Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 14

Roots Farm CSA
Week 14: July 27 & 30
This Week:

-Melons: Hannah’s Choice, Lilly Crenshaws, Hearts of Gold, Sun Jewel
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Soleil Zucchini, Trombicino
-Cucumbers: Mid-East Prolific
-Tomatoes: Big Beef, Brandywine, Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Jubilee, Tropical, Whopper
-Peppers: Carmen, Islander
-Herbs: Basil (Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple)
-Beans: Blue Coco & Marvel of Venice

On the Farm . . .
It looks like the blueberries are beginning to slack off and finish up their season -- right in time for figs to begin to come on. This is the absolute earliest I have ever seen figs appear. My theory is that they’re early because we didn’t get a late freeze this year, which is unusual. The late freeze usually kills back the fig trees some and then they resurrect and later produce figs. No late freeze means no kill back means we now therefore have unusually early figs. That’s my theory. Whatever the case, enjoy these figgy delights. I suggest you eat them ASAP since they’re notoriously quick to ferment and decompose. Eat them now. If not right now, then refrigerate them and eat them soon. Ummmm, figs.

Let’s see. Also on the farm, the okra is poking along, taking its sweet time. The red okra has begun to produce, but the green is almost five feet tall and still not flowering. What’s up green okra? Why so reticent? Are you too shaded? Not thinned enough? Or maybe I’m just impatient. Come on, okra, we’re looking forward to your arrival. Also along the way, the red noodle beans are filling out. They are indeed red and about a foot or two long, so I’m excited to see those come out in the near future.

On the failing side, the squash and cukes are beginning to look like the summer and the bugs have taken their toll, so I can’t guarantee they’ll be with us much longer. Enjoy them while they last. Also enjoy the tomatoes. I don’t know what’s going on this year yet, but jeeze do the tomatoes look rough. It’s our worst tomato year yet. Four out of six plantings are limping along sadly and I wouldn’t be surprised if the other two began to go that way as well. Hold on, tomatoes! You can do it!

Fall CSA
We’ve still got space in the Fall CSA for any of you who want to join on for another month or two of veggies. About half the spaces are full now, so sign on today to ensure your share of the harvest. Check out our website for more details and applications. The adventure continues . . .

Are in the spotlight this week. We’ve got the Carmen peppers--a Corno di Toro, or Bullhorn, variety that is wonderfully sweet and thin-walled--as well as Islander purple bells this week. Regular red, yellow, and green bells are on the way, but we’re grateful for these extra-early ones to keep us happy until then. And really, come on--purple peppers, I’ve been wanting to grow them for years and just now gave myself permission to do so. I think they’re way cool and hope you like them as much as I do. We’ve also got a sweet pepper by the name of “Lipstick” that is one of the sweetest, thick-walled, small-ish peppers I’ve ever had. I’ll let you know when they appear. Anyway. So, pepper cookery . . . you can eat them raw, in salads, stir-fries, soups, stews, omelets, casseroles, quiches, grilled, roasted, pureed, and more! STORAGE: Peppers will keep for a couple of weeks in the hydrator drawer of your fridge. You can also chop them, freeze them on a cookie sheet, then place them in a freezer bag for use later (instant diced peppers!). Enjoy!


Savory Pepper Pie
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
6 green Anaheim or 4 poblano chiles, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced (or substitute green bell peppers)
1-2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper
½ lb cheddar cheese, sliced or grated, and divided
8 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks

Biscuit topping:
¼ cup honey
1 cup milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Sliced tomatoes, fresh tomato salsa, or sour cream

Grease an 8x12-inch baking dish. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium flame. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften. Add chiles, bell peppers, garlic, and cumin; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread half the mix into baking dish. Arrange half the cheddar over mixture. Spread remaining chile mixture over cheese. Scatter the cream cheese over mixture. Heat oven to 400 degrees. To make topping: mix wet ingredients in a bowl. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl. Stir the two together until just combined. Spread topping evenly over chile/cheese layers. Bake at 400 degrees, 25 minutes. Arrange or scatter remaining cheddar over topping and bake another 5 minutes. Serve with sliced tomatoes, salsa, or sour cream. Makes 12 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini Cookbook. (labeled in that book as “Green Chile Red Pepper Corn Bread Cobbler”)

Cheesy Pepper Casserole
Butter for greasing the baking dish
1 ½ cups uncooked bulgur
1 ½ cups boiling water
2 Tbsp butter
1 ½ cups chopped onion (~3 small onions)
4 cups minced green peppers (~4 peppers)
1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms, any kind
1 ½ Tbsp tamari
1 ½ Tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp crushed dried marjoram or 3 tsp minced fresh marjoram
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups cottage cheese
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
4 eggs, beaten, lightly salted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with butter. Put the bulgur into a sauté pan and pour the boiling water over it. Cover and let stand for at least 15 minutes. Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the onions; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and mushrooms; continue to cook until peppers are just becoming tender and the mushrooms have released their water, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the tamari, sherry, marjoram, salt, and pepper to taste; mix well. In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese and feta cheese. Spread the bulgur in the prepared baking dish. Cover it with the vegetables and then the mixed cheeses. Pour the beaten eggs over everything; let the eggs seep through the ingredients by tapping htre casserole dish on the counter a few times. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes. Let stand fore 10 minutes before servings. Makes 6-8 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook. They say you can also substitute 1 cup of cooked sausage or soysauge in place of 1 cup of the bell peppers for extra yumminess. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Risotto
2 large red bell peppers
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Juice of 2 small lemons
8-9 cups vegetable stock
3 Tbsp olive oil
~2 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine

Heat oven to broiling temperature. Place peppers on baking sheet. Broil close to heating element, using tongs to turn peppers to char skin evenly on all sides. Remove from oven, place in paper bag; and close bag. Let peppers stand while you chop onion and dill and juice lemons. Remove peppers from bag; peel off charred skin, remove stem and seeds (don’t rinse them, as this will weaken the flavor), and cut into small strips. Heat stock in saucepan over medium-low flame. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium flame. Add onions; cook until soft. Stir in rice with wooden spoon until all grains are evenly coated. Add dill, stir 1 minute, then add wine and stir until wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup stock; stir until stock is absorbed. Continue cooking, stirring, and adding 1 cup stock at a time until the rice is al dente and suspended in a smooth sauce, 15-25 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and red peppers. Makes 6-8 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini Cookbook.

And if that’s not enough for ya, I’ve got more recipes for peppery delights here. Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 13

Roots Farm CSA
Week 13: July 20 & 23

This Week:

-Melons: Hannah’s Choice, Lilly Crenshaws, Hearts of Gold, Sun Jewel, Honey Yellow
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Soleil Zucchini, Trombicino
-Cucumbers: Suhyo Long, Mid-East Prolific, Lemon
-Tomatoes: Big Beef, Brandywine, Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Jubilee, Tropical, Whopper, Juliet Roma
-Peppers: Carmen
-Herbs: Basil (Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple)
-Beans: Blue Coco & Marvel of Venice
-Kale: Winterbor, Red Russian

On The Farm . . .
It smells like melons. You know, I love growing cantaloupes: the vines look so pretty covering the beds with their lush green leaves; the fruits are large and exciting; they change color to let you know that they’re getting ripe; they slip (pull easily) from the vine when they’re ready; and they smell amazing. With cantaloupes ripening in the hoop house, the whole garden nearby smells like readiness, like ambrosia. It’s a lovely thing. So yeah, I love growing cantaloupes. Watermelons, however, are another matter. Mysterious, wild watermelons. Their vines take over the whole nearby world and those lovely large fruits mock you with their impenetrability. Are they ready? How to know for sure? Such a guessing game for watermelons. I wish they presented more obvious picking indicators, more predictability. So sad to pick an unripe watermelon; so decadently delicious to hear the rind pop when you slice into a ripe one, the mouth-watering anticipation of its juicy sweetness. Anyway, I wax poetic. Cantaloupes are coming your way in force this week, so you may want to flip back to the melon recipes I wrote up earlier this season for ideas (ginger-melon sorbet) and inspiration. Watermelons are coming soon. Just as soon as we can guess they’re ripe.

CSA Extension & Fall CSA
The rumors are true--we’ve decided to offer more months of CSA baskets this year! Here’s the breakdown: we’re running a September CSA Extension for the month of September that will include all the veggies of late summer and maybe some sweet potatoes, and we’re offering an October Fall CSA that will have some of those same summer veggies and some more fall-like stuff like radishes, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli to name a few. The September CSA is $100 for Full Shares and $48 for Half Shares (less variety translates into a lower cost for you) and the October is $124 for Full Share and $68 for Half Shares (same weekly price breakdown as summer). If you want to sign up for both, it’s $224 for Full and $116 for Half. Details should appear on the website this week. If you’re interested, sign up today! We’re offering a limited number of memberships for this new venture, so go ahead and reserve your share of the fall harvest soon!

Are in the recipe spotlight this week. It’s been an interesting year for beans. The deer browsed the first planting pretty hard, the second planting is producing oddly, and the third planting isn’t ready yet. Despite all that, I think we’re going to have a respectable amount of beans this week. So beans get the spotlight. Here goes . . . STORAGE: keep your beans in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. They’ll keep good for a week or so. You can also freeze them (blanch them first) or pickle them (dilly beans!). PREPARATION: I like to just steam them and eat them with butter and salt and pepper, and maybe some toasted almonds, but you can also add them to bean salads, casserole them, toss them in stir-fries and soups, roast them, and more! Here are some recipes for ya.


Green Beans with Tomatoes & Herbs
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sliced onions
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried ground thyme
1 lb green beans, ends clipped, beans cut in half
1 sprig rosemary, stem removed
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
salt or salted butter to taste

Heat olive oil in a deep pan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes; saute until fragrant. Add onions; saute until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, the dried spices, and green beans. Stir, cover, and steam-cook beans until nearly done, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the rosemary and tomatoes. Cook very briefly, until tomatoes are warmed through and beans are done. Season with salt, or, if you prefer, melt salted butter over the beans before serving. Makes 4 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini Cookbook.

Green Beans & Pasta Salad
1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 jar (6.5oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, halved, each half quartered
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup black olives, pitted, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp prepared Dijon mustard
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 tsp)
2 1/2 cups uncooked rotini or other pasta

Place the beans in a steamer basket set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water and cover. Steam until just tender, 3-5 minutes depending on freshness. Drain and immediately run under cold water. Transfer the beans to a clean, dry dish towel or to paper towels and pat dry. Toss the green beans, artichoke hearts, eggs, bell pepper, onion, olives, and parsley in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, wine vinegar, basil, mustard, black pepper, and garlic until dressing is thick and the oil and vinegar no longer separate. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well. Add the pasta to the bowl with the green beans. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Makes 6 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Vegetable Soup Provencal
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small leek, thoroughly cleaned and chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
8 cups water
2 tsp salt
(pinch of saffron threads)
1 can (15-19oz) white beans, rinsed and drained or 1-2 cups cooked beans
2 small handfuls broken thin spaghetti or macaroni
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup pesto sauce
1 tsp black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring, until tender but not browned, 5-10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, potato, water, salt, and saffron threads. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the can of beans or cooked beans, spaghetti, zucchini, and green beans. Simmer just until the pasta is tender. Stir in the pesto and pepper. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold. Makes about 3 quarts. From The Joy of Cooking.

For more green bean recipes, click here. Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 12

Roots Farm CSA
Week 12: July 13 & 16
This Week:
-Blackberries or Blueberries
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Magda, Jackpot Zucchini, Soleil Zucchini, Trombicino
-Cucumbers: Suhyo Long, Mid-East Prolific, & Lemon
-Tomatoes: Big Beef Slicers, Juliet Romas, Golden Rave Roma, Black Cherries
-Peppers!: Carmen
-Herbs: Basil (Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple)
-Garlic: California Early
-Beans: Blue Coco & Marvel of Venice

On the Farm . . .
We had an amazing workday this past Saturday! The weather blessed us with some nice cloud cover that kept the temperatures nice and temperate while we revolutionized the fields. We finished harvesting the last of the carrots, took out the strawberry rows (we grow them as an annual), removed driptape from the corn to prepare it for mowing, and weeded sunflowers, zinnias, parsley, and winter squash, to name a few things. It was awesome. The we retreated to the garage to process those huge walls of garlic that we’ve had drying in there. Now we have trays and trays of garlic, ready to go, some of which you’ll see in your baskets this week. A baker’s dozen folks came out and I’d say now that a baker’s dozen volunteers is a farmer’s delight! Thanks to all you who helped! And for those of you who didn’t make it this month, there’s always August . .

In the Basket and Almost There
I know some of you have been salivating, just waiting for the garlic to appear again, and this week is your week. Welcome back garlic! It’s dry and ready to go home with ya. Also, we’re still working to get beans, some of which may appear this week. And okra is on its way, but perhaps not yet this week. The last of the first succession of melons is trickling in; next week we’ll most likely have some of the next succession ready--Hannah’s Choice cantaloupes! Carmen peppers are in your shares this week -- they’re a sweet bull’s horn variety, so don’t be fooled by the long, tapered appearance into thinking they’re hot stuff. Delightfully early to go to red, I think you’ll enjoy their rich, full flavor. And cucumbers. If any of you would like extra cucumbers to pickle, just let us know. We pickled last week and hardly made a dent in our supple, so there are plenty more for you. Help us move our stock while you stock your larders. Just ask . . .

Is in the spotlight this week. I know you’ve been getting it consistently for quite some time now, and you may be wondering to yourself, what ELSE can I do with it. I’ve got some ideas for you. STORAGE: I recommend storing your basil in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature for 3-4 days. If you keep it in the fridge, beware that basil is a heat-loving crop and blackens at the first hint of frost, so if your fridge is cold, your basil may deteriorate even more quickly than on the counter. You can also freeze your basil, either as whole leaves on a cookie sheet that you transfer to a bag when frozen or as pesto. It freezes great! You can also dry it if you like. PREPARATION: Basil goes great into pasta sauces, salad dressings, salads, in sandwiches, soups, and stews, and even in desserts. Check out some of the recipes below . . .


Pesto Sauce
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts, other nuts)
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Process to a rough paste in a food processor: basil, nuts, garlic, and cheese (if freezing, add nuts and cheese after thawing). With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil. If the sauce seems dry (it should be a thick paste), add a little more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Use immediately or store in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (or freeze it for later--I like to freeze it in ice cube trays for the ease of single-serving sizes).

Loosely translated, pesto means “pounded” in Italian, and refers to the age-old method of preparing a paste by pounding and grinding the ingredients together with a mortar and pestle. Today, pesto refers to a class of rich sauces usually served with pasta, but it can admirably complement a variety of vegetables including carrots, green beans, zucchini, and potatoes. It gives a luscious twist when added to mayonnaise, particularly in potato or seafood salads. Experiment with different ingredients or mixtures of ingredients: use fresh tarragon, or mix fresh mint or arugula with basil. Try almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds. Make a dairy-free or vegan pesto by substituting tofu, lemon juice, and salt for Parmesan cheese. One cautionary word: pesto is practically a concentrate, so start with a spoonful, not a ladleful. Toss with your choice of pasta and veggies for a quick and delicious dish. (Thanks to Joy of Cooking & Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant)

4 tomatoes
4 small balls of fresh mozzarella
1 bunch of basil
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes and the cheese and tear the basil leaves from their stalks. Arrange the mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes into overlapping, alternating layers on your serving dish. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add salt & pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.

2 cups diced tomatoes 1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil 1 baguette, sliced and toasted
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (slices 1/2-inch thick)

Mix the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and garlic together well. Spoon onto toasted baguette slices. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.

Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp chopped fresh lemon basil
1 Tbsp finely grated or minced lemon or lime peel (use only the yellow or green portion of the peel)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix butter sugar vanilla, basil, and lemon or lime peel in a separate bowl and beat until well combined. Slowly add dry ingredients to the butter mixture—it will be crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Dump mixture into an ungreased 9x13 inch pan. Press to an even thickness. Bake until edges begin to turn light brown, about 20 minutes—do not overbake! Using a sharp knife, slice into two-inch squares while hot. Let cool 10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a plate or cooling rack. Makes 24-30 cookies. (These are delicious! Very filling, though.) From the From Asparagus to Zucchini Cookbook.

Basil Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers or graham crackers (~45 wafers or 24 crackers)
6 Tbsp butter, melted, divided
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
2 lbs cream cheese, softened, divided
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh basil, finely sliced
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
fresh basil leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the crumbs with 5 Tbsp of the melted butter and 1 Tbsp of the sugar in a small bowl. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and press with the bottom of a glass to form a solid, tight crust. Bake until light brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool. turn the oven up to 450 degrees. Put the cream cheese iin a food processor in half-pound batches; process at low speed to break it up. (You can also do this with a large bowl and electric mixer.) When all the cream cheese has been processed, add a pinch of salt and process for a few seconds more. Add the eggs and egg yolks, basil, sour cream, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla; process on low speed just until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Bake the cheesecake until it is set and slightly puffed around the edges but still slightly moist and “jiggly” in about a 3-inch circle at the center, 30-40 minutes. (The cake will continue to cook and set after you remove it from the oven, so don’t worry about that center part. If you bake it until it is solid, your cake will be overcooked.) Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a rack to cool for 30 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the outside of the partially cooled cake to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Leave the cake in the pan, on the rack, to cool completely, about 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. At least 1 hour before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator. While the cake is still cold, carefully and gently remove the sides of the springform pan. With a sharp knife dipped in hot water and dried or with a long strand of waxed dental floss, divide the cake into 10 or 12 wedges. (You will need to dip and dry the knife, or wipe the floss clean, several times.) Garnish each serving with a fresh basil leaf. Makes 10-12 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

For more basil recipes, click here. Enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 11

Roots Farm CSA
Week 11: July 6 & 9
This Week:

-Corn!: Kandy Korn
-Melons!: Sun Jewel Asian & Honey Yellow Honeydew
-Blackberries or Blueberries
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Magda, Jackpot Zucchini, Soleil Zucchini, Trombicino
-Cucumbers: Suhyo Long, Mid-East Prolific, & Lemon
-Eggplant: Hansel (purple), Gretel (white), Fairytale (streaked), & Pingtung Long (lavender)
-Tomatoes: Big Beef Slicers, Juliet Romas, Golden Rave Roma, Black Cherries
-Peppers!: Islander
-Herbs: Basil (Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple) & Parsley

On the Farm . . .
We’ve been enjoying the cooler weather this last week brought us. Summer is rolling right on along with the second round of corn coming in. Melons and berries are still in abundance. And the squash and cukes continue to flow. The beans are taking their sweet time. The okra is almost 4 feet tall and looking like it might want to flower. Summery veggies, now is the time!

Weekend Workday -- This Saturday!
Come on out and join us for a nice morning on the farm. From 8am-noon, we’ll be out there weeding, trellising, harvesting, and processing. Then we’ll seek some shade to process some more -- garlic, here we come! We could use your help, so come out and enjoy the farm with us. See you here!

This is round number two and our final installation of corn, so savor the flavor while it lasts. And if you just didn’t get enough in your share, we’ll have more at the farmers market on Saturday, so you can get the rest of your fix there . . . Also, please remember that there will probably be corn ear worms munching away at the top tip of your corn and this is no reason to panic. These little buggers are ever-present in organic cornfields and can be easily handled by you, the saavy consumer, with your sharp knife and willingness to cut away the already eaten parts. I recommend eating your corn the night you get it since it’s at it’s sweetest when it is it’s freshest. Those sugars begin converting to starches for energy storage pretty quickly, so don’t delay--devour your corn ASAP for maximum sweetness!

Summer Squash
I’m happy to report that they continue to flow in. Our first 4 plantings have died and gone to compost heaven, but there’s still 3 more out there, one of which just began to produce and one of which hasn’t even started flowering yet. There’s hope to be had that summer will provide squash for a while yet still. The trombicino has been a strong producer this year and we hope you’re enjoying it despite it’s unfamiliarity. It seems more disease resistant and longer-lived than some of our other varieties, and that’s a valuable asset here in the Southeast. Thanks go to our fellow Athens farmers for telling us it was a good idea. We hope you feel the same.

Since the squash keeps flowing in, I figured you might like a few new ideas as to what to do with it. So this week I’m putting squash in the spotlight. Here we go . . . STORAGE: farm-fresh summer squash respire through their skins, so they need to be refrigerated as soon as possible. Store them in a sealed plastic container that you’ve lined with a kitchen towel and they’ll keep for about a week and a half. USAGE: well, summer squash is quite versatile. Use young to medium sized squashed in stir-fries, soups, stews, on the grill, roasted, grated raw into salads and dips, battered and fried, steamed or sauteed, in tomato sauces, with pasta, and much more! The large ones can be stuffed or peeled, seeded, and grated/cubed and used for relishes, salsas, or sweet treats like zucchini breads and cakes, and more. Here are some ideas for you . . .

Summer Squash & Bulgur Salad
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup bulgur
4 small or 2 medium summer squashi, finely diced
1 bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lime juice (~1 lime)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, then add the bulgur. Leave uncovered; cook the bulgur for 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and set aside until the bulgur has absorbed the rest of the water, about 15 minutes. Fluff the cooked bulgur with a fork until the grains are well separated; transfer to a large bowl. Add the squash, bell pepper, and onion. Toss until well combined. Whisk the dill, parsley, olive oil, and lime juice in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the bulgur and toss until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before serving. Serve at room temperature. Makes 6 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook, which also states, “this is an interesting and delicious variation on the Middle Eastern bulgur-and-parsley salad known as tabbouleh. Bulgur, which si simply cracked wheat, has a nutty taste and satisfying, chewy texture similar to borwn rice, but it is finer and lighter, which makes it perfect for a summery salad. This dish is wonderfully refreshing and very simple to make.” Enjoy!

Chilled Zucchini & Avocado Soup
4 small or 2 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped
2 avocados, peeled, pits removed, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 cup plain yogurt
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Put the zucchini, avocado, scallions, garlic, chili powder, and coriander seeds into a food processor; process until smoothly combined. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl; stir in the yogurt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste; garnish with cilantro. Makes 2-4 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook. They write, “Pureed avocado combined with the unique silky texture of pureed raw zucchini makes for a soup so smooth it defies description. Freshly ground whole coriander seeds give this soup a slightly exotic citrus aroma. You can crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or use the back of a sturdy spoon to grind them in the bottom of a shallow bowl. This makes a perfect, refreshing dinner on one of those sweltering summer days when the idea of eating anything hot seems absurd.”

Creamy Zucchini-Cumin Dip
4 small or 2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp ground cumin
freshly ground black pepper

Place zucchini in a medium bowl; add the salt and mix well. Transfer to a colander and set int eh sink to drain for at least 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put the sour cream, onion, lime juice, and cumin in a large serving bowl; stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and paprika to taste. Squeeze as much moisture as you can from the zucchini with your hands; add the zucchini to the sour cream mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve cold or at room temperature. This works great as an all-purpose party dip--double it if you’re making it for a party. Or use it as a stylish garnish for tacos or chili. Makes about 2 cups. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins/Cake
3/4 cup oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp cocoa or carob powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp each cinnamon & cloves
2 1/2 cups flour
small bag of chocolate or carob chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees; grease muffin pans or a 9x13 inch pan. Mix wet ingredients; in a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients except for chocolate/carob chips. Add wet to dry and stir in chocolate chips. Pour into pan(s). Bake for 30-35 minutes. Makes 24 muffins or one cake. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini Cookbook. These are really delightful. They make beautiful, delicious muffins. Try them plain or with a cream cheese frosting. Delicious!

Mock Apple Cobbler
Filling ingredients:
3 lbs peeled, seeded, and chopped summer squash (~8 cups)
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Crust ingredients:
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine squash and lemon juice in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to simmer and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; simmer 1 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 9 x 13 - inch baking pan. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl; cut in butter with pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup of the crust mixture into zucchini mixture. Press half the remaining crust mixture into pan. Spread squash mixture over it, then crumble remaining crust mixture over squash. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake until golden and bubbly, 35-40 minutes. Makes 12+ servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini Cookbook. I’ve made this and it’s actually pretty good. Folks couldn’t tell it was made of squash and not apples. Tasty.

And if that isn’t enough for your recipe-wise, click here for lots more squash-eating ideas.