Thanks to all of you for the enthusiasm we’ve received regarding your membership this year. We‘re grateful that the weather has been unusually kind to us, as you will see from the amazing variety of produce in your first box. While our returning CSA members no doubt remember all of these veggies from last year, we thought it best to offer our new members a brief overview of some of the less common items you’ll find in your box and some tips on how to prepare them.
Kale – If there’s any leafy green in the box you aren’t familiar with, chances are it’s one of our three varieties of kale. Although it’s packed with calcium, few people would likely identify it as a food favorite. Handled improperly, it can be tough or bitter. Perhaps you have unpleasant memories of being forced to eat it as a child? However, I promise that with the right preparation kale can be a delicious addition to your meals!
Kale can be held for up to a few weeks if the stems are removed before the leaves are stored in a plastic bag and refrigerated. Before using, be sure to wash them thoroughly by filling your sink or a large bowl with water, adding the greens and agitating the leaves gently to loosen any dirt. Allow the leaves to soak for a few minutes while any dirt or sediment settles to the bottom and then rinse the leaves once more. Remember, never wash your veggies until you’re ready to eat them!
Kale stems are very tough and need to be removed entirely from each leaf. Unlike most greens, it doesn’t hold on to much of its volume when cooked. A one pound bunch will yield 1 1⁄2 to 2 cups cooked. You’ll find it’s great in soups or combined with neutral foods like potatoes, pasta, beans and even eggs. It can also be pureed with olive oil, pinenuts and parmesan to make a delicious pesto. For a healthy, fiber- packed breakfast, try adding uncooked leaves to your morning smoothie! It’s also great in casseroles, lasagna and even chili. It will be in most boxes this season, so we’ve included some recipes to help you use it!
Swiss Chard – These dark green, ruffled leaves are similar in taste to spinach, but chewier. Chard stems come in many colors, but all have similar flavor and cooking properties. They can be stored in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator, excess moisture removed, for 3-5 days. Before using, wash thoroughly and cut the leaves away from the stems. Swiss chard stems are tougher than the leaves and require additional cooking time. Though often boiled, chard is also delicious when braised in a covered skillet on medium low for about 10 minutes, until the leaves are limp.
You’ll also find several familiar items - zucchini, green onions, spinach, beans, peas, radishes and STRAWBERRIES! Yes, we’re just as happy to see them as you are. More berries and even tomatoes will be here soon!
We hope you enjoy all the items in your box this week. However, if there’s a particular veggie you aren’t fond of, feel free to leave it with us when you pick up your box and we’ll donate it to the local food bank. Didn’t manage to finish everything in your box? Just return the leftovers in your box next week and we’ll add it to our compost pile and use it to grow more fresh veggies on the farm next season!
CSA is short for "Community Supported Agriculture" and here is how www.localharvest.com describes it:
For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.
Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. In brief...
Advantages for farmers:
Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow
Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm – even veggies they've never been known to eat
Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
The Whiskey Creek CSA will start in the first part of June (depending on weather) and run for 16 weeks. Members will be notified by email or by phone as to the exact starting date.
The drop location is slated to be the same this year as last, in front of the Old School Furniture Store on Highway 101 in Florence. We also have a drop at 3:00 - 3:15 behind the Post Office in Mapleton if you are in that area. The times will also be the same as last year, from 2pm to 6pm.
We are also keeping the costs the same as last year, with a full box being $500 for 16 weeks (31.25 if calculated weekly) and a half box being $300 (18.75 if calculated weekly).
Looking forward to seeing all of our returning members, plus a whole bunch of new members for 2013!
Whiskey Creek Organics is now accepting limited CSA subscriptions for the 2013 growing season. Don't miss out - reserve today and secure your source of farm fresh produce now!
Family-owned and operated, Whiskey Creek Organics pledges to deliver the highest quality, best-tasting organic seasonal fruits, vegetables available. We strive to meet your individual preferences and offer a wide variety of naturally grown produce to choose from. We have limited our number of 2013 CSA shares and have many returning members - so please reserve early and secure your farm fresh organic food source for the upcoming season!
Our program will begin soon so make sure you sign up today!
Our standard share is the perfect size for individuals or couples who love their fruits and veggies, enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, and eat at home often. Enjoy a heaping full box of our farm's freshest produce for $500 (For A Family Of 4), or a more than ample half-box is $300 (Perfect For A Family Of Two). Includes our most delicious harvest crops and seasonal fruits/berries!
Depending on the size of your family (and your love of fresh fruits and veggies), you may wish to purchase a double share. Same great variety as our standard share only double the portions!
Another week, another new vegetable! This week we’re including some of our deliciously tender spaghetti squash. As you've probably heard, spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta and you can’t have pasta without garlic so we’ve included some heads of garlic as well!
Although you may have heard of this incredible squash, chances are, if you’ve seen it in the store, you’ve passed it by because it’s large and intimidating and at the end of a long day, who wants to experiment at dinner time with an unfamiliar vegetable? Not to worry though. We’ll walk you through it!
This particular variety is very forgiving. Just about any way you can think of to apply heat can be used to cook spaghetti squash. The big question is: to cut or not to cut before cooking? You can do it either way. Here are the pros and cons of each:
Cutting Up Spaghetti Squash Before Cooking
Advantages: It cooks faster. Disadvantages: Like any winter squash, hacking it up takes muscle and a sharp knife or cleaver. It's also a bit more work to scrape out the seeds and pulp when they are raw.
Method: Just get in there and cut it in half (lengthwise) or quarters. You don't want to cut it up too small unless you want short strands. Scrape out the seeds and pulp as you would with any squash or pumpkin.
Bake cut side down about 30 to 40 minutes at 375 F. Microwave 6 to 8 minutes (let stand for a few minutes afterwards) Boil 20 minutes or so.
Separate strands by running a fork through from one end to the other. Viola! You have “pasta!”
Cooking Spaghetti Squash Whole
Advantages: It's easier. Disadvantages: It takes longer to cook, and you need to watch out for burns when removing the pulp and seeds.
Method: Pierce the squash several times with a sharp knife. (Do this especially if you're microwaving it, or you may end up with a "Squash Explosion.")
Bake about an hour in the oven at 375 F. Microwave 10 to 12 minutes, then let stand for 5 minutes or so afterward to finish steaming. Boil for half an hour or so. Slow Cooker/Crock Pot: Put it in with a cup of water and let it go on low all day (8 to 10 hours).
When done, cut open "at the equator" (not lengthwise), remove seeds and pulp (I use tongs and an oven mitt -- it is HOT) and separate strands with a fork.
Once you’ve removed the seeds, don’t throw them away. Any squash seeds can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds (pumpkin is a kind of squash) for a low-carb and delicious snack!
Like pumpkin and other winter squashes, whole uncooked spaghetti squash is best stored between 50 to 60 degrees, and will last up to six months this way. If you have a room in your home that isn't well-heated, maybe you can use some space in it as a "root cellar" to store onions, squash, apples, and the like. If not, don’t worry. Spaghetti squash will keep several weeks at room temperature.
So now that you know how to prepare it, here’s a great recipe to use our squash, garlic, onions and some tomatoes as well as our delicious basil!
As we mentioned in last week's newsletter, August is the best month of the year on our farm. The berries are ripe, the veggies are at their peak, the flowers are in bloom...
And we have 12 new additions to our chicken flock!
These little guys just hatched this weekend. Most of them are Auracanas but one or two may be half Buff Orpington.
Here they are with their very proud mothers. That's Polly on the left and Scotch on the right.
As you can see from the chicks, Auracanas come in a variety of colors.
Unfortunately, they don't stay this cute for long. In just a few weeks, they will be awkward teenagers and by the time the rain begins to fall once more, they will be full grown chickens. But for now, like the weather, they are perfect and we are enjoying every minute!