Monday, May 11, 2015

Summer 2015 - Week 1

 Happy New Year of Sorts – the Season Starts at Elmwood 

Welcome to the first farm share of the Elmwood Stock Farm 2015 summer season. You will receive more than just the produce and protein items we are growing for you, we hope to educate and enlighten you through this newsletter each week about how our certified organic farming system works, the health benefits to you of food from the farm, and ultimately how this relationship extends those benefits to the environment and social fabric of the Bluegrass Region.

A brief background to begin, this is our 11th year to offer a CSA program which indicates the business model of-your-investment-in-us-to-grow-your-food is working, for Elmwood and for many farm share members. The entire operation is Certified Organic by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which gives you the assurance that our farming system not only produces wholesome pesticide- free food, but is verified by a third-party inspection process. To borrow a phrase from an organic retail store in Florida, we are militant about organic, so you can eat in peace. We grow hundreds of varieties of the various kinds of vegetables, so you may see some items that you have never seen before. Not to worry, trying new veggies, or trying new recipes in this newsletter, is often expressed to us as one of the exciting aspects of being a Farm Share member.

Seasonal eating is an adventure. As each bag or box comes, you may be exposed to the new colors and flavors of foods you have never cooked with before, or you may be anticipating the freshness and deliciousness of familiar favorites.  Either way, here are a few tips for eating from a seasonal farm share:

• Take a few minutes to assess what you have – look at the listing on the side of the newsletter. When you get home, decide what needs to be eaten fairly soon and what can wait until later in the week. A few minutes now will save you time later and often some items are more perishable than others – we will often include suggestions on what keeps well and how to store things.

• Remember to wash your vegetables. We do not pack your produce ready to eat. Some items are rinsed and cooled before you get them, but this aids in removing dirt and reducing the field temperature – things we do to ensure better post-harvest quality.

• Try to refrigerate as soon as possible. This is the number one way to keep everything fresh. You can rehydrate leafy greens or lettuce by soaking in cold water; let us know if you need help.

• Find recipes that fit your lifestyle from our newsletters, cookbooks or the internet. Visit our Pinterest page; visit our Elmwood blog for many recipes from past seasons.  For example, if you look at shares harvested in May of past seasons, you’ll find lots of recipes using asparagus.

We are especially excited to welcome several new members through a partnership with the University of Kentucky Wellness Program. As the local health care community is learning the value of having their customers engage in a healthy eating lifestyle and consuming locally grown organic food, everyone is a winner. This year’s pilot project is part of a longer range goal to actually have health care insurance premiums lowered for those of that make a commitment to eat local organic foods through an organic CSA program. 

We have come to realize that there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ growing season, although some are more remarkable than others. This is one of those seasons. We heard that April 2015 was the second wettest month in the history of weather data collection here, so that has some of our Spring plantings delayed. While some transplants are just going out to the fields, in 2013 those same crops were about ready for harvest at this time. We will talk a lot about soil in these postings, but for now, suffice it to say it is counterproductive to plow and cultivate the soil when wet, so we have to wait. Patience is a virtue in farming, and since good things come to those who wait, as a shareholder, you will see that the bounty to come will be even better than anticipated.

In Your Share :

Dried Beans: Black Turtle Heirloom

Before cooking the beans from your share in the recipe of your choice, be sure to soak them in cold water for several hours. This can be done overnight the day before you wish to use them. Soaking the beans makes the beans more digestible by removing some of the complex sugars that cause gas, and also reduces cooking time. Once the beans have finished soaking, scoop and discard any that are floating and rinse the remaining beans in clean, running water. Drain them in a colander or sieve. The beans are now ready to be cooked! Do this by simmering until tender in water or broth, or by cooking in the crock pot along with other ingredients for a soup or stew. Cooked beans can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, salads, casseroles, or side dishes.

Green Garlic
Green garlic looks a lot like a green onion, but is actually the stem or shoot of immature garlic bulbs that are just beginning to form. This is why they are available in your CSA shares and at farmers markets in the early spring, but not later on in the season when garlic has matured. The shoots have a delicate garlic flavor and can be substituted for mature garlic in most recipes, providing the dish with a milder taste. It can also be used the way you would use scallions or green onions, chopped in a salad, used as a garnish, or simmered in soups or broths.
Sweet Potatoes



Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Beans and Greens, serves 4 (adapted from The Kitchn)
4 sweet potatoes
2 T olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 green garlic, chopped finely
1 sprig fresh rosemary, about 3-4 inches
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 C cooked and drained Elmwood beans
6 C spinach or other fresh green, trimmed and sliced into ribbons
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub potatoes and prick them in a few places with a fork. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until soft all the way through, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. About 15 to 20 minutes before the sweet potatoes are done, heat the olive oil over low-moderate heat in a wide, heavy saucepan. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary sprig, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add the beans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach, cover the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the spinach is soft. Remove the rosemary sprig, stir in the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, slice each sweet potato lengthwise and push on the ends to open up the middle. Spoon the beans and greens into the center.Click to see savings

Asparagus with Green Garlic and Horseradish, serves 4 (adapted from Food52)
1 bunch green garlic
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and washed
2 tsp freshly grated horseradish root
1 T olive oil
Half a lemon
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. While it heats, trim the root end of the garlic; then slice the entire stem in half lengthwise. Remove any tough outer skin. Lay each half cut-side-down and slice as thinly as possible up the stem as far as it is tender. Gather up the garlic in a bowl, season with coarse salt and work the salt into the sliced garlic using your fingers. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. When the water boils, add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry the asparagus spears, then cut thinly (1/4-inch) on the bias. Arrange the asparagus on a platter (or individual plates). Sprinkle the garlic over the asparagus. Drizzle some oil over the asparagus. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape away about 1 inch of the horseradish skin from the end of the root; give it a rinse. Grate the white root over the asparagus -- about 2 tsp of horseradish. Season with more salt, if needed, and serve with lemon wedges.

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Toasted Walnuts, a Julia Bauer recipe that uses no sugar; if you prefer sweeter ice cream than the sweet potato offers, add a little honey or maple syrup.
1 medium-large sweet potato, baked until soft
1 (14 oz) canned coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 T cinnamon (the more the better)
sprinkle of nutmeg
pinch of salt
⅓ C walnuts, roughly chopped
2 T coconut oil
¼ tsp vanilla extract
more cinnamon
one more pinch of salt
Bake your sweet potato. So poke holes in it using a fork. Preheat oven to 400°F and place your sweet potato on a baking sweet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until your sweet potato is soft to the touch. Remove from oven, let cool and remove the skin. Place sweet potato in a food processor along with your coconut milk and puree until smooth. Then add your vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch of salt and puree one more time. Place in fridge to cool for 30min.-1 hour depending how warm your sweet potato was. Add cooled mixture to your ice cream maker and follow the directions.
While your ice cream churns, pull out a small saucepan, place on medium heat and add your 2 T coconut oil along with ¼ tsp vanilla extract. Then add your walnuts and mix around to help the coconut oil coat on all sides. Let your walnuts begin to roast. After a minute or so, they will become fragrant and then add your cinnamon and a bit of salt. Keep flipping around your walnuts so they do not burn and they can coat in the cinnamon. Once your ice cream is done, top with walnuts. 

Green Garlic Pesto (adapted from Tyrant Farms)
2 C green garlic, trimmed of any tough ends and chopped into 2-inch pieces
¼ C white wine (optional)
1 C parmesan cheese
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
1 C pine nuts (or your choice)
¼ C water
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Place the green garlic, white wine (if using), water, and olive oil in the bottom of a food processor and pulse several times, until garlic begins to look more finely chopped. Add the nuts, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Serve with crackers, sandwiches, pastas, or as a vegetable dip. 

Asparagus with Salsa Verde, Serves 4 (Fresh Magazine)
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
3 T minced shallot
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced to a paste
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp capers, rinsed and finely minced
1 tsp grated lemon zest
salt to taste
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
For the salsa: combine the olive oil, parsley, shallot, anchovies, lemon juice, capers, and lemon zest. Stir to blend and then season with salt to taste.
For the asparagus: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry on a towel. Arrange spears on a platter and spoon the sauce over the warm spears. Serve immediately.