A Little Bit of Farm News
I’ll be delivering to the Counties tomorrow, and the Greater Wilmington Area on Friday.
It’s been a busy week in terms of production. I apoligize but this post is going to be a little redundant, or at least rehashed from last week’s crop list. The broccoli raab bolted a little early on me, so I’m doubling up on cabbages tomorrow. Please pick up the boxes by the bottom. As I sit here writing this, it’s still raining out here, so, I’m guessing the boxes are going to be a wee bit soft from the humidity in the morning. That combined with two cabbage heads, and, well, you get the idea. 🙂
As I mentioned in an earlier email to everyone today, I got a chance to pick up some seedlings from a pretty famous (in the business) man that specializes in heirloom vegetables, Roger Winn. I happened to notice on Facebook that he had quite few beautiful, and large, Solenacaea seedlings this year, so I’ve added black, white, and striped eggplants; a terrific red/orange/yellow bell pepper mix; and some really cool heirloom tomatoes I haven’t tried. Last, but definitely not least, is an Anaheim/Numex pepper mix which I intend to roast Hatch Chile style. I have access to this exact roaster and I’ve been wanting to do this for years.
I’d like to do something a little different this week and feature some of our younger Members. I got a really heart-warming gift last week from CeCe and Bree, so I thought, instead of culinary creations, I’d put up some artwork. We have a lot of kid Members (or Members with kids!) and they are all impressive in each’s own way. Every last one is precocious, polite, and well-spoken. That says a lot about their parents I think. By the way, for those Kid Members out there, feel free to color on the boxes. I use them with the artwork on them and sometimes they get colored more than once as they get re-used over and over. Also, I’m hoping that by the late Summer – Fall at the latest – we will once again have Farm Events. Halloween for sure!
TFF Kid-Member Creations
I can’t express what a kick I get out of this. I have some semi-educational things to share with the kids next week. I thought about doing it this week but I’m going to wait until after Easter/Passover.
This Week’s Crops in the Box
Please forgive me for copy & pasting a lot of these descriptions. It’s bedtime! 🙂
In the field, this Brassica looks like it’s cousin the Rutabaga, but not as long in the field and the greens are edible.
This week’s turnips are the plain old workhorse Purple Top White Globe, but, this time of year they are very tender and tasty. Next month we will have our favorite Asian salad turnips to replace these.
In the kitchen, turnips are great roasted (baked,) and honestly, right now, you could slice these thin and use them as you would a Hakurei salad turnip.
For something a bit more upscale, these parmesan breadcrump turnips look amazing.
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
Hail to the Kale Mix
Our current Kale Mix is a blend of baby Winterbor, and Lacinato varieties.
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.
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.
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.
This kale makes an excellent wrap because it’s sturdy. This crop has been the best I’ve ever had, and, they are so tender that they can easily be overcooked.
This preparation from A Fork’s Tale, is the old school, traditional way to make Southern collards. When I do it this way, I like start with some chopped bacon in the bottom of the stock pot. Once it’s renedered out a lot of the fat, I add the green onions (from the box) chopped, and once they are cooked down a bit, I deglaze with either white wine or (even better) vermouth. Then add the collard greens, wilt them, add the water and bring to a boil, reduce the temp and simmer for 45 minutes or so.
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.
This week are back to orange carrots.
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.
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.
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. 🙂