Farm News 7/12/16


Important Announcements & Reminders

  • This is a pickup week for members who are registered for the following shares: 
    • weekly and biweekly summer vegetable shares
    • weekly and biweekly fruit shares
    • dairy shares and egg shares
  • It's not too late to register for fall shares. We are busy planting and tending winter squash, sweet potatoes, leeks, potatoes and many other fall crops. Everything is looking great, and we'd love to share the harvest with you. You can find more information here.
  • Your're invited to visit our farm in Brodhead, WI during Soil Sisters weekend! We'll be participating along with other local farms in this exciting food and farm event the weekend of August 5-7. You can tour different farms in the Brodhead and Monroe areas (including our farm), take part in on-farm workshops and enjoy delicious homegrown foods.On Saturday night we'll host a special dinner on the farm.  Please join us!  Learn more here.

This Week's Vegetable Share (weekly and biweekly pickup)

  • Green Beans
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • New Red Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Zucchini
  • Lettuce

This Week's Fruit Share (weekly and biweekly pickup)

  • Sour Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries 
  • Red & Gold Plums

This Week's Dairy Share

  • Garlic and Basil Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Plain Lowfat Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy
  • Pastures Cheddar from Saxon Creamery
  • Gran Queso, a Manchego-style cheese from Roth Kase

Peg's Farm Journal

The first harvest of the season, whether it's green beans or sweet corn or pumpkins, is always cause for a small celebration, but there is something extra special about the first potato harvest. Perhaps it's the fact that we can't easily see those little tubers growing and developing like we can with most other vegetables. When it's time to dig them up, the potato harvest is accompanied by a certain element of surprise. It's sort of like taking a birthday cake out of the oven--no matter how strictly you think you're adhering to the recipe, you keep your fingers crossed because you're never quite sure exactly how things are going to turn out. (At least that's how it works in my kitchen!)

Don't get me wrong; we do check on the progress of the crop from time to time after planting. A couple of good shovelfuls of earth will quickly reveal how things are going 8 inches down. Several weeks ago when we checked, your new red potatoes looked like this--not much bigger than marbles.
Although digging up the occasional plant is certainly a reliable way to gauge the progress of the crop, there is an easier method, and one that is almost as reliable. The trick is to keep an eye on the progress of the plants' flowers. From experience we know that the size of a potato plant's tubers increases most quickly during the period of time when the plants are flowering. We have also learned over the years that our 'Red Norland' variety is ready to start digging about 2 weeks after flowering. 

As it happens, Monday was the appointed day--exactly two weeks after peak flowering. Matt put the potato digger on the back of the tractor yesterday morning, and when he set that digger down into the earth, this is what he brought to the surface. Bin after bin of beautiful potatoes!  And you know what? It felt like Christmas. What a great feeling. Sometimes this job is pretty awesome. 

Enjoy your potatoes!  --Peg

Vegetable Notes: Making the Most of Your Farm Share

Sour cherries tend to ripen slightly later than sweet cherries. They are rounder, softer, and more tart than their sweeter cousins. Sour cherries can be eaten fresh or used in smoothies, but we prefer to bake with them. They are perfect for pies and for many other kinds of baked goods.

If you're not interested in making a pie, try a batch of muffins or scones. Or how about a crisp, a cobbler or a crumb cake? Why not go in a different direction altogether? Tart cherries can be used to create savory dishes such as glazes and sauces for roast meats. If you aren’t going to use your cherries this week, pit them with a chopstick, a bobby pin or a paring knife and freeze them for use later.

Shallots are prized in many different cuisines and are held in particularly high regard in French cooking. They are less sharp than most other members of the onion family with a really nice depth of flavor that will enhance any dish that calls for onions. 

Recipes from the Farm Kitchen

New Potatoes with Parsley and Lemon Butter
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, cut in halves or quarters
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, parsley, lemon peel, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cook until potatoes are heated through and beginning to brown, tossing often, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with extra chopped parsley.

Pita Pockets with Spiced Chickpeas, Bulgur, Carrots & Parsley
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup grated carrot
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons smoked or sweet paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon very hot water
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 pitas with pockets, halved

Bring 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in saucepan. Add bulgur, return to boil, and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Let sit off heat for 5 minutes; fluff with fork. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add carrots and chickpeas to pan; stir in coriander and paprika. Mix to coat and cook over medium-low heat until fragrant and carrots are softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl and stir in bulgur. Season to taste with salt.

Whisk together tahini, hot water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice until very smooth. Stir into chickpeas and bulgur to coat. Pour in remaining lemon juice and fold in parsley. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately, or let cool slightly then refrigerate. Reheat the next day in microwave, covered with damp paper towel, before stuffing into pita halves, or stuff into pitas once cooled and refrigerate until ready to eat at room temperature or cold.

Green Beans with Carmelized Shallots
1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 medium shallots
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

Cook green beans in boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well. 

Peel shallots and slice lengthwise. Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; sauté until shallots are browned and tender, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add green beans to shallots in skillet and stir over medium-high heat until heated through, about 6 minutes. Season to taste.

Zucchini-Cherry Muffins
1 cup whole-wheat flour 
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 1/3 cups shredded zucchini 
1/2 cup milk 
2 tablespoons canola oil 
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg 
Cooking spray 
2 dozen fresh, pitted sour cherries
1 tablespoon sugar 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine whole-wheat flour and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine zucchini, milk, oil, honey, and egg in a small bowl; stir until blended. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add milk mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Poke 2 cherries down into the center of each muffin.

Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over tops of muffins. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce, kohlrabi, broccoli, lettuce, green beans, blueberries, plums, peaches and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer