Monthly Archives: May 2015

Our tough mudder

IMG_2311 jory turnips
It was a muddy week for people and for vegetables.  Above, Jory and Madeleine harvest white salad turnips shortly after the rain stopped.

IMG_2370 lettuce with mud
Heavy rains splash soil everywhere.  

How to wash gritty lettuce and spinach

There were heavy rains this week.  All the vegetables will need a little extra TLW (tender loving washing) this week.  Vegetables that grow as a ‘head’ need extra attention after rainy weather because soil splashes into the head.  Lettuce, bok choy, escarole, endive, turnip greens and spinach are all affected.  Here is a technique to remove soil or grit.  Run a sink or tub full of cold water.  Cut the head of lettuce across the base so the leaves all fall apart.  Cut it into smaller pieces if you wish.  Submerge the cut lettuce in the water and swish gently.  This week’s red bibb is VERY tender and fragile, so be gentle.  Pull from the water and let drain.  Repeat.  The draining action pulls the dirt off the leaves.  Repeat with a second tub of clean water if needed.  If you don’t plan to eat all the lettuce (or other green) immediately, dry it in a salad spinner and store in a dry container.

June 1 check reminder

Many of you paid us with checks post-dated to June 1.  Remember?  I will deposit your June 1 checks on Monday June 1.

Farm News; two exciting forecasts

IMG_2210 strawberry blossoms
The strawberries are blossoming heavily and the berry field looks great.  We expect to host strawberry u-picks for members during the last two weekends of June.  Watch our emails for the dates, times and other information about the u-picks.  Berry price will probably be the same as last year, $2.20/lb.  Notice the irrigation pipe?  We keep it in the field, just in case we need to irrigate to protect the blossoms and berries from frost.  Steve has irrigated three nights so far this spring.  We can’t take a risk with such a valuable (and treasured) crop.

IMG_2385 pea blossom

IMG_2391 pea blossom
The peas have just begun blossoming.  Best guess = there will be peas in the CSA boxes in three weeks.  We don’t know if sugar snap peas or snow peas will be ready first.  It’s a race.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (5/28/15, week #2, green EOW)

We offer information the first week we pack a vegetable.  Read last week’s newsletter for storage and cooking information for asparagus, rhubarb, and green garlic.

Asparagus, 1.3 lb
Bok choy, 1
Rhubarb, 1.5 lb
Red bibb lettuce
Spinach, 1 bunch
White salad turnips, 1 bunch
Parsnips, 1.75 to 2 lb
Green garlic, 1 bunch

Next week’s box will probably contain asparagus, lettuce, white salad turnips, scallions, some kind of spring green, and more.  We might have spinach for you again next week.

Bok choy (large rosette with thick white stems and green leaves) – This Asian green is good for stir-frying or sautéing or in soup.  You can think of the stems and leaves as two separate vegetables.  The stems require longer cooking.  The leaves will cook almost as quickly as spinach.  Bok choy stores well, so feel free to pull off leaves as you need them, or use the whole head at once.  Refrigerate in a plastic bag.

White salad turnips (bunched white roots with green tops) – I know that returning members look forward to these sweet and delicious turnips, which taste nothing like the turnips that are harvested in fall.
– Storage: Cover and refrigerate.
– Uses: Both the turnip roots and tops are edible.  Slice the sweet roots and add to salads.  They can be cooked and are especially good when lightly sauteed in butter.  Stir as little as possible so they brown on at least one side.  The turnips greens are excellent cooked.  Treat them like mustard greens.
– Our favorite use:  Slice the roots very thinly and combine with a mixture of rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil.  Eat immediately or marinate.

Parsnips (long white roots) – We had a bumper crop of parsnips last fall, so we left some in the ground for spring harvest.  Parsnips are one of the few annual crops that we can overwinter in the field.  Those long, white roots are not carrots, they are parsnips.  The two vegetables are related.  Unlike carrots, parsnips are rarely eaten raw.  When cooked, parsnips are sweet and starchy.  Brown them so the sugars caramelize, to give the best flavor. Here are our favorite ways to prepare parsnips:
– Parsnip fries are delicious: cut like French fries, coat very lightly with oil, place on a cookie sheet and roast in a hot oven until cooked through and browned.
– Substitute grated parsnips in a potato pancake recipe.  They brown beautifully and are very tasty.
– We often pan-fry parsnips with onions and garlic.

THIS WEEK’S RECIPES

Comforting Classics

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
Spinach and Almond Salad with Orange Honey Vinaigrette
Pureed Asparagus and Parsnip Soup
Bok Choy with Garlic
Steamed Parsnips with Maple Butter
Salad Turnip Pickle

Outside the Box Recipes

Star Anise Baked Rhubarb
Almost No Work Baked Spinach and Asparagus Risotto
Broth Infused Asparagus
Orecchiette with Spinach, Bok Choy and Ricotta
Parsnip Tart
Harissa Spiced Salad Turnip Salad

Kitchen Sink Recipe
This is a recipe that is very flexible — you can add just about many of the veggies from the box.

Simple Spring Vegetable Roast

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipe

Warm Spinach Salad with Smoked Trout and Salad Turnips

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Let’s start!

Welcome to our CSA!  It’s time to eat fresh food again.  Our CSA deliveries begin this week for weekly members and for purple every-other-week (EOW) members.  Green EOW, your first delivery is next week, May 28/29 (Thursday/Friday sites).

Things you need to know.

♦  On Thursday, we deliver to Evansville, Fitchburg, Madison, McFarland, Middleton and Oregon.
♦  On Friday, we deliver to Brookfield, Janesville, Mequon, Milwaukee and Wauwatosa.
♦  We post this newsletter/blog each Wednesday night, with the list of veggies for the week, quantities, information about storage and preparation, news of the farm, and a recipe list.  We will send an email on Wednesday night to alert you once the newsletter is ready to read.
♦  Want earlier notice of what will be in the box?  Check our website sidebar around 7 p.m. on Wednesday night.  I’ll post the list under “Box Contents.”  I also provide a tentative list for the following week in the Veggie List section of this newsletter.  The list is not complete but the items listed are ones we feel confident about.
♦  EOW and weekly members, we assume you read all the newsletters, even on your “off” weeks.  This newsletter (and our emails to you) are our means to communicate with you.
♦  We have a new system for rescheduling vacation boxes. Please read the section below.
♦  The first few boxes of the season are always the lightest.  EOW members, do not worry that you have signed up for the wrong share.  Our deliveries get heavier and more abundant as the season progresses.

New system to reschedule vacation boxes.

Each membership can reschedule up to two vacation boxes per season.  Please use our new online system.  It promises to be a big time-saver for us.  Please do not email us to reschedule boxes unless you have trouble with the online system.  Here are the basics:
♦  Follow this link to cancel or reschedule a box.  The language is a bit odd, but the system works smoothly if you follow our instructions.
♦  The final deadline to cancel or reschedule is 11:59 pm the Sunday night before your delivery.  After that, the system shuts down for the upcoming week.  In the past, we asked for one week’s advance notice.  The new system allows you to reschedule as late as the Sunday before your delivery.  We think that will be helpful.  However, we will not be able to accommodate late requests after Sunday night.  Please don’t ask.
♦  For easy access, we will include the rescheduling link in the signature of our Wednesday night email each week.
♦  Weekly members, you will receive two boxes on the week that you schedule your replacement box.  EOW members, you probably want to plan your replacement box for a week when you are not already scheduled to get a box.  In that case, you will get one box on the week of your replacement box.

Farm News

IMG_2142 spin arugula harvest
At this time of year, we spend most of our time planting and weeding.  It was great to begin harvesting too.  Our crew gathered in one field today to harvest spinach (at left) and arugula (at right).  In between are cilantro, radishes, and salad turnips for upcoming boxes.  The white row cover on the right protects our earliest planting of white salad turnips.  We will harvest those for you next week.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (May 21/22, week #1, purple EOW)

IMG_2200 May 21 box
How’s that for a pretty first box?  Clockwise from top right, arugula, potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, asparagus, red leaf lettuce and spinach.  Green garlic in the center.

Read this section each week for specific information about the produce.  For example, see our notes below about how to store your potatoes.

Asparagus, 1.5 lb
Rhubarb, 2 lb
Red leaf lettuce
Spinach, 1 big bunch, about 1.25 lb.
Arugula, 1 tender bunch
Radishes, 1 bunch
Goldrush potatoes, 3.5 lb
Green garlic, 1 bunch

Next week’s box will probably contain asparagus, rhubarb, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, white salad turnips, parsnips, and green garlic.  Watch next week’s newsletter for the final list.

Asparagus – Enjoy this spring treat!  Your asparagus will be green or purple.  The purple variety turns dark green when cooked.  Its flavor is almost identical to normal green asparagus.  Wash your asparagus thoroughly to remove hidden grit.  Submerge in water, soak briefly, then swish vigorously and pull out of the water with the tips pointing down.  The draining action helps pull the grit out of the asparagus tips.  Repeat several times.
Storage: Asparagus is perishable, so eat it as soon as possible.  Store it in the paper bag we packed it in, and wrap loosely in a plastic bag.  The paper bag protects the asparagus tips from direct contact with the plastic bag.  The plastic bag keeps the asparagus from wilting.
Preparation: We snap our asparagus at harvest, rather than cutting.  Therefore, there is no need to snap the stalks to remove fibrous ends.  For the same reason, it is not necessary to peel the asparagus stalks.  It’s OK to trim the end a bit.
Cooking:  If your asparagus stalks vary greatly in size, you will want to cook the thicker ones longer.  Put the asparagus in a steamer pot over water.  Alternatively, you can lay spears flat in the bottom of a broad pan, with ½ inch of water.  Cover and steam over medium heat until just tender.  Use two forks or a spatula to turn the asparagus during cooking, rotating the bottom spears to the top.  Drain and serve.  Also excellent broiled or grilled.  Good dressed with vinaigrette, or simply with lime juice, salt and pepper.

Rhubarb – Refrigerate in a plastic bag.  FYI, 2 lb of rhubarb yields 6 – 6.5 cups when chopped.
Stewed rhubarb:  This is the simplest way to prepare rhubarb.  Chop rhubarb into one inch chunks.  Stir over medium heat with a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan.  The rhubarb will release moisture as it cooks.  Stew until it softens and falls apart.  Sweeten to taste with honey or sugar.  Eat warm on its own, over vanilla ice cream, on pancakes, etc.

Spinach and lettuce – Wash your greens to remove grit splashed into the heads by rain.  Cut to the size you like, submerge in water, swish gently, then pull from the water and drain in a colander.  Some weeks, you will need to repeat in fresh water.
Storage hint – To extend the storage life of your tender greens, wash them, dry in a salad spinner, then store in a dry container or bag.  Lettuce and spinach last much longer when handled this way.

Arugula – (small bunch of green leaves with pungent scent) – Arugula is good mixed with lettuce or spinach in salads, or added to cooked dishes such as lasagne or quiche.  I love it on sandwiches.  This arugula is thin-leaved and tender and will not store for long.  Eat soon.  Cover and refrigerate.  There is some minor wind damage at the tips.  If you’ve been outside this past week, then you know how that happened.

Goldrush russet potatoes –  Please refrigerate these potatoes.  They are in great shape now but will sprout within days if stored at room temperature.  They’ve been stored all winter and want to grow.  Store in a paper bag to protect from light, even in the fridge.  We grow everything we send in our CSA boxes except potatoes, garlic and mushrooms, which we buy from organic growers that we trust.  We purchased these potatoes from Jesse Perkins at Vermont Valley Farm.  Jesse says the potatoes have a higher sugar content because of starch to sugar conversion during cold storage.  The potatoes taste a bit sweet, and will blacken slightly when fried.  It’s a harmless color change due to the sugar conversion.

Green garlic (looks like scallions, tastes like garlic) – Last fall, we planted garlic cloves that grew into the stalks we harvested this week.  If left to grow until mid-summer, the slim white bulb on this week’s garlic would divide and form the usual cluster of cloves in a garlic bulb.  Green garlic is more pungent than scallions, so slice thinly and use sparingly when raw.  It mellows when cooked.  Chop and add to any cooked dish that would benefit from garlic.  Use the white bulbs and pale green stems.  Avoid the dark green stems and leaves, as these are fibrous.

Comforting Classic Recipes, from chef Pat Mulvey at Local Thyme

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Garlic Butter

Spinach and Radish Green Frittata

Rhubarb Yogurt Cake

Roasted Green Garlic

Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Nuts

Grill Roasted Potato

Outside the Box Recipes

Asparagus Cashew Salad in Lettuce Cups

Spinach Salad with Sprouts

Rhubarb Chutney

Green Garlic Greens Pesto

Meatballs Packed with Arugula Pesto OR Lentil “meat” balls with Arugula Pesto

Brandade

Kitchen Sink Recipe

Pat’s weekly ‘kitchen sink recipe’ will be very flexible — you can add almost any of the veggies in your box. If this week’s soup gets “too crowded” for all the veggies you want to pack in, add more stock/seasonings.

Longevity Kitchen Soup with Shrimp or Tofu, Spinach, Radish and Shiitake

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes

Spinach and Asparagus Pasta Salad with Feta

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