Thursday, June 20, 2013

BGF News 6/11/2013

Volume XXI, Number 2    June 11, 2013

In this week’s box:
Braising Greens (Osaka Purple Mustard, Amaranth & Chenopodium)
Green Garlic
Spinruts (small round white & pink/red roots with green tops) aka: turnips
Tapestry Salad Mix
and possibly one of the following:
Snow Peas
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Herb share will begin in a couple of weeks
For those with the Honey option: Deliveries will start in July

Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Drop Biscuits with Cheddar and Mustard Greens
Spring Turnips with Greens and Raisins
Green Garlic Salt

Precipitation in the past week: 0.71”

What’s up on the farm?

It has been a productive week here on the farm. With a little break in the daily rainfall the soil dried out a bit and we were finally able to get the majority of the transplants into the ground. Over a couple of days, hundreds of tomato, pepper, sweet potato, melon, winter squash and green onions plants all went into the fields. We aren't finished yet, Plot VI was still too wet to plant, so we are hoping to get the last of those beds planted later this week. If we dry out enough to till, then we can get the rest of the seed sowing done as well, but that requires even drier soil, so we'll just think positive thoughts for that to happen. Then there is the weeding…we have a lovely crop of "natives" growing in profusion with all this lovely spring rain, so we are going to go after them today with a dual purpose in mind. Amaranth and Chenopodium are two of the healthiest and most important food crops in the world, only in the US do people dowse them with herbicide in an effort to get rid of them. While we agree that a weed is any plant growing where it isn't wanted, we hate to waste a tasty and vitamin-filled resource. So we are pairing them with the beautiful Osaka Purple Mustard that seems determined to bolt before it is big enough to be useful on its own. This combo will make an amazing blend of cooking greens. They can all be eaten fresh, but we prefer them sautéed with garlic and olive oil (any tough stems removed) and then served as a side dish or added to eggs, soups or pastas. If you leave out the garlic, they would be perfect with the biscuit recipe below.

We do have an unfortunate bit of news to share this week. Despite our best efforts, the weather has been really hard on our spinach crop. One variety has completely bolted and the others are showing significant stress. We will continue to harvest it as long as it is usable, but it will likely fail sooner than we would like. So we may not be able to get it into everyone's boxes. Sadly, the same is true for the asparagus. However, the peas are going strong. The high tunnel peas continue to plug along and those in the field (snow & sugar snap) are blooming and setting peas now. This is the best looking crop of peas we've ever had, and we hope to continue to send those out in boxes for many weeks.

Some more light-hearted news…Spring bird report, we have nesting pairs of bluebirds, tree swallows, cedar waxwings and bob o links around the gardens. Fairly certain that most of them have young at this point as we see the adults in a mad scramble for worms to take back to the nests every morning. It’s a pretty good show and we expect to start seeing fledglings out in the gardens any day now, which is always good entertainment.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Braising Greens: A combination of greens that are used mostly in cooked dishes. Store like other greens, in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. 

Chard: A mild-flavored, leafy member of the beet family that can be used raw or cooked. Chard will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  When cooking chard with large stems, separate stems from leaves and start cooking the stems first, as they will take a bit more cooking time.

Green garlic: Store loosely wrapped in plastic in your produce drawer and use like you would garlic scapes or bulb garlic.  The flavor is so fresh and green that we like to use them in recipes that really highlight the flavor, like pesto or garlic butter, though it is also darn tasty on homemade pizza!

Spinruts/turnips: keep best if separated from their greens.  Greens are stored in a plastic bag and can be cooked like mustard or collard greens.  Trimmed roots can go into a lidded container or zip-close bag You are probably also wondering what the story is with the Spinruts?  Well, “spinrut” is just the word turnip spelled backwards and we borrowed this from a larger CSA in northern Iowa.  They decided that people have some pre-conceived notions about turnips and many of them are not very nice.  But most people have also only experienced the old stand-by “purple-top turnip” and these glowing white orbs that we are growing are a totally different eating experience.  This is a Japanese spring (or salad) turnip.  It is sweet, crisp and juicy and our favorite way to eat them is straight out of hand, or maybe chilled with a quick sprinkle of sea salt.  It is tasty sliced or grated into salads and even thin-sliced on sandwiches.  Of course you can also use them in any turnip recipe, but fresh is when they really shine.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us at our blog at and on Facebook (just search Blue Gate Farm) and “Like” us.

That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 

Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue & Luci)

Drop Biscuits with Cheddar and Mustard Greens
Yield: Makes 18-20 biscuits

3 cups whole grain flour (I used a combination of white whole wheat and whole wheat pastry)
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
2 cups cooked leafy greens, well-chopped (chard, mustard or turnip greens, kale, ect)
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add the grated cheese and combine with a fork.
Stir in the cooked greens.
Add 1 cup of milk and stir. Continue adding milk and mixing (switching to a hand at this juncture is good) until the dough just comes together and all the flour is incorporated.
Using a large spoon, cookie scoop or a 1/2 cup measuring cup, portion the dough into a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet.
Bake drop biscuits at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes, until they are golden brown on top and the visible cheese bubbles slightly.
Remove pans from the oven. Serve hot.
These biscuits freeze well, either prior to baking or after.

Recipe Source:

Spring Turnips with Greens and Raisins
2 T butter, divided
2 t olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 bunch spring turnips and greens (about 10 small or 5 large turnips
about ½ cup raisins (we especially like this with dried cranberries)
12 ounces orzo or bowtie pasta, cooked and cooled (optional)
Heat 1 T of the butter and all of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, wash turnips and trim the leaves from the root. Chop the roots into 1-inch dice. Discard any yellowed turnip leaves and roughly chop the nice ones. Once the onions are softened, add the turnip roots. Sprinkle with a bit of salt, stir and cover. Cook until the turnips can be easily pierced with a knife, about 8 minutes. Uncover, turn the heat up to medium high, and cook, stirring now and then, until turnips turn light brown at the edges. Add the chopped greens and raisins and cook until the greens are wilted and tender, another 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 T butter and salt to taste. Eat this as a side dish or toss it with cooked pasta for a main dish. Makes 3-4 servings.

Green Garlic Salt
This recipe makes a coarse garlic salt. If you prefer a finer salt, process the salt a second time once you’ve dried it.

1 head of green garlic and its tender greens, coarsely chopped
½ cup coarse sea salt
With the food processor running, add the chopped garlic and greens. Process until finely minced, 15 to 30 seconds.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Add salt to garlic in processor; process until thoroughly combined, 10 to 15 seconds.
Pour garlic salt over a rimmed baking sheet and spread into a thin, even layer.
Allow garlic salt to dry overnight.
Once dry, use a stainless steel or plastic spatula to loosen salt from baking sheet. Press the salt with the back of the spatula to break any large chunks of salt apart.
If you prefer a finer salt, process garlic salt again to your desired consistency.
Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

Recipe Source:
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