CSA Newsletter: Week 1 (May 21st, 2012)

Posted by: Maddie

Happy first week of CSA! For your first share of the season, we hope to bring you Hakurei turnips, green garlic, walking onions, bok choi OR broccoli raab, braising mix OR baby kale, and spinach OR arugula. NOTE: Your share items will be posted each week in the “In Your Share” box on the upper right hand side of this page. Don’t forget to bring your own bags to CSA!

Maddie, CSA Manager

I’d like to start our newsletter this week with a short personal introduction. My name is Maddie Monty and I am Red Wagon’s new CSA Manager this season. Because I’m new to Red Wagon, and fairly new to farming, I’ve been thinking a lot about all of the amazing learning opportunities that our CSA provides – both for me and for all of you. Although you may not have used some of the vegetables included in your share each week, I invite you to seize the opportunity to add some new ingredients to your kitchen repertoire and begin to understand what grows when in our part of the world. I hope to provide all of you with some helpful tips and know that I will be learning a great deal right along with you.

New farm crew members learning to bunch turnips

I’ve been working on the farm for a little over a month now, and already I’ve learned an incredible amount. On my first day I learned that trimming the roots of spindly baby onions won’t, in fact, kill them. Over the last few weeks I’ve found that although I feel as wilted as our young beets after 8 hours of weeding or thinning, I too come back strong the next morning. Finally, I have learned (and been reminded repeatedly by Wyatt) how different farming is from gardening, and that plants are a lot tougher than I would have thought.

So, please don’t hesitate to email, call, or find me at pick-up with any questions, concerns or praise for our wonderful veggies throughout the season. I look forward to meeting and getting to know you all. See you at pick-up!

-Maddie

And now a short note from Amy, co-owner of Red Wagon:

I am always filled with gratitude when we start our CSA season. I feel honored that you have chosen us to feed you and your family for the season. It is a responsibility that we do not take lightly! It is a challenge to make sure we have a good mix of veggies for you each week and Wyatt is always thinking weeks and months ahead to make sure we have food for you. We also try to have the best quality and best tasting vegetables for you.

Our CSA members are the foundation of our farm. Your payment early in the year allows us to pay for things like seeds and labor to get the season rolling. You are also a “guaranteed customer” and we know we can count on that income because we have already sold what we are growing to you. Not so with markets–they can be fickle!!

So thank you, honored CSA members. Thank you for helping our farm thrive. We could not do it without you. We are looking forward to a season of good eating with you!

-Amy

A Recipe from Amy:


Sauteed Broccoli Raab

  • Cut broccoli raab into large chunks, including stems.
  • In a cold pan, start with a lot of olive oil and some sliced garlic.
  • Turn on medium-high heat until garlic starts to brown.
  • Add broccoli raab until it starts to spit and pop.
  • Add salt and chile flakes and stir around to wilt the greens.
  • Finish with lemon juice.
  • Serve as a side dish of wilted greens or add pasta and Parmesan.

FROM THE FARM AND KITCHEN with Mo

Welcome and welcome back Red Wagon CSA’ers. I am Mo McKenna, third year farm employee at Red Wagon. This year, in addition to farm work, I’ll be writing about goings on at the Farm and about the vegetables you are getting in your CSA share. I’ll share recipes and suggestions on basic preparations, and ideas for some of the vegetables you receive each week.

We have changed our format to an active blog rather than a static weekly newsletter. We hope you will leave questions or comments so we can all share and learn what each other are doing in the kitchen with our weekly offerings.

Here we go. Week #1

Farming is always a challenge. Year to year we never know what Mother Nature will throw at us. This year we already have been handed a double whammy. 1. A really warm spring. 2. Drought.

The warm spring weather means that the cool weather crops will be ending much sooner than what is ‘normal’. Cut greens will be ending sooner than we would like, garlic is already starting to scape (more on what that means later). Peas, beets, and carrots look like they will be earlier than most years. Just when we think we have crop timing figured out, we humbly learn we don’t. We do have lots of food in the ground and our fingers crossed.

Let’s talk a little about the drought. I won’t go into huge detail here. You can Google ‘water drought situation in Colorado’ if you want to know more. I’ll just say that because of the low snow pack in the mountains the water available to farmers on the front range is minimal or nonexistent, depending on the ditch you draw from, for late season this year. Wyatt is VERY worried about this. You may have seen the note on the website. Wyatt was on the phone for days, literally, and up nights worrying about this. He has found and bought some shares of late season water for the 63rd Street farm, so that is good news, and is still working on finding late season water for the Teller farm. This means he is changing the crop plans, moving equipment and reassigning employees to different farms. I have worked for several different farmers in Boulder County and I can tell you with confidence; you are in the best hands possible as CSA members with Wyatt as your farmer. If there is any way for him to secure water to provide food for the CSA, he will do it. We’ll keep you posted on what is going on.

Probably the most frequently asked question we get at CSA and at the Farmer’s Market is, “Do I need to wash the vegetables”?

Yes.

Any food you get from any farm or market, you need to wash before eating it. We take very good care of all the food we harvest to keep it at its best possible freshness. We use water to do this, we don’t wash it for consumption. You need to wash it before eating it.
I like to wash and spin my lettuce, spinach, or arugula and leave it in the salad spinner in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for at least a week this way and ready to use. Most everything else I wash before eating it or cooking it.

This week you are getting lots of greens. The basic preparation for any of them is the same. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add some garlic or onions if you like, then chuck some washed greens in the hot pan and toss it until it is just wilted and bright green and eat. We’ll talk more in the weeks to come in more detail and variations on this. Until then, just get to know your sautéing skills with your braising mix, bok choi, broccoli raab or baby kale.

We get lots of questions too about green garlic vs. garlic heads vs. garlic scapes. I took some pictures Saturday at the farm to try to show you what is what. I am new to this blogging thing and camera work so bear with me.

Green garlic planted in the ground…and lamb’s quarter

We plant single cloves of garlic very close, even touching. We plant some in the fall and harvest that fall planting first. We plant more garlic (all single cloves) in the very early spring. That later spring  planting is what we are harvesting now that the fall planting is all harvested. Green garlic is nice and mild and very fast-growing. That’s why it doesn’t need much room.

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Fall planted garlic

This is garlic we planted last fall that will become the large heads of garlic you are used to using. It is planted much farther apart to give it room to grow nice big heads. Both green garlic and garlic heads are planted with a single clove, we just distance it and harvest it at different times.

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Garlic scapes forming

See the plant tops that are curling? Those are called scapes. The plant is trying to procreate and go to seed but we won’t let it. We will remove the scape for two reasons. It is delicious, and if we remove it the garlic head will grow bigger.

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Green garlic and walking onions

The photo to the left shows both clean green garlic (in the foreground) and chopped walking onions (in the background). I wanted to show how much of the plant I use. I use about the same amount of each, but I forgot to take a picture before I chopped up the onions. Oops!

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Can you smell me yet? Mmmm

You can use either the green garlic or walking onions raw. They are pretty strong raw, but will still taste good. You can also use them just like you would garlic or onions in cooking.

Hope you enjoy your first CSA offerings. We are excited for the new season. Thanks for your support, we couldn’t do this without it!

Until next week,
Mo

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3 Responses to CSA Newsletter: Week 1 (May 21st, 2012)

  1. Emily says:

    Great blog! Very informative and I love the recipes and pictures. Thanks Red Wagon for a great start to the CSA season!

  2. Jaime says:

    Oh, I’m so excited to start cooking with all these lovely greens! Thanks so much you guys!

  3. Bruce says:

    I used the Green part of the green garlic as well. Like chives but so garlicky! I put it on pizza near the end of cooking.

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