Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Birch Point CSA Week 2 and Farm News

What's in your share this week??

 Salad Mix-- you know what to do with this!
Green Garlic-- use just like garlic (in fact, it IS garlic!), tip to tail. Yes, even the green parts are good. Perhaps the larger leaves are a bit fibrous, so slice across the grain and saute, etc. just as you will to the bulb itself later this season. Fun in the kitchen: slice through the white end that will become the bulb. Observe the segments (cloves) just starting to form, but without the papery skins. Eat.
Beets with Greens! Hooray for beets! And please DO use the greens, just as you would use spinach- they are closely related, similar nutritionally, and interchangeable in recipes.
Kale or Swiss Chard-- the wheel o' greens starts turning.... you can plan on seeing one or more "cooking greens" (as opposed to baby salad greens) in your share each week. Returning members know, and new folks will soon find out, that my not-so-secret agenda is to get everyone to eat more greens. Try simple preparations to find out what your favorites are: e.g. lightly steamed or sauteed with a fat and an acid (e.g. oil and vinegar, butter and lemon juice, drippings and tomatoes, etc-- the fat+acid plus greens is a fail-safe formula). Oh and salt. Don't forget the salt.
Baby Leeks or Scallions-- these beauties overwintered in our low tunnels- 3' high mini-hoophouses that were covered in greenhouse plastic (and snow) all winter. These baby leeks and scallions, along with many of the salad greens you've been enjoying, were planted in the fall and uncovered unscathed and lovely this spring-- part of the experiment to see what we could do with low tunnels. You'll see more scallions this summer but probably not too many more baby leeks. Enjoy!
Asian Greens- either Tatsoi (dark green, pingpong-paddle shaped leaves) or Bok Choi (which incidentally is the same thing as Pac Choi-- different transliteration of Chinese to English). Most Asian greens are interchangeable in recipes; some require less cook time if they're especially tender. And YES, they are supposed to have flowering stalks! Tatsoi and Bok Choi both tend to bolt (send up flower stalks) in weather fluctuations, which we've had plenty of lately. The flowers and stems themselves are absolutely edible and delicious, just not something you often find in stores. Suggestion: Asian-ish Slaw. Chop greens coarsely, toss with grated ginger and green garlic, sliced scallions or baby leeks, perhaps some julienned beet or carrot or whatever other veggie you have around. Add a light dressing of rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil, with generous crushed red pepper flakes if you like heat. Lime? Cilantro? Toss it in! No lime? No cilantro? Leave it out.
Last but not least, you may just get some strawberries in your share, either this or next week! Our new strawberry patch is going bananas.... er, I mean strawberries :) We planted it in hopes of having plenty of berries for personal use and to grow plants to possibly expand into a CSA-sized strawberry patch in the future. So it's a small patch. But there are SO MANY BERRIES right now, starting to come ripe. So that means there ARE enough for CSA members to get some, but NOT enough for everyone to get a quart in the same week. If you get a quart this week, next week you won't. And vice versa, until every share has had at least a quart. See Announcements for bulk strawberry ordering info.

1. We will be taking orders for certified organic Ware Farm Strawberries in the next few weeks-- as soon as Sandee Ware gives us the go-ahead (as soon as they're picking bulk quantities). Last year Wareberries were $40 per flat; I expect them to be in that range again. Stay tuned!
 2. Pleasanton Brick Oven Bakery Bread Shares: Several folks have asked about bread shares-- they will start NEXT week (the 22nd for Sat people, the 25th for Tuesday people, and the 26th for Wed. people) and go through Oct. 12, 15, or 16th (17 weeks). One loaf per week, baker's choice. I still haven't got firm prices from the bakery, but there will be two categories of bread to choose from: Plain and Fancy. Plain refers to things like Whole Wheat, Whole Wheat with Sesame, Ciabatta, and Golden Wheat. Fancy refers to things like Parmesan-Olive-Herb, Tomato-Parmesan, Chocolate-Cherry, etc. Plain bread shares will most likely be in the $90-100 range ($5-6 per week); Fancy shares will likely be in the $140-150 ($8-9 per week) range. I'll set out a sign-up sheet today (Sat and Wed people-- email me!); you can write a check at your first bread pick-up (at CSA).
 3. Need recipe ideas? Birch Point is part of an online consortium called Local Thyme. They take our list of items in shares each week and supply you with a recipe or two based on share items-- all tested recipes, all in season. You need to set up an account with a password to access their site, and I think it promises to be worthwhile. This is the first year I've used them, though, so I don't know exactly what to expect! Your feedback will be most helpful. Go to www.localthyme.net/register  and enter the code BIRCHPOINT, then follow the steps to access our recipes of the week.

That's it- I'll try to get this newsletter out earlier next week. See you soon!

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