Monday, June 6, 2011
Ken & the kids pull weeds from a young beet crop
Distribution date: Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Letter from the Farm:
It’s hard to believe we’ve finally made it to the CSA’s 1st distribution date. Spring has felt so LOOONG. So cold. So wet. So, ugh, dramatic. We’ve had tornado warnings, severe thunderstorms, and even a little hail—thankfully nothing like the damaging golf-ball sized hail some of our farming friends in the region have experienced. We’ve heard of a few farms down state having to delay their CSA distributions by a couple of weeks. Thankfully, we were able to get enough planted before the perpetual rain that plagued us in May to offer a modest first share.
As a general rule of thumb, the CSA season almost always starts out a little slow since there are only so many things that fully mature in the short amount of time we’ve so far had to grow this season. And, frustratingly, the conditions for getting things planted have been extremely difficult this spring because it has been so wet.
The season will start heavy on the greens—with things like lettuces, spinach, swiss chard… These are the plants that grow in a relatively short amount of time and without requiring a tremendous amount of heat (unlike summer-time favorites like tomatoes, cucumbers, melon…). Here at the farm, we’re just so glad to finally have truly fresh salad greens after suffering through a winter of store-bought packets of baby lettuces that turned slimy all too quickly.
This week that nagging question--what’s for dinner?—has an easy answer. Whatever goes with great salad.
1 bunch green garlic (see note below)
1 bunch scallions
1 bunch radish
1 head Romaine lettuce
Salad mix (a mix of baby red and green lettuces; nothing spicy)
1 bunch cilantro
Making the Most of Your Greens For some of us, getting through a head of lettuce in one meal is a breeze. For others, it takes more work and planning. If you fall into the latter category, consider your greens the foundation for a supper salads—main-course salads reinforced with proteins like beans, fish, chicken or other meats (grilled, sautéed, poached or roasted). Let the greens drive the main dish, and, if you don’t already, try making your own basic vinaigrette. It’s really, really simple to make, and outshines the gloppy stuff you find in the superstore any day.
Asian Vinaigrette with Cilantro This vinaigrette makes use of your cilantro and is great with a main-course salad of lettuce greens, thinly sliced scallions from this week’s share and steak or grilled or broiled shrimp or, if you’re a vegan, tempeh.
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. minced green garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs. dry sherry
1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce (also called nuoc mam)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
A dash of hot sauce or chile sauce (optional)
Kosher salt to taste
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbs. peanut oil
Combine all the ingredients, except for the sesame and peanut oils. Slowly whisk in sesame and peanut oils to blend.
Greens Storage Tip: If you have a salad spinner, that’s an ideal place to store your mixed baby greens in the refrigerator. The basket to the spinner allows air to flow around the greens so they can “breathe”; the top holds in moisture, so they don’t dry out. If you don’t own a salad spinner, consider buying one. It’ll serve you well through the CSA season. All of the farm’s greens are washed after harvest, but, as with any produce you get from the farm or purchase elsewhere, it is wise to wash again before use.
Cilantro Storage Tip: To keep your cilantro from perishing too fast, store it stem side down in a jar or glass of water (like you would a bouquet of flowers), “tent” the leafy tops with a plastic bag and refrigerate.
In this week’s share you’ll be receiving a slender, small bunch of scallions and then something that looks like bunched green onions but larger and with green tops that look more like leeks. This is green garlic. It’s the garlic plant in its early stage of growth—before the white bulb end has developed cloves. Green garlic is hard to find any time after spring. It has a fresh and delicate garlic flavor without the pungency of mature, cured garlic. It’s terrific with eggs, potatoes, in any kind of salad, and lightly sautéed in anything you’d normally use garlic. It’s also good as a garnish for a dip. Like a scallion, use the entire plant—from the white base to the green tops. The tops are somewhat fibrous, so, depending on how you use them, you may wish to slice thinly or chop well.
The Eggs Get Bigger
All of the farm’s eggs are being laid by spring chickens. That is, the hens are young and only begun to lay eggs in the last few weeks. Lucky for the hens, as nature has it, they start by laying small eggs. Right now the eggs are medium in size. As the season progresses, so will the size of the eggs, until they reach something between a large and extra-large size.
Recycling egg cartons. For all those with egg shares, the farm is more than glad to reuse any clean egg cartons—from the eggs we’ve provided or eggs members have purchased elsewhere. Bring them to the CSA distribution site.
Recycling rubber bands. Through the course of the season you’ll accumulate quite a few food-safe red rubber bands the farm uses to bunch a number of different herbs and veggies. The farm can reuse them. So feel free to bring your eventual stockpile to the CSA distribution, and they will get returned to the farm.
Posted by Free Bird Farm at 7:49 PM