Share Notes April 6, 2023
CSA Share Notes:
It’s hard to remember when we are getting these sunny spring days creeping into the upper 80s that just 3 weeks ago during our last winter CSA harvest we were doing frost preparation for the three nights of 25 degree temperatures that landed on our farm! This winter has been a yoyo of ups and downs and we’re hoping for a bit more consistency during the Spring season.
This is likely going to be your final winter CSA harvest. We’ll update you in a few more days once we know for sure.
We hope you’ve been enjoying our winter CSA, which we originally launched for folks who couldn’t get enough of the CSA in our other 3 annual seasons. The winter season wasn’t intended as a way for CSA newbies to get their initial introduction to our farm experience. Now after 4 years of testing out the winter CSA, we’ve consistently seen that it’s exceedingly challenging to meet *new* customer’s expectations, with the unpredictable nature of the harvest schedule, the risk of catastrophic crop loss from crazy weather events, etc. So heads up: we’re likely going to reign it back in next winter and have Winter CSA return to it’s invitation-only/repeat-member-only origins.
Quick reminder: Your CSA membership will end at the conclusion of the season unless you’ve Opted-In to the coming season. So this could be your last box! We still have room for about 20 members to join us in Spring CSA and plenty of room in the Summer CSA. So if you want the boxes to keep coming (and now with weekly regularity and huge crop diversity, as growing conditions are much better this time of year) just hop on into the next season. If you aren’t sure if you’ve registered, you can log into your member account to check and see what seasons you’re registered for. Or you can email me and I’ll let you know. 🙂
Spring crops are nearly all in-ground, with just a small, final round of transplants to get in the ground that will be for our early June CSA harvests- Chinese cabbages, kohlrabi, a last planting of huge lovely head lettuces. Check out the blog post published yesterday featuring some of the spring crop varieties we’re most excited about.
Our heat-loving crops are coming along so well, too! Though none of those will arrive in kitchens till July. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tomatillo are all up in the greenhouse, and thriving. We took advantage of some sunny warm weather and to get our very last, most heat-loving crop germinated: Basil! We give out huge basil bunches in summer CSA boxes and we love how our kitchen smells all summer because of it.
Now on to this week’s vegetable line up:
- Baby Lettuce — Bagged baby leaf lettuce mix, that includes 6 types of ultra tender lettuce. handle delicately and spin dry well to prolong shelf-life.
- Dandelion greens — A mega-nutritious crop, filled with vitamins and minerals, but also loaded with the bitter phenols, flavonoids and terpenoids that give it “medicinal herb” status. It’s so incredibly good for liver, kidney, digestion, and more. The more tender, smaller leaves are great mixed into a salad with other greens, and the larger leaves are best sauteed or braised or included in soups and stews. I cook mine up with a little bacon, onion, and garlic and then top it with a generous dash of hot sauce, southern style.
- Spinach — Perhaps the prettiest, most even and uniform spinach planting we’ve had, which made harvest so quick and easy! And it’s super young and tender, so it tastes delicious too.
- Beets — beautiful bunches, finally! We’ve been waiting on these guys forever. This winter crop did not do as well as it has in years past. We experimented with intercropping and learned a few things we’ll try differently next winter. Our next round of beets is leafy and gorgeous out in the field and will likely be ready our 2nd-6th weeks of the Spring CSA season, all in 3 different beautiful varieties, including chioggia and golden beets. Think you don’t like beets? Have you ever roasted them? It’s our favorite way to enjoy them. Wrap any nice sized beets in foil and bake at 425 for 45 – 90 min, or until soft, then peel and slice/chop. Wilt the greens on the stovetop with olive oil and sliced garlic. And make a citrus-maple glaze on the stovetop to drizzle on top of both the greens and roots, all mixed together. Do all of this and I am telling you: You’ll realize you DO actually love beets!
- Carrots — Our greenhouse grown Mokum carrots. These are so delicious!
- Pea Tendrils — This is a super special, incredibly delicious, early spring exclusive item (and I know most of you are not going to know what the heck to do with it, so I’ll help you!) These leafy bits come from the tops of the field grown winter pea plants, a nutritious cover-crop called Austrian Winter Pea and we just snip the leafy, super tender, super sweet tips off of the plants as a highly nutritious green. They taste a little like peas, and are great in a fresh salad, but their nuttiness will be enhanced if you cook them in browned butter as in our recipe here. Super easy! And a very rare item you’ll never be able to grab from a grocery store shelf!
- Sweet Potatoes — These beauties are not ours, they come from our friend right up the road from us, Tony Philips. He has large tracts of land, and big planting and harvesting equipment for this space-hog of a crop, plus he has a huge climate-controlled barn for properly storing them through winter. We’re lucky ETX’s sandy soil grows such perfect sweet potatoes easily and without much fuss- so even though Tony isn’t an organic farmer, he doesn’t need to use fungicides or pesticides. It’s a crop we can leave to the pros….although we are experimenting with some of our own this season on a small scale. Check back in the Fall to see how it’s going!
Veggie Storage tips:
Almost everything you received today will keep longest stored in the fridge sealed up in produce bags. Remove roots from their tops. The leaves suck nutrients and moisture from the roots if they’re kept intact so store the greens separately, and this will keep the roots from getting rubbery. Everything will need a thorough washing before cooking, but leave the dirt on until you’re ready to use them to keep them drier and prevent spoilage.
We’d love to hear stories and recipes of your culinary adventures this week. Send us a note or post a comment of how you’ve used your CSA share. And please tell us how you liked the Pea Tendrils!
Your farmers, Jess & Justin