Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Plants are growing!

Hello all - I've been putting off posting until I have pictures but that might not happen soon so I thought I'd go ahead and provide an update:

1. We've sold most memberships for this year. If you're still thinking about joining, please do so quickly. I will close it at 45 members and may take more in mid-June, after things are clicking along.
2. Thanks to Keely Kaleski who came out a couple of weeks ago and helped plant for a bit. We formed nursery beds in the hoop house and got some chard planted. Thanks also to our neighbor, Tom, who has been working here part time for the past few weeks and took great care of our plants and animals while we went to South Carolina for a few days over Spring Break.
3. In the west garden we have: Stuttgart onions, red onions, sugar snap peas, 2 types of carrots, 3 types of beets, chard, another 2 types of peas, early cabbage, early broccoli and, everyone's favorite, collards. In the hoop we have tomatoes, peppers and cukes along with nursery beds of 3 types of chard, broccoli, cabbage, a few lettuces, onions, shallots, a little summer squash, shallots, and, more kale. I always try to kid about the kale and collards but, honestly, these plants are huge producers of nutrient-rich greens. They grow quickly, are tolerant to fungus and bugs, winter over, produce broccoli-like buds, etc., etc. etc. We hope you will develop a strong affinity for these plants but we know it can take a while. One member bought a veggie juicer last year (the one that pulvarizes the veggies and you end up with a drink) and found just the right mix between apples or other fruits and leafy veggies that she had to have a veggie shake a day. Other members easily took to sauteing the greens and eating as a side dish. Others used them in quiches and froze them or made kale potato pancakes. Still others didn't eat them at all. That's OK. If that happens, just take whatever item it is out of your box and leave it on the extras table and take something from that table. As the season goes on, more and more will be on that table - blemished tomatoes or peppers or huge zucchini or extra greens or strange pumpkins or extra herbs. It all evens out in the end and there's no need to take something that you don't want.
3. The last 2 days have been big work days here. We have been fortunate to have Matthew and Molly working and they'll work again tomorrow. Both have worked on farms in California - Molly growing basil and peppers and other specialty crops and Matthew working on a few veggie CSA/market farms. I met Matthew at the Local Food Summit. They will be moving to northern Michigan on Saturday to begin a care-taker/farmer position at a farm. So, one more day of information sharing and lots of work. The tomatoes are staked in the hoop house, more veggies are planted, tomatoes have been potted up, flowers are in flats, etc. Things are moving here.
4. A few suggestions re. kitchen equipment. If you don't have a salad spinner, you might want to buy one. I find that, for all of the salad greens along with the leafy veggies, a salad spinner is very helpful to prepare meals more quickly. Also, a cuisinart is very helpful. This will allow you to make quick pestos with the basil or mustard greens. I also use it in food preservation quite a bit - especially with relishes or green tomatoes. Also with salad dressings, etc. etc. etc.
I know there's more but I'll post more later along with pictures.

Don't forget - May 2 for potato planting from 12 - 4. We'll have a quick tour at 3:30 if you're interested in seeing the farm.

3 comments:

Angela Madaras said...

Let me just say this, when they named the energizer bunny I think they meant to call it "Jennifer". Keeps going and going. The farm looks wonderful and I love hearing the baby goats in the field.

Kale and collards are a fabulous food and we all get sick of it by October 1st. I have many recipes for Kale on my blog www.angelasguide.com if you like, or you can ask me to send some. I like it in soups especially and we have one or the other about four nights-mornings a week. Great chopped-sauteed with eggs and onions. I had to learn to like them spending much time in the south and also because of health issues. I needed iron, and as Jennifer pointed out, these are nutritionally filled vegetables. If you are vegetarian you probably already have this one down. If not then I will tell you that all you need to know about preparing them is to wash well, cut if the root tips(leave the ribs if you like to chew because they are loaded with nutrient too) and always use lots of garlic and onions and do not over cook. When I lived in the south they cooked them in pork for hours. Not really that great for you but tasty. A quick pass around the cast iron skillet with olive oil, chopped onion and garlic and a splash of soy sauce, tad of maple syrup and a dash of vinegar.......with a little chicken stock or veggie stock and salt-pepper to taste with crushed red pepper...Viola!!!! you have a great base. I also like to use sesame oil and grated ginger at times and lemon instead of vinegar. Bragg's goes well too with it.Add some white beans and even pasta and you have a healthy meal with lots of good green vibes. And if you absolutely do not like them, like Jennifer said, you will have other options. By the way....If you see green tomatoes on the "give away table", take them. They are wonderful with an egg based batter and breadcrumbs, fried in canola oil served with goat cheese and micro greens and crostini. OR let them sit in the window and within days they will be red. I even stored green ones in the cellar for the month of November and had fresh red tomatoes for a month.

Thank you Jennifer for inspiring me !!!!

Marnie aka Magill said...

We got an early tour and had some kale and chard from last year. Here are two ways to cook it that are great!

Sautéed spring garlic, kale and chard

Finely chop the garlic using all the greens (like you would a scallion).

Ribbon chop 3-4 cups kale and swiss chard.

Add one T olive oil to frying pan, mix in garlic until fragrant (but don’t brown), stir in kale and chard. Sautee until wilted, salt and pepper to taste and stir in one pat of butter just before serving.

Yum.

Variations:
• omit butter and salt and stir in a little soy sauce
• top with grated parmesan cheese
• instead of serving as a side, place on top of grilled chicken breast and melt a slice of your favorite cheese on it
• spread on a slice of crusty bread

Spinach (Kale or Swiss Chard) Bake

6 eggs, lightly beaten
Add 1 lb spinach, chopped and sautéed, moisture squeezed out

Add 1 cup ricotta, 1 cup feta, 1 lb shredded mozzarella (or Colby Jack)
1 garlic cloves chopped
Basil, salt pepper (or other herbs) to taste
Bake 45 mis at 350

J.Kangas said...

Thanks Marnie for the recipes - excellent. FYI - that was actually kale and collards (not chard). The collards are so tender this time of year that it's hard to tell the difference.
I made a quiche yesterday with fresh eggs, a bit of milk, various cheeses that were in the fridge (goat and cheddar), fresh garlic, fresh leeks, a small onion, some bella mushrooms. Yum yum yum. Even the people who have a predisposition to collards ate it. I'll put that on the list of things to add to the recipe site and, if you don't mind, will add your posts as well.