To all our wonderful CSA Members, past, present, and future. This blogpost’s featured image is a picture from delivery day of our new KN-Bravo Radish. The greens, like any other radish greens, are edible so don’t let them go to waste. They are a bit sturdier than standard radish greens so I recommend a nice saute/wilt.
I get a big kick out of seeing the boxes that are left for me to re-use on delivery day so I thought I’d do a little picture gallery below. I tried to do it in such a way that kept everyone’s privacy, but some of you I’m sure will recognize your own doorsteps! Incidentally, re-using the boxes is in no way mandatory. In fact, it just kind of started happening. If you see weird writing on your box, you know it’s visited another TFF CSA Member. Feel free to leave a note for us or even the next random Member that gets the box. 🙂
Since this is another slightly late CSA post, I hope you enjoyed the treat from Charlotte Evans of Cravings. A couple of you got Brownies that were intended for me and Ian, but most everybody got Charlotte’s Sweet Potato Protein Muffins using our very own sweet potatoes. Please check out the Cravings website, and, for some humor you can read an earlier blogpost I wrote about Charlotte’s wonderful offerings and her adorable dog, Cookie.
BEFORE I FORGET – Ian wanted me to mention something about the carrots, and I can’t believe I haven’t brought it up before. Remove the tops when you get them. The tops prove that the carrots are very fresh, and they make a great addition to salads and pestos, but they do re-uptake moisture and even nutrients from the carrot roots, themselves.
ALSO – Ian has come up with an exceptional microgreens mix, specifically made to promote the body’s absorption of healthful sulphoraphanes and other isothyocynates. For the nerd’s explanation of this, check out the “key findings” section of this National Library of Medicine paper on the subject. If you’d prefer to watch an exceptional, and understandable, video on the subject, check this out. It’s worth it. I promise.
LASTLY – I know the turnips with tops are huge and messy in the box, but they are exceptional this time of year. I even eat the stems raw when I’m hungry loading boxes or at the farmer’s market. Just know I’m aware that they are a handful because I’m the one that has to try to stuff them into the box.
As you can see, the salad mix is back. We had some really nice carrots with tops, some giant turnips with tops, mustard greens, Daikon radishes with tops, beets roots, spring onions, microgreens, and rainbow chard!
Back to this week’s box. There’s some re-hashing below on recipes for the produce, but I’ve been gathering some suggestions from our Members, some of whom are exceptional cooks, and I’ll be adding in their recipes very soon. In fact, we are thinking about making a TFF CSA Members Cookbook. More on that over the next few months.
Spring Onions. All onions are part of the Allium family, including leeks, garlic and shallots. They fit a unique niche in our plant rotation and succession as they are a small family – especially compared to Brassiccas and Curcurbits – and they are typically in the field a long time. These are important considerations for the farmer’s overall crop planning.
That said, we all know the culinary importance of the allium family. These spring onions can be used diced fresh and added to soups and salads, but this time of year when people are outside, a lot of folks grill them with olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s definitely my favorite way.
KN Bravo Daikon 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 rainbow chard, they are chock-full of B6, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and folic acid.
I think what I would do with these is slice these right down the middle, tops and all, so you have a flat side with half the greens attached. These can be sauteed quickly or even grilled. If I were to grill them, I’d put some foil down flat on the grill and lay the greens, still attached, on top of the foil while the roots get the flame. I’m going to try that soon. Pics to follow for sure. 🙂
Mustard Another terrific Brassica well-known throughout the South, though, the mustards, generally, are considered a sub-group. Our variety is the very common Green Wave. They are easy to grow and they get hotter as the Summer heat comes in.
Mustard can be added sparingly to salads for spiciness, but most people wilt them in a saute pan with olive oil. Check the turnips with tops explanation below for another way to prepare them in combination. Keep in mind that mustard greens are softer than, say, kale or collards, so be careful not to overcook them. Add them at the end of any wilt/saute.
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.
Beet Roots are one of the new “Superfoods.” “Superfoods” is a new word for what grandma and granddaddy ate out of the garden. Go figure.
From a grower’s perspective, beets are in the same family, Amaranthaceae, as spinach and swiss chard. They are a joy to see grow in the field and their leaves are a fantastic addition to salads, especially the baby greens.
For cooking, I typically dice them and roast them with other root vegetables or alone. Just keep in mind that everything they are mixed with tends to also end up red. Bon Appetit has some nice ideas here, and, in the near future, I’ll do some personal research on unique but easy ways to prepare them. I’m thinking they’ll be right alongside those KN-Bravo radishes on the grill. 🙂
Turnips with Tops Another Brassica, and when mixed with the Mustard greens in today’s box, they work together to provide a powerful punch of anti-oxidants, anti-carcinogens, and anti-inflammatory effects. For an in-depth explanation, check out Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s explanation here.
Oh, they taste good, too. Turnip greens are a regional favorite. Typically, what I do is roast a chicken, or chicken thighs, and when they are finished I remove an appropriate amount of the rendered fat and then add in the turnip roots (diced) back into the roasting pan and return it to the 350 degree oven. When the turnip roots are almost fork tender, I add the greens to the pan, stir them around a bit, and return the pan to the oven to finish for just a few minutes – not too long!! This way the seasoning and fond from the chicken will season your turnips with tops. If you are a vegetarian, just skip the first step and use olive oil, salt and pepper, and whatever other seasoning you like. In order to get the most health benefit, mentioned above, add the mustard greens to the turnip greens. Don’t overcook the greens!
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.
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, 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. 🙂
Ian’s Microgreens Mix – is a combination of broccoli micros, with purple kholrabi for color, and a little wasabi mustard for spiciness. Add them to the salad for extra nutrition and flavor. You can also use them as a soup topping, and my favorite, as a sandwich green in lieu of plain lettuce. It’s fantastic.
This mix is specifically designed to promote the absorption of the healthy nutrients in all cruciferous vegetables. Check above under “ALSO.”
Thanks Everyone! Don’t forget to come visit us at the Farmer’s Market at Poplar Grove every Wednesday from 8am to 1 pm. CSA Members get extra goodies when we see them. 🙂