Sogn Valley Farm CSA Newsletter Week 1 | June 5-6, 2018
What's In The Box
Microgreens: A blend of mildly spicy mustard greens harvested at a tender, baby stage. These add a splash of flavor and crispness to whatever you eat them with. We’ve been enjoying these as a garnish to eggs, sandwiches, salads, and baked chicken. These mustard microgreens are very high in the anti-cancer antioxidant, glucosinolate. These have been triple-washed and they store well for about a week in a clamshell in the fridge.
Salad mix: This is our standby mix of eight types of baby-leaf lettuce. The varieties we grow have more body and better shelf-life than typical spring mix, while still remaining tender. As with all of our greens, these have been pre-washed, but we can’t guarantee them 100% free of soil.
Spinach: This week’s spinach is at what we call the adolescent stage—relatively large leaves, but still tender enough to chop and eat raw in a salad. If you find yourself overloaded with salad-makings this week, this would be a good choice to wilt in some eggs or put in a smoothie. Dill: My favorite aroma of spring has to be dill. It’s a marvelous companion to salads, even without it’s typical partners, potato and cucumber. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Radishes: Red radishes are crunchy and a little spicy. The roots can be sliced thinly and added to a salad, and the greens are edible, as well. To reduce their pungency, consider cooking them – they can be steamed, roasted, or stir-fried.
Green leaf lettuce: In addition to its obvious use in salads, green leaf lettuce is also great on sandwiches or used as a wrap. Rinse leaves after separating from the head.
Asparagus: This is one of my favorite spring crops, and one I marvel at as it just pops out of the ground each spring shortly after snowmelt (hooray for perennials!). In this, our first year harvesting our asparagus planting, we only harvested it for three weeks, and must now let it grow, photosynthesize, and replenish the energy it took for the crown to form these spears. We completed the final harvest of the season on Monday, so this will be the only asparagus you see this season. Steam it, sauté it, grill it, or even munch on it raw – I’ve eaten my share of it this way as I pass through the field. Some longer or thicker spears maybe slightly fibrous towards the base, and may benefit from trimming or peeling.
Chives: Chives are a great garnish to eggs, salads, and soups, as well as an addition to soft cheeses. This onion-y herb is one of the first to pop out of the ground in the spring, and is a prolific flower producer. While we have pulled the vast majority of flowers out of the bunches in CSA boxes, know that they are edible, in case you find some.
Arugula (full shares only): A spicy and distinctly flavored green, arugula can be eaten fresh or lightly sautéed. Like radishes, cooking will tame the heat. You may notice some holes in leaves—arugula is an absolute favorite of the ubiquitous insect pest the flea beetle. While we cover susceptible crops with insect netting after planting, we had to uncover the beds during the extreme heat of late, and a few flea beetles grabbed a meal.
Each week, we’ll give some hints about what new items may show up CSA shares in the next 1 -2 weeks. Please note, this is not a guarantee, but our attempt to give you an idea of what’s coming up.
Chard – Rhubarb – Scallions – Cilantro – Salad turnips
We’ve made it through the spring that wasn’t—absent to both April’s snow and May’s heatwave—and arrived at the first week of the 2018 CSA!
This newsletter will accompany each box to provide a brief narrative from a farmer (usually me, Dana, but occasionally a farm crew member). This narrative is typically an update on farm activities, but sometimes is just a purge of thoughts running through my head.
In addition to this section, you’ll also find an overview of the week’s CSA box contents, a preview of new items likely to show up in upcoming boxes, and a recipe that uses one or more of the items in the box. This season, we are putting a black- and-white paper copy of this newsletter in each box, but will also be emailing out color version ahead of the delivery.
While I love growing, cooking, and eating all types of veggies, I’m a pretty pragmatic, “one-pot-meal” kind of cook. Many people assume that farmers are also foodies, but not this one. So, instead of feigning sophistication of culinary techniques and food pairings, I’ll focus on my strengths: commenting on the process, joys, and challenges of growing vegetables; and giving background on why some items may look different from what you seen in the grocery store.
There are many resources out there to provide creative and diverse suggestions for the produce you receive from us, so I encourage you to explore those. There are a few “CSA cookbooks” available, and lots of great online resources to help you figure out how to use that new batch of zucchini when you still have some leftover from last week. I’ll be drawing upon Mi Ae Lipe’s “Bounty from the Box” and FairShare CSA Coalition’s ”From Asparagus to Zucchini.” Both of these books provide recipes and culinary tips tailored to seasonal eating and other needs relevant to CSA members.
Now, for a brief farm update. We’re on the tail end of the busiest planting season of the year. May 15th is kind of a magic date, being the average last frost date for our area. This means that this is the typical time for planting frost-tender crops. And this group contains some heavy hitters: most of the solanaceous crops (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), the cucurbits (cucumber, squash, melon, zucchini), sweet potatoes, and basil. We happen to grow a lot of peppers (about an acre-and-a-half of them this season), so have been busy getting those in the ground over the last two weeks or so.
With markets, and now CSA, in full swing, we’re spending a lot more time harvesting and washing veggies. This labor-intensive process can only be done with with many hands helping, and we have a stellar group of folks working with us this season. We’ll be introducing you to the crew members in subsequent newsletters, so stay tuned.
On the less glamorous side, we’ve also been putting a lot of effort into creating systems to streamline processes on the farm, particularly in the harvest and post-harvest realms—organizing physical spaces, digitizing recordkeeping, tracking labor costs to assess economics of various crops, creating standard operating procedures for common tasks. This emphasis has defined the 2018 season for me (in addition to the whole being a farmer AND father to a baby girl twist—more on that in another newsletter). In due time, I hope we can tighten up our operation and improve quality of life for all of us working on the farm, while producing high quality vegetables for our customers.
Thanks for joining us for our third CSA season.
Grilled Asparagus Salad
•1/4 cup olive oil
•1/8 cup lemon juice
•12 fresh asparagus spears
•6 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
•1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
•1 tablespoon seasoned slivered almonds
1.Preheat a grill for low heat. Combine the lemon juice and olive oil on a plate. Place asparagus on the plate, and roll around to coat.
2.Grill asparagus for about 5 minutes, turning at least once, and brushing with the olive oil mixture. Remove from the grill, and place back onto the plate with the oil.
3.In a large bowl, combine the spinach, Parmesan cheese, and slivered almonds. Cut asparagus into bite-size pieces, and add to the salad along with the lemon juice and oil from the plate. Toss to blend, then serve.
Recipe Source: Heather Hedstrom. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/74083/grilled-asparagus-salad/