Welcome to the first box of the season! And boy is it a good one!
The last few months on the farm have been leading up to this day. Every year come January, we sharpen our pencils, pull out the planning books and start paging through the seed catalogues. From then on, everything we do is in preparation for these next 18 weeks. We are very excited to share with you what we have been working on!
Before we get to what’s in the box and recipes, here are a few quick preliminary things to note about your CSA:
1. Unpacking your share
Getting the most out of your CSA requires good unpacking and storage habits. Some items we give you should be stored in bags or containers to retain their freshness. Prepping items when you unpack your box is a great way to make your meals more convenient. Doing things like removing radishes, beets, or turnips from their greens, or cutting up your head lettuce and then washing, spinning and bagging it right away can make them easier to use when the time comes, increase their storage life, and may inspire ideas for what you want to do with them. We’ve added this handy chart this year to the website for your reference on best storage techniques.
2. We wash, you wash
We do our best to make sure your produce is clean and safe to eat. Most everything gets washed before it arrives in your kitchen and steps are taken to ensure food safety and good food handling practices. However, there are still a number of nooks and crannies that we are not able to fully clean out on some items such as lettuce and pac choi without taking it apart (or removing a lot of otherwise perfectly fine leaves) and encourage you to wash your produce before you put it on the dinner plate. We pride ourselves on our quality, but as an enlightened eater you know there might be little dirt here and a little hitchhiker bug there because, after all, your food came from the ground and we work hard to protect the biodiversity of our little ecosystem.
3. Return your boxes!
When you’re done with your box, please fold it flat and return them to your drop site the next week. Our boxes are reused throughout the season to cut down on waste and costs. We allot 3 boxes per member so you always have one, we always have one, and there’s always a spare. The boxes are a little tricky to unfold without tearing the bottom tabs, all tabs should be pushed out, not pulled out. We’ve made this handy box-unfolding video to help out.
Okay, now to the good stuff!
This Week’s Share
- Radish (1 small bunch for small shares, 1 large bunch for medium and full shares)
- Head Lettuce (2 heads for small shares, 3 for medium and full)
- Green Onions (1 bunch each)
- Kale or Collards (1 bunch each)
- Oregano (1 bunch each)
- Garlic Scapes (6 for small shares, 8 for medium and full)
- Pac Choi (1# medium, 1.5# full)
- Broccoli (2#, full only)
- Rhubarb (2#, full only)
So, you’ll see that what everyone gets this week doesn’t exactly match our prediction. We do our very best, but sometimes nature forces a change. For this week, we chose oregano over mint because the oregano is close to flowering and it doesn’t taste quite as good after it flowers. The pea shoots weren’t quite up to size, and we’d rather give you quality than meet the forecast. The boxes are loaded this week, so we’re saving your little surprise for next week!
Know your head lettuce (from left to right): Livigna (green lollo type), Antonet (red lollo type), Mirlo (green bib), Lovelock (red/green batavian)
Now that we have a bona fide recipe section on our website, we’re going to save you all a little reading time and provide links to some suggested recipes. You can also go directly to the recipe section of the website and select the item(s) you have in your box to see a list of recipes (with links) that apply. Have fun exploring! Remember, too, we love member submissions, so go ahead and send us Aunt Betty’s broccoli casserole recipe!
For your lettuce, we’d recommend a simple spring salad, with a great quality vinaigrette and a few add-ons. This version has an awesome creamy dressing. Keeping it simple really lets the flavor of the lettuce shine through. The lettuce heads are HUGE and beautiful, so don’t hesitate to make a dinner out of them, with cheese and nuts to add protein and substance, or your favorite type of meat or fish. The wonderful thing about lettuce is how truly versatile it can be.
We never get tired of buttered bread with radishes, a.k.a. the radish canape, especially as the first bunches of the year are so anticipated! Not sure what else to do with your radishes? I had a homemade chicken pot pie over the winter that had roasted radish in it of all things–and it was my favorite part of the dish. The friend who made it said “people don’t know what do with radishes. You have to roast them, like a little turnip.” So there you go. No more I-only-eat-my-radishes-uncooked. Fry them in a pan, stick them in the oven, toss them on the grill and eat them anywhere you might a root vegetable.
Garlic scapes are a real treat, and only available for a very short time period in the spring. We’re so happy that removing them from the plant helps the bulbs grow bigger and better, and serves as a true spring delicacy. Try this recipe for a scape pesto which can be frozen for a winter pick-me-up or devoured fresh! The scape and bean dip is pretty awesome, too.
If you are a full share, you were lucky enough to get rhubarb! Heather loves this spring treat, and here’s a link to one of her favorite bloggers, The Pioneer Woman, and her great Rhubarb cobbler recipe.
Next Week’s Sneak Peek
- Head lettuce
- Spicy Salad Mix
- Pea shoots
- And that little surprise we’ve been talking about…
All the best from all of us,
Heather, Brandon, Maybelle, and Frank