Thinking inside the farmbox: Summer corn and fall apples

As the seasons begin to change, it's appropriate that the share contains vegetables, like sweet corn and crisp apples, that make me think of both summer and fall.

Mirai is a hybrid sweet corn well suited for the conditions in the Midwest. It’s sweet and tender—delicious both cooked and raw. I’m always excited to see a big pile of ears in the bottom of my CSA box. My favorite way to eat the Mirai sweet corn is grilled, but it also makes fantastic salads and sweet, juicy creamed corn. I used this batch in a fresh corn and tomato salad.

I had a cold that was causing soup cravings this week. As a result, I made both leek and potato soup and summer squash soup. The squash soup will be added to my small arsenal of recipes that I can turn to when I’m stumped about what to do with a pile of squash.

Like the Mirai sweet corn, the melons I’ve received in the CSA box outshine many other types of melons. The Sugar Cube melons are smaller than cantaloupe but look similar with orange flesh. They were sweet and firm, delicious straight out of the refrigerator.  

A Sugar Cube melon

A Sugar Cube melon

I received another batch of my favorite shishito peppers. I usually grill and then season them with soy sauce, sesame seeds and bonito flakes (if I have some in the cupboard). At restaurants, I usually order shishitos if I see them on the menu. I’ve eaten them with many different toppings, but I like them best topped with smoky and salty flavors.

According to the farmers at Nichols Farm, they grow more than 240 variety of apples. The farm's website notes that the first trees in the orchard were planted in 1978, and the farmers point out, "Since then we have been planting trees every year. Every year there are new and old varieties planted, each with their own story and characteristics. Some are great and some are terrible. We value them all for their own uniqueness."

This week, I received the crisp, sweet Pristine apples. According to Nichols Farm, it is a newer apple variety developed by the Purdue University; Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; and the University of Illinois’ cooperative program. It is a descendent of the Camuzat apple.

To read more about apples, visit