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FarmShare C.S.A. Newsletter week of Sept. 17th, 2013

This week’s share:

Applecrest’s own fresh-pressed Apple Cider


McIntosh, Gala, Cortland Apples

Peaches-White and Yellow




Kale and Swiss Chard bunch


Cherry Tomato mix

Field Tomato

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Salad Mix

Storage, handling and general cooking tips:


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

Remove the leafy green tops, leaving about an inch of stems.  Refrigerate dry, unwashed carrots in a plastic bag for two weeks or longer. Carrots are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6 and Manganese. They also are chock full of dietary fiber.

Carrots fresh from the farm generally don’t need to be peeled, but should you decide to peel them, the nutrient loss is negligible.  Peel carrots or scrub them well with a stiff brush just before using.  Trim off any green spots, which can taste bitter.  When slicing carrots for cooking, be sure to make all the pieces relatively the same size to ensure an evenly-cooked dish.

Carrots are great raw. Dip your carrots in hummus, peanut butter, or a creamy dressing. Add some to your children’s lunchbox! Slice or grate raw carrots into salads or cole slaw. Cooking will bring out the carrot’s inherent sweetness.  Just be sure to remove them from the heat while they still have some firmness to them.

You can steam (15-20 minutes), stir-fry (2-4 minutes) or braise (15-20 minutes) your carrots.


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 and Handling

Melon can keep up to a week, whole and uncut, into your fridge. IF your melon has been sitting in your car and its a hot day, let it cool off before sticking it right into the fridge, as the drastic temperature change will cause the fruit to spoil faster. Melons can be eaten cut up, wrapped in salty, cured meats, in fruit salad, or even sliced and grilled.


Storage and Handling

Peaches bruise easily, so when testing for ripe-ness use your whole hand, not just one finger. Leave peaches out, on the counter. If they need to ripen more, place in a closed paper bag. Once ripe, store in the crisper bin of your refrigerator where they’ll keep for up to five  days. Peaches can also be frozen. Peel and slice them, lay them on a baking tray and stick in the freezer for a few hours until they’re frozen through. Transfer the peach wedges to a resealable plastic bag and freeze until ready to use. They’ll keep at least 6 months (longer in a free-standing freezer) and are perfect to use in baking. Want to peel your peaches? Here’s how: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each peach. Dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds, and the skins will slide right off.

Cook tips

Eat these guys fresh, rinsed and wiped to remove fuzz. Or bake into a crumble. Or put in your morning cereal. Or serve with almond essence infused whipped cream as almonds are a close cousin to peaches. Delicious in savory dishes as well, you can grill them and put in a salad, can be made into a chutney alongside your pork or beef, or preserve them to be enjoyed mid-winter. There are endless options.


Storage and Handling 

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.

Cook tips

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 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. 

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Storage and Handling

Zucchini and summer squash respire through their skins, so they need to be refrigerated as soon as possible.  Store them unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable bin, or refrigerate them in a sealed plastic container lined with a towel.  In the refrigerator, they keep for about a week. Before eating, rinse the veggies under running water to remove any dirt, then slice off the stem and blossom ends.  They can be cut into rounds, quarters, or chunks.

Zucchini and squash are great grilled. Slice the veggies lengthwise, then top with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving add some slivers of basil or pesto. You can also cube them and put them on a kabob with cherry tomatoes, meat, and peppers before grilling. If you don’t want to fire up the grill, zucchini and squash also fry well. Just slice and put in a sauté pan over medium heat with butter or olive oil. When almost done, reduce heat to medium-low, top with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and cover pan until the cheese melts. Your side dish is done!  Overcooked zucchini will end up as mush. To salvage it, make soup!

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.



Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew

table salt

1 lb dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over

1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

6 oz. pancetta cut into 1/4 inch pieces (substitute 4 slices of bacon if pancetta can’t be found)

1 large onion, chopped medium

2 medium celery rubs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

3 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 bunch kale or collard greens, stems trimmed and leaves chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed

1 sprig fresh rosemary

Ground black pepper

8 slices country white bread, broiled on both sides and rubbed with garlic clove (optional)


1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl. Add beans and soak at room temp for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.

2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil and pancetta in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pnacetta is lightly browned and fat has rendered, 6-10 minutes. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10-16 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.

3 Remove pot from oven and stir in greens and tomatoes. Return pot to oven and continue to cook until beans and greens are fully tender, 30-40 minutes longer.

4. Remove pot from oven and submerge rosemary sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. Serve over toasted bread, if desired and drizzle with olive oil.


Squash, Potato and Goat cheese gratin

serves six

2 medium squash-yellow and/or  zucchini, about 1/2 pound
4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Use a mandoline or chef’s knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less. Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl.

Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — no need to layer them squash-potato-squash; just spread evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns. Scatter on the fresh basil, if using.

Apple Carrot Salad with Cilantro

Serves 1 for lunch or 2 as a side dish

1 medium apple*, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
small handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey (or, to taste)
pinch of ground cumin
crumbled feta cheese, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put apple, carrots, and cilantro in a medium bowl.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, honey, and cumin.  Add dressing to apple mixture and toss everything together.  Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of crumbled feta cheese.

*Use whatever type of apple you enjoy eating.  If the apple is especially tart, you might want to add a bit more honey to the dressing – taste and adjust as you go.

Pork Chops Normandy

1 apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 c brandy or calvados (plus more, if you want to go deluxe. See below)
3/4 c apple cider (plus more for deluxe)
3 center cut, bone-in pork chops

1c apple cider
2 sprigs thyme,lightly crushed
1 c water
1/2 c salt

  1. Start by brining the pork: submerge the chops in the brine and soak for at least two hours (up to four)
  2. While that’s happening, saute your onions over medium-low heat. When they start to get translucent, aromatic, and just slightly brown, add the apples and thyme. Saute until everything is nice and brown and soft and melty. If you’re feeling sassy, you can help the process along with a slug or two of brandy or apple cider. When they are caramelized enough for your liking, remove the mixture from the pan, cover, and set aside.
  3. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry, season with salt. Up the heat on your pan to about medium-high and sear the chops with a little olive oil until the outside is brown and lovely. The inside will still be raw.
  4. Drop the heat to low, add brandy and apple cider. Cover tightly and let it all simmer for 10-12 more minutes, until a thermometer reads 135 at the thickest part of the chop.
  5. If you’re feeling really enterprising at this point, remove the pork chops from the pan (set aside and cover) and make a sauce by deglazing the pan with a little more brandy and apple cider. Throw in any scraps of thyme you may still have lying about, and make it unctuous with a pat of butter.
  6. Serve quickly, with the apple-onion mixture and some sauce. Serve with a side of roasted potatoes and butternut squash.

Peach Cobbler for one

(or two if you’re nice)

This whimsical cobbler-in-peach recipe can be increased to make enough to serve to a whole group of people for dessert!

1 ripe peach

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon shredded coconut

1 tablespoon slivered almonds

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice a peach in half and remove the pit.  With a small spoon, scoop out the the dark red pit center, creating just a bit more room for the crumble topping.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, salt, coconut, and almonds.  Add butter and, with your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients.  Quickly break up the butter until it is well combined.  Some of the butter bits will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.

Place peach halves, cut side up, in a small, oven-safe dish.  Top each peach half with a generous portion of crumble topping.  Heap it on!

Bake for 20 minutes, until topping is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or cold milk.  Peaches are best served warm from the oven.


As Always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact 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 |