Monthly Archives: May 2021

Week#2 (weekly+green); Gorgeous cover crops

Our standing cover crops are beautiful and lively right now.  Look at that undulating motion!  I was briefly hypnotized but able to break away.  When the video ends, go ahead and watch Steve’s instructions how to flatten a CSA box without damaging it.


Here’s the same field, mowed just yesterday.  That is a beautiful, thick layer of straw to incorporate into the soil.  We chopped the straw as the rye was flowering, young & succulent enough that it will break down readily this season, nourishing the soil and future crops.

It was a nice surprise to find crimson clover peeking out of our standing cover crops this spring.  Crimson clover is pretty finicky about when you seed it, and does not usually survive the winter.  Steve seeded a summer cover crop mixture that included this clover.  In fall there was leftover clover seed in the planter, so he just added seed for a winter-hardy cover crop and planted it all together.  He was only trying to clean out the planter.  The heavy snow cover must have helped the crimson clover survive the winter.  It’s an excellent legume, capable of fixing lots of nitrogen, so we’re glad to have it.  Plus it brightens our days with a burst of color.  Beth & Steve

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #2, May 27/28, 2021
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green


Bok choy (left) and Romaine lettuce (right)

Button mushrooms, 12 oz
Asparagus, 0.6 lb
Bok choy, 1 large
Romaine lettuce, 1 large
Spinach, 2 bunches
Salad radishes, 1 medium bunch
Green garlic, 1 bunch
Rhubarb, 3/4 lb

Next week’s box will probably contain shiitake mushrooms, salad turnips, lettuce, some kind of spring greens, scallions and more.

See last week’s newsletter for wash, prep, cook and storage instructions for these crops: asparagus, spinach, salad radishes.  We included an entire section on “How to wash greens efficiently and to maximize storage life.”

Button mushrooms – These organic mushrooms are from Hidden Valley Mushrooms from Wisconsin Dells.  We bring in mushrooms from Mary every spring, because I think they combine so perfectly with our spring vegetables, for salads, quiches, etc.  
Storage: Here are Mary’s suggestions for storing the mushrooms:
– Store separate from leafy greens, which hasten mushroom aging.  
– If storing for more than a few days, remove from the box and refrigerate in a paper bag with holes punched in the side.  Keep dry.  
– Don’t wash to clean, just wipe with a damp cloth.

Asparagus – See last week’s newsletter for info on cleaning and cooking.
Storage: Asparagus is perishable, so eat it as soon as possible.  Store in a paper towel, cloth or paper bag, then 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.

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.  Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag or other container.

Romaine lettuce (upright head of lettuce with crisp leaves) – More sturdy and less fragile than our other spring lettuces.  Great for Caesar Salad or lettuce wraps.  If you’re intimidated by the amount of salad greens this week, Ceasar salad is a good option because it shrinks a big head of lettuce and everyone will fight over the leftovers.  Poof, it’s gone.

Green garlic (looks like scallions, tastes like garlic) – Green garlic is young garlic, planted in fall but harvested before bulbs have formed. 
Preparation: 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.

RhubarbStorage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag.  FYI, 3/4 lb of rhubarb yields about 2.25 – 2.5 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.
Preserve: Rhubarb is so easy to freeze.  Wash, chop and pop it in a freezer bag.  That’s it; no need for blanching.  When baking muffins or cakes, add the frozen rhubarb directly to the batter.

Recipes

Grilled Romaine with Tahini Dressing and Super-Seedy Crunch

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1/4 cup smooth tahini
3 tablespoons water, more as needed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 green garlic bulb or 1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more for sprinkling
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large head romaine
Fresh black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make the Tahini Dressing: In a small bowl, stir together the tahini, water, lemon juice, sesame oil, green garlic, maple syrup, and sea salt. If the dressing is too thick, add water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, to thin it to your desired consistency.
  3. Make the Super-Seedy Crunch: Place the sunflower seeds, pepitas, and sesame seeds on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the 1/4 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss to coat, and spread the seeds in an even layer. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned.
  4. Grill the romaine: Preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Carefully slice the romaine in half lengthwise. Then, slice each half in half lengthwise again, keeping the core intact. Drizzle the romaine wedges with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Grill for 1-2 minutes on the first cut side, 1-2 minutes on the second cut side, and 1 minute on the back, until lightly charred.
  5. Serve the grilled romaine wedges with generous drizzles of the Tahini Dressing and plenty of the Super-Seedy Crunch.

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Mushroom Miso Soup with Bok Choy and Green Garlic

If you’ve never worked with miso before, you can find it in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. Once you add it to the soup, be sure to keep it at a very low simmer. Boiling miso can destroy its beneficial enzymes.

Serves 4-6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or neutral oil, such as avocado oil
12 oz button mushrooms, sliced
2 stalks green garlic, white and light green parts, sliced
1 large bok choy, sliced, stems and leaves divided
2 tablespoons tamari, more for serving
6 cups water
1/3 cup white miso paste
6 oz soba noodles, optional
Toasted sesame oil, optional, for drizzling
7 oz tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook without stirring for 2 minutes. Stir, then cook for another 2 minutes without stirring (this helps brown the mushrooms). Add the green garlic and sliced bok choy stems and cook for 2 minutes more, until softened.
  2. Stir in the tamari, followed by the water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Place the miso in a medium bowl. Uncover the pot and scoop 1/2 cup of the hot broth into the bowl with the miso. Whisk vigorously to form a smooth paste. Reduce the heat to low, and stir the miso mixture into the pot.
  4. If desired, cook the soba noodles in a large pot of unsalted water according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water and toss with a drizzle of sesame oil to prevent sticking.
  5. Add the sliced bok choy leaves and the tofu to the soup, and stir over low heat until the leaves wilt. Stir in the rice vinegar and turn off the heat.
  6. Portion the soba noodles into bowls and top with the soup. Serve with more tamari to taste.


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Photo by Jack Mathews

Baked Ziti from Love & Lemons

This comforting pasta has a full pound of spinach hiding inside it!  There are no herbs in the box this week, so feel free to skip the parsley or basil for garnish, or top with minced green garlic.
Vegetarian

radish salad recipes
Photo by Jack Mathews

Radish Salad from Love & Lemons

This recipe will let you use your radishes three ways: you’ll roast some, leave some raw, and dollop a nutty radish green pesto on top! If you like, you can skip the mint and make the radish green pesto with half radish greens and half spinach instead of basil.
Vegan, gluten-free

Shaved asparagus pizza
Photo by Smitten Kitchen

Shaved Asparagus Pizza from Smitten Kitchen

Deb describes this pizza as “tangled and grassy, bubbly and lightly charred, and accented with mild bites of scallion.”  How good does that sound?  To use the box produce, replace the scallion with thinly sliced green garlic.
Vegetarian

Spinach quinoa salad
Photo by Cookie+Kate

Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad from Cookie+Kate

Quinoa and sliced almonds make this salad nice and hearty, so it’d be a great one to pack for lunch!
Vegan, gluten-free

Fork resting on a plate of savory chickpea pancakes
Photo by Minimalist Baker

Savory Chickpea Pancakes with Leeks and Mushrooms from Minimalist Baker

These crepe-like pancakes are made with chickpea flour, so they’re high in protein and fiber.  Make them for an easy dinner or lunch!   You can replace leeks with green garlic, using the white bulbs and pale green green stems (but not the fibrous, dark green leaves).
Vegan, gluten-free

Almond rhubarb picnic bars
Photo by Smitten Kitchen

Almond Rhubarb Picnic Bars from Smitten Kitchen

Have you ever seen rhubarb look so pretty?  It’s layered over a sweet almond filling and a buttery crust.  If you weren’t already planning a picnic for this weekend, I hope you are now!
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A low threshold for joy

Welcome to our CSA!  Deliveries begin this week for:

– Weekly members, and 
– Every-other-week/ purple group
– Sampler/ moon group

Log into your dashboard to view your schedule, at tipiproduce.csaware.com/accounts/login.jsp .
Download this season’s calendar here.

Farm Beauty

During the pandemic, friend told me that she developed a low threshold for joy.  Life was so constrained that, give her a tasty snack or a kind word and she was thrilled.  “It’s all out of proportion,” she said.  I feel that way too, and find myself appreciating our farm’s beauty more intensely than I ever have.  All my photos seem to focus on the sky or brilliant spring colors.

In the photo above, we transplanted cabbage in April.  Look at that sky!  


The pea field.


Rain has been sparse, so we’ve had to irrigate more than usual.  This photo at dusk shows Steve watching our irrigation gun spew water over a field of young onions.  The hose reel will slowly coil up the heavy hose, pulling the irrigator down the field.  The field at right is under a white layer of row cover, a lightweight fabric that we use to cover our spring crops, to trap extra heat.  Your lettuce and spinach came from that field.


Team radish.  I bought new rain gear last season.  We have no trouble finding each other these days.  From left, Karen, Simone, Danni.

Things you need to know.

♦  On Thursday, we deliver CSA boxes to Evansville, Fitchburg, Madison, McFarland, Middleton, Oregon and Verona.
♦  On Friday, we deliver CSA boxes to Janesville.
♦  We post this newsletter/blog each Wednesday night, with a list of veggies for the week, quantities, information about storage and preparation, news of the farm, recipes, and a forecast for the next week’s box.  I’ll send  you an email on Wednesday night once the newsletter is posted and ready to read.
♦  EOW, Sampler 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.
♦  Want earlier notice of what will be in the box?  Check the sidebar on our website homepage around 7 – 8 p.m. on Wednesday night.  I’ll post the list under “Box Contents.”  Check the Veggie List section of this newsletter each week for a forecast for the next week.  The list is rarely complete but the items listed are ones we feel confident about.
♦  The first few boxes of the season are often 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.
♦  Wash your produce well this week to remove grit.  It rained yesterday and today, driving grit into the asparagus and anything that forms a head (lettuce, arugula, spinach).  Our crew took extra care with washing but expect to wash everything.

How to wash greens efficiently and to maximize storage life

Washing and drying your lettuce and other greens prolongs their storage life.  Here’s our approach.  It works.
1.  Fill your sink or a basin halfway with cold tap water.  If you have two sinks, fill one sink partway with cold water.
2.  Chop your lettuce, spinach, escarole or other green to the size you wish.
3.  Dump it into the water and swish around gently but thoroughly.
4.  Working in two batches (for average lettuce head) or more batches (big spinach bunches, Romaine), pull handfuls out of the water and drain in the basket of a salad spinner.
5.  After all the greens have been rinsed one time, dump the water.  Rinse the sink/basin and refill with cold tap water.
6.  Repeat the process.
7.  Spin your greens dry and store in a dry container.  They store much longer when spun dry.

This works because …
– pre-chopping the greens frees soil trapped in the head.
– the large amount of water washes and dilutes away the grit.
– By pulling the greens out of the water, you take advantage of the draining action to pull the grit with it.
– Storing greens dry lessens spoilage.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
May 20/21, 2021 (Th/Fri sites)

Potatoes, 3.5 lb
Asparagus, ~1/2 lb
Spinach, 2 bunches, ~1.5 lb total
Green leaf lettuce
Arugula, 1 medium bunch
Amara kale, 1 bunch
Salad radishes, 1 bunch
Green garlic, 1 bunch

Next week’s box will probably contain spinach, lettuce, button mushrooms, asparagus, radishes, rhubarb and more.

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, mushrooms and some asparagus, all of which we buy from organic growers that we trust.  We purchased these potatoes from Jesse & Jonnah Perkins at Vermont Valley Farm.  Jesse says the potatoes have a higher sugar content because of starch to sugar conversion during cold storage.  That means the potatoes taste a bit sweet, and will blacken slightly when fried. It’s a harmless color change due to the sugar conversion.  You will receive either ‘Goldrush’ russets or ‘Red Prairie’ red potatoes.  

Spinach – The spinach is abundant, so we’re sending two bunches, totaling about 1.5 lb.  Quality is good for either salads or cooking.  It looks like a lot but shrinks when cooked.

Amara kale –  We’ve grown this variety a few times and grew it this spring to provide variety among our cooking greens.  Here’s the seed catalog description: “While technically a mustard, Amara is known by several different names including Ethiopian kale, highland kale, Abyssinian mustard, and Texsel greens. The attractive, dark green leaves are tender, slightly savoyed with a wavy margin, and have an excellent rich flavor. Good in salads or as a cooked green.”  This stuff is pretty interesting. It has the texture of kale but the spiciness of mustard.  I’d say it’s about half as spicy as mustard greens.  The flavor is strong once cooked but quite good.
Use: Use like any kale or mustard green.  Eat the leaves and mid veins.  Discard the stems and petioles, which are too tough.
Storage: Cover and refrigerate.

Arugula – (bunch of green leaves with pungent scent) – This is a spring treat!  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 will not store for long.  Eat soon.  Cover and refrigerate.

Salad radishes – These are so good right now; tender, crisp and not too spicy.  They are great in salads or thinly sliced on sandwiches.  A few years ago, I was served open-faced radish and butter sandwiches on toast and was impressed with how tasty they were.  Use good quality butter.
Storage: Cover and refrigerate.

Asparagus – Our asparagus grew slowly following frosty nights, then burst into growth in the last few days.  Some of the asparagus is from our farm and some is from our friends Tim and April’s Lotfotl Farm.   They have a larger asparagus field than they need, so we go and pick it for them once a week.
Prep: Wash your asparagus thoroughly to remove hidden grit.  Submerge in water with the tips pointing down, soak briefly, then swish vigorously and pull out of the water.  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 in a paper towel, cloth or paper bag, then 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 cut end a bit.
Cooking:  If your asparagus stalks vary greatly in size, you will want to cook the thicker ones longer.  Put an empty steamer pot over water, and bring the water to a boil.  Add the asparagus.  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.  Alternatively, you can lay spears flat in the bottom of a broad pan, with ½ inch of water.  Also excellent broiled or grilled.  Good dressed with vinaigrette, or with lime juice, salt and pepper.

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 will divide and form the usual cluster of cloves in a garlic bulb.  This year’s green garlic is robust.
Preparation: 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.

RECIPES

spinach salad

Wilted spinach salad with bacon and asparagus

From DebsLunch
Feeds 4 or more depending on what else is being served.
Takes about 30 minutes.

Approximately 2 pounds spinach, kale, argula, or other greens: lettuce, or cabbage; stemmed if necessary, washed, dried, and cut or torn into bite size pieces (cabbage can be shredded)
8 strips (half a pound) of bacon, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/4 – 1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 – 4 TBLS brown sugar
1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly
2 hard boiled eggs
1/2 pound of asparagus, roasted or steamed
lots of freshly ground black pepper
Croutons

Put the greens in a large heat proof (metal or glass) bowl. Cook the bacon until crisp and, using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towel to drain. Pour off all but 4 TBLS of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the vinegar and sugar, and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Boil until a bit syrup-y. Add the onion at the last minute if using. Take the dressing off the heat and pour over the greens. Add the bacon bits and toss. If the greens do not wilt as much as you would like, put the bowl over the warm burner and toss until the salad is more wilted (this works best with a metal bowl). Grind in the pepper and toss again. Top with the asparagus, boiled eggs, and croutons.
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Amara kale

Cheater’s many greens Caesar salad

Make enough for about 6 – 8 people
Takes 30 minutes
About 2 pounds of greens – roughly 1/2 the spinach, some of the Amara kale, and Argula from this week’s box
a hunk of old bread, about 2 – 3 slices
1 – 2 TBLS olive oil
2 – 3 whole cloves of garlic
2/3 cups mayonaise
juice of 1/2 a lemon, or a little more to taste
another clove of garlic, minced or put through a press
a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 – 1 cup grated Parmesan
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash and dry the greens, and tear them into bite size pieces. Place in a bowl with room for tossing. Tear the bread into rough cubes. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and fry the bread in it along with the garlic cloves until nicely toasty. Let cool slightly and then dump into the salad bowl. For the dressing, [This is the cheater’s part] whisk together the mayo, lemon juice, crushed garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Add a handful of Parmesan, and taste – add more lemon, cheese, Worcestershire – what ever you think it needs (I sometimes sneak a pinch of sugar into the dressing). Toss the salad with a liberal amount of dressing, adding more Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and when you like it, serve.
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Photo by The Leek & The Carrot

Spinach, Radish & Green Garlic Dip

Adapted from Bon Appetit
Takes 30 minutes.
Serves many.

2 tablespoons butter
2 green garlic, white and pale green parts only, minced
1 bunch radishes, roots shredded and greens, roughly chopped
Spinach, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
8-ounce cream cheese
2 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and saute for 1 minutes over medium heat until very fragrant. Add radishes and cook, tossing, until well-coated in butter, 1-2 minutes longer. Add spinach and radish greens along with salt. Cook until wilted and most of the liquid is cooked off., 5-10 minutes. Add cream cheese and cook until melted. Stir in Parmesan and pepper until melted and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. Serve warm with toast, in a bread bowl or with crackers.

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Photo by Smitten Kitchen

Spinach and Cheese Strata

From Smitten Kitchen
smittenkitchen.com/2009/12/spinach-and-cheese-strata/
This filling recipe is good for any meal from breakfast to dinner.  From Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen “I’m all about hosting brunch, but only if I can make everything in advance.  .. This strata — really, a savory bread pudding — is the missing piece because not only can you make it the night before, you are supposed to.”
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Creamy Green Garlic Salad Dressing

From Willy Street Co-op
Makes a generous cup of dressing

Tangy and garlicky, this salad dressing is amazing over a simple green salad of crunchy Romaine and blanched vegetables.

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Photo by Food52

Alex Raij’s Radishes with Vanilla Butter & Salt, 2 Ways

Food52 Genius Recipe
“Alex Raij was initially inspired by a snack at Roscioli delicatessen in Rome that combined salty Spanish anchovies with curls of cold vanilla butter. “I was so enchanted with it, I came home and put it on everything now,” Raij said. Her take on Roscioli’s dish, a deliberately plain cracker with a thin tube of vanilla butter and a very good-quality Spanish anchovy, has been on the menu at her NYC restaurant El Quinto Pino ever since, and she riffs on it often for parties, big and small.”
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Photo by the Kitchen Girl

Arugula Pesto with Walnuts

From The Kitchen Girl
“Arugula pesto is a 5-minute pesto recipe made with fresh arugula, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, olive oil, and lemon. It’s nutty, zesty, peppery and can be served as a sauce, dip, or spread.”

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