This has been a tough spring for us, and for most farmers in the area. We had a long, hot, dry spell in May followed by rain, rain, and more rain! Our strawberries need some warm, sunny days to really start to ripen up. Hopefully we’ll get some and next week’s share will be all about berries. We’re hoping to be able to open up the PYO fields soon, too!
Thankfully our potatoes from last fall stored beautifully, so we’ll be able to give everyone a good amount of those. Our rhubarb has also done well this spring, as have our scallions and radishes. We were also able to get our hands on some hot house tomatoes from VT Hydroponic, which we’ll be giving out this week, along with some fresh herbs.
Because we haven’t been bringing in much money yet this spring due to the late berry crop, the CSA money has been incredibly helpful. For the fourth year in a row we have been able to pay for labor, seeds, equipment, and more without taking out hefty spring loans. So thank you!
This Week’s Produce
(This may change day by day; depends on the weather!)
5 lbs. chef white potatoes (from last fall) ($4)
1 large bunch radishes ($2)
1 large bunch scallions ($2)
1.5 lbs. rhubarb ($3.75)
2 VT Hydroponic tomatoes (or one large) ($3)
1 bunch fresh mint or 1 bunch fresh oregano ($1.5)
Total Retail Value: $16.25
8 lbs. chef white potatoes ($5)
1 large bunch radishes ($2)
1 large bunch scallions ($2)
2 lbs. rhubarb ($5)
3 VT Hydroponic tomatoes (or 2 large) ($4.5)
1 bunch mint and 1 bunch oregano (or 2 of each) ($3)
Hopefully: asparagus ($5)
4 lbs. chef white potatoes ($3.25)
1 bunch radishes or 1 bunch scallions ($2)
1.25 lb. rhubarb ($3.25)
1 VT hydroponic tomato ($1.5)
1 bunch mint or 1 bunch oregano (or 2 lbs. extra potatoes) ($1.5)
Total retail value: $11.5
Bread and Eggs
Tomorrow is an egg week, and the bread is going to be Red Hen’s chewy and delicious fresh ciabatta.
(Greek Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mint)
This year we are going to try to make fresh herbs optional most weeks. So you will be able to choose either a bunch of some type of herb or something else of equal value, like a pepper or a cucumber or two. This week, however, we don’t have enough produce to do this, so everyone gets fresh herbs. Oregano is great in home-made tomato sauce and in all sorts of Italian dishes. Fresh mint is great in drinks (iced tea, mojitos, mint juleps), as well as salads and sauces. One of my favorite ways to use fresh mint is in a simple quinoa salad. Just mix cooked, cooled quinoa, drained chick peas, chopped tomatoes, chopped scallions (green and white parts), chopped fresh mint, crumbled feta, and some fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Delicious, and very healthy!
One of the simplest ways to prepare rhubarb is just to cook it down with a tiny bit of water and sugar to taste (I like about 1/3 cup per pound). It takes about 15 minutes over medium heat (stirring often) to get a wonderful sweet-tart sauce that you can serve warm or cold over cake, pancakes, ice cream, or yogurt.
You could also save your rhubarb for when the strawberries are ready and make a classic strawberry rhubarb pie or tart. Or you could try an all-rhubarb dessert like this addictive rhubarb snack-cake:
(From the Smitten Kitchen Blog)
1 1/4 pound (565 grams) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths on the diagonal
1 1/3 cup (265 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups (165 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces, or 55 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or a nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper, extending the lengths up two sides. (It will look like a sling). Stir together rhubarb and 2/3 cup sugar and set aside. Beat butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon table salt and ground ginger together in a small bowl. Add one-third of this mixture to the batter, mixing until just combined. Continue, adding half the sour cream, the second third of the flour mixture, the remaining sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing between each addition until just combined.
Dollop batter over prepared pan, then use a spatula — offset, if you have one, makes this easiest — to spread the cake into an even, thin layer. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the cake, spreading it into an even layer (most pieces should fit in a tight, single layer).
Stir together the crumb mixture, first whisking the flour, brown sugar, table salt and cinnamon together, then stirring in the melted butter with a spoon or fork. Scatter evenly over rhubarb layer. Bake cake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. The cake is done when a tester comes out free of the wet cake batter below. It will be golden on top. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Here’s a recipe for a delicious egg, tomato, and scallion dish: http://www.thekitchn.com/chinese-comfort-food-stirfried-60599. If you’re on facebook, feel free to share links to recipes online that you like on the CSA facebook page.