Farm News (9/1/15)

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Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This is a vegetable and fruit week for full-share members only.
  • Next week we will deliver vegetables, fruit, eggs, and dairy for full and half-share members.
  • There are still a few spots open for tomato u-pick today (Tuesday) andThursday from 3:30 to 7:00. Next week's u-pick dates are 9/8 and 9/10. Email jen@sandhillfamilyfarms.com to reserve your spot.
  • We will be delivering 20-lb cases of tomatoes to CSA pickup sites through the week of September 14th. Order deadline is Friday for delivery the following week. Please email tomato orders to jen@sandhillfamilyfarms.com and let her know when you would like to pick up your order. Here's a recap of the pricing:
    • Beefsteaks:  $38
    • Paste (Romas): $38
    • Heirlooms: $48
    • Mix of Beefsteak and Paste: $38
    • Mix of  Beefsteak and Heirloom: $43
    • Mix of Paste and Heirloom: $43

This Week's Vegetable Share (full share only):

  • Yellow Potatoes
  • Beefsteak & Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Green beans
  • Red cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Watermelon or Cantaloupe
  • Sweet Onions
  • Eggplant (for Wednesday members)
  • Red & Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Poblano Peppers (These hot peppers are in a bag to keep them separate from your sweet peppers.)


This is the time of year Farmer Matt jokingly refers to as "the season of crippling abundance". Although we plan all winter for it and then work all summer to make it happen, the astounding volume of produce flowing from the fields this time of year always seems to take us a little bit by surprise. There's so much to harvest that we sometimes struggle to find time and space for it all. At the Brodhead farm tomatoes and peppers are coming in by the wagonload. In the photo above Matt and Avery have just wrapped up a long day of harvesting for our Tuesdaymembers.
 


At the Grayslake farm Jeff and the crew are harvesting cabbage and broccoli into large pallet bins. The recent rainfall gave these two thirsty crops just what they needed as they finished up their growing cycle. The general scene of abundance coupled with the rainbow of brilliant colors can make even a veteran farmer stand back and pause to admire nature's beauty. We hope you are as happy with this week's share as we are!

This Week's Fruit Share (full share only):

  • Nectarines
  • Golden Delicious Apples
  • Red Seedless Grapes


Unlike peaches, nectarine season in the Midwest is pretty short. Short (as in about 2 weeks) but sweet! To get maximum flavor out of your nectarines, let them sit on the counter until they are perfectly ripe. They can then be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. Nectarines and other stone fruits are perfect for use in baked goods and other desserts. The key is to keep it simple. Scroll down to the recipe section for a perfect example of what we mean.

In the Farm Kitchen: Making the Most of your Share

As far as hot peppers are concerned, poblanos are somewhere in the middle 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-inspired dishes from rice dishes to soups to salsa.
 


 

In order to roast them you will need to either (a) put them under the broiler, (b) use a skewer to hold them over an open flame on your stovetop or (c) stick them in a very hot toaster oven. You should roast them until the skin starts to bubble and 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. Enjoy!

This Week's Featured Recipes

Baked Nectarines with Pistachios
6 tablespoons shelled pistachios
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 nectarines, halved and pitted
1/2 lemon
whipped cream or sweetened creme fraiche for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop 4 tablespoons pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter, sugar, and salt. Process until combined.

Place nectarines, cut side up, on a baking sheet, and squeeze lemon over top. Place a generous tablespoon of pistachio mixture on each nectarine half. Chop remaining 2 tablespoons pistachios, and sprinkle on top. Bake until fruit is tender and topping is crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. If desired, spoon  over nectarines and serve.

Poblano Pico de Gallo
2 medium tomatoes, small dice
1/2 medium onion, small dice
1/2 to 1 poblano pepper, minced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Poblano Potato Gratin
3 roasted poblano chiles, cut lengthwise into thin strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pounds yellow potatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in chiles and salt and remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 3-quart shallow baking dish.

Peel potatoes, then cut crosswise into very thin slices. Transfer to a small heavy pot. Add cream, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally (liquid will thicken). Stir in onion and poblano mixture, then pour mixture evenly into baking dish. Bake until potatoes are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Red Cabbage & Apple Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups thinly sliced apple
4 cups packed shredded red cabbage

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup golden raisins, plumped in hot water
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

Whisk together first 7 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. Toss apple slices with lemon juice to keep from browning. Combine cabbage, apples, raisins, and half the sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. Garnish servings with remaining seeds.
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Next week's harvest (our best guess)...broccoli, peaches, grapes, tomatoes, shallots, beans, green peppers, potatoes, sage, garlic, sweet corn and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer