Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fifth Pickup Is Today 7.21.2009

Hello CSA Members,

Today is our fifth pickup. Be sure to visit your pickup location today between 4:30 and 6pm. And don't forget to bring your containers. Last week we broke our streak of excellent success with container return rate. But hey, we're all human. No worries just remember to bring them back today. Thanks to several of you who forgot to return them last Tuesday but actually returned yours during the week.

We had a little rain on Friday, actually quite a thunderstorm. They typically come from the east and if we're working on that side of the farm we can sometimes see the rain sweeping down the hill that borders the property in that direction on the other side of Cold Water Creek. When we see the rain coming down the hill that means if we hurry back to the barn immediately we're likely to get only somewhat wet. If we hesitate we're going to get drenched. Friday when the storm blew in we were showing a CSA member family around the farm. We spent the storm in the pole barn talking about food.

Speaking of tours, we will definitely be inviting all our CSA members out to the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm later in the year so you can see where all your food is grown. In the meantime if you want a tour I recommend next Wednesday, July 29th. Slow Food Charlotte, Know Your Farms, Cabarrus County and the Cabarrus County Cooperative Extension Office are hosting an open house. I've attached a flyer to this email. Please join us and lots of other people excited about local food and the leadership role Cabarrus County is taking in this region regarding local food.

We would like to thank Colleen and Thomas for working hard with us last Friday and on short notice. They helped us get the harvest in. Also thanks to Jon, Nicole and Joyce for working with us during the past week. Jon has been out twice now to help work on the farm, proving it's really not that bad. We'll organize a bigger group effort real soon so more of you will have an opportunity to join us.

There's a new movie out that documents the trouble we're facing regarding where our food comes from and how we eat in America . It's called Food Inc. You can see a trailer by clicking here. If you have three minutes I suggest you watch it. Go ahead, I'll wait........

OK now if you'd like to see the whole movie you'll have to hike all the way over to Park Road in Charlotte. Or we could all send an email to Stephen Morris at the Gem Theatre.


Let Stephen know we sure would appreciate it if he would run Food Inc. in our community.

By the way we have to take a week off from corn. We're between plantings right now but it will be back very soon, perhaps as soon as next week. The good news is that we have,

Green Beans (They will be labeled with an G)
String Beans (They will be labeled with an S)
Swiss Chard
Straight Neck Squash (regular squash and not quite so much this week)
Patty Pan Squash (yummy strange-looking squash)
Cucumbers (The last of the them- this time I'm serious)
Squash Blossoms

We're getting to that time of the year when we're going to have more and more vegetables (okra and pappers real soon and tomatoes too I promise) available for our weekly deliveries. This means everyone won't get everything on the list each week. We'll do our best though to make sure that if you don't get something this week, you get it next week.

Alright on to the recipes. See you late today.


Sautéed Swiss Chard


1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Pinch of dried crushed red pepper

2 large bunches Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Remember to remove the rib from the center of the leaf as this part might be bitter during the summer

Melt butter with oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chard; stir to coat. Cover; cook until tender, stirring

Bean and Swiss Chard Soup


3 tbsp. virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow onions (about 4 medium)
2 long ribs celery, with leaves if possible, strings removed, diced
1 small carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, green germ removed, diced
1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard leaves, stems trimmed, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
1 pound dried cannellini beans
1/4 cup Nunzio's Tomato Sauce
2 small dried bird's-eye peppers, crushed, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Fine sea salt
1 medium red onion, sliced paper-thin


1. Begin by preparing the beans. Pick over the beans, removing any pebbles or other debris. Place the beans in a heavy saucepan and add water to cover by two inches. Bring to a boil; remove from the heat, and let sit, covered for 1 hour. Drain, return the beans to the saucepan, and add fresh water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce the heat so the beans are simmering, and cook, partially covered until they are al dente, tender but slightly firm, about 45 minutes. Drain the beans so they do not get overly soft, reserving the cooking liquid.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the diced onions, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring, onions are golden and translucent and the celery is tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Add the chard, stir, cover, and cook, until it has softened, about 15 minutes.

4. Add the beans with their cooking liquid and enough water just to cover the vegetables. Add the tomato sauce and peppers and stir. Season lightly with salt, cover, and bring to a boil, raising the heat if necessary. Reduce the heat so the liquid is boiling gently and cook, partially covered until the vegetables are soft but the beans aren't mushy, about 45 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and serve with the red onion slices alongside for dinners to add to the steaming soup if they prefer.

Squash Casserole


2 pounds yellow squash, cut in 3/4-inch cubes

1 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup saltine crackers, crumbled

1/2 cup milk

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped, or buttered bread crumbs


Place the squash, onion, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Add a small amount of water. Cover and cook the squash until tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary. Drain the squash and onions; return to the pan and stir in the butter. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper to your taste.

Butter a 1 1/2-quart baking dish well. Stir the crumbled crackers into the squash mixture, and turn into the buttered casserole. Pour the milk over the squash and sprinkle with the cheese and chopped pecans or crumbs. Bake at 350°, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until the milk is absorbed and the squash casserole is bubbly. Serve hot. Serves 4 to 6.

Squash Blossom Frittata


3-4 blossoms
1-2 baby squash
4 eggs
Dash of milk
2 green onions
Asiago cheese
Chopped parsley and snipped chives (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Pick 3 to 4 blossoms per person and 1 or 2 baby yellow or green summer squash. Rinse blossoms well and drain on paper towels.

2. Beat 4 eggs with a little milk. Add fresh chopped parsley and snipped chives, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. In a non-stick pan, saute a little butter and cook 2 green onion and thinly sliced baby squash just until soft. Then quickly saute the blossoms for about 30 seconds and remove from pan.

4. Pour egg mix into pan, sprinkle and arrange the onions, squash and blossoms on top and cook over low to medium heat until almost set. Sprinkle with Asiago cheese and put under the broiler until lightly puffed and browned.

Battered Squash Blossoms
(With or Without Stuffing)

The Batter:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fat-free chilled milk, beer or water

Cheese-Mushroom Stuffing:
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 tablespoon mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley, minced
large squash blossoms, washed
Canola oil for frying


1. Prepare the batter first. Sift together dry ingredients, then whisk in milk, beer or cold water until smooth. Cover and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Leftover batter can be stored for up to two days. If it is too thick after refrigeration, add a few drops of water to return to original consistency.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. In a bowl combine the ricotta cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, mushrooms and basil. Open the blossoms and spoon about one 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture into the center of each. Avoid overfilling the blossoms. Twist the top of each blossom together to close. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3. Pour the oil into a skillet to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat over high heat until a small cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown within seconds.

4. Briefly dip each stuffed blossom into the batter, then carefully slip into the hot oil. Cook until golden on all sides, about three minutes total cooking time. Add only as many blossoms at a time as will fit comfortably in the skillet. Transfer with a slotted utensil to paper towels to drain briefly.

5. Sprinkle with salt, if desired and serve immediately.

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