Seeds of Hope Farm CSA Newsletter, Week 3, May 31, 2013

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This week you’ll find in your share:
Lettuce
Kale
Swiss Chard
Spicy Mix
Arugula
Spinach
Leeks
Thyme
***Snap Peas!
***Broccoli

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

From Your Farmers…
Our first cooking class and farm dinner was delicious, and featured kale gratin, sautéed Swiss chard and chickpeas, and a nice lemon-herb roasted radish dish. Several members mentioned how a photo to ID each crop to its name would be helpful, and the farm team is looking into how we can make this happen for you. Our next dinner is Tuesday, June 25. Please sign up when you pick up your share. The list is with the share pick-up sheet.

Plants are speeding up on the farm with the warmer days and nights. This means the workload and pace are picking up too. More plants going into the ground, more harvest coming out, vining crops need support…and of course, in our organic methods, the weeds are staking their claim as well. If anyone would be interested in working alongside us for a few hours to gain control over a few of them, we’d be thrilled. Please give me a call at 566-8643, and we’ll make a date.

It turns out we got some bindweed seed in some of our mulching materials last year, and now it is making a strong presence in nearly every bed, choking the crops that are trying to make your food. Bindweed is one of agriculture’s most problematic weeds because it is perennial, grows quickly, covers ground and climbs, roots several feet into the ground, can even spread beneath thick mulch, and forms new roots and shoots every time it is broken. Tough years of strategic management lie ahead…. Even 30 minutes of help with trying to get a section of the field under control would be greatly appreciated, even on a weekend. Plus, we love when our members drop by and get a closer look of the farm.

Food For Thought…
Leeks: We want to send a special thanks out to farm member Dora Gianoulakis for her generous donation of leeks to the farm in late fall of 2012. Dora invited us to come and dig the self-seeded leeks from her garden bed. Using our Community Garden Coordinator Randy Tempel’s excellent growing method, we planted the bulk of them on November 2, 2012. We overwintered them under a sheet of plastic, occasionally uncovering them to allow rainwater in, and excess heat out, and harvested these well-blanched leeks on 5/11.The leeks will store for a long time in the fridge, but why wait? They’re delicious now.

***For the remainder of the season, when three asterisks are next to a crop, in the share list at left, this means that crop is coming through in small quantities and will be rotated through shares as it comes available. We track who gets what and how much every week to keep things even. By our use of the asterisks, you won’t have to read this each week it takes place, you can just relax and know your turn is coming through.

Spicy mix: comprised of arugula, baby boc choi, kale, kohlrabi, purple mustards and mizuna, this is a new one for the year. Try a few to make that salad flavor and color pop. Try a few leaves, if the spice is a little much for you, wilt them in a warm dish of rice or cook them down a bit in just about anything.

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

April showers bring May flowers… and a bumper crop of greens. By now, your abundant CSA shares are staring at you every time you open your refrigerator door. Below are a few suggestions to get your greens onto your family’s plate.

Hide them:
I don’t mean in the compost bin. Bury greens in dishes you’re already making. Two handfuls of cooking greens like Swiss Chard or Kale will wilt down into a pasta sauce like alfredo or marinara. Tuck some chopped spinach into an egg or potato salad. Or if you’re a brave soul like I am, start your day right with a sautéed nest of greens for your fried egg breakfast. Keep in mind that pretty well all deep green leafy crops are interchangeable in a cooking dish.

Bottoms up:
As the temperatures warm up quickly, make use of your greens in cool smoothies. One handful of spinach, a banana, peanut butter, milk, and ice will melt away your early summer woes. Try other tropical combinations by tossing in greens with frozen fruit like pineapple, mango, and shredded coconut. Make it berry delicious with local strawberries, raspberries, yogurt, and greens. These fruit combos are so sweet, you’ll forget about that handful of greens.

Save it for Later:
Blanching and freezing cooking greens like Swiss Chard, Kale, and Spinach can extend your CSA into the winter months. Toss frozen greens in a lasagna or soup, no defrosting necessary. Additionally, this quick and easy prep can bring out flavor, brighten the green color, and soften the texture. Remember, when you cook greens, they’ll shrink: 1 pound of spinach will cook down to about 1 cup.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. If desired, add just enough salt to give the water a slightly salty taste.
  2. Wash your spinach leaves.
  3. Fill a bowl 3/4 of the way full with ice, and add cold water to reach the top of the ice. This needs to be readily available after the spinach is boiled.
  4. Put the spinach leaves in the boiling water, and allow them to boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute until you see a bright green color.
  5. Drain the excess water from the spinach with a slotted spoon or strainer.
  6. Put the spinach in the ice water. Leave the blanched spinach in the ice bath for a few minutes or until it is no longer warm. This will stop the cooking process, keep the spinach tender, and retain the nutrients.
  7. Squeeze the spinach with your hands to remove all excess water. Leaving too much moisture in the leaves may potentially ruin recipes. Spinach is approximately 90% water, so no additional water is required to cook spinach.
  8. Seal the spinach in an air-tight container to store like plastic freezer bags which flatten out and stack nicely. Label the bag with a date and what’s inside. Freeze spinach for later use, or use immediately in a recipe.

Farm Wish List:
-compost (your food scraps, coffee grounds,
-hands to help control bindweed and Bermuda grass
-empty electrical wire wide spools from 2-8 feet wide. (we use them to store greenhouse plastic and row cover)

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