Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What to Do With Your Share---Week 2X

Hard to believe April is in its last week. The mild weather has allowed for a slow awakening for the plants with little damage from the elements. Every year is different, and this year is well paced so far.

Tender greens are a big part of the share this week, with butterhead lettuce at the top of the list. I look forward to the first one each season and have it with not much more than oil and vinegar. Coming out of the high tunnel they are quite tender.

The Asian greens fall into that category too, and are pretty perfect for a stir fry. If you have any greens from last week left make a big one and have it over a couple days. You have the vegetables, so now the question is, what type of sauce do I use?

Food.com has a good basic stir fry sauce recipe  and fortysomething.ca has a nice list of 15 different sauces. Lots of great options.

The pea shoots are a new item we are trying. They are a tender, sweet garnish. Use them on just about anything. Rinse, drain and chop, or put whole in salads.

In the Share: Week 2 Extended Season

BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE  the first of hopefully many more.


RADISHES AND TURNIPS  the first round of pulling these, next week they'll be bigger.

CARROTS  From our patch that we overwintered growing in the high tunnel.

PEA SHOOTS  Its the first time we have ever grown these.  There is just a small bundle for each share.  Let us know what you think.  See Tom's post for more info.

BOK CHOY  See Tom's post for tips on stir-fry

ASPARAGUS OR SPINACH  Sorry to say, the asparagus patch is still not giving us much to work with.  We are hoping for an improvement soon, but in the meantime there is some luscious spinach from the fields and high tunnel.


HERBS  Cilantro & dill

GREEN GARLIC  Like a green onion, a green garlic is the whole plant pulled when young. 

NEXT WEEK:  More lettuce, greens, radishes and turnips, green onions, herbs and asparagus.

All of the Spring crops are in the ground and are off to a good start.  Tending to them is our focus this week before we things get busy with the planting of the summer crops. 

The onions we started in the greenhouse back in January have been in the ground for over a month now. 

You can see the organic matter leftover from last summer's cover crop of sorghum sudan grass and sunhemp still visible on the surface.  Farmers like to call this residue "trash", as in "the trash gummed up the equipment".  I can be known to complain about it when I plant the first carrots of the season, however, the plants that feed us do very well thanks to the nutrients that our cover crops provide.  This year's soil test shows a dramatic increase in the organic matter in our soil which is now between 4 and 5 %, up from 2-3 a few years back.  Doesn't sound like a lot, but a doubling of organic matter is significant.  Some prairie soils are up around 7%.

The first CSA workers came out last week and joined us in our work.  The harvest goes quick with just 20-30 shares per morning, and we had lots of time for other tasks.  The sugarsnap peas got mulched and fenced in between rain showers on Saturday.

Others made row cover pins in the new workshop. 

Tom and I feel incredibly fortunate to have the support from our community.  Our family farm benefits from everyone's participation in our work.  We hope that our members look forward to their farm shifts as much as we do.  Thank you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

In the Share: Week 1 extended season

CARROTS sweet roots held over from the fall harvest.

SPINACH  big leaves fresh from the high tunnel

LETTUCE  dainty butterheads and romaines

ASPARAGUS OR GAI LAN  wish we had enough asparagus for all but it is being shy so far.  Gai lan or Chinese broccoli is a nice option with its similarly tender shoots.

KALE or CHARD  or ASIAN GREENS  All out of the high tunnel.  Bok choy, tat soi and Tokyo bekana comprise the Asian greens.

GARLIC CHIVES  chopped fresh on any dish they are in their prime right now

EGGS  just for this week only.  The egg shares will start with the first week of the 24-week season (May 13/16)

GREEN ONIONS from the field patch over-wintered from 2014

GARLIC last of the 2014 harvest should be used promptly. 

NEXT WEEK:  Lettuce, radishes, hakurei turnips, asparagus, greens, gai lan, cilantro and dill.

The first CSA harvest of the year is here and tis the season for Spring cleaning.  The farm crew began the big job of cleaning our 100s of crates.  The wash area and packing room got a good scrub down and we are ready for the harvest. 

Food safety is a priority for the farm crew and we ask for your help in keeping Fair Share Farm a good source for clean, healthy food.  Washing hands often is good hygienic practice.  Avoiding contact with fresh produce when you have flu-like symptoms keeps possible food-borne illnesses from spreading.  Consider these practices when picking up your share as well as at the farm and in your kitchen at home.  Our produce is often rinsed at the farm but should be washed at home before consuming.  At the start of each CSA work day we have a short orientation that covers the basics of food safety.  Please arrive at the farm promptly for this important information.   

Thank you for participating in your local food system.  Happy eating!

What to Do With Your Share---Extended Season Week 1

Welcome to this year's Fair Share Farm CSA. It is time to begin the 2015 harvest season. Fresh, local vegetables in late-April is something we are glad to be a part of. This year is starting out with lots of promise, and we are looking forward to what's ahead.

The green's choice this week allows for lots of options. One recipe that we think fits them all is the stinging nettle dish in our last blog. A healthy dose of fat/oil, vinegar/wine/citrus juice, salt, pepper, herbs, onions and garlic always make for a savory serving of greens. Leftovers are a great addition to omelets.

This week is the only week of the year we have eggs in the share, so it is the only week I have a recipe devoted to the egg. This dish is a part of my family heritage, the "egg in a basket." Apparently created to make egg and toast eating easier on the high seas, I learned it from my father. It is a great breakfast option to have in your repertoire.

Egg in a Basket

Cut a hole in a slice of bread big enough to hold the yolk of an egg
Butter both sides of the bread
Add 1 teaspoon butter to hot pan, add bread

Crack egg into the hole in the bread
Once the bottom has cooked, about 2 minutes, flip the bread/egg
Cook on other side until golden brown
Serve hot with garlic chive garnish and hot sauce

Friday, April 10, 2015

Stinging Nettles

Here is info and a recipe for the stinging nettles sold at the Kansas City Food Circle Eat Local and Organic Expo.

Stinging Nettles
Perhaps the earliest green of the season (before the invention of high tunnels), this European import grows wild on our farm. It is in perfect form right now, with this first shoots still in a tender stage. As a tea this medicinal vegetable is consumed as a spring tonic. Our recipe is for a delicious side-dish.

Foraging nettles

Do-it-Yourself Stinging Nettle Recipe
Be aware that handling stinging nettles without gloves can be aggravating to your skin. According to our Weeds of the Great Plains book, "the stinging hairs contain acetylcholine and histamine." Despite this, it was used to treat rheumatism in the past, the sting serving to stimulate blood flow. Once cooked the potential for irritation is gone.

The are simple to cook, a steaming for 10 minutes is all that is needed. You can cook the nettles whole, right out of the bag or trim off the bottoms of the thicker stems first.

Fresh nettles are tender and can be cooked whole, or trimmed and chopped.

Enhancing this basic recipe is where the DIY aspect of the recipe comes into play. If you eat meat, bacon fat is a good compliment as the fat/oil to cook in. Olive, sesame, peanut and other flavorful oils are equally delicious.

A good braising liquid is another basic ingredient for cooking nettles. White wine, water, and stock are all good cooking liquids. I like to top it with some vinegar before serving.

1/5 lb stinging nettles
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. lardo
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup beer
1/2 cup water
Lardo, garlic and red onion

Chop the lardo fine, heat in frying pan with the olive oil
Sautee the onion and garlic for 2 minutes, add the nettles
Cook for 2 minutes, stirring t blend the ingredients
Add beer and water, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes
Serve with garnish of fresh green onions and vinegar