I tried to get this out a bit sooner, but we have been experiencing internet issues.
Welcome to the Second Wind CSA Week One Newsletter. I always begin by listing what you can expect in your share this week. I then move on to information I think everyone should have, or might be interested in. If you do not need any produce information, I ask that you scroll down and check out the second half of the newsletter so you can be well-informed. Posts will be made the Sunday prior to the distribution week.
As a disclaimer, I write what to expect in your shares based on what I think will be ready in two/three days. Some vegetables might be listed and not show up in your share, some items might not be listed and appear at the distribution. Vegetables that I am unsure of, I will mark with an asterisk.
You can expect the following this week:
2 heads lettuce
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch broccoli raab
1 bunch young bok choy
1 bunch kale
1 bunch beet greens with baby beets
1 bunch radishes*
1 bunch chives
assorted herbs: sage, mint and thyme
Now a bit about each vegetable: shelf life, flavor pairing, and other information. I will not post recipes today, but instead give a comprehensive guide to all the vegetables. If you have something to add, please comment, below.
Lettuce: I am sure you have all had lettuce! The only thing I really want to say about lettuce regards storage. I find that I depend on my salad spinner for head lettuce. Lettuce is very fragile, and therefore needs to be cool and moist, but not so much that it rots. When we harvest the lettuce, we cool it in a cold water bath immediately for the distribution. Do the same when you bring it home. Take the head lettuce, pull it apart and rinse it clean under cold water. Place it in the salad spinner and spin it dry. It will keep well this way in the refrigerator for two to three days.
Arugula: Arugula is a spicy green, used most often as a salad green. Acid helps cut the spice a bit. It pairs well with a lemon vinaigrette. Arugula is very fragile and should be used within one or two days of harvest. It can be prepared like the lettuce, above, or, even mixed it with the lettuce for a salad mix that can be used for a couple of days worth of salads.
Broccoli Raab: Also known as spring raab. This bitter mustard resembles broccoli because it has tiny florets among the leafy greens. All parts of the bunch are edible, including the stems. Some cookbooks recommend blanching the raab before cooking it, however, I have found this step unneccessary. Broccoli raab should be used within two to three days of harvest, if kept wrapped in the refrigerator. It is a popular calzone filling, pairs well in pasta dishes, or can be served as a side, sautéed with olive oil, garlic and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar. I enjoy it sautéed with garlic, ginger and chilies, served over rice with a dash of soy sauce.
Young Bok Choy: The bok choy bunches this week are made up of thinnings, so expect several plants in one bunch. The bok choy we leave in the field will be left to grow big. The entire plant can be eaten, stems and all. Bok choy has a bit longer shelf life than some of the other greens this week. It can be kept for about four days if kept wrapped and moist in the refrigerator. Bok choy is a popular ingredient in stir fries,however, it has such a mild, sweet flavor that it pairs well with many dishes.
Kale: Kale is much better as a fall crop, since light frosts improve its flavor. But it is such a popular vegetable that we grow it all season long. Kale is a sturdy green that will hold up for several days. The stems are very woody, so they should be removed before cooking. Kale can be steamed and dressed, sautéed and flavored, braised or even eaten raw. Kale pairs well with many foods and flavors, including sesame oil, garlic, lentils, and my favorite, white beans.
Beet Greens: Beet greens are a lot like chard. I use them as I would spinach. Beets, chard and spinach all have oxalic acid, which is an irritant for some, myself included, which is why I usually cook or marinate these veggies. Beet greens are pretty sturdy so they can be used later in the week, especially if the roots are left on. I enjoy cooking the beet greens with the baby beets in a simple saute or in soup. The baby beets can also be sliced thinly and added to salads.
Radishes: Radishes will hold up quite well in the fridge. If they begin to dry out, they will perk up if placed in a bowl of cool water. The radishes can be eaten as well as the greens, however, radish greens are not my personal favorite. I love raw radishes with humus, and have a pot a chickpeas soaking right now. Radishes are also an excellent salad addition. I have heard from two different people now that roasting/steaming spring radishes and then dressing with a simple vinaigrette is quite good. I had a quinoa salad at a friend’s house that featured radishes prepared in this fashion that was quite good.
Chives and Herbs: As a vegetable grower, I try to eat only what I produce, which is why I put chives in everything in the spring, before the onions and garlic come in. I put chives in pesto, in pasta, you name it. This week, I have had a lot of fun making various “pestos” out of chives and herbs, and using them as a spread or addition to pasta and grain dishes. Herbs keep well like a bouquet of flowers: in a glass of water. If ever in doubt, you can always dry unused herbs by hanging them upside down in a small paper bag. The peppermint makes a refreshing tea, sweetened or not.
Distribution Instructions: Sam and I will be present at the distributions this week. Normally, we are around and in sight, but we do not hang and and greet everyone. We will be there to show new members the ropes, meet everyone and say hello.
Please Please Please check your name off at every distribution. If you have a friend picking up your share, ask them to do the same! We ask that you do this so we can monitor the distribution. I check to make sure there is enough for all the members throughout the distribution, so it is important that everyone who has picked up their share is accounted for.
Please bring your own bags to distribution. We do not provide plastic bags.
There might be an item you do not want in your share. If so, please take the item and place it in the bin marked for that very purpose (bunched items only, please). If you see an item you desire in that bin, it’s for the taking!
The distribution times are as follows:
Wednesday (Garrison) 4:00-7:00pm
Saturday (boxed shares) 9:00am-1:00pm
This year we strongly encourage members to stick to their distribution day. If you are unable to make it to a distribution, we suggest having a friend pick your share up for you. If this is not possible, please consider skipping a week. If you are unable to pick up your share by the designated time, please call us and we will box it up and leave it out.
We look forward to seeing everyone this week!