I’ll be making deliveries on Saturday again this week, but I’ll be moving it back to Friday the following week. At some point we will need more than one day, but I’ll keep everybody up to date and find what works best for you all. I’ve got a nice box this week with some new crops, but we also have something special tossed in from one of our wonderful CSA Members, Cyndie Phelps. She and her husband, Dwight, live in River Landing out in Wallace. Cyndie is giving everyone a pack of handmade, nylon, vegetable scrubbies. This is exactly the kind of Member involvement that I’ve been hoping would begin to happen over time, where the Membership becomes a real community. One day when things get back to normal, we are hoping to have Member events here at the farm. More on that in the months to come. Thanks again to Cyndie! *
I am going to do my best to get out either a video or blogpost (or both) before you receive the box from now on. We’ve got some cool new stuff this week, including a Turner Family Farms exclusive – Fava Bean microgreens. There may be some minor changes but this is what we have so far.
Fava Bean Microgreens – Fava beans are a very large bean in the legume family. I know of no one that grows Favas to harvest the pods in this area, but I’m going to try it this Fall and late Winter. From the farmer’s point of view, the crop fits an interesting family niche and can be used as a cover crop since it fixes more nitrogen than any other legume.
When you grow Favas as microgreens (sprouts,) you get these wonderful full bean flavored shoots that can be used in a lot of interesting ways. I spoke to Chef Dean Neff yesterday and his immediate idea was to make a pesto smear for a lamb roast, or, take the pesto and use it as a pasta sauce. Incidentally, you can use the spring onion greens with the fava sprouts for sure, and, even add the carrot tops to the pesto. See pesto basics here.
The easiest way to eat them is as a salad. Add in some of the green onion, chopped, and even cucumber slices – yes, cucumber slices! Use or make a semi-sweet vinaigrette and I think you’ll be surprised at how good it is. You can also wilt them gently (sautee) for a warm salad.
Daikon Radish Radishes are one of the farmers’ best friends. They grow quickly and have a tendency to germinate quickly, out-competing weeds.
From a nutritional standpoint, they have all the benefits inherent in the Brassica family – chock-full of B6, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and folic acid, and sulphoraphane boosters. Check out Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s thoughts on eating cruciferous vegetables (brassicas) sometime. She’s always a fascinating read or listen.
I tried this Daikon salad a few months ago and it was just excellent. I bought a cheap spiralizer, but some food processors have a blade for this, too. Honestly, this is a great tool to have for the CSA. I have Members that “spiralize” everything from zucchini and squash to cucumbers and even potatoes. In a pinch, you can just bake/roast these radishes with the beets in this weeks box and you’ll be happy, but I promise this Korean salad below is worth it, and it opens your eyes to new possibilities.
Beets with Tops. This Spring we only have the purple Detroit Dark Red variety, but we will have the rainbow mix again in the Fall. Beets are in the Amaranthaceae family like chard, spinach, and celosia (the flower) which is also edible. From the farmer’s viewpoint, beets are great because they offer baby greens, full size greens, and, of course, the root everyone either loves or hates. Ha! Everybody loves beets once they learn their favorite preparation.
Nutritionally speaking, like spinach and chard, beets are a superfood in that they have all three of the main minerals (magnesium, iron, and potassium,) and are a good source of vitamin K.
Check out my earlier video on a cool way to prepare beets. For an easier, quicker preparation, remove the tops and add them to this week’s kale for a sautee wilt, and, season and bake the roots until fork tender. Always keep in mind that color everything else that’s added to it – and other things after being consumed (that’s as delicately as I can put that 🙂
Radishes withtops – 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! I wrote a decent post about the our love of radishes and their overall benefits here back in 2018. I promise it’s worth a read.
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:
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. The standard orange Mokum is in today’s box.
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 was given to us a couple years ago by Chef Erin of The Husk, in downtown Wilmington. You can always roast your carrots on a baking sheet, add them julienned to salads, or just eat them raw. Don’t forget to used the tops by adding into a wilt, with the fava bean microgreens, or in a pesto.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers are, well, Cucubitaceae – another large crop family that includes melons and squashes. We grow them both outside and in greenhouse/high tunnels. Much more on cucs as the season goes along. Greenhouse growing is pretty complex and we will be doing photo and video on that in the Fall. We are currently growing a large English greenhouse variety that was given to us by Castle Hayne Farms. There will be more news on this collaboration soon.
Culinarily, cucs are good for much more than they are given credit. They are even a fantastic replacement for lemon in a glass of water or even tea. Bon Appetit has a great post that with over 50 tasty looking ideas here.
Don’t forget to try them in a fava bean salad. Cucs and beans go together very well. Who knew?
Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale Another Brassica . This kale is my favorite by far. From the farmer’s standpoint, it’s easy to grow, exceptionally cold hardy AND heat tolerant, and it’s easy to harvest. We grow monthly successions through most of the year.
I’m going to talk to Chef Dean soon to get some unique ideas for preparation, but the easiest way to cook it is like you would spinach. Add in this week’s beet greens and wilt it in a stock pot, or, chop it up and toss it in a roasting pan with plenty of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I’m working on a video where I use it as a wrap, so, if anyone tries that or has done it before, please let me know how you do it. 🙂
Spring Onions This Allium family crop is one of my all-time favorites to grow. They fit a unique niche in the crop rotation along with it’s cousins like garlic, shallots, and Spanish onions. They are easy to harvest, and man do they smell good in the field or high tunnel
Hands down, my favorite preparation is to simply grill them with olive oil, salt and pepper. If you want to get really decadent, this butter braised recipe is outstanding as well. Don’t forget to use some, finely chopped, in your fava bean salad, or pesto.
Thanks again to all our generous CSA Members. Be on the look out for a CSA Members’ only post with some news on an exciting collaboration I’m working on that will bring even more value to the Membership and box.
*Members are only mentioned by name with their permission.