2020 CSA Week 1

In your share this week:

Carrots
Cabbage
Basil
Salad Mix
Fingerling potatoes

Full shares only:

Romano Green Beans
Cucumber

We finally made it to the first share of the year! It seems like a long wait, but the farm is only just getting into summer gear. Lots of crops are on the verge of production, but in this climate our soils don’t really get warm and active until now and the crops take their time growing. I think that this slow growth leads to superior flavor, though, so it’s worth the wait!

For folks new to the CSA, the first shares are always the smallest and they get larger as the season progresses. Often, we have trouble fitting everything into the bag come August.

We have a lovely first share for you today. Many folks will be excited to see our first carrots of the season. These are coming from our early March greenhouse sowings, which often seem to throw funny shapes our way. Future carrots will mostly be the more familiar long and slender shape, so enjoy these for today. Our carrots are typically sweet and tender, and I (and most of my customers) never bother to peel them. They are delicious eaten raw by themselves or in a salad, roasted, or cooked into soups or stir fries. Some folks also enjoy the greens, they can be added to salads or made into pesto.

I’m probably most excited about these beautiful new fingerling potatoes. I think this is the earliest we’ve harvested new potatoes, they don’t usually size up until later in July. New potatoes are harvested while the plants are still actively growing, as opposed to the more common cured potatoes harvested after the plants have died back. New potatoes have thin skins and a much higher protein content than cured potatoes. They are less starchy, cook quickly, and have a delectable creamy texture. Cook them just like other potatoes: boiled, roasted, fried, or mashed. I recommend keeping new potatoes in a plastic bag in the fridge; their thin skins don’t protect them from drying out on the counter.

Those who have been coming to market have probably noticed our dearth of salad mix. The section of the field with our early salad sowings just didn’t produce this year; I tried prepping the beds in the fall to get a jump start on the season but it didn’t work out as I hoped. We’re finally now moving into another section of the field, so we were able to harvest just enough for the CSA shares this week. Our salad mix is always harvested fresh, and will keep at least a week in a bag in the fridge. It contains a mix of baby lettuces, nutty greens like bok choy and tatsoi, and some spicy mustards for extra flavor. It has been rinsed in potable water so it shouldn’t have dirt or bugs on it, but some members like to give it a final wash in the kitchen.

We have some lovely heads of cabbage for everyone today, this is a new variety for the farm that is doing really well. These green cabbages would be great in salads and coleslaws, or you can braise or roast them. They will store well if you can’t get to them right away, just put them in a bag in the fridge and they should keep for a few weeks.

It’s been quite gray and rainy outside, so our field crops are taking their time, but everything in the greenhouses is looking amazing! Our basil is off to a great start, and we’ve included a lovely fresh bunch in today’s share. To use basil, pick the leaves from the stems and tear or chop them into salads, over pasta, into curries, or really add them to anything.

We find that basil keeps best in a plastic bag on the counter: don’t store it in the fridge! Some folks trim the stems and store it in a jar of water. I learned a new trick this year, borrowed from cut flower production, that is almost magical. Trim the stems and dip the ends into hot water for about 20 seconds (I put on the kettle and pour a little into a mason jar), then transfer the bunch into a jar of cold water, like a bouquet. Sounds crazy, but try it out!

Also coming from the greenhouses are romano green beans and a nice cucumber for full shares. The romano green beans are also called Italian green beans. They are juicy and flavorful, I like them best grilled or chopped up into stir fries and pasta dishes, but they are also tasty raw, roasted, or steamed. These are also the earliest cucumbers we’ve had, today’s are mostly an American slicer type great for salads and sandwiches.

Quinoa Salad with Basil and Carrots

When the first new vegetables come on in the summer, I’m so excited that I tend to make the same thing over and over to revel in the fresh flavors.  This has been my June favorite this year, and it’s simple but very satisfying.

2 c quinoa

1 bunch basil, cut into strips

1 bunch carrots, sliced diagonally

1 c walnuts, toasted

¼ c olive oil

Salt to taste

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the quinoa, cover, and turn the heat to low.  Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Add all the remaining ingredients and stir together.  Serve hot or at room temp.


Roasted Potato Bacon Salad

Chef KJ Konink made this for our Farm to Fork Dinner one year.  I recommend using Walker Farms bacon: it’s fantastic!  Find them at the Neskowin Farmers Market. This calls for parsley but would be great with basil instead.

1 lb potatoes

3 strips bacon

½ lb green beans

1 tsp minced pickled jalapenos

2 Tbsp minced Italian parsley

Salt

Bake bacon at 400 until crisp.  Reserve the fat.  Allow the bacon to cool, then dice it. 

Wash and cut potatoes to bite sized pieces and toss with half the bacon fat and the salt.  Roast in a 350 oven until they begin to brown on the outside. 

Tip and tail the green beans, cut them in half, and blanch in a pot of boiling water.

Toss roasted potatoes, green beans, jalapenos, bacon, and parsley with the remaining bacon fat and salt to taste.

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