Welcome to week 8! There is nothing better than the sensation of picking fresh carrots... except maybe the smell! Here's a video I made all about harvesting carrots and carrot storage.
Let's talk about the word "organic" for a second. This is a tough topic to talk about, because there's a lot of misinformation surrounding it. When people hear that we are not certified organic, they're often immediately turned off. But here's the thing: did you know that certified organic farms are absolutely allowed to use pesticides on their crops? This means that they can spray insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides on their crops so long as they are approved by the USDA for organic use. Sometimes organic pesticides are even needed more frequently (like copper, for example) because they're less effective.
I think people often have visions of us dousing heavy amounts of chemicals on our crops when we say that we are not certified organic, but that's not the case. Sometimes we need to use chemicals once a month, sometimes more frequently if we have a bad infestation (we think of this like a dose of medication), and sometimes literally never. Sometimes we even use certified organic chemicals if it's the best remedy in a given situation. Now, I'm not saying that all farms that are certified organic are "bad," but what I am trying to say is that education and transparency are important no matter what the food source is. The key to operating our farm has always been educating ourselves on preventative measures, educating ourselves on using the least potent dose of chemicals, and educating consumers on what it means to be certified organic. Transparency is always important to us, too. That's what this segment is about.
And whatever you choose to buy, be careful of big box stores that list their products as organic at a very low cost. A hint would be to look at the country of origin. "Organic" is a government regulated term, which means that you need to pay money to label your farm as such. Some farmers truly use no chemicals but can't legally use that word - other farms use organic certified chemicals in excess but pay for the ability to use that word. And in other countries, that word may literally mean absolutely nothing when shipped here and sold in our stores because it's not regulated in some places of the world.
Phew! It's a lot to think about, but our hope is to always earn your trust. You buying your food locally and getting to know us means a lot to us, and we hope that you feel the benefits of it, too.
Please don't forget to bring your reusable bags. The CT Bag Tax is back, and unfortunately we need to start charging $0.10 per plastic bag used.
How good do Susan G's microgreens look?! And Sue B. is ready to plant a second round of her own! Dave N. just ordered his first microgreens kit. If you want to join in, we still have some kits for sale: https://www.laurelglenfarm.com/diy-microgreens-kit
It’s always sad when the snap peas are gone, but late last week Randy and Ethan planted more squash, zucchini, and cucumbers in their place to keep our crop coming for months. Succession planting is so important to help us meet demands, extend our season, and preserve soil health. There will be 2 more plantings this year if you can believe it! We have summer squash until the first frost.
Monster garlic! We harvest a little bit every day. If you harvest it all at once, you have to clean the mud off all at once - an impossible task for us right now with thousands and thousands of heads and many other tasks to do.
The tomato fields are looking good! Grape tomatoes are coming along sooner. For reference, we usually start harvesting tomatoes around week 10, so we're not behind - they're truly a later July crop. There will be a few for sale in the store here and there as they come in, and then you'll get tons in the months to come - we promise!
Randy's dad Ed worked on leveling out part of our barn and rebuilding some onion tables. Soon we'll be harvesting all of our onions to get them in the process of drying for the fall. Ed was too shy to pose for the picture, so Randy stepped in.
Amanda and I were back in action at the Monroe Farmer's Market last Friday from 3 to 6. It's in a new location this year because of COVID-19 (Fireman's Field), but we're hoping to build some momentum there.
If you want to visit us at markets, here's our line-up: Trumbull Farmers' Market - Thursdays from 4 to 7
Monroe Farmers' Market - Fridays from 3 to 6 (Online pre-orders from 5-6 too)
Shelton Farmers' Market - Saturdays from 9 to 12
Stratfield Saturday Market in Clinton Park (Bridgeport) - Saturdays from 9:30 to 1:30
Spotlight on Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi may look like an alien life form, but it is actually a delicious member of the cabbage family. Kohlrabi in German means “cabbage turnip” and the vegetable is popular in Eastern European countries. Some say it tastes like a radish without the spiciness, an apple, or a turnip-y potato. If you like broccoli, especially the stem, you are bound to like kohlrabi, too. We have grown both green and purple varieties at Laurel Glen Farm. Kohlrabi is high in vitamin C, fiber, B vitamins, and potassium. You can eat the root and leaves. When you cook with kohlrabi, peel the outer skin, as you would a potato. Snap the leaves off of the bulb and store them separately to ensure that they both stay fresh for as long as possible. For recipe ideas, try making kohlrabi chips, slaw, home fries, or a soup. Or simply enjoy raw, dipped in hummus. We love it on white pizza - dice it, then sauté it in olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper, top it on pizza, and cover with cheese. It ends up being really sweet!
A Message from Randy:
Contents (In approximate order from shortest shelf life to longest):
1 lb. of cucumbers
1 lb. of yellow squash
1 head of cabbage
1 bunch of onions
1 bunch of carrots
1 lb. of beets
2 lbs. of cucumbers
2 lbs. of yellow squash
1 head of cabbage
1 bunch of onions
1 bunch of carrots
1 lb. of beets
1/2 lb. bag of salad mix
Caring For Your Share:
Remove the greens from the beets, carrots, and kohlrabi ASAP (yes, you can use them!) and store both in a Ziploc bag separately so they don't get soft.
Store the onions, zucchini and cucumbers in the fridge as is. Wash when ready to use. Use the greens from the onions within a few days to ensure freshness.
Store the head of cabbage in the fridge (leave the outer leaves on to prevent the inner leaves from wilting). Remove outer leaves from the head when ready to wash and use.
Store the salad mix in the fridge in the bag. Don't compress it, if possible. Wash and spin out when ready to use.
LGF Cooking Club:
At the very least, save those carrot tops in a freezer bag for soup. But there are quite a few things you can make with them, too. Thank you so much, Sue M., for sharing your carrot top pesto idea with me! Sue writes: Found something yummy to do with the carrot tops. Recipe below. We roasted veggies and made bowls with rice, veggies and the pesto. You could also add a little pasta water to thin it and mix into pasta. You can find the original recipe here.
Dawn made these last week, and they're so good on sandwiches. If you've been a member for years, you know that Dawn's mom (Grammie) first brought this recipe to our attention. So-Sweet Squash Pickles Recipe. (By the way, Grammie is doing great and misses you all!) https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/so-sweet-squash-pickles/
Kohlrabi and Cabbage Slaw: http://dishingupthedirt.com/recipes/kohlrabi-cabbage-slaw-tahini-lemon-dressing/ Or, try a Crunchy Beet and Kohlrabi Salad: https://theforkedspoon.com/refreshing-kohlrabi-beetroot-and-apple-salad-with-feta-and-lime/
If anyone's feeling ambitious, you can make Beer-Battered Onion Rings: https://www.justataste.com/homemade-beer-battered-onion-rings-recipe/ Or, simplify, and make it a Bloomin' Onion: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/almost-famous-bloomin-onion-recipe-2012467 We've been making lots of flatbreads in our Facebook group this season. Here's one for goat cheese and summer squash: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/goat-cheese-and-summer-squash-tart-recipe/
I've been saving this recipe for weeks, waiting until we had both cucumbers and carrots in the share for everyone. This was a hit in our Facebook group! Thanks, Laurie M., for taking the time to share it, adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction. Fresh Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Summer rolls (also known as Vietnamese spring rolls, salad rolls, or rice paper rolls) are basically the uncooked version or flash-fried spring rolls or fried egg rolls. They’re fresh, loaded with vegetables, sometimes even shrimp!
First and most important part is to have everything sliced and ready to go before you begin assembling!! You can use a variety of veggies but being sure to use ones that add a lot of crunch. Like carrots, cucumbers, peppers, or all of the above. Also, you can use herbs like mint, basil, or cilantro, all based on the flavors you enjoy! The variations are countless!. These are the main things I always use in my summer rolls: cucumber, carrots, red pepper, chopped purple cabbage, lettuce
Veggies like cucumber, carrot, and peppers, summer turnips cabbagge should be thinly sliced/julienned. If adding shrimp cut in half too, which makes them nice and thin for the delicate roll.
The ingredients listed below are what I typically use. You can leave out any ingredients you don’t like and add in ingredients you do.
Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger*
1 teaspoon brown sugar 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
* I use ginger in tube ready to use, I don't always have fresh on hand
rice paper wrappers
red pepper, julienned
red cabbage, sliced thin
avocado, sliced thin
green lettuce leaves (I like romaine for the crunch but use what ever you prefer/enjoy or have on hand!)
Additional ideas: based on individual taste/season and availability
shrimp, peeled and sliced in half length-wise
spinach leaves (small ones or chiffonade)
herbs such as cilantro, basil or mint
optional for garnish: toasted sesame seeds
Prepare the dipping sauce: You can whisk everything together until smooth or use a food processor or handheld emulsion blender. Add everything to a medium bowl (except water) and whisk until smooth. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of warm water or until you reach desired thinness. Pour into container, set aside.
Prepare your rice paper wrappers: Pour warm water into a flat pan. I use a cookie sheet. Take one at a time, dip the rice paper wrapper into the warm water for 15-20 seconds (or filliw package directions). You want the wrapper to be soft, but slightly firm and pliable. Immediately remove from the water and place flat onto a work surface such as a large plastic cutting board. Not wood, seems to stick more on wood surfaces. Pat the wrapper slightly dry.
Filling your rolls: Place a few sticks of carrot, cucumber, red pepper, plus any additional veggies and a sprinkle of cabbage on top of the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper. Then, a slice or two of avocado and a bit of herbs if you choose.. Lay 1/2 of a lettuce leaf on top (if using shrimp this is when you add) and 4 slices of shrimp on top. Remember, do not overstuff the roll. Start small then add more, as needed, as you roll each one.
Roll them: Roll everything up tightly. Gently pull up the bottom of the roll and roll over the filling. You want to make the roll as tight as you can without tearing the wrap. Fold in each side of the rice paper to keep veggies in! (kind of like how an egg roll looks or a burrito or even stuffed cabbage!) As you're rolling- use your hands to tuck the filling in as you go. Remembering that you're trying to achieve a somewhat tight roll!
You’ll get the hang of it after a couple rolls. Just practice, the first ones may look funny but they still taste delicious!
After rolling each one, place on a plate. Cut in half, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with peanut sauce. Enjoy!
Wrap rolls individually in plastic wrap or layer in a tupperware between sheets of parchment or wax paper. Store up to 2-days. In terms of freshness and taste, honestly they are so easy to make that the rolls are best made and served the same day! Sauce can be stored in refrigerator for a couple days.
Nut Allergy - Use any Asian sauce you prefer such as Soy sauce or Hoisin Sauce.
Cooking Tip(s) of the Week:
How to Clean Radicchio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrbiSfiLbq8 How to Grate Zucchini Without a Food Processor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dyr4zp0-IIM Large share recipients are receiving basil this week, but did you know there are different methods for storing herbs depending on the type? Read about it here: https://lexiscleankitchen.com/how-to-store-fresh-herbs/
Biweekly Catchup Time (Thank you for the idea, Randy!): I did a really fun tour of our Booth Hill property last week. Seeing our Waverly Rd. property is less than half of the story. It houses our tractors, greenhouse, store and our own home, but we only grow 6 out of 20 acres of vegetables there. "Booth Hill," as we call it, is a hidden gem, and we wanted you all to see the magic there too.
All-Star Member Whitney has been with us for years, and graciously accepted our request to film herself unbagging her share last week. I thought that it would be beneficial to hear her talk through her storage tips and first impressions. Every week I've been filming myself, but I don't have the same perspective that you all do, as members. Thank you, Whitney!
There is no garlic in the shares this week, but I wanted to share this video of Amanda & Frannie cleaning up our first garlic harvest. This will give you a little bit more information about how we grow and store it, as well as how to select the best heads of garlic. There will probably be garlic in your shares later in the summer as it dries out, but we mostly save it for the fall shares.
We're having a sale on pickling cucumbers! This will probably be an on-going discounted price opportunity, but it will have to be on a pre-order basis so we can regulate inventory. $25 for 25 lbs. will yield approximately 25 quarts. This is the link to order and below that is the link to my July 13th blog post that goes more in-depth into pickling, recipes, etc.
Blog: https://www.laurelglenfarm.com/post/it-s-time-to-make-pickles P.S. Delivery members - we can deliver them to you in a box if you're interested. Just send us an email after you place your order.