Week #3; Making it rain

We are irrigating full time but this year we started in May!  It’s been three weeks without rain and there’s none in the forecast.  That’s a little crazy.  The photos above show our heroic traveling gun irrigator.  We park the big reel at one end of the field, then unspool a heavy hose and the traveling gun to the other end.  Hook it up to our irrigation well and turn it on.  The water pressure slowly rewinds the hose onto the reel, pulling the traveling gun down the field and irrigating fields on either side.  

In the top photo, you can see the water’s maximum spread.  We can water up to two fields on either side.  The bright white field in the top photo is melons covered with floating row cover, in theory to gather extra heat but that was unnecessary this week!  The center field is sweet corn and the one to the left is next year’s strawberries.

Right now, we are setting up the farm for the rest of the season. For example, we chopped the overwintered cover crop in this photo one week ago.  Now we wait for rain so the straw and residue break down, so we can plant carrots in July, to harvest in fall, pack in your Thanksgiving boxes and send to Willy Street Coop all winter.  If no rain comes, then we will have to irrigate the chopped cover crops so they break down.  That’s a lot of extra work.  

Rain would be good, so we don’t run into a bottle neck, and to make life a little easier.  
Thanks for reading.
Beth and Steve.

The salad turnips grew explosively this week but are very nice quality.  Unlike radishes (which decline when too big), turnips stay sweet and tender.  Both the roots and the greens are edible.  Enjoy this spring treat this week and next.  It’s the only time of year that we grow them.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #3, June 1/2, 2023 (Thurs/Fri sites)

These members receive produce this week:
– Weekly shares

– BiWeekly/purple
– Sampler/ C group

Beth’s box logic:  Everything in this box is suitable for stir-fries.  All the vegetables and greens, plus scallions, cilantro and shiitakes to enliven.  Well, maybe skip the Romaine.

Asparagus, 3/4 lb
Shiitake mushrooms, 8 oz
Spinach, 1 medium bunch
Bok choy, 1 head
Komatsuna greens, 1 medium bundle
Romaine lettuce
White salad turnips & greens, 1 bunch
Scallions OR green garlic, 1 bunch
Cilantro, 1 bunch

Next week’s box will probably contain asparagus, spinach, lettuce, white salad turnips, cooking greens, scallions, an herb and more.

Go to last week’s newsletter for prep and storage information for these crops:
Asparagus (spears in a paper bag)
Spinach (leafy green bundle)
Komatsuna greens (another leafy green bundle, but darker leaves)
Romaine lettuce 

Shiitake mushrooms – These are from Hidden Valley Mushrooms, the same people who grow button mushrooms for us.  I love shiitakes cooked with spinach or other greens.  Shiitakes must be cooked.  A small subset of people can have a toxic reaction to raw or undercooked shiitakes.  Once cooked, they are harmless.  And tasty!  Lightly sauté in butter and add to any dish.  We use ours in frittatas, as well as sautéed and mixed into pasta salad or any dish.  Sautéed shiitakes and spinach are a great topping for pizza or rice bowls, e.g. bibimbap.
Storage, general: Refrigerate in a dry paper bag, but not in your crisper drawer with other vegetables, especially brassicas.  It’s OK to put a loose plastic bag over the paper bag but don’t close.  Mushrooms are perishable so use soon.

Bok choy (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.

White salad turnips (see photo) – 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.  The roots are excellent raw; Slice 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.

Scallions (bundle of green onions) – These are useful raw or cooked.  Thinly-sliced raw scallions can be folded into biscuit dough or sprinkled on top of soups or salads.  Terrific garnish for pasta dishes.  Think pad thai. 

Cilantro (small bunch, fragrant leaves) – Used in both Mexican and some Asian cuisines.  Good to season stir-fries, salad dressing, salsa, etc.
Storage: Cover and refrigerate.


Photo by debslunch

Spicy Tofu over Noodles & Greens

Takes about 45 minutes
Serves 4
This dish is a vegetarian version of Szechuan Dan Dan noodles that are usually made with ground pork. It is probably the only tofu preparation all members of my family will eat! The traditional topping is quick pickled cucumbers; thinly sliced cucumber marinated briefly in rice vinegar and salt and maybe a pinch of sugar. For this time of the year, try Love and Lemons pickled asparagus, thinly sliced, scattered on top of your bowlfuls of noodles.

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon tahini or peanut butter
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chili crisp
i inch piece of fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped

1 14 oz. block of firm tofu
2 tablespoons cornstarch
a few pinches of kosher salt, or a teaspoon of fine salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Noodles and greens:
One bunch komatsuna greens or bok choy, rinsed, stems and leaves sliced separately
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a press
1 tablespoon soy sauce
8-9 ounces ramen noodles or vermicelli
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems pulled off and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press

Optional toppings:
Pickled asparagus,thinly sliced on the diagonal
3-4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
a handful of fresh cilantro leaves and some of the tender stems

  1. To make the sauce, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, tahini, sesame oil, vinegar, chili crisp, and fresh ginger in a small bowl or spouted glass measuring cup.
  2. To prepare the tofu, remove it from the box and squeeze it with your hands over the sink to extract as much liquid as possible. Don’t worry if the tofu breaks apart – it’s going to get crumbled up anyway. Wrap it in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel and set aside for 10 minutes to continue draining.
  3. After it has drained, crumble the tofu into a large bowl. Sprinkle the cornstarch and salt over it, and toss with your hands until well coated.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet that will hold the tofu in one layer. Add the crumbled tofu and fry until golden brown on one side, then turn and continue until it’s all golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer the tofu back into the bowl, and wipe out the skillet.
  6. Heat 3-4 quarts of water in a large pot, salt it, and then cook the ramen noodles according to package directions – usually about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in another skillet, and add the greens stems. Fry for a few minutes over high heat, then add the leaves, garlic, soy sauce, and salt to taste. Stir until the greens are wilted and tender. Add the drained noodles, drizzle with the sesame oil (use the larger amount if you cooked the larger amount of noodles) and toss, then cover to keep warm while you finish the tofu sauce.
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the wiped out skillet and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until they start to soften, then add the garlic. Cook a few more minutes until the garlic is fragrant, then add the tofu and toss all together. Finally give the sauce a good stir and pour in, mix and cook 5-10 more minutes until bubbling.
  9. Spoon the tofu mixture over the noodles and greens in bowls, garnish with your choice of toppings, and serve.

Pickled Asparagus

Pickled Asparagus | Love and Lemons

From Love and Lemons
Here’s fun way to turn your asparagus into a snack, appetizer, or stir fry topping, as above. I admit I did not have cute jars to pickle my asparagus in – I used a shallow baking dish instead.
chicken bacon salad
By Tieghan Gerard

Crispy Italian Chicken and Bacon Salad with Tahini Pesto Dressing and Sourdough Croutons | Half Baked Harvest

From Half Baked Harvest
This recipe from Half Baked Harvest includes a couple of items we did not get in this week’s box, like basil & cherry tomatoes, and some we never get in the box because they don’t really grow in Wisconsin, like avocados. (TBH I think all of the Half Baked Harvest recipes include avocado …) I’ve included it because it’s such a delicious and indulgent dinner salad that you can make with all of our greens and a quick trip to the grocery store – or simply omit the ingredients you don’t have, it will still be tasty!
roasted turnip and quinoa salad

Sesame Roasted Turnip Salad with Quinoa | Naturally Ella

From Naturally Ella
This salad of roasted salad turnips uses quinoa, but other grains, such as bulghur, would also work. You can use a mix of romaine, spinach, and a few turnip greens for the base of the salad. Watch the turnips carefully when roasting so they don’t get too soft. The recipe says 25-30 mins – check after 10-15!
cream cheese creamed spinach

Fresh Creamed Spinach Recipe | Cookie and Kate

From Cookie and Kate
Here’s an easy way to make creamed spinach using cream cheese instead of a roux. You can serve it as a side dish; it makes a nice omelette filling as well; or bake it with an egg on top and serve it for brunch or dinner. To get to the 16 oz. baby spinach called for, supplement the spinach we got with turnip greens and/or Komatsuna. I recommend wilting the greens in a dry skillet with the water clinging to the leaves after washing, then draining and chopping. I also omitted the Parmesan and added an extra couple of tablespoons of cream cheese for ultra-creaminess.
garlicky sauteed greens

Garlicky Sautéed Greens | Minimalist Baker Recipes

From Minimalist Baker
Here’s a kind of master recipe to prepare any and all greens, good on their own or as an accompaniment to other dishes. If you have some firm bread, you can cube it and fry it in the same skillet you used for the greens (after removing the greens!) for a crunchy topping.
Korean vegetable pancake

Vegetable pancake (Yachaejeon) | Maangchi

From Maangchi
I learned about the Maangchi website when reading Michelle Zauner’s (Japanese Breakfast) memoir, Crying in H Mart, and it’s a great source for Korean recipes, demystified, and with lots of explanatory videos. Korean vegetable pancakes, Yachaejeon, are similar to the Japanese vegetable pancakes, okonomiyaki, savory pancakes with lots of vegetables. I think okonomiyaki has to have cabbage, but these Yachaejeon can be madee with a variety of vegetables. Asparagus, Shiitake mushrooms, salad turnips, scallions or green garlic, and any of the greens, can all be added to these pancakes. You need 2 1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables for one big 12-inch pancake to serve two.

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