Spring CSA – Week 3

Beautiful, but still wet. Our neighbors have some lovely trees.

Ok, everyone. Lets stop with the rain dances. I know some of you wish it would rain every day, but I’m telling you, just hold off for a few weeks. Yes, please, two weeks – or at least this one. I’ve got plants to plant and the soil is still so wet in our field that I can’t turn over the winter rye. I’m switching and scrambling and squishing and making it work, but boy would it be nice to just get a week of dry weather.

The soils we work with are rainbow, silt loam. They are lovely, fertile and leave a silky feeling on your hands at the end of a long day of transplanting or hand weeding. They hold water really well, which is an asset in summer. But in spring, when we need the soils to be dry enough to get our equipment in and prepare beds, its very tough, especially when it rains constantly. Water also naturally drains from the top of the hill we farm, and the water table is particularly high, making it even harder for the land to dry.

Not only does water make it hard to work the soil, but it also leaches nitrogen and other essential plant nutrients from the soil. Both through the water and, when the water is stagnant the nitrogen can actually convert to a gas and escape into the air. Learned that one today when researching nutrient leaching to make sure I didn’t just forget how to farm over the winter . . .

We are making it work, and I just thank my lucky stars that it didn’t do this in 2017 (our first full year, and the year Harvey was born) because I might have thrown in the towel from the get-go! No, probably not. But when I think back to what a lovely growing season it was that year I can’t help but feel like I was given a gift to help me make it through.

So, I’m tough, I’ve got a great crew, you are lovely, understanding customers and it is about to be summer. No, really spring, you’ve done enough, I insist, let’s let summer take a turn.

You know in about 3 weeks I’ll be complaining because its not raining.

The share this week has some smaller vegetables in it. They just didn’t not size up the way I had hoped, and the farm we are partnering with (White Barn Farm) is having similar problems with the slow, wet start. But, the cool thing is that it’s only May 20th and we’ve got a lot of veggies coming at you from our wet fields!

Here’s a quick, fun fact to brighten up this dreary blog post: did you know you can eat violets, aka Johnny Jump-Ups? Even the ones that grow in the yard. They are lovely on cupcakes for decoration, or in a salad. I never follow through, but every spring I want to make cupcakes with heaping mounds of buttercream frosting and decorate with violets . . . because eating flowers definitely balances all that butter and sugar . . .

What’s in the share:

Spinach: bagged or bunched, not sure which, most likely 1/2 pound
Mini Head Lettuce: 3 heads
French Breakfast Radish: (these are not my best radish greens, but the radishes themselves are primo!) 1 bunch
Mini Bok Choy: You can just chop this stuff up to toss in a salad/stir fry. I find it easier to wash after I chop it up. It will be hard for us to get all the soil out because it has rained so much.
Arugula: 1-2 bunches
Random bunches choice: mustard greens (really good ones, Erin’s first solo-direct seeding and they are maybe the best ever) small hakurei turnips with large greens you can and should eat, cilantro, maybe dandilion, collards, more tokyo bekana and/or kale
Green Garlic
Pea Tendrils
Over-wintered carrots from our friends at the Neighborhood Farm.

Jess’s Recipe Recommendation

Baby Lettuce Salad with Raspberries, Cranberries & Feta

May is National Salad Month so it only seems appropriate that we start out with this gorgeous spring salad with raspberries, dried cranberries and feta cheese. This would be equally delicious with strawberries or blackberries and you can easily swap the feta for goat cheese and use pecans or almonds in place of the walnuts.

Lemony Pasta with Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Arugula

Packed with arugula, cauliflower and chickpeas this hearty vegetarian dish is quick and easy. Vibrant lemon and salty capers pair perfectly with the peppery arugula. Use whole-wheat pasta for even more staying power.

Honey-Glazed Radishes with Crunchy Seeds

I love crispy radishes and the French-Breakfast Radish Toasts from week one have become my new go-to breakfast but I know there are a lot of people that are opposed to the “bite” of a radish. If you’re one of them, this recipe is for you. Cooking radishes makes them milder and these quick 15 minute Honey-Glazed Radishes with Crunchy Seeds are sure to make a radish-lover out of you and your whole family.

Baby bok choy:

Barley Salad Bowl with Sugar Snap Peas, Baby Bok Choy and Green Romesco Dressing

Bowls are all the rage now and they’re great for a busy weeknight since you don’t need to think about side dishes – everything’s in there already. This one combines barley with Sugar Snaps and roasted Bok Choy. You’re going to want to put this Green Romesco Dressing on EVERYTHING.

Spinach: Ham & Cheese Pizza with Spinach and Apples|

Spinach’s distinction for making Popeye strong isn’t just a story designed to get kids to eat spinach, it’s based in fact. Spinach contains C0-Q10 which is a muscle-strengthening compound and it’s especially beneficial for heart muscles. The trick is getting your kids to eat it. I challenged my 8 year old to find a recipe containing spinach that he would eat and this pizza is what he came up with. As an added bonus  it was so easy he was able to make it himself!


Green garlic: Grilled Green Garlic

Green garlic is young garlic plants that are harvested before the garlic bulbs mature. It has a delicate, mild garlic flavor. This spring-time delicacy is only around for a short time so enjoy it while you can! This recipe calls for grilling the bulbs until they’re butter-soft and can be spread on toast or added to mashed potatoes. The green parts are delicious too – like a garlicky scallion and can be substituted in any recipe that calls for scallions. You could also sauté them in a little butter or olive oil and sprinkle them on top of mashed potatoes or eggs.


Choice: dandelion greens/collards/mustards:

Maple-Bacon Greens

This recipe calls for dandelion greens but it’s really a very versatile go-to recipe for any type of greens: collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, beet greens, radish greens. etc. This is a great way to make the absolute most out of your CSA share and use up every part of those super fresh vegetables. You can use garlic (or green garlic) in place of the onions and, if you wanted a more savory dish, skip the maple syrup. If you’re vegetarian (or out of bacon) just drizzle some olive oil in the pan and move on to cooking the onions.

Maple Bacon Dandelion Greens

Baby salad turnips: Quick-Pickled Baby Turnips

Don’t be afraid to try baby turnips even if you’re not usually a turnip fan. Baby turnips or salad turnips are mild and tender and don’t have the bite that some people are opposed to. You can chop them up and sauté them with their greens, dice them and throw them into a fried rice dish, roast them, grill them or slice them up in your salad. You can also pickle them! This recipe makes slightly sweet, slightly spicy pickled turnips but you could use any quick-pickle recipe if this one doesn’t sound like your thing.


Pea tendrils: Garden-Fresh Mint Julep

My kids inhaled the creamy pea shoot soup from week one and I love eating my pea shoots straight out of the bag but I couldn’t resist sharing this unique way to serve them. This drink is a spin on a mint julep and while we missed Derby Day by a few weeks, this cocktail will be good anytime you can find fresh pea shoots.


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