Expect the following produce in your shares this week:
1 bunch kale
1 bunch chard
1 bunch turnip greens
1 bunch mustard
large sack of onions***
1 head garlic
***We are distributing large sacks of onions this week. We have nowhere to store our glorious onion crop so we are giving out onions that you will be able to use for about a month. (Or, you can gobble them all at once if that’s what you want too!) Each sack of onions will come with storage instructions.
On the Farm
The theme of the summer has definitely been one of earliness: early greens, early berries, early tomatoes, early ends. Indeed, fall is no exception to the early theme. We, like everyone else, feel the chill in the air is a bit early, even for September. The nights have turned brisk and I am farming in long pants and boots again. Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew, right off the bat, what each season was going to be like? Though a nice fantasy, we will never know what the season will bring, especially in the current, ever-changing, climate. As farmers, our jobs are made a whole lot easier if we embrace the unpredictability of the seasons, prepare for an early end, and stay positive about the present. The chill may mean the end of summer is here, but it also means our fall crops are completely at home in the cool weather. Just look at the happy greens and root tops as you drive down the drive. After two months of little rain and high heat, the kale finally looks gorgeous. Plus, we’ve still got a nice amount of tomatoes this week too, making the transition a bit more palatable.
Another Sauce Day?
Short notice, but we can squeeze in another community sauce day this week. Expect an email with details.
This month, I am crafting “totally local” recipes, which only have spices, oils, or dressings that have been shipped in from a land far, far away.
We have turnip greens in the shares this week. Even I have trouble knowing what to do with them. But the idea of a huge, well-cooked pot of braised greens in the southern tradition seems so romantic on a cool, late summer night. (Summer officially ends September 23.) Cooking has gotten a bad rap the past few years with the onslaught of the raw food revolution. Did you know that not all nutrients are available to your body in raw or even lightly cooked greens? It is true that certain vitamins are destroyed in the cooking process but certain minerals become available as the structure of the leaf breaks down. So don’t fret about cooking greens in soups or stews for a long time. Just balance cooked greens out with raw ones on a daily basis.
I crafted the following recipe, and enjoyed it quite a bit. The greens are assertive but the long cooking time softens the flavors and makes them creamy. Serve with hearty beans or a simple tomato salad.
Braised Greens with Polenta
2 cups polenta
8 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 TBS olive oil
3 bunches greens, rinsed and roughly chopped (I suggest turnip, mustard and chard from the shares this week.)
3 small onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 hot pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of ground cloves
smoked sea salt (You may use regular salt, but the smokiness gives the flavor of the greens depth.)
1 cup water
Prepare the greens first:
Saute the onion in garlic in olive oil (enough to coat the pan) over medium heat in a 5 quart pot until translucent. Add the greens bit by bit so that they wilt and will fit in the pot. Add the spices and a generous amount of black pepper. (Season with salt at the end.) Pour water over the top and stir. Let cook over low-medium heat for at least 30 minutes, and up to an hour.
Meanwhile, make the polenta:
Bring 8 cups water to a boil. Add the salt and oil. Pour the polenta into the water in a light, steady stream, stirring with a wooden spoon the whole time. Turn the heat down to medium, and continue to stir as the polenta thickens, about 40 minutes. (Yes, stir for 40 minutes. Sam and I take turns.) When the polenta is thick and slightly stiff, it is done. (You can get fancy and make fried polenta triangles. Make the polenta the night before. Pour the hot polenta into an oiled cake pan and let it cool completely. Store it in the refrigerator over night. When ready to fry, remove it from the pan and slice it into wedges. Fry the wedges in vegetable oil on all sides until crispy and golden.)
Serve the greens with a spoonful (or a wedge) of polenta and tomato salad. Sprinkle with smoked sea salt.
Roasted Potato and Raw Kale Salad
Simple and delicious. Serve room temperature. Perfect for lunch.
2 large potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
2 red peppers, sliced (Red peppers can also be roasted and peeled.)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 TBS sugar
cilantro, parsley OR basil, finely chopped for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Roast diced potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked and golden on all sides, stirring once. Remove from oven and let cool.
To make dressing, whisk sugar, salt and pepper into vinegar until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in oil.
Toss cooled potato, diced peppers, and chopped kale with dressing. Sprinkle with herb of choice. Let stand 30 minutes to allow the dressing the soften the kale a bit. Serve room temperature.