News from the farm: May 19, 2010

What's going on at the farm?

Well hello there members!  Red Alert this week - no pun intended ;) - you need to be careful with your strawberries!  Seeing as the sun has not come out here all week, they have stayed wet Monday, Tuesday and this morning.  We were hoping they would be dry this morning to pick, but it rained again last night.  Left with no more time to wait, we picked anyway.  Long story short, your berries are wet, and you need to take them out of the pint/quart container and lay them (single layer) on a plate on the counter to dry.  They will not last long this week, a day maybe two - so eat them up!  Strawberries do not have a skin, hence they are very prone to rotting in excessively wet prolonged conditions.  The four plus inches of rain we had this week so far has been good for some things though, and seeing as this past April was the driest April in recorded history (the past 120 years), I’ll take the rain even if it means a few rotten strawberries. 
            New members may be wondering, what is this alien like looking purple vegetable named Kohlrabi in my box this week?  Kohlrabi is in the same family with Broccoli and Cabbage, and tastes like a cross between a cabbage and a turnip…..with a little apple flavor thrown in there some say.  You want to eat the ball, not necessarily the leaves although you can cook them like kale, they may be a bit on the bitter side.  You want to peel the ball, and slice, dice or grate the flesh to add to salads raw, or roast with those carrots, beets and green garlic in the oven.  I have included a recipe below.  Because this is such an unusual plant, we traditionally only give it to members one week in the spring.  I am pleased to see that some of the members who pick up  at market have been asking after it, craving I might even say!  Maybe you will be a convert too.
            We have some big cauliflower heads this year of which I am awfully proud!  Assuming, that is, that you guys can eat it all.  I have heard that it is easy to scare CSA members away by giving them too much food, as no one likes to see food go to waste.  I have faith you all can do it.  I have included a recipe as encouragement.  As a side note, slight yellowing on the head is from sun exposure in the field, it can be difficult to get the heads fully blanched white (blanching means blocking them from light as they form).  I am pretty impressed by how white they all seem though this year if I do say so myself. 
            Carrots today are mainly orange, but they can come in many different colors- red, yellow, even purple. Carrots are related to parsley, dill, fennel, celery, and Queen Anne’s Lace, all of which can be distinguished by their long feathery leaves.  Carrots are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C- in fact a serving of carrots has well over the RDA of vitamin A for both men and women . Carrots store best in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. It’s best to remove the tops before storing because as the tops wilt they’ll draw moisture up from the roots and turn the carrots rubbery.  If your carrots do turn rubbery, store them immersed in a container of water in the refrigerator and soon enough they’ll be crisp again.  I like to include the tops in your box in case you have a rabbit or gerbil for a pet who may like to eat them (horses love them)….and some people like to cook them in stir fries for themselves (mainly I just think they look so pretty still on the carrot).  This is just the start of carrot season, they look great out there in the field, and you will be receiving many more (even purple and white carrots!!!!).
            Because carrots have a tough cellular wall, cooking them until they’re just tender actually makes the nutrients more available, though overcooking them decreases their nutrient content.  Roasting carrots is both delicious and easy- just chop them to whatever size you please, toss them with a little olive oil and salt and roast them in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. You can also steam carrots in an inch or so of liquid (water, broth, orange juice) in a covered pot. The carrots should absorb all the liquid when they’re done (about 5-8 minutes for whole carrots and 3-4 minutes for sliced carrots).  Try tossing cooked carrots with a squeeze of lemon juice or sautéing carrots with curry powder or cumin and a handful of raisins. You can also puree carrots with some savory spice for a soup, or simply grate carrots over a salad and enjoy.
            Turnip and beet reminder:  Unless you plan to cook them right away, cut off your turnip and beet greens and store them separately from the roots- that way they’ll both keep longer. Store both the greens and roots in plastic bags in your refrigerator crisper. The greens should keep for a few days, while the roots can be stored for a week or two.  You can eat both!
            Aside from the vegetables, we have some great employees growing on the farm this year!  That is right, we are growing more local farmers.  Our newest employee, Becca, would like to run her own farm soon and is in the process of thinking through a business plan to farm next year on her own in an extra field here on my farm.  I have been blessed with 41 acres, and only grow on three myself.  Of course some are wooded, but not all.  Beth, a wonder and dream come true for me and the farm, is back again this year for her third season and is taking on a more managerial role.  I also have hired Ash for two days a week to help with harvesting.  My goal this year, in my tenth year of running Elysian Fields Farm, is to work just five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, and to take Monday’s off with Beth managing Becca and Ash on Monday’s.  Unfortunately during Strawberry season, this dream has only been realized one week, but you wait and see, June is looking good for me and Monday’s J  Both Beth and Becca are going to each run a small 25 member Fall CSA this year from my farm.  I will let you all know more details in case you would like to sign on as their CSA’s will start once mine ends.  Happy eating!  Elise.


2 kohlrabi
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh herbs of your choice
Grate the kohlrabi (optional:  place in a colander and sprinkle with salt, let stand for 30 minutes and drain).  Heat butter over medium heat, add onions and saute a few mintutes.  Stir in the kohlrabi, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes.  Increase heat to medium and cook 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in fresh herbs.

1 cauliflower, broken into florets
¾ cups olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup minced onion
½ cup chopped parsley
2-3 fresh leaves basil chopped
1 packed cup coarsely grated carrots
Combine ½ cup water, cauliflower, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until cauliflower is tender, 10-15 minutes, Transfer to serving bowl and chill.  Just before serving, mix in remaining ingredients.

What's in the box?

Full Box
Crop Amount  

Cauliflower                       2-3 lb. head
Kohlrabi                           Three
Beets                                1 larger bunch
Carrots                             1 larger bunch
Turnips                            1 Bunch
Green Garlic                   Two
Baby Bunching Leeks     1 bunch
Strawberries                    1 quart (2 pints)

Half Box
Crop Amount Price

Lettuce                          1 head
Mesclun Mix                 ¼ lb.
Strawberries                   1 pint
Cauliflower                     1-2 lb. head
Beets                               1 smaller
Carrots                           1 smaller
Green Garlic                   One
Kohlrabi                          Two