CSA June 5, 2013

Notes from the Farm

Welcome to Yourganic Farm!  The month of May was a whirlwind of activity: preparing the fields, sowing seeds, mulching onions, and tending the greenhouses.

The sheep were taken to their summer pasture on the east side of the valley and the calves were taken to their summer grazing grounds.  The pigs, great and small, are on fresh pasture next to the milk cows, who seem to enjoy the company.  When you drive  onto the farm, please go slowly, as many of our critters view their pastures as only suggestions and sometimes go exploring.  We also have an exuberant puppy and a fearless one-eyed cat who may investigate your vehicle if a door is left open.  Most of our chickens are in the scratch pen, so you are relatively safe from a feathered attack.

The spring has been mostly cool and dry in Corvallis, making irrigation a daily chore.  The cool weather has been conducive to growing radishes, spinach and lettuce.  These crops tend to bolt (send up seed heads) in hot weather making radishes fiery, spinach spindly, and lettuce bitter.  Luckily, there are many crops that thrive in the warmer weather as the spring fades.  We will get to enjoy peas, potatoes, carrots… and the list goes on.  We have planted a large variety of vegetables and culinary herbs and hope for a bountiful season to share with you.

This Week’s CSA

Welcome to the start of the CSA! The spring weather brings us plenty of veggies that love the cooler weather:  radishes, lettuce mix, and spinach. You will also find fresh spearmint, thyme and oregano, along with shallots.

Storage Notes

On the website you will find information on how best to store shallots and radishes.  Since the shallots are from last fall, they will probably have a green shoot starting to grow in the middle of the bulb.  Make sure to remove the green center, as the sugar content is higher and can become bitter if cooked.

The fresh herbs, lettuce, radish, and spinach can all be stored in plastic bags in the crisper section of your refrigerator.  Remember to remove the tops of the radishes so the roots stay crisp during storage.

Usage Notes

Many of these veggies will make a light green salad that goes well with a shallot dressing  which can be found on the website, along with my favorite  way to serve fresh radishes as an appetizer.

If you do not plan on using the herbs fresh, they can be dried and stored for later usage.  Herb butter is also a nice way to incorporate the flavors of thyme and oregano into cooked veggies, grains, potatoes. Or, add a small piece over cooked seafood.  Both thyme and oregano go well with grilled meats, Mediterranean dishes, soups, and roasted vegetables.

Native to the Mediterranean region, oregano is used widely in Italian, Mexican, and Greek cuisine.  Finely chop the fresh leaves for a great addition to pasta sauces, pizza, bean dishes, taco fillings, stuffing, or grilled veggies.

Native to southern Europe, spearmint can be found growing around the world and has been incorporated into many cuisines.  In addition to providing a bright refreshing flavor, mint is also known to help with digestive ailments.  For those who enjoy summer drinks, spearmint will go well with lemonade, mint juleps and mojitos.  Mint tends to bruise easily so it needs to be handled with care.  If using in cooked dishes, add freshly chopped at the last moment, as the flavor diminishes with prolonged heat.

Recipe

Fresh Herb Rub    (makes generous portion for one whole chicken)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves

4 garlic cloves, minced

zest from one lemon

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons melted butter, olive oil, or combination of both

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl, stirring to combine.  If using skin on chicken, loosen the skin and gently rub paste under the skin.  This rub also goes well with steamed new potatoes or tossed with cooked veggies.  Can be stored for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

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