From the Farmer

Week 4 – 6/9/2015
You are now in Week 4.  Congratulations and welcome to this fourth week.  Special for you: broccoli, lettuce, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, herb of the day, arugula, cooking greens, and the first tastes of summer as the summer squash and cucumbers begin to bear.  They’re coming.
 
Two new items this week: arugula and squash or cukes.  Arugula is a nutty, almost spicy green.  It is much more nutritious than lettuce.  You might try adding to a salad to spice things up, or eat it raw as its own salad.  Add some different flavors to it – sweet, savory and bitter at least, in the form of fruit or honey; goat cheese and nuts.  Easy salad: simple goat cheese, strawberries, and walnuts, with a balsamic vinegar dressing.  Add some spice with some hot pepper, dried cayenne, or sambal olek.  
 
If you haven’t read the All About Flavor, now is a great time to do so.  The gist is: mix and match many different kinds of flavors for more interesting tastes.  The flavors include sweet, spicy, savory, bitter, salty, oumami.  Read it HERE and check out last year's VIDEO
 
Some of you may still have kohlrabi and garlic scapes left from last week or the week before.  Shame, shame, we know your name.  But we understand, too.  Can I make a recommendation?  Here’s what I think you can do: take one kohlrabi (this is the purple spaceship looking thing) and cut it up raw.  Discard the leaves because by now they don’t look good.  Cut smaller, thin pieces, even shave it. 
 
Put the small kohlrabi shavings right on a salad you can make with the lettuce.  For dressing try something with a few flavors, including sweet and bitter, like mayonnaise, maple syrup, garlic, and sea salt.  Mix these up well, then add a little water for a thinner consistency.  If you add too much water, add a little more of the mayo and the maple.  I know it sounds weird to use mayo on a salad dressing, but it’s good.  If you’re really turned off, try olive oil, balsamic, garlic and good syrup and salt.  Eat salad with hamburgers.
 
That leaves a second kohlrabi (remember, I’m talking to those of you who haven’t used the first one yet).  This one cut up into fork-able pieces and add to whatever you’re cooking, like greens.  Add them first as they’ll take a little longer to cook.  What you’re adding now is texture (crunchy) and the flavor of cauliflower-family.  Heck, cook the kohlrabi up with the broccoli and see what people think.  Then make some mashed potatoes and eat with steak or fish tonight.  Use the greens as you would other greens.  They are tender and tasty and some of us like them more than the normal ones!
 
Alright, what’s left?  Garlic scapes.  These things are great and they have a short season.  They taste like garlic but earthy and you can use them more like asparagus.  Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, spread out on a pan and put them in the oven or toaster, 350°F until they start to shrivel just a little.  Put them on the side of whatever you’ve got for a main course, or even on top of a salad.
 
Let us know how your meal was!
 
What to do if you are going out of town.  
 
We have a new feature online that allows you to place a hold on your share or to switch pickup days. If you will be away and do not have someone to pick up for you, placing a hold on your share tells us not to pack a share for you.  We will keep your veggies in the cooler and donate them to Loudoun Interfaith Food Bank.  They are always very appreciative of fresh veggies and it makes us feel good to give veggies to those who might not otherwise eat them.
 
If you would like to change your pick up day during a CSA week, you can do this, too.  We know things come up and glad to make a box for you on Wednesday, say, if you can’t make your Saturday pick up.  We do ask that this not be a regular thing, as we spread our shares evenly through the week to match how our crops mature.  This allows us to give you produce as fresh as possible.
 
Please make these changes no later than Tuesday at 9 am the week of the change.
 
To make changes go to your member dashboard, then:
 
  1. Select one of your subscriptions (you’ll need to do this for each one: veggie, eggs, milk, etc.)
  2. Click on the calendar day you want to change
  3. At the bottom of the page, click Hold or Reschedule Single Delivery
  4. You’ll need to do this for each subscription.
We’ve been keeping track and doing this manually the last few years but we’ve added enough members now that we’re trying to let the software do some of the work for us so we can do the part we like best (for me, tractor stuff, for Deb, goat stuff).  Let us know if you have any trouble.
 
Cheese
 
In this week’s moment of deep thinking: many things come and go in life, including cheese.  Two of the farms that we’ve worked with in the past – Oak Spring Dairy and Everona Dairy – are closing this spring and we’ll be trying new cheeses over the next months.  We look for farms and farmers that we know and like, who raise and make their products well, and that make really good tasting cheese.  Will you help us choose what to carry?  We want to know what you like, what prices are acceptable (no, we’re not going to compete with Harris Teeter) and what kinds to find.
 
We have two new ones to try right now.  First is George’s Mill Farm Artisan Cheese.  Molly and Sam just made a ninth generation baby-farmer on their land in the north part of the county.  They raise goats and make a very nice goat cheese.  One of the best, in fact.  We are a drop-site for their weekly cheese share (yum) and carry several of their goat cheeses in the cooler.  They make a chevre, some softer ash cheeses, and feta.  Their feta is great, and it’s nice to find this locally- and well-made.  Molly and Sam also make soaps (including the ones with our luffas inside) and teach cheese making classes.  
 
We are still carrying Cherry Glen goat cheese, which we also like.  In addition to a nice, Cherry Glen makes some soft cheeses.  These two farms make different kinds of goat cheese with only some overlap, so there are many styles to choose from. The fact is these farms make some of the best goat cheese around and we’re glad and luck to carry both.  Try them and tell us what you think.
 
We are also carrying a very special cheese from Vermont.  Thistle Hill Farm makes a Tarentaise, a Swiss-Alpine style.  Tarentaise is not dissimilar to a Gruyere, but it is very unique in this country.  There are a lot of good reasons to eat this cheese, but you can find the Putnams online and read about it there.  Just eat it.  It has a smooth, complex, almost nutty flavor.  This might be my very favorite cheese and from this very farm, which I first visited more than ten years ago.   I’ve wanted a farm stand from which to sell it ever since.  
 
This cheese is not cheap – it comes a long way and it is world class.  Don’t expect to put it on a daily plate of poutine or to put it on your kids’ sammy.  On the other hand, find yourself the right bread (real bread, sourdough or soaked, with a crust on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside), some vital greens and a ripe tomato (coming soon) and make yourself a real grilled cheese.  Appreciate this cheese and share it with others who will.  This cheese is worth it, and like all things at the farm stand if you don’t think so we’ll make you whole again.  
 
That’s it. The ground is dry again and it’s time to get back out there.  Be great,
 
Mike

 

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Willowsford Conservancy

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