Farm News 7/15/15


Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This week we are delivering vegetables, fruit, eggs and dairy.
  • This is a pickup week for full and half share members.
This Week's Vegetable Share:
  • New Red Potatoes
  • Head Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Shallots
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Parsley
  • Garlic Bulb

This Week's Vegetable Share:

  • Sweet Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Red Raspberries
  • Early Golden Plums
This Week's Dairy Share:
  • Fresh Mozzarella from Crave Brothers Cheese
  • Monterey Jack from Brunkow Cheese
  • Garlic-Basil Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Plain Lowfat Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy

Notes from the Farm Kitchen: Making the Most of your Share  

By now most of you know that your Sandhill produce is grown in two locations--Grayslake, IL and Brodhead, WI. In the early part of the season, the crops that we grow at our Grayslake farm--salad greens, carrots, beets, and broccoli-- usually dominate the CSA box.  In contrast, late-summer CSA boxes tend to be heavy on crops from the Brodhead farm--tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, eggplant, etc. Here we are, smack dab in the middle of summer, and sure enough-- we've split the difference right down the middle! Carrots, kale, parsley and lettuce (top photo) were harvested Monday morning by the Grayslake crew while the Brodhead crew were busy harvesting potatoes, cucumbers, shallots, zucchini and garlic (bottom photo).

It hardly seems possible that we're harvesting potatoes already. Actually, we've been sneaking the occasional shovelful of miniature spuds for use in the farm kitchen since the middle of June, but none were really big enough to harvest for our members until this week. Of the seven different potato varieties we planted this spring, Red Norland is the earliest to mature, and your share this week contains close to three pounds of them. The term "new potato" refers to the fact that they were dug before the skins had a chance to cure or set. We didn't want to risk damaging the fragile skins by washing them at the farm, so your potatoes will arrive with a little sand still clinging to them. They'll keep best if you don't wash them until you're ready to use them. These new potatoes have awesome flavor so they don't require any fancy cooking--a little butter, a little salt and some fresh herbs is all you need for a real mid-summer feast.
Kale & Potato Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound new red potatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 cups chopped kale
1 handful dried cranberries, about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

for the dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
1 shallot, minced
 salt and pepper to taste
Cover potatoes with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer until they are fork tender but not too soft. Drain, pat dry and cut into fourths.

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until crispy and browned, about 12 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the kale, cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes until kale is starting to soften and wilt. Transfer to a large bowl and add dried cranberries and toasted nuts.
Make the dressing by adding all dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisking until combined. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.

The potato harvest will continue in small incremements for many weeks. The garlic crop, on the other hand, is harvested all at once, always by the middle of July. This year's crop is out of the ground and has been bundled and set in the greenhouse to dry. This week you'll receive a bulb of Purple Italian garlic in your share. We'll continue to distribute garlic every few weeks through the fall.

Zucchini Steaks with Argentine Chimichurri
Chimichurri is a brightly-flavored condiment from Argentina that is traditionally served as an accompaniment to grilled meats, but it works equally well in this vegetarian dish.

3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 medium zucchini (about 2 lbs)
1 chopped fresh parsley

Using a chefs knife, mince and mash garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt to make a paste. Transfer to a large bowl. For marinade, add the shallot, 1/4 cup of the oil, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to mashed garlic, whisk to combine. Halve zucchini lengthwise, then coat with marinade in bowl. Transfer zucchini to grill rack (do not wash bowl). Grill zucchini, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Transfer zucchini to a serving platter.

For chimichurri, in the marinade bowl stir together parsley, herbs, the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spoon chimichurri over zucchini.




Fresh mozzarella is a cheese that is traditionally made in Italy with buffalo milk, but here in Wisconsin it is made from cows milk. Because it has such a high moisture content it does not have a long shelf life. (Once the container has been opened, you should use it up within a week.) Shelf life isn't an issue in the farm kitchen as it seems to disappear almost as soon as it enters the kitchen! Here are a few recipes for inspiration.

Herb-Marinated Mozzarella
1 container (8oz) bocconcini mozzarella
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

Drain the mozzarella balls. Mix all ingredients well in a jar and refrigerate overnight. Move them around from time to time so the oil covers all pieces of cheese. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

Classic Margherita Pizza
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the baking sheets and for drizzling
flour, for the work surface
1 pound pizza dough, at room temperature
1 cup marinara sauce
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves

Heat oven to 450° F. Brush 2 large baking sheets with oil. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into 4 rounds. Place on the prepared baking sheets and brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
Dividing evenly, top the rounds with the marinara, mozzarella, Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Bake until the crust is crisp and golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Drizzle with oil and top with the basil.

Apricots are a special treat for local food fans because the season is so short. We are typically able to include them in the fruit share only once or twice per season, so enjoy them while they last! Like the plums, they will store best in the refrigerator.

Apricot Fool with Fresh Raspberries
6 apricots, halved and pitted
1/4 cup sugar
1tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1cup whipping cream
1 half pint fresh raspberries
Place the apricot halves in a food processor and blend to a puree. Transfer the puree to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low to medium heat. Add the sugar and the lemon juice and stir until the sugar dissolves and the puree thickens somewhat, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. In six small glasses, alternate layers of apricot puree, fresh raspberries and whipped cream. With a skewer or thin-bladed knife, gently swirl whipped cream and puree together at the top. Smooth tops, and serve immediately. 
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...bell peppers, tart cherries, cilantro, sweet corn, lettuce, cucumbers, leeks, carrots, blueberries, plums and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer