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July 2020

Week 7: Big share before our July 4th break

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This is Jared Planz, the Assistant Vegetable Production Manager.  (Fortunately, no masks are necessary when we're working far apart from each other, which makes for better photos.)  He's picking zucchini in this photo, wearing the 4-pouch harvesting harness, which is about 80 pounds when full of squash.  None of the rest of us carry as much weight as he does while picking, which is a good analogy for his farming skills overall.  When he's not planting, weeding, harvesting, pounding stakes, spreading mulch or managing workers, he's designing our web sales platform, taking professional-quality photographs, camping, and parenting his almost-2-year-old son with Elissa.  Phew!  

Announcements

  • NEXT WEEK THERE IS NO CSA SHARE.  We have noticed over the years that the vegetable harvest wanes a bit in that period when the hot weather makes greens bitter, and the tomatoes haven't ripened yet.  It also coincides with our own exhaustion--we're up to our eyeballs in harvesting garlic, mulching & twining tomatoes, planting sweet potatoes, and weeding.  So we take the first week of July off from picking and throw all our energy into field work, and a much-needed day off.  We account for this missing week from the get-go--you'll still get 26 weeks of vegetables by the middle of November without including this one.  To reiterate--we do have veggies for you this week, but there will be no vegetables for you on July 1st, 2nd or 4th. 
  • U-pick is not open at the moment, but it will be soon for herbs and flowers.  We'll send you a note as soon as it's available.  
  • Let's all shout out a giant thanks for this wonderful, vegetable-growing weather.  Your crops are growing great.  You'll remember we had that surprise frost in mid-May that set back our planting schedule a bit.  For that, we'll have to wait a little longer than normal for our first tomatoes and peppers.  But they'll come in due time.  The Colorado potato beetles and flea beetles did a number on your eggplant before we had a chance to come to their rescue, so they'll be particularly delayed. July is so suspenseful!  We're excited to see how it all comes out.   

This week's share

  • 1 head FRESH garlic.  You'll notice that they're super-easy to peel when they're fresh.  But treat it the same as the dried ones.  Sitting on your counter, it will dry on its own within a week.
  • 1 bunch green onions (also known as scallions, spring onions and bunching onions)
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch chard or collards (not yet determined)
  • 1 pound cucumbers
  • Several zucchini
  • A combo of purple-top turnips and a small kohlrabi
  • Basil
  • Choose: beans, arugula or fennel (this is your only shot at fennel until fall)

Coming soon

Remember, after this week (June 24, 25 &27), your next share will be July 8, 9 and 11.  Don't come next week!  When you get back we'll have some goodies waiting for you:

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Green cabbage
  • Red onions
  • Continued: beans (more), cucumbers (more), squash (fewer), garlic, kale & collards (ending soon), chard, basil

Recipes

  • Jessica LaGarde shared this frittata recipe on our Facebook Group that looks like a delicious way to use zucchini.  Thanks Jessica!
  • You've been getting a lot of green onions and zucchini.  Can't use them all?  Both of those are good candidates for freezing or drying.  To freeze green onions, chop them up, lay them out on a baking sheet for an hour or so to dry so they stay separate instead of freezing into a big glob, and then pour them into a ziploc bag.  I recommend storing the green parts separately from the white and light green parts, since they cook a little differently.  They can be used this winter for cooking, but don't expect to use them as a fresh garnish, since they'll be mushy (but flavorful!) when they thaw.  Freezing zucchini (or any squash) is the same.  I slice them into rounds, freeze them on a tray and then bag them up.  To dehydrate the onions and squash, I use a dehydrator, and the process is almost identical to freezing (put it on a tray, turn on the dehydrator).  If you don't have a dehydrator, put them in your oven at the lowest setting (you're aiming for about 125 deg. F).  
  • Have you ever tried grilling or roasting whole green onions?  Or using them (chopped) as a pizza topping?  The results are surprisingly fancy, and nothing makes a kitchen smell fantastic like cooking onions.
  • Here's a simple recipe for a quinoa salad with scallions.  I would replace the snap peas with lightly-steamed green beans, and replace the radishes with turnips and/or kohlrabi, since they're in your share this week.  If you don't have gobs of mint growing somewhere near you, then (A) you're not trying very hard, and (B) you can substitute with basil, which will be different but also delicious.  (Mint grows well with lots of water, so plant it under your nearest leaky faucet.  Don't have a plant?  Rip one out from a friend who has too much--trust me, you have one of those friends.)
  • Let us know what recipe ideas you need!  We're here to help.  Reply to this e-mail or, better yet, post a question on the facebook group--your fellow CSA members are a great resource.  


Have some fun this week--you deserve it!
Carrie and the entire Clagett Farm Team


Week 6: June vegetables--quirky but fabulous

Announcements


  • The photo above is of Kenneth Johnson and Charles Price.  Remember when I told you last week about the 2000 pounds of vegetables we've donated so far this season?  Well some very fine, dedicated people have to pick up those pounds (another 1000 pounds last week!) and see that they make it into the hands of people who need them.  They work for SHABACH! Ministries, which is part of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden.  Thank you both for being so generous and flexible!
  • A big thanks to the entire vegetable crew for filling in while Carrie was quarantined last week.  Carrie had a cough (just an allergy). Just to be sure, she had a quick covid test and is all clear.  Jared wins MVP for managing without skipping a beat. He worked long, back-to-back days harvesting, delivering to Dupont and spreading mulch on fields, so 3 cheers for Jared!  
  • What's with June vegetables?  There's a good chance that one of the things in your bag this week is not your normal purchase from the grocery store--Napa cabbage (also called Chinese cabbage), garlic scapes or kohlrabi, for example.  But this is one of the reasons why it's fun to have a CSA share--we keep your diet exciting!  Another reason why you love being a CSA member is that it encourages you to eat more vegetables.  Remember, vegetables should be 80% of what's on your plate.  So don't let this nice, heavy share this week go to waste.  Read on for recipe ideas and have fun!
  • We created the CBF's Clagett Farm Facebook Group so you can send us your recipe ideas, ask us your gardening questions, and let your fellow CSA members know about tips and events they might not have heard.  If you're not a Facebook person, we understand! You can still send us emails, tag us (#clagettfarm) on Instagram, pass us notes, and so on.  We love those too! 
  • We're due for some bunching onion recipes and more squash ideas, so send them our way.
  • If you want to order oysters (a dozen or 100-count) for pick up this Saturday, the deadline is TODAY at NOON!  Farmed oysters are the Bay-friendliest food you can find!
  • The week of July 1st, 2nd and 4th, we will not be giving out shares.  We're taking a break, so don't show up to pick up vegetables on any of those dates.
 

This week's share


  • A cucumber
  • A bunch of green onions
  • A handful of garlic scapes
  • 2-3 zucchinis
  • A yellow squash
  • Medley of hakurei turnips and small kohlrabies
  • Choose a bag (about a half pound): arugula, spicy mix, collards or tat soi
  • Choose one: a head of Napa cabbage (average 2.5 pounds), a bag of bok choi (~1/2 lb), a bunch of chard (~1/2 lb) or a small bag of green beans (~1/4 lb)
 

Recipes


  • Never eaten a kohlrabi?  It tastes just like the stem of broccoli.  First, be sure to peel it.
    • You can chop it easily into a salad for a crunch with a hint of sweetness. 
    • Snack on it with hummus or dip. 
    • Roast it. 
    • Shred it into cole slaw.  (Think you don't like cole slaw because it's full of mayonnaise? You're due for a vinegar cole slaw revolution!)        
  • One of Carrie's favorite Thai dishes is the green papaya salad.  Did you know you can replace the papaya with ribbons of zucchini?  (If you have a spiralizer, time to get it out.)  There's a few ingredients in this salad that you might not have on hand, but don't let that stop you--it's a forgiving dish that's delicious even if you replace the tomatoes with cucumbers, for example.  
  • Baked Squash
    • Ingredients

      • 2 medium zucchini and or yellow squash  sliced into 1/2" rounds
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or your choice of herbs 
      • salt & pepper to taste
      • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese divided
    • Instructions

      • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
      • Toss zucchini slices with olive oil, seasoning, salt & pepper and about 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese.
      • Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and top with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake 5 minutes.
      • Turn oven to broil, place pan near the top and broil 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and zucchini is tender crisp.
  • Roasted Turnips and Kohlrabi
    • Ingredients

      • 2 pounds turnips and kohlrabi
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • Fine or coarse sea salt 
      • 1 tablespoon of your choice of herbs
      • 1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes
    • Instructions 

      • Preheat an oven to 400 F.
      • While the oven heats, scrub and trim turnips, and peel the kohlrabi. Leave baby turnips whole; cut larger turnips and kohlrabi into large-ish bite-size pieces.
      • Put the prepared turnips and kohlrabi in a baking pan or on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with the olive oil. Use your hands or two large spoons to toss them around a bit to coat them thoroughly with the oil. Sprinkle them with salt.
      • Roast until they're tender and browned; start checking on them after about 30 minutes. 
      • When you take them out of the oven, toss the turnips and kohlrabi with herbs and chopped garlic scapes. (If raw scapes are too strong for your taste, add them to the pan 5 minutes or more before you take it out of the oven.)
 

Coming Soon


  • Purple kohlrabi and purple-top turnips next week
  • Garlic bulbs next week
  • Green beans (we'll keep picking small quantities so everyone will have them over the weeks to come)
  • Continuing: kale, collards, squash, bunching onions, chard, cucumbers
  • Carrots next week or the week after
  • We have our eyes on some Korean melons that should be ready soon!

Remember when I told you last week about the 2000 pounds of vegetables we've donated so far this season?  Well some very fine, dedicated people have to pick up those pounds (another 1000 pounds last week!) and see that they make it into the hands of people who need them.  Meet Kenneth Johnson (left) and Charles Price (right).  They work for SHABACH! Ministries, which is part of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden.  Thank you both for being so generous and flexible!


Have a great week!
The Clagett Farm Team

(Photo by Carrie Vaughn)


Week 5: Zucchini and Napa Cabbage bonanza!

I asked for your smiling, post-berry-picking faces, and you obliged!  Thank you, I think we all need some positive community vibes right now.  This lovely face belongs to Caryl Henry Alexander.  You can find more u-pick photos in a debut post of our new CBF's Clagett Farm Facebook Group.  If you sent me one, you can tag yourselves, and if you want to add your own, you can do that too!  

Announcements


  • The Dupont CSA pick-up is back to it's normal time slot--5:30pm to 7:30pm.  Jared is Carrie's last-minute substitute this evening, though, so be patient and flexible with him since he hasn't been to that alley and might be in a slightly different location.    
  • It's a big share this week!  Get your chef's hat on, it's going to be fun!
  • Strawberry u-pick has ended.  We're glad that every CSA member who wanted to sign up was able to get a slot, and we had ripe strawberries all the way to the end.  If you feel like you missed out, let us know.  
  • In the past month, we've donated 1,978 pounds of vegetables to two nearby food pantries--SHABACH in Landover MD, and Behold I Come Quickly in Clinton MD.  That's a whopping 47% of our total harvest!  In addition to that, we have 18 CSA members who are getting their shares at half price because they have very limited incomes, and 1 former volunteer who is ill and in a nursing home, and we deliver his share to him for free.  Phew!   
  • Want to know some interesting facts about plant and animal families? You have come to the right place! Here is a link for a fun trivia game about plant and animal families made by Amelia Vaughn. (The game is free but the web site will ask you to create an account, so feel free to use a junk email address.) 

 

This week's share


  • 1 bag lettuce
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 head Napa cabbage (aka Chinese cabbage)
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes 
  • 2-3 zucchinis
  • 2-3 hakurei turnips
  • Choose a bag of either kale or collards

 

Coming soon


  • Kohlrabi next week 
  • More cucumbers soon
  • Garlic scapes one more week, then garlic bulbs every week after that 
  • We have our eyes on a bed of carrots that should be ready soon
  • Continuing next week: kale, collards and zucchini

 

Recipes


  • Here's a recipe for Black Pepper Tofu with Chinese Cabbage (we made some adjustments from someone else's recipe and left out all the photos and ads that are so irritating when you're trying to read the instructions).  
  • Napa cabbage is big and can sometimes feel intimidating in your fridge.  If that's happening to you, take a moment to wash it, chop it up and put it in a container.  Suddenly it looks more like a salad ingredient or an easy veggie to toss in a stir fry.  
  • This is a great week to practice your stir fry skills.  You can toss in the cabbage, greens, scapes, scallions, zucchini, turnips, and anything else you've got crammed in your vegetable drawer.  Here's a beginner's guide to stir fry, in case that's helpful.  The most important hints are to chop the heavy things (zucchini and turnips) into small, uniform pieces so they cook more quickly, and add them first before the lighter ingredients (cabbage, scallions, scapes).  There's lots of great ideas for stir fry sauces out there, so if you get stuck in a rut, try changing your sauce.  
  • Speaking of new flavors for your stir fry, here's one from Epicurious.com--Cabbage Stir Fry with Coconut and Lemon
  • We're going to save our ideas for zucchini for another week.  In the meantime, use up all the ones you can think of now, and send us your favorites.  Time to get out the grill, and turn those stir fry sauces into marinades!  


Thanks for being your wonderful selves, and have a great week,
The Clagett Farm Team


Recipe: Black Pepper Tofu with Napa Cabbage

This recipe is based on this one from Feastingathome.com

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 812 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes (you can substitute beef, chicken or shrimp, but do not use soft or silken tofu)
  • corn starch for dredging (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons wok oil (high heat oil like peanut, coconut or vegetable)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
  • 1 green onion, sliced (green and white parts)
  • 4 garlic scapes, rough chopped
  • ~10 ounces Napa cabbage, chopped roughly

Black Pepper Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese Cooking Wine (Shaoxing Rice Wine or Mirin) or sub dry white wine, pale sherry, or rice wine.
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or sub palm sugar, coconut sugar or agave)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon any kind of chili paste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the black pepper sauce in a small jar, and shake until most of the sugar dissolves. 
  2. Prep the green onions, garlic scapes and cabbage.
  3. Dredge the tofu in a light coating of cornstarch (cornstarch is optional, but provides a crispier texture).
  4. Heat oil in a wok or heavy skillet until the entire pan is very hot and the oil shimmers.  Add the crushed peppercorns to the oil, swirling it around until fragrant, about one minute.
  5. Add the tofu to the seasoned oil, and sear on all sides until golden and crispy, turning the heat down if need be. Be patient and take your time, it will take about 5-6 minutes.
  6. Set the crispy tofu aside on a paper towel-lined plate, and wipe the pan out.
  7. Heat another teaspoon or two of oil over medium heat, and add green onions, garlic scapes and cabbage. Stir continuously until cabbage begins to wilt, about 3-4 minutes. It will smell amazing.  Add the black pepper sauce to the pan, careful to get all the sugar that may have settled in the jar.
  8. Simmer for a couple of minutes, or until cabbage is just tender.
  9. Toss the tofu back into the pan with the cabbage and sauce.  Taste for salt and heat, adjusting to your preference.
  10. Serve immediately, dividing between two bowls.

Week 4: The days are dark, but your vegetables are green, green, green

It's been tough this week for the staff to keep working when we want to be shouting and yelling and marching the streets. Remarkably, the betrayal of humanity has not (yet) made the plants stop growing.  The least we can do is bring food to the rest of you, hoping that you're marching in our place or resisting in your own way, and hope these vegetables are a balm for our dear community.  I certainly felt that relief on Sunday, watching so many of you enjoying the strawberries and beautiful weather with one another.  
 

Announcements


  • We're shifting our delivery to Dupont an hour earlier today so that you can get your vegetables and return home before the curfew.  We'll be there from 4:30pm-6:30pm.  If you need us to stay later, send me a text.  The other pick-ups will remain the same.   
  • In our last e-mail to you, we announced that we were finally able to offer u-pick strawberries.  It was a mammoth job getting that organized so quickly and keeping everyone coming at a steady pace.  It went well, and I was glad that everyone seemed to leave with smiles and plenty of berries.  If you have photos of those smiles and berries, send them to us!  As of this morning, the fields have been picked pretty clean.  My hope is that we'll have enough on Thursday and this weekend to accommodate any of the CSA members who have not yet had a chance to u-pick.  U-pickers MUST sign up.  The link to do so along with the rules are in our last e-mail.  The supply is tight so make sure you check your phone before you come in case we need to adjust your reservation.   We are NOT yet permitting members to u-pick a second time, but we'll alert you if we do.
  • One of our volunteers, Daniel Carson, died last week.  Daniel and his wife, Connie, volunteered with us a few hours each Wednesday helping wash and prep your shares (last year, when we were able to take volunteers).  Connie inspired us with her patience and devotion to her husband--Daniel had dementia and required a great deal of attention, but she did not allow anyone to deny his continued integrity as a whole human being that deserved respect and care.  And Daniel inspired us with his constant positive attitude and good humor.  We are sad to lose such a kind soul, and I'm sorry I didn't catch a photo of that smile of his so I could show you.  

 

This week's share


  • 1 hearty handful garlic scapes 
  • 1 bunch onion scallions (also known as green onions or bunching onions)
  • 1 cucumber or zucchini
  • Root medley: turnps, radishes and beets
  • A bag of lettuce heads (about a quarter pound, mostly green romaine)
  • Choose: a bag of tat soi or spicy mix (this week's spicy mix is SPICY--most of the leaves are mild but a few have a knockout wasabi flavor)
  • Choose: a bag of kale or collards

 

What are garlic scapes and how do you use them?


  • Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant.  We remove them to encourage the plants to put more energy into making large garlic bulbs.  We pass them to you because they're delicious!
  • Chop them roughly and add to stir fry.
  • Chop them roughly, put them in a blender or food processor with olive oil, salt, parmesan and toasted pine nuts or walnuts to make a pesto that's so good you'll forget why you used to use basil.
  • Need garlic in a recipe?  Use finely-chopped scapes!  The flavor mellows significantly when cooked, so you might wish to use more than you would have if they were garlic cloves.
  • Find your favorite green goddess dressing recipe (or any dressing) and add garlic scapes.
  • Grill them.
  • Pizza topping, of course!

 

Recipe: Grits and Greens


Use whichever greens happen to come home in your bag.  The recipe was a little long to include in the e-mail, so I'm linking to it here.


Stay strong friends--we need you!

Carrie Vaughn and the rest of the Clagett Farm Team