Today is our first pickup today at the Westy, and it starts in one hour from now! 5-8 pm will remain our hours throughout the course of the season. The Westy is located at516 West State Street, and you are free to enjoy a beer at the bar before or after picking up your share. We're very thankful to Tim and Brian at the Westy for playing host to us for our third year in a row!
Anyways, we have quite a share for you this week. Two weeks ago, we feared the worst: no rain, no irrigation set-up and some sort of weird fertility issues were keeping our plants down, but with some well timed rain and two farmers running around like crazy spreading composted chicken manure, soybean meal and drip tape, we have pulled through the rough spot.
For those of you who are returning, thank you! We look forward to reconnecting with you and sharing our food again this year. For you new folks, welcome! A CSA is a real commitment to sustainable, seasonal eating that will leave you healthier, wealthier and wiser. We find that the few challenges there are are vastly surmounted by the incredible variety of fresh, just-picked delicious produce we'll have for you every week. This e-mail will serve as an explanatory list of the different veggies we'll have to offer each week, plus recipes, farm news, cooking tips, and maybe a few diatribes on the state of agriculture in our county, but only occasionally.
Before you come to pickup, or at some point soon, please read our CSA membership guide, on our website here:http://www.plowbreakfarm.com/csa-member-guide.html. It contains a lot of frequently asked questions, details the contract between farmer and eater, and explains how our free choice system works.
At both our pickups, at the Westy on Thursday and on the farm Monday in our cooler, most items will be offered “free choice” for you to pick from. Some items that are labor intensive or very high value or just few and far between will be offered as “limited” with a number of items to take. In general, we like to say take what you need for fresh eating each week. Generally, that means not for juicing or canning or sharing with neighbors. Sharing with friends who come for dinner is OK, obviously, but generally because of the latitude we give you to choose, we ask that you do not share “extra” vegetables and only take what you need each week for your household.
A note on our produce: it is literally just picked, the day you put it in your shopping bag (Or maybe the day before, but unlikely.) It is not shipped here, and it does not sit, drying out in a refrigerated truck for two weeks from Georgia (Lady Moon Farms) or California or Arizona (Earthbound Organics). It hangs out in our cooler for a few hours, and then it MUST be put in your fridge/crisper drawer as soon as you get home. This is a key part of keeping the produce we give you fresh for longer than a few days. For more information on storing your produce, check out this page on our website:http://www.plowbreakfarm.com/vegetable-storage-tips.html
Finally, our produce is also only “lightly washed.” You will need to ensure that final washing is undertaken of the produce. This isn't a bad thing! Studies have shown, and people have known for thousands of years, that a little soil bacteria can be good for you! Of course, no one likes gritty lettuce, so please invest in a salad spinner and you'll be glad you did.
So what kind of food will you have this week, you're probably asking by now? Lots of good spring treats! Spring means greens. Everyone always tells us there are a lot of greens in the spring share, and we think that's awesome! They are only here for a limited time in the spring and fall, so enjoy them while you can. Think salads, stir-fries, smoothies, slaws … the possibilities are endless. I pile so many greens on my plate at each meal I can barely keep them from spilling off the side. They are nutritionally super for you and taste delicious. We like to use our stick blender to whip up awesome homemade dressings, which always entice you to eat more greens! Try also using some of our share items in your dressing itself.
Here's what you can expect to see in your share this week (Keep in mind this may change between Thursday and Monday, but we try to have very similar items available.)
Kale (try raw kale chopped, tossed with a dressing, and literally massaged for an awesome cold salad)
Rainbow Swiss Chard (steamed with butter and lemon? Tossed with pasta?)
Collards (Collards and bacon are best friends. Reunite them together in a hot pan.)
Spinach (So good lightly cooked, or raw in a salad)
Butterhead Lettuce (The best lettuce ever, only available in early spring)
Red Mustard Greens (Spicy and complex, great for cooking, stir-fries, excellent on sandwiches and tossed into soups before serving.
Bok Choy (Everyone's favorite Asian green, great in salads, stir-fries, even pickled!
Broccoli (Uses are endless. Use leaves and stems as well, they are delicious and it's a crime when people throw them away.)
Radishes (Nice and spicy roots, great on salads, lightly braised, sliced thin on sandwiches, etc)
Sweet Salad Turnips (Eat 'em raw! Very sweet and mild turnips, the greens are edible)
Garlic Greens (garleeks are a nice early garlic/scallion substitute. Use them as a cooking base, in pastas and stir-fries, in baking and chopped on salads. All parts are edible, the green tips are very mild and tasty!
Sorrel Lemony and delicious! Great ingredient in super salads, in dressings, and I believe Eastern Europeans make an excellent soup with it. Nice on sandwiches that you want to jazz up.
Oregano Nice, mild spring oregano. Pasta, salad dressings, on homemade pizza, in Mexican bean dishes, so many great uses!
See you soon,
Your farmers, Aaron and Kara!