CSA Share Notes: Week 1

IMG_0130Carrots
Baby Turnips
Italian Parsley
Baby Bok Choy
Green butterhead lettuce (half shares) or Salad Mix (full shares)

Full Shares Only:
Pink Beauty Radishes
Kale

CSA is finally here! I’ve been worried I wouldn’t have enough for you all, but I think we’ve pulled together a pretty nice share for this early in the season (we’ve had a lot of hot weather, but it’s still early!).  Remember that the shares will be a bit light the first few weeks and will build as new crops become available. But I love these spring shares with their sweet tender greens and roots; there’s an early season quality that you just can’t replicate later in the year.  The prize of the week is a toss up between these gorgeous carrots or the perfect baby turnips.  My preference would go to the turnips: this is one of the nicest rotations we’ve grown, and they are coming out of our new field!

 

If you haven’t yet tried baby turnips, you’re in for a treat.  These are a whole different animal than your grandma’s turnips: they are sweet and creamy and the greens are some of my favorites.  I like the roots best raw, either sliced into a salad, eaten plain, or dipped in hummus. You can also roast, grill, or saute the roots, but I’d at least try them raw before cooking them! I typically do a light steam or saute with the greens, and they are especially good finished with a splash of white wine.  They are also good in a salad, or used as a bed for a hot steak or piece of fish.  Pretty much anything you would do with spinach will work with these lovelies.

 

The carrots are also quite lovely, though they aren’t our usual variety (the seed was backordered so we had to improvise).  These were started in the greenhouse back in February, and I’ve been holding them back to make sure we had carrots for the first CSA shares.  They are delicious raw or cooked and I never bother peeling them.  I don’t use carrot tops much, except to feed them to our chickens, but some folks like to use them in smoothies, stocks, or pesto. Remove them from the roots so the roots will keep better.

 

Italian parsley is especially tender and delicious this early in the season.  I prefer it to the curly type: I think it is more tender and flavorful. It’s excellent in pasta dishes, salads, pesto, or tabouleh.  You can use the leaves and the stems.  Parsley is also particularly nutritious (as are turnip greens and bok choy), so eat it up.

 

Everyone has a nice head of baby bok choy, which I would probably grill or stir fry with soy sauce and ginger.  Make sure to eat the succulent stems, since I think they are the best part. You could also eat this raw, try slicing it up and mixing it into a cold noodle dish.  Full shares have kale, either the red Russian (wide, frilly leaves with purple stems) or the Tuscan type (dark blue green with bumpy texture). Both are good raw or cooked, made into juice or blended into smoothies, eaten as salad or dried into chips.

 

Our salad is a little sparse right now, since we’ve been behind schedule getting irrigation set up in our new field. So half shares got a really nice little head of fresh green butter lettuce, while full shares got our standard mix.  There will be plenty of both for everyone, but this early in the season we have to take whatever we can get, and fortunately it’s all delicious.


Quinoa Salad with Parsley, Carrots, and Turnips

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 parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch carrots, sliced diagonally
Roots and greens from 1/2 bunch turnips, roots cut into 1/2″ cubes, greens chopped

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.


Salad Dressings: Simple Vinaigrette and Lemon Maple

I give these recipes every year, but considering how much salad you’ll be getting, I think they’re worth throwing out there again. The vinaigrette takes about 2 minutes and comes to us from Alice Waters, the other is one of my favorites. These are basic staples in our kitchen.

Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together:

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (I often use apple cider vinegar)
Salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Stir to dissolve the salt, taste, and adjust if needed. Gradually beat in with a fork or small whisk:

3 to 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Taste as you go and stop when it tastes right.

Optional: add garlic and/or diced shallot to the vinegar, or fresh herbs to the finished dressing. Or beat in a little mustard before adding the oil.

Lemon Maple:

Juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp salt
¼ c olive oil
1 ½ tsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs

Whisk together lemon juice and salt. Add olive oil and whisk until well combined. Whisk in maple syrup. Stir in herbs.

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