We hope this week’s newsletter finds you well, and maybe even dry?!
We think the theme of this spring is going to be rain. And more rain. And flooding. And the closure of the Stillwater Lift Bridge. And washouts in the field. And friends’ fields being so flooded that they’re just tilling them in and calling it a day. And the list goes on…
We got another 1.4 inches of rain in the storms on Friday and Saturday. That brings us to well over 6 inches of rain for the month of June, which is nearly twice the average rainfall in June. This year to date is actually the wettest year since recorded history. That’s right. Recorded History. As farmers we really feel the impact of the weather, especially when it’s in such an extreme such as the past month or two. We are amazed that we aren’t in a total disaster situation here in Amery. We’ve got wet fields, and the weeds are aggressive and harder to tame than usual, but overall we are in decent shape. When the soil is really wet it’s very damaging to work it, so we have to wait at least 24-36 hours before hoeing and weeding and you can just forget about getting the tractor in there to do anything. Also, when we weed, and it rains right away, those little guys just put their roots right back in! I think we feel a member work party coming on…
We do have some damage to report from the torrential rains of late-we had some wash-outs in the field over the weekend. Some sections of the cut lettuce that I seeded on Friday night have been damaged, as well as a portion of crinkly cress. Not a crop failure, we think, but probably a somewhat lower yield than we’d hoped for. You’ve also experienced more minor problems like head lettuce with leaves that have been a little damaged by heavy rain.
We hope you are all enjoying the boxes so far. This is definitely a year in which our dear members are sharing in some of that risk that we all talk about with CSA farming-the understanding that sometimes bad things happen and we have some crop damage or lower yields, and that it occasionally means a little difference between the boxes we planned for and the boxes we send you. Rest assured, we do our very best to give you and your shares all the beautiful, delicious, nutritious organic produce we can. The benefit of this risk-sharing is that when things are plentiful, we don’t hold back. We really thank you for your support and your understanding, please know that this is what makes small-scale family farms like Sleepy Root thrive. We expect a great bounty of harvests to come, and we just have to get through this wet, wet, wet, wet, Spring!eggplant starting to flower
We are lucky enough to have Brandon’s parents volunteer to come out for a few days from South Dakota to help us catch up with farm work. The weeds, the rain, and being gone 8 of the past 30 days has been so hard on us, and every last bit of help is great. They are a blessing to us and we’re so happy to have them come visit. I even had the luxury of putting my feet up on the couch after dinner while Richard and Lois did the dishes! (Thank you!) Of course, the promise of their first glimpse of the grandbaby bump must have some pull…(that’s right, in case you didn’t know, a little girl is on the way in November!)
A reminder, all, please please please return your folded flat boxes to your pick-up site when you come to get your new box. Part of Sleepy Root being a sustainable farm is not having to buy new boxes for every member for every week (That would be something like 2700 boxes! At $1.50 a pop, that’s a huge expense that is totally avoidable with your kind co-operation) We budget 2-3 per member, so you really only have a two week leeway. If remembering the boxes is a challenge, try bringing one of your re-usable grocery bags to your drop site to put your produce in and then you can just fold flat and leave your box there. Thanks so much for your help!
Last but not least, it’s almost time for the Sleepy Root Farm Dinner featuring member and friend, Chef Tony Tushar of Brasa. If anyone has eaten there, you know you’d be a fool to miss out on Tony cooking the best produce we have to offer with lots of tasty meat from neighboring farms. This evening promises to be one to remember, with a tour of the farm, dinner in the historic barn, and lots of food and fun to be had. Rumor has it there might be some pit-roasting going on! The dinner is being organized by the Hungry Turtle Learning Center, so please visit their website for more information and to sign up. While you’re at it, please check out the class schedule-there are so many things going on this summer that you’re sure to find something that appeals to you, your friends and your family. We are teaching a few Turtle Scouts classes in the future, as well as a cooking class! Sleepy Root is pleased to be able to offer access to this incredible set of activities as a benefit to being a member of our CSA. We really appreciate you all, and thank you for your membership and support.
We’ve got some fun things in the box this week, so let’s get to it:Salad Turnips: Purple Top Spring Salad mix (1/2# small shares, 3/4# medium and full shares) Snap Peas (3/4# small shares, 1# medium shares, 1 1/4# full shares) Chard (small shares) Kale: Red Russian (medium and full shares) Radishes: Cherry Bell or French Breakfast (medium and full shares) Thai Basil Garlic Scapes (full shares) Cucumbers (full shares) Broccoli: Rosalind (full shares)
The spring mix is always much anticipated around here. We love making our own custom blend of seeds to create the mix we like best. This year I’ve chosen nearly a dozen. The leaves are looking really beautiful right now, and we are so excited to give you this pretty, lovely, tasty bit of spring. For an employee meal last week we had greens with a very light balsamic vinaigrette, sliced radishes, chopped fresh snap peas, and grilled steak. It was a hit!Heather cleaning salad mix in the packshed (note the washing machine in the background–it has been repurposed to spin large amounts of salad greens dry)
The salad turnips are called purple top. You’ll notice a beautiful blush of purple on their shoulders. These gems are not to be confused with the turnips we roast in the winter. They are sweet, crunchy, and juicy. We like to eat them sliced raw, radish-like in our salads, but they are incredible if you cut them in half and saute them in a really hot pan with a touch of olive oil and salt. They pickle really well, too. See below for some recipes.
Scapes-Garlic scapes are a real treat! They are the flower stems that come up from the garlic growing underground, and we snap them off so the plant puts more energy into growing bulbs instead of flowers. They have all the great garlic taste and the bonus of being lovely and green. They are really neat when tossed with olive oil and salt and grilled, and scape pesto will get you through the harshest winter, if you can stand to freeze it instead of eating it all at once.
We’ve had an amazing harvest of peas this week, so everyone is getting a ton in their boxes. One of our members, Jacalyn, sent several recipes that make the most of peas, kale and mint, so if you have any leftover try some. Feel free to use your thai basil in place of the mint this week, or maybe you’re lucky enough to have some leftover. We are really excited to add the kale salad to our repertoire. As soon as we get our new recipe page up and running we’ll add them all. Thanks, Jacalyn!
Kale and Fresh Mint Salad
- 1 bunch (large) lacinato kale, chopped very small, almost minced
- 1 cup fresh mint, minced
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
Spicy Peanut Dressing (or other nut butter)
- 3 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- Toss the chopped kale, chopped mint and the walnuts together. If you haven’t made the dressing yet, do that next.
- Put the peanut butter, warm water, garlic, rice wine vinegar, pomegranate molasses, soy sauce, minced ginger, sesame oil and red chili flakes into a blender and whirl away at high speed until everything is smooth.
- Toss the dressing with the salad. Maybe not all at one time. Pour and toss about half of the dressing and then decide if it needs more.
Warm rice, mint and pea salad
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
- 1 cup veggie stock
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas (or diced pea shoots)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add onion and shallot. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook until grains are well-coated with oil, about 1 minute. Pour in the stock, 1 1/4 cups water, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 14 minutes. Uncover pot, scatter peas on top of rice and cover again. Continue cooking until rice is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- While the rice cooks, whisk together the lemon juice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Whisk in the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil.
- Spoon rice and peas into a serving bowl. Pour vinaigrette over rice and toss well. Toss in mint. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Spring Turnip Salad with Greens and Prosciutto
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 small turnips, about 5 ounces, peeled
spring greens, any amount
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces.
1. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and salt until the salt dissolves. Whisk in the honey, oil and pepper.
2. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the turnips into paper-thin rounds. In a large bowl, combine turnips, arugula and prosciutto. Toss with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Pickled Turnips from Momofuku in NYC:
- 1 pound turnips, peeled and sliced paper thin
- 2 (4-inch-by-2-1/2-inch) pieces kombu
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Place the turnips and kombu in a 1-quart jar, leaving at least 1/2 inch of room at the top of the jar.
- Make the brine: Place the vinegar, sugar, water, and salt in a small saucepan, whisk to dissolve the sugar and salt, and bring to a rapid simmer.
- Immediately pour the brine over the turnips, making sure to cover them completely but leaving 1/4 inch of room at the top of the jar. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
- Cover the jar with a tightfitting lid. Shake the jar or turn it upside down to evenly distribute the brine, then place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 day and preferably 1 week before using. (The pickled turnips can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.)
Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip
1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes (3 to 4)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, more to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling.
1. In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process to a rough purée.
2. With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tablespoons water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.
3. Spread out dip on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups.
Garlic Scape Pesto
This freezes beautifully, just omit the cheese. You can leave it out altogether or stir some grated parm into the pesto once it has thawed again.
1 cup finely chopped garlic scapes (or 2/3 cup finely chopped chives, plus 1/3 cup finely chopped garlic)
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1/3 cup roasted, salted nuts-try anything! Pine nuts, almonds, cashews
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pulse garlic scapes, oil, parmesan, and nuts in a food processor until finely chopped; season with salt and pepper.
We hope you make some great food with your beautiful produce!
All the best from all of us,
Heather, Brandon, Frank, Ben and Megan