Wild Ramps - from Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua, Wisconsin - Cut off the roots and use the whole stalk and leaves. The flavor is outstanding!
Parsnips - from Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua, Wisconsin
Russet Potatoes - from Igl Farm, Antigo, Wisconsin
*All vegetables are USDA certified organic.
Good afternoon from the farm!
Welcome to the 2022 Growing Season! We're grateful to be your farmers this season, whether it's for the first time or the 16th time. From our hard-working field crew (both veterans and new members) to our fellow farm partners that we collaborate with to bring you farm shares, we thank you for choosing us to be your farmers.
Unlike last spring which produced lettuce and asparagus for our first shares, this season is nearly two weeks behind due to the cold spring soil, temperatures and plenty of rain. While the hoophouse crops are longing for sunshine and it's been difficult to be patient to plant (our seedlings are ready!), we need to respect the soils and make sure we never do more damage (e.g., compaction) than good. And, never fear, the asparagus has been spotted! We wait for our greens to receive a surge of sunshine and heat, and we we will continue work closely with our farming friends at Harmony Valley Farm, Igl Farms and others to bring you a delicious early spring shares.
Speaking of partners, as we shared this April, Joe's Farm is producing the pasture-raised, beautiful orange yolked eggs for egg share members this season. By moving the hens to fresh pasture regularly, Joe's gives the hens a clean, natural environment to express themselves naturally and allows them to scratch around for bugs and worms all in the clean, fresh air. All of their hens are fed Non-GMO feed and are never given antibiotics or hormones.
That said, we still have livestock at the farm! When you are here, you're welcome to visit Twix the goat and our five new chicks -- four chickens and one turkey - adopted from the students who hatched them at the Prairie Crossing Charter School.
While the pandemic hasn't completely left us, we've decided to continue some of the practices that we adopted for the pandemic and adapt others. Based on your 2021 CSA member feedback as well as the current state of the pandemic within our community, we summarized a few of these changes below:
We will continue to set up labeled shares a neighborhood sites with a "swap" share (details below).
We are piloting a return to a market-style pick-up at the farm.
We are returning to a more limited plastic approach (started in 2021).
With our crew, we are maintaining our "Culture of Safety" policy which kept our family and our crew members safe throughout the pandemic.
We will continue to host farm events (started in 2021).
For the next two weeks, we are piloting a "swap share" at all of our sites. Here's how it works: you can exchange one item from your share from one item from the swap share. Please leave one before your take one to make sure this system allows everyone to make one swap if they'd like. What remains will be donated by our site hosts. We welcome your feedback to determine if its a system that we can continue throughout the season!
Finally, speaking of farm events, we invite you to the farm on Saturday, May 14th from 10am-2pm for a Spring Open House and Farmstand Sale. Our farm stand will be stocked with spring plants and the last of our pre-chopped frozen produce will be on sale. We'll host two farm tours, welcome you to meet and name our chicks, and you're welcomed to BYOP (bring your own picnic) to the farm. Friends and family are also welcome to enjoy this casual spring day on the farm.
Thank you for taking this seasonal journey with us. There's no greater honor than to be your farmers, sharing the bounty of the farm, your farm, with you and those around your dinner table.
Happy spring eating! ~ Jen, Jeff, Tyler, Arlet, Manuel, David, Cleto and Tracy
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. 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.
This week's overwintered scallions are also field-grown meaning that they endured frost, snow, heat, rain and wind. Unlike a more delicate spring scallion, these field onions stand up to heat and they are great when cooked or raw.
Roots return! Members will receive carrots, parsnips and beautyheart radishes this week. Though not all beautyheart radishes are shaped like a heart like the one pictured, they are delicious when peeled and eaten raw or roasted. Many farmers call late spring storage roots "bridger" crops as they are nearly the last of the stored winter harvest and they keep us all healthy while we wait for spring greens to grow! I love the intersections of seasons within the kitchen -- delicate greens and hearty roots -- as they provide excellent contrasts in meals (think lentil vegetable soup and a fresh spring salad). Store these roots in plastic in your refrigerator and peel when ready to use. Feel free to check last year's newsletters for more recipes.
Tips for Packaging and Storage
Even during challenging times, 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 greens 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.
Seasonal Recipes in the Farm Kitchen
Grilled Ramps - we slice these ramps and add them to our mashed potatoes! 1 bunch ramps Olive Oil Salt and Pepper 1 lemon
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat on the stovetop. Spray with extra virgin olive oil. While the pan is heating up, wash, trim the ends and dry the ramps. Place each ramp, leaves included, on the grill pan and cook for ~5 minutes on each side or until charred and tender (you can also do this on the grill). You may have to do several batches to cook all of the ramps. Transfer the ramps from the grill pan to a serving dish. Drizzle with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and a fresh grind of sea salt, to taste.
Curried Parsnip and Spinach Soup 1 small onion thinly sliced 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 1" piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp. curry powder 1 Tbsp. garam masala 1 tsp. ground coriander 1 tsp. ground cumin ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more 2 medium parsnips (about 1 lb.), scrubbed, cut into 2" pieces 1 medium carrot (about 4 oz.), scrubbed, cut into 2" pieces 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk 5 oz. spinach (about 6 cups)
Cook onion, garlic, ginger, and oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and golden brown, 12–15 minutes. Sprinkle in curry powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add parsnips and carrot and stir to coat with spices. Pour in broth and coconut milk, then increase heat to medium-high and simmer until vegetables are tender, 20–25 minutes. Remove from heat and add spinach; stir until wilted.
Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. (Or, use an immersion blender and blend soup directly in pot.) Return soup to pot and reheat over medium-low, stirring and adding more water to thin if needed. Taste and season with more salt. Ladle soup into bowls. (adapted from Bon Appetit)
Organic Plant Sale Opens! - The Liberty Prairie Foundation Plant Sale takes place online again this year. Each year, the Foundation sells a wide variety of certified organic plants to local gardeners as a fundraiser for the experiential education on the farm. The ordering platform went live yesterday with pick-up dates in May.
When you pick up plants, we welcome you to visit the Prairie Wind Farm Stand. We'll offer supplemental plants (grown by us), meats, cheeses, jarred goods, early produce, soaps and more. We look forward to having you back at the farm this spring!