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Just a small sample of what we grow!
This herb with various sweet and spicy flavor profiles is popular in a variety of cuisines such as Italian, Thai, and Vietnamese. Basil is a member of the mint family, and you may notice that some varieties have a familiar minty note. There are over 30 different types of basil, including Sweet, Thai, Cinnamon, Tulsi, Lemon, and Purple Ruffles. In Hindu traditions, Tulsi (also known as holy basil) represents love and purification. Basil is also considered an aphrodisiac, and is linked to courtship rituals in several countries. Read more about the fascinating uses and history of basil in this guide from the Herb Society of America.
Sweet basil is the most popular variety in our area and great for Italian style cooking. Pick off leaves and lay over slices of tomatoes with fresh mozzarella cheese. Or try pesto:
Quick and Easy Pesto
2 cups fresh basil, packed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine or walnuts
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Makes 1 cup.
Yellow and green beans are available for pick your own at the farm (for members). In season, you can also bulk order bushels of organic beans that we get from Wally at Plainville Farm (where they have a bean-picking machine!). For the shares we get the beans from Wally also.
I like making Green Bean French Fries, which are basically steamed beans with butter or olive oil and salt, eaten with your fingers. Mmm.
We grow two types of shell beans which will be at the farmers market and available for PYO. Caco Black has green shells and the beans develop eventually into a black color. The other variety is Tongue of Fire which ripens to a speckled pink on the shell and the beans inside are white with pink and purple speckles.
As the name implies, shell beans are shelled before cooked, but unlike dry beans, these are best fresh and take very little time to cook up. Succotash is a common dish that often has lima beans, but may have originally been made with shell beans when the Native Americans first introduced the dish to English settlers.
Early season beets come bunched with greens. Later season beets come just as a root. We have three different varieties of beets. The classic deep red beets. Gold beets with rich yellow interior. And pink-skinned Chioggia beets with pink and white candy-stripe circles inside. Chioggia beets are an heirloom variety from an Italian town of that name.
You can eat the beet greens and stems from all the varieties, and there are delicious dishes that incorporate your whole beet plant. Try sauteeing beets, and then greens with garlic and onion and mix with fresh goat cheese over pasta.
Did you know beets and swiss chard are in the same plant family?
Roasted beets, just tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper are great - really brings out the sweetness. Cooked beets make tasty cold salads with a little vinegar and onions. Try them juiced raw (mixed with some other veggies or fruit) or grated raw on salads for beautiful color.
When we thin our beet patches, we have beet greens and teeny baby beets. The greens are the closest thing to spinach we harvest in hotter weather (spinach does not grow well in heat), so use them whole with the tiny beet anywhere you would use spinach.
To freeze blueberries, just put them in a bag and put it in the freezer, and you can have local blueberry pancakes all winter!
I read a yummy recipe on the LovelyLocavoreLadies blog, where you "simply add blueberries, a little bit a water, cardamom and cinnamon, cook (~10min), then puree. Add yogurt on top, make pretty swirls! It is a very pretty dish."
You may never know quite how to spell it, but I bet you'll find it's great for the eating. Crunchy stems and delicate leaves are delicious raw in salad. They stirfry quickly and commune happily with garlic and peanut oil. You can work them in with any vegetables you have on hand. Put them in last for just a few minutes to keep some crunch in the stems.
We like to grow baby bok choys like Mei Qing and Red Choi as well as larger varieties that make a plant larger than a lettuce head. They all have similar cooking properties, though the larger varieties will take slightly more cooking time.
Components include Mizuna, Tatsoi, Arugula, Mustard Greens, and possibly some baby Swiss Chard (not actually a brassica family green!). You can use these to add spice to your salad, on their own for salad, or as a quick braising green to cook lightly.
A medley of cooking greens. These greens, selected for cooking use, are usually larger than salad-size greens. Usual suspects in braising mix include Spinach, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Bok Choy, Kale, Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens, Collards, Beet Greens, Arugula, and more.
Our Broccoli varieties are mainly green headed types. Sometimes we have large heads, sometimes we have the small side shoots that come after you cut the first main head. Broccoli stems are edible too! Chop them up and add to stirfry or soups.
We usually have very little of cauliflower, just a touch of it in the fall, as it is hard to grow. Cauliflower comes in a few different types. White is the classic kind, but there's also the green Romanesco type, and a nice yellow variety called Cheddar. At times, cauliflower gets some dark spots on the surface - you can cut these away and use the rest of the head.
Both Cauliflower and Broccoli come from the nutrient-rich brassica family. They can be eaten raw or cooked in any way you like.
Being a CSA member revolutionized this vegetable for me. Instead of bland and bitter, they were tasty sweet and came on a club I could take out the burglars with :). For storage in your fridge, cut or pick the sprouts off the stalk and store in a plastic bag. You can remove the outer leaves if the sprouts have any damage. Take care not to overcook them (boil or steam 5-10 minutes max); mushy is not what you want. Roasting them in the oven with a little olive oil really brings out their sweetness.
Brussels sprouts are a very finicky crop to grow, and the variety you choose to grow makes a big difference towards having any sprouts at all. They like a long season, and are often affected by foliar diseases, and some pests, that organic methods don't have control over - sometimes making the plants look a bit rough-and-tumble by the time it comes to harvest. Under the surface they are usually quite tasty though!
We grow various types of cabbage, aiming for smaller headed types in the summer. You might see Arrowhead, the green pointy-tipped kind, Savoy, the crinkly-leaved green type, the more classic green cabbage, also red cabbage, and occasionally the Napa Chinese cabbage with an oblong head and crinkly leaves.
For winter time, we grow bigger storage cabbage types, like big green ones that are great for cooking or sauerkraut, and big savoyed ones with striations of pink. These you can cut half for cooking, and turn the other half into home-made sauerkraut. You can also chop off as much as you need and put the rest in a plastic bag in the fridge, and it will keep for quite a while, for periodic use.
Simple Coleslaw with Olive Oil and Vinegar
Greggie Pie's Cabbage Pie - which can include carrots and summer squash/zucchini or other seasonal vegetables - just combine until you have a good amount of things to fill the crust up.
Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut on the Wild Fermentation website.
Irish Cabbage and Bacon
German Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
We have traditional orange carrots, as well as the wild and crazy rainbow carrots and purple carrots at different times in the season.
The rainbow mix contains all the colors of carrots we grow, with a baseline of a rainbow seed mix of whites, yellows, oranges and reds.
TOPS: No way! Yes indeed you can eat carrot tops. One of our crew incredulously tried a carrot green in the field and said "Mmm, like parsley, not as strong, with a hint of carrot." I did a quick search on recipes on the net and found all kinds of things. Check it out. A friend of mine juices them and loves it. (Carrots do happen to be in the same family as parsley). You can also feel free to not eat them.
Celeriac might be the most scruffy-lookin vegetable in your share, but rest assured it will make its mark. Your soups will be 10 times better, stir-fries richer, and your salads crunchier. You'll be even more grateful when, in March, your celeriac is still ready for eating.
It's in the family with celery, and is amazing chopped and baked with olive oil like fries in the oven, very tasty stir-fried with greens, and makes a delicious addition to a soup broth. It takes about the time of a carrot to cook.
The Celery we grow is more potently flavorful than the kind you typically find in the store. We don't dose it heavily with chemical fertilizers and fungicides. Conventional Celery is high on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen of most chemical-containing fruits and vegetables. This is because conventional farms spray celery with lots of fungicides to prevent disease, and the celery plant absorbs readily. Conventional farms also feed celery with lots of chemical fertilizers, which cause the plant to grow bigger and take on more water, diluting the flavor. Celery poses challenges for organic farmers because of high disease pressure. The New England climate does not provide the ideal growing conditions for celery either, so we grow limited amounts.
Use the leaves to flavor soups and stocks. The stalks can be chopped into salads for crunch, tossed into sautes near the end of cooking, added to soups, made into snacks with peanut butter, or however you like it.
Fresh or dried flowers from the chamomile plant make a warming and relaxing herbal tea. This tea is so popular, about a million cups are sipped each day around the world. With many medicinal uses, chamomile is a great herb to preserve by drying and then prepare in tinctures or other products for when you need it.
Chives are related to onions and scallions, and can be used in a similar way to green onions. Snip a few inches worth into salad dressings, spreads, compound butters, and add a bright flavor to rich and creamy dishes. The bright purple chive blossoms have a very strong spicy flavor, and make pretty garnish for soups and salads (break them up into bits for a less intense flavor, or cook them whole). We also grow Garlic Chives, which have a flat leaf and notes of garlic flavor.
In the spring chives come up as one of the first fresh flavors of onion. We often use them in pestos at that time of year, as well as adding them chopped to salads. They are classically added as a topping to baked potatoes and deviled eggs. You can use them anywhere you want a bit of onion flavor.
The seeds of cilantro if you let it flower and ripen are the herb known as coriander. Fresh cilantro, which we grow year round, is a treat! It's flavorful green leaves have an aromatic citrus taste that is a classic component of many salsas. You'll also see cilantro in many Asian and Indian dishes.
Some folks love it, while others dislike it intensely - which was true for me, until I spent a year in Ecuador as an exchange student eating many foods with cilantro by default! Now I converted and am a cilantro lover, so it may be a taste that you can acquire if you so desire. Try it in some of these great recipes!
Cilantro is best while very fresh– when buying, be sure that it is very aromatic. Be sure to use the stems as they are very flavorful as well. Cilantro does not keep its flavor when dried, so this is an herb to freeze if you have extra and want to preserve the taste.
A member of the cabbage family, collard greens have a long history in the southern states, yet their popularity has grown recently throughout the nation. They store great in the fridge (a few days longer than more vulnerable greens like lettuce). Packed full of vitamins and minerals, these greens can be used anywhere you’d use spinach, kale or any other dark leafy green.
Sweet corn is one of the joys of summer. It is best super fresh as flavor and sweetness wane somewhat quickly after harvest. We are very picky with our corn and get frequent harvests for our farmstands, and pick to order for the CSA (super fresh, as with everything for the CSA!). When you get corn we recommend eating it right up. Though, actually, improvements by crop breeders over the last few years have made newer varieties of sweet corn stay sweeter longer after harvest (not genetic modification, just regular crop breeding). We don't grow or buy in any genetically modified sweet corn.
To steam corn, just put a bit of water in a pot big enough to hold your ears of corn, stick in a steamer, put the corn in the steamer, and put the lid on. Then measure about 10 minutes from when the water's boiling (or it's really steamy hot) and you're done. Being as you can eat it raw, undercooking sweet corn isn't really a big problem. If you don't have a steamer you can just lay the bottom ears in the water.
To roast ears of corn on the grill, keep their husks on and dunk the ears in water, drain, then place on a rack above your coals. Roast and turn until the outside husks are browned (or blackened as some like it!). Sometimes it cooks through and browns the surface of the kernels in spots with a wonderful caramelizing effect. You can also cut off the tip of each ear and pull out some of the silk before roasting if you'd like.
Now here's the thing about organic corn, it sometimes has corn earworms, as we don't spray the crop with conventional pesticides that kill the worms in the supermarket corn. The worms aren't bad for you in any way. If you get corn with a worm in it, you can just chop off that part and the rest of the ear will be good. Please do not open ears to check for worms or ripeness as it damages the ears for other people! I'm giving CSA coordinators the license to give a talking to to anyone who tries it :).
In the name of education, let me just mention that sometimes people do this at the farm stand, going through half of the corn on the stand, and then surprisingly, no one wants to buy the ears they opened. Corn is delicious and the worms probably pick the sweetest ears to taste themselves!
Other Corn Eating Tips:
Did you know you can eat corn raw? (That's how we check if it's ripe in the field :) You can cut it off the cob and toss in salad, or mix into fresh salsa.
If you get a bunch of fresh corn, you can cook it all right away to preserve the sweetness, and then use in various dishes later on. Grill previously steamed corn to warm and get some grill flavor. Or cut from the cob for use in salads. You can freeze it after cooking too, on the cob or off. Cobs can be boiled with some herbs and onion to make tasty soup stocks for corn chowder or other summer soups.
And the cukes come rolling in! We grow two kinds in general, pickling and slicing. Pickling varieties have skins that are good at absorbing flavor, and the fruits ripen to smaller sizes than your typical slicing cucumber. You can cut up and eat pickling cucumbers fresh just the same as you would slicing cucumbers; they both taste great. Fresh cucumbers are a cooling, refreshing food for hot days. I love them sliced really thin with olive oil, lemon juice, dill and salt.
Of course, they make great pickles too. There's a couple recipes on the Preserves page of our website, for the sweet and tangy Bread and Butter Pickles, and for a Quickles recipe (easy not-canned pickles to make in your fridge).
Raw fermented pickles are also great and fun to make. Check out this website for a fermentation recipe and method.
To order cucumbers in bulk for pickling or quickling, visit our bulk orders page.
Diakon, highly popular in Japan and very high in vitamin C, is a long white radish, milder in flavor than the other fall and winter radishes we grow. It's beautiful grated like snow over the top of a salad, or on a sandwich. They are great in miso soup and noodle soups- nice sliced and added to miso soup right near the end of cooking time. Thin slices of daikon make a good cracker to go with cheese or hummus. You can also make lacto-fermented diakon pickle, or use them in kimchi, or try in a sweet vinegar pickle.
Dill has such a refreshing flavor in the summer time. Its delicate leafy fronds add an appealing splash of green to potatoes, dressings, and of course a classic dill pickle. Dill is a member of the Apiaceae family, which is related to spices like caraway, cumin, and coriander, as well as veggies like carrots, parsnips, fennel, and celery.
It's very nice as the base of a salad dressing...
Fresh Dill Salad Dressing: Take the little fronds from a bunch of dill and puree with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 3-4 cloves of garlic, and salt to taste.
If you've never had young soybeans, these will be a nice surprise! Since all the beans ripen at once, we can pick the whole plant and give you the fun job of removing the beans from the stem. Don't be shy about the job-the beans have a tough shell and can take any pulling or snapping needed to get them off the plant. These are not the same kinds of soybeans that are grown for animal feed or soymilk, they are special varieties for eating at the tender green stage. Of course, organic and non-GMO.
Edamame are also very easy to prepare for a tasty snack. You don't eat the pod, just the beans inside. The easiest thing to do is boil them until beans are tender in the recipe below and pop them direct from the pod into your mouth. You can also cook them and shell them for addition to salads or other dishes. Once removed from the pods, edamame beans are easy to freeze. Throw them in a bag and put in the freezer until winter months call for a tasty addition to soups!
We grow a wide variety of colorful eggplants. You can taste test this season everything from your classic dark purple globes, to Italian heirloom varieties, to delicate-skinned Orient Express.
The whole salting-the-eggplant thing I never do. I just chop them up and grill them, or bake them, or stir 'em in the fry pan. And they are so good! I looked it up online, and salting draws the liquid out to create a firmer texture for cooking, if you so desire it.
I kind of like the melty texture I get, and the quickness! If you get a more mature eggplant with some developed seeds, the salt will also draw out some of any bitterness in the seed. Most of the varieties we grow are creamier and not prone to bitterness, though.
I'd be curious to hear about any flavor or texture differences you notice among the various varieties!
Folks in Europe buy endive like we do lettuce. This isn't the pointy pod-shaped Belgian endive, it's the big green curly head of endive that we have. This plant comes from the chicory family and shares the characteristic touch of bitter flavor that makes it a great pairing with sweeter salad dressings or roasted beets or candied pecans. Incorporate some endive into each salad you make for more flavor.
Endive is high in folate and vitamins A and K. It's also great wilted or sauteed in any dish you're making.
Escarole is very similar in flavor and use, but has broader leaves.
This plant is possibly only around once a year so we'll enjoy it for a limited time in CSA shares and at the farmers market. Great fresh chopped up in salads or braised or broiled, the fennel bulb is very versatile and its licorice-flavor is sweet and refreshing. When preparing, trim the bottom part right where it attached to the root, as it is tougher.
All the fronds are edible as well, as garnish, in salad, as an ingredient to soup or a sautee. Chop them up for use in dressings, salads, and sauces, or blend into a quick pesto with some cheese, nuts, and maybe another leafy green. You can chop and freeze the fronds for making tea later on. Have you guessed yet that it's in the same family as dill? Perhaps you didn't guess that it's also in the family with carrots and parsnips... umbelliferae.
Fennel is high in Vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium.
We grow many varieties of flowers all through the fresh season for Massachusetts. Local organic flowers for all kinds of celebrations and events! Please visit our Flowers page for more details and pictures.
This may be one of the most elegant crops on the farm. The bud of the garlic flower emerges and loops into a graceful curl at the top of the garlic plant. And we have to pick it, not only for it's beauty and flavor, but also because growing a flower makes the eventual garlic bulbs smaller. (It's also really fun to pick because you can break the stem off quickly with a satisfying snap).
How do you use them? Cook them anywhere you'd normally use garlic. I've made a really good garlic bread using garlic scapes sauteed in olive oil.
If you like garlic, you'll like green garlic. Green garlic is what you get when you plant a whole head of garlic in the ground in the fall. It comes your way like a bunch of scallions. If we left them in the ground, each stem, which grew from a clove in the original head, would turn into a little head of garlic (tiny and contorted from being planted so close).
You can use the whole thing, from the white part down by the roots, to the tips of the green fronds. Use it raw in dip or pesto; it makes an extremely addictive pesto. Or sautee it up. Or put it in soup. Anywhere you want some garlic flavor.
These bulbs with their greens are what garlic looks like before it dries in our barn. If you don't want to use your garlic bulb right away, leave the top plant on until it is dry (the plant will continue to transfer nutrients from the leaves into the bulb as it dries).
You can also use the cloves right now! The covering that is dry and papery in later-season garlic is white and fleshy at this point. You should still peel it back to find the clove inside, and use the cloves like usual. The greens from the top can be used in soup stock.
The garlic strains we grow are hard-neck, whiich means they have a hard leaf stalk, as opposed to the soft-neck types you see in stores, much of which is grown in China. Characteristics of the hard-neck types are usually larger easier to peel cloves. Hard-neck types are more suited to the colder conditions of the Northeast. We really like the flavor too.
We hang our garlic to dry in the barns, which cures it for longer storage. We hope it keeps until spring. If you have garlic that starts to grow little green shoots, you can still use the whole thing. Garlic is best stored dry and cool.
The Northeast has a shorter growing season than the tropical climates where ginger originated (south China) and where it is typically grown for world-wide sale. Our fresh ginger is harvested young, before the brown protective skin forms over the root (rhizome). We have tips below for use guidelines and best storage to protect the tender root.
The flavor of young ginger is excellent - more nutty and a little milder than typical store-bought ginger, and there is no need to peel it! In the early part of the fall season, we harvest the plant with green tops that also have culinary use.
Fresh Ginger Root - Uses:
Wash, trim any purple skin, and use anywhere you would regular ginger, in fruit sorbet, smoothies, curries, stirfry, salad, tea, chai, sodas, syrups, cookies, gingerbread, candied ginger, salad dressing, ginger pickle, ferments, and more.
Green Ginger Tops - Uses:
Make aromatic tea with the greens and stems, turn into wraps or stuffings for infusing flavor into cooking meat, or use to flavor soups or stocks. Greens are fibrous, and are best removed before eating soups or other foods.
Storage and Freezing:
Fresh ginger root keeps refrigerated for up to about 10 days in a container. Trim green tops off before storing the root part in the refrigerator or freezer. Freezes easily for grating in recipes, plus smoothies and juicing. To freeze the root, wash and pat dry, then bag in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer. Take out and use frozen ginger root, grating what you need, and putting remainders back in the freezer. Can be frozen sliced or minced as well. Lasts nicely in the freezer for 6 months, and this is a great way to have excellent flavor on hand whenever you need it.
These delicious little fruits come wrapped in a papery husk and fall to the ground when ripe. They have a golden color when ripe. Don't pick the ones still attached to the plant (green fruit or husk) - the ones that have fallen to the ground are the ripe ones.
Try them. We'll have some for sale at the farmers' market, and occasionally at the stands. CSA members can pick your own in season. Just pick up the little fruits with the brown papery husk, unwrap them, and eat the golden yellow cherry inside. They're fine golden green as well. Sweet, with a distinctive flavor someone once said tasted like cupcake. Many people tasting them last year at the tomato festival likened them to pineapple. Pineapple cupcake! mmm.
Husk Cherry (Ground Cherry) & Cherry Tomato Salsa
Kale can be used anywhere you use spinach. You can cook the stems if you want. Use in soup. You can juice it. You can braise it. You can make kale chips (kale baked in the oven with salt and a little oil, til crispy).
We love it sauteed with onions (or green garlic), and sauced up with tahini, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.
Also, there's a guy from Vermont that makes half his living selling t-shirts that say "Eat More Kale." Farmers agree. It's a great crop - you plant it once, pick from it most of the season, and it tastes good! Some might say it's darn delicious. (besides having all kinds of good-for-you elements).
We grow four main varieties, Green Curly (Winterbor), Red Curly (Redbor), Red Russian, and Lacinato (pictured to the left, also known as Dinosaur or Tuscan). Kale gets and extra kick of taste and sweetness when the weather gets cooler. It's also very easy to cook.
This crazy looking vegetable comes in both purple and green. Peel and slice up the bulb thin and raw for salads. The leaves can be cooked like kale. You can cook the bulb too in a stirfry, soup, or any style you like. Make sure to remove the woody skin before preparing.
You can make a nice slaw with grated kohlrabi and carrots, olive oil, lemon or lime juice and salt to taste. One of our members likes to make a citrus marinade for kohlrabi:
Citrus Marinade for Kohlrabi
OJ (fresh squeezed)
Lemon and lime juice (“)
A bit of honey
A bit of apple cider vinegar (I needed more liquid than I had oranges for)
Extra virgin olive oil (we use this really excellent Palestinian oil, but of course any would do)
Ginger chopped fine
Ground cumin seeds and coriander seeds
Salt and pepper
Marinate slices of kohlrabi for however long in the fridge and add to salads or eat for snack throughout the week.
Kohlrabi Pancakes with Flaxseeds
Kohlrabi Mashed Potatoes
Kohlrabi and Potato with Sour Cream and Dill
Kohlrabi and Potato Salad with Horseradish
Kohlrabi and Potato Gratin
Not sure why we have so many kohlrabi and potato recipes... send me something different to add! email@example.com
A good tip for getting the dirt out of a leek is to slice the leek in half long-ways from the tops down to mid-leek where it’s free of grit. Then keep the root up and run water through the separated leaves, rinsing the layers of leaf where dirt catches, until clean.
Leeks are a member of the lily family and close relatives of the allium family which includes onions, shallots, and garlic. The leek has a wonderful onion flavor, but is much milder. The white stem is used as well as much of the green section. You can use leeks anywhere you would use onions.
We grow many types of lettuce, from green frilly heads to deep dark oak leaf to the wonderful red and green New Red Fire. Salads with fresh lettuce are very refreshing in the summer season, and in the winter too, when green is scarce. A simple salad of lettuce and one other ingredient, like thinly sliced radishes, can be wonderful. So can the all-out everything salads with raisins, cheese squares, chopped carrots, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, chopped herbs, and whatever you have on hand. Here are some fun dressings to try.
Mint comes in many variations with layers of flavor that add to the bright cooling flavor of mint. You can make simple infused water with mint to enjoy in the summer by crushing leaves in your hand and adding them to cold water. Or a warm tea in the fall by steeping sprigs in boiling water. Mint is a common herb in Middle Eastern cuisine - try making a yogurt sauce with cucumber and mint to go along with spicy foods. It pairs well with carrots, peas, watermelon, hot peppers, and cucumbers.
Green sunshine fruit! Down-south special! Pointy-end funny little things. I thought okra was way too weird for me. And then I had some bad okra that was over-grown and tough and stringy. And that was almost the end of that. Until we started growing it here, and picked it young and tender.
It's quite delicious, I'm amazed to report. Well worth a little adventuring off the beaten path. Trim off the stem end and chop into any shape you want, toss into a stirfry, and enjoy. Coat lightly in olive oil and roast in the oven, by itself or with other summer produce. Also good in soups, gumbo-like dishes, and more. It creates something of a gelatinous texture that gets into the sauce and is very soothing to eat.
Oregano is a member of the mint family, and shares some similar flavor characteristics with mints and other relatives like basil, lavender, marjoram, and sage. The taste profile of oregano includes sweet and bitter notes with a deep warming aromatic flavor. Oregano also has numerous health benefits, specifically for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties, so love it up and use it often!
Oregano pairs well with beans, eggplant, and tomatoes. I pretty much always put it in when making tomato sauce of any kind, and also when flavoring beans. Try it in salad dressings or marinades with lemon and garlic.
We grow two types of parsley. Italian flat leaf parsley has a slightly stronger flavor and flat leaves, a favorite of chefs. Curly parsley is perhaps the more well known variety with big poofy leaves that keep a nice loft when chopped. Both are great for any recipe that requires parsley. Fresh herbs can make your sandwiches more delicious too, so don't be afraid to add a few leaves of parsley.
Storage: Keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or for longer keeping put stems in a cup of water and cover with a plastic bag.
The early onions are here! Use anywhere you'd use regular onions. I love mine sliced thin and raw on sandwiches. And you can use the green tops like scallions! Just chop them up and saute them a couple minutes with whatever you're cooking.
Ailsa Craigs have the characteristics of a sweet, Spanish-type onion. Ailsa Craig onions take their name from an island off the coast of Scotland. (They do well in cool weather!) They're sweet and not for storing long-term. Delicious raw on tomato sandwiches, and added to salads. And of course cooked up any way you like your onions.
The greens are a little tougher than the pearl onion greens, and more suited to flavoring soups and stocks. You could try them in a sautee too and see how they cook up.
We have Italian and Curly Parsley growing at the farm. It's in the same family with celery, dill, and fennel, and has a full-bodied flavor that is wonderful for flavoring savory dishes, both cooked or raw. Look at the nutrients in the stuff - parsley on wikipedia!
If you've never had these, get excited. They are sweet and so yummy -- sweeter and nuttier than carrots and can add a refreshing swap to recipes that call for them. Try mashed parsnips with a little honey. They store much like carrots in cool and humid places.
In medieval times, parsnips were as much of a staple as potatoes. Sugary varieties were also often fermented to make wine. High in potassium and vitamin C.
I like to eat these straight in the field. Excellent in salad. Simply delicious steamed or sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic. Easy and quick to cook and can be added to anything.
Sesame Saute with Pea Tendrils, Leeks and Bok Choy - you can use onions instead of leeks.
We grow a wide variety of peppers, from long sweet italian frying types to the classic chunky bells. Did you know that green peppers are a less ripe version of a red or yellow pepper? If you let a green pepper stay on the plant, it will ripen further into a colorful pepper. We have peppers that ripen into varied hues from yellow to orange to red, even chocolate brown. We also have some peppers that are white or purple at their "green" stage.
Peppers are the easiest thing to freeze, just chop them up and put in a bag and freeze. Then you can take them out and throw them in anything all winter. You can also roast them. Same deal for hot peppers as for sweet.
Hot peppers can be used green or red. Add some to anything you're cooking for flavor and heat. To cut their heat, you can roast them in the oven, seeded and halved, and then fill the halves with lots of cream cheese or mild goat cheese and stick 'em back in the oven to broil until the cheese gets golden on top. You can freeze hot peppers easily for use later whenever spicy flavor is needed - just remove stems and seeds and freeze raw in a bag.
When cutting up hot peppers it's a good idea to wear rubber gloves if you have them to protect from the heat.
We grow many varieties, from Habanero to Jalapeno to the milder Hungarian Hot Wax and Poblanos. If you'd like to learn to identify them, please check out our Know Your Hot Peppers PDF. Try any of these, or a mix, in one of the hot sauce recipes below, or in your favorite salsa.
Pie pumpkins have a flesh and flavor that is great for making pies, as well as savory pumpkin dishes. Jackolantern types are bred more for shape and structure than flavor, so if you want to eat pumpkin, pie pumpkins are the best bet. You can use them similarly to winter squash for savory dishes. If you do an internet search for pie pumpkins you can find all kinds of recipes for home-made pumpkin pie and other ways to cook it. Of course you can always just decorate with the pumpkins, but we definitely recommend eating them!
To pop popcorn, rub the kernels off the cob, if they come on the cob. Heat a tablespoon or so of high-temperature oil, like canola, coconut or corn oil, on high in the bottom of a saucepan (enough to coat bottom of pan). Put in your kernels and cover (usually a layer of kernels on the bottom of the pan is a good amount per batch). It's okay if a little chaff gets in too. When they start to pop, start shaking the pan a bit on the heat to keep popped kernels from burning on the bottom. When popping slows, remove the pan from heat and transfer popcorn to a big bowl or paper bag.
If you like butter on your popcorn, you can drop it into the still-hot saucepan to melt.
A Couple Seasoning Options:
We like a dash of olive oil, and then nutritional yeast (in place of parmesan cheese), salt and pepper.
Curry powder, salt and dried dill is also great.
We have many colors and types of potatoes over the season. For a scrumptious and simple dish, try Dilly Potatoes: Boil potatoes until a fork goes through easily, and serve hot with butter or olive oil, lots of chopped dill, and a bit of salt and pepper. This dish can be made with other herbs too.
These delicacies are hand dug from the earliest planted potatoes. Our production manager Greg says it's like robbing the cradle, taking potatoes away before they've fully grown. But gosh are they delicious and tender! We hand pick and hand wash them, because their skins are very delicate.
These are not your regular jackolanterns. While you can decorate with them, don't forget to eat them too! It's best not to cut them into jackolanterns if you want to eat them, as the cut open parts can get disease. We select these pumpkin varieties for great flavor.
Delicious roasted in the oven, and mashed with butter salt and pepper. A tasty addition to soups, and stirfries too. Use anywhere you would winter squash - though pumpkin isn't usually as sweet as some of the winter squash varieties. Try this fabulous recipe...
I've grown quite fond of this red variety of chicory. Beautiful color and a bitter edge make this a nice addition to any saute (and salad).
Ryan and I once had this great radicchio dish at an area restaurant: gently wilted radicchio layered with carmelized onions and a sharp cheese with a balsamic dressing. That was my introduction to the joys of radicchio.
Here's a version I've tried at home: Sautee the onions in olive oil until starting to carmelize, then add balsamic vinegar and radicchio, (outer leaves chopped large first, then tender inner leaves a little later), add a little salt and agave nectar or other sweetener. I cooked it until it was fairly wilted, because I didn't want it to be too chewy, and kind of tweaked the balance between bitter radicchio, balsamic, and sweet as we went. Chopped some extra-sharp cheddar and nestled it in after we plated it up. Not so fancy looking as the restaurant's, but very yummy indeed.
Daikon, highly popular in Japan and high in vitamin C, is a long white radish, milder in flavor than the other radishes we grow. It's beautiful grated like snow over the top of a salad. Also, I really like to put it in sandwiches. Great sliced and added to miso soup right near the end of cooking time. You can also make lacto-fermented daikon pickle.
Daikon Apple Salad
Hearty Asian Noodle Salad
Daikon Carrot Salad
These bunched red radishes are our favorite to grow in summer for their balance of sweet and kick. Gorgeous sliced paper thin in salads. Or quarter and serve with salt. And maybe butter. For best storage, cut the greens from the radish roots when you put them away, and keep both in a plastic bag or container. Like bunched spring turnips, and bunched beets, you can also use the radish greens! Try them sauteed with butter and lemon, in soup, or in pesto.
We keep these guys all winter to liven things up when the cold sets in. Watermelon Radishes are mild and beautifully colored with pink insides, so they make beautiful edible garnishes. Slice thin whole circles to put on top of salads.
Black Radishes are spicier, and they're great sliced with butter and salt on bread, also add raw spinach and herbs for a great sandwich. You can grate them raw on salad, or do a grated salad with radishes, olive oil, salt and pepper, carrots, sweet onion, raisins, apples, anything you like.
If you don't like the bite of radishes, try sauteing them, it takes the bite off and makes them sweeter. We also like to use them on a surface such as crackers, and for dipping in hummus. These radishes are also great to pickle.
This wonderfully aromatic herb comes from a perennial shrub that’s the staple of any herb garden. Hailing from the Mediterranean, rosemary is used heavily in Italian and other regional cuisines. Rosemary goes beautifully with meats and fish, in soups and stews, and with roasted vegetables. When dried, its flavor will mellow. Try it with potatoes, or put springs under the skin of a chicken you are roasting.
More typically associated with hearty, autumn harvest-type meals, sage pairs very well with winter squash, beans, onions, cheese, garlic, pork, and poultry. It is most common in Italian and Middle Eastern recipes. Sage also has a long and varied history of medicinal uses. Try it cooked in butter or olive oil with garlic as a topping for pasta, especially good on potato gnocchi!
One of our spring, fall and winter season crops is salad mix, a blend of lettuces and exotic, colorful greens. A bag of this mix holds much more nutritional value than eating a head of iceberg or even Romaine lettuce. A rule of thumb when picking out healthy salad greens is the darker the green, the more nutritional value.
Dark leafy greens in our salad mix include cress, spinach, tatsoi, ruby streaks mustard, arugula, mizuna, and a variety of lettuces. These greens are packed full of vitamins K, C, E and some B, as well as minerals including iron, calcium and potassium.
Salad greens are a great base for larger dishes. Add other seasonal vegetables to make a more filling salad, or use the greens as a bed under a fried egg for breakfast, or a portion of meat, fish or tofu. Try these dressings with your salad.
Summer savory and winter savory are closely related to rosemary and thyme. Savory is relatively unfamiliar, but once you begin using it, it’s hard to go back! It has a peppery flavor that adds dimensions to savory dishes, with winter savory having a more concentrated flavor than summer savory. Both excel in an herb rub for meats and fish, in a dijon vinaigrette, stuffing, eggs, beans, and flavored vinegar. Savory has also be used medicinally in a tea to aid indigestion and sore throat, or the leaves can be rubbed on bug bites to bring relief from itchiness. Add sprigs when cooking beans to enrich the broth, and then more fresh chopped to the finished beans.
In the allium family with garlic and onions, scallions have the same oniony flavor, but lighter. They are great added raw to salads, thrown into sautes just at the end, mixed into miso soup. Chop off the root end, and any brown tips, and use the rest all the way up, green and white parts. Roast whole in the oven with olive oil, and green beans, perhaps a little balsamic vinegar :).
Prized by chefs, shallots have a delicate oniony flavor with a touch of garlic in it. You can use them anywhere you would onions. They're nice in warm dressings and sauces. They're also great raw sliced on sandwiches.
We grow two varieties of shallots, a red and a yellow type. We grow them mostly for the winter, as they store very well.
Spinach is one of the healthiest greens out there. Super nutrient dense, spinach can be eaten raw in salads or cooked. Try spinach in a simple salad, or lightly braised or sautéed with garlic as a side or part of a main dish. You can also try a long, slow cook for spinach, and add butter and cream for a creamed spinach dish.
Sweet potatoes come in all sizes from almost a loaf of bread to skinny little potato fingers. The skinny ones bake quickly or chop up larger ones into little circles for stirfrys or homefries. No need to peel any of them, just wash and chop - the delicate skins are delicious. Sweet potato homefries are a great alternative to greasy French fries. Slice the potato into strips (like fries), then mix with oil, salt and pepper. Broil until crispy.
We grow a majority of the Beauregard variety of sweet potatoes with their delicious orange flesh, a white type called O'Henry, and a purple-skinned variety called Japanese White. Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese, sweet potatoes are also a good source of B6 and potassium, among other nutrients.
Bake sweet potatoes at 375-400 degrees F for 30 min to an hour. When they give in easily to the tines of a fork, they're ready. You can also slice them thin and sautee for a quicker cooking time. Nice with onions and soy sauce.
The first time I gave out chard at my first farm one of the members took the new green home and stuck the whole bunch in vases around her kitchen. It was "Bright Lights" chard with the rainbow stems. Very pretty! Also edible if you so desire :)
Chard has tender leaves that you can use anywhere you use spinach (which happens to also be in the same family!). Don't hesitate to chop up and eat up the stalks of your chard! Some people think they're the best part. You can do a pretty nice thing with onion, chard and stalks, raisins or currants, chopped dried apricots, some sherry or other sweet compatible alcohol, and parmesan, over pasta.
The local fruit of June... This delicious red berry marks the beginning of summer and our CSA for us at the farm. We typically grow over 15 varieties, each with their own flavor. A few are special early types that we care for using row covers, plasticulture, and planting techniques, and we hope these yield some time in May. Then we get into the June-bearing varieties that ripen in cascades. We try to select varieties that will cover the longest season with the best flavors. Come taste them and vote for your favorites at our Strawberry Soiree, where we feature the strawberry in many ways, including a dinner in the field.
The first berries of the season usually get eaten straight up, but there are many wonderful things you can make and cook with them too. Dip them in melted chocolate. Make jam. Try the recipe in the Pomona's Pectin box for making jam with honey. Slice onto salad with a balsamic dressing.
Thyme is a resilient herb that retains its flavor well even after drying or freezing. It is one of the traditional herbs de Provence, an herb blend from the south of France (along with marjoram, oregano, sage, savory, and rosemary). Some favorite pairings for thyme are mushrooms, onions, cheeses, citrus, winter squash, and tomatoes. Its warm aromatic flavor makes a wonderful tea just by itself as well, just boil some sprigs, either fresh or dried, in water for a few minutes and then sip away. Sweeten with honey if you like.
Most culinary herbs also have medicinal value, and thyme is no exception. It has been used for boosting the immune system, as a digestive aid and more.
In the tomato family, tomatillos are the bright green cousins. They come in a papery husk that they fill and often split open when ripe and ready to use. If you pick your own, wait to pick until the husk is tight around the fruit and splitting at the bottom.
These tangy fruits are the awesomest salsa ingredients. I've been making salsa with them every season, and I wrote up a recipe for you. The making process is all about tasting it and adding more of what you like. This is a roasted salsa, which is great for tomatillos because it brings out their sweetness.
I'm guessing you have some good ideas of what to do with tomatoes raw.
I love to make open-faced sandwiches with a solid layer of mayonnaise on toasted bread, tomato, slivers of sweet onion, and salt and pepper.
There are many things you can do with tomatoes of course. One thing not to do is refrigerate them, as cold makes them lose some of the richness of their flavor. Though you can freeze them whole for use later in the winter. Raw, cooked, sliced, mashed, blended, frozen, boiled, you can do pretty much anything with tomatoes.
We love these amazing fruits, and we celebrate them in their astounding diversity every year at the Tomato Festival.
They're white and tender, sweet and a little spicy. So delicious raw. I like to slice them up and eat them with a dip. You don't need to peel them. You can eat BOTH the greens and roots fresh raw in salads or sandwiches, or saute them quickly with onion and anything else you like.
We grow a selection of turnip varieties, including Scarlet, Purple Top, Hakurei, and Gold. All these guys are great roasted. Hakurei turnips are typically more tender than the other varieties, but all can be used raw. Roasted turnips can be great in a salad with feta cheese and greens.
Rutabagas and the various turnips all store very well and can last up to a month or more in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Both rutabagas and turnips can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, mashed, or stewed. High in vitamins A and C, and some minerals, especially calcium.
The rutabaga is a root vegetable that looks very much like a turnip, with a creamy skin and its own flavor. We grow two kinds, the classic type of rutabaga with cream colored flesh and purple blush on the skin; and Gilfeather Turnip (actually a rutabaga) a selection on the Slow Food Ark of Taste, developed by Mr. John Gilfeather in Vermont, which has whiter flesh and is without the purple blush on the skin.
Gilfeather Turnip Puree
Roasted Turnips with Cilantro Peanut Sauce
Hearty Autumn Stew
Braised Kale and Turnips in Red Fire Reader
Butternut Squash and Rutabaga Puree - you can use other squash or pumpkin, and other turnips
Roasted Winter Root Bake
Rutabaga "Potato" Salad
We grow a wide array of winter squash at the farm. You'll find Delicata, Butternut, Acorn, Sweet Dumpling, Kabocha, Buttercup, Spaghetti, Sunshine, and Carnival squashes at our stands and markets over the fall season, as well as pie pumpkins and carving pumpkins. Each has different flavors, textures and storing abilities.
All are easy to bake and top with butter or olive oil and salt for a simple recipe. Just cut them in half, remove the seeds, and put them on a baking tray in an oven at 375 until the flesh is easy to poke into with a fork. The seeds of all the squashes can be baked and eaten separately if you'd like.
Baking your Winter Squash Seeds
All winter squash varieties have edible seeds that you can bake like pumpkin seeds. So if you're baking your squash, bake the seeds too for an appetizer. Just scoop them out, pick out any pulp remaining from the squash, mix seeds with some oil and flavorings, like soy sauce and cayenne, and bake them spread on a cookie sheet, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden brown. You can cook them in the oven at whatever temperature you're baking your squash, just keep an eye on them as they'll cook faster at high heats.
Butternut Apple Bisque
Golden Autumn Soup
Delicata Squash with Rosemary, Sage, and Cider Glaze in 2008 Red Fire Reader
Stuffed Delicata (or other baked winter squash)
Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato Sauce
We grow successions of these throughout the summer to keep you in good supply. The earliest batches are raised under floating row cover to warm the plants and get the earliest crops.
There might be some fun/wild varieties in there as the season progresses, depending on what goes to each distribution.
I think one of the highest uses of zucchini and summer squash is also one of the simplest. Slice in rounds, saute in olive oil or butter, with a little salt and pepper, maybe some garlic. Roasting accomplishes same, sublime melty-ness with a little browning.
Melty Roasted Summer Squash (and/or Zucchini)
Kasha with Summer Veggies
Raw Kale, Squash and Turnip Salad
Freezing Summer Squash for the winter
Zucchini and Herb Fritters in the Red Fire Reader from 2009
Cinnamon Zucchini Bread
Spiced Pickled Summer Squash