April 15, 2014
I wanted to say a few words in response to our survey feedback this season. Thank you all so much for your comments. We appreciate hearing from you, and we always appreciate your support!
This winter provided some of our most challenging growing conditions yet, and tested our unheated high-tunnel growing methods. We were pleased by how well things survived given the extreme cold. However, it took extra effort on the part of the crew and Kip to get those shares out each week.
How our winter CSA planning works:
Dan, our farm manager, plans for, and plants all of the storage crops we distribute in the first couple months of the CSA. These include squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, and rutabaga. Each year, depending on where we're planting, and what weather conditions we get, some crops do better than others. Last winter, we had a bumper crop of butternut squash, as many returning members will recall. This year, we had a serious amount of turnips, yet squash, especially butternut, did not do well at all. We never know exactly what will happen, and we try to grow enough variety that we can count on storing enough crops to get our CSA started with a bounty! Some of you wished you had more root crops and others wish we had a greens-only option. In the future, we may be able to offer more customization, but for now, we try our best to offer a balance. We have plans to grow a wider variety of squash this season.
For our new members:
I want to emphasize how different our summer and winter shares are. In winter, there is less variety, because only hardy crops will grow in the cold winter conditions, even in high tunnels. We try to let everyone know that the winter share is comprised of some crops stored from the fall, in addition to mushrooms, microgreens, and crops that we grow in high tunnels (mostly greens).
The summer share offers much more variety, and includes more of a range throughout the season, with the arc of many typical spring, summer and fall veggies. We grow chard, but not kale or collards during the summer, since they do not tolerate heat very well. We include herbs as well, although we'll be limiting the amount of cilantro, dill, parsley, and lemongrass, based on feedback from last summer.
If you are hesitant to join summer because of greens fatigue, don't worry! Summer brings with it the promise of many new veggies!
Finally, I want to make sure that everyone is aware of the new share options in place or in the works for summer:
We have added Snowville yogurt this past winter, and we will also be adding Snowville chocolate milk for summer. We've hesitated to add chocolate milk in the past, because the price is much higher, but we're going ahead, since we've heard that you want it! A full share will cost $106.00 for the season and a half share will be $53. Yum! Please contact us if you'd like to add this item for summer.
We also added an extra mushroom share, for those that love receiving farm-grown organic shiitake and oyster mushrooms. This is 8 oz. of mushrooms, and is IN ADDITION to the mushrooms that come with the veggie share most weeks.
Shagbark staple shares: This share will include their freshly ground corn and spelt flours, in addition to the beans and heirloom popcorn. We have encouraged them toward organic popcorn, but so far, it hasn't been an option.
We are looking into berry options for summer. We will initially offer berries on a week by week special order basis when they are available, since we do not know what overall availability might be.
And, we are trying cut flowers for the first time this season! If all goes well, we'll add a flower share to the CSA, and they will be sold at the Athens Farmers Market, and at our Village Bakery pickup. Emily Hammon, our Packing Room Manager is heading up this project. I'm excited!
Customized share option in Athens:
As we explore options for more customization in our CSA shares, we are trying something new this summer season. Members who are interested in a little more choice about what they will receive in the CSA will be able to tell us 3 veggies that they prefer to receive, and 3 veggies that they prefer not to receive in the CSA, at the beginning of the season. As we pack, we will make substitutions, IF AVAILABLE, to give you more of what you like, and less of what you don't like. A farm staff member will there during pickup each week with the veggies. This pickup will be Tuesday evenings, from 5-7pm. Let me know if you want to pick up at the Village Bakery and Cafe this summer!
Posted by Athens Hills CSA at 3:57 PM
April 8, 2014
ATHENS HILLS CSA
Another week’s passing and spring is definitely here! And the changes are happening quickly. In fact, I’m really sure now because on Sunday while visiting in northern Ohio, (you won’t believe this…), I found the very first wood tick of the season happily preparing to feast on the back of my neck. AGH! I 'm thinking that the bitter winter may not have been as harmful to our insect populations as some had hoped.
On Monday, we welcomed our newest employee, John Wood. He is a local but is returning to this area after spending several years working with Outward Bound. His most recent accomplishment – Winner of a 300-mile solo kayak race around the western edge of Florida. In addition to John joining us, one of the interns who is currently attending OU has also started part-time until school is over. Kyle has been a real help already, and we’re looking forward to his help full-time soon. Our second apprentice, Grace, also attending and graduating from OU in May, will join us full-time. Until then, she is coming out one day a week to help. Other candidates are still visiting, so we don’t know who they will be for certain.
Kip, Mark, and a new part-timer, Rory, are working on clearing the creek banks of ever-persistent willow bushes. The job requires cutting the large stems above ground so when they re-sprout (and they will), the stems will be smaller in diameter. Plans include harvesting those thinner stems to make baskets. Of course, we leave the trees to keep the bank stabilized.
Before last weekend’s rain, we were able to plow and disc two of the fields, one for our newest crop – flowers. The other is a part of the field across the creek that has been fallow for several years. Since ‘getting in’ early can be challenging on bottom ground, field prep work can continue as scheduled and prep work for the newest beds will be much easier.
Broccoli and Kale are ready to be transplanted and the tomatoes are large enough to be shifted-up into larger pots. At the end of this week, we hope to disc the remaining fields – all this depending on how dry the ground is. Have a great week!
From all of us at Green Edge,
Becky (Kip, Dan, Mark, Emily, Natalie, Miranda, Paula, Penny, and John)
THIS WEEK’S VEGGIESSalad Mix – Our fall/winter salad mix is a blend of 10 varieties of lettuces, claytonia, and mild tasting Asian greens tatsoi, pe-tsai, and mizuna. This mix is best stored in an air-tight container with some paper towel or cloth to absorb any moisture
Mushrooms - Shiitake for all. Store them in the fridge in a paper bag, so moisture is not trapped in with the mushrooms.
Sunflower / MicroMix Microgreens - Some of you will get our more delicate mix this week, and some will get sunflower. They have a tangy flavor and do not store as long as the sunflower.
Spinach – We are thrilled to bring you this item. This wonderful green is so versatile. Use it raw in a salad, or cooked in many different dishes
Siberian Kale - originated in Russia. The leaves of this variety are only slightly frilled, and are very high quality. For more info on kale varieties, check out this site: http://www.seedambassadors.org/Mainpages/still/napuskale/napuskale.htm
Swiss Chard – 2nd only to spinach in nutrient richness. Some benefits include blood sugar regulation, anti-inflammatory benefits, and bone health to name a few.
Green Onions – Some seasons these little ones don’t do well, but we are tickled pink to share them with you this week!
- or –
Salad Radishes - If you received the salad radishes, then you either got Easter Egg (round and different colors or You got French Breakfast, long red bodies with white tips. Carrots - Winter carrots are so much sweeter than ones from the summer! Taste one and compare. Steam, boil, roast, or eat them raw as finger foods or grated in salad.
THE COMBO CORNERThe apple share from Cherry Orchards is finished for this winter.
The bread from The Village Bakery and Café is Country Wheat.
The cheese from Integration Acres is Smoky Goat - fresh (goat's milk) chevre that's rolled in a mix of ground spicebush berries, kosher salt and black pepper before being lightly smoked over apple wood. To best preserve the cheese, remove it from the original packaging and place in a reusable plastic or glass container; any whey that's accumulated can be drained off or mixed in.
PICKUP CONTACT NUMBERS & HOURSNEW ALBANY – 614-216-9369 12-8pm
BEXLEY MARKET-614-252-3951 3-8pm
HILLIARD POWERSHACK 614-506-3086 4-7pm
CLINTONVILLE COOP – 614-261-3663 11 am-8 pm
ECO-FLORA – 614-266-1618 12pm-7pm
DUBLIN TREK BICYCLE 614-791- 8735 3-7 pm
HYACINTH BEAN – 740-594-9302 12-6pm
ATHENS COMMUNITY CENTER - 740-592-3325 12-8 pm
BELPRE 304-488-3620 3-6 PM
Remember to call your host first if problems arise. Since they are closer to you, they can usually resolve the problem. Feel free to call us if the host is unable to help you – 740-448-4021 Thanks!
Please make sure to return your bags to the host site. This helps keep our costs down. Thanks!
RECIPESOven-Baked Kale Chips with Sesame Seeds
24 tender kale leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons whole sesame seeds
2 sprinkles of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees on the convection setting. Wash the kale leaves, removing and discarding the center stems. Tear the leaves into pieces about two inches by two inches. Dry the kale is a salad spinner and then blot it with a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water. Put the kale pieces in a large bowl and pour the extra virgin olive oil over them. Using clean hands, rub the oil onto the kale pieces to coat them thoroughly. Spread the kale pieces in a single layer on baking sheets with sides, making sure they do not overlap. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place the sheets on racks positioned in the center of the oven. Set your timer for 6 minutes and check the kale at that stage. With a single layer of chips, they should be done, but they may need to cook another minute. The kale chips should look dark green and dry. If the kale turns brown, it becomes bitter. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and slide the chips into a bowl using a metal spatula. Lightly sprinkle them with sea salt and eat immediately. Yum! Serves 4
1 whole large bunch of kale, or 2 regular Bunches
2 Tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
½ lemon, optional
Thoroughly rinse the kale in cold water, soaking if necessary to remove grit. Tear the kale into chunks. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and quickly stir it around to avoid burning. Throw in the kale and use tongs to move it around the skillet. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and continue cooking until slightly wilted but still crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the kale to a plate and serve! Option: Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top. (Ed.’s Note: Further in this blog, she says that it works great with spinach also, but that the spinach wilts quicker and the leaves aren’t’ quite as crispy.)
MOROCCAN CARROT and SPINACH SALAD
(Courtesy of Wolfgang Puck)
1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon, plus 1 tablespoon
5 cups carrots, sliced on the bias, about 8 large carrots
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups fresh spinach, cleaned
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons orange juice
In a large sauté pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the carrots, 2 tablespoons sugar, ½ cup lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook carrots until they just start softening.
In another sauté pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the spinach until just wilted. Remove from the pan and rough chop.
In a large bowl combine the cooked carrots, spinach, remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, cumin, garlic, orange juice, remaining lemon juice, and remaining olive oil. Serve warm.
Note: If you are concerned if the oils or other ingredients in these recipes are suitable for Passover, seek non-dairy substitutes or ingredients that are certified kosher for Passover.
So how to keep radishes from losing their bite and crunch all week? I believe I’ve found a solution: http://www.sassyradish.com/2012/07/how-to-keep-your-radishes-crisp-for-over-a-week/
As soon as you get home from the market, separate your radishes from the greens. Using a sturdy vegetable brush, scrub the radishes thoroughly so they are free of any sand and dirt, and rinse them thoroughly in cold water. Get either a large wide mouth glass jar, or, in my case a large gallon-sized resealable bag (if you’ve run out of large jars). Line the bottom of the jar or bag with a layer of paper towels. Put still-damp radishes on top. Put another layer of paper towel and repeat until you are out of radishes. If using a bag, squeeze out excess air and voila! Crunchy, fresh radishes all week (and beyond!) long.
Carrot, Spinach and Rice Stew
Yield 4 servings, Time 45 minutes
If you want to turn this into a more filling main course, use stock instead of water, add some cubed boneless chicken or lamb, season it with a little cumin or dill and finish the whole with lemon.
½ lb. carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
½ cup long-grain rice, like Basmati
Salt and pepper
1 lb. fresh spinach, thick stems removed, washed and roughly chopped
3 cloves minced garlic, optional
2 tablespoons butter, optional
1.) Combine carrots with 6 cups of water in a saucepan and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice and a large pinch of salt. When the mixture returns to the boil, add spinach, then adjust heat so that it simmers gently.
2.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice and carrots are very tender, about 1/2 hour, and the mixture takes on the consistency of a thick stew. Stir in garlic or butter (if you're using either or both), and cook another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.
Posted by Athens Hills CSA at 3:54 PM