Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #1
Large shares: fennel, chard, purple kohlrabi, scallions, broccoli, Italian parsley, radishes, Galisse lettuce, red crisp head lettuce, garlic scapes
Small shares: fennel, purple kohlrabi, broccoli, garlic scapes, Galisse lettuce, strawberries
Dear CSA members,
Hello and welcome to week one of our summer CSA share! We have had an eventful morning here in our river valley. When we woke this morning the power was out and there has been wind, heavy rain, hail and lightening all morning. When the power is out around here that means no running water as our well pumps must have electricity. This is a problem when we need to pack CSA shares and have lettuce to prepare as the lettuce must be dunked in water and trimmed to be at its best. So, we had to bring all the lettuce down from our barn to Josephs’ place (still had power) to prep it for CSA. It has made for a slightly chaotic morning, but I think we have come through it ok.
The trucks are currently on their way to our drop sites and hope fully you will all be enjoying your fresh local produce this evening. I always like to take a moment to thank all of you, our CSA members, during the first week of CSA deliveries. As you know by signing up for a CSA you are investing your food dollars in a small, local, organic, farm. By providing us with upfront money to keep the farm and our 10 employees going in the late winter and early spring when we don’t have produce to sell, you truly help sustain our business. Now it’s our turn to return the favor with all the fresh organic goodness that we spend so much time, care and energy producing for you!
This week’s box contains many of the crops that often fill our first boxes of the season, most of which are started in the greenhouse in early February in order to be ready for you in June! I was happy to see that we still have strawberries this week for the small shares, and the large shares should get some next week! We have abundant beautiful broccoli this week as well.
Some of you who are to the world of CSA and/or local, seasonal eating may not be familiar with the garlic scapes, fennel and purple kohlrabi that are in this week’s box. Garlic scapes are the elegant goose necked flower stalks of the garlic plant. They emerge this time of year as the garlic matures and it is best for the final product of the bulb if we snap them off. As an added bonus they are delicious to eat and can be chopped and used just like garlic in any recipe, blended up into a pesto, braised whole and much more. They keep for a long time in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator so no need to worry about using them up right away.
Bulb fennel is the large white bulb with abundant green fronds. From the same family as as the herb and seed of the same name, bulb fennel has an assertive anise like flavor, and is excellent shaved fresh into salads and roasted until caramelized. The fronds can be used in salads and as a garnish.
Purple Kohlrabi is part of the Cruciferous family of vegetables, scientifically known as Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes. The word ‘Kohlrabi’ comes from the Germanic words for cabbage, ‘kohl’, and turnip, ‘rabi’. It was given its name for the close resemblance to both a cabbage, and a turnip, with its bulbous stem sitting on top of the ground. To eat you must peel off the slightly tough outer skin in order to enjoy the crisp sweet interior that is best eaten raw in slices with a dip or grated into a salad.
Aside from the strawberries (very perishable and should be enjoyed asap) most of what is in this week’s share should keep relatively well. You should remove any greens and tops you wont be using (radish, fennel possibly) and store everything loosely wrapped in plastic in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. I have actually started skipping the plastic bags altogether and lining the bottom of my crisper drawer with waxed paper and arranging my veggies nicely inside. As I go though the week, I will prioritize more perishable produce for early in the week, and save heartier things for later. This week I would prioritize strawberries and lettuce, and let the kohlrabi and broccoli wait till later ( thoug actually my kids love kohlrabi and will probably grab it first thing) Once we get to next Monday evening, I will use up the last of what I have in my veggie drawer in a big stir fry, soup or salad so I have plenty of space for the new box of produce.
Hope you enjoy this week’s box! I apologize if any of you tried to call while the power was out and didn’t get my voice mail. Hopefully all will be back to normal by tomorrow.
Thank you and have a great week,
Roasted Garlic Scapes: Preheat oven to 350. Rinse scapes and pat dry. Cut into smaller pieces of desired size, or leave whole, and place in a 9×13-roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with good sea salt. Optional: add cracked pepper or other herbs/spices. Roast for 24-35 minutes, until softened, browned and just slightly crispy to your liking. Remove from oven and enjoy hot or chilled.
Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar: 30 minutes to an hour before serving; thickly slice 2 pints of fresh strawberries, add 2 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Set aside at room temperature. When ready to serve place a serving of strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Top with freshly grated lemon zest. Serves 4.
Lemony Fennel and Radish Salad: Wash 1 bunch of radishes and remove the green. Zest ½ of a lemon, and juice the whole thing. Put the zest in a salad bowl and toss with 3 thinly sliced scallions. Trim a fennel bulb and slice as thinly as possible. Quarter the radishes, and toss both with the lemon zest and scallions. Add the lemon juice and 5 tbsp olive oil and toss with salt and pepper to taste.
Garlic-braised broccoli: Bring 4 qts of water to the boil in a stockpot, and add 11/2 tsp of salt. Cut 1 lb of broccoli into 1-inch pieces (stems peeled if desired). Add to the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes, then drain and cool slightly. Squeeze out the excess moisture from the broccoli. Heat in a large skillet over medium heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, add: 1 thinly sliced garlic scape, and 1 small red chile pepper if desired. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove and discard the chile. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. (Serves 4). (Adapted from the Joy of Cooking.)