We’re wondering if you’re asking the same question we’ve been asking this weather: is it fall yet? Or is it still summer?!
If so, we’re just as confused as you are. It’s been cool and rainy for a good stretch of days, but summer isn’t going quietly – we’re still getting 80 degree days and bright sunshine (October beach time plans, anyone?)!
Anyways, this week’s share will be full of a dazzling array of goodies, very much embodying the weird late summer/early fall season we happen to be stuck in – not that we’re complaining. This lineup of veggies looks pretty good to us, and we hope it looks good to you!!!!
What to expect this week:
Collard Greens New!
Bunched Spinach New!
Tomatoes (Slicers, Heirlooms, Cherries, or Mix)
Sweet Dumpling Squash New! (Very Sweet Squash!)
Potato Medley (Purple, White, Red, Fingerling)
…plus, once in a while, we include some extra surprise items in your share that aren’t listed last minute (we’re sure you’ve noticed!).
As you can see, we have some new produce for you to try mixed with some familiar staples and favorites. Since we don’t have anything TOO exotic or new that we’re sharing with you this week, we don’t have an explanation/tips section (and skipping our wellness section so we can stay on top of some stuff today up at the farm…but it will be back soon, don’t worry).
…if you DO have questions about your share, don’t hesitate to contact us with your inquiries or ideas! We love to hear from you.
Rainy weeks are upon us as we edge into the very first “official” days of fall. We’re happy to report, however, that we still have plenty of summertime produce for our members – and the next couple weeks may be the the last few chances you get to taste it, as well as in this share going out tomorrow.
With that said, we do have some new items for you this week!
What to expect:
Summer Squash (Patty Pan, Zucchini, Crookneck, or Mix)
Tomatoes (Heirloom, Slicers, Cherries, or Mix)
Ground Cherries (New!)
Lots of new stuff for you to try, as you can see – and scroll down to read about some of the new items you’ll be getting.
Enjoy your share!
Ground Cherries: What Are They? | Explanation and Tips
Meet ground cherries: one of the new items in your share. I can only best describe them as a combination between a tomatillo, cherry tomato, strawberry, and fig in terms of flavor, texture, and use!
Now that you’ve uncovered these in your CSA cooler, you might wonder: what do I do with these??? They may look strange, but using them and enjoying them is extraordinarily simple.
Our first suggestion: just eat them on their own as a treat. Carefully pull away their outer wrapping and munch away. You’ll quickly see why people grow them and why they’re so delicious and addictive on their very own! (The first time Will and I harvested these, we ate about 3/4 of them. 0% guilt, 100% satisfied). We’re sure kids will especially love them, too, as they are very sweet and easy to like.
Second suggestion: make them last: dehydrate them! If you have a dehydrator, slice each of them in half with a sharp knife and place them on your trays. I’d recommend you look up the exact specifications for temperature etc. for proper dehydration, though my guess is that the recommended settings are similar to cherry tomatoes or for homemade raisins/craisins.
Third: add them to a salsa or sauce. Delicious! If you’ve ever made a salsa or sauce with strawberry, you can bet that similar ingredients that pair well with that sweet strawberry flavor go well with the ground cherry flavor, too. Yum…just yum. (We recommend you look up recipes online, too).
Fourth: make a ground cherry jam! We’re not going to give you enough ground cherries in your share this week to make a jam (or jelly) most likely, but we’re almost 100% sure that once you taste these sweet treats, you’ll want to buy more – maybe enough to make a jam with them. (Ground cherries are fairly available, even in Cedar Rapids. Go looking for some more, though we’re sure ground cherry jam is something you can easily find and buy at local specialty stores/farmers markets!)
Wellness Spotlight On: Thyme
You’ve gotten thyme in your share before this year, and we’re sure you’ve probably already cooked once or twice with it, too.
For those interested in the health properties of thyme, you’re in for a real treat: thyme may be one of the most important herbal healing remedies out there. It not only imparts great health benefits into the meals you cook using it, but it stands on its own as an amazing herb in and of itself (for teas, steams, bitters, you name it!)
So what does it do? Short answer: so, so, so much. Long answer: too long for a blog post! But, in summary:
Thyme is excellent for boosting immunity.
Thyme may support health while fighting colds and flu.
Thyme tea may help soothe a sore throat.
Thyme can help with coughs, especially wet coughs.
Did you know? Natural ingredients from thyme are used in Vapo-Rub and similar products (wow!) for helping with congestion!
Thyme has also been a popular “folk herb” for women, especially mothers who are either pregnant or post-partum.
Thyme can help with nausea and motion sickness, much like ginger.
That’s all for now!
We hope you savor every bit of produce, herb, and berry (er, ground cherry!) in your delicious share this week. It’s a pleasure being your farmer!
As always, let us know if you have any questions – email us your ideas or recipe suggestions, too. We love to share!
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:
Red Round and/or Heirloom Slicer Tomatoes
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!
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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.
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!)
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.
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!)
Green Kale Bunch
Genovese Basil Bunch
Norland (Red) Potatoes
Summer Squash (Zucchini, Patty Pan, or Crookneck – or Combo)
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 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.
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!