Farm News (5/3/16)

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Hooray! It's the first week of spring farm shares! On behalf of the whole crew at Sandhill Family Farms, we want to extend a warm welcome to all of our new CSA members. We also want to thank those of you who've been with us for years. We look forward to providing you with delicious local foods this season. Thanks for joining us!  --Matt & Peg Sheaffer and Jen & Jeff Miller

Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This week's farm shares: spring vegetables, meat, dairy & eggs
  • Next week's farm shares: spring vegetables
  • We recently sent out an email containing information related to pickup site logistics. If you did not receive the email, please let us know.
  • Summer shares are still available. Registration is online.

This Week's Vegetable Share:

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Asparagus
  • Radishes
  • Arugula
  • Chives
  • Carrots from Tipi Produce in Evansville, WI
  • Ramps (Wild Leeks) from Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua, WI
  • Baking Potatoes from Igl Farms in Antigo, WI
This week we've partnered with a couple of other organic farms to create a box that's the perfect mix of tender spring delicacies and more substantial root crops. Tipi's sweet and crispy carrots and Igl's earthy potatoes have been carefully stored throughout the winter in each farm's modern-day version of the old-fashioned root cellar. We're also very excited to bring you ramps this week. Ramps are like a cross between a fancy green onion and a baby leek. 
 
Ramps grow wild in the woods around Harmony Valley Farm in Viroqua, Wisconsin. The farmers at Harmony Valley harvest them judiciously, selecting large bulbs with healthy leaves, leaving behind plenty to replenish the population for future harvests. We like to chop the whole plant, including the green leaves, and use them in place of onions. The season for ramps is quite short--only three to four weeks in late April and early May. 
 

The season for asparagus, another of our spring favorites, is a little bit longer. We just started picking and will continue to do so until early June. If you're like us, you're probably so eager for asparagus right now that a quick blanch and a sprinkle of salt is about all you want to do with it before gobbling it up, but here's a fun recipe if you're in the mood for something fancier.

Breakfast Bowl with Asparagus & Lemon-Herb Sauce
4 thick slices of country style bread, cubed
4 stalks asparagus, cut in half lengthwise and then into thirds
6 ramps
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
1/2 bunch fresh mint

1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts + extra for serving
juice from 1 lemon
grated zest from 1 lemon
pinch of red chili flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
4 eggs
vinegar

Preheat oven to 375. Place the bread, asparagus and ramps on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes. Place herbs, pine nuts, lemon, chili and oil in a blender and blend until smooth. If it's too thick just add a little more oil. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a little vinegar. Poach the eggs for 3 minutes. In a bowl start with the bread, then asparagus and ramps, then the egg, pine nuts and finish off with the lemon herb sauce.  

 

Every year radishes are a reliable staple of the first spring CSA box. They are an important spring crop for us because they grow quickly and reliably, and they thrive in cold conditions.The first harvest of the season is always an exciting one, and yesterday's radish harvest was no exception. Our crew leader, Charlotte, is happy to be back on thefarm with her hands in the dirt.
 

Roasted Radish & Potato Salad
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and quartered (reserve greens)
1 lb potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place a large baking sheet in the center of your oven and preheat to 425. Toss radishes, potatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl to coat.  Transfer mixture to hot baking sheet in oven.  Roast until golden, 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting. In the meantime, wash and chop radish greens.  For the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, 3 tablespoons oil, Dijon, parsley and dill in a bowl until combined; season with salt and pepper.  Stir radish greens into roasted radishes and potatoes and add vinaigrette. Serve warm.

This Week's Meat Share:
We’re proud to partner with Jacob Marty of Green Fire Farm and Bryce and Jen Riemer of Riemer Family Farm to bring you this month's outstanding meat selection. Your share this month contains 5-6 items from the following list:

  • Steaks
  • Bacon
  • Ground Beef
  • Pork Roast
  • Bratwurst
  • Beef Stew Meat
  • Pork Chops
 

As if the task of planting all of our crops planted weren't enough to keep us busy and out of trouble, it's also the season for caring for newfarm animals. Over at the Riemer's farm, calving season has just started. This little one is only a couple of days old and already seems quite at home out on the pasture that is rapidly greening up. At ourfarm in Brodhead, the pastures are full of newborn lambs and teenage chickens. Our first batch of broiler chickens, hatched in late winter, will be ready to go to the butcher at the end of May, so next month's meat share will include pastured chicken.

Spring Chimichurri
(This sauce, orginally from Argentina, is exellent on steaks and pork chops.)
1 bunch ramps 
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Chop the leaves and bulbs of the ramps into rough pieces.  Place just the bulbs into a food processor or blender and process until minced. Then add the leaves, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Blend until smooth.  

This Week's Dairy Share*:

  • Monterey Jack from Red Barn Family Farms
  • Parmesan from Nordic Creamery
  • Harvest Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Plain Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy
    *Home delivery members who signed up for the Dairy & Egg Combo will also receive cultured butter with sea salt, vanilla yogurt and 2 dozen brown eggs.)

Producer Profile: Red Barn Family Farms
Red Barn Family Farms is a cooperative of 8 Wisconsin dairy farmfamilies. They are committed not only to crafting excellent cheese, but also to humane treatment of their animals. Their farms are the only dairy farms in Wisconsin to be audited and certified by the American Humane Association.
 

Together they have decided on the criteria for membership in their cooperative. Each farm must be family owned, farming must be each family's primary livelihood, and the majority of the farm labor must be performed by family members. Member farmers milk fewer than 70 cows. This number is smaller than the industry average, and it allows each cow to be known by a name rather than a number. We love Red Barn cheese, and we love their commitment to animal welfare and the future of the family farm.

Twice Baked Potatoes with Chives & Monterey Jack
4 large baking potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup chopped chives, divided
ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425. Rub potatoes with olive oil and salt; pierce each several times with a fork and arrange onto a baking sheet about 6 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven until easily pierced with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool until cool enough to handle, keeping oven heat at 425 degrees,

Halve potatoes lengthwise and scoop potato from each half into a bowl, leaving about 1/4 inch of the potato attached to the skin all the way around. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute garlic in butter until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir scooped potato, Monterey Jack cheese, yogurt, and most of the chives together with the garlic and butter; cook and stir the mixture until heated and smooth, about 5 minutes. Scoop the potato mixture into the potato skins and arrange onto the baking sheet. Bake in oven until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with remaining chives.
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...asparagus, mushrooms, head lettuce, bok choy, parsnips and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer