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Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 18

Greetings CSA Members! Hope you are all doing a good job staying warm!

We’ll get right to it. Here’s what you can expect in your CSA delivery this week:

  • Dried Shiitake Mushrooms New!
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Bonbon Buttercup Squash New!
  • White Daikon Radishes New!
  • Parsnips
  • Baby Orange Carrots
  • Rutabagas
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Yellow Storage Onion
  • Red Onions
  • Dried Basil New!

Again, a bit of a wintry lineup with plenty of roasty, toasty, tasty root vegetables!

And, since we have them on hand, we couldn’t resist getting our members one last taste of shiitakes before the end of the CSA season (and to your benefit: since they’re dehydrated, you can hang onto them for as long as you like, even for a special occasion later in winter!)

Dried Shiitakes | Jupiter Ridge Farm

We’re also excited to share a delicious new squash variety with you this week: a bonbon buttercup squash. This type has very smooth, fine-grained yellow flesh, quite a bit like a paler butternut, and is quite sweet. We hope you enjoy it.

And we’ll also be getting you a little taste of the summer we’ve preserved over the past couple months: dried basil! Make it last over the winter on pastas, on pizzas, or anything else you may want to try it with over the cold months!

And we have another new item for you…

White Daikon Radishes | Explanation and Tips

You’ve gotten purple daikons in your CSA so far this year…but you have yet to experience our white (or icicle type) daikon radishes!

White Daikon Radish | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Not all of them are nearly as large as the one pictured, but this can give you a good idea of how large these root vegetables can get.

So, how do you use them? You can use them a lot like all the other winter radishes and similar root vegetables you’ve received in past shares. These have a slightly lighter and crunchier texture than purple daikons, and for that reason, these guys are a great addition to short-term frying preparations: like Asian stir fries for example, a a popular dish that you’ll find these daikons in.

Again, like our other winter radish crops, slicing them raw for salads adds a bit of interesting spice, while roasting them up makes them as mild and tame as a turnip. As you can probably tell, the name “icicle” for these types of radishes refers to their very long and pointed shape. When eaten raw, their flavor is anything but cold or cool…these daikons can be spicy!

Over the years working at various organic farms around the country and growing these, they seem to be a popular addition to homemade juices (you know, of the ilk for “juice fasts” and that require a juicer). They’re crispy flesh and spiciness is a great addition to fruit and vegetable blends; some have claimed daikon radishes are great for the liver, though I don’t have any knowledge or sources to personally back that up. (They’re probably mildly detoxifying to some extent, at least, like a lot of veggies…)

Are you familiar with white daikons and have recipes to share? We’d love to hear them!

Feel free to email us your own recipes and ideas – we’ll happily credit you and share them. | jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Dehydrated Shiitakes | Jupiter Ridge Farm

That about wraps it up for the second to last week of CSA, leading up to Thanksgiving! It seems like our CSA season really has gone by fast.

It’s our pleasure to bring you these goodies leading up to the holiday. And don’t forget: on the very last CSA delivery next weekend, we’ll be delivering you a DOUBLE share, straight to your doorstep, and with tons of good stuff!

Until next time!

Warmest Regards,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 12

Hello CSA Members –

It finally feels like the cold and rain have officially pushed us into fall!

This Saturday it was so rainy, windy, and cold we decided to skip farmers market – a tough decision, but we’re grateful to have kept our onions dry. In all the time we would have usually spent picking and packing for market, instead we finished pulling in all our squash, picking the last of our heat-loving crops, and even dehydrating some food for winter.

It also means we’ll still have quite a bit of variety for you for the weeks ahead!

*Important Note!* CSA Deliveries will be taking place on Wednesday evening rather than Tuesday evening this week. Be sure to leave out your coolers and ice packs then!

Here’s what you can expect this week:

  • Acorn Squash
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Eggplants
  • Purple Daikon Radishes New!
  • Apples New!
  • Baby Beets
  • Kennebec (White) Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Red Onion
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Sage
Daikon Radish: What Is It? | Explanation & Tips

Never had daikon radishes before? Then you’re in for a real treat – and for a brush-in with some truly beautiful produce.

Daikon Radish | Jupiter Ridge Farm

If you’re familiar with Asian or Middle Eastern cuisine, it’s very likely you’ve had a taste of this radish before. It’s sure to have been a memorable experience: daikon radishes can get HOT! (Though not as hot as horse radish!) Think of your typical small spring radish, but with more of a bite or a kick.

Don’t like the heat? No problem! Try roasting up this spicy root much like you’d roast up turnips, beets, or rutabagas – its heat will vanish through the roasting (or baking) process. (I especially recommend a “daikon radish fries” recipe, fried up in oil, salt, and spices!)

If you love its spiciness: try pickling it as a garnish for future preparations; or, better yet, grating or cutting it into matchsticks for a slaw or salad. It goes well with carrots, cabbage, lettuce, apples (which will also be in your share this week!) and many other fresh-tasting veggies. Mix it up with a creamy sauce, mayonnaise, or salad dressing. It is absolutely delicious.

If you like street tacos, it goes well with mahi mahi/tuna tacos with a bit of red cabbage!!!

Sliced Daikon | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Daikon radish sliced open. Beautiful!

 

Have any questions or want some tips, guidance, or recipe ideas on daikon radishes? Don’t hesitate to email us!

Also feel free to share your own recipes with us – we love to share!

– jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Apples in Your CSA Share This Week!!! | Explanation & Tips

We have a couple apple trees on our property, and they’re all ripe and ready to go – so expect apples in your share this week!

Apples | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Some info about these apples: they’re a “storage” type, meaning they’re just a tad less sweet and not so much for enjoying as a sweet crunchy snack eaten raw. On the other hand, since they have less sugar content, they last a much longer time in your pantry. They’re best used instead for making stuff like scrumptious ciders, breads, and pies! Since it’s fall anyway, we thought these would be a great treat for you to get ready for the fun baking spirit that usually comes with autumn.

Fun Apple Wellness Tip! Did you know apples have antimicrobial and astringent properties? This means they help kill bacteria/pathogens with some “cleansing” properties. One folk/herbalist tip I’ve gleaned in my studies: if you don’t have time to brush your teeth, eat an apple!

I know it sounds crazy, but apparently its astringent flesh and skins, plus its antimicrobial compounds, have a sort of “scrubbing” effect when you eat it (a bit of a “flossing” effect, too, when the flesh gets in between your teeth). Since these apples we’re sending you have less sugar (which is better for teeth), maybe consider giving it a try….though of course, brushing and flossing is HANDS DOWN better than eating an apple for your dental hygiene.

Apple | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Let us know if you have any questions! ~ | jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 10

Greetings CSA Members!

Rainy weeks are upon us as we edge into the very first “official” days of fall. We’re happy to report, however, that we still have plenty of summertime produce for our members – and the next couple weeks may be the the last few chances you get to taste it, as well as in this share going out tomorrow.

With that said, we do have some new items for you this week!

What to expect:

  • Summer Squash (Patty Pan, Zucchini, Crookneck, or Mix)
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Potatoes (Fingerlings)
  • Shallots (New!)
  • Tomatoes (Heirloom, Slicers, Cherries, or Mix)
  • Spinach (New!)
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Ground Cherries (New!)

Lots of new stuff for you to try, as you can see – and scroll down to read about some of the new items you’ll be getting.

Enjoy your share!

Ground Cherries: What Are They? | Explanation and Tips

Meet ground cherries: one of the new items in your share. I can only best describe them as a combination between a tomatillo, cherry tomato, strawberry, and fig in terms of flavor, texture, and use!

Ground Cherries | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Now that you’ve uncovered these in your CSA cooler, you might wonder: what do I do with these??? They may look strange, but using them and enjoying them is extraordinarily simple.

Our first suggestion: just eat them on their own as a treat. Carefully pull away their outer wrapping and munch away. You’ll quickly see why people grow them and why they’re so delicious and addictive on their very own! (The first time Will and I harvested these, we ate about 3/4 of them. 0% guilt, 100% satisfied). We’re sure kids will especially love them, too, as they are very sweet and easy to like.

Second suggestion: make them last: dehydrate them! If you have a dehydrator, slice each of them in half with a sharp knife and place them on your trays. I’d recommend you look up the exact specifications for temperature etc. for proper dehydration, though my guess is that the recommended settings are similar to cherry tomatoes or for homemade raisins/craisins.

Third: add them to a salsa or sauce. Delicious! If you’ve ever made a salsa or sauce with strawberry, you can bet that similar ingredients that pair well with that sweet strawberry flavor go well with the ground cherry flavor, too. Yum…just yum. (We recommend you look up recipes online, too).

Fourth: make a ground cherry jam! We’re not going to give you enough ground cherries in your share this week to make a jam (or jelly) most likely, but we’re almost 100% sure that once you taste these sweet treats, you’ll want to buy more – maybe enough to make a jam with them. (Ground cherries are fairly available, even in Cedar Rapids. Go looking for some more, though we’re sure ground cherry jam is something you can easily find and buy at local specialty stores/farmers markets!)

Wellness Spotlight On: Thyme

You’ve gotten thyme in your share before this year, and we’re sure you’ve probably already cooked once or twice with it, too.

Thyme | Jupiter Ridge Farm
A small sprig of thyme.

For those interested in the health properties of thyme, you’re in for a real treat: thyme may be one of the most important herbal healing remedies out there. It not only imparts great health benefits into the meals you cook using it, but it stands on its own as an amazing herb in and of itself (for teas, steams, bitters, you name it!)

So what does it do? Short answer: so, so, so much. Long answer: too long for a blog post! But, in summary:

  • Thyme is excellent for boosting immunity.
  • Thyme may support health while fighting colds and flu.
  • Thyme tea may help soothe a sore throat.
  • Thyme can help with coughs, especially wet coughs.
  • Did you know? Natural ingredients from thyme are used in Vapo-Rub and similar products (wow!) for helping with congestion!
  • Thyme has also been a popular “folk herb” for women, especially mothers who are either pregnant or post-partum.
  • Thyme can help with nausea and motion sickness, much like ginger.

That’s all for now!

We hope you savor every bit of produce, herb, and berry (er, ground cherry!) in your delicious share this week. It’s a pleasure being your farmer!

As always, let us know if you have any questions – email us your ideas or recipe suggestions, too. We love to share!

– jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 7

Greetings CSA Members!

Wow – can you believe we’re at week 7 already?

With a heavy share for you last week, we’re going a little light this week on our offerings – but your cooler will still be packed with plenty to enjoy and have fun with.

New item this week: Acorn Squash! That’s right, we’re finally starting to move into fall (a little bit) and this is only the first taste of what we’ll have to offer for fall flavors (meaning we have many more types of winter squash you’ll be able to enjoy in your future shares.)

This week’s share will include:

  • Red Round Slicing Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Baby Rainbow Carrots
  • Baby Rainbow Beets
  • Lacinato Kale Bunch
  • Acorn Squash
  • White (Kennebec) Potatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Sweet Onion
  • Garlic

A heads up about CSA deliveries next week! They will be taking place on Monday evening rather than on Tuesday evening. So make sure to leave your cooler with ice pack out then.

We will be attending the 2nd Annual Feed Iowa First that evening at Rodina in the Czech Village! We will also be collaborators, so the dishes featured during the dinner will feature the same produce you have been enjoying in your shares. Because of the event, we are tying in our restaurant and CSA deliveries into that day for convenience.

Speaking of the dinner – there are still tickets available!

Wish to attend? Click this link here. It would be great to see you there, and to work with us to help a great nonprofit like Feed Iowa First (Read about what they do here!)

This amazing nonprofit gathers growers and farmers (including ourselves here at Jupiter Ridge Farm!) together to produce healthy food and get it to communities, institutions, and other populations in need.

Participating in this dinner is a great way to support them as directly as possible, and will feature dishes and beverages produced from the talents of chefs, beverage makers, brewers, and farmers – the best talents in the Cedar Rapids area! Last year’s event was delicious, amazing, and fun. Let us know if you can join us!

Acorn Squash: What Do I Do With It? | Explanation & Tips

Never had acorn squash before? Well, you’re in for a real treat!

Acorn Squash on Vine | Jupiter Ridge Farm

If you’ve ever roasted a butternut or spaghetti squash, acorn squash basically gets the same treatment when it comes to preparation. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and place them on a cookie sheet or pan (with a little water in pan if desired) and roast them up until they’re nice and soft.

Adding a little salt on top (black pepper, too) makes this squash enjoyable right on it’s very own. Or, you can scoop out the flesh (leave the skin aside – it’s not very edible) and blend it into soups or stews. Half-bake it and cube it up and it makes an excellent addition to stuffing! (A bit early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, we know.)

Did you know the acorn squash was actually developed here in the state of Iowa? And that it also goes by the name Des Moines squash? The acorn was officially introduced and debuted as a commercial cultivar in Iowa in 1913. However, all squash originate from the Americas – pumpkins, zucchinis, you name it.

As you enjoy acorn squash this week, you can be proud to be tasting and savoring produce that is as Iowan as it gets.

Wellness Spotlight On: Cucumbers

Something as green as a cucumber has got to be healthy. But what health benefits does it have, exactly?

Cucumbers | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Cucumbers in closeup.

People eat cucumbers most often as a condiment we know all too well: pickles. “Dill pickles” (cucumbers pickled with dill seeds or fronds) are delicious, but there’s something more to this pairing: both cucumbers and dill are known to be great for aiding digestion.

Whether you eat them raw or as pickles, cucumbers are also known to help regulate blood sugars a little bit. This makes them an excellent vegetable for people with diabetes!

Well, that’s all for now! It’s an amazing time for CSA members right now, being able to enjoy the last tasty vegetables of summer alongside some of the first hints of autumn produce.

We hope you love what’s in your share – and as always, let us know if you have any questions about anything!

– jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Best,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 6

Greetings CSA Members!

The share this week will feature some new additions (and the return of some tasty items you’ve enjoyed in the past) – we hope you enjoy them as much as our market customers did this past Saturday at Dubuque Farmers Market!

This week’s share will include:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Green Beans
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Green Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Onions
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers

New this week: leeks and garlic! These veggies can also be used like culinary seasonings in and of themselves (especially garlic). We hope you enjoy the flavor they add to your recipes and meals this week. Enjoy!

Baby Leeks
Baby leeks being pulled from the field.

 

Leeks and How to Use Them | Explanation and Tips

We get a lot of farmers market customers in Dubuque asking us all about leeks. What are they? What should you use them in?

Leeks are a relative of onions and garlic, with a flavor more similarly resembling onions more than anything. Compared to onions, though, they have a gentler presence in recipes when it comes to taste. The part you want to use it mostly its white stem (which has the same texture and is chopped the same way as an onion bulb), though the green leafy top parts can be used, too. However, be prepared for the green parts to be a bit more fibrous (less like an onion bulb).

We recommend leeks in soups and stocks most of all. That seems to be where they shine the most  (especially in soups using potatoes – leek and potato soup is heavenly, give leeks a try along with those fingerlings!)

But really, you can replace recipes calling for onion with a whole leek if you desire. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Leeks
Leeks!
Wellness Spotlight On: Garlic

Vegetable farmers love to grow garlic. People love to eat garlic (it tastes delicious – what would we be without it?) Herbalists also love garlic because it has dozens of health properties.

In summary: everyone loves garlic.

But most notably of all, garlic is amazing for your health, there’s no way around it. When you eat it as a food or culinary herb, it’s great for your immune system, for reducing cancer risk, protecting heart health, regulating blood sugars, the whole she-bang.

One interesting thing about garlic: it can be a potent antibiotic. However, in order to tap into these antibiotic properties, you need to eat garlic raw!

A tall order, we know – but for those interested in trying their hand at it, raw cloves can help you knock out a cold or a flu if you want to try out a home herbal remedy that is widely known to help you when you’re sick (and is actually shown to be effective!). Placing cloves of garlic in a jar of honey is a great way to prepare for the winter – it helps preserve them and also make “popping” a raw clove for a cold or flu way more palatable (and still effective).

Oh yeah – garlic it can be great for sore throats, too (especially when combined with that honey).

Garlic

Lots of good stuff this week – and especially healthy stuff, too.

As always, feel free to let us know if you have any questions about how to use an item in your CSA share (or what it could be good for, health-wise!)

~ jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com ~

Yours,

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

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 2 Newsletter

Greetings CSA members – and welcome to our second CSA week!

Without further ado, here’s what you can expect for your delivery to come tomorrow:

  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Red Round Slicing Tomato (Delicious!)
  • Patty Pan Squash
  • Mini Cabbage Trio (Red Cabbage, Round Green Cabbage, Oblong Green Cabbage)
  • Bunch Sweet Onions (White)
  • Bunch Carrots
  • Bunch Kale
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Bunch Sage

Some farm updates: as the summer moves on to what tends to be its “hottest” phase yet, we’re saying goodbye to crops like sugar snap peas, turnips, and salad mix (though we still have some head lettuce in the ground and on the way!), while welcoming some newcomers. Just today, we trellised up sweet peppers, hot peppers, and eggplants, which our members will be able to enjoy at some point pretty soon.

We also trellised up an all-new crop we’ve never worked with: ground cherries. Think tomatillo with an earthier, more date-like (or even fig-like) flavor. Perhaps our CSA members will see some of those pretty soon here, too, if they do well!

Our most important news: we’re almost done rebuilding our shiitake production house and doubling its size. This means tons and tons (and tons) of shiitakes will be available to close out our season (and very likely more available to our CSA members than they’ve ever been before!)

Shiitake Production | Jupiter Ridge Farm

We can’t wait to deliver what’s growing right around the corner to you. Some other notable upcoming veggie possibilities in your share: beets (red, gold, white, chioggia/striped), rainbow carrots, head lettuce (romaine and frilled butter bibb/green), and lots more!

Thanks again for choosing us as your farmers.

What Is Patty Pan Squash? | Explanation and Tips

Before you pull out the strange circular-looking squash from your cooler and get confused (in my opinion, it looks like a UFO or a spaceship), reading this section can dispel some of that confusion.

Summer Squash | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Patty Pan squash: it’s the round one in the middle.

Despite its shape, patty pans aren’t as weird to cook with as they might look like at first glance. You can cook them in the exact same ways as their close relatives, zucchini (on the left) and crookneck or other yellow summer squashes (on the right).

I have to point out that patty pans (as I described to a farmers market customer just this past Saturday) have a firmer, more starchy texture than summer squash, but the same buttery and delicious flavor.

Jupiter Ridge’s Farmer Adrian says they’re absolutely perfect for those “stuffed squash” recipes (try substituting those “zucchini boat” recipes for patty pan squash, they make for perfect single-serving little squashes) and baking them with a stuffed filling in the oven.

Though it goes good with everything (it’s true), bacon is an irresistible combo with summer squashes like patty pan. A great combo for grilling season especially.

Jupiter Ridge’s Farmer Will has used summer squashes (including patty pan) for a grilled bruschetta. Cut it open laterally and top with garlic, olive oil, basil, tomato, and perhaps a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. This is a great grilling option, too, or put it in the oven!

Local Iowa Bruschetta | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Bruschetta made from farm veggies.
Wellness Spotlight On: Garden Sage

With a bunch of culinary sage to be expected in your share, here’s where I can put my (Adrian’s) herbalist hat on for a moment and explain a little bit about it on the health front.

In culinary terms, sage will pair great with those tomatoes, squash, and garlic scapes in your share. It’s also rich in antioxidants that you can experience some of if you use it as a spice in your meals, but which you can get an even greater dose of (at a time) if sage is used as a tea (fresh or dried – it doesn’t matter). Some of the perks of these antioxidants: better immunity, and better better brain function, reportedly and according to studies.

Though it’s tasty when used fresh in food (highly recommend!) another option is to dry it, hang it, and save it for winter as a tea for boosting immune systems for colds and flu (and it’s good for coughs too).  It may have an intense flavor in tea, but tastes amazing with honey (or use it as one of many herbs in a hot toddy for a sore throat – delicious!)

Sage | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Sage closeup

Enjoy the sage (and the rest of your share) this week!

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 1 Newsletter

Greetings CSA Members! (Or non-members who happen to be reading, or even potential future members…)

Heading into our first CSA week 2019, we’re so excited to have you on board. Tomorrow brings our first delivery to the Cedar Rapids area. Expect your first share (delivered in personal cooler with ice packs) on your porch or stoop tomorrow evening! During the time of your delivery, we will also be in the neighborhood delivering fresh produce to Cedar Rapids restaurant favorites like Cobble Hill, Rodina, The Map Room, and many others!

*Next Tuesday, make sure to leave the cooler we left you out on your porch/stoop at around or before 4 PM.*

We will swap it out, clean it, and replace it with a fresh new cooler packed and cooled with your new share next week.

The first delivery will include: 

  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Cucumbers
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Basil (Purple “Opal” variety)
  • Carrots (Orange)
  • Summer Squash
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Kale Bunch (Green)
  • Bunched Sweet Fresh Onions (Red, Semi-Sweet)
What Are Garlic Scapes? | Some Explanation and Tips

To those who are already acquainted with and delighted by garlic scapes: my apologies. For the rest who may be curious reading that they will find garlic scapes in their share and who have never experienced them, you might be thinking: what are they? What will they be?

Or, when you open your share, you’ll wonder: “What are these pigtail-looking things?

Garlic Scapes | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Meet garlic scapes.

Garlic scapes are the flower of the garlic plant. As the garlic plant gets larger during the early summer months, the flowers must be picked off and removed so the plant shifts its focus from flower/foliar production back to bulb production. Scapes must be picked (and we choose to pick them) so we pull up the biggest, most pungent and delicious garlic bulbs come late summer for garlic harvest.

Though we don’t want them on our garlic plants, they’re very, very, VERY welcome in the kitchen.

You can chop off the pale white/yellow flowering head you see pictured and mince the green part of the flower stalk. Think of it as a cross between green garlic or onions and a garlic bulb, except it packs a bit more of that trademark garlic pungency.

Jupiter Ridge’s farmer Will recommends very finely mincing garlic scapes raw into a salad with cucumber, basil, tomatoes, olive oil, and vinegar.

Jupiter Ridge’s farmer Adrian would suggest using it in place of bulb garlic in pesto, it seems to bring out a “punchier” garlic flavor. It’s also great on pizzas (kind of like the wood-fired pizzas you’ll find at Park Farm Winery, which use our own local organic scapes!)

To keep it simple, garlic scapes can be minced and used to replace bulb garlic in just about any recipe.

Let us know if you have any questions about it – email us, Facebook message us, or Instagram message us. We’re happy to talk to you about them.

Wellness Spotlight On: Shiitake Mushrooms

I can’t tell people enough about how great shiitake mushrooms are for health at farmers market.

Talk about the ultimate meat replacement for all you vegans out there (and to you meat eaters, shiitakes make an EXCELLENT pairing with steaks and burgers). Shiitake mushrooms come packed with tons of protein and fiber, the former being incredibly important for vegans/vegetarians skimping on meat, but the latter (fiber) is important to your gut (and you won’t find it in meat).

Also, sun-exposed shiitakes (like ours to some extent, which are grown outdoors) are some of the highest non-meat food sources of vitamin D out there, which is a very important vitamin for non-meat-eaters to stay on top of. The same goes for vitamin B12 (which, yes, shiitakes also contain small traces of).

So there you go – for anyone wanting to cut out or replace meat consumption (but are worried about missing out on the nutrition we crave from it), shiitake mushrooms are a satisfying choice.

Also: we can’t forget that shiitakes are considered a “medicinal” mushroom in some parts of the world. The antioxidants they contain have been shown to support healthy blood pressure levels, boost the immune system, and reduce the risk of major illnesses, even cancer.

Find shiitake mushrooms in your share this week!!!!

We look forward to delivering to you tomorrow, and we hope you enjoy the very best of the summer fare we have going on right now.

Best,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge’s Successful First Season 2017!

Here at Jupiter Ridge we’re just getting our very first season all wrapped up – and looking back at the year, it’s definitely been a good one!

We started from scratch this spring, turning 2 out of 20 acres of pristine prairie into row-cropped, organically grown vegetables (we’ll be pursuing some type of certification next year, most likely Certified Naturally Grown). All of this is atop a 1200-foot high ridge on Jupiter road (thus the farm’s new name) with breathless views of Driftless bluffs and valleys as you work.

We sold our produce and shiitake mushrooms direct to consumer at the Downtown Cedar Rapids Farmers Market, the Dubuque Farmers Market, and the Dubuque Winter Farmers Market. Jupiter Ridge also took part in the very first Millwork Night Market in history, we were happy to be a part of that!

We also built relationships with chefs and restaurants across Eastern and Driftless Iowa. This includes the Map RoomQuarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery, and Lightworks Cafe in Cedar Rapids; the Pepper Sprout and the Food Store in Dubuque; and Schera’s Algerian Bar and Restaurant in Elkader.

We’re branching out even more from this as we speak. Our food also had the privilege of being part of some exciting new Iowa food events, including a pop-up dinner at Cobble Hill featuring the awesome folks over at The Kitchen Counter.

Our farm also had plenty of produce to donate to non-profits like Feed Iowa First to get healthy, sustainable food to people in need. We hosted a lovely on-farm showcase tour along with the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT)  and despite experiencing almost 10 inches of rain that day, had a great turnout, great food, and a great time.

What’s in store for next year? Probably more of the same! We also hope to be finishing our pack shed/machine shed combo and produce walk-in early next year, as well as building more high tunnels for season extension next winter. All this so we can grow more and more food, and get it to more people!

No doubt we’ll be branching out to yet more restaurants, amping up our farmers market stands, and working hard so our 2 acres produces even more food next year, as we work out the kinks of what didn’t work last season to make it run better next year – and the outlook looks incredibly good. Of course, we do all of this without chemicals, and with a huge, healthy focus on good soil health and crop rotation.

For a first year, things have gone amazingly – we can’t complain. We give a huge thank you to those who have supported us on the journey so far, and we can’t wait to serve you again next year. Much love from Will and Adrian at Jupiter Ridge Farm.

And if you haven’t already, follow us on Facebook and Instragram!