Tag Archives: CSA

zucchini glut

I have become privy to a perennial woe of summer farming: way too much zucchini. In her chapter “Zucchini Wars,” Barbara Kingsolver describes that the only time people lock her doors in her Virginia neighborhood is during zucchini season to prevent any unwelcome “gifts” of other growers’ zucchini. Steve Sprinkel, an organic farmer, author, and friend of Quin and Justin, wrote about zucchini season in Edible Ojai, mentioning that around July, he’d be at the farmer’s market with a pile of zucchini “melting” on him: “Of course you have too much zucchini. I have too much myself. Why did I grow it? Why did I yield to the siren song of summer squash yet again? After all these years, I go Groundhog Day with the zucchini and always get the same results.”

The past three Sundays, I have harvested the zucchini for the CSA. Last week and the week before that, each share was offered 3-5 zucchini, depending on size, but this week, we asked people to take as many as humanly possible. I have a feeling that we will be giving that instruction for a few more weeks to come.

Inspired by the insane amount of zucchini we have to go through this week (three leftover from last Sunday and about 20 beauties about the size of a professional wrestlers forearm), I made zucchini latkes the other day. We were not yet in the overload of Sundays zucchini harvest so I mixed the latke batter with shredded parsnip, onion, apple, and carrot (freshly harvested, archetypal carrots, no less).

Harvest Latkes
Serves 3 hungry farmers, or 6 people

finished latkes (applesauce in the background)

3 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup shredded parsnip
1/2 cup shredded onion
1/4 cup shredded apple
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground and soaked in 4 tablespoons water)
1 cup flour (any mixture of flours will suffice)
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together. If it is too watery, add more flour. Heat a skillet with some oil and shape the batter into latkes. Cook for four minutes on either side. Serve with homemade applesauce!

P.S. Zucchini processing to come: Hot-Cumin Zucchini Pickle, Zucchini Bread-and-Butter Pickle with Ginger, frozen shredded zucchini (for future zucchini bread), dehydrated zucchini (for soups and to use as chips), and zucchini in every meal.

P.P.S. When I was finishing clipping the roots and stalks off of onions for the CSA, some members were arriving to pick up their share. One member came with a friend, this lovely woman who ended up being from Sardinia, my #1 place-to-go on planet earth (yes, it beat out Iceland). She was mentioning this zucchini pizza she made, and I think I’m going to get that going at some point. Zucchini (have more than anyone needs), fresh tomato sauce (will make once tomatoes arrive), fresh mozzarella (will make once I get some raw milk), olive oil, and some fresh basil sprinkled on top after it bakes.

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rain, critters & food projects

It rained yesterday. The clouds hung low and thick for hours, obscuring the mountains that surround the farm in a nearly opaque fog. After helping out with my first CSA pick (salad mix, kale, collards, chard, zucchini, lemons, chamomile, fennel, white beets, onions, garlic scapes), we all retired to our respective quarters and relaxed/read/slept. I fought off sleep for a good two hours, nodding off and waking up and reading the same paragraph of The Bell Jar over and over again. I should have just listened to my body. There’s always next Sunday.

Last night, Quin and I canned homemade elderberry jam. I had harvested the elderberries with Justin a few days earlier from a tree on the property, and Quin and I spent the rainy afternoon removing the tiny berries from the branches, washing them, sorting out any subpar fruit, making the jam (4 quarts of crushed elderberries, 12 cups! sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar), and canning it. We boiled it down for longer than we were supposed to so it is super thick, but it has a molasses-y vibe that I kind of like. I had some for breakfast this morning with a gluten-free zucchini muffin made by Mano Farm’s CSA baker.

Today, while digging up roots and weeds from a bed that was full of fennel before CSA Sunday, I experienced two new farm creature phenomena. The first involved mice, and the second snail eggs.

I had just unearthed one rather stubborn fennel root when a mouse scurried out of the soil and ran off. Startled but thinking that no more mice would be birthed from the soil, I continued clearing the bed. But then two more mice scurried out, followed by a fourth and fifth. Finally, a little baby mouse that had miraculously survived my utter thrashing of the soil with the digging fork struggled out of the bed in search of its tribe. In retrospect, this mouse evacuation was pretty cute but as it was happening I couldn’t help but invoke my Haverford dorm-based fear of mice.

Now for the snail eggs. I found what looked like a clump of Israeli couscous and asked about it because I knew it wasn’t Israeli couscous. As it turns out, I had found a lump of snail eggs. Upon further research, I discovered that snail eggs are a delicacy. A French breeder named Dominique Pierru is the premier snail egg proprietor in the world, and his eggs are found in several restaurants across France, Japan, Belgium, and Australia. After the snails lay the eggs, he washes them and cans them in a brine with special sea salt and some rosemary. “It tastes like undergrowth after the rain,” he says. Um, a) what does that mean? and b) I’m not sure I want to know. (Information about snail eggs from this article.)

To change the subject to something a little more appetizing, here is a short list of some yummy things I have recently ingested, all homemade by the farmers and me with vegetables from the farm: zucchini & avocado hummus with lemon juice; parsnip, fennel, kale stir-fry with brown rice & kombu; carrot halwa. Tempura farm veggies and falafel night are up ahead. Currently revving up my fry oil engines.