New Boxes Coming Soon!!
First thing before I forget! Some Members may get regular 3/4 bushel field boxes tomorrow as we are running very low on the regular TFF box, BUT, my friends at Wilmington Box Company have pushed us up in the queue and we will have new boxes possibly next Wednesday, but definitely by the 20th delivery. I really appreciate everyone allowing me to reuse the boxes. Moving forward, with a more regular Wednesday schedule, it may be easier to set them out on delivery day knowing the box won’t sit there long. And remember, leaving the boxes out for me to retrieve IS NOT REQUIRED by any means. I very much appreciate being able to reuse them, but I’m just as happy if you use them however you like. It’s great advertising. I saw the young son of one Member using our box as his suitcase a few months back. Awesome!!
We’ve got some beautiful crops this week. I’ve made a change with the root vegetables as the sweet potatoes are running thin. We also have some fresh from the field (of course) green mustard to spice things up a bit. My tech guru/step-son Ed is helping on the farm for a while so we will have more cooking videos by next week. If anyone has recipe ideas to share, please let me know – and send pics!!
I’d like to thank our new Members for joining the Turner Family, and I’d like to thank all of our beloved existing Members for all of your efforts in helping us grow and improve. 2021 is going to be a year of expansion for us, so the more happy new Members we can bring in, the better we can serve everyone with expanded crop offerings, value added additions like honey and sorghum syrup, and hopefully (eventually) on-farm events. If you know of any neighbor, co-worker, friend, (anybody) that you think would be genuinely interested in trying our service, let me know and I’ll deliver a promotional box to them as a gift from you.
New Crops This Week!!
This variety is actually named “Red Meat,” an improved cultivar of the standard watermelon radish. In the field they grow very well in cooler weather and if left in the ground too long they get huge roots. Oddly enough, they are still good like that, but we don’t harvest them that way because the greens get rough looking.
About those greens – who remembers my (in)famous Yes! Eat Our Radish Greens! blogpost from 2018? There’s some really good information there if you are curious about the nutritional and culinary benefits of the not-so-lowly radish.
In this box, I think I’d add the watermelon radish tops in with the mustard and kale and make a sautee wilt. As for the roots, they are great lightly roasted (baked,) alone or mixed with the beets and rutabagas. I really like the simple approach in this Peel With Zeal preparation.
In the field, this Brassica looks like it’s cousin the Turnip, but it’s much longer in the field and really requires a few hard frosts before harvesting.
Rutabagas are high in Vitamin C, Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium. They are also full of antioxidants and the glucosinolates that Dr. Rhonda Patrick promotes so often. Check that out HERE, but be wary, she’s mesmerizingly fascinating.
If you’re new to cooking rutabagas, the easiest thing to do is just cube them and then roast them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Add a little Thyme if you have it. At this point, you can go either sweet or savory depending on whether you add a little syrup/honey or leave it out. Rutabagas have a more complex flavor than a lot of other root vegetables, but don’t let that scare you. There are a ton of ways to prepare as evidenced by this really excellent post from Good Housekeeping. Man, check out the Raw Rutabaga Salad in this post. That looks fresh and simple and all the ingredients you need are in the box.
Beets are in the Amaranthaceae family (sub-family Chenopodiaceae,) which is really just a complicated way to say they are related to spinach and swiss chard. In fact, beet greens are an excellent nutty-tasting addition or substitute to (and for) spinach. In today’s box, though, is the beet roots only.
I know that people either love or hate beet roots, but I really think the haters 🙂 should give them a second chance. First of all, they have some unique health benefits due to their amino acid profile and folate content. Secondly, they have an interesting culinary niche in that they can be roasted, juiced, or simply eaten raw when julienned (thin sliced strips.)
I decided to keep this other Amaranth near it’s cousin above. Rainbow chard is a mixture of several different Swiss chard varieties. One farmer/chef trick is to always mix in the basic, white Fordhook variety because it’s actually the tastiest, though least colorful, of all of them.
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.
One thing to be careful of if you mix the chard with the kale and mustard in this week’s box is that it’s slightly more delicate. While this is a little nitpicky, and I don’t bother with this step when I’m rushed, it’s better to add the chard to a mix wilt after letting the kales sautee for a few minutes first.
Lacinato (Dino) Kale
All the Kales are in the Brassica family with the turnips, mustards, and cabbages. Frankly, this is one of our favorite crops in every aspect. It’s a magnificent field crop – easy to grow, easy to harvest, holds well in heat and cold. We even include it in our baby greens mix and use it as a microgreen.
It’s also the best tasting and most versatile kale, culinarily speaking (in my opinion.) Baby leaf lacinato kale is terrific just raw. The bunch sized leaves can be added to a spinach sautee to make a heartier wilt. I’ve even used the leaves to make wraps, both cold and hot. Check out this easy, beautiful preparation at Eating Well (online.)
Something else 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?) This Lacinato Kale gets my MVP award.
Mustards are also Brassicas, but of a slightly different makeup. I’ve mentioned before that combining certain greens together amplifies their individual nutritional value. Mustard is the catalyst that brings out that effect in kales, broccoli, collards, and turnip greens. There’s another terrific Dr. Rhonda Patrick video explanation HERE on her site.
I love green mustard raw in the same way I like that wasabi paste you get with sushi. You can temper that spice by sauteing or steaming it, but if you watched the Rhonda Patrick videos you might remember how she said chewing releases the myrosinase. Well, guess what? You can make a mild raw mustard salad by massaging it. PLEASE check out this fascinating recipe at Eating Well (online) called Massaged Mustard Greens Salad. I love it when I learn something new!!
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. We will also have Rainbow Carrots in the next few weeks.
This week’s carrots are probably best eaten raw or in salad, just because they are so fresh, but you can’t really go wrong 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 as well.
REMEMBER: If you are not eating the carrots in the first day or so, remove the tops and store the roots in the crisper. The green tops signify freshness, but when left on too long, they degrade the nutritional value of the roots.
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 speaking, this crop is so, so versatile. While there are myriad ways to use green onions as a garnish – think salad topper, soup topper, etc. – I love to grill them whole, or, slice lengthwise and pan sear them with olive oil and S&P. I finally found a web article HERE that puts the green onion front and center in the preparation, instead of relegating this MVP to the culinary background.
Well, thanks again everyone. I look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow on delivery day. If you are reading this and are not a Turner Family Farms CSA Member but would like to become part of the Turner Farm Family, check out our shop page HERE for options and pricing and give me a text or call at 910-552-3467. You can also email me at email@example.com. I’d love to be your farmer. 🙂