Spring Salad Mix- while we rinse, this week's mix may be worth an additional rinse
Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) - from Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua, WI
Organic Plants Available! Garden Center Open Daily, 7am-7pm
The Garden Center at the Farm Stand features a wide variety of certified organic plants, potting soil and seeds for your garden or pots. The Garden Center is open daily, 7am-7pm. When you pick up plants, stop to shop locally produced goodies at Prairie Wind Farm Stand. We look forward to having you at the farm this spring!
Welcome to week three of the 2023 Growing Season!
Thank you to everyone who shopped at our Garden Center opening this past weekend! We enjoyed meeting and chatting with fellow growers as well as exchanging gardening tips and creative growing ideas. As mentioned above, we will continue to offer plants, compost, and seeds as long as the plants are healthy.
Our rebuilding progress continues! Our hoophouse tomatoes are now planted, hooray! We've salvaged enough pieces and parts to temporarily repair one hoophouse. Last week, we recovered with new plastic and on Saturday, the team planted with summer tomatoes. We will soon add bell peppers and eggplant, too. We also finished construction on a caterpillar tunnel (aka very small hoophouse) and we're in the process of stale seed bedding, that is, growing and terminating the first round of weeds. We will plant full of ginger to keep it feeling warm and tropical. While both structures are imperfect, we're hopeful they will both be strong enough to withstand seasonal storms and provide us with the time we need while we rebuild the other structures.
Balancing the rebuilding work needed with the increasing intensity of the fieldwork isn't easy, though we're making progress every week. We're taking full advantage of the sunshine and warmth to squeeze in plenty of preventative weeding and planting projects in the field this week. Jeff keeps an eye on the future planting soil, as he surveyed our upcoming tomato field this week. The picture above shows the results of experimentation with a diverse set of cover crops used for different purposes -- one mix for the future tomato rows (lighter green) and one mix (darker green) for the walkways. The hope is that all of the soil is nourished in this process.
We're also looking ahead to our early summer crops, as several are thriving with the recent rain and warm weather. There's nothing better than watching tall, healthy crops beat weeds at growing tall!
On the weekends, we spend time with extended family and work on summer projects. Gavin added two hives of bees to the existing hive last weekend, so he now has nearly 50,000 pollinators enjoying the spring growth, too. His vegetable-growing father couldn't be more pleased!
So despite a slower start to spring, the recent burst of growth in the field means we are sharing a lovely spring harvest with you this week. Thank you for following along and happy spring cooking!
Warmly, ~ Jen, Jeff, Cleto, David, Anacleto, Miguel, and Riley
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Pea shoots are an experimental crop for us this season. We hope our members will enjoy a delicate spring crop that was grown within our saved greenhouse structure. These delicious shoots are tender, sweet and filled with beautiful green color. Sprouts are rich in vitamins A, K, and C, as well as fiber and protein and can be added to salads, sandwiches or simply for healthy snacking. If needed, gently rinse the stems of any access soil and enjoy.
Cooler evening temperatures benefit crops that thrive on chilly nights including baby bok choy. We grow a baby variety called Mei Qing Choi in our borrowed spring hoophouse. This variety is known for its tender leaves, easy-to-use size, and its greens have a wonderful, olive-green color. We've found it is delicious eaten raw in a salad, or gently sautéed or steamed.
Sunchokes are a versatile, knobby-looking root vegetable that's grown underground and harvested like a potato. Similar to a potato in other ways, it's earthly flavor and root texture are perfect for roasting, frying, boiling, steaming and grilling. We generally combine them with other root vegetables for a nice vegetable puree or roasted vegetable medley to use on top of salads.
Tips for Packaging and Storage
We try to minimize our plastic packaging for members. To do this, we oftentimes combine produce (e.g., greens), which might be normally packaged separately, into one bag. Since most spring vegetables must be refrigerated in a plastic bag, please reuse these plastic packages. Keeping green items in plastic helps prevent wilting. If ramp tops or another tender vegetable appears droopy, you can soak it in cold water for a few minutes, gently 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.