Week 8

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This week is incredibly exciting, as we really start to get into the warm weather crops. We’ve got sweet corn! Tomatoes! Garlic! Zucchini! Beans! Peppers! Melons and eggplant are just around the corner.

The heart of the summer produce season is just beginning, so rest assured that every member will get their fill of these crops by the time the weather turns cool and we begin to see the fall crops roll in. I know, it’s incredible that we’re even looking towards fall already, but we cleaned out the greenhouse today, we’re packing equipment up to bring to the new farm, and we’re watching the baby winter squash get bigger and bigger.

We’ve got a few exciting member events coming up this late summer/fall that we are eager to share with you. So, without further ado:

Fifth Annual Sleepy Root Farm Member Party!!!!

August 29th, 2015

11 am to 4 pm

Please join us on Saturday, August 29th from 11 am to 4 pm for fellowship, farm tours, lawn games, and homemade pizza on the grill. We’ll make the dough, set out some toppings, and do the pizza cooking. You’ll bring a side or topping to share, some stompin’-around-outside shoes, and your friends and family for a day of community building and later summer revelry. RSVPs are greatly appreciated so we know how much pizza to make, but come even if you don’t!

Fall Garlic and New Farm Housewarming Party!!!

October 24, 2015 

10 am to 5 pm

We’ll be planting a few thousand cloves of garlic at our new farm, hosting tours of the new place, and asking all who are interested to join us in some general clean-up and settling in at the new place. We’ll provide warm drinks and a hearty meal for all of our volunteers! Please RSVP if you’re interested in helping Sleepy Root snuggle in for our first fall on OUR VERY OWN FOREVER FARM!!!!! Even if you aren’t interested in cleaning out old barns or planting garlic (we get it!) we’d love to have all our members swing by and see what the new place is like. Our hacienda es su hacienda!

This Week’s Box:

  • Sweet Corn (3 for small shares, 5 for medium, 7 for full shares)
  • Onions (1 bunch for each share: 3 onions for small, 4 for medium, 5 for full)
  • Garlic (1 head per share)
  • Head Lettuce (1 for small shares, 2 for medium and full shares)
  • Snap Beans (1/2# for small shares, 1# for medium and 1 1/4# for full)
  • Zucchini (1 each for medium and full shares)
  • Dill heads (1 each for medium and full shares)
  • Tomatoes/Cherry Tomatoes (1# for small shares, 1 1/2# for medium shares, 2# for full shares)
  • Sweet Pepper (1 each, full shares only)
  • Hot Peppers (2 each, full shares only)
  • Cucumbers (2 each, full shares only)
  • Carrots (full shares only)

Tomatoes

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Our beautiful tomato plants are really starting to hit their stride. We grow about 80% heirloom varieties, 20% hybrid varieties (but all are 100% organic!), so that means that most of you will encounter strange colors, shapes, and a mix of sizes. If we’ve put a tomato in your box, that means it’s ready to eat over the next few days, so if your tomato is white or green, it’s ok, go ahead and eat it soon! You were just a lucky member who got an Aunt Ruby’s Green, or a Great White, or a Copia. Tomatoes are really the only thing you’ll get in a CSA box that needs a little discretion from you as to when to eat it. The best way to tell is if the tomato feels soft and slightly yielding when gently squeezed.  This is why heirloom tomatoes fetch up to $6 per pound at the coop: they are extremely fragile, can only be picked a day or two prior to shipping, require an intimate knowledge of varieties and their ripeness from the grower, and have a shorter shelf life overall to begin with. We are thrilled to be able to share such high-value crops with our members, and the ability to grow and eat such high-quality heirloom tomatoes is surely one of the biggest benefits of supporting truly local farming!

Recipes

Sweet Corn is here!!!! Seriously, I’d have a hard time recommending anything but steaming your corn and eating it with plenty of butter, but if you want to stretch out your corn-eating pleasure, we have some great recipes on the recipe page, such as the ever-popular bread salad (which we’re having for lunch today!) or  Mexican style with citrus and cream.

Snap beans are such a great summer crop since they can handle the heat, are so versatile in the kitchen, and freeze exceptionally well if they are blanched and well dried. This is the last week for beans for a little while, so have fun! For those of you who are interested in composed salads, check out this Spanish Green Bean and Olive Salad. With a 6 minute soft-boiled egg, it makes a handsome hot-day supper!

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If you didn’t get a chance yet to make the German Cucumber Salad from last week’s newsletter, you now have the chance to make a great version using a family recipe of one of our members. Thanks, Julie and Julie’s Mom!

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Photos from the farm:

IMG_2144We had a great visit the other week from Brandon’s parents and his Grandpa Cecil. Three, maybe four, generations of farmers!

IMG_2690 Dilly beans!

 

 

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Baby Rajah on her daily inspections

 

 

IMG_2702 No, not a trick photo! The corn really is dwarfing the truck!

 

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Future acorn squash

 

Next Week Sneak Peek:

  • more sweet corn!
  • more tomatoes!
  • peppers
  • carrots
  • broccoli (?)

All the best from all of us,

Heather, Brandon, Maybelle, Frank, and the crew

 

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Week 7

Hello good people

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Garlic Harvested!

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The garlic has been harvested for the season!  We spent an afternoon last week digging up, bundling and hanging 1120 heads of garlic to cure.  A good chunk of those will make it in the boxes this year, but the majority will be used as “seed” for next years garlic.  Garlic does produce a flower and seed (remember the scapes earlier in the year? that was the flowering stalk) but new plants are usually grown from the garlic cloves.  In the fall we will take all the bulbs we saved, separate the individual cloves and plant them.  Each clove will sprout a garlic plant next spring and your one clove investment turns into a bulb with 4-6 new cloves.  Saving the bulk of the garlic will allow us to triple our garlic harvest next year and will eventually mean more garlic in the shares more often. Be looking for garlic to show up soon in your box!

  IMG_2170garlic hanging to cure

Baby Spotting in the Gardens

We’ve been hearing complaints from members that there have not been any cute baby-in-the-field photos the past two weeks–major omission! We’ll do our best to keep them coming. Here is Maybelle helping out with the bean harvest:

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In the box this week:

  • Scallions (1 bunch, all share sizes)
  • Kale (1 bunch, all share sizes)
  • Head Lettuce (1 for smalls, 2 for med, 3 for fulls)
  • Snap Beans: Green and yellow haricot (3/4 lb small, 1 lb medium, 1.5 lb full)
  • Basil (1 bunch, all share sizes)
  • Tomatoes!!!!! (Cherry or regular, medium and full shares)
  • Zucchini (2 each, medium and full shares)
  • Cucumber (1 each, medium and full shares)
  • Cabbage: Early Red (full shares)
  • Broccoli (1#, full shares)

Tomatoes!

Yes! Here come the tomatoes! Our apologies to small shares who will have to wait another week before their first taste of the tomatoes.  They start with a trickle but soon we will all be inundated with the tomato landslide that is on its way.

There appears to be some damage on the tomatoes from the last big storm we had and a little bit of blight effecting the fruit.  You may have a scar or black spot or two on your tomato from these but don’t let them ruin your tomato time.

Tomatoes are sensitive to cold temps.  Don’t store your tomatoes in the fridge! It will alter their texture and taste.  Keep them on the counter, shoulders down, not piled on top of each other (they bruise super easy) and out of their plastic bag (clamshell pints are okay because they have vents).

Basil

Basil does not like to be kept too cold.  Generally under 45 degrees F is the danger zone.  If you keep it in your fridge wrap it in a plastic bag and store it in a spot that doesn’t get too cold.  Keeping it on your counter in a jar of water like you would flowers works very well too, and makes an attractive display.

Haricot

Today I wrote this poem:

Haricot, Haricot where have you been?

Compared to most beans you are so thin

So tender to eat, I think you are French

Making you with this recipe is delish’ and a cinch!

Haricot is french for bean, and I’m sure every time I say something like “I really like haricot beans” or “lets go pick some haricot beans” some bilingual person somewhere is laughing at me for being ignorantly redundant. But I can’t help it. Calling the bean haricot in this country is done when it is a “french fillet” style bean, which are thinner and more tender than your standard green bean. I’m not sure what the French call a standard green bean–if anybody knows we would be interested in hearing about it.

The eating experience of a haricot bean that has been picked at just the right time is unmatched.  You’ll often find me out in the bean patch this time of year painstakingly surveying and sampling the beans to make sure we are getting them at the right time–full sized but with little to no bean formation inside the pod.

Recipes

Kale makes a glorious return this week. There’s a good reason why it’s the darling of the healthy eating set-it’s a part of the crucifer family which is packed full of glucosinolates and antioxidants. Kale has not had its nutritional value watered down by growers breeding sweeter and sweeter varieties over time (like corn!), but all crucifers are highly susceptible to nutrient loss through the process of picking, shipping and sitting on the store shelf waiting to go home with you. This is one of those veggies that is absolutely essential to buy local, and it doesn’t get more local than from our farm to your plate in 24 hours! There’s so many great ways to enjoy this leafy green, but some of our favorites are: Kale Caesar Salad, Kale, Sausage and Potato Stew (perfect for this rainy day!) and Kale Chips.

We’ve added a nice green bean recipe to the recipe page, Green Beans with Tomatoes, Italian Grandma Style.

One of our members made a beautiful German Cucumber Salad, using up her cucumber and onion (she used red) from last week. If you’ve got a red onion around, try this, if not, try the green onions from this week’s box. Here’s a link to a recipe, and we’ll add Julie’s if we can get ahold of it!

If you got tomatoes and basil in your box this week, we really insist that you make your inaugural bread salad of the year. The only groceries you’d need to pick up if you don’t have them already are a quality loaf of bread and some fresh mozzarella. We ate our first bread salad of the year a few days ago and it will be on our table for the rest of the season.

Sneak Peek at Next Week:

  • tomatoes/cherry tomotes
  • onions
  • haricot beans
  • sweet corn!
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Week 6

Hello all,

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It has been wet, wet, wet.  We’ve had seven inches of rain on the farm in the past two weeks alone! This is not anywhere near normal.  In fact, it’s nearly TWICE the amount of rain we see in the whole month of July. Our soil drains very well giving us the fortune of not having any standing water in the fields, though the rain has certainly kept us from doing some needed tilling, weeding and planting.  Cross your fingers that it stays dry this week so that we can catch up! We hope everyone was safe and sound after all the strong storms passed through over this past week. We had a little bit of hail damage and some more wind damage but escaped the worst of it.

In the box:

  • Snap Beans (Romano or Haricot) (3/4 # small, 1# med, 1.5# full)
  • Dill
  • Beets (med & full only)
  • Turnips (small only)
  • Fennel (med & full only)
  • Spring Greens (1/2# small, 3/4# med & full)
  • Summer Squash (2 med, 3 fulls)
  • Cucumbers (small share only)
  • Onions
  • Broccoli (1# med, 1.5 # fulls)

Recipes

We didn’t talk much about the beets in last week’s box. What a wonderful vegetable! Full of vitamin c, fiber, and phytonutrients that can help lower blood pressure, they are as beneficial as they are beautiful. They’d be great in your favorite juice recipe, but it’s hard to pass up culinary gems like quick-pickled beets, beet risotto, or a tangy and light salad with yogurt sauce. Do you avoid using beets because of the hassle of peeling? Try this: roast, boil, or steam your beets, whole, until tender when you poke a paring knife into the center. Allow them to cool long enough to handle, and then grab an old dishcloth or dishtowel and use it to rub the skins off. They come away in a jiffy and while your towel will forever be “the beet towel”, it’s worth it!

Dill is a fantastic, versatile summertime herb. Most famous for it’s use in pickles, it also adds a fresh, slightly bracing taste to all your potato salads and is a must-have ingredient for a classic Norwegian Salmon dish. Dill makes for a pretty awesome summer cocktail as well. Use the beets in your box and the dill to make this lovely summertime chilled beet soup.

Broccoli is back for medium and full shares this week. Here’s a link to our quiche recipe, in case you haven’t checked it out already. You can use almost any vegetable, meat, herb or cheese combo you’d like (hello, crisper clean-out!) but there is a good reason why broccoli and cheese are a classic quiche combo. We really like having quiche in the fridge in the summertime since it makes for a fast, light lunch or dinner after working outside all day.

Fennel is in the boxes again this week, and in slightly greater amounts. The crop has been wonderful this year, and we know how much it goes for at the co-op, so we are beyond pleased to be able to give you our bounty! We found a cool tutorial at Bon Appetit for how to prep fennel for cooking.

Next Week’s Sneak Peek:

  • Snap Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Collards/Kale
  • Head Lettuce
  • Onions
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Week 5

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Greetings all,

Yikes! Storms have been blowing through the last few days.  We’ve been lucky enough to dodge the nastiest of it so far.  We did have some heavy rain and some strong winds the other night. IMG_2121

Several of the corn successions were almost flattened and the head lettuce got a little torn up.  We think the corn will be just fine, maybe just a little awkward to pick.

In the Box This Week:

  • Beets!: Early Wonder (red) or Chiogga (pink and white bullseye)
  • Head lettuce: Adrianna, Lovelock, or Roxy
  • Fennel (2 heads full, 1 head medium and small)
  • Romano Beans: Capitano (yellow) & Roma II (green) (3/4 lb small, 1 lb med, 1.5 lb full)
  • Summer Squash (1 small, 2 med and full)
  • Oregano
  • Cucumber (med only)
  • Choi Sum: Gunsho (med and full)
  • Carrots (3/4 lb full)
  • Napa Cabbage (full only)
  • Turnips: Hakurei (full only)

Romano Beans

Romano Beans are a flat snap bean originating from (you guessed it) Italy. They have a heartier texture and sweeter flavor and can be used in the same way you would any snap bean. See some of the recipes at the bottom of the newsletter for more ideas!

Keeping Up With the Bounty

I’m sure by now you’ve established a good pattern for using your bounty of produce, but if you’re having trouble here are a few tips:

  • Eat a salad often, it doesn’t have to just be a side dish either, make a great big glorious lunch or dinner out of it.
  • Make a game plan when you unpack your share every week, make a realistic best-guess of what you will use and what you might not get around to using. Prep as much as you can for use later in the week (washing salad greens, removing greens from root crops, etc) If you don’t think something fits into your meal plan…
  • Preserve what you’re not going to use Most things like peas, beans and broccoli can be blanched and frozen.  Some leafy greens like chard, kale, collards and spinach can as well.  Other items you might want to fully prep and freeze for an easy meal later on, like roasting root vegetables or making a quiche with mustard greens.  Many things like beets, snap beans and cucumbers can be made into a quick “refrigerator pickle” or canned.
  • Clean out your crisper weekly it’s easy to lose track of what you have when you more produce and plastic bags keep piling up in the crisper. If you’ve got lots of odds and ends around, it’s time for a stir-fry, quiche, or a big entree salad loaded with chopped veggies and maybe some sliced ham, grilled chicken, or last night’s leftover pork loin.

Good Things Are On the Way

The heart of summer produce is just around the corner.  Sweet corn is tasseling,

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tomatoes are on the vine,

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Eggplant, peppers and melons are flowering!  Sooner than you know it they’ll all start showing up in the shares!

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Recipes

Fennel is one of the most delicious, most underappreciated vegetables in the culinary world! You really must try it a few different ways to discover how you most enjoy it. For those of you that are unsure of it’s anise-y tendencies, I recommend you roast it or grill it. This mellows the anise, brings out the incredible natural sweetness of the fennel, and is remarkably fast and easy. If you already know you like fennel, make this delicious fennel, olive and orange salad. The quality of the olives is key to this dish, so go to one of the special places that you can obtain a high-quality black olive, none of that canned stuff, please! Oil-cured black olives are even better. Anyone coming out our way can feel free to drop off a pound or two…

To us, snap beans are such a signal of summer and light, fresh, easy eating. Whenever I see a pile of them on the counter I always think of the wonderful times I had cooking them in Spain with my Dad. In honor of those fond memories, here’s two recipes that we made each time we were there. Judias Verdas con Ajo is simple and so flavorful, and the Green Beans with Serrano and Poached Egg is one of my top ten most beloved meals, ever. Please note, you may substitute any kind of snap bean (haricot, romano) for any other in all the recipes on the website.

I’ve also decided that zucchini/summer squash tend to be under-loved in our kitchens. The butt of endless jokes, a properly cooked zucchini is a thing of wonder. A badly cooked zucchini is enough to make you never want to eat them again. Generally speaking, SEAR the heck out of them. Whether grilling, sauteing or roasting, let them develop a beautiful, caramel color. This brings out the sweetness of the vegetable and provides a depth of flavor that can’t be beat. Try this Scandinavian Smorrebrod, understated, simple, stellar. They also play well with others, which is why they turn up so often in fritters, pancakes, breads, and the like. Re-examine your relationship with these guys, you won’t regret it!

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If you got turnips in your box this week, there’s a delicious new turnip and couscous salad on the website, perfect to enjoy on it’s own or as part of a light meal.

Sneak Peek at Next Week’s Box:

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Spring Greens
  • Dill
  • Summer Squash
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Week 4

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We hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth of July. We had a fantastic time decorating the tractor, driving it in the Little Falls Parade and joining our community and visitors to the area in a wonderful potluck picnic at the park.

11709946_1009982899035657_7644940686123607334_oJoe and Brandon on the dolled up John Deere

11713671_1009984269035520_3045405842835354808_oAwesome bubbles!

11411920_1009981849035762_6769948827925820772_o For a tiny community, Little Falls goes all out!

11717398_1009984392368841_8350035371452089625_oOur Maria riding in the center!

11222037_1009991709034776_2900748646807108577_o Too hot for pants!

11696286_1009989835701630_2662046540191884789_oAnd, the potluck picnic finale!

Thanks, Bob Johnson, for the fantastic pictures!

Monday was a mucky and wet harvest day. The great crew slogged through it with a great attitude! Thanks you guys! We received about 3 inches of rain throughout the morning and day.

This week’s box:

  • Thai Basil (1 bunch each)
  • Summer Squash (2 for full, 1 for medium and small)
  • Choi Sum: Gunsho (1 bunch each)
  • Carrots: Mokum (1.5 lb full and medium, 1.25 lb small)
  • Radishes: French Breakfast (reg. bunch full and medium, small bunch smalls)
  • Head Lettuce (3 each  for fulls, 2 for mediums, 1 for smalls)
  • Scallions (1 bunch each)
  • Broccoli (medium only)
  • Kale (full only)
  • Cucumber (full only)
  • Snap Peas: Sugar Anne (full only)

Carrots

I sure love me some early season carrots!  This variety, Mokum, has become particularly popular in recent years for its awesome flavor, texture, and earliness.

My apologies to anyone who got carrots with their tips cut off.  We have this cool implement called an undercutter that loosens and raises the carrots by cutting below them in the soil, making for easy carrot pulling at harvest time.  Getting it deep enough really maxes out our tractor’s horsepower, so I’m always having to run it as shallow as I can. Apparently this time I ran it too shallow and took a few tips off in the process.  Despite not being as pointy as usual,they are still some damn fine carrots!

IMG_2625     the undercutter hooked up to the tractor–watch out carrots!

Gunsho (Choi Sum)

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Gunsho is a variety of choi sum, a popular vegetable (or so I’m told) in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.  Prized for its delicious stem and small florets, it is wonderful both raw or cooked anywhere you might use pac choi.  Also known as chinese flowering cabbage, it is part of the Brassica genus that has brought us great hits such as: broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, kohlrabi, and pac choi.  All of these brassicas have been bred to exaggerate and highlight different parts of the plant.  Choi sum combines both the tenderness of a mustard green (without the heat) with the slightly sweet and more substantial stem of a broccoli (which, in my opinion is the best part of broccoli by the way), and crowned with an delightfully unassuming floret on top.  Use it in a similar way as you might pac choi or sometimes broccoli. Also see the recipe below.

And the year of the head lettuce continues.  There are a few new types added to the line-up this week including:

IMG_2628know your head lettuce: Mottistone (speckled summer crisp type), green towers (romaine type)

Recipes

For those of you that are getting broccoli again, we’d like to suggest a fresh and crunchy slaw. Slaws also make it easy to use up every bit of the broccoli-florets and stems. Just peel the stems like you would a carrot, and shred in your food processor or cut into matchsticks by hand.

The carrots in this week’s box are so lovely and delicate I’d have a hard time doing anything other than roasting them whole with olive oil, salt, and a finish of lemon zest, but you may find yourself leaning towards a light, fresh Sesame Carrot salad (it’s great with or without the cucumber) or a tasty meatless meal of carrot patties with a dab of thick, greek-style yogurt.

The gunsho is really begging for simple, bold flavors. No matter what you do with it, take each stem and hold an end in each hand, and slowly bend. It will snap at the point that the lower point of the stem becomes woody, much like asparagus. Discard the lower part, and cook with the upper part. The stem, leaves, flowers and all are edible, and really fantastic! Here is a recipe for steamed gunsho with a delicious, easy, bold sauce.

Next week’s sneak peek:

Zucchini

Beets (?)

Beans

Collards/Kale

Head Lettuce

 

 

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Week 3

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Hello friends and members! We hope this newsletter finds you well, and well on your way to enjoying another 4th of July! Happy Birthday, dear country, we love you and are so proud of you!

It has been hot on the farm.  July seems like it came early this year.  The sweet corn and tomatoes are loving the heat and I’m pretty sure you can actually see them growing if you’re watching closely. The weeds are also loving it.  The crew has been on a hoeing frenzy as of late doing their best to stay ahead of the millions of little weed seeds that sprout every day.

IMG_2587 sweet corn growing growing growing-are you ready, Lindsey?!

IMG_2593 crew weeding said sweet corn

IMG_2589 freshly transplanted broccoli for late summer harvest (don’t worry, they perk up after a few days of being in the ground)

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IMG_2598gratuitous baby on the farm photo #1

  IMG_2591gratuitous baby on the farm photo #2: checking on the transplant job

What’s in the box:

  • Spring Greens (1/2 lb smalls & med, 3/4 lb full
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Snap Peas: Sugar Anne (3/4 lb smalls, 1 lb med. & fulls)
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Sorrel
  • Turnips: Hakurei or Carrots: Mokum (medium & full only)
  • Pea shoots (medium and full only)
  • Green onions (full only)
  • Scapes (full only)

Snap Peas

Unlike shelling peas, snap peas are meant to be eaten pod and all.  Some folks are bothered by the “string” spine which can be stripped from the pod, but they are perfectly fine to eat with the string attached if you don’t mind a little extra fibrous texture. Chop them up or eat them whole both fresh in a salad (or just a tasty snack) or cooked in a stir fry.

Sorrel

Sorrel is an interesting little green with a bold flavor.  Often described as lemony, I find it more akin to a tart green apple.  It’s a real surprise the first time you try it either way. Excellent as a raw herb in a greens salad or fruit salad, it is also often made into a creamy or pesto-style sauce to pair with fish, top on flatbreads, or as a nice dip for fresh veggies.

Turnips

Turnips can be used in a lot of ways that a radish can and carry a similar spice. But where a radish may be lauded for having a crisp and light texture, this variety of turnip is particularly notable for how soft, refined and sweet its flesh is. These little gems were bred for fresh eating but are also great cooked.

We don’t like to make a practice of putting items in the box that have a fair amount of cosmetic damage, but every now and then we look past the surface so that you don’t miss out on an otherwise perfectly great crop.  The eating quality of the turnips in this week’s box are exceptional, despite having their fair share of bug attacks both above and below ground.  And although pulling them out of the field as is and putting them in the box made me wince a little, I’m sure there will be nothing but smiles when they are served up on your plate (or snacked right out of the crisper!). You can peel them if you’d like to remove the cosmetic damage on the surface.

 

Recipes

Don’t forget to peruse the recipe page of our website, as you’ll often find recipes there that are not necessarily highlighted here, and we are frequently updating the archive. Remember, we always welcome member submissions!

 

We just can’t let a napa cabbage go by without a nice stir-fry recipe. We know, it’s ubiquitous, but there’s a really good reason for that. This lovely little recipe is fast, easy, and can use a whole host of different vegetables. It’s really not just another stir-fry, it’s really really good! We also have to steer you towards a classic fresh salad with rice noodles and peanuts. It’s easy to make and perfect for summer BBQs! In fact, it will be on our 4th of July picnic table.

As mentioned earlier, sorrel is a match made in heaven as a sauce for fish, but the pesto recipe can be used for lots of other things as well. Tell us what you do with it!

We could never argue with a simple olive oil or butter saute of the snap peas you have in your box, but if you’d like to make something a little more involved, try this warm rice and pea salad.

Swiss Chard is a beautiful, nutritious, versatile vegetable. You can use it in almost any recipe you’d use spinach, kale, or collards in. This pasta is a nice light summery dinner.

 

Next Week Sneak Peek:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Scallions

 

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Week 2

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Well, another beautiful week on the farm.  It’s always good to be into the swing of harvesting and delivering shares.  We hope you all enjoyed the first week and are eagerly looking forward to this box. Remember to bring your boxes back to your drop site.  Here again is a link to our in-house production on how to unfold your box.

IMG_2006_2 IMG_2007_2baby in the onion patch

‘Tis the season: Greens greens and more greens

If this is your first time being a CSA member, after the first few weeks you might be saying to yourself: “Jeez, where’s melons and tomatoes? These people only grow greens or what?” Well, we grow melons and tomatoes, but they are just not ready yet.  Growing in the North comes with a limited window for certain crops. Crops ready for harvest this time of year tend to have a short growing season, be able to germinate in cooler temps, and take a light frost (the last frost of the season was only a mere 3 and a 1/2 weeks ago believe it or not).  Modern grocery stores and trans-national trucking have put us at a rare time in history where we can get almost any piece of produce any time of the year we want, and most of us forget how unusual it actually is to eat a “fresh” tomato in the middle of winter.  Being a CSA member re-connects you to the seasonal parameters of your geographical location.  I’m not one to wish we could go back to a “simpler time,” but there is something lost, in my opinion, when season and location are not a major sculptor of our eating habits and culture.

And this year goes to…

Every year we like to declare a vegetable of the year that we either are focusing on growing really well, are growing really well, or wish would grow really well (sorry 2014 year-of-the-melon, better luck next time). I’m going to go ahead and call it for this year: 2015 is the year of the head lettuce!   We have gone all in on growing head lettuce for the CSA this year.  Usually we just have several successions at the beginning of the season, but this year we will be staggering successions all through the summer and fall as well. On top of it, the weather has been fantastic for them all spring and they are looking gorgeous.

To get more lettuce spread out across the season we are trialing a number of different heat tolerant head lettuce varieties that are bred to not turn bitter in the heat (as lettuce tends to do).  The ones we like may make it into future baby lettuce mixes for summer production, but for now we will let them live out their full potential as heads of lettuce.  Head lettuces can also be more interesting and versatile than baby lettuce mixes.  The variety of shapes, textures, colors and head formations are beautiful to experience. Growing to the mature head state really showcases the character of the lettuce and the intentions of the breeding that has gone into creating each variety.  Take green lollo types–king of the deli sandwich–fancy, frilly, and sturdy, it keeps well, adds loft and is nice and soft in the leaf and crunchy in the stem.  Despite losing some of its panache due to its ubiquitousness, it is a stellar specimen and well designed head of lettuce.   I’ll curb my enthusiasm here for now…I’m sure we’ll have more to say about head lettuce as the season goes on.  It is the year of the lettuce after all.

What’s in the box this week:

  • Head lettuce (of course) (2 for medium and full, 1 for small)
  • Pea Shoots (4 oz for full, 3 oz for medium and small)
  • Broccoli (1.25 lbs for mediums and smalls only)
  • Radish (1 bunch for fulls and mediums)
  • Mint (1 bunch each)
  • Pac Choi (1.5 lb for fulls, 1 lb for smalls)
  • Spicy Salad (1/2 lb for smalls and mediums, 3/4 lb for fulls)
  • Green Onions (regular bunch for fulls, small bunch for mediums)
  • Cilantro (fulls only)
  • Collard Greens (fulls only)
  • Chive Salt (1 packet for everyone)

Spicy Salad is back!

IMG_2031_2spicy salad in the field before harvest

Every year we do a blend of several tasty baby mustard greens to make a custom spicy salad mix.  These greens are great fresh or slightly cooked (I love love love them scrambled in eggs or quiche!).  Watch out!  They have a kick to them!  They are in the mustard family which is why they have such a similar flavor condiments made from mustard seeds (like a spicy mustard or wasabi).  They will mellow when cooked and are less intense if mixed with other greens in a raw salad or added with prudence to a sandwich.

IMG_2037_2Know your baby mustards (from left to right): Golden Frills, Suehlihung, Garnet Giant, Ruby Streaks.

Your little surprise…

It’s not much, but we’ve had so many happy comments on our seasoned salt the last few years that we are continuing the tradition. This year, we made chive salt. Way back in April we harvested the first growth of chives from our perennial garden and carefully dehydrated them to preserve their color and flavor. We’ve blended them with coarse kosher salt for a simple little treat. We recommend using the salt on buttered bread toasts with thinly sliced raw vegetables, and many of our members really like to sprinkle the herb salt over a nicely grilled piece of chicken or fish as part of a really awesome summer dinner salad. Tell us how you use yours!

Pea Shoots

The baby pea plant is an excellent little sweet snack that carries the sweet pea flavor in a soft little leafy garnish.  Add to a stir fry at the end to slightly wilt, eat raw in a salad, use as a garnish, or just snack on plain for a foraged treat.

Recipes

Spicy salad mix is awesome eaten raw, but if you’d like to try them cooked check out this recipe for sauteed Mustard Greens and Onions or for a main course try the Pasta with Mustards and Caramelized Onions. Also, collard greens work really well for any of the mustard greens recipes, so feel free to substitute!

We’re thrilled to have such beautiful broccoli again this week, and if you haven’t tried this unusual but fantastic pasta recipe with broccoli pesto, you should!

Next Week’s Sneak Peek:

  • Peas, finally (for real this time)
  • Spring Greens Mix
  • Radish (French Breakfast)
  • Napa Cabbage

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