From the Farmer

Week 25 – 11/2/2016

Ginger, and the Nature of CSA
You may remember the last couple years, lots of ginger. We try to hum along with our production but whether you notice or not, every year has wins and not-so-wins.  This is a great sweet potato year.  Ginger?  Not so much.

Remember that member agreement you acknowledged when you signed up?  

“By joining our CSA program, you agree to share in the rewards and the risks inherent to farming – this is the nature of the endeavor, and is part of the close relationship you have with your food through the farm. There are always risks in farming and there is no guarantee on the exact amount of produce you will receive for your share. Some crops may never be planted or may die due to forces or conditions beyond our control.”

This year, the quality is there but the quantity is not.  You’ll probably notice this at Willowsford Kitchen events.  We love working with Chef Bonnie because she takes what we’ve got and makes something of it – when we have a lot of squash, we turn orange from eating it all the time.  A couple winters ago, everything was ginger.  This year it’ll be a special treat.

CSA gets first dibs, and we’re taking what we’ve got and dividing it so you all get some.  I think we’ll have a little left over for sale at the Farm Stand, but it won’t be there long.

Some information about ginger: Fresh, young ginger is an unusual crop in the temperate Eastern states.  We love that we can still grow a tropical crop like this, we’re trying ginger, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass.  They’re a blast.  We grow ginger for a single season what usually takes eighteen months to two years.  Because of that, it does not develop the tough, leathery skin that allows it to store well; instead it comes with a pink, tender skin that requires freezing or refrigeration (or pickling). We like “baby ginger” because it’s so fresh and because it’s less work; no skin to peel, just grab and grate.

Make ginger a regular part of your diet.  Research indicates ginger is effective in relieving pain, inflammation, and stiffness.  It contains zinc, which is required for mental development, for healthy reproductive organs, for protein synthesis and collagen formation and manganese, which activates many dozens of enzymes throughout the body.  I like it in tea and in South Asian dishes, but you can also make ale, beer, bread, carrots (Alice Waters has a nice Moroccan Carrot Salad with Ginger), muffins, ice cream and snaps with ginger – and it pickles very well.  

Ginger is especially good for digestion – mince it and add it to hot water to make ginger tea, place one tablespoon freshly grated ginger in a teapot, bring four cups filtered water to a boil and pour over the ginger, let this stand several minutes and stir in one tablespoon raw honey.  You can strain it or not.

Store ginger in the fridge or freezer.  It will start to get rubbery without moisture, and when you take it out of the freezer it will especially be so.  

Braising Mix and Salad Mix
This week’s salad mix is lettuce and arugula, it’ll have a little extra flavor.  Add some sweet and some cheese to your salad.  Or use it on a sandwich.  Anya likes the more flavorful greens to eat; no big fan of it by itself, she thinks lettuce only belongs on “a BLT – because… bacon.”  Yeah.

Your cooking greens this week are a mix of mustards.  Not only are they some of the prettiest leaves we grow, they’re sharp and nutritious.  Add them late to a stir-fry, cook them into eggs, or braise them with other vegetables.  Braising brings out a lot of flavor, too.  Braise them along or with other veggies.  Step one is to brown your ingredients in some kind of fat (olive oil, butter, bacon fat left in the pan from breakfast…).  Then cook them at a low simmer in a liquid – water, stock, wine all work well.  You can add some sugar to help them brown, and as the liquid reduces it will glaze your veggies.  Sometimes I add a little balsamic vinegar for a little more sweet and tart.

Thanksgiving Foods and Wine
Thanksgiving items are available for pre-ordering.  Pickup is Tuesday, 11/22 from 3 pm-7pm (no exceptions, sorry!).  Pies, breads, traditional sides like Brussels Sprouts, turkeys, and extra entertaining entrees like pot pies and lasagna.  We’re operating out of the Willowsford kitchens and have limited quantities available, so order soon.  Orders can be placed online or in person at the Farm Stand.  Orders are due by 11:59 on Tuesday 11/15, but again, quantities are limited this year, don’t wait.  We have only a few available turkeys left.

Please read and understand our Thanksgiving Details & Deadlines.  Many items are available to try at the Farm Stand over the next few weeks, and Chefs Bonnie and Sue will be sampling this Saturday 11/5 from 9am – Noon, and next Tuesday 11/8 from 3pm – 6 pm.

Wine will also be available to pick up at the Thanksgiving market that Tuesday.  Since we’re not licensed to sell alcohol, we need to pre-order what you’d like using this wine link.  There’s Farmhouse Red and Country White, and you can buy by the bottle or the case.  The next time wine will be available this year will be the Holiday market in December.

Meet the Freezer
Hey, if you haven’t met the freezer, take some time to get to know her.  I think you all just think of her as a container for ice cream, but she’s so much more.  We’ve got ice cream and meat (our chicken, New Asbury lamb you must eat the lamb sausage, and Heritage Hollow beef and pork), yes.  We also sell soup and heat-and-serve items like Chicken Pot Pie.  You read me right.  We’ve got Pot Pie.  We’re just ramping up production so if you want and don’t see, let us know.  Bake one hour and viola.  I mean voila.

Be great,

Mike, Deb, Al, Lex, Anya, Jennifer, James, Christy, Tyler, Kay, Sonya, Julia, Kelly, Bella and Radish, goats x 11, the Willowsford Mudhens, meat chickens in the freezer, Roscoe RIP and Popcorn, where is he?  Game 7!

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