Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fresh this Week from Summer Creek Farm

Fresh this Week
  • Potatoes
  • Slicing tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Beets
  • Basil
  • Onion
  • and more!
From Farmer Rick

So what happens each week to make your veggies happen? Well our work team arrives at the farm at 8 a.m. At that time nothing is harvested yet for your boxes (except maybe potatoes). On a board in the packing area of our basement is the list for today's box. We start the day picking in the High Tunnels to beat the heat of the day. Tomatoes, greens and berries are picked first. Next we move on to the field crops. Generally 4 people are in our work team on CSA days.

At the same time we are taking restaurant orders for evening delivery. Today we took orders from Cafe Nola, Isabella's and Volt. Additionally we picked an order for the Common Market and MOM's. While the crew is picking, my two young nieces start packing in the packing area (that is why CSA members sometimes see smiley faces on the bags!). They weigh and bag potatoes, tomatoes, etc. When the field crew comes back in (like today with about 200 lbs of squash and zuch!) they start cleaning the produce and methodically placing it in the CSA box so each person's box is similar. We finish by cutting the herbs so they are still fresh. All this packing is in an area that is about 75 degrees so that the produce is not stressed.

We then pull my delivery van under a large awning to keep it cool and load the produce in order of our delivery route. About 3 p.m. (give or take--OK I run late a lot) I leave to deliver to the Frederick drop-off. Then downtown to the restaurants and out to the groceries. Then to Urbana. All the while the produce is in an air-conditioned van. We do the best we can to pick it fresh that day and keep it cool so when you get it it tastes like just out of the field. I hope you enjoy all our hard work.

Thanks for all your support and for the jobs you have helped create for our young work crew.

--Farmer Rick

Photo: Summer Creek CSA box contents, Week 10, 2009


Originally from central Africa and Southeast Asia, basil has long been cultivated as a culinary and medicinal herb. Traditionally, basil has been used in treatment of headaches, coughs, diarrhea, constipation, warts, worms and kidney malfunctions.
If you have an abundance of basil, try making pesto, which can be used as a spread (it’s great in grilled cheese sandwiches) or a sauce for pasta. To make a basic basil pesto, blend the following in a food processor:

2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/2 cup grated hard cheese (like parmesan or pecorino)

Serve pesto at room temperature (or no more than gently warmed - do not cook). Pesto freezes well for later use. Try adding a thin layer of olive oil on top before freezing, to help maintain the bright green color. If freezing, try adding the cheese after thawing.

Sources: Purdue University (basil facts) and Food Network (pesto recipe, modified)

Recipe Feature

This rustic tomato and bread salad is an excellent way to use leftover artisan bread from the farmer's market (or your oven), and tomatoes and basil. For the recipe, including a photo, cruise over to Frederick Foodie's blog.

Recipe: Christine Van Bloem

Link of the Week - Buy Local Challenge

Buy Local Challenge Week (July 17-25, 2010) encourages everyone to eat at least one local item per day for the week. You've probably been doing this without trying! For the rest of this week, consider trying the challenge. If you're already eating mostly local foods at home, try visiting one of the restaurants Farmer Rick mentioned above for some tasty, locally grown treats cooked by someone else!

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