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Busy Summer Days, Calming Summer Evenings

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Busy Summer Days, Calming Summer Evenings
Important Reminders & Announcements
  • This week, we deliver to all Early Summer Vegetable, Fruit and Egg Share members.
  • We can reuse fruit containers! We welcome the return your blue pulp pint and quart boxes for reuse at the farm. Please feel free to leave at sites for our driver to pick up. Unfortunately, we cannot reuse egg cartons for food safety reasons. Thank you for your help!
  • Upcoming Dates
    • Late Summer Shares - begin the week of August 20th
    • August Pizza Night on the Farm - Sunday, August 26th, 4-7pm at Prairie Wind Family Farm

This Week's Vegetable Harvest:
  • Green and Yellow Beans
  • Red Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Sweet Corn - from Didier Farms in Prairie View, IL
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Red Beets
  • Tomatoes
  • Mixed Herbs 
  • Garlic

This Week's Fruit Harvest:
  • 'Summer Serenade' Peaches
  • 'Saturn' and 'Tango' ('donut') Peaches
  • Blueberries

Farm Photo Journal

Hello from the farm!

On this sunny summer morning, we thought we'd share with you a typical Tuesday on the farm. 
As the morning's fog lifted and the dew dried, we headed out to harvest. This morning, Nate, Ophelie, Mark and Ryan enjoyed the first harvest of the day, the mixed aromatic herbs. 
Meanwhile, several members of the team prepared, washed and packed the vegetables. Henry, Elaine, Alden and Arlet were stationed in the pack shed washing lettuce, packing up the beans and preparing the garlic bulbs. Amidst all this hustle and bustle, Jeff and Tyler managed the other aspects of CSA preparations like the farm clean up, checking the delivery truck's readiness and made afternoon project preparations.
Speaking of Jeff and Tyler, with the help of our great team, they proudly brought in an amazing onion harvest last week. As the pictures show, they also had some fun in the process! Thousands of red onions, yellow onions, sweet onions, shallots and more are now stacked tall on the drying shelves to cure so we can all enjoy them from late summer through the winter. 
Later morning sunrises and back to school preparations often symbolize that late summer is coming. As farmers, the fall plantings and winter preparations point to a seasonal shift. In the afternoons, Jeff is busy seeding rows of fall carrots, radishes and greens. The crew uses afternoons to accomplish projects like planting, weeding and chicken care.
Jeff's projects also include turning in the cover crop that fed hoophouse soils throughout the summer. This work is done in preparation for the recovering of the hoophouse with plastic and the seeding of winter spinach inside.
There's nothing more satisfying than spending a sunny day in the farm kitchen, preserving and freezing the summer harvest. So other summer projects include preserving the harvest for Winter CSA members (stay tuned for more info on this!). In partnership with a local chef, we're working to preserve the summer harvest at its peak freshness.
After all of the daytime activities are done, we take a walk through the farm to close in the chickens and make sure buildings are closed up for the evening. All the while we enjoy the beautiful summer sunsets, and cherish each moment of this active, summer season.

Enjoy your shares this week!

Your farmers, 
Jeff, Jen and the farm crew 
Notes from the Farm Kitchen

We're harvesting two kinds of bush beans for CSA shares this week-- yellow beans and traditional green beans. Both can be prepared the same way, if don't eat them raw first!  You can cook them with a quick blanch to maintain their color and crunch or roast them to enhance their flavors. If you want to save them for a later date you could also pickle or freeze them. Beans store best within in a plastic bag your refrigerator for up to a week. 

This week's shares include a variety of mixed herbs including sage, thyme and rosemary. When these three are combined with last week's parsley, you have the makings of a song and delicious possibilities. Here are a few ideas for what to do with these fresh herbs:

  • Use to create roasted chicken - Combine herbs with salt and pepper, and use as an outer, fresh seasoning for chicken or put the herbs loose inside the cavity.
  • Make a brown butter herb sauce - Brown butter, then add sage and garlic to round out the flavor. Finish with a squeeze of lemon, some zest, or drizzle of vinegar to brighten the flavors and create a herby butter sauce for pasta or fresh vegetables.
  • Infuse oil - Finely chop and combine fresh herbs with a neutral oil (don't use olive oil as you don't want the flavors of the oil to compete with the herbs), heating it slowly, then straining it through a sieve. It'll keep in the fridge, and is perfect for salad dressings, drizzling over grilled meat and seafood, and as a dip for good bread.

This week's fruit shares include two varieties of donut peaches -- Saturn and Tango Peaches.  While these peaches are donut shaped, however they are much healthier than a donut! The tango variety (light yellow in color) are mellow and sweet in flavor with hints of citrus and honey, and saturn variety (rosy in color) are more akin to a traditional peach flavor. Chef Dan Barber had an interesting idea to fry and top them like a traditional donut (here's his Instagram photo) which has inspired us to experiment with grilling them whole --yum! Use them wherever you like to use peaches -- salsas, pies, jams, cobbler and beyond.

Recipes from the Farm Kitchen

Wheat Berry Salad with Green Beans, and Sweet Corn
2-1/4 cups wheat berries
Kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 Tbs. roasted walnut oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1½  cup cut green beans (1-inch pieces), blanched for 1-2 minutes until crisp-tender
1½  cup fresh corn kernels, blanched for 1-2 minutes
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
Fill a large bowl with cold water, add the wheat berries, and let soak for 10 to 18 hours. Drain. Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a 4-quart pot over high heat. Add 3/4 tsp. salt. Add the wheat berries, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding more boiling water as necessary to keep the wheat berries covered, until tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Drain and rinse the wheat berries with cold water to stop the cooking. Let cool.

Put the vinegar in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Whisk in the walnut oil. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar or olive oil as needed. Put the cooked and cooled wheat berries in a large serving bowl and toss to break up any clumps. Add the green beans, corn, blue cheese, onion, and 1/2 cup vinaigrette and toss. Taste and season as needed with more vinaigrette, salt, pepper, and serve. The salad can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. If making ahead, let sit at room temperature so it’s not refrigerator-cold and season with more vinaigrette, salt, and pepper before serving.
Peach and Lime Granita - We're on a granita-kick this summer! We love the refreshing and lite flavor, and its a great way to use up very ripe fruit. This recipe is flexible enough to work for melon and other stone fruits, too!

3 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar, or less/more to taste
zest and juice of one lime
water as needed
Sugar the peaches and let stand for 20 minutes or so.
Stir in the lime juice and zest
Use a hand held blender to crush the peaches, adding enough water to get things going if necessary.
Transfer the blended peach mixture to a shallow pan and place in the freezer.
Every couple hours use the tines of a fork to break up the granita into crystals.
To serve, remove the granita from the freezer and let stand for a few minutes to loosen. Scoop into bowls or glasses and garnish with a lime slice and a drizzle of honey if desired.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... cabbage, swiss chard, peaches, scallions, tomatoes, arugula and more!

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