2016 CSA Week 3

Late May is a very busy place on a vegetable farm and we are definitely feeling a bit of the late May frantic-farming-feelings. Last week we turned the hoop house over from early spring crops to the main season heat-loving crops. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, and cucumbers are all in the ground and growing. The first field plantings of lettuce and arugula are harvested. These beds will be flail mowed and planted to summer crops this week. Our first planting of kohl crops, including broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, and cauliflower have been in the ground about a month, got weeded last week, and they are coming on beautifully under floating row cover to keep cabbage moths out. We will be mowing down the over-wintered spinach this week to get another planting of kohl crops in. The potatoes are up and looking great and those got cultivated (weeded) last week. The summer squash, winter squash, and corn are going in this week. And we are continuing with our usual bi-weekly plantings of roots and greens. Phew...it's a lot of harvesting and a lot of planting the last week of May!

We plant lettuce mix every two weeks April through mid September. Our second planting of lettuce mix in the field isn't coming on strong enough to include in the shares this week. Also, the radishes planted a month ago that *should* be ready this week are still teeny tiny. I like to change up the salad greens every week but instead of the lettuce mix I had hoped for, luckily we have another Truly Perfect planting of arugula coming in this week. But! There will be lettuce mix coming in the shares about every other week coming soon!

Full Share
Bok Choi Large
Spinach Bag Large
Rainbow Chard Bundle Large
2 Baby Butterhead Lettuce
Purple Spring Onions

 Partial Share 
Bok Choi Medium 
Rainbow Chard Small bundle
Cilantro Small bundle 
Baby Butterhead Lettuce 
Arugula Small Bag
Purple Spring Onions Small bundle 

Bok Choy With Peanut Sauce and Cilantro
Make a tasty stir fry this week with your Bok Choi! Remember: you eat the whole thing! We love the crunch the white bulbous part brings to a stir fry. And it would be so good with the cilantro either in a coconut milk curry or in a peanut sauce.
Spring Onions/Green Onions
These little baby onions are good to eat from root to tip so use the whole thing! We love grilling them, thinly slicing them and sauteing with braising greens, or topping a salad or slaw with raw onions.
I love arugula salad with a nice creamy homemade dressing. Other wonderful ideas for arugula are chop and top on a pizza. Use in place of basil in a pesto recipe (!this is so good!). Very lightly saute and scramble with your breakfast eggs. Chop up and add to an omelet, frittata, or quiche.
Our apologies that the chard is a bit chewed on by bugs this spring and it also got dinged by hail last week.  Since chard is eaten cooked that cosmetic damage to the leaves will leave it no less tasty. The rainbow colored ribs are edible. I usually very finely dice them and saute them with onions, they need a few more minutes cooking time than their greens do. I love chard cooked with garlic and with any egg dish. It can also be substituted for cooked spinach in any recipe. Try a spinach dip, lasagna, or Spanakopita (green spinach pie) with chard instead of spinach!

I always wish there was more time to include recipes because we get so much positive feedback on the recipes. I know it helps use veggies you may have never tried before, or gives you new ideas for veggies you use often.

A couple weeks ago I took a picture of a meal we ate for lunch or dinner.  It had three different types of left over greens, all piled up with grass fed ground beef and grilled radishes.  Not much of a recipe, but, that's kind of how we eat in the summer.  We get so busy and also are SO hungry.  But I know 'chop it up and eat it' isn't quite enough direction for a recipe...luckily....I remembered an AMAZING online resource for seasonal fresh cooking!

A good friend of mine just so happens to be working for a CSA farm on the East Coast where her primary job for the farm is testing out and writing recipes for their website. AMAZINGLY it is all free and online! 
Check out: http://www.earlymorningfarm.com/vegetable-guide/where my good friend Tracy is pouring her love of cooking fresh food into every page on their website. Have fun looking around this extensive collection of really useful recipes. 

Especially awesome for using in your CSA share this week are:
Arugula Pesto 
Swiss Chard and Spring Onion Pizza
A Dozen Great Ideas for Cilantro
Bok Choi Stir Fry 
Bok Choi Wedge
Arugula White Pizza

Coming Week 4:

Those tiny radishes should be ready next week. And it looks like the second planting of Napa Cabbages are heading up nicely. Remember! This is spring in Montana! We are planting, cultivating, and watering all our summer and fall crops but we still have weeks to come with a beautiful bountiful CSA box full of (mostly) braising greens, Asian greens, and salad greens. 

We are so grateful to have you in our CSA this year and we hope you enjoy this weeks veggies!

2016 CSA Week 2

Week 2, May 2016 ~by Mandy

We hopeCSA pickup went smooth for you last week, and that you enjoyed your fresh spring greens. Last year we had 25 members and this year we doubled to 50 members. Fifty members is still a Very Small CSA and I feel confident our production will transition to the larger membership this year. The place where we have a steeper learning curve is just keeping up with paperwork and packing sheets. Thank you for your patience as we are still adding members to our Google contacts and email mailing list. Last week we had the right number of shares at each of the pick ups (phew!) and we are working to make sure that happens again this week...and every week going forward!

We are really excited to have a wide variety of produce for CSA this year in early spring. You will see something missing from your share though...the green onions! They are a little further behind than I would like; I think we will be able to start including an allium (onion family) either next week or two weeks from now. It's my goal to include an allium, root crop, salad green, and braising green every week and then round out the rest of the value of your share with seasonal veggies. Speaking of seasonal veggies...

Early Spring is always a time for lots of fresh greens and braising greens here in the Northwest and we try to change things up from week to week so it's not just a month of kale and bok choi. Before you know it, there will be a much wider variety of summer and then fall veggies filling your share each week. If this is your first time participating in a CSA, don't worry, you didn't sign up for 21 weeks straight of just salad and braising greens (although these salad greens and braising greens are pretty awesome, right? ).

We are really happy about all the rain we got this weekend and in the forecast for the coming week. We realized it's been over a year since we saw a puddle...


Partial Share

Napa Cabbage  ~  Medium head
Spinach  ~  Bag
Curly Kale  ~  Small bundle
Parsley   ~  Small bundle
Salad Turnips   ~  Small bundle
(don't forget you can eat those turnip tops!)
Arugula   ~  Small bag

Full Share
Napa Cabbage   ~  Large head
Spinach  ~  Large bag
Curly Kale  ~  Bundle
Tatsoi   ~  Small Bundle
Parsley   ~  Bundle
Salad Turnips  ~  Large bundle
(don't forget you can eat those turnip tops!)
Arugula  ~  Bag

Napa Cabbage If you have had Napa Cabbage/Chinese Cabbage you are in for a treat. It is great chopped up and used in a coleslaw or sauteed or stir fried. In a hurry? A fun way to cook Napa is to quarter it length wise and put those quarter sections on the grill. Just brush the cabbage with avacado oil and grill until charred, about 3-5 minutes on each side. Serve drizzled with your favorite sesame dressing or a Thai peanut sauce (YUM!) Full Shares are getting a small bundle of Tat Tsoi. This is a tender Asian green very similar to bok choi and can be sauteed/stir fried.

Salad Turnips Please braise and eat these turnip greens. I have simply never seen such beautifully perfect turnip greens in all my life. They are one of my favorite greens. And these turnips are pretty much vegetable candy and are amazing sliced up raw. They are also really good chopped in half and baked in the oven. Kale Our kids LOVE kale chips and if you like them too you may be interested in purchasing a large 16x22 'jelly roll' (small lip around the edge) type baking sheet for making kale chips. I have two of them and it makes making kale chips less annoying because you can make more than a handful at a time. I cook them at 250 with coconut oil and salt until they are crispy and delicious. I also love curly kale for soup; it really holds it's shape beautifully and adds a nice texture to either a brothy or a creamy soup.

Coming Week 3: Next week we will have lettuce mix and bok choi, either salad turnips or radishes (we'll wait and see how they are looking a week from now). There is a planting of cilantro that looks like it should be just right for next week and….other spring veggies… :) hope you all have a great week!

2016 CSA Week 1

Welcome CSA Members Week 1 May 2016 ~by Mandy

We look forward to meeting all our new customers and seeing our returning customers this week! We will be talking more about our farming practices and happenings in the weeks and months to come. This week let's focus on:

Post Harvest Handling (a.k.a ~KEEPING! AWESOME! VEGGIES! AWESOME!~)

A common question we get at market is “how long will this lettuce last?”
What a great question! We take care to keep the veggies in the shade while harvesting, refrigerating in our walk in fridge immediately, washing them, and hydro-cooling (soaking cooled greens in cold clean well-water). So, your greens, should last a week to 10 days if you take good care of them from the time you pick them up, to when you eat them. We love it when we get positive feedback about how clean our produce is, and how long it stays fresh!

I have a couple of suggestions for how you can continue post harvest handling to keep your veggies fresh after picking them up:
~If you aren't going home immediately, it's a good idea to put your veggies into a cooler or cooler bag.

~Put all the veggies in separate plastic bags, and store in the fridge. The plastic helps retain the moisture in your beautiful fresh veggies. Left out in the fridge and they'll quickly turn into Sad Wilted Vegetables.

Trying to minimize your plastic consumption?
~Put all the veggies in separate reusable mesh vegetable bags. There may be times you forget to put your veggies in the fridge right away, or when you forget to put them into plastic before storing them in the fridge. If you do have Sad Wilted Vegetables they can be soaked in cold clean water to revive their crispness.

~Cut the tops off your root veggies if you aren't eating them in the first few days. This keeps both the tops and the roots fresher. (see below for Radish Top Recipe!)

In short -- keep them cold and keep them contained—this will keep them awesome.


Partial Share
Butterhead lettuce   ~  Medium head
Spinach Bag   ~  Small bag
Spring herbs   ~  Small bundle
~tarragon, chives, sorrel
Bok Choi   ~  Medium
French breakfast radish   ~  Small bundle
Baby turnip greens   ~  Small bundle

Full Share
Butterhead lettuce   ~  Large head
Spinach Bag   ~  Large bag
Spring herbs   ~  Bundle
~tarragon, chives, sorrel
Bok Choi   ~  Large
French breakfast radish   ~  Large bundle
Baby turnip greens   ~  Large bundle

Time for some recipes!

Salad and Salad Dressing
Well, that Butterhead Lettuce is just begging to be made into a beautiful salad topped with radishes, isn't it? You can take your Spring Herb Bundle and chop it all up and top your salad with those glorious herbs. (yes! Even the tarragon stems and ESPECIALLY those beautiful purple chive flowers) Or you can take your herb bundle and make a simple dressing in the blender/food processor and toss in the whole herb bundle. You'll get the licorice sweet tarragon, lemony zest of sorrel, and the mild onion flavor from the chives in one beautiful dressing. There are so many recipes for salad dressing. But basically: a few cloves of garlic + 3 part oils + 1 part vinegar + salt + a bit of water = great salad dressing.

Braised Greens (turnip or radish or get crazy !turnip and radish!) Did you know you can eat your radish tops! I love them prepared the same way I prepare those DE~LIC~IOUS baby turnip greens. Saute some onions or garlic in a generous amount of fat, when onions/garlic are translucent add finely chopped greens. Saute for a few minutes, add a dash of lemon or balsamic vinegar, cover and cook ever so slightly more. These tender greens don't take much cooking. I love bitter greens with eggs; omlet, frittata, quiche with some sharp raw milk cheddar and greens, chopped fresh herbs, DELICIOUS!

Stir Fried Bok Choy The WHOLE Bok Choy, both the stemmy white part and the top green part are delicious. I love the crunchy texture the Bok Choy adds to stir fries and the greens are so good. Make into a stir fry or just saute it and enjoy!

Coming Week 2:
Next week we will have the same veggies hopefully with salad turnips instead of radishes and definitely (GIANT!) Napa Cabbage instead of Bok Choi, and maybe parsley as the weekly herb.

We have a special order sheet for those who want MORE veggies! Email or text your order to us by Monday at 6 p.m. and we will have your order ready for you at the time of pickup.