Frozen Blueberries - Mick Klug Farm, St Joseph, MI
Frozen Strawberries - Mick Klug Farm, St Joseph, MI
Frozen Garlic Scapes - chop and use this in place of garlic cloves!
Good evening from your farm!
If you've read our newsletters throughout the seasons, you'll likely notice a multi-tasking theme: farmers planning ahead for an upcoming season while farming within the existing season. For instance, in the spring, it's quite common for three seasonal activities to take place in one day: the farm crew harvesting lettuce for spring CSA members, Jeff and Tyler planting crops for summer CSA members, and Jen preserving garlic scapes for winter CSA members.
Throughout the season, we're constantly planning for our winter share members and dreaming up ways to make the share better for you. To preserve our summer vegetable crops, we work with Chef Kirsten Hall of Victus Foods (formerly Real Clean Paleo). Throughout the season, Kirsten and I work together closely to determine the best approach to maintaining the ideal summer flavor, color, or texture for each vegetable. For instance this year, Kirsten advised we adjust blanching times to ensure that the vegetables maintain as much color and crunch as possible. All of this careful and respectful handling of the food by Chef Kirsten and our farmers is in an effort to ensure the longest shelf-life and best flavor for you.
Our partnership with the Klugs is no different, and they can certainly relate to the multitasking we do! We work closely with Abby Klug throughout the summertime to anticipate how much of the frozen strawberry, blueberry, and cherry harvest will be available. We do this as her team brings in the summer fruit harvest.
With both of our farms, there are no additions to the frozen vegetables or fruit. The freezing process preserves the best qualities of the produce -- the flavor and nutrients! We recommend using frozen produce within recipes where the flavor is important (e.g., soups, stews, baked, pureed) and texture needn't matter. Your frozen produce items are vacuum-sealed, though sometimes the movement of these packages causes the seal to loosen. Rest assured, the produce is still sealed within. With most of the frozen crops, you can place them into your freezer to use whenever you're ready to add to your favorite dish.
As some of this same team gathered this week to pack winter shares, a warm feeling of gratitude swelled. We're proud of the seasonal multitasking, farmer/chef partnerships, and our loyal team of people dedicated to producing local, flavorful, safe food for you year-round. After over six months in the making, it makes us happy to share this week's winter share with you.
Warmly, Jeff, Jen and the Prairie Wind Farm Team
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Overwintered spinach has thicker and sweeter leaves than spring-planted spinach because it gets planted in October and grows throughout the winter. The deep green color comes from the warm, southern winter sunshine it enjoys through the plastic walls of the hoophouse. Because of its thick leaves, it is best used in cooked dishes rather than eaten raw in salads. You may notice it’s a bit more textured and that's a good thing! This means that the spinach won’t cook down as much as late spring or fall spinach.
Grown by our friends at Harmony Valley, parsnips are closely related to carrots, though they have a nutty-sweet taste and hearty texture all their own. Like carrots, these were harvested in the fall and sweetened within cold storage. We don't often peel our vegetables, as much of the nutrition is in the outer peel. However, in the wintertime, we do sometimes peel as tiny roots begin to regrow or the exterior doesn't look as pristine from storage. Either way, the flavor of these parsnips is perfect in stews, soups, roasted or sautéed with a touch of warm maple syrup on top.
Sautéed Winter Spinach with Garlic Scapes 1 bag fresh winter spinach 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 garlic scapes, chopped into ¼ inch pieces Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Rinse the spinach and drain well. Heat the oil in a skillet large enough to hold all the spinach. Add the spinach, garlic scapes, salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring rapidly until the spinach is wilted and most of the moisture has evaporated. Serve immediately as a side or add to pasta, pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich!
Beautyheart Radish Butter on Toasted Baguette Yields: 4 servings 1 lb Beautyheart radishes, outer skin removed, root ends trimmed 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 1 baguette, lightly toasted Grate radishes on the small holes of a box grater; place on paper towels, and squeeze out excess liquid. Combine radishes and butter in a small bowl; mix well. Slice baguette in half lengthwise and place under broiler in oven; toast until crisp and browned. Remove from oven, and cool slightly. Spread radish mixture on toasted baguette; season with salt and pepper. Slice each half into four pieces, and serve.