News & Blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 10/4/2012 5:54pm by Josie Hart.

Dear Shareholders,

We hope you are enjoying the newsletter, please be sure to scroll all the way through the newsletter and read the Grower’s Perspective section at the end. This week we are sharing some of the feedback we collected from the mid-season surveys.  

Many people have been asking when the last distribution date will be. This really depends on the weather. We will continue distributions as long as we have crops to harvest through the end of October. This means you most likely will still receive broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, greens, chard/kale, leeks, winter squash, pie pumpkins and some herbs in your share throughout October.  The warmer weather crops including eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and basil are all slowing down.  As soon as a substantial frost hits, most of the flowers will be finished as well. Last season, distributions continued until the very end of October. 

The last fruit distributions are tentatively scheduled for October 15 and 18. That may be a bit early for the Fuji storage apples to be ready, so they may need an additional week to ripen. If that is the case then we will skip one week of fruit and then have fruit again at the last distributions of the season (Tuesday, October 30 and Thursday, November 1).


Upcoming Events:
CSA Fall Potluck

Please RSVP to the Fall CSA Potluck event on Friday Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. Feel free to bring family and friends; it will be a lot of fun to get so many cooks together in the same room! Please let us know if you need a copy of the e-vite sent to you again.


New
 at CSA Distributions: Fruit Seconds

Pick up your box of bulk seconds fruit at distribution this week! Please note that if you were not able to purchase fruit seconds (apples and pears) last week (Oct. 2 or 4) you can still purchase a box of fruit at dsitribution this week (Oct. 9 or 11).

If you are purchasing bulk seconds fruit for the first time, please print out the order form that was emailed out last week and bring it to distribution along with your payment.

- Each box of fruit is $22. (See your order form for the various fruit varieties.)

Boxes of seconds fruit will be delivered for pick-up at your regular distribution and will be marked with your order information.

We prefer that payments to be made by check, but we accept cash as well. Please make checks payable to: Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield CSA.

Also, please remember to bring cash or a check if you would like to purchase bouquets or honey at distribution.


This Week’s Produce
(Oct. 8 -12)

Please note this is a tentative list and subject to change.
- Salad Mix
- Arugula
- Chard/Kale
- Peppers (bell and hot) - (tentative) 
- Cabbage or Broccoli
- Basil (tentative)
- Herbs (Parsley, Cilantro and one perennial herb)
- Heirloom and Slicing Tomatoes - (tentative)
- Leeks
- Head Lettuce (New!)
- Eggplant - (tentative)
- Carrots or Beets or Turnips
- Green Tomatoes
- Kohlrabi


This Week’s Fruit - (Oct. 9 and 11)

This coming week fruit share members will receive Golden Delicious apples and a jug of cider. When Golden Delicious apples are picked right and eaten in season, they are truly delicious! They are known as a work horse apple in that they are good for everything....eating, saucing, baking - you name it!


Weekly Recipe: Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Provided by CSA shareholder Stacey Crease, Adapted from the Wilson Farm Country Cookbook
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients:
1 green napa or other type of cabbage
3 cups water
1 bag of vegetarian meatballs or tempeh pieces 
3 T butter or olive oil
2/3 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 grated carrot
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups cooked rice
Salt, pepper, rosemary, majoram and sage to taste
1 cup vegetable broth

Directions:
Remove the tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Bring the water to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Place the cabbage in the water, right side up, and blanch until the leaves soften and pull away (about 10 minutes). Run the cabbage under cold water to stop the cooking process and separate the leaves. Set the leaves aside.

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the onion, sauté for two minutes, then add mushrooms. Sauté until onions and mushrooms soften. Add in the vegetarian meatballs or tempeh. As they soften, break them up with a wooden spoon. Mix in your preferred seasoning (any CSA herb you have on hand). I used rosemary and sage, salt and pepper. Mix in the rice.

Make the rolls by placing 3-4 T of the stuffing in the center of a cabbage leaf, fold in the sides, and roll. Secure with a toothpick. Place seam side down in a baking dish. Keep making rolls until you have run out of stuffing. Pour broth over the rolls and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove the toothpicks and serve with any type of fresh or canned tomato sauce.

- Please visit our website for additional recipes that include cabbage, green tomatoes, kohlrabi, leeks and more! 


Grower's Perspective: 
The Survey Results are In!
Written by CSA Manager, Leigh Rovegno

Thanks to all the shareholders who took the time to complete our mid-season shareholder survey. It really does help us gauge how we are doing this year and what changes we need to make for coming years. This season had some difficult lessons, but we have learned a lot! We are already trying to incorporate some of your suggestions into this year’s program (like organizing distributions from heaviest items first to lightest items last) and some suggestions will go into the design for next year’s program.

What we have learned from the CSA surveys:
- Most CSA shareholders would like to see less “strange” veggies in exchange for larger quantities of the more “normal” veggies. For example: shareholders would like to see FEWER turnips, kohlrabi, and celery overall and MORE beets, spinach, and head lettuce.
- Most CSA shareholders would prefer fewer herbs in the weekly distribution.
- Shareholders prefer having the distributions set up from heaviest items to lightest to make it easier to pack their bags. Most people enjoy distributions and the “market style approach."
- Shareholders enjoyed the newsletter and many people visit the website to read about recipes, blogs and other resources. Most people also commented that they did not have additional time in their schedule for more classes.
- Shareholders would also like to have more potlucks and gatherings throughout the season, as well as information and communication about community events.
- Shareholders would be interested in having eggs, mushrooms, and milk options available to them in coming years.
- Shareholders would like to see more bouquets available at distributions.
- Overall, shareholders would be happier to have fewer items but greater quantities of each item each week. For example, instead of having 15 items with two items per share having 10 items with four items per share.

What we have learned as a staff:
- We need to plan on having more volunteer groups earlier in the season to keep the weeds under control when we are busy with planting.
- 46 crops are perhaps too many to handle on just four acres.
- We need to start diversifying our sources of income in order to continue the program in a successful manner. This will include increasing our wholesale opportunities, hosting fund raising events focused on the CSA, and possibly adding more share options to the program (such as eggs, mushrooms, etc.).
- We want to keep the program at a manageable size rather than continue to expand in coming years. We feel that it is important to do what we do well and try not to get in over our heads (if at all possible)!
- Community events like the CSA Open House and potluck dinners are a huge part what a CSA is and we would like to host more of these in the future.
- The classes often times did not sell out; we are taking a look at what the best approach is to include educational opportunities for our community – and we are open to suggestions!


Food Safety Note

Please note that although we have washed our produce once after harvesting it in the field, members should wash the produce at home again before eating. Our farm produce should be treated the same way as grocery store produce: always wash before eating! The best way to wash produce is by running it under cool water. Cleaning products are not necessary.

Posted 10/3/2012 5:54pm by Josie Hart Genter.

A different sort
It seems I try a different tack every week when I bring home my bags of goodies from the CSA pickup. Sometimes I diligently wash, sort and label everything. Sometimes I make a preliminary plan as to how I’ll use the various vegetables. And sometimes the produce ends up in the fridge bin higglety-pigglety, unwashed and unplanned.

This week, I found myself sorting everything by cuisine. In one pile went the cabbage, leeks, beets and dill – good for an earthy Eastern European dish, most likely with pork. In another pile went cilantro, jalapenos, red peppers and some tomatillos from last week – obviously for Mexican fare. And my Mediterranean pile teemed with salad mix, basil, radishes, tomatoes and broccoli. We’ll see how this sorting method works out.

Road trip
Recently we went to Santa Fe with my son and daughter-in-law and rented a little cottage with kitchen. Along for the ride came all the vegetables I had on hand: potatoes, green beans, eggplant, peppers. Upon arrival we strolled the Farmer’s Market, the aroma of roasting peppers wafting everywhere.
So when we got back to our adobe abode, we roasted eggplant and peppers, duplicating that intoxicating smell. Those little potato jewels made the ideal accompaniment for the meat: lamb chops (bought fresh from a shepherd at the Farmer’s Market) flavored with rosemary and grilled. Delish!

The miracle of mirepoix
Although our Chatfield celery tamed a bit as the season progressed, with not so hot a flavor, I still felt it would be best used in a cooked dish rather than raw as crudités with dip or cheese. Couple the wow-factor celery with several weeks of receiving carrots and onions, and following a recipe that began with mirepoix seemed the right thing to do.

Mirepoix is a French term referring to the mixture of aromatic vegetables – typically carrots, celery and onions – that flavor slow-cooked sauces, soups and braised meat dishes. In some cuisines the combination is called the Holy Trinity, so revered is its usage.

My particular mirepoix landed in an Irish stew. The aromatics were added to the broth after the meat simmered, rather than as a flavor foundation before the meat braised – so technically it wasn’t a mirepoix after all. Still, the carrots, celery and onions shined in this exquisite stew.
The recipe appeared on the Chicago Tribune website, adapted from a dish served in Ireland’s oldest pub. Called The Brazen Head, this Dublin pub has been around since 1198 and is just a short walk from the Guinness brewery.

So you can guess what liquid went into the broth!

Posted 10/3/2012 5:29pm by Josie Hart Genter.

Hello,

I thought I'd share something relevant to the Chatfield CSA: a friend of mine, Christina has a peck share of the CSA but has missed many of the distributions because she has been battling cancer for the last 6 months or so. She has very recently completed her radiation (after a long round of chemo and surgery), and was in the hospital for a secondary infection from the surgery.  I've been able to pick up her veggies some of the weeks for her, but I wondered what she was actually able to do with them, given that she hasn't had much time or energy to cook: she lives alone with her 41/2 yr old daughter and is still trying to work; her family lives in Ireland.  Her friends here have all been taking turns bringing her meals, so it finally occurred to me that I should cook her peck and bring that to her instead.  So here is why I am writing: with one week's peck, I was able to create the following:

1) “Disney” style ratatouille with a twist (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, onion, and beet)
2) Fresh steamed green beans with butter and slivered nuts
3) Sautéed vegan mixed greens, Southern style with onion and peppers
4) Traditional tomatillo salsa, made with cilantro, onions and garlic (great with chips!)
5) Roasted, herbed potatoes with a kick (with nearly all the different herbs we got).
6) Antioxidant raw pepper mix (red and yellow)
7) Mixed baby greens salad kit- radish, peppers and tomatoes
8) Homemade Italian Marinara sauce, with super veggies (sautéed eggplant, onions, and peppers give it extra nutrition and flavor, as does the CSA basil and marjoram!)
9) Traditional basil pesto (with parmesan cheese, olive oil, and garlic)
10) Simple steamed broccoli with lemon juice

In all cases, I made a double batch with our peck and then divided in half.  Anyhow, I was impressed with the volume of food. 

Because of the CSA, I now know how to make ratatouille and eggplant parmesan (and Jeremy likes both) - I never bought eggplant on my own before. 

Thanks again for all you do!

Anna

Posted 10/1/2012 3:29pm by Josie Hart.





Ela Family Farms Fruit Seconds
Please complete this form with the appropriate information if you are interested in purchasing some extra fruit to preserve for the winter from Ela Family Farms. Fruit will be delivered to the regular distributions for you to pick up. This fruit will be slightly less perfect than what is provided in the regular fruit share but it is just as tasty!

Please note: there are no half-boxes allowed. You must purchase a full 20 lb box to take advantage of this deal. There is no limit to the number of boxes purchased per person. Seconds fruit is available to all shareholders. You do not have to have a fruit share to purchase.

Step 1: Choose Your Fruit and Variety

Jonathan Apples
Tart, with a balanced sweetness when picked at full maturity. Colorado is famous for its Jonathan’s, a variety not grown in many parts of the United States. Our warm days and cool nights give this variety great flavor and color.  If cooked with the skins on, Jonathan apple sauce has a gorgeous rosy color.  Jonathan is incredible during September and early October, but it is not a good keeper. Eat it at its peak and then savor the thoughts of its flavor until next year.  Jonathan is a favorite of cider makers as a tart apple and is also a preferred apple at our local distillery for making gin and vodka. 

Golden Delicious Apples
Goldens are a crisp, sweet, succulent apple with a creamy blend of tastes. The smooth texture makes it a delight to eat. Many people are jaded about Goldens because they can be bland when picked early or stored for a long period (i.e. supermarket, mass production Goldens). A properly picked Golden should have a sweet flavor.

Harrow Sweet Pears
A less known variety bred by the Vineland Research Center in Canada.  Picked about three weeks after Bartlett’s, Harrow Sweets are sweeter and have a denser flesh than Bartlett.  At times, the skin can be a bit astringent, so they are best enjoyed peeled.  Unlike Bartlett’s which should be a light yellow when eaten (otherwise they go soft), Harrow’s need to be a hard yellow and give to the touch, otherwise they will be too firm. 

Ela Family Farm Staff Members say that their favorite applesauce is made out of half jonathan’s and half golden delicious in case you’re feeling adventurous.

Step 2: Complete the following Information
 
NAME (First and Last):

EMAIL ADDRESS:

DISTRIBUTION LOCATION:

Fruit Type

Quantity of Boxes

Cost per box

Amount Due

Apples, Jonathan

 

$22

 

Apples, Golden Delicious

 

$22

 

Pears, Harrow Sweet

 

$22

 

 

 

 

Total Amount Due:

Step 3: Bring Payment and Printed Invoice to Distribution on October 2 or October 4 and turn it into Leigh or Jenny.

Payments can be made in either cash or by check. Please make checks payable to: Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield CSA.

Please note that if you are not able to turn in a payment this week (October 2 or 4) you will have another opportunity to purchase seconds the following week (October 9 or 11). However, it is unlikely that pears will be available at that point.


Step 4: Picking Up Your Fruit
Seconds Fruit will be delivered the following week (October 9 and 11) for pick up at your regular distribution and will be marked with your order information.

 

Posted 9/10/2012 4:33pm by Josie Hart Genter.

Hello Cooking Genie
My kitchen didn’t know what hit it this weekend when the cooking genie paid me a visit, leading to a whirlwind spree of cookery fun with our CSA veggies and herbs. First up was pico de gallo with homemade tortilla chips, always an addictive treat but not at all unhealthy. The Chatfield tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and onion were paired with lime, avocado and teriyaki sauce. This dish kept Ray and me in snacking heaven on a weekend day, when we don’t typically have a proper lunch.
On Saturday night I roasted eggplant and squash seasoned with thyme and olive oil, while Ray grilled some chicken legs and thighs generously sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful a simple, humble meal can be with the use of fresh herbs, quality ingredients and high-flavor cooking techniques like roasting and grilling.

Mess Hall
On Sunday I made cream of celery soup, which makes almost a bigger mess than baking a cake. Soup drips when transferred in batches from pot to food processor. Then the soupy goo spits while pureeing. And then comes more spillage when removing the blade to transfer the soup to another pot.
Still, I persevered. I’d made this soup previously, but with difficulty. Unable to achieve a pronounced celery taste, I kept adding celery salt. Our CSA celery, on the other hand, I found too strong to eat plain and raw, so I figured it would make a great celery soup. I was right. No celery salt needed, as the celery essence prevailed, even with the addition of a potato (for thickening) and cream (for yumminess).
In the end the mess was worth it. Nothing like homemade soup to feed the soul. I froze 8 cups of this heartwarming soup – easy-peasy for week-night suppers later this fall.

Mediterranean Dinner
Sunday dinner was herb-encrusted lamb chops with salad. I love to eat this way – just two dishes, a meat and salad. Again, when highly seasoned and packing a whopping flavor punch, that’s all you need.
In this case, I chopped up our basil, parsley and garlic, added a little olive oil to make a paste, and then applied liberally to the lamb chops. I covered the chops in plastic, refrigerated for an hour to set, then removed from the fridge for another hour to bring to room temperature. Normally Ray would’ve grilled these little guys, but on this night I pan-fried them because of the thick herb paste coating them. All that goodness would’ve just fallen off into the grill.
The romaine salad featured our CSA carrots, radish and cute little potatoes – the latter boiled in mint and then chilled. The dressing was olive oil and lemon, a perfect accompaniment for the lamb chops.
It was nice to have the cooking genie visit. Now, where’s the cleaning genie when you need her?

Posted 9/6/2012 2:28pm by Josie Hart.



Dear Shareholders,

Wow - here at the CSA, we are excited! Things are starting to pick up with our produce and now we are enjoying the benefits of all the hot weather, with tomatoes, basil, and larger, juicier cucumbers! This week we will focus on all the wonderful things you can do with basil and tomatoes. We hope you are enjoying the bounty of the season as much as we are!

Mid-Season Shareholder Survey
Please continue sending in your surveys. When your survey is complete you can email it to csa.chatfield@botanicgardens.org or bring a paper copy to distribution and turn it in to us directly. Thank you!


this week’s produce
(september 10-14)

Please note this is a tentative list and subject to change.

- Salad Mix
- Arugula
- Chard/Kale
- Summer Squash or Cucumbers
- Peppers (bell and hot)
- Carrots
- Basil
- Herbs (Parsley, Cilantro and one perennial herb)
- Potatoes
- Onions
- Heirloom and Slicing Tomatoes
- Eggplant
- Celery

 

this week’s fruit - a word from the growers

This week, fruit share members receive peaches (could be the last week!) and Bartlett pears. The Cresthaven peach is a tasty all-purpose peach. Just when I thought I might be getting peached out, the texture, color and peachy flavor of the Cresthaven got me re-excited for the last hoorah for peaches.
 
Pears are one fruit that you can not let ripen on the tree. If you wait until they are soft and yellow on the tree, they will be brown and mushy in the middle because they ripen from the inside out. Therefore, we pick them green. We use a pressure probe to measure if the pear is ready for harvest. For soft, juicy succulent pears, wait until your pears have a yellow background color. You can speed up ripening in a brown bag or you can slow everything down in refrigeration. Once they are yellow, they should be stored in the refrigerator. I find Steve's pears to be the best I have had in my life! Every year I look forward to my gorgonzola, walnut and pear salads. Yum!  


weekly recipes
Susan Evans – CSA Cooking Instructor

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
1 clove garlic, minced fine. You can also use roasted garlic, in which case use 2 or 3 cloves.

2-1/2 to 3 pounds vine ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1-1/2 tightly packed tablespoons fresh basil leaves, sliced in ribbons
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fusilli, penne, linguine or spaghetti pasta, cooked
1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated parmesan or asiago cheese

Combine the garlic, tomatoes, basil, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature while you cook the pasta. Once cooked and drained, add the pasta to the sauce, and top with grated cheese. You could also add sautéed kale or chard, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, peas, chicken or shrimp to this recipe to add protein and extra nutrition.
 
Gazpacho
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped. If out of season, use cherry or roma for best results.
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper (or green) seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar, agave or honey
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cups tomato juice

Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend slightly, to desired consistency. Place in non-metal, non-reactive storage container, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavors to blend. Toppings can include sour cream, chives, shredded cheese and croutons. You could also mound cooked shrimp or crab to make it a meal.

Caprese Salad
3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling. You can also use balsamic vinegar.
Coarse salt and pepper

Layer the tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over lightly with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.


grower’s perspective: preserving tomatoes – the easy way
Taken from www.GrowYourOwn.org

Freezing home-grown or farm-fresh tomatoes for use in winter cooking is very easy to do! The flavor of spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and salsas you make then will be superior to those made from canned tomatoes or so called "fresh" store-bought tomatoes.

This method is so easy, ANYONE can do it! It's a great activity to do with your kids.

Ingredients and Equipment
Tomatoes - any quantity, ripe, but not over ripe, still firm.
Vacuum food sealer or plastic freezer bags, such as Ziploc freezer bags.
1 large pot of boiling water
Large slotted spoon
Ice (10 lbs.)

1. Removing the tomato skins:
Here's a trick you may not know: put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 - 45 seconds is usually enough) remove the tomatoes from the boiling water with the slotted spoon and plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water. This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes! If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce - not very pleasant.
2. Removing the bruises and tough parts:
The skins should practically slide off the tomatoes. You can cut the tomatoes in quarters and remove the tough part around the stem and any bruised or soft parts.
3. Squeeze out the seeds and water:
Just like it sounds - wash your hands and then squeeze each tomato; use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. You don't need to get fanatical about it; removing most of the seeds will do. While you work, store the tomatoes in a strainer to help remove excess water.
4. Bag the tomatoes:
You can use a Ziploc or vacuum sealer bag and place full bags in the freezer. Do not overfill the bags and make sure to remove all air pockets to maintian freshness. Open the bag up in the middle of winter and make sauce, salsa or whatever you are missing from the CSA!
 
 

food safety note

Please note that although we have washed our produce once after harvesting it in the field, members should wash the produce at home again before eating. Our farm produce should be treated the same way as grocery store produce: always wash before eating! The best way to wash produce is by running it under cool water. Cleaning products are not necessary.

Posted 8/24/2012 12:49am by Josie Hart.



Dear CSA Shareholders,


We have enjoyed many blessings lately at the farm from rain to cooler nightly temperatures to a greater diversity of crops ready for harvest. The potatoes are in and delicious - as are the beautiful variety of heirloom tomatoes. The cooler weather - both at night and during the day - has really helped our salad mix look and taste delicious! We love the colors of the bell peppers, and fennel adds an exciting addition to the herbs. As the season shifts and the sun rises later, we are all appreciative of what has been accomplished and what we have to look foward to.
 

This Week’s Produce (August 27 – August 31)
Please note this is a tentative list and is subject to change.

- Salad Mix
- Herbs (Dill, Parsley, Basil and Cilantro)
- Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
- Eggplant
- Tomatoes (slicers and heirloom)
- Kale/Swiss Chard
- Turnips OR Beets
- Summer Squash
- Onions
- Snap Beans (yellow, purple and green)
- Fennel
- Potatoes
- Melons (possible)
- Flower Bouquets ($5 per bouquet)
 

This Week’s Fruit:
Colorado peaches and plums or pears!
 

Weekly Recipe: Spicy Pickled Summer Veggies
Blue Goose Farm, Nicktown PA

  • 2 C white wine vinegar, rice or red wine
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1-1/2 T sea salt or pickling salt
  • 2 t dill chopped
  • 1 t mustard seed
  • 2 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 t ground black pepper
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 4 bay leaves

3-4 cups slivered veggies - use any of the following individually or combined: cucumber, summer squash, onion, peppers (hot or sweet), green beans, radishes, beets (will turn liquid purplish in color) and turnips.

Combine all ingredients except veggies into a quart jar. Cover with lid, and shake until sugar dissolves. Add veggies to jar. Cover and shake again. Chill for at least 4 hours, best if overnight. Be sure to shake the jar occasionally. Veggies will keep in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
 

A Grower’s Perspective: Education for Everybody!
Written by CSA Community Coordinator, Josie Hart-Genter

The CSA classes at Chatfield have been going great this summer with many people taking advantage of the reduced class fee for CSA shareholders. September will bring some of my personal favorite classes, like the Natural Medicine Chest and the family cooking classes for kids (Soups from the Earth and Teen Cuisine), which should be a lot of fun!

Terrific Tomatoes
will also be taught by Susan Evans on Thursday August 30, 6–7 p.m. for just $12 (to all CSA shareholders). Susan has a talent for creating a fun atmosphere and for making food beautiful and delicious, so I encourage all CSA members to consider taking one of her classes.
Whether you would like to be a better cook, teach some new tricks to your kids or learn how to make your own home medicine kit, I am very excited about the class offerings for August and September at Chatfield. Please join us!


You can register for Chatfield CSA Classes online.

Food Safety Note

Please note that although we have washed our produce once after harvesting it in the field, shareholders should wash the produce at home again before eating. Our farm produce should be treated the same way as grocery store produce: always wash before eating! The best way to wash produce is by running it under cool water. Cleaning products are not necessary.

Posted 8/13/2012 4:46pm by Josie Hart Genter.

Look Mom, no recipe!
I’ve always envied cooks who can literally “throw something together.” Take leftovers from Thursday’s dinner, a couple stray carrots, an intrepid selection of spices, maybe a potato, and whatever else suits their fancy … and whip it all up into a glorious meal. No recipe required.
Me, I’m a recipe junkie. When friends come for dinner they always tell me what a great cook I am, but then I have to confess that I simply followed a recipe.
So it was with great pride that I whipped up my own concoction the other night. A rendition of stuffed peppers using those stunning purple bell peppers, the dish began with about 4 oz. each of ground turkey and chorizo, both sitting idly in the freezer with no plans for the future. I added jasmine rice, egg, parsley and onion — and I didn’t measure anything, just threw it all in.
On the side we had fried squash. These delightful little things, I swear, are more addictive than potato chips. All in all, a pleasant little weeknight meal.

And the beet goes on
Less successful was a foray into slow-cooker world. A chuck roast was flavored with thyme, onions and garlic and simmered in wine and beef broth. But the typical pot roast vegetables of potatoes and orange carrots were replaced with our CSA root vegetables: kohlrabi, beets, radishes and purple carrots.
I shouldn’t have experimented with a cooking technique I’ve never mastered the normal way, let alone trying to replace ingredients. The mistake? The broth tasted like beets!
Now, Ray and I love beets so much that last year they ranked among our top 5 CSA items. Who knew we could be over-beeted? Still, we were disappointed when this week’s share didn’t include beets.

French twist
The most successful meal, hands down, was pork chops paired with a combo of beet greens, chard and arugula braised in turkey broth. A home-cooked “mess o’ greens,” as it’s called in the South, never fails to fill the bill for a stickler like me who insists on having something green for dinner every night.
But the real star of this meal was the divine tarragon-cognac cream sauce that smothered the chops. Cooking with fresh herbs is like getting butter on your movie popcorn, putting cream in your coffee, or showering spaghetti and meatballs with Parmesan cheese. It just sends an already-wonderful creation clear over the top.
And cognac? Wow. The combination of tarragon and cognac made the dish taste like it came straight from a glamorous Parisian night spot. But again, I simply followed a recipe.

Posted 7/29/2012 3:05pm by Josie Hart Genter.

Kohlrabi quest continues
After a unique twist on slaw using kohlrabi, I incorporated the next batch of kohlrabi in a skillet mix-up. Other vegetables joining the party included our CSA carrots, greens and squash, all flavored with the potent yumminess of chorizo sausage.
The effort was a success, but it seemed the natural flavor of the vegetables got “mixed up” with each other and with the chorizo. Actually I think I recall learning this lesson last year: Don’t get too fussy with these vegetables because they are at once too gentle to withstand the fuss and too flavorful not to appreciate them prepared simply.
With last week’s kohlrabi, I turned to a Jamie Oliver recipe for roasted beets and carrots, throwing in the kohlrabi and also making use of our thyme and garlic. It was quite a delicious side dish for our grilled pork chops. Roasting, I decided, is the best method of preparation for kohlrabi but not beets and carrots. Again, I would have enjoyed them more just boiled and eaten on their own, maybe with a dab of salt and butter. Roasting is too powerful for these delicate delights.

Beans and greens
Beans and greens are “natural mates,” as Jamie Oliver would say. (I’m on a Jamie kick here lately.) When I was growing up we had this combo all the time in our household, as it’s pervasive in both Kentucky cuisine (my father) and Italian cuisine (my mother.). Out here in Colorado, though, I never experience this tasty twosome, neither in restaurants nor when invited to friends’ houses for dinner.
So I often cook the duo myself. I recently watched Giada make a lovely concoction of ground chicken, greens, cannellini beans and ample seasonings. It’s kind of a cross between a chili, soup and stew. I used all our various greens: two kinds of kale, two kinds of kohlrabi greens and the beet greens. I added a cut-up CSA squash, too, since there wasn’t enough of it to serve on its own.
I ended up with a meal in one pot that was healthy, inexpensive, easy to make (despite the number of ingredients), heartwarming and belly-satisfying.

‘Don’t go to any trouble’
My friend Patti is coming to stay with me for a few days, immediately followed by my sister Sandra’s visit for a week. “Don’t go to any trouble,” they both told me. Meal planning proved tricky, however, as Patti doesn’t eat dairy, wheat, pork or beef. And Sandra recently went on a strict vegetarian diet that excludes fish, chicken and dairy. “It suits my values,” she said about her new endeavor.
Lucky I have lots of vegetables on hand. After much thought I devised a plan to suit everyone’s needs — lots of greens, lentils and of course our fresh herbs and vegetables from the Chatfield gardens. For Sandra’s visit, I was looking forward to lentil soup with herbs and making a recipe for vegetarian spaghetti and “meatballs” I’ve been wanting to try.
But then Sandra emailed me to say she was off the vegetarian diet and on the paleo diet. Apparently vegetarianism agreed with her values but not her digestive system. Paleo-ism includes meat but no dairy, legumes or wheat, so I had to nix the lentil soup and vegetarian spaghetti and meatballs.
Internet research on the paleo diet turns up lots of arguments against cooked food and queries from folks asking, “Is this paleo, is that paleo?” Later when I was researching if I could substitute ginger simple syrup for honey and ginger (which I’d run out of), I saw myriad posts about whether honey is allowed on a vegetarian diet. “No,” declared one purist, “because honey is basically bee vomit.”
Honestly. These people are going to way too much trouble.

Posted 7/2/2012 2:43pm by Josie Hart Genter.

Curious crops
Is there anything better than young tender lettuce at the beginning of the growing season? I do look forward to those early-summer salads. Still, getting surprised is also a benefit of belonging to a CSA. It forces one out of a safe veggie comfort zone of salad and broccoli and into a curious world where garlic grows in long serpentine curls, where an ugly-looking vegetable like kohlrabi can produce a most amazing dish.
Determined not to let the kohlrabi get the best of me, I searched and searched online for a good recipe. Finally I settled on a broccoli-kohlrabi slaw with a hummus-inspired dressing. I figured any recipe that begins “tahini, olive oil, lemon” has to be a winner … and it certainly was. I also grated into the slaw our radishes and those peculiar garlic scapes, which have found their way into several dishes lately.

Herb medley
I had planned to use our arugula for flatbread pepperoni pizza topped with olive-oil-dressed arugula, a Friday night favorite that gets devoured even by my husband Ray, who’s typically not a big pizza fan. But when he stepped on the scale that morning and was dismayed at the number staring back at him, I figured pizza was too much of an indulgence.
That was also the day our Chatfield garden expert Leigh Rovegno emailed us shareholders about the hotness of some of the crops due to high heat, suggesting we might want to cook the arugula and spinach instead of eating them raw.
So our Friday night pizza became grilled salmon topped with lime and some dill from our share, along with a greens combo of arugula, spinach and kohlrabi leaf braised in olive oil and garlic scapes.
Normally a copious user of fresh herbs, I struggled a bit this time to use up all of our herbs. So a couscous dish that called for parsley only wound up with finely chopped parsley, tarragon and mint, a lively trio that made the whole dish sing.

Those who make things grow
Last year when I started writing the blog for the Chatfield CSA, I remembered with fondness my father’s abundant garden in Lexington, Ky., where I grew up. My dad passed away last month at age 90, just at the beginning of the growing season, which I thought appropriate for such a venerable gardener. One of the best messages I received was from my friend Dave DeLeo. He recalled my first blog post last year where I talked about my dad doing “organic gardening” long before anyone ever used that term.
“It's amazing how some people have an instinctual relationship to the earth and to growing things,” Dave wrote. “When you wrote about him in his garden, I saw someone who helps things grow and who provides nourishment and encouragement. Things like vegetables, flowers, children. Every neighborhood needs that good gardener who shares his extra delicious tomatoes and string beans.”
Funny, I feel the same way about the folks growing our wonderful vegetables and herbs at Chatfield. When Leigh emailed us about damage to some of the crops because of storms, I imagined the whole staff dismayed by the harm to plants they’d been nurturing. So thanks, guys, for tending the fields and making our garden grow!