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.