Farm News (09/02/14)


Reminders & Announcements

  • This week we are delivering vegetables and fruit.
  • Next week we will deliver vegetables, fruit, dairy, & eggs.
  • The final week for summer shares is the week of October 6th.
  • Scroll down to read about early bird discounts for 2015 shares.
This Week’s Vegetable Share
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Cipollini Onions
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Corn (grown by Didier Farms, Lincolnshire, IL)
  • Poblano Chile Peppers
  • Sweet Red or Orange Peppers

This Week's Fruit Share

  • Red Grapes
  • Green Grapes
  • Coral Star Peaches
  • Mt. Royal Plums
This week's red grape is a seedless variety called 'Canadice'. 

Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Ginger has got to be one of the most interesting and unusual plants we've ever grown. Despite the fact that it is a tropical plant, it can be cultivated in the Midwest if it's grown in the protected environment of a hoophouse or high tunnel. In January we ordered seed pieces from a farm in Hawaii. In April we planted the pieces into plastic crates filled with 6 inches of potting soil. The crates stayed warm in the greenhouse until early summer, by which time each piece of ginger had produced a beautiful, 10-inch-tall leafy stalk. At that point, we transferred them from the plastic crates into beds in one of our hoophouses. Throughout the summer we kept the plants weeded, well-watered, and hilled with compost to protect the emerging knuckles of ginger. 

Our preferred method for storing ginger is to keep it in a paper bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. If you won't use all of it in the next two weeks, we encourage you to freeze it in a zip-lock bag. When you are ready to cook with it, you can use a microplane to grate the desired quantity of frozen ginger.

Crew members at the Grayslake farm proudly display freshly-dug ginger.

While the modest size of our Illinois-grown ginger isn't as impressive as the ginger grown in more tropical locations, the flavor is truly outstanding. 

As far as hot peppers go, poblanos are on the mild to medium end of the heat index scale. This week's poblanos are between 3 and 5 inches long and are dark green and glossy. Roasting poblano peppers before using them improves their flavor and allows you to remove their waxy skin. Once you've roasted them you can put them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for months. Poblanos can be used in many different Mexican- and Asian-inspired dishes from rice dishes to casseroles to soups. To roast them you can either (a) put them under the broiler, (b) use a skewer to hold them over an open flame on your stove top, or (c) stick them in a very hot toaster oven. You should roast them until the skin starts to bubble and the bubbles start to blacken. Once this starts to happen, flip them over and do the same to the other side. Allow them to cool before pulling the skin off with your fingers. (You might want to wear gloves.) Finally, make a slit in each one and remove the seeds.

Early Bird Registration for 2015 Shares

We've received a number of inquiries recently from CSA members asking about early bird registration for 2015. Here's the quick scoop. While we have yet to confirm exact locations for next year's pickup sites, our 2015 CSA program will be very similar to this year. Information and pricing for next year has been updated on our website and registration is open. As was the case for 2014, renewing members will be able to save either five or ten percent on 2015 shares, depending on when you register.

  • Save 10%   The 10% early bird discount applies to the first 50 renewing members who register for a 3-Season Vegetable Share or Fruit Share. Please use discount code earlybird at checkout. 
  • Save 5%   The 5% discount is available to all renewing members and can be applied to all 3-Season Vegetable Shares and Fruit Shares purchased between October 1st and November 15thPlease use discount code renewat checkout. Registration will be open to new members after November 15th.

This Week’s Featured Recipes


Sweet Corn & Poblano Chowder

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, peeled, and minced or pressed
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
7 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob, divided in half
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock, divided
2 fresh poblano chiles, cored, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and ribbed, minced
3 cups, ½-inch cubed, potatoes
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups half and half
2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste

In a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until onions are softened but not browned, about 15 minutes.  

While the onions are cooking, place 4 cups of the corn kernels and 2 cups vegetable stock in a blender. Liquefy on high speed. Add another 1 cup of vegetable stock. Continue blending until the corn mixture looks smooth. Set aside.
When the onions are soft, sprinkle flour over them and cook, stirring constantly, for several minutes. Slowly add the remaining 2 cups vegetable stock, whisking constantly to keep flour lumps from forming. When the stock is fully incorporated and the soup base is free of lumps, add the corn puree and bring to a full simmer. Simmer slowly for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Stir in the cream.

Add the poblano chiles, potatoes and carrots; simmer until the vegetables are fully cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grilled Corn, Peach & Poblano Salad
from The Washington Post, August 19, 2009

4 ears grilled corn, husks removed, grilled kernels cut from the ears (about 3 cups; see NOTES)

2 small grilled poblano chili peppers, grilled, skinned, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice (3/4 cup; see NOTES
2 large ripe peaches, peeled and cut into kernel-size pieces (1 1/2 cups; see NOTES)
1 small onion, minced
2 teaspoons honey, or more to taste

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the corn, poblano chili pepper(s), peaches, onion, honey, cider vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTES: To grill the corn, discard the husks and silk. Rinse and wrap each damp ear of corn in aluminum foil. Cook for 20 to 35 minutes on a hot covered grill, turning the ears every 7 to 8 minutes, until the kernels are tender and start to brown.

Grill the poblanos directly over the flame on the grill, turning to evenly char all sides. Remove from the grill and cover with plastic wrap or place inside a food-safe plastic bag for 10 minutes. Remove, peel away the charred skin, core and seed.

To remove the skin from the peaches, place each piece of fruit in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen the skin. Peel when cool enough to handle.

Curried Ginger Carrots

2 tablespoons ghee or extra virgin olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup water or vegetable/chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste
1 pound carrots, cut into matchsticks 
Sea salt and ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt ghee (or heat olive oil) and sauté onion, pepper, garlic and ginger over medium heat, until softened, about 8 minutes. As it cooks, reduce heat so you don't overbrown or burn garlic and ginger. Add water, lemon juice and curry and stir to blend. Add carrots and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir-Fried Beet Greens with Ginger & Chiles
adapted from a recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's 'World Vegetarian'

3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 fresh poblano chile , cut into long fine slivers
3 slices fresh ginger, cut into long fine slivers
1 pound beet greens, cut crosswise into fine ribbons
1/3 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the poblano and ginger. Cook 1 minute and then add beet greens and 4 tablespoons of water. Stir a few times and then cover the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, stirring occastionally, for 15 minutes.

Next week's harvest (our best guess)... pears, nectarines, apples, napa cabbage, spinach, shallots, tomatoes, oregano, sweet peppers, leeks, eggplant, potatoes, radishes and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer