June 16, 2009

First Week of the Summer CSA Season

This Week's Vegetable Harvest:
  • Strawberries*
  • Purple and Green Kohlrabi
  • Cherriette or Easter Egg Radishes
  • Head Lettuce
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard
  • Fresh Dill
  • White Salad Turnips
  • Asparagus
* not grown on our farm. See Notes from the Farm Kitchen for more info.

-The Fresh Fruit Season begins next week.
-There will be an Early Summer Field Walk at the farm on June 23rd from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Farmer Matt will lead a tour of the fields. Don't miss this great opportunity to see your food growing! Light refreshments will be provided. There will be another field walk on Sunday, July 26th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
-Matt's cousin Renee Sheaffer raises beef cattle near Dixon. Renee currently has beef available by the quarter or the half. For more information, please contact Renee at 815-973-3224 or sheaffere@yahoo.com.

Welcome to the Summer Vegetable Season!
I want to extend a warm welcome to all new Summer Share members. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to grow your food this season. With 300 member families this year, it takes lots of hard work and cooperation on the part of many people to make this show run smoothly week after week. This year's team includes Becky, Nick, Kim, Luis, Reid, Tyler, Catherine, Jesse, Andy, Matt D., Jeff, Peter and us, Peg and Matt Sheaffer. We 'll try our very best to exceed your expectations at every turn. Please don't hesitate to contact us with questions and comments. Have a great week! --Peg

Becky, our packing shed manager, washing turnips

Reid and Tyler drive one of our electric golf carts to get from one place to another on the farm.

Notes from the Farm Kitchen

Although the exact geographic origin of dill is unknown, it is known to grow wild all over the European continent. It is used as a culinary herb as well as a medicinal herb that aids digestion. Dill is probably best known for its role in flavoring dill pickles, but it can also be used to flavor many other dishes including salad dressings and salads such as potato, pasta and tuna. For longer term storage, mix chopped fresh dill with olive oil or vegetable oil and freeze. Drizzle on steamed or grilled vegetables, fish and more.

Although it is native to the Mediterranean, this relative of the beet is referred to as Swiss chard because it was first described in the scientific literature by a Swiss
botanist in the 16th century. Chard is flavorful yet mild, and can be substituted for spinach in many dishes including quiches, omelets, lasagna, pasta sauce, etc. Chard is high in vitamins A, E and C and the minerals calcium and iron. You can use the entire leaf as well as the tender stem. Here are a couple of other ideas:
· Sauté chard with onions and herbs and stuff in a pita pocket with a bit of cheese.
· Slice leaves into ribbons and lightly steam. Toss with sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce.

This Japanese turnip variety, called Hakurei, is mild and sweet and is easily mistaken for a white radish. It is delicious eaten raw, and we’ve found that kids really enjoy it (especially with a little dip)! These little turnips are also tasty sautéed in a little butter and sprinkled with salt. Like bok choy, turnips are a good source of Vitamin C, and rich in the minerals potassium and calcium. And then there are the greens! Turnip greens top the charts as an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and B complex.

Once again, our friend Mick Klug, a Michigan fruit grower, has provided strawberries for us this week. Mick is the farmer who grows all the fruit for our fruit share. While it is not organic, all of Mick’s fruit is low-spray and is a healthy and tasty alternative to conventionally-grown fruit.

Perhaps the most underrated member of the cabbage family, kohlrabi is delicious peeled and eaten raw. This is especially true this spring because of all the rain the plants have soaked up. Just peel the bulb, slice into match sticks and serve with or without dip. (Dill dip would be fantastic.) The greens on this batch of kohlrabi are pretty nice too. Use them like you would use kale, collards, and other hearty stewing greens. These types of greens become tender and delicious when simmered over low to medium heat for 30 to 60 minutes. Try sauteeing a little onion and garlic in a pan (a little bacon or salt pork would be the perfect addition) and then adding the greens to the pan along with some type of liquid-- vegetable broth, chicken stock, white wine etc. The key is not to rush things. These greens will taste best when they're nice and tender.

This Week's Recipes

Rick Bayless' Swiss Chard Tacos
Breast of Chicken on Swiss Chard
Strawberry Daiquiri
Radish Sandwiches with Dill Butter
Turnip & Apple Salad
Kohlrabi Pickle Chips
Crunchy Red Devils

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... strawberries, head lettuce, fennel bulbs, gold beets, red or green kale, garlic scapes, and green onions