Backyard Gardens CSA: Week 13 – August 29, 2018 DIRT FROM THE FIELD:

un hombre solo no puede vivir jorge oГ±ate Somehow, it’s the end of August already. The smoke has cleared from the skies for some truly beautiful and cool fall-like mornings, with the full moon setting over Sawtooth as we start our harvests. The angle of the sun feels like it is falling rapidly to the south, reminding us that we only have a couple weeks left to seed most of our crops before the day length is too short and the weather is typically too cool for them to grow enough to harvest.

Our farm routine this week was punctuated with a couple new tasks: digging potatoes and thinning fennel. Both are included in your CSA share this week, and fennel is the featured item. I’m very happy with our potato production so far this year. We have six long beds planted, and the early red potato variety we dug for your share this week produced several hundred pounds in it’s row alone. Fingers crossed that the squirrel appetite for these precious taters stays small!

A beautiful first-cutting of greens and salanova make up our Backyard Gardens signature salad mix.

Finally, our salad production is ramping up once again! We’ll have some at market again on Saturday, and you can also find it at local businesses, including the produce refridgerator at Ruby Peak, the salad bar at Range Rider, and on the menu at East Fork and Terminal Gravity.


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1 Bunch Carrots
1 lb Tomato
1/3 lb Green Beans
1 lb Summer Squash
1 Bunch Beets
1 Bunch Chard
1 Bunch Dill
Fennel Thinnings
2 lbs Potatoes
1 Sweet Onion
1 Garlic Bulb

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1 Bunch Carrots
1 lb Tomato
1/3 lb Green Beans
1 lb Summer Squash
1 Bunch Chard
Fennel Thinnings
1 lb Potatoes
1 Sweet Onion
1 Garlic Bulb


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The featured item this week is fennel. Both the small bulb and fronds of the fennel you received can be consumed, and they have a strong anise-like flavor. Fennel seeds also have many culinary uses, although we won’t let our fennel plants go to seed so you won’t be finding them in your CSA bin this year at least. The small fennel bulbs and fronds you received are actually thinnings for what will hopefully be a full-sized fennel bulbs for you later in the season!Will the small amount of fennel you received this week, I suggest the following flexible recipe for a flavorful pasta or pizza topping.

Braised Fennel, Sweet Peppers and Onions

This dish takes about 25 minutes to cook but is dead simple and mostly hands-off and it’s very versatile. You can certainly skip the peppers, add more onions, just make it with fennel, add leeks or vary it in any way you see fit.

You can toss this dish with just-cooked pasta and a bit of hot pasta cooking water and some grated Parmesan and a good drizzle of olive oil for a luscious main dish. Or you can serve it as a side with most anything or top it with an egg.

Author Cook With What You Have


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • fennel fronds chopped, optional
  • 1-2 sweet peppers trimmed, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water divided
  • salt
  • fresh parsley chopped, optional
  • grated parmesan
  • 3/4 lb pasta optional
  • good olive oil


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add the onions, fennel and pepper and a pinch or two of salt. Toss well and cook over high heat for 7-10 minutes or so, stirring frequently until the vegetables are browning in places.

  2. Add the vinegar and 1 cup water and a bit more salt. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the water is mostly absorbed. Add the remaining ½ cup water and continue cooking until the fennel is tender throughout and all the water has been absorbed/evaporated. Taste and adjust seasoning.

  3. If you’re going to toss it with pasta, reserve 1/3 cup or so of hot pasta cooking water and toss it with the fennel mixture, the pasta, some grated Parmesan and a splash of good olive oil.

More CSA box ideas for this week from Cook with What You Have (see the “CSA details” email from Beth):

Roasted Fennel and Potatoes with Lettuce and Sausages

Tomato, Fennel, and Caper Sauce (with Pasta)

Caramelized Fennel with Goat Cheese and Dill

Have a beautiful week!

Caitlin Rushlow
CSA and Accounts Manager
cell: 919-448-5963