Monday, June 29, 2009

CSA Week 8

From the Farm . . .

As people begin to try growing gardens again, or remember the big patch their parents had when they were children, by thumbing through seed catalogues or browsing the market or garden centers, they begin to realize how many hundreds of varieties of different items exist. Corn and tomatoes are two foods that come to mind when we think of the many choices one has in varieties. There are the old standbys of Early Girl and Big Beef red tomatoes, and the many Heirloom varieties that we try to not let become extinct by continuing to grow and saving seeds each year like Cherokee Purple and Arkansas Traveler. Attributes may differ in fruit color, size, taste, percent of natural sugars, and then all of the differences in the growth and production also – number of days until flowering, height of stalk, leaf shape, watering and mineral needs, ease or challenge of harvest, spacing from other plants, potential for cross-pollination, germination success, and the list goes on.

We have learned over the years that many folks are not aware that there is a huge difference in “field corn” – what grows in thousands of acres mostly in the flat lands of the mid-West USA – and the “sweet corn” one finds at a farmers market or grocery. Field corn has many uses these days including livestock feed, processed into syrup to be used in many, many processed foods, processed into ethanol, and more. Noted authorMichael Pollan, has researched and written about corn and its role in our food supply and in US public policy.

With sweet corn, there are hundreds of varieties though most fall into one of three visual categories folks use to distinguish: white corn, yellow corn, or the bi-color white and gold mixed. Each sweet corn plant only produces one (sometimes two) ear(s) of corn if all goes well. Depending on the variety and weather conditions, it can take 60 to 100 days to go from seed to harvest. Though it becomes costly to buy seed, use heated greenhouse space to grow a corn transplant, plant it into a mulch or ground cover that is used to warm the soil in April, set up and use water lines through the cornfield, it all seems worth it to have that first fat, sweet ear. We plant at least 15 seeds for each dozen expected knowing that the insects, birds, raccoons, and passers-by traveling down the roadway will each try to take their own “harvest.” And, in order to have corn more than one week out of the summer, we keep planting successive weeks. Some varieties grow better early in the season, some best in late season, so you can’t just keep growing the same type week after week.

At the farm we plant varieties that are non-GMO, that taste great, that have enough green husk cover to not invite all the bird population of Scott County to stop in, and that perform well in our own variety trials. You never know when a favorite variety will not be available due to a seed crop failure, so it’s beneficial to have several favorites.

We did our own taste-test for you on this first variety – Enjoy!

In Your Share . . .
Shares may vary depending on harvest day and your share size. Each share may not have every item listed.

Roma Stringless Green Beans – organic
These Italian style flat pod stringless beans are one of the earliest varieties in our area. We started the seeds and transplanted them from the greenhouse for an early start and the spring rains have helped them along. Store refrigerated, then steam or boil in water until tender.

Sweet Corn
Yeh, yeh the sweet corn is ready!! This is the most popular summer vegetable and something most folks never seem to tire of. Our first planting of the season is ready now and we included a large amount for your shares this week. With unpredictable weather and corn-lovin’ predators about (black birds and raccoons) we want to load you up while we have it. Your best storage will be in-the-husk in the coldest part of your refrigerator. If you don’t have room, go ahead and shuck it, clean your silks off with a brush, drop into boiling water, pull out quickly and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking, and then put into the freezer. You can freeze the whole ear, or cut off the cob and freeze just the kernels and milky sweet juice.

English Burpless Cucumber
These long, large cucumbers are the variety you see wrapped in plastic in the super-market. Ours are field-grown (rather than strung up in a greenhouse making them pencil straight). They have a thin skin that evaporates moisture much quicker than a regular slicing cucumber. They also have a smaller seed cavity. If you have a large one in your share, you should have plenty for the new recipe below.

Green Garlic – organic
This week’s harvest includes the whole green garlic stalk. Your bulb is ready to use like you would regular cloves, it is freshly dug, though, and not dried yet. Use the entire bulb and up the stalk as far as you find desirable. Store this type of garlic in the refrigerator since it is not “dried and cured”.

Kale Greens – organic
Some of you have been asking for kale greens this season. You can use in any recipe that calls for a leafy green. You can also enjoy boiled, sautéed, steamed, or baked. If your recipe has a shortened cooking time, remove the fat stems first as they will not cook as quickly as the leaves. Fold your leaf in half, cut along the fold to easily remove the stem. You can go ahead and cut your leaves into smaller ribbon-like pieces for a quick steam or sauté. Kale will keep well in your refrigerator, longer than more tender greens.

Collard Greens – organic
Once tried, some find the collard greens to be one of their favorites – mix with the kale when cooking and store similarly.

Summer Squash

Tomatoes, Green


Broccoli – organic
Last week’s early harvest of small broccoli stalks took many of the heads planted and intended for this week’s shares. With the hot weather pushing the plants to produce flowers rather than staying at the dark-green ‘bud’ stage that broccoli-eaters desire, we just are not getting much yield from the entire crop this spring. Other farms seem to be having the same luck this June; however, we have more seed ready for the fall!

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Cold Cucumber Soup
recipe shared by a friend of the farm

3 medium seedless cucumbers, peeled and chopped
¾ C thinly sliced green onions
1 T lemon juice + 1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 ½ C vegetable broth
½ C sour cream

In a food processor or blender, puree cucumbers, green onions, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and broth. Stir in sour cream and chill until very cold, about 1 hour. Serve topped with additional chopped cucumber, green onion and lemon zest for garnish. Makes 4 servings.

Crab Stuffed Zucchini Boats
recipe from Robin Miller’s Quick Fix Meals, serves 4

2 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1/3 C sour cream

½ C coarsely chopped artichoke hearts
¼ C + 2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Dijon-type mustard
1 tsp Creole or Cajun seasoning
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 T seasoned dry breadcrumbs

Using a spoon, scoop the seeds from the center of each zucchini half, making four long, canoe-like boats. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the crabmeat, sour cream, artichoke, ¼ C cheese, mustard, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine, being careful not to break up any crabmeat lumps. Spoon the mixture evenly into the zucchini boats. Transfer boats to shallow baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 T cheese and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over crab. (You can cover and refrigerate up to 3 days before baking). Preheat oven to 400° F, remove cover and bake until top is golden brown, about 15 min.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Week 7 CSA

From the Farm . . .

Though we are still cleaning up from the ice storm this past winter, we now have more to add to it after last Saturday morning’s blast. We have several more trees down, including a few across the livestock fences. We feel fortunate to not have lost any buildings, barns, livestock, or have any other serious damage.

Many of our trees are decades, even hundreds of years old. The tops get struck by lightening, and often part of the trunks are hollowed out over the years and years of storms. Heavy winds can uproot old roots or break off deadened branches. We are glad to have the firewood, but don’t have the extra time right now to spend with the chainsaw and ax. We will have to address the downed trees across the fences in order to keep using all of our grazing fields for cattle and sheep.

In Your Share . . .

Due to the everchanging conditions of growing plants, shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.

Sweet Basil – organic
Enjoy the first basil of the season. Remember that the leaves don’t like temperatures above 90° or below 40° and will turn black. When storing in your refrigerator, double bag or put your bag inside a sealed Tupperware. Look on the 7/7/08 entry on this site for the recipe for Easy Basil Pesto.

Roma Green Beans – organic
These Italian style flat pod stringless beans are one of the earliest varie-ties in our area. We also transplanted them from the greenhouse for an early start and the spring rains have helped them along. Often it is the end of June before green beans make their first appearance. Store re-frigerated, steam or boil in water until tender.

Bok Choy – organic
We included a Martha Stewart recipe for your baby bok choy this week giving you a cold salad option. You can enjoy the bok choy in a sauté with broccoli or Swiss chard, or use in place of cabbage (it’s in the same brassica family) with radishes for a cole slaw.

Broccoli – organic
The hot 80’s every day are really pushing the broccoli to flower before it sizes up. Any yellow you start to see is from the broccoli flower, as we are harvesting the little heads daily. You can eat the whole head, including the stem. Soak in a little soapy water before eating to roust out any hiding caterpillars.

Swiss Chard – organic
Find a bunch of Rainbow Swiss Chard this week as your fresh green. You may recall that you can use the entire leaf including the stalk. Add the chopped stalks to cook a little longer than the more tender leaves. Try steaming like spinach or sauté with garlic in olive oil for an easy, healthy side vegetable. Add to egg omelets or use to wrap rice or meats.


Fennel – organic

Radishes – organic
This week’s share includes a late planting of Easter Egg and French Breakfast Radishes. The tops are edible if desired, but most people focus on the bulb. You can enjoy raw grated, sliced into bite-size pieces, or added to vinegar and water for a quick pickle with the cucumbers. If you have never tried cooking radishes, you may be in for a surprise. Oven roast with potatoes, beets or other root vegetables, add to a pot roast or roasting hen, try in an Asian stir-fry. Yummy! A farm recipe for a radish and cucumber quick pickle salad can be found on the 9-22-08 entry on this page.

Tomatoes, Green
Find the first tomatoes of the season – green, not red. To retain as a green tomato, store refrigerated. Other-wise, storing out at room temperature you will find they begin to ripen up. An online newsletter (7-10-2006 from Elmwoodstock contains two methods for preparing fried green tomatoes. Wonderful on a sand-wich with fresh basil.

Red Beets – organic
We have a bit of a time-gap between the first planting of beets and the next one since the spring rains prevented us from getting the planter back into the field when we intended. Enjoy the last harvest of the first planting, still small and tender.

Garlic Scapes – organic
Enjoy the last scapes of the season – if you have developed a taste for them go ahead and process into fine pieces, then stick in the freezer to pull out later. You also may want to use the chopped scapes as your garlic when making the first basil pesto of the season! Or, go ahead and enjoy them sautéed with the Swiss chard or bok choy as a fresh side dish this week. Finally, find a recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto under a 6-16-08 entry on this blog website.

Kohlrabi - organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Bok Choy Salad
from Martha Stewart Living, July 2009

4 tsp rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
¾ tsp sugar
5 C sliced, raw bok choy (about 1 ½ pounds)
2 T chopped cashews

Whisk together first 4 ingredients. Add bok choy. Top with cashews when ready to serve. Serves 4.

Fennel Braised in Broth and Wine
Thanks to a friend of the farm for sharing this easy and tasty recipe for fresh fennel. Save the stem and fern-like leaves for another dish. You can reduce or increase the ingredient amounts depending on the quantity of fennel you have, as this is a very forgiving recipe.

6 small fennel bulbs (equivalent of 2 of the large bulbs in your CSA share last week or this week)
1 C chicken stock
½ C olive oil
1 C dry white wine (French Riesling suggested)

Slice bulbs into desired shape and size. Add all ingredients into large pan. Cover and simmer gently for approximately 45 minutes, checking periodically as liquid will cook down. Can be served hot or cold.

Green Tomato-Fresh Herb Crostini
recipe adapted from Southern Living, May 2009

¼ C + 2 T olive oil, separate measures
¾ C garlic scapes, finely chopped (or 2 garlic cloves, pressed)
1 French bread baguette, cut ¼ inch slices
3 T fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 large green tomato, finely chopped
½ C chopped fresh basil
1/3 C crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir ¼ C olive oil with garlic. Brush mixture on 1 side of each bread slice. Place slices garlic side up on a baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes until lightly toasted.

Whisk together lemon juice, 2 T olive oil, salt, pepper in a large bowl. Add tomato and basil and gently toss to coat. Top each bread slice with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes about 20 bread slices.

Monday, June 15, 2009

CSA Week 6

In Your Share
As always shares may vary depending on share size and harvest day. Each share may not contain every item below.

Bok Choy – organic
This smaller head of tender bok choy from the newest planting can be enjoyed chopped raw with an Asian style dressing (add in your raw kohlrabi and/or turnip and/or cuke). Also, don’t hesitate to try a quick stir-fry; the white or green stalk is the most savored portion of the vegetable. Store refrigerated.

Find the first slicing cucumbers of the season. They will keep best refrigerated, as this veggie is 98% water! Enjoy sliced in green salad, raw as a snack, or make a white vinegar and water marinade in a bowl and submerge your sliced cucumbers for a nice complement at lunch. Refrigerate before serving for a few hours or overnight. Will keep several days in the ‘quick pickle’ marinade.

Fennel – organic
The long stalks with hairy fern-like leaves are your fresh fennel bulbs and fronds. It has a long history as a popular item grown in ancient Greece. Fennel is known to aid in digestion, cure poor eyesight, help a nervous condition, and even repel insects. Store refrigerated and realize that the anise aroma will spread throughout your fridge. You can separate the leaves from the bulb to store if you want to keep in closed containers. Fennel is quite popular as a fresh herb seasoning with baked or broiled fish along with lemon.

Garlic Scapes – organic
A garlic scape is the center stalk of a hard neck garlic plant. Earlier this season, you had the entire green garlic plant including the stalk, leaves, and roots. The stalk grows above the ground and can be enjoyed many ways while we wait for the bulbs to fill out into cloves underground. Use the scapes in any manner you would use garlic cloves. Chop finely or use a processor. The flower head is also edible. You can make pesto; chop in salads; or sauté similar to green onions. Store refrigerated or in water in a vase.

Kohlrabi – organic
The round, ball-like item with just a few random leaves coming out is your kohlrabi. This alien vegetable grows best in cooler weather and is in the same family as turnip and broccoli. It contains a lot of fiber and is high in Vits. A and C. Long a popular veggie in the upper Midwestern states, we are starting to see it more here in the South. You do want to peel the outer tough skin, then either plan to enjoy raw or cook. Kids, especially, seem to like the raw, sweet kohlrabi sticks – but you can also add to fresh green salads, your cucumber vinegar bowl, or even into coleslaw.

One of the favorites at the farm is sautéing in a little butter or olive oil then eating as a side dish topped with black pepper or other seasonings. The kohlrabi has an unexpected sweetness that you really have to try to appreciate! It has a short season and is only available here in the spring and fall.

Spring Salad Mix – organic
This may be the last week of spring lettuces, as we just can’t predict how our next plantings will shape up with the heat/rain weather patterns of late. We plant with the intent to have spinach, lettuces or salad mix into July. But, the heat is not a friend to tender salad greens and the plants become unsuitable for harvest.

Yellow Squash
One of the most versatile summer vegetables, the squash can be enjoyed raw when sliced small, or cooked in many ways. When squash is harvested smaller, the skin is tender and it is unnecessary to peel. Also, the seeds are smaller and easier to digest. When harvested fresh, the flavor is strongest before the squash loses moisture through natural evaporation. Just remove the stem end before preparing and store refrigerated.

Lettuce Heads – organic
One more head of the Green Romaine for your weekly salads.

Turnips with Turnip Greens - organic
These Purple Top White Turnips seem to really love the warm and rainy days. The bulb can be separated from the greens for storage and will store refrige-rated for up to 4 weeks. You may want to peel and dice to sauté with kohlrabi, add to a squash dish, or oven roast on its own with some finely chopped garlic scapes and olive oil. Turnips can be mashed like potatoes with some milk or yogurt; and a farm favorite includes oven roasting with a maple syrup glaze. Enjoy the greens separately either steamed, boiled country style with seasonings, or chopped and added to eggs in quiche or breakfast burritos. Remove big stems for quick-cooking recipes.

Recipes to Enjoy

Shredded Kohlrabi
2-3 kohlrabi, peeled and shredded
2 T butter
1/3 C chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 T fresh herbs (you can use chopped fennel leaf)

In large skillet, place the kohlrabi, butter, stock, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 3-4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Serve sprinkled with fresh herbs. Makes 2-4 servings.

Squash Fritters
recipe from Sue McCoy

3 T vegetable oil, divided
1 egg, beaten
2/3 C milk
½ C self-rising cornmeal
1 C packed grated yellow squash or zucchini
2 T grated onion
2 T sour cream
2 T finely shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
prepared salsa

Combine 2 T oil, egg, milk, cornmeal, squash, onion, sour cream, cheese, cayenne, salt and black pepper; mix well. Add additional milk for a thinner consistency or another tablespoon of cornmeal if batter is too runny.

Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Spoon ¼ C batter per fritter into skillet. Cook until golden, about 4 minutes on first side and 2 minutes on second side. Repeat, with remaining batter.

Serve with salsa. Serves 4 as an entrée, 8 as a side.

Fennel Egg Salad
recipe from From Asparagus to Zucchini, makes 2 cups

6 large eggs
1/3 C finely chopped fennel bulb or stalk
2-3 T chopped fennel leaves
2-4 T finely chopped sweet red onion
4 T mayonnaise
1 ½ T white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Place eggs in saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to boil. Turn off heat. Cover pan tightly and set timer for 9 minutes. When timer goes off, drain eggs and immerse them in cold water for 10-15 minutes.

Peel and quarter eggs; place in food processor and using the pulse button, pulse until finely chopped, 8-12 times.

Add remaining ingredients; pulse until ingredients are well blended, 3-6 more times.
Use as a sandwich filling, a spread for crackers, or a garnish for tossed green salads.

Chinese Dressing Salad
recipe from Oak Ridge Farm, can be used on any type of chopped greens or bok choy or cucumbers

1/3 C sesame or olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic (try using your garlic scapes here, use a little more than 1 tsp and finely chop)
1-2 tsp grated fresh gingerroot (1/4 tsp powder)
dash of cayenne
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp seasme seeds
1 T chopped green onion

Mix all ingredients; toss with greens or shredded / diced/ matchsticks of vegetables. Makes about ½ C dressing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

CSA News, 5th Week

From the Farm . . .

As farmers our lives have always been in partnership with the seasons. If we don’t plant the seeds when the season is right for planting, we certainly won’t be successful in growing, tending, and harvesting a crop. This applies to all of our horticultural endeavors, our hay and grasses, also livestock breeding and poultry hatching. There are even better seasons for compost-making than others. And the seasons shape the microclimate of our farm, resulting in our lives revolving so much around the weather conditions and the weather forecast – as you have heard from us a time or two already . . . The inability to predict or control the climatic conditions is the BIG variable in every farmer’s life.

It is not easy to separate the work from the non-work on a farm, and often farmers don’t really see the need to. Only, if, and when, it is pointed out by someone else does this attempt to separate enter the conversation. (Sometimes this comes from one who views work as the negative and non-work as the positive in their own life.) Both our weekly work plan and our social time are reflected in the season and the farm’s needs at that particular time of the year.

We recognize that a farmer’s work includes many physical tasks, along with more paperwork than one can imagine, but also an ability to continually plan, adjust, problem-solve, readjust, analyze, study, observe, listen, react, care for, make-do, readjust again, communicate, coax, repair, and some level of optimism must be underlying in each of us. When the prized crop is 95% lost due to a pop-up hail storm, we are sad at our wasted efforts and lost opportunity, (and of course, affected finances), but we make plans to do it a little differently next year. In fact, we only get 50 or 60 chances (on a once-a-year crop), which is really not very many compared to other types of product production.

When the rains wash out the berries, all the water helps the greens and peas. The drought that slows the growth of the tomato or the melon will make their flavors much sweeter later.
One CSA member relayed to us his newly found attentiveness to the daily weather forecast now that he has a small vegetable plot in his own “back 40.” As you go through your daily life adjusting your plans to the weather or to fit the season, know that the food on your table has been through the same seasonal adjustments. Not just a partnership for the farmer, for you too!

In Your Share . . .
As always, shares may vary depending on your share size and day of harvest. Each share may not have each item listed.

Surprise! We are definitely winding down on this one.

Red Beets – organic
The rain has helped the early beets to size up nicely this week. We only included one or two this harvest so you might want to consider oven roasting this week and adding to salads. A popular beet and feta recipe is below.

Lettuce, Head – organic
Find a nice sized head of the green romaine lettuce in your share this week. It is one of our favorites as it retains a nice crisp flavor during these hot days – other varieties will bolt up to make flowers before ever sizing up to make heads.

We get questions about the appearance of our large romaine heads, as they are different than the bagged romaines found in the supermarkets. In larger lettuce production, usually at least half of the outer leaves are taken off of the heads and you only are able to purchase the hearts of the romaine. The outer wrapper leaves are left behind in the field, the middle leaves are washed and sanitized in the lettuce packing houses and they are then packed into food service boxes where they make their way into fast food joints, schools and chain restaurants who use them on burgers and sandwiches – the perfect size lettuce leaf, all ready to go, making burger building more efficient.

Larger size shares also contain a red leaf lettuce head, Rouge de Greno-blouse.

Spring Salad Mix – organic
Several of the lettuces will not make full heads before the heat of summer sets in. Our solution is to cut the leaves and bag as a spring salad mix. You will want to wash and dry your salad greens prior to eating.

Yellow Squash
Included is your first harvest of the season of the summer squash. It will keep well for you refrigerated (especially out of the drying air) and can be used later on in the week. The skin is soft since so fresh, so no need to peel, just discard the stem end.

Sugar Snap Peas – organic
We can enjoy one more harvest of the sweet peas this week. You may see some discoloration on the peapods this week that we described in an earlier newsletter – this rusting is a result of the heavy rains last week and our choice to grow these peas organically not using a preventative fungicide. The dark color on the pod will not hurt the flavor, but if you find it too unsightly, just shell out the sweet peas and lightly steam or sauté. You can also enjoy raw in a green salad or as a snack. It is surprising how many children have never shelled out their own peas! Keep peas refrigerated and use them early in the week if possible.

Find some tender green zucchini this harvest. You can prepare with the yellow squash, or use on its own. Enjoy raw in dips, grated into salads, steamed, fried, sautéed, stir-fry, baked in casseroles, or try some zucchini bread.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Red Curry Beef, serves 4

Our thanks to a CSA member for this versatile and tasty recipe. She reports, “I have found this to be the best way I can use large quantities and wide varieties of greens. Amazingly, our 7 and 10 year-old kids even love it! I have also added other veggies thinly sliced.”

2 T canola oil
1½ T red curry paste
1T soy sauce
1T sugar
1 lb. ground beef
¼ C coconut milk
6 scallions, thinly sliced
5 oz. baby spinach (I also use Swiss chard, turnip greens, other root tops, etc.)
Zest and juice of ½ lime
½ C shredded fresh basil
½ C crushed unsalted peanuts

In skillet over medium heat, combine oil, curry paste, soy sauce & sugar. Cook about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add beef and sauté until cooked through. Stir in coconut milk and reduce to a simmer. Mix in scallions and spinach until just wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in limejuice & zest and basil. Serve over cooked rice, garnished with peanuts, or drain juices and serve in tortillas.

Salad Mix with Beets and Feta
adapted from Rock Spring Farm

Wash, dry, and tear your lettuce ready for salad toppings. Plan ahead to roast beets in advance.

2 tsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbs. olive or nut oil
1 lb roasted red beets
3 cups salad mix
1/4 lb feta cheese, crumbled

Whisk together the vinegar and oil to make vinaigrette. Add salt to taste. Slice the beets thinly and toss with a little bit of the vinaigrette. Combine the greens with the vinaigrette, and arrange over the beet slices. Crumble feta on top.

To Roast Beets:

Scrub beets and trim tops to 1 inch (leaving a little stem prevents the bleeding common with red beets). Place in foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly. Oven roast 350-400 degrees or put on grill for 30 minutes – 1 hour depending on size of beets. Beets are done when can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool and remove skins.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Week 4, CSA

From the Farm . . .

Like many in our area, the farm continues to enjoy the daily rains. We can continue to focus on planting, weeding and harvesting since irrigation is not yet needed. The rain is also good for greens, lettuces and peas.

Your shares will be heavy on lettuces this week since the later plants have caught up with the early plants and both are ready for harvest. If you have a little time to wash and properly store your lettuce heads, they should keep for you easily for several days. Take a big salad to that weekend pot luck, add lettuce to your sandwiches and wraps, serve under seafood, even try grilling your romaine hearts before adding a little salad dressing. We have several more crops of lettuce planted, trying for varieties that perform well in KY springtime weather conditions and that have great flavor. Our intent is to extend the salad season as long as we can.

As you may know, our organic certification requires we source and plant certified organic seeds for our crops. Some years, organic seeds for old standby varieties may not be available. In some cases, we use another variety that is organic. Sometimes we can get approval from our certification agency to use non-organic seed as long as it is untreated with a fungicide (as many seeds are to prevent rotting when planted in damp soil). We absolutely never use any GMO seeds for our organic production, nor any fungicide treated seeds, nor seeds treated with a pelleted coating not approved for organic (it makes smaller seeds easier to plant).

Limited production and availability of certified organic seeds is becoming an issue for not only organic vegetables, but also organic grasses, legumes, and small grains. We grow, gather, and store many seeds from our own plants each year, but still need to rely on several items or varieties that specialized seed growers produce. Just like our organic costs are higher than conventional, organic seed producers have higher costs too resulting in organic seed being priced higher than non-organic seed. But, we are willing to pay what they ask as we know what goes into bringing those desired seeds to the marketplace.

If you know any aspiring young folks interested in organic agriculture, the preservation and production of organic seeds should be highly recommended to them for further exploration.

In Your Share . . .
Share items may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.

We are glad to include some asparagus for its final week of harvest.

Swiss Chard – organic
We always love when the Rainbow Swiss Chard is ready. The colors are so bright (hence a variety name of “Bright Lights”) to make preparing a good-for-you vegetable more fun. Chard is high in Vit. A, E, and C along with calcium and iron. Chard does not contain oxalic acid resulting in your body absorbing more of the minerals during digestion.You can enjoy the entire leaf including the whole stalk. Easy recipes include stir-fry, steaming, or sautéing. You can enjoy when raw, but we suggest using as a cooked green this week. Find a popular recipe below.

Lettuce, Head – organic
This week’s share is loaded up on lettuce, we have plenty at the farm and want to make sure you have an opportunity to get all you want this week. Every share size should contain a green butter-head (a Boston type lettuce, the butterheads are in same family as KY bibb) and a red romaine (an heirloom French variety, more tender than other romaines). Larger shares also contain a green romaine that is a very bright green and one of the best tasting of the many romaine varieties.

Spinach – organic
This week’s harvest is from a new patch just planted earlier in the spring. You can mix this with salad greens or enjoy it cooked. It can be used instead of chard in a favorite recipe included below.

Spring Salad Mix – organic
Our salad mix is only lettuce, no spicy greens included. It does not keep as long for you as whole lettuce heads since the individual leaves can dry out quicker in your air-cooled refrigerator. We rinse field dirt, but do not pack it for you ready-to-eat, so wash well just like all the vegetables.

Sugar Snap Peas – organic
The peas seem to be sweetening up a bit more with a few days of hot weather. Remember that the entire pod and peas inside are edible. You will want to snap the tiny end and pull the string from end to end before eating.

Strawberries – organic
We are trying to not pick these when they are wet from the rain or they get mushy. As a result, like last week, the berries are really ripe when harvested. And we have lost several due to the rain. You probably won’t have a problem using them soon (a benefit of picking when ripe is the extra sweet flavor). You also have the comfort of knowing they are grown organically.

Garlic Scapes – organic
A garlic scape is the center stalk of a hard neck garlic plant. Earlier this season, you had the entire green garlic plant including the stalk, leaves, and roots. The stalk grows above the ground and can be enjoyed many ways while we wait for the bulbs to fill out into cloves underground. Use the scapes in any manner you would use garlic cloves. Chop finely or use a processor. The flower head is also edible. You can make pesto; chop in salads; or sauté similar to green onions. Store refrigerated or in water in a vase.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Easy Steamed or Sautéed Vegetable of the Week
Recipe shared by a member who has had success, so far, using asparagus one week and spinach the next. She is also planning this for green beans later on.

lemon juice
Dijon mustard
pine nuts (toasted with a little olive oil) *and/or *capers *and/or* garlic

Mix above ingredients with steamed or sautéed vegetable of the week.

Swiss Chard Pie
recipe adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

½ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (use your scapes instead)
2 T oil
1 bunch Swiss Chard
3 jumbo or 4 large eggs
½ C shredded cheese
½ tsp salt
1 pie crust

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brown onion and garlic in oil. Trim and chop chard, add to pan, and cook down until wilted. Beat eggs in bowl; mix in cheese, salt and chard mixture. Pour into pie crust, bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes.

Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas with Carrots and Honey Glaze
recipe from Farmer John’s Cookbook, as written serves 3 to 4

½ - 1 pound sugar snap peas
2 medium carrots, peeled
2 T butter
1 T honey
freshly ground black pepper

1. Remove the strings from both edges of the pea pods (start by gently pulling from the stem).

2. Cut each carrot into thirds. Slice each third, lengthwise, into quarters so that the slices are about the size and shape of the sugar snap peas.

3. Place the carrots in a steamer basket set over 1 ½ inches boiling water, cover and steam until they are just crisp tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the carrots in a colander.

4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar snap peas; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the carrots. Continue to cook and stir until the peas are bright green and crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Add the honey and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly, until the peas and carrots are thoroughly glazed with the honey.

5. Remove the skillet from heat. Season generously with pepper.