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Summer in a box!

Posted 8/4/2016 7:25pm by Amber Stenson.

Its here!

Finally, the time of year when the CSA box looks and smells like summer. We have tomatoes, eggplant (!), jalapenos, and arugula, oh and beets! 

There are so many options for cooking, feasting and sharing with friends. Speaking of friends, I wanted to draw your attention to a fun local food resource. From The Ground Up North is a great local food clearing house of sorts. They write stories about farmers, non-profits and local food business. They publish a calendar of local food events, Hint: The Garlic Festival in Hutchinson, MN is happening soon! And they are engaged in a variety of research projects regarding different barriers to building local food systems. 

Big River Farms will be featured as one of the farms later this year, but this month there is a great story about one of our partner organizations Urban Oasis. I highly recommend checking it out and plugging into the local food scene.

p.s. Urban Oasis has hosted an Edible Streetscapes project this year planting all sorts of traditional food crops along East 7th st. You can sign-up for a walking tour! In addition, there will be a gallery opening of photos taken by East Side residents of gardens in the neighborhood. The photos present a new understanding of what urban space looks like and how food can be part of urban design. 

Farmer of the Week

For Chairesia, a guiding principle in her life has been the dictum, “Let thy food be thy medicine” (Hippocrates). For her that means building bridges between health care and healthy eating. “How can food prevent illness? How can we get the most nutrients from food? I think organic farming is one way to do that.”

Continue reading Chairesia's story....






 Whats in the Box

Summer in a box??!!!

  • Arugula, Beets, Potatoes and Zucchini from Karen Family Farm
  • Green Beans, Beets and Eggplant from The Early Birds 
  • Green Beans Kale and Zucchini from Bhutanese Farm
  • Cilantro, tomatoes, sungold tomatoes, Jalapenos and Cucumbers from Sebra Farm
  • Cucumbers from Mhonpaj's Garden
  • Kale from Rome Farm
  • Beets, Cucumber, Onions and Zucchini from 1st Karen Farm

In the Kitchen

I have been waiting with anticipation to put a recipe for beets in the newsletter. Not only is this dip delicious, but it is also magenta in color, looks fabulous on the dinner table and will wow your friends.

Here is a recipe from Lucky Peach ( a great food journal) for a beet yogurt dip.



  • 1 lb cooked beets (not in vinegar)
  • 3 T ground coriander
  • 1/2 oz mint, leaves finely chopped
  • 16 oz Greek yogurt
  • 1 t nigella seeds
  • + olive oil, for drizzling
  • + flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



  1. Drain the excess juice from the beets and blitz them in a bowl using a handheld blender until they are broken down to a coarse purée. Add the ground coriander, a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and the chopped mint (reserving a generous pinch of mint for garnish) and mix well. Now stir in the Greek yogurt until it is evenly incorporated.

  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with a sprinkling of nigella seeds, the chopped mint and a drizzle of olive oil.


If I was meal planning, I'd likely drift toward mediterranean cuisine this week on account of the beet dip and the eggplant. Are you familiar with the glory of the Jerusalem cookbook? If not, I'd say it is a pantry staple. Here is a recipe that can use your eggplants, onions and even jalapenos as a subsititute for the green chilli.


2 large eggplants (about 1 2/3 pounds)
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
4 onions (about 1 1/4 pounds), thinly sliced
1 1/2 green chiles
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sumac
1 3/4 ounces feta cheese, broken into large chunks
1 medium lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed




Preheat oven to 425. 

  1. Halve the eggplants lengthwise with the stems on. 
  2. Score the cut side of each eggplant with a crisscross pattern. 
  3. Brush the cut sides with 6 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet, cut side up, for about 45 minutes, until the flesh is golden brown. (A tip: Place a shallow pan of water at the bottom of the oven to prevent the eggplants from drying out.)
  4. While the eggplants are roasting, add the remaining oil to a large frying pan and place over high heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often, so that parts of the onion get dark and crisp.
  5. Seed and chop the chiles, keeping the whole chile separate from the half. Add the ground cumin, sumac, and the whole chopped chile, and cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the feta. Cook for a final minute, not stirring much, then remove from the heat.
  6. Use a small serrated knife to remove the skin and pith of the lemon. Coarsely chop the flesh, discarding the seeds, and place the flesh and any juices in a bowl with the remaining 1/2 chile and the garlic. Transfer the roasted halves to a serving dish, and spoon the lemon sauce over the flesh. Warm up the onions a little, and spoon over. Serve warm or set aside to come to room temperature.

May your meals be shared and delicious! And start planning your dish for the CSA harvest party!


Lebo Moore

Food Hub Manager

Minnesota Food Association/Big River Farms

651-433-3676 ext.21