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FarmShare C.S.A. Newsletter week of Oct. 22, 2013

The last week of CSA has actually arrived. I feel as though it appeared out of the blue, these 20 weeks have seriously flown by. And isn’t it perfect timing that this week we will face our first serious frost.

It has been a true pleasure getting to know you at pick-ups and I can’t wait to see all of your faces next year (Sign up here!)

A few reminders for your last pick up:

  • Please return all of the boxes you might have at your house (we have a record, we know who you are).
  • Bring a few shopping bags or a box to transport your goodies home.
  • If you would like to purchase your CSA share box you may do so for $20.

This week’s share:

Cider Donuts





Bell peppers

Hot Peppers


Kale and Swiss Chard bunch

Cherry Tomato mix


Salad mix

Head Lettuce

Storage, handling and general cooking tips


Storage + Handling

Store whole peppers in a cool, dry place or refrigerate 3-4 days in a plastic bag. Always refrigerate cut peppers. Peppers are high in vitamin C and also contain vitamins A, B6 and K. The purple variety offers some antioxidants as well.

Sliced peppers can be eaten raw, roasted, or sauteed in olive oil or butter for 3-10 minutes until soft. Peppers can also be frozen. Wash your peppers, then slice and remove seeds and pulp. Place sliced peppers in a pot of boiling water to blanch for 2 minutes than submerge in ice water until cool. Place peppers in a labeled plastic container and freeze for up to 9 months.

Hot peppers should be treated equally when storing them, although care should be taken when handling. The heat giving component, capsaicin, is found in the pithy, seed-studded flesh, or placenta, which is located near the stem and extends along the inner ribs. Cut pepper open and scrape this part off, with a spoon, which will reduce some of the pungency. Be sure not to touch your face and wash your hands when finished.


Storage + Handling Tips

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.

 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 and 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 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. 

Salad Greens

Storage and Handling

Store unwashed lettuce 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 spoil quickly, so make sure they are truly 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.

Salad greens bruise easily, so be sure to handle them gently.  For lettuce, slice the head at its base with a sharp knife and let the leaves fall open.  Discard any damaged or leathery outer leaves and tear large leaves into bite sized pieces.  Both lettuce and mesclun mix can be washed by swishing them around in a basin of cold water.  If a lot of dirt collects in the water, wash them a second time.  Dry the greens in a salad spinner, or if you don’t have one, place them loosely in a mesh bag or thin towel, then go outside and swing them around your head.


Ukranian Borscht

This recipe is tweaked and fiddled with as needed.

Author Steve Cylka notes: “One thing to monitor, as you are making the stock, is that the water will reduce down. I start with my pot about 3/4 or more full with water and the ham bone. I like the stock to cook for a good 60-90 minutes which would reduce the stock by about 1/3. As you make the borscht, if you feel that more water is needed, feel free to add extra.”

  • 1 ham bone (1-2 pounds of beef ribs works well also)
  • 15 cups water (more if needed)
  • 2 cups diced ham (or beef if using beef ribs)
  • 6 beets
  • 3 potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • ½ cabbage
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups sour cream
  • ⅓ cup fresh parsley


  1. Place ham bone in a soup pot with water. Bring the stock to a boil and let it cook for 1 hour.
  2. While the stock is boiling, prepare the vegetables. Peel the beets and cut in long sticks, similar to french fries. Peel the potatoes and cut into ½ inch cubes. Peel the carrots and cut in ¼ inch slices. Cut the cabbage in ¼ inch strips.
  3. After the stock has boiled for an hour, strain it to remove the bone and any other residue.
  4. Bring the stock back to a boil and add the veggies, diced ham and bay leaf. Lower the heat so the soup is at a low boil and cook it for another hour.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with fresh parsley.
  7. Alternatively, you can stir all the sour cream in the soup pot prior to serving.

German Sausages with Apples, Sauerkraut, and Onion

Use any German sausage for this: Weisswurst, Knockwurst, or Bratwurst all work fantastically.

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 links assorted fully cooked German sausages
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 crisp red apples cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 pound sauerkraut
  • 3 large sour pickles, quartered, for serving
  • 1 Kirby cucumber, peeled and sliced lengthwise into eighths, for serving
  • Assorted mustards, for serving

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Halve sausages lengthwise if desired. Cook until browned and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and cover to keep warm.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet if necessary. Add onion, and cook for 3 minutes. Add apples, stir, and cook until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in cider, and cook for 1 minute. Add sauerkraut, and heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes.

Transfer sauerkraut to a warm serving platter, and top with the sausages. Serve with pickles, cucumber, and mustards. (Sausages and sauerkraut can be kept warm, covered, in a 250-degree oven for up to an hour.)

Eggplant Salad Toasts

Makes about 8 toasts; double the recipe if you’d like to eat the salad straight or use it as a base for a pasta, brown rice, or orzo salad dish.

  • 1 medium eggplant, or 2 small eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for oiling baking sheet
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup crumbled crumbled feta
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 8 1/2-inch slices of baguette, brushed with olive oil (I used 1-inch slices in the photos, then decided they were too thick)
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and halved

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or roasting pan. Toss eggplant, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and a generous amount of black pepper together in a medium bowl until evenly coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, moving pieces around occasional so they evenly brown. For a cold salad, let the eggplant cool a bit before mixing it with red wine vinegar, feta and scallion. For a warm salad where the feta glues itself to the eggplant a bit, toss the vinegar, feta and scallion together when the eggplant just comes out of the oven. You’ll want to eat the warm salad quickly.

Broil or toast baguette slices then rub them with a garlic clove before heaping on eggplant salad.

 Pico de Gallo and Chicken Salad

For Pico de Gallo:
1 medium tomato, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped (can use ½ to reduce spiciness)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon garlic, minced from jar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and stir.
For Chicken and Salad:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, visible fat removed cut into 1-inch cubes (or chicken tenderloins, whatever is on sale)
Cooking spray
8-10 leaves of green leaf or red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bit-sized pieces (approx. 8 cups)
Cilantro or lemon/lime slices for garnish (optional)
  1. Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken to skillet and turn to medium-high heat.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Divide lettuce on to 4 plates, top with chicken.
  3. Spoon Pico de Gallo over salads and serve. Garnish with cilantro or lemon/lime slices (optional)

Peperonata with Baked Chicken Meatballs

For peperonata
•    2-3 bell peppers, cut into strips
•    1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
•    1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
•    1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
•    1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

For meatballs
•    3 slices Italian bread, torn into pieces (1 cup)
•    1/3 cup milk
•    3 oz sliced pancetta, finely chopped
•    1 small onion, finely chopped
•    1 small garlic clove, minced
•    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
•    1 large egg
•    1 lb ground chicken
•    3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
•    1 tablespoon tomato paste
•    Accompaniment: 
garlic bread made from remainder of Italian loaf

Make peperonata

1. Preheat oven to 400°F with racks in upper and lower thirds

2. Toss bell peppers with 1 Tbsp oil, then roast in a 4-sided sheet pan in lower third of oven, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 35 minutes.

3. Stir together capers, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil in a medium bowl and set aside.

Make meatballs while peppers roast:

1. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about 4 minutes.
2. Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in 1 Tbsp oil with 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.
3. Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan.
4. Stir together tomato paste and remaining Tbsp oil and brush over meatballs, then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Toss bell peppers with caper mixture. Serve meatballs with peperonata.

Rolled Kale and Chard with Feta and Olives

About 8 large kale and/or chard leaves

8 ounces feta cheese

2 tblsp olive oil, plus oil for drizzling

2 tblsp minced garlic

salt and fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine, veggie stock, or water

1 cup chopped ripe tomato

1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives

1 sm. red onion, minced for garnish

1. Cut each half of each kale or chard leaf off the stems; reserve the stems. Be careful to keep leaves intact so you have at least a dozen long, wide ribbons. Roughly chop the stems. Cut feta into sticks about 2 inches long and as thin as you can without crumbling.

2. Put 2 tbsp of oil into a deep skillet or casserole with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Add the garlic and the chopped stems scand sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the stems just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Lay out a ribbon of kale, put a piece of cheese on the end and roll it up loosely. Put it in a pan on top of the garlic and stems. Repeat until all the ribbons and cheese are used, nestling rolls in next to each other in a single layer. Pour the wine over all and top with tomatoes and olives. Return the pan to med-high heat. When the liquid starts to boil, cover and turn the heat down to med-low.

4. Cook, undisturbed for 10 minutes, then check and make sure the kale is tender and the cheese is hot. Garnish with the onion and several grinds of black pepper. To serve, carefully scoop the rolls out and top with some of the bits of vegetables and pan juices. Pass more olive oil at the table for drizzling.

Apple Butterscotch Blondies

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups peeled and diced apples (about 1 1/2 lb.)

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

2. Stir together brown sugar and next 3 ingredients.

3. Stir together flour and next 2 ingredients; add to brown sugar mixture, and stir until blended. Stir in apples and pecans. Pour mixture into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan; spread in an even layer.

4. Bake at 350º for 35 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely (about 1 hour). Cut into bars. 

As Always, if you have any questions, feel free to us!

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 |