Eat Your Vegetables: “Catch-All CSA” Breakfast Popovers

I can take literally 0 credit for this idea. It’s all my boo, John Pizza, who decided one morning to take canned biscuits, eggs, and various and sundry fridge/CSA hangers-on and create our new go to weekday breakfast item. A great way to use up elderly share items and/or just little bits of things you may still have around the fridge.

Of course if you’re opposed to biscuits you can make your own dough or use frozen bread or pizza dough from your local pizzeria, be it glutinous or no. But, alas, we are Southern and must have biscuits at least once a month or lest we perish.

What you’ll need:

  1. a can of biscuits or whatever dough you so choose
  2. approx 4-5 eggs, beaten.
  3. literally whatever veggies you want: shredded up squash, scallions, broccoli rabe, kale, that old jar of olives, that half can of corn that’s been in there a week, that old jar of pasta sauce. Srsly. Live your best life.
  4. cheese, if you want
  5. spices if you want: cumin, curry, red pepper flakes. whatevs.
  6. one egg yolk for an egg wash (if you’re so fancy)

What you do

He started by shredding onions and squash and caramelizing that down. Then he threw in some of our eldest greens, cooked that. Next went the scrambled eggs, corn, cheese, some little tomatoes, some sliced olives. Etc… Make a big ol’ scramble.

Then pop the biscuits and get em good n flat. Fill each one, fold it over. Brush the top with an egg wash.

Bake 10-15ish minutes at the temperature on the biscuit box or whatevs. Keep an eye on em and pull em out when golden brown. Grab a couple each morning and snarf ’em as you walk to the subway… because this is America where eating is a physical challenge.


Storage Tips: Pitting Cherries

Give the ubiquitous plastic straw a second life by repurposing it as a DIY cherry pitter. That way you can neatly and easily render them ready for pies, smoothies, compotes, etc… without making your kitchen look like a scene from Dexter.

Learn how from this lady on youtube (the action starts at 0:46).

And remember: if the straw starts to get all nubby on the end just cut it down to a new fresh part, dawg!

Storage Tips: Keeping Flowers Fresh

When you bring your beautiful blooms home there’s lots you could be doing to help them last their longest. Here’s some tips from The Farmer’s Almanac about how best to cut em and prep em for the vase:

Preparing Cut Flowers

-Strip all the leaves from the bottom half to two-thirds of each stem. Do not leave any leaves below the water line, as they could rot and ruin the quality of the water.

-Re-cut the stems. Don’t worry about cutting flower stems at an angle if you’re simply arranging them in a vase. It doesn’t make much difference to the flower. But a slanted cut helps if you are using floral foam; a stem with a point is easier to insert.

-If you want to shorten the stems on cut flowers before arranging them, cut their stems underwater; otherwise, the stem can take in too much air, causing a blockage that keeps water from the flower. (This is especially true of roses.) Floral supply companies sell underwater cutters; or you can cut a flower in the garden, immediately submerge the stem in warm water, and cut it again in the house while holding it below the water line.

-Flowers like to be warm and prefer water that is 80° to 110°F. Even spring flowers like warm water. The water in the vase does not need to be maintained at that temperature, but always start cut flowers in warm, not cold, water. And check the water level every day.

DONT FORGET TO FEED THEM FLEURS!

As for the little packet you get with your bouquet– if you’re lucky and your blooms hang on for a week you’re going to need to re-up their food supply. There’s lots of ways people swear by: a drop of sugar, some old soda, an aspirin, a penny, a capful of bleach, etc… This person is a chemist who swears by their recipe and as I got a C- in high school chemistry I shall defer to them.

AND AFTER THE THRILL IS GONE

This year I’m trying to make double use of my blooms by taking the spent petals and setting them aside for decorative dried floral mixes. Ya know, as table-top deco for your next summer cocktail soiree or baby shower or highbrow Grindr encounter. Try it out!

First shares coming Tuesday, June 9!!

It’s almost time!! Your first PPkCSA pickup is Tuesday, June 9 from 5:30–8:15 p.m. at our distro site (Crow Hill Cross Fit, 1010 Dean Street). All shares will be pre-packed in grab-and-go bushel boxes. Please remember: All members are required to wear your own masks, use hand sanitizer, and observe social distancing marks drawn on the sidewalk. Thanks for your cooperation and patience!

Registration is closed for the 2020 season. To join the wait list or to be notified when registration opens next season, drop us a line at info@prospectparkcsa.org.

If you’re already a member, there’s still time to sign up with Lewis Waite for monthly a la carte orders of flour, nut butter, jam, beans, cheeses, cereals, meats, and more. Check out Lewis Waite’s offerings here and sign up for order reminders here.

Meanwhile, follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see pics of each week’s share when it comes off the truck, and for recipes and news. You can also follow Windflower Farm to see what Ted, Jan, Nate, and their team are up to!

Thanks for supporting local, organic agriculture, and we’ll see you on June 9th!

Sign-ups are open!!

Registration is open for the 2020 CSA season! For details about what’s in a share, pics of past weekly shares, share plans and payment options, please see our Join/2020 Season page. And as always, reach out to us at info@prospectparkcsa.org if you have questions.

There’s never been a better time to examine—and shorten—your food supply chain. Most supermarket produce travels around 1500 miles to reach your table and is subjected to a whole lot of storage, handling, and interventions along the way (gassing, irradiation, preservatives). PPkCSA produce is grown, harvested, and packed fresh each week at a family farm in upstate New York. They drive it to Brooklyn; we pull it off the truck; you come and pick it up. Simple.

We are redesigning processes to prepare for CSA distribution during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are answers—from both our farmer, Ted Blomgren of Windflower Farms, and your PPkCSA core volunteer team—to some FAQs for the 2020 season:

What will distribution look like?
Farmer Ted: We plan to minimize food handling and streamline distribution by pre-bagging or pre-boxing your share at the farm. We are maintaining social distancing protocol and have sanitizer and ample PPE. 
PPkCSA core group: We’ll be limiting the number of people on site at a time, and social distancing will be practiced as members grab-and-go with their prepackaged shares.

What will my volunteering commitment be?
PPkCSA core group: We are suspending the normal member workshift requirement until it’s safe to resume. The six-person core group will manage all aspects of distribution.

Are payments or pricing changing?
PPkCSA core group: As always, we offer four pricing plans depending on self-reported household income, but our guide to choosing a plan now considers household size, too. Due to economic challenges, we’ve expanded our payment options. You can now pay for your share in as many as five installments. We accept paper or electronic checks, credit and debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, and SNAP.

Will my CSA location change?
PPkCSA: Right now it looks like our distribution site will remain in the lobby of Crow Hill Cross Fit (1010 Dean Street). If the space remains closed, the owners have agreed to give us access for CSA distro. If things change, we will find another nearby location.

And here’s the last word from Farmer Ted:

Please stay posted for news from the farm and Prospect Park CSA regarding distribution logistics, site location, and volunteering commitments as the first share approaches. We pledge to keep you informed and to deliver and distribute your shares safely and efficiently.

Please follow us on Instagram at @windflowerfarm to learn more about what’s happening at the farm. We also suggest that you check the Prospect Park CSA website, Facebook page, and Instagram (@ProspectParkCSA) for the latest information. 

Thank you for your trust in us to grow your food, and for your support of the farm and our CSAs. We are as excited as you are about the season’s upcoming bounty: delicious vegetables, mouth-watering fruit, fresh eggs, and beautiful flowers. If you’ve already joined us, thank you for your membership. For those of you who haven’t just yet, we welcome you with open arms. 

Farmers—human beings—are resilient. Together, we will prevail through this challenge and the others to come.

Good Food Responsibly Grown

Notes regarding Coronavirus/Covid 19

March 20, 2020

If Community Supported Agriculture means anything to us, it means coming together to support one other in the difficult times as well as the good. It means that Jan and I will take every precaution to ensure that our workers stay safe and healthy and that the food we grow and sell remains free of contamination of any kind and is safe for our CSA shareholders and their families.

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have revised key staff policies to be fully in accord with new CDC guidelines. The staff knows to stay away from the farm at the first sign that they might have the disease or have been exposed to it. They know when and where to seek medical attention. And they know that we have extended our paid sick leave policy by an additional 14 days to eliminate the temptation to come to work when sick for financial reasons. 

Everyone at the farm is healthy at present and, of course, fully aware of the pandemic. Currently, there are several cases in Saratoga Springs, but none in nearby towns. We all expect this to change, and we know to avoid exposure to risk by staying away from groups, maintaining safe minimum distances from others, washing well and frequently, and avoiding touching our faces. Staff policies not only describe personal hygiene, but also outline a range of workplace cleaning protocols.  

We will be developing new safe food handling policies well in advance of our first harvest. Our current food handling system is being reviewed in light of what the scientific community and health experts are telling us about this disease. New information is coming in daily about how long the virus survives on surfaces and how best to clean and decontaminate processing equipment. University Extension educators are helping us with this effort. Two years ago, we underwent a comprehensive packing shed renovation with new federal food safety rules in mind. Our next steps will build on what we already do well.

The reuse of packaging is something that concerns us. One of the safeguards we will implement is the pre-packaging of shares, just as we do in winter, and we will do this for as long as necessary. The rationale is that the shortest food handling chain is the safest. We, as a small and careful group, can do all the harvesting and boxing in a clean, safe space using best management practices, so that the next people to touch those boxes are the very users of that food, our shareholders.

These days are stressful for all of us. There continues to be a lot of information to process. But I feel confident that we are developing an effective food safety plan that includes staff awareness, safe harvesting, and sanitary packaging and distribution. We will proceed with an abundance of caution. The safety of your food is our first priority. 

I know that there is a great deal of uncertainty around employment. Keep in mind that all of our CSA sites offer payment plans and most offer sliding scale pricing in an effort to help make our food affordable to you. If you have questions, please contact us at windflowercsa@gmail.com.

I can imagine important roles in the city: offloading CSA packages wearing gloves, masks and other appropriate PPE, and figuring out how to distribute them while maintaining safe distances. Let’s keep an open dialogue about these and other related issues. Please share your thoughts. We will continue to share what we learn and how we plan to respond throughout the season.

Our best wishes for your good health,

Ted and Jan

Winter CSA shares—sign up by Nov. 15!

Last chance to sign up for the winter share, with monthly pick-ups on November 23, December 14, January 11, and February 8.

The winter share comes pre-packaged in a returnable box, and includes approximately 2 lbs of organically grown greens (including spinach, kale, tatsoi and Swiss chard), 8-10 lbs of storage vegetables (including carrots, red and yellow onions, winter squash, a variety of potatoes, beets, leeks, sweet potatoes, shallots, popcorn and more), along with 4-6 lbs of fruits, plus a local sweet (usually local honey, apple cider, or Deb’s homemade jelly made from organic berries).

The total for a full winter of comfort and nourishment is just $192, and you get the satisfaction of supporting a small-scale, sustainable farmers through the fallow months. Winter share members can also add an optional egg share, maple share (!!), and/or a la carte items from Lewis Waite.

Sign up here by November 15:
https://windflowerfarm.wufoo.com/forms/m1xr27rk05nzoa8/

The Dark Art of Quick Pickling

This kid might not think so, but every adult knows that pickles totally rule. And you can make lazy/busy person’s pickles from pretty much anything in your CSA in about 20 minutes, plus 24 hours of fridge time. It’s a great way to help manage produce that is confounding you or has been taking up too much fridge space for way too long.

Will they last into the winter like pickles that are properly canned, and will they taste just like a crispy dill freshly blessed by a Rabbi? No, of course not. That involves fermentation and things I don’t know jack about because I have an arts degree and was raised by Southern Baptists.

But these will last a couple weeks, and you’re gonna love ‘em so much that you’ll eat them up quickly anyways.

What you’ll need:

  • Vegetables: cucumbers, squash, radishes, cauliflower, beans, kohlrabi, peppers, garlic scapes, onions, carrots, beets, cabbage… I mean, what doesn’t taste good soaked in vinegar and sugar and salt? Nothing. That’s what.
  • Vinegar: white, black, cider, wine…whatever vinegar you like, I don’t care.
  • Some water, maybe
  • sweetener, maybe: you can use white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc… Don’t use some gross artificial sweetener thing like Splenda though. I have absolutely no science education but I don’t think that would work. Plus, that’s gross.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Other spices, maybe: try throwing in something like peppercorns, turmeric, coriander, chili, dill, bay leaf, mustard seed, fennel, cumin, a cinnamon stick, garlic…. I want you to feel enabled and supported to try whatever feels good to you. This is a safe space.

What you’ll do:

  • Slice up your veggies however you want. Wash em and sprinkle em with a little bit of coarse salt and then put them into heat tolerant jars, like mason jars. You can also reuse old glass jars for things like pasta sauce, but clean ‘em real good and be careful about pouring hot liquids into them when they’re cold. You’ll want the brine you make to be able to completely cover your veggies, so keep that in mind.
  • Then make a brine: over medium heat bring water and vinegar to a quick boil with some sugar and salt mixed in along with whatever herbs or spices you like. Typical proportions are 1 to 1 water and vinegar (or maybe more vinegar than water) and “some” sugar and salt, depending on your personal palette.  You’re not making simple syrup or salt water, though, so don’t go crazy. You want to make sure all the sugar and salt dissolves in the liquid. Taste it and adjust if needed.
  • Bring it to a boil and then maybe let it cool just a tad so your jars don’t blow up on ya. Then pour it over your veggies in their jars. Let ‘em sit on the counter and cool for a couple hours, then seal ‘em up and stick ‘em in the fridge. In 24 hours they’ll be well on their way towards awesomehood, and will only get more awesomerer in the next coming days.
  • Chop em up and put em on your ramen/taco/sandwich/salad or eat em straight from the jar while drunkenly swaying in front of the refrigerator in the middle of the night in your underwear. They taste extra special then.
  • ADDED BONUS: You can easily reuse this same brine with the following week’s veggies! This here is a jar of pickle brine which has now held three kohlrabis, half a red cabbage, a couple turnips AND some spring onions and garlic scapes. This jar and a plate of homemade swiss chard stuffed pupusas have already made me the star of several summer potlucks… Just say’n….
jar of fridge pickles

Sign up for a tour of the SIMS Center on August 22!

Ever wonder what happens to your cans and bottles after they leave your curb? Do you have a child (your inner child counts!) who loves cranes and trucks and seeing things get crushed? Or do you just want to be more informed about sustainability efforts in Brooklyn?

Join your Prospect Park CSA organizers on Thursday, August 22 at 1:30 p.m. for a group tour of the SIMS recycling center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn! The tour is 75 minutes long and recommended for adults and kids ages 7 and up. RSVP to harvest dot henderson at gmail, or look for the sign-up sheet at distro when you pick up your share!

Important notes about our 2019 season start!

Hey CSAers! We have two important updates for the 2019 season:

  1. Our start date is delayed one week to June 11 due to a cool, rainy spring on the farm. (Half-share members: June 11 is an even week; June 18 is odd.) This means the entire season shifts by one week; our last week will now be November 5.
  2. Online registration is closed, but there are still a few shares available. If you’re interested, please email info@prospectparkcsa.org!

Email us with any questions and we look forward to seeing you at distro on June 11!