To all our wonderful CSA Members – and newsletter subscribers, too,
Man has it been a day! Ian and I worked in the greenhouse most of the day and harvested some carrots and Hakurei turnips after that. Those Hakurei turnips with tops are the only thing new this week, but we are getting very close to the Spring squashes, melons, zuccs and tomatoes (and a lot more.) Ian and Jessicca will be harvesting the salad mixes tomorrow morning and we should get a pretty early start on deliveries. At some point around 9:15am or so, Ian and I will be at Sunny 103.7 talking (very, very briefly I’m sure) about our part in the Healthy Living Festival 2019. So, about that………………………
This Saturday, April 13th, we will be a sponsor/vendor at the Healthy Living Festival 2019 at Battleship Park from 9:30am to 4:30pm to benefit ADOPT-AN-ANGEL. ADOPT-AN ANGEL is a local charitable organization that partners with area shelters to create a network of foster homes and forever homes for shelter pets that are “running out of time.” I’m not one for euphemisms, but I think we all know what “running out of time” means. ADOPT-AN-ANGEL also created the Fix A Friend Spay Neuter Clinic. These folks are amazing so come on out and support them.
ABOUT THE BOX – How about those “Bugs Bunny carrots?” Check out the new Hakurei Asian Salad turnips. You can eat them raw in salads or saute or roast them very quickly. Folks can’t get enough of them and we should have them for several weeks now.
Again, if you’re on Facebook, please join our Turner Family Farms CSA Members page on Facebook here. It’s an open group so anyone can join. We would like to create a forum for our Members to share recipes, pictures and any ideas or requests. By 2020, we will be able to migrate a lot of that to our website, but the Facebook group is very useful for now.
This weeks we have the terrific new salanova salad mix, radishes with tops (don’t forget to eat the greens!,) Hakurei turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots with tops, collards, rainbow chard, and some turnip roots. Again, Spring has sprung which means we will be having nice squashes, cucs, and tomatoes very soon!
Radishes with tops – Not everybody loves the tangy heat you get when you bite into a radish, but, everyone should eat the greens. YES! I SAID EAT THE RADISH GREENS! Not only are they a really tasty addition to a wilted salad or to bulk up your spinach, they are chock-full of B6, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and folic acid.
Ok, so radishes and radish greens are nutritious and healthy, right? Well, they are tasty, too. Chef Alexis Fouros told me years ago that the traditional French preparation for a cast-iron pan-seared steak is to deglaze the pan after removing the meat with a radish (with greens) sliced down the middle and used as a garnish. Since then, that’s what I do with radishes, beets, and even carrots. There are myriad great recipes online for radish greens preparation. Here are some of my favorites (with links) below:
Collards. Another terrific Brassica well-known throughout the South, though, like it’s kale cousin, it grows very well in Northern climes, too. It’s an interesting plant from a farmer’s standpoint because it can be harvested at many different stages from baby leaves, to mid-size leaves like the ones we grow, and all the way up to large heads. They also make a great microgreen.
As far as cooking these particular collards. If you want to try something most people wouldn’t think of, just par-boil the larger leaves quickly and make wraps out of them like this. For a unique hot preparation, I say go with our (CSA member) Elizabeth Crawford’s Coconut Curried Collards from our own TFF blogpost here.
Rainbow chard is a mixture of swiss chards with colored stems. It is in the Amaranthaceae family like beets, spinach, and celosia (the flower) which is also edible. It’s a fascinating crop from a farmer’s perspective because it fits a unique niche in the crop rotation with both cold-hardy and heat tolerant characteristics. In the summer, we add a close cousin, Red Leaf Vegetable Amaranth to our salad mixes and as a summer spinach substitute.
Nutritionally speaking, like spinach, chard is unusual in that it has all three of the main minerals (magnesium, iron, and potassium,) and it is a good source of vitamin K. I think Popeye would have been just as well served with chard. It tastes a bit like spinach too, but it’s prettier on the plate.
For cooking, you can wilt chard just like spinach, or just add chopped leaves to any salad. You can also add it to soups near the end of preparation, and I’ve even seen it in quiche, pasta, and omelettes. I think a simple saute-wilt is my favorite and I found a link here that is very similar to how I prepare it.
Sweet potatoes are from another unique plant family, Convolvulaceae. Basically, they are morning glories with tuberous roots. As far as I know, they are the only plant in that family worth eating, so, they too fit nicely in a crop rotation where a farmer tries to separate plants in the same family through space and time. – I could write a book on the complexities of a proper crop rotation. 🙂 They are usually grown from “slips” grown out of seed sweet potatoes. They are amazingly drought resistant and, though we do irrigate ours, it’s not absolutely necessary.
Nutritionally speaking, the sweet potato is lower on the glycemic index than Irish potatoes and are more nutritious. We haven’t used the young shoots in salads yet, but they are not only edible but tasty. My favorite way to prepare them is to just roast (bake) them and serve them like a baked Irish potato with butter, however, we know the sweet potato lives in both the sweet and savory worlds, so it’s just as useful as a dessert. My friends Betsy and Alexis of Feast for the Gods gave me a terrific but very simple recipe for white or regular sweet potatoes in our blogpost here.
Carrots with tops! Carrots are in the Apiaceae family along with celery, parsnip, dill, fennel, coriander, chervil, cumin and parsley. It’s not the easiest crop to grow as it takes a long time to germinate and we need to create weed free beds in which to plant them, otherwise the weeds take over before the carrots have a chance to get established. Once you get it figured out, growing carrots is very rewarding. We grow several varieties including Napoli, Yellowbunch, Malbec, Purple Haze, Mokum, Hercules and Romance.
Culinarily speaking, carrots are good raw (typically sliced thin,) roasted/baked, glazed and sauteed. The tops are a great addition to salads when used judiciously, or in smoothies. I have a couple of really good new recipes to share. The carrot bisque is from Chef Erin at Porches Cafe, and the other is a really cool carrot greens pesto I found online a while back. In the next couple weeks, we are going to be working with Chef Dean Neff on some recipes and I know he’s keen on teaching a really simple root vegetable glazing method, and I’m certain that our carrots will be featured prominently in his vegetable glazes.
Hakurei turnips with tops These are a great crop for us to grow at TFF because they mature quickly and people love them. Unfortunately the flea beetles love them just as much so we have to use floating row covers/ insect barriers. They are worth it, though.
These turnips are sometimes called “salad turnips” or “Asian salad turnips.” Epicurious.com has a terrific glazed Hakurei turnip recipe with a nice presentation of the greens on top here.
I like them raw, myself, either in a salad or just as a snack like our carrots. Okay, maybe a real quick saute in butter or olive oil will work, too.
Purple Top White GlobeTurnip Roots Another Brassica but in this case we are just talking about the root. Turnips are interesting from a grower’s standpoint in that they are self-thinning in the row, meaning, it’s nearly impossible to plant them too close together. That’s a good thing because the seeds are tiny, though, our Jang Seeder singulates them very well. We will have more later on Asian salad turnips as they come into harvest.
I know people that will eat our fresh turnips like an apple, but most people roast (bake) them after cutting them into half inch cubes. I’ve been known to add turnips and carrots to my rustic mashed potatoes. Here’s a whole slew of good ways to use turnip roots from allrecipes.com.
Salanova Salad Mix This is new to the CSA box but something that we have grown for a long time. We use both red and green varieties in rosette heads and frilly-incised heads. This mix gives a variety of colors, shapes and textures. In the warmer months, we like to add amaranths, buckwheat leaves, and even young sweet potato shoots for a TFF signature mix. From time to time, we will also offer these lettuces in full size heads.
Different from our brassica mix, these are true lettuces. My chef buddy, Alexis Fouros, likes to lightly grill lettuces and frisees. I don’t know. I’m pretty adventurous, but with the Salanova mix, I think I’d stick to whatever nice salad dressing you like and go with a traditional salad. I’ll try the grilling/wilting soon and I’ll be your canary in a coal mine on that one. 🙂
Thanks Everyone! Don’t forget to come visit us at the Battleship on Saturday, April 13th, and tell them you’re a TFF CSA member.