Baked Zucchini Sticks

I told you we love zucchini in our house.  Try this recipe for zucchini sticks!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 zucchini (or other summer squash)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 3 Tbs Bread Crubms

Directions

1. Cut zucchini into julienne strips about 2 inches long.


2.Place in a bowl and add bread crumbs and 2 Tbs oil.  Use some good EVOO (extra virgin olive oil – to quote Rachel Ray).


3.Stir together and place on a baking pan (this is a jelly roll pan wrapped with aluminum foil).


4. Bake at 400 deg F for 25 – 30 minutes and serve immediately!

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Week 2 of Pekarek’s Produce CSA

Dobry Den!

Who doesn’t love a little Czech in the morning?

It’s been another warm week at Pekarek’s Produce.  We watched the rain clouds roll in – and then right on by last week.  So Ryan has been extra busy just trying to keep water on all the crops. Even so, we have had a remarkable spring and are very thankful for everything.

Our tomato plants are growing beautifully, but when they get too big they start to get floppy.  So Ryan and the crew have gotten the chance to remember the joys of doing the “stake and weave” on the tomatoes.  It’s basically the same idea of giving a tomato plant a trellis or cage to grow up, but much more efficient on a larger scale.  You put a stake between every two tomato plants and then weave a string between the stakes and through the plants to hold them up.  Strings are added several times throughout the season.  We are not harvesting tomatoes yet, but soon we will see the “fruits” of labor!

What varieties do we grow?  Primo Red, Sunstart, Scarlet Red, Lemon Boy, BHN 589, BHN 876. Mountain Glory, Mountain Magic, Plum Crimson, Plum Regal, and Celebrity Supreme to name just a few.

Did you know????

There are two types of tomato varieties: Determinate and Indeterminate.  Determinate means that most of the tomatoes ripen at the same time…their timing is determined if you will.  They tend to be shorter and bushier.  Indeterminate means that the tomatoes will ripen over an extended period of time. Once the tomatoes begin to ripen, they will continue to produce throughout the summer, often up until the first hard frost in the fall.

What’s in today’s bag:

This week’s full share has:

  • Zucchini
  • Radishes
  • Shelling Peas
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Snow Peas
  • Onions

This week’s partial share has:

  • Zucchini
  • Radishes
  • Shelling Peas
  • Beets
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

Recipe Suggestions

Fried, shredded, or baked  – it’s all delicious.  This week try some baked zucchini sticks or chocolate zucchini bread!

If you have a recipe to share, email it to pekareksproduce@hotmail.com or include it in the comments section.

As always, if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions send us an email or give us a jingle and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Who doesn’t love zucchini season?  I’m a huge fan of it raw, fried with green onions, and baked with spaghetti sauce on top.  But I LOVE to bake.  So here is a great recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated zucchini

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two loaf pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Fold in the nuts and zucchini until they are evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Do you have any sweet corn?

So if you’ve ever sold vegetables at a farmer’s market, you know that one of the first questions that gets asked in May is “When is the sweet corn going to be ready?”  This is not a bad questions – just a little uninformed.  And if you don’t ask, you may never learn.  So, this is what our sweet corn looks like today, June 11:

In most years, we are aiming to have our first sweet corn harvest sometime in the middle of July.  If you look at the photo, you can see that we are growing on bare ground with drip irrigation.

To get an earlier harvest and speed the plant growth, it is more ideal to grow on black plastic.  But remember, this year is not “most years.”  We have had many unseasonably warm days this spring and as a result have moved many of our planting dates up AND shortened the growing days for many crops.  This year, we hope to harvest sweet corn by the 4th of July!!

We plant a couple varieties of sweet corn whose estimated maturity time ranges from 74-84 days.  Different varieties of sweet corn need to be isolated from each other to avoid cross pollination.  This can be done in a couple of ways; one is to plant the different varieties at least 14 days apart because then they will not be tasseling (pollination occurs when the corn is tasseling) at the same time which is when the pollination occurs. Another option is to plant the sweet corn in different physical locations.

Creamy Spinach Dip… A little naughty

This is a very quick, simple, and yummy way to use up some spinach.  The kids like to eat this on sourdough bread, I like to use it to top my grilled chicken and Ryan likes to dip tortilla chips.  However you decide to use it, just make sure you try it!!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups spinach – cut into small pieces
  • 1 bunch of green onions, diced
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place 2 Tbs oil in a sauce pan and heat on high for 2 minutes.


Dice garlic and green onions.  Add both to pan and cook until they begin to caramelize.
Add sour cream, cream cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir continuously until well combined.


Cool for 2 minutes and serve.

 

 

Channel 8 – Inside the Farmer’s Market

On May 31, as I was pulling into the driveway, I noticed a car at the high tunnel.  With all three kids in tow, I decided to see what was going on and low and behold, Ryan Pekarek was being interviewed by Channel 8 News for a story about the Farmer’s Market.  He did a great job talking about the crops we grow, the work he does, our new CSA, and other local sales.  Kelly did a great job with the story and it can be seen at this link: KLKN Channel 8 Video – News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com.
All of this came on the heels of an announcement from Governor Dave Heineman encouraging Nebraskan’s to visit their local farmer’s markets.  “Farmers markets help connect produce growers with residents of cities and towns, and provide growers with another outlet to market their fresh produce,” he said. “Nothing compares to the freshness of the produce found at the farmers markets across our state.”

Beet Sandwich

I am officially NOT a beet person – but I am trying to become one.  When I think of beets, I always think of the smell of dirt, but not in a good way.  So I did a little looking around to see if there were some different ways to eat beets and I thought a beet sandwich was my best bet.  I figured out that I LOVED it this way.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium beets, sliced thin
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 yellow tomato, sliced
  • good bread
  • mayonnaise
  • lettuce or spinach

Directions

1. Steam beets.  Remove skin.  Slice into thin slices.

2. Thinly slice green onions.  I cut one in half length wise and then cut into 2 inch sections.


3. Toast your favorite bread
4. To assemble the sandwich spread some mayo on the toast, lay down a layer of green onions, then a layer of beets, then cabbage, then top with a tomatoes.

Week 1 of Pekarek’s Produce CSA

Hello all,

Ryan and I want to thank everyone who has joined the Pekarek’s Produce CSA this season!  We hope you enjoy the many weeks of yummy veggies that are headed your way.  In getting a CSA share, you not only receive a weekly box of fresh and delicious vegetables, but you are also helping to strengthen our local food security, contribute to the local economy and support a small family farm (that’s us!).

For those of you who are new to Pekarek’s Produce, let me give you a quick introduction.  Pekarek’s Produce is run by my husband Ryan, and me, Katie.  Ryan began raising vegetables in 2004 while in college.  We moved to North Carolina in 2006, where Ryan got a Master’s degree from North Carolina State University in Vegetable Production.  In 2009, we returned to Nebraska where Ryan began vegetable farming full time.  All of the produce is grown on our family land just 14 miles north of Seward.  Pekarek’s Produce now raises over 50 varieties of crops on approximately 12 acres.  With the help of a small local crew, we tackle the many aspects of farming: seeding, transplanting, watering, hoeing, weeding, harvesting and much more.   We have three kids (Jacob, Margret, and Michael), who as they get older, help out a little more each year.

Each week we will have a short newsletter describing some aspect of the farm, from hilling potatoes to cold frames and more.  For now, we will include a paper copy, but I will also post the newsletter on our website www.pekareksproduce.wordpress.com.  As Ryan is always covered in dirt or mud, your newsletters will come from me, but if you’ve ever met Ryan, you can be sure he will be telling the good stories.  We look forward to a great season!

What’s in today’s box:

Depending on your share size (full or partial), you will have some combination of the following vegetables in your bag:

  • spinach,
  • kohlrabi,
  • beets,
  • radish,
  • snow pea,
  • shell pea,
  • broccoli, and/or
  • green onions.

Recipe Suggestions

Try the beet sandwich!  It’s delicious.

If you have a recipe to share, email it to pekareksproduce@hotmail.com or include it in the comments section.

As always, if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions send us an email or give us a jingle and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew