Thursday, June 23, 2011

Birch Point CSA 2011 Week 2

Birch Point CSA Newsletter
2011 Week 2

In This Week’s Share:

Giant Swiss Chard or Kale-These leafy greens may be the backbone of CSA- I know, you probably thought it was the sexy salad mix or heirloom tomatoes, but according to farmer David Hambleton of Sisters Hill Farm in New York, “I can’t imagine a CSA without kale!” And I would include chard in that sentiment. Fresh dark green leafies are vitamin- and mineral-rich foods, versatile, delicious, and abundant. If these vibrant, leafy veggies are new to you, I highly recommend the Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook. Also check out my basic greens formula and the excellent chard recipe contributed by CSA member Lori Thomas in Recipes section!
Garlic Scapes- whoa, what is that? Curly-cue flowering stems of the garlic plant! We pull these stems from the centers of the garlic plant (one per plant) this time of year for two reasons: 1. They are delicious and versatile- just like fresh garlic, but no peeling required. 2. Removing the flowering stems redirects plant energy into forming bigger bulbs below ground, rather than on flowering. So we get bigger garlic bulbs later this summer! Garlic scapes =win-win situation. Check out the article about scapes (with quotes from Richard Andres of Tantre Farm, where I used to work!) from Ann
Arugula- A nutty, slightly spicy salad green, to be tossed with your baby lettuce mix, or enjoyed on its own- one of my favorite ways (besides salad) to enjoy arugula is wilted with pasta- see Recipes section.
Baby Salad Mix w/edible flowers- an almost entirely lettuce mix this week- the baby kales, mustards, and other non-lettuces we like to include are still too tiny to harvest- so probably next time you’ll get a spicy salad mix, light on the lettuce! Edible flowers include pansies (all colors), calendula petals (orange/yellow), nasturtiums (large red, yellow, or orange, spicy and sweet), and borage (blue-purple, super sweet). If you ever need edible flowers for cake decorating, etc. shoot me an email- there are plenty for CSA members!
Radishes- the first of the field-harvested roots! You may see Cherry Belle (classic round red) or French Breakfast (elongated pink and white). These red beauties have been growing under reemay (frost fabric) to keep insects off, so the leaves are gorgeous (you’ll see un-covered radishes later, where the roots are still beautiful but their leaves are perforated by flea beetles) and tender- did you know you can eat the leaves? They can be a little hairy, so cooking is advised- throw them in with your chard or kale! As for the roots, my favorite way to enjoy a radish is cut in halves or quarters, and lightly sprinkled with salt. The salt brings out the juiciness and mellows the spiciness (though these are fairly mild).
Scallions from the hoophouse. What’s the diff between scallions and green onions? They look the same, are interchangeable, and people use the terms interchangeably, but green onions are technically immature onions, which would grow into bulbs if left to grow. Scallions are bred not to bulb, so left to their own devices, they’d just grow into giant versions of themselves, perhaps resembling leeks. These scallions are pretty darn huge, but still tender- yes, you can use the entire thing, green and white parts! Some gourmet restaurants are even using the roots as garnishes- have you tried them? What do you think?
Maybe another surprise or two…


1. Wareberries available. Certified organic strawberries from our friends at Ware Farm in Bear Lake, to be picked up with your shares. Saturday shares: email me your order by Fri at 8 a.m. (I’ll call the Wares on Friday to place our order for Sat). Tuesday shares: Email me by Sunday midnight (I’ll place our Tues. order on Mon). Order as much or as little as you like: flats $37 (8 qts), quarts $5.

2. Films for Farms is back! This Saturday June 25, in the red barn at BPF. Everyone welcome. Potluck at 7, movie to start promptly at 8 pm. Films for Farms is always a free event, but donations are always accepted to cover popcorn and power. This month we will be showing 'SHAOLIN SOCCER', a Chinese cinematic masterpiece that the whole family can enjoy (not farmy at all, but it’ll be FUN!). Check out the trailer: Bring your own chair and clothing to be comfortable sitting in the barn. Please also bring your own tableware and dish to pass if you’re coming for the potluck.

3. Potato Mulching Party! Mulch helps keep moisture in, weeds down, and potato beetles at bay, while providing more growing space for the spuds themselves, resulting in higher yields and healthier plants. The more the merrier for this big job. WEDNESDAY JUNE 29 3-7 P.M. Wear pants, long sleeves and gloves. Dinner potluck afterward- come for any or all!

4. Cut Flower shares, Coffee orders, and A to Z cookbooks still available.

Field Notes

The Hot Crop Planting Party last Thursday was great! Thanks so much to the CSA members, friends, and even one neighbor who came out to haul compost, dig holes, and plant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. After planting, we got irrigation set up in that field just in time for the rainstorms, of course. Next time you’re at the farm, take a look at what your fellow CSA members have accomplished (in the field right by the road). Potatoes are closest to the road, and then come the peppers, then eggplants, and tomatoes are farthest from the road. Next step: mulching potatoes (mulching party next week! See Announcements) Later this season, you’ll be able to U-pick cherry tomatoes up in this field.

Hoophouse update: Tomato plants are bushy and burly- with lots of green tomatoes already growing! We’re trellising them today, to make for easier harvesting and healthier plants. Hoophouse salad mix: gone (chickens are loving it!). Kale and chard: unstoppable. Radicchio: gorgeous. Mini bell pepper plants: starting to make fruit. Eggplants: showing new growth and looking good! Basil plants: going in this week (along with the outdoor basil). Mexican sour gherkin plants: going in this week. I’m excited to share this weird new cucumber with you all- they’re a lemony-flavored tiny cuke, perfect for pickling or eating fresh.

Coming on strong: spring brassicas and peas! Spring brassicas are the early broccoli (still a few weeks out, but loving this rain), kohlrabi, Napa cabbage, conehead green cabbages, and kale. We are blessed with an abundance of peas this year; the first pods are just ripening, and I think we’ll have enough for CSA shares next week. If you like picking peas, come on out to the farm; we will put you to work, and you’ll take home some extras!

Just germinated this past week and looking really good with all the rain lately: melons, summer squash, cucumbers, all in the garden by the “front yard”- the space we call the Old Garden, since it was the first garden we ever cultivated here. Also recently sprouted (and going in the ground soon): fall brassica transplants in trays. These include cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens, followed soon by more kohlrabi.

The weeds are super happy about all the rain, too- and we could use your help weeding and mulching! If you’ve got a few hours and want to dig in the dirt, please give the farm a call: 231 933 7256; we’ll put you to work.


Michelle’s All-Time Favorite Greens
(this will get you through a lot- keep it in mind as different greens cycle through your share this summer!)

1 generous bunch greens of your choice, washed and chopped (include stems, chopped)
1or more allium of your choice, chopped (could be a few garlic scapes, a bunch of scallions, one onion, a few garlic cloves, 1 bunch chives, 1 leek, etc) (*note: “Allium” refers to any member of the onion family, each of which has slightly different flavors and textures, but are interchangeable in this case!)
olive oil
either lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or balsamic vinegar
optional: 1-2 generous handfuls toasted walnuts or other nuts or sunflower seeds
optional: 1-2 generous handfuls dried cherries or raisins

Heat generous amount of olive oil on medium heat in a skillet or wok big enough to hold all your greens. Add chopped allium of your choice and chopped stems of the greens, sauté til soft. Add chopped leaves, and optional dried fruit. Sauté til nice and wilty and still bright green, NOT mushy and gray. For chard, beet greens, or spinach, this is a quick process- a few minutes. For kale and heartier leaves, it could be 5-8 min. Just keep an eye on the greens, and test them til they’re as cooked as you like them. Remove from heat, toss with generous amount of acidic condiment (vinegar or lemon), optional nuts/seeds, and salt/pepper. Serve with rice, pasta, couscous, or anything else you like.
For Asian greens (which you’ll see later in the season), swap out lemon juice for rice vinegar, and walnuts for sesame seeds. Maybe include some grated ginger and hot sauce.

The basic formula is
Greens + allium + acid + oil + nuts/seeds + optional yummies (dried fruit or ginger, etc)

Play around with different things in each of these roles- you’ll have lots of opportunities!

BAKED BEANS WITH SWISS CHARD from the Food Network Magazine, via Lori Thomas

Serves 6

1 TBLS EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 small onion chopped
1 small celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper
small bunch chard or greens, stems removed, leaves chopped
1/2 cup diced smoked turkey or lean ham
1 15-oz can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 15-oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can navy beans, undrained
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme and oregano.

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft and golden, about 7 minutes.
2. Add the chard, turkey, and 1/4 cup water to the skillet; cook, stirring, until the chard wilts slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, increase the heat to medium high and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the pinto beans, then add the navy beans and their liquid. Add the parsley, thyme and oregano and return to a simmer.
3. Coarsely mash about one-quarter of the beans in the skillet with a potato masher or fork to thicken the mixture; season with salt. Transfer to a 2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake 45 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes.

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