Greetings!! We are winding down with this farming season. People are always asking why we close for July and August. Well.....because it's HOT!!! Nothing can grow in this heat except cotton and peanuts...lol...and it is our time to clear , prep and get the land ready for the fall crops. Yes, we do vacation some but, we are also busy getting the farms ready for the next season! I also will be visiting new locations and looking ahead to expanding our CSA program with focusing on sharing the benefits of eating healthy, locally grown organic fruits & vegetables. You have until June 30th to take advantage of us...just kidding....to take advantage of our awesome "Early Bird" special. Pre-sign up for the fall CSA program (starts in September) and receive ONE WEEK FREE!! We are also suffering from a heat wave and have gone crazy here at the store....jams, jellies, syrups, BBQ sauces, chow chows, salsas, etc....have been reduced to only $3 each....yup that's right! ONLY $3 EACH OR 4 for $10!!!! While supplies last! Not including certain items with our new logo. AND active CSA members get an additional 10% OFF!
CSA boxes this week will contain: red potatoes, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, fennel, broccoli, apples, bananas, red leaf lettuce, grape tomatoes and Lychee!!! I can hear some of you saying ... WHAT??? So below is information on a Lychee or Litchi. Back in Homestead, Fl. Robert and Nan's dad had a Lychee tree in his yard. So, we came to enjoy this exotic fruit and were excited to find organic lychees and wanted to share something new with you! Hope you enjoy your box this week!!!
At first glance, the litchi is a fruit that looks like a strawberry with alligator skin, which is why some folks call them alligator strawberries in the South. The fruit is red like a strawberry, but the exterior is rough and tough. You must peel the litchi to get to the edible interior. Once peeled, the litchi looks like a peeled grape, and has a similar pearly grape-like texture. The tasty litchi flesh surrounds a large inedible seed.
Its delicious sweet flavor is likened to a fusion of strawberries, watermelon, and grapes.
Litchis (also known as lychee and litchi nut) are native to Asia and have been a prized fruit in China for more than 2,000 years. They are grown in tropical climates, particularly Florida and Hawaii. Prime season for fresh litchis is June and July, but they are also available canned and dried. When dried, they are referred to as litchi nuts.
The litchi must be peeled to get to the edible flesh. The outer leathery skin also has a thin inner membrane that must be removed before eating, much like a pomegranate. As the ripened fruit ages, the skin and inner membrane lose water and become tougher, fusing together. If the skin comes off easily with the inner membrane, the storage time is greatly shortened.
Many folks simply use their fingernail to dig into the stem end and peeloff the skin from the lychee. If you're peeling a large quantity for a recipe, use a serrated knife to cut through the skin lengthwise all around the seed.
If the litchi is very fresh, you'll need to gently peel away the skin and inner membrane much like peeling an orange. If the lychees have been stored for awhile, the skin and membrane will peel away easily, usually in whole halves after scoring around the seed.
If the lychees are very ripe, you can simply tear off one end of the skin, then pinch toward the opposite end to propel the fruit out of the skin and into your mouth or bowl.
Once the outer skin and inner membrane are removed, you'll find a fruit that looks much like a peeled green grape. The edible meat surrounds a large seed. Cut around the meat lengthwise to the seed, and pull the meat away from the pointed end of the seed. It should release from the seed fairly easily if the fruit is properly ripened.Lychee / Litchi Selection and StorageSelect fruit with a bright coloring, light red to deep red, with no blemishes. The skin is naturally tough and leathery, but it should be pliable and not overly dull, dry or dark. If the fruit tastes bitter or sour, it is not ripe. Unfortunately, lychees cease ripening once picked. Avoid lychees that are cracked, leaking, or smell fermented.
Fresh litchis should be wrapped in a paper towel, placed in a perforated plastic bag, and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. They will begin to ferment as they age, so use them quickly.
Lychees may also be frozen. Simply place the fruit, skin on, in a zipper bag, suck out the air, and seal.
Canned litchis are also available. Litchi "nuts" are the dried form of the fruit which look and taste much like a raisin.Lychee / Litchi UsageLitchis are a natural addition to fruit salads and desserts. Add some to chicken salad or stir-fries for a sweet touch. They are also used in sweet-and-sour sauces as well asdessert sauces.
Recipe of the week:
Baked Fennel with Parmesan
Rated:Submitted By: RUPERTLSSMITH
Photo By: karenury
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes
"A very simple but totally delicious dish. Fennel is baked with cream, creme fraiche and parmesan cheese. An ideal accompaniment to many tomato based italian dishes as the creaminess balances nicely with the tomato."
2 fennel bulbs
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
3/4 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut the base off of the fennel bulbs, and cut a cone shape into the base to remove the core. You can see the core because it is whiter than the surrounding green. This is optional, but helps the fennel cook faster. Slice the fennel vertically (upright) into 1/4 inch thick slices.2.Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel, and fry for about 5 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and creme fraiche until well blended. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.3.Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown and the fennel is tender enough to pierce with a fork.
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