Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 7

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Greetings CSA Members!

Wow – can you believe we’re at week 7 already?

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
  • Cucumbers
  • Baby Rainbow Carrots
  • Baby Rainbow Beets
  • Lacinato Kale Bunch
  • Acorn Squash
  • White (Kennebec) Potatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Sweet Onion
  • Garlic

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!

Acorn Squash on Vine | Jupiter Ridge Farm

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?

Cucumbers | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Cucumbers in closeup.

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!

– jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Best,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 6

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Greetings CSA Members!

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:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Green Beans
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Green Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Onions
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers 

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!

Baby Leeks
Baby leeks being pulled from the field.

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!

Leeks
Leeks!

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).

Garlic

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!)

~ 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