Greetings from the farm! This cooler weather the last few days has been welcomed after the unusually hot June weather we’ve been having.
Remember that storm that happened about a month ago on May 16th? That storm will be affecting almost all of our early season boxes this year with some lingering effects throughout the summer. We received over 2 inches of rain in about an hour, and continued to get several more inches of rain over the rest of that week. Needless to say everything was a soggy mess for quite a while. Some seeds washed away (carrots, turnips, radishes) some rotted in the field (beans), plenty of baby plants drowned or were permanently stunted because of it, and a fair amount of scheduled planting had to be delayed (tomatoes) or skipped (some broccoli and arugula) because we couldn’t get into the fields. That being said, we didn’t have a tornado, hail damage was minimal, and nothing major blew away.
So what does that mean for your boxes? Well, some items we planned on will be missing, some will be in smaller quantities, some will be a little later that usual, and some will be substituted for crops that grow quick enough to fill in the gap on short notice (keep your eyes out for radishes, salad greens, and turnips in the near future). We also usually plant a back-up crop or two as an insurance policy (you’ll likely be getting a little more kale than usual this year). You’ll probably hear us mention it every now and then, but for the most part we don’t think you’ll really even notice with some artful juggling and quick re-seeding on our part.
Despite some bad weather, the fields are still looking pretty lush
Maybelle helping keep the onions weed free
Our first planting of Choi Sum (aka Gunsho) went to flower early because of the heat. The bees have been making good use of it, even if they didn’t make it into boxes.
Rainbow above the farm
What’s in the Box:
- Head Lettuce (1-2 small, 2-3 medium, 3-4 full)
- Collard greens or kale
- Broccoli (1/2 lb small, 1 lb full)
- Spicy Salad (1/2 lb med, 1 lb full)
- Herb Salt
- Garlic Scapes (medium and full)
- Microgreens (full only)
- Radishes (full only)
- Mint (small only)
- Cilantro (medium and full)
- Peas (Thursday members only this week/Tuesday’s members next week, amounts to-be-determined)
Peas Our peas are coming on a little late. They weren’t ready to harvest on Monday but will be ready by Wednesday. Because of this, Thursday members will be getting them this week and Tuesday members will be getting theirs next week.
Broccoli In contrast to the peas, the broccoli has been coming early from all the heat. Unfortunately some of it got severely stunted from saturated soils, so we’re doling it out as we can in smaller quantities.
Collards got attacked by cabbage moths, which makes them full of holes but totally edible. We normally don’t like giving out less than perfect produce but we are a little short on other options for everybody this week.
Garlic Scapes are the flowering stalks of garlic plants. They starting to come up now, but not quite enough for everyone so Medium and Full shares get them this week, Small shares next week, and likely everybody the following week. They are picked off so that the plant’s energy goes to creating a larger bulb instead of a flower. A delicious, highly under-utilized vegetable, you can use them anywhere you’d use bulb garlic. See the recipes section for more below.
Our own blend of spicy and mild mustard greens. Can be eaten raw as a salad or slightly cooked with pasta or stir fries. Especially good in eggs and quiches.
Sneak Peek for Next Week:
One of my favorite ways to relax is to read cookbooks and browse the internet for great recipe ideas. I’ve been reading a book this past week that is right on target for what we see a lot of in the early stages of a midwestern CSA: Salads!
I borrowed this one from the library and I’m really enjoying it. One of the main points she and I both try to make is that salads are a way to flex your creativity! There is NO WRONG ANSWER for what to put in a salad! Use little bits of quality leftovers in your pantry-that handful of pecans that’s not enough to bake cookies with, those 3 dozen raisins your kid won’t eat, the slightly unusual flavored oil or vinegar someone gave you in a gift basket-now’s your chance to clear it all out! For those of you that pack a lunch to work or school, check out these super fun, nutritious Mason Jar Salads.
Here’s my thoughts on how to make salad a main course and make it awesome without a recipe:
- Use the freshest greens available (You’re a CSA member, so you’ve got that covered!)
- Toss the greens with the smallest amount (like 3/4 teaspoon max for one dinner portion of greens) of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of vinegar or citrus juice, and don’t forget a little salt and pepper!
- Add something crunchy: toasted nuts, bread crumbs, seeds of any sort (pipettes are a household favorite, and you can buy great quality pre-toasted and seasoned ones at most stores and all co-ops)
- Add something rich: grated, shaved or crumbled cheese, you cannot go wrong
- Add something fresh & juicy/crunchy: chopped radish, celery, sweet peppers, chopped pickled whatever….
- If you have it around, add some chopped fresh herbs
- If you want to make it a satisfying meal all by itself, add some or all of the above, plus add something substantial: fried or poached egg on toast, grilled chicken, smoked flaked salmon, cooked beans, roasted tofu, a handful of leftover cooked lentils, sliced flank steak, etc. Although, honestly, we almost never add meat to our salads at home–we find that fruits, nuts and seeds carry plenty of calories and protein on their own
That’s it! There’s lots of great salads out there waiting to happen! Take advantage of the rare and seasonal opportunity to put food in your bodies that’s less than 24 hours out of the field! Here’s a quick link to our lettuce recipes if you’d like to browse those. Happy Salad Days to you!
Full Shares and Medium Shares get garlic scapes this week, and Small shares will see theirs next week when all of the garlic has finished sending out their little future flower stalks. We ALWAYS mention garlic scape pesto because it’s just so easy and obvious, and has the added bonus of freezing well, Trust me, you’ll want to put some in the freezer and then bask in the glory of enjoying a fast and easy mega-flavored little taste of spring all year long.
But wait, there’s more! There’s lots of other things to do with them! How about a nice little white bean dip for the weekend? A quick refrigerator pickle? Maybe grill them and serve them on a gorgeous salad like this? Bon Appetit magazine loves them so much they wrote a nice article full of ideas on what to do with them.
A nutritional powerhouse, and definitely deserving of more respect than they get. With the renaissance in the past year or two of Southern Cuisine there’s not shortage of fun and traditional and quirky recipes out there for collards. If you are adventurous or have time, or both, try these and these. If you want something on your table in 15 minutes to go with whatever main course you’re having, you can’t beat Brazilian Stir-Fried Collards.
Happy cooking, and remember to send us photos and recipes of how you bring our farm to your table!
All the best from all of us,
Heather, Brandon, Maybelle, Michele, Ted, Hannah, and Nicole