Here we are at week two! Our crop of summer vegetables are coming along nicely, and we hope you’ve enjoyed the last dregs of late spring/early summer fare: namely, the bounty of lettuce that’s filled farm share boxes and our first official CSA share for the last few weeks, which we hope you’ve enjoyed.
With the last lettuce pulled out of the field, we’re finally done with most of our fresh greens (at least for a while – until we plant our next round of lettuce in, hopefully soon!) We still have kale to give your shares a touch of green and, this week, we’ll be giving you rainbow chard, which we didn’t have last year! (We’re pretty happy with our plants this year….expect big, beautiful bunches!)
As for the rest, this is the full list of this week’s offerings:
Small rainbow beets bunch
Rainbow chard bunch
Fresh shallot bunch
Cucumbers (one green, one lemon)
Small leaf kale mix
Large sweet onion
We’ve been hard at work (and excited!) about our hot “true” summer vegetable crops this week. Tomatoes are trellised and fruiting (green fruits for now), eggplants are beginning to form, and peppers both hot and sweet are not too far behind. Garlic is being pulled, storage onions too, and in not too long we’ll be digging up the year’s first potatoes – not to mention leeks, squash, and okra not too far off.
Lots of great things to look forward to!
Lemon Cucumbers: What Are They? | Explanation & Tips
What’s the round yellow stripey thing in the box? Since this is a question that’s popped up from some of our members, we’re happy to explain before you cut it up to see what it is (or what’s inside).
It’s a lemon cucumber! Despite it’s name, no, it does not have a citrus flavor. It has pretty much the same identical flavor as typical fresh green cucumbers, but without bitterness due to their very thin skins. (That said, it would probably taste pretty good with lemon now that I think about it).
These cukes are called lemon cukes mostly just because of how they look: they’re round, and they’re yellow. We think they shine best when sliced up in a salad and they really do add a refreshing yellow color to contrast all the green. Try them on a sandwich, maybe. I’d bet they’d be pretty good!
Wellness Spotlight: Kohlrabi
If you think kale’s healthy, try a bite of the fresh kohlrabi in your share. Since this veggie is closely related to kale, it has a lot of the same nutritional profile as the superfood green that people have been raving about for years.
This includes cancer-, inflammation-, and diabetes-fighting antioxidants like sulforaphane and vitamins B and C. And you can’t argue with fiber – plus tons of plant proteins and minerals, too! Looking at some research, it does look like some scientists are studying it for the ability to prevent fat production in the body.
Of course, people might be more curious about what to actually do with kohlrabi, not just its health perks! It has a flavor between broccoli and cabbage, and here are some quick recommendations: cut it into matchsticks for a salad, lacto-ferment/pickle it and enjoy it over a long period of time (it tastes delicious as pickles the most, in my opinion – especially with dill!), or cut into very, very thin slices and eat lightly fried (or raw) on a sandwich or burger (burger is my favorite.)
You can always hold onto your kohlrabi for a couple more weeks, you don’t have to use it right away. Just make sure it’s wrapped up in airtight plastic or stored in the crisper in your fridge, otherwise its skin may get soft!
Until next week, we hope you enjoy your veggies! Like last week, Cedar Rapids delivery is tomorrow, Dyersville/Colesburg is Wednesday, and Peosta will be early Saturday morning.
Have questions about how to cook/prepare items in your share?
Don’t hesitate to contact us! – firstname.lastname@example.org
This week kicks off the FIRST full season CSA share of the year, and we couldn’t be more stoked! Thank you so much for choosing us as your farmers.
Last year 2019 we had only a very small amount of members and intended to keep it that way. But with the times a-changing, and a huge surge in CSA interest and local food delivery, we’re happy to be growing, packing, and delivering for over 20 members and farm box purchasers (and growing, even!) in Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha, Dyersville, Peosta, Colesburg, and pretty much all over!
If you’ve been buying our individual/pre-season/”early bird” farm share boxes up until this point, you’ll see that we have quite a few new types of produce all at once and right on time for our members’ first share in the list below. We’re pretty stoked about this timing – it really couldn’t be more perfect!
A quick reminder to some of our members:the second half of full season CSA payment is due! The second payment ($237.50) can be made online at this link here to our online shop.
What to expect:
Small head cabbage
Crookneck summer squash
Mixed fresh bunch onions and shallots
In our newsletters we tend to share recipe ideas, info about unique produce you may not find at the grocery store, tips on how to make your veggies “go the distance,” (store longer so you make the most of your veggie share), and even some health and wellness tips.
With this first week getting situated and conveying a lot of important info to our members all at once at the outset, we’ll get all that extra helpful info going next week (we don’t want to overwhelm you) – though please do let us know if you have any questions or recommendations regarding the items on the list. Email us! | email@example.com
Depending on where you are located, here’s how and when you’ll get your shares. These routine routes/days of the week are subject to change if you’re not in the Cedar Rapids area. But we will be sure to let you know if that happens, ASAP!
Cedar Rapids / Marion / Hiawatha:
Direct home delivery of your share will take place on Tuesdays if you have a delivery membership (usually sometime between 4 and 6 PM or close to that window).
If you have the pick up option, you cangrab your share at Rodina in the Czech Village when it opens on Wednesday (1 PM-10 PM) and they’ll get it to you from their walk in cooler! Rodina will also be able to get you your share on Thursdays if you can’t get in on Wednesday. However, in order to preserve important space in their walk-in headed into the weekend, shares that are not picked up by Friday will be donated to Feed Iowa First on Fridays.
Dyersville Delivery CSA will take place on Wednesday evenings. It was originally planned for Saturdays in the early A.M., but this is subject to change again, possibly, if our CSA continues to grow!
Peosta Delivery will take place on Saturdays in the very early A.M. (whether you’re a CSA member or farm share box purchaser!) As with all other deliveries, we will leave the box on your porch / stoop on our way to Dubuque Farmers Market.
On-Farm Pick-Up Share (Limited) will take place on Friday afternoons. We will have your share ready for you to grab, with masks and gloves ready! We will be very busy packing for tomorrow’s Saturday market but can chat only briefly.
Looks like that’s all for now.
Of course, if you have questions – about delivery routes, days, pick up details, the produce you’re getting, ANYTHING, send us an email! We love to talk food. | firstname.lastname@example.org
Very much looking forward to another year of being your farmers for some of you – and for the first time for the rest!
With a heavy share for you last week, we’re going a little light this week on our offerings – but your cooler will still be packed with plenty to enjoy and have fun with.
New item this week: Acorn Squash! That’s right, we’re finally starting to move into fall (a little bit) and this is only the first taste of what we’ll have to offer for fall flavors (meaning we have many more types of winter squash you’ll be able to enjoy in your future shares.)
This week’s share will include:
Red Round Slicing Tomatoes
Baby Rainbow Carrots
Baby Rainbow Beets
Lacinato Kale Bunch
White (Kennebec) Potatoes
A heads up about CSA deliveries next week! They will be taking place on Monday evening rather than on Tuesday evening. So make sure to leave your cooler with ice pack out then.
We will be attending the 2nd Annual Feed Iowa First that evening at Rodina in the Czech Village! We will also be collaborators, so the dishes featured during the dinner will feature the same produce you have been enjoying in your shares. Because of the event, we are tying in our restaurant and CSA deliveries into that day for convenience.
Speaking of the dinner – there are still tickets available!
Wish to attend? Click this link here. It would be great to see you there, and to work with us to help a great nonprofit like Feed Iowa First (Read about what they do here!)
This amazing nonprofit gathers growers and farmers (including ourselves here at Jupiter Ridge Farm!) together to produce healthy food and get it to communities, institutions, and other populations in need.
Participating in this dinner is a great way to support them as directly as possible, and will feature dishes and beverages produced from the talents of chefs, beverage makers, brewers, and farmers – the best talents in the Cedar Rapids area! Last year’s event was delicious, amazing, and fun. Let us know if you can join us!
Acorn Squash: What Do I Do With It? | Explanation & Tips
Never had acorn squash before? Well, you’re in for a real treat!
If you’ve ever roasted a butternut or spaghetti squash, acorn squash basically gets the same treatment when it comes to preparation. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and place them on a cookie sheet or pan (with a little water in pan if desired) and roast them up until they’re nice and soft.
Adding a little salt on top (black pepper, too) makes this squash enjoyable right on it’s very own. Or, you can scoop out the flesh (leave the skin aside – it’s not very edible) and blend it into soups or stews. Half-bake it and cube it up and it makes an excellent addition to stuffing! (A bit early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, we know.)
Did you know the acorn squash was actually developed here in the state of Iowa? And that it also goes by the name Des Moines squash? The acorn was officially introduced and debuted as a commercial cultivar in Iowa in 1913. However, all squash originate from the Americas – pumpkins, zucchinis, you name it.
As you enjoy acorn squash this week, you can be proud to be tasting and savoring produce that is as Iowan as it gets.
Wellness Spotlight On: Cucumbers
Something as green as a cucumber has got to be healthy. But what health benefits does it have, exactly?
People eat cucumbers most often as a condiment we know all too well: pickles. “Dill pickles” (cucumbers pickled with dill seeds or fronds) are delicious, but there’s something more to this pairing: both cucumbers and dill are known to be great for aiding digestion.
Whether you eat them raw or as pickles, cucumbers are also known to help regulate blood sugars a little bit. This makes them an excellent vegetable for people with diabetes!
Well, that’s all for now! It’s an amazing time for CSA members right now, being able to enjoy the last tasty vegetables of summer alongside some of the first hints of autumn produce.
We hope you love what’s in your share – and as always, let us know if you have any questions about anything!
The share this week will feature some new additions (and the return of some tasty items you’ve enjoyed in the past) – we hope you enjoy them as much as our market customers did this past Saturday at Dubuque Farmers Market!
This week’s share will include:
New this week: leeks and garlic! These veggies can also be used like culinary seasonings in and of themselves (especially garlic). We hope you enjoy the flavor they add to your recipes and meals this week. Enjoy!
Leeks: Using Them | Explanation and Tips
We get a lot of farmers market customers in Dubuque asking us all about leeks. What are they? What should you use them in?
Leeks are a relative of onions and garlic, with a flavor more similarly resembling onions more than anything. Compared to onions, though, they have a gentler presence in recipes when it comes to taste. The part you want to use it mostly its white stem (which has the same texture and is chopped the same way as an onion bulb), though the green leafy top parts can be used, too. However, be prepared for the green parts to be a bit more fibrous (less like an onion bulb).
We recommend leeks in soups and stocks most of all. That seems to be where they shine the most (especially in soups using potatoes – leek and potato soup is heavenly, so give them a try along with those fingerlings!)
But really, you can replace recipes calling for onion with a whole leek if you desire. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!
Wellness Spotlight On: Garlic
Vegetable farmers love to grow garlic. People love to eat garlic (it tastes delicious – what would we be without it?) Herbalists also love garlic because it has dozens of health properties.
In summary: everyone loves garlic.
But most notably of all, garlic is amazing for your health, there’s no way around it. When you eat it as a food or culinary herb, it’s great for your immune system, for reducing cancer risk, protecting heart health, regulating blood sugars, the whole she-bang.
One interesting thing about garlic: it can be a potent antibiotic. However, in order to tap into these antibiotic properties, you need to eat garlic raw!
A tall order, we know – but for those interested in trying their hand at it, raw cloves can help you knock out a cold or a flu if you want to try out a home herbal remedy that is widely known to help you when you’re sick (and is actually shown to be effective!). Placing cloves of garlic in a jar of honey is a great way to prepare for the winter – it helps preserve them and also make “popping” a raw clove for a cold or flu way more palatable (and still effective).
Oh yeah – garlic it can be great for sore throats, too (especially when combined with that honey).
Lots of good stuff this week – and especially healthy stuff, too.
As always, feel free to let us know if you have any questions about how to use an item in your CSA share (or what it could be good for, health-wise!)
Using herbs with your neti pot is perfect for those funky, dry late-winter months that blend into spring – a time when cold and flu season seems to be over and yet you find yourself still blowing your nose, over and over. You might also be a bit unsure about whether you are dealing with allergies, or the last cold of the season to kick your butt!
At this very particular time I’m writing (originally in March of 2014 – though this article has been updated January 2016 and now again in 2022!) I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot about folks coming down with something not quite like a cold, but still hard to ignore. Inflamed, stuffy sinuses, allergies, plugged ears, and the vestige of a cough, with some lingering respiratory issues, as if they have just overcome a cold.
I have found myself hesitant to use just typical cold and flu herbs in these situations. Immunity is always important to focus on, and the tried-and-true bulls-eye of the practicing herbalist. But what about the best relief, on top of all that, and with the help of herbs used at home – sinus relief? Over the years I have had tons of success and adventures using herbs with a neti pot in different ways, even concocting specific neti formulas, and I have much to share and praise about this method.
Neti Pots and Their Virtues
Neti pots have been my go-to for nearly a decade. When I’m in the midst of cold, flu, allergy troubles, and my chronic allergic rhinitis and sinusitis issues (not pleasant!) they provide instantaneous relief while those immune boosting foods or herbs take some time to kick in. An herbal steam, though lovely, just won’t get into the sinuses fast enough. When all these things are the case, I open up my cupboard, and take my neti pot off the shelf.
A sinus rinse gets rid of all of that gunk, and quickly (with the help of salt in the solution). Then, one day, I realized I could combine herbs with neti rinses to enhance these effects. I have since then chosen this method as a top one in my arsenal for colds and flu fighting.
How do I use a Neti pot?
What’s the low-down on using neti pots? If you don’t know, neti pots (also called “nasal lavage” or just sinus rinsing pots) are little magical-looking genie bottle-type containers you fill with warm water and a bit of salt. You then hold back your head, put the spout in your nostril, breathe through your mouth, and let the water flow through your sinuses – through one nostril, and then out the other. I would highly recommend reading more on the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations on how to use the Neti pot here.
Is using a Neti pot safe? Most doctors and health practitioners (including herbalists) dub Neti pots safe and effective with a just a few extra guidelines to consider and adhere to, and which I follow closely too.
Neti pots are good first line defenses against cold symptoms and allergies.
They’re great for thick mucus and blockages (of ears and nasal passages).
Use them sporadically: non-regular use is best.
Use boiled, distilled, sterilized, and filtered water (I personally use water from my Brita filter, boil it, then cool it to a warm temperature. Some experts will recommend more thorough or sophisticated filters however.)
If using tap water, make sure it is filtered through hole sizes 1 micron or smaller, or boiled several minutes then cooled before use. (Yep – read above.)
CLEAN your neti pot regularly.
Why all the concerns? Some studies have shown that regular use of neti pots may actually increase the chances of sinus infections and bacterial growth. Think about it: adding yet more water to a part of the body that is warm, damp, and dark could end up being the perfect fodder for infections.
It’s also apparent that neti rinses may actually remove the beneficial microbes and the body’s natural immune, organism-fighting agents we need to fight infections and illnesses on our own. That’s certainly not in the spirit of an herbalist or holistic practitioner, right? We want to be aiding the body’s battle against illness, not hindering it.
As a result I use neti pots only in a real pinch – and no longer than about 2 weeks at a time in a daily series.
My Experiences with Herbal Neti Pot Rinses
I started my use of the neti pot with the standard salt rinse, as usual, with strong warm water. As an herbalist it became all too logical to think that the neti rinse could easily use a bit of an herbal twist. No, I’m not the first herbalist to think of this idea: after I happened upon an herb shop’s sinus care formula tailored to the neti pot, I thought, I really need to start making my own formula and using herbs in a sinus rinse myself. (Especially considering my own sinus issues.)
Since then, I can’t resist adding a supporting herb into the sinus rinse mix each time. It usually depends on the type of sinus issue or cold I’m dealing with, but there are so many varieties of herbs and herbal actions to choose from, and that suit a neti rinse perfectly: vasodilating, bronchiodilating, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and a good balance between astringent and emollient. If you have dry sinuses, you can rinse with moistening herbs. Goopy sinuses, and you can turn to more drawing and drying ones.
Through my personal explorations with my neti pot, I’ve found a delightful selection of herbs to include in my rinses – which I will be happily covering in this article. Over the years too, instead of putting so much work into whipping up a complicated herbal sinus rinse every time– using various herbs, tinctures, teas, and then finally, the sea salt– which sounds exhausting when I’m already exhausted from stuffy sinuses, I came up with a unique herbal formula for the neti pot that combines all the ingredients in one place. All you have to do is heat the water, let cool, add the formula, rinse, and feel the relief! Feel free to check it out.
How I Use My Neti Pot
*Dosage/Preparation: To each Neti Rinse you prepare, use warm (not hot!) water (or boiled water that has cooled to a tolerable temperature) and add roughly AT MOST a teaspoon of salt (make sure it is a fine type of salt, not coarse).
Neti solution should not be too salty – to taste, the water should be “as salty as your tears.”
Avoid using tap water.Use filtered, reverse-osmosis, or pre-boiled then cooled water – or bottled and/or distilled water. Again, I filter through my Brita (charcoal), boil, and then let cool.
To each solution as it is cooling, add about 10-20 drops tincture, or whatever you are comfortable. (I tend to use 1-2 dropperfuls of my own neti formula.)
If you aren’t comfortable with tinctures- or, if you don’t have a tincture of any these herbs handy- you can make a tea, decoction, infusion, or tisane of these herbsbut make sure that the plant matter is WELL STRAINED to avoid putting any thing foreign in your sinuses that shouldn’t be there, and could only make matters worse.
Choice Herbs For the Herbal Neti Pot
GINGER (Zingiber officinalis) – Warm and damp. This culinary root is prime for drier sinuses, with or without accompanying dull pressure – and those dealing with lingering viral infection. Ginger is also one of an exclusive circle of helpful herbs that can stave off a good deal of viral activity. This makes ginger great for colds or viral bugs, soothing what feels like inflammation and a lot of pressure – and, overall, quite a perfect addition to the neti pot.
Surprisingly, while you might think ginger could “burn,” the most potent of my ginger tinctures (or any tincture formula I’ve made or used, for that matter) haven’t caused a single discomfort, though I’m sure you would have to be careful with a decoction! You can replace ginger with native Wild Ginger if you’d prefer, though Wild Ginger is not reputedly anti-viral.
CHAMOMILE (Matricaria chamomilla) – Or, along the same lines, feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). Sinus headaches/pressure with either drip or dryness could call for either of these two white-flowered, dainty and aromatic herbs, especially if there is sneezing involved. They are both relatively easy to find in herb gardens and herbal sections of food stores.
Sinus allergies are a good target for these – whether runny or dry, these two plants are known to help support the prevention histamine reaction in a unique way, and a rinse with these is quite gentle. Check out this research on both Feverfew and Chamomile, supporting their uses for allergies. If you have sinus issues or allergies that often transform into migraines, these could be your best buddies especially.
RAGWEED (Ambrosia artemisifolia/trifida) – Before you say “What? Why?!!?” Ragweed can be amazing for sinus allergy symptoms, particularly for those who are NOT allergic to its pollen. Yet for those who are allergic to ragweed, there is strong supporting research out there nonetheless, revealing that the antidote to the poison might be just a bit of the plant itself. To top it all off, the FDA did approve a drug that contained a bit of ragweed itself in a pill for allergy relief symptoms due to Ragweed pollen itself in 2014.
Again- if you know you are allergic to ragweed or other plants from the Asterid family, it might be wiser to steer clear. For those who aren’t (including myself), a tincture or tea of in-season ragweed blooms can provide amazing relief, particularly when you feel a histamine reaction going on. I experimented with some tincture last summer (2013) for some dusty-stuff sinus problems, and wow- just, wow.
This is best aimed at allergy-related sinus issues specifically, and less so for cold or viral stuff. If you are the brave sort of ragweed-allergic, I’ve been told that ragweed leaf (NOT flower) can be alright and less harmful to ragweed-sufferers…but that is not a recommendation or suggestion. Experiment at your own risk please.
GOLDENROD (Solidago canadensis + other species) – The dried blossoms of goldenrod are similar to chamomile or feverfew in action, making it best suited to allergies once again – but more so the damp and drippy kind. For whatever magical reason too, this plant has a stronger affinity to pet allergies (according to many herbalists) and sinus flare-ups that might happen as a result.
Another great thing about it: it’s well-known support of ragweed allergies in the empirical knowledge of herbalists (without being actual ragweed). Growing right next to ragweed in the Fall and blooming twice as “showily,” not many folks know that a well-worked herbal support to ragweed allergies might be growing just a couple feet away. What’s more, preliminary studies are showing that Goldenrod has some marked anti-inflammatory activity.
Goldenrod flowers have a sweet, astringent, and pleasant flavor that I love adding to herbal allergy blends of any sort. Of all the possible neti, sinus, and allergy herbs altogether too, goldenrod stands out as one of my very favorites – combine this one with ginger if you’re having a cold to support immune health, respiratory health, and perhaps even reach a cooling fever.
USNEA (Usnea spp.) – Along with goldenrod, usnea is one of my favorites for a sinus rinse. Its astringency and anti-microbial action are very highly desirable for helping support the average sinus infection. Best for damp and runny sinuses only, this lichen contains usnic acids that pack a punch against notorious bacteria including staph and strep (with studies to help support it). While fighting off infection, this plant will also aid in drawing and pulling out the nasty gunk you’re trying to forget about with its astringency, helping airways unclog and clear.
MULLEIN (Verbascum thapsus) – You can never do without mullein. Whether raspy or goopy, this fuzzy, common plant can be of help – although I do think it stands out best in situations where the sinuses are much drier.
This plant is simple. In being so, there really isn’t much else more to say about it. It’s a top pick among herbalists for such things having to do with colds, flu, and sinuses. A tincture of the root may also be effective, but also a fresh, hot tea of the leaves or flowers (without having reached the boiling point) can help loosen stuff up when you’re stuffed up, too. Allergies and colds may be supported by the actions of mullein as well.
PLANTAIN (Plantago major) – Like mullein or ginger, I’ve put plantain tincture into a lot of my sinus rinses. This is because plantain leaf does something special that the remainder of these herbs don’t do as well: plantain is a “drawing” agent in herbalists’ experience, which can help pull foreign objects out of the sinus while helping neutralize the amount of irritation or goop you have going on. So if you simply feel like you’ve got “stuff”- any kind of stuff- lodged in your sinuses, plantain could be your go-to.
The other great thing about plantain: you can use it for both wet and dry sinuses. Plantain is both mucilaginous and astringent: it will help draw up and pull out any excess mucus, but at the same time soothe, moisturize, and tonify the soft tissues of the nasal cavities. Studiesare also beginning to support this plant’s use for inflammation, too – even showing that it could have protective capabilities against certain bacteria perilous to the nose and throat, such as strep bacteria and others included!
This article is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, promise, or suggest cure. It’s purpose and intent is to be purely educational.