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Archive for the Week 5 2012 Category

Share Contents – week 5

Personal Share Half  Share Full Share
Strawberries – Sustainable
Romaine – Pesticide Free
Red OR Green Boston Lettuce – Pesticide Free
Radishes – Sustainable
Spinach – Organic
Candy Onions – Sustainable
Strawberries – Sustainable
Romaine – Pesticide Free
Red OR Green Boston Lettuce – Pesticide Free
Radishes – Sustainable
Spinach – Organic
Candy Onions – Sustainable
Kohlrabi – Sustainable
Broccoli – Sustainable
Strawberries – Sustainable
Romaine – Pesticide Free
Red OR Green Boston Lettuce – Pesticide Free
Radishes – Sustainable
Spinach – Organic
Candy Onions – Sustainable
Kohlrabi – Sustainable
Broccoli – Sustainable
Turnips – Organic
Escarole – Pesticide Free
Leeks – Sustainable
Yellow Tomato – Heirloom
Kale – Sustainable
All shares receive a Cilantro plant this week!

Please note that from time to time you may receive different items in your box than what is on the list. This is due to the natural growing process and at times we may experience shortages of specific produce, and may have substituted the items for other produce.

Personal Share Half  Share Full Share
Strawberries – Sustainable
Romaine – Pesticide Free
Red OR Green Leaf Lettuce – Pesticide Free
Radishes – Sustainable
Spinach – Organic
Kale – Sustainable
Strawberries – Sustainable
Romaine – Pesticide Free
Red OR Green Boston Lettuce – Pesticide Free
Radishes – Sustainable
Spinach – Organic
Endive – Sustainable
Cilantro – Organic
Broccoli – Sustainable
Strawberries – Sustainable
Romaine – Pesticide Free
Red OR Green Boston Lettuce – Pesticide Free
Radishes – Sustainable
Spinach – Organic
Endive – Sustainable
Kohlrabi – Sustainable
Broccoli – Sustainable
Turnips – Organic
Escarole – Pesticide Free
Cilantro – Organic
Yellow Tomato – Heirloom
Kale – Sustainable
All shares receive a Thyme plant this week!

Please note that from time to time you may receive different items in your box than what is on the list. This is due to the natural growing process and at times we may experience shortages of specific produce, and may have substituted the items for other produce.

Letters & Information

  • Letter From Farmer Kurt – Week 5
    The Week of June 3, 2012 Highlands Harvest Club Share #5 Hello Highlands Harvest Club Members! We are already in our 5th week and I would be remiss if I did not pause to welcome a large number of new members that have joined our ranks since...
  • Tips – Week 5
    Helpful Care Tips Radishes-Cut the leafy part of the plant off, store it in a separate bag. This applies to Radishes, beets, carrots. The greens may be used at a different time and in a different recipe. If they are attached the plant will continue to pull...
  • Highlands Harvest Club – CSA – Week 5
    We are very excited here at the farm to welcome new members. I believe that we are now close to being 800 strong. We thought that it might be a good idea to repeat some of these care tips that we included in the early weeks of...

Recipes

  • Escarole and White Bean Soup
    Escarole is a variety of endive. The leaves are broader, paler and less bitter than other members of the endive family. Escarole, kale and chard, are hearty greens that thrive late into the growing season. The heart of an escarole...
  • Roast Chicken with Thyme and Onions
    Thyme Plants Some of you will have thyme in your shares this week. Thyme is a perennial of the mint family. The leaves are the tiniest of all the herbs you will receive. Depending on the variety the plant can...
  • Peas with Shrimp, Basil, and Penne
    Peas with Shrimp, Basil and Penne 1-1/2 lb. shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.), peeled, deveined, and cut in half lengthwise 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest Kosher salt 1-1/2...
  • Strawberry Cake
    This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living, 2005. It has been a favorite! Strawberry Cake Yield: Makes one 10-inch cake 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder...
  • Aged Sherry Walnut Vinaigrette
    I am pretty sure I have had a salad every night with dinner and some for lunch as well since Week 1. In an effort to give you a variety of ideas, here is a new and different vinaigrette Aged...

Letter From Farmer Kurt – Week 5

The Week of June 3, 2012

Highlands Harvest Club Share #5

Hello Highlands Harvest Club Members!

We are already in our 5th week and I would be remiss if I did not pause to welcome a large number of new members that have joined our ranks since we started one month ago. On behalf of my family, staff, and I we applaud you for choosing to join the Highlands Harvest Club. In essence, joining our CSA is a life style decision and you are all making a choice to eat healthier by consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables, reduce your carbon foot print by utilizing local produce, enjoy family fun as you experiment and cook with produce that you have never tried or heard of before utilizing brand new recipes, and to support our local economy by choosing to do business with our family owned farm. I am sure that all of you will be pleased to know that our family has also made decisions that we believe you will applaud. We long ago made a decision to not only remain and continue farming in New Jersey, while so many other farmers have departed for other states; but to also significantly invest in our future here in the Garden State. To that end we have permanently preserved every acre of farmland that we own through the state’s Farmland Preservation Program, have purchased additional farmland and homes to support our extensive farm production, have invested millions of dollars in new buildings, irrigation systems, conservation improvements, renovations, and are fervently focused on the continuing education of all our staff and managers. In addition we are also investing in the next generation of the Alstede Family to be involved in our family business…don’t be surprised if you see some pleasant children assisting you at a cash register or driving a Gator around…our children are learning the trade and learning how to work at a young age just as my father, my wife, my brothers, and I did a long time ago. Our entire team is proud to be a part of the future of New Jersey and we are glad to be a part of making our state a great place to live and raise a family. Your membership helps make this possible.

Many of you may already be aware that our niece, Patricia (Trish) Cirelli, is our Highlands Harvest Club administrator. It is quite a daunting task to keep over 800 distributions each week organized, on time, and to insure that every special need that each of you may have is taken care of properly. She is truly dedicated to this task and is available to assist you with anything that you may need in connection with your share in our CSA. She can be reached by email at trish@alstedefarms.com or certainly by telephone at 908-879-7189. Patricia’s normal schedule sees her working on the farm every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday and we welcome phone calls directly to her. There are plenty of other team members that are also trained and ready to assist you with your needs, but Patricia is the one staff member that is entirely dedicated to you throughout the season.

By the way if you ever have called us you likely noticed that there is always a real person answering the telephone. My personal guarantee to you is that your phone call will never by answered by an automated machine while I am alive and associated with our family business! Never a prompt, never a menu of numbers to press that don’t match what your question is, never a dead-end that hangs up on you before you have an answer to your question. We have our phone staffed from 8 am each morning through 9 pm each evening every day of the week. Call us with confidence if you need anything and take satisfaction in knowing that you will always speak to a real person.

I also want to reinforce for all of you our total satisfaction guarantee. It is our goal for you to always be satisfied with the quality of the fruits and vegetables that we grow, harvest, and provide to you in your shares each week. Our entire staff is trained and instructed to care for all of you in this way. Also know that we also stand behind our produce and if you ever get an item that you are displeased with for any reason contact us and we will replace it…no questions asked. We also wish to provide you with unparalleled service. I am an integral part of daily operations here on our farm and am always available to speak with you if you ever have a concern or comment that you want to reach the top with. Email and phone is the best as I am often not in the office. Reach me at kurt@alstedefarms.com or at 908-879-7189. Thank you again and I look forward to talking to you next week!

Tips – Week 5

Helpful Care Tips

Radishes-Cut the leafy part of the plant off, store it in a separate bag. This applies to Radishes, beets, carrots. The greens may be used at a different time and in a different recipe. If they are attached the plant will continue to pull water out of the vegetable so the
Radishes will dry out.

Don’t wash the greens until you are ready to use them. Be sure they are dry. Wrap in paper towel as you did leafy greens.

The radish can now go into a plastic bag of its own.

Candy Onions– are fresh onions with a very short growing season. They have a high sugar content which means that they must be stored in the refrigerator.

Use the white onion bulb as you would any sweet onion to flavor foods. I added the green to a stock pot last week .

To oven dry fresh herbs
Pull the best leaves from their stems. Wash them, and then dry.

Lay one layer of paper towels on a shallow baking sheet. Place the herb leaves on the paper towel in a single layer and avoid overlapping. Cover them with another paper towel and add another layer. Continue to layer your leaves up to 5 layers.

Dry them in a very low oven 170-180 F) for 3 to 4 hours. Leave the door open so the oven does not get too hot.

Watch the herbs very carefully and turn them with tongs occasionally. Remove the herbs from the oven as soon as they turn crisp.

Allow the herbs to cool. Then, store your herbs in airtight containers, preferably glass, in a cool dark location. Herbs retain flavor and medicinal value for years. When ready to use, crumble and add to all of your favorite recipes.

Label your containers with the name of the herb and the date you dried them.

Freezing Strawberries
Strawberries should be cleaned and hulled before freezing. I like to just wipe them with a soft moist cloth and then let them dry on paper towel Place them on a tray to freeze and then move them into a zip lock freezer bag and be sure to get out most of the air and they should be good for up to six months.

Beets should be scrubbed, steamed or roasted, peeled and then cut into uniform pieces. They can be placed in freezer bags as well, air removed as much as possible and again they should be good for 6 months.

Highlands Harvest Club – CSA – Week 5

We are very excited here at the farm to welcome new members. I believe that we are now close to being 800 strong. We thought that it might be a good idea to repeat some of these care tips that we included in the early weeks of delivery.

Every year I research care tips. There is always something new and different. I have been practicing these methods all season and I have been very pleased.

If you do have any questions please e-mail me jenn@alstedefarms.com

Helpful Care Tips

Leafy Greens
Be sure to set your refrigerator and produce drawer temperature and humidity controls correctly. Too warm and the produce will not hold and too cold and the produce could freeze. Your refrigerator temperature should be set low and the humidity low so that the lettuce and leafy greens will last longer .

If you want to clean some of it, tear do not cut. Wash, drain, and be sure it is dry and wrap it in paper towel and place it in a plastic bag. You may also wash or tear the greens prepare a large mixed salad that you will use within the next 2 days place paper towel in the bowl cover with greens, cover with another paper towel and then plastic.

If the lettuce feels wet when you bring it home, be sure to dry it as much as you can.

For the remaining heads/partial heads of lettuce, keep them whole. Be sure they are dry. Wrap them in paper towel and place them into a plastic bag until you are ready to prepare them.

Be sure there is room to breathe and store tender produce together. Heavy produce can bruise the tender greens.

Scallions/Green Onions
Will last up to a week if you remove the rubber band and wrap in a loosely into a paper towel.

Cilantro
Snip off the bottom of the stems.

Make sure the leaves are completely dry. Hold off rinsing them until you’re about to use them.

Fill a jar or a water glass partially with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water in the jar.

Cilantro loves cool temperatures and should be stored in the refrigerator. Cover the leaves with plastic in the refrigerator.

Change the water every 2 days. The herbs should last up to a week

Asparagus
Wet a paper towel and wrap around bottom of asparagus stalks. Place in plastic bag. Place the asparagus in the vegetable crisper. Store for 3-4 days.

Strawberries
Remove the strawberries from the container. Line a flat plastic or glass container with a paper towel. Place a single layer of fresh strawberries into the container. Cover with paper towel and seal with the lid or plastic wrap. Strawberries will last up to 4 days or longer depending on your refrigerator

Escarole and White Bean Soup

Escarole is a variety of endive. The leaves are broader, paler and less bitter than other members of the endive family.

Escarole, kale and chard, are hearty greens that thrive late into the growing season. The heart of an escarole head is less bitter because the leaves haven’t gotten as much sunlight.

Escarole and endive and Kale are high in folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A and K, escarole can be eaten raw or gently cooked. Try tossing a few escarole leaves into a mild salad, serve some quickly wilted with lemon juice, or stir chopped escarole into soup. A medium head of escarole usually yields about seven cups of torn leaves.

The endive in your shares would otherwise be called chicory

Wrap these leafy greens in paper towel, store in a plastic bag, store for a few days. Kale will keep a day or two longer than the escarole and endive.

To keep a little longer in the refrigerator, blanch the leaves for 1-3 minutes. Submerge into ice water. Drain. Use within a day or two or freeze for future use.

Escarole and White Bean Soup
2-15 oz cans of cannellini beans, drained
4-6 cups of vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups coarsely shredded escarole and endive leaves washed and drained
1 medium onion chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
½ t crushed hot pepper, or to taste
Salt to taste

Heat the beans and 4 cups of broth and bay leaves allow to simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in the escarole and cook, (continue to stir occasionally), until the escarole is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

In another pan, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, saute, shaking the pan, until softened and very lightly browned, do not allow garlic and onion to burn! Carefully pour one ladleful of soup into the skillet. Add the crushed pepper, swirl the pan to blend and then stir the pan full of seasoned soup back into the pot. Check the seasoning add additional broth as needed and let the soup rest off the heat, covered, 10-15 minutes. Serve with garlic bread. Be sure to remove the bay leaves.

Optional, add some sliced cooked sausage, allow soup to simmer a little with the sausage to blend in the flavors.

Roast Chicken with Thyme and Onions

Thyme Plants

Some of you will have thyme in your shares this week.

Thyme is a perennial of the mint family. The leaves are the tiniest of all the herbs you will receive. Depending on the variety the plant can grow tall or it can grow close to the ground as a ground cover. In England they will often plant it to grow between slates in an herb garden, sort of as a ground cover. If allowed to go to seed it will produce flowers that are known to attract honey bees.

This herb is a perennial so I would plant this in the ground with promise of it coming back year after year.

Thyme is used in stuffings, stews and for seasoning meats and poultry and fish. Thyme is part of bouquet garni, herbes de Provence, and the Middle East spice blend Zahtar, along with jerk and curry blends.

Roast Chicken with Thyme and Onions
2 lemons
2 whole chickens about 2 ½ lbs each
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
6 shallots, coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

Pierce lemons several times with a fork, and place 1 inside each chicken cavity. Arrange chickens in the center of the prepared baking dish. Place onions, shallots, and garlic around the chickens. Sprinkle vegetables with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread butter over the chickens, and line each with thyme sprigs.

Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Increase temperature to 400 degrees F and continue baking 30 minutes, or until exterior of chicken is golden brown, meat is no longer pink, and juices run clear. Allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving

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