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Make the Most of The Late Summer Harvest!

Summer is almost over but there’s still plenty of vegetables that are still being harvested or still need to be harvested. Late Summer Harvests include vegetables like onions, potatoes, garlic, shallots, leeks, cabbages, celery, eggplant, peppers, pumpkins and winter squash! This week we will be talking about recipes to go with the late summer harvest!

Celery

Grab some celery from your local farmer’s market or CSA and appreciate it since celery can be a little tough to grow…it isn’t greatly tolerant to heat or cold or drought. This finicky plant is great for cooking, salads, and more though. Plus, it boasts wonderful health benefits like reducing inflammation, aiding in digestion, and helping to alkalize our often highly acid diets.

Bell Peppers

Harvested in late summer, they are a member of the nightshade family which is the same family as tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes (but not sweet potatoes!). Some people have sensitivities to nightshade produce that may experience gas, joint inflammation, headaches, and more. BUT, if you don’t have sensitivities they are also high in vitamins and antioxidants including a boatload of vitamin C. Red peppers pack the most nutrition since they have been on the vine the longest. TIP: All bell peppers start out green then change to yellow or orange before ripening to red.

Leeks

Leek’s are good at holding onto grit, so let’s talk prep! The tops will look darker than the rest. Cut the darkest part off and compost those or save for soup stock. Next cut off root (the fuzzy stuff at the bottom). The stem can be cut into rings or chiffonade (thin strips). Rinse the cuttings in a colander to get any grit out. TIP: Like onions and garlic let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes after cutting and before cooking.
Leeks can be tossed into pot roast, added to a pan of roasted vegetables, tossed into soups, added to a green salad, or tossed with cooked green beans to add a new flavor. Check out this link for a Salmon and Leek Dish!

Eggplant

A relative of the tomato, can be healthy when prepped in less “heavy” ways than the traditional eggplant parmesan. Eggplant is a non-starchy vegetable that can be grilled, roasted, stewed, breaded, or sautéed and can be used in many different types of recipes. Often used as a meat substitute in dishes like lasagna, it packs a meaty texture with its higher fiber content. Not sure where to start? Try this grilled eggplant and yogurt dip recipe! Just serve with pita chips or vegetables and you’re all set for your next dish to pass!

Garlic

Garlic is a perennial that grows in spring and is ready for harvest in the late summer. It is ready for harvest when the bottom two leaves turn brown. Garlic needs to be cured/dried out for about 2 weeks (like on a covered porch) before using. Rumor has it, the number of leaves on the stem will tell you how many cloves of garlic you will have! Garlic has a laundry list of health benefits, so make sure to include it in your regular recipes. Not used to using raw garlic? Just buy a garlic press and it is easier than you can imagine to mince your own garlic. BONUS: Although you probably run into vampires, garlic repels mosquitoes too!

Squash

If you are not a squash fan, odds are you just haven’t tried the right one or had it prepared in your tastes! Squash come in many varieties, textures, and flavors. Load up on different winter squash at your local farmer’s market since they can store for months in a cool dry area. Spaghetti squash are super easy to grow and can be microwaved or baked to produce strings/”noodles” that are tasty just with a little butter and salt, combined with spaghetti sauce, or added into a variety of recipes. Other squash can be roasted, pureed for sauces, and even cubed and frozen for later use. Follow this link for a Squash Breakdown!

Gear Up For Your Spring Garden!

The winter can start to feel quite long this time of year – especially with seemingly endless winter vortices, storms and bitter cold – but Spring planting, gardens, and produce are just around the corner!

If starting seeds indoors, now is the time to start your broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, and eggplant! As soon as the soil can be worked, spinach and parsley seeds can be tossed in the ground! This week we’re talking about different ways to obtain and grow your own local produce.

Find help in growing your own produce through your local county horticultural department!

In the Green Bay, WI area go to https://www.co.brown.wi.us/ and navigate to Departments/ UW-Extension area you will find tons of resources like classes and articles to help you with gardening needs (and a lot of community resources that you may not even know about!).

There is specifically a page for Urban Horticulture and Natural Resources Program which has weekly articles and resources for soil testing, plant identification, and more.

Find Local Produce Through a CSA:

What is a CSA? In Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA), a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public in return for a seasonal fee of anywhere from $350-$700 depending on the farmer and program.

Shares typically consist of a box of produce, but other farm products may also be included like jams, baked goods, eggs, soaps, herbs, and more! Many farmers will team up with other local farmers or businesses to provide the largest selection of fruit, vegetables, animal, and/or dairy products they can.

Now is the time to get signed up! Typically farmers take a survey from their pledged consumers before the planting season so they can be sure to provide as much of the things you want as they can. What could be better??

You can find local CSA’s by searching www.localharvest.org. Wisconsin members check out the CSA delivered right here to Ellipse Fitness Allouez! Healthy Ridge Farm, now offering ½ shares too!

Read our past blog post on CSA’s here!

Get to Your Local Farmer’s Market!

Not sure where to find one close to you? Check out localharvest.org and click on Farmer’s Markets where you can search your city or zip code to see a map and listing of markets near you!

The Green Bay WINTER Farmer’s market, weekly at the KI Center, just wrapped but, keep an eye out next season to satisfy your needs for local products when it is frosty out!

Community Garden Blitz!

In the Green Bay area, the Brown County UW Extension teams up with New Leaf Foods with a program called Green Bay Garden Blitz, to provide the resources and knowledge of urban gardening by selling and installing raised garden beds, with the help of volunteers, at a low cost ($175 for an 8’x4’ rot resistant box including delivery, installation, and soil)!

They also provide experienced gardener mentors for new growers. Since 2014, 547 gardens have been built in Green Bay through this program. This year even local public schools will benefit from boxes being installed at school locations allowing classrooms to learn first-hand about healthy food and nutrition (www.newleaffoods.org).