Farm News for the week of September 19
Reminders & Announcements
- This week, weekly Late Summer Vegetable and Fruit Share members pick-up.
- Next week, all Late Summer Vegetable, Fruit and Egg Share members pick-up.
- Upcoming share dates -- sign up before they sell out!
This Week's Vegetable Harvest
- Red & Yellow Potatoes
- Green & Red Head Lettuce
- Asian Leaf Cabbage
- Italian Frying Peppers
- Zucchini - Farm pickup members will receive this week.
- Romano Italian Green Beans
This Week's Fruit Share
- Niagara Grapes
- Gala Apples
- Red Raspberries
Farm Team Profiles In our final installment of Farm Team Profiles, we'd like to introduce you to a few more members of our Vegetable Production Crew.
Shulamis & Mark are new to farming but they've always had a love for food! As a nutritionist and former chef, Shulamis enjoys sharing her love of food by making delicious treats for the crew and providing us with wonderful cooking tips and recipes. Here's a bit more about Shulamis and her impressions of farming in her own words:
"Just as I was completing my nutrition degree, I met with Jen Miller and Nathan Aaberg at Liberty Prairie Foundation to talk about enrolling in the Farm Business Development Center program. Nathan recommended that I work for a farmer to get more farming experience, and I am now working full-time at Prairie Wind Family Farm. When I'm not farming, I like to attend farm field days, visit farms and spend time with my family.
Farming may be hard work, but we have a lot of fun on the farm and truly enjoy each other's company! We like to hang out together on our breaks and after work. Farming is as predictable as the weather is! It's an art as much as a science."
Mark joined the Vegetable Production Crew, not only in the fields but also as a part of our CSA delivery and site hosting team. Here's a bit more about Mark:
"I love food, especially vegetables. I've found that there's nothing more satisfying than watching a seed become dinner and there's no better place to do that than on a farm. When you combine that with the welcoming environment created at Prairie Wind and their willingness to educate us, I don't think I could have asked for a better place to work.
Outside of the farm I spend a good amount of time cooking, maintaining my own vegetable garden, caring for my pet fish and frog, and visiting friends or my girlfriend.
The most surprising element of our work is how much of it is done by hand. Second to that might be how continuously we are planting. Whether it's one person on the tractor dropping seeds or a few of us putting seedlings into the ground it's happening quite regularly!"
Jess is not only a talented artist but she's a member of our Vegetable Production Crew. Jess is one of our CSA delivery drivers so you may have met in her in person if you pickup in Lake Forest or Oak Park. Here's a bit more about Jess in her own words:
"Farming is something I've always wanted to take part in. I spend a lot of time outside, hiking & gardening-- and I care a great deal about what I'm putting in my body. It seemed like a job that would be rewarding even on a hard day. And it's true, no matter what is going on outside of the farm, I go there and feel peace. I feel like I accomplished something every day I leave the property. Prairie Wind stood out to me because of their values and how they approach this culture. After spending a little time on the farm, I knew it was a place I could jive with.
When I'm not farming, I am a filmmaker & musician-- these two things use up most of my free time. But I greatly enjoy traveling, hiking, gardening, cooking, running and reading."
When I asked her what might surprise people about the farm, she thought:
"That's a tough question. I think all of it would be a surprise. I'm sure they would be totally intrigued with what goes into preparing that box every week. It really is pretty amazing."
Jem and Arlet are the last two members of our crew. Jem (pictured above) travels to and from his home in Chicago to work on the farm each day. Jem's positive energy and witty sense of humor are a great contribution to our daily farm work.
Arlet is no stranger to the farm. Arlet was a member of the Prairie Farm Corpswhen in high school, and she continued her love of working on the farm with us this season. Her sister, Janik, worked for Jeff many years ago and we're glad to stay in close touch with their family.
Here's a bit about Arlet in her own words:
"I was interested in working at the farm because I had a wonderful experience before in learning how to cultivate and harvest vegetables. The farm drew me back because I can learn more things, like learning about each of the vegetables and what kind of varieties we grow. I like working at the farm because I can eat healthy, and I love organic fruit and vegetables. Every time I'm in the field, I learn new things and I enjoy the smell of the vegetables when we harvest.
When I'm not farming I like to watch movies and I also like to go outside when it is dark and walk with my family, observing nature." We're proud our teams' hard work in the field, dedication to the sustainable food movement and the care they have for our CSA and farmers' market supporters. We hope you've enjoyed meeting them. Each week, the team hopes you enjoy the goodies we've worked hard to prepare for you.
Cheers from the farm!
~ Jeff, Jen, Tyler, Charlotte, Elaine, Sarah, Jess, Jem, Arlet, Mark and Shulamis
Making the most of your share
Romano green beans are similar to traditional green beans except that they have a wider, flatter pod. They can be cooked the same way as traditional green beans, but they will take a little longer. Because they are flat, they are wonderful when roasted or grilled with olive oil, garlic and sea salt.
There are numerous types of Asian Cabbage and this week, we've included Tokyo Bekana or Asian Leaf Cabbage. If you're unfamiliar with Tokyo Bekana, it is the item in the box that has frilly yellow-green leaves and is banded with a twist tie. Tokyo Bekana's mild cabbage flavor provides a nice contrast to the more familiar flavor of head lettuce. It can be used raw in salads or wraps in much the same way as you would use head lettuce or Napa cabbage. When sliced thinly and paired with an Asian-inspired or vinegar-based salad dressing, the result is a slaw with a nice delicate crunch. You can also cook gently, like a bok choy.
Farm Kitchen Recipes
Slow-Roasted Romano Beans -- this is my go-to recipe for romano green beans. I add the leftovers to pasta salad, lasagna or soup.
1 small red onion
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 pounds green Romano beans, stems removed, tails left on
2 teaspoons rosemary
2 teaspoons sage
2 teaspoons thyme
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel the onions, trim the roots, but leave the root ends intact (this will keep the onions in wedges, rather than slices). Cut the onions lengthwise into 3 or 4 thick (about 1/3-inch) wedges. Slice the garlic cloves lengthwise into three or four thick slices each. Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Transfer the beans to a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the beans are completely wilted, shrunken, and concentrated in flavor, with a little caramelization around the edges. You may need to stir more often toward the end, to keep the beans from browning too quickly. Serves 6.
(adapted from The AOC Cookbook)
Sautéed Tokyo Bekana with Sesame, Ginger & Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons light sesame oil or olive oil
1 tablespoons white hulled sesame seeds
2 teaspoons peeled, minced ginger or ½ tsp. ground ginger
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 pounds Tokyo Bekana (or any Asian green)
1 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
In a wide heavy sauté pan or wok over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the sesame seeds and stir until they pop and become fragrant. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the greens and 1 tablespoon soy sauce, raise the heat and cook, covered, for 1 minute. Uncover and sauté for 1 or 2 minutes more, until the greens are tender but still bright green. Stir in more soy sauce and vinegar to taste, and serve immediately. Serves 4 as a side dish.
Simply Summer Roasted Pepper Salad
6 large sweet Italian frying peppers or bell pepers
1 cup seeded, cored diced tomatoes
1 cup finely diced sweet onion
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Once cooled, peel and remove the seeds and stems. Cut the cubanelles into a one inch dice. Very finely diced the Hungarian hots or jalapenos until they're almost like mush.
Combine everything in a bowl and then park in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors blend. Makes 4 cups.
(adapted from food52.com)
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... cabbage, broccoli, apples, pears, dill, arugula, swiss chard and more!