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Eureka Organic Farm CSA Week 2 Newsletter, June 22, 2022

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

What's in the share this week?

PEA SHOOTS - Pea shoots are the young leaves, stems, and delicate tendrils of any pea plants. They have a sweet pea flavor and are good raw or cooked. To store: Keep dry, unwashed shoots in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. To prep: Wash shoots in basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. Spin dry. To cook: Add uncooked shoots to a mixed green salad. Blend with nuts, oil, and parmesan for pea shoot pesto. Or chop and sauté quickly until the color brightens, which is how you know they are done.

ARUGULA - Arugula has a peppery, slightly bitter flavor. It is stronger than most lettuces, so it’s often paired with other greens. Mature arugula has sturdy leaves, whereas baby arugula

tends to be more tender and milder in flavor. Hotter weather makes for spicier leaves. To store: Arugula is highly perishable. Store in the fridge inside a perforated plastic bag. If you decide to wash it first, be sure to spin the leaves dry before placing them loosely into a Green Bag with a dry paper towel to absorb the moisture. To freeze: Blanch leaves in boiling water or steam for two minutes, followed by soaking in ice water. Remove from ice water and drain well. Freeze "balls" of arugula on a cookie sheet in individual portions. When frozen, pop them into a Ziploc bag.

BOK CHOY - Bok choy, which may be written as bok choi, bok choy, or pac choi, is a traditional stir-fry vegetable from China. Bok Choy grows in elongated, upright heads of dark green leaves with large, white stems. The leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach, while the crisp stems can be used like celery or asparagus. To store: Cut off any yellow leaves. Store wrapped loosely in plastic bag (or a Green bag) in the refrigerator. To prep: Wash and removed any damaged yellowing leaves. Cut off the root tip -about an inch worth. If the stems are thick, cut the leaves from the stems and cook them separately a few minutes before you add the leaves. To freeze: Cut the stems from the leaves and chop to desired size. Store those separately. Cut the leaves into ribbons or squares or keep whole. Store separately from stems. Bring salted pot of water to a boil. Boil the leaves in boiling pot of water for 90 seconds. Douse in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the leaves and squeeze out moisture. Place in Ziploc freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Put in freezer. Blanch the stems separately for 2 minutes. Douse in ice water and drain before packing into separate Ziplocs.

HEAD LETTUCE - To store: Store unwashed lettuce in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. To store lettuce that you have already washed and dried with a spinner, place back in a plastic bag with a dry paper towel in the bag, and place the package in the vegetable crisper bin. Use within 4 days. To prep: Slice the head at its base with a knife and let the leaves fall open. Discard any damaged or leathery outer leaves and tear large leaves into bite-size pieces. Wash leaves in a basin of cold water. Dry in a salad spinner. To freeze: Not recommended.

KALE - Kale is a member of the brassica family. Kale comes in blue-green, reddish green, and red varieties and may have flat or curly leaves. All types of kale have thick stems. It has a mild cabbage flavor when cooked. To store: Place kale unwashed, wrapped in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Best used very fresh, but may last for a week. To prep: Wash leaves in basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. If your greens have thick stems, you must remove them. Fold each leaf in half and slice out the stem. Then stack the leaves up and slice them diagonally into 1-inch-wide strips. To use: Sauté in olive oil. Use in soups, spaghetti sauce, pesto, quiche, or kale chips. You can also eat the stems. To freeze: Blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold ice water to stop the cooking process, drain, and pack into airtight containers. Stems can also be frozen.

MUSTARDS - Mustard greens are peppery-tasting greens that come from the mustard plant. This is part of the Brassica family, which includes kale, collard greens, broccoli, and cauliflower, among others. There are several varieties, which are usually green or red and have a mild spicy flavor. Hotter weather makes for spicier leaves. To store: Spin water out of leaves and store in a plastic Ziploc bag with a dry paper towel inside to absorb moisture. To prep: slice off tough bottoms of stems, and chop or mince leaves and remaining stem together. To cook: Add uncooked mustards to to a mixed green salad, or use in place of lettuce when you won't mind a bit of spice (think for tacos). Mix mustards with other milder greens and sauté until tender in a covered pot or large sauté pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic or onion. Mustards are done once wilted, which should only take a minute or two.

RADISHES - Save the greens to eat too! To store: Remove radish leaves if they are still attached. Store the unwashed greens in a loosely wrapped plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. Store radish roots unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 1 week. To prep: Scrub radishes well. Trim off the stem and rootlets. To use: Eat radishes raw with a sprinkle of salt. Slice radishes into matchsticks or grate them and add to slaws and salads. Try small young radish leaves in salads or scrambled eggs. Blanch whole radishes in boiling, salt water for 5-10 minutes, or steam them until just tender, 8-12 minutes. Top with butter, salt, and pepper or with a vinaigrette. They’re also great grilled and pickled. Radish greens are slightly hairy and are best cooked or blanched.

SALAD TURNIPS - (Save the greens to eat too!) Turnips are a root vegetable, related to arugula and radishes, which are members of the mustard family. Large or old turnips can be unpleasantly “hot” if not cooked properly or combined with the proper vegetables (like potatoes), but younger turnips add great zip to dishes. They are best in the fall or spring, when they are small and sweet. To store: Remove the greens from the turnips and store in a plastic bag to use within 3 days. The turnip roots should be stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge for up to a week. To prep: Cut off the green tops (which can be eaten as well). Wash and cut the white roots into wedges or slices. To cook: Serve raw with dip in a veggie tray. Or grate and add them to a salad. Turnips are delicious when roasted with other root vegetables (like carrot, potatoes, rutabaga, garlic). Add a turnip or two to your favorite mashed potato recipe. Or add them into soups and stews. To freeze: Blanch for 3 minutes in hot boiling water. Cool in ice water for 3 minutes, drain and pack into freezer containers or freezer bags.

SCALLIONS - To store: Chop off the top inch of the tender green tips and stand the scallions in an inch of water in a tall container covered loosely with a Ziplock bag, refreshing the water every 3 days. To prep: Remove roots. Chop the leaves and stem before cooking. To use: You can eat the entire scallion. Rinse scallions in cold water and snip off anything that’s floppy. Use chopped scallions as a garnish; they are less pungent. The minced greens of scallions are a good substitute for chives. Use them in stir-fry. Use scallions in almost any recipe calling for onions, raw or cooked. They are excellent in soups and stew. To freeze: Chop into desired size and place on cookie sheet and freeze. Then pop into a Ziplock baggie and store in the freezer. You can even freeze the green tops!

SPINACH - To store: Keep dry, unwashed greens in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. To prep: Wash leaves in basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. Spin dry. To cook: Add uncooked spinach to a mixed green salad. Blanch spinach until it wilts, 2-4 minutes, or steam for 5-8 minutes. Sauté greens until tender in a covered pot or large sauté pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic or onion. Watch for color to brighten as this signals it is done. To freeze: Blanch washed greens for 1 minute. Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process, drain, and pack into airtight containers. Freeze.

SWISS CHARD - Swiss chard has expansive, pocketed leaves with stems in a spectrum of colors: red, white, green, yellow. It is actually in the beet family but doesn't develop a bulb. Its leaves are

more tender and delicate than other greens. Eat small leaves raw in salads and blanch or steam larger leaves. You can freeze chard for recipes later To store: Keep dry, unwashed greens in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. To prep: Wash leaves in basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. Remove the thicker stems by folding the leaves down the center and cutting out the stem. Stack several leaves on top of each other and slice into 1-inch wide ribbons. To use: Add uncooked greens to a mixed green salad. Steam stem pieces 8-10 minutes, and leaves 4-6 minutes. Or sauté greens until tender in a large sauté pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic or onion. Watch for color to brighten as this signals they are done. Serve cooked chard alone as a side dish or use them in soup or with pasta, beans, rice, or potatoes. Chard also goes great in stir-fries or in any recipe calling for spinach. To freeze: Blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and freeze.

POTTED ROSEMARY PLANT - One of your choices this week will be a small rosemary plant. When you take it home, put it on your kitchen windowsill or in a sunny spot in your garden, preferably along a south or west facing wall or fence. Then be sure to “prune” the plant as it grows. This means cutting the herb leaves off from the top of the stem. This will cause the plant to branch off where you pruned it, and get bushier over time. It’s important to stimulate growth by pruning!

Converting Pasture to Veggie Beds

Driving across Vermont, I love to see all the open land on the rolling hills and mountains. It rests my eyes after the constant suburbia of Massachusetts where we used to live. These beautiful cow pastures are full of rich, luscious grass that comes back every year in order to feed cows and make delicious milk.

That same grass in a vegetable bed? Does not make rich and luscious veggies. The grass is tenacious, and so far enjoys creeping into the freshly turned earth of our vegetable beds, stealing water from our crops and competing for sunlight with tender baby veggie leaves. I can't fault the grass for doing what it needs to do. But we do need to carve out vegetable beds, and so we have a couple of tools at our disposal to keep the grass at bay as a soon-to-be-certified organic farm.

In order to help the grass die off and compost down, we turn over the sod with a plow - literally flip it upside down in a thick mat with the grass on bottom and the dirt on top. Then we let the sod sit that way in the sun, either uncovered or under a silage tarp. The tarp is black on one side and white on the other. When the black side is facing up, we can heat the soil so much that the grasses and seeds germinate, die, and break down quickly into compost. We haven't used the white side yet, but one place we would use it is in a greenhouse in the aisles between beds. The tarp would still cover any weeds that are trying to grow but the white side would reflect light instead of absorbing it, and help keep the temperature in the greenhouse from rising too much.

Another tool in our toolkit is landscape fabric, which we stretch across the bare earth before planting. Then we burn holes in the landscape fabric and put plants directly into the holes. The fabric prevents light from reaching the dirt, reducing the number of seeds that germinate, but allows water to get through to our plants' roots.

We're trying to be conscious of plastic usage on the farm, and although we are using these pieces of plastic in our fields, they help us stay away from herbicides and reduce the amount of hand weeding we do.

Farmer Christine's Field Notes

This past week was all prep prep prep. We had previously focused our work on the fields, turning over the grass and planting as much as we could. Now that CSA pickup time is here, we needed to make sure our cooler was up and running.

To build it, we used fat sheets of foam insulation, 4.5" thick. We ran some new electrical to the corner of our big barn with a helping hand from my dad, put insulation on the walls and ceiling, installed a giant air conditioner, and then used a nifty device called the CoolBot to override the low temperature settings on the A/C. This gets our insulated room down to refrigerator temperatures. All told, this took us about three days to make happen.

After that amazing first share pickup meeting everyone and chatting, I spent the next morning filling in the cucumber beds with spare plants where some of our planting had failed to thrive because of the wind. Then I was hoping to spend a few hours turning over a bed of carrots that hadn't germinated so I could put in another crop. When I went out to the carrot bed in question, I saw that the carrots had indeed germinated and the tiny seedlings were being overrun by grass. I took a little time to weed by hand, but I'll need to wait for the plants to get a little bigger before really getting in there. Carrot seedlings are so small and delicate, and they look so much like grass that I don't want to accidentally pull them all up.

We purchased a new-to-us cargo van late in the week and then spent the rest of our time prepping for our first Norwich Farmers Market, which was on Saturday. We harvested oodles of vegetables and created a beautiful display. Our new sign didn't arrive in time for the market so Seth's mom hand painted us one very quickly, and we hung it in our tent bright and early Saturday morning. We had a lot of traffic and many people took pictures of our vegetables on display, promising to come back next week and buy more veggies. So glad to hear it! I think we made a good first impression.

Week 2 Announcements

  • Watch our weekly share unpacking video on Facebook! I talk about tips for storage, recipes, and share what successes and failures I've had with my veggies for the week. You can find the Facebook group at this link. If you aren’t on Facebook, we upload the unboxing video into the CSA Member Resource Library so you can watch there.

  • We're now offering eggs, thanks to McNaughton Farm in Weathersfield, VT. They have 100+ happy hens in a chicken wagon who free range on pasture. Their hens are fed with local, non-organic grain. You can pre-order them in our farm store and pay when you pick up your share, or bring cash to the pickup and we'll have some extras.

Week 2 CSA Recipes

Members can download these recipes as a PDF here. These recipes are designed to inspire you to use your share this week! Please check inside our private Facebook group to find your fellow members sharing ideas for what to make with their box! Share a photo and you might be featured in next week’s newsletter!

  • Veggie Cream Cheese

  • Rosemary Roasted Radishes

  • Sea Salt Baked Potatoes with Arugula

  • Grilled Bok Choy

  • Lacto-fermented Lettuce

  • Roasted Lettuce

  • Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado and Pickled Red Onions

  • Taco Night with Mustard Greens

  • Vietnamese-Style Stir-Fried Vegetables

  • Snacking Salad Turnips

  • Orecchiette + turnip + greens {pasta}

  • Seared Scallions with Poached Eggs

  • Cool Spinach and Avocado Soup

  • Herbes de Provence Skillet Chicken with Potatoes and Greens

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