to be resistant, but all the others are looking a little rough. The mildew affects the greens, causing them to die back prematurely, thus hampering the bulb formation. Be prepared for a lot of smaller onions (like the ones you got in your box today.) Actually, small onions are kind of nice. I, for one, hate putting half an onion in the fridge to stink it up and make my half and half taste funny. Tomatoes are the other crop that is not enjoying the cooler temps. We planted the same amount as last year and are getting a fraction of the yield. There is a lot of fruit hanging there, it is just slow to ripen. Not all is doom and gloom, though. On my most recent perambulation around the field I saw that the corn is very very close and there is a veritable sea of broccoli that is almost ready. This is precisely why we are a diversified vegetable operation. Some things might not do well, but most will. We don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket. Jim and I were talking about how awful it would be if all we grew was onions!

HOW TO STORE YOUR EXCESS:

If veggies are piling up in your fridge, here are a few ideas on how to put them away for future use.
1. Summer Squash: grate and freeze in a freezer bag. That’s it. Easy-peasy. When you want to use it, just break off a chunk, thaw a little, crumble it up and add it to all sorts of savory dishes in the winter.
2. Potatoes: They will last a long time in your fridge in a plastic bag. Soon the potatoes we give out will have more durable skins, so you can put them in a paper bag in a cool place and they will keep for many, many weeks.
3. Green Beans: Blanch and freeze. Drop beans into boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. Imediately plunged beans into ice water until cool-about 5 minutes. Drain in a collendar, arrange a single layer on a cookie sheet with shallow sides and freeze for about an hour. Pour into freezer bags and freeze for later use in soups, curries, casseroles, etc.
4. Herbs: Dry in a low heat oven until crumbly.
5. Beets: Grate and freeze, as with squash.Or you can steam and puree and freeze into 1 cup units (muffin tins work well for this) for future chocolate beet cakes!
6. Make a soup, casserole, or quiche and freeze it. You’ll be so glad you did.

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Ingredients:
1 lb green beans
2 TBSP peanut or sesame oil
1 small shallot, minced
3 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 medium red chile like jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 TBSP soy sauce

Procedure:
1. Trim ends off beans and snap in half.
2. Bring pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and blanch until bright green, about 3 minutes. Shock in ice water and then drain in a colander.
3. Heat large wok over high heat. Add oil, then shallots, garlic, ginger, and chile. Stir a bit until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
4.Add green beans and stir thoroughly to coat the beans with oil. Saute for a few more minutes until the beans start to caramelize.
5. Add soy sauce, stir, and cook a few minutes more. Beans should still be a little crisp.

Notes:
1. Toasted sesame oil drizzled on at the end would be amazing.
2. Don’t have a shallot? Use more garlic.
3. Use more or less chile depending on your tolerance.

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CSA Newsletter – Week 8 – August 3, 2016

by jennifer on August 3, 2016

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
green beans
lemon cucumber
slicing cucumber (small shares)
Amiga cucumber (large shares)
lettuce
potatoes-Princess LaRatte
cilantro, basil, or parsley
green zucchini
Italian zucchini
patty pan or crookneck squash
sungold cherry tomatoes or red slicer tomatoes to the half of you who didn’t get them last week
sweet onion

There are a few new folks joining us this week for the Height of the Season share. Welcome! You may wish to read over previous newsletters for veggie identification and recipe suggestions.

The summer bounty is here. We have been trying out all sorts of green bean recipes over the past week. Jim found a real winner on the ol’ internet. It is a little spicy, but you can tone that down to taste. Sauteed Green Beans with Soy, Shallots, Ginger, Garlic and Chile

Further Box Elaboration:
Lemon Cucumbers: They are the yellow, round veg in your box. They taste like a standard cucumber with a hint of melon flavor. They are called “lemon” because of their round, yellow appearance. It is an old heirloom variety. No need to peel. Just slice and eat.
Princess LaRatte potato: Our potato seed order got all screwed up and we had to do a last minute order with someone else. Princess LaRatte replace our usual Russian Banana as a yellow fingerling. So far we are impressed with it. Apparently, it is the fancy of many chefs. So you can feel all high end and fancy yourself while preparing these lovelies. They are a good oven roasting potato.
Basil: We are finally able to add basil to the herb rotation. Try to use it up soon. Basil is very perishable.

My brain is a little addled this week. The pickling cucumber and green bean madness is on. Our first planting of pickling cukes (2400 linear feet) need to be picked, washed, sorted, and bagged every Mon, Wed, and Fri. It is quite a task; a true “all hands on deck” affair. I spend several hours a day orchestrating orders (on top of all my other farming duties) and today it is really catching up to me. My apologies for such a brief newsletter! We hope you enjoy your veggies!

Jen, Jim and the Rising River Farm Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 7 – July 27, 2016

by jennifer on July 27, 2016

CSA box Week 7WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
potatoes
beets or chard
slicing cucumber-large shares
Amiga cucumber-small shares (kinda like an English cucumber)
green beans
snow peas-large shares only
lettuce
dill, cilantro, or parsley
garlic
green zucchini
Italian zucchini
patty pan or crookneck squash
sungold cherry tomatoes or slicing tomatoes for half of you (the rest of you will get some next week.)

Whew, it is hot out there! What a yo-yo kind of summer. With the sun comes crazy abundance as is evidenced with the beans and squash. We have 2 succession plantings of both on right now, so the harvest totals are impressive (and a little intimidating!) It is our hope that the tomatoes will be the next crop to take off. As it is, we had enough for half of you today. The rest of you will get some next week.

CANNING AND FREEZING:
If you are inclined to can or freeze and produce for mid-winter enjoyment, visit our bulk crop page for pricing. I will let you know in the newsletters or in a separate email if/when we have extra of anything. Right now green beans and pickling cucumbers are the hot ticket. We can bring your order to your CSA pick up site or to any of the farmers market we sell to. If you are new to canning and freezing, cooperative extension has a lot of great resources and recipes.

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CSA Newsletter – Week 6 – July 20, 2016

by jennifer on July 20, 2016

week 6 2016

It looks as though the sun will be making a regular appearance for the next week or so, which is welcome news. I was not looking forward to one of our typical “non summers” especially since the spring was so hot and promising. Certain crops seem to be suspended in time in terms of ripening. We keep going out there only to find a handful of tomatoes. The pickling cucumbers are also just sitting there…. The plants are all looking lush and happy, but they just need a little more heat in order to ripen up.

The fields are buzzing with tons of bees and beneficial insects. Not only did we plant flowering buckwheat in all of our fallow and later planted ground, we also planted strips of leftover flower starts from our spring plant sales, throughout several of the fields. Sunflowers, zinnia, phacelia, cosmos, nigella, and marigolds provide beautiful and abundant habitat for all sorts of good bugs. It cheers us up too, to see such pretty flowers.

WHATS IN THE BOX:
carrots
beet or chard
fennel, kohlrabi, or shell peas
snow or snap peas
green beans
red potatoes
cabbage
summer squash
dill, cilantro, or parsley

RECIPE IDEAS:
CABBAGE: Use finely shredded cabbage as a topping for tacos/burritos instead of lettuce. Or try one of the recipes on our cabbage page.
GREEN BEANS: These beans are so sweet and tender. You should snack on some while you prepare dinner. Check out all the recipes on our bean page. I especially love the one with walnuts, balsamic, and honey.
RED POTATOES: reds make great fried potatoes or hash browns. They mash up well, too.

Here’s to lots of sun and heat and hopefully tomatoes soon!

Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Farm Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 5 – July 13, 2016

by jennifer on July 13, 2016

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WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
sweet onion
garlic
shell or snap pea
green zucchini
patty pan or yellow crookneck squash (large shares only)
lettuce
fennel or kohlrabi
potatoes-red thumb
dill, cilantro, or parsley

Weeding is the name of the game these days. The crew has been valiantly rescuing baby carrots from the carpet of unwanted vegetation that threatens to overtake them. The recent rains have allowed the weeds to sprout and thrive like nobody’s business. We were down several workers last week for various and sundry reasons, so we were treading water there for a bit. Now nearly all hands are back on deck and tomorrow promises to be another sunny day. I know what we’ll be doing….

You will notice a smaller amount of peas this week. Hopefully you are thinking “phew” instead of “awww”. The patch we were picking from is winding down and the new one is not quite ready. In my wanderings around the field I see that beans are almost ready. We hope to have enough for you all in a few weeks.

Everything in your box should be pretty familiar by now. The only thing to mention is the Red Thumb potatoes. I think you got them once already. They are a great roasting potato. A little olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary if you have it, perhaps some crushed garlic and you’ve got yourself a nice side dish (or main dish.) You can also use them for potato salad, shish-ka-bobs on the grill, or simply steamed.

As for fennel, hopefully your googling from a few weeks ago yielded a bunch of good ideas. One of our market customers said she loves to par boil the bulb, then braise it in the oven, smothered in olive oil, salt and pepper of course.

The lettuce is super lush and sweet this week. Be sure to whip up a nice salad with some of your fresh herbs.

Speaking of herbs, I found this awesome herb reference chart that offers suggestions of what veggies pair well with what herbs. Check it out.

I could go on and on about the weeds, but I’ll leave you to your dinner and me to mine.

Enjoy your veggies-
Jen, Jim and the Rising River Farm Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 4 – July 6, 2016

by jennifer on July 6, 2016

week 4 CSA 2016

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
potatoes – “caribe”
snow peas
shell peas
snap peas-small shares only
zucchini
scallions
lettuce
dill, parsley, or cilantro

I have been popping in and out of town for the past two weeks due to family gatherings, dropping kids off at summer adventures, and visiting friends, so I don’t have a lot of “farmy” news for you this week. Instead I will point out a few zucchini recipes. We are approaching the time of year where zucchini and other summer squash are prolific. Good thing they are versatile! We grow 4 different types so you will see them all eventually. The following is a list of suggestions and recipes for this incredibly useful vegetable:
1. Eat it raw. Most zucchini/summer squash is very mild in flavor: slightly sweet and slightly nutty. Dice it up and add it as a taco or burrito topping. Sprinkle on veggie pizza. Add chopped or grated squash to salads.
2. Grate or chop and add to stir fries, casseroles, soups, omelets, quiche, or just about any other savory dish you make. The flavor is subtle enough that it won’t alter the flavor of your dish, but it will add some nice texture, color, and nutrition.
3. Click on the zucchini link to see a whole list of recipes.
summer quash

Starting from the top: green zucchini, patty pan, crookneck, Italian zucchini

Enjoy your veggies!

Jen, Jim, & the Rising River Farm Crew

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