News and blog

Current happenings on and around the farm!
Posted 10/23/2019 2:14pm by Colleen Quiram.

Fall is typically blustery and cool, but this October has stepped up its game. Most days have been cloudy, wet, windy, and very prohibitive to getting in the fields out here in Wright County. We've noticed many farmers working to get crops out anyways, getting machinery stuck in the mud and then coating the roads as the mud falls off their tires. Let's just say I've spent a lot of time at the car wash lately!


Now that the 2019 CSA season has closed, I am working on preparing for 2020. Going through survey responses in detail, checking in with drop off-site coordinators, and talking to people about our new share sizes. We've been hearing for a few years that our Half Shares are just too generous; most families are unable to work through their box by the end of the week and end up filling their compost. Obviously, this is not ideal! We want you to enjoy our CSA program, and improve not only your vegetable knowledge but also improve your and your family's health by cooking your meals in quick and healthy ways. I think this is the goal of all of us when we join CSA programs. This was my first season working through the half share, and I found that a half share was not nearly enough for my small family, however, I am probably in the minority. We meal prep all our lunches and eat at home every night, rarely eating at restaurants, except when we have a movie night and my son insists on pizza for dinner. I understand most families don't do this.


What are we doing to improve for next season? You have asked, and we are listening! We are debuting a new share size in 2020, the Mini. While we hope this is a popular option for smaller families, we want to be very clear on a few topics. We know you love the variety of our Half (now named Family) shares, but our Mini shares just won't have that same variety. Why? Well, think of it this way, if we were to give you the same variety, just a smaller quantity, how would you use it? For example, this past season we only had enough peas to give everyone 1 pint. Which was just a taste of our peas. I am not sure what we would do with ½ of 1 pint of peas, that surely isn't enough for a recipe! Or even enough for 1 person. And while we often have smaller heads of cauliflower or broccoli, as you may have noticed this last season, it isn't quite enough to use. For our farm to make the Mini share work, and give smaller families a smaller option, we will not be able to include many of our products.


Are you thinking ‘But wait, I love all of your produce and I don't want to miss out!'? Well, we still have the Family share option for those of you who love our variety, but maybe need a little more info on what to do with everything in your box! I am listening to those survey comments, and want to help you use the Family share. To start, I hope to help you better plan weekly meals by sending out the ‘Sneak Peek' earlier in the weekend. This is a bit tricky however, as what we plan to harvest on Saturday for the shares does not always work out. So, I ask that you have a bit of understanding with our Sneak Peek email, and know that what we hope to put in your share may not be what we are able to include. I also will be including more storage and freezing tips with your weekly emails in 2020. I hope that rather than composting what you were unable to use, you will instead take a little time on Tuesday to freeze what you aren't sure you will get to that week. And with an earlier Sneak Peek email, you will already know by Tuesday night what you plan to use and what you plan to freeze!
It's all coming together nicely, don't you think?


Anyways, I want you all to consider the Mini share as an option, but rest assured in my second year as CSA Manager, I hope to provide you with even more information on how to best use our produce and not let any go to waste!

Do you have more questions about the Mini and Family shares? Send me an email! Colleen@UntiedtsWeGrowForYou.com

Colleen

Posted 10/8/2019 10:03am by Colleen Quiram.

Well, this half share is just loaded with goodies today! And wow, it took a lot of work to put it together! A typical CSA morning packing for us starts around 3am, getting the line set up, each item in order starting with boxes and ending with lids. We have about 12-14 people stationed along one side of the line, one per item, filling the boxes until 6am when we load the trucks and send them off to you! This morning it seemed a bit more like a circus, we had 32 employees, stationed at 25 spots along either side of the line, packing these shares. As we wind down our CSA season, and soon our harvest season, many of these wonderful employees will be headed back home to their own countries. We celebrated this morning with donuts after packing all the shares, but in a few weeks we will be giving them all a warm but slightly sad send-off until next spring. Most of our employees have been with us for 5, 10, even 25 years for a few of them. And each year it’s a little bittersweet to see them leave.

With that in mind, I would love to share a few of our Farm Favorite Recipes featured on our website!

I have spoken of Zander previously, with his pickled Patty-Pan Squash and cabbage/Carrot/Onion/Potato packets. We also have Denys and his wife Natalia here, and she makes the most spectacular Borscht from Ukraine, it reminds me of a beef stew with a beet-red twist. In her words, here is the recipe! If you would like a more detailed or traditional recipe, try this one here.

Ingredients: Beef ribs or bones (2-3) a piece of beef (1 pound), potatoes (5 pieces of medium size), half of small cabbage, onion -1, carrot -2, medium size beets -3, Cannelini beans -1, can tomato pasta-2, tablespoon sour cream-3, tablespoon lemon-half vinegar-2, teaspoon salt pepper herbs (parsley) 1.cook broth (6 liters casserole) (3-4 ribs or bones and a piece of beef 1 pound). 2.add potatoes and sliced ​​cabbage into cooked broth. cook over low heat. 3.prepare separately in a pan: fry the onions until golden brown, add carrots and beets to it. add tomato paste, juice of half a lemon, 2 teaspoons of vinegar, sour cream -3 tablespoons, sugar -1 tablespoon, salt. mix everything and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. 4.Add all this to the casserole with the broth (which has the potatoes and cabbage), add the beans and cook for another 15 minutes over low heat. 5.when the borscht will be ready add in to the casserole chopped herbs (parsley). Serve with a spoonful of sour cream. Enjoy 😊

One of my fall favorites is Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash. I usually make this recipe as a side dish for Thanksgiving or make it after Thanksgiving with leftover wild rice stuffing and Turkey. Sweet Dumplings are a perfect size for one person and can be served whole as a small squash bowl. I cut the top off just like you would when carving a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, put a small pat of butter on the inside and drizzle with a little bit of our honey. Put the top back on and bake on a baking sheet or in a dish until you can insert a fork in the side of the squash. About 350° for 1hr.

My husband’s favorite is the Delicata squash, cut it in half lengthwise and cook cut side down, adding a little butter and honey when done. You can also cut it into rings and roast on a baking sheet!

The Carnival is a colorful squash, while not my favorite as I prefer a thicker variety such as Buttercup, it is still delicious with pork! You can also substitute this squash for any Acorn Squash recipe.

The squashes and popcorn in your share this week can be used as decoration right until Thanksgiving, arrange them as a centerpiece for your table and consume them on those long cold nights of December.

I truly hope you have all enjoyed your shares this season, and I thank you for reading and cooking along with me this summer! I hope to see many of you again this winter as I will be out and about visiting drop sites, be sure to stop by and say hi when I am at your building!

Colleen  

Posted 10/1/2019 9:17am by Colleen Quiram.

I hope you all don’t mind the large boxes this week! This is consistent with a true CSA model, sometimes crops fail or do not perform as well as we would like (radishes this year, for example), but when harvests exceed our expectations, you reap the rewards by receiving a very full box!

These crops also do not lend themselves well to a confined space, we had to sort through the Butternut squash to find smaller fruits that would fit in your share. I would anticipate next week we will be using the larger sized boxes again, but hopefully most of the items will store well for you through the fall.

Meal planning this week is including a few lunches as we had such a hectic weekend I was not able to prep quite enough meals for the week as I normally do on Sunday. Also, I am including some of the methods I use at home rather than recipes I have found online. These vegetables are some favorites for my husband and me so we have narrowed down what we like to do with them!

Tuesday night – Salmon with roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower. I use the same method here as I do for butternut squash and sweet potatoes – it’s simple, cooks with minimal attention from me, and is flavorful and healthy. Clean the cauliflower and broccoli as normal, toss with 1 Tbsp each melted butter and olive oil, sprinkle with Garlic Powder, Kosher Salt, and Thyme. Spread out onto a large baking pan and roast at 350° for about 25-35min for the cauliflower, adding the broccoli for the last 15 min or so.

I will also take the time tonight to make some tuna salad using the celery and one of the Cippolini onions in our share. Easy, high-protein snack to dip some crackers in!

Wednesday night – Milk Can Supper. This is a favorite of ours when we are camping! Traditionally cooked by ranch hands out west using a true milk can, this meal is filling and super satisfying on a cool day. Another family we camp with has a Can Cooker, essentially a pressure cooker, that we use, but a large stockpot or dutch oven with a tight fitting lid will work well at home. This meal will provide dinner, plus hopefully 4 lunches for Shane and I to finish out the week, and use a majority of our CSA produce: 2 Corn, Cabbage, Carrots, Sausage, Onion, Potaotes, Fennel

Thursday night – Oven Roasted Squash and corn with Pork chops. Oven roasted squash is one of our favorite winter meals! Cut the bulb end off the Buttercup squash, stand the tall meaty part of the squash upright on the cutting board and cut the skin off (similar to cleaning a pineapple), then dice the meat into ½” cubes, toss with 1 Tbsp each melted butter and olive oil, sprinkle with Garlic Powder, Kosher Salt, and Thyme. Spread out onto a large baking pan and roast at 350° for about 30-45min, until edges are slightly crisp.

Saturday – My second head of Cauliflower & Broccolini will be used in the Sheet Pan Cashew Chicken, I should be able to substitute the cauliflower for the broccoli called for in this recipe, and it’s one way I know my son will eat cauliflower!

A quick note on the squash – if you aren’t a squash fan, but love pumpkin spice season, try some of our recipes using cooked squash instead of pumpkin. Butternut is a very smooth and sweet variety, lending itself well to bars, pies, and soups!  Here is the cooking guide, showing how to prepare squash for use in these recipes.

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Pancakes

Grilled Butternut Squash

I hope you all have a chance to provide us with some feedback on our CSA Survey! Your input will only help us make our CSA better as we plan for the 2020 season!  

Storage Tip Links:

Broccoli

Carrots

Onions

Potatoes

Sweet Corn

Tomatoes

Winter Squash

 

Colleen

Posted 9/24/2019 8:58am by Colleen Quiram.

Welcome to the weather roller-coaster we Minnesotans like to call FALL!! September and October can be all over the place with not just temperatures, but rain and sun as well. No matter, I still love this season, the decorating, and the cooking that goes along with it. We are watching the long-range forecast here at the farm, hoping that the cool and damp they expect will change into cool and dry. But we will make the best of it either way!

I feel this share is full of mini-flavors, smaller heads of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, letting us enjoy a little bit of everything without making too much for one family to eat. This variety in our dinners is so nice, as my family tends to eat the same select vegetables all winter long. I am experimenting with a few new recipes for us, hopefully we will find a new family favorite.

My weekly Meal Plan:

TuesdayBroccoli Cauliflower Salad with Grilled Salmon. My grandmother makes a recipe very similar to this one, usually just with broccoli. But I will use both my cauliflower and broccoli, it should be just enough for the three of us with minimal cooking in the possible storms tonight.

WednesdayBacon Wrapped Cabbage with grilled pork chops. Shane recently began smoking all his own bacon, and with such a small cabbage I think this is a great way to use it this week. Bacon makes everything better, right?

Thursday Lunch – Taking Jerry’s advice and having salad with our lettuce, grape tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. I will add some leftover shredded chicken to the salad also.

Thursday – Oven roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts, green beans and cranberries. This dish sounds delicious, and I want to give it a try to see if it’s something I can do for Thanksgiving this fall.

Friday – We are off camping one last time this weekend, so Friday is burgers using our heirloom tomato and some mozzarella cheese.

Saturday – This French Potato Cake with Leeks recipe sounds delicious! We will modify it slightly to be cooked in a cast iron Dutch oven as a side dish to some shrimp/steak/pineapple/pepper skewers for dinner.

All that’s left are the apples! These SweeTango will store for weeks in your refrigerator crisper drawer, snack on them whenever you have that craving for something sweet.

Busy week in your house? Here are some storage tips for your share:

Leeks – wrap in a slightly damp paper towel, the wrap loosely with plastic wrap. Use within a week.

Brussels Sprouts – Snap the sprouts off the stem, place in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Cauliflower – trim leaves from head, wrap loosely in plastic wrap

Broccoli – This will not store long at all, use quickly. If slightly soft to the touch, trim the florets, rinse, and place in a plastic container still damp. Use within a day or two.

Green Beans – These also will not store well very long. Remove from the plastic bag asap and place in a plastic container where they have a bit more room.

Cabbage – this will keep the longest of your vegetables this week! Just store in your crisper drawer. Even after outside leaves start to darken, peel them off and use the remainder of the cabbage.  

Happy Cooking!

Colleen

Posted 9/17/2019 7:13am by Colleen Quiram.

With the warm weather this week, I am finding it difficult to want to spend any time indoors, especially cooking! These last few warm days I want to enjoy outside in the yard, on the deck, soaking up that sunshine before a long winter ahead. With that being said, most of my recipes this week are focused on cooking over the weekend, and not so many week-night meals. At least, not many that take time away from being outside!

Tuesday - I have been looking forward to the celery in this share all summer! I know that’s a weird thing to say, but a few years ago I picked up fresh celery at a farmers market and I was blown away by the peppery flavor and color of it! This celery will be used top to bottom, the leaves and base will be rinsed well and frozen, waiting to be thrown into chicken stock later this fall. Here are other ways to use those celery leaves and not toss them.

The main stalks will be added to chicken salad for Joey, and tuna salad for me this week. This will also use up some of the onion, although if you are finding yourself with an excess of onions, just save this one in a cool dark place for later. I don’t make anything fancy, just diced chicken, celery, onion, olive-oil mayo, and stone ground mustard with a little salt and pepper. High in protein, and portioned out into a quick snack for Joey after cross country practice. Tonight’s dinner will be quick, between sports and scouts we only have about an hour to cook and eat, and I bet I’m not the only parent with those time constraints! Simple brats, our favorites from Dehmer’s in St. Michael, and corn on the cob on the grill.

Wednesday – a quick chicken stir fry using the bok choy, carrots, and peppers for dinner tonight. The baby bok choy is nice and small, this stir fry might have a bit more carrot and pepper to it!

Thursday – Again a busy night for my family! Wraps for dinner (not all dinners need to be cooked, right?) using another pepper and the lettuce. Make sure you rinse the lettuce well and pat dry with a towel, this lettuce is very tender, please handle gently!

Friday – Fingers crossed we will have a small bonfire in the new fire-pit (if I finish it this week!) Which means dinner outside. I’m thinking some shrimp, onion, lots of peppers, pineapple kabobs brushed with a sweet chili glaze.

Saturday – This might be soup night. My coworker at Maple Grove makes the most amazing tomato basil soup in the fall, and some soup and sandwiches sound fantastic for this weekend when the weather cools off again! You can find a similar recipe here.

Sunday – This is the day for meal prep and spending time in the kitchen watching football. My plan is to make a quick small batch of applesauce with the Zestar! Apples for Joey’s lunches. Kale Chips to snack on in the office for me. And as the sweet corn is still so good, I plan to freeze a bag (4doz) of it on Sunday. Most of it will go into the freezer using my Easy Frozen Sweet Corn recipe I shared earlier this season. But I will also make a large batch of creamed corn, using the sweet Italian peppers, onion, and a little jalapeno for kick. It will be so good to pull out of the freezer at Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

We only have 3 shares left of the season, and with the abundance coming from the farm I would anticipate the boxes to be full of squash and apples soon! Do you have a favorite fall recipe? Send it my way and I will gladly share it!

Happy Cooking!

Posted 9/10/2019 6:14am by Colleen Quiram.

Anyone else feel like we are on a weather roller-coaster? 50’s and 60’s this weekend made it feel like fall – soups, football, and cooking inside. Now the forecast has 80° multiple times this week, and that makes me think grilling and cooking outside. Either way, this week is a busy one for us between work, school activities, Rugged Maniac run on Saturday and a housewarming football gathering on Sunday! If you are like me, and activities can get in the way of doing much cooking, much of this share can be stored and will keep well for later use. I have a plan for how to use all of my share this week, but if the evenings get too busy and pizza appears on my kitchen counter, I will just save some of these for next week!

Tuesday – Sheet pan sausage, potatoes, and green beans. It’s been awhile since I’ve made a sheet pan dinner, but I love the simplicity and the clean up from these meals! I prefer my green beans crisp and not soggy, so I will start with just the little fingerling potatoes on the pan for about 25 min, then add the sausage and beans until done.

Wednesday – Turkey and Ham wraps for dinner, filled with fresh lettuce, some diced leeks, and one of the yellow peppers. Joey has a cross country meet, so we will pack a dinner on the go to keep us out of the fast food drive thru. I’ll use the rest of the lettuce in wraps for lunches this week also.

Thursday – Sweet corn (3) with ribs. Shane will be the one doing the cooking as I will be working late. Ribs and corn can be cooked on the grill if it’s not raining, or in the oven if it is!

FridayThai Pork Stirfry with brown rice, uses some carrot, leek, and the bok choy. I was surprised last week just how much the bok choy cooked down, and while Joey wasn’t a fan of the green tops he still ate the bottom white part in the chicken stir fry. We will see what he thinks of this recipe!

Saturday – I will make a big batch of chili after the Rugged Maniac in the morning. The onion and rest of the peppers will go into the chili, we can have some for dinner and save the rest for the Packers/Vikings game and housewarming on Sunday! Chili is always better on day two I think.

SundayCornbread with fresh corn for the chili, and, if I have time, cabbage rolls. I saw these on pinterest and they looked so good! If I don’t get to them Sunday to have with company, I will make them Monday night for dinner and freeze some for dinners later.  

Fingers crossed I can keep up this week, here are some storage tips if you find your week slipping away from you!  

Storage:

Potatoes – take out of the bag asap and let dry on the counter, once dry store them in a cool dark place (not the fridge) until ready to use (within 2 weeks)

Green beans – take out of the bag asap, and place in a container where they will not be in /on moisture. Use within 2-3 days

Carrots – grab a gallon Ziploc bag and 1 sheet paper towel, drip some water on the towel until it is just slightly damp but not wet, place flat in Ziploc bag with carrots (don’t wash them!), close the bag and store in the fridge, use within the month.

Leeks – trim the tops just enough that they will fit in a Ziploc bag, will keep about 2 weeks (you might notice the centers will continue to ‘grow’, they will still be just fine to use)

Cabbage – This will keep just in your crisper drawer for up to 3 weeks, or wrap in a damp paper towel and wrap loosely in plastic wrap, this will help keep it from drying out.

Sweet Corn – wrap a wet towel around the husks and store in the fridge, use as soon as possible as the sugars will convert to starch and your corn will be less sweet.

Peppers – in crisper drawer, use within the week for best crunch.   

Happy Cooking! Colleen

Posted 9/3/2019 6:08am by Colleen Quiram.

Well, here it is, the end of summer, first day of school for many of our kids, and fall weather in the air. This is my favorite time of year, and not because it’s pumpkin spice season! But just the return to routine, the cool nights with open windows, and not worrying about heating up the house by turning on the oven. Our cooking style changes with the seasons, from fresh, minimal cook time, grilling nights to longer cook times in the oven or one stove top, filling the house with the aroma of delicious food. I hope the late summer/early fall weather lasts! Because I am not a fan of what comes afterwards…  

Here is our meal plan for the week!

Tuesday – As we return to routine, we are just as busy as ever! Between two activities for my son this evening, we will be having a late meal. I have never had fennel before, and I am excited to try this Roasted Carrot and Fennel Pork tonight! I don’t have as much fennel as it calls for, but hopefully enough to give the dish some flavor. This will use up most of my carrots, the rest will be cleaned and cut into sticks for Joey’s lunch.

WednesdayStir-fried Chicken & Bok Choy, this recipe calls for using only the white part of the plant, but as ours are so petite I will reserve the green tops to add at the end of cooking. Have them on the pan long enough to wilt slightly and heat through.

Thursday – We are all home late this evening between work and a cross-country meet. So quick open-faced Chicken and Cheese BLT’s will be made while watching the Packers game on Thursday night. One of the highlights of my fall is Football Season! I baked chicken breast on Monday already, and have it in the fridge cooled. Just slice some up and build your sandwich with tomato, onion, cheese, lettuce, avocado, whatever you want! You can either toast your bread separately or do as we do, butter the bread and grill open face style on the stove top.

FridayAsian Green Beans with pan-fried Tilapia. Joey is getting a bit tired of the plain stir-fried garlicky green beans I usually make, so we will have a slightly different flavor this week!

Saturday – It looks like it might be a cool, damp weekend, so I think I will make a fresh spaghetti with the tomatoes. Comfort food made fresh.

Sunday – again, it’s football season, which to me means Sundays are spent in the kitchen cooking while watching the game! My team isn’t playing on Sunday, so I will have more attention to give to this fresh Corn Chowder recipe. We’ve had a lot of corn on the cob in the past few weeks, so I will keep my corn cool and damp in the fridge until Sunday (which is really pushing it for sweet corn to stay sweet, just a heads up…better to cook the corn earlier in the week if you can)

That just leaves the melons and apples, which are easily added to lunches and snacks for Joey. He will devour the cantaloupe, and the firm texture of this melon should hold up well in a container in his lunch. Remember to keep the melons on your counter until ready to cut, and as these are picked ripe you will want to cut them in the next day or two. Not a fan of fresh honeydew? Try ours, I know the honeydew in the stores are often hard and crunchy, but these are sweet and delicious. Here are some other ideas for your melon as well.

As always, I hope these recipes help spark some joy in cooking for you and help you to use your entire box! Enjoy this return to routine if you have school-aged kids, and hopefully get outside to enjoy an evening walk before the sun sets.

Colleen

Posted 8/27/2019 7:36am by Colleen Quiram.

Yesterday was such a cool, wet day, and this morning is absolutely stunning! When I arrived at the farm this morning, I was amazed at the clear sky and all the stars I could see…it was breathtaking.

I hope you are taking advantage of our canning special this week! There is still time to order your tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Whether you are chopping and freezing the peppers and tomatoes or putting up what you can of the harvest into beautiful jars, now is the best time to buy in bulk and eat locally all winter long. And as Jerry stated in his newsletter, the corn is absolutely fantastic right now, and I have a very easy recipe to share with you for freezing! This recipe comes from my Aunt, who also happens to be a CSA member. A word of caution, as the corn is not cooked prior to freezing, plan to use whatever you freeze within the year. Even in the depths of a freezer, enzymes and bacteria are still active and will slowly break down your corn over an extended period of time. (here is some of the science behind freezing produce.)

The best part of this recipe is that it is made in small batches, you don’t need a whole sack (4 doz) corn but can use just 1 dozen corn at a time. I do suggest using canning salt rather than kosher, as canning salt is the most pure and will dissolve easily in the ice water. If you are in a pinch, you can use kosher but grind it up a bit more. Do not substitute table salt as it has too many additives and will affect the quality of your frozen corn.

 

My meal planning this week is a bit all over the place, not only are we headed out camping for Labor Day, but our stove also is on the fritz and all our meals will need to be cooked on the grill until we can get it fixed or replaced.

Tuesday Night: Shrimp skewers, packet green beans with bacon & onion, and half of our cauliflower grilled with garlic and butter. Just cut the cauliflower in half, place on a large piece of tinfoil, dot with butter (liberally), sprinkle with garlic powder, kosher salt, and cracked black pepper. Wrap up in the foil and place on the grill for about 30min. For the green beans: dice up some bacon and onion, place on the bottom of a tinfoil packet, top with trimmed, rinsed and still damp green beans, and then more bacon and onion. Wrap up tightly in the foil and place on the grill, turning every so often, for about 20min until beans are tender.

Wednesday night: Burgers and Corn!!

Thursday we will be headed out of town already, camping with 5 other families. Each family takes one meal, and we always do a big breakfast. I will chop the green peppers ahead of time, and slice the poblanos, to sauté for topping eggs. Potatoes will be steamed and diced, ready for breakfast potatoes on the camp stove.

Slices of cucumber, grape tomatoes, and purple cauliflower will be a good healthy snack for the 12 kids that will be there, and I know one of the kids would devour all of the grape tomatoes and cauliflower on her own if I let her! Hopefully I will be able to keep a few tomatoes to myself for caprese skewers. Just a few for a snack for the adults. Apples are a no-brainer, I would be surprised if they even last the week to go camping! While the SnowSweets have long been my favorite variety, these First Kiss apples might just take their place.

That about does it for my box! I am really looking forward to some more fall crops, especially squash. I hope you are too!

A couple tips on your share this week:

  • Take your potatoes out of the bag as soon as you get home, they are a bit damp and will rot very quickly if left in the bag. Leave them on the counter to dry and then store in a cool dry area until ready to use.
  • Purple Cauliflower should be cooked a little differently than you would the white cauliflower as the color will leech out into any cooking water. Best grilled, eaten fresh, or roasted to retain that beautiful purple coloring.
  • You may notice a slight orange tinge on your bell pepper this week. No, they are not turning into red peppers, as that is a different variety, but will slowly turn more orange as they ripen. This color difference does not affect the flavor at all, use as normal!

Colleen

Posted 8/20/2019 9:44am by Colleen Quiram.

Salsa is the name of the game this week and thank goodness I have a few fun events this weekend to bring them to! As there aren’t many traditional vegetables in this weeks box, I will share a few favorite ideas of mine that I will be making this week instead!

Let’s start with the tomatoes. One quick thing I want to note is that our San Marzanos need a few days to ripen up. Leave them on your counter until Friday or even Saturday, and don’t worry if the stem end gets a tad wrinkled. These tomatoes have little in the way of liquid in them, and will not degrade as quickly as the slicing tomatoes.

My heirloom could also use a few days on the counter, I ended up with a Brandywine, but some of you may have received a Cherokee Purple, Great White, Mr. Stripy, or Pineapple instead. I think of all of the tomatoes we grow, the heirlooms are my absolute favorite. If you eat them fresh alongside your red slicer, you’ll notice a slight flavor difference, whether it be a little more or less acidic, or maybe a little fruity for the white or pineapple tomatoes. Once my tomato is ripe, it will be a quick caprese salad for my husband and me. I think the best way to enjoy these heirlooms is just sliced fresh! Caprese tip – use a balsamic glaze rather than balsamic vinegar. We use a fig-infused one (I got mine at Cub), and the glaze sticks to the cheese and tomatoes much better than the vinegar.

This Saturday we are headed to the beach with a very large group of friends, and I am excited to introduce them to grilled Shishito peppers! Simply skewered, brushed with some sweet chili glaze, and roasted on the grill, there should be enough for everyone to have one or two. I will also be making the roasted tomatillo salsa featured last week for Saturday’s beach day, although I will use a few romas for that instead of the grape tomatoes. Those never make it home, they are just a quick snack at my desk.

The rest of the romas will hopefully be ripe, and I will roast 2-3 of them with the poblanos, garlic, and some onion for a roasted poblano sauce similar to this salsa recipe (I just use more peppers, less tomato). I make this sauce just for Zucchini and Eggplant Roll-ups, I eat the eggplant and my guys eat the zucchini. I slice the zucchini and eggplant with a mandolin lengthwise, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sear on a hot skillet until flexible enough to roll up. Lay on paper towel until cooled, then spoon some of the roasted poblano sauce down the middle with some shredded fresh mozzarella cheese. Roll up and place in a glass baking dish, top with spoonful’s of fresh tomato sauce, similar to this recipe, and top with a little more fresh mozzarella. Bake until heated through and the cheese is melted.

The tomato season is in full swing, and I have not had my fill of fresh salsas quite yet! I will most likely make a batch of fresh salsa for our fantasy football draft party on Sunday, picking up a few more San Marzanos, garlic, onion, and some sweet Italian peppers at one of our stands, I don’t think I will have enough from just this box.

I am hoping to can some of these San Marzanos early next week, they are so good to add to sauce and stews in the winter. If you want to make some tomato sauce, salsas, can, or freeze tomatoes, now is a great time to get your order in! Just plan to order your romas with a day or two lead time to reach full ripeness before canning.    

As always, email me with questions, comments, and recipes!

Colleen

Posted 8/13/2019 8:31am by Colleen Quiram.

When I started working with Jerry a decade ago, I did NOT like fresh tomatoes. Cooked in salsa or sauce, that was the only way I would eat them. However, I did not realize just how AMAZING fresh, home grown tomatoes really were, and I had been missing out! Now I want caprese salads, grape tomato snacks, fresh salsa, and anything I can put a fresh tomato on all summer long. I almost never purchase store tomatoes in the winter, the flavor just doesn’t come close. So when I saw that we were putting 6 tomatoes plus grape tomatoes in the box, I was ecstatic! Tomatoes every day this week!

We are headed camping in southern Minnesota this weekend, so my meals most likely look very different from yours. But maybe you will try something new based on our campfire cooking?

Tuesday Night – Burgers with Grilled Sweet Corn, jalapeno poppers, and Caprese Salad (3 corn, 1 heirloom, 1 slicer, 4 Jalapeno), How can we not have burgers and corn on the grill this time of year?! I am also canning tomatoes tonight and will make a small batch of tomato sauce to use camping (3 canner tomatoes, a little onion, garlic)

Wednesday – We will be busy loading the camper, and a set-it-and-forget-it crockpot Tomatillo Pork sounds amazing! And super simple with some rice and cheese in a burrito. This should make enough for us to leave leftovers in the freezer for lunch on Monday. (15 Tomatillos, 1 Jalapeno, 1 onion, garlic)

ThursdayPie Iron Sandwiches with our little head of broccoli, cucumbers and dip. Sandwiches will include tomato, turkey or ham, onion, cheese, and avocado. This is almost always our first night camping meal, because while Shane and I are getting set up, Joey can get the fire started and get the food ready for us to make a quick meal. If you haven’t used pie-irons over a campfire before, it is so FUN! There are so many recipes you can do, not just sandwiches but also pizzas, desserts, and breakfast.

Camping lunches – we will be using the Cipollini onion, one of the green peppers, and a tomato in our wraps for lunch all weekend. I will be snacking on the grape tomatoes, my guys don’t do fresh tomatoes unless on a burger.

Friday – Campfire Corn (3 ears), Dutch oven potatoes, Jalapeno poppers (we will make extra cream cheese filling Tuesday night!) and we haven’t decided if it will be pork chops or steak or brats yet…

SaturdayDutch oven pizza! When we are camping we love to do some of these outdoor cooking methods, it gets Joey more practice for his Boy Scout trips, and it’s so fun to do something out of the norm for dinners! This will use whatever green pepper is left (if there is any), the tomato sauce I made, and any remaining onion.

Sunday – I had better use that Kohlrabi, I will probably bring home some extra ears of corn from the farm, cut it off the cob and saute in a little butter with diced kohlrabi, green pepper, and red onion. This will make a good side dish for some shrimp or salmon Sunday night. (Here's an example recipe)

I am surprised this week, but this box will be used so quickly, I will need to pick up a few more things from the farm for breakfasts and lunches! Probably some more corn, onion, and some sweet Italian peppers that are now available at our stands (we hope to get you some in the CSA in the coming weeks!) And each week we are using our share in just dinners alone, I am almost always having to pick up more items to make our lunches for the week also.

I hope you are finding ways to use your share, maybe in simple recipes the way I am or in more exotic or complicated recipes if you are having friends and family over! As always, send me the recipes you are using, and let us know what you think of the shares!  

Colleen