If you visit the farm, you might see us walking Winston, our farm dog. Winston is known for sitting in doorways to stay cool and keep our home protected against stray weasels striving to get into our house (a story for another time). He also keeps a vigilant eye out for the sunrise. After receiving over 2.5 inches of rain last week and more rain in the forecast for this week, Winston knows that any sunshine is truly something to celebrate this spring
While we wait for the soils to dry enough for planting, we stay busy in our covered structures and many of our indoor crops are coming along nicely. After last season's extremely successful hoophouse cucumber crop, we expanded production of our early cucumbers. This season, we are growing cucumbers in the hoophouse, outdoor fields and the greenhouse. In the greenhouse, we watch the vines grow several inches in one day as they thrive in the consistent temperatures and regular watering schedule. We're even starting to spot some of the early little fruit. Can you see the baby cucumber in the first picture?
The first asparagus emerging from their winter slumber is another surefire sign that spring has arrived! Our partner farmers and friends, Mick Klug Farm, are sharing their bountiful asparagus harvest with us this week while we give our asparagus time to grow.
This weekend, we begin our market season with the annual Farm Open House and Organic Plant Sale here at the Prairie Crossing Farm on Saturday, May 11th from 10am-2pm.Seedling availability lists and directions can be found here.Our neighbors student farmers, the Prairie Farm Corps, are fundraising for their summer growing program. A portion of each plant sale goes to teach youth essential job training skills using farming as the medium for this education. We sell our produce, Jeff will host hayride tours throughout the day and of course, our flock and goats welcome visitors! There's food, music, kids activities and a variety of additional vendors to make for a great day at the farm.
We hope to see you there! ~ Jen, Jeff and the farm crew
A Friendly Reminder Many of our shares are delivered in wax boxes for best maintain freshness of the produce. Please unpack your share into your own bags or containers, as we clean and reuse these boxes throughout the season.
Here's a brief video from our friendly farm team on how to open and fold your box.
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Spring radishesare unique as they are less peppery than their early summer and fall counterparts, and they are generally more "perfect" in their form. They are particularly delicious dipped in cultured butter and sprinkled with sea salt. The greens are tender enough to be used in salads, pureed for pesto or finely chopped as a decorative egg salad garnish.
Jeff seeded this first succession of radishes into the frost-covered hoophouse soil in March. We seeded plenty of radishes this season for our early spring markets and as a part of the "Gleaning Garden" which we planted for theLiberty Prairie Foundation's Gleaning Program. The Gleaning Program bring volunteers into our farm fields throughout the season to harvest excess vegetables to deliver to local food pantries. The program begins this Sunday, May 12th soemail the Foundationif you're interested in volunteering for the harvest!
This week's russet potatoes come to us from friend-of-the-farm, Brian Igl, an organic potato grower near Antigo, WI. Brian, his brother, Brad and father, Tom, work together to grow a variety of delicious, certified organic potatoes which grow particularly well in their sandy soils. These potatoes were harvested last fall and have been in storage all winter. Now that they are out of storage, they are going to want to sprout up on us, so store them in a cool, dark place and using them in the next week or so.
Based on our member's feedback, we decided to includerampsagain in this week's shares. These ramps are cultivated by our friends at Harmony Valley Farm in Viroqua, WI (for more information, here's a link tolast week's newsletter). Last year, we pickled our ramps, which was easy and they stored extremely well for us for over a month. We used them within salsas, salads and anything else that needed a sweet pickled flavor, and the recipe we used is below.
Tips for Spring Produce Storage Most spring vegetables must be refrigerated in a plastic bag. Keeping these items in plastic helps prevent wilting. If arugula or another tender vegetable appears droopy, soak it in cold water for a few minutes, shake off the excess water, and refrigerate in a plastic bag until it perks up. Also, we rinse all the vegetables here at the farm, but you should always wash them thoroughly prior to eating.
Recipes from the Farm Kitchen
Pickled Ramps 1 bunch of ramps 2 dried red chiles 2 bay leaves 2 teaspoons fennel seeds 1 teaspoon black peppercorns 1 cup white wine vinegar ½ cup sugar 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Trim greens from ramps; reserve for another use—like pesto! Pack bulbs into a heatproof 1-pint jar along with dried red chiles, bay leaves, fennel seeds, and black peppercorns.
Bring white wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve. Pour over ramps to cover. Seal jar. Let cool, then chill.
Simple Roasted Baby Bok Choy 2 baby bok choy, sliced in half 1 T. olive oil Sea salt Freshly grated pepper
Set oven to 450°F and halve the bok choy lengthwise. Toss it in salt, pepper, and olive oil (vegetable oil is fine, too). Roast the choy cut side down on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, then flip and roast 5 minutes more.