Zucchini Corn Pancakes

All that's left of a very big batch.

All that's left of a very big batch.

Serious Eats, one of my favorite food blogs, has started a new column called “The Crisper Whisperer”. Writer Carolyn Cope, a member of a CSA someplace, kicks it off with a bang with piece on zucchini, which she dubs “the Brangelina of seasonal produce”. Not up enough on your celebrity news to catch the dig at the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie household? Cope clarifies: “It reproduces like mad and is inherently and unabashedly plural.”

She caps off the good writing with a recipe for zucchini-corn pancakes, which were a big hit tonight at dinner. She calls them “fritters”, but that makes them sound deep-fried, when I only used a coating of oil in a sautee pan.  Oh, and because I didn’t have any cilantro handy, I used some of the Week 12 garlic chives. I liked the taste, but I’ll try the cilantro the next time.

Summer Salad with Grilled Corn

Grilled Corn SaladI got this salad recipe–complete with photo–from Hell’s Kitchen CSA member Goutam Jois. It makes great use of everything that’s been the shares lately and it definitely looks good enough to eat!

Summer Salad with Grilled Corn (serves 2)

2 ears Upper Meadows Farm corn on the cob, grilled.

(For dressing)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 bunch Upper Meadows Farm lemony basil, cilantro, or both.
salt & pepper to taste

(For salad)
1 bag mixed salad greens [optional]
1/2 bunch Upper Meadows Farm kale
1/2 bunch Upper Meadows Farm Swiss chard
1 Upper Meadows Farm zucchini
1 Upper Meadows Farm squash
2 Upper Meadows Farm cucumbers, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 cup crumbled queso blanco

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Blend in a food processor with the basil/cilantro.  Set aside.

Stem kale and chard; chop coarsely and blanch; wash in several changes of cold water.

Trim ends of zucchini and squash, cut lengthwise, grill, cut into 1-inch pieces

Toss greens, kale, chard, zcchini, squash, cucumbers, avocado, and dressing.

Rub corn with butter, season to taste

What’s Coming Up This Season?

I want to take a moment to give you a little window into how the season is going here in the fields. The kale and lettuce have been really beautiful and bountiful, and we appreciate all of your kind feedback. You may have heard us during distribution talk a little bit about enduring all of the rain this spring. All of the rain (one of the top 10 rainiest Junes on record) and the unseasonably cool temperatures (one of the 12 coolest Junes on record) have had their impact on us.

So what does that mean?

To protect the soil condition we did most of our transplanting by hand. For those crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cool wet soils are a recipe for disaster due to a heightened likelihood of diseases wiping out the crops.  You may have read of the late blight situation that is destroying commercial tomato crops across the northeast (all of our tomato plants are in and looking good, our fingers are crossed and we’re taking every precaution to keep them safe).

So, to guard against the probability losing all that work and the plants we held off planting our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and some others. We are going full tilt now and are catching up. I expect to have the first of the zucchini and other summer squashes in the next few weeks. The plants are in bloom and everything looks good.  The cucumbers are already on the vine and we have stakes in and will be setting trellis so I expect cucumbers in the same time period, maybe even next week. Our chard looks great and the successive plantings of lettuce will provide for an abundant Sept/Oct. We are direct seeding some of your favorites like arugula, mustards, radish, beets, turnips and beans.

I make every effort to have a broad array of vegetables ripe and ready throughout the season and expect that we won’t be missing any veggies this year, we certainly will be seeing more and more as we get into the second half of the season as a result of the rainy June. Fall squash and pumpkins are thriving so it looks like we’ll have a Real Thanksgiving this year.

Our first batch of pasture fed chickens are available this week at distribution by forward order only. Please contact Megan if you’d like to purchase one. Most of the chickens are between 2.5-4 lbs and are running $4.50 ($4.05 for members!)

Beef will be available mid-August. Keep an eye on your inbox for an order form!

We appreciate your feedback and questions, so feel free to contact us!

What’s Growing

You’ve read about all the potatoes, you’ve read about the cabbage, you’ve seen that tantalizing photo of the asparagus. But if you’re at all like me, you’ve been really impatient to hear about everything else that Leonard has planted this year. So last night, at the new member meeting in Verona, I finally got him to spill the beans–if you can pardon the pun. Yes, there will be stringbeans, four different kinds in fact. And snow peas and maybe some sugar snaps. But there’s more, much more, so gather your cookbooks and start planning.

Red Cabbage.

Red Cabbage.

There are five kinds of kale already in the field: Lacinato, Red Russian, White Russian, Siberian and Curly. Grab any one of them and some of Upper Meadows’ maple syrup and you’ve got the beginnings of this vegan dinner, or peruse the entries on kale in Mark Bittman’s blog for The New York Times. The stinging nettles are up and “beautiful”, Leonard says.

Little Laciento Kale.

Little Lacinato Kale.

Then there are collards, which I have to admit I have never tried. The Food Network’s “Dinner Impossible” guy has them paired with bacon, which sounds very promising.

Red and yellow onions are in, in rows that are several hundred feet long. More rows are being planted. Also scallions–red, white, and green–and four varieties of hardneck garlic.



Red Onions.

Red Onions.



Leonard then moved on to the hundreds of plants started in his two greenhouses. There are 11 different varieties of lettuce, 9 different sweet peppers, 5 types of hot peppers, 7 kinds of basil and 3 kinds of parsely. There are garlic chives and onion chives, and sorrel. In place of the partridge in a pear tree, there is one variety of eggplant.

Forellenschluss Lettuce.

Forellenschluss Lettuce.

There is broccoli and a few different colors of cauliflowers, including that crazy orange variety. My friend Ann had a great idea for those at the end of a post on her blog on the wild turkey that wound up in her living room. And 2 kinds of tomatillos. I’m thinking salsa, or maybe a sauce for some chicken enchiladas.



Megan, who lobbied for the expanse of Swiss chard that has been planted, told me that she did try to rein Leonard in on his tomato varieties. But he confessed last night that there are 23 different kinds growing in the greenhouses, ranging from cherries, to slicing and paste tomatoes. Some are in great quantities, like the Cherokee Purples (they make a killer tomato soup), and some, like the exotic Striped Green Zebras, in smaller amounts.

TONS of Tomatoes.

TONS of Tomatoes.

The greens category also includes what Leonard called “a full array of mustards”, arugula, Asian greens like Tatsoi, spinach and amaranth. If you have only ever had amaranth as a grain, you are in for a real treat with the leaves.



And more: The 5 kinds of zucchini and summer squash are being planted in waves in hopes that we will have them before, with and after our tomatoes. Leonard has got 4 kinds of cucumbers going, 3 of which will be pickling varieties. If you have never tried your hand at pickling, start with this recipe from Alton Brown, which is as easy as it gets. He has also started a small, white Lebanese squash, which sounds intriguing.

In the winter squash category, there are Turk’s Turban, Acorn and Spaghetti Squash, and several kinds of pumpkins, including my favorite for pie, the so-called Cheese Pumpkin.

What have I forgotten? Herbs! Thyme, 5 varieties of basil,summer savory, 2 or 3 sages, Greek and Italian oregano and majoram. Also several varieties of radishes, carrots, turnips and beets.

Leonard says that the beets don’t always return his love, and his caution is worth noting. Despite his best efforts–which this year include more fencing and irrigation in addition to the greenhouses–Mother Nature and predators can have their way with his plants. But with Leonard and everyone at Upper Meadows focused on bounty this year, I am very, very optimistic.

A Place To Get Dirty

One of the most e-mailed stories on the New York Times‘ Web site this week has been a Jane Brody column, “A Little Dirt Is Good For You“. Jane’s take–and that of a lot of researchers–is that a child’s immune system benefits more from contact with a bit of dirt than from living in an ultra-clean environment.

How does this connect to the CSA? I have a decent-sized suburban backyard and there’s even a “mud corner”, so my kids play in dirt a lot. They help plant and pick from my meager garden beds. But when we joined the CSA last year, they got a chance to connect with an awful lot of dirt–and they had a blast. They dug weeds out of the zucchini patch and disappeared into a large field of native New Jersey blackberries with brambles twice as tall as they were.  In both cases, they did a lot of what Leonard likes to call “rigorous product testing”. And yes, they got dirty, very dirty.

Since we made the decision to renew our CSA share, the kids have been making plans for their time on the farm this year. My little guy wants to get back in the blackberries; my older son is determined to help with potatoes and chickens. I’m stocking up on laundry detergent.