This week is probably my favorite week so far this summer. One of my favorite dishes is ratatouille, a provincial french dish/peasant food of stewed tomatoes and vegetables. There are many variations of ratatouille and many "tips and tricks" along the way. I'll share mine in this week's newsletter.
The centerpiece of this week's package are the ratatouille ingredients - garlic, eggplant, onions, zucchini/squash, and tomatoes. In addition to those items, we have a few more healthy produce items, which may also be incorporated in or near the ratatouille - heirloom tomatoes, kale, and Italian sausage.
Finally, there are a few sweet treats in this weeks bag - cantaloupe and blackberries or peaches (rotating routes this week and next week).
For the larges this week, you get a special treat - grassfed ground beef. As with all of our livestock, the beef is raised outside on organic pastures. The difference between the hogs and chickens and the beef is that the beef - a ruminant animal - can survive entirely off of grass. Therefore the most natural and healthy diet for the animal is 100% grass. This beef is 100% grassfed, which means higher in CLAs, good cholesterol, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and iron (you'll notice the darker color of the meat).
Beef has been an interesting challenge for me this year. It has been for some time but I put a lot of energy into solving that puzzle this year. I put the feelers out last fall, started talking to guys who had beef type animals on grass, and discussing finish, harvest, and transport. Nothing was coming from it. A lot of guys were hesitant to commit yet. The beef market has been all over the place the last couple years and it was looking like guys could make more money selling feeder calves (calves that will be raised out on feedlots) or selling animals on the hoof at the auction barns.
Then the drought hit. Grass was scarce and hay and feed prices started to rise. Auction barns like a pretty fat beef animal. That usually requires grains. This left farmers to finish on grass and finish them faster. This creates an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity is to get a good supply of lean beef, which makes for a great grinding animal (grind all the most tender parts with the trim and have a higher yield due to less fat). It also increases the price on really nice, fat cows that are good for market cuts (steaks, roasts, etc).
Right now we have a good supply of grinders coming in and a few market cattle that will be available for steaks, roasts, and other retail cuts via our website, http://csalogin.freshforkmarket.com.
Below is this week's full package:
Summer Week 9:
Small CSA Share
1 whole canteloupe
Either 1 pint mixed color cherry tomatoes or approx 1.5 lbs heirloom tomatoes
2 ct zucchini/squash
2 ct eggplant
1 bulb garlic
1 large candy onion
2 oz basil
1 bunch curly kale
Approx 1.5 lbs slicing tomatoes
1 lb bulk Italian sausage (ground)
1 pint blackberries or approx 1.5 lbs peaches
Large CSA Share Small contents above plus:
1 small yellow watermelon
1 lb yellow wax beans or green filet beans
1 lb grassfed ground beef
1 head lettuce
1 bunch radishes
1-2 cucumbers depending on size
In place of Italian sausage
1 lb wax beans or green filet beans
Approx 1.5 lbs peaches
1 lb whole wheat linguini
Small contents plus vegetarian items, minus linguini
Linguini if you want it (I know most of my vegans like the pasta)
Tofu or Luna Burgers or Yellow Watermelon