The crew (minus Anna) cutting baby greens this morning. Cole, Jim and Will are awesome!
Goodness, it was such a beautiful day to be working outside! These days are a gift and we appreciate them fully, since we know those 90s and humid days are coming. We were able to raise that third hoophouse last week (pictured below). It was built by Wednesday and planted with tomatoes by Friday. It was a bit of a stressful week, but I really think it will be worth it. We have so much goodness in store for you!
I wanted to take some space in this newsletter to go over some of what I'm learning about the new Farmigo system we are using this year. It seems like those of you with customizable shares have figured out how to swap items in your shares, but if you've tried this and it still isn't working, please let me know. Each week I set the number of credits you receive for your share. On average you'll receive 20 credits each week. In these early weeks, when we have fewer crops available you'll typically receive less (18 or 19) and once we really get going in the summer you'll get a little more. This is a pretty typical model for a CSA farm and it's a big part of eating with the seasons! If you want to add additional items to your share, you can do this in the store as well. We often have other items available each week that we don't have quite enough of for all of the members, but are available as swaps for customizable shares or add-ons for all shares. I had the store set up so that you had to have a credit card or bank account info added in order to add additional items, but I have changed it to run a balance instead. This way you can add extra items when you like and pay when your balance reaches a larger amount (maybe $25 or so). I think this makes more sense than having the system charge you $3 here and $6 there. Let me know what you think!
We have lots of new items in the share this week. Green and red butterhead lettuces, curly kale, baby leeks, and green onions. The leeks were planted in the fall and have overwintered fairly well. I really love the flavor of leeks, but we've had trouble with pests in past years when we planted this crop in the spring for a fall harvest. I'm excited that overwintered leeks are a possibility for us! Sometimes you have to get around a pest's breeding season to make things work :) The curly kale would be a nice addition to your salads this week if you chop it small and mix it in with your lettuces. We love a kale salad with a nice vinaigrette dressing, dried fruit and nuts. That combo is also good mixed with a grain like brown nice, barley or quinoa. Hopefully you aren't too sick of the mustard greens yet. These baby greens have been growing so nicely that we are including them in shares for one more week. Typically, I try not to give a crop like this for 3 weeks in a row, but sometimes it just works out that way. Maria has another recipe idea for these greens if you need some inspiration! (Also, you can always blanch and freeze cooking greens that you know you won't be eating right away).
The last item in the share this week is a bit unusual - a tomato plant for you to grow in your own garden or in a container! If this sounds fun and exciting to you - great! All you need is a space with lots of sun, garden space or a big pot ammended with lots of compost, and some kind of support for your plant (a tomato cage or wooden stakes that you'll tie your plant to). Most of the plants we're giving in shares are cherry tomatoes, and these work pretty well in containers if you don't have garden space for your plant. All that said, if growing you own does not sound like your cup of tea, no worries! I'm allowing any share type to switch this item out for a surprise item (probably radishes or pac choi). Just let me know if you'd rather have another veggie than a plant this week.
Roasted baby leeks with thyme
20 baby leeks
red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Plan to serve 4 or 5 baby leeks per person, depending on their size. Lightly trim both ends and peel back the first or second layer of leaves and discard. Drop the leeks in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes to soften - this is called blanching. Drain them well (if there's too much water in them they won't roast properly) and toss in a bowl with a good lug of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, the chopped thyme leaves and the garlic. Arrange the leeks in one layer in a baking tray or earthenware dish and roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes until golden and almost caramelized. Keep your eye on them - It is easy to burn baby leeks when cooking them this way!
Basic Cooked Mustard Greens
2 bunches mustard greens (well washed)
1 pound ham chunks or thick bacon
Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
Wash your mustard greens 3 or 4 times in fresh water, draining them each time. (There's nothing worse than gritty mustard greens.) Then strip the leafy part from the stems and discard the stems if stems are thick. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot fry 1 pound of thick bacon or ham chunks until browned; add the mustard greens to the pot. Fry, stirring until greens start to wilt.
Add 2 cups of water and cook until the greens are tender, about 1 hour or more. Add more water as needed.
Some people cook mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens all together in one pot. You can add a teaspoon sugar to the water to sweeten the greens. Stir frequently on medium heat so they don't burn.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with cider vinegar or hot pepper vinegar. Serve with ham and black eyed peas.