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!
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!)
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.)
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).
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!)
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!
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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?
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
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! | email@example.com
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:
Red Round Slicer Tomato
Large Heirloom Tomato
Bunch Sweet Italian Basil (Genovese Basil)
Lacinato Kale Bunch
Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
Patty Pan Squash
Rainbow Baby Beets
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!)
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).
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org