Box 2: Return of the Salad

Greetings!  Hope you all enjoyed the first box! Didn’t hear from the majority of members so I can only assume most were blissfully munching on salad greens all last week.  I can hardly even count all the awesome salads we’ve been eating as of late, tahini dressings, mint-radish vinaigrette, grapefruit and pear, paprika couscous, bread salad with sweet peas grilled scapes and marlin steak strips (Heather you whiz you)…mmmm…. If you are not making your own salad dressing, I highly recommend you try.  The tahini dressing recipe in last weeks newsletter is my personal favorite.  Vinaigrette are one of the simplest and most versatile of all: simply equal parts vinegar and oil are the base ingredients.  That’s it.  Any oil or vinegar will do, from there add spices, salt, pepper, miso paste,  herbs, juices, curry pastes, whatever pleases you.  Stir before adding to your salad, the oil and vinegar will naturally separate.   See you later pre-made Italian dressings.   Beyond that, fruits both dry and fresh, nuts and seeds of all kinds are my favorite things fill a salad.  Be bold, experiment bravely, and may your forks fork prosperously.

Now to address a few wrinkles that need smoothing from the first delivery:  we do not put names on shares, so please know whether you are a full (brown box) or two-thirds (white box) size–the box sizes are labeled, feel free to email me if you don’t remember.  We will be providing a signature list for Eastside co-op and Blue Ox Cafe to reduce any confusion–if you are at those sites, please sign the sheet when you pick up your share.

Egg shares do have their names on them, so please do not take eggs unless they are marked as yours.

A few general items of note that should be known about having a share:

Cleaning: We do a fairly thorough cleaning of all produce when it comes out of the field, but there are some things that we may not be able to get all the dirt out of like the inside leaves of lettuce heads or the inside base of pac choi.  And there are a few other things we won’t wash (like this weeks peas) for the sake of longer storage in your fridge.  There may also be the occasional grass blade in your salad mix or little bug riding on your broccoli–it’s almost impossible to catch everything, just think of it as a charming side effect of a chemical free farm!  Overall the produce is very clean, but we suggest that you rewash it before you eat it.  When you bring your box home, the best thing you can do is unpack it, clean, prep (spin/dry salad, cut up head lettuce if for salad), bag and put away in your fridge.  This will also prevent you from losing out on something that may have been in bottom of the box that you didn’t realize was there until two weeks later when your cleaning out your fridge.

Storage and bags:  Most produce will store best in a loose plastic bag in your crisper.  Bags are not provided for everything that should be stored in them (like last weeks kale). We encourage members to rinse out and reuse bags to reduce the plastic stream a little bit.  We’ll provide storage tips throughout the season for exceptions to the old bag and crisper method.

Produce Boxes:  Please return the previous weeks produce box to your drop site.  Unfold the boxes (see this video for how to, it can be a little tricky–not our video by the way, another farm with more charming operators than us) and place them out of the way with the other boxes when you pick up your share for the week.  These boxes can be reused many times if kept in good condition and end up saving us a lot of money over the long run if they have a good long life (each one is about $1.40).

Okay, now that we’re done with the boring stuff, here is this weeks share!

Pac Choi
Salad Mix or Head Lettuce
Scapes (full only)
Collard Greens
Easter Egg or French Breakfast Radish
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
Sugar Snap Peas (!)
Rainbow Chard
Purplette Onions
Squash blossoms (full only)

Purplettes are a new darling to the farm this year.  Vexed by spending hours cleaning green onions we adopted these little bulbed onions as a substitute and will never go back!  The bulb has the sweetness of a fresh onion and the greens are as tender and mild as green onions.  Use all of this cutey.

Those who are new to Collards or Kale will soon realize that they are very similar.  Both have their unique assets but can be used in like fashions.  I hardly ever eat collards any other way than flash frying them.  This was taught to Kevin by Brazilian relatives and it was quickly adopted by me once I had it:  cut the stems out of the collards (which are perfectly fine for eating with other cooking methods).  Roll leaves into a tight fat bundle and cut 1/2 inch strips.  Heat up some oil in the ol’ frying pan to medium-high, when its good and hot, toss the greens in–watch out! the oil will pop and crackle a bit.  Continually stir for 30 seconds to a minute until the collards are wilted.  Remove from pan, put over rice, with plenty of soy sauce for a quick satisfying stir fry.  Separately you can saute some purplettes, pac choi (a stir fry favorite), some chopped up snap peas, radishes and a little scrambled eggs, tofu or your favorite stir fry meat.

Rainbow chard is one of the most beautiful items in the garden.  While beats were bred for their roots, chard was bred for its greens from a common ancestor–evident in the sugary sweetness it carries.  I have trouble eating it raw–as I do beats–the high sugar content makes my throat itchy, but I love both cooked.  Gently steam or saute just until wilted.  Add a light vinaigrette and walnuts with a little parmesan for a tasty side salad.  Can also be added to your famous flash fried collards stir fry.

For those who thought they’d overcome the radish hurtle only to find another waiting in box two, try making this simple delicious appetizer:

Place thinly sliced radish circles on lightly toasted and buttered slices of  french baguette. Sprinkle on some finely chopped parsley, and scatter a little salt on top (if your feeling fancy use the coveted fleur de sel).

Squash Blossoms are an edible flower and the life cycle stage before the squash fruit (yours are either winter squash or zucchinis).  They carry a mild flavor and have a delicate texture.  A beautiful garnish to any dish, especially on top of a salad, they can be eaten whole or chopped up and sprinkled into a dish for color. The only time I’ve had them cooked was in a shallow pan steamed/poached in a 1/2 inch deep broth along side eggs and light veggies then served on toast for a lovely breakfast.

Alright!  Feel free to share any recipes on our facebook page, we’d love to hear what people are doing with the produce!  Enjoy the box!  Just around the corner is cauliflower and beets!


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