Farm News (05/13/14)
Reminder: This week we are delivering vegetable shares only. Next week we will be delivering vegetable, egg and dairy shares.
This Week’s Vegetable Share
- Head Lettuce
- Crimini Mushrooms from River Valley Ranch, Burlington, WI
- Baby Salad Turnips
- Ramps (Wild Leeks) from Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua, WI
- Swiss Chard
Wow, it’s wet out there! Another couple of inches fell overnight, which means that today will be one big festival of mud. Making a second pot of coffee and catching up on office work would be a nice way to spend this soggy morning, but there are crops to be harvested so out to the fields we go. A cursory inspection of the fields has revealed some minor flooding in a few fields, but it looks like the damage will be limited to a small percentage of our plantings. We’ve been doing this long enough to know that heavy rains are par for the course this time of year, and we’re taking it in stride just as we always do. The bright spot on this cool, cloudy morning is that we are packing vegetable shares that are particularly beautiful and bountiful. We hope you enjoy all of your goodies this week! –Jeff, Jen, Peg and Matt
In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of Your Share
Our asparagus plantings really responded to last week’s warm temperatures. The plants began cranking out spears like crazy over the weekend so everyone will receive 2 bunches this week. We’ll be harvesting for the next 4 to 5 weeks. During that time you will receive asparagus of different sizes. One week you may get thinner asparagus and one week the stalks may be thicker. Each type works best for different types of dishes and preparations. We think there is a common misperception that thicker stalks mean that the asparagus is older but this is not the case. The truth is that from the moment the tip of the asparagus emerges from the ground, it is either thick or thin. Then over the course of a couple of days the stalk grows taller but not fatter. In other words, some of them are born thick and some are born thin. It all depends on the age and variety of the plant that gives birth to it. We love slender stalks for certain things, but in the farm kitchen we often find ourselves reaching for the fatter stalks because, once peeled, they are just as tender and delicious as the skinny ones, and they actually stand up better to the heat of cooking.
We are very excited to bring you ramps this week. Ramps are like a cross between a fancy green onion and a baby leek. We like to chop the whole plant, including the green leaves, and use them in place of onions. They 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. The season for ramps is quite short--only three to four weeks in late April and early May.
Upcoming Event: Plant Sale and Open House
You are invited to an Organic Plant Sale and Open House at the Prairie Crossing Farm in Grayslake from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 17. A wide variety of organic plants will be available for sale in addition to free-range eggs and other farm products. After you’ve bought your plants, take a free walking tour of the Prairie Crossing Farm, join your kids in a farm scavenger hunt, purchase baked goods and honey, view the vintage tractors that are still in use at the Prairie Crossing Farm, and learn about the College of Lake County’s Sustainable Agriculture program. Walking tours to the farm fields will be offered at 10:15, 11:15, and 12:15. Walking tours will depart from the tractor display at the entrance to the Yellow Farmhouse parking lot. Bring a blanket and picnic lunch to enjoy on the south lawn of the Yellow Farmhouse, and enjoy a morning on a real working organic farm. For more information visit http://www.libertyprairie.org.
Next week's harvest (our best guess)...asparagus, radishes, lettuce, spinach, rhubarb and more!
- Margaret Sheaffer