January CSA Newsletter

Posted on January 15, 2012  /   Posted in Newsletter


CRYSTAL SPRING MARINARA  Pasta & Pizza Sauce: Crystal Spring Community Farm is  a certified organic farm located in Brunswick.  The farm does a large summer CSA in the Portland and Brunswick area.  Seth Kroeck was one of the first farmers I visited when I started my work for MOFGA six years ago.  When Seth attended one of my Farm Food Safety workshops in early April last year, and told me that he would have some extra capacity in sweet bell peppers, we were really excited.  As it turns out, in addition to peppers, we were able to purchase sweet onions, jalapeño peppers, and Genovese basil.  Then one day, Seth called to see if we needed more tomatoes.  Seems that he had grown one variety in his hoop house that was quite prolific…we were fortunate to receive over 2000 pounds.  When cooking down these tomatoes, we decided to make them into a single variety sauce.  Crystal Spring Marinara is crafted in true Italian fashion.  The garlic is sautéed in olive oil until fragrant, and then the tomato puree, herbs and seasonings are cooked until the sauce becomes thick.  We love the fresh tomato taste of this sauce, and hope you will also!  And the good news is, next year, Seth will be growing even more food for us…we’re meeting soon to talk about varieties and quantities…go Maine farmers!

PUTTANESCA  Pasta & Pizza Sauce:  We’re getting lots of feedback on this spicy, olive-laced sauce, and it appears to be a love-hate relationship.  Puttanesca is supposed to be hot and spicy, but some folks don’t care for that much kick.  If your family falls in this category, try using it as a pizza sauce, and spread it lightly over the dough.  The cheese on the pizza mellows the flavor of the sauce.  Or if you’d like, let us know, and we can swap it out for another variety.  Besides a sauce for pasta, Puttanesca goes great over chicken, and adds kick to black beans and beef.  For our vegetarian friends, try Puttanesca with portabello mushrooms…nice and meaty!

MARINATED BEAN SALAD: Looking for a serving of vegetables in a jar?  Marinated Bean salad fits the bill!  In this “pickled” vegetable creation, we use horticulture beans and yellow beans from Horsepower Farm in Penobscot, green beans from Peacemeal Farm in Dixmont, carrots from Snakeroot organic Farm, garlic from Green Garden Farm in St. Albans, onions from Crystal Spring Community Farm, and cauliflower from Kousky Farm.  The vegetables are cooked slightly in the brine, and then refrigerated overnight so the flavors can marry.  Then we return the mixture to the kettle, bring it to a boil, and bottle it.  I’ve been making this salad on a home basis for years, and my family loves it.  When I’m pressed for time, this is a quick and easy vegetable.  It also is great to take on a picnic, and makes a nice complement to bread and cheese. 

LIBERTY APPLESAUCE: The Liberty variety of apple is often cited as one of the best recently developed “disease-resistant” varieties grown in the Northeast.  It was developed in New York in 1978, and has a complex parentage that includes Rome Beauty, Jersey Black, McIntosh, Wealthy, and M. floribunda.  Wow!  Try keeping that lineage straight!  We find that it makes into a tart sauce, some may like to sweeten it a bit with maple syrup or sugar.  We eat it right from the jar, and cook with it.  Your Liberty apples were organically grown by Howard Wulf from Unity.  Howard’s orchards are works of art, and he is extremely interested in your feedback on his apple varieties.  Thanks to folks like Howard, we can enjoy apples in Maine year round.  Go Maine farmers!

BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES: Back by popular demand, some folks have told us they eat a whole jar of these pickles in one sitting!  This is the last of these classic pickles, but we will do lots more next year.  Can’t live without them?  Call the kitchen and get on the case list for next year.

WILD BLUEBERRY DRESSING: Maine organic wild blueberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals…they are a super fruit!  Our wild blueberries come from the Blue Hill Berry Company.  Owners Nicolas Lindholm and his wife Ruth Fiske also grow certified organic vegetables on  Hackmatack Farm in Penobscot.  In this salad dressing and marinade, we cook organic wild blueberries with onions and extract a puree.  This puree is then slowly simmered with organic cider vinegar from Sewall Orchard, Rabbit Hill organic apple juice, and Kinney Farm organic maple syrup.  Wild Blueberry Dressing is vegan and fat free.  Mix it with olive oil to make a salad dressing, or use it straight from the bottle.  We like it on a Spinach, Goat Cheese and Fruit salad.  Marinate chicken or pork tenderloin in Wild Blueberry dressing, or for a treat, make Duck Breast with Wild Blueberry Dressing.  Be creative and please share your ideas with us!

JACK’S ORGANIC KETCHUP: Our signature product, Jack’s Organic Ketchup is made exclusively from one tomato:  the Italian heirloom Principe Borghese.  These tiny, almost cherry-sized tomatoes, are high in natural sugars and are traditionally dried.  Our tomatoes were grown on Green Garden Farm in St. Albans by Allen Reynolds and Jose Vega.   It takes over two pounds of tomatoes to make one jar of sauce, and Allen and Jose will both attest to the fact that these little guys are not easy to pick!  Because the tomatoes are so high in natural sugar, we add very little sugar to the ketchup,  less than 5 grams per serving.  And yes President Reagan, Jack’s Organic Ketchup can qualify as a “vegetable”!  Try a meal of Cheryl’s Sloppy Joe’s made with Jack’s Organic Ketchup.

JEN’S APPLE CRANBERRY JAM:  The inspiration for this jam comes from my sister Jen.  Early this fall, she gave us a box of bright, red cranberries harvested from Highland Farms of Troy, the farms she and her husband Stan own.   As we were cooking up a batch of sweet sixteen apples, the idea of  a jam that combined the tartness of cranberries with the sweetness of apples was born.  The texture of this jam, like our others, is smooth, almost like a butter.  We cook the fruit in the kettle, and then extract the seeds, skins and stems.  The extract is then returned to the kettle and slowly simmered with organic cane sugar.  As we don’t use pectin in our jams, the natural sugars and flavors of the fruit are much more intense.  We hope you enjoy Jen’s Jam!  Try it on dessert pizza, spooned over vanilla ice cream,  or in Orange Goat Cheese Danish.

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