Spring CSA:Week 1

Well, I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but its been raining a lot this spring. Believe it or not I try to hold back when it comes to my complaints about the weather. Weather has a major impact on my life, though, so its hard not to talk about it, especially when we are setting records for number of rainy days in April since 1872!!

Rain helps plants grow, to be sure, and the old adage “April Showers bring May Flowers” definitely rings true. But there is a point when the soil is never allowed to dry at all when things get problematic. Air is actually just as important as water in the soil when it comes to plant health, especially annual vegetables. Oxygen is essential for many of the microorganisms that are actively working on the nutrients in the soil, making them available to plants. In fact, a lack of oxygen can kill off beneficial bacteria and allow anaerobic (thriving without oxygen) bacteria to flourish. You’ll know when your soil, or compost pile is anaerobic because it will start to smell like rotten eggs.

What do we do? At this point, we can’t do much. Our worms are active and the tunnels they leave do allow air to penetrate the soil, but right now we are just waiting for warmth, and wind, and sun. (Which we finally got a healthy dose of today. I swear I could see the tomato seedlings growing . . . )

Despite all this our first spring share is going to be great! We grew it entirely in greenhouses, where we control the moisture so we are starting off on a good foot. It’s the 2nd week that I worry about – but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve yet, but nothing as magical as producing food out of thin air.

We are sure you are as excited about fresh greens as we are. First I want to introduce our awesome CSA member, Jess, who is going to be helping me with the recipe portion of the blog this year. Some recipes will still come from me, but Jess has been with us since the beginning, and is always sending me great recipes, so we decided to level up and get her more involved. Here at Upswing Farm we want to empower our customers to feel confident eating the delicious produce we grow, even if it is something you don’t usually eat, or if it feels like more fresh produce than you usually consume (EVERYONE knows you should be eating boatloads of fresh produce – now is your change!). Feel free to ask questions at pick up, or send an email if you are unsure about anything. Don’t worry – there was a time when I didn’t know what arugula and bok choy were too.

Jess and her family!

A little about Jess: Hi! I’m Jessica Girotti and I live in Holliston with my husband, 2 children, 2 cats and 6 chickens. I work full-time from home as a Freelance Bookkeeper and I love to go camping, read as many books as I can get my hands on and to cook delicious things. We started getting a CSA share through Upswing Farm two years ago because we wanted to eat more locally grown food and were concerned about the pesticides and chemicals used in conventionally grown produce. We have been loving our shares! There is nothing like eating produce fresh from the field and our shares have challenged us to try so many new things and have kept us excited about eating more vegetables. When I first started getting my shares though, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get my family on board with all of the vegetables. This season I’d love to share some of my tips and recipes with you to help you make the most of your share. Even if a recipe doesn’t sound like something your family will go for, it will hopefully give you some ideas on new ways to prepare the items in your share. Happy cooking!

So, what’s in the share:

Spinach: 2 bunches
Arugula: 1/3-1/2 pound
Head Lettuce: 1-2 butter heads
Pea Tendrils: 1/4 pound
Micro Greens: 1 container (container is compostable, but in a commercial facility, so it should probably go in the trash, after you re-use it a few times)
Radishes: 1 Bunch french breakfast

Here’s Jess’s ideas for what to do with it all!

“I can’t believe it’s FINALLY here! The first spring CSA share is something I look forward to all winter. Worried you won’t be able to use it all up? I’m going to share some tips and tricks for making the most of your CSA share and I’ll give you recipes that will help you make the most of every last bite. I’m a busy working mom and don’t have a ton of extra time on my hands and I’m guessing you don’t either so I’ll do my best to pick recipes that are relatively quick and easy and don’t call for dozens of exotic ingredients that you’ll never use again. Here’s my plan for this week.”

1 head Butterhead Lettuce

The spring share is always chock full of leafy greens and I’ve definitely been looking forward to highlighting the flavors of the season in a salad. I’ve adapted a salad from Joshua McFadden’s amazing new cookbook “Six Seasons: A Way With Vegetables” and you can easily keep adapting to include your favorite ingredients. It has the most amazing Lemon Cream Dressing, mint and sunflower seeds. Plus we’re going to use some of the French Breakfast Radishes on there as well. This salad is packed with the spring flavors you’ve been craving. (Recipes are at the end). Don’t have time to make the Lemon Cream? No problem – this salad will still be amazing with a super simple lemon vinaigrette. Just squeeze a lemon over the top and drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Arugula

If you’re new to Arugula, it is a vibrant leafy green that pairs well with tangy goat cheese or blue cheese, citrus fruits like lemon, orange or grapefruit and sweet things like dates or caramelized onions. I’m planning on making mine into a pesto that I can toss with pasta for a super quick weeknight meal. If there’s any leftover pesto you can stir it into hummus, schmear it on sandwiches, toss it into soups or freeze it to use later.

Spinach

I don’t know about you but there’s only SO much salad that I can expect my kids to consume without a fight. That can get tricky with the spring share but never fear! There are always plenty of creative non-salad options. I’m going to use my spinach in a frittata. This recipe should use up what you get in your share this week perfectly. Got a little more or less? No problem. If it’s close just toss it in, a little less will still work out fine especially if you increase the amount of the other veggies. If you have a lot more than you need just shred the extra up and mix it in with your salad or add it to a sandwich or wrap.

Pea Tendrils

These are my favorite! They have a mild, slightly sweet, earthy flavor and I could eat them right out of the bag (and frequently do). This week though I’m going to switch it up and try delicious creamy Pea Shoot Soup with Spring Onions. Can’t find Spring Onions? Scallions will work too.

1 container Microgreens – 2 cups/2 oz.

Packed with flavor and loaded with nutrients Microgreens are such a treat to have! They’re delicious in sandwiches or added to a salad but they also make a great pizza topping. I love making my own pizza and it’s surprisingly easy to throw the dough in the bread machine or Cuisinart but there are many nights when I don’t have time for that. If you’re short on time skip the from-scratch dough and pick up a bag of dough from the supermarket or your favorite pizza shop or, faster still, just use pre-baked crusts or Naan bread. Wegman’s sells them in perfect sizes for individual pizzas and in the summer we through them right on the grill instead of heating up the oven. This pizza sounds amazing with ricotta cheese, pistachios and bacon. I might add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or honey over the top too.

French Breakfast Radishes – 1 bunch

These beautiful oblong radishes are deliciously crispy and milder than a traditional radish. I’ll use some in my salad but I’m definitely saving the rest for these scrumptious little breakfast toasts. I love savory breakfasts and this one screams spring with the radishes, fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon.

Recipes

Butterhead Lettuce with Lemon Cream, Radish & Mint

1 head heads Butterhead Lettuce

½ bunch of radishes, scrubbed, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 small handful fresh mint leaves

1/3 cup Lemon Cream (recipe below)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp salted sunflower seeds

Lemon Cream – makes ¾ cup

4 garlic cloves, smashed & peeled

½ cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp grated lemon zest

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Combine garlic and cream in a bowl and let sit for one hour. Strain out the garlic, season with salad and pepper and add the lemon zest. Whip by hand or with a mixer until it starts to thicken and then add the lemon juice and olive oil. Keep whipping until light and airy. It won’t be thick like whipped cream but it will have a nice creamy texture. Taste and adjust seasonings. Best if used in one day so scale the recipe down if you don’t think you’ll finish it.

Arugula Pesto: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/arugula-pesto-51116200

Spinach and Feta Fritatta: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/spinach-and-feta-frittata-recipe-2108113

Pea Shoot Soup: http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/pea-shoot-soup/

Parmesan and Ricotta Cheese Pizza with Pistachios Bacon and Micro Greens

https://whatwelovemost.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/parmesan-and-ricotta-cheese-pizza-with-pistachios-bacon-and-micro-greens/

French Breakfast Radishes on Toast https://www.killingthyme.net/2016/05/09/french-breakfast-radishes-toast/



Winter CSA: December Share

Harvesting turnips and spinach for the CSA this morning.

It’s the first winter CSA pick up this weekend! And it’s going to be a cold one! We are very proud of this share.  We’ve got bunched hakurei turnips, mini-bib lettuce and spinach from the low tunnels that we picked today.  Plus pea tendrils and micro-greens from the big greenhouse and kale and leeks from the field.  Plus lots of delicious storage crops.

I get a little overly excited about season extension. In reality, selling vegetables at either end of the season and especially in winter is more expensive and more work.  I need supplies like row cover, hoops, low tunnels and then we have to put it all on and take it off!  Or, we have to pick it, and instead of bringing it to the CSA stand and having it disappear right away with happy customers, it has to be stored and monitored, and taken out of storage, and sorted.

Sometimes I wonder if I should just up the summer shares and get another job November-March. But who hires for that time-frame anyway?  And let’s face it, I’m only happy when I’m in charge. Plus, one of the reasons  I got into agriculture was because I wanted be a part of the solution to the waste and suffering caused by our current commercial food system, and I think addressing local food in the off-season a tricky and interesting part of the problem.

Oh, and did I mention only really cool people are willing to get a 25+ lb box of vegetables once a month in winter? And I like to make veggies available for them.

Thanks for joining our winter share.  I might gripe a little, but really, I love that I get to do farm work all year round.  Even when my fingers are cold and I’m covered in mud. We are glad you want to try year-round, local eating and we hope to help a little along the way.  I’ll post blogs with each share (like this one) with a little update from the farm, some pics, and then information about the produce and recipes.

If you are reading this and missed out on joining the share (it’s sold out!) you can join us at the Hopkinton Winter Farmer’s Market, starting Saturday December 15th 9-1  once/month until May.  We’ll also be at the two pop-up Ashland Markets in February.

That’s enough talk, I’ve got to get this email out – it was a long day harvesting, washing and sorting veggies for the share tomorrow.

What’s in the share:

3# carrots
6# butternut/carnival squash mix and match
4# sweet potatoes
2# onions, red and yellow mix and match
1/2# mini lettuce heads
1 bag pea tendrils or micro greens (great for salad or to top a soup, stew, or on a sandwich)
1/2# spinach
1 bunch hakurei turnips (very sweet, can be eaten raw in salad like radish, or sauteed or roasted or steamed.  Don’t forget to eat the greens!! They are tender and super healthy)
1# leeks and beets mix and match
1/2# kale
1# fingerlings (this variety is called papa cacho, its a long, funny heirloom that tastes great!)
1 pint of garlic/shallots mixed

Recipes:

Garlic Roasted Potatoes – Ina Garten

Roasted Carrots – Ina Garten

Butternut Squash Lasagna (this is very trendy right now)

Sweet Potato Dumplings

Sweet Potato Noodles (for all you spiralizer fans)

Butternut Squash and Kale Gratin  (a great way to hide your kale if that’s your style!)

Left-over Mashed Potato Pancakes (I had something like this at a hipster diner once and it was great. You could probably use sweet potatoes too, maybe up the flour a little bit.)

Cook the whole turnip bunch!

I hope this gives you some good ideas.  I LOVE when CSA members share recipes that they love.  It makes my job easier and it’s just fun to hear what you are enjoying.  Please send me an email or reply to the blog if you’ve got a recipe you think others would love.

Enjoy.











Spring CSA – Week 2

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Picking pea tendrils. Photo: Bob Durling Photography

We’ve got some important information you need to read if you’ve got a Spring CSA Share:

Pick Up is EVERY Week! I know we do every other week in the fall, but in spring, the greens are fresh and growing fast so we need to cut them every week.  In the fall we have a lot more storage produce which keeps much longer, making the every other week pick up more effective.

Put these dates in your calendar and you won’t miss a pick up:

Tuesday Pick Up: May 15th, May 22, May 29, June 5
Thursday Pick Up: May 17th, May 24, May 31, June 7th

Tasting Tour this week: Tour leaves from the farm stand promptly at 4:45pm Tuesday and Thursday

We are going to do our first Tasting Tours this week.  Tasting Tours are really just a short 45-60 minute gentle walking tour of the farm where we get to taste a few things here and there.  Your farmers will talk about what’s going on in the fields and help you get to know your food a little better.  It’s a lot of fun.  No need to RSVP.  Read more here.

Seedlings are for sale during CSA pick up hours this week and next.  We’ve got awesome seedling this year!  Feel free to peruse and purchase during CSA Hours.

CSA Spotlight: What did you do with your share last week?
This is a great way for members to share what they did with their share on a given week to give other members and potential members ideas of what to do with a CSA share. Thanks to our friend and CSA member, Carrie Marsh for the idea and for being first!  Want to be in the spotlight?  Send me an email and we’ll get you signed up: brittany@upswingfarm.com.

CSA Spotlight: Carries has a Family of 5, two adults, three kids ages 8, 6, 3.5 (and yes, the kids eat all the veggies too!)
Family food motto: “waste not, want not” “picky eaters are made, not born”
Tuesday afternoon: pick up veggies, snack on a few micro greens in the car… yum! 
Wednesday breakfast: Bok Choy Smoothie (Bok Choy, banana, mango, blueberries in the Vitamix) 
Wednesday snack: cheese sandwich with basil micro greens 
Wednesday dinner: pasta salad with herbs de Provence chicken, chopped spinach, green onion, and basil micro greens 
Thursday: radish refrigerator pickles — keeps for several months in the fridge (radishes, rice vinegar, salt, honey) 
Thursday lunch: Bok Choy Waldorf Salad (chopped Bok Choy, apple, raisins, nuts, dressing)
Thursday dinner: side of pea tendril salad with oil and vinegar, toasted pumpkin seeds
Friday dinner: lettuce salad to go with our homemade pizza
Saturday and Sunday: hungry for more fresh veggies! 

This Week’s Share:

Lettuce Mix
Arugula/Mustard Greens
Radishes
Scallions
Micro Cilantro (in a pack like micro basil)
Fingerling Potatoes
Rosa di Milano Heirloom Onions
Mizuna
Spinach
Choice: Baby Boy Choy, Baby Kale, Pea Tendrils, Micro-Greens

What to do with the share:

TACOS. This share definitely screams tacos.  Toppings: Finely chopped radishes and scallions, cilantro, lettuce/arugula/spinach and your choice of cheese, beef, chicken, beans . . . . you name it!

Salads are also a mainstay of the spring share.  Think about stocking up on your favorite salad dressings for the next month, or maybe make your own.

Warm Roasted Baby Potato (fingerling) and Arugula Salad

Mizuna Salad With Miso Dressing.  Mizuna is a very tender green and can either been enjoyed raw in a salad or very gently braised/tossed in at the end of a stir fry.  It has a fresh, sweet flavor.  Taste a leaf!

Spinach and Scallion Risotto

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

March 24th Pop-Up Farm Stand

We can’t go a month without selling some vegetables!  Yes, it is the leanest time of year for a New England Farm, but we still have some delicious produce we know you’ll love.  Plus, we are trying some new experiments in microgreens that we’re sure you’ll want to try.

We will also have: fingerling potatoes, potatoes, red and yellow onions, beets, carrots, rutabaga, kohlrabi, celery root, red and green cabbage and popcorn.

Researchers have found that micorgreens contain as much as 40 times the nutrients of their mature counterparts.  If you’re looking to turn over a new leaf this spring and try some really healthy treats (“fancy vegetable sprinkles” as one farmer recently put it!) you’ll definitely want to stop by.  Our new assistant manager is in love with micro-greens – let her convince you how amazing they are.

20% off for anyone who has already signed up for a 2018 CSA Share.  You can also sign up for a share, or talk to a farmer to learn more about our farm and why our CSA is a great value option for you and your family.

Remember to follow parking signs – a spring farm is a sloppy farm, and we don’t want to have to pull you out of the mud!

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