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July 2nd, 2013 FarmShare C.S.A. Newsletter

What’s happening on the farm this week?

Howdy All:

Independence Day! It’s time to celebrate our great country and gather with family and friends to count our blessings. Our family loves tradition, in fact, we’re pretty darn stuck in our ways when it comes to holidays. So, like thousands of other New Englanders, our family at Applecrest will be eating the traditional July 4 meal of poached salmon and peas, with a healthy serving of strawberry shortcake for dessert. Our family inherited this tradition from Farmer Todd’s grandmother, Imogene Wagner. When we celebrate this holiday we always remember her.

Many credit Abigail and John Adams with popularizing this meal when they first served it on July 4, 1776.  Back then, the meal began with turtle soup – a treat our family politely skips. It’s tough to source fresh turtle these days, although there have been a few stray turtles near Cake Pond in years past. I believe the menu arose because people were eating with the seasons – harvesting that which was available in the oceans and the fields, not the supermarket aisles. So, here’s to eating in tune with your farm! Happy Fourth of July to all!






Snow peas

English Shell Peas


Storage, handling and general cooking tips:


Storage + Handling

Strawberries stop ripening the moment they are picked, so don’t wait to enjoy them!  They are best eaten immediately. If you plan to eat your strawberries today, wash them first. Place the berries in a bowl of water with a bit of soap and swish to let the dirt sink to the bottom, then rinse. This gentle method protects the berries from bruising.

If you’d like to save your berries for later, please don’t wash them until you plan to use them as moisture causes them to spoil more quickly. Just pop them as is into the refrigerator in an uncovered container. Don’t forget to let the berries sit at room temperature for an hour after you take them out of the refrigerator – that way they’ll have the best flavor and texture.

Strawberries also freeze well. Wash and dry them thoroughly, then hull. Next, place them cut or whole into a freezer-safe container.

Shell peas


Peas don’t have much of a shelf life, so we 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.



(Or should we say shelling for the English peas)?

It may seem a bit tedious but its easy and worth every second. Remove the stem 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. Pour into a bowl, and continue on to the next pod.

Cook tips

We dare you to shell your entire box of peas without eating one pea, its nearly impossible. If you’re lucky enough to have 10% leftover try some of this:

Throw the freshly shelled peas on a salad, in a blender, or steam with other vegetables.


Snow Peas

Storage + Handling

I suggest eating your snow peas right off the bat, but if you would like to store them, they will stand to be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to 4 days. They are great raw and dipped in dressing. My son eats them like candy. I like to steam them first until crisp-tender, then plunge them in cold water to stop the cooking. I pat them dry and then toss with a bit of sesame oil, sesame seeds, and thin slices of red pepper. It’s super fresh and the colors look beautiful together. Snow peas also taste yummy stir-fried with other veggies and meats and served over rice.


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.



Handle zucchini with care as they are easily damaged.



Store zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer four to five days and do not wash until just before you are ready to use it. At the first sign of wilting, use immediately. Softness is a sign of deterioration.


Cook tips

Zucchini is wonderful steamed, sautéed, grilled or stuffed and baked. You can also cut uncooked zucchini into strips and serve it as an appetizer, or dice and grate it into a salad. Overcooked zucchini will end up as mush. To salvage it, make soup!


Pasta Carbonara with Ricotta featuring Applecrest English peas

Serves 4

  • 1 pound spaghetti or other pasta (preferably semolina)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, about 5 ounces
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese at room temperature
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (do not substitute Parmesan)
  • 3/4 cup shelled fresh peas
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. In a medium skillet with high sides (enough to hold the cooked pasta) or a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the bacon pieces and turn the heat to low. Cook them gently as the fat begins to render and mix with the olive oil, turning the pieces occasionally, for 20 minutes or so as the edges begin to turn golden but the center remains chewy.
  2. In the meantime, bring a pot of salty water to boil. Boil the pasta until cooked through but still chewy. Add your fresh peas about 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, lightly beat the eggs with the ricotta, breaking up any curds. Add most of the cheese to the mixture, and plenty of black pepper.
  4. When the pasta and peas are nearly done, turn the heat up to high on the bacon to gently crisp the edges, then remove from the heat. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the bacon. Toss quickly to coat the noodles, then pour the beaten egg mixture over everything and fold it quickly into the noodles. The egg should cook gently from the heat of the pasta, while the ricotta will form tiny curds.
  5. Serve in warmed bowls with the remaining cheese and more black pepper.

Adapted from Blake Royer

Tomato and White Bean Salad with Capers

Make sure to keep any leftovers; the marinated tomatoes are even better the next day.  Salad can be served on a bed of lettuce to make for a light summer meal.


  • 1 anchovy fillet packed in oil, drained, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers, chopped
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup (packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves


Whisk together anchovy, garlic, oil, vinegar, and capers in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, beans, red onion, and parsley; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Easy Summertime Orzo, Zucchini and Shrimp
Serves 6

This one pot meal can be served hot or cold making it an excellent choice for summer dining. Bright basil, abundant zucchini and early season grape tomatoes make this recipe a natural fit for your CSA. Prep your vegetables and sauce while the orzo is cooking.


1lb. box of orzo
2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup thinly sliced shallot
3 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes (red or yellow), halved  Sauce1 cup basil
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Optional Garnishes

1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
fresh basil sprigs


1.  Fill a Le Creuset Dutch Oven (at least 5.5-qt.) 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add orzo and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the orzo and set aside.

2. While the orzo cooks prepare the sauce: Add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.  Set aside.

3. In the same Dutch oven, warm olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the shallot, zucchini and garlic.  Cook and stir until shallot begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp. Cook and stir until shrimp is cooked through, about 4 minutes and turn off the heat.

4. Add the orzo back to the pot along with the grape tomatoes and the sauce. Stir to combine.  Serve immediately or chill until needed.

5. If desired, top the orzo with any or all of the optional garnishes.

Thanks to our friends at Le Creuset and Kimberly Mayone for this recipe

Strawberry Shortcake

We know most of you have probably already made this this season, but before your shares are strawberry-less, we wanted to make sure to squeeze this favorite in. If you don’t happen the time to make home-made, from scratch biscuits (easy-peasy recipe included here) make sure to grab some homemade bisquits from the farm mart when you come to pick up your box!


Strawberries and whipping cream:

  • 1-2 quarts fresh strawberries
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup sugar
  • Whipping cream
  • Vanilla


Remove the stems from the strawberries. Slice into thin (1/4″ to 1/8″) slices. Put into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet the strawberries are to begin with) and mix into the strawberries. Set aside at room temperature to macerate (which means that the sugar will soften the strawberries and help release their juices).

After the strawberries have been sitting for 20 minutes or so, take a potato masher and mash them a little. Not too much, just enough to get more juice out of them.

Whip the cream, adding a drop or two of vanilla and a teaspoon of sugar.

To serve, break up one biscuit per person into big pieces into a bowl. Ladle strawberries over the biscuit. Add a dolop of whipped cream.

Homemade biscuits


2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 Tbs baking powder

1 Tsp salt

1 Tbs granulated sugar

1/3 cup of shortening

1 cup of milk



Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large-ish bowl mix together all the dry ingredients. Cut in the margarine. That means to cut up the margarine into cute little square pats and put them into the bowl. Then, mix in the margarine (Hands work best for this) until what’s in the bowl resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in the milk until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough seems too sticky, add a tablespoon or two more flour. If it’s too dry, add more milk.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface (like your counter top, or a large cutting board placed on top of your counter top). Knead the dough. You don’t want to over work it. Just until there are no sticky parts. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use a round cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass) to punch out the biscuits. Or, you could just pull off a little less than a handful and call them drop biscuits, if presentation means nothing to you.

Place the cut outs onto a greased cookie pan. Place in the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the tops and edges start to brown.


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 |