summer squash, zucchini

Up to your ears in squash and zucchini?

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Eating seasonally can be a challenge. Summer squash season is upon us and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the bounty. Whether you’re growing your own garden, a member of a CSA, or a regular market visitor, you are probably faced with the daunting task of incorporating all of that squash into your meals – while at the same time trying not to tire of it. Well, I hope I can share some resources with you that you will find to be helpful.

First, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an excellent resource for folks thinking about or already eating seasonally. Kingsolver is a phenomenal writer and her family is pretty talented too. If you haven’t read this book yet, please pick it up this summer! It’s a worthwhile read. In the meantime, you can access some of the resources contained within the book (but not the stories). One of the most relevant resources for this particular squash-inspired post is the  Zucchini Season Meal Plan. The site also includes some, but not all, of the recipes mentioned in the meal plan including, a recipe for Grilled Vegetable Panini (it calls for eggplant and peppers, but I say work with what you’ve got), a recipe for Disappearing Zucchini Orzo, and a recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies (a friend suggests margarine instead of butter to make the cookies more moist).

Folks have been posting various squash and zucchini recipes either on our Facebook site or on their sites and then I re-post them to our site. I’ll link a few of these resources here too. Here’s another zucchini bread recipe called “Mom’s Zucchini Bread Recipe.” And then there’s Yellow Squash Patties. Then we also have All Zucchini Recipes that includes an exhaustive guide to all things zucchini, including recipes, of course. And finally, here’s a site with links to 15 squash and zucchini recipes, including potato, squash and goat cheese gratin, zucchini potato frittata, and squash ribbons.

I hope some of these resources do help you to better enjoy and handle the bounty of squash season. If you have any other suggestions, please post comments here or at our Facebook site. We would love it if you shared some of your favorites with us!

beets, carrots, csa share image, cucumbers, dill, green cabbage, Hakurei salad turnips, nappa cabbage, oak leaf lettuce, parsley, red Russian kale, scallions, strawberries, zephyr squash, zucchini

Week 5, CSA share contents


Hi folks! Here’s the run down of this week’s share. The summer squash are coming on in full force, so be ready for it! We’re at that good place right now where we have the last of the spring goods (e.g., carrots, beets, and greens) and then we’re coming into the summer goods (e.g., zucchini, squash, cucumbers). Look at this beautiful spread (this is an example of a regular sized share).

strawberries, zucchini, dill and parsley, and zephyr squash

tatsoi, Hakurei turnips, beets, red Russian kale and green oak leaf lettuce
Chinese cabbage, green cabbage, scallions and carrots
green cabbageChinese cabbage
beets and greens
zephyr squash
red Russian kale (aka ragged Jack)
Hakurei salad turnips
green oak leaf lettuce
dill and parsley
Gorgeous fruits and veggies!
Thanks for stopping by!

2011 CSA, beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, peanuts, squash, strawberries, tomatillos, tomatoes, vinaigrette, Western Wake Farmer's Market, zucchini

Strawberries and Summer Crops

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Last weekend we participated in the Western Wake Farmer’s Market Strawberry Festival. We made a creamy strawberry vinaigrette with a tossed salad, topped with fresh-picked, sustainably grown strawberries. Sadly, we didn’t have any strawberries to sell at market last week, but hopefully we will have enough for market this Saturday. We shall see. We are giving first priority to our CSA members, but any left overs will be available for market customers.

Since we ran out of vinaigrette recipe cards last Saturday, we told folks we’d post the recipe on the blog. So, here it is:

Spring Greens Salad with Creamy Strawberry Vinaigrette 
For Vinaigrette
·         1 cup chopped strawberries
·         ½ cup walnut oil
·         ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
·         2-3 Tbsp heavy cream
1. Puree or smash strawberries with a potato masher.
2. Add oil, vinegar, and heavy cream.
3. Mix well. Taste. Adjust to taste. You can add salt and pepper or you can add sugar if you like. We just keep it simple.  
Salad Ingredients 
·         Use your favorite salad greens
·         We use mesclun mix, mizuna, frisée, spinach and arugula – but we adjust according to what’s available
·         ¼ to ½ cup chopped walnuts
·         1-2 cups (depends on how much strawberry you want in your salad) chopped strawberries
1. Wash and spin salad greens.
2. Chop salad greens.
3. Add vinaigrette, chopped walnuts and strawberries.
4. Toss ingredients (or you can place strawberries separately on your plate after you’ve tossed the other ingredients to highlight the strawberries in your dish).
5. Enjoy!

As usual, we’ve been keeping fairly busy on the farm. We’ve been planting a lot of our summer crops, including cucumbers, squash, zucchini, watermelon, corn, peanuts (our first time doing this, so it may just be a personal crop), and green beans. We’ll be transplanting tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant and peppers soon – likely later this week.

We’ve also been busily cultivating. Above is a wheel hoe. I went through the potato plants with it to keep them good and free of weeds.We also planted some flowers, which of course, are not yet ready – but here are some pretty flowers that are currently in bloom.

A gorgeous iris (not sure which variety – if anyone knows, please comment below).

This is crimson clover. Ben planted it all over the farm to help provide more nutrients for our soil. Clover is particularly helpful for fixing nitrogen in the soil. It’s also very pretty.

Well, I suppose that’s it for now. This week marks our first week of the Summer CSA. We’ll be providing CSA members with strawberries, lettuce, kale, bok choy, tat soi, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, frisee, mizuna and dried rosemary. We’ll also include a weekly (hopefully!) newsletter with CSA shares for the first time this season. Members last year liked the blog, but wanted something a little extra. Our weekly newsletter will be an effort to meet that particular need.

If you’re interested in joining our CSA, it’s not too late! Please print out a copy of the CSA brochure (linked to the right of the screen) and mail us your first payment to Ben’s Produce;1000 McLemore Road; Clayton, NC 27520. If you miss the first week or two, we’ll prorate you, so no worries there. And, of course, if you have any questions, please email us at BensProduceNC@gmail.com or give us a call at 919.800.8898.

Have a fantastic week and thanks for stopping by!

lightning bugs, recipes, summer squash, zucchini

Summer Breeze

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Most of us are familiar with standard crook neck yellow squash and basic zucchini. These types are what are typically offered at most grocery stores. But take a stroll through any farmer’s market when summer squash is in season, and you’ll realize they come in so many more colors and shapes. In case these different varieties are new to you, I’m going to introduce you to a few different varieties.

This little zucchini is called eight ball.

 This is a yellow zucchini variety called floridor.

This is a patty pan squash called flying saucer.
And here’s another patty pan called star ship.
This one’s called zephyr.
These are just a few of many different kinds of squash. They are not only beautiful, they taste really darn good too!When it comes to eating these different varieties, you can treat them as you would your more typical summer squash. The round and patty pans types just call for different slicing methods – but there are no hard and fast rules about how. I like to cut the patty pans in wedges. You can also stuff patty pans. I like to slice the ball varieties into large circle slices. Others like to chop these into cubes. 

Here’s an awesome stuffed patty pan recipe (but you could use other varieties and you could change up the stuffing) I found on A Veggie Venture‘s website here. It’s an awesome site.You’ll have to follow the link to get to the recipes, but here’s what it looks like (yum!).

Here’s another one from The Veggie Venture site. It’s basic, easy and yummy. You can access the recipe here

Well, it’s time to get back to packing. Ben and I are moving out to the farm in Clayton next week. We’re pumped – but now that the packing has begun, and the move is in transition, it’s starting to feel a little weird leaving. This is where Ben and I first moved and lived together (he from NYC, me from TN). We have awesome neighbors. We love this neighborhood. We love the people. We’re definitely going to miss living here. But we’re also SO looking forward to moving out to the country. And living ON the farm!!! *Sigh* It’s been good here and it’s going to be good there.And I’m really looking forward to seeing lightning bugs blinking whole fields with light. 

See y’all Tuesday at pick up and Saturday at market. Have a great week! (Revision: See y’all Wednesday and Saturday – the trucks are stuck – CSA drop is re-scheduled for Wednesday).

Patricia & Ben