From the Farmer

Week 2 – 5/23/2016
Reminder: While Farm Stand hours have expanded for your convenience and shorter lines at check out, the CSA pick-up windows remain the same, in order to get you the freshest vegetables possible. 
 
CSA Hours:
  • Tuesdays & Wednesdays 3:30 – 6:30 pm
  • Saturdays: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Farm Stand, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Boat House
 
Chicken and flower share distributions begin June 7, 8 & 11.
 
In Your Box This Week 
 
We’re getting closer – the sun has peeked out a few times since last week, and the temperatures are warming.  We have a mess of veggies that want to grow and they just might start now.  In the meantime, this week’s box is lively and green, first of the spring things.  After a winter of storage crops and long-distance shipping, we’ve been craving fresh chlorophyll.  I feel like a chlorophyll vampire, green plant blood dripping from my fangs.  
 
Herb of the day: chives, garlic chives (great for warming up salads), or sage.  Herbs are for flavor, but herbs and spices also contain compounds that are unique and vital.  Add them to any dish to give a little life: breakfast eggs, dinner meats, condiments, or other vegetables.  Al likes adding chives and garlic chives to sour cream or dip. A little goes a long way with fresh herbs.  Try drying what you don’t use: spread on a baking sheet, put in the oven at 175°F, and crack the oven door.  The idea is to warm and dry them, not to bake them.  Keeping the door open gives you some air circulation.
 
One storage note for herbs.  We like to place them in a jar, stem in water.  They will keep in the fridge or even on the counter top much longer this way.  Or, seal them in a bag in the crisper.  These herbs all prefer colder temperatures. Basil is an example of an herb that prefers slightly warmer temperatures, as it will turn black if exposed to temperatures below 40°F.
 
Luffa Gourd:  We think of CSA as a box of health, and curiosity, whimsy, inspiration all contribute to good health. We like to add a little something interesting to a share, something you might not have seen before.  Maybe it’s a new vegetable variety, a curious vegetable, a potted plant, or a gourd.  This week: luffa bath boofy.  Luffas are, swear, not sponges, they are gourds.  We grow, dry, and process them here.  Luffas are naturally a little darker than you find at BB&B and discolorations are natural and harmless.  These have been cleaned and disinfected.  Try it in the sink or in the bath!
 
Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a little different beast than common cabbage, too.  It has crinkly leaves and can be used like any cabbage, but also a little like lettuce.  Bonnie says it pairs well with these tastes: apples, butter, horseradish, mustard, olive oil, parsley, and vinegar.  Check out the All About this week for a spin on the Taste Wheel.  This is easily my favorite piece of “Kitchen Know-How.”  It’s all about putting different kinds of flavors together, not just what we’re used to.  A couple years ago Bonnie and Steph put on a demonstration at the Farm Stand, where she had a dozen different everyday fresh and pantry items to use to make salad dressing.  
 
Check out this TBT video of Bonnie Moore with special guest stars, talking about how to make a creative salad dressing (and how to put different tastes together in general).  No lie that the best, most interesting salads were created by kids this weekend at the Farm Stand.  Take five minutes at work and dream about this week’s salad of lettuce, strawberries, goat cheese, and a five-taste dressing. 
 
Scallions:  These come from an organic farm up Rt. 15 in Pennsylvania.  We work with Tuscarora Organic Growers (TOG), a cooperative of organic farmers there to fill in holes at the Farm Stand.  New Morning Farm, the organizing farm, is one of the oldest and most well-respected organic farms on the East Coast, and certainly in the Mid-Atlantic. Deb and I cultivated our own scallions late Friday evening, but they’re still wee little things.  This is us dealing with the anxiety of not enough veggies ready for CSA boxes!
 
Spring broccoli is an Italian, sprouting broccoli – it doesn’t form a tight head as common broccoli does, but it’s far more tender.  You can use all parts, the sprouts (which are really flower buds), the leaves (we like them as greens tender enough to eat raw or just as happy cooking them), and the stem.  On some plants a few flowers have blossomed, and these are good for eating, too.  One simple way of preparing sprouting broccoli is to lay them as is on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake until they are as ready as you like.  You can then use it as a side like asparagus, or chop and add to soup, salad, eggs, Dagwood…
 
Strawberries: They are on and they are ripe and they are in your share this week.  We’ll not hold out on you and if we have enough to give extra we will – eat some fresh and freeze the rest for winter.  My mom likes the flash freeze method: cut large berries in half or in quarters, place on a cookie sheet in the freezer, then bag and put back in the freezer.  Much less frost inside the bag.  We pick them ripe so they will not last long on the counter.
 
Sweet n Spicy, Spicy n Sweet greens mix.  This is a mix of salad size Asian greens.  They have a tangy flavor.  We like them as salad, and mix plenty of sweet and salty tastes into our dressing.  (Maple and Garlic on Everything). Too weird?  Cook them like any other green, but remember that they’re much more delicate than heartier greens like spinach and kale, so add them to the pan only for a couple minutes before you turn the stovetop off.
  
 
Farm Stand Eggs – A note from your Farm Stand Manager 
 
Hi folks.
 
Just want to let you know that we may be a little short on the "eggs for sale" side of production in the coming weeks. We like the CSA model because folks sign up in the winter months and this tells us how many hens we need to raise to cover their eggs as well as have extra eggs for sale. We have five hundred hens, no more than our acreage can happily accommodate of course, but not all the gals are up to laying speed just yet. Are they grumpy from all the rain? Are they secretly stashing hundreds of eggs deep in the woods of The Grant Farm? We're not sure. But we sure are giving them pep talks every morning alongside fresh pasture, non-GMO feed, minerals and hugs, and doing our best to meet demand. Thank you for understanding this aspect of Community Supported Agriculture!  If you like eggs, sign up for a share early next year!  If we can we will re-open egg shares later this summer.
 
And speaking of community, thank you for snuggling the wee goat, Prince-Hank-Rambo-Tucker-Squiggles. He will be leaving the Farm Stand this week to join his cousins on a job in town.  a He’ll be back!  (Steve, don’t worry, he’ll be back).
 
Goatspeed,
 
Deb
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Willowsford Conservancy

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