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Tag Archives: CSA

Peaches and Peppers

And other things being done in the kitchen.

I’ve literally been overwhelmed with peaches this year.

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There’s a few reasons for it. Besides getting peaches most weeks in the CSA, I was managing the site for a month while the site host was on vacation. Add to that, it was August. Lots of members didn’t show up. I ended up with the host’s peaches a few weeks, and a few leftover fruit shares. One week, we had six watermelons left. Food bank got most of it, but the peaches. Became a gateway to preservation.

I made peach syrup. I vacuum sealed a few bags. I have just enough left to make jelly, using the peaches and the jalapenos from my garden. We ate copious amounts of juicy fresh peaches for lunch. And breakfast.

As for the peppers.

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The last week I hosted, I had my sweet pepper item, plus some from the swap box, and a share I picked up for a vacationing member. Yesterday, I blanched, sliced and froze four bags of peppers. This winter there will be lovely bright peppers on chicken, or fish, or pasta.

The beauty of having a CSA share is that ability to preserve and freeze the extras. In the dead of winter, those ingredients will liven my dinners. Grab a bag of peppers. Some tomato sauce. Some caramelized onions, maybe. Some pesto. Mix and match.

Those bright red Amish paste tomatoes in the picture above became tomato sauce. A quart of it. The slicing tomatoes met the same fate. Two pint jars. The freezer is almost full. Winter won’t be dull and dreary around here.

Inspiration

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That one item.

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Today it was tarragon. When I picked up my Friends and Farms basket yesterday, tarragon just inspired me to get out the poultry recipes and start using them.

At the pick up site, there were quite a few people picking up sample baskets. I am thrilled to see the interest in eating regionally and seasonally, and seeing people get excited to try this way of sourcing our foods.

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This week was one that would give you ideas on menu planning. We got apples, cantaloupe, kale, cucumbers, potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms, and lettuce mix. Add to that the proteins in my individual share.

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Chicken legs, eggs, yogurt and pork loin.

The tarragon and chicken inspired me to make soup. The pork loin and apples sound like a meal pairing to me. The yogurt and cucumbers made tzatziki tonight. Eggs went into an egg salad today.

I like the thought process the company uses to put together cohesive baskets. I also like that small size, perfect for an individual or a couple. Just the right amount of protein, and not overwhelming amounts of any one item.

Well, except for that tarragon. There is quite a bit in that package. I think I may be drying some of it. To use later in soups and stews.

Watermelon Season

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I think it’s time to try watermelon gazpacho. This week, again, but bigger, we got a watermelon in our fruit share.

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I could take upstairs and get on a scale with and without it to see what it weighs, but it’s quite the behemoth. And, it wasn’t one of the large ones on the pallet.

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There are 28 watermelons in the box. This week there was very little maneuvering room in the pick up site. You see up there we also got peaches, again. The weird weather last winter seems to have affected the stone fruit trees, as by this time, we are sometimes seeing other fruit. Getting a little tired of peaches.

As for this week’s veggies.

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Cylindra beets, and peppers, and red potatoes, and eggplant. Oh yeah, and …

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… tomatoes. Two kinds. At least the half shares didn’t get zucchini. Today people were putting tomatoes back into the swap box early when I was there.

Today was a cheese delivery day, too.

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Cheddar aged six years. A very interesting mozzarella, which I will review in depth when I try it. And a “Lanchego”, a Lancaster County Manchego style cheese.

I am really enjoying the variety of these cheeses. Last month’s Millich Kivvel was awesome.

No pics of the chicken. Breasts and wings this week.

Good delivery this week from Lancaster Farm Fresh.

Next post will be about my other food source but I think it’s time to relax and have a glass of wine.

In The Box

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The view from above.

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This is what you see when you open a half share Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA box in the middle of August.

The new one in the box is the bunch of Malabar spinach. I do grow this in my garden, but mine is nowhere near as large as these are. There are nine ears of corn in there. Because I swapped three zucchini for the corn. There is a bag of green beans. A bag of rainbow carrots. An eggplant. And, hidden below those two heirloom tomatoes.

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A bag of roma tomatoes, suitable for making sauce. As for the fruit share.

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It must be a banner year for peaches, as we have another six in the fruit box. Last and certainly the largest. The watermelon, a red seedless variety.

No pictures of the frozen chicken in my chicken share. There were two large boneless skinless chicken breasts. And, two whole legs of chicken.

Moving over to the Friends and Farms bags. Just a small amount, except for that cantaloupe.

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An individual share. Two tomatoes. Two peaches (I have no idea where they are, they aren’t in the picture). One zucchini, I am happy to report. Two ears of corn. Three humongous leeks. Hydroponic lettuce. And that okra. I need to go look for something new to do with okra.

Protein.

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Fresh kielbasa. Bacon. Eggs. A new supplier of chicken. Breasts this week. They were already the main item at dinner tonight. Baked in olive oil with a coating of mixed herbs.

Plans for tomorrow. Make tomato sauce. Find a recipe for a curry using the Malabar spinach. Make peach jam. It’s summer craziness when everything starts ripening at once.

My Out of Control Kitchen

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It happens every August. The tomatoes get way ahead of me. I can’t keep up with the processing. I have to dedicate an entire weekend to plowing through the produce and filling the freezer.

Add to it the CSA glut.

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For $19 a week you too can be overrun with fresh beautiful vegetables. OK, so there are also some fruit shares here. They are a slight additional cost.

Lancaster Farm Fresh delivered some pretty heavy boxes this week. We got:

FIVE zucchini (seriously? in a half share?)
A bag full of baby sweet peppers
A bag full of hot Hungarian wax peppers (not pictured, more below)
A bag full of baby eggplants
Two heirloom tomatoes
Three slicing tomatoes
Four golden beets with greens
Two heads of garlic

The sugar baby watermelon was part of our fruit share. Along with more of these.

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Eight more incredibly juicy luscious sweet peaches.

I swapped those peppers. For a reason to be revealed later.

I did get this.

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Three ears of sweet corn from the swap box. You can never have too much sweet corn.

My chicken share this week was a 3.5 pound heritage bird.

As for Friends and Farms, I am glad we moved to an individual share for the summer. That way we aren’t completely overwhelmed with produce.

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This was bread and cheese week for the individual share. I picked pumpkin pecan bread from the Breadery. Ewe cream cheese from Shepherds Manor.

Spring Mix. Donut peaches. Nectarines. Sweet potatoes. Heirloom cherry tomatoes. A yellow onion. Green beans. An eggplant.

As for the protein, not pictured, we got catfish, and sirloin steak.

Definitely enough to keep us from the grocery stores for a while.

I just need to get out there and start freezing food.

Putting Food Away

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As in “What Do I Do With All These Tomatoes?”

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My preserving food program is under construction. Due to be presented at the Howard County Conservancy Mt Pleasant, on August 23rd. Details here.

I have been dealing with excess CSA veggies and fruit for a number of years. Plus, I do a number of pick your own excursions, looking for those staples, like tomatoes, berries, apples. I do many techniques, other than canning, that are simple to use to prolong the local goodness well into the winter.

I have been creating a new page for my site. It will be the go-to page for recipes and tips and places to find affordable fruits, veggies and herbs to put away for the winter.

All this is taking time. Time I have being retired. But, simple techniques like ice cube trays used to make individual fruit or pesto portions, or maybe my blanch and freeze technique for tomatoes and peaches, will inspire people to keep a few special favorites on hand. To make peach pops in the winter. Or add strawberry ice cubes to a glass of wine to make sangria. Or defrost a pesto cube to make summer tasting pasta.

Keep checking here to see when my new page goes live. And, come see what fun we can have with the fruits of our labor (for all us gardeners out there). August 23rd, 10AM at the Conservancy Mt Pleasant. Free program.

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Last Week’s CSA Basket

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I didn’t forget about my CSA basket last week. I just have been so busy with other things I haven’t recorded it.

Lancaster Farm Fresh delivered another large varied basket of goodies to our pick up site. This is what we got, and what I have done with some of it.

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The fruit share. An add on. Peaches and blueberries this week. They are destined to become popsicles later this week. I am waiting for the peaches to ripen just a bit more. And, making blueberry syrup out of these berries. A blueberry swirl in the peach and yogurt pops.

As for veggies.

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Four green peppers
Two lemon cucumbers
A bag of red potatoes
A bag of fairy tale eggplants
Five orange carrots
Two yellow onions
Two large heirloom tomatoes
Six ears of sweet corn (I swapped zucchini for this)

Heaven knows, I don’t need more zucchini around here.

The tomatoes are gone. Sliced and covered with chicken salad, made using this week’s chicken breasts. Two days worth of lunches.

The corn has been boiled and eaten for Sunday night dinner, plus the extra ears will be part of a salsa later this week.

A few of the potatoes made it to Sunday’s dinner as well.

Tomorrow I will be grilling those cute baby eggplants with a few steaks and potatoes, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the day I met my husband. Opening some old wine that pairs well with steaks.

I am considering blanching, dicing and freezing the “trinity”. To use this winter. Peppers, onions and carrots. A good mix for soups, stews and other one pot dishes.

All in all, the summer bounty this year is being put to good use. Not a bad week’s half share. I am crossing my fingers though, and hoping we get a watermelon this Thursday. It’s that time of year again.

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