Hello everyone. After a few days of reaching into that forgotten box of fall clothes, summer is giving us another surge of heat! Enjoy those last few days of shorts and sandals, and definitely catch some sun when you can.
The produce mix is still mostly summery, but with a nod to fall with some butternut squash. If you have never made butternut squash soup, you are missing out! Butternut is the creamiest squash in my opinion, and especially when you add a few potatoes and puree it…it’s pure creamy soup heaven!
We included a little tomatillo salsa kit with a recipe right in your boxes this week. I adapted it to a smaller size for you to try out, complete with a jalapeño (please use gloves when chopping it up and handling the seeds!) and a bunch of cilantro. Hope you enjoy some refreshing salsa in this heat. If you are getting overwhelmed with tomatoes at this point, why not think red salsa as well? Or load some tomatoes on tacos! Nothing is better than a tomato in season!
An exciting note for myself (Jennifer) personally- from the 18th-30th I will be travelling to Holland for my husband’s Oma and Opa’s 60th wedding anniversary! Kind of a big deal, and we just couldn’t miss it. But rest assured, your veggies and fruit will still be delivered on schedule. My lovely sister in law will be responding to my emails and you may also phone her in case of an urgent need (her phone number will be included in my voicemail message). We have some capable workers and family at the farm who will be harvesting and lovingly packaging up your shares. I am so excited but it is also so hard to leave the farm mid-season!
Here is your list for this week:
green beans (great to blanch and freeze if you have too many 🙂
tomatillo salsa kit
bok choy/baby bokchoy
6 sunrise apples (BC)
2lbs black plums (BC)
3 red grapefruit
3 nectarines (BC)
1.5lbs red grapes
Hope you can savour the summer and summery produce while it lasts!
Hope you are having a wonderful week. We’ve been busy picking all sorts of yummy things as usual (more broccoli, now some cauliflower, and kohlrabi). What do you do with some kohlrabi you say? It’s got a nice crunchy texture and is in the brassica family like broccoli. The taste I find is similar. I peeled and sloced mine as a crudite, and also peeled and grated another one for in some collard green wraps with salmon salad and lettuce. What a satisfying and easy meal it was, and it’s low carb, gluten and dairy free as well.
I am super stoked about Melanie at Sparks Honey’s first harvest of the year with the bees living on our farm. I never knew the taste could vary that much in honey, but seriously, this is the best honey I’ve tasted! Looks like the organic veggie life is agreeing with our 6 legged friends :). If you are dying to know how great it tastes, or want the health benefits of raw local honey, message me and I’ll send a jar with your farm share or pick it up from the farm store. The cost is $15 for 2lbs.
This week I had the immense but slightly painful pleasure of picking blackberries! Those thorns had my by the head and shirt at some points, but they are so worth it! What a treat for me. This was the first time I got to try them freshly picked. Hope you are as jazzed as I am fruit share people.
Watermelom will be ready so soon! They really look gorgeous out there. Maybe 1 more week, and green beans are coming soon too.
Another new item is those pickling cucumbers. We will have them for bulk orders soon, but we thought we’d give you the first taste. No, you do not have to go to great efforts to enjoy pickles. Here’s an easy recipe to savour the fresh pickles for longer.
Now, for your list:
Snow or sugar snap peas
Broccoli, cauliflower or kohlrabi
Endive or dandelion greens (curly leafy veg. We recommend them as a cooking green as they are a bitter veg)
Collard greens (make amazing raw wraps)
Whole Shares (same as above with…)
Cauliflower or broccoli and kohlrabi
Mint (remember, it’s mojito season!) Try mint syrup with some club soda…yumm
Red leaf lettuce
1/2 pint locally picked (and organic of course) blackberries
Here comes the rain! I hope it’s not ruining your plans…but we’re sure thankful for multiple good rains this past week. The peas are loving it, along with everything else. Growth is starting to accelerate as our cucumbers, peas, carrots and beets come on to more full production.
Asparagus is in its last couple days so we have a limited supply. I hope you’ve enjoyed asparagus season well with double bunches some weeks. Now we must let the plants go to seed: they shoot up like fuzzy bluish “dr seuss” trees this time of year. Zucchini, green beans and currants will be ready soon (redcurrants next week!) As we usher in the month of July. Broccoli, kolhrabi and cauliflower (all part of the Brassica family of veggies) are coming along and most summer and even fall crops are now in the ground.
I hope all the organic bounty helps you feel your best this week!
This week was an exciting one as all 3 of the farm owners, the owner of farm share (myself), and our littlest sprout were able to take a couple days away at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls. We go to this conference most years, but I especially enjoyed this one. I learned more about Jerusalem artichokes, the funky tubers in your veggie bins this week.
Some fun facts: the are indigenous to North America and one of the first cultivated plants in North America. The First Nations People were already using it in 1605 when it was first recorded by early settlers.
What was even more exciting to discover was that they are rich in inulin, a prebiotic that is stellar for our digestive and immune systems! I’ve learned you can make them into pickles, but for now, a creamy soup is the perfect way to enjoy these tubers.
Here’s a tip from fellow customer, environmentalist, herbalist, and overall awesome person Gloria:
“I made the most delicious sunchoke soup with the first winter veggie delivery. Didn’t peel, only washed well and scrubbed. Added leek, garlic, celery and a half bunch of kale.. Puréed in blender. Very elegant.”
I myself was torn between making butternut squash soup and jerusalem artichoke soup this week, having both items in our shares, so I decided on…both! I was excited to get all these nutrients into my family, from the grown-ups, to the kids, to the baby!
Butternut Squash & Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
1 2lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed. (See photo for how I do this)
1lb Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed (I used a Norwex veggie and fruit cloth. A nylon bristle brush also works) and cubed
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups water
1 cube chicken boullion
3/4 tsp stevia
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup coconut milk (optional) (from the carton or can- your choice)
Place all ingredients except coconut milk in a slow cooker on high. Cook 4-5 hours.
Transfer to blender or blend with immersion blender, being extra cautious with the hot liquid.
Pour in coconut milk and mix. Enjoy!
In your shares this week:
butternut squash 2-4lbs
2lbs carrots (Zephyr)
2lbs red beets (Zephyr)
2lbs purple top turnip (Zephyr)
1lbs Jerusalem artichokes (Zephyr)
small package Cremini mushrooms (Ontario organic!)
Well you’ve got your lovely bunch of vegetables (and maybe fruit too). Could you use some inspiration? Maybe a slightly embarrassing story about my ineptitude and sheer ignorance with avocados?
But first, your veggies and fruit baskets for this week Nov 14/15
4lbs russet potatoes
3lbs yellow onions
1lb brussels sprouts
1lb red peppers
1 caraflex (sweet) cabbage
1lb baby bokchoy
1 bunch green kale
Well, here come the story and recipes. I was joining this group of farmer ladies for a luncheon, already feeling like a bit of an imposter because many of these women lead their own farms…bottle feed lambs, have kept them in their houses to protect against the cold…know all about livestock and germination and the like, and I married into this gig not knowing a bunch of kale from a head of bok choy. For some reason I thought it was wise to offer to bring the guacamole, a dish I loved but had never made. At least I knew you needed avocados…so I went to the store that same day and brought home my first bag of avocados.
My first challenge was getting into them. I think I used a vegetable peeler which worked ok, managed to wrestle the pits out and then as per the recipe, began to “mash” them. I put all of my might into the mashing and even bent my masher. No results. Then I got out the mixer and gave that a go. Still, nothing was mashed about those avocadoes. Next, I got out the blender and let that sad little thing try to get somewhere, stopping to mix it around. I think at the end I ended up with some half decent guacamole, but let me save you the trouble.
Green skin= not ripe Rock hard= not ripe (my problem!) Skin pulling away from insides= too ripe Blackish skin, a little give or tenderness when lightly felt with your fingers= just right.
Now that I have at least a few hundred avocadoes under my belt, I like to cut mine around the middle, and twist the two halves in opposite direction tovopen. Then I normally cut square shapes right into the half and scoop out. You can also peel away the skin with a properly ripened avocado.
Then, make this pudding!
Avocado Coconut Milk Pudding
Ingredients -2 – 2 1/2 ripe avocadoes -3/4 cup pitted dates -5 bsp. Cocoa powder -1 1/2 Tbsp. Stevia, or to taste -1 can full fat coconut milk (go organic if you can. I also like Arroy-D brand because it is free of additives) -1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions -peel the avocadoes and scoop flesh into blender. Add dates, cocoa powder, coconut milk and vanilla extract and blend on high until texture is smooth and pudding like. Add stevia to taste for added sweetness (plant based and doesn’t spike your blood sugar) -enjoy! Add some berries or bananas for a delicious snack or dessert full of fruit and healthy fats.
And for the rutabaga…a few people swapped theirs out this week. I don’t think they’ve given these fries a try! While the dietary fibre, potassium, manganese and vitamin C make these a great choice, they really hold up on the taste end too.
They definitely are more filling then their potato counterparts and ended up with a nice tender crisp texture in the oven.
Rutabaga Fries (serves 4 as a side)
-2 lbs rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick fry shapes -2 Tbsp. Olive oil -salt and paprika, liberally sprinkled
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss rutabaga fries in olive oil and spread out on large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and paprika.
2. Cook about 30 minutes, turning part way for even cooking
Simple Steamed Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients -1 lb Brussels Sprouts -1 Tbsp MELT butter alternative -sprinkle of salt
Directions 1. Put water in the bottom of a sauce pan and place washed brussels sprouts in steaming basket inside.
2. Place lid on. Bring water to boil and cook until slightly tender and bright green. Take off the heat when they seem a little under done as they will continue to cook in the steam. Remove steaming basket and sprouts, pour out water into sink and return sprouts only to pot. Toss in MELT and sprinkle with salt. Serve . (The kids even ate these without drama. Win!)
The heat is here! And that means the growth of many items is accelerated. We are harvesting the asparagus and cucumbers every second day now. Any longer and we would risk letting the asparagus get seedy and the cucumbers get too large. With this combo of heat and rain, the strawberries, redcurrants and peas should be ready soon!
New this week we have cucumbers and mint. They happen to be wonderful- together! See below for a couple super simple ways to enjoy this pair.
More farm share members have been joining up these last couple weeks and we have an abundance of veggies to accommodate them- so if you know anyone that would love our csa, feel free to send them our way! Having trouble identifying items in your box? Many items are listed with pictures in our online store. https://zephyrorganics.com/custom-orders/
collard greens (makes an easy low carb, gluten-free wrap!)
oregano (savory herb excellent in Italian and Greek foods)
(makes one 2L pitcher)
Fill 2L jug with filtered water. Add 1/3 of a cucumber and 8-10 large leaves of mint to jug. Let sit for a few hours for flavours to mix. Enjoy the refreshing taste!
Refreshing Cucumber Salad
Serves 2-3 as side. Kid-friendly recipe.
1lb cucumber (1 large or 2 smaller)
1 1/2 tbsp. chopped mint (I used kitchen scissors- so easy!)
1 1/2 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Peel and chop cucumber and wash and chop mint.
Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and mix. Let refrigerate for 1 or more hours. Enjoy!
This recipe was born out of necessity when (gasp) we ran out of syrup on pancake day. I have a great gluten, dairy and egg free (and other allergen free) pancake recipe if anyone has been searching for such. This syrup was tasty with pancakes and great with yogurt the next day.
2 medium stalks rhubarb
1 cup blueberries (frozen)
4 tbsp. water
1/2 cup white or coconut sugar (or to taste- I am trying to remember the exact measure)
1 tsp. lemon juice
Wash and chop rhubarb. Add to small pot with lemon juice, water and sugar.
Heat on med-high until it comes to a boil. Lower heat to med-low and simmer until thickened.
Add blueberries and continue to cook and stir until blueberries are soft and cooked.
Enjoy hot with pancakes or chilled on yogurt!
Remember to keep hydrated this week as the temperatures climb!
It’s finally here! The new season of Farm Share, and I can’t believe all the items that are ready! Whether this is your first or 8th season with us, I hope you taste the local organic difference from the first bite. You’ll notice more leafy greens in the first few boxes, but there will be even more variety available as the weeks go by. This year we have cucumbers nice and early- only enough for the whole share boxes this week, but next week we should have quite a few, especially if we get some heat. As you might have guessed, these are coming from the greenhouse. The leeks are “over-wintered” which means they were planted last year and are ready in spring, kept safe by the blanket of snow. We also have lettuce nice and early, and quite substantial in size. Hope you are ready for some refreshing salads! It’s nice to lighten up our food choices along with the weather, and keep our bodies feeling their best.
Someone else is finally here: we are pleased to announce the arrival of our new son Boaz to the Eng family! We’re all doing well and very much in love with this little guy.
Stephanie will be returning to do the blog in a couple weeks, but for now, I (Jennifer) am here to ring in the new season with you.
Remember, you can get all new posts from us sent to your email inbox as soon as it is posted (Tuesday or Wednesday) each week. Enter your email in the box on the right hand side of this blog page. Now, let’s get to identifying the delicious veggies in your box:
Here are the contents from left to right of the HALF SHARES:
-rhubarb (long red and green thick stalks- try in cake, muffins, or cookies, or simply stew with lemon juice and a little sugar to taste and enjoy with yogurt)
-asparagus (green shoots with purple tips – lightly toss in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and try them roasted at 400 degrees for 10-15 mins, or get creative with a salad. Also great paired with goat or feta cheese)
-baby bok choy (green leafy vegetable with light green, crunchy head- great in stir fries or enjoy it raw in salad)
-red radish (pinky-red roots with green tops- super in potato and egg salads, toss salad, as a crudité, or roast if you are looking for a milder taste)
-rainbow swiss chard (TOP- pink, white, orange and yellow stalks with green tops- delicious simply wilted with your oil or fat of choice, super chopped up and wilted in pastas, or add some colour to salads)
-green leaf lettuce (the perfect lettuce for salads, burgers and tacos)
-green kale (BOTTOM- bluish-green crunchy leafy green, makes great kale chips, great in soups, folded into mashed potatoes, or massage leaves with olive oil and enjoy in salad)
-leeks (add sweet onion flavour to soups or any savoury dish- especially potato leek, or try in dip
-2nd bunch asparagus
-basil pot (potted herb- keep soil moist and do not refrigerate), adds delicious flavour to salads, pastas, dips, etc.
If you have a WHOLE SHARE, you will receive all the above with the addition of:
-cucumber (super as a crudité or in salad)
-spinach (delicious lightly wilted or raw in salad)
-green onions (chop to add some kick to salads, dips, or onion flavour in cooked foods- also makes a great garnish)
-garlic chives (it may look like grass, but it’s full of yummy garlic flavour- skip the powdered stuff and enjoy the fresh taste, full of vitamin C)
-romaine lettuce (delicious in all different salads, and always a favourite in Caesar salad)
CUSTOMER TIP: Or if you have a juicer, anything goes! Experiment and you won’t waste any of the veggie goodness in your box! Apples make a good base for veggie juices if you enjoy a little sweet.
Hi everyone! I (Jennifer) wanted to wake up the blog to provide you with an update from the farm and share a recipe that I think just about everyone will enjoy.
My family and I had the privilege of travelling to central Florida to meet up with some farms we will be shipping produce to in the summer months, when Florida is just too hot to grow certain crops. Along the way we got to pick oranges right from the trees (which I was so excited about), and visit lots of friends and family in Florida and all over Virginia. Road tripping with the family, even *gasp* without a dvd player, went surprisingly well aside from the extra stops we made for our 4 1/2 year old and 2 1/2 year olds’ smaller bladders. We spent most of our trip visiting with people we wished lived a whole lot closer, and taking in the scenery, city by city. We even took a dip in the chilly Atlantic at Daytona Beach!
We also continued our education and planning efforts (one major thing we like to do this time of year) at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference in Niagara Falls, which is always a great opportunity to learn something and face to face with other growers and people in the agriculture industry.
While on our trip, our son was on an elimination diet of about 12 foods that his body was not processing. What a challenge! Gluten and dairy free seems so simple now by comparison. One of the most difficult foods to avoid was brewer’s yeast, which is in beer of course, but also used for flavour in so many foods including broth and in anything with vinegar (just about all condiments). I know you will tell me to make my own, but I don’t often have whole chickens or bone-on beef to make my own broth, therefore this is something I normally buy in the carton. I could not find a single brand without yeast! I was also instructed to load up my son with extra dark leafy greens.
Enter this soup from “www.gimmesomeoven.com”, which gets much of its flavour from tomatoes, which I was lucky enough to have still frozen from the summer. I managed to pack in a whole bunch of green swiss chard in here. You can also find this recipe on our pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/zephyrfarmshare/ .
Tomato Basil Chicken Stew
I wasn’t quite organized enough to have everything defrosted so I put the chicken and tomatoes together as the oven warmed up with a little olive oil, covered with tin foil and baked about an hour and 20 mins at 375 degrees.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
4 cloves garlic
6 assorted whole tomatoes, roasted
1 (14 oz.) can cannelini beans (I used chickpeas due to a food sensitivity)
1 can water (or as needed)
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 bunch green swiss chard, main stems removed
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil (or dried to taste)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Saute for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute or two until fragrant.
Add in remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Use a long spoon to crush the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer partially-covered for 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.
Hope this stew warms you up as we wait for spring and that you are having some adventures of your own.
Phew! So summer’s having a little comeback this week. I hope you are enjoying the sun while we have it.
Beefsteak or Campari tomatoes
Red or green scallions
Zucchini (yellow or green)
Turnip greens or green kale
Beefsteak or Campari tomatoes
Red or green scallions
Zucchini (yellow or green)
Black or green kale
Red sheppard or yellow bell peppers
Green leaf lettuce
Strawberries or apples
Leeks or garlic
This week I wanted to give you some ideas of how to use all of your veggies for the week, based on some of the tasty meals I’ve made with our veggies lately. I do not follow any specific diet except for the more veggies and unprocessed foods, the better, but I think most of these ideas could be adapted to vegetarian or gluten-free diets.
Roasted chicken (legs and wings) and roasted veggies (beets, carrots, potatoes or squash). Roast whole chicken and save the breasts for tomorrow.
Spinach, chicken, avocado and strawberry salad with mango chipotle dressing. A five-minute meal if you pre-roasted the chicken!
Eggplant Parmesan with turnip green and beet green salad
Sweet and Sour Chicken (green peppers, carrot, cabbage and scallions)
Burgers with tomato (reg or veggie) with savoy cabbage salad (carrot, savoy cabbage)
Fish filets and zucchini fries
Ground chicken chili (green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, scallion) with cheese, plain yogurt, and scallions to garnish.
Hope these ideas get the wheels in your head turning. Here’s a tip if you are overwhelmed with tomatoes. Wash and put in the freezer in a bag, and simply pull out and use in your cooking later. I made a large watermelon and a few very ripe bananas into juice by throwing it all into a blender, doing a quick blend, seeds and all, and simply straining out the seeds and pulp. I also froze some juice for popsicles for my son.
Happy back to school everyone! I’m going to keep it brief but meaningful this week.
Half Shares • Spinach • Eggplant (or zucchini) • Buttercup squash • Grape tomatoes (great for lunches) • Romaine lettuce • Mini red romaine lettuce (a bonus item as it’s teeny) • Carrots • Parsley (if you are adventurous, you may want to try making tabouleh) • Chinese cabbage (tasty in stir-fries and soups) • Raddichio/chicory/turnips/turnip greens • Cantaloupe/watermelon
Whole Shares • Spinach • Eggplant (or zucchini) • Buttercup squash • Grape tomatoes (great for lunches) • Romaine lettuce • Mini red romaine lettuce (a bonus item as it’s teeny) • Carrots • Parsley (if you are adventurous, you may want to try making tabouleh) • Chinese cabbage (tasty in stir-fries and soups) • Raddichio/chicory/turnips/turnip greens • Cantaloupe/watermelon • Field tomatoes • Radish • Red swiss chard • Rhubarb • Zucchini • Green peppers • Beets
And a few ideas for you….
Stuck with zucchini you don’t know what to do with. Try slicing and using the zucchini instead of crust (could work for eggplant also, though you might want to salt the slices and let them sit to reduce bitterness)
Overwhelmed with another watermelon? It makes wonderful juice or smoothies, or can be paired with feta and fresh mint for a delicious salad.
I’m about to try a spinach, tomato and quinoa frittata tonight. Feel free to add your own recipes in the comments sections.