Greens, Greens, Greens

The last distribution for the 2009 season of Upper Meadows Farm’s CSA is loaded with greens. There’s arugula, Hon Tsai Tai, lettuce, Pak Choi, Mizspoona, Yokata-Na, and Green Wave mustard. And there are even more ways to eat them, from soups and salads to main-dish stir-frys and sides. Here are some of my favorites:

Arugula salad with pears. Epicurious gives you several options to combine two of the items in this week’s share, from a salad that combines arugula and pears with Stilton cheese, to an option with the ingredient that I would need on a deserted island, pancetta. The extra ingredient in this latter salad is ricotta salata, which, just like regular ricotta, you can easily make at home. And I think either of these salads would be lovely with a dusting of hickory nuts.

Chinese chicken soup with greens. The Web sites of my favorite Asian cookbooks, “A Spoonful of Ginger” and “Hot Sour Salty Sweet”, are limited and hard to navigate. But both books have excellent chicken soups with greens that can be summed up as follows: Make a big pot of chicken stock, add the coarsely chopped greens of your choice, cooked noodles (I like the thin, mung bean kind), a bit of cooked chicken and a dash of fish sauce. You can build on the pungency of your greens by adding ginger or chile paste, or tamp it down a bit with Chinese black vinegar. Vegetarian? “Washoku”, a Japanese home-style cookbook I have on my shelves, uses a dashi broth with a bit of miso in place of the chicken stock.

Asian greens as a side dish: Cook up more substantial Asian noodles (soba and chow fun are good, as is a noodle I recently discovered that is made from sweet potato starch). Saute the greens lightly in a neutral oil and toss with the noodles and a bit of soy sauce. If you absolutely need a recipe, here’s one from a CSA in Tucson. You could stir fry the greens with gingery sauce.  Easier still: Mark Bittman of the New York Times paired bok choi (Pak Choi in our list) with oyster sauce.

Asian greens in the main course: Take the above, and add protein. Green Your Plate is a wonderful food blog written by a woman who belongs to a midwestern CSA. Earlier this year, she put up a very complete post on Asian greens, and it included several ideas on using them in main courses.

Enough. I’m getting hungry.

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Week 22, Final Distribution 2009

Individual Shares, Select 6

Radishes

Arugula

Hon Tsai Tai

Pears

Mixed Leaf Lettuce

Pak Choi

Baby Leaf Lettuce

Mizspoona

Stir-fry mix (baby Kale, Yokata-Na)

Pumpkins

EXTRAS: Hickory nuts, Green Wave mustard

Thank you all for participating this year in our CSA!

Please stock up on animal protein. We will have available for purchase, seafood, chicken, and beef all on a first-come, first-served basis. Place your order by clicking on the appropriate link.

What’s Coming Up This Season?

I want to take a moment to give you a little window into how the season is going here in the fields. The kale and lettuce have been really beautiful and bountiful, and we appreciate all of your kind feedback. You may have heard us during distribution talk a little bit about enduring all of the rain this spring. All of the rain (one of the top 10 rainiest Junes on record) and the unseasonably cool temperatures (one of the 12 coolest Junes on record) have had their impact on us.

So what does that mean?

To protect the soil condition we did most of our transplanting by hand. For those crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cool wet soils are a recipe for disaster due to a heightened likelihood of diseases wiping out the crops.  You may have read of the late blight situation that is destroying commercial tomato crops across the northeast (all of our tomato plants are in and looking good, our fingers are crossed and we’re taking every precaution to keep them safe).

So, to guard against the probability losing all that work and the plants we held off planting our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and some others. We are going full tilt now and are catching up. I expect to have the first of the zucchini and other summer squashes in the next few weeks. The plants are in bloom and everything looks good.  The cucumbers are already on the vine and we have stakes in and will be setting trellis so I expect cucumbers in the same time period, maybe even next week. Our chard looks great and the successive plantings of lettuce will provide for an abundant Sept/Oct. We are direct seeding some of your favorites like arugula, mustards, radish, beets, turnips and beans.

I make every effort to have a broad array of vegetables ripe and ready throughout the season and expect that we won’t be missing any veggies this year, we certainly will be seeing more and more as we get into the second half of the season as a result of the rainy June. Fall squash and pumpkins are thriving so it looks like we’ll have a Real Thanksgiving this year.

Our first batch of pasture fed chickens are available this week at distribution by forward order only. Please contact Megan if you’d like to purchase one. Most of the chickens are between 2.5-4 lbs and are running $4.50 ($4.05 for members!)

Beef will be available mid-August. Keep an eye on your inbox for an order form!

We appreciate your feedback and questions, so feel free to contact us!