A few notes on the style of our CSA program, should you be one of our new members. Our veggies are “field clean” and will look lovely when they come to you, but our goal in the wash station here is really to remove ambient heat and not so much to get them to you in table-ready condition. So DO WASH YOUR VEGGIES, but hold off until you are ready to eat them. They’ll stay longer that way. Most of our vegetables require refrigeration to stay fresh – they’ve been refrigerated here from the moment they left the washtub, and you should continue that. Most last longer when covered in plastic. We will give you special instructions on things that don’t want plastic or cold storage.
You should get enough information through this In The Box Harvest List to help you identify the more unusual selections, but we really encourage you to rely on TASTING and SMELLING the raw veggies rather than simply going by our descriptions to identify them. We will put as many pictures on the web as we have time for, but in the end, your own perception is going to be your best guide for how to use your produce. Have fun, be bold, take chances and trust yourself!
We will include a recipe or two each box on the paper harvest list, but we put a lot more info up on the website because we have room to wax poetic. Visit circlemfarm.com for each box. Better yet, share your own discoveries with the CSA community on the facebook page. If you like pictures, we’ve got our recipes posted at the new Farmer Kriss Pinterest page, too.
Oh, and hey! It was great to see so many of you at our Lambs and Lettuces Farm Festival this weekend. We had a blast and, most importantly, got to meet lots of you face to face. If you couldn’t make it, don’t worry, there will be more opportunities. We are going to host more fancy flea market sales here this summer, and run a monthly Cooking Class with Chef Tom Ponick who taught us to make spring rolls and lettuce wraps this weekend. We’ll wrap up the season with our Homestead Harvest Festival in October. But we hope to see you tomorrow at your delivery site, too.
Here's what's In The Box! Use the first things first:
Asian Braising Mix (bagged): A gorgeous blend of Asian brassicas intended to mix with your salad and eat raw or to chop and sauté lightly. You will see yellow flowers, purple stalks and all manner of smooth and frizzy leaves. Some are hot and spicy (purple mustard and mizuna) and others are tender and sweet (baby bok choy and baby napa cabbage). We have been adding this raw to our lunch crew salad, but for dinner, we also chop the whole mix into 1-inch pieces, then lightly sautée in coconut oil with a splash of siracha. When the greens are soft we add toasted sesame seeds and some coconut milk to make a quick sauce, then eat the whole thing over brown rice. Superb!
Head Lettuce: The Full Shares have a large head of crisp green Royal Oakleaf Lettuce. The Shorties have a dramatic little head of Mayan Jaguar.
Sorrel (bunched): Oh, these lovely lance-shaped leaves hold a secret explosion of flavor you don’t expect from something that looks like lettuce. Taste and see. This English spring favorite is “the cabbage patch kid of the garden,” as my friend JD used to say. Try some of the recipes we’ve provided in the Box 1 Recipes Post.
Spinach (bagged): These dark-green leaves are just as good raw as cooked, if not better. We encourage you not to throw away the stems – we find them to be the sweetest part of the plant.
Chive Blossoms (bunched): Use the chive blossoms whole in tempura, or pull the bulblets from the flower and garnish a salad or omelet. Snip the leaves into tiny bits of onion flavor to grace any dish. The flower stalks themselves are tough at the bottom, so test for tenderness before you use in a dish. We love these floating on sorrel soup!
Broccoli Raab (bunched): Our new family favorite vegetable. In recent years, various excellent “Broccoli Raab,” “Broccolini,” “Rapini” and “Sprouting Broccoli” dishes have appeared on the menus of Madison restaurants. We had an amazing Raab dish at Lombardino’s for Mother’s Day and another great Broccolini appetizer at Eno Vino this spring. But we like this veggie because it not only tastes and looks great – flowers! – but it’s the easiest thing in the world to prepare. Simply rinse the whole stalk in a sink full of cold water, then saute whole or chop everything into bite-size pieces. You will use stalk, leaves, buds and flower all together, to great effect, trust me!
Lovage (bunched): Lovage is a well-loved ancient herb little known here in America. A perennial celery, we think it smells like a cross between celery and nutmeg. We’ve found you some recipes, but use this anywhere you’d use celery – which won’t be available grown locally til much later in the summer. I like to rub my hands in it and smell them throughout the day. Both leaves and stalks can be chopped and added to soups, dips, salads and sautees.
French Breakfast Radish (bunched): These rambunctious roots got going in our greenhouse months ago, and are now literally jumping out of the ground. The few hot days we have had have encouraged them to be spicy, and to form some hollow bits inside. At this size, consider cooking them (Try the Braised Radishes with Sorrel recipe) to sweeten and soften the flesh and mitigate the heat. And by the way – radish greens are delicious and these are very tender. Save them for a soup, a stir-fry, or braise them along with the roots. As always, our favorite way to enjoy radishes is sliced thin and laid on a buttered slice of baguette. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Or try the recipe we posted on the facebook page for Cinnamon and Sugar Radish Chips!
Baby Leeks: These over-wintered leeks are the last of our planting from 2012. Small and tender – you can use them like scallions.
Rhubarb: The crew here had so much fun picking the stalks and slicing off the poisonous leaves. Who wouldn’t be happy elbow-deep in fragrant ruby-colored rhubarb? Do share with us your favorite recipes, and try the amazing Rhubarb Caramel Cake recipe we shared with you.
Tomatoes to Plant: We like to give lots of plants our to our members, and some of you have already come and gathered up lots of our extras to pop into your gardens. This week we have little plants of Cherry and Paste tomatoes in the box for you. Plant them now and you could have tomatoes to eat fresh every day. Nothing, not even a CSA share, can rival the taste of a tomato picked and eaten immediately. Find a spot for just these two.