This Weeks Share: Butterhead Lettuce, Endive/Escarole Mix, Green Onion bunch, 1 Pint Strawberries, Broccoli, Cilantro and a Farmer’s Choice Item.
- Lettuce: This week promises more lettuces for the spring share. Surprise! Lettuce grows really well in cold, wet weather and that is pretty much what we’ve been having. A treat for us this week is butterhead hearts and you’ll get a nice big bag. The butterheads are doing particularly well this year. They are so sweet and tender, the most delicious of all the lettuces to many. We have cleaned off outer leaves and bagged them for you. Enjoy these in a fresh salad.
- Endive/Escarole Mix: New to the share this week we have a greens mix that is at the top of the list for gourmet favorites, the chicories. The word chicory makes me think of bitter-dandelion greens but don’t overlook these new greens to the share. They are fine with just a little heat applied (braised or wilted) and sauteed with butter or olive oil and salt. And on the off chance that you like your food to taste like iron pills enjoy them raw! They are so healthy! These greens are at the opposite end of the spectrum from the sweet and tender butterhead hearts that you are also getting, so there will be no mistaking them! We have always been partial to the bitter greens with goat cheese and something sweet, like honeyed nuts or cranberries and apricots. Most people exploring the world of bitter greens agree to pair them with other strong flavors so that the bitterness can be overplayed. However, as I said, the bitterness can be dimmed significantly with cooking them. Raddichio may also make it into this bag of greens. It is a close relative and the same things can be said about it. Here’s a lovely recipe I stumbled across that pairs up the various greens with white beans….. http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/food-drink/peggy-lampmans-tuesday-dinnerfeed-escarole/index.php It looks great to me! Let me know if you try it.
- Green Onions: This weeks green onions are Alium fistulosum and won’t be the sweet bulbs you have been getting. These are great little onions and they pack some heat in their package. They would go well in sauces or salads depending on your taste for them. They are a perennial onion which clumps out from the base. A little secret is to stick some in the garden and you’ll have onions returning like your favorite mint! Or just stick to letting us grow them for you. The greens and the seed heads are edible as well.
- Strawberries: They are here folks! We have been babying our small plot of these gems and have enough to go around this week, or so we hope. 🙂 They are looking great and tasting wonderful. A pint doesn’t stretch very far, but you can add them to your delicious fresh salad with some balsamic vinegar or throw them in the blender with yogurt. Yum! We have small plantings of Hood’s, Tillamooks and Sea-Scapes so you may have a mix.
- Broccoli: Gorgeous heads of great tasting, flavorful spring broccoli we have ready for you this week. Oh the myriad of things you can do with the fresh broccoli…..please don’t overlook juicing it or adding it to your smoothies! It is pretty special though so adding it to your favorite lasagna or just steaming it to eat along side fresh fish would be my second suggestions. 🙂
- Farmer’s Choice: This week holds a few candidates for the illustrious mystery item. First however, I am sorry to report that we are having a poor pea year. Even in our overplanting efforts, which we have learned to do regardless, the harvest are coming up shy. Between some weak bloom flushes and hammering rains we are turning up less than usual. So we will have peas for all, but we won’t have peas for 4 weeks for all like we did last year. That said….farmer’s choice may be peas, maybe turnips or even red cabbage or fennel. Whatever it is for you this week we hope it won’t disappoint.
- Cilantro: The herb-size bag of cilantro didn’t make it into the picture today, but we have enough to go around and will be harvesting it all week for you. This herb is a great addition to salads and soups. Here is a recipe for cilantro-pesto. http://www.indepthinfo.com/cilantro/recipe2.shtml . This sounds like it would be lovely on fresh pasta!
Berry-Share: We are in week 2 now for the berry-share. 2-pints of delicious strawberries are for you who purchased a berry-share in addition to your 1-pint with the regular share. Do I hear shortcake…?
Our member Patti K. from Cornelius brought me a lovely recipe for Fennel. If you still have your fennel from last week you should give this a try. We actually will have more fennel for you in the days to come. I do love Ina Garten. She loves to roast things and loves whole, unadulterated foods fresh from the garden. She’s not afraid of cream and butter either! From the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook 1999, Potato-Fennel Gratin http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe/index.html . Please let me know if you give this one a try.
So as promised below is our NE member Leslie contributing her take on the Love Farm Organics CSA experience. You can reply or chime in if the spirit moves you. We are appreciative of her thoughtfulness and enthusiasm…Thank-you Leslie. 🙂
Greetings fellow shareholders! I asked Amy if I could contribute to the blog and share my experiences as a shareholder for Love Farm. I’m hoping to chronicle my first year eating truly with the seasons as I pick up my veggies every week at the NE Portland drop spot. I will try to highlight some of my food discoveries and thoughts and I’ll hope to hear what you’ve been eating too!
The first few weeks have been delicious. I’ve always been a lover of greens. But the wet and grey weather, perfect for growing tasty green things, has produced an abundance that even I’m having trouble keeping up with It started out simple—add kale to a stir fry or soup, but what to do with the choi? Then the young spinach and chard? All with delicate leaves and stems so tender I didn’t chop them at all. My favorite discovery in the greens category was the rapini. I’d never had it before. I simmered these greens and stems in vegetable stock with slices of green garlic and ate it just like that. I can imagine this would be delicious mounded on a slice of crusty bread, topped with parmesan and set under the broiler for a few minutes for a fancy, open-faced greens and grilled cheese. Writing about that makes me wish we had more!
I’ve also seen the season progress with the growing size of sweet onions. They started out small, the size of marbles, then grew to golf balls, and this week they’re even bigger. These alliums have more onion flavor each week—and they’re so sweet, I almost hate to use them as an ingredient and wish more than anything to brush them with olive oil and lay them straight on the grill.
Finally, 3 weeks in a row I’ve brought visitors home from the farm. Slugs on my lettuce! What a wonderful reminder that these veggies we’re so fortunate to eat come straight from the farm, harvested in such a way that a slug can make it to my urban home. Have you had visitors from the farm as well? And what are you doing with all of your radishes?!
My go-to reference and inspirational handbook is Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables. It’s a vegetable sourcebook borne of an Illinois-based CSA and its dynamic owner’s efforts to educate the shareholders. Indispensible in my kitchen. Vegetables are profiled by season with information on flavor profile and storage suggestions in addition to lots of recipes. Our camera battery has been dead, so sorry no pictures, but I will try and get some going soon!
We here at the farm plan to include more of what Leslie has to share as the weeks go on. Farmer John’s cookbook really is incredible and a handy resource for us as well. I encourage you to get it. He, like no other, chronicles the CSA season and portrait of vegetables in a remarkable first handed way.
Until next time….peas be with you!
Happy Summer Solstice to all!!!