Tag Archives: CSA Share Tips

Jupiter Ridge 2020 CSA | Week 14

Greetings CSA Members! We probably sound like a broken record at this point, but it really does seem like summer doesn’t want to let go. With highs in the 80’s this past week during the peak of fall colors, it’s been a pretty surreal autumn thus far…but we’re far from complaining about it!

That said, we’ve still got quite a few summer veggies for you. Our tomatoes have yet to shut down, plus we have plenty cold-picked green tomatoes ripening up in our storage that are helping our hot weather crops go the extra mile…I don’t think we’ve ever had this much abundance of tomatoes this late in the season!

Still, we’re pretty happy about it for the sake of our CSA members! After this week, with lows dipping back toward the lower 30’s and freezing, it’s more than likely that we’re seeing that last of summer this week and next.

Without further ado, this week’s box will contain:

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms (Shiitake or oyster, but most likely shiitake!)
  • Potatoes
  • Small/Medium green cabbage
  • Sweet peppers
  • Rainbow hot pepper blend!
  • Shallot
  • Onion
  • Garlic
Cherokee Green Tomatoes | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Cherokee Green Tomatoes.

While our cherry tomatoes continue to be picked fresh (and are still bursting with flavor!), a heads up that because of the cooler seasonal conditions, our slicer tomatoes may not be as flavorful as they usually are during the summer! I personally can’t tell the difference, while many others out there can and do. That said, you may enjoy these more as cooked tomatoes, but again, everyone is different.

So Many Hot Peppers! And What to Do With Them

This week you’ll notice that we’ll be unloading quite a few hot peppers on you! Some of you spicy hot food lovers will be thinking “bring it on!” While maybe some of you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by the idea.

The great thing about hot peppers: you can do easy things to get them to last a long time, and even then, you can control how much you add to meals for a bit more interesting flavor and dimension.

Me (Adrian), personally, I love a bit of heat – but not too much! It’s a fine balance. Will can handle a pretty intense dose of heat, and he loves it. But not everyone is that way.

Here’s a few ideas for how to handle these hot peppers:

  • Dehydrate them! You can easily do this at home even without a dehydrator. You can put them on a clean baking sheet and let them slowly dry at a setting of around 200 degrees F. After they’re dried you can keep them whole in a bag in your pantry at room temperature, to use bits and pieces here and there to add a little heat to things, as much or as little as you want. Or, you can try drying out multiple hot peppers together and then powder them into a sort of chili powder! (Warning: if you dry hot peppers by chopping them up first, be sure to wear gloves while chopping….I learned the hard way!) Some folks hang dry their hot peppers with string in their kitchen, this is certainly an option too and looks really beautiful.
  • Make a simple hot sauce. Really, an easy hot sauce is just throwing hot peppers, garlic, maybe onions, a bit of vinegar, and herbs together in a food processor and blending until smooth (and then adjusting /adding certain ingredients for taste). We personally LOVE blending in squash (cooked of course) into hot sauces, but you can also use mango, tomato, you name it. Keep it in the fridge and it will last you a week or two and help you turn up the flavor as much or as little as you want. There’s tons of really simple and delicious hot sauce recipes online, too.
  • Spice up soup or chili. If you’re a bit more daring, try throwing a whole one of these hot peppers in whole into the next soup or chili you make (it is fall, after all, and time for these sorts of dishes even if it’s warm! Right?). If you think you’re sensitive to heat, maybe hold off on throwing one of the whole habaneros or jalapeños in there, that could be too intense. But you might like the little upgrade of heat that an Anaheim, poblano, yellow pepper, or Chinese red pepper might give it. (And if it’s not hot enough…you can always throw in another!)
Rainbow Hot Peppers | Jupiter Ridge Farm

If you EVER have questions about items in your CSA or farm share box, please let us know! Whether it’s how to use them, what they are, or anything that might make you curious.

We love to talk food! | – jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Thank you for choosing us to be your farmers!

Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2020 CSA | Week 13

Warm greetings to our CSA members – especially after these last few chilly fall days!

We’re just coming out of a busy week doing a frantic (but expected) harvest of all our sensitive crops: tomatoes, peppers, and squash from out of the field, and packing and moving all our onions, garlic, and shallots to dry storage in order to protect them all from the threat of these recent frosts.

Despite all that: it looks like the frosts missed us! Crazily enough, our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and even basil plants are all still alive, thanks to our unique spot up high on our ridge (which can make frosts settle lower than us in the valleys and rivers, etc.). And with the week ahead looking warm and sunny (highs in the 70’s, lows above freezing), some of our warm-loving crops may not be done producing yet, which will make for an interesting next couple weeks for our CSA…

That said, here’s what to expect this week!

  • Beets
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sweet peppers
  • Cucumber (lemon or green)
  • Kale and Chard “Bouquet”
  • Onions (2)
  • Garlic
  • Hot pepper
  • Thelma Sanders winter squash
  • Acorn squash

You might be seeing the return of a familiar item: cucumbers! We were almost certain that these plants, which have been thriving in our greenhouse, were completely shut down and that these recent cold temperatures would finally do them in. Not so!

Summer is hanging on for dear life, so we’re happy to share this last burst of cukes with you….all thanks to the greenhouse. It’s amazing to have summer vegetables like this in a month like October!

Lemon cucumbers

What’s up with the “kale and chard” bouquet? It’s just our fancy way of saying “a bunch of chard and kale” which, obviously, really doesn’t sound as good as a bouquet….right? These bunches will simply be large leaves of kale and chard mixed together. Should be colorful, delicious, and not to mention…healthy!

And since it’s *really* fully autumn now with this weather lately, we’re stocking you up on some winter squash (two in this share) so you can really match your eating with these autumnal surroundings. Though this next week is really not fall-like at all….that’s OK. You can save your winter squash for a colder time and store it at room temperature, it stores quite well like that for weeks….even months!

Wellness Spotlight On: Onions

We don’t think about the healthiness of onions a lot. Do we?

Which is kind of funny, considering that onions might be the most ubiquitous vegetables around. There’s an Eastern European saying: first, you chop up and fry your onions. Then you decide what you’re cooking for the evening.

Onions are flavorful in different ways (sweet or pungent, whether fresh or cooked) and have woven their way into the fabric and cuisine of every country, region, and recipe you can imagine. So when it comes to wellness what are they good for? I’ve been thinking this question a lot, especially after just planting, cleaning and hauling hundreds of plants (and pounds) of them over this past season.

Onions | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Since they’re relatives of garlic, it may surprise (or not surprise) you that they have similar benefits to the bulb vegetable (though not as powerful). They can boost immunity, fight inflammation, and keep you from catching illnesses like colds and flu. And yes – onions contain that medicinal compound, allicin, just like garlic does, only less. (By the way allicin is responsible for onions’ wonderful smell!) Also, you can use onion juice for hair care and stimulating hair growth (weird I know – I wrote about it for Healthline here).

One benefit of onion that makes it better than garlic in some ways: it’s really an excellent vegetable for your gut! Consume tons of onions, and you’re getting way more fiber than you would from garlic. Combined with the antimicrobial compounds (including allicin) you get an amazing combo probiotic/prebiotic for your digestive system. Not to mention: onions are also rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, trace minerals, calcium, potassium, and lots more.

If you EVER have questions about items in your CSA or farm share box, please let us know! Whether it’s how to use them, what they are, or anything that might make you curious.

We love to talk food! | – jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Thank you for choosing us to be your farmers!

Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2020 CSA | Week 12

Hi there CSA Members! Happy Fall!

We’ve just returned from a much needed respite and camping trip with a good group of friends this past weekend, and we’re feeling energized and ready to finish out the farming season with a bang. (Also, for that reason, we’ll be keeping this newsletter a tad short!)

You might have noticed that we’ve missed the past couple weeks of newsletters (oops!) while we were having such a huge surplus of shiitakes during our add-on rush…sorry about that! We apologize for any inconvenience. Though it’s good we haven’t heard any complaints thus far…(and we made sure to let you know what will be in the box personally by email, at least!)

This week our amazing bounty of shiitakes continues, and it seems like summer is still holding on for a little while! Here’s what to expect:

  • Shiitake mushrooms (1/4 pound)
  • Heirloom tomato
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sweet peppers
  • Habanero pepper (New!)
  • Kale bunch
  • Potatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic (Extra this week – two heads!)
  • Cabettes! (New!)

A couple notes on things: yes, we’ve got some new items….

We’ll have habanero pepper this week, one of the new and exciting things we’re growing in 2020. (We don’t have a whole lot of experience with them!) Watch out, these are HOT! Use them sparingly if you’re sensitive…but when used correctly they impart tons of flavor, and even have a fruity, juicy taste to them too.

Habanero | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Habanero.

We’ll also have cabettes! These are smaller cabbage heads that grow on plants after the first main cabbage head is harvested. Think of them as (obviously) small cabbage (or very large Brussels sprouts) and prepare them accordingly!

Cabbettes
Cabettes

If you EVER have questions about items in your CSA or farm share box, please let us know! Whether it’s how to use them, what they are, or anything that might make you curious.

We love to talk food! | – jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Thank you for choosing us to be your farmers!

Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2020 CSA | Week 9

Hi CSA Members and Supporters! We’re at about the halfway point in our CSA season, and it’s been a wonderful ride so far.

We had the first feelings of fall this week with this cooler weather, that’s for sure! Many of our summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, and squash still seem to be going strong, but soon enough we’ll see veggies begin to phase out into autumn – and with it more cool weather crops like beets, storage radishes, turnips, winter squash, and more coming on the way!

This week before the rains, we got some cool weather crops for the last few autumnal weeks of our CSA! Spinach, arugula, spring radishes, and more are in the ground for the next seasonal transition coming on. A lot to look forward to – but for now, we do think we have a few weeks left of summer’s flavors for you!

This week, the CSA will contain:

  • Heirloom and slicer tomatoes
  • Sweet peppers (New!)
  • Hot peppers
  • Rainbow carrots (New!)
  • Lemon or Green Cucumber
  • Summer squash (Yellow or Patty Pan)
  • Kale leaf mix
  • Thelma Sanders squash (New!)
  • White onion
  • Garlic
  • Shallot
  • Fresh parsley bunch

As you can see, we still have lots of good summer stuff – and even some new and exciting items, like sweet peppers! The varieties we’ve grown are deliciously sweet and great for both both cooking and eating raw, and are very colorful – a combination of some bell types, lunchbox types, and “cornio del toro” (bull’s horn or pointed) types.

Cleaning Rainbow Carrots | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Rainbow carrots just after getting washed for Dubuque Farmers Market.

We’re also pleased to have rainbow carrots for you this week, too! These carrots are sweet, delicious, and a very colorful bunch that we’re sure you’ll appreciate – and are a beautiful change of scenery from typical orange carrots (though those are of course very beautiful and delicious, too).

Thelma Sanders Winter Squash – What Is It?

If you get to know Will and I on a personal level, you’ll quickly learn how much we love winter squash. Will loves it so much he has an entire website dedicated to it: www.squashinit.com . Check it out!

One of the heirloom varieties we’ve grown the past couple years, and that Will is enamored with, is the Thelma Sanders squash. You’ll be getting it in your share this week, and if you like delicata and acorn squash, then you’re in for a real tasty treat.

Thelma Sanders Squash | Jupiter Ridge Farm

A funny anecdote: I had a hard time remembering the name of this squash and kept calling it the “Thelma and Louise” squash at farmers market. Then I realized that it had a sandy sort of appearance – aha! Sandy Thelma Sanders. (Not to mention we had a lot of canvassers for Bernie Sanders hitting up our stand last year around the time this squash was in season, so that’s been a helpful association too.)

Anyways. We think you’ll like Thelma. If you like acorn squash, this is technically an “acorn” breed – only it has smoother, “creamier” flesh (less stringy and fibrous) more like butternut or kabocha. If you like the flavor of delicata, too, then you’ll also love this one! It is often also called the sweet potato squash because it makes for a very similar replacement, it is starchier and sweeter, like the delicious delicata.

Just like delicata, butternut, pumpkin, and any of its winter squash kin, you can roast up Thelma Sanders for the best result. Slice in half, remove the seeds, and set upside down on a baking sheet that has been well oiled or buttered. I like 400 degrees F for roasting and take it out of the oven when its done – and the skin is edible when roasted thoroughly. Or you can always cube up the squash and season it before roasting it!

How Do I Make My CSA Items Last? I Can’t Eat All This Food!

If you feel like you’re getting more food thrown at you than you can handle (a common feeling people struggle with in CSA’s), there’s a little shift in perspective you can take to make all the food you’re getting go the extra mile…and seem more exciting! Because you don’t have to use it all right away.

I’ve been wanting to put together a little section like this for our members for some time, because the pressure to use all your food really doesn’t have to be there. If you have a little time on the weekend or in the evenings, putting away your food for later (or even for winter) can be a fun project and give you a lot to look forward to. Once you learn that you can do this, it really becomes second nature after a time.

CSA Share | Jupiter Ridge Farm

I’ll break this down category by category of what you can do to save your surplus food! Save fresh greens like lettuce and arugula (except cooking greens)

Blanch It! | Steam in a colander over boiling pot of water, then freeze in bags for later

  • Any cooking greens! (Kale, spinach, chard, collards)
  • Winter squash
  • Summer squash
  • Snap peas
  • Okra
  • Cooking peppers
  • Garlic scapes

Roast and Freeze It! 

  • Tomatoes
  • Cooking peppers
  • Winter squash
  • Beets
  • Carrots

Store It! | These veggies you really don’t have to eat right away –  some of them can even be stored at room temperature, and can last even from weeks to months.

  • Refrigerator Crisper Drawer or Root Cellar:
    • Cabbage
    • Potatoes
    • Beets
    • Rutabagas
    • Storage radishes
    • Turnips
    • Parsnips
    • Carrots
    • Kohlrabi
    • Peppers (a few weeks shelf life)
    • Eggplants (a few weeks shelf life)
  • Room Temperature:
    • All Winter Squash (Delicata has shortest shelf life – and all squash will get sweeter the longer they sit!)
    • Pumpkins
    • Onions
    • Garlic
    • Shallots

Dehydrate It! | These can then even be powdered and used as spices and seasonings on your food in the future.

  • Tomatoes (cherry, heirlooms, slicers)
  • Sweet peppers
  • Hot peppers
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Mushrooms
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Culinary Herbs

Hang Dry It! | Applies to any culinary herb bunch you get in your CSA box, pretty much.

  • Basil (sweet green, purple, Thai)
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Pickle It! | I would recommend lacto-pickling with a brine, which takes a little more work but preserves your veggies for longer.

  • Cucumbers (obviously!)
  • Shiitake mushrooms (sounds weird but amazingly good)
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic scapes
  • Garlic
  • Kohlrabi
  • Sweet peppers
  • Hot peppers
  • Summer squash
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Okra
  • Turnips
  • Beans
  • Leeks
  • Cabbage (mmm sauerkraut)
  • Rutabaga

Making Fire Cider | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Making a unique take on fire cider (a medicinal quick pickle) with our farm’s veggies: jalapeños, sweet onions, garlic, daikon radish, ginger, thyme, and oregano

If you EVER have questions about items in your CSA or farm share box, please let us know! Whether it’s how to use them, what they are, or anything that might make you curious.

We love to talk food! | – jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Thank you for choosing us to be your farmers!

Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA “Italian Share!” | Week 4 Newsletter

Hi CSA Members!

Make sure to whip out your Italian cookbooks or your fave Italian recipes for this share. We’ll be packing it with a lot of tasty ingredients used in Italian cuisine! (And generally speaking, this is going to be a very big share. Hope you enjoy!)

Just a heads up: CSA delivery will be taking place on Wednesday evening this week rather than Tuesday (tomorrow). Be sure to leave your empty cooler out with ice packs then!

What you’ll be getting:

  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Red Round Slicer Tomato
  • Large Heirloom Tomato
  • Bunch Sweet Italian Basil (Genovese Basil)
  • Bunch Oregano
  • Lacinato Kale Bunch
  • Head Lettuce
  • Green Zucchini
  • Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
  • Patty Pan Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Rainbow Baby Beets
  • Sweet Onion

Tomatoes and basil are considered a “holy grail” pairing, one that is especially revered (and featured in) Italian cooking. Oregano is another great one (it helps round out tomatoes and basil in tomato sauces and Italian gravies, for example), while Lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan kale, from Tuscany, Italy) is the star green for Italian cuisine and our share (and a favorite variety of kale among chefs – very tender, flavorful, and nutrient-dense!)

Lacinato Kale
Lacinato, Tuscan, or “Dinosaur” Kale, right before its delivery to Brazen Open Kitchen in Dubuque.

Can’t forget zucchini of course, a notable Italian vegetable (with a very Italian name).

Don’t want to cook Italian with all these ingredients? No problem. Cucumbers, sweet onion, baby beets, lettuce, and shiitake mushrooms in this week’s share will allow you to explore plenty of other avenues, too!

So Many Items in My CSA Share! Here’s How To Make Them Go The Distance

One thing we’ve heard many people say about CSA’s in general (whether they’re in one or considering one): you get too much food, you get overwhelmed, and then it all goes bad. It’s true this can happen: this is a tendency in some CSA’s (though not all of them, but you can run into this possibility depending on the farm or the farmer).

Heirloom Tomato
Is this a closeup of planet Jupiter? No, it’s a German Stripe heirloom tomato.

Part of the whole deal with a CSA is that you are signing up for both the “Risk and Rewards” of supporting your farmer with a whole share. You get whatever they have available on the farm.

But part of this is that you might get a lot of what a farmer happens to have, and sometimes that is something quite perishable (in the springtime, this might be greens, like kale) or something you might not be too excited about.

Not only might it be quite the task to keep up with cooking it all in one week (and in new, creative, appetizing ways that keep you excited), but you might also get a little exhausted of getting it over, and over, and over… and coming up with new ways to eat it (or even finding time to figure out how to eat it, for that matter).

So, to get the most out of the cost of your CSA share and ensure nothing goes to waste, here’s what we recommend for certain items:

  • You don’t have to eat those root vegetables right away.

Store them in a cool, dry place (the crisper drawer of your fridge is alright) at a temperature of between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, optimally (according to Modern Farmer). That immediately makes things like beets, potatoes, and even that enormous turnip in your share less daunting, and you don’t have to feel the pressure of using it right away. You can actually even wait a few weeks (sometimes months, depending on the root vegetable) before you even use it.

This goes for winter squash, too. As for onions, if you get sweet onions in your share, be sure to use them up before any storage type onions you get. Owing to their higher sugar content, sweet onions will go bad before your storage bulbs – while the latter you can keep just like other root veggies up to a few months in some cases.

  • Can’t eat all those greens? Blanch and freeze them.

It’s actually pretty quick and easy and takes almost no time, and I’ve done it many times in the autumn as our kale slows down production and dies back – I harvest any leftover leaves, blanch, and then freeze them. The Spruce has a good little tutorial on how to do it. It’s worth it.

Now you have greens with plenty of nutrients left in them still for the winter. It’s a great method to do with any excess kale, collard greens, swiss chard, arugula, and spinach you just can’t seem to get through (sadly, it doesn’t work so great for lettuce).

These frozen greens can then be cooked, added to sauces/pastas/soups, and they’re still tasty enough to throw into a smoothie or into the juicer. For that matter, a lot of other produce can be blanched and frozen, not just greens: like summer squash, green beans, sugar snap peas, and lots more.

Collard Bunches
Collard greens, these are great for blanching and freezing.

  • Make sure to store your tomatoes outside of the fridge.

This is a big one. We tend not to try to overload our members with tomatoes (although we know that they’re probably the most exciting item to people in the summer), but simply “not being in the mood” for tomatoes (or getting sick of tomatoes in summer) is a very, very, very real thing.

So, make sure to avoid storing your tomatoes in the fridge if you don’t want to get to them right away. They keep much, much longer at room temperature, anyway (and you’ll notice them going bad  much sooner than when you leave them out of sight and out of mind in your crisper drawer).

  • Keep mushrooms refrigerated in paper, not plastic.

Can’t get to your shiitake mushrooms right away (or oyster mushrooms, or lion’s mane mushrooms, which CSA members might get in the future from our farm)?

You’ll get your shiitakes delivered to you in your share in a small plastic bag, but if you can’t cook them within a few days to a week, move them to be stored in something like a brown paper bag. This will definitely extend their shelf life to over one week, sometimes even two weeks, because it helps “wick” excess moisture away while still keeping some of it in to prevent your mushrooms from drying out too much.

If some brown spots form on mushroom gills, don’t worry – that is just oxidation, your mushrooms are still edible! It just makes them look a little ugly.

Shiitakes

It can be a chore to stay on top of all your CSA share produce (especially if you get a lot of certain items at once). This is one of the reasons why our CSA is set up a little differently: we start in July (when we are at the peak in our produce variety) and end our subscription with Fall produce that includes what is available not only in Autumn, but ALSO what’s available in Spring (so you get it all!)

Have any questions about your CSA share and what’s in it?

Never hesitate to ask! Email: jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm