Chatfield CSA e-news for July 31-Aug 2
We hope you enjoyed the first tomatoes of the season! The firsts continue as we'll start picking beans next week. We might not have quite enough to give out for everyone right away but soon they'll be booming too. We enjoyed this last week of rain quite a bit, although it did set back some seedings, with fields today still a bit too wet to till. We'll try again tomorrow!
Most of our fields have a fairly high clay content, which means that the individual particles in the soil are very fine. With less air space in the soil than in a more sandy or loamy soil, it is much more prone to compaction, such as driving a heavy tractor on wet soil. We've changed our growing process a bit in the last few years to try to address this, one example is that we now have permanent beds, so the tractor tires are always driving over aisles and not in the bed where the plants will be growing. We also try to keep our soil covered with plants as much as possible, since compaction happens not just from a thousand pound tractor, but also from raindrops hitting the soil with all the force gained after falling thousands of feet!
I said early on in my tenure here that I would never complain about rain in Colorado, and I am sticking to that rule!
- Summer squash
*Please note the exact share may change due to weather or crop conditions*
FEATURED RECIPE: Fennel Panna Cotta
I'm including another fennel recipe, since it's one of my favorite vegetables, and we'll have another round of fennel in a couple of weeks (we thought we'd give you some time to deal with the monsters you got last week!). I'm also just excited to include a dessert recipe, which maybe gets not enough attention in our featured recipes, and is one of my favorite meals!
- 1 bulb fennel, including feathery top
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 grind freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons licorice-flavored liqueur, such as anisette or sambuca
- 1 tablespoon powdered plain gelatin softened in 1/2 cup cold water, or 4 sheets gelatin soaked in 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 cup sugar, plus 2 1/2 tablespoons
- 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
Lightly coat eight 6- to 8-ounce ramekins with nonstick cooking oil spray and set aside (disposable foil cups are okay to use). Refrigerate a large stainless-steel mixing bowl so that it is well chilled. Cut the feathery tops off the fennel bulb; chop enough of the most delicate fronds (about 1/2-inch lengths) to fill 1/2 cup and set aside. Cut the bulb in half from stem to root end and then cut into very thin slices.
Place the sliced fennel, heavy cream, milk, sugar, honey, salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to ensure that the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes. Strain, discarding the solids. Add the liqueur and the softened gelatin and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Divide the reserved chopped fronds among the ramekins, then fill the ramekins with the panna cotta mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours, or until set.
To serve, run a knife around the inside of each ramekin and invert the panna cottas onto individual plates; they should come out easily, with the fennel fronds displayed on the top. Scrape the seeds from the grilled vanilla bean halves into the chilled mixing bowl. Add the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup of heavy cream; use a hand-held mixer on high speed or a whisk to beat to soft peaks. Carefully fold the grilled berries into the whipped cream and spoon over the panna cottas. Serve immediately.