Seeds of Hope Farm CSA Newsletter, Week 1, May 17, 2013

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From Your Farmers…

Welcome back! Welcome new members!
Welcome Whitney, our 2013 apprentice!

This Week You’ll Find in Your Share:

Lettuce
Kale
Leeks
Radish
Arugula
Spinach
Boc Choi or Chard
***Broccoli

Next Week You Might Find:

Lettuce
Kale
Chard
Leeks
Baby Greens
Herb

Housekeeping:
Our first cooking class and farm dinner with Operation Food Search is May 28, and the rest will follow on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Sign up when you pick up your share.
Next pick-up you will receive a brief questionnaire regarding your eating habits and what you’d like to see in your share. Having these answers help keep our program going, so please fill it out and return it with your assigned bag next time you pick up a share. Each member will be assigned three bags with a number matching your member number on the share pickup sheet.

On the farm: A cold, wet spring has made for a tough start, but after the weather of the last two years, the ground really needed it. The wet conditions led to lots of crop loss to slugs and other ‘pests,’ and washed away many seed and even freshly emerged seedlings. The cold simply put things behind, delaying plantings of warm weather crops into the ground and decreased the vitality of those already in. Just a note, shares may be a bit thin until summer crops truly come around.

–Gabriel

Food For Thought…

***We work on a very small scale, about one half acre, which means we have to keep our plantings very small to provide our members with diverse shares. So, we try some crops that are difficult to grow in our part of Missouri, like broccoli and cantaloupe. Some of these crops will produce harvest over a period of several weeks, and not all members will get them in one week, but we will distribute through the list as the crop becomes available. This week’s example: broccoli. Some of you will get broccoli this week, others over the next few.

Leeks

Leeks are in the same family with onions, garlic, and chives, but they have special qualities all their own. They’re mild, subtle, and sweet.

We’ve trimmed the roots and green tops of your leeks, and what remains is the white, or blanched, shank, which is kind of like a long narrow onion bulb. It’s white because we buried your leeks last fall and they grew underground. Because leeks develop beneath the surface of the soil they should always be cleaned thoroughly. The way to do it is to cut the leek lengthwise down the middle and, under running water, use your fingers to open up the layers and wash away any garden grit.

Leeks don’t need any fancy preparation to show off their high quality and delicious flavor. I’m going to suggest two recipes that are simple and always satisfying.

This Week’s Recipes…

In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child writes, “Leek and potato soup smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make.” Here is an adaptation. It makes 2 quarts serving 6 to 8 people.

Ingredients:
3 to 4 cups or 1 pound peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
3 cups or 1 pound thinly sliced leeks, including the first couple inches of tender green; or yellow onions
2 quarts of water
1 tablespoon of salt, and pepper to taste

Steps:
1. Simmer all these ingredients partially covered for 40-50 minutes, or until tender.
2. Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork.
3. Optionally, a couple teaspoons of butter are nice to mix in off heat and just before serving.
4. Minced parsley or chives are good herbs to try. Sprinkle some over the bowls as a finishing touch.

Another classic recipe to try is:
Leeks Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
Leeks
A simple homemade vinaigrette

Steps:
1. Set the whole washed leeks into boiling water, over low heat, and cook for under ten minutes until parboiled, which is partially boiled.
2. Try picking them up with tongs, and when you can easily pierce the root end of the leek with a fork, it is cooked enough.
3. Place the leeks in a dish of ice water to stop them from cooking.
4. Drain the leeks thoroughly and, because you sliced them down the middle to clean them, you can fan out the layers and spread the leeks open, facing up, in a dish long and deep enough for them to fit.
5. Drizzle a moderate amount of vinaigrette over the leeks, so that their surface has been splashed and there is a thin layer of vinaigrette sitting in the pan. Turn the leeks over and make sure the other sides have been dressed lightly.

A vinaigrette is a salad dressing you can make at home. What’s so great about it is you control what goes in it and you can vary the ingredients to achieve the desired flavor. In a jar, mix oil and a vinegar, usually about 3-4 times as much oil as vinegar. Olive oil and red wine vinegar are good for this recipe. The vinegar is an acid and provides an important balance of flavors with the oil.
You can also squeeze a lemon instead of adding vinegar to provide that acidic kick. Salt and pepper are essential. A grainy mustard like Dijon helps to mix everything together when you put a lid on the jar and give it a strong shake, and is a good flavor for this recipe. Honey or sugar is typically good to include and is an option with this recipe. There are endless variations and delicious possibilities for a vinaigrette. Make it by taste.

6. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for a couple hours to a couple days.
7. Serve at room temperature.

— Randy Tempel, CAASTLC Community Garden Coordinator

Farm Wish List

-compost
-lawn and leaf bags(full, of course)
-brown paper bags
-empty pint and half pint containers
-hands to help us
-pull bermuda grass and bindweed (a few hours now will save us many more next year)

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