Welcome to Week 11. Happy Labor Day!
Week 11 means we are half way through the 2014 CSA. Week 11 means we have lots of veggies still coming your way!
So, my plans were to start this newsletter talking about the changing of the seasons and how I have been observing the signs of fall everywhere I look. BUT, then a mini heat wave hit! So instead, maybe I should be talking about the return of summer; the return of humidity, the return of gnats and bugs swarming me every time I step off the back porch! This heat and humidity, although not very welcoming to our 2 and 4 legged farm inhabitants, is welcoming to some of our crops. We are hoping this week of heat will help push along our large eggplant and pepper plantings.
Ah yes, so the saga of the peppers. Where are Dancing Hen Farm's peppers anyway? Sadly our peppers got a late start in life, due to seeding and germination problems. This put them behind in maturity. Then these beautiful mild temperatures we have all be enjoying this summer have kept them behind. We do have a few more hot peppers coming on and we have our fingers crossed for our sweet peppers. We will keep you posted.
I want to take a moment to talk about a couple of crops being harvested right now that everyone may not be familiar with.
Escarole and loose leaf radicchio. These are both Italian greens and like their cousin endive they are a member of the chicory family. They both have a slightly bitter taste and the radicchio we are harvesting is a green loose leaf variety. Both of these greens can be used in the standard sauted greens recipe of greens, olive oil and garlic. Escarole is really good used in a basic "greens and beans" recipe. I generally don't use a recipe, I just add cannellini beans to greens sauted with garlic in olive oil with garlic. Serve greens and beans by itself or as a topping to pasta or rice. If you eat sausage, sausage is a really great addition to the beans and greens saute. Escarole is also the green in Italian Wedding Soup, one of Farmer Don's specialties, but in all honesty soup is probably a better idea when I talk about fall being in the air! The loose leaf radicchio is similar to dandelion greens and can be eaten raw in salads or sauted with olive oil and garlic. Traditionally, Italian salads of this type of chicory are dressed with an anchovy vinaigrette. Being of Pennsylvania Dutch, rather than Italian, I tend to dress salads of both chicory and escarole with hot bacon dressing! My family uses egg in their hot bacon dressing and no flour. Here is a blog I found with many hot bacon dressing recipes (by the way the blog has no ties to the Joan you may be thinking of, just a coincidence!). The first recipe is the closest to how I (and my family) make hot bacon Dressing. If bacon and eggs are not part of your diet, these greens are also good served with a balsamic vinaigrette. I cannot say enough about how the warm dressings wilt the greens ever so slightly, so personally I suggested using a warm balsamic dressing.
I also really need to spend a bit of time talking about apples as well. The apples we are putting in share boxes currently are apples harvested off of our own trees. This farm we are calling ours, once had a substantial apple orchard. By talking with our neighbors we have learned the last the trees were tended was probably close to 40 years ago. So, yes they truly are no spray apples! For this reason they are small and irregular and may be a bit knotty or wormy. We have no idea what variety they are but everyone who has tasted them agrees the taste is amazing. So, please try and overlook their not so beautiful appearance and give them a try. However, like our tomatoes, they are not perfect fruit, so if you are uncomfortable with apples which are not perfect, please do not choose apples at this time. Later in the fall we may buy in some apples and we will let you know how those appear as well.
On farm we are busy, as usual. Recently we have been trying to take time to cook. We both love to cook and create in the kitchen and unfortunately when the farm's bounty is the greatest is when our time is most limited! Sunday night Farmer Don stuffed a chicken with all sorts of herbs, including fennel, and roasted it on the grill. Grilled fennel bulbs and potatoes completed the meal. I can honestly say it was all delicious! He based the recipe on a essay and recipe he found in the book "A Tale of 12 Kitchens".
Before I forget! We are adding items to our buying club. Right now these items are available online to CSA members who have signed up for the buying club option. If you are not a CSA member or if you did not pre-pay for the CSA buying club, you can still order these products and pick them up from us at the Dallas Farmer's Market. Please send us an email about what you would like and we will be sure to bring the items along. Eventually these items will be on our off season buying club, which we will get rolling when the Dallas Market ends. Thanks for your patience as we work on the logistics of markets, csa and buying clubs! Many of you will recognize the items, as they are available from vendors at many of our regions farmer's markets. We are really trying to make local products more easily available to the Dancing Hen Farm community.
Items we are adding include: Raw unfiltered honey from Perry Apiaries -The Beekeeper's Daughter. Currently we have wild flower and orange blossom honey. Both honeys are produced from their own bees. We are also adding wild caught salmon products from our friends at Wild for Salmon right here in Bloomsburg. And lastly we will be adding mixed herb products from our friends and neighbors at The Farm at Stonybrook. Lisa's dried herb mixes are a favorite in our kitchen! We are still working out the details on some log grown shitake mushrooms, garlic products and more. Stay tuned as we expand this part of our business.
I am trying to keep posting recipes to the farm's pinterest page (http://www.pinterest.com/dancinghencsa/). Funny, I started this page to share recipe ideas, but I now find myself going there for favorite recipes, rather than digging through my expandable folder to find a fading, stained printed version! While I am on the computer and social media topic. The farm also has a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dancing-Hen-Farm/111155465564952) and a blog (http://www.dancinghenfarmcsa.blogspot.com/). Both are a nice way to keep up with farm happenings.
Our schedule this Saturday includes the Back Mountain Library Market in Dallas. As always, if you come to market please stop by and say hello.
So, I think I have covered everything and I only mentioned tomatoes, once this week, I think!? In closing, in Farmer Don's words: "be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies"