Welcome to Spring CSA shares heading home

This is the 10th Winter CSA and the First of three pickups for preseason shares. (Farmers Market Pick up this Saturday)
Start thinking about our CSA appreciation dinner held on the last Tuesday pickup – May 2. Details to come.

Farm News: Welcome to Spring

April 4, 2017

This is the time of year when we are planting like crazy, trying to get as much in the ground as we can, hoping to harvest early veggies, from tomatoes to arugula. At the same time we are hedging our bets, providing a protective environment for the seedlings going into the field. Our memories are not as long as some, but they are long enough to know that warm weather in February and March doesn’t mean that we are done with wintery weather entirely, or that we won’t have torrential rains and hail. Part of our job as your farmers is to give our crops every advantage they can have, within an organic framework, thereby ensuring the best possible variety and supply of vegetables. One of the ways we do this is by building covered growing space. On Millsap Farm, this takes three forms; structural greenhouses, high tunnels, and caterpillar tunnels. Last week we were pulling plastic back onto one of our caterpillar tunnels: this is a 150’ long, 22’ wide set of pipe hoops, covered with re-used plastic (plastic we took off of other greenhouses because it was no longer serviceable on those structures). This structure has several benefits for the farm; first is that it provides dry soil regardless of outside conditions, so we don’t have to wait for the soil to dry out from one rain after another. Secondly, it will protect tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant from hail, wind, and rain, all of which cause damage to the plants and fruit, so we will have higher yields of higher quality fruit. For example, in 2015, when it rained more in the three months of summer than we usually get in 7 months of the year, the tomatoes and peppers under cover were the only ones that produced tomatoes for more than a couple of weeks; the other 1,000 plants in the field wilted under the disease pressure caused by the constant leaf wetness. Finally, it gives us a space to work when the weather outside is not favorable for working. So as these spring rain storms continue, we have a dry space to plant our early tomatoes into, rather than wading around in the puddles and mud in the field. It’s always an adventure out here, and I’m sure these caterpillar tunnels will supply a few new wild stories, but so far so good, and we are excited about the possibilities. 

Thanks for choosing us to be your farmers,

Curtis, Sarah, Kimby, Cammie, Erick, Elsa, Ella, Colby, Emma, David, Catilyn and all the other crew at Millsap Farm.  

What’s in your share?

Full Share:

Cooking Spinach

Green Onions or Leeks

Zucchini

Sweet Potatoes (conventionally grown by Mathews Family Farm, AR)

Garlic

Salad Greens mix (Naturally grown – Urban Roots Farm & Millsap Farm greens)

Kale

Sage or Rosemary

Butternut Squash (conventionally grown by the Amish at Rich Hill, MO)

Carrots

Radicchio

Bread Share:

French Bread by Emma and Anna Millsap

Note: sage flowers can be used just like the leaves

Half Share:

Cooking Spinach

Green Onions or Leeks

Zucchini

Sweet Potatoes (conventionally grown by Mathews Family Farm, AR)

Garlic

Salad Greens mix (Naturally grown – Urban Roots Farm & Millsap Farm greens)

Kale

Sage or Rosemary

Beets

Sampler Share:

Cooking Spinach

Green Onions or Leeks

Zucchini

Sweet Potatoes (conventionally grown by Mathews Family Farm, AR)

Garlic

Salad Greens mix (Naturally grown – Urban Roots Farm & Millsap Farm greens)

Beets

What do I do with….

Radicchio

Radicchio is a bitter Italian green. Related to lettuce, this green can be eaten raw or cooked.

Try grilling, roasting or sautéing

Chop a little up in a salad – or dedicate an entire salad to Radicchio (just make sure you include lots of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese to help balance the bitter aspects)

So Much Spinach:

Why so much spinach this week? We are clearing out our caterpillar tunnel that has been growing spinach for us non-stop this winter. We need the space for spring greens – and the spinach, after working hard since September, is finally starting to bolt or flower – which means it’s not going to be around much longer. (don’t worry – we have spring spinach planted to get us though May!) This also means its great for cooking spinach, but not quite as sweet as we like our spinach to be for things like salads.

Freeze it! The most common way is to bring a big pot of water to a boil, submerge spinach and blanch for 2 minutes, immediately transferring to ice water to stop the cooking. Drain out all the water and place in a freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air to prevent freezer burn, label and freeze. I have also seen ways to freeze spinach without blanching and as a puree.  

Make Greek Spinach Pie (Spanakopita)

Spinach Lasagna

Palak Paneer or Saag Paneer (see recipe in this newsletter)

Spinach Pesto

Sautéed Spinach with garlic and soy sauce

Green Onion Pesto (Pete’s Greens of Vermont)

Try making some scallion pesto and using it with different dishes this week. It could be used as a pasta sauce (blend in some tasty hard crumbled cheese), but would also be nice on fish, or mixed with mayo for a sandwich spread. Using less oil will result in a thicker pesto, one that can be formed as a garnish. Using more oil will result in a more sauce like pesto. I had some this week mixed with blue cheese on pasta. It was pretty darn good.

One big bunch of scallions – trimmed to remove the white bottoms (you only want the less assertive greens here)

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

juice of 1-2 limes

1 clove of garlic

1/4 – 1 cup of sunflower oil (or any mild tasting oil)

Salt to taste

Chop the green onions roughly and toss into the blender along with the nuts, the garlic and the lime juice. Turn on the motor and drizzle in the oil until the desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt

Variations :

try it with olive oil and lemon

try it with different nuts

mix it with sour cream for veggie dip

toss it on hot pasta

keep it thick and spread on toasted crusty bread sandwiches

toss it with simply steamed new potatoes

use it for a 10 minute dinner as a coating for simply broiled white fish fillets

Palak Paneer (Spinach Curry)

6 tablespoons olive oil

2-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, divided

2 dried red chili peppers

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric (or grated fresh)

¾ cup sour cream (or yogurt or whipping cream)

2-3 pounds spinach, torn 

1 large tomato, quartered (I used canned)

4 sprigs fresh cilantro 

8 ounces ricotta cheese or paneer

sea salt to taste

1. In a large saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and saute garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of ginger, red chilies (optional ingredient) and onion until brown. Mix in the cumin, coriander, turmeric and sour cream (add more or less to achieve desired creaminess). Add the spinach, handfuls at a time until it is cooked down, about 15 minutes total. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. (If I’making this for a crowd, I blanch the spinach separately then drain and add to the yogurt mix)

2. Pour spinach mixture into a blender or food processor and add the tomato, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of ginger, and cilantro (add more or less according to taste). Blend for 15 to 30 seconds, or until the spinach is finely chopped. Pour back into the saucepan and keep warm over low heat. You can also use an immersion blender.

3. In a medium frying pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, and fry cheese until browned; drain and add to spinach. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Season with salt to taste.

(you can also use chicken instead of cheese or include some hard boiled eggs)

Radicchio Salad with Green Olives & Parmesan

 ” It was the most glamorous grown-up salad I’ve ever eaten, and my husband and I tussled over the final bites.” – the kitchn

Serves 4 

1 small head red radicchio

1 cup Castelvetrano olives, brine reserved

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar 

1 tablespoon honey, optional 

About 2 ounces Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese

Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper

Core the radicchio and discard any browned outer leaves. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a large bowl.

Pit the olives and cut each one in half lengthwise. Smash each lightly with the flat of a knife, to flatten. Toss the olives with the radicchio, massaging the leaves lightly with your hands.

Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive brine. Taste for sweetness, and add a drizzle or more of honey if desired. Toss the dressing with the radicchio.

Use a vegetable peeler to create large, thick flakes of cheese and toss with the salad, along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve within an hour, garnished with additional cheese if desired.

Thanks for choosing us to be your farmers!
~Millsap Farm Crew

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This entry was posted in About Produce, csa, Farm News, Recipes, This week's Harvest, Tips and Tricks and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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