Happy New Year to the TFF CSA Membership!
The Latest from the Farm
This post is actually after the deliveries have been made. It was a nice day to be driving but I only got to see a handful of you. One quick thing before I forget. Some people may get a different looking box next week but the contents will not change, of course. I’ve ordered more to be made but it might take a few weeks. We are off to a good start with Wednesday deliveries and I hope to stay on the schedule notwithstanding meteorological calamities.
A couple of new developments are worthy of mention.
If all goes well, this Spring I will be teaming up with Tori and Caleb Harrison of Harrison’s Healthy Honeybees to host hives here at the Teachey farm. Part of this collaboration is that we split the honey, so, I plan to be adding small jars to the box as the honey is available. I will be growing sweet sorghum in 2021 as well – something I’ve done before – and making sorghum syrup. When done correctly, sorghum syrup is an exceptional natural sweetener that is an amber color. If you see it and it looks like molasses, well, that’s not real sorghum syrup. You might as well get regular molasses if it looks like that. It’s hard to tell from these old pics, but this batch below was perfect.
The second item is that we are very close to having our baby lettuce mixes, baby brassica mixes, and microgreens back in the box. Once we get those going, we should have them in the box most weeks of the year. I have re-purposed and renovated an outbuilding here on the farm for the specific purpose of growing microgreens and doing seedouts for greens.
This Week’s CSA Box
Collards, like Kale, are in the Brassica family. We typically grow them smaller and put together hand-sized leaves into bunches. In our last box of the year, though, we had some larger country- style collards as it is a New Year’s tradition.
Larger collards take a more thorough cooking as they are typically chopped up and brought up to a boil in a stock pot along with some salted ham for flavoring. When the collards are halfway finished and you have reduced the amount of water in the stock pot to where you think you need to add more water, try adding white wine (Vermouth is even better) instead. That will sweeten up the collards a bit, and probably the kitchen, too.
Lacinato (Dino) Kale
All the Kales are in the Brassica family with the turnips, mustards, and cabbages. Something to keep in mind about collard and kale during these trying times is that they have the most Vitamin D of any other vegetable except mushrooms (vegetable?)
The Dino kale is everybody’s favorite in appearance and taste. I treat them similarly to the way I do spinach by giving them a mild saute/wilt in olive oil. Splash some lemon juice or white wine vinegar on them at the end to brighten the flavor with some acidity.
Another preparation is to use the larger leaves as wraps. I’ll be doing this one in a video soon.
Sweet potatoes are the main edible plant in the Convolulacaea (Morning Glory) family. The other is an Asian Water Spinach, aka “Swamp Cabbage” that I think is probably better left in that distant hemisphere. Next year we will be growing some specialty white and red sweet potatoes.
One of the easiest and best ways to prepare sweet potatoes is to cook them in the microwave before finishing them in the oven until they are roughly 200 degrees on the inside, then move to a 425 degree oven to bake for an hour. Seems like a lot I know. I got this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine/website and I consider them the best resource for all things culinary. THIS POST HERE is EXCELLENT. I promise it’s worth reading. If you’re like me, you want to understand the “why,” and Cook’s always gives you the best information.
I promise. You’ll never forget this preparation and you’ll make the best sweet potatoes you’ve ever had every time from then on.
All the Chards are Amaranths (sub-family Chenopodiaceae.) Their closest cousins are beets and spinach which have a similar nutty taste.
Try wilting the chard just like you do spinach. I typically use a stock pot because it takes a lot of fresh chard (or spinach) to make a good family serving. Sweat out some garlic in olive oil first – don’t burn the garlic!- and add the chard. Again finish with some lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Green Onions (aka Spring Onions)
I have fallen in love with this member of the Alluim family. From a grower’s standpoint, they can be grown several ways. In the past I have cut them small to let them regrow almost like Scallions (which technically are different.) However, what I’m really excited about is seeding them out in paperpot chains and using the paperpot planter to grow a larger version of this same plant that’s known as a “Welsh Onion.” They are similar to leaks in that you grow them larger but bury more of the plant to get more white stalk. Check out this youtube video showing how the Japanese do it.
Culinarily, the Green onions can be used in everything from soups to salad to garnishes. I’ll be doing A LOT more videos that include this fantastic crop and we will be growing it nearly year ’round – or as many weeks as we possibly can. I consider it a culinary staple.
Carrots with Tops
Carrots are in the Apiaceae family along with celery, parsnip, dill, fennel, coriander, chervil, cumin and parsley. We will always do our best to have carrots for as many weeks of the year as possible. The carrots are larger now, full-sized, but they are still just so fresh right out of the ground. I am doubling up on bunches as I’ve heard that the Membership children really love them.
This week’s carrots are probably best eaten raw or in salad, just because they are so fresh, but you can’t really go with a quick sautee or roast either. And the greens on these would go very well in a pesto or added to a salad. By the way, the carrot cousins, parsley and celery, are excellent in a salad mix.
Happy New Year, Everyone!
Thank you so much for being a part of the Turner family through this past year. I look forward to even bigger and better things in 2021.