Weekly Share October 14th – 20th

Costa Bianca Swiss Chard
Orazio Fennel
Mesclun Salad Mix
Goldrush Russet Potatoes
Cubanelle & Sweet Peppers

Fall seems like its finally settling in and before we know it we will see some colder weather, even frost. The change in temperatures has been a huge relieve, the heat was really getting to us and making irrigation barely effective. As you all know it is still dry as can be here and we hope for even a sprinkle, fingers crossed for tonight; but the reality is 1/3” of rain will barely help saturate the ground. The drought conditions can be seen all over the farm and even in our woods. The ground is brown and bare in spots and trees look haggard. We are able to irrigate our crops luckily but the down side is that this increases varmint and bug pressure, as our hydrated crops are in high demand. If you have never seen our farm, our crop fields are dotted throughout a 10-acre area that is surrounded by woods outside our fence line. This fall we have seen an immense amount of groundhog pressure. Groundhogs do not like to stray far from their dens; but with nothing available they will search out what they must. They have been an issue on our farm for years; but the damage incurred this year is unlike ever before. This is due to a combination of the severe dry and hot conditions with the fact that we have been understaffed and therefore have not covered all of our crop areas with row cover. Groundhogs will search under the row cover; but its not their preference, so it can allow the crops to out grow the damage for a time. The point of all of this is that we have seen severe damage in our kohlrabi, cabbage, and broccoli plantings. Its safe to say you will not receive any of these in the share and we may not have a crop at all. Every year we have some thriving crops and some failures. Although we are saddened by the missing crops; especially for our winter sales, as these are great storable options. This has become somewhat of a reality of farming with increased extreme weather swings.
You will also notice a lack of carrots this fall, as our other extreme pest has been worm (especially cutworm) pressure. They attack the newly germinated seedlings under the soil prior to emergence and so we have very little coarse of action other than turning in the entire crop or keeping a low yielding area. Carrots take 2-3 weeks to emerge especially in hot conditions and in August and early September restarting a carrot crop three weeks later can mean a 4-6 week later first harvest date. So we do have some fall outdoor carrots; but they are slim in volume and arriving very late. Perhaps towards the end of the CSA season you will get a little glimpse.
Enough of all the gloomy news as we have some of the best fall crops we have ever grown of radicchio, fennel, herbs, beets, salad mix, and even some early spinach coming in. Our bunching greens while inundated with aphids and moth worms, are super healthy and coming in very strong. We will have some beautiful turnips and winter radishes as well. Every year is just a different set of challenges. Keeps us thinking. Lots of recipes below, enjoy the share……Autumn and Brian

Tomato Fennel Salad

Sicilian Chickpea And Escarole Soup

Escarole And White Bean Salad With Fennel And Gruyere Cheese

Steamed fish in parchment with chard, baby fennel and lemon dill sauce

Baked Orzo With Swiss Chard And Feta With Tomato And Dill

Poached Eggs with Cubanelle Pepper Puree

Potato Hash With Peppers And Onions

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Weekly Share October 7th – 13th

Bok Choy
Napa Cabbage
Daikon Radish
Red & Green Mustards
Asian Eggplant or Shishito Peppers
Aji Dulce & Habanada Chilies (No Heat)
Serrano & Green Thai Chilies

Shishito peppers tempura

Napa Cabbage Rolls

Saigon Chicken Salad

Lemongrass Curry with Shrimp

Chowing Down on Bok Choy! 10 Ways to Love This Asian Green

Thai Style Coconut Soup (Tom Kha)

Asian Chicken Soup with Greens 
For the broth:
1 whole chicken
1 head garlic, peeled and smashed
2-3 scallions, cut into large pieces
½ bunch cilantro, leaves, stems and roots, washed
2 inches ginger root, cut into thick slices
1 Tbsp salt & pepper to taste
For the soup:
4 oz. cellophane rice noodles or egg noodles
½ lb greens (bok choy, mustard greens, pea shoots, spinach)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sweet rice cooking wine or mirin
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro, for garnish
Rinse the chicken thoroughly, remove giblet bag and place in a large pot with cold water to cover by 2 inches (around 2 ½ quarts of water).  Add garlic, cilantro, scallions, ginger, salt & pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer very gently for 1 ½ hours, or until the meat falls off the bone.  Remove chicken carefully to a colander and allow it to cool.  Strain the stock and skim the fat that rises to the surface.  (If you make the stock in advance, refrigerate it overnight and remove the congealed fat the next day.  You can also use a special device for separating fat that looks like a big measuring cup with a spout that pours from the bottom).  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull off all the meat and shred it with your fingers.  Use a nice handful of the meat for the soup and save the rest for another use (Vietnamese chicken salad, perhaps?).
Meanwhile soak the rice noodles in warm tap water for 15-20 minutes, drain and set aside. If using egg noodles, cook them in boiling water until al dente, drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.  Wash greens and cut into fairly large pieces.  Bring the stock to a boil and season with the soy sauce and wine.  Taste and adjust salt if necessary.  Add greens and chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Place a handful of noodles in each soup bowl.  Pour soup over noodles and serve garnished with chopped cilantro.
Variations: This soup can easily be made into wonton soup.  Get some wonton wrappers from the store (usually sold next to the tofu).  For the filling mix together ½ lb ground pork, 2 finely chopped scallions, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp rice wine, salt & pepper.  Follow directions on the package to fill them.  Boil with the greens in the hot stock until they float.
You can save yourself the trouble of dealing with a whole chicken by using ready-made broth and boneless chicken.

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Weekly Share September 30th – October 6th

New Red Fire Lettuce & Frisee or Mesclun Salad Mix
Lacinato Kale or Young Broccoli Rabe
Yu Choy or Red Round Radish
Romano Green Bean
Nicola Potatoes
Highlander Onions
Anaheim & Poblano Peppers
Cuban Hat & Lemon Drop Chiles

Charred Yu Choy Recipe

Broccoli Rabe with Bulgur and Walnuts

Frisee Salad with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Hazelnuts

Papas Con Rajas (Sauteed Potatoes and Chiles)

Homemade Green Chorizo Tacos with Kale & Potatoes

Italian Style Fried Potatoes with Flat Romano Beans and Tomato Paste

Chris Cosentino’s Bean & Radish Salad

Lemon Drop Hot Sauce Recipe

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Weekly Share September 23rd – 29th

Spicy Salad Mix or Lettuce Heads
Broadleaf Kale or Collard Greens
Scarlett Queen Turnips
Mild Green Peppers
Verona Tomatoes
Dancer Eggplant
Paprika Peppers
Genovese Basil
German Red Garlic

As we step into fall, we are still getting a lot of warm weather (although the last few days were a welcome respite) which brings with it lots of growth with our greens and continual fruiting of our late summer tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. It would be nice to get a little rain though. Our surrounding vegetation shows a true lack of moisture and our irrigated crops are attracting lots of pests; rabbits and groundhogs being the biggest culprits.  While we have had some true damage to our fall stands, many things are doing great, such as the radicchio patch, cauliflower, greens and beets. This week we are including fresh Leutschauer paprika peppers. We grow these peppers to dry and make into a paprika powder or to add to our “Aleppo style “chile flake; but they are delicious used fresh. Thinly slice them and add to garlic and olive oil as a base for a tomato sauce or any sautéed dish. They are quite spicy; but it is a warm, dried fruit spice. The scarlet queen turnips can be used fresh or cooked. They are more dense and crunchy than the hakurei style; but still very tender and with some sweetness. This will be the last of our basil, as our hoophouse succession is showing signs of downy mildew, the disease that brings it to an end each year. Although we will miss it, we are happy to end the hours of harvest each week that span a three – four months through the summer. Check out the recipes and enjoy the share…..Autumn & Brian

Greens Hash With Turnips & Basil

Mediterranean Eggplant with Cubanelle Chermoula and Apricot

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

Shaved Turnip Salad With Arugula and Prosciutto

Basil Pesto

Roasted Eggplant and Crispy Kale with Yogurt

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Weekly Share September 16th – 22nd

Romano Green Beans
Lettuce (Bibb, Crisp, & Panisse Oakleaf)

Japanese Red Mustard or Broadleaf Kale
San Fan or Black Summer Bok Choy
Thai and Asian Long Eggplant
Jalapeno & Thai Khmer Chiles
Sweet Red or Shishito Peppers
Red Creole Onion
Thai Basil

This is going to be the last of the Thai Basil for the season, so enjoy. We are listing a lot of different versions of stir-fries including this week’s veggies using thai basil, chiles, and onion. Please enjoy the share……Autumn & Brian 

Eggplant with Thai Basil
1 lb eggplant, cut into ½-inch slices
4-5 cloves garlic
1-2 medium sized fresh red or green chilies (or sweet bell pepper for the meek)
1 Tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 bunch Thai basil
Slice the eggplant into ½ inch rounds and fry them over medium high in a wide skillet with ¼ inch of canola or other frying oil. When things get going, the eggplant slices will absorb the oil and you will gradually see it penetrate through to the top.  Make sure that they don’t get too brown on the bottom before this happens.  If the eggplant slices absorb all the oil and still don’t look wet, you must add more—but don’t worry, because they will release much of it as they cook.  When they look like they have absorbed enough oil and they start to get nice and brown on the bottom, flip them over and brown them on the other side.  If the pan is dry at this point, don’t add more oil because the slices have absorbed enough to fry themselves.  When they’re done, drain the slices on paper towels
Meanwhile, cut the garlic into slices and the chilies into diagonal rings.  When the eggplant is ready, remove it and add 2 Tbsp of fresh oil to the pan, add the garlic and half the chilies, and stir-fry until the garlic is golden.  Add the soy sauces and sugar, stir for about 30 seconds until the sugar starts to bubble, and return the eggplant to the pan.  Add torn basil leaves, stir and serve, garnished with the rest of the chilies (if you dare!)

Thai Red Curry Eggplant and Mustard Greens

Stir-Fried Rainbow Peppers, Eggplant and Tofu

Bok Choy Noodle Stir Fry

Spicy Eggplant and Green Bean Curry

Thai pork, basil and green bean stir fry

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Weekly Share September 9th – 15th

Nicola Potatoes
Sweet Italian Peppers
Poblano or Anaheim Peppers
Celebrity & Verona Tomatoes
Highlander Yellow Onions
Clemson Spineless Okra
Spicy Mesclun Salad Mix
Radishes or Turnips

Welcome to our Fall CSA season. We get really excited this time of year, as there is so much diversity of crops.  We are also a little swamped with all the work we have to do with the shortening day-lengths that become very noticeable in September. We had a super productive CSA workday today, which was wonderful. We love sharing the farm and are grateful to have the help getting some physical tasks done that are much more rewarding done as a group. We got our winter squash harvested and setup in our greenhouse to cure for a few weeks, then we will move in into storage. This year the groundhogs did not get to the crop; so we have a pretty good harvest of our delicious Seminole, various Cushaws, and some new trial varieties. We are on the search for the varieties that do the best in our climate, have good flavor, and are not grown by everyone (hence why we do not grow butternut). We also cleared the last crop of cucumbers and squash in our high tunnel as it was dying and we need the space for our winter swiss chard and other greens. Over the next two months all of our tunnel (covered) spaces will be replanted with winter and spring crops. By early November we will have completely new crops and we watch them grow and put out food for many months. The seasons are really beginning to change for us, even while we still are in the middle of production of our hot weather crops. Readying the beds included pulling up landscape fabric, working the beds with a broadfork and wheel hoe, reshaping the bed top with rakes, and fertilizing. It’s great to see a clean space ready for something new.
This week’s share has loads of summer stuff, more sweet and slightly hot peppers with onions, okra, and tomatoes. Plus some fresh greens and quick roots for a raw, crisp, refreshing salad. Enjoy the share…..Autumn and Brian

Kadai Bhindi (Indian style Okra with Bell Peppers)

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce

Chiles Rellenos with Corn-and-Okra Succotash

Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad

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Weekly Share August 26th – September 1st

Arugula or Nevada Lettuce
Shishito Peppers
Sweet Italian Peppers
Celebrity  & Salad Tomatoes
Crimson Spineless Okra or Romano Beans
Asian Long & Thai Round Eggplant
Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Assorted Hot Chiles

It’s our last Spring/Summer share of 2019. We hope you all have enjoyed the bounty of vegetables through these 15 weeks. It has been a humid and hot summer; but these last few days have been a vision of what Fall will bring.  Its been absolutely beautiful and with the cooler nights we begin to see the fall crops grow in bigger jumps, as well as see the fruit loaded chile plants begin to ripen much faster and set even more fruit than one would imagine. As with every season, it has had its highs and lows. We have had really good potato, garlic, and onion crops. The tomatoes have been more consistent so far through the season and some of our cucumber successions have yielded more than we thought possible with 3 times the volume we expected.  At the same time, due to some weather effects, we had a very short cut greens season this spring.  Lots of abundance all at once; instead of stretched over a longer season; which is more manageable for us.  Our bean crops have been inundated with pests since late May, making for very sad plants and low yields. Our watermelon was looking like a failure; but we are excited to say, although a little late this year, you will be getting it again as we have had a bit more than expected. Our labor shortage this season has been a dominant aspect, as it effects every part of this farm operation. It has helped us to creatively think about our systems and see if there are ways to streamline things or invest in different equipment to facilitate having less hands on the farm. We have also had a small group of people step up and volunteer or work part-time to help us out in a pinch. These people have saved our backs and really make a difference when your in the summer thick of it. Now don’t think we are slowing down, not even a little. Over the next month as the days get shorter we have more to harvest, large weekly plantings and so much field management. That rain was lovely last week; but oh the grass and weeds coming up now is mildly frightening. The changing weather helps a lot though and being forced to work 10 hours instead of 12 due to limited daylight, helps moral as well.
This week’s share includes watermelon and cucumbers (because they do not stop producing it seems), as well as a lot of peppers. You will get the first of our ripened sweet Italian peppers and more shishitos. We will also include a small assortment of hot chilies such as the yellow Peruvian lemon drops , cayenne like Maules Red Hot, Indian Jyoti, and our proprietary Cuban hat (medium habanero like) and Khmer (thai style). If you don’t use many chiles, you can freeze these in a Ziploc bag and pull out individually later on to spice up a dish.  The Khmer chile pairs really well with garlic and the Asian style eggplants either in a stir-fry or as part of a marinade when broiling or grilling. Check out some of the recipes below and enjoy the share…..Autumn & Brian

Watermelon, Feta and Charred Pepper Salad

Braised Okra With Tomatoes, Peppers and Spices

Lemony Arugula Salad with Couscous, Cucumbers and Feta

Okra Fritters With Sweet Pepper Tomato Saute

Chili-Garlic Grilled Eggplant
Use a thai chili to replace the chili sauce and serve this dish alongside a simple cucumber vinegar salad and seared shishito peppers.

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Weekly Share August 19th – 25th

Seyrek or Cubanelle Mild Peppers
Clemson Spineless Okra or Romano Beans
Dancer, Rosa Bianca, or  Beatrice Eggplant
Tomatillos or Red Pear Tomatoes
German Red Garlic
Nokya Cucumber
Genovese Basil
Chioggia Beets

Cucumber-Basil Egg Salad

Beet, Cucumber, And Feta Salad With Basil

Roasted Eggplant, Green Pepper & Tomato Dip

Romano Beans with Red Onion, Oil & Vinegar –recipe from Kitchen Garden Farm
1 lb or so beans
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
This is a very simple, delicious way to prepare any type of string bean, and it makes a great summer salad or cold vegetable side dish. When Tim was working at a farm in Tuscany, this dish was on the table every single day, and everyone would add the oil and vinegar to their own liking. Simply wash and trim the beans (cut into bite sized pieces if you wish) and boil in heavily salted water for 5-10 minutes. They should be fully cooked but not disintegrating. Drain the beans and immediately plunge into cold water to arrest the cooking. Drain and toss with the red onion, salt & pepper, oil and vinegar. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Okra with Garlic and CorianderThe New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
Takleya is the name of the fried garlic and coriander mix which gives a distinctive Egyptian flavor to a number of dishes. It goes in at the end. In Upper Egypt they chop up and mash the okra when it is cooked. Serve hot as a side dish with meat or chicken.
1 pound okra, small young ones
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbls vegetable or extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
juice of ½-1 lemon
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
11/2-2 tsp ground coriander
With a small sharp knife, cut off the stems and trim the caps of the okra, then rinse them well. Fry the onion in 2 Tbls of the oil till golden. Add the okra and sauté gently for about 5 minutes, stirring and turning over the pods. Barely cover with water (about 1 ½ cups), add salt and pepper, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Add the lemon juice, towards the end and let the sauce reduce. (Lemon juice is usually added when the dish is to be eaten cold). For the takleya, heat the garlic and coriander in the remaining oil in a small pan, stirring, for a minute or two, until the garlic just begins to color. Stir this in with the okra and cook a few minutes more before serving hot.

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Weekly Share August 12th – 18th

Nicola Potatoes
Summer Squash
Cippolini Onions
Anaheim or Poblano Peppers
Heirloom Tomatoes or Tomatillos
Sugar Baby or Crimson Sweet Watermelon

Watermelon & Tomatillo Salad

Squash and green chile casserole

Shaved Summer Squash Salad

Fresh Tomatillo-Poblano Sauce

Caprese Sandwich With Arugula And Olive Spread

Chez Panisse’s Potatoes and Onions Roasted with Vinegar and Thyme

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Weekly Share August 5th – 11th

Shishito Peppers
Heirloom Tomatoes
Asian & Marketmore Cucumbers
Thai Round or Asian Long Eggplant
Red Noodle or Oriental Wonder Long Beans
Various Hot Chiles (Thai, Lemondrop, Jalapeno, Serrano, Jyoti, Maules)
Thai Basil

This week’s share includes Shishito peppers (a mildly spicy frying pepper), which can be an excellent addition to a stir-fry or even a scramble. They also excel on their own, done in a simple tempera or pan fried/charred in olive oil and finished with a nice flaky salt. These peppers are occasionally spicy; but mostly they have a bright, green, mild flavor. A shishito side dish can accompany curry, steak,  or a spicy cucumber salad.  The share also includes Shiso, used throughout Asia both medicinally and as an herb, especially popular in Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisines. In Virginia it is known as Perilla and is a native plant that is common throughout the Piedmont. On our farm we have the green variety and it grows on the edges of wood lines and in other slightly shaded areas. The wild variety is not as pungent as some cultivated types, but it is still amazing used in herb salads, spring rolls, and even granita; pair it with thai basil and you will not be disappointed. Check out the recipe below and enjoy the share……Autumn & Brian

Andy Ricker’s Tam Taeng Kwaa (Thai Cucumber Salad) From ‘Pok Pok

Jungle Curry

Cucumber, Scallion & Shiso leaves Salad

Japanese Eggplant With Chicken & Thai Basil

Shiso GranitaJapanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
15 green shiso leaves
¼ cup granulated sugar
Place the shiso leaves in a medium-sized bowl or 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Heat the sugar and 3 cups water to boiling in a medium saucepan, stirring the sugar to dissolve. Pour the boiling sugar water over the leaves and steep until cool. Set a strainer over a plastic container large enough to hold 3 cups and strain out the leaves. Cover and transfer the shiso-flavored sugar water to a freezer shelf. Let sit, undisturbed, in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove to the countertop, open the lid, and gently stir in the crystals that have formed on the perimeter.  Repeat this operation every 30 minutes, breaking up any larger crystals as you go. The finished granita should be flaky.  Serve alone in a glass bowl or goblet. This is also wonderful served alongside Fig Ice Cream and Plum Sorbet. Keeps frozen for several weeks.

Vietnamese Salad Rolls (Gỏi cuốn)
When we make these we let everyone prepare their own and it makes for a really fun meal activity. As the recipe states, you can substitute various herbs’ we particularly like thai basil and shiso together. We will add carrot, cucumber, daikon, long bean, scallion, and sometimes substitute shredded pork or shrimp for tofu. For dipping sauces we use a traditional Nuoc Cham and peanut sauce (recipes below).

Nuoc ChamHot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid
1/4cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup water
2 tsp rice or cider vinegar
1 Tbls sugar
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 bird chile, minces
several shreds of carrot (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar completely. Serve in small condiment bowls. Store in a tightly sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (after that, the garlic starts to taste tired).

Vietnamese Peanut Sauce –Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid
¼ cup dry roasted peanuts
2 scant Tbls tamarind pulp, dissolved in 2 Tbls warm water or substitute 2 Tbls tomato paste
2 tsp peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbls fermented soybean paste (tuong in Vietnamese; dao jiao in Thai)
1 cup water
1 ½ tsp sugar
1-2 bird chiles, minced
Generous squeeze of fresh lime juice
Place the peanuts in a food processor or large mortar and process or pound to a coarse powder; set aside. If using tamarind, press it through a sieve; reserve the liquid and discard the solids. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry until it is starting to change color, about 15 seconds. Add the soybean paste and the tamarind or tomato paste and stir to blend. Stir in ½ cup water, then stir in most of the ground peanuts, reserving about 1 Tbls for the garnish. Stir in the sugar and chiles. Add up to ½  cup more water, until you have the desired texture: a thick liquid, pourable but not watery. Serve in small condiment bowls, warm or at room temperature, squeezing on the lime and sprinkling on the reserved peanuts just before serving. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month. Reheat it in a small pan and simmer briefly before serving.

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