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Farm News - Week Of May 1st

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Farm News for the week of May 1st   

Important Reminders:

  • This week is a pickup week for members registered for Weekly Vegetable Shares.  
  • Next week, we will be delivering weekly and every other week Vegetable Shares and Egg Shares. 

  This Week's Vegetable Harvest

  • Asparagus
  • Over-Wintered Spinach
  • Japanese Salad Turnips
  • Bok Choy
  • Garlic Chives
  • Parsnips from Tipi Produce
  • Green Head Lettuce
  • Red Head Lettuce

  Upcoming Spring Events

Pop-Up Cooking School: Condell Cooks for Life
Monday, May 8th from 6-8pm, the Advocate Condell Medical Center
Join us for evening of cooking demonstrations and tips shared by a dynamic group of local chefs featuring Prairie Wind Family Farm produce.  Admission is FREE and please RSVP here.  

Annual Organic Plant Sale & Farm Open House
Saturday, May 13th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., the Prairie Crossing Farm
Purchase organic plant starts and farm products, visit with farm animals, savor local treats and tour the farm during the FREE and educational Organic Plant Sale & Farm Open House at the Prairie Crossing Farm.  Learn more here.


From the Farm Field

Many of our crops sit patiently in the ground awaiting dry, warm weather.  Early last week, the crew worked hard to get thousands of plants and seeds into the ground before the rains, taking advantage of some beautiful, warm April weather. April went out like a lion, and May arrived with dramatically different weather.  We've received 3+ inches of rain over the past five days and today, we're preparing our most tender seedlings to withstand a frosty evening.  What a change!

That all said, we saw a rainbow on Monday morning over the farm and we knew this was foreshadowing sunny skies to come! After farming for 11 years, we've learned to plan for the best, work hard and then, go with the flow of Mother Nature.  We believe staying flexible and being creative is the art that goes with the science of farming!

There's a lot to look forward to this season, and we love to share the harvest with you.  Enjoy the farm goodies we have planned for you this week, and we'd love to hear what you're cooking!  Bon Appetit!
~ Jen, Jeff and the farm crew 


This is the hard work I was referring to! The crew is diligently to planting beets, amongst the other crops we planted last week like kale, cabbage, lettuces, chard, zucchini and cucumbers. 


While the weather is blustery, we head to the greenhouse for protected spring projects. Jeff and Gavin were in the greenhouse this weekend to transfer our grafted tomatoes seedlings into bigger pots. This allows the plants to grow bigger and establish stronger roots before we plant them into the ground.  


I (Jen) took a moment to visit a few fellow farming friends at the Dane County Farmers' Market last weekend. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, I have many fond memories of heading to the farmers' market to pick out spring plants with my mom.  We would excitedly head home to spend the day planting in the garden together. What a great way to spend a Saturday!   


Nothing cheers up a wet farmer up faster than
watching our puppy, Winston, play in the puddles.  


Notes from the Farm Kitchen


Bok Choy has a mild, sweet flavor when cooked and is mild enough to eat raw. When cooking with bok choy, use the entire plant, both green leaves and white stems however I generally separate the stems from the leaves as their cooking times differ slightly.  The mild, crunchy stalks make a great addition to salads and vegetable platters, and I like to use the leaves as a last minute garnish to soups.  Refrigerate in a plastic bag and is best eaten within a week. 


As many of our CSA members know, over the course of the asparagus season, you will receive asparagus of different sizes. One week you may get thinner asparagus and one week the stalks may be thicker. Each type works best for different types of dishes and preparations.  There is a common misperception that thicker stalks mean that the asparagus is older. The truth is that from the moment the tip of the asparagus emerges from the ground, it is either thick or thin. Then over the course of a couple of days the stalk grows taller but not fatter. In other words, some of them are born thick and some are born thin. It all depends on the age and variety of the plant that gives birth to it. I tend to like the fatter stalks for peeled salads and grilling, and the thinner stalks for raw salads and wrapped in prosciutto, and both are equally delicious! 


Parsnips are closely related to carrots, though they have a nutty-sweet taste and hearty texture all their own.  Like carrots, they can be harvested in the fall, but they are much sweeter when left in the ground all winter and then dug in the spring. These spring-dug parsnips come from Steve Pincus and Beth Kazmar of Tipi Produce in Evansville, Wisconsin. We've known Steve for a long-time, and we've always admired his care for his farmland, his generousity to share farming knowledge and his warm, kind spirit. These over-wintered parsnips are particularly well suited to roasting and mashing, and are wonderful when combined with carrots from last week's share!  

Recipes from the Farm Kitchen

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

1 oz dried Shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, drained, trimmed and sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic; minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1 cup sliced carrots

1 1/2 cups sliced bok choy

6 cups chicken stock or broth

1/2 pack dried Asian egg noodles

1 cup asparagus

1 cup cooked sliced chicken

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

sesame oil to taste

In a large saucepan set over moderate heat, heat the oil until it is hot. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add the carrot and bok choy and toss to combine Add the broth, reserved mushrooms and salt to taste and simmer 10 minutes

In a saucepan of boiling salted water cook the pasta until al dente, drain and transfer to stock. Add the asparagus, chicken and seasonings and simmer stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until asparagus is just cooked and chicken heated through. Add sesame oil and ladle into bowls.

Garlic Chive Sauteed Spinach

  • 1 1/2 pounds baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 bunch garlic chives
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Lemon
  • Sea or kosher salt, optional

Rinse the spinach well in cold water to make sure it's very clean. Spin it dry in a salad spinner, leaving just a little water clinging to the leaves.

In a very large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic chives over medium heat until wilted, but not browned. Add all the spinach, the salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted. Using a slotted spoon, lift the spinach to a serving bowl and top with the butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of sea or kosher salt. Serve hot.  Serves 4.

Adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network

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