Spring Vegetable and Egg Share deliveries begin this week!
Farm News for the week of April 24th
- This week is a pickup week for members registered for weekly and every other week Spring Vegetable Shares and Spring Egg Shares.
- Please check our Farm Events page where you can find details for several upcoming farm and cooking events featuring Prairie Wind Family Farm and our produce. We hope to see you soon!
This Week's Vegetable Harvest:
- Salad Mix
- Overwintered Spinach
- Ramps (Wild Leeks) from Harmony Valley
- Russet Potatoes from Igl Farms
Welcome to the start of our 11th growing season!
We wanted to take a moment to welcome everyone to this year's CSA program! Many of you are returning CSA members to this farm, and we want you to know how much we value your commitment to our farm. We’d also like to warmly welcome those who are new members. As a result of your upfront commitment to our farm, we started this season off on solid footing. We purchased (and sowed!) thousands of vegetable and cover crop seeds, and we welcomed chickens back to our farm with 400 hens resting comfortably in their newly built new home on the pasture. Now we're thrilled share the farm harvest with you!
As we've stay in touch with various farming friends this spring, we all agree that we’re at least one week ahead of what we typically see at this time of year. We saw record warmth earlier this February and March, with frosty nights that followed. Although we saw some of our forsythia buds freeze and die back, many of our overwintered crops (e.g., garlic) fared quite well.
The other good news is that we had plenty of crops ready for our first spring harvest this week, and what a joy it was to be out harvesting them in the sunshine and cool breeze. After the harvests, we change gears and get our farm crew onto the mechanical transplanter and tractor to begin placing more seedlings into the field. We like to say, “plant while the sun shines!” and that's exactly what we've been doing on these sunny spring days. We’re proud of our first farm harvest this season, and we hope you’ll enjoy it, too!
~ Jen, Jeff and the farm crew
Here's a window into how we transplant spring seedlings. Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Chives are a perennial crop that forms purple flowers as they mature. Chive flower buds are not only pretty, they are also very tasty. Try sprinkling them over salads or roasted carrots as a last-minute garnish. Use chopped chives in potato salads, egg dishes, salad dressings, marinades and much more. You can make chive butter and freeze it for later use by adding chopped chives to softened butter. Mold it into a rectangle, wrap in a piece of waxed paper and place in a freezer bag.
This week's russet potatoes come to us from friend-of-the-farm, Brian Igl, an organic potato grower near Antigo, WI. We spoke to Brian for this winter and learned about his long-standing family farming traditions, as he farms with his brother and father to produce the wide variety of potatoes they grow. 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.
Spring arugula, has a mild kick but is not bitter. This arugula was harvested from the hoophouse so its leaves are delicate, so we love to feature on whatever we’re cooking. We eat arugula on sandwiches in place of lettuce, within salads and as a pizza topping. Try it on the ramp pizza recipe below for a delicious treat!
Ramps are sort of like a cross between a green onion and a baby leek. After chopping off the end roots, I like use whole stalk and leaves and use them in place of onions. They grow wild in the woods around Harmony Valley Farm in Viroqua, Wisconsin. We’ve gotten to know the farmers at this farm and we admire their work greatly. Their farmers harvest them judiciously, selecting large bulbs with healthy leaves, leaving behind plenty to replenish the population for future harvests. The season for ramps is quite short--only three to four weeks in late April and early May.
Overwintered spinach has thicker and sweeter leaves than spring-planted spinach because it gets planted in October and grows throughout the winter before being harvested in May. Because of its thick leaves, it is best used in cooked dishes rather than eaten raw in salads. You may notice it’s a bit more textured and that's a good thing! This means that the spinach won’t cook down as much as late spring or fall spinach.
We’re particularly proud of another winter storage crop, our fall-harvested carrots. Over the winter months, we stored carrots at their optimum temperature and conditions here on the farm. We also checked on them diligently throughout the winter. We found their flavor sweetened with this storage, which nice for oven roasting for a simple side dish and they are delicious eaten raw, which is very handy for adding to springtime school lunches!
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
Creamy-Crunchy Radish Sandwiches with Capers, Black Olives and Arugula
Poached Eggs and Winter Spinach Florentine
White Pizza with Ramps
Pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)
1 bunch wild ramps (about 9-10)
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and pepper
1 c mozzarella
¼ c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet into the oven and preheat to 500 for at least 30 minutes.
- Chop the ramps into 1-inch pieces separating the leaves from the bulb. On medium high, drizzle olive oil into pan and saute the bulbs for 2 minutes. Add greens and cook to wilt for 1 minute. Set aside.
- Roll out the dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough onto lightly floured pizza stone or an inverted baking sheet. Work quickly to brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle on the mozzarella in an even layer. Scatter the ramps over the mozzarella and season lightly with salt and pepper. Top the pizza with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- Bake for about 8 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the pizza crust is browned and crisp on the bottom. Transfer the pizza to a work surface, cut into wedges and serve.
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... asparagus, parsnips, garlic chives, bok choy, head lettuce, and more!