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CSA Share Weekly Update for July 3rd-7th!

Greetings all!

Happy Fourth of July Weekend! I hope that all of you will be able to enjoy some sort of relaxing this weekend, whether going on vacation or staying in town- it’s a holiday!

Please note, your delivery date may have changed for the 4th of July week. I sent out an email about a week prior to the beginning to CSA deliveries titled “Important CSA Share Site Specific Information” which included your site’s specific changes for this holiday week as well as Labor Day in September. If you didn’t receive that email please let me know and I would be happy to get you that information!

If you are out of town and do not plan to coordinate with someone to have them pick up your share, please let me know. We are happy to deliver your share to the food shelf if you request! One problem we run into is that if your share isn’t picked up and it sits for a while it could cause the box to soften or mold, so please send me an email/text if you won’t be picking up your share this week.

One more bit of housekeeping, if you need to pick up your CSA Share outside of the time frame provided, please let me know via call/text/email so that I can notify the hosting family of your late arrival. There is no guarantee that your box will be available after the designated time frame provided on the application. If your CSA box is left overnight it is automatically forfeited.

Ben and I spent this week packing and delivering CSA Shares, tying tomatoes, weeding herbs, and getting in a few more late cold crops. As most know, when tomatoes are growing they need to be supported or the plant’s weight will cause the branches to crack and break, which also lets in diseases as well. Instead of using tomato cages for our few thousand plants, we use a staking method. We start by pounding stakes in between tomato plants: a stake, 2 tomato plants, a stake, 2 tomato plants, etc. We use a type of twine to “tie” the tomatoes, starting on the first 2X1 stake at the beginning of the row, and looping around the tomatoes on both sides all the way down the rows. As the tomatoes are growing constantly, we are tying our tomatoes several times throughout the season. After pounding a couple thousand tomato stakes, tying is really easy!

On a week to week basis, CSA Shares are really fun to organize! Ben and I discuss what varieties are in harvest to pack in the CSA Shares. I tally off the boxes and make sure they are all accounted for, give Ben the “special number” for the day and we go out to harvest together. Then we pack the CSA Shares and I am off to deliver!

This week in your CSA Share: Romaine lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce, kohlrabi, red potatoes, sugar snap peas, and green onions!

One of our CSA Share Members has a blog that shares Gluten Free recipes and nutrition tips. She had a great post this last week titled “How to utilize a CSA without wasting or feeling overwhelmed”. It is well written and has a few tips there that many of our member would benefit from reading- from another CSA Member’s perspective!

Check out her new post here on her website: Gluten Free Jess

The easiest way to handle your lettuces and greens is to wash and prep them the same evening as your CSA Share pick up. If you prep them all right away it makes it easier to go back and actually use the produce during the week as well.

Lettuces and greens need to removed from the center head, and washed thoroughly. Storing them in the fridge in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel at the bottom is the best way to keep the greens firm for the longest.

Sugar Snap Peas need to be eaten as soon as possible, within 4-5 days for maximum flavor. After a few days, the sugars start to break down into starches and they aren’t as sweet. The same can be applied for corn, and some potatoes for instance.

Most people like to string their snap peas before eating raw. You will notice that one end of the pea pod has more foliage, that is the end that had the flower! Every pea or bean starts from a flower, they are beautiful plants! Snap from one end and pull along the edge of the legume, you will notice the string will come off easily. The peas and pod are totally edible in sugar snap peas, but most people like to remove the strings. They can be eaten as a snack, added to a stir fry, maybe even added into a veggie platter for your festivities next week.

Potatoes! We are finally into potatoes! Potatoes are one of the staples of our CSA Shares because Ben & I both believe that since it is so versatile we should be including freshly dug potatoes in quite a few of our CSA deliveries. Another good thing is that even if you get more potatoes than you will use in a week’s time, they are potatoes so they store great!

Potatoes are generally thought of as French fries or potato chips, but alone the potato is an excellent source of complex carbs and minerals, particularly the skins are high in potassium and the flesh is high in vegetable protein.

We dig most of our potatoes on our hands and knees at this time of year. Using shovels would cause scuff marks on the potatoes, and it would cause us to miss quite a few of the “runner” potatoes that grow out around the plant instead of directly down. This style of digging potatoes means that they will come to you as “field run” potatoes. We are not sorting these by size yet, so you will see a variation of your potatoes for the first few weeks in our CSA Shares.

To keep new potatoes, scrub the potatoes under running water to remove garden soil. There is no need to peel these potatoes, as none of our produce is ever treated to stay fresh longer (as they are in the grocery store). Refrigerate baby potatoes in the fridge, using them within a few weeks. Keeping them longer could cause them to dehydrate. Even if a potato is somewhat dehydrated you could still use it in a soup or in most cooking styles. The larger the potato, the longer it will store. That’s one reason why “baby reds” are more expensive at the markets, they don’t last as long and they are only in harvest for a handful of weeks!

Green Onions will also be included in this week’s CSA Share. They are known as spring onions, and are best known for adding small amounts to other dishes. For example, we always add green onions to our scrambled eggs in the morning. Or they can be tossed into your casserole this week, etc. They are best kept in a plastic bag in the crisper of the fridge, and will last up to a week if stored properly. They could be tossed into any of the recipes we included this week.

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