Monday, May 30, 2011

Oh Sunny Day! Week 4, CSA

Yes, we did get the potatoes planted this month. Maybe a little late, but they are starting to poke through the soil and look pretty good.

Old-timer experiential knowledge is to plant your seed potatoes on Good Friday for a nice crop of early new potatoes. As you can imagine, with heavy rains and super wet fields, not a good idea. Even if it was possible to plow a furrow or pull the planter through the field, the cold wet soil would just cause the seed potatoes to rot before they had a chance to grow. Later is definitely better than not at all.

Week 4, CSA, From the Farm . . .

Our current weather indicates that summer is here already! After such a long, cold spring, we are due some drier, warmer days, and many of your vegetable crops are ready. The beans, cucumbers, squashes, melons, corn, potatoes, peppers, and especially tomatoes need sunshine. It seems like we can almost see them growing right before our eyes! The asparagus and spinach are slowing down as we change to a summer-like season. You have several new items this week in your share. As long as the weather cooperates, you will start to see more variety each week as many of the early crops begin to catch up.

In Your Share . . .

Items in your shares may vary depending on 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.

Herbs: Fresh Tarragon and Oregano – organic
Find a couple of sprigs of fresh herbs to mince and enjoy with your fresh peas. You can also add to a fresh green lettuce or spinach salad, or top an asparagus quiche, sauté, or frittata. Each matches well with the flavor of peas; store in water in a flower vase in the fridge.

Sugar Snap Peas – organic
The entire pod and peas inside are edible and you can enjoy fresh peas many ways:

1) raw,

2) lightly blanch & plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking and add to salads,

3) steam and add a little butter, or

4) use in a quick stir-fry.

This variety we are harvesting today is a stringless type, so you can eat the whole pod. Only in hot, dry weather does this pea plant produce a string that needs to be removed prior to use.

Salad Mix – organic
Find a mix of several varieties of green and red lettuces. Nothing spicy is in your salad mix today. We have rinsed field dirt off with cool water that also helps to bring down the temperature of the greens - this is a key to keeping things fresher longer. However, you should always wash your produce items before eating as nothing is boxed for you “ready to eat”.
You may find that a salad spinner is a very helpful kitchen gadget to have on hand. Salad dressing tends to slide off of wet lettuce, and excess water in your storage container may contribute to items not storing as long. With care, your lettuces will easily keep fresh a week or more if desired.

Spinach – organic

Supermarkets fool us into thinking that fresh spinach can be grown year round everywhere! This cool weather crop does well in KY during spring and fall, and our many days of cool weather this spring helped the seeds to germinate and plants to thrive. The heat will slow it down, so enjoy it for another week as we see how this favorite holds up into June.

Strawberries – organic

Butterhead Lettuce - organic
The full lettuce heads have not yet sized up, so only the larger shares have an extra head today. Next week, all shares will have plenty of lettuce or salad greens. The green butterhead is a Boston type lettuce, the butterheads are in same family as KY Bibb lettuce.

Red Kale and Green Mustard Bunch – organic
Find a bundle of cooking greens today including the Flat Leafed Red Kale and the Curly Leafed Green Mustard. For a quick sauté or light steaming, tear or cut away any thick stems, otherwise the stems can remain and cook along with the leaves in a simmering recipe. The mustard has a little spiciness while the kale is less strong and a smoother flavor.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Asparagus & Green Garlic Sauté
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe. This is a nice way to use any green garlic still in the refrigerator from last week.

Wash and cut up 2-5 stalks green garlic, sliced finely as far up as you find tender. Prepare 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces, remove stem ends or peel away outer skin if stem ends are a little tough.

Sauté garlic greens in a little olive oil until golden. Add asparagus and cook over medium heat until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. When tender and ready to eat, sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on top. So yummy!

Variation: You can use the same recipe with green beans too!

Parmesan Asparagus Roll-Ups
Recipe from Taste of Home

12 spears fresh asparagus
2 sheets phyllo dough (18” x 14”)
4 tsp olive oil
¼ C grated Parmesan cheese
dash pepper

Cut asparagus into 4 inch lengths. In a large saucepan, bring ½ inch water to a boil. Add asparagus, cover and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately place in ice water to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry.

Stack both sheets of phyllo dough on a work surface. Cut the stack in half lengthwise, then widthwise into thirds. Separate pieces and brush with some of the oil. Sprinkle each with 1 tsp cheese. Place one asparagus spear along one side of each piece of phyllo dough. Sprinkle lightly with pepper; roll up tightly.

Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with oil. Bake at 400° for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy as a snack or appetizer.

Chicken Stir-Fry With Sugar Snap Peas and Spinach

recipe adapted from Simply in Season by Marty Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert

This recipe suggests a pound of chicken cut into cubes. You can use leftovers from your organic Elmwood hen, or substitute turkey, salmon or even tofu. Make your own organic chicken stock or vegetable stock from your green garlic leaves, asparagus ends, kale stems and any other leftover veggies. Add water, seasonings and simmer. When finished, strain, then refrigerate until ready to use.

3 T light soy sauce
2 T brown sugar

1 T sesame oil
1 T sesame seeds
1 T cornstarch
2 tsp ginger root, peeled and minced
1 ½ tsp minced fresh garlic (any green garlic left?)
½ tsp crushed dried chilies (or Tabasco sauce); optional
1 pound boneless chicken, cut into cubes
olive oil
1 C sugar snap peas
1 bunch fresh spinach
12 ounces fettuccine or spaghetti or soba or rice noodles, already cooked

Whisk together first 8 ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

In large fry pan over medium-high heat, sauté chicken in a small amount of olive oil until meat is cooked through. Add peas and spinach to pan. Add soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, 3 minutes.

Mix in cooked pasta noodles and serve immediately.

Strawberry Bread
recipe adapted from Simply in Season by Marty Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert, makes 1 loaf

1 C flour
½ C whole wheat flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

1 ¼ C strawberries, mashed
¾ C sugar
2/3 C oil
2 eggs

Mix rest of ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in dry ingredient mix until just combined. (Do not over-mix or your bread will be tough).
Pour into greased 8 inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated over at 350° F until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour.

Monday, May 23, 2011

CSA, Week 3

Spring Lettuces alongside a Buffer Strip

From the Farm . . .

Many of you have been with us for several years, cooking up your weekly box of produce and learning to “eat with the seasons.” After a few seasons, you probably have a fairly good idea of when certain vegetables become ready, how many weeks you can expect to enjoy your favorites like asparagus and strawberries, and more or less the quantity of items to expect in your boxes. Sure, things change slightly from year to year, but generally seasonality is somewhat predictable. Until this season!

Rain, cold, rain, wind, rain, rain, rain. Unless you have been traveling a great deal lately, you are very aware of the record setting rainfall we have had in Central KY this spring. With wet, water-laden soils, we could not plant seeds, nor transplant crops from the greenhouse into the fields. As a result, many spring items are several weeks late, you saw when here at the farm tour.

Running tractors over soupy fields, marching feet up and down the muddy rows, using a hand tool or fingers to push a seed or small plant into wet soil – all of these things result in compacted soil. Such soil will not support microbial or plant life whenever it dries out – in fact, the soil structure would be devastated for the rest of the season. No capillary action, no water-holding capacity, no friability, basically an anaerobic condition.

How, you might ask, would one hurt the soil by working in it when yet? Think about scooping up some wet soil in your hand, compressing it tightly, more or less resulting in a mud ball. As the water is excluded, the ball will hold its form. The water you pushed out was in the place of air normally in soil. The airways found in soil structure are essential in allowing air and moisture, microbial life, and even plant roots to move through the soil. When you compact or compress wet soil, you close up those passageways. Then, when we get a dry or sunny afternoon, compacted soil will dry out quickly resulting in a brick-like situation. Think about making pottery, compress the water out so it dries hard. Not a good farming practice, but it has been known to happen to even the most conscientious grower. If it does, later in the season, when trying to cultivate or plow, you will find yourself “stirring marbles” due to the brick-like particles you created when your soil was too wet to work.

The freeze-thaw cycle of Kentucky winters is the “reset” button to help any mistakes in soil treatment the prior season. Most winters it helps to rejuvenate soil structure.

Another challenge is the lack of sunshine. Most of the time when it is raining, it is not sunny. Any sunny day helps all the plants quite a bit, but the color tones of the greens and lettuces show the low levels of sunshine this season so far.

Some farms have not experienced as much rainfall. Some other CSAs delayed the start of their distribution due to the challenging growing season. Elmwood did not delay, as we did not want you to miss out on any asparagus and strawberries. Many of the transplants are out, spring spinach, lettuce and peas look good, the potatoes were finally planted last week, and the first three of your four successive tomato crops have been transplanted. And, we are weeding as fast as we can!

In Your Share . . .

Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.


Garlic Greens – organic

Your green garlic can be used in anything calling for garlic cloves, fresh garlic, minced garlic, or dried garlic. Finely chop as far up the stalk as desired, you can even use the roots.

Spinach – organic

This week’s spinach is the first harvest from the new plants. Enjoy raw fresh, use in one of the recipes in this newsletter, add to a quick pasta dish, use in soup, or lightly wilt and eat as a side dish with your favorite seasoning.

Strawberries – organic

Salad Mix – organic
Find a mix of several lettuce varieties, tender and small leaved, ready for a light spring salad. We are happy to see some lettuces growing after being delayed for many weeks.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Spinach Asparagus Frittata
Thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe. She likes the idea of a frittata as you don’t have to have a piecrust on hand that you do need for quiche. She adapted an online recipe by adding the garlic greens and changing the process slightly. The result speaks for itelf, Wow!

8 eggs room temperature



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic greens, finely chopped

1 lb asparagus chopped into 1 inch pieces

3 cups baby spinach

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

Whisk eggs and add in salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Heat olive oil on medium heat in an ovenproof pan. Add in onion and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add in asparagus and cook for additional 5 minutes. Add spinach and sauté until wilted.

Add eggs and stir around until they pull away from the sides of the pan. Add cheese, place pan in oven to broil on low until the eggs are set. Plate immediately and add additional grated Parmesan if desired.

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, our thanks to a CSA member for sharing one of her favorite ways to enjoy spring asparagus.

1 lb asparagus, trimmed
2 t olive oil
1 ½ c halved grape tomatoes
½ t jarred fresh garlic OR 1-2 green garlic, minced
2 T balsamic vinegar
¼ t salt
3 T crumbled goat cheese
½ t black pepper

Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook until tomatoes begin to soften, 3 - 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, cook another 1 - 3 minutes until tomatoes begin to break down and vinegar reduces. Stir in salt. Pour over asparagus and sprinkle with cheese and pepper. Yield: 4 servings

Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Thanks to a friend of the farm for sharing this yummy seasonal recipe she pulled off the web. She adapted with a slightly different dressing, so we’ve included both options for you. As written, makes 4 servings; you can reduce amount of asparagus and berries depending on your share size.

2 C asparagus, cut in pieces and blanched
2 C strawberries, sliced (about 1 pint)

#1 Dressing:

¼ C lemon juice
2 T vegetable oil
2 T honey

#2 Dressing:

2 T balsamic vinegar;
juice from half a lemon
1 T honey
olive oil to taste
black pepper to taste, a lot is good!

Toss the asparagus and strawberries together in a bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Chill before serving.

Spinach and Chickpeas
This winning recipe is shared by a CSA member

2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 lb. spinach, washed
1 T olive oil
½ C tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced (use your green garlic)
½ t ground cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
½ t smoked paprika
1 ½ T red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Wilt spinach in large skillet or saucepan until just tender. Remove to a colander to drain well.

Heat olive oil over medium heat, add garlic and spices, and cook a minute or so until fragrant. Add chickpeas and tomato sauce and cook, stirring, until hot and chickpeas have absorbed the flavors. Season with salt and pepper.

Add spinach and vinegar and cook until hot. If mixture seems too dry, add a little more tomato sauce or water.

Adjust seasonings if necessary and serve tapas-style with crusty bread or toasted pitas. Although good immediately, this dish is best at room temperature after the flavors have had some time to mingle.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Week 2, CSA

In Your Share . . .
Items in the shares may vary depending on your share size and day of harvest. All shares during the week may not have the exact same items.


Heirloom Black Beans – organic

Our organic beans are a farm favorite and we are learning more each year on growing dried beans. Popular in Italian, Mediterrean, Latin American, and Caribbean cuisine, your beans can be used in soups, stews, salads, or wraps and burritoes. You can soak in water overnight – remove any pod, chaf, or debris before cooking.

Garlic Greens – organic
Several recipes are out and about for using the spring garlic greens. Find a new recipe below. Remember that the garlic can be used in anything calling for garlic cloves or anything calling for green onions, you will just have garlic flavor rather than onion flavor. Also you can chop and freeze to use later on in a sauté, soup, or to make green garlic pesto.

Fresh Herb: Sage – organic
The aromatic Sage is one of the most popular fresh-cut herbs. Sage has a long history dating to the Romans. It is associated with immortality and mental sharpness, and even Charlemagne had it grown in his royal gardens for its benefits to the human body.The leaves are chopped and eaten fresh in salads, topping pasta, with meats, or with cheese. Dried it can be used many ways and will be stronger in flavor. Keep refrigerated rolled in a damp paper towel or in a small glass in water, in the fridge if you can. Fry sage leaves lightly in butter and enjoy the resulting butter-sage sauce over pasta. Use when preparing your dried beans this week as a nice complementary flavor.

Over wintered Spinach – organic
Enjoy this tender leaved red-stemmed spinach that does well in cold weather. Once it warms up, we won’t see this variety again until the fall season. Eat raw as salad, use in a soup or sauté, or add to pasta or a pizza.

Strawberries – organic
All shares have strawberries today. These are picked at full ripeness and have nice flavor. Warm temperatures the end of last week pushed many berries to ripen, but two days of cold, wet has slowed them again. We’ll have more as the days warm up.

Radishes – organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Asparagus with Green Garlic
This recipe adapted from original in New York Times – one tip is knowing when you sauté or roast asparagus
in hot olive oil, the asparagus will have a much more concentrated flavor than it would if steamed or blanched. Add the garlic to the pan once the asparagus is just about done, so that the garlic cooks only long enough to soften and sweeten.

1-2 small bulb green garlic
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 to 1 ½ pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths
Freshly ground pepper
1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley or favorite herb

Remove any thick skins from each clove, and cut the garlic into thin slices.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the asparagus and salt to taste. Sauté until the asparagus is tender and the skin has shriveled slightly, about five minutes. Add the garlic, and continue to sauté for another minute until the garlic is translucent. Adjust salt, add the pepper and parsley, and serve. Quantities can be adjusted depending on amount of asparagus on hand. Recipe as is serves 4.

Basic Black Bean Soup

Soak your beans overnight in approximately 4 Cups of water to be ready to prepare

1 C black beans
4 C water for soaking
2 C water

After soaking beans do not discard soaking water, rather put all the beans and soaking water into a pot. Add additional water and simmer gently for one hour. Salt and pepper to taste.

During this time you can add one or any number of these items: diced onion, tomato, garlic greens, spinach, chiles, cilantro, lime juice, ground cumin, carrot, celery, bay leaf, sage or whatever spices you prefer. Serves 4. Stores well refrigerated.

Asparagus, Garlic & Chicken Pasta
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe she served last week. She reports even her teenager liked it! Serve with green salad topped with assorted radishes, finishing with strawberries for dessert!! Perfect!!

3 cups dry penne pasta
1 T olive oil
½ Vidalia onion, thinly sliced wedges
2 garlic greens, thinly sliced whites, some green
½ C chicken broth
1 bunch asparagus
2 chicken breasts, cooked, and thinly sliced
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste
2 oz. cream cheese, light is fine
2 T. grated Parmesan

Cook penne according to package directions, drain when done. Put 1 T olive oil in large sauté pan, sauté onion, garlic greens, and dried red pepper flakes until softened. Snap tough ends from bottom of asparagus spears. Snap spears into pieces the size of the penne. Add asparagus to sautéed onions. Add a little of the chicken broth to lightly steam asparagus. When the asparagus starts to soften a little, add the chicken and the rest of the chicken broth. Stir in salt, pepper, cream cheese and grated Parmesan. When the cream cheese is melted, stir in drained pasta and mix well. If you didn't have cooked chicken breasts, you could begin by sautéing your chicken breasts in the olive oil until done, placing them
aside to cool for slicing, and continuing with the sautéing of the onion, garlic greens and dried red pepper flakes in the same pan.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Season! Week 1 CSA Distribution

Welcome to the 2011 season of Elmwood Stock Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program. Our goal is to provide you clean, tasty, beautiful, special, high quality fresh foods. We hope you enjoy eating fresh from the farm and have fun with the experience of sometimes trying new things!

Our 22-week season is focused on the months of the year that vegetables flourish when grown in Central Kentucky. You start off with asparagus and spring greens; move to hot weather tomatoes, corn, and beans; then wind down in the fall with root crops and winter squashes. This is the normal production cycle. However, this spring the record setting rainfall has delayed production of many spring items.

Crops that were already in the ground when the rains became heavy are what we can harvest: garlic and spinach planted last fall; asparagus that lasts several years once established; strawberries and herbs that will grow out in the spring once planted the year prior. We also have a few dried storage items like corn and beans.

Items we usually start seeing in May such as lettuces, salad mix, and cooking greens were both transplanted and direct sown (again) into the fields during the last 2 weeks when we had a few dry days here and there. Normally these plants are transferred from the greenhouses into the fields 3 to 4 weeks earlier than now!

So, the good news is that we have not had a crop failure, just experiencing delays. You will see the results of delayed planting with later-than-average harvests of greens, broccoli and cabbage, and maybe even tomatoes. We really didn’t want to postpone the start of your season or you would miss out on the asparagus, spinach and strawberries, several of your favorites. As many of you already know, we’ll make up for less diversity now with bountiful baskets in a few weeks as soon as the crops have time to grow!

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

If you have never had fresh asparagus, you are in for a treat. You will want to remove the rough end that grows right under ground level. Shorter stalks may not have to be trimmed if the ends are tender. Or you may want to lightly peel away the outer skin at the bottom of the stalk. Enjoy boiled, steamed, sautéed, baked, or roasted. To store, put the cut ends in water in a drinking glass or small bowl. Or wrap in a wet paper towel and place inside a container in your refrigerator.

Heirloom White Corn Meal – organic
This heirloom variety of white corn grinds up into a beautiful white meal once the ears are dried and shelled. Store in the freezer as no preserva-tives are added. Find a wonderful recipe below.

Garlic Greens - organic
Resembling a green onion, the delicate green garlic is enjoyed only in the spring before the plant’s energy is put into making a bulb under the ground. Use all of the white and as much of the green you find tender - as you would a green onion – several inches up the stalk. Use in any recipe that calls for garlic: sauté in olive oil, chop in salad or pasta, make pesto, or add to soups.

Over wintered Spinach – organic
Seeds are planted in the fall and we see a little plant growth in Oct to Nov. Often the roots will survive winter to start growing earlier in the spring than any new plantings will. Enjoy spinach salad, or steam lightly. Spinach that has been through the spring frosts will have great flavor.

Fresh Oregano & Thyme – organic
You can use fresh, or hang to dry. Remove the leaves from the stem before chopping.

Radishes – organic
This week’s share includes a harvest of Easter Egg Radishes – pink, red, and white skins. The tops are edible if desired, but most people focus on the bulb. You can enjoy raw grated, sliced into bite-size pieces on a fresh green salad, or added to vinegar and water for quick pickling.

Strawberries – organic
Yeh! Yeh! These do not need much description, just a few the very first harvest (we have not even had any yet!)

Recipes to Enjoy

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

adapted from, Thanks to a CSA member for trying outand sharing this yummy recipe

1 pizza crust of your choice
½ lb. asparagus
¼ c grated Parmesan
½ lb. shredded mozzarella
2 t olive oil
½ t coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to highest temperature. Preheating a pizza stone or pan will help to ensure a crispy crust. Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board and using a vegetable peeler, create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks. Discard tough ends.

Toss peelings with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle pizza dough with Parmesan, then mozzarella. Pile asparagus on top. Bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly and the asparagus might be lightly charred.

Optional: Add red pepper flakes to asparagus mixture, sprinkle with chopped scallions or your green garlic after baking and/or squeeze a lemon over top. For a quick fix, omit cheeses and top a frozen cheese pizza with asparagus mixture.

Green Garlic Soup
adapted from a James Peterson recipe

1 ½ pounds garlic greens
2 T butter
3 ½ C broth
½ C heavy cream (optional, for creamy soup)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut most of flat leaves away, leaving inch or so of dark
green above the white portion. Cut off roots and discard. Cut into pieces to fit into deep skillet with butter and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

Add stock and bring to simmer over high heat. Turn heat down to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes more. Use hand blender in pan to puree, or carefully puree in blender for 1 minute.

Work through strainer into a clean pot with the back of a ladle. Add cream, if desired, bring to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Corn Bread Recipe
Our thanks to Jennifer Gleason at Sunflower Sundries for sharing this tasty recipe using freshly ground white cornmeal. She also grows, grinds, and sells an Heirloom variety of cornmeal along with her jams and mustards. You should have enough in your share to make this recipe twice.

Mix together:

1 C organic cornmeal
1 C flour
½ C sugar
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

In separate bowl, mix together:

4 eggs, beaten slightly
1 ½ C yogurt or sour cream or buttermilk or cottage cheese (something white, any of these are good)
2 T melted butter (use from the 4 T melted in skillet, see below)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Melt 4 T butter in medium cast iron skillet in oven (use 2 T above and leave 2 T in hot skillet)
3. Mix wet and dry ingredients together briefly, pour into hot skillet with melted butter and bake for 25 min.
4. Check with toothpick to come out clean.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Drip Drop Drip Drop

CSA Member Farm Tour for today has been Cancelled.

Look for your email with details on the new day. Hopefully sunnier skies will come our way and make for a more pleasant afternoon at the farm next time. Stay warm and dry!