We have entered the season of giant vegetables. If we turn our backs for a second the zucchini have grown another foot (that seems to be happening with my oldest son, too). We pick the fruiting vegetables everyday, but still some manage to hid out and if we miss them they get HUGE! Our largest zucchini this week weighed in at over 10 pounds. Thankfully, we have a market for them at the Shelton Farmers Market. Shelton is home to a Mayan Guatemalan community that enjoy shopping at the farmers markets. They love the big zucchini and come early to the market to get the biggest ones. Guatemalans use it to make a traditional soup called Pepian de Pollo. It would traditionally be made with chayote but zucchini is a good substitute. The large zucchini are also good sliced into discs and grilled with olive oil, salt, and pepper. So tasty!
CSA Basket - Week 8
Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week (asterisk for small share items):
- Mixed Salad Greens* - Try topping your lettuce with a quinoa or bean salad
- Zucchini* - See recipe
- Garlic* - roast the whole bulb and spread on toast
- Broccoli* - best enjoyed in the first few days - lovely roasted
- Carrot* - enjoy a salad for dinner when it is too hot to cook!
- Tomato - the first tomatoes are so tasty eaten sliced with a little salt
- MIX and MATCH: Shishito Peppers/Cauliflower/Ground Cherry - we have lots of produce this week - but not enough of each for all baskets
- Cilantro Plant - when you cut leave at least an inch and it will regrow - the perfect herb for this ground cherry salsa
Vegetable of the Week - Zucchini
Botanical Facts - Cucurbita is a member of the pumpkin family and are a trailing or climbing variety native to the Americas. They are grown for their edible and ornamental fruit. The young leaves, stems, and delicate flowers can also be eaten.
Historical Origins - The exact origins of the summer squash is unknown, but they appear to have first been cultivated in Mexico from the giant pumpkin. Squash have been cultivated in the Americas for more than 5,000 years and are an important part of its cuisine. Summer squash was not widely cultivated in Europe until the 19th century with varieties developed in Italy such as zucchini.
Another Bite - From Chef Darlene:
Listening to the Splendid Table podcast this week (more on that below), I was inspired by Francis Lam’s suggestion for an overabundance of sweet red peppers: sauté them with onions over a low heat for a very long time, until most of the moisture is gone and the mixture is thick. I think he referred to it as a “savory jam” and it reminded me of a dish of my Louisiana childhood when the yellow squash was plentiful: melt some bacon fat or butter in a skillet, throw in some sliced onion and sliced squash, salt and pepper and cook slowly (for, I warn you, a very long time), stirring occasionally, until thick and caramelized. This is not an Instagram-able dish, but it is delicious and useful. I have a plan to top some grilled flat bread with this mixture, some crumbled goat cheese, diced hot peppers and chopped fresh tomatoes. You could also make an open faced sandwich with grilled country bread, chopped bacon and shredded cheddar. Or stir some of it into Greek yogurt for a healthy dip; the caramelized squash is quite sweet, so something tangy or spicy balances that out. And while my “recipe” has 2 ingredients, you could take it in a number of different directions by adding garlic, herbs, spices, chopped jalapeno…
As I mentioned, the memory of this dish was prompted by one of my two favorite podcasts, The Splendid Table. The other is Santa Monica-based Good Food. These hour-long weekly programs are a great way to learn and be inspired to get into the kitchen.
So - here is what we learned this week. It turns out the creature on the left is not a vampire bug sucking the life out of our pepper plants - and we should not be killing them. Instead, it is the pupa stage of the ladybug. The one on the left is a newly hatched ladybug that hasn't developed its spots yet. Ladybugs are an important bug for helping control aphids which have been attacking our pepper plants in the greenhouse. Here is a fun link to the life cycle of a ladybug- something we probably all learned back in elementary school but forgot.
We would love to hear from you! What have you been preparing with your vegetables? Have you tried something new? Let us know! Send us an email or post on Facebook and we can share your ideas with others in the next newsletter.
We will continue to be at the Harstine Island Farmers Market and Shelton Farmers Market on Saturdays throughout the summer. You can also find us online at Fresh Food Revolution for deliveries to Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula, and Allyn. Come see us at the market!
Your SVF Farm Team