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August 1st, 2012 FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter

FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter for 1 August 12

What’s happening on the farm this week?

Hard to believe it’s August…this first third of the season seems to have just flown by!

Thankfully, we got a bit of rain over the past few days and, though not nearly enough to pull us out of drought, it did perk up the corn.  Last night I ate six ears of butter and sugar and could have kept going…Greens and lettuces have been liking the dry heat (as long as we irrigate) and there are some truly lovely heads out there.  First broccoli, cauliflower, and eggplant have turned the corner.  Look out for these in your share now and later.  Nectarines are up soon, just harvested a bushel or two yesterday and the main crop should be in over the coming week.  Sungold cherry tomatoes are dribbling in too, making me ever so happy, as these are perhaps my favorite thing to grow (and eat)!  Field tomatoes seem to be holding out against some serious late blight, we’ll see what happens.

Pick-your-own blueberries are now at season height.  If you haven’t been out yet, get going.  It’s truly a great crop out there and the picking is ever so easy.  PYO peaches will start up by end next week and mark your calendar for our 6th Annual Peach Festival on Sunday, August 19th!  It’s a great day to get with the family and linger in the peach orchard’s wafting airs of sweet succulence…

What’s in this week’s boxes?


Apples: Jersey Mac





Green Leaf Lettuce


Braising Greens: kale, Swiss chard

Corn: Butter & Sugar


Cucumbers: slicers and pickling


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.


Storage + Handling

Blueberries will last up to 10 days, covered, in the refrigerator as long as they are kept dry. Just before using, wash and drain well. Blueberries also freeze well. Sort your berries, wash and dry them thoroughly (very important that they are dry!) Spread berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once hard, store in a labeled Ziploc bag.

Raw blueberries are delicious as is – just pop them in your mouth for an anytime snack. For a vitamin boost, (they are high in vitamins C and K, plus pack some powerful antioxidants and fiber) add them to salad, smoothies, a glass of lemonade, or a bowl of yogurt or cereal. Blueberries are yummy baked in pancakes, muffins, pies, cobblers, and crisps. Blueberries make wonderful jam!

Green Leaf Lettuce

Storage + Handling

Keep unwashed lettuce in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you want to prep the lettuce for dinner later, the gentlest method of washing is to place the entire head in a bowl of cold water and gently swish to get the dirt out.  You may have to do this a few times with fresh water if you find a lot of dirt settling at the bottom. Then rinse and slice the head at the base to allow the leaves to separate.  Roll the leaves in paper towels and place them in a plastic bag or container in the refrigerator. If you have a salad spinner, by all means spin the leaves dry. Wet greens wilt quickly, so be sure they are good and dry before refrigerating them.

Braising Greens: Swiss Chard + Kale

Storage + Handling

Chard and Kale are beautiful! Chard stems come in a rainbow of colors from green and yellow to red, pink, white and orange. Kale has the curly edge. Both are very good for you too – chock full of minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamins A and C, plus 13 different antioxidants. You should eat these leafy greens once a week!

Braising greens also very perishable, so enjoy them soon after pickup. They can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two to three days. The leaves can be eaten raw, like beet greens and spinach, or cooked. Before cooking, separate the leaves from their large center rib/stem. The easiest way to do this is to fold the leaf in half along the stem and then just slice the rib off. Next, rinse the greens under cold running water. Do not soak it as this will result in the loss of water-soluble nutrients. Dry the leaves. Now the chard or kale can be covered or bagged in plastic and refrigerated for a few hours until needed. Braising greens can be parboiled, steamed, baked, or sautéed. They are wonderful with pasta, in omelets, frittatas, soups, or lasagna.

If you hate to throw anything away, rest assured, you can also eat the stems! One easy way to prepare them is to slice the stems into 3-inch chunks, boil in salted water for 5 minutes or so, then bake in a 400-degree oven with butter, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese for 20 minutes.

Braising green leaves also freeze well after blanching. Blanch for 2 minutes then immediately immerse the leaves in a cold-water bath for 2 minutes. Dry the leaves and pack them into freezer containers, leaving no headspace or air. Leaves last for up to one year in the freezer. Don’t forget to date your storage bags. And when cooking veggies that you have blanched and frozen, always bring them back (cook) in butter.


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.


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.  Cucumbers store best at around 45 degrees F, but refrigerators are usually set cooler than this.  Keep cucumbers tucked far away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus fruits, as these give off ethylene gas that accelerates cucumber deterioration.

You can do a lot of fancy things to the skin of a cucumber, and when it is young, fresh, and unwaxed, it really only needs to be thoroughly washed.  However, if the skin seems touch or bitter you can remove it. If the seeds are bulky, slice the cucumber lengthwise and scoop them out.  Scoring the skin of a cucumber with a fork or citrus zester gives it attractive stripes and may help release any bitterness.  Slice, dice, or cut a cucumber into chunks according to specifications given in your recipe.

Cucumbers are delicious raw in sandwiches, salads, or as a tasty mid-day snack. Add cucumbers to egg or tuna salad for a crunch or simply sprinkle with salt.


Dill Pickles

Alton Brown

What to do with all those cucumbers? How about putting some up!


5 1/2 ounces pickling salt, approximately 1/2 cup

1 gallon filtered water

3 pounds pickling cucumbers, 4 to 6-inches long

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon dill seed

1 large bunch dill


Combine the salt and water in a pitcher and stir until the salt has dissolved.

Rinse the cucumbers thoroughly and snip off the blossom end stem. Set aside.

Place the peppercorns, pepper flakes, garlic, dill seed and fresh dill into a 1-gallon crock. Add the cucumbers to the crock on top of the aromatics. Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers in order to completely cover. Pour the remaining water into a 1-gallon ziptop plastic bag and seal. Place the bag on top of the pickles making sure that all of them are completely submerged in the brine. Set in a cool, dry place.

Check the crock after 3 days. Fermentation has begun if you see bubbles rising to the top of the crock. After this, check the crock daily and skim off any scum that forms. If scum forms on the plastic bag, rinse it off and return to the top of the crock.

The fermentation is complete when the pickles taste sour and the bubbles have stopped rising; this should take approximately 6 to 7 days. Once this happens, cover the crock loosely and place in the refrigerator for 3 days, skimming daily or as needed. Store for up to 2 months in the refrigerator, skimming as needed. If the pickles should become soft or begin to take on an off odor, this is a sign of spoilage and they should be discarded.


Cucumber Raita

Serve this easy raita as a complement to any spicy meal. Makes 3-4 cups


2 cucumbers


2 cups plain yogurt

1 pinch cayenne


Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, spoon out the seeds, and cut into slices or a small dice. Salt the cukes then fold into the yogurt. Add cayenne and more salt to taste.


Tomatoes and Corn

From Drake’s Beach Café, Inverness, California

This salad is delicious with grilled or pan-roasted salmon


1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 cups corn kernels (about 3 ears)

1 ½ cups multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper


Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the oil and butter and sauté the shallots for 2 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the corn and tomatoes and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the tomatoes just release their juices. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.


Corn and Basil Soup


2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 small white sweet onions, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic

5 ears of corn, kernels removed

1 jalapeno, stem removed and chopped (optional)

Handful of fresh basil

1 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock

Salt and pepper


Place the kernels into a blender. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the garlic then add the onion and jalapeno. Stir to coat with the oil and saute until the vegetables are tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and add these to the corn and basil in the blender. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally and pulse to the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the soup from the blender to a large pot over medium heat.  Stir until the soup begins to thicken and then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and can be served garnished with a dollop of corn salsa! Serve hot or cold.


Swiss Chard Pie

from the cookbook From Asparagus to Zucchini


1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons oil

1 bunch Swiss chard (or braising green bunch)

6 eggs

1 cup shredded cheese

1 teaspoon salt

2 pie crusts


Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Brown onion and garlic in oil.  Trim and chop chard, add to pan, and cook down until wilted.  Beat eggs in a bowl; mix in cheese, salt, and chard mixture.  pour into pie crusts; bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Makes 2 pies.


Squash, Swiss Chard, and Apple Risotto

*from Food & Wine


1/4 cup French green lentils

1 cup diced (1/2 inch) peeled squash

6 cups vegetable stock

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced bacon

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 small shallot, minced

2 cups arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup finely shredded Swiss chard leaves

1/2 cup diced (1/2 inch) peeled tart apple

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Cook the lentils in boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes; drain, set aside. Steam the squash in a steamer basket until just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.


In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil; keep it at a bare simmer over very low heat. In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the bacon, garlic and shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat thoroughly. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Stir in one-third of the simmering stock and cook, stirring constantly, until the stock is almost entirely absorbed; repeat with the remaining stock. The risotto should be creamy with just-tender rice grains after 20 minutes. Add the lentils, squash, Swiss chard and apple to the risotto. Stir in the Parmesan, sage and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


Fettuccine with Broccoli, Roasted Peppers, and Olives

*From Fields of Greens


1 medium red or yellow pepper, roasted and peeled

1 stalk of broccoli, and 3 cups florets with stems

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

8 Nicoise or Gaeta olives, pitted ancoarsely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper

½ pound fresh fettuccine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs: majoram, parsley, thyme

Grated parmesan cheese


Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Slice the roasted pepper into thick strips, saving the juice, if any, to marinate with. Cut the broccoli into florets about 1-inch long, slicing the stem diagonally as you cut. Trim away the tough outer skin of the broccoli stalk and thinly slice on the diagonal.


Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the garlic, and sauté over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, being careful not to brown it. Reduce the heat and add the pepper strips, olive, lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon salt.


When the water is boiling, add 1 teaspoon salt and the fettuccine. Cook the pasta for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then add the broccoli, allowing it about 1 minute to cook. Just before you drain the pasta, add ¼ cup of the cooking water to the sauté pan. Immediately drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander and shake off the excess water. Add to the sauté pan along with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and the fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.



Broccoli sauteed in wine and garlic

*From Mario Batalli


6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, sliced

3 lbs broccoli, cut into spears; stalks peeled and cut into strips

1 cup dry white wine

1 tbsp hot red pepper flakes (optional)

zest of lemon and orange


Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the garlic. When it sizzles, add the broccoli stems for 2 minutes then the broccoli heads, tossing frequently and gradually add the wine to keep the garlic from browning and the stalks are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and zest, tossing well and serve immediately.


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 |