Farm News 05/20/14
Reminder: This week we are delivering vegetable, egg and dairy shares. Next week we will be delivering vegetable shares only.
This Week’s Vegetable Share
- Head Lettuce
- Overwintered Spinach
- Spring Onions
- Jerusalem Artichokes (from Harmony Valley Farm)
- Rhubarb (from Mick Klug Farm)
- Radishes or White Salad Turnips (whichever you did not receive last week)
This Week’s Dairy Share
- 'Peace of Pasture', a Gouda-style cheese from Pastureland Cooperative
- Harvest Butter from Nordic Creamery
- Grand Cru, a Gruyere-style cheese from Roth Kase
- Lowfat Plain Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy
Producer Profile: Pastureland Cooperative Pastureland is a dairy cooperative made up of five families farming in Dane and Green counties. One of those families is the brother and sister-in-law of Ron Paris, yogurt maker and owner of Sugar River Dairy. It was Ron who first introduced us to the grazing co-op. Grazing results in healthier and happier cows than conventional dairying. It requires less labor, less machinery, less fossil fuel, provides minimal erosion and improves soil health. 'Peace of Pasture' is a gouda-type cheese made exclusively from the milk of pasture-grazed cows. It gets its pale golden color from the carotene in the grass that the cows eat. Here's a picture of the Paris family's cows. Cows on grass--it's a beautiful sight!
In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of your Share
Jerusalem artichokes, tubers with a nutty flavor, are also known as sunchokes because they grow at the base of a type of sunflower that is native to North America. The tubers are typically harvested in early spring before the plants have bloomed. The tubers look like a piece of ginger and taste like a cross between a potato and a water chestnut. The raw tubers, when thinly sliced, add a nice crunch to a vegetable salad. In terms of cooking them, we recommend cutting them into chunks, tossing with salt, pepper and a little oil, then roasting them at 350 degrees until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Turn several times with a spatula during cooking so all sides become evenly browned. Here's a photo of the plants blooming in mid-summer.
Spinach is an exceptionally cold-hardy crop. We plant spinach at various time of the year, including late fall. Spinach planted in the late fall will develop strong roots and then go dormant through the cold winter. When spring comes, the plant begins to grow again and we are able to harvest the leaves. In contrast to the delicate leaves of spring-sown spinach, these leaves are thick, deeply creased and super-sweet. Overwintered spinach is the ultimate type of cooking spinach (as opposed to salad spinach) because it really stands up to the heat of cooking.
Rhubarb rivals asparagus as the quintessential spring food. Rhubarb is high in vitamins A and C and a variety of minerals, particularly calcium. It may be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks. For long-term storage, wash rhubarb, chop it, then put in freezer bag and freeze it. It will be soft when thawed, but will still work beautifully in most recipes.
This Week's Featured Recipes
Chicken Salad with Crunchy Spring Vegetables
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, cut into matchsticks
3 radishes or salad turnips, cut into matchsticks
1 pound chopped chicken
1/4 cup chopped spring onions
Mix first 5 ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Combine Jerusalem artichokes, radishes, chicken and spring onions in a bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Poached Egg on Toast with Wilted Spinach & Bacon
1 oval-shaped loaf country white breadolive oil
8 thick bacon slices
3 spring onions, white and green parts chopped
10-12 ounces spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
Parmesan cheese shavingsPreheat oven to 425°F. Using large serrated knife, trim off crust from top and sides of bread, to form rectangle-shaped loaf. Slice loaf into 4 thick rectangular pieces. Cut deep nest in 1 piece, leaving 1/2-inch border on all 4 sides and 3/4-inch-thick base. Pull out bread center. Repeat with remaining bread pieces; reserve centers for another use. Place hollowed-out bread pieces on small baking sheet. Brush bread all over with olive oil. Bake until bread is golden brown, about 7 minutes. Cool bread; maintain oven temperature.
Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add spinach and stir until just wilted. Fill 12-inch-diameter skillet with water to within 1/2 inch of top. Add vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Break 1 egg into small bowl, being careful to keep yolk intact. Gently slide egg into boiling water; repeat with remaining eggs. Simmer until eggs are softly cooked, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill each bread hollow with spinach; top with bacon, breaking bacon slices in half to fit. Place 1 bread on each of 4 plates. Using slotted spoon, place 1 poached egg atop each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with Parmesan.
for the rhubarb-lemon syrup:
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
Juice of 1 large lemon
Zest of 1 large lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
for the lemonade:
1 part rhubarb-lemon syrup
2 parts water or carbonated water
To make the rhubarb-lemon syrup, place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the mixture into a clean jar or other container and refrigerate until chilled. To make the lemonade, pour 1 part syrup over ice and add 2 parts water or carbonated water. Stir and enjoy.
A Few More Fun Farm Photos
This week Matt and Peg and the crew in Brodhead are getting ready to plant tomatoes and peppers.
In Grayslake, Jen and Jeff and their crew are working on the construction of a new walk-in cooler. (A big thanks to the neighboring farmers who helped set the posts in place!)
Meanwhile, Avery moves his goslings out to pasture.
And Ruby helps care for the lambs that are being weaned. It's another busy week on both farms. We hope you enjoy the beautiful weather as well as your farm goodies this week! --Matt, Peg, Jeff and Jen
- Margaret Sheaffer