New Members, New Groups, New Stuff
I hope you are all enjoying this new weather pattern. This has defnititely been a benefit for us on the crop production side. What a difference a couple of weeks makes, right? I know most of the Members who see this blogpost also receive the emails, so, I know I’m repeating myself sometimes, but, we did get vaccinated last Saturday and have yet to suffer any adverse side effects. For any Members out in Duplin County, all you have to do is make an appointment with the Heallth Department. Turnaround time is only a couple of days, and the process itself is very easy and painless. They say you might suffer from achy joints and brain fog for a while which makes me wonder how I would ever know if I had side effects or not. But seriously, I had no side effects at all ……well, except for the itching when the microchip is uploading data to Bill Gates. This only seems to happen when Windows is updating, though.
Ok, ok. I stole that one from another Member, Curt Simpson.
I spoke to our beloved long-time Member, Melissa, last weekend and she mentioned that, in her busy circumstances it can be difficult to compost any leftover or processed vegetable matter from the box. If you have the same problem, just wrap it in something biodegreadeable and leave it in the box for me to pick up on delivery day. I’ll just add it to my own, post-harvest compost pile.
Miss Jan mentioned the plastic bags for the brassica mix, and she’s absolutely right. I do have biodegradeable bags coming very soon. They are yellowish so you know them when you see them. I’m going to be looking into some other alternatives as well, particularly for the microgreens and salad mixes that are coming soon. There are a lot of options out there so it won’t be hard to figure that one out.
I’d like to thank everyone for contributing to the new Facebook Group. You can check that out here. If for some reason you didn’t get an invitation (in fB,) I did my best to make sure that all of the Members were pre-approved, but you know how those things go. Please don’t take offense if it takes a few minutes to approve the join-up request. My goodness, the pictures and recipes of our TFF Members Culinary Creations are outstanding. I’ll be updating the group page with more pictures and recipes on Friday and over the weekend, and I’m including some below, too.
TFF Members’ Culinary Creations
As always, I really enjoyed seeing as many people as I could last week on delivery day. There were several amazing food pictures of some truly creative dishes. Check out the two diverse preparations of our beets above – one savory and one sweet. How cool is that? I’ll have the recipes up for a lot of these, but I do know that Jenny created that beautiful Beet Cake by putting her own twist on a Vivian Howard recipe. She noted the link to it for us HERE.
This Week’s Crops in the Box
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.
Like last week, the watermelon radishes this week are roots only. The tops are just too big and beat up this time of year but we will have more coming.
Try roasting (baking) these wonderful radishes whole or halved on a baking sheet with olive oil, S& P. They are fantastic this way.
As always, they are a great addition to a salad, especially when sliced thin. Their color and flavor freshens up any greens.
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’m dying to know how Cyndie made those Beets Jerky. I think she said she got the idea from the April issue of Eating Well magazine. I tracked down the link HERE. I can’t wait to make this.
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.
Member Jenny had some really good advice for making those sweet potato pancakes above. “I don’t keep buttermilk around so I added about 1 to 2 tbsp of white vinegar to regular milk about 5 minutes before I combined all the ingredients. If you like ginger, like we do, more is more is more. It balances out the loads of maple syrup on top. If you roast your potatoes whole, you can just save left overs for these the next day and adjust the recipe depending on how much you have left. If you have a lot of potatoes, you can make the puree ahead of time then freeze it in ice cube trays or 1/4 cup bunches and pull it out the night before for pancakes the next morning.” She also referenced this link HERE.
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. 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.
Check out Cyndie’s Dino Kale Dolmas in the pictures above. I’ll have recipes for all that here next week – and probably on the fB group page
Southern “Cabbage Collards”
This Southern variety, when grown traditionally, has a very long season. When planted in the early Spring, it isn’t uncommon for the farmer to pull off the outside leaves all Summer long, then allow them to “head up” going through the Fall and into the Winter.
These Collards are so good you don’t want to overcook them, in my opinon, anyway. I had great results this morning. Just cut or tear them up, but not too small. Sweat some diced onions – I used the white part of our green onions – in a big stock pot with olive oil. Add in ham hocks or any fatty smoked ham if you have it. I add the collards and a little more olive oil if they need it and stir up occasionally with a big set of tongs. The second you smell even the slightest bit of burning onion, add water and/or chicken stock to cover. Bring it just to a boil and then cut back to a low simmer. Taste them after about an hour. Mine were finished and absolutely delicious. And as I mentioned above, these are so tender they can certainly be used for wraps just as they are.
Hail to the Kale Mix
Technically, because these are brassicas and not lettuce type greens, most people would consider this a braising mix, but, these kales are so fresh and so cold-sweet that I would make a salad preparation similar to our Massaged Mustard Greens Salad.
Try this. Pour out whatever amount of Kale Mix you need onto a clean surface like the cutting board in this picture to the left. Take a rolling pin and roll over the greens a few times before tossing them into a bowl . Make yourself a simple red or white wine vinaigrette by whisking a half cup of olive oil into a quarter cup of red wine vinegar mixture (mix has S&P, honey to taste, dijon mustard dollop for emulsifier, and whatever herbs you like.) Just remember the 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, don’t forget the emulsifier, and you’re good to go after that with whatever aromatics you choose.
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.
These would be great to make Carrot Hummus from our video series, or just a nice carrot salad. These big ones would also store well, so, if you choose to hold them past two or three days, be sure to remove the greens. They will taste better and last longer.
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.
Also known as “Spring Raab,” this cousin of broccoli has a similar taste but the small buds, leaves and even stems are edible and very, very tasty.
I like to do a simple sautee with the Raab bunches and season them gently. They are so good fresh that you definitely don’t want to overcook them. As of yet, I haven’t come up with a truly unique preparation, but I know the TFF Membership has some ideas.
I did find a decent link, but again, I’d beware of the ones that look over-done. The fresher the better with this crop, especially this time of the year when they are so sweet.
As always, I look forward to seeing everyone 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to be your farmer. 🙂