Farm News (05/06/14)

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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. This is the first week of the spring season, and we will be delivering vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat this week. We look forward to providing you with the delicious local foods this season. Thanks for joining us!  --Matt & Peg Sheaffer and Jen & Jeff Miller  

The Vegetable Share:

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Radishes
  • Bok Choy
  • Tomato Puree
  • Spring Onions
  • Popcorn on the Cob
  • Red Potatoes (from Igl Farms      in Antigo, WI)

The Meat Share:

This month's share includes meat raised by Riemer Family Farms, Byers Family Farm, Lange Farm Meats and Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm.

  • Steak
  • Ground Beef
  • Bacon or Breakfast Sausage
  • Bratwurst
  • Italian Sausage
  • Beef Stew or Fajita Meat
  • Whole Chicken

This Week's Dairy Share:

This this week's share contains dairy items crafted by Nordic Creamery, Sugar River Dairy and Otter Creek Farm.

  • Spring Cheddar
  • Handmade Cinnamon-Sugar Butter
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt

Profile: Sugar River Dairy, Albany, WI

Ron and Chris Paris make farmstead yogurt just a few miles from our Brodhead farm. Their non-homogenized yogurt is produced in small batches using only natural ingredients and rBGH-free milk. Their "factory" is a small but state-of-the-art operation located right on their farm. The milk used to make the yogurt comes from dairy farmers nearby, including Ron's brother, Bert, who is a strong proponent of pasture-based dairy farming.

 

Top 10 List: Ways to Tell it's Finally Spring on the Farm

10. Snow is gone!

10. Snow is gone!

 

9. Seasonal crew of employees gets bigger every week.

 

 

8. Farm kids get recruited to help with potato planting.

 

7. Baby animals outnumber people.

 

6. Farmers return to the place they are happiest--the seat of a tractor.

 

5. Hoophouses are bursting with produce.

 

4. Sunshine entices lambs to venture out of the barn.

 

3. Staff work overtime to plant tens of thousands of seedlings.

 Top 10 List: Ways to Tell it's Finally Spring on the Farm

10. Post office calls to say that goslings have arrived.

9. Sunshine entices lambs to venture out of the barn.

 

 

1. Tired but happy farmers pack first CSA boxes of the year!

 

Notes from the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of Your Share

Bok Choy has a mild, sweet flavor when cooked. Like many members of the Brassica family, its growing season is limited to the cool spring and fall. Nutritionally speaking, bok choy is loaded with vitamins. When cooking with bok choy, use the entire plant, both green leaves and white stems. It's also fantastic eaten raw. The mild, crunchy stalks are a particularly welcome addition to salads dressed with Asian-inspired dressings.

The tomato puree is made by Contract Comestibles, a small food-processing company in East Troy, Wisconsin using our tomatoes.  As it says on the label, our tomato puree makes a great soup by itself or with the addition of a little cream. You can also use it as a base for heartier soups, chili and pasta sauce. I like to use it as a basting liquid when roasting meats, as a replacement for water or broth when I'm making risotto, or in the crockpot when I'm slow-cooking a beef roast. The puree is shelf-stable, but should be refrigerated after opening.

We harvested these ears of popcorn just before Thanksgiving. They've been stored all winter, and the kernels are now dry enough to pop. (You should store them 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. I like to work over a dish towel, pushing the kernels off with my thumbs. (The towel prevents the kernels from bouncing all over the place!)  Cover the bottom of a pot with vegetable oil. Add one layer of kernels to the bottom of the pot and cover with a lid. Place the pot over medium heat. Be sure to remove from heat as soon as the popping stops. Add salt to taste.

A note on vegetable storage: Most spring vegetables must be refrigerated in a plastic bag. Some items (such as the lettuce mix) are bagged by us at the farm. You will need to supply plastic bags for other items such as the radishes and bok choy. Keeping these items in plastic helps prevent wilting. If you’ve got lettuce or some other tender vegetable that appears droopy, soak it in cold water for a few minutes, shake off the excess water, and refrigerate in a plastic bag until it perks up. On another note, we rinse all the vegetables here at the farm, but you should always wash them thoroughly prior to eating.

This Week's Featured Recipe: Parmesan-Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients: 3 pounds red potatoes, quartered 1 cup chopped spring onions (including greens) 1/3 cup olive oil salt and freshly ground pepper 4 ounces grated Parmesan 

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 400°F. Toss potatoes, onions and oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Place potatoes and onions on a rimmed baking sheet; reserve bowl. Roast until golden brown and cooked through, 30–35 minutes. Transfer to bowl; toss with Parmesan. Return potatoes to rack and roast until Parmesan is brown and crisp, 10–12 minutes.

 

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...asparagus, mushrooms, arugula, lettuce heads, baby salad turnips and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer