CSA Week 4

In your share week 4:

New potatoes: Austrian Crescent Fingerlings
Carrots
Sugar Snap Peas
Baby Bibb Lettuce
Baby Bok Choy
Basil
Zucchini
Onion
Tuscan Kale

Full shares only:

Cabbage
Cucumber

Harvests are getting bigger and so are your shares!  Today we have new potatoes for everyone, the first of our fingerlings.  Fingerlings are named for their shape, but they can get quite large.  They are buttery and delicious, especially when they are fresh like this.  Remember, new potatoes should be stored in the fridge in a crisper drawer or plastic bag!  Potatoes are actually quite nutritious, especially new potatoes.  New potatoes are still actively growing at harvest, so they are higher in protein and lower in starch than the cured ones later in the season.  They are only here for a short while, so enjoy them while we have them.  I find fingerlings to be pretty all purpose potatoes, I mostly roast or boil them, but they are good mashed or on the grill as well.

I’m happy to have the first onions today too: they’re not fully sized up yet but they’re ready to go.  These are the first crop we sow, I started the seeds on heat mats in the greenhouse back in January.  They take their time growing but they are one of my favorite crops to work with.  I like to harvest them when they are still young and green, you don’t usually see them fresh like this in stores.  As the season progresses, the greens will die back and the outer layers of the onion will dry down and turn papery for storage.  But at this stage, you can eat them whole: I use the stem and leaves as well as the bulb.  These are our standard yellow onion variety, they have a really nice flavor when they are fresh and can be used in any recipe calling for an onion.  They should be stored in a bag in the fridge.

Our zucchini are finally taking off as well, we’re not into full harvests yet but we have enough for everyone to get a some today.  The cooler, rainy days last week slowed down all the fruiting crops and flowers, but this sun is kicking them into action.  Our zucchini are sweet and tender, great for grilling, pastas, zoodles, or however you like yours prepared.  There will be plenty more where these came from!

The peas are hitting their peak, both in yield and in flavor.  They are fat and sweet and oh so delicious, full shares get double today.  I usually just eat mine whole for a snack, but the other night I chopped up fresh peas and a lot of basil and added it to a simple white sauce, served over pasta.  I’ll include a recipe below.

Another of my favorites is the baby bibb lettuce (a couple of you got heads of romaine instead).  These are like a baby romaine, and they are my preferred salad in the summer.  The ribs are crunchy and juicy and the leaves are sweet, I usually chop up the whole head and add some cheese and an apple or blueberries, then dress it with a garlic herb dressing or lemon and olive oil.  Baby bok choy is loose today, you can use it for salad or cook with it.  If I am grilling, I sometimes put raw bok choy leaves on my plate and put the hot meat or veggies on top right when they come off the grill.  They get wilted and seasoned with the juices, and it’s the easiest way to cook them!

The farm has pretty much hit full summer mode, there’s a few crops still on the way (most notably tomatoes and beans, they’re coming in the next couple of weeks), but we are spending more and more time harvesting and finding less and less time for weeding and other field work.  The rain was a challenge and a blessing last week, it was great for the salad and greens but made picking and weeding harder and slowed down the fruiting crops that everyone is waiting for.  Most crops are looking great, though, and I’ve been especially enjoying increasing harvests of our cut flowers.  I hope you flower CSA members are enjoying your bouquets, last week we had the first of the oh so fragrant sweet peas, and this week I’ve got statice and a lot more rudbeckia to keep things interesting, as well as the first dahlias trickling in.


Pasta with Basil White Sauce and Sugar Snap Peas

I adapted a white sauce recipe from The Joy of Cooking and added fresh basil and peas.  We get milk delivered by Bennett Family Farm in Tillamook, it makes a fantastic sauce!

For the sauce:

Melt in a medium saucepan over medium low heat:

4 Tbsp olive oil or butter

Add:

Greens from 1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced

Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add and mix in until blended and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes:

4 Tbsp all purpose flour

Slowly whisk in

2 cups milk

Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.  Continue to cook, whisking, until the sauce is smooth and hot and has thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and stir in:

Leaves from 1 bunch basil, thinly sliced
2/3 pint sugar snap peas, coarsely chopped

Serve hot over pasta garnished with fresh ground black pepper, makes 3-4 servings.


New Potato Salad with Vinaigrette

This is a different kind of potato salad than the standard, mayo-dressed one. I like to make a large bowl of this and eat it throughout the week. (serves 4 to 6)

Chop into large pieces:

            2 pounds potatoes

Place in a saucepan full of cold water, add 1 Tbsp salt, and bring to a boil. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft but just al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, chop and mix together in a large bowl:

½ bunch green onions

            ½ pound snap peas

            ½ bunch garlic scapes (optional)

To make the dressing, whisk together in a small bowl:

¼ tsp salt

            2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (wine or apple cider vinegar will work as well)

Slowly whisk in:

            6 Tbsp olive oil

Add the potatoes and dressing to the vegetables and pour. Add 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs, or more if using parsley or basil. You can add grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese as well. Mix together and let sit at least ½ hour before serving.

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