2018 CSA Week 7


Mountain Valley Foods is closed for the 4th of July. All Wednesday pick ups on the 4th of July will be at our DOWNTOWN KALISPELL PICK UP TUESDAY JULY 3rd, 5-7pm. If that date doesn’t work for you please schedule a change on your CSA account or send us an email and we can change your pickup location for that week.

If you take no action, your pickup for Wednesday, July 4th will change to Tuesday, July 3rd.

Well, we are at the awkward part of the season where we are JUST on the cusp of starting to have “Main Season Vegetables”. The cucs, zucs, and heading kohl crops (cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli!) will all be making an appearance Very Soon. I thought for sure we would either have broccoli or cabbage ready this week...alas...I hope you are loving the bok choi, napa, and baby bok choi that are quick ‘spring’ crops that grow so well in our cool nights in May and June.

As someone not from Montana, this is the time of year where, even though I really, really love leafy greens and spring vegetables, I’m just so excited about The First Cabbage, The First Zucchini, and (man oh man Montana makes us be patient!) the First Tomato!

And while we patiently wait...it looks like we can enjoy the first handful of sugar snap peas and it looks like we will have enough for CSA next week!

On our weekly crop walk, we always look at all the crops, and they are all coming on nicely. It’s been such lovely weather that it’s easy to forget that we got a late start this spring. You should know, your farmers are kind of bummed to be doing another week of bok choi instead of broccoli, but take heart faithful CSA families! The longest day of the year has come and gone, and July will bring the summer vegetables.

CSA week 7: (Partial shares in ½ - ¾ amounts)

Hakurei “Salad” Turnips--Are you getting good at using up your turnips yet? To improve gut health, try lacto-fermentation! (See recipe below.)
Bok Choi--Try it raw this week combined with your kale in this week’s crunchy Asian-inspired salad recipe.
Baby Bok Choi or Tatsoi--Chop them up small and saute in some coconut or avocado oil. Finish these greens with a splash of balsamic vinegar or soy sauce and cook a little longer until caramelized.
Curly Kale--Try this combined with your bok choi this week for a delicious raw salad.
Red Beets--Combine them with turnips into pickles! (See recipe below.)
Baby Romaine--Adorable AND scrumptious!
Basil--Try ripping it into coarse pieces and sprinkling it on a wrap or over a salad.
Mini Onions -Do you like to season veggies and meats with onion powder? Well, use the green tops of the mini onions to make your own this week. Simply place the tops on a cookie sheet in the oven and turn it on to the lowest temperature. Leave it in overnight or until completely dry, then give the dried tops a spin in your blender and--shazam--onion powder! It’ll keep a LONG time in an airtight jar.
Baby Carrots-A little bigger than last week :) Still unlikely they’ll last the trip home...

Hope you have a great week, Jay, Mandy, and the LVF Crew

Recipe of the Week: Kale and Bok Choi Salad (Serves 4) (Adapted from aiyakitchen.com)

(Mix together in a bowl.)
1 bunch of curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1/2 head of bok choy (or more), chopped into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup mini onions, sliced thinly
1/2 cup of almonds, chopped or sliced

(Whisk together until sweetener is well-dissolved and the dressing is emulsified.)
1/3 cup mild-tasting oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour dressing over greens and toss to coat. For an easy main dish, top with shredded rotisserie chicken.

*Bonus Recipe of the Week!--Lacto-fermented Turnips and Beets
(Adapted from culturesforhealth.com)

2 cups washed, quartered, and sliced Hakurei salad turnips
Washed, quartered, and sliced beets (enough to layer with the turnips and fill a quart jar)
2 Tbsp. salt
Water as needed

INSTRUCTIONS: Prepare turnips and beets. Add them to a quart jar, alternating layers so that the red and white are evenly distributed, leaving 1-1/2 inches of headspace. Combine salt with 2 cups water. Pour over the vegetables, leaving 1-2 inches of headspace (just covering the vegetables). Weigh down as needed. Cover jar with a lid and an airlock, if using. If you are not using an airlock be sure to “burp” the jars every day to release pent-up gases. Allow to ferment at a cool room temperature for 3-12 days, depending on preference. Longer is usually better, especially for tough root vegetables. Transfer to the fridge to store.

2018 CSA Week 6

I’d like to share some quotes with you and then some context to how they have come to mind in the last week on the farm.

Unknown, or rather...vaguely remembered from a farm podcast: “Sometimes you find yourself so far behind you are ahead.”

This came to mind last Monday when we STILL hadn’t trellised our cucs and tomatoes for the year and there was a freeze warning...so we were able to cover them in our tunnels with row cover! Wouldn’t have been able to cover them if they had been trellised.

Oprah: “You can have everything you want but not all at the same time.”

Thank you Oprah. That speaks to my heart and I played it on repeat in my head when the kiddos were little. It is true of all things and takes on new meaning in the life of a farm. We love the pace of the farm AND we are often extremely overwhelmed by the pace of the farm. We have so many great plans for the farm AND we enjoy our work and work in the present.

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams: “She kept swimming out into life because she hadn't yet found a rock to stand on.”

And by the “she” I’m just assuming...Barbara means THE FARM! The farm is feeling a bit like it doesn’t have a rock to stand on this spring. We are learning so much and as we ‘keep swimming’ we are continuously thankful for our wonderful CSA community.

... and we are still learning so much. As Pa Ingalls says in the Little House books: “We start learning the minute we're born, Laura. And if we're wise, we don't stop until the Lord calls us home.”

Well, count us as wise Pa, because we are still learning! And amidst all the learning, the farm is pumping out some seriously beautiful veggies.

CSA week 6: (Partial shares in ½ - ¾ amounts)

Hakurei “Salad” Turnips--Try them on a veggie tray, in matchstick slices and served with your favorite dip.

Chioggia “candy cane” beets--These gorgeous veggies look like they have are a tiny archery target inside when you cut them, and they boast a mild and sweet flavor.

Butter Lettuce-Wash it and make a Caesar salad or wrap it around meat and cheese for a lettuce wrap.

Just a ~little bit~ of Basil!--Perhaps not enough to make pesto yet, but delicious on this week’s salad recipe, or sprinkled on top of pizza or pasta.

Kohlrabi--These knobby guys look like they just landed from outer space and are delicious peeled, thinly sliced, and served raw with a sprinkle of salt, or check out the recipe below.

Bulb Fennel--Inhale the delicate licorice scent before you do anything else, and then treat your family to a delicious fennel salad this week, or roast the bulb with the turnips and beets for a heavenly side dish. The top fronds can be dried right along with your dill, and the middle section can be sliced and used in place of celery--fennel can be eaten tip to top!

Garlic Scapes--Same as last week, thinly slice and use any way you would use garlic or scallions.

Mini Onions--Self-explanatory?! And the tops can be used like green onions. What a deal!

Dill--If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed with what to do with this beautiful fresh dill...dry it! You can use a dehydrator, or simply place the whole thing on parchment paper on a baking sheet and stick it in your oven on the lowest temperature (mine was 170 degrees, but 200 would be okay) and leave it there until it’s completely dry (5-6 hours or overnight). Then remove the big stalks and crumble the dried dill with your hands into an airtight jar.

Baby Carrots--Yay! The first carrots of the season. These probably won’t even make it back to your house before they’re devoured in all their sweet, crunchy goodness. Even the greens are tender and edible, and can be sauteed or used to make a pesto or chimichurri sauce.

Hope you have a great week,

Jay, Mandy, and the LVF Crew

Recipe of the Week: Fennel and Kohlrabi Salad with Fresh Basil Adapted from brooklynsupper.com

1 small bulb fennel well-cleaned and trimmed
1 small tender kohlrabi, peeled and trimmed
2-3 mini onions, sliced thin into half-moons (about ⅓ cup)
1 bunch minced fresh basil
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
fennel leaves

Julienne the fennel and kohlrabi. Toss with the mini onions and basil. Combine the olive oil and and lemon juice, drizzle on the dressing, and add a few pinches of salt and tons of pepper. Taste, adjust salt and acid levels. Plate and give each serving a good squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and garnish with basil and fennel leaves.

Check out episode one of our new video series of how to cook with a full CSA share.!

2018 CSA Week 5

The newsletter is starting to sound like it is stuck on repeat: “wow! what amazing weather!....we can’t believe how well everything is growing!...all our crops look better than they ever have before!...we have so much beautiful perfect produce in such abundance!”

We literally could not make up better weather for Northwest Montana in May and June than we have had the last month. Moderately warm days. And moderate rain every few days.

The ~new~ idea of having CSA and community work/trade this week was a breath of fresh air and such a wonderful gift to us. Jay, myself, our full time farmer Kari, our part time farmer Kayty, and our packshed manager Katie were able to beautifully incorporate 10 members from our community into our crew last week. We hired a young man to work part time in the packshed and also created more jobs for our two oldest children. One day in the packshed we had crew ranging in age from 8-82. What a gift it was to have extra hands on the farm last week. It bought us some time while we continue to interview new crew members. Most of the root vegetables in your boxes last week were washed by your fellow CSA members!

Despite the warm weather it will still be weeks before we get the first summer squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The summer squash is all settling in nicely; the corn, squash, tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers all doubled in size last week, and the tomatoes are flowering and just starting to set some fruit (it will still be awhile!).

It’s so funny how some things come earlier than usual and other things are just taking their sweet time. This week I expected the kohlrabi to be ready, and I was pretty bummed that it seemed to be staying exactly the same size. Also I was thinking we would have garlic scapes in about two weeks, but it looks like it will be this week!

CSA week 5: (Partial shares in ½ - ¾ amounts)

Hakurei “Salad” Turnips - Epicurious.com describes these as a “small, delicately flavored Japanese variety that will win over even the harshest turnip critic.” Try them roasted in olive oil and see if you don’t agree!

Golden Beets - Not only are these beets sweeter and mellower than their equally delicious red cousins, they don’t stain your countertops and hands. Of course, they are delicious roasted (few veggies aren’t), but they also shine when grated raw over a salad made with your baby romaine or lettuce mix.

Baby Romaine - Wash it and make a Caesar salad!

Cilantro - If you love cilantro, it’s delicious on just about anything--in a wrap, fish taco, salad, fresh salsa...

Napa Cabbage - These beautiful elongated heads of cabbage can be used any way you would normally use cabbage--soup, a quick kimchi, coleslaw, and yes, even roasted!

Baby Kale - Everyone knows kale’s reputation as a superfood, and these babies don’t disappoint! These tender baby kale leaves are super in a salad, and extra delicious when made into kale chips by coating them lightly with oil, adding salt and seasonings of choice, and baking at 275 degrees, stirring every ten minutes until crispy.

Garlic Scapes - These crazy, curly things are the flower bud of the garlic plant. They can be used any way you would normally use garlic or scallions. Simply cut off the tip and slice thinly, and then enjoy them raw or cooked. (See recipe below for this week’s inspiration.)

Green Onions - Wash, slice thinly and store in the fridge to use throughout the week for sprinkling on salads, tacos or baked potatoes, or adding to your morning scrambled eggs.

Hope you have a great week!

Jay, Mandy, and the LVF Crew

Recipe of the Week: Quinoa Salad with Beets and Garlic Scapes (Serves 6) Adapted from motherrimmy.com

4 cups cooked quinoa (could use brown rice or another favorite cooked grain) ½ cup garlic scapes, thinly sliced 2-3 golden beets, steamed/roasted and chopped ½ cup parsley, chopped, optional ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced 2-4 tablespoons olive oil (Use the larger amounts if you like more dressing.) 2-4 tablespoons of your favorite vinegar 1-2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard ½ tablespoon honey ½ cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled

Combine olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey in a bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in another bowl and mix with dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm or chill for a cold salad.

2018 CSA Week 4

We loved all the rain last week, and we are pretty sure we have never seen the fields here look so lush and green. In the last month, the production at our farm has doubled from the month of May in 2017 with the same number of hours from our crew.

~This seems like nothing short of a miracle and...it is!~ The soil, the good earth, purposeful work, feeding a community--these things are Truly Miraculous. It has also been the result of an unsustainable workload for Jay and me. We are working to fix that this week and bring in a few new crew members.

Until then...here’s a new idea for us... :

If you would like a three hour Peek Into Farm Life this week only (and we know this is late notice but...The Time Is Now) you can come work on the farm for three hours in exchange for a $25 gift certificate--any three hour stretch between 8 am and 6 pm Monday through Friday. It’s not a volunteer opportunity, but a chance to work with our crew in trade for veggies. Unfortunately, we don’t have work for children and youth under the age of 15, so you would have to make other arrangements for them. During this busy season, we employ a full-time childcare provider to watch our own kids to help ensure that they keep all their fingers and toes into adulthood.

Let us know your availability, and we will have work for you! This week we have many jobs available, including tying up tomatoes and cucumbers; basket-weave-trellising peas, tomatillos and tomatoes; weeding the first planting of carrots; doing (hopefully!) the only weeding on the garlic; washing bundles of roots and washing out harvest tubs. For those who can’t work on their feet we have the (seemingly endless job!) of putting stickers on our retail bags of baby greens. On the other end of the spectrum, if you love heavy work--some of us do!--we have some work this week that requires heavy lifting...let us know...we would love a hand hauling sandbags and pulling tarps. All work will be very well supervised and explained by Jay and me and the crew; no experience necessary.

Send us an email at info.lowervalleyfarm@gmail.com if you are interested, and we will get you on our schedule! Again, this week only, because next week we will (fingers crossed) have some new crew members.

Veggies in CSA week 4: (Partial shares in ½ - ¾ amounts)

Radishes- We weren’t going to put radishes in the shares this week...and then...this week’s planting of radishes just might be the best we’ve ever grown...how can we not put them in the shares?!

Hakurei “Salad” Turnips- these are a delightful spring turnip that are similar to a radish and just delicious thinly chopped and eaten raw. Also *greens alert* this is my favorite braising green!

Beets- You know what sounds good to me right now? A Beet Green Tart. That sounds like a lot of work...I’ll probably make a beet green frittata.

Butterhead Lettuce-I like to core these and wash the leaves and keep the leaves whole in a bowl in the fridge. Perfect for topping any sandwich or burger. Also great way to eat lamb roast and guacamole on those crunchy little lettuce boats.

Dill-We had quite a few recipes for dill in week 1 and 3. Also good of course with any fabulous rich dairy product like cream cheese or sour cream...and for those not wanting something quite so rich it’s also great mixed into plain greek yogurt; throw in some green onions too...wait...that would be good on top of that beet tart/frittata.

Bok Choi--Delicious in a stir-fry, of course, or see the Recipe of the Week for a new idea.

Arugula - Yum!

This week, with these veggies, I’ll be roasting the beets to save time later. While they roast, I’ll saute the beet greens and keep them in the fridge for a quick frittata (a.k.a imaginary tart). Also, I happen to know from personal experience that sauteed beet greens and sausage are pretty darn good on top of a frozen pizza.

I’ll also be mixing the dill and green onions into a fabulous dairy product to top things with. Slicing the radishes and hakurei turnips to have ready to top raw on salads and stir fries and sauteing the bok choi, turnip greens, and radish tops for a stir fry or two.

This also marks the first week of getting out a CSA box and making sure the full share fits in the box after taking the photo. :) It fits, but barely!

Hope you have a great week,

Jay, Mandy, and the LVF Crew

Recipe of the Week: Potato Salad with Bok Choy, Radishes and Dill (Adapted from sunbowfarm.com)

4 medium-sized potatoes (red or yellow, doesn't matter) 4 stems of bok choi, with leaves 3 - 5 hakurei radishes 1- 2 T fresh dill 2 T cider vinegar 1 clove garlic, crushed and/or finely minced 1/2 t salt, or to taste 1/2 t sugar or honey 3 T olive oil

Put washed whole potatoes, with skins, in a pot; cover with cold water, add some salt, bring to a boil, then turn down heat to medium and cover/boil 15 - 18 minutes or so, until they pierce easily with a sharp knife. While potatoes are boiling, chop bok choi leaves AND stems into small dice. Dice the radishes up small (1/8th inch-ish or less). Combine vinegar, garlic, salt, sugar or honey, olive oil, and dill; whisk together. When cooked potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice as carefully as you can and then dice the slices. Toss warm diced potatoes into a bowl with bok choi and radishes; re-whisk the dressing and pour over the warm potatoes and veggies. Stir well to mix, then refrigerate until completely cooled.