In your box:
–Sweet onion or scallions
This week we had a great harvest of summer squash as we look to make up for overall lackluster production the last two years. It’s hard to find a good balance with squash—plant too many and we’d be totally overwhelmed with them, too few and we don’t have enough to go around. People often wonder what the difference is between a zucchini and a summer squash, and even more than that wonder how to spell zucchini. As far as their relationship—zucchini is a kind of summer squash, just like crooknecks, patty pams, and zephyrs. We grow five different kinds of summer squash, so in newsletters I just refer to them generically as summer squash. My favorite looking squash are the zephyrs, which are half green and half yellow. But the green and yellow zucchini are the most abundant, so you can expect a lot of those this year.
Squash should be rinsed but do not need to be peeled. They should be kept in the fridge and keep for 7-10 days. Squash can be eaten raw, cut into sticks and served with dip. They can also be grated into salads for a modified cole slaw. Squash can also be cooked into soups and stews, but to retain their texture we recommend adding them to the pot for just the last 5-10 minutes. Squash are also great on the grill—slice them in half and cook for 3-4 minutes near the center of the heat and then 8-10 minutes on a cooler part of the grill after basting with oil or your favorite marinade.
The squash this week are of good size, but at some point in the season I will doubtless miss some for a couple days too many and find some real whoppers out in the field. If you get any that are too large to deal with, or if you start getting a little fatigued with all the squash, they can always be used in a zucchini cake (recipe below). If they start piling up in the fridge, you can grate them into a freezer bag or container, juices and all, and store until you have enough saved up for a zucchini cake. And yes, it still counts as a vegetable in cake form.
This week we will run out of scallions, so some of you will start receiving sweet onions instead. We have a great crop of sweet onions, so expect these weekly for the next month or so. Sweet onions, like scallions, can be eaten with their green parts as well. Sweet onions prefer to be kept in the fridge and only keep for 2-4 weeks (unlike dried storage onions, which can keep for up to a year in proper conditions).
We have a couple unfamiliar crops in your box this week: fennel and kohlrabi. Fennel has white stalks, green leafy fronds, and smells strongly of licorice.
The whole crop is edible, with the leafy fronds a common ingredient in soups and baked dishes, and the bulbs used for stir-fries and roasting. The bulbs can be substituted in any recipe calling for celery. For a good starter into the world of fennel, try it baked: cut into quarters, drizzle with olive oil, and bake until tender, about 35 min at 350°.
To store: The bulbs will last for two weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. The leaves will go limp, and should be wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge.
Kohlrabi leads the list of “crops we’re not so excited for” in our pre-season surveys, yet is also among the most liked in other folks’ responses. Such division over such a small vegetable…. If you’re unfamiliar with this cabbage-relative, kohlrabi is the white tennis ball with a leafy hat. To enjoy it, first peel the outside layer. Kohlrabi is perfectly enjoyable plain and raw—simply slice it up into small carrot-stick size portions and eat it plain or with a dip. It can be chopped and added to a stir-fry, cut up into a soup, or steamed. One of our favorite uses is to add it to a coleslaw. Try grating the peeled kohlrabi along with radishes, carrot, parsley, green onion, and a dressing.
Our spring raspberries are coming in nicely, so some of you will receive them in your boxes this week. We don’t grow enough to supply everyone each week, but we keep track of which boxes receive raspberries so that everyone receives them equally. We’ve started picking into half pints this year so that we can be sure to get through our whole CSA list this summer. Full shares will receive one full pint.
It’s a good idea to be careful with your box each week—I always cringe when I see someone pick it up by one handle and let all the produce flop around inside. Raspberries are very delicate, as are the tomatoes we’ll begin picking in a couple weeks. Treat them kindly!
Expected next week: Chinese cabbage, salad mix, carrots, cucumber, summer squash, green beans, sweet onion, and basil.