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June 21st, officially the first day of summer. We are halfway through the year and full of cheer! Why? Because the CSA box this week is bursting at the seams with flavor and potential. The variety of basil can take you around the world and back to your home kitchen. So lets talk about what’s in the box…
Have a glimpse : )
Dill with leaf and flower
Feher Ozon Peppers
Rattlesnake pole beans
Summer & winter squash
Summer greens: nasturtium, garnet stem dandelion, golden purslane
Bulb fennel is not the most common of vegetables, and with its slightly sweet, anise like flavor, many are puzzled about how to use it. I like to use it as an ingredient in a slaw. Traditionally slaw is cabbage based and mine is as well. I used about two-thirds finely sliced red cabbage and one-third finely sliced bulb fennel for this recipe. One half of a medium-sized sweet onion and some finely diced fennel leaves were the additional vegetable ingredients. I made a lemon juice and olive oil dressing, added salt and pepper to taste and then added some crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts when ready to serve.
There have been many changes in the fields at CCCC Student Farm in the last two weeks. The garlic has been harvested, and is currently curing in the barn and new pack shed. The strawberry plants in block 3 have been replaced with sweet potatoes, and we have started the process of harvesting Irish potatoes which you will find in the CSA boxes after the curing process.
This recipe is great as a side dish or main course. Cooking the fennel slowly really softens the licorice flavor and fibrous texture of the vegetable. I used tomato sauce leftover from making shakshuka which reduced the overall prep time for this dish. The flavor of the tomato sauce is better prepared ahead of time but feel free to make this recipe to suit.
1 fennel bulb, quartered with fronds removed
½ onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
In a large pan, heat oil. Soften onion and add garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add quartered fennel, sweat about 5 minutes, frequently stirring vegetables. Add tomato sauce and simmer for about 35 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. The dish is finished when the fennel is nearly translucent and tender. The recipe makes enough for four servings; try the dish with grilled fish, a fried egg or serve with rice. Enjoy!
The strawberries in the CSA box this week are red and delicious! Other standouts include the variety of herbs and rainbow-colored chard. This may be one of our last weeks with fresh peas, so enjoy them while you can.
The radicchio grown on the farm has a bitter and loud taste, pair it with a hot cooking method like grilling to mellow the palate. Top with a balsamic vinaigrette for a solid match of tart sweetness.
1 radicchio head, cut in half, lengthwise through the core
1 T shallot, minced
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
If you are unable to use an out door grill, the oven or a cast iron surface works just as well. Brush the grill surface with oil and allow to heat, about 10 minutes. Rub the radicchio halves with olive oil, grill until tender and seared. remove greens from heat and drizzle with vinaigrette. Enjoy!
plated radicchio with balsamic vinaigrette and lemon zest