Farm News (6/15/15)


Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • The spring season ended last week. This week we are delivering summer vegetable, egg and dairy shares.
  • Summer meat share deliveries start the week of June 29th.
  • Summer fruit share deliveries start the week of July 6th (full shares) or July 13th (half shares). 
  • We recently sent out an email containing information related to pickup site logistics for the summer season. If you did not receive this email, please let us know.
  • Reusable produce and grocery bags will be available for purchase this week at the Barrington, Lake Forest and Oak Park pickup sites and also at the farm on Thursday
This Week's Vegetable Share:
  • Beets
  • Green and/or Gold Zucchini
  • Head Lettuce 
  • Green onions
  • Fresh Dill
  • Flat Leaf or Curly Parsley
  • Strawberries (from Mick Klug Farm)
  • Fennel
  • Broccoli

This Week's Dairy Share:

  • 'Peace of Pasture' cheese from PastureLand Cooperative
  • 'Grand Cru', a Gruyère-style cheese from Roth Kase
  • Summer Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Lowfat Vanilla 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. 

Notes from the Field: Making the Most of your Produce

This week's vegetable share contains the first broccoli of the season. Like all cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussels sprouts, etc), broccoli absolutely loves all the rain we've received in the past couple of days. 

Having to harvest broccoli in the rain is a small price to pay for such a nice crop. We're actually feeling pretty good about getting this crop all the way to the point of harvest since it's not always a sure thing. Planting broccoli in April for harvest in June can be a bit of a gamble. A few days of hot weather at the wrong time can cause an entire planting to bolt, resulting thousands of little stunted heads that never reach maturity.

We got lucky this time, and so did all of you! Mother nature provided us with ideal growing conditions, so members will receive 2-3 heads this week. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge and use within 5 to 7 days.

There are two main types of fennel--the kind that is grown for its leaves and its seeds and the kind that produces a nice bulb at the base. Here at Sandhill, we grow the latter type. Several weeks ago, members received baby fennel bulbs. This week's bulbs are significantly bigger and are a little more versatile. In addition to the suggestions we offered in our May 26th newsletter, we also recommend braising and grilling the bulbs.

If you've never tried grilled fennel, then you are in for a real treat. Seriously. Here's how to do it. Slice the fronds off, leaving about 3 inches attached to the bulb. Reserve fronds for another recipe. Slice bulbs in half so that you end up with 2 "patties". Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill slowly over indirect heat until the fennel is a little bit charred around the edges. Remove from grill and sprinkle with lemon juice and grated parmesan. Bon Appetit!

This Week's Featured Recipes

Warm Beet Salad with Dill
6 medium beets with tops
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill 
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut off tops from beets and reserve. Wrap beets in large sheet of heavy-duty foil, enclosing completely. Cut off long stems from beet leaves and discard. Thinly slice beet leaves. Rinse leaves under cold water. Wrap leaves in small sheet of heavy-duty foil, enclosing completely.

Place foil package of whole beets directly onto oven rack. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Add foil package of beet leaves to oven and bake until beets are tender and leaves are wilted and tender, about 15 minutes longer. Open foil packages and let beets and leaves stand at room temperature until cool enough to handle. Rub beets to remove skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Whisk vinegar, oil and dill in large bowl until well blended. Add beets, beet leaves and onion and toss to coat. Serve warm or room temperature.

Chilled Beet Soup with Dill Cream
4 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 pound beets, peeled, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup peeled chopped carrot
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
Sour cream

Combine 4 cups broth, beets, onions, carrot and garlic in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree in blender in batches until smooth. Transfer to bowl. Thin with additional broth if soup is too thick. Mix in sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with dill and green onions. Top with sour cream.

Parsley Vinaigrette
2 cups (packed) flat-leaf parsley (leaves and stems)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon vinegar (white wine or champagne)
1 garlic clove, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pulse parsley, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic in a food processor until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Gruyère Panini with Parsley Tapenade
from Food and Wine, March 2008

1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup oil-packed green olives
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Twelve 1/2-inch thick slices of rustic white bread
6 1/2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)

In a food processor, combine the parsley, olives, capers and olive oil and process until very finely chopped.

Preheat a grill pan or panini press. Arrange the bread on a work surface and spread 6 of the slices with the tapenade. Top with the Gruyère. Close the sandwiches with the remaining bread and put them on the hot grill pan or panini press. Cook over moderate heat until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Transfer the panini to a work surface, cut in half and serve.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...napa cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, garlic scapes, cilantro, swiss chard, lettuce and baby leeks.

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  • Jen Miller