A Personal Note To The Members
I apologize for not getting to the weekly box blog updates. The last couple of weeks have been very busy as we transition from the Spring to Summer crops. With so much field work, it’s been difficult to get to switch gears from farm work to office work, but we have some new help coming so things are getting back to normal. We DO have some new crops in the box this week and even more next week.
I will mention this in the email that goes out with the link to this post, but I want to remind all the Members on the Wednesday “Counties” route that I’ll be delivering on Thursday – combining both the counties and the Wilmington area. The main reason for this is that we have several people out of town this week, and (mostly) this is the last week of strawberries and I’m going to wait until Thursday morning to harvest the last of them over at Herbie’s. They just need another day “on the vine,” but they should be really good since it has been dry.
Also, I just discovered that our New Redskin Potatoes are harvestable and I want them in the boxes. I’ll be harvesting them tomorrow. There are few things better than the first potatoes right out of the ground before the natural sugars get starchy. From the looks of it, we will be adding some yellow squash and Spring peas to the crop list next week, too. There are a lot of changes in the field.
This Friday 5/21 4pm -8pm
109 pier master point , Wilmington, NC
Come out and see Farmer Steve every other Friday from 4pm to 8 pm beginning this week and pick up extra veggies if you need them. Members get the 100% discount :). Please tell your friends as I will be bringing plenty of produce. This is the only market we will be doing this year so we can reach out to the underserved residents down the River Road corrider from Riverlights to Carolina Beach. The only way to make sure people keep coming back is to bring enough produce, but the farmer ends up losing much of it in the first year (at least.) So, spread the word! Hmmm. Maybe there’s a Giving/Charitable way we can deal with whatever doesn’t sell at the market. I’m open to any suggestions. Check HERE on the market’s Facebook page for more details, but I will be promoting the market pretty aggressively inside our own TFF marketing ecosystem – website and social media.
This Week’s Crops in the Box
Red Skin Potatoes
Potatoes are in the Solenacaea, or “Nightshades” along with tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.
While we will have all three of these potatoes in the near future, the first one to come off is always the tasty little New Red Skin.
Culinarily, I prefer to roast these potatoes in the oven at about 385 degrees. Typically, I cut them in half to get a bit more surface area for browning. Mix them up in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever herb you like – rosemary and dill are both good individual choices. Toss them on a big baking sheet and bake/roast them until they are browned and fork tender.
Here’s a real recipe from Ina Garten. I’ve always really liked her.
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 always double up on bunches because the tops are edible and it takes a decent amount to make a pesto or add to a salad.
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’s variety is the old standard orange Napoli which aren’t fancy but they taste as good or better than any others.
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.
Red Russian Kale
All the Kales are in the Brassica family with the turnips, mustards, and cabbages. Red Russian 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.
Lacinato (Dino) Kale
All the Kales are in the Brassica family with the turnips, mustards, and cabbages. 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.
This looks like it will probably be the last week of strawberries for us. We want to thank Justin and Herbie over at Cottle Organics for offering them to our Membership. They have been really good this year.
Next year this time, we will have our own half an acre or so for the box and for the Members to have first dibs to u-pick. We are looking forward to growing them as they are the Turner Family Farm legacy crop. My grandfather was pretty well-known in the area for his exceptional strawberries, and that’s how I first learned to “hoe a row.” Back then we used pine straw for mulch and kept the perrenial plants in the ground for several seasons.
As always, I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow on delivery days. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to be your farmer. 🙂