Our first CSA distribution is underway as I write. We've been preparing for this day all season, and we're happy with the results. Here's what's in the share (crop, variety):
Kale, red russian
Lettuce, winter density
Dandelion Greens, catalogna
Radishes, crunchy royale
Bok Choi, joi choi
Much of this food began as seeds sown in our greenhouse as long ago as March. Back then we were coaxing plants to life by the heat of our woodstove; since then we've transplanted them in our fields, where we've kept them weeded, covered against insects, and exposed to healthy intervals of sun and rain. To harvest the resulting crops this morning, and to clean them and arrange them for presentation at our distribution shed, was truly satisfying. (We'll post pictures within a few days.) Thanks to our two working members, Kim and Amy, who helped us with today's harvest, and thanks to all of our members who have joined the CSA and are collecting their first shares today.
If you are reading this but are not a CSA member, there is still time to join! Shares are still available, and we'll continue to offer them until they sell out--if you are interested, please contact Joshua at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few cooking and eating tips for this week's harvest:
* The turnips are a Japanese variety, and they make for especially good fresh eating. Try one raw - it will be sweet and crunchy. They are also good cooked along with their greens. I've enjoyed this recipe from the late Gourmet Magazine, which suggests doing so and then flavoring with miso (the amounts can be adjusted proportionally):
3 tablespoons white miso
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
3 pounds small (1 1/2-to 2-inch) Japanese turnips with greens
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
Stir together miso and 2 tablespoons butter.
Discard turnip stems and coarsely chop leaves. Halve turnips (leave whole if tiny) and put in a 12-inch heavy skillet along with water, mirin, remaining tablespoon butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then boil, covered, 10 minutes.
Add greens by handfuls, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more as volume in skillet reduces. Cover and cook 1 minute. Uncover and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until turnips are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes. Stir in miso butter and cook 1 minute.
* Dandelion is one of the most nutritious greens you can eat, but it can be bitter, so be prepared for the astringency. If you like that aspect of their flavor, they make a great addition to any raw green salad; otherwise, to remove the bitterness they can be blanched or washed in salted water. Here's another recipe from Gourmet, this one for dandelion salad with warm hazelnut vinaigrette:
2 large bunches dandelion greens (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup hazelnuts
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Discard tough stems from greens. Cut top 5 inches from greens and reserve. Cut remaining greens into 3/4-inch slices. Transfer all greens to a large serving bowl. Coarsely chop nuts and finely chop garlic. In a small heavy skillet cook garlic and nuts in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until garlic is golden. Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour hot vinaigrette over greens and toss to combine.
We'll continue to post recipes that relate to the food we grow. Please feel free to share your own favorite recipes, cooking tips, or other food-related thoughts with us, and we'll use this blog to share them with the rest of the CSA membership.