In the share this week:
2 fennel bulbs
Double salad mix
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch salad turnips
1 lb broccoli or 2 cucumbers
Thoughts from Farmer Anna:
Oh wow - I really feel like we are transitioning into summer this week. We harvested our first zucchini and broccoli on Friday and were surprised to see that we have a few cucumbers ready as well. The share this week is feeling more dense and heavy, with fewer fluffy greens. Other surprises this week include the first couple of ripe sungold cherry tomatoes. There aren't too many yet, so they were a farmer snack, but don't worry they'll be coming your way soon. Just rewards for our hard work getting so many transplants in last week :)
I do feel like we have gotten mostly caught up with our work and the pace will be a little less stressful this week. Steve and I did a fair bit of farm work this weekend because our kiddos are vacationing in Florida with my parents. I'm already missing them, but it's nice to have more free time to get caught up on the farm. One of the tasks that Steve and I accomplished this weekend was to prepare a new area for seeding a summer cover crop. This area will be shaped into planting beds next year, but we are taking the time to condition the soil with cover crops this year so it will be in excellent shape when we are ready to grow vegetables there in 2020. The cover crops we are using in this plot are sorghum sudan grass (lots of biomass and deep roots to help break up our clay soil) and cowpeas (a legume that will fix nitrogen in the soil, making it available for later veggie crops).
There are many new crops in the share this week. Everyone is getting zucchini, fennel, and cilantro, while full shares are getting cucumbers and half shares are getting broccoli since those crops are coming on slower. There will be enough broccoli and cukes for everyone next week, but I wanted to make sure that the 'B' half shares got some this week so they didn't miss out. Fennel is a more uncommon vegetable that many folks haven't tried before. It has a nice light anise flavor with a texture that is similar to celery. I find that it pairs very nicely with zucchini, so I love that the ratatouille recipe Maria has for you includes both of these veggies. I've also make a delicious casserole type dish with fennel, zucchini, and italian sausage. If you aren't sure what to do with your cilantro this week, you can always blend in with olive oil and freeze that mixture in a ziploc bag. We'll use this cilantro 'sauce' on top of fish or chicken, or even added to fresh salsa once the tomatoes are ripe. Cilantro prefers cooler weather, so it's tough to have fresh during the heat of the summer when we have tomatoes in abundance. You are getting a double bag of salad mix this week because we are fortunate to have a ton of it ready right now. We have been eating salads almost daily and have been going through this mix, so hopefully you are too and will enjoy having the extra this week.
Recipes from Maria:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small zucchini, trimmed, chunked into half moons
1 small eggplant, chunked
1 small fennel bulb, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound (16 ounces) pasta
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
In a large high sided 12-inch pan add olive oil and set over medium high heat.
When the oil is hot add in the zucchini, eggplant, fennel and yellow onion.
Saute for about 10 minutes or until the zucchini starts to soften.
Add the garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute .
Add in the diced tomatoes with the juice and tomato paste and stir to combine.
Turn the heat to low and let the flavors work together while you make the pasta.
Prepare the pasta according to box directions and save 1 cup of the cooked pasta water.
Add the prepared pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.
If the sauce is too thick add a little of the pasta water to help thin out the sauce.
Stir in the fresh basil.
Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Cucumber Pineapple Salsa
1 bag Tortilla Chips
1 cup diced peeled cucumber
1 tomato seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
1 cup diced pineapple
⅓ cup diced red onion
1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Combine cucumber, tomato, pineapple, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.