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Denison Farms

    2018 Denison Farms Newsletters


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Denison Farms Harvest Box 2018:  Week 2

In this box:
1 Green Lettuce, 2 Cucumbers, 1 bunch Spinach, 2# Romano green beans, 1 bunch Basil, 1 head fresh Garlic, 1 fresh Red Onion, 1 pint Strawberries, 1 half-pint Raspberries (weights are approx.)  Everything is Organic!
Romano Green Beans
    It seems our green beans are early this year. Green beans don’t like cold weather, so we never expect them before July. We must have been fortunate with our timing this year, because we have plenty of beans this week!
    Romano beans are also known as Italian flat beans. We like to grow them, not only because we like novel and unusual vegetables (though that is true), but because we think their flavor is superior to “regular” green beans. They also are more tender than more common green beans. This means you need to be cautious not to overcook them.
    Preparation (for all recipes) first snip or snap off the stem at one end, and cut or snap the beans into bite-sized pieces.
    Cooking suggestions: The simplest way we like to cook Romano beans is to steam them for 3 – 5 minutes, then drain off the water, and (optional) melt a little butter on them. Steamed Romano beans are good served immediately, or chilled and eaten as leftovers. Lately I’ve been using cold cooked Romano beans to dip hummus, as a healthier option than corn chips.
    Check our Recipe Blog for two more recipes: Green Romano Beans with Red Onion & Mustard Seed Vinaigrette, and Pan Fried Green Beans with Pad Thai Sauce.

Yes, we have a Recipe Blog!
    Launched last year, our recipe blog contains many of my favorite recipes from our newsletters. All the recipes are original, or adapted from a cited source to suit the particular vegetables we grow. I occasionally search in the Internet for new recipe ideas, but I want to caution you about just taking Internet information as truth. I was looking at “fresh Romano bean” recipes today, and the first one that came up said to boil the beans for 35 – 40 minutes! That’s completely inappropriate for the fresh green beans in the box today. It’s always safer to first search the recipe blog on our web site (from our home page, click on “recipe blog”, or go directly to the blog here). As with all new things, we’re still tweaking it a bit, and we appreciate your feedback. If you have difficulty finding recipes, please let me know and I will either email you a recipe, or add it to the blog.

Basil is for so much more than just pesto! For my pesto recipe, and also additional ideas about how to use basil, go to the Recipe Blog. Here are a few of my current favorite non-pesto ideas: 1) use basil leaves on a sandwich (instead of lettuce), 2) add torn basil leaves to a lettuce salad, 3) use all the ingredients of pesto, but skip the food processor. Toss freshly-chopped basil with a bowl of hot, drained pasta. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle a few pine nuts on top. Cheese is optional. Add salt to taste.

Produce storage tips for the week

Basil keeps best at room temperature. The fridge is too cold, and it makes the basil turn black. However, basil is prone to wilting if you just leave it on the counter. We have good luck treating it like cut flowers; trim the ends and place stems in a jar of water. Then cover the bunch loosely with a plastic bag. Don’t close off the bottom of the bag, or it will be too humid and may get moldy. Basil can keep up to a week this way.

Cucumbers don’t like to be too cold either, but they lose moisture and get soft if just left on the counter. If you still have the perforated bag from last week’s salad mix, that is the ideal bag for keeping cucumbers crisp. In a perforated bag, your cucumbers should stay crisp on the counter for several days.

Fresh garlic: The garlic is “fresh” this week. Most garlic that is available in a grocery store has been dried after harvest. The fresh garlic today is still moist. DO NOT leave in a plastic bag, or it will get moldy. Best to store it in the refrigerator, or leave it out in the open on your kitchen counter.

Fresh red onion can be stored in the fridge, or on the counter. The green top can be used like a green onion.
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Denison Farms Harvest Box 2018:  Week 1 (June 5/6)
Welcome, and thank you for choosing to be part of our farm!

In this box:
½ pound bag Salad Mix, 1 Red Leaf Lettuce, 2 Cucumbers, 1 head Broccoli, 3 ea. Zucchini, 2# New Potatoes (Red Gold), 1 bunch Italian Kale, 1 pint Strawberries, 1 pint Cherries  (weights are approx.) Everything is Organic!

Another Harvest Box season is underway, and we are excited to have lots of variety to fill this first box. Even cherries! Everything in the box was grown on our farm, and that will be the case many weeks. Occasionally, we collaborate with a few of our friends who have Organic farms to keep the box interesting and to increase the variety of produce from week to week. But we had plenty of our own fruits and vegetables this week!
       The cherries are a variety called Early Burlat, an heirloom French variety that is one of the earliest cherries to ripen. Tom planted a small orchard of 100 cherry trees in 1990 when he moved to this farm. We got married in the cherry orchard in 1996, when the trees were still very small. They are now mature trees with gnarly trunks, as tall as a house. Every year in late May, our crew covers the entire orchard with bird netting because the birds can eat an unbelievable amount of fruit. Covering the orchard is quite a production, with our entire crew easing a huge piece of bird netting over the trees with long poles, but it’s worth it. We have successfully thwarted the birds so far this year.
       If you’ve had our box before, you may recognize the Red Gold potatoes. If you are not familiar with them, read on. Red Gold is a cousin (in the Botanical sense) of Yukon Gold potatoes. That means they have an intermediate texture, somewhere between “waxy” (like a red potato) and “flaky” (like a russet). This intermediate texture makes them suitable for all sorts of cooking methods and recipes. You can steam them, boil them, or roast them. They work great in potato salad. I like to cut them into chunks, and steam or boil them until tender. Then serve with a little butter. They are also nice “smashed”: boiled then mashed into a somewhat chunky mashed potato. The only thing I don’t recommend is baking them whole, because they won’t have the flaky texture that you get from a russet.
       As I look at the box contents, and wonder how I might use things, I think I would combine the Italian Kale into a “greens & potato” dish. I would slice the kale into ribbons, and steam or sauté until tender (about 5 minutes). Cut the potatoes into bite-size chunks, and steam or boil until tender. Then mix the two together, and season with salt, pepper. Now that I think about it, I would probably sauté the kale in olive oil first, so that it will have extra flavor.

Salad Mix and berries are perishable. For best quality, refrigerate them as soon as you get home. Berries will keep best if they are not rinsed until just before you eat them. The salad mix is packed in a ventilated plastic bag, with little holes. Please transfer it into a non-ventilated bag, or better yet, a sealed plastic tub, to keep it from wilting. The important thing about salad mix is to keep it humid, but not sitting in water. Some people find it best to rinse right away, and spin it in a salad spinner. Then put a paper towel or tea towel in the bottom of a plastic tub (to absorb excess water, and keep the leaves from sitting in water), and store the salad greens on top of the towel.

Box logistics:
* You can take the tub home, or transfer everything into your own bags & coolers at the pick-up site and leave the tub there. If you take the tub home, please bring it back next week, empty and rinsed.
* If you forget your box, check your confirmation letter for late pick-up options. The details about late pick-up vary depending on which pick-up location you have.
* If you have any questions, problems, or concerns, please email me at denisonfarms@peak.org.
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