Contact Us

June 19th, 2012 FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter

FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter for 19 June 12

What’s happening on the farm this week?

Howdy All:

Well, I’d say week one went pretty darn smoothly for you Tuesday picker-uppers.  Beyond a few snafus with folks taking the wrong size share, one no-show and a lonely crushed baguette, it was all smiles.  The best part, at least for us, was being able to actually put a face to all those names; it finally seemed like the season had truly begun.  We’re so excited and hope y’all are too.

Not sure if any of you ventured out on Sunday for our 6th Annual Strawberry Festival but, wow, what an absolutely gorgeous day!  Just sitting out in the middle of the patch with the aroma of ripe berries wafting over the fields while listening to live bluegrass as you pick.  It really doesn’t get any better.

Big days here on the farm as we scramble to catch up with transplanting before the mid-week heat wave.  Final field plantings of pole beans, corn and pumpkins will also hopefully go in before the next rains.  Row after row of heavy early summer weeds will make for lots of hoeing and some sore backs as the week progresses.  Hard to believe it, but we saw some definitive BLUE in the blueberries and suspect some harvesting is in in our near future.  Until then, we’ll be working those lovely greenhouse tomatoes of which we’re terribly proud.

What’s in this week’s box?


Strawberries: varieties including All-Star, Wendy, Nor’Easter, Evangeline, Itasca



Romaine Lettuce

Spring Lettuce Micro Mix: Green Oakleaf, Red Oakleaf, Green Romaine, Red Romaine, Lollo Rossa, and Redleaf lettuces

Swiss Chard



Apple Mint

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.


Storage + Handling

Rhubarb should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  It will keep for up to one week. The rhubarb plant is native to Siberia and has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 5,000 years. It was first introduced to America by European settlers in the 1700s and grows best following long, cold winters. New England is a perfect place to grow rhubarb! It has a tart flavor, which combines nicely with the sweetness of fruits in pies, custards, cobblers and jams. Personally, I like to strip its skin and eat it raw with salt.

Romaine 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.

Spring 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.

Swiss Chard

Storage + Handling

Chard is beautiful! The stems come in a rainbow of colors from green and yellow to red, pink, white and orange. And chard is 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 this once a week! The flavor is mild, earthy, and a wee bit sweet.

Chard is also very perishable, so enjoy this veggie soon after pickup. Chard can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two to three days. Chard leaves can be eaten raw, like beet greens and spinach, or cooked. Before cooking, separate the chard 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 chard 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 can be covered or bagged in plastic and refrigerated for a few hours until needed. Chard can be parboiled, steamed, baked, or sautéed. Chard is wonderful with pasta, in omelets, frittatas, soups, or lasagna.

If you hate to throw anything away, rest assured, you can also eat the chard 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.

Chard 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

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.

Apple Mint

Storage + Handling

Store apple mint in a glass of water on the counter or in the refrigerator. It should last a week or more. When ready to use, place in a bowl of cold water and swish to rinse. The leaves should float to the top and the dirt will sink.

The Spanish call apple mint hierbabuena, or “good herb,” due to its medicinal value. The Greeks considered it the herb of hospitality. By all accounts, apple mint makes wonderful tea. Bruise the leaves and place them in the glass, top with boiling water, let steep for 3-7 minutes. Strain out the leaves and add sweetener if desired. You can also add Chamomile for a drink that relaxes the tummy and your mind. Some recommend drying the mint leaves in a 180-degree oven for a few hours before using them for a tea. I haven’t tried this, but if you have the time, why not?

Fresh leaves can also be used in fruit or lettuce salads, as a garnish, or to make jelly. I often add mint to cooked peas instead of parsley for a refreshing change. Dried apple mint leaves retain their scent and make a sweet addition to homemade potpourri. And need I mention mint’s role in summer cocktails like mojitos and mint juleps?


Farmer Todd’s Super Ceasar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Anchovy Paste (or several mashed whole)

2 teaspoons Worcester Sauce

8 drops Tabasco

1 large garlic clove, minced

Black pepper, course ground

Juice of 1 lemon

1 egg

1/3 cup olive oil

Parmesan cheese, both grated and shaved

1 or 2 heads green romaine lettuce.


Make paste of first six ingredients.

Whisk in lemon, then egg, then oil, and finally grated parmesan to taste.

Wash romaine, tear off whole leaves and thoroughly pat dry.

Toss leaves with small portion of dressing.  Arrange on plate.  Drizzle with desired additional dressing.  Add several shavings parmesan and additional ground black pepper to taste.  If an anchovy fan (like Farmer Todd), drape two anchovy filets over top and serve.

Chard Stem Gratin

Parboil chard stems for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain, then arrange in a gratin dish with bits of fried pancetta, some chopped garlic, chopped flat-leaf parsley, and a seeded, coarsely-chopped tomato. Cover with cream and gratinee in a preheated 450-degree oven or under the broiler until golden.

Not sure how to seed a tomato? Simply lay the tomato on its side and halve with a sharp, serrated knife. Squeeze each half firmly enough to push out the seeds. Discard seeds.

Recipe from “Chez Panisse Vegetables,” by Alice Waters

Roasted Strawberries

Note: Roasting fruit creates thick, syrupy juices that are beyond delicious, plus your kitchen will smell divine! Spoon roasted fruit over yogurt, buttered toast or ice cream.

16 ounces hulled strawberries
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
dash black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Cut strawberries in half lengthwise, or quarters if they are large.

Combine honey, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Add the strawberries and toss until fully coated.

Place berries on the lined baking sheet and roast until the fruit has softened and the juices are just beginning to thicken – say, 40 minutes.

Roasted strawberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Strawberry Lemon Jam
Note: This recipe calls for macerating the strawberries overnight so plan ahead! It’s an old-school technique that allows the sugar to soak in while the strawberries slowly release their juices. I like this recipe because it uses less sugar and allows the berries’ own sweetness to really shine.

14 cups strawberries
4 cups sugar
1/3 cups fresh lemon juice

Wash, dry, and hull the berries.

Place berries and lemon juice in a non-reactive pot and pour the sugar evenly on top. Don’t stir! Leave at room temperature for 18-24 hours.

Gather up your canning equipment (making sure your jars + lids are sterilized) and mash the berries by hand or with a potato masher. Add the contents to a non-reactive pot and bring to a hearty boil. Boil until gel point is reached (this took me 30 minutes, but it depends on the strawberries!). Ladle into warm jars and process in a hot water bath canner for 8 minutes.

Jam recipe yields roughly 7 jars.

– Recipe from Megan Gordon at

That does it for this week…we’ll see you at the farm.  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

Leave a Reply

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