April 18 2012, Week 1

A few reminders about how the CSA Program works:

Please flatten and return your wax box each week when you go to pick up your next share.

Please try to not rip or break your box, although it can be hard with the new boxes that are still rather stiff. The boxes slide open at the top and bottom. We do have some brand new boxes this year, so it may be a bit tough at first, but you can do it, I have faith in you! If you pick up at the Carrboro Market, you don't have to worry about it, we can break them down for you it you want.

If you send someone else to pick up your share, make sure they take the box with your name on it.

You must pick up your box within the alloted time or else forfiet it for the week. You can email me by Monday evenings to request a hold on your box for that week if you know you won't be able to pick it up. Then, when is convenenient for you, you can let me know when you would like a double share to make up for the hold.

-Durham Cornwallis: 1715 W. Cornwallis St. Durham 27705
PICK UP TIMES 2:30-7:00 PM (share boxes will be located in the carport with members names on them)

-Durham: 915 Hale St. Durham 27705
PICK UP TIMES 2:30-7:00 PM (share boxes will be on the front porch with members names on them)

-Hillsborough: 306 Revere Road Hillsborough 27278
PICK UP TIMES 2:00-7:00 PM (share boxes will be right outside the front door with members names on them)

-Chapel Hill: 124 Stateside Drive, Chapel Hill 27514: PICK UP TIMES 3:00-7:00 PM (Share boxes will be on the front porch with members names on them)

-Carrboro Farmers Maket: PICK UP 3:30-6:60 (At my farm stand. Please note that this year the market has a rule that even presold items cannot be handed out prior to the 3:30 start bell at market. I won't be able to give you your box even if you show up a little early and I am there setting up my stand).

-FARM PICK UP/OTHER (Farm 12:00-07:00)

Recipes, Produce and Storage Information:

Green Garlic: An immmature garlic plant, this is what garlic looks like before it forms its head at the bottom of the stalk. Once the head forms, the green leaves die down and form the paper around the cloves and head that holds them in place. Pretty cool, huh? The even cooler thing is how good it tastes. Eat it raw or cooked, it has a lovely mild garlic flavor that is all its own. It is a special treat this time of year, since you can't find it in grocery stores ever let alone year round like most crops. The whole stalk is edible, both white and green parts. Store in the plastic bag in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Turnips: Japanese salad turnips, these are not the fall storage purple top variety. This turnip is a lightly sweet and crisp variety that can be eaten raw (add to your salad) or cooked. We usually harvest them around ping pong or golf ball size, so don't mistake them for radishes (the turnips tops are not as big as usual, which could also lead you to assume they were radishes. We are blaming that on the warm weather). Store in the plastic bag in your hydrator drawer, for maximum storage length on the turnip root cut the greens off and either discard or store in a bag seperately for sauteeing. The greens will suck moisture out of the root shortening their storage life. Roots will store for weeks. Greens, seperated and bagged will store for a week or so.

Roasted Japanese Turnips with Honey
Andrea Reusing Cooking in the Moment
4 bunches (about 20 small) golf ball size Japanese-style turnips, stems trimmed to ¼ inch, sliced in half lengthwise.
1 T plus 1 t expeller-pressed vegetable oil
½ t kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 T honey
Pinch of Cayenne
In a medium bowl, toss the turnips with 1 T oil, the salt and some pepper.
Heat a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, coat the pan with the remaining 1 t oil and add the turnips. Saute, shaking the pan frequently, until the turnips are starting to turn a golden brown, especially on the cut sides, and are almost tender but still slightly firm, 8-10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the honey and cayenne with 1 T water. Add this to the turnips and cook, tossing for another few minutes, until the turnips are tender.

Boc Choy: An Asian Green excellent raw as a salad green or sauteed as a cooked green. In the recipe below, try using some of your green garlic instead of mature garlic.
Bok Choy Stir-Fried with Garlic
Nancie McDermott Quick and Easy Chinese
1 ¼ pounds boc choy
2 T vegetable oil
3 slices fresh ginger
2 t chopped garlic
1 t salt
¼ t sugar
2 T water
Trim away and discard the bottom inch or so at the base of the bock choy, along with any tired outer leaves and stalks. Quarter the bok choy lengthwise, and then line up the spears. Cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths, and transfer the pieces to a large bowl. Tumble to loosen up all the leaves and pieces; you should have around 6 cups
Heat a wok or a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan.
Add the ginger, garlic, and salt and toss well. Scatter in the bok choy and toss well, until it is shiny and beginning to wilt, less than one minute.
Add the sugar and water and continue cooking, tossing now and then until thte leaves are vivid green and the stalks are tender but not limp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add a little more water if needed to prevent burning while cooking.
Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot or warm.
Radishes: We have all kinds and colors this year. Purple, red, pink, white with red tops (round - don't confuse with turnips!) and white with red tops (long finger like). Folks who buy them from us at the farmer's market talk about eating them with salt and butter, on a biscuit, or just salt and the radish like a snack instead of potato chips. Some folks talk about roasting or sauteeing them. Google some radish recipes and see what you come up with! You can always just chop them up and eat the on that lovely salad you make with your lettuce.

What's What on the Farm

It’s been a busy week! We planted our first quarter acre planting of tomatoes for the year on Monday. Fortunately we had been checking the ten day forecast, and while sometimes unreliable, gave us a heads up on the cold temperatures we experienced last week. We waited to plant. We had frost, two nights in row. Yay!!! We waited!! The only thing that was damaged here was the potato crop. Damaged, but thankfully not lost, the above ground green tops of the potato plants were black the next morning! They are already starting to grow back though. The spring crops like lettuce and broccoli said, “bring it on, we can handle a touch of cold weather!”, and handle it they did. That is actually why they are designated AS spring (or cooler season) crops. We would have worried for those guys if we had seen mid to upper twenties, which we didn’t.

Yes, all farmers talk about is the weather.

Wooohooo, it rained! I know it is REALLY dry when the grassy areas between our quarter acre growing fields, begins to die. Of course that means that the grass won’t grow and I won’t have to mow it which is great, but what else does super dry weather mean for the farm?? Returning members have heard me boast before about the size and bounty of the farm’s spring fed pond. I will not run out of water. Phew! Surprising to some, in the summer months, I actually prefer the dryer weather. When the above ground portion of the tomato plant, for example, gets wet, it can be highly prone to suffering from fungal, bacterial or viral diseases. Dry weather equals less or no plant disease. We irrigate with drip line, which is laid down each row right where the plants roots are located. In a given year we will use up to 30,000 ft. or more of drip line down our growing beds. Drip line, unlike overhead irrigation, keeps the above ground portion of the plant dry because the water drips out of small holes placed every eight inches. What a great invention, right??!!

So why the, ‘wooohooo’?! Well, we are not as worried about the diseases in the spring, when it is much less humid in general and the crops are not as sensitive to it. Plus, the drip line only really wets about a six to eight inch wide band of the growing bed, thus activating the micro-organisms in that area alone to start breaking down organic matter and release nutrients to the plant. In the rest of the bed that remains dry, the potential nutrients remain unavailable to the plant during that time.

Plus! I live off a gravel road and my car has been pretty covered in dust from driving it, it needed a good washing ;) Seriously though, while the rain was nice, we actually don’t want too much of it right now because it can be harmful to our fragile strawberry crop. Strawberries don’t really have a skin to protect their soft yummy luscious fruit. If the fruit stays wet while on the plant for an extended time it will rot. Booooo! One rain shouldn’t cause too much damage though so folks should really be thinking about where they are going to go for their PYO excursion with the kids or friends this year…….which leads me into……..

The Low Down on local PYO Strawberries......

I have very fond memories of picking strawberries as a child. I loved it. I loved strawberries and I loved picking them. In Maine, where I grew up, strawberry season is in late June, right in time for my birthday and my annual strawberry shortcake birthday cake. It was a no brainer for me to decide to grow strawberries when I started my farm. A PYO though, well, I don’t have the constitution for seven days a week, sun up till sun down open for business. So, we grow just enough so members can get a taste of the season in their boxes. So, where to go to indulge in the plethora??? Lots of local PYO farms to choose from. I have a lot of respect for all farmers in the area, both conventional and organic growers alike. We all work hard, supply the local community and are family run small businesses. While I believe in organic and sustainable practices, I am usually not one to preach them. That being said, strawberries are one crop that I would really encourage folks to go organic on. Why the emphasis on this crop? I will just outline the different growing techniques and let you decide. Conventional strawberries: The soil is gassed with a fumigant known as Methyl Bromide. Methyl Bromide is subject to phase-out requirements from the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances. Whereas the Montreal Protocol has severely restricted the use of methyl bromide internationally, the US has successfully lobbied for critical use exemptions. The gas is used in the soil to kill any organisms that may cause disease to the plant. The problem is that Methyl Bromide is severely destructive to the ozone and is still widely used in conventional strawberry production in the US. Aside from that, synthetic fertilizers, herbicides sprayed in the pathways to kill the grass were you crawl around and hunt for those red beauties, and possibly pesticides to kill any mites that can sometimes be a problem. So, check with your grower if it matters to you. If asked nicely, most folks are happy to share their growing techniques. OR! You can just go to one of the two certified Organic strawberry farms listed below:

Vollmer Farms: www.vollmerfarm.com in Dunn, NC
Whitted Bowers Farm: www.whittedbowersfarm.com/Site Hurdle Mills, NC

What to look forward too.....

Next week you can expect some new items like beets, and scallions, plus more head lettuce, strawberries and more! Broccoli and Cauliflower are only a couple of weeks away. And carrots, those lovely carrots, are just two weeks away themselves. Lots to look forward to. Best, Elise.

What's in the box?

Full Share
Crop Amount  

Head lettuce (one Green Boston, one Romaine)

Radishes (two bunches / mixed colors)

Green Garlic (three stalks)

Swiss Chard (one large bunch)

Hakurie Turnips (one bunch) *see recipe

Strawberries (one pint - eat soon they arent storing long)

Boc Choi (two) *see recipe

Half Share
Crop Amount  

Head lettuce (one red leaf)

Radishes (one bunch)

Green Garlic (two stalks)

Kale (one bunch)

Hakurie Turnips (one bunch) *see recipe

Strawberries (one pint) (eat soon they aren't storing long)