Welcome! It’s finally summer and things are starting to get busy at the farm. Strawberries are our biggest and most important crop, so this time of year can be hectic. Right now we’re one of the only local farms with enough strawberries to wholesale, so we’re struggling to keep up with the exceptionally high demand for local berries. Don’t worry, though – we’re going to make sure every week that there’s enough for all CSA members!
This Week’s Produce:
Strawberries or PYO voucher
Scallions or Radishes
Next Week’s Produce
We don’t know for sure what we’ll have for next week (besides strawberries and tomatoes), but here’s what we’ll hopefully have:
Strawberries or PYO voucher
Scallions or Radishes
Lettuce or Arugula
There’s a slight chance we’ll have some early summer squash and zucchini, too!
About the Pick-Your-Own Option:
This week, and throughout strawberry season, all CSA members will have the option to get a voucher for free PYO berries. You can use your voucher right away, or you can save your vouchers up and use them all at once to pick lots of strawberries for freezing or jam (or just eating!).
A couple hints about picking:
Although the season can go into July, the picking’s generally best in the last few weeks of June. Also, the morning is a great time to come and pick; not only is it cooler, but there are generally more berries since there haven’t been as many people out in the fields yet. And finally, if you’re planning on coming on Sunday afternoon or evening, call ahead to ask how the picking is; if we’ve been really busy all weekend, sometimes the berries are few and far between by Sunday night. (Don’t worry, though – it just takes one sunny day for tons more to ripen up!)
The Facebook Page:
Many of you said that you might be interested in a facebook page for sharing recipes, so I’ve set one up (Paul Mazza’s CSA). Feel free to post things besides recipes, too – pictures, thoughts about what to do with extra produce, etc. Don’t worry if you’re not on facebook, though, or you’re not interested; all important info about the CSA will be in the newsletter or sent our via e-mail.
We buy our hydroponic tomatoes from Ferme le Grands Soleils Farm in Quebec. This is a small, family-run farm about 100 miles to the northwest of here. Their tomatoes are available from May until July, and they sell mostly to farm stands like ours that need good tomatoes until their own are ready. The tomatoes are pesticide-free, picked only when ripe, and VERY delicious.
Me and my husband Shawn recently visited the farm and were given an extensive tour by Michele, who, along with his wife (and now his son), has been growing tomatoes for over 30 years. The pictures we took on our visit can be seen on the Paul Mazza’s CSA facebook page.
We sell biscuits at our stands, but if you want to make your own, here’s a super easy (and tasty) recipe for cream biscuits for strawberry shortcake from “Joy of Cooking”:
Pre-heat oven to 450F
2 cups flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
11/4 cup heavy cream
Mix until dough is formed (but don’t over-knead!)
Roll dough with floured rolling pin (dough should be between ½ inch and 3/4 inch thick).
Cut with a floured cookie or biscuit cutter and place on ungreased baking sheet. (You can also pat dough into a 9×9 casserole dish and bake as a sheet, cutting shortcake into biscuits after it’s cooled).
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, brushing tops of shortcakes with butter if desired.
(Makes about 10-12 servings)
Maple Rhubarb Bread Pudding:
This recipe ran in the Burlington Free Press a few months ago. Candace Page wrote so convincingly about how delicious it was that I had to try it. It’s very, very good, and fairly strait-forward.
Toast until golden:
4 slices of white bread, crusts removed
Heat until simmering:
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
Chop toast into bite-sized pieces, soak in hot milk and butter for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together:
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
Mix everything together, pour into a greased bread pan (like the type you’d use for zucchini bread), and bake for 45 minutes to 55 minutes at 350F.
(Makes about 6 servings)
A few notes about the bread pudding:
If you like a strong maple flavor, you can use grade B syrup and substitute the 1/4 cup of sugar with more syrup. You can also make the pudding healthier by using wheat bread instead of white, and cutting the butter to 1 ½ tablespoons. I would also recommend doubling the recipe if there are more than 2 people in your household – it disappears fast. If you do double it, it will need to cook for 15 minutes or so longer. Also, it’s very good with whipped cream, or, when still warm,
with ice cream.
According to the farmers and workers at Ferme Le Grands Soleils Farm, the tomatoes are best when eaten plain, sliced up with maybe a little salt. They are great like this, but if you want a little more, this simple salad is a good way to enjoy a really good ripe tomato.
Put together any way you’d like, and in any amount you’d like:
Torn red or green lettuce
grated sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
sliced avocado (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
good olive oil and balsamic vinegar