In your box:
–Head lettuce, “Red Romaine”
Welcome to our 2017 season!
We are thrilled to be kicking off the growing season this week, as we embark on our ninth season of providing naturally grown produce to our local community. After months of planning, preparing, seeding, weeding, watering, weeding, worrying, and weeding again, it feels great to finally bring in a harvest from our fields!
Throughout this season you will encounter some familiar crops, some you might have hoped to forget, and probably even a few new ones. We hope you will keep an open mind, be experimental, and enjoy the bounty available here in Minnesota!
Nearly all of the produce in your boxes has already been washed, though some delicate crops (Berries and tomatoes) and some impractical ones (beans and many herbs) have not been washed by us. It’s a good idea to wash everything again before feeding your family—it helps keep the veggies fresh and ensures the cleanest and safest possible produce.
We try to use as little packaging as possible, while at the same time not providing you a box of chaos. The plastic bags we use are all compostable and recyclable. They might take a couple years to break down in a backyard compost pile, but in an urban pile or even in our good-sized farm pile they do break down nicely.
Your box this week is much more full than I would have expected a few weeks ago. After May turned in a cold, cloudy, and wet effort it seemed like nothing was really interested in growing. But we’ve had some great sun and warmth already this June, along with humidity that have really spurred all the crops (and weeds!) on toward production. We really lucked out with our weather here lately as we missed the hail that devastated many farms out west and the flooding that went through south of here. The rains have soaked in nicely and the fields are in great shape.
This week we have some familiar crops as well as some that might be new to you. You will have two plastic bags in your box—one full of spinach and the other with arugula. Arugula is a spicy green of the cabbage family, closely related to radishes and mustard. Arugula has really caught on with a bigger public lately, but it is still divisive due to its peppery taste. If it’s a little strong for you, try mixing it into a lettuce salad, covering with a creamy dressing, or lightly wilting it over heat. You can also process it into pesto—just substitue the arugula for basil and the spice is mostly absorbed.
Bok choy is another crop you might not be familiar with. Bok choy is the large cabbage-like veggie with white stems and green leaves. This is one of our favorite stir-fry greens, as it keeps its crunch even after heating in a wok. We are doing a comparison with two different cultivars of bok choy, with the other one coming to your boxes in a week or two. The main difference so far is that many of this planting are starting to go to seed, while the smoother-leafed variety we’ll have next doesn’t seem to mind the heat. Bok choy should be kept in the hydrator drawer of your fridge or in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.
We’re also offering Kale, the most reliable and easiest crop we grow. We have again planted the “Red Russian” variety, which shows the least insect pressure and seems to be immune to anything besides temperatures under 10 degrees. Kale can go into just about anything (lasagna, pizza topping, quiche, pasta) and adds a huge kick of nutrition without dominating the taste of the meal. To prepare, simply cut the spine and discard. Slice the leaf into ribbons and steam for 4-5 minutes (don’t let it get too soggy) and bake it into any dish. You can also try it plain or with a little soy sauce. If you still can’t enjoy it, try coating it with oil and baking until it becomes crispy and you’ve made your own homemade kale chips.
We would love to see you out at the farm this summer! Visitors are always welcome, whether you’d like to help pull weeds, pick beans, or just tour the farm. Give us a call or e-mail to set up a visit. We will be having a garlic-harvesting day in late July and a year-end potluck in September, as well.
Coming soon: Salad mix, green onions, garlic scapes, strawberries, and komatsuna (what is komatsuna, you ask? Don’t worry—it’s great!).