Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 14: Thank you!

The true meaning of member support has really come through this week. Thank you everyone who has agreed to shift the final Saturday pick-up to Wednesday so that we can attend a family wedding on October 18th.

You guys rock!

Just to remind everyone, this change really only impacts the Lake Linden and L'Anse members and it won't happen until mid-October. I will spend this week individually contacting (by email) everyone effected by the change to make sure that you all know about it and have a plan to get your veggies and I will definitely be sure to to remind you closer to the time. As you should all know by know, I can be really persistent when it comes to reminding people:

ONE WEEK LEFT!!! click here to contribute

Also, thanks for the kind words about our decision to attend the wedding. It is more or less impossible to travel (or take any kind of time off) during CSA season, but we knew that when we signed on for this gig.

In fact, much of my extended family and my entire immediate family is at a picnic right now, but I'm here doing this. 

So, if you don't mind, I'll be brief.

This week's share will include: Carrots or Beets, Kohrabi or Rutabaga, Turnips or Winter Radishes, Celeriac, Potatoes, Leeks, Brussels Sprout tops, and Tomatoes +

Brussels sprout tops are the leaves on the tops of the plants, which should be removed so that the plants will put their energies into growing bigger sprouts. You can use them as you would kale.

Celeriac is also called celery root. Last year was the first year we grew it for the CSA and we had pretty bad germination, so this year we started about 2000 seeds. And had good germination, but they didn't size up very well. So it kind of worked out and you can expect a bunch of little celeriac in your share this week. The tops can be used like extra flavorful celery (it is perfect for soup) and the roots are like the perfect cross between celery and rutabaga. Roast them with your other root veggies (carrots or beets and radishes or turnips) if you want a bit of yummy. 

The leeks are also on the small side.

The larger leek in this photo is one of the biggest I saw out there.

I could pretend it is because they are babies, but truthfully, this is the first year that we have grown leeks and we are still figuring out how to make them do their best for us. There is always more to learn on a vegetable farm. That is one of the main reasons that I love it here!

Small or big, they will still go wonderfully with these potatoes:

Scott rigged up a potato digger and he couldn't be prouder :)

In the name of brevity, I am not offering an original recipe for vichyssoise this evening, but instead simply sharing a link for  a simple potato leek soup recipe that I think you will all enjoy. If you don't already have plans for your celeriac, add some or all of them in with the potatoes in this recipe for an extra layer of sumptuous flavor in your soup.

Monday, September 23, 2013


It's fall. You know how I can tell?

The squash are on the dance floor.

They're not dancing, they're curing. They need to sit for a bit after harvest to allow their skins to harden and their starches to break down into sugars so they'll be sweet and sturdy when we put them in the shares weeks 15 and 16. Our new location, Wintergreen Foods, is the perfect place to spread them out.

This week, which is week 13 if you are keeping track, the shares will include: Watermelon, Tomatoes, Onions, Green Tomatoes, Parsley or Sorrel, Chard or Dandelion, Winter Radishes or Gold Ball Turnips, Carrots or Beets, and fresh Herbs.

Ah, watermelon, that favorite fall treat ;)

Watermelons are tough to ripen in the U.P. Especially this year (remember June and July, when it was almost as cold as it is right now?). We ended up planting them in the hoophouse this year, or we wouldn't have gotten any. We weren't able to fit all of the plants we started in there though, so our dream of two weeks of watermelon has not yet been realized. Perhaps next year.

Some may be wondering what we're up to with the green tomatoes. Hopefully returning members already have plans for them (fried green tomatoes are even better than the movie). If not, here is a link to past posts which include my fried green tomato and green tomato relish recipes plus a few more ideas.

If anyone has a good green tomato pie recipe PLEASE let me know. I want so much for green tomato pie to be delicious, but all the recipes for it that I have tried are...not.

Gold ball turnips, which are an optional item this week, are just starting to be ready for harvest. They are honestly my favorite thing that comes out of the garden. They aren't like the hakurei, gold balls are small but all turnip, but they are sweeter than your average turnip. I suggest cutting them into quarters and sauteing them in butter until they are just soft. Then, chop the greens and add them to the pan just until they turn bright green. Mmmmm...

If you don't get turnips this week (don't worry, they'll be around for at least another week or two) you will get winter radishes. We are growing four winter radishes: Misato Rose, Green Meat, Black Spanish, and Shinden Risoh. You won't see any Shinden Risoh this week. They are a traditional daikon and, now that we thinned a few out last week, we plan to give them the chance to put on as much size as possible before we distribute them in the final two weeks of the season.

You will see Green Meat, which is a miniature daikon with green flesh, and a few Black Spanish, which are really really spicy but not quite up to size yet, and many Misato Rose. The Misato Rose are hard to describe, because they aren't all the same. Fedco, where we bought them, indicated that they would vary in color on the outside, but all would have spicy pink flesh.

But that has not been the case.
We have seen several pink fleshed misato rose, but the lighter skinned radishes we have seen (upper right in this photo - with black spanish to the left and green meat below) have been white/green fleshed and relatively mild. Still yummy though.

I am having a ton of fun with the winter radishes, because I always get excited the first time we grow something, but Scott thinks my excitement over these particular new items is a little ridiculous. 

Radishes make me sick. I really like them. I just feel like I'm going to puke whenever I eat them.

I braved it though, and came up with a simple radish recipe for those that are not sickened by them. Or those that are, but like them anyway :)

Radish Slaw

I kept this extremely simple, but it could be punched up any number of ways. Grated carrots, ginger, celery seed, parsley, or onions all come to mind as good additions. I'm sure you could come up with plenty more delicious ideas as well. The radishes stay pleasantly spicy in this recipe, but the sweet and sour flavors balance the heat.
  • Three small Winter Radishes (as in the photo above, the misato rose is about 1.5 inches across for reference), thinly sliced and chopped into small pieces, or grated
  • Two small Apples, sliced as for the radishes (you want to end up with more or less equal quantities of radishes and apples)
  • One Tablespoon Honey
  • One Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • A pinch Salt
Combine all of the ingredients and allow them to sit, refrigerated, for at least one hour. Eat it up. Preferably with something grilled.

A spoonful of this over grilled chicken sounds perfect.
Get it while the weather holds.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 11: Planning Ahead

You really have to plan ahead on a vegetable farm.

If you want winter radishes you have to plant them in the
 first week of august.

So we did. And now we have a bumper crop of shinden risoh, misato rose, and green meat radishes coming along. We also have a rather bolty crop of black spanish radishes.

At the same time we planted the winter radishes, we put in some french breakfast radishes (which you may remember from last week's share), some hakurei, and some gold ball turnips. 

I love gold ball turnips. SO MUCH. Click here if you, like me, enjoy reading about how wonderful the world's greatest turnips are as you anticipate how awesome it will be to eat them. Because it will be awesome to eat the turnips, though it isn't quite time to do that yet. 

It is time to thin the turnips (another one of those planning ahead things that you need to do on a vegetable farm), which means that this week we get to eat the awesome turnip greens.

Along with turnip greens, this week's share will include: Onions, Carrots or Beets, Radishes or Hakurei, Cucumbers, Rutabaga, Chard or Kale, Basil, Parsley or Sorrel, and Tomatoes etc.

What should you do with your awesome turnip greens? Cook them with an awesome steak, of course. If you are not a meat eater, you can do almost exactly the same thing, just skip the part in the recipe where you put the steak in the pan. The greens will still be good, just not nearly as meaty.

Meaty Greens

The steak I cooked for this recipe was from Kolpack Family Farm. They are just down the road from us and have wonderful meat. I honestly cannot recomend them enough. Also, I threw some sliced radishes in with my greens. I know that I was talking to someone about cooked radishes (they weren't a raw radish fan) the other day. Cooking radishes really mellows their flavor. This is how you do it :)
  • One small Onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 bunch Turnip Greens, roughly chopped
  • 1 Sirloin Steak, approximately a pound of meat
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Half a bunch of radishes, sliced in 1/4-1/2 inch pieces
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is just beginning to soften. 

Add the steak to the pan, salt and pepper each side to taste. Brown on both sides. 

Turn the heat to low and continue to cook until the meat has reached your desired degree of doneness, flipping every five minutes or so. The cooking time will vary based on how thick your steak is and how you like your meat. Mine took about a total of ten minutes per side after browning.

Once the meat is done to your liking, remove it from the pan. Keep it warm.

Turn the heat up to medium/low. If you are including radishes, add them to the pan and saute them for about two minutes before adding the chopped turnip greens. Stir the greens in with the pan juices from the steak. Cook, stirring frequently, until all the greens have wilted and turned a more vibrant green color. 

Pile the greens onto the serving platter with the steak.

Once the sun sets, my food pictures tend to get kind of ugly. Sorry about that.
I promise it tastes good.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 10: Full of Beans

Well. Maybe not full of beans. But we do finally have enough to give everyone some.

The burgundy beans (our second bush bean planting) is still going reasonably strong, and the dragon's tongue (the third planting) should have a sizable harvest for the Saturday shares, but the favas are the real story this week.

Whatever magic weather these things need to set pods
finally happened this year, and the plants all look like this.

So, this week members will receive: Favas or Bush Beans, Carrots or Beets, Radishes, Cucumbers, Onions, Broccoli or Kohlrabi or Rutabaga, Lettuce or Endive, Basil, Parsley or Sorrel, and Tomatoes/Eggplant/Peppers.

I know that many people who receive fava beans will shove them in the fridge with intentions to figure out something to do with them, and then pull them back out in a week (or two), decide they are too old to eat, and compost them.

To avoid that as much as possible, I have made a board with as many good fava bean ideas as I could find. Click here for everything from grilled favas in the pod, to fava bean crostini. Also, it seems that many old world eaters do remove the pod, but don't peel the beans. Read about that here.

Now that the favas are covered, I would like to turn to the not actually green beans. The burgundy beans and the dragon's tongue will both lose their color when cooked. They're still appealing, the burgundies turn green and the dragons go yellow, they're just not as much fun. Because I always try to promote fun, I encourage those of you who receive them this week to eat them raw. 

This salad is a good way to do that.

Bean and Radish Pasta Salad
  • Pasta to serve 4 (something fun, like bowties or rotini)
  • A generous handful of bush beans, tops removed, beans chopped into bite size pieces
  • One bunch of radishes, sliced thinly, greens chopped
  • Your favorite basic vinaigrette - or use the recipe below

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. When the pasta is done, do not rinse with cold water. Toss it with the vinaigrette and radish greens so that the greens wilt a bit and become more tender. Then toss in the beans and sliced radishes. Can be served warm or cold.

Mustard Vinaigrette

  •  1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together the above ingredients until well combined.