Spring Week 1 was awesome!

I was supposed to share last week’s newsletter with you all last week. Don’t know what happened, but sharing the newsletter did not happen. So here goes:

Down on the Farm Notes

Welcome to the Summer CSA Basket! Remember, you can still sign up for a Summer Fruit basket supplied by Kelley Orchards, delivered to you for 10 weeks from their family farm in Idaho.What will you find in the basket this week?  Organic Summer Squash, Organic Cucumbers, Organic Carrots, Organic Braising Mix. Organic Chard, Organic Garlic, Organic Purple Ruffle Basil, Organic Kale, Organic Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, Organic Arugula, Organic Sun Jewel Melon, Organic Shallots, and Organic Mustard.

Produce Tips

The Sun Jewel is a yellow striped Asian melon much like honeydew; don’t mix it up with a summer squash. They can be crunchy so don’t let that make you feel you have made a mistake cutting into it!  They have a mild sweetness compared to a watermelon that tends to be very sweet.  They have a cream colored flesh and have a unique flavor similar to honeydew. Great de-seeded and sliced up for a refreshing snack.  So enjoy your first melons of the season!

Summer Squash are fleshy vegetables protected by a hard rind. The skin and rind of summer squash are rich in the nutrient beta-carotene, but the fleshy portion of this vegetable is not. To gain the full nutritional benefits of this vegetable, the skins or rinds must be eaten. There are several types of summer squash, but zucchini is the most popular summer squash. The different varieties of squash can be used interchangeable in most recipes, because most squash are similar in texture and flavor. Place summer squash in plastic bags and store in the refrigerator. If using within a day or two, they may be kept on a cook counter. Fresh summer squash should keep for up to a week.

As with any tomatoes, store cherry tomatoes at room temperature, or in the refrigerator when fully ripe. For a delightful hors d’oeuvre, combine chopped cherry tomatoes with fresh tarragon and slivers of Parmesan cheese; spoon atop thick rectangles of country bread and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Use them as the base for a sauce, or to toss with your favorite pasta. For a pretty golden salsa, combine cherry tomatoes with minced green jalapeño peppers and cilantro leaves. Roasted Cherry Tomatoes can be used in place of the sun-dried tomato in almost any recipe. Mound onto a wedge of crusty bread, top with mozzarella and broil to melted sandwich perfection. Toss them with crumbled feta and serve over fresh greens for a light lunch. Add to pizza toppings. Toss with hot pasta and chopped fresh herbs for a simple, yet elegant meal.

Mustard, known for enhancing the flavor of many meat products, is quite a popular condiment. It blends well with snacks like hamburgers and hotdogs, and formal entrees like steaks and salads. Given its ability to turn simple dishes into tasty delights, mustard is one of the most common items found in the cupboard. Mustard has a myriad of alternative uses, most of them health related. Its medicinal value may not be as potent as a prescription drug, but it sure comes in handy during emergency situations. Mustard, aside from its therapeutic uses, can also function as a makeshift cosmetic product and an odor remover. Here are 12 of the most surprising uses for mustard. http://lifehackery.com/2009/01/06/12-of-the-most-surprising-uses-for-mustard/

Country Kitchen Recipes

Zucchini Boats

2 medium zucchini
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped onion or 2 shallots (diced)
Vegetable cooking spray
1 cup corn bread stuffing mix
3 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

Halve zucchini lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving ¼-inch thick shells. Discard pulp. Place zucchini halves, cut side down, in a large skillet. Add ½ cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain zucchini on paper towels. Meanwhile prepare stuffing. Lightly spray a medium saucepan with vegetable spray. Add carrot and onion and cook over medium heat until onion is tender. Stir in stuffing mix and water. Next, spoon stuffing into prepared zucchini. Sprinkle cheese on top of the stuffing in each zucchini then place them in a shallow baking dish. Bake in a 350° oven for about 20 minutes or until zucchini are tender and stuffing is heated through.

Kale and Potato Tarragon Salad 

2 lbs potatoes, boiled, cubed and keep warm in a bowl
7 tablespoons olive oil
green onions or 1 dried onion diced  or 3-4 shallots (chop up like the green onions)
1 bunch kale, washed well, remove stems, chop into bite size pieces
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh minced tarragon 

Sauté onions in 1 tablespoon oil, add kale and garlic till tender, about 5 minutes. Mix vinegar, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon tarragon and rest of oil salt and pepper to taste. Add kale mix to potatoes, add dressing, be sure to do while hot. Add more tarragon it needed. Serve warm.

Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

1 pint of Cherry Tomatoes

4-5 cloves of garlic

Several sprigs of Thyme or Basil

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Olive oil

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half end-to-end, and place cut side up on a pan. Optional: Slice 4-5 cloves of garlic, and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Strip several sprigs of fresh thyme or basil, and sprinkle the leaves over the tomatoes. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil liberally over all of the tomatoes. Place in the oven at 200°F for 6-8 hours; the tomatoes will collapse, but not completely dry out. Cool and serve with crackers and soft cheese or package to preserve.

Freezing: Pack tomatoes into a freezable container, and pour the oil from the pan over the top. Cover with more olive oil if needed, label and freeze for up to 6 months.

Fridge: Transfer tomatoes to a jar and cover with olive oil. Cover jar with lid and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

We hope all of our customers enjoyed their first week of summer produce. As the summer rolls on, we will have such a great variety. WOW.

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