Fresh New Crops
Well, I was bragging on the weather last week and, after a pretty good soaking last night, it looks like we are going to have some blustery stuff coming. I’ve gotten to where I need two separate days for deliveries and that’s a great thing! Thanks to all my wonderful TFF Members for spreading the word. I’ll be delivering to the counties tomorrow and then the Wilmington area on Friday. It looks like I should be finished up tomorrow long before the weather gets too crazy. Then, Friday looks to be uneventful.
The new Facebook group, Eating Seasonally With Turner Family Farms, has really taken off, too. The Members have posted some extraordinary Culinary Creations. It’s hard to express how gratifying that is for me when I see that someone has made something so beautiful and tasty with the crops we have grown.
Speaking of those creations……………………..
TFF Members’ Culinary Creations
How about the amazing variety of culinary ideas in the six dishes above!? Wow. I’m not a good baker so I’ll have to talk to Kelley about how she made the muffins.
This Week’s Crops in the Box
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.
I’ve still got some really pretty Rutabagas. I’ve been using them like potatoes and boy are they good.
For simplicity, give Jerry’s Rutabaga Fries a try. Rutabaga fries have significantly fewer carbs (if that matters to you) so the keto crowd prefers them, but I’m told they are just plain tastier than potato fries. Jerry uses an air fryer, but you can bake or sautee them too. There’s a nice post about it HERE, though the website is a little busy with ads.
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 until they are roughly 200 degrees on the inside, then move them 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.
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.
Rainbow Chard is an Amaranth just like spinach. It grows much more vigorously in the field and high tunnel than spinach, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the cold-hardiness. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent crop both full-sized and as baby greens.
Rainbow chard is another MVP crop. It’s easy to grow. It has a long growing season. It’s nutritious and it tastes great. It took a hit in the cold last month, but it bounced back nicely after we put row covers over it for a few weeks.
When I’m in a hurry, I usually just make a wilt (saute) like with spinach, but there are a ton of great ways to use this tasty and nutritious crop. I’ll be doing a video on it in the future, but for now, check out these 13 Creative Swiss Chard Recipes from Bon Appetit.
Green Cabbage (Farao variety)
All cabbages are in the Brassica family, cousins to collards, kales, mustards and turnips. Like kales in particular, they do well in colder temperatures and actually get tastier.
We will be getting into some of the more exotic ways to prepare cabbages soon, including making krauts and kimchis, but for now the best way to use this super fresh green cabbage is in a simple sautee.
I don’t know who this Erin Clarke lady is, but she has a beautiful, uncluttered and clearly written blog page. I’d like to be able to write as pretty as this. And she does a sauteed cabbage recipe HERE.
The Members seem to have no problem at all coming up with uses for our cabbage. I’m working on some slaw and a simple sauerkraut, myself. You can see several beautiful dishes using our TFF cabbage in our Facebook Group.
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.
LAST MINUTE CHANGE. I was surprised that our yellow carrots were ready to harvest so we harvested them instead of orange this week. Beautiful!!
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.
I am currently growing several Asian greens that are closely related to Broccoli Raab that I can’t wait to share with everyone. More info next week.
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. 🙂