Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 9

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Hello CSA Members!

We hope you’ve had a great week so far enjoying the peak of the season’s delicious produce from our farm!

Delivery will return back to the normal day and time this week: tomorrow (Tuesday)! Leave out your cooler and ice pack!

So, last week, you had a little taste of the abundance of fall flavors to come (with squash especially – our garlic and onions too). This week, it’s time to experience something a little different: some spring flavor!

This week your share will contain:

  • Spring Radishes
  • Arugula 
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Red Round and/or Heirloom Slicer Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Sweet Onion
  • Garlic
Spring Radishes | Jupiter Ridge LLC
Spring radish bunches – so yummy and crunchy.

When autumn rolls back around, all of the spring greens and other victuals available during the very beginning of the year have the opportunity to come back, too (like arugula and spring radishes, as in this share – though look forward to the comeback of some other spring produce!).

With the cooler weather, vegetables classically considered “spring” vegetables can also have their time to shine. We planted an abundance of spring vegetables going into the fall, but want to make sure you have a taste of them as soon as they are available – specifically our spring radishes and arugula!

In this share too, however, you’ll notice that summer produce certainly isn’t done for the year, either. Enjoy our first big purple eggplants (Italian type) and watch out for those habanero peppers (be very sparing with them – they are hot, hot, hot!)

That’s all for now folks – as always let us know if you have any questions about your share. Enjoy!

– jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Arugula! What Is It? | Explanation and Tips

For me personally, arugula (also called rocket or roquet/roquette), feels like a “standard” veggie (er, green) you’d find just about anywhere because we’ve been growing it for so long. We’ve gotten used to it, and the green is starting to pop up everywhere, even here in Iowa, if only gradually.

Arugula | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Arugula in closeup.

However, it still surprises me and takes me off guard a little bit when people see it at our farmers market stand and don’t know what it is, or they haven’t heard of it, OR (this one amuses me the most) they have heard of it…but they’re scared of it!

This is NOT to make you folks out there who have never heard of arugula feel bad about never having had it before (it’s OK – I’ve just taken it for granted as a vegetable farmer, and it’s not as common yet as I think it is). If anything, it’s just another one of those specialty veggies people need a proper introduction to so they can enjoy it and get to know it in the best way possible (and so they like it, because it’s a wonderful, wonderful green).

Yes, arugula can be sorta spicy. But here’s the thing: once you get it mixed into a salad with a cool salad dressing and other ingredients, the edge of that heat is taken off a little bit. You get more of a peppery-kale flavor, with the tenderness and texture of spinach (even better texture in my opinion).

Strawberries, mustard, fish, chicken, and steak are GREAT ingredients in an arugula salad. Very delicious with Parmesan (goat cheese, feta, or Bleu cheese are also all great candidates), tomatoes, and maybe a bit of basil, too.

Flavor still too spicy for you? Arugula goes GREAT in a smoothie with all sorts of fruit and yogurt ingredients. Give it a try if the “heat” is too unpleasant to you – you won’t taste it once it’s all blended up.

The BEST and MOST POPULAR way to enjoy arugula (which is very healthy, by the way – tons of iron, fiber, B vitamins, and lots more!): throw it on a pizza! It’s a very popular ingredient on pizzas all over the place (including at the Iowa pizza places we sell our produce to: Quarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery in Cedar Rapids, Park Farm Winery by Dubuque, and Luna Valley Farm‘s weekend wood-fired pizzas up in Decorah!) (Oh yeah: kids might like arugula on their pizza, too..just saying!)

Eggplants | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Arugula can also be a great extra ingredient in pesto, and can substitute spinach or other greens in many an Italian pasta recipe (after all, it IS an Italian green!) Got a nice Italian recipe for those eggplants this week, for example? Arugula can be a great addition even to an eggplant Parmesan dish as it melds well with other classic Italian ingredients and flavors.

I’m getting hungry as I’m writing this – so I’ll wrap this up!

Let us know if you have any questions about your share this week. Better yet, share your recipes with us! If you have one you’ve made with your CSA produce and that you’re eager to tell the world about, we’d be more than happy to share it on the website with your name.

Email Us At: jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Have a great week!

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 8

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Hello CSA Members!

Feels like fall is finally getting here. Temperatures are cooling down, the weeks ahead look rainier, and we’re starting to see the leaves turn – just a tiny bit!

As the weeks roll by, our produce offerings continue to change bit by bit, becoming more “autumnal.” However, our summer crops still aren’t ready to give up! You’ll definitely see that in this diverse share coming up.

Speaking of: delivery will be taking place Monday afternoon (tomorrow). Be sure to leave out your coolers with ice packs out then!

Here’s what you’ll be getting this week:

  • Carnival Squash (New!)
  • Red Round Slicing (or Heirloom) Tomatoes (Or Combo of Both!)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Green Kale Bunch
  • Genovese Basil Bunch
  • Norland (Red) Potatoes
  • Summer Squash (Zucchini, Patty Pan, or Crookneck – or Combo)
  • Red Onion
  • Sweet Onion
Squash Assortment | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Squashes Are Coming!!!

We’re gearing up for a very busy next few days, not only because of CSA delivery (and restaurant delivery). We’ll be attending Cobble Hill’s Farm Dinner this evening, and tomorrow following deliveries, you can find us (and our food!) at the 2nd Annual Feed Iowa First Charity Dinner!

Hope to see you there!

Carnival Squash | Explanation and Tips

Last week you got acorn squash – this week you’ll be getting carnival squash!

Carnival Squash | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Carnival squash about to be roasted.

Carnival squash is like acorn squash’s more colorful cousin. In fact, it technically IS an acorn squash (same species of plant and very similar varietal genetics) but with some key differences, as we have come to learn while growing it.

Number 1: Carnivals are definitely more decorative (obviously!). Unlike acorn squash, you can let this one be a beautiful fall centerpiece for a couple of weeks or so before you eat it, a dash of autumn color unlike the monochrome green acorn squash.

Number 2: Carnivals taste sweeter (at least to me) and their sweetness is a little more reminiscent of maple syrup. It’s less like the sweetness of delicata, kuri, or kabocha, with the more “sweet potatoe-y” sweetness (don’t know what those squash are? You’ll soon find out!)

With that said, you can prepare them much like an acorn squash – slice in half, remove seeds, and roasting is the best way (the skins aren’t edible, so skip eating those). Candied (or not candied) nuts, rice, dried berries, and a drizzling of maple syrup or honey on (or even stuffed into!) the squash really bring out its fall flavor.

Hope you love the share this week!

As always let us know if you have any questions.

– jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 5 Newsletter

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Hi CSA Members!

After a bit of a heavier share last week, we’ll be delivering a share that’s a bit more on the lighter side this time around – so you can catch your breath a little bit!

That’s not to say there won’t be plenty of variety to expect, or that you won’t be seeing some new items.

Important note: we will be delivering Tuesday evening (tomorrow) as usual again! So be sure to leave out your empty cooler and ice pack then so we can switch it out.

What to expect in this week’s share:

  • Sweet Peppers (One Red, One Orange)
  • Orange Carrots
  • Green Curly Kale Bunch
  • “Cabbettes” (Mini Cabbages!)
  • Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
  • Mixed Potato Medley (White, Red, Purple, & Fingerling Potatoes)
  • Green Beans
  • Parsley Bunch
  • Sage Bunch
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Sweet Onion
  • Shallot

New this week are our sweet peppers, which are mostly “Bull’s Horn” or “Corno di Toro” type peppers. This means they aren’t quite bell peppers, but taper to a point, much like a bull’s horn (thus the name). 

Though their shape is different, they are just as sweet– if not sweeter, even!– than bell peppers you would find at the grocery store. (When I harvest them, I just can’t resist eating at least one of them as I harvest. So sweet and good, they’re like candy.)

Adirondack Potatoes
Purple potatoes will be one of the items you’re getting this week – and yes, they stay purple after you cook them!

We’ll also have parsley, potatoes, and shallots featured in this share. We hope you enjoy the new items – some of them even taste good together in combination in certain recipes!

Cabbettes: What Are They? | Explanation and Tips

In this week’s share you’ll be getting mini-cabbages or “cabbettes” as they are sometimes called. You’ll notice that they are basically just very small cabbages (or, if you look at them a little differently, large Brussels sprouts).

Cabbettes

You might wonder how the heck something like a small cabbage like this would come about. So here’s a little info on how cabbage grow: after you harvest the single BIG head from a cabbage plant, it keeps growing. But it doesn’t grow another big single head again. Instead, it splits off and grows several small ones, and though they’re small, they’re still quite tasty.

Some cabbettes are small enough that you could even treat them like Brussels sprouts if you wanted. The ones you’re going to find in your share, however, are going to be a little larger than that!

What to do with them? Well, you can do all the same things you like to do with a large cabbage with these little guys. (Think of it more like “single-serving” cabbage).

Some more ideas: chop or grate cabbettes into a slaw-like salad that is less heavy on the cabbage, with vegetables like matchstick carrots or even ginger. (Yum!)

Sliced Cabbage

Or: slice these mini-cabbages in half and place them on the grill. Delicious! Also– if you’ve got a big cut of meat to roast, throwing one of these cabbages whole along with your carrots, potatoes, and other roasting veggies with the meat in the roasting pan/it’s juices makes for another tender veggie added into the mix.

We hope you enjoy them – and as always, let us know if you have any questions about them!

Email Us | jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Wellness Spotlight On: Blue Potatoes (What Makes Them Blue)

Did you know that unusual-colored produce– especially produce that is red, blue, or purple instead of its typical color– has that color because of antioxidants?

Red Kale
Red (purple) kale has its color due to higher antioxidant content, which gives red kale a different (and arguably more dense) nutrient profile than green kale.

This is definitely the case with the blue potatoes you’ll be getting in your share. The blue color in these potatoes are actually anthocyanins, antioxidants that are great for:

  • Boosting heart health
  • Increasing immunity
  • Helping protect the nervous system
  • Reducing diabetes risk
  • Reduce risk of obesity
  • Reducing risk of cancer

So on top of all the nutrition you’d expect in potatoes (fiber, carbohydrates, potassium, vitamins, etc.), keep in mind that blue potatoes are extra special not because of how they look, but because that stunning blue appearance means more health benefits!

Enjoy your veggies this week, and let us know if you have any questions! | jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA “Italian Share!” | Week 4 Newsletter

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Hi CSA Members!

Make sure to whip out your Italian cookbooks or your fave Italian recipes for this share. We’ll be packing it with a lot of tasty ingredients used in Italian cuisine! (And generally speaking, this is going to be a very big share. Hope you enjoy!)

Just a heads up: CSA delivery will be taking place on Wednesday evening this week rather than Tuesday (tomorrow). Be sure to leave your empty cooler out with ice packs then!

What you’ll be getting:

  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Red Round Slicer Tomato
  • Large Heirloom Tomato
  • Bunch Sweet Italian Basil (Genovese Basil)
  • Bunch Oregano
  • Lacinato Kale Bunch
  • Head Lettuce
  • Green Zucchini
  • Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
  • Patty Pan Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Rainbow Baby Beets
  • Sweet Onion

Tomatoes and basil are considered a “holy grail” pairing, one that is especially revered (and featured in) Italian cooking. Oregano is another great one (it helps round out tomatoes and basil in tomato sauces and Italian gravies, for example), while Lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan kale, from Tuscany, Italy) is the star green for Italian cuisine and our share (and a favorite variety of kale among chefs – very tender, flavorful, and nutrient-dense!)

Lacinato Kale
Lacinato, Tuscan, or “Dinosaur” Kale, right before its delivery to Brazen Open Kitchen in Dubuque.

Can’t forget zucchini of course, a notable Italian vegetable (with a very Italian name).

Don’t want to cook Italian with all these ingredients? No problem. Cucumbers, sweet onion, baby beets, lettuce, and shiitake mushrooms in this week’s share will allow you to explore plenty of other avenues, too!

So Many Items in My CSA Share! Here’s How To Make Them Go The Distance

One thing we’ve heard many people say about CSA’s in general (whether they’re in one or considering one): you get too much food, you get overwhelmed, and then it all goes bad. It’s true this can happen: this is a tendency in some CSA’s (though not all of them, but you can run into this possibility depending on the farm or the farmer).

Heirloom Tomato
Is this a closeup of planet Jupiter? No, it’s a German Stripe heirloom tomato.

Part of the whole deal with a CSA is that you are signing up for both the “Risk and Rewards” of supporting your farmer with a whole share. You get whatever they have available on the farm.

But part of this is that you might get a lot of what a farmer happens to have, and sometimes that is something quite perishable (in the springtime, this might be greens, like kale) or something you might not be too excited about.

Not only might it be quite the task to keep up with cooking it all in one week (and in new, creative, appetizing ways that keep you excited), but you might also get a little exhausted of getting it over, and over, and over… and coming up with new ways to eat it (or even finding time to figure out how to eat it, for that matter).

So, to get the most out of the cost of your CSA share and ensure nothing goes to waste, here’s what we recommend for certain items:

  • You don’t have to eat those root vegetables right away.

Store them in a cool, dry place (the crisper drawer of your fridge is alright) at a temperature of between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, optimally (according to Modern Farmer). That immediately makes things like beets, potatoes, and even that enormous turnip in your share less daunting, and you don’t have to feel the pressure of using it right away. You can actually even wait a few weeks (sometimes months, depending on the root vegetable) before you even use it.

This goes for winter squash, too. As for onions, if you get sweet onions in your share, be sure to use them up before any storage type onions you get. Owing to their higher sugar content, sweet onions will go bad before your storage bulbs – while the latter you can keep just like other root veggies up to a few months in some cases.

  • Can’t eat all those greens? Blanch and freeze them.

It’s actually pretty quick and easy and takes almost no time, and I’ve done it many times in the autumn as our kale slows down production and dies back – I harvest any leftover leaves, blanch, and then freeze them. The Spruce has a good little tutorial on how to do it. It’s worth it.

Now you have greens with plenty of nutrients left in them still for the winter. It’s a great method to do with any excess kale, collard greens, swiss chard, arugula, and spinach you just can’t seem to get through (sadly, it doesn’t work so great for lettuce).

These frozen greens can then be cooked, added to sauces/pastas/soups, and they’re still tasty enough to throw into a smoothie or into the juicer. For that matter, a lot of other produce can be blanched and frozen, not just greens: like summer squash, green beans, sugar snap peas, and lots more.

Collard Bunches
Collard greens, these are great for blanching and freezing.
  • Make sure to store your tomatoes outside of the fridge.

This is a big one. We tend not to try to overload our members with tomatoes (although we know that they’re probably the most exciting item to people in the summer), but simply “not being in the mood” for tomatoes (or getting sick of tomatoes in summer) is a very, very, very real thing.

So, make sure to avoid storing your tomatoes in the fridge if you don’t want to get to them right away. They keep much, much longer at room temperature, anyway (and you’ll notice them going bad  much sooner than when you leave them out of sight and out of mind in your crisper drawer).

  • Keep mushrooms refrigerated in paper, not plastic.

Can’t get to your shiitake mushrooms right away (or oyster mushrooms, or lion’s mane mushrooms, which CSA members might get in the future from our farm)? 

You’ll get your shiitakes delivered to you in your share in a small plastic bag, but if you can’t cook them within a few days to a week, move them to be stored in something like a brown paper bag. This will definitely extend their shelf life to over one week, sometimes even two weeks, because it helps “wick” excess moisture away while still keeping some of it in to prevent your mushrooms from drying out too much.

If some brown spots form on mushroom gills, don’t worry – that is just oxidation, your mushrooms are still edible! It just makes them look a little ugly.

Shiitakes

It can be a chore to stay on top of all your CSA share produce (especially if you get a lot of certain items at once). This is one of the reasons why our CSA is set up a little differently: we start in July (when we are at the peak in our produce variety) and end our subscription with Fall produce that includes what is available not only in Autumn, but ALSO what’s available in Spring (so you get it all!)

Have any questions about your CSA share and what’s in it?

Never hesitate to ask! Email: jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA “Rainbow Share!” | Week 3 Newsletter

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Hi CSA Members!

For this week’s share, you’ll be enjoying some of the most colorful produce of the season thus far (and arguably, the most colorful produce you can even grow and eat!).

So we’re calling it a “Rainbow Share.”

Here’s what you’ll be getting tomorrow:

  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Rainbow Baby Beets
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Red Slicer Tomato
  • Yellow Hot Pickling Peppers
  • Green Kale
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Green Beans
  • Red Onion
  • Thai Basil

We hope you enjoy all the color and flavor these veggies can offer. Enjoy!

What Is Thai Basil? | Explanation and Tips

This week, the culinary herb you’ll be getting is Thai basil. It looks a bit like the other varieties of basil that are more popular and that you’d usually see at the grocery store (those are called “sweet basil” varieties, the green one you see a lot is considered an Italian or Genovese type basil type).

Herb Bunches | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Tons of herbs! The bunch on the far lower left with the small purple flowers is Thai basil.

Thai basil has a bit of that sweet flavor like Italian basil, but also has a prominent “licorice” or “anise” type flavor thrown in, too. It should be cooked like Italian basil too, best thrown in at the end of a recipe to infuse it with its flavor.

Be sure to look up some Thai recipes featuring Thai basil and give them a try if you like. Though here are some ideas that Jupiter Ridge farmer Will has used:

Combine it with sweet fruits in a sauce to top cooked meats after they are prepared (especially pork or fish), or even as a marinade. Will has paired Thai basil with plum and it’s a flavorful match made in heaven.

Substitute mint for Thai basil in a mojito recipe (or if you don’t drink, a mojito mocktail recipe sans the booze). The result is an absolutely refreshing and cooling beverage (we’ve been enjoying it ourselves here and there up on Jupiter Ridge)! Throw your cucumber into the drink, too, if you like – cucumber and Thai basil taste amazing together in beverages.

Wellness Spotlight On: Rainbow Beets

In your share, you’ll also be getting a bag of rainbow baby beets: white beets, gold beets, chioggia beets, and the standard red beets.

Rainbow Beets | Jupiter Ridge Farm

These are awesome pickled, cooked, or roasted whole (a farmer friend of ours even smokes them after cooking – amazing!). But where they may really shine is when they are used raw in juices and smoothies (yes, you can probably see where I’m going with this).

Before beets were widely considered a food, they were actually considered more of a medicinal herb. Nowadays they are a popular addition to “detox” juices and smoothies not only because they turn them such an appetizing red color, but also because they’re chock-full of antioxidants and fiber that support a healthy liver (which in turn helps your body detox naturally), improve gut health, and boost heart health, too.

More specifically, red beets contain natural nitrates that help lower blood pressure and boost circulation (as a result, athletes love to use it because it helps increase aerobic capacity). Red beets also contain betalains (responsible for red beets’ red dye-like color).

Harvesting Beets | Jupiter Ridge Farm

But what about the other beets: gold, white, and chioggia?

Well, chioggia beets (the pink ones in your share that when you cut them open, have a bull-eye like pattern on the inside) share some of the same health properties as red beets because they have some of the same pigment.

Gold beets on the other hand have an entirely different set of antioxidants and health benefits. Instead of betalains, the gold pigment they have is actually made of lycopene and zeaxanthin, two different antioxidants (lycopene is great for reproductive health and heart health, while zeaxanthin is GREAT for eye health, apparently!)

OK – what about the white beets?

These have less antioxidants, but are plenty high in fiber (great for your gut). Here’s the kicker: they’re SWEETER than all the other beet varieties. So while the others will keep you healthy, enjoy the white beets as a sweet treat (they’re awesome sliced or grated raw into salads, or throw them into your smoothie/juice blend).

Have questions about how to cook/prepare items in your share?

Or are you curious about the health benefits of any of the herbs, veggies, or mushrooms you receive?

Don’t hesitate to contact us! – jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Best,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm