Thursday, July 29, 2010

Save the date!

Our annual CSA Members Picnic & Farm Visit will take place Sunday, August 15th.

It's an opportunity to make introductions, meet other CSA members, visit the farm and eat delicious food with great company!

More details to come soon!

Back to the Basics: Heirlooms!

  • You'll notice in your box this week (and throughout the season), we enjoy growing and eating heirloom vegetables.
Heirloom vegetables are from an older species of plant that kept it's original traits through open pollination. We enjoy heirlooms because of the superior flavor and the variety they bring to the dinner table (and we want to support their continued return to our food system!).

In this week's box, you'll find one of our favorite heirloom tomatoes: Cosmonaut Volkov. It's a Ukrainian tomato we like for its rich, deep, true tomato taste. We grow a large variety of heirloom tomatoes and other heirlooms (e.g.,lacinato kale) throughout the season. Let us know what you think!

This week, your box includes:
  • Heirloom & Slicer Tomatoes
  • Purple & Corolla Potatoes - Keep in your refrigerator (they are not yet cured). Slice and roast in the oven or on the grill with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper. If you boil the purple, they will lose some (not all) of their color, but they are still great fun for kids to see (and delicious to eat!).
  • Broccoli
  • Salad Mix - Triple washed (same for arugula), so simply put into your crisper and then put into your salad bowl! Keeps for 1-2 weeks.
  • Arugula
  • Young Lettuce - These are very young and we were afraid to lose to the heat, so we harvested early.
  • Cippolini Onions - Pronounced chip-oh-LEE-nee this is a smaller, flat, pale onion. These are sweeter onions, having more residual sugar than garden-variety white or yellow onions, but not as much as shallots. The advantage to cipollinis is that they are small and flat and the shape lends them well to roasting. This combined with their sweetness makes for a lovely addition to recipes where you might want to use whole caramelized onions.
  • Hard-neck Garlic - Try roasting a head of garlic (I roast several heads at a time using a cupcake pan) and spreading on a baguette for a delicious side!
  • Baby Leeks
  • Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard and Golden Raisins,
2 1/2 pounds (the average weight of 2 bundles) red Swiss chard
1 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/2 turns around the pan in a slow stream)
extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 pound, 2 slices, pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 small yellow skinned onion, chopped
1/4 cup (2 handfuls) golden raisins
14 ounces chicken stock or broth
Coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, a couple pinches ground or equivalent of
freshly grated

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Coarsely chop the greens of clean red chard. Add oil, pancetta, and chopped onion to
the pan and cook 2 or 3 minutes until onions begin to soften and pancetta is lightly browned. Add chopped chard to pan in large bunches, adding remaining chard as the greens wilt.
Sprinkle in raisins, pour in broth and season with salt and nutmeg. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer greens 10 to 15
minutes until greens are no longer bitter and you are ready to serve. Raisins will plump as the dish cooks through.

**EGGS NOTE: We have eggs! This week, our Deerfield and Milwaukee CSA members will receive eggs. We'll also have eggs for sale at our farmers markets in Lake Bluff and Deerfield.

Reminder: Please return your CSA boxes so we can reuse, thank you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CSA Week 8 Preview

Here is a preview of what we think will be in your box this week.
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Salad mix
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Beans (hopefully)
  • Cipolini Onions
  • Garlic
  • Swiss Chard
  • Eggplant(hopefully)
  • Baby leeks
The full list and recipes to come later in the week.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We're knee high into July bounty!

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braising mix.

In this week's box, you'll find the start of some exciting summer vegetable bounty! We've harvested our first round of tomatoes, which to us symbolizes the heart of the summer. There's just a sample on your box this week - more tomatoes to come!

Some other items that we hope you'll enjoy this week:

Arugula - We put ours in grilled sharp cheddar cheese sandwiches this week - yum!

Braising Mix - An excellent, beautiful addition to stir-fry!
The mix includes items such as Hon Tsai Tai, Komatsuna, Red Russian kale, Southern Giant and Red Giant mustards, and Tatsoi. Also great wilted as a bed for fish.

Cucumbers -

Hungarian Cucumber Salad

1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1/2 cup regular or low-fat sour cream
Paprika for garnish

Sprinkle cucumber slices with salt, stir to coat, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Mix vinegar, sugar, paprika, white pepper, and garlic; set aside. Squeeze liquid from cucumbers and discard liquid. Fold vinegar mixture, onions, and sour cream into cucumbers. Sprinkle additional paprika over top and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Serves 4 to 5.


Crunchy Cucumber Spread

Combine 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon grated onion, and 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Mix until well blended. Stir in 1/3 cup finely chopped cucumber and chill well.



Romano Green Beans - Also known as Italian Green Beans, these are a little meatier than regular green beans.
Use them the same way you would any other green bean or try them tossed w/ olive oil and garlic roasted in a 450
deg. oven for 15-20 min. turning once.

Cippolini Onions - Small, flat Italian onions. Perfect for roasting whole in the oven or on the grill.


Tomato (a taster/preview)

French Fingerling Potatoes -
Silky-smooth, cranberry-red skin covers moist yellow flesh marbled with red, especially just under the skin. Fingerlings are ideal for roasting, particularly in the juices of other foods, and give cooks sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic variations on the potato theme. Also try parboiling and then grilling them, or use them in salads. Or simply dice and fry them and eat them as a snack food.

Chives - Add to your fingerling potatoes dish!

Broccoli - Thanks to our friends at the Learning Farm for this delicious broccoli! Stems are delicious too, peel and cook just like broccoli.

**EGGS NOTE: We have eggs! This week, our Lake Bluff and Grayslake CSA members will receive a dozen eggs with their share. Next week, Deerfield and Milwaukee CSA members will receive eggs. After next week, we'll have eggs for sale at our farmers markets in Lake Bluff and Deerfield.

Preview of This Week's Box

Here's a preview of what you can expect this week in your box:

Braising Mix
Italian Beans
Cippolini Onions
Tomato (a taster/preview)
Fingerling Potatoes

More detail to come later this evening!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What do you do with your extras?

We get this question a lot and we are very lucky to have a bountiful farm that has so much extra! In the spring, we plant extra seeds in case some don't germinate properly and we end up with extra plants. Many times, we even have extra seeds. We always over plant in the field to allow for loss and oftentimes we have extra plants in our fields that we don't harvest. Even you, our CSA members, may forget to pick up, or arrange for a friend to pick up, your CSA box. We always come home from markets with extra produce. You get the picture!

So we do our best to give back and donate these extras. Here are a couple of things we do:
- Gleaning of Lake County - This is a program organized by several good people at the PC farm. They collect everything from seedlings in the spring to produce when it's available. Their goal is to get more high quality produce and varieties growing locally. They provide to Mano a Mano, the AvonTownship Food Pantry Garden and to backyard gardeners participating in the Ten Thousand Gardens project.
- Deerfield Food Pantry - This is a program where a local food pantry visits farmers, vendors after the market to collect any extra produce/fruit to donate to the Deerfield food pantry.
- Compost - We donate to compost pile on the farm any produce that doesn't meet our standards. The compost pile is maintained and through a fairly complex process, mixes into a high-nutrient compost that we spread on cover crops each fall before the winter snows.
- Feed - Pigs love our overripe tomatoes, which they get a as treat in late summer.

Dea Dia Organics' mission to be a environmentally, economically and socially sustainable business. We believe giving back to our community helps us to achieve this goal!

In Your Box This Week!

Included in this week's box are:

Swiss Chard - This recipe for Swiss Chard Ravioli was a big hit last year, check the reviews for some good ideas.

Carola Potatoes - Sunny yellow potato from Germany boasts a smooth, creamy texture and exceptional flavor. Great for boiling, baking or frying

Arugula - Young and tender, great for a salad or if you prefer a milder accent, try it on a sandwich or burger.


Sweet Onions


Summer Squash

Summer Squash, Sage & Potato Hash
This hash has a wonderful salty flavor, a nice crust, and the egg yolk creates a rich sauce. It’s great for a special breakfast or quick weeknight dinner.
4 to 6 new potatoes, par-boiled, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium summer squash (about 15 ounces zucchini, yellow and/or patty pan), diced
1 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, or to taste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 eggs
2 teaspoons butter
Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add squash and onions; leave undisturbed for a few minutes so they can brown nicely. Add sage, salt and pepper and mix through. Continue browning, turning occasionally. Once the vegetable have started to brown evenly, add the potatoes and continue cooking until potatoes begin to brown.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a non-stick pan and fry the eggs, leaving the yolks a bit runny to mix in with the hash.

Divide hash between four plates and top each serving with an egg.

Sage - Sage is a classic pairing with potatoes. Fried sage leaves make a great topping.

Fennel - Mild licorice flavor with the juicy crunch of celery. Fennel is very versatile and can be eaten raw, pureed into mashed potatoes or with some cream into a soup, parboiled and finished in a sauce, grilled, sautéed, stir-fried, baked, fried, braised etc.
Tsatsiki is usually made with cucumbers and is found in Greek cuisine. This
would be perfect served with Wisconsin trout.
1 medium fennel bulb with fronds
1 tsp. fennel seed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
2 c. plain yogurt
1 ½ tsp. salt
Trim fennel, reserving fronds, discarding stalks. Finely chop fronds and bulb.
In a small, dry skillet, toast fennel seeds until fragrant and slightly darker.
Grind seeds. Stir together ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To make the cucumber version, use 1 - 2 cucumbers in place of the fennel and a teaspoon of freshly chopped mint in place of the fennel seed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

This week in your box

Here's a picture of your beautiful box this week! Click on the links to see a few pictures & recipes. Also check out some of our previous posts for additional uses, recipes and storage tips!

Red Kale - We've all been talking about this raw kale salad recipe for weeks, give it a try, too!


Fennel - Use the bulb as an addition to any salad, roast with assorted vegetables and is our favorite addition to a homemade marinara sauce. The tops can be added to salads and soups as a garnish, too!


Summer Squash - Check out my personal favorite summer squash recipe (and others) on our website:


Baby Salad Mix

Hakurei Turnips

Introducing our wonderful crew!

Hi all!

We've had a nice week of hot weather and rain, which our plants have truly enjoyed! It took a couple days but I am feeling 100% again (July is a bad time for a farmer to get sick!). That said, the farm remained productive and everything got done this past week...and I must give a lot of the credit to our crew for keeping the ship a float while I was out of commission. Since they are crucial to our work and your food, I thought I would take a minute to introduce them to you!

Keegan has belonged to a CSA for many years. Originally from Oregon, Keegan now lives in Chicago and commutes to our farm daily! He enjoys cooking and hopes to some day have a farm of his own. In college he studied creative writing. . Keegan is in charge of our washing and packing. He is my last set of eyes before vegetables make their way into your boxes or to our markets.

Mauricio is originally from Mexico, however he has lived around Chicago for 19 years. Mauricio grew up working on his father and uncle's farm raising many different animals and growing mostly corn and different kinds of beans. Mauricio keeps us continually entertained with stories and laughing with his great attitude about everything. In our "spare time," Mauricio also showed me a very neat trick turning a the stem of a summer squash plant into a horn!

Janik is the newest member of our team. Janik is also originally from Mexico and grew up on a farm where she and her family raised many different crops and animals. Last year, Janik worked for the Learning Farm at the Prairie Crossing Farm as part of their Prairie Farm Corps program. In the fall she will be a high school senior, is in the top 10 students in her class and has dreams of attending Harvard.

Our crew plays a vital role in making sure we have enough tasty food for your box. We all chip in to get everything done and keep the farm moving forward. I am very thankful to have such a great crew that works so well together!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy 4th of July CSA Box!

Here's the latest edition of what you'll find in your box this week (apologies for not sending sooner!).

SPECIAL NOTE: Today, we had an unpleasant surprise at the farm. Our cooler froze overnight and was a chilly 28 degrees this morning. We lost a significant amount of our harvest, so you may notice that although the box is heavy this week, it's not as densely packed as we'd like.

In exchange, we'll be offering you, our CSA members, first dibs as pastured eggs this season. They'll be available starting mid-July and you'll be the first to know to place an order. Any extras will make their way to the markets.

Thank you for your understanding,

Cabbage - Perfect for your 4th of July potluck coleslaw (well, that's how we intend to use it this weekend!). We'll be giving this recipe a try, from our fellow farming friends at Sandhill Organics:

Name: Crunchy Ramen Coleslaw

2 to 3 cups shredded cabbage
2 green onions, diced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 package crumbled Oriental Ramen Noodles
3 tablespoons mayonnaise or veganase
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste


Combine cabbage, green onions, sesame seeds, almonds and crumbled noodles in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix well and pour over the cabbage mixture. Toss well so that everything is coated with the dressing. Serve immediately for a crunchy salad or refrigerate for less crunch.

Squash - Try this grilled squash and zucchini recipe a summer time treat:


Lacinato Kale

Beets - We ate our beets this week roasted (our recipe from last week) with some feta and coarsely ground black pepper. Could anything be better?

Scallions - From stir fry to salad, these make a great addition to just about anything!

Thyme (herb) - Depending on how it is used in a dish, the whole sprig may be used (e.g. in a bouquet garni), or the leaves removed and the stems discarded. Usually when a recipe specifies 'bunch' or 'sprig' it means the whole form; when it specifies spoons it means the leaves. Leaves may be removed from stems either by scraping with the back of a knife, or by pulling through the fingers or tines of a fork. Leaves are often chopped. Fresh thyme should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel.