Farm News (05/18/15)

Important Reminders & Announcements:
  • This week we are delivering vegetables, eggs and dairy.
  • Next week is a vegetable-only week.
  • We are now offering a limited number of half shares for the summer season. New members may sign up for vegetable and/or fruit shares to be picked up every other week instead of every week. Viisit for more info.
  • Come learn about organic food production during our Farm Ridge Hike from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Wed., July 8 at our Grayslake farm. Farmer Jeff will discuss organic growing practices, pest and disease management, season extension and more. Advance registration is required for this free event. Learn more here.

This Week's Vegetable Share:

  • Red Head Lettuce
  • Green Head Lettuce
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Bok Choy
  • Fresh Oregano
  • Radishes
  • Baby White Salad Turnips
  • Rhubarb (from Mick Klug Farms)

This Week's Dairy Share:

  • 'Driftless', a fresh sheep's milk cheese from Hidden Springs Creamery
  • 'Chandoka', a mixed-milk cheese (cow & goat) from LaClare Farms
  • Garlic and Basil Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy


Producer Profile: Hidden Springs Creamery

Brenda Jensen’s farm is located in southwestern Wisconsin where the steep hills and lush valleys are perfect for pasturing dairy sheep. Since she started making cheese almost a decade ago, Brenda has earned a nationwide reputation as a top-tier cheesemaker. Her cheeses have even won awards at the prestigious American Cheese Society competition.



Brenda milks about 250 East Friesian and Lacaune ewes. These two breeds are of German and French origin and are the most productive milking breeds in the world. Sheep milk is pure white, very rich, and slightly sweeter than cow’s milk. Brenda makes both fresh and aged sheep milk cheeses. This week we’re sharing Driftless with you, a fresh cheese that has a consistency like fresh chevre and can be used in similar ways.

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

Fresh oregano is a staple herb of Italian, Greek and Mexican cuisine. Use it to flavor pasta dishes, vinaigrettes, pizza, white beans, dinner rolls and Greek-inspired salads. Store oregano in a loosely folded plastic bag in the refrigerator.

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 Japanese turnip variety, called hakurei, is very mild and sweet and is easily mistaken for a white radish. Japanese turnips are delicious eaten raw, and we’ve found that even most kids like them. We like to saute the turnips in a little butter, then add in the chopped greens to the pan during the last few minutes of cooking. They don’t need much more, other than maybe a splash of soy sauce. Turnips are a good source of Vitamins A and C, and they are rich in the minerals potassium and calcium. 

This Week's Featured Recipes

Roasted Asparagus with Buttery Lemon Breadcrumbs
2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Zest of 1 lemon 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a rack in the top third of the oven. Arrange the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the oil over top. Season with lemon pepper and salt and toss with your hands to coat. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and roast for 12-15 minutes or until the spears are tender and slightly blistered. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the stalks. Transfer to a serving platter.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are golden brown and toasted, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Check the seasonings and adjust, if needed. Top the asparagus with the toasted breadcrumbs and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges, if desire.

Driftless Omelet
from Brenda Jensen of Hidden Springs Creamery
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh herbs
1 cup chopped spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, etc
¼ cup Driftless cheese
½ tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper

Beat eggs with milk in a bowl until the mixture is uniform. Stir in nutmeg, salt, pepper and chives. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat, making sure pan is coated completely. Pour in eggs, distributing evenly. When one edge of the omelet becomes firm, use a spatula to lift the edge, letting uncooked egg flow under that side. Repeat until entire omelet is firm but not dry, about 3 to 5 minutes. Top with greens and cheese. Serve warm.

Spinach & Orzo Salad with Fresh Oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces chopped spinach, turnip greens, swiss chard, etc
1 pound cooked orzo
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
4 ounces chopped feta
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano

In a small pan, warm oil over medium-low heat. Sauté garlic until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer garlic and whatever oil remains in the pan to a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons juice, 2 teaspoons zest, salt and pepper; whisk to combine. Add greens and toss lightly. Add orzo, olives, cheese, onion and oregano. Toss to combine; serve.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...asparagus, lettuce heads, fennel, leafy Asian cabbage, green onions and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer