Sunday, May 29, 2011
It is with great pleasure that we bring you the first CSA basket of the season! It has been a rough Spring for us as we explained in our long email to each of you. Last season seemed delayed enough but this season it rained all of March which is the usual time we get our ground worked up and our earliest crops started and in the ground (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, beets, potatoes, greens, herbs, onions, parsnips, radish and peas).
As organic farmers we are very mindful of how we treat the soil.. we know if we take care of it properly it will provide abundant crops for us. This is why we feed the soil and protect it from overwintering rains with cover crops like fava beans and clover that provide habitat for animals, protect the soil from erosion and when tilled into the ground in the Spring add nutrients and rich organic matter.
With that in mind earlier this Spring with a few days of sun and then a week of rain predicted after that we had to decide to finally get in and start working the ground even though it still seemed too wet. Several areas of the farm are loamy (almost sandy) and they tilled up fluffy and clod free. Other areas have more clay (which holds more water) and these areas looked good while we were tilling but then dried in huge clumps. The least favorite texture of soil we like to work with and the least favorite soil conditions for our plants to grow in! The soil texture also limits where we plant things. The softest, smoothest soil is where we focus planting the very small seeds like carrots, turnips and baby salad greens.
Even with this years delayed season we are still sticking with June 1st as the first delivery. We know several other CSA farmers who are delaying their first CSA harvest by 1 or 2 weeks.
We hope you understand that Spring time means greens and lots of them! Enjoy them now because when/if(?!) summer ever arrives the light greens will be replaced by hefty heirloom tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, sweet corn and melons.
If you have trouble getting through the raw volume of greens try sauteing them up in one of the recipe ideas below.. they wilt down to a manageable size then!
We wanted to include a few pictures of the farm. There have been some big changes here this season... the biggest to come in the next few weeks.. the arrival of our new farm hand (eventually!) our baby boy due to arrive June 13th. We are expecting he will either come before or after that date though! Also with baby coming we finally took the plunge and bought a new tractor with all the necessary implements to farm with. We will be paying off this tractor monthly for the next five years but it was a wise investment considering the amount of time it will be saving us for years to come.
As the weather settles, warms and the sun shows its beautiful face again we will be hosting farm tours, and our annual potluck farm party in the late summer. We hope you can all make it at least once this season to see where the food you eat comes from!
Enjoy the bounty of the wet Spring and thank you for choosing to support local farmers!
Suzie, Asinete and the Big Lick Crew: M.A, Violet and Sally
Harvest this Week Includes:
Pac Choi/Bok Choy
Hakurei Turnips (if you want still more greens tops are edible!)
How to Store it, and Cook it!
Green Garlic~ green garlic can be used in a variety of ways.. it is good all the way up along the thick stalk and we even has someone at the farmers market say they were going to wrap the garlic leaves over their baked potatoes and the baked taters were heavenly.
Green garlic will store best in the crisper part of your fridge wrapped in a plastic bag. Be sure to wash well before using as sometimes grit can gather between the leaves.
Rice Bowl With Spinach and Green Garlic~ from NY Times
1 bulb green garlic, trimmed of stalk (save stalk for another recipe below!)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds baby spinach, stemmed and washed
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or tarragon
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooked brown rice or other grains of your choice for serving
1. If the garlic has formed cloves, separate them and remove the thick shells from the tender cloves. If it has not formed cloves, just remove the outside layers. Chop coarsely. You should have about 1/4 cup chopped green garlic. If using the pea shoots, sort through and discard any budding flowers or leaves and the thin ends with the tendrils. Wash thoroughly.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy lidded skillet, and add the olive oil. Add the scallions, green garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until tender, two to four minutes. Working in batches, add the spinach or pea shoots and salt to taste. Turn up the heat, and toss with tongs until the spinach or pea shoots wilt enough to allow room for another batch. If using pea shoots, cover and steam two to four minutes. Spinach does not require covering; just toss in the pan until it wilts and is tender and fragrant. Add the parsley and mint or tarragon, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with brown rice or other grains of your choice.
Yield: Serves four.
Advance preparation: This dish is best served right after it’s made, but you can cook grains ahead and reheat.
Green Garlic Pesto
This pesto keeps very well, covered and chilled up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
•1/2 pound green garlic
•1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
•1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
•1/4 cup pine nuts
•1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
•1/4 cup freshly shredded pecorino cheese or other hard sheep's milk cheese
1.Trim and discard root ends of green garlic. Finely chop green garlic, rinse thoroughly and pat or spin dry.
2.In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook vegetable oil, green garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt until soft, about 3 minutes. Let cool to warm room temperature.
3.In a blender or food processor, pulse pine nuts to chop. Set aside. Add green garlic and process, scraping down sides as necessary, until bright green and smooth. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil. Pulse in reserved pine nuts and cheese. Taste and add more salt if you like.
Makes enough Green Garlic Pesto to coat 1 pound linguine
Hakurei Turnips~ you've tasted turnips before and perhaps even shunned them but give these buttery gems a try and you too will be a turnip lover! These are a Japanese variety and the seed is pricey but worth it! We included turnip green recipes too!
Your turnips will keep best wrapped in plastic in the crisper drawer of fridge.
Creamed Turnips in Butter Sauce.
1.Slice the turnips very thin and chop the tops roughly. (I leave out the 2-3 inches of stem and the very top of the turnip bulb)
2.Place all in a pot with a little water (1/4 inch in pot) and boil until the turnips are tender and water is almost gone.
3.Turn off the heat and stir in 3/4 to 1 cup milk in the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4.Add 1/2 teaspoon of dry chicken base.
5.Combine 3 T butter and 2 T flour in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high about 45 seconds until the mixture is bubbly.
6.Stir the flour and butter together and add to the pot. Cook and stir the mixture to make a light, buttery sauce.
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 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. Recipe credit: www.gfzing.com
Serve the turnips hot. The recipe is supposed to serve 6, but maybe realistically it would only serve 4, once they discover that they love turnips!
Mesclun Mix~ the mesclun mix in your CSA share is a zesty mix of young arugula, tatsoi, ruby streaks and purple orach mustard. We love these greens mixed in with the mild spinach and lettuce leaves in a salad. They are also great plopped onto your favorite sandwich. Store in the plastic bag in crisper drawer and try to use up within a week!
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces mesclun mix(8 cups)
Preparation: Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until salt and sugar are dissolved, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
Add greens to dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Rainbow Chard~ chard is chock full of vitamins and minerals and it is a great crop to grow on our farm since it keeps producing even after we harvest it once. Chard keeps best in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer (if you still have room in there!)
Rainbow Chard Bruschetta
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounce Swiss chard, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6 slices French bread, cut diagonally 3/4-inch thick and toasted
1/2 cup torn arugula (this can be taken from your mesclun mix)
2 ounces garlic-and-herb feta cheese or plain feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
In a large skillet or wok heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil; stir-fry Swiss chard over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add water and cook 2 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine the 1 tablespoon oil and the vinegar, set aside. To serve, divide chard among the pieces of toast. Drizzle with the oil-and-vinegar mixture. Top with arugula and feta cheese. Serve immediately. Makes 6 side-dish servings.
Garlic Creamed Chard
Per serving: 141 calories; 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 3 g mono unsaturated fat); 13 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 369 mg sodium; 625 mg potassium Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin K (463% daily value), Vitamin A (140% dv), Vitamin C (35% dv), Magnesium (24% dv).
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound chard, stems and leaves separated, chopped (see Note)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (use your green garlic!)
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup low-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1.Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chard stems and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in chard leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Cover and cook, stirring once, until tender, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a colander placed in the sink and press with a wooden spoon to remove excess liquid. Return the chard to the pot, cover and keep warm.
2.Place garlic and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook until bubbling, about 30 seconds. Add milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg; cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the chard into the sauce and serve immediately.
3.Note: After washing the chard for these recipes, allow some of the water to cling to the leaves. It helps steam the chard and prevents a dry finished dish.
Bok Choy/Pac Choi~ Bok Choy is a unfamiliar vegetable to many of you but no longer! This Asian green is considered to have the highest amounts of calcium than any other vegetable. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin A, B complex, C and minerals. Like your other veggies it will keep best wrapped in damp towel or put in a plastic bag in crisper drawer of fridge. Only store for one week.
Stir Fry Bok Choy~ Thai Style
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: SERVES 4 as a Side Dish
•2 heads of large bok choy
•1 Tbsp. coconut oil or other vegetable oil
•2 Tbsp. oyster-flavored sauce (Vegetarians/Vegans: substitute vegetarian oyster-flavored sauce OR vegetarian stir-fry sauce)
•2 Tbsp. soy sauce
•2 Tbsp. fish sauce (Vegetarians/vegans: substitute 2 Tbsp. Thai Golden Mountain Sauce
•2 Tbsp. sweet Thai chili sauce (available in most supermarkets)
•2 Tbsp. brown sugar
•2 tsp. fresh lime juice
•7-8 cloves garlic, minced
1.Rinse the bok choy and cut off the bottom stem part at the base of each head. Separate into individual leaves. If the white sections of these leaves are very wide or large, you can slice them in half lengthwise, or into thirds. Tip: If stir-frying larger bok choy, slice off the green leaf tips. Add the thicker white sections to the wok first, then throw in the leaves at the end (these will cook very fast).
2.Mix all the stir-fry sauce ingredients together in a bowl or cup. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
3.Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high to high heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add oil and swirl around.
4.Now add the bok choy plus 2-3 Tbsp. stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until pan/wok starts to become dry.
5.Now add another 2-3 Tbsp. sauce and continue stir-frying another 2-3 minutes, or until the bok choy is bright green and the white stems are softened but still crunchy.
6.Taste-test the bok choy with the sauce. Add more sugar if too sour for your taste, or more lime juice if too salty. Also, fresh minced chili or dried chili can be added if you prefer it spicier. If you prefer more sauce, add a little more, as desired.
7.To serve, lift out the bok choy and place on a serving platter or in a serving bowl, then pour the sauce (from the bottom of the wok or pan) over. Serve immediately with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice. ENJOY!
Stir-Fry Sauce Tip: Keep extra stir-fry sauce (in a covered jar or container) in your refrigerator for up to 1 month. This sauce is excellent with many different kinds of stir-fried vegetables, as well as with chicken, tofu or wheat gluten, pork, and seafood. Enjoy!
Garlic-Ginger Bok Choy Stir Fry
Bok Choy Recipe
1 1/2 pounds bok choy
1 1/2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut oil
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons broth or water (or 2 tablespoons broth/water + 1 tablespoon wine)
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1. Start by trimming the stem off - don't trim too much - just the end. Cutting the thick stem off will ensure that the bok choy cooks evenly. Separate out the leaves, keep the tender center intact and clean under running water. Drain.
2. Finely mince garlic and grate fresh ginger with a microplane grater. Grating the ginger helps break up the tough fibers! (and yeah, sometimes when the ginger is nice and fresh, I don't even bother peeling off the paper-thin skin)
3. Place wok or frying pan on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil. When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the bok choy leaves. Toss very well to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil for 15 seconds. Pour in broth, water or wine. Immediately cover and let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top.