Design a Logo for Colchester Farm CSA!

We are running a logo design contest and inviting the community to submit designs that represent our organization.  We are offering a $200 prize to the designer of the winning logo.  The contest is only 2 weeks long with a deadline of October 3rd.

Interested in submitting a design or know someone who may be interested?  Please visit or share with them the contest website which can be accessed from our website.

We look forward to seeing everyone’s submissions.

By Jmprouty. (Own work.) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia CommonsDear beloved CSA members, we need to talk. We need to talk about a certain pod-shaped vegetable.

Dear beloved CSA members, we need to talk. We need to sit down for a second and just get a little real about a certain lime-green pod-shaped vegetable– because I know that you’re skeptical. In fact, know that skeptical is a kind word for what some of you are. Some of you are downright critical: you think it’s weird, or worse, slimy— and you’re right. Okra is unique, and it does have a unique texture to it, but you’re failing to see the incredible possibility that okra’s specific characteristic present. Okra’s token sliminess, for instance, comes by way of a natural thickener, which means that slicing up a handful of okra pods and throwing them into a soup or stew saves you the trouble of having to add flour or cornstarch to create a thick hearty base.

So, a story. Once, there was a farm apprentice named Aaron, and he thought that okra was the only vegetable he’d met and didn’t like (though, to be honest, he didn’t care much for lettuce either). He hated the slime. He didn’t understand the shape. He thought the texture was all wrong. He passed on the okra.

He had, however, heard tales of a preparation of okra that would magically transform it into a delicious and downright un-slimy food. But, alas, he did not have the will to deep-fry it against the wishes of health-conscious dinner companions. Aaron and okra were thus star-crossed, until one day, a wise and benevolent market customer suggested that tossing the okra in oil, salt, and pepper would yield the same magical effects. Aaron was, like you, skeptical, but he was of great courage and heart, and he attempted the spell. He made sure to remember to preheat the oven to 450 degrees and stir the okra occasionally.
And the okra was not slimy! It was tender on the inside and crispy on the outside! Its seeds were delicious pops of joy, and, behold! It was so versatile! It paired well with curries and indian spices but, oh lord, was it good just dipped in ketchup like the healthiest, coolest french-fry in the world. Aaron loved (loved! can you believe it?!) the okra. They were, as the story went, happily ever after.

And, here’s the deal, guys, okra is fresh, it’s local, and we have a lot of it that even we okra-loving farmers can’t eat fast enough. You can take the time to put in a gumbo (we’ve got a killer recipe for that too if you’d like it) or you can throw it in soups, but I dare every okra-hater out there to try roasting it this week, just this once, if only to prove that you are true of heart and taste.


As far as I am concerned, fresh ripe tomatoes are the true harbinger of summer, and, well, let’s just say summer is definitely here. Now, I know that it’s not exactly difficult to think of things to do with a tomato. I asked one man at the market on Saturday what his plans were, and he seemed shocked that I even had to ask. “They’re going on the burgers, of course,” he said. Of course, the burgers– and the salad and the gratin and the pasta sauce and the stir-fry… I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe you don’t think that you need four more things to do with a tomato, and I understand why you might think that. The thing is that you’re wrong.

Don’t believe me? Then you obviously haven’t tried making your own barbecue sauce with our cherry tomatoes. If you’re not making it yourself, you don’t know how delightfully fresh BBQ sauce can be– and you’re probably getting more preservatives and sugar than you think. Aaron cooked up this really awesome sauce for dinner the other night, and I think that you’ll be pleased by how easy it is to make and how deliciously sweet it is for having practically no added sugar. It’s good for meat (or so I’m told– and on this note, I think the kids might even like to dip chicken nuggets in it)), and it’s great with grilled veggies, potato pancakes, and polenta.

Aaron’s Cherry Tomato BBQ Sauce


  • 4 small purplette onions
  • 1 small head of garlic
    • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup demarra sugar
    • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4-1/2 cup oil, butter, meat fat, or margarine
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp ground chipotle peppers

    Use a food processor or blender to puree the tomatoes. Add the onions and garlic and blend until all the ingredients are finely chopped and mixed, adding vinegar as needed. Pulse in the remaining ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a medium sauce pan and cook, stirring on medium heat until it reaches you favorite consistency.

If you’re not in the mood to fire up the grill, though, you can follow Theresa’s lead and make pizza sauce and freeze it for later. The great thing about this dinner is that all you have to do is pull out your pre-made sauce, buy (or make) a dough, and cut up your favorite toppings. And, because you’re using fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, the sauce is easy as pie (so-to-speak): you don’t really need to add anything fancy to it. The recipe is simple, so there’s also plenty of room to tweek it however you like. Personally, I have a credo about these kinds of things: More garlic, a pinch of lemon. If you’re not in the mood to cook ahead, though, our favorite pizza of the night was the one that Theresa slathered with pesto (though I think olive oil or any tapenade would do) and then cooked with fresh sliced tomatoes. What I’m trying to say is that you can be lazy and/or creative, and everything should still be delicious.

Basic Pizza Sauce


  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion or 2 small
  • 2 lbs of ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • salt, pepper, and seasonings to taste

Saute onions and garlic in oil until onions are translucent, add salt, add tomatoes, and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally until everything has cooked down. Add any fresh herbs and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add lemon if desired. Slather on pizza!

My favorite recipe of the week has to be this one that Kayla made and sent to me. It’s hearty, delicious, and the perfect thing to find waiting for you after you’re finished packing up a CSA pickup on a cold and rainy summer night. It’s good with rice, quinoa, or some of Mark’s bread (if you have any left from Tuesday pick-up by the time you have time to cook. …we don’t always.) It doesn’t look like a lot in this picture, but it’s really freaking awesome.


Spicy Lebanese Stew (from The Tomato Cookbook by Christine France)
Note: Contrary to the title this is NOT a spicy dish. It’s flavorful, but actually pretty mild. Next time I make it I will probably add more seasoning


  • 3 large eggplants, cubed
  • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 14 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 7 oz fresh tomatoes
  • salt and ground black pepper

* I substituted fresh tomatoes from the canned

Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave in the sink for 30 minutes to allow bitter juices to escape. Rinse with cold water and dry on kitchen paper. Drain the chickpeas and put in a pan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and summer for 1 hour until tneder. Drain.

Heat oil in a large pan; add the garlic and onions and cook until soft. Add the spices, stirring for a few seconds. Stir in the eggplant to coat with the spices and the onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

I also made this kind of stupid dish where I hollowed out a lot of medium-sized tomatoes and stuffed them with pesto and egg. I followed this basic recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, but I substituted basil pesto for the romaine and had a bit of trouble with our oven. The result was OK, but if I had to do it over again, I’d follow Deb’s advice and also be sure not to cook the eggs to the point where the yolks harder. I think that the beauty of this recipe would be in the running yolks. On the upside, the tomatoes really are the star of the show in this dish, so maybe that’s something and you could probably put the stuffed tomatoes on top of a fresh green salad if you wanted to be gourmet about it.

Also, I was too lazy to edit this post, so please excuse an typos that do occur. (I was getting hungry! Can you blame me?)

So first I’m gone for three weeks and now, all of a sudden, you can’t get rid of me. I’m like that person that you dated but just could never quite figure out in college. (Don’t dump me: I’m better than this, really!) But, to continue the catch-up work that I started earlier with that cabbage post, I’m back to update you on last week’s vegetable spotlight challenge. If all goes according to plan, you should have this week’s update by Wednesday at the latest– but, then again, I do work on a farm, and we are in the middle of summer harvest, so don’t hold me to that.

Anyway, last week, we focused on summer squash, and I will confess, I have occasionally been known to suffer from S.S.F.S.– have you heard of it? Summer Squash Fatigue Syndrome. I actually started this bout last August and haven’t been able to kick it since. The disease is characterized by a generally malaise in the kitchen, a loss of interest in old hobbies (like stir-frying), and an irrationally fear of zucchini bread, and it generally strikes anywhere from mid-July to September. Some experts claim that it is especially prevalent among home gardeners in the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Often, doctors prescribe abstinence from summer squash as a cure, but I’ve been undergoing a more radical experimental treatment, full immersion therapy. I’m happy to say to you today that it has been working– and with great success. Suddenly that crown-shaped flying saucer squash is in everything that I cook. So, today, I come bearing a message: embrace the squash; don’t fear it.

As part of the therapy last week, we tried to get a little creative. Kayle made a soup that would put any S.S.F.S. sufferer in recovery. Hell, I even treated myself to seconds. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT skip the salsa verde.

Crookneck Squash soup with salsa verde (from Vegetable Soups by Deborah Madison)
1 pound summer squash
2 teasposoons each butter and olive oil (I doubled the amount of olive oil and omitted the butter and it turned out fine)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped herbs, inclduing orgenao or marjoram, parsley, sage, and thyme
sea salt and pepper
4 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cup dried pasta (I used fusilli; the recipe suggests shells or farfalle)

Slice the squash into quarters and then again crosswise into 1/2 inch thick segments.

Warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, squash, and herbes and cook for 5 minutes. Seqson with 3/4 tablespoon salt and add the water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered until the squash is tender, abotu 15 minutes. Taste for salt and season with pepper.

Boil the pasta and add to the finished soup with a spoonful of salsa verde in each bowl.

Genius that she is, Kayla opted for the Smitten Kitchen salsa verde recipe over Madison’s. The latter didn’t have tomatillos, you see, and we definitely did.

Tomatillo salsa:
10 tomatillos, quartered
2 jalapenos, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 bunch of scallions, cut into big segments (I only used the green ends)
salt to taste

Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor


I was less creative, I have to admit, being that I’m still in recovery and all. I did, however, do the most sensible thing that I could think of at the time: I roasted the squash and tossed it in pesto. This is a fool proof-method for making just about anything delicious, but I think that it works especially well with summer squash. The reason is that when roasted correctly, the squash maintains a succulent crunch and seeps up all the juicy flavors of the olive oil, but it’s still relatively low in calories– all of which makes it a perfect vehicle for the smooth, flavor(and calorie)-packed pesto.

So, I cut the squash into coins and tossed in olive, salt, and pepper. I spread it on a baking sheet and cooked it at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the squash began to brown on edges. I tossed it with fresh sweet corn kernels, and chopped cherry tomatoes.

If I don’t say so myself, it’s kind of a crowd-pleaser, like, the kind of vegetable dish that even your kids might eat. (Then again, I know that as a kid I would eat anything if my mother put pesto on it.)

We ate this on top of socca bread– which is a delightful Greek food that I’ll probably write more about at another time. It’s made by combining equal parts chickpea flour and water, a little olive oil, rosemary, and salt– which you can cook either as small crepes or as a larger pancake as I did here.  If you’re interested in trying it out, there’s a good recipe here, though I recommend using rosemary instead of cumin, depending on the recipe that you’re preparing the socca to accompany.


Aaron also made zucchini bread, but I couldn’t find the recipe now that it’s time to post this. If you’re looking for a good version of the classic that uses more zucchini than it does flour, leave a comment below, and I’ll not only send you the recipe, but I’ll personally save you one of those over-sized zucchinis that are just absolutely perfect for the lazy baker to deal with.


First of all, I’d like to apologize for taking such a long hiatus! I know, I know, I said that I would write you next week, keep in touch, make sure you knew that I still loved you. But the weeks have been busy and sweaty, and– long story short– I just haven’t been able to muster the will-power needed to upload this many pictures using a short bandwidth and a six-year old lap top. Anyway, I just want you to know that it wasn’t you; it was me. I promise not to neglect you or your dinner plans for this long ever again.


Now, for the good stuff. And cabbage is, no matter it’s reputation, really, really good stuff. Whatever bad name cabbage has gotten is definitely the fault of the recipes and chefs that like to drown it in mayonaise or boil it down to a chunky mush– and not the fault of the vegetable itself. The truth is that cabbage is not only one of the cheapest, most nutritious, and best storing foods in the world, it can be used in a myriad of delicious ways. (If you don’t believe me, try googling “grilled cabbage” or “golumki.) It also has the added benefit of being quick to prepare, which I hope that this week’s recipes can demonstrate.

First up, we have Okonomiyaki, or Japanese Pizza, as adapted from Heidi Swanson’s recipe over at 101 Cookbooks. I have tweaked the ingredients list a bit for our CSA share, but the method is 100% Heidi’s, as is the write-up thereof.

2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
2 onions, finely sliced
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (for a gluten-free option, you can use 2/3 cup chickpea flour– though it would be best to also use a teaspoon of xantham gum to hold everything together)
a couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1+ tablespoon olive, canola, or peanut oil + 1 tsp sesame oil (for flavor)

Garnish: toasted slivered almonds, cilantro, chopped scallions, sesame seeds

Combine the cabbage, leeks, flour, and salt in a bowl. Toss until everything is coated with a dusting of flour. Stir in the eggs and mix until everything is evenly coated.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a generous splash of olive oil. Scoop the cabbage mixture into the pan, and using a metal spatula press it into a round pancake shape, flat as you can get it. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden. To flip the okonomiyaki, slide it out of the skillet onto a plate. Place another plate on top and flip both (together) over. If you need a bit more oil in your skillet, add it now, before sliding the okonomiyaki back into the skillet. Again press down a bit with a spatula and cook until golden on this side – another 3 -5 minutes.

When you are finished cooking, sprinkle with toasted almonds and chives, and slide it onto a cutting board to cut into wedges. Enjoy immediately.

Also from 101 Cookbooks this week, we have the right recipe for all of you going to summer barbecues and pot lucks but are getting tired of the same old cole slaw. This is also delicious for a side dish on a hot summer night, which is how we ate it– on the side of (and also on top of) corn tortillas with stewed black beans and sauteed onions and peppers. I’d say that this is one of the most delicious meals we’ve had all summer (credit goes to Theresa). PLUS, this is the perfect place to put those delicious cherry tomatoes that we’ve been handing out to use.

Lime & Peanut Coleslaw Recipe

Leave out the jalapeno if you like it milder. I also thought about adding shredded, baked tortilla chips (like the ones from the tortilla soup recipe). Also, I’ve mentioned this before – I try to seek out organic peanuts.

1 1/2 cups unsalted raw peanuts
1/2 of a medium-large cabbage
1 basket of tiny cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon + fine-grain sea salt

In a skillet or oven (350F) roast the peanuts for 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice along the way, until golden and toasted.

Cut the cabbage into two quarters and cut out the core. Using a knife shred each quarter into whisper thin slices. The key here is bite-sized and thin. If any pieces look like they might be awkwardly long, cut those in half. Combine the cabbage, tomatoes, jalapeno (opt), and cilantro in a bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt. Add to the cabbage mixture and gently stir to combine. Just before serving fold in the peanuts (add them too earl and they lose some of their crunch). Taste and adjust the flavor with more salt if needed.

Serves 6 as a side.

AAnd, last but not least, we’ve got a bangin’ vegetarian main course recipe using red cabbage. Kayla threw together this incredble stir-fry from Nick Kindelsperger at Serious Eats. I know that looking at it, the recipe seems a little labor intensive, but when you consider that it makes a hearty one-dish dinner (though we had some rice with ours), the effort is far outweighed by the result. The meal is spicy but doesn’t pack too much heat, satisfying, and nutrient-packed. Definitely good for impressing company or for eating as leftovers for lunch for the rest of the week.

1 cup flour
1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes
10 tablespoons ghee or canola oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoons ground coriander, divided
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon asafetida
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
½ head cabbage, core removed, and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 cup frozen peas


  1. Dry off tofu with paper towels. Dump flour onto large plate. Add half of tofu and toss gently until evenly covered. Shake off excess. Pour four tablespoons ghee or oil into 12-inch iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Heat until shimmering. Add flour-coated tofu. Cook tofu, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about five minutes total. Remove tofu and drain on paper towel-lined plate. Turn off heat, carefully clean out skillet, and repeat with remaining tofu.
  2. Pour last two tablespoons of ghee or oil into medium-sized dutch oven set over medium high heat. Heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds. Cook until they start to pop, about 30 seconds. Add ginger, two teaspoons coriander, turmeric, asafetida, and serrano. Stir well, and cook until fragrant, about one minute.

  3. Add cabbage and pinch of salt. Cook, stirring every minute, until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add remaining coriander, fried tofu, peas, and another pinch of salt. Stir well and cook until everything is warm, about two minutes. Season with more salt to taste. Serve with white rice.

Well, you all must have noticed from their abundance at pick ups and our offer of unlimited “pick your own,” that we have excess of snap peas over here. We actually feel a little bit like we’re swimming with them over here, so they seemed like an obvious choice for this week’s spotlight vegetable. So, if you’re looking for a way to use up the twelve pounds of peas that you picked here over the weekend, or if you just want a few more creative options for the quart that you get at pick-up, we’ve got you covered.

On hot nights, for instance, you can (and, I think, should) try what we tried for the hot, hot solstice on Wednesday: chilled mint and snap pea soup. (We had it with a side of fresh summer rolls, an excellent recipe for which you can find here).

We were too busy eating and not busy enough taking pictures of this meal, but the soup is the green stuff way in the back.

You don’t need too many ingredients, just:

  • 1 large potato of any variety, cubed
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (though chicken stock or water would both be just fine in a pinch)
  • 5 cups sugar snap peas, washed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 8 leaves butter lettuce
  • 1 sprig of parsley, chopped (about a tablespoon)
  • about 1/4-1/2 cup of mint leaves (to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 large or 2 small onions or 1 bunch scallions
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1-2 tablespoons of oil of your choice (I used olive oil)

Then all you want to do is this:

  1. Saute the onions, garlic, lettuce, and parsley on medium heat until the onions are translucent and then add the stock and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the snap peas and cook for no longer than five minutes.
  4. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the mint leaves.
  5. Allow to cool slightly and then puree, either by transferring to a food processor (I had to do this in two batches) or by using an immersion blender.

Chill in the refrigerator– or, if you want to eat sooner rather than later– transfer the soup to a large bowl. Place this bowl in a larger bowl and fill the remainder of the large bowl with ice and water. Stir the soup until chilled (should be about five minutes).

If you want a richer soup, you can serve this with creme fraiche, Parmesan cheese, Greek yogurt, or a swirl of half and half. To keep it vegan, you could puree a non-dairy milk or yogurt or even silken tofu into the soup before cooling.

OK, so it’s not a picture of the kale and chick pea stiry-fry, but it is a stir-fry with snap peas. This one happened to have indian spices, potatoes, and tomatoes.

If you want something a little more substantial for dinner than soup, you could try Kayla’s delicious Friday-night stirfry. I asked her for the recipe, but, as would anyone who’s a  natural in the kitchen, “So I don’t think I have the exact recipe but basically I sauteed kale, snap peas, onions, and garlic together with some olive oil and added some chickpeas at the end. It was pretty simple.” There you have it! Easy weeknight dinner!

And, if you’re looking for a healthy side dish or something that you can bring with you to a potluck or cookout, I’d suggest Theresa’s mint, snap pea, and rice salad. (I’ve hyperlinked that last piece of text. Can you all tell when I have linked or not? Let me know if you can’t!) She served it with a stir-fry and these steal-the-show scallion crepes.

Anyone else out there cooking with snap peas this week? Let us know in the comments section!