Seeds of Hope Farm CSA Newsletter, Week 2, May 24, 2013

Our first farm dinner of the season.  Join us every fourth Tuesday evening!
Our first farm dinner of the season. Join us every fourth Tuesday evening!

Welcome back! Welcome new members!
Welcome Whitney, our 2013 apprentice!
Welcome Avonda and Deidre, our new practicum students!

This week you’ll find in your share:
Spicy Arugula
Boc Choi
Beet greens
***Snap Peas!

Next week you might find in your share:
• Lettuce
• Chard
• Leeks
• Baby Greens
• Herb

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, or give me a call at 314.566.8643.

Remember to visit us online at seedsofhopefarm.org, and that you can help us save paper and costs by opting to read the newsletter online.

On the farm: Just a note, shares may thin out over the next few weeks until summer crops truly come around. Our first plantings of squash and cucumbers have really been hit by the cold and the cucumber beetle, which didn’t show up last year until July.

Food For Thought…

Lettuce begin. Then add beet greens, arugula, and some boc choi stems. You’re on your way to a fine Memorial Day salad.

Boc choi – is also great in a stir fry, used as a cooking green. The stems are great for dipping, and offer a nice crunch in a salad.

The arugula this week has a good peppery kick. Taste a few leaves before you put it all in one salad. This is my favorite stage of arugula, but not all feel this way. If too hot, cook it down with some of your other greens.

Radishes- eat ‘em, dip ‘em, but don’t toss those greens! See under recipes.

Snap peas! For many, enough said. For the rest of us, it can be nice to get that string off of each edge before chewing it up. These peas will be delicious fresh on their own, with a little hummus. Take a moment with your peas, slide your thumbnail along its concave seam, and open. See first-hand one of nature’s wondrous offerings. Each time I do this, it slows me for a moment, bringing a bit of calm and wonderment.
Have kids? This is a great way to get them eating peas at their finest. Even start with just the peas, saving the tender shell for last.

What are the pretty white flowers you ask? Chamomile. You can use them fresh, or allow them to dry, pluck the flower head, and steep in boiling water for a restful tea. Yes, chamomile is a natural way to put yourself to sleep.

*** 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 examples: broccoli and peas. Some of you will get broccoli this week, others over the next few. The peas may have a short season if things heat up, so we’re rolling them out to you as they come on.

We staggered two plantings of lettuce about two weeks apart, hoping it all would mature over a period of 4 weeks. Nope, it all came through in this one. Our next planting, planted 3 and one half weeks later, will need harvested by Monday. These happenings can be frustrating as they don’t fit in with our scheduling, but are a good reminder that in growing food, (living things) we are working with something much greater than ourselves. We accept what is offered, when, and enjoy. Share your lettuce with your neighbors, friends and family over the holiday weekend.

This Week’s Recipes…
From Whitney, the Farm Apprentice

Spring Fling: Radish and Pea Salad

Turn up the heat without turning on your stove. This quick spring salad will have you in and out of the kitchen in minutes and is great for backyard parties.

2 teaspoons powdered cumin
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 cups fresh-shelled peas or 1 pound frozen petite peas
4-5 radishes, thinly sliced or chopped into small bits
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

Whisk the dressing together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add in the radish and peas. Give it a whirl. Top with feta cheese. Feel free to toss with a bed of greens or pea sprouts. DONE! And now you have time to marvel at this amazing weather because you no longer have to be in the kitchen.

Radish Refrigerator Pickles

You know the type: a perfectly round, cute, and sparkling red radish that looks so good you just have to take a bite… only to find that it’s a peppery fireball that will bite you back. Pickling radishes mellows their flavor so they’re not as spicy as usual yet still have a great crisp texture, plus a sweet-and-sour edge. Use a radish pickle on anything that you would normally put radishes on—a simple green salad, burgers, or fish.

Pickles will last in the refrigerator for up to five days.

1 bunch of radishes
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon yellow or brown mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 medium dried bay leaf

Rinse radishes and trim off their leafy tops (save the greens for a pesto). Thinly slice radishes and place in a heatproof, nonreactive bowl, and set in the refrigerator while making the brine.
Combine red wine vinegar, sugar, water, salt, mustard seed, coriander seed, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and let pickling brine cool for about 5 minutes. Remove radishes from the refrigerator and pour brine over them. Let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes; cover and refrigerate.

Radish Leaf Pesto

2 large handfuls of good-looking radish leaves, stems removed
1 ounce hard cheese, such as pecorino or parmesan, grated or shaved using a vegetable peeler
1 ounce nuts, such as pistachios, almonds, or pinenuts
1 clove garlic, chopped
A short ribbon of lemon zest or a tiny splash of lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil, use more to get the consistency you like
To taste: salt, pepper, ground chili pepper

Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender or mini-chopper, and process in short pulses until smooth. You can also get old school and use a knife or mortar and pestle (great for the arms) if preferred. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice to make sure all bits are in the mix. This produces a thick pesto; add more oil and pulse again to get the consistency you prefer.
Taste, adjust the seasoning, and pack into an airtight container like a recycled glass jar. Adding a thin layer of oil on the surface will help it to last longer. Store in the refrigerator and use within a few days or in the freezer for a wintertime treat.

Farm Wish List
-compost (as in your food scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells)
-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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