Ploughshare Farm Week 2 newletter
Harvest Week 2 - June 7, 2012
THIS WEEK’S SHARES INCLUDE
Spinach (in large shares)
* Note to new members: The early season boxes tend to be "green" heavy. Later on in the season there will be a greater variety in each week’s box.
A NOTE FROM YOUR FARMER
It's been a busy week on Ploughshare Farm. When I am interviewing potential interns I graph out the work load on a curve graph through out the season. We have 4 main tasks on a vegetable farm that takes up around 80% of our time. This includes planting, transplanting, weeding (or cultivating) and harvesting. Each of these tasks peaks and wanes at various times during the season. The peak time for planting and transplanting for instance is May. While the peak time for harvesting is August. The peak time for weeding is…(constantly??) in June.
However, there is a period of time in June when all of these tasks collide head on, and everything has to be done at once. Add on top of this is the variable of weather which may slow us down from doing things for a few days and then that work is compounded once it dries up.
This is THAT time.
Last week was an especially intense week of getting caught up on the weeding after about a week of heavy rains. Then the HOT weather just made everything (including the weeds) grow quickly. It can be intense, but it also can be exciting.
Last week after delivery we had a great few days of getting the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant transplanted out in the fields. Then we hoed and hand weeded and weeded some more. We got a lot accomplished from Thursday to Saturday of last week and the fields now are looking beautiful!!
It's starting to look like a colorful, bountiful feast growing in our grounds-with rainbow chards, oakleaf, green and red romaine lettuces all just a week or two away from harvest. Potatoes have come up nicely and we got one hilling in already (and are on the look out for any potato bugs that may be on the march to our field).
If you go to our Facebook page I will post pictures and status reports during the week. Better yet, come join us out in the fields in the next couple days (we hopefully won't have to work Saturday this week). I realize everyone is busy with their own lives and especially this time of year folks have lots of activities to attend. However, I think experiencing the work of the farm first hand is the best way to really solidify your relationship with where your food comes from. In addition, we always could use extra hands (like Mary and Annie who came out on Tuesday for harvesting — see firsthand accounts below).
Have a great week.
A VISIT TO THE FARM
We encourage folks to come on out and spend a day at the farm. Recently, 9-year-old Mary Heipel and her mom visited. Here what they had to say after their experience:
Mary Heipel (Age 9):
One funny thing my mom did for Christmas is she gave me a bird box with the twelve seasons printed on a small piece of paper seperately. Once a month she sneeks into my room and writes a special oceasion we would do together. For May, we had to harvest at Ploughshare Farm! I was a bit superised but I thought it would be fun. When we arrived, we had to stack boxes. Then we cut salad mix (I pulled weeds out of the box), then the spnich (I weeded it instead), then the romain, then the bach choy (that took awhile), then finally urgala. I had a very fun time and the workers were very nice. When we left I went to the dentist. When I left the dentist, there was dirt on the chair! It was very hard work but it was fun!
Annie Heipel (Age 42):
Mary and I had a wonderful time working at Ploughshare together. Even though I am sore today and winced as I compared my garden's pathetic spinach to his....I am so glad we took the opportunity to help out and would encourage you all to do so as well!! Bravo! to Gary and his crew for not only delicious veggies but to their committment to organic methods!
- Free Cooking Class
Learn how to cook your CSA vegetables from Chef Dick Trotter from Trotter’s Café on Cleveland Avenue in Saint Paul during a free cooking class. Cook and taste organic vegetables provided by Gary Brever from Ploughshare Farm. Vegetables may include bokchoi, arugula, kale, scallions, green garlic, and radishes with homemade bread provided by Trotter’s Café. RSVP to Carolyn Enestvedt by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 651-645-1996.
When: Thursday, June 14
Where: St. Mark's cafeteria, 1983 Dayton Avenue, Saint Paul
Time: 6:30-8:30 P.M .
- Pea Pick
When: Saturday, June 23
Come pick and snack on peas and enjoy the beauty of spring on your farm. This event will start around 11 am and go until 3pm.
- Fall Festival
When: Saturday, September 29
This is a full day event. Early on in the day there will be a work party. In previous years, members have worked together to help take up mulch, plant garlic, and put the fields to bed for the winter. There will be a potluck lunch served for the hungry workers throughout the day (everyone who comes is encouraged to bring a dish to share and we will also have a large pot of stew or chili available).
TIPS FOR FIRST-TIMERS
One of the best ways to make sure you use up your CSA vegetables is to set aside time each week to plan meals.
If you are having trouble planning meals because you don’t know what to do with something, consider the following tips:
• Check the Newsletter: Read the Ploughshare Farm newsletter at www.ploughsharefarm.com/blog for some recipe suggestions tailored to this week’s share.
• Turn to the Internet: When you cannot find a recipe, try an Internet search. By using search engines like Google or Yahoo, you can use search terms like “kale recipes”. These searches often yield some useful results. Also, cooking websites like Food.com or splendidtable.publicradio.org can be very useful for finding recipes.
• Turn to Your Smart Phone or iPad App: Some free applications like Epicurious, BigOven, and AllRecipes.com Dinner Spinner can be useful tools for meal planning.
• Turn to a Book: Purchase a copy of Asparagus to Zucchini. Gary has sold them in the past; the book is a wonderful resource of recipes, cooking, and storage tips.
• Purchase a Wok: If you do not own a wok, you should strongly consider obtaining one. A wok can stir-fry, steam, sear, and braise almost everything you receive in that box each week. If you have never used a wok, do a little research — take a look at the book The Breath of a Wok by Alan Richardson and Grace Young. Remember, stir-frying in a wok is one of the simplest ways to quickly cook vegetables; moreover, the combination of a vegetable and rice is a staple meal for most of the people on earth.
• Soup: Many of the vegetables work great for soups, and warm soups are often best enjoyed during the colder months of the year. Consider a long term storage method for some of your produce. You can freeze it now and enjoy a soup in December!
• Find Some New Cookbooks:
- Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind
- The New Southern Garden Cookbook by Sheri Castle
- From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition
- Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers by Janet Fletcher
- Eat More Vegetables: Making the Most of Your Seasonal Produce by Tricia Cornell
Bok Choi is an Asian green with flat, dark leafy greens and crisp white stalks. It is low in calories but a very rich source of many vital phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and health-benefiting anti-oxidants. Learn more by clicking here.
Did you know?
• Bok choi contains a good amount of minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium.
To clean this vegetable, simply wash each stem and leaf in cool water. To store, wrap loosely in plastic wrap in the fridge.
Best prepared by steaming, sauteing or stir-frying, Bok choi makes an excellent addition to any meal. Because the stems are so thick, it often works best to cut them away from the leaves and cook a few minutes longer. For a basic preparation, simply cut the stems and leaves into one-inch pieces. Sautee the stems for a few minutes in oil, adding the leaves once the stems begin to soften. Add the greens, salt and pepper and 1/2 cup of liquid (water, broth, wine or a combination). Cook until the stems are tender, adding more liquid if necessary. For additional flavor add a squeeze of lemon, your favorite vinaigrette, beans, bacon, hard cheese or any ingredient combination that sounds good to you.
Recipe & Video:
Steamed Baby Bok Choy with Garlic Soy Sauce
This is a very delicious and healthy steamed vegetable dish.
1. several heads of baby bok choy, cut length wise to quarters, rinsed thoroughly
2. chopped garlic
3. 1/2 tsp of corn starch
4. 1 tbsp soy sauce
5. 2tbsp water
6. 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
7. optional fried shallots
See video for instructions on how to cook this dish.
Radishes are popular across the globe, from Japan (where it accounts for 15% of vegetable production) to the U.S. where 400 million pounds are purchased annually. The roots and greens are tasty and can be used in your cooking.
Did you know?
• Fresh Radishes are rich in vitamin C; provide about 15 mg or 25% of DRI of vitamin C per 100 g.
• Radishes are very low calorie root vegetables; contains only 16 calories per 100 g. However they are very good source of anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
Store radishes for up to two weeks in a plastic bag or damp cloth in the refrigerator. Store greens separately, wrapped in a damp towel in the crisper drawer - use greens asap.
How to Use:
Give the skins a good scrub, there is no need to peel. Enjoy them raw - whole, sliced, grated or sliced into matchsticks. Great dipped in ranch dressing. They are peppery, so to tone down the bite, steam for 8-12 minutes until tender but not mushy. Roll in butter and add salt and pepper.
Radishes are great garnishes for Latin food. Slice and add to tacos, quesadillas or guacamole.
Use in soups and stews instead of turnips or add to mixed vegetable stir fries. Or make a grandma sandwich which is thinly sliced radishes on buttered French or sourdough bread, with a sprinkle of salt. Also tasty if you add spinach and cheese to the sandwich.
Quick and Easy Radish Sandwiches
1) Spread butter on bread.
2) Place radishes on the butter.
3) Shake sea salt on top.
Kale is a leafy green with a crisp stalk and tasty leaves. Kale is very versatile and nutritious green leafy vegetable. It is widely recognized as an incredibly nutritious vegetable since ancient Greek and Roman times for its low fat, no cholesterol but health benefiting anti-oxidant properties. Kale provides rich nutrition ingredients that offer protection from vitamin A deficiency, osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and, colon and prostate cancers.
Did you know?
• It is very rich in vitamin A; 100 g leaves provide 512% of RDA. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Foods rich in this vitamin offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
Cleaning and storage:
To clean, rinse and pat dry. To store, keep in the crisper/produce drawer of your refrigerator.
• Fresh young crispy kale can be used raw in salads.
• Mature leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sautéed.
• Kale leaves are popular winter staples in all over Mediterranean, used in soups (ribollita toscana), stews, salads, pizza, and pasta.
• The leaves also used in the variety of traditional kale recipes with potatoes, green beans, poultry, and meat.
• In Japan, fresh kale juice is quite popular.
Salad in a Mason Jar: Sunny Kale Kruncher
Make this recipe ahead, and you’ve got lunch on the go.
EVOO/Balsamic/Peppercorn spices dressing
sweet Maui onion, diced
kale + shredded carrots + cabbage, chopped
seedless tangerine segments
Layer items in the order they are listed.
Click on link (http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/06/vegan-salad-in-jar-make-ahead-bliss.html) for other delicious salad ideas. Consider using the other fresh vegetables that came in your CSA box this week.
Rich in vitamin C, Arugula has a strong, peppery taste that brings an interesting dimension when served raw or cooked. This green needs to be used fairly quickly, within a few days of delivery. To savor its rich flavor, simply dress it with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. This preparation makes a perfect bed for grilled or roasted meats. Or create an Arugula pesto by combining the greens (stems removed) with garlic, olive oil and pine nuts in a food processor. This pesto makes a great addition to rice, veggies and meats.
Did you know?
• Arugula is good in minerals especially copper and iron.
Store the herb as you do for other greens like spinach, kale…etc. Place it in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator set at high relative humidity.
Discard yellow, wilted, bruised leaves. Place the leaves in a large bowl of cold water and swish thoroughly as you do it in cases of other greens like spinach in order to remove sand, soil, dirt…etc. Then drain the water, gently pat dry using moisture absorbent cloth before use in cooking.
Arugula and Pear Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups arugula leaves
1 pear, unpeeled, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (3 ounces) blue cheese, crumbled
1) In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly add the oil; set aside.
2) Arrange the arugula on individual plates and top with the pear and cheese. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.
Tip: For a warm salad, heat the vinaigrette in a small saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute, and substitute spinach for the arugula.
Wonderful green leafy vegetable spinach is often recognized as one of the functional food for its nutritional, antioxidants and anti-cancer constituents. Spinach works great raw in a salad or sandwich, steamed or sauteed.
Did you know?
• Fresh leaves are rich source of several vital anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C; and flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta-carotene. Together these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a healing role in aging and various disease processes.
• It is also rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
It is important to wash this veggie thoroughly using a salad spinner or a colander placed in a large pot. With the spinach placed in the colander or strainer bowl of your salad spinner, fill the pot or spinner bowl with cool water. Immerse the spinach in the water and swish around with your hand. Pull the colander out, replace the dirty water with clean and repeat until the water is clean after the rinse.
Store spinach wrapped loosely in plastic in the fridge.
To prepare, chop off all stems or, if you have the time, remove only the tough stems, keeping those that are tender. Eat raw or steam or saute just until it wilts. Toss cooked spinach with any combination of lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, hard cheese, soy sauce or any favorite sauce or dressing.
Video & Recipe:
How to Make a Green Smoothie
Scallions are great additions to so many recipes, adding a crisp blast of flavor to salads or hot dishes.
Wrap unwashed scallions in a damp towel or in plastic wrap and keep in the crisper drawer for several days.
Scallions may be cooked or used raw in salads or garnishes to provide flavor and/or color. Scallions and onions are flavor enhancers - use liberally!
When looking for foods that will stimulate fat loss, romaine lettuce nutrition facts are just what you want to see: no fat and cholesterol, with a moderate fiber and protein content. Romaine is the classic lettuce of choice for Caesar salads. It matches well with: anchovies, blue cheese, chives, garlic, lemon, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.
Did you know?
• The vitamin C and beta-carotene content provides many heart health benefits of romaine lettuce, including preventing the oxidation of cholesterol, which can reduce risk of stroke and heart attack.
Keep unwashed lettuces in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Tear off leaves of the lettuce head and rinse in a water bath, allowing grit to fall to the bottom. Dry in a towel or spin dry.
How to use:
• Add a few romaine lettuce leaves to sandwiches for a crunch and an extra dose of fiber.
• Combine romaine lettuce, tomatoes, whole wheat croutons, sliced onion and top with a lemon-lime vinaigrette.
• Combine romaine lettuce, chopped watermelon, kiwi and crumbled feta for a salad.
• Add steak to romaine lettuce salad for entrée salad.
• Instead of taco shells use romaine lettuce leaves for a low calorie alternative.
Clean all of your greens in cool water as you would spinach. Greens can be stored in a salad spinner if you have one or wrapped in a clean cloth or paper towel and placed in a plastic bag. Add a paper towel to the plastic bag and it may keep the greens fresh a bit longer. Mixing lettuces with other greens and herbs, as well as cooked or raw vegetables creates interesting textures and flavors. Get creative and discover your favorite salad preparation.
How to use:
Add fresh herbs from Ploughshare or from your own herb garden to liven up your salads. Add greens to your sandwiches, tacos, burritos or omelets. Lightly sauté (keep a close eye, they cook quickly) then add to baked dishes like quiche or lasagna.
FIND MORE RECIPES ON OUR BLOG
Find more recipes and videos with step-by-step instructions each week on our blog. Browse http://www.ploughsharefarm.com/blog.
CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK
Be sure to “like” us on Facebook so you can keep track of what’s going on at the farm. We share photos and tips on our Facebook page.
A fabulous resource for all of our CSA members is a CSA guide we’ve put together this year. Find it at http://sfc.smallfarmcentral.com/dynamic_content/uploadfiles/476/CSA_Guide3.pdf
• The Basics of Pick-up
• How Do I Eat All These Vegetables
• Wasted Food and the Commercial Supply Chain
• Tips on Storage: How to Store Your Produce
• Pantry List