Main Season 2018 CSA – Week # 1 – Distribution for 05/29/18

CSA 2018 – WEEK #1

May 28, 2018

GREENS GALORE & THE PROMISE OF MORE

Hello from the farm and welcome to our 2018 CSA season!  Nature offers up just what our bodies need to eat this time of year….greens!  If you are new to our CSA, you are in for quite a treat, as many of the items in this week’s box are not commercially grown, so there’s a good chance you’ve never tasted anything like it before!  Mustard salad mix?  Japanese turnips that you can eat raw like an apple?  Turnip greens lightly sautéed for a side dish?  Maybe some radishes dipped in sea salt and butter like the French do?  This week is full of so many adventures for your taste buds, let’s jump right in!

New to this?  After reading through this intro part of the newsletter, scroll down to the “This week in the shares” section and CLICK each item in the list to visit a page on our website with crop photos and information, storage tips and recipes.  Then scroll to the bottom of the newsletter for my suggested recipes.  I promise, they’re good!

Getting into the groove… Over the next few weeks we will all begin to get into the groove of CSA – the changing seasons, the harvests, the rhythm of the week, the surprises in your shares and the delicious new flavors you’ll enjoy!  If this is your first year being part of a CSA farm share, there may be a bit of a learning curve as you learn to cook with a whole box of vegetables that were chosen for you, not chosen by you!  Many of our long-time members have come to embrace (and love!) the fact that the farmers and the seasons dictate the weekly shares.  You don’t have to choose, for a change, you can just sit back and be delighted by the bountiful weekly harvests coming your way…

Here are a few simple tips that will help you get the most out of your shares…

#1 – Produce needs to be stored properly!  I will always tell you how to best store your shares in our weekly crop list.  (See below.) Greens need to be in a sealed container or bag so they don’t dehydrate.  I like to use these Produce Storage Bags, but plain old zip-locks work just as well.  I re-use these plastic bags over and over, but if you are intent on avoiding all plastic, we have also had good results using glass bowls with a fully-sealed lid. Our produce is harvested the day before your delivery, so it should last if it is properly stored.
#2 – Get yourself a salad spinner!  If you don’t already have one, this will be the most useful tool in your kitchen. Remove the inner colander and use the bowl of the spinner to wash your greens.  Remove any visible soil and put all of your greens in the bowl and fill it to the top with water.  Agitate.  Then transfer the greens to the colander insert, dump out the water and spin dry.  If you see a lot of dirt in the water, you may want to repeat the water soaking/agitation process again before spinning.  I’m sure you’ll find lots of other uses for your salad spinner!  I really can’t say enough about my love for it.  This is my favorite. 
#3 – Cook with an open mind!  Find your favorite tricks & short-cuts!  There may be items in the share that you think you don’t like. I urge you to try some of the recipes in our newsletter and if you still don’t like it, e-mail me!  I bet I can come up with some recipes that you and your family will enjoy. 🙂  When in doubt, do what we do….  roast it, grill it, throw it in soup, or add it to your juice or smoothie!  We’ll be here every week to inspire you with new recipes and ways to enjoy the flavors of the season!

Enjoy your box!  – Maggie, Farmer Matt & the Crew

THIS WEEK IN THE SHARES…

A quick note on the “light” box “heavy” in greens!  This is what eating with the seasons looks like!  Salad greens and quick growing roots are what’s in season now!  In just a few weeks, the boxes will be brimming with heavier items and hot weather crops like cucumbers, zucchini, onions and summer delights.  Tomatoes come in August, as does sweet corn!  There is always something to savor today and something to look forward to tomorrow!  Now you’re eating like a farmer!

Mustard Greens Salad Mix – Mustard greens are one of the world’s healthiest foods.  We started growing them a few years ago, but now we’ve perfected their harvest size and variety blend.  Farmer Matt hand-selected eleven different varieties for this custom mix, balancing flavors, leaf textures and colors. I think he nailed it!  You can’t buy this in stores.  It’s a CSA exclusive!  Wash and spin dry and dress lightly in olive oil, a splash of vinegar and salt & pepper.  It doesn’t need much.  Let the flavors shine…
Storage: In an airtight (plastic) bag in the refrigerator. Uses: Raw in salad. When to use: Within 5 days.  

Boston (Butter) Lettuce – This tender leaf lettuce is also known as Butter or Bib lettuce and it grows well in the early part of the season in the cooler temperatures. The most important thing to know about Boston lettuce is that the leaves are so soft and tender that you must use a light dressing.  No heavy dressings here!  Try my vinaigrette recipe below, or just drizzle with good quality olive oil, vinegar and salt & pepper.  I love to make a special salad with orange sections, red onion and toasted almonds (in my vinaigrette) with this lettuce.
Storage: In an airtight (plastic) bag in the refrigerator. Uses: Raw in a salad. When to use: Within a week.

Bunched Red Kale –  Don’t say you don’t like kale!  We grow only the best varieties that you can’t find in stores, and this red stemmed variety happens to be the best of the best!  Kale Tip #1 is REMOVE THE STEM!  No one likes the stem, so cut it out.  You can use it in soups, but it’s really too tough to use if you’re going to eat a raw salad or steam the greens. (I give my stems to the sheep, but if you don’t have any sheep, I understand.)  Fine Cooking has an excellent photo tutorial and video to teach you how to easily remove the stems. Kale Tip #2 is Kale is Versatile!  This variety is perfect for raw kale salads, which last time I checked, is still all the rage.  It’s crazy healthy and crazy delicious, so I’m putting my favorite kale salad recipe below.  Kale is also delicious steamed.  Just make sure you steam it until just tender.  If it’s not cooked enough it will be hard to chew and if it’s overcooked it looses its nutrients and best flavor.  So keep an eye on it!  After steaming, I usually transfer it to bowl and dress with olive oil, freshly chopped garlic and umeboshi vinegar. (What?  Never heard of it?  You’re welcome.)  Kale is also delicious thrown into smoothies with fruit or juiced.  I’ll talk more about juicing and smoothies in an upcoming newsletter.  Kale chips, anyone?  Kale in minestrone soup?  I could go on….
Storage: In an airtight (plastic) bag in the refrigerator. Uses: Raw, Baked (Chips) Cooked (Best in Soups), Steamed, Smoothies or Juiced. When to use: Within a week

French Breakfast Radishes – These are just beautiful, aren’t they?  We can all pretend to be French and eat them with butter and salt.  Sounds strange, but it’s a thing and it’s pretty tasty too.  You can even cook the green tops, so don’t toss them out!
Storage: In an airtight (plastic) bag in the refrigerator.  Separate the roots from the greens first- then they can be stored in the same bag.  Uses: Raw or cooked. When to use: Within 5 days.

Japanese Salad Turnips – Alert! This is a two-for-one veg which means that you need to SAVE and USE THE TURNIP TOPS/GREENS!  They are seriously the most delicious greens – wilt them like spinach and drizzle with olive oil and salt & pepper.  Now on to the roots.. the turnips do not need to be peeled! They are juicy!  They are sweet and maybe a little spicy. Great raw as a snack, roasted, braised, good all ways, you can’t go wrong!
Storage: In an airtight (plastic) bag in the refrigerator.  Separate the roots from the greens first- then they can be stored in the same bag.  Uses: Raw or cooked. When to use: Within 5 days.

RECIPES

I try to share recipes that are simple and adaptable for all palates and diets and really showcase the flavor of our produce.  Some are family favorites and some are from our favorite cookbooks or blogs. 

Perfect Green Salad & Vinaigrette
Use this basic vinaigrette recipe for all our greens to let the flavors shine!
It will become your go-to dressing and it stores well in the fridge.
CSA 101 Recipe | Kid-friendly

Raw Kale Salad 
I eat a lot of kale salads, but this is my hands-down favorite.

Mustard Greens Salad with Pears and Parmesan
You can substitute any stone fruit and any cheese (or non-dairy cheese) in this yummy salad.

Roasted Turnips and Wilted Turnip Greens
This recipe uses the tops and the bottoms of your turnips so nothing goes to waste!

QUICK NO-RECIPE IDEAS
Radishes with Butter & Salt
Lettuce Wraps – Wrap your favorite sandwich filling in lettuce leaves.
Turnip slices dipped in hummus
Kale Smoothie – Blend kale leaves, banana, frozen fruit and  juice or coconut water.

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