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FarmShare C.S.A. Newsletter week of June 23rd, 2014

What’s happening on the farm this week?

First week down and we’re on to the next! PYO Strawberries is booming and this Sunday, June 29th we’ve got our annual Strawberry Festival from 9am to 3pm: Five rolling acres of juicy berries and a cool spring-fed pond provide the backdrop for a fun-filled day of Pick-Your-Own strawberries, free live bluegrass music, this year the Taylor River Band, tractor drawn hayrides, face painting, kid’s bouncy house, hot cider donuts and a bevy of strawberry inspired delicacies from our very own scratch kitchen and bakery. We hope to see a lot of your faces there!


To those of you picking up off site–Papa Wheelies, Serenity Market and Cafe, Memories Ice Cream or 100 Domain Drive: Please make extra sure to grab your boxes within designated pick up hours. Our hosts are being more than courteous and helpful so that you may have a more convenient pick up location, closer to home. This is also especially important because we want you to receive your box in it’s best state, picked day-of fruits and vegetables, chock full of nutrients and ready to be munched on all week!


What’s in this week’s box?


Braising Mix-Kale, Swiss Chard & Beet Greens

Snow Peas

Head of Lettuce



Strawberries- “All-Star”, “Wendy”, “Nor’Easter”, “Evangeline”, “Itasca” (Early Varieties)


 Storage, handling and general cooking tips…


Storage and Handling- Use snap peas as soon as possible.  You can put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, but try to eat them within 4 or 5 days max.  While being stored, peas may lose some of their signature texture and flavor.

 Snap peas can be enjoyed without any preparation at all, and take it from me, they are delicious.  If you’d like you can string the peas before eating them, by snapping off the stem-tip (the small leafy part at the top) and pulling downward.

Snap peas are great in salads or as part of a vegetable platter.  They can also be sauteed or stir-fried before being added to any number of delicious dishes.  Peas tend to cook very quickly, usually in just a few minutes, so keep on eye on them while cooking.

Peas don’t have much of a shelf life, so I don’t recommend storing them —in their pods or shelled—for very long. Store pods in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator and use them within a couple of days. Once they’re shelled, the best way to store peas is to freeze them. First blanch them for a minute or two in boiling salted water and then shock them in an ice-water bath until cool, to help maintain their bright color. Drain and freeze them in zip-top bags. They will keep for five to six months.

OK, I admit it: Shelling peas is a bit tedious, but it’s easy and worth every second. To do it, remove the stem end of the pod, peel the stringy fiber from the seam, pry the pod open, and run your thumb along the interior to detach the peas.

Cooking Greens (Kale, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens, Bok Choi)

 Storage- Keep dry, unwashed greens in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator.  Thicker greens will keep up to two weeks, but tender ones like beet greens should be eaten within a week.

 Handling-  Just prior to use, swish leaves in a large basin of lukewarm water.  After any grit has settled to the bottom, life the leaves out carefully.  Additional rounds of washing may be necessary.  If the sink  has dirt in it or if you sample a leaf and it tastes gritty, the greens probably need to be rinsed again.

 How you prepare greens for cooking can make or break a dish.  It’s fine to leave the stems on small baby greens, but many greens (choi, chard,  kale) have thick stems that cook more slowly than the leaves.  If stems are not removed, you wind up with either soggy greens or raw stems.  Fold each leaf in half and slice out the stem De-stem several leaves, then stack them up and slice them diagonally into 1 inch-wide ribbons.  If you want to use the stems in your dish, slice them a quarter inch thick and begin cooking them before you add the greens.


Culinary Tips-

-Saute greens until tender (with water still clinging to them from washing), in a covered pot or large saute pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic or onion.

-Blanch greens until they wilt, 3 to 10 minutes depending on size, freshness, and type of green.  Thinly sliced kale blanches in 3 to 10 minutes; whole leaves blanch in 15 to 20 minutes.

-For richer, more lavish greens, dot the cooked greens with butter or cream and season with fresh herbs or salt and pepper.

-Serve cooked greens alone as a side dish or use them in soup or with pasta, beans, rice, or potatoes.

-Add a few sliced kale greens to soups and stews during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time.

-Use cooked spinach and chard in enchiladas, quesadillas, crepes, lasagna, and macaroni and cheese.

For breakfast, saute slivered greens and garlic in the frying pan before adding to eggs for scrambling.  Use leftover cooked greens in omelettes, quiches, or soups.

 Goes well with Cooking Greens-

Allspice, basil, carawa, celery leaves or seed, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, paprika, red pepper flakes, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme;

Mustard oil, olive oil, roasted peanut oil, sesame oil, vinegar;

Asiago cheese, butter, cream, Parmesan cheese, Monterey Jack cheese;

Celery, leeks, mushrooms, onion, potatoes;

Hard boiled eggs, legumes, pasta, rice.



Storage and Handling– Use your strawberries as soon as possible (this usually isn’t a problem for me) as they stop ripening as soon as they’re picked.  Don’t wash your strawberries until you’re ready to use them, as moisture causes them to spoil more quickly.  Leave the caps on and store your strawberries in an uncovered container in the fridge. Take them out of the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to use them, as they tend to have the best flavor and texture at room temperature. Rinse your strawberries gently in cold water and then pat them dry with a towel.  Finally, remove the tops with a paring knife or with a slight twist of the wrist, and they’re ready to eat or use in your favorite strawberry recipe.

Lettuce, Salad Greens and Mesclun:

Storage- Store unwashed lettuce, greens or mesclun in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. To store lettuce or greens that you have already washed and dried, roll the leaves loosely in a kitchen towel, put the towel in a plastic bag, and place the package in the vegetable crisper bin. Wet greens will wilt quickly, so make sure they are good and dry before refrigerating them. If you have a salad spinner, wash and spin the greens before refrigerating them. Eat mesclun mix within three or four days, and use lettuce within a week.

Handling- Salad greens are fragile, so make sure to be gentle with them.  For lettuce, slice the head at the base to allow the leaves to separate from each other.  Tear your leaves into smaller more manageable pieces for use.  Lettuce, greens and mesclun mix can be washed by swishing them around in a basin of cold water.  If you see a lot of dirt settling in the water, wash them again, until they’re nice and clean.  The best way to dry your greens is in a salad spinner if you’ve got one, or if not, you can always pat them dry with a towel.

Cook Tips- Salad greens taste great lightly braised or stir-fried, but keep an eye on them, as they cook very quickly.

Try adding salad greens into sandwiches, tacos, burritos, omelets, or whatever else you can think of!

Salad greens are a great addition to quiches, lasagna, and other baked dishes, wanna green up your pizza? It’s great on top, right after you pull it out of the oven.



Store-Place stalks in a plastic bag to retain moisture and place in the fridge’s crisper drawer. It should keep for about a week. Rhubarb can also be frozen; to do this cut stalks in to 1 inch chunk and place in an airtight plastic bag. Frozen rhubarb should be able to keep for up to a year.

Handling- To prepare , remove all the leaves (they are toxic), rinse and pat dry. Trim the ends and cut into 1 inch chunks. Remove tough strings as you would with celery. String will usually break down during the cooking process.

Cook tips- Stew or bake with a little water and plenty of sugar to combat the tartness. Rhubarb can quickly cook into a syrupy liquid, so keep an eye on it, you need it to retain some texture for specific recipes.  Generally, the redder the stalk, the sweeter the end product will be.


Recipes of the Week!

Snow Peas with Toasted Almonds

from Epicurious

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and cook until golden and fragrant and butter begins to brown, stirring frequently, about 11/2 minutes. Add snow peas and shallot; sauté until snow peas are crisp-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and serve.

 Sauteed Braising Greens

From Simply Recipes

While this recipe calls for discarding the stems, if you want you can use them too if they aren’t too woody. Just cut them into 1″ segments and add them to the onions after the onions and garlic scapes have been cooking for a minute.

  • 5½ c braising greens
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 c onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 c of water
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 2 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 Cut away any heavy stems from greens. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

2 Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and scapes, cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally, until onions soften and start to brown. (If using garlic instead of scapes, add the garlic now). Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in honey or maple syrup and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil.

3 Add the beet greens and vinegar, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. (For kale or collard greens continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.)

Serve as a side or over brown rice.


Sweet Brown Rice Pudding with Rhubarb-Ginger Compote

from Saveur

27 oz. coconut milk
⅓ cup brown rice syrup
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups cooked short grain brown rice (approximately 1½ cups uncooked)
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup grated palm sugar (see note)

2 cups finely chopped fresh rhubarb
4 oz. candied ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp. lime zest (approximately 1 lime)
3 tbs. lime juice (approximately 1 lime)
2 tbs. demerara sugar


1. Combine coconut milk, rice syrup, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick in a 3-4 qt. saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Add cooked rice, spices, vanilla, and palm sugar, stirring to combine. Return mixture to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring often, until rice has absorbed much of the milk base and pudding has thickened, 10-15 minutes.

2. Combine all ingredients for Rhubarb Ginger Compote, stirring well to combine. Cover and let macerate 20 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use. To serve, remove cinnamon stick and vanilla pod from pudding. Spoon warm pudding into serving bowls and top with rhubarb compote.

Note: Palm sugar can often be found in the international foods aisle at many grocery stores, or at most Asian markets. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute dark brown sugar instead. Likewise, brown rice syrup can be replaced with honey.


Strawberry Summer Cake

from Smitten Kitchen

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour (can swap 3/4 cup or 94 grams all-purpose flour with 3/4 cup or 75 grams of barley flour, see Note)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (200 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved (a quart of strawberries is 1.5 lbs)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.

Whisk flour or flours, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer (though I had to overlap a few to get them all in). Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream.

Do ahead: Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, loosely covered, but good luck with that.


As a reminder, part of the fun of being a member of a CSA is collaborating with your community, so always feel free to post cooking suggestions or feedback on recipes that we post, or favorite recipes of your own that you’d like to share.





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