Thanks so much to all of you who came out to see us at the Overture Center Farm To Fork celebration last night. It was a wonderful event, made even more so by your supportive presence in that big group of people! As I said in my talk: “It takes a community to raise a farm,” and you are the community that keeps this particular farm on the land. Thanks for making Lafayette County, greater Madison and Wisconsin a good place to grow food. We’ll endeavor to keep doing our best, with your help. We can’t imagine anything we’d rather do.
But this week I will be enjoying a few days off of the farm as I go to Washington, DC, to lobby for rural issues with the National Farmers Union. Legislators are very open to making appointments with constituents this time of year, as November elections approach, and we are taking advantage of that by sending teams of state Farmers Unions from all over the country to converge at the capitol this week. Got lots of appointments, lots of time for training, some opportunities to network and a little bit of sight-seeing, too. Looking forward to learning and lobbying!
This week’s box is HEAVY, so please be sure to carry it from the bottom. It’s peak week for tomatoes and eggplant, as well the beginning of string beans. Here’s what’s in the box:
Aronia Berries – This special treat comes to you from our neighbors and friends at Barham Gardens. Several years ago, Kim and Roberta Barham learned about this native berry bush that packs a huge anti-oxidant punch and they decided to plant some couple thousand of them. Now they are in the middle of a huge harvest and they’ve graciously shared with us, and you! Don’t expect to eat these berries raw – they are astringent and need some sugar to make them palatable – like rhubarb. But wow – in baked goods and juiced they are amazing! We’ve enclosed a brochure with info and recipes. The samples Barham Gardens brought to the Overture Center last night were amazing! Especially the raw aronia ginger bars. Like their facebook page, and get more recipes there!
Basil – Grew slow this week, so maybe not so much pesto for dinner this time! Try just slivering and use in a basil/tomato salad with feta or fresh mozzarella and olive oil drizzled with balsamic.
Cilantro – Very generous bags this week! Think salsa, curry and fish tacos! Here’s a great link for using it all up: http://food52.com/blog/7732-one-bunch-of-cilantro-6-summer-dinners.
Tomatoes – Lots of gorgeous cherries and heirlooms this week. PEAK WEEK! It’s a good week to make some salsa or sauce.
Head Lettuce – Every box should have a green and a red. Such a treat to have crisp sweet lettuce on these hot days.
String Beans - First harvest this week! We should get you lots of beans in the next box, too, as we’ve still got yellow and purple ripening on the bushes now.
Broccoli – These tremendous heads are tasty and sweet. We like both florets and stems cut into 1-inch pieces and steamed. Dress with a little tamari, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Delicious!
Garlic Chive Blossoms – The spicy florets from Chinese Leeks, otherwise known as Garlic Chives, are gorgeous atop a dip or omelette and taste great, too.
Summer Squash – Tapering off – lots of bugs in the field means these are growing back slower. But they’ve had a good run and we are grateful for all we’ve gotten for the past month.
Arugula – We just love this for breakfast, lightly wilted under poached eggs. But it’s great sautéed with olive oil and mixed with pasta, great added to a squash bake, wonderful as a bed under grilled meats. Enjoy!
Eggplant –Enjoy sliced and sautéed in an omelette, or enjoy by itself sautéed with Asian or Italian flavors. Both cultures LOVE eggplant, as do African and Indian cuisines. We like eggplant in everything this time of year, and we especially love babaganoush spread. See our Pinterest page for some good recipes.
Herbs: Parcel and Summer Savory – Shorties have these in little bags of their own, the Full Shares have big bags that also include cilantro. The Parcel is a celery/parsley cross we are experimenting with this year. We find it is a bit bitter and strong on this first picking, so go light and use it for cooking , not raw. The Summer Savory looks like a long version of thyme, and you can use it the same way, though it is slightly more spicy. Great in sausage, wonderful with tomatos and zucchini.
Onions – A few more for your salsa and sauce projects this week.
Garlic - You need this in everything right now!