spinach

arugula, beet greens, bok choy, greens, kale, mustard greens, radish greens, spinach, tat soi, turnip greens

Happy Autumn!


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Hi folks! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted on this ol’ blog – again – but what can I say? We’re busy farmin it up out here and that leaves little time for blog posts. As the weather turns colder, you can expect more posts. Until then, I’m posting one of our write ups from the first Fall CSA newsletter. It’s all about greens – and I figured lots of folks might be interested in how to deal with the plethora of greens to come this season. I’ve been taking pictures on the farm – some of them are outdated already, but expect a picture blog in the near future. 
As usual, thanks for stopping by! 
 – Patricia 
Greens Galore
By Patricia Parker
Even for greens lovers like us, it can be a challenge to keep up with all the greens (but we like challenge) and root veggies of the fall. I’d like to share a bit of our greens wisdom with the hopes that you find some of our strategies helpful.
First and foremost, it is important to get acquainted with your greens. You’ll be receiving numerous types and varieties, each with their own unique flavors and textures. Additionally, their flavors will change as the weather grows colder (they’ll get sweeter – this goes for the root veggies too!). I recommend trying your greens every which way – starting by trying them raw. I find some greens less palatable raw than others – for instance, turnip, radish, and mustard greens are a bit too pungent raw for my taste. But, when they’re cooked, they’re delectable. And some greens are great raw – like arugula and spinach – and others that might surprise you, like kale and swiss chard (all of them are great cooked). As a general rule of thumb, the more tender the green, the better it tastes raw (and the less time you will need to cook them).
Now, there are countless ways to prepare your greens – you can steam them, sauté them, stir fry them, put them in soups, chilis and stews, eat them with eggs (e.g., as a side, in an omelet or frittata), etc. We’ll provide you with recipes for your greens throughout the season to help spur along your greens creativity. We’ll also give you basic cooking instructions and storage information. If your greens ever start to feel like they’re piling up on you, remember how few greens there are in the summer. You can blanch and then freeze your greens to use them any other time you like. You can also use up lots of greens if you make them the primary course on your plate (e.g., dinner salad or beans and greens with meat on the side). Of course, you can also share with your friends, family and neighbors – and if you don’t have any takers, you can leave them with us and we’ll donate them to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle for you.
Keeping up with your greens can be a daunting task in the beginning, but before you know it, you’ll turn pro!
Note: If anyone would like to share their own methods for keeping up with your CSA share, please send a write-up our way. We would LOVE for CSA members to contribute to weekly newsletters. You can send your write up in an email, as a word file, or as a pdf file. We’ll be sure to place it in the next newsletter.
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2011 CSA, beet greens, bok choy, cilantro, dill, lettuce, newsletter, recipes, scallions, spinach, strawberries, tatsoi

Week 2, May 2-8 Share Contents


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Hi folks! I have pictures of the share contents for Week 2. To avoid forgetting to take the pictures, I photographed the produce pre-wash, so you’ll notice soil on the veggies. They’ll be nice and clean when you pick them up, of course. But it’s always good to give them another cleaning before you use them. The only thing we don’t wash at the farm are the strawberries, as they should only be washed right before eating them (to maintain their “shelf” life).

I also just printed out this week’s newsletter. You can expect more in this newsletter compared with last week. This week we’ve included Michele McKinley’s description of Farm It Forward, an idea Ben and I approached AHA (Advocates for Health in Action) in February. We’re having our first fundraiser this Sunday at Market Restaurant. For more info on that, please see the preceding post. We’ve also include some basic information (storage and cooking instructions) to help members make good use of your weekly shares. We’ve highlighted bok choy, rainbow chard, lettuce and dill. And finally, Ben wrote a little segment we’re calling “Farmer Musings” to let members know what’s going on here on the farm. We hope you find the newsletters helpful.

Okay, now, for the pictures!

Here’s a regular/small sized share. Everything is pictured here but the chard and the herbs.
Items in this weeks share include: strawberries, bok choy, tatsoi, beets, dill and cilantro, lettuce, spinach and scallions.

This is a green bib, called Nancy.

This is a red romaine, called Marvel the Four Seasons.
A recipe for tofu stuffed lettuce rolls is in the newsletter.

Tatsoi

Bok Choy. The newsletter includes a recipe for Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Cashew Sauce.

Spinach. We like to steam it all and eat it with eggs for breakfast.

These are scallions. The difference between scallions and green onions, is that green onions are basically baby (bulbing) onions, while scallions will not bulb.
Detroit Red Beets (for full shares only – but many more are on the way for all share sizes)

You can steam or saute the beet greens too!

Cilantro and Dill (a recipe for dill and horseradish biscuits is included in the newsletter)

Yummy, yummy strawberries! This variety is called Chandler. 

Here’s Ben about to wash all of the produce. This week I completely forgot to get a picture of the Rainbow Chard, but I think y’all know what it looks like. And if you forgot, you can always check the Week 1 CSA Share post. We included a recipe for Swiss Chard Gratin in the newsletter.

Washing the spinach.

Well, I suppose that’s it for now! If you have any questions or suggestions for how we can make your membership experience better, please feel free to send us email or give us a call.

Also, we would really love it if members would contribute some recipes of your own so we can share them with everyone.

Thanks for stopping by! Ben will see you at the pick ups and at market. I’m MIA for the time being, working on my doctoral exam (prelim) for global sociology. I take the exam Monday, May 16th. After that, you’ll be seeing my face around a whole lot more! Ben told me a lot of folks from market wished me luck – thank you! I can certainly use it!

P.S. If you know folks that are interested in joining a CSA and you are happy with us, please let them know we are still accepting CSA members. We will prorate new members to account for missed pick ups.

2011 CSA, arugula, bok choy, cilantro, dill, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, swiss chard, tat soi

Week 1, April 24-30 CSA Share Contents


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Hi again folks! Last year, particularly at the beginning of the CSA season, a lot of the newbies were unfamiliar with some of our CSA share items. So, this year, we’re going to try our best to post pictures of all of the items in the shares each week. We’ll see how long that lasts! With all of the other happenings on the farm, photographs are definitely a low priority. But, we will do our best, because I think they are helpful.

And, just to reiterate one more time, it is not too late to sign up for the Summer 2011 CSA with us. We will pro-rate your share if you come on board late.

So, you will notice one MAJOR thing missing from these pictures – strawberries! They’re in the shares, but we forgot to take the pictures in time. We’ll be sure to include them in the photos next week.

Here’s a shot of the regular share box.

And here’s another.
Tat Soi
Arugula
(for large shares only – large shares will also receive twice as many berries, spinach and lettuce, compared with regular and small shares)

Dill and Cilantro (just a little for now, but much more to come!)

Red Russian Kale

Swiss Chard

Bok Choy

Spinach

Red Salad Bowl (an Oak Leaf Lettuce)

And here’s Bocephus. He’s not included but he wanted to say, “Hi!”
green onions, recipe ideas, spinach

Chilled Garden Soup for those Sweltering Days


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Hi y’all! I hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far. Things are going well for us. Ben and I are both immensely busy – Ben with planting, me with writing. We are also moving to the farm at the end of this month, so we’ve got to find time to pack and move somewhere in there :). It will be so nice to be living right out on the farm. Right now we live a couple miles from downtown Raleigh – and while we’ll miss our neighbors, I know Ben won’t miss the commute. Charlie Parker (our dog) will be thrilled to be somewhere where he can roam more freely as well. He is a country/farm dog at heart. Probably the thing I’ve missed most since we’ve been living in Raleigh is the stars. They are sometimes visible from here – but it’s nothing compared to a nice, dark country night sky. I can’t wait! 
Ben has gotten the first round of tomatoes in the ground – and eggplant and peppers are next this week. Also, the sugar snap peas are trellised and blooming. It won’t be long before we have some tasty sugar snap peas to offer for CSA members and market. 
Please remember to send me your information if you’re interested in participating in the “getting to know each other” activity. I’ve received a few responses, but I’ll wait to post anything until I get a few more. Again, you can send your info and a picture (or multiple pictures) of yourself, your family, your pets, or anything else to parker.patricia@gmail.com. 
I’d like to share a recipe with folks. It was in the nineties yesterday, so I thought  chilled soup might be appropriate :). I haven’t tried it yet, but I will be doing so soon. This recipe calls for green onions and spinach (among a few other things you’ll want to pick up from other farmers at market – or the grocery store). It’s from Farm Fresh Recipes by Janet Majure. 
Chilled Garden Soup
 
Makes 8 servings. 
1 bunch green onions
2 Tbsp butter
4 cups peeled, diced cucumbers
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup chopped spinach (although I’m planning on using more)
1/2 cup peeled, sliced potatoes
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup heavy cream, approximately
Fresh lemon juice
Salt
Cucumber slices for garnish
1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, saute green onions in butter until soft, 3-5 minutes. 
2. Add cucumbers, broth, spinach, potatoes and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. 
3. Puree is blender, working in batches. Transfer to bowl and stir in almost enough cream to reach desired consistency. Add lemon and salt to taste. 
4. Chill several hours. Serve with thinly sliced cucumber and garnish (or garnish with cream as in the picture). 
Well, that’s it for now. See you soon! 
Thanks for stopping by.
Patricia & Ben
bell peppers, recipes, spinach, sweet potatoes

Spinach and Sweet Potato Salad


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I told a few of you I would share this recipe. I found it in the March 2010 issue of Prevention. We haven’t had a chance to try this recipe yet, but it sounds really yummy and we’re gonna give it a try this weekend.

Here’s what it looks like (YUM!)

The recipe calls for bacon, but I think it would be just as good without it, substituting sunflower seeds (or your favorite nutty topping) instead.

Spinach and Sweet Potato Salad (p. 154)

2 lg sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 lb), peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 thick slices bacon (2 oz total)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 sm red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/3 c orange juice
1 lb fresh spinach leaves (or you could use our baby tat soi)

1. HEAT oven to 400F. Put sweet potatoes on backing sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, sprinkle with 2/4 teaspoon of the salt, and toss to coat. Roast, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown outside and just tender inside, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven but leave on pan until ready to use.
2. COOK bacon in skillet over medium heat while potatoes raost, turning once or twice, until crisp. Drain on paper towels and pour off fat, leave any darkened bits in pan. Chop bacon. Put pan back over medium heat and add remaining 2 tablespoon oil. When hot, add bell pepper, onion, ginger, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring once or twice, until no longer raw. Stir in cumin and bacon. Stir in organge juice and turn off heat.
3. PUT spinach in large bowl. Add sweet potatoes, warm dressing, and freshly ground black pepper to taste and toss to combine. Taste and add salt if needed.

carrots, collards, kale, recipe community, recipe ideas, recipes, spinach, vitamin green

Recipe Sharing Community Forum


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Hi ya’ll! I hope everyone is having a fun and safe Monday afternoon. I am getting quite a bit of work done for classes, but became distracted by the thought of posting this request – which is basically to ask those of you who have made tasty treats with Ben’s Produce to please share your recipes or ideas with us. If you are interested in sharing, please post your recipe/ideas as a comment here or send an e-mail my way (parker.patricia@gmail.com). I will compile the recipes and share them in a blog post. If your recipes come from a source other than youself, please include that as well (if you know it). As usual, thanks for stopping by! We’ll see you all later this week. 
Here’s one from Rachel Ray. Ingredients from Ben’s Produce include: kale and carrots (you can add collards instead of or in addition to the parsnips): 
Mustard-Molasses Chicken One Pot

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 8 pieces bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise, then sliced
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-3 1-inch-long sticks, 1/2-inch wide
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 1 small bundle black kale or dinosaur kale, chopped or thinly sliced
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Crusty bread with nuts and raisins or cranberries
Preparation

Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then brown until golden, 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and add another tablespoon of EVOO to the pan, one turn of the pan.
Add the onion, parsnips and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften a bit, 5-6 minutes. Add the kale to the pot and wilt in, then add the nutmeg.

Whisk the mustard, molasses and stock together in a bowl, then pour over top of the vegetables and settle the chicken back into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the lid, then remove the chicken and reserve on a plate covered with aluminum foil. Continue simmering the veggies until the liquids are thickened, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken and veggies with crusty warm bread.

Source: http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe.php?recipe_id=3129

And here’s one from Southern Cooking that uses collard greens. To make this dish vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth (or vegetable bouillon) for chicken stock and leave out the bacon. Toasted pine nuts might be a good substitute for bacon…

 Collard Green Risotto and Pot Liquor

Ingredients

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 3  bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  large onion, chopped
  • 2  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1  pound  fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper
  • 3  cups  chicken broth
  • 1/4  cup  molasses
  • 2  tablespoons  butter or margarine
  • Risotto

Preparation

Heat oil in a Dutch oven; add bacon, and cook until crisp. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute.
Stir in collard greens, salt, and pepper; sauté over medium heat 5 minutes or until greens wilt. Stir in chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook mixture 45 minutes or until greens are tender.
Pour greens mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a container, reserving greens and pot liquor. Whisk molasses and butter into pot liquor.
Stir greens into Risotto.
Place 1 cup Collard Green Risotto in each of 6 bowls. Ladle pot liquor mixture evenly on top. Serve immediately.

Chef Jan Birnbaum, Chef Jan Birnbaum, Southern Living, JUNE 2001

Source: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=258429

This recipe was originally taken from one of the Moosewood cookbooks. If you’re not familiar with these books and you would like to add more veggies into your diet, I strongly suggest checking them out at one of our local bookstores. This recipe calls for spinach, but you could just as likely use tender kale or vitamin green instead.

Sesame Tofu with Spinach (or Vitamin Green)
 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. 1

    Slice the Tofu lengthwise into 4 rectangular slabs, than half each piece to get squares.

  2. 2

    Spread the sesame seeds on a plate. Press all surfaces of each tofu square into the seeds to coat.

  3. 3

    Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet on medium heat.

  4. 4

    Arrange the tofu in a single layer and cook about 5 minutes Carefully turn and cook 5 minutes on other side.

  5. 5

    Add soy sauce and Tabasco, turn the squares over, and cook another minute. Transfer squares to a plate (leaving stray seeds in the pan).

  6. 6

    Add the oil and garlic to the pan and sauté for about 30 seconds, until golden. Add the still damp rinsed spinach and cook for 1-2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Cook until wilted but still bright green.

  7. 7

    Season to taste with salt & pepper.

  8. 8

    Serve the tofu on top of the spinach.

Source: http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/gallery.php?rid=225814

bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, chinese cabbage, collards, CSA, green onions, greens, kale, lettuce, mustard, radishes, recipe ideas, spinach, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, tatsoi, turnips

Holidays! Holidays! Holidays!


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Hello and Welcome!

A big thanks to our new customers from the neighborhood who stopped by Tuesday night to pick up some produce! The holidays are upon us! We’re headed to Tennessee to see Patricia’s family and some friends there. It will be a needed break for us, though I will be working some. I’ll be fine-tuning our farm and CSA plan for the coming year. It’s very exciting, thought provoking and a lot of work! Anyhow, we’ll be announcing the CSA soon!

During these cold winter months, please be aware the weather may postpone our harvest of your produce. In response to this, we may postpone pickups by a day or two. We will provide primary notice of pickup changes via email (especially for those of you who place orders) as well as via blog and online store. Thank you for being flexible with us!

Next Tuesday, December 22nd, we will have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4pm to 7:30pm. We will not have produce pickup Tuesday, December 29th. We will return with pickup Tuesday, January 5th.

Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce.

Community Supported Agriculture:
Information coming soon!

Current vegetable availability includes:
bok choy
cabbage
carrots
chinese cabbage
collards
green onions
kale
lettuce
mustard greens
radishes
spinach
sweet potatoes
swiss chard
tatsoi
turnips

No longer offered:
broccoli
mixed greens

Future winter vegetables will also include:
arugula
baby beets
broccoli raab
brussels sprout
mixed baby lettuce & greens

Recipes:

Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes

– serves 2 to 3 –

Ingredients

2 pounds Swiss chard, larger stems removed, and leaves chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
1 16-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan

Procedure

1. Fill a large pot halfway up with water. Bring to a boil and then toss in the swiss chard leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Drain the chard in a colander.

2. Wipe out any excess water in the pot. Then pour in the olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the tomatoes, turn the heat to medium-high, and when the mixture comes to a boil add the beans. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.

4. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the chard. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add some grated Parmesan to finish. Enjoy!

Golumpki’s or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

We made these the other day with our cabbage, carrots and turnips and they turned out phenomenal! Give these a whirl, you might like them.

– serves 4 –

Ingredients

1Tbsp Olive oil
1 leek or onion
2 med. turnip, cubed small
2 med. carrots, cubed small
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 cup cooked rice
16 oz cooked ground meat
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch ground coriander
salt & pepper
1 cabbage head

Sauce:
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup broth or stock
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups crushed tomatoes

1. Brown ground meat.

2. To make the filling, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium low heat. Add leek or onion, turnip, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until softened.

3. Remove from heat and stir in meat, rice, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, lemon juice and ground coriander. Season with salt & pepper.

4. Preheat oven to 325 F. Oil a 9×13 baking dish. Cook the whole cabbage in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until pliable. Drain and rinse under cold water. Peel off whole leaves to stuff. Pat dry.

5. Lay leaves flat and make a pile in the middle of each, about 1/3 to 2/3 cup depending on the size of the leaf. Roll up each leaf, folding the sides to enclose the filling in a neat parcel. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the baking dish. Pour in stock. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, heat the oil for the sauce in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the crushed tomatoes. Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

7. Using slotted spoon, serve stuffed cabbage rolls topped with the tomato sauce. Enjoy!

Happy holidays and many thanks!

Ben & Patricia