Monday, May 31, 2010

CSA Harvest #1 for 2010~ Robin's Harvest

Good day to all of you new and returning farm friends! It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to your first CSA share of 2010. For some of you this will be your 53rd delivery of produce if you have been with us since we started. That is a lot of cucumbers and pounds of heirloom tomatoes. We hope by now you have received our emails and phone calls about where to pick up your baskets and the steps that need to be taken to ensure you get your basket and not someone else (check the name on the tag on basket!) If you are sharing with someone it may be under their name...

We wanted to dedicate this first CSA share to the memory of Robin Miller. He and his wife Violet have volunteered with us every CSA day since we began two seasons ago. Robin passed away unexpectedly this winter and we miss his smile already. He was the star washer and packer of the baskets into the trucks for delivery. Without volunteer effort like Robin, his wife Violet and our other star volunteer M.A we would be very worse for the wear!

As many of you are aware the groans and complaints of the wet spring weather have also been echoed in our home.. it has been wet, muddy, cold and pretty miserable for many a week here. The wet weather makes it hard to work, till and get things planted and the slugs have flourished while the crops they've been helping themselves to (mainly the carrots) have been replanted twice now.
While the tomatoes, eggplants, squash, peppers and beans are all just sitting there our greens have been going berserk and this can be reflected in the first few CSA shares you will be receiving. Enjoy all these green leafy vitamin powerhouses now because when (IF) summer ever decides to come they will stop thriving and just bolt as soon as we plant them. So yes, greens are the king of spring!

The 2,000 seascape strawberries we planted in March are blooming and we are eagerly keeping a watchful eye on any ripening berries.. those can be a sweet treat to look forward to hopefully by next month! Also our raspberries we planted a month ago are leafing out and getting established in their mulch covered rows.

It seems strange that the CSA is just starting and yet our work season as farmers is nearly half over (since we started preparing planting for the CSA in the middle of January and will stop for a winter break in early Dec.. but we don't want to start thinking about winter yet since it doesn't seem to have left anyways! ;)
At this time of year every day is precious to be out planting before the summer solstice June 21st at which point the days start to get shorter and the plants don't receive as much sunlight. So in other words this is the busiest time of the year for a farmer!

We thank you for your support and many of you who we have never even met have paid the full amount up front for the CSA share.. that is a huge leap of faith and we sure hope we don't (or our veggies don't) disappoint.

Enjoy this first week's bounty with your family and maybe lucky friends too!

Salud!! (to your health!)

Suzie, Asinete, MA, Violet and Sally~

Harvest This Week Includes

Rainbow Chard

Flashy Trouts Back Lettuce (a beautiful French heirloom)

Hakurei Turnips (one of our favorite Spring treats!)

Tyee Spinach

Arugula/Tatsoi/Purple Mustard Mix

Red Oakleaf Lettuce

Snow Peas OR Broccoli (both crops just started producing.. soon enough of both for all!)

Please note that produce is field rinsed only... we give most everything a wash in cold water to keep fresh and remove most of the dirt.. however it would be best if you wash again before enjoying~

How to Store it, and Enjoy it!

Your lettuce will keep best if you remove all the leaves off of the head, wash gently in cold water, drain or spin dry and store wrapped up in a damp (not wet!) towel in your 'fridge. Romaine will keep longer than red oakleaf lettuce so try to use red lettuce first.

Try mixing your head lettuce with the arugula/tatsoi/purple mustard mix you got this week. Some people find the arugula and mustard overpowering by themselves but blended with the leaf lettuce greens in a salad they are just right. We also enjoy the greens stuffed into a sandwich! Another good treat is toasting up hazelnuts (filberts) in a cast iron skillet on the stove. Heat the nuts up and turn frequently to keep the nuts from burning.. you want toasted not burnt.. add the warm nuts to your salad.. also we get the dried cranberries in the bulk section of the grocery store and throw those in the salad too.. yummy!

Red-Leaf Lettuce and Celery Salad~ adapted from
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
* 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 1 head of red-leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
* 3 large (outer) celery ribs, very thinly sliced on a long diagonal (about 3 cups)
* 1 cup tender inner celery leaves, coarsely chopped

Simmer water and onion in a small saucepan, uncovered, until onion is softened and most of water is evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Purée in a blender with vinegar, caraway seeds, sugar, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream and blend until dressing is emulsified.
Combine lettuce, celery, and celery leaves in a large bowl and toss with just enough dressing to coat.

Mustard/Tatsoi/Arugula Stir Fry


* 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tbsp olive oil
* 1 pound spicy greens, washed and torn into large pieces
* 2 to 3 Tbsp chicken broth or vegetable broth (vegetarian option)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil


1 In a large sauté pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant.

2 Add the mustard/arugula/tatsoi greens and broth and cook until the greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Rainbow Chard
Chard is one of our favorite crops to grow here at Big Lick. It is a cut-come again plant and it is possible to harvest off of one plant for over a year! Chard (like most all leafy greens is chock full of nutrients). They are high in vitamins A,E, and C and minerals such as iron and calcium. Interestingly the minerals in chard are more easily absorbed from chard then spinach. Chard contains no oxalic acid (an element present in spinach that tends to bind the minerals and render them unavailable during digestion.

It is best to store chard like you do your lettuce greens.. well rinsed/drained and wrapped in slightly damp towel in fridge.

Simple Chard Recipe


* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 bunch Swiss chard, stalks discarded, leaves cut into wide ribbons
* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat the olive oil on a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until tender and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and balsamic vinegar; cook and stir until the chard is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Susana's Frittata

This is one of my favorite ways to use chard and the eggs we get each day.


1 bunch chard
1 med yellow onion
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 pound potatoes
6-8 eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan of cheddar cheese (optional)

Cut onion into thin slices and saute in large skillet with olive oil for 2 mins. Boil potatoes in separate pot until easily pierced with fork. Take out potatoes (peel if you want.. I don't since most vitamins in taters are right below the skin). Take those potato pieces and add to your semi sauted onions.. add more olive oil if you think necessary. I have some favorite dried herbs that I add along with salt and pepper. Once potatoes start to look lightly browned take your chard bunch and rip leaves off of the stem. Use the leaf pieces only and rip into bite sized pieces.. add to skillet and cook until chard wilts and turns bright green. While chard sautes take your 6-8 eggs and scramble together with the grated cheese. Pour the egg mix evenly over chard, potatoes and onions.. cover with lid and cook on med low until cooked all the way through.. if covered no need to flip it over! The chard is really yummy this way..


Spinach should be rinsed again and patted dry with towel or spin dry. Store in plastic bag in 'fridge for up to a week.

Spinach is the most widely used dark green in this country. Spinach is high in chlorophyll, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Do to the naturally occurring oxalic acid in spinach the minerals (like calcium) are not easily assimilated by our bodies.

You can add your spinach to your salads, to the frittata recipe above or use one of our recipe ideas below.

Spinach Recipe


* 2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 lb
* Olive oil, extra virgin
* 3 cloves garlic, sliced
* Salt to taste


1 Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean the spinach by filling up your sink with water and soaking the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt. Drain the spinach and then repeat soaking and draining. Put the spinach in a salad spinner to remove any excess moisture.

2 Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic is just beginning to brown.

3 Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Use a couple spatulas to lift the spinach and turn it over in the pan so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and cook for an additional minute.

4 After 2 minutes of covered cooking the spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat. Drain any excess moisture from the pan. Add a little more olive oil, sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Jamie's Cranberry Spinach Salad (from

* 1 tablespoon butter
* 3/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
* 1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
* 1 cup dried cranberries
* 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
* 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 2 teaspoons minced onion
* 1/4 teaspoon paprika
* 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
* 1/4 cup cider vinegar
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil


1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.

Hakurei Turnips~ there are turnips and then there are the white buttery gems that are the Hakurei! Who knew that a turnip could be a gourmet food but these white beauties are! They are best eaten right as they are.. perhaps a dash of salt before popping them into your mouth! Others like to add the sliced pieces to their favorite stir fry.. here are some recipe ideas for the turnips and their greens!! (just what you needed.. more greens!)

The Hakurei, or Tokyo, turnip is a Japanese variety that’s crisp, juicy, and delicious raw. They work wonderfully in salads or slaws, but cooking enhances their natural sweetness. They’re versatile enough to go with just about anything.

Daniel “Chino” Parilla’s Braised Hakurei Turnips
6 Hakurei turnips, tops removed
2 cups cold water
3/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup white soy sauce

Trim turnips and peel with a vegetable peeler. (1) Cut the turnips into sixths and (2) place them in a saucepan with the remaining ingredients. (3) Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; cook very slowly for about 15 minutes, or until just tender. Let cool to room temperature in the braising liquid, then drain and serve with steamed or roasted fish.

White Hakurei Turnip Gratin
Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a non-stick 12 inch skillet (make sure you have a top to fit the pan.)

Wash one bunch of white hakurei turnips well, top and tail them, and slice them in 1/4 inch slices. Save the turnip greens for another recipe. You don’t need to peel the turnips. Layer the slices in the pan. Sprinkle the sliced turnips with 1 teaspoon dry thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, and 1/8- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, then pour 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup gluten-free chicken stock over the top. Cover and cook the turnips over medium heat for 20 minutes. The turnips will be completely cooked through, but there will be considerable liquid left in the pan. Remove the cover and cook to reduce the liquid. When most of the liquid has reduced (about 5-10 minutes), and the sauce is thickened, grate finely 1/2 cup of fresh parmesan cheese evenly over the top. Watch closely as the cheese melts and make sure that the liquid does not entirely cook away.

Serve the turnips hot. The recipe is supposed to serve 6,

Chile- Vinegar Turnip Greens


* 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 (1-pound) bag turnip greens, chopped
* 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
* 1/4 cup rice vinegar
* 2 teaspoons chile paste with garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Add the greens, and sauté for 5 minutes or until wilted. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and cook 45 minutes.

There are many, many, many more recipe ideas on the internet to help you get through this weeks bounty. Try and and type in the vegetable you need recipe for. Most recipes are rated and that is helpful!

Don't forget to return your baskets for next week's delivery!

Next week's harvest may include the same as today but add green garlic, broccoli and or cauliflower.

Monday, May 10, 2010

April showers bring May showers~ (but not enough)

Happy May Everyone!! It is time to dust off the blog account and get it up and running again as we approach our first CSA harvest on June 2nd!! We have been busy, busy farmer's here at Big Lick and until yesterday we were getting anxious about the diminishing moisture levels in the soil (while we were also enjoying the sunny weather!) Finally we decided it was time to put the irrigation pipe out and get the pump in the river to irrigate. Our '48 farmall cub seems to shine as it hums quietly along the edges of the field. Asinete seems to shine too as he carried the pipes off of the trailer and got them set up in the field. Asinete loves irrigating! It is easy to love to watch the sprinklers come alive and throw rainbow arcs of moisture to the thirsty plants. The ground smelled so wonderful when we turned the sprinklers on.. cooling off the hard, dry ground. Even our early Luscious sweet corn (above) seemed to grow a few more inches by the time the sprinklers turned off! We have had to put the scarecrow out near the sprouting corn since it is a famous treat for crows and jays. So far the scarecrow seems to be working well.

We have put a lot of effort this season into perennial plantings as well with 2,000 seascape strawberries in the ground now and 180 raspberries (assorted variety). We know it will be a wonderful year for fresh strawberries for all! The raspberries will be a more delayed treat as they won't produce much until their second year. This year our 42 peach trees are now entering their second year and we counted 6 peaches from all 42 trees a few days ago. But give those trees a few more years and fresh, chemical free peaches will be part of your baskets each week as well.

With the rain we have had it makes our job of having to hand pull weeds much easier. It is time to sign off since tomorrows project involves hand weeding between our 4,000 onion starts that are starting to be swallowed by the creeping grass.

We are looking forward to a wonderful 2010 CSA season!! Thank you for being a part of it! Once the CSA is under way we will be posting weekly newsletters here with recipes and updates of what's growing and going on at your farm!