Farm News for the week of May 8th Important Reminders:
- This week is a pickup week for Vegetable Shares (weekly and every other week) and Egg Shares.
- Next week, we will be delivering weekly Vegetable Shares.
- Early Summer Farm Share registration closes soon! Vegetable, Fruit and Egg Shares start the week of June 5th. Please pass the word on to friends, family, neighbors and co-workers interested in fresh farm produce and supporting local agriculture! Thank you!
This Week's Vegetable Harvest
- Two bunches of Asparagus
- Salad Mix
- Over-Wintered Spinach
- Green Garlic
- White Mushrooms - from River Valley Ranch
- Japanese Salad Turnips OR Rainbow Swiss Chard
- Herb Mix: Oregano and Thyme
While the spring season started with a warm and sunny bang, the field report is that the rainy days and very chilly nights are causing crops to slow in growth. We're doing our best to keep crops protected in the field, plant when our soils allow and perform sunshine dances in between our harvests!
Last night, we had the pleasure of taking part in the pop-up cooking school, Condell Cooks for Life, at the Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. The top picture shares a picture of Jen and Charlotte at a portion of the Prairie Wind Farm Stand at the event. This sold-out event signified a milestone: connecting the dots between local food, local chefs and the local hospital. We were thrilled to collaborate these talented chefs, organizations, businesses and volunteers to inspire healthy cooking and eating with local, nutrition-filled ingredients. Check us out on Instagram for more photos. We loved meeting new people and seeing friendly, familiar faces, too!
This Wednesday, May 10th we'll continue our work to inspire healthy, local eating. Jen will join Lori Bumbaco, RDN, CSO, LDN, Oncology Dietitian at the Cancer Wellness Center (one of our newest CSA Pickup locations!) for an evening of learning about the nutritional value of local foods and the benefits of sustainable agriculture. For more information, learn more here.
Also, this upcoming Saturday, May 13th from 10am-1pm is the annual Prairie Crossing Farm Organic Plant Sale & Farm Open House.
Here's the list of organic seedlings you'll likely find at this family-friendly event. Sales from the purchase of organic plants benefit the youth training program, Prairie Farm Corps, located here at the Prairie Crossing Farm. This program immerses students in farm to table cooking, farming, gardening, and personal development. Knowledgable farmers and gardeners will be available to answer questions as well.
We invite you to purchase spring vegetables and other farm products, visit with the ducks and farm animals, tour the Prairie Crossing Farm and enjoy a day at the farm! Find additional information and directions here. Come early for the best selections!
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Green garlic is the immature stage of the garlic plant. We planted our garlic in late October and harvest the bulbs in July. Most of the plants to develop bulbs, but we harvest a small portion in the spring when they look like very large green onions. You can use everything but the tough, dark green tops. We substitute green garlic for garlic cloves in many different recipes since the flavor is similar and it's wonderful to have fresh garlic in the farm kitchen again!
Our white salad turnip is a Japanese variety called hakurei. It is very mild and sweet and is easily mistaken for a white radish. Japanese turnips are delicious eaten raw or sautéed in a little butter and sprinkled with salt. Turnips are a good source of Vitamin C, and rich in the minerals potassium and calcium.
Swiss chard is flavorful yet mild, and can be used in the same ways as spinach in many dishes including quiches, lasagna, pasta sauce, smoothies, etc. Chard is high in vitamins A, E and C and the minerals calcium and iron. You can use all of its beautiful color by chopping the entire leaf as well as the tender stem. We enjoy it sautéed with overwintered spinach and garlic, then and used as an omelet filled with aged cheddar, chopped and combined with roasted asparagus, and Parmesan on pasta, or as a colorful addition to a mixed greens salad (especially with this tender chard from the hoophouse).
Making the most of your share: Spinach
Here in the farm kitchen, we find a great deal of joy in preserving the harvest throughout the season. Simple freezing techniques are one of my favorite methods because freezing allows me to make good use of the abundance and enjoy fresh spinach (with preserved nutrients!) when it’s out of season.
Now is a great time to preserve any of the over-wintered spinach so you have left. Here are two methods:
- Wash the spinach well, dunking and swirling in a bath of water. Place small batches into a salad spinner to dry the leaves. Likewise, spinach can be placed on a large kitchen towel on your counter to dry. Leave as large leaves (although you could tear into bite-sized pieces) and place in quart size freezer bags in 2-cup portions. Large pieces of frozen spinach can be cut with kitchen shears or run a chef knife through it before cooking.
- Spinach can also be pureed with some water in a blender. Use the same washing method above, however leave the spinach leaves wet (no need to dry). Then, add the spinach and just enough water to get the blender going. Pureed spinach is a great way to boost nutrition in soups, smoothies, sauces, meatballs, meatloaves or burgers (it’s also sneaky nutrition for picky eaters!). Freeze the puree in ice cubes trays or small mason jars.
Recipes from the Farm Kitchen
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... asparagus, head lettuce, wintered onions, baby spinach, dill and more!