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Red Veggie Week

When I opened my newsletter from Lancaster Farm Fresh, four of the eight items had the word “RED” in them.

I am a firm believer in eating by color. I even have the book from Williams Sonoma that tells us how great those rainbow of color veggies and fruit are for us.

According to the book, here is what red veggies bring to us.

“Red fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants for protection and healing. Promote heart health. Promote urinary tract health. Help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Improve memory function.”

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Here is what we got this week. That black futsu squash (which happens to be orange at the moment). That Italian style chicory. Bok Choy. Onions. And the four “red” items.

Red radishes. Red bell peppers. Red romaine. Red potatoes.

I include the potatoes because I will parboil them and use them in potato salad, including their skin. With organic veggies, I don’t mind using the skin.

Besides the vegetables this week, my fruit share included these items.

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Honey crisp apples. Asian pears, KIWIBERRIES! Again. We really like these berries. A great snack.

This was a cheese week too.

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Three cheeses. Once a month. Every month is different. We have had no repeats in five deliveries. A smoked gouda. A sheep’s milk ash cheese. And, a lavender goat cheese.

We also got 2.5 pounds of chicken wings and a couple of skinless chicken breasts in our chicken share.

This basket, with our Friends and Farms basket, means no trips to the grocery store again. Unless we run out of toilet paper.

Home Cooking!

That’s what I am doing today. Getting most of the CSA and F&F items cooked or prepped to make my week easier.

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Like making crock pot cauliflower leek soup.

I know we can be pressed for time, and trying to put dinner on the table is sometimes close to impossible. That’s why lately I have been cooking on one day and just reheating for a number of dinners after long busy days.

I had three leeks hanging around in the refrigerator. Got a cauliflower in the CSA basket. Scallions from Friends and Farms. I always have almond milk in the pantry. A little chicken stock from the freezer. Salt, pepper, garam masala. Made enough soup for at least two meals. Or one dinner, two lunches.

After taking it out of the crock pot, I did mash it up a bit with a potato masher, to make it creamier.

I also dry roasted the beets, for salads all week. I took four chicken breasts and put them in the oven next to the beets and baked them. I now have chicken for salad. For dinner tomorrow. And, for a stir fry.

Dinner tonight. Another one of those frittatas I rely on. The half not eaten will be lunch early this week.

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This one used a few of my tomatoes. The rainbow chard from the CSA. The top half of those scallions mentioned above. The last of the Scamorza from last week. Six eggs. Seasoned with a little Italian seasoning.

I have a real head start on eating well on the three days this week that we will be running around. And I made a major dent in the meat and vegetables delivered last week.

Still need to find a nice evening to make the edamame for an appetizer. And, to make hot pepper jelly with all those peppers we got.

Synergy

When the whole is so much greater than the parts. Or, how we can feed ourselves wonderfully using two regional sources that add up to a week’s worth of outstanding meals.

A different take this week. Grouping.

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Protein. Both of our food sources, Lancaster Farm Fresh, and Friends&Farms. It was a chicken heavy week. F&F is trying out a new supplier. Bell and Evans. This week it was boneless skinless chicken breasts. Which have already become dinner. Pics at the end of the blog post.

My LFFC chicken share (that reminds me, check fall sign up) had three packages this week. Thighs, breasts and drumsticks. I should have done a throwdown between the two suppliers.

As for the rest of the Friends and Farms protein. It was an egg week. And, smoked bacon. A half pound of Nell and Sons ground pork. I am thinking frittata with the pork and eggs. Making the bacon to use with some greens. And, with a really good potato salad.

Let’s move over to fruit.

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Stanley plums and apples. From F&F. I am thinking of one huge gorgeous plum cake to take to the pot luck for Conservancy volunteers. As for LFFC. Three huge peaches. Destined to become peach pepper jelly. More on that later.

KIWIBERRIES! Check out the site to see where these lovely little gems originate. One of the real benefits of belonging to LFFC. Exotic fruits and vegetables.

There were two packages in our fruit share this week.

Vegetables. First, the LFFC half share.

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We have four ears of bicolor sweet corn. Cauliflower. Hot mixed peppers. Pink radishes. Beets. Rainbow chard. Edamame and green beans in the colander. The French breakfast radishes came out of the swap box, as I gave up my green mizuna. I have enough greens in the house.

Moving over to F&F.

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They advertised this week as wrap week. Using that awesome hydroponic butter lettuce. Raw peanuts. Scallions. Cucumbers. Thai basil. Heirloom cherry tomatoes. Zucchini (can you say fritters).

For the next week, like all our other weeks, we will enjoy homemade goodness, like this.

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Tonight I baked, in the same large pan, the Bell and Evans chicken breasts. Two for dinner tonight. One for my husband to take for a dinner while radio contesting this weekend. Last week’s cauliflower. Covered with olive oil, white balsamic, garam masala and salt. Last week’s tomato. Split open and filled with Italian dressing. A side salad from hydroponic lettuce, cucumber and radish. That meant I used up the last of the veggies from a week ago, and I am ready to take on this week’s.

Small Packages

As in good things come in small packages. If you were an individual, or a working couple who traveled or ate out more than twice a week, a CSA wasn’t always a good fit.

For us, having the option to pick a half share, or an individual basket at two local food sources here in Howard County, has been really enlightening. It gives us more freedom, while giving us affordable fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, bread and herbs.

We, being retired, do like having both options. An individual basket from Friends and Farms, and a half share CSA from the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative.

Here’s what we got and what we are doing with this week’s Friends and Farms share.

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This is the vegetable and bread portion. Two lovely large red peppers. Five peaches. Two ears of corn. Green beans. Garlic. An onion. Two heirloom tomatoes. A loaf of honey whole wheat bread.

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The green beans and corn were steamed for dinner tonight.

As for the protein.

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Yellowfin tuna. I did order an extra piece as the individual share only gives you one portion. A small tri tip steak. Scamorza cheese, a take on mozzarella.

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The tuna was slow cooked tonight with one of the tomatoes, and one of my heirloom pineapple tomatoes. Covered with lemon zest, olive oil, white wine vinegar and herbs.

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Definitely a good start to using the basket. Tomorrow night. Grilled tri tip, with leftover mushrooms from last week. Caprese salad using the other tomato and some of the scamorza.

The peppers, along with some eggplant from my other source, will become a dip this weekend.

I like the way my two sources complement one another. Easy, seasonal fresh food.

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.

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