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July 3rd, 2012 FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter

FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter for 3 July 12

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!


Strawberries: varieties including Eros, Idea, Darselect, Raritan, Cabot & Seneca.

Blueberries: varieties including Draper, Reka, EarliBlue & Patriot


Iceberg Lettuce

Mesclun Mix



Snow peas

Snap peas

English Shell Peas


Storage, handling and general cooking tips


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.

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. What about making a festive Fourth of July parfait with layers of blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream, yogurt, or biscuits.

Blueberries are yummy baked in pancakes, muffins, pies, cobblers, and crisps. Blueberries make wonderful jam! Blueberries also freeze well. Sort your berries, wash and dry them well (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.


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.


Storage + Handling

Store dry spinach in a bag in a refrigerator. It should last up to 5 days. When ready to eat, trim the stems and wash the greens by filling a sink with cold water and submerging the leaves to remove dirt. Be meticulous: Even the tiniest bit of dirt can spoil a delicious salad. Dry well with a towel or spinner, unless you plan to cook your spinach. Leaves destined for the cooking pan can have excess water shaken off and placed on a towel or chopping board until ready to heat. Did you know that cooking spinach in boiling water actually releases acids from the vegetable and makes the leaves taste sweeter? Use the water you boil your leaves in to water your plants instead of pouring it down the drain.

Spinach is one of the world’s healthiest vegetables. It is chock full of minerals and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and B12. Unfortunately, my first-grader doesn’t care about spinach’s vitamin content and initially refused to eat it. So, I pack the cooked leaves in a blender with yogurt, bananas, and strawberries and voila! He happily guzzles his green monster drink without complaint. The blender is always my first stop when attempting to appease my picky eater. Spinach is so versatile. It can be eaten raw in a salad, served slightly wilted or sauteed as a side dish or added to soups (either whole or pureed). For breakfast or lunch, top a toasted English muffin with a fried egg, a dollop of cooked spinach, and a sliced tomato. Spinach and tomatoes pair so nicely! Think of adding them both to quiche or a gratin or with some fresh herbs and lemon to a bowl of cooked orzo (the warm pasta will wilt the fresh spinach leaves).

Iceberg 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.

I love the traditional chopped salad. Just slice wedges from your lettuce head, add blue cheese, hard-boiled egg slices, crumbled bacon, and dressing. Dinner is done!

Mesclun Lettuce Mix

Storage + Handling

Store unwashed lettuce mix in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. When you are ready to eat the greens, wash them in a bowl of cold water to let dirt settle to the bottom. Once all of the dirt is removed, rinse and dry. Put them in a bowl covered with a wet paper towel in the refrigerator until serving time. Enjoy your greens within three or four days. Salads are a great addition to any meal, but are also good for tacos and sandwiches.

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

Wrap your unwashed scallions in a paper towel and then in a plastic bag where they should keep five to seven days. Others insist that the best storing method is in a glass in the refrigerator with a plastic bag on top – kind of like how florists keep flowers in the cooler.

To serve scallions, rinse the greens in cold water, chop off the roots and very tops, then slice. Scallions are great in omelets, salads, soups, stir-frys, bread crumbs and to top off baked potatoes.  They can be used just like chives. You can also try brushing them with oil, salt, and pepper and popping them on the grill with your other veggies.

Snap Peas

Storage + Handling

For the sweetest flavor, enjoy your peas as soon as possible. Store unwashed snap peas in the crisper section of the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag for up to two days. Always wash under cold water before serving. If you would like to freeze your snap peas, blanch first in boiling water for two minutes, plunge in an ice-water bath, dry, then store in labeled Ziploc bags in the freezer.

Remember you can eat the entire snap pea, shell and all. Take them along on car trips or to the beach for a healthy snack and quick fix of vitamin C. Here’s an easy way to prepare them as a side dish at dinner : wash snap peas and remove stem.  Toss with olive oil, salt, chopped shallots, and chopped thyme. Then spread on a baking sheet and bake in a 450-degree oven for 6-8 minutes until tender, but still firm. Delish!


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.


Patriotic Berry Trifle

1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 premade angel food cake, cut into 1-inch slices

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature

2 pints blueberries

2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced


Heat 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

Brush both sides of each slice of cake with the syrup. Cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.

Beat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.

Arrange half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a 13-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with a layer of blueberries. Dollop half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with a layer of strawberries. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then sprinkle with more blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

–          Recipe courtesy of Sunny Anderson for Food Network Magazine


Wilted Spinach with Lemon and Pine Nuts

I love this recipe because it is pure and adaptable. If you have other greens, add them too for a bit of spice.


1 bunch spinach

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons lemon juice

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted


Sort spinach, discarding stems. Wash in plenty of cold water, then spin dry. It’s okay to have a bit of water remaining as it will help the greens wilt in the pan. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and lemon juice and sauté for 1 minute. Turn the heat to high and add the spinach, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of pepper. Wilt the spinach, tossing with tongs to coat the leaves with the hot oil and garlic. Toss in the pine nuts and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


-“Field of Greens” by Annie Sommerville


Spinach Salad

There are so many variations of spinach salad. My favorite is the classic spinach salad with sliced strawberries, poppy seeds, and a light coating of vinaigrette. But that just seems too obvious to add here. So here is a recipe that brings out the carnivore in me. I love anything with bacon!


1 bunch spinach

5-6 slices of bacon, fried then crumbled

3 tablespoons bacon drippings

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons current jelly

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted


Rinse, trim, and dry spinach. Place in a salad bowl. Fry bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels reserving 3 tablespoons of the drippings in pan. Add orange juice, vinegar, and jelly to pan. Just before serving, bring to boil and pour liquid over spinach. Toss with crumbled bacon and toasted almonds.


Garlic Stir-Fried Snap Peas


3 cups sugar snap peas

1 tablespoon oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

cooked rice (optional)


Heat oil in skillet. Stir in garlic. Add peas/ cook and stir 2-4 minutes on medium heat. Remove and sprinkle on lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve over rice, if desired. Makes 3-4 servings.


– “From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce”
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 |