Arugula - see vegetable spotlight in this newsletter Stir Fry Pak - Salad Turnips, Shunkyo Radishes, Carrots - The beginnings of a great stir fry in one bag. Add the greens mix below and optional meat for an easy meal. Beet Greens/Chard/Mizuna Greens Mix - See recipes and vegetable spotlight in this newsletter. Potatoes - blue variety from Fazenda Boa Terra, another organic vegetable farm Squash - Butternut or Winter Kabocha Closely related to the buttercup squashes, kabochas offer a savory depth of flavor, dry texture and edible flesh. Store at 60 - 65 degrees F. Yellow Onion
Vegetable Spotlight on Greens - Cooked much of this information is from the FairShare Coalition's cookbooks: From Asparagus to Zucchini and Farm Fresh and Fast
Greens vibrancy and freshness are a gift of flavor and health! Most greens are interchangeable, but pungency does vary. Lettuces are typically mild and sweet, chicories (escarole, frisee, radicchio, and dandelion) have sturdy leaves and can have an assertive bitterness, greens from the Brassica genus (arugula, choys, cabbages, collard greens, mustards, and kales have some level of sweetness and a peppery, mustardy bite, with each vegetable's heat falling somewhere on a continuum. Other mild greens include spinach, swiss chard, beet greens while spicier greens include turnip, radish, and mizuna.
Greens are packed with nutrition. Properly prepared (not overcooked), greens offer generous amounts of vitamins A and C, some B vitamins, and folic acid, as well as minerals such as calcium and iron. Greens are very high in dietary fiber and low in calories. In the health world, dark leafy greens also receive attention for their roles in disease prevention.
Beet/Chard/Mizuna Greens Mix washed and waiting to be bagged. Arugula in the field.
Cleaning and Storage Tips:
to clean: fill a sink with cool water, add greens, swish around a little, and let soak for about 5 minutes, gently lift out of the water and spin dry. If your greens have insects nestled in their leaves (evidence they are truly organic!), add lemon juice or salt to the soaking water, and rinse thoroughly before spinning dry.
Loosely wrap in plastic or cloth and store in the coldest part of the refrigerator, away from fruits that continue ripening after harvest (apples, pears, and most tropical fruits), but don't let them freeze. Should last for up to a week or longer.
for long-term, greens freeze well. Coarsely chop and blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process, drain, and freeze in sealed, one-cup bundles.
Leaves with thin, tender stems, like spinach, do not needed to be de-stemmed, but tough center stems should be removed from larger leaves, like curly kale. If leaves tear away from the stems easily, or if the stems are very thick and fibrous, the stems should probably be removed. With or without stems, tear or chop greens into bite-size pieces, as desired.
Wash greens thoroughly before cooking to remove hidden garden grit. (Our practice is to put your greens through at least one wash before bagging them.)
Be careful not to overcook. Overcooked greens will be mushy, tasteless, and significantly reduced in nutrition.
Greens will generally cook down to 1/4 or 1/8 of their original volume.
Boil greens 2 - 4 minutes, or steam for 5 - 8 minutes, depending on maturity and toughness of greens. Watch for color to brighten; this signals cooking is complete or nearly complete. Colors wil darken and fade in vibrancy when overcooked.
Baby greens are excellent for sautéing and larger mature greens are best for stir-frying - add them toward the end of the cooking time . . . anywhere from 2 - 5 minutes usually adequate for both.
Greens add color, texture, and flavor to soups and stews.
Serve cooked greens simply. Here are a few suggestions: Toss with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Toss with a lemon vinaigrette. Top with a pat of butter or eat totally plain!
Mix greens into omelets, quiches, lasagna, and casseroles.
Saute precooked greens in garlic butter and onion.
Stir Fry The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook
serves 4 as a side dish
A stir-fry is one of those wonderfully quick dishes you can make any time of the year, using seasonal vegetables at hand. Although the technique is Chinese in origin, you don't have to use Asian vegetables or seasonings, although they are awfully good. You don't need a wok either, a large skillet will do.
When you stir-fry, you cook the ingredients briefly in a small amount of oil over fairly high heat, keeping them in constant motion.
Have all the vegetables washed, trimmed, chopped, and ready to go so that you can add them quickly as you cook. The trick is to add them in a sequence that gives each one just the right amount of cooking time. Firm ones go in first, followed by softer ones. The most fragile are added at the end and are barely warmed so that they wilt a bit but do not shrivel up altogether. Those that are best eaten raw, such as radishes, can be tossed in at the end.
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil or peanut oil (can substitute coconut or olive oil)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 piece (1 inch long) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
8 scallions, white parts and green tops chopped separately into 1-inch pieces (can substitute onion)
1 cup or 8 ounces greens (bok choy, chard, beet greens, turnips, mizuna, tatsoi, mustard, etc.) separate large or fibrous stems and coarsely chop the leaves.
3 to 6 medium-size radishes, thinly sliced
2 to 3 medium-size salad turnips, thinly sliced or a handful of whole baby turnips
2 to 3 medium-sized carrots, julienned or several whole baby carrots
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, to flavor the oil.
2. Immediately add the onions and stems of greens you are using. Stir-fry until the vegetables are tender but still have some crunch, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the greens, stir-fry for 30 seconds, and then remove the skillet from the heat.
5. Add the radishes and soy sauce, and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
*** Meat, seafood and mushrooms can be included, but these are best browned separately and then added in at the end.
Greens Quiche serves 4-6
Crust: (make your own or purchase pre-made)
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch greens of choice, chopped (about 6 cups)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheese
CRUST: Place all the ingredients in a pie pan. Mix with a fork until well blended, then press over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Flute the edge with your thumb and finger.
FILLING: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the greens and cook until wilted. Set aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs and milk in a large bowl. Mix in the salt and the greens mixture. Pour into the crust. Sprinkle the cheese on top, pushing it slightly into the egg mixture. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes.
Spicy Potato Sausage and Greens Soup Asparagus to Zucchini
1 lb bulk hot Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion, or more to taste
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups thinly sliced potatoes (slice them with skins on)
4 cups water
2 packed cups torn or chopped fresh kale, spinach, chard or other greens
1/3 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper
Heat soup pot over medium flame. Add sausage and onions and cook until meat is no longer pink. Add broth, potatoes, and 4 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir in greens; cook 1-2 minutes. Stir in whipping cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve right away, or, for more developed flavor, let cool, then chill and reheat later or the next day. Add buttered biscuits for a perfect winter meal.
On the Farm . . . what's happening this week in words and pictures.
Work outside has mostly been about covering rows of winter crops with low tunnels. The tunnels are a low cost, low-height way to create a protected environment for the produce. It consists of hoops, row cover, plastic, anchors and clips. After it is installed and secured against wind, we are able to crawl inside and harvest spinach, kale, arugula, chard, celery, carrots, parsley and other cold-hardy crops.
Winter is coming - right? I question it because the couple snowfalls we've experienced promptly melted leaving mud and mess before the kids could satiate their “beginning of the season” sledding thirst. The meteorologist on the radio this morning said El Nino is to blame for the mild temperatures of late yet I can't help but worry about the influence of global warming as world leaders attend the Paris Climate Change Conference. I wonder about the farming practices we follow, and whether they will need to change drastically in the future. Will the types of foods we grow be different, or will we plant summer crops earlier and longer? Will it be easier to grow produce in the off-season? Or will more frequent major weather events affect our ability to consistently provide produce to farm members?
Our pasture is a winter scene for a few hours until the snow melted.
Our teenage son, Liam, has recently become very aware of climate change and naturally worries about the future - his as well as our planet's. His picture quickly becomes one of suffering and destruction. He agonizes over the enormity of the problem while lamenting the short-sightedness of previous generations to think human actions have no consequence on climate. Why did we let it get so bad he asks? I become depressed while discussing this issue with him. Will his children experience the world as we know it, or will it resemble one of those doomsday movies I avoid? I switch the focus of the conversation to ways we personally can minimize our effect such as: consolidating trips to town, adding more solar panels to the house, using rechargeable batteries, recycling and being aware of our carbon footprint. Liam’s response is, “yah, yah, yah . . . but what can I really do to change this? What job do I get to help? It’s our responsibility, Mom.” We brainstorm for a while - scientist, engineer, environmentalist, writer, politician among others are all possibilities. He wonders if traveling to places experiencing problems would help him be empathetic to other’s opinions and situations.
I listen to him make plans, proud of the person he is becoming and his willingness to apply himself yet scared. While I know he won’t live on our farm forever, the thought of him in a far away state experiencing flooding or in another country with horrible air pollution makes me wish he was little again (at least littler than me). I want to wrap him in my arms and protect him from the harshness of global problems.
Of course, it isn’t so easy. I can’t protect him much longer, nor should I. It will soon be his generation’s world after all. My job is to support him on this present day quest whatever career he decides to work towards, or even if his enthusiasm is replaced by a desire to move in a direction unrelated to today’s conversation (just please - not a politician!). And to accept that his life will be colored by the world he lives in just as mine has been. A world with problems but also incredible beauty (have you seen the photos of the Northern Lights making their way around on Facebook?) and, still, a world of opportunities. My generation needs to not only reduce, reuse, recycle, support leaders and candidates that recognize global warming and are driven to minimalize future damage but also to trust that his generation will move forward aware of climate change and willing, like he is today, to take up the challenge.
And as Liam's mother, I need to trust that having grown up in a loving community with a strong sense of place, will comfort him when I am no longer able to. He will be ok.
My sister, Tana, with Liam.
Have a good week,
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