Farm News (06/24/14)


Important Reminders

  • This week we are delivering vegetable shares only.
  • Summer meat shares start the week of June 30th.
  • Fruit shares start the week of July 7th.

This Week’s Vegetable Share

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Head Lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Fennel
  • Baby Leeks
  • Zucchini or Kohlrabi*

*You will receive whichever item you did not receive last week.

Delivery Schedule for the Week of July 4th
Due to the holiday, we will be operating on a modified schedule for the week of July 4th. We will not be making any deliveries on Thursday. All members who pick up at the farm will pick up on Tuesday that week, including members who normally pick up at the farm on Thursdays. Pickup at the farm is from 3:30 until 7:00. The pickup schedule for all other members will be as follows:

Tuesday, July 1st

  • Allstate 2:30-5:30
  • Baxter 12:30-5:00
  • Deerfield 1:30-6:30
  • Evanston 4:00-7:00
  • Glenview 3:30-7:00
  • Lake Forest 4:00-7:00

Wednesday, July 2nd

  • Northfield 2:00-7:00
  • Barrington 4:00-7:00
  • Buffalo Grove 3:30-7:00
  • Mundelein 2:00-7:00
  • Clarendon Hills 4:00-7:00
  • Glen Ellyn 3:30-7:00
  • Oak Park 4:30-7:00

Farm Ridge Hike at the Grayslake Farm
Wednesday, July 26th, 6:30-7:30
registration required

Jeff Miller will lead a hike along the ridge that lies to the south of our farm in Grayslake. Up on the ridge you'll get a great view of the fields and the farm buildings. We'll meet at the Prairie Crossing Farm's Yellow Farmhouse parking lot at 32400 N. Harris Road in Grayslake. Enter Prairie Crossing via Route 45 at Jones Point Rd. and follow the signs to the Farm. Parking is available in the small parking lot just past the Yellow Farmhouse, or on Harris Road between the first and second farm driveways. The hike will be held rain or shine, so please dress for the weather. Please bring your own sunscreen, insect repellent, and water bottles.

Farm Photos                        

Matt and Laurel took a stroll through the zucchini field last Thursday.

The onion crop looks tremendous. Bulb onions will be coming soon, starting with the sweet Walla Walla types.  

In this photo Matt is scouting for potato beetles, the main pest on our potato crop. So far we have seen only a small amount of beetle damage, and we anticipate a bountiful crop. You can expect your first CSA potatoes in the second half of July.

In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of your ShareL

ate June is when we typically begin to harvest our first plantings of beets and carrots. Since we plant multiple successions of both of these crops, beets and carrots will appear in the CSA share on a semi-regular basis throughout the rest of the season. Carrots don't need much explanation in terms of preparation, but it probably doesn't hurt to mention that they should always be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator so they stay fresh and crisp.

While most of us have no trouble figuring how to prepare carrots, cooking beets from scratch might be a new experience for some members. For an easy and healthy way to prepare beets, leave the skin on and cut them in halves or quarters, being careful to leave a bit of the root and about an inch of the stem on. Then steam or boil them until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to cool before gently rubbing the skins off. Slice or cube them and toss with a light dressing. If you're short on time and don't feel like cooking beets, try grating raw beets on top of a salad for dramatic color and great crunchy texture. Beet greens are highly nutritious and can be cooked like Swiss chard or spinach.

If you participated in the spring vegetable share, you received a couple of small fennel bulbs that had been grown in the hoophouse. This week's field-grown fennel bulbs are significantly larger, so they can be featured on their own in dishes like braised fennel and fennel gratin. If you've never tried this vegetable, here are a few tips.Try substituting it for celery in most any recipe, including chicken salad, tuna salad and potato salad. Use the feathery leaves as a seasoning. You can also try using it in place of dill. Fennel is excellent on baked or broiled fish with butter and lemon.

The harvest of full-size leeks typically doesn't start until sometime in August. In the meantime, we like to harvest and cook with tender baby leeks. This week the diameter of the leeks is about the size of your thumb. As with full-size leeks, you'll need to trim off and discard the top third of the green leaves. Leek can be roasted, grilled and sautéed. Chopped leeks can also be substituted for onion in certain recipes such as pasta dishes, quiches and more.


This Week’s Featured Recipes

Gratin of Fennel and Baby Leeks
from Saveur, March 2007

2 bulbs fennel
1 bunch baby leeks
2 tbsp. butter, cubed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups hot chicken stock
2 tbsp. heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove stems and leafy tops from fennel and trim the root end. Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Trim dark green tops and root ends from leeks. Arrange fennel and leeks in a 10" baking dish, and scatter butter on top. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add hot stock and bake until tender and browned, about 1 ½ hours.Preheat broiler. Spoon cream over vegetables, sprinkle nutmeg over cream, then sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano. Broil until golden, about 1 minute.

Braised Carrots and Leeks with Tarragon
from The New York Times, May 17, 2011

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch baby leeks, white and light green part only, root ends cut away, halved lengthwise, cleaned and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch carrots, peeled, halved, then cut in 2-inch lengths
1/2 cup waterSalt to taste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan or lidded skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and a generous pinch of salt. Cook gently until just about tender, about three minutes. Do not allow the leeks to color. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the carrots, water and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until the carrots are tender when pierced with a knife. Stir in the lemon juice and tarragon. Taste and adjust salt. Transfer to a platter if desired, making sure to scrape out the tasty residue from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Serve hot, or allow to cool and serve at room temperature. If serving at room temperature, sprinkle with additional fresh tarragon just before serving.

Roasted Beets with Cumin and Cilantro

6 medium red beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of half a lemon
juice of half an orange
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Cut beets in half and place on the baking sheet. Cover with foil and roast for 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Cool, peel, and cut into bite-sized pieces.To make the vinaigrette, puree one of the cooked beets with the lemon and orange juice, balsamic vinegar, the garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil. This can be done a day in advance. Before serving, toss the beets with vinaigrette. Adjust seasonings to taste and garnish with cilantro.

Next week’s harvest (our best guess)…broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, purplette onions, cabbage, lettuce, dill, cucumbers and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer