CSA Week 4 June 20

cannon hersey @ the open center

An early announcement, the CSA pick-up scheduled for 4th of July

will actually happen on Thursday July 5. More reminders to come.






Week 4

June 20, 2012


Hello CSA members,


I’ve begun to think about our season in phases. In Alaska, where I

farmed for the last 2 years, we had one growing phase: not winter.

When the ground thawed we put everything in as fast as possible, and

once it was in, it all grew until the ground froze. It wasn’t warm

enough to grow tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, or long-season winter

squash, so we didn’t try. Unlike here in New York, it never got hot

enough to make the cauliflower ugly, or the radishes too spicy, or the

peas too ugly. What we could plant, we could plant throughout the

season, which made things simple. We had a regular repertoire of crops

to pick from for each week of the CSA, and we mixed it up between

them, but overall things didn’t change much from late June to late

September. It’s more complicated here, as the season is longer and

different parts of it are good for growing different things. All in

all, it’s a good thing. It means you will receive a wider variety of

crops from us, and our boxes will include the super tasty things

anyone hopes a summer will provide: tomatoes, beans, peppers,

eggplant. As the heat continues to knock off our brassicas

(cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage) and peas, though, I have to

remind myself we have other things growing in their place. So I

developed the phase system. Here’s how it works:


In my head, I’ve divided the CSA season into four phases of 5 weeks

each. The phases are:


Phase 1: Spring


Spring weather is ideal for growing crops that prefer cool, wet

weather, like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, arugula,

spinach, peas, radishes, turnips, and bok choi. As the weather turns

hotter many of these crops start to bolt, or go to seed, making them

either spicier than we prefer them, or completely inedible. A head of

broccoli, for example, is actually a bunch of unopened flowers. If not

picked soon enough, the bunches will open and flower. When it’s hot,

this can happen before a true head forms, and an entire broccoli crop

can be ruined. We’re getting towards the end of this phase now, as

we’ve reached the solstice and we’re starting to get some real heat.

We still have some cabbage and an exciting surprise brassica left for

you, but from here greens, turnips, radishes, and broccolis will

dwindle for a while.


Phase 2: Early Summer


As the crops we’ve relied on so far begin to disappear, I have to

remind myself that others are on their way. Early summer brings

carrots and beets, celery, beans, small onions and summer squash. Our

zucchini plants are just starting to produce, and we picked a few

today. Hopefully by next week we’ll have enough for the CSA, and the

other early summer crops are not far behind.


Phase 3: Summer

By early August we should have all the crops you’ve been waiting for:

potatoes, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, and basil.

We’ve got a good amount of all of those things planted, and now we get

to hang on and just hope it’s a good year. The Northeast has had some

major problems with tomato blight in the last 5 years, but it didn’t

reach Growing Heart Farm last year and we hope to stay safe again. To

get you excited, here are the names of some of tomato varieties we are

growing: Indigo Rose, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Hillbilly Potato Leaf,

and Pruden’s Purple.


Phase 4: Autumn

Depending on how early the frost comes, all of those summer crops will

last into the fall. As it cools, though, we’ll add back in the

brassicas and greens, and you’ll get some late season broccoli,

spinach, and turnips, and add some things that are unique to the fall

because they took all year to grow, like parsnips, winter squash, and

celeriac. The best part of the fall is that as it starts to frost, the

spinach, kale, and carrots start to get sweet as their starches turn

to sugars. It seems way too far away to be talking about…


Well that pretty much gives you a full season summary, in case you

were interested. It also made me realize how much great food we have

headed your way. Another good share this week, here’s what you’ll find

in your bags:



Spring Mix (bag of mixed greens)

Our spring mix should make a great salad again this week, it includes

lettuce, mizuna, ruby streaks (a purple leaf that looks like mizuna),

and arugula.


Arugula (bag of light greens)

Try making a pesto of blended arugula, garlic, nuts, and olive oil

and salt. We’ve been topping tortillas and pasta with this, or just

spread it on toast


Spinach (bag of darker greens)

We pretty much save our spinach to blend in smoothies. It makes them

more nutritious, and it doesn’t have as unique of a flavor as arugula

or spring mix, so it mixes much better with fruit and yogurt. You’ll

notice a little green flavor, but it’s really quite delicious.


Sugar Snap Peas (bag of pods)

Again, just eat ’em


Thyme (bunch of very small leafed, fragrant, stems)

We’re growing a bunch of different culinary herbs for you this

summer, and thyme is one of them. You probably won’t use all of this

or other herbs at once, but you can either dry or freeze any herb you

get from us. To dry, place stems on a cookie sheet in the oven (or put

in a dehydrator) and turn the oven to its lowest setting. Check on the

herb every 30 minutes to an hour. It is dry enough when the leaves can

be crumbled. To freeze, simply place in a ziploc freezer bag and take

out of the freezer when ever you need some.


Broccoli (head)

Yummmmmmmmmmm. Try the recipe below, which includes a peanut sauce. I

love broccoli and peanut sauce…..


Salad Turnips (loose, white, round)

Link to turnip gratin recipe below that should use all 2 pounds


Radishes (bunch of red, purple, pink, and/or white roots)

Try the relish included in last week’s newsletter if you didn’t, or

cut them up and place on a salad. I’m not sure why, but deviled eggs

served next to sliced radishes sounds really good right now.


Napa Cabbage (head of crisp, white/green leaves)

I listed an egg roll recipe below, which I’ve never made. Napa would

also be an excellent spring roll filler. You could mix it with bean

sprouts and shredded carrots, and make some kind of peanut dipping




Balsamic Dressing with Thyme


(adapted from Renee Loux’s Balsamic Vinaigrette in The Balanced Plate, page 203)

4 Tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

2 cloves garlic, pressed (I use this awesome garlic press!)

1 ½ Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid.  Shake until

well combined.  Taste and add extra salt and pepper if needed.


Tofu Broccoli Cashew Peanut Madness (From Asparagus to Zucchini)

1 T butter or oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound herbed tofu, cubed

2 T tamari or soy sauce, divided

½ -3/4 cup peanut butter, preferably crunchy

2-3 t lemon juice

¼ teaspoon cumin or more to taste

cayenne to taste

1 medium head broccoli, peeled and chopped

hot, cooked brown rice

handful of roasted cashews, chopped


Heat butter or oil in skillet, add onion and garlic; saute until soft.

Add tofu and 1 T tari, saute until brown. Remove from pan, In same

pan, mix peanut butter, lemon juice, remaining tablespoon tamari,

cumin, and cayenne. Thin with up to 1 cup water to obtain gravylike

texture. Stir in tofu mixture. Steam broccoli. Serve sauce over

broccoli and brown rice, topped with cashews. Makes 4 servings.


Napa Noodle Egg Rolls (From Asparagus to Zucchini)


3 ½ ounces bean thread noodles

½ pound lean ground pork

1 cup finely chopped onions

2 cups finely shredded napa cabbage

1 egg, beaten

1 T sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound egg roll wrappers

3-4 cups veggie oil


Soak noodles in hot water 15 minutes. Drain well, chop. Mix with pork,

onions, cabbage, egg, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Place egg roll

wrapper on work surface with one corner pointing toward you. Place 2

heaping T of filling near bottom corner, shaping mixture to look like

a cigar. Roll wrapper (lower end) over meat to middle of wrapper.

Brush egdes with egg white and roll up completely. Repearting with

remaining filling and wrappers. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Deep fry egg

rolls in small batches until light brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on

paper towels. Makes 20-25 egg rolls.



A turnip gratin recipe: