Farm News (5/31/16)


Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This is a pickup week for spring vegetables, eggs, meat and dairy. 
  • Home delivery shares for this week are vegetables, meat and the egg & dairy combo.
  • Next week is the final week for spring shares. Start dates for summer shares are:
    • Full Vegetable Share (weekly pickup): starting week of June 13
    • Half Vegetable Share (every other week): starting week of June 13
    • Dairy Share (every other week): starting week of June 13
    • Egg Share (every other week): starting week of June 13
    • Meat Share (monthly pickup): starting week of June 27
    • Full Fruit Share (weekly pickup): starting week of July 4
    • Half Fruit Share (every other week): starting week of July 11

This Week's Vegetable Share:

  • Green Onions
  • Red-Stemmed Spinach and/or Traditional Green Spinach
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Cremini Mushrooms from River Valley Ranch
  • Head Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Popcorn on the Cob
  • Asparagus
  • Rhubarb from Mick Klug Farm

Farm Photo Journal
We received some well-timed rains at both farms this past week, and our leafy greens are really coming on strong now. You can expect a steady supply of lettuce, chard and other greens (including red-stemmed spinach, pictured below) for at least the next month.

The season for asparagus and rhubarb will soon start to wind down at about the same time as several new crops make an appearance for the very first time. 

Zucchini and summer squash (above) are already starting to bear tiny fruits. As you are probably aware, zucchini fruits grow awfully quickly. They can go from gherkin-sized to the size of a baseball bat in the blink of an eye. Of course we try our best to start harvesting them before they get to be the size of dangerous weapons, and it looks like next week will be the week to begin.

The first strawberry harvest is also on the docket for next week. Those berries are so close to being ripe that when we close our eyes we can almost taste them! The only other crop we await with as much anticipation is the tomato crop.

Alas, we'll have to wait a little bit longer before we get a taste of the first tomatoes of the season. In the photo above, Matt inspects a field of tomatoes that were planted over Memorial Day weekend. Although we do have a small planting of early  tomatoes that went into the ground 3 weeks ago and were covered with frost-protective fabric, the majority of our tomato plants won't start producing heavily until mid-August. Seems like a long time to wait, but the wait will be so worth it! In the meantime there's a whole lot to look forward to--green beans, broccoli, sweet corn, cucumbers and so much more. Thanks for choosing to go on this seasonal journey with us. We feel privileged to be growing your food.

The Meat Share:
This month’s share contains a pastured chicken raised here at Sandhill Family Farms, plus beef and pork raised by our neighbors at Riemer Family Farm. In addition to the chicken, your share will contains 4 items from the following list: Steaks, Ground Beef, Ground Pork, Ham Steaks, Beef Stew Meat, Fajita Meat and Pork Chops. 


Our pastured chickens arrive at the farm as 1-day old chicks. They spend their first 3 to 4 weeks in a greenhouse that we have repurposed as a poultry brooder. Once they are close to a month old, they are big and strong enough to trade the sheltered environment of the brooder for life out on the pasture. In the photo above, Peg and Avery (mom and son) work to transfer chickens into their pasture pens. We have five pens, and each one is big enough to accomodate 100 chickens. The pens protect the hens from predators while allowing them access to sunshine, fresh air and green grass. Raising chickens this way is hard work, but we think it's worth it. Once you taste your pasture-raised chicken, we're pretty sure you'll agree! 

The Dairy Share*:

  • Havarti Cheese with Dill from Roth Käse
  • Grand Cru, an Alpine-Style Cheese from Roth Käse
  • Garlic & Basil Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Plain Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy
    *Home delivery members who signed up for the Dairy & Egg Combo will also receive summer butter, vanilla yogurt and 2 dozen brown eggs.)
Roth Käse is located in Monroe, Wisconsin, a few miles from our Brodhead farm. Their award-winning Grand Cru is one of our absolute favorite local cheeses. It's a gruyere-style cheese made in old-school copper vats, and it's got a mellow, nutty flavor with a firm texture. Try it on a grilled burger (use half ground beef and half ground pork), as a snack with apple slices and almonds, or in a quiche with the mushrooms and spinach from your vegetable share. Are you hungry yet?!

Recipes from the Farm Kitchen

Homemade Kettle Corn
We harvest popcorn just before Thanksgiving, then we store it all winter until the kernels are dry enough to pop. (You should store it in a cupboard or other dry place.) Making popcorn on the stovetop is a little more work than the microwave version, but the results are well worth the effort. Start by removing the kernels from the cob. We like to work over a dish towel, pushing the kernels off with our thumbs. (The towel prevents the kernels from bouncing all over the place!)  If you'd prefer to make regular popcorn rather than kettle corn, simply omit the sugar.

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn and sugar. Give the kernels a quick stir and then cover with a lid. Once the popcorn starts popping, carefully pick the pot up and give it a quick shake every few seconds until the popping slows down, between 3-4 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat and pour the kettle corn into a large bowl. Don't delay or it might burn. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately. 

Grilled Chicken, Green Onion & Radish Salad
In order to make this recipe you will need to cut your chicken into 8 pieces. Don't know how to cut up a chicken? Don't worry--it really isn't that hard. You can learn here.

1 4-lb whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch radishes, halved
1/2 cup toasted and crumbled sliced almonds
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice

Prepare a grill for medium-heat cooking. Grill chicken until browned and cooked through, turning occasionally. Remove chicken and set aside to cool. Place radishes in a grill basket or on a vegetable grilling screen to prevent them from falling though the grill grates. Grill, turning frequently, until browned and softened, about 4 minutes. Add the green onions to the basket and grill 4 minutes more. Remove from heat. Shred or dice 2 cups of the chicken breast and coarsely chop the onions and radishes. Place in a large bowl with almonds, cilantro and lime juice, and toss. Season with salt to taste.

Mushroom & Spinach Quiche
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, cut into quarters
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 frozen 9-inch pie crust, thawed
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 cups Grand Cru or other gruyere-style cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss cut mushrooms with onion, olive oil, salt and pepper, then place on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until cooked and firm. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prick pie shell all over with a fork. Prebake shell for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Whisk together heavy cream and eggs with thyme, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine roasted mushrooms, onion, cheese and thyme. Spread this mixture in the bottom of the pie shell in an even layer. Pour cream-egg mixture over the mushroom mixture, ensuring that all of the mushroom mixture is covered. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the quiche comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...strawberries, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, asparagus, dill and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer