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August 14th, 2012 FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter

FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter for 14 August 12

What’s happening on the farm this week?

First off…apologies!  I guess I got the first part right by writing your CSA newsletter but, apparently, never actually posted it on-line.  Hence, you’re getting it a touch late.  Fortunately, y’all are by now seasoned pros at knowing what to do with all the treasures in your box.

Secondly, word of the week is BEANS!  As evidenced at pick-up, we are literally swimming in ’em.  This is partly a function of the consistent dry warm weather of the prior weeks followed by the recent rains which, by effect, made all our staggered plantings come in at once.  It’s also a function of the fact that Farmer Pete absolutely adores green beans and year after year will plant nearly triple what we actually need!  For you, it ends up representing one of the core elements of a CSA…sharing in the farms blights and bounties.  In the case of these green beans, it is most definitely the latter.  With this week’s recipes and tips, we hope you’ll find some creative ways to utilize them.

Lastly, I wanted to thank you all for whatever rain dance moves you finally figured out to bring us those showers.  It worked.  The wells and soil reservoirs are finally re-saturated and our crops are happy once again.  Great job.  Ahead, we’ve got a gorgeous mix of ripe field melons, yellow and red raspberries, paula red apples and silver queen corn to look forward to.

What’s in this week’s boxes?



Yellow + White Peaches


Green Beans

Pickling Cukes


Red + Gold Beets



Arugula/ Mesclun Mix

Butter + Sugar Corn

Storage, handling and general cooking tips


Storage + Handling

Apples should be kept uncovered or in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Warm temperatures will cause apples to lose their crispness and flavor, so if they are kept out of the refrigerator, make sure it is in a cool, ventilated place far from direct sunlight. To prevent cut apples from turning brown, sprinkle with lemon juice or soak them in a bowl of ½ cup water and 2 tbsp lemon juice.


Storage + Handling

Peaches, like tomatoes, are climacteric, which means they will continue to ripen after they are picked. Leave them on the counter to soften to your liking before eating or stick them in a paper bag with a banana to quicken to ripening process. If your peaches are already at the softness you desire, store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. They should last up to a week. But please do not put under-ripe fruit in the fridge as it will dry out the flesh and turn mealy. When testing for ripeness, be gentle, never squeeze or press hard on the peach. Peaches blemish and tear easily. Wash peaches in cool, soapy water just before you intend to use them. To remove the peach stone, slice the fruit lengthwise around the pit, down to the stone. Then, twist each half in opposite directions to release the peach from the stone. Peaches are chock full of vitamins A and C and potassium.

If you plan to cook with your peaches, peel the skin first. To do this, cut an X with a sharp knife at the bottom of the peach and pop in boiling water to blanch for a couple seconds, then quickly put into a bowl of ice water. The ice water will stop the peach from continuing to cook and the skin will easily peel away. If the fruit is incredibly ripe, blanching is probably not necessary. You can just pare it with a knife.

If you are using cut fruit, sprinkle some lemon over it to stop it from browning as the exposure to air will cause enzymatic browning.

Arugula / Mesclun Mix

Storage + Handling

Arugula and salad mix is highly perishable and should be consumed at your first opportunity – like, say, for dinner tonight. If you need to store it, the technique that has worked best for me is to wash the leaves, spin away any excess water, than roll the leaves in layers of paper towels and place in a plastic bag. Next, suck out the excess air from the bag and tie it before placing in the refrigerator. This way, your greens should keep for 2 to 3 days.  Arugula and mesclun mix is yummy raw as a salad or steamed.


Red + Gold Beets

Storage + Handling

If your beets still have the greens attached, cut them off, leaving an inch of stem.  Keep these greens unwashed and refrigerated in a closed plastic bag.  Beet greens can later be added to a mixed green salad, or steamed or sautéed. Store the beet roots, with the rootlets (or “tails”) attached, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator.  They will keep for several weeks, but their sweetness diminishes with time; so try to use them within a week.


Just before cooking or consuming, scrub beets well and remove any scraggly leaves and rootlets.  If your recipe calls for raw beets, peel them with a knife or vegetable peeler, then grate or cut them according to your needs. Try baking beets at 350-400 degrees for an hour or until they are easily pierced with a fork.  Rub off the skins and cut off any rootlings, then serve whole or sliced. Why not add some other root vegetables to the dish along with olive oil, garlic, herbs, and salt. I like to boil beets as well. Plunge them directly into cold water after boiling and the skins will slip right off. Then slice and top with fresh lime juice. Please don’t miss the opportunity to have your kids taste beets! My daughter loves them and they are chock full of fiber, vitamins (lots of Bs and C!), minerals (iron, magnesium), and antioxidants. Plus, they look beautiful on the plate.



Storage + Handling Tips

Broccoli should be stored unwashed, in a perforated bag in the refrigerator and enjoyed within 3-5 days. Unrefrigerated, broccoli will quickly become woody and fibrous. If broccoli is not used right away and looks a bit tired, soak it in a bowl of ice cold water for 30 minutes to refresh it’s vibrant crispiness. Always remove leaves and wash broccoli before eating. Broccoli sometimes comes out of the field with innocuous friends tagging along in its depths.  Immediately before cooking, soak your broccoli, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes.  Any critters will float to the top. Broccoli florets are rich in vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, B6, and folate. Broccoli is also high in fiber and provides small amounts of calcium and iron.

Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked. If you cook it, please do so rapidly (by either steaming or blanching) so that it will retain its bright green color, crisp texture, and nutrients. The stalks can also be used, but cook them separately from the head because it is tougher and the cooking times vary. Peel the woody parts of the stalks and slice. Broccoli can be frozen for later use. Just soak in salted water for 15 minutes, then blanch for 3-4 minutes. Drain, cool, and wrap your blanched broccoli in a labeled plastic bag before placing in freezer.


Storage + Handling Tips

Tomatoes bruise easily, so handle them with care. They are best stored at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, stem-side down. Keep them away from your bananas and onions to avoid decay and icky taste. Never refrigerate tomatoes! The cold renders tomatoes mealy and flavorless. Eat them within a few days.

You can also freeze tomatoes. There is no need to peel or blanch them beforehand. Once thawed, the tomato skins will slip easily off. Simply rinse and dry the tomatoes thoroughly, then place in freezer bags. You can suck any air out of the bag with a straw. Frozen tomatoes are great for cooked dishes.

Fresh tomatoes are yummy sliced and layered with mozzerella cheese, basil, olive oil and salt. They work wonders for burgers, wraps, pastas and salad.


Storage + Handling Tips

Corn is best when eaten right away, before the sugars turn to starch, and diminish its sweet taste. This is mostly true for eating corn right off the cob, but after 4 days, corn will still be edible and tasty enough to cook with. Corn should be refrigerated with the husks still on. The husks will preserve that milky moisture in the kernels. Keep them in the crisper drawer without any strong smelling foods, as corn will easily absorb those odors.

Shuck corn only before using by pulling down, breaking off the stem, and removing the silky threads by hand. If there is some worm damage – no fear – just cut out that part, the rest of the corn is still good. Wash the corn in cold water. To remove the kernels, place the corn vertically in a large bowl and run a sharp knife down along its length. If making a soup, or if you want some extra milky juice, run the knife down the length of the corn again, but with the dull back of the knife to avoid shaving off the cob. To freeze corn, blanch in boiling water for about 5 minutes, cool and drain, then wrap in plastic.

Tip from Thomas Keller: After you have removed the kernels from the cob into a bowl, place a smaller bowl of water next to it. Swirl your hand around the corn and the silk will stick to your hand. Remove the silk from your hand by dipping it into the bowl of water. Or running water would work too, I’m sure.

Try eating your corn raw – when it’s fresh like this, it’s yummy! My kids love to pick an ear off the stalk, shuck it in the field, and chomp away. To cook your corn, boil it in water for about 4-6 minutes, depending on how soft you like it. Last night, I cooked it for just 3 minutes then let it steam in the pot until the rest of dinner was ready a few minutes later. It was perfectly cooked and just popped off the cob! Corn is best when eaten simply: boil, slather with butter, and sprinkle with salt. Do you twirl your corn and eat around the cob or lengthwise like a typewriter? In our family, I’m the typewriter.

Corn is also delicious grilled. Pull back the corn husks without removing them fully, remove the silks, then pull the husks back up and soak for at least 15 minutes in water. Grill corn in its husks (maybe brush some pesto on the corn before pulling up the husks), turning occasionally until charred about 20 minutes.  Corn is super versatile. Think: creamed corn, corn bread, corn chowder, salsa, succotash, or as a topping to salad.

Pickling Cucumbers

Storage + Handling

Just-picked cucumbers dehydrate faster than the waxy supermarket variety, so be sure to put them in the refrigerator right away.  If you store unwashed cucumbers in a sealed plastic bag in the vegetable crisper bin, they should hold for at least a week. Keep cucumbers tucked far away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus fruits, as these give off ethylene gas that accelerates cucumber deterioration. Pickling cukes are best pickled of course. See recipe below!



Storage + Handling

Eggplants can be kept in a cool space on the counter or in the fridge for up to one week. They don’t particularly like cold temperatures – brown areas are signs of chilled damage. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.  Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild.

Before cooking, rinse eggplant in cool water and cut off the stem.  Eggplants do not need to be peeled, but they do need to be cooked before being eaten.


There seems to be some debate surrounding the salting of eggplants. Many people like to salt and drain their eggplant to draw out any bitter flavor. With our farm fresh veggies, salting is generally not necessary as bitterness develops only in eggplant that has been stored for a while.  Salting does positively affect the texture of your dish though, it helps make the vegetable less watery and more absorbent when cooking as salt breaks down the eggplant’s cell walls. So, it’s your call whether to salt or not. Why not experiment?

Pierced (don’t forget this step or you may have an eggplant explosion in your oven!), whole eggplant can be baked at 400F for 30-40 minutes. Allow it to cool, then scoop out the flesh. Eggplant can also be cubed and put on kabobs for the grill.

Did you know that botanically-speaking, eggplant is a fruit? It is rich in dietary fiber and potassium with a very low calorie count. It is high in vitamins and minerals and antioxidants, particularly nasunin, which protects the brain.

Green Beans

Storage + Handling

Store dry green beans in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. They are best eaten soon after picking, but can keep for 5 days or so. Wash beans thoroughly in cool water before eating.

Beans can be cooked whole, cut crosswise, diagonally, or French-cut (sliced along the length of the bean). Many say that preparing beans with a French-cut yields the most tender and sweet taste. Perhaps that’s true, but remember that beans retain the most nutrients when cooked uncut. Green beans are rich in protein, fiber, iron, and Vitamins C and A. They are also high in beta carotene, which is most commonly associated with carrots. Some say you can lower your cholesterol levels by 12% just by eating a cup of beans a day!

The easiest way to prepare beans is to steam them. First trim the ends of the beans. I like to have my son do this step. He just snaps the ends with his fingers. It gets him involved in the meal and he ends up eating a few along the way! Next, steam the beans for about 8 minutes, or until they have turned bright green and are just tender. Drain and place in a bowl to toss with butter and salt and pepper.

Many people like to stir-fry green beans. This method retains more nutrients than other cooking methods. Stir fry beans with garlic and some cherry tomatoes for a beautiful and tasty side dish. Whatever cooking method you choose, remember to cook beans as little as possible, using the least amount of water possible, as beans release nutrients into the water. If you boil your beans, why not re-use the bean water to cook rice and thereby regain some of those nutrients?

Green Beans also freeze well. Wash and trim the ends of your green beans, then leave whole or slice as you like. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the beans for 2 minutes. Immediately plunge beans into a bowl of ice water. When cool, dry beans and place in a labeled freezer container. Use your frozen green beans within 8-10 months.


Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula, Pistachios and Shaved Pecorino

* from Anne Burrell

4 to 6 servings


4 large beets, red, golden, or Chioggia or any combination

8 to 10 baby beets- any color or combo

2 cups arugula or mesclun mix

2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 to 3 tablespoons high quality extra-virgin olive oil


1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped

1/4 cup shaved pecorino, aged pecorino Toscano or pecorino Romano


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place all the large beets on a sheet tray and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a fork slides in and out of the beets easily. Add the baby beets to the tray for the last 20 minutes of cooking time. When the beets have cooled, peel them. Slice the large beets into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut the baby beets in half.  Place the arugula in a bowl and drizzle in about half of the vinegar and olive oil and season generously with salt. Toss the salad gently to incorporate all of the ingredients. Give it a quick taste. It should taste very flavorful but not soggy. Arrange the arugula on 4 individual salad plates. Toss all of the beets together in the salad bowl and add the remaining oil, vinegar and salt, and toss. Arrange the dressed beets on the arugula and top with the pistachios and shaved pecorino.


Bloody Mary Beans

If you are tired of traditional beans, try pickling them. They are great as a condiment for cocktails as well as a side dish at that end-of-summer picnic!
2 lbs green beans, trimmed to fit jars
10 garlic cloves, peeled and split
10 small hot pepper pods (optional)
1 cup dill fronds, loosely packed, or 2 tbsp dried dill weed
2 TB dill seeds
1 TB coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp celery seeds, optional
2 TB black peppercorns
4 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 TB sugar, optional
2 TB kosher or sea salt (iodized salt can make the pickles cloudy)
Sterilize five wide-mouth pint jars + lid rims in a large, deep pot of boiling water for 10 minutes or place in dishwasher and run “sanitize” cycle. Remove jars and place on a clean towel until cool enough to handle.


Divide garlic cloves, hot pepper pods, dill weed, seeds, and peppercorns between jars. Divide beans between jars, packing them in tightly and trimming tops to ½ inch of top of jar.


Bring vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved. Pour boiling brine into the jars, dividing it to submerge the beans completely up to a ¼ inch from the top of the jar.


Place lids on jars and process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove jars to a rack or clean towel and let cool undisturbed for several hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dry place for days, weeks, or months before opening. The longer they sit, the more pickled and more flavorful they will be!


Lemony Broccoli Salad

* from A Veggie Venture


½ pound broccoli, cut into florets
Ice water
Juice of 1/2 a lemon


Salad greens


Alfalfa sprouts

Feta cheese

Sunflower seeds


Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cream
1/2 teaspoon good mustard such as Dijon
1/2 teaspoon sugar or to taste (don’t skip this, it really draws out the lemon flavor)
Salt & pepper to taste


Bring well-salted water to a boil in large pot. Drop in the broccoli florets and cook until fully cooked but still bright green. Drain the broccoli and drop into ice water to stop the cooking. Let drain as long as possible, then drop into the lemon juice, broccoli tops first, the better to soak up the liquid. The broccoli could be / maybe even should be cooked at least a few minutes ahead of time to allow time to cool and soak — or to have on hand for another salad another day! To serve, simply toss some lettuce greens, scallions, and alfalfa sprouts with the vinaigrette. Arrange the greens on plates, top with the broccoli, feta cheese and some sunflower seeds.



*from Thomas Keller
7 small cucumbers

3/4 cup champagne vinegar

1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp granulated sugar

salt and pepper


Cut off the ends of the cucumbers and peel. Seed if desired. Cut into rounds, batons or wedges. Combine the vinegar, oil, red pepper flakes, and sugar in small bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Put the cucumbers in a canning jar or container and pour liquid over the top. Refrigerate for a least 1 day or up to 2 weeks. (Remove any solidifed oil from the top before serving).


Basic Pickling Liquid – picked leeks, radishes, green beans, carrots, cauliflower…

1 cup champagne vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

(2 parts vinegar to 1 part sugar to 1 part water – adjust quantities for larger quantities)



Harmony Valley Farm Sweet Corn Soup

* from Asparagus to Zucchini


3 TB butter

2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut like matchsticks

1 TB salt

½ tsp pepper

1 TB sugar

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

12 ears sweet corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob

3 cups cream

2 cups whole milk

2 TB snipped chives


Melt butter in a stockpot, add onions salt, black pepper, sugar and pepper flakes. Saute onions, stirring occasionally, until moisture has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Add corn, cream and milk. Bring to a boil and cook another 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and puree in blender in small batches. Pass through a medium-fine sieve, season to taste, and reheat. Sprinkle each bowl with chives. Makes 8 servings.
As always, if any questions, always feel free to email us or give us a call!

All the Best,

The FarmShare Team
Applecrest Farm Orchards
133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls NH 03844

Tel: +1 603 926 3721


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Applecrest Farm | 133 Exeter Road (Rt.88) | Hampton Falls, NH 03844 | Phone 603.926.3721 |