Creative woman

Longterm Tipi farmhand Maggie Schley brought special gifts to work last week.  She hauled out a suitcase during our morning meeting and presented everyone with new Tipi farm shirts she designed.  She selected a special shirt for each person.  Mine’s a lovely shade of green!  This creative woman spins, weaves, knits, shellacs walls with onion skins, preserves tons of food, and even knit her own wedding dress.  Thank you Maggie!

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from left, Maggie shares new shirts with David, Steve, Kerry, Bonnie, Tristan and Michael.

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Kerry (right) models Maggie’s (left) new farm shirt.

The t-shirts are printed with “Water On! Tipi Produce 2014.”  Maggie’s had this design in mind for years.  The phrase “water on” means a lot on our farm.  It’s the first thing we say during the first outside job every spring.  We use mechanical transplanters when planting our greenhouse-grown plants into the field.  When the riders on the transplanter are ready for the tractor driver to move, they holler (OK, scream at the top of their lungs) “WATER ON!”  It’s a sign that the water valve is open and gushing and it’s time to get moving.

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From left, Larry, Maggie and Michael ride the transplanter while Kerry makes sure the seedlings are at the proper depth.  The tractor pulling the transplanter is hidden to the rear.  You can just see its tall roll bar.

The photo above was taken April 9, the day we transplanted the lettuce you will receive this week.  Those are Romaine seedlings in the photo.  Here they are now, festooned with field pennycress.  No, we didn’t send the pretty weeds along with the lettuce this week.

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It’s time to deposit the June 1 checks.

Many of you paid us with checks dated June 1.  I will deposit the checks this Friday June 6.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (6/5/14, week #3, GREEN EOW)

The rain was welcome this week, but splashed soil into the vegetables again.  Everything needs extra washing, especially lettuce, spinach and asparagus.  Dunk repeatedly in cold water until the water remains clean.

Asparagus, 1.3 lb
Spinach, 1 bunch, about 2 lb total
Romaine lettuce, 1 large
White salad turnips, 1 bunch
Mustard greens, 1 medium bunch
Green garlic, 1 small bunch
Cilantro, 1 small bunch

Next week’s box will probably contain asparagus, spinach, lettuce, white salad turnips, escarole, scallions and more.

Asparagus – Wash this asparagus well to remove grit.
Spinach –  We usually tell you if the spinach is “salad-quality” or “cooking quality.”  “Salad-quality” spinach is thin-leaved and tender, and shrinks substantially when cooked.  “Cooking-quality” spinach is thicker-leaved and shrinks less during cooking.  This week’s spinach is definitely salad-quality but we encourage you to use both ways because we are sending so much.  The spinach has grown well this spring!  Steam, chop and freeze any extra.  You’ll be glad to have it ready to add to soups, casseroles, etc.
Romaine – Well, these are enormous.  This is really nice Romaine; it was an enthusiastic grower this week.  It’s time to make Caesar’s Salad.
White salad turnips – I know that returning members look forward to these sweet and delicious turnips, which taste nothing like the turnips that we harvest in fall.
– Storage: Cover and refrigerate.
– Uses: Both the turnip roots and tops are edible.  Slice the sweet roots and add to salads.  The roots 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 turnip 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.
Mustard greens – These spicy greens are so young and tender that you can use them raw in salads.  They are excellent cooked until wilted, but will shrink considerably.
Green garlic – Last fall, we planted garlic cloves that grew into the stalks we’ve sent today.  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.  The bunches are small this year.  Remember the poor garlic crop in the Midwest last year?  We could only obtain tiny heads of garlic to plant in fall.  Small garlic bulbs lead to small green garlic bunches.
– 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.
Cilantro – This herb is good in salsa, chutneys and salad dressings, or added to stir-fries.  Used in Mexican, Asian and Indian cooking.

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