Farm News for the week of October 31
Announcements & Reminders
- This week, weekly Fall Vegetable Share members pick-up.
- Next week, all Fall Vegetable and Egg Share members pick-up.
- Upcoming dates:
This Week's Vegetable Harvest
Red & Green Head Lettuces
Stir Fry Greens Mix
Rainbow Swiss Chard
Good morning from the farm!
We've had an eventful week around the farm as freeze warnings sent us into winter protection and preparation mode. Many of our crops can make it through overnight lows in the 30s (e.g., cabbage, kale, radishes) however we need to cover or bring in more sensitive crops (e.g., lettuces, celery root, cilantro) and prepare our animals to make it through chilly evenings.
We once lost a celery root crop due to an unexpected overnight freeze and we vowed to prevent this from ever happening on the farm again. On Friday, our crew split into two teams with one group harvesting, washing and preparing us for the farmers' market. The other group, pictured above, focused on quickly bringing in the celery root harvest. Jeff drove the tractor alongside the crew responsible for pulling the celery roots from the ground, knocking off the soil from their roots, removing their green tops and tossing the roots into the pallet bin. The crew strived to keep up with the speed of our tractor driver, so we worked feverishly to get the harvest done and worked up a sweat in the process!
On Saturday, we attended our final outdoor Oak Park Farmers' Market of the season. At the last market, we observe many tradition. We enjoying the special last market chocolate donuts, the stone soup with contributions made by all market farmers, talking with customers about how to best store produce for the winter, and we also enjoy some costume fun. Jen, Ari and Charlotte donned super hero capes for the market and represented our favorite super hero, the Super Farmer! We enjoyed seeing other minions, witches and villains, too...thank you for your support this market season.
After returning from the market, Jen and Owen checked on all of the animals to make sure they were prepared for the chilly Saturday evening. We made sure they had comfortable bedding and wind protection in their homes for extra warmth, running fresh water to prevent freezing hoses and water bins, and plenty of food (eating is how our goats stay warm). We also turned off water throughout the farm to prevent freezing pipes, and covered tender lettuces with row covering to avoid freezing leaves. We're happy to report that our crops, animals and water system safely made it through the first freeze of the season. We're on to a busy week of harvesting those tender greens we protected and transitioning our hens to their new, warmer winter home to prepare for more consistent cold, windy weather ahead.
Stay warm and have a great week!
~ Jeff, Jen & the farm crew
Making the most of your share
We've often heard one of the best things about the CSA share is the variety of the vegetables you get to try! We're always struck by the diversity of vegetable seeds that become available each season in seed catalogs, and we strive to preserve that diversity by growing these crops and offering ideas on how to use them in the kitchen.
This week's share includes a tender Stir Fry Greens Mix. Don't let this name fool you, as this mix is not only wonderful in stir fry but also is great within salads, pasta dishes and soups. This week's mix includes five greens, pictured below left to right: Purple Mizuna, Ruby Streaked Mustard, Tatsoi, Red Russian Baby Kale and Arugula. We find each of these greens has a distinct flavor which often help to offset naturally sweet flavors found in vegetables like tomatoes and carrots. Store these greens as you would other greens, in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for a week.
The other night we made grilled pizza and we found the mix to be delicious atop grilled pizza made with tomato sauce, red onions and a mixture of cheeses. Yum!
Farm Kitchen Recipes
Asian Greens, Soba Noodles with Sesame-Ginger Dressing and Fried Egg
9 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large leek, diced (white part only)
2 carrots, diced
1 large head of bok choy, greens and ribs coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 teaspoons low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
4 Tablespoons lightly toasted sesame seeds, white, black or a combination of both
1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 fried egg per serving
Cook the soba noodles in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic & leek and sauté over medium-high heat until they begin to soften. Add the carrot bok choy and continue to sauté over medium heat, tossing occasionally until tender. About, 6-8 minutes. Fry 1 egg per serving while the veggies cook. In a large bowl whisk together the the rice vinegar, tamari, crushed red pepper flakes, honey, ginger and sesame oil. Add the cooked noodles to the bowl and toss to coat. Stir in the cooked vegetables, toasted sesame seeds and cilantro. Divide among plates and top each serving with a fried egg.
Sausage, Swiss Chard, and Beans Pasta - This is one of our staple fall recipes. You can vary the green (swiss chard, kale, spinach, etc.), the bean (chickpeas, cannellini, etc) and the pasta (paccheri or other large tubular pasta) with what you have available.
⅓ cup olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary
8 ounces spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 15.5-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed, patted dry
¼ cup dry white wine
12 ounces rigatoni
8 cups (lightly packed) torn Swiss chard leaves
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Fry rosemary, turning, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Add sausage to same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add beans to pot and cook, tossing occasionally and mashing some beans with spoon, until browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer about half of chickpeas to plate with sausage. Add wine to pot, bring to a boil, and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with beans and add swiss chard and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing often, until swiss chard is wilted, pasta is al dente, and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Add another ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid, then gradually add ½ cup cheese, tossing until melted and dissolved into a sauce. Thin with more pasta cooking liquid if needed. Season with pepper, and more salt if needed. Add butter and toss to combine, then mix in reserved sausage and beans. Divide pasta among bowls. Crumble rosemary over top and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese. Serves 4-6.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Spicy Yellow Indian Cabbage
1/3 cup oil
1-1/2 teaspoons yellow or brown mustard seeds
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Heat the oil over high heat in a large skillet. When the oil starts to smoke, add the mustard seeds and immediately cover with a lid or a spatter screen. When the seeds begin to stop popping, carefully add in the garlic and turmeric (you may wish to remove the skillet momentarily from the heat to do this to help the oil cool down a bit faster to keep the seeds from burning) and lower the heat to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for a minute or two to soften the garlic.
Add the cabbage, salt, and cayenne and give the mixture a good stir to coat the cabbage in the oil and spices. Cover and cook until the cabbage is tender-crisp or completely soft, as desired.
Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Serve hot. Serves 4-6.
Adapted from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes: Simple Indian Recipes Using Five Common Spices by Ruta Kahate
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... celery root, spinach, beautyheart radishes, onions, carrots and more!