PHCSA Newsletter: Week 3

Prospect Heights CSA Newsletter

Week #3 of the 2015 Season

In this issue:

  • Pickup Information
  • Alternate Location for Summer Pickups
  • Recipe of the Week
  • News from Windflower Farm

Important Dates:

June 25 – Pick Up #3
July 2 – Pick Up #4 (alternate location)

This Week’s Pickup
Week A

Thursday June 25, 4:30p -7:30p
PS9 Cafeteria
80 Underhill Ave

enter on St Marks next to the playground
We expect:
vegetables | fruit | eggs | flowers | pasta

Pick Up Information

Don’t be fooled by the smallish deliveries in the early summer. Barring a vicious mother nature, we can expect more and more each week.  Some tips to manage the produce:

  • Wash all your greens thoroughly right when you get home, shake off the excess water, spread them out on a clean dish towel (or lots of paper towels) and roll them up to store in your fridge. They will last really well and be ready to eat.
  • Get ready for summer tomato season: Begin collecting the plastic clamshell boxes supermarket fruit and tomatoes come in. They make great containers to carry home CSA tomatoes (and other tender items).
  • Bring back your egg cartons and fruit boxes to recycle next week.

Alternate Location for Summer Pickups

Starting next week, PS 9 will be closed and we will be distributing shares for the rest of the summer at an alternate location (see emailed newsletter). The hours will not change, so please come on time or risk losing your share to the food pantry.

Recipe of the Week

It’s all about fennel.  And polenta.  Comfort food:

Caramelized Fennel on Herbed Polenta

2 to 3 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/2 cup cornmeal polenta
fine sea salt
1 large fennel bulb
2 T ghee or clarified butter
2 T raw fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as dill, chives, parsley
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
olive oil
herb flowers for garnish

Heat the broth in a large saucepan until simmering. Slowly pour in the polenta in a steady stream, whisking all the while to prevent clumping. Add a few pinches of salt. Stir constantly for a couple minutes; then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so, for 30 to 45 minutes (read the label on your polenta for cooking time approximations). If the polenta becomes too thick, add more broth or water and whisk until smooth The polenta is cooked when you rub a small amount of it between your fingers and it is no longer gritty, but instead creamy and smooth.

While the polenta is cooking, cut the fennel bulb into thin vertical slices (from the top to the base).

Heat the ghee or clarified butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the fennel slices to the skillet, making sure that they all come into contact with the surface of the skillet (not overlapping). Sprinkle with sea salt. Do not stir or move the fennel until it is golden on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes. When all the pieces have browned, flip them onto the uncooked sides. When the underside has also browned, add a sprinkling of fennel seeds and the maple syrup, and let cook for 1 minute. Toss to coat, transfer the fennel to a plate. Season with more salt if needed.

Add the chopped herbs and grated cheese to the polenta, and give it a final stir. Whisk in a little more broth or water if necessary.

To serve, scoop a portion of polenta onto a plate, then arrange the caramelized fennel on top. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with herb flowers if available.

Serves 2.
Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 45 min

News from Ted at Windflower Farm

CSA Delivery #3
My apologies for being tardy in getting the farm’s news to you this week. Some of you will no doubt have your share in hand before reading this. I have no excuse other than this is the crazy-busy phase of the vegetable farmer’s year, and I’m a little tired. My goal will be to get this note out on Sunday afternoons, giving you more time to find recipes and to include your share information in planning for the week’s grocery shopping.

This week’s share includes:

  • lettuce,
  • Hukurei turnips or broccoli
  • kohlrabi, which I’ve learned is great sliced thin and salted, alongside pretzels and pickles
  • scallions
  • more of those garlic greens, which can be used like any garlic clove
  • cucumbers, primarily of the long, Asian type
  • garlic scapes
  • greens (kale, chard and collards).

Next week you should see the first of our squashes and zucchinis along with more cucumbers, turnips, scallions and greens. We’ll also be sending more garlic scapes and baby lettuces.
Nate and I hilled our potatoes over the weekend, and then, happily, it rained. They look healthy and vigorous. So far, the crop has been free from pest insects and diseases. Our sweet potatoes are now beginning to take off. It’s been too cool and rainy for them to really thrive, but if the summer season delivers some warmth and sunshine, you should see some tubers in your fall shares.

Have a great week, Ted