Farm News (05/26/15)


Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This week we are delivering vegetables.
  • Next week we'll deliver vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat.
  • Have you registered for a summer vegetable share yet? There are still a few half shares and full shares available. There are also summer dairy and meat shares available, although all summer egg shares have been spoken for.

This Week's Vegetable Share:
  • Green Onions
  • Red-Stemmed Spinach
  • Traditional Spinach
  • Baby Fennel
  • Red Head Lettuce
  • Green Head Lettuce
  • Asparagus
  • Leafy Asian Cabbage (Tokyo Bekana)
  • Arugula

Farm Photo Journal
Up to this point we've been relying on early spring plantings of lettuce and other greens in our hoophouses to provide you with produce for your spring shares. This week we started the transition from harvesting hoophouse-grown greens to harvesting field-grown greens. In this photo you can clearly distinguish more than a dozen different varieties of head lettuce. The white that you seen in the photo is fabric row cover. It's a special fabric that keep insects out while allowing water and light to pass through. We purchase this fabric in long rolls and use it to cover crops such as arugula and radishes that are particularly attractive to insect pests.


Growing in the hoophouses and growing in the field each have their advantages and disadvantages. One of the major advantages of the late-spring transition to larger-scale field production is that we can ditch our hoes and start doing some serious weed control with tractor-mounted cultivators. In the photo below, Luis is using one of our old Farmall tractors to cultivate a planting of swiss chard. 


This week also marks the first harvest of our spring-sown spinach. Spring-sown spinach produces leaves that are not as thick as the overwintered crop we've been enjoying up to now, so it works well for both salads and cooking. This week your share contains a bunch of traditional spinach as well as a bunch of red-stemmed spinach. In terms of taste, it's pretty hard to distinguish one from the other, but the red-stemmed variety is certainly more visually distinctive. Spinach is one of those crops that we like to eat lots of when it's in season, because it grows poorly in the heat of summer. Like asparagus, we encourage you to enjoy it while the season is upon us!




In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of Your Share 

There are numerous types of Asian Cabbage. The type in this week's share is called Tokyo Bekana. For those members who might be unfamiliar with Tokyo Bekana, it is the item in the box that has frilly yellow-green leaves and is banded with a twist tie. Tokyo Bekana's mild cabbage flavor provides a nice contrast to the more familiar flavor of head lettuce. It can be used raw in salads and in much the same way as you would use head lettuce or Napa cabbage. Its succulent leaves and crunchy stems also make a great addition to your favorite stir fry.

Raw fennel has a distinct anise flavor that becomes wonderfully mellow when cooked. You can use the entire plant—bulb, stalks and the feathery leaves. Large fall-grown fennel bulbs work well for grilling or braising and can be served on their own. These tender spring fennel bulbs aren’t nearly that big, so they work best when combined with other ingredients in vegetable salads and pasta dishes. Try substituting chopped fennel for celery in most any recipe, including chicken salad, tuna salad and potato salad.  A little sautéed fennel is excellent paired with baked or broiled fish. One final thought is that fennel features prominently in many Italian dishes. We’ve included two simple fennel recipes—one for pasta and one for a white bean dish that we think you will really like. Enjoy!




This Week's Featured Recipes

Garlic Shrimp with Spring Greens

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined
4 cups roughly chopped spinach
1 bunch Asian cabbage, torn into large pieces (about 8 cups)
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add anchovies and cook, mashing with the back of a spoon, until anchovies dissolve and a paste forms, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and capers; cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute.

Increase heat to medium-high.  Add shrimp; cook, tossing occasionally, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and toss until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Add Asian cabbage and toss until wilted, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

Add Parmesan and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.

Linguine with Fennel and Tuna     

1 pound linguine
2-4 small fennel bulbs,
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cans (6 ounces each) solid light tuna, drained

Cook linguine according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot; reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Thinly slice bulbs crosswise and chop the fronds; cook in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes. Add to pasta along with lemon juice, capers, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Flake in tuna. Gently toss.
Braised White Bean and Fennel Bruschetta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 small fennel bulbs, bulbs thinly sliced and fronds chopped
1/2 pound white beans, cooked until tender, drained
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 baguette, cut into 1/4″ slices
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for toasts
2 large garlic cloves, halved

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Combine fennel, beans, wine, thyme, salt and pepper in a small ovenproof pan and bake, covered, for 1 hour, stirring after 30 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, uncovered. Remove the rosemary stem. Combine a third of the bean mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth, adding the braising liquid until the mixture has the texture of hummus. Add another third of the beans, and pulse a few times. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the remaining whole beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, brush the baguette slices on both sides with olive oil, toast until lightly browned (5 to 10 minutes), then rub with the cut sides of the garlic. Serve the toasts piled with the white bean mixture.
Spinach and Cheddar Strata
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces spinach
3 cups day-old bread cubes (1 inch)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cups grated white cheddar (3 ounces)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain, pressing with a rubber spatula to release as much liquid as possible. Divide bread and spinach among four small, shallow 8-ounce baking dishes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and 3/4 cup cheese. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Divide mixture evenly among baking dishes and top with 1/2 cup cheese. Set dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until set in middle and golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess) chard, radishes, green garlic, kohlrabi, head lettuce, cilantro, spinach and more...

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  • Margaret Sheaffer