Farm Haps and Mishaps
I apologize to the Thursday group for not getting this out before you received the box. I have occasional connectivity problems, and, well, last night was the occasion. Overall, I’m really happy with my setup. My tech guru, Lee, whom you may remember from the youtube videos, did an amazing job wringing out a pretty darn fast download speed and unlimited data from a pay-as-you-go Walmart plan – all mated to a Google Pixel phone with specific firmware and a very sketchy VPN added. The down speed is great. The up is not great. And all the websites think I’m a Greenlander. I’m going to keep it, but I’m also going to back it up with Starlink. From what I’ve heard, Elon has done a good job with that. 🙂
I got absolutely inundated with beautiful pictures and recipes this past week, so, I’m going to do a Members’ Culinary Creations blogpost over the weekend that includes recipes.
We Have a Few New Members!
Thank you so much for joining the Family. Please check out our fB group page Eating Seasonally with Turner Family Farms. Our Members make some true culinary masterpieces.
TFF Members’ Culinary Creations
Again, I’m going to take time this weekend to do some of these Creations justice. Also, I will have much more production content soon. That can be fun, too!
This week’s box is similar to last week’s, but I added extra collards and then kale mix (which I forgot last week) plus, some beautiful yellow carrots which were a bit of a surprise. The greens are worthy of a carrot top pesto for sure. Our very first video was this exact preparation. An oldie goodie video. 🙂
This Week’s Crops in the Box
Some cut and paste here, I know. Update coming this weekend. — Farmer Steve
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 collard 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.
From Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Yellowstone variety carrots this week. A new favorite on the plate and definitely in the field. It does exceptionally well in our area.
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.
All the Kales are in the Brassica family with the turnips, mustards, and cabbages. Regular Green Kale is my second favorite to Lacinato, but it does almost as well. It’s a solid field crop – easy to grow, easy to harvest, holds well in cold. We even include it in our baby greens mix and use it as a microgreen.
This time of year, all of our kales are still tender enough to eat raw, but a nice saute wilt in some olive oil is my favorite easy preparation. If you want to get fancy with it, though, there are a million ways. I really like this Love and Lemons website which shows some great preparations HERE.
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 new 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. 🙂
P.S. Check Sunday evening here for a weekend update.