Homegrown

fresh picks

June 21, 2017 - CSA Week 6
Newsletter Archives

 
 

Fresh from the Farm

Even with long days and high temperatures, it’s not until the cucurbits come out flush does it feel like summer. First summer squash and now cucumbers. This week you’ll all be sharing the first cucumber pick, which is always the bumperest of bumpers. Here it is, and just as Solstice arrives.

Cucumbers can be a tough one to store. They are very sensitive to temperatures below 50°F. They won’t last long on the counter and they won’t last long in the fridge. Like summer squash, cucumbers don’t really prefer to be stored in the fridge – it’s cold in there. At the Farm, we store them in the “warm” cooler, between 50-55°F and high humidity. You can achieve humidity using a plastic bag or a humid environment, but be careful they don’t get too wet. Just as they will if kept at low temperatures (below 40°F), they’ll decay faster.

We know you don’t have a warm, humid cooler at home, so try one of these tricks:

  1. Paper towels and a plastic bag: wrap each cucumber individually in a paper towel, then put all the wrapped cukes in a plastic bag, and the plastic bag into the fridge.
  2. If you do put them in the fridge, put them in the warmest part of the fridge, up front near the door.
  3. Don’t leave them in the fridge more than a few days. Three days below 40°F and they’ll start to get watery and pitted.
  4. Try leaving them in a perforated, plastic bag in the coolest part of

Even with long days and high temperatures, it’s not until the cucurbits come out flush does it feel like summer. First summer squash and now cucumbers. This week you’ll all be sharing the first cucumber pick, which is always the bumperest of bumpers. Here it is, and just as Solstice arrives.

Cucumbers can be a tough one to store. They are very sensitive to temperatures below 50°F. They won’t last long on the counter and they won’t last long in the fridge. Like summer squash, cucumbers don’t really prefer to be stored in the fridge – it’s cold in there. At the Farm, we store them in the “warm” cooler, between 50-55°F and high humidity. You can achieve humidity using a plastic bag or a humid environment, but be careful they don’t get too wet. Just as they will if kept at low temperatures (below 40°F), they’ll decay faster.

We know you don’t have a warm, humid cooler at home, so try one of these tricks:

  1. Paper towels and a plastic bag: wrap each cucumber individually in a paper towel, then put all the wrapped cukes in a plastic bag, and the plastic bag into the fridge.
  2. If you do put them in the fridge, put them in the warmest part of the fridge, up front near the door.
  3. Don’t leave them in the fridge more than a few days. Three days below 40°F and they’ll start to get watery and pitted.
  4. Try leaving them in a perforated, plastic bag in the coolest part of the kitchen or downstairs. To make a perforated plastic bag: take 1 plastic bag and 1 hole making tool (a finger will do). Put together.
  5. Cucumbers are also sensitive to ethylene gas, which many other vegetables give off. Don’t store them right with tomatoes (coming soon), melons or apples.

How else to store cucumbers? Try pickling them or freezing. A quick freezing recipe:

  1. Wash, dry, slice.
  2. Make brine: 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 1/2 cup sugar, mix and add cucumbers
  3. Put in a sealable container, leave room for the liquid to expand, and put in the freezer.

You can also just puree them and put them in ice cube trays to use later.

Also, new in your share this week: baby leeks. Man, I love baby leeks. They are versatile: use as you would many of their cousins in just about any dish: garlic, onions, shallots, scallions. They also make an excellent side of their own. I like to cut them in rounds to caramelize before adding protein. I also like to drizzle olive oil and bake them until they get a little crispy. Add salt to taste. They store well in the fridge; a bag will help them keep longer by keeping the humidity high in the drawer. You might consider wrapping them in paper towel, too, if you don’t plan to use them in a few days. Leeks and other Allium family members retain their flavor even if they start to dry out and become limp. But you’ll enjoy their crunch more if you pay attention to their humidity level.

Worms in your broccoli?

We hope you didn’t, but if you did, let us know and we’ll gladly replace with a vegetable you would prefer. This time of year those green worms are common, and we hear you may have received a side of them for free with an order of broccoli. Gross. That broccoli was not destined for your share!

Whether organic or conventional, dealing with cabbage worms when the weather turns like it has, requires spraying. We use a biological spray that has little impact on the environment, Bt. Bt (Bacillus thurengensis) is a microbe found in the soil that when eaten gives the worms a terminally upset stomach. We often try to outrun them before summer so as not to have to spray.

When this happens, Mom Snow soaks broccoli in salt water for twenty minutes, using 4 teaspoons per gallon of water. She says to cut the broccoli up into florets first.

Have a great week. As you start thinking about July 4, think about stocking up on sausage, brats, ground beef and chicken. There’s always a rush on them as the day nears. Check out the freezer: ice cream one side, meat on the other. Think also about the Summer Solstice, and what it represents. We live on a remarkable planet, with cycles short and long. We have a last day of lengthening day lengths! Enjoy it.

Be great,

Willowsford Farm

Mike, Deb, Al, Anya, Lex, Bree, Jen, Nate, James, Annie, Menagerie including dog, cat, goats and chickens, Roscoe RIP and Popcorn, still on walkabout and last seen in Leesburg protesting the zoning permit required for his coop.

 
 
Farm Stand Hours
Tues. – Fri.: 2pm – 7pm | Sat.: 9am – 2pm
 
 

In the CSA Bag This Week

LARGE SHARES:
Arugula, Baby leeks, Basil, Blueberries, Cuke, Pac choi, Salad mix, Squash, Sweet potatoes and Carrots

SMALL SHARES:
Baby leeks, Carrots, Cuke, Salad mix and Sweet potatoes

Weekly Features

Local Meats for Grilling!
King of Pops!

Featured Items at the Farm Stand

Seasonal vegetables and fruit Willowsford Farm and Tuscarora Organic Co-op

Free-range eggs from Willowsford Farm

Milk, butter, yogurt and ice cream from Trickling Springs Creamery and Pequea Valley Farm

Fresh baked breads and sweets from Lyon Bakery

Goat Cheese from Georges Mill

Cows milk cheeses from Mountain View Farm Products

Sauerkrauts, pickles and relish from Sweet Farm

MTO Kombucha

Granolas from Cool Mama

King of Pops

Beef and Pork from Heritage Hollow Farm

Lamb from New Asbury Farm

Willowsford Farm Whole Chicken

Flowers from Greenstone Fields

All Natural Grains from Woodsons Mill

Commonwealth Joe Coffee

Prepared foods from Willowsford Kitchen

Seasonal fruit, ketchup and sauces from Three Springs Fruit Farm

Pure Love Macarons

 
 

All About Pickling

Kitchen Notes

I love to serve pickled vegetables at my summer table. They have such dynamic flavor—a home run of sweet, salty and sour—that brings balance to a meal. Not to mention the pleasing crunch! And it reminds me of my grandmother. She pickled everything, including crabapples. It was her way to preserve the harvest ahead of the long winter in Nova Scotia where she lived.

Basic Ingredients

Cucumbers are the number one choice when it comes to pickling. You can also pickle asparagus, beets, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, green beans, okra, red onion, and shallots with delicious results (peaches too!). Adding herbs, garlic, mustard seeds and peppercorns will give your pickle extra zip.

Easy Steps

Pickling is a surprisingly quick and easy technique. The first step is to make a brine by cooking together water, sugar, salt and acid (which can be vinegar or lemon depending on your palate.) Next, chop your vegetable(s) of choice into bite-sized pieces that you can easily spear with a fork. Pack the vegetables into a glass jar, pour in the warm picking liquid and marinate in the fridge for three to six hours so the flavors can marry. Voila! Most pickled vegetables will keep refrigerated for four weeks or longer.

Tasty Combinations

  • Beets, Red Onion and Dill
  • Cucumber, Onion, Red Pepper and Mustard Seed
  • Cauliflower, Coriander Seeds and Curry
  • Charcuterie
  • Cocktails
  • Cheese
  • Carrots and Ginger
  • Green Beans, Spicy Peppers and Garlic
  • Peaches, Onion and Tarragon

From the Kitchen

Recipes and tips are created for each week’s harvest by Willowsford’s Culinary Director, Bonnie Moore.

CLICK on the links below for this week’s fresh from the kitchen recipes:

Bread & Butter Pickles
This is a great pickling recipe for beginners. Store-bought bread and butter pickles don’t even come close. The pickles are ready to eat right away or can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. They’re delicious on burgers, as a garnish for deviled eggs or as a snack for the table. Makes 4 pints. plain text editor. Enter or paste your text here. To download and save it, click on the button below.

Mixed Berry Shortcake with Buttermilk Ice Cream

What's Happening

Camp Willowsford: Lost & Found in the Wilds of Willowsford
Dear Farmily, Willowsford Conservancy is opening up summer camp and there are only 5 spots left! Monday, July 24 through Friday, July 28. This year in Conservancy Camp, participants will learn how to blend and flow within nature while working together in small groups to hone their awareness skills, learn about the natural world, and nurture their connection to the earth. In this safe learning environment, with experienced instructors, campers will learn ancient & practical skills, including Animal Tracking & Identification, Lost Proofing, Basic Wilderness Survival Techniques, Natural Cordage, Caretaking, Survival Fires, & much more. This outdoor nature adventure camp provides an exciting week of discovery, adventure and games. $330/camper (ages 9-12). Read more, create an account and register!

Willowsford Farm Volunteer Hours: The Grant Farm
Sunday, July 2 from 3 to 5 PM. Farm Trivia: What gets planted around Halloween and harvested around the 4th of July? Garlic! This is a volunteer session for the heat-tolerant, bug-tolerant, “gosh I miss a hard day of haying a field” kind of volunteer. If conditions are right, we’ll be forking and delicately harvesting a whole lot of garlic, bundling it up to hang and cure, and wiping the sweat off our brows. If not, we’ll be weeding. Come ready to work, wear sunblock, put a hat on, and bring lots of water.
Create an account and register!

Willowsford Farm Tour: The Grant Farm
Sunday, July 2 from 5 to 6 PM. With a beautiful view of Bull Run Mountain and fields filled with vegetables and cover crops, you’ll want to bring your camera to the Grant Farm tour. The second of three farm properties, this space is home to crops like garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash. We’ll talk about the history of the soils, what plants and animals grew here last year, and how the space is evolving into a second retail sales location. This is a great tour for veggie-loving neighbors, beginner farmers and garlic lovers.
Create an account and register!

 

CSA Pick Up Hours & Locations

FARM STAND: Tuesdays & Wednesdays 3:30 – 6:30 PM, Saturdays 9:00 – 2:00 PM

BOAT HOUSE: Wednesdays 3:30 – 6:00 PM, Saturdays 10:00 – 2:00 PM

Willowsford Conservancy

44095 Pipeline Plaza, Ashburn, VA 20147

Phone: 571-252-3727

info@willowsfordconservancy.org

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Willowsford Farm Stand

23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900

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