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Waverly Farms CSA Box 6/11/15

Posted 6/11/2015 10:58am by Patti Rosenberg.

Waverly Farms, LC

Dear CSA Member,

Unless other arrangements have been made, Weekly CSA subscribers receive boxes this week. I am sorry that our systems send reminder letters to everyone. I hope being clear in this newsletter helps eliminate any confusion. Bi-weekly subscribers, of course, will receive boxes next week (June 18-20) and monthly Protein Share subscribers the following week (June 25-27). 


Planting Sweet Potatoes
by Waverly Farms farmer Amy Scanes-Wolfe  

Amy with Spring Onions

This year’s sweet potato patch is nestled in the remains of what was once a forest. The space was first cleared a year and a half ago and we've cover cropped to hold onto and add nutrients. Last week, when the soil was dry, we amended it specifically for sweet potatoes and used the tractor to shape eleven raised beds. After a soaking rain, our rows looked like a pile of rubble—a big earthy pile of rubble strewn with wood and the remains of two bonfires. It was too late for skepticism, so we gathered up our sweet potato slips and started planting.

Sweet potatoes are not like Irish potatoes. Actually, they’re not even remotely related. Sweet potatoes belong to the same family as Morning Glory; they are a heat-loving, tropical vining plant. To cultivate them, we bury last year's tubers deep in warm dirt and let them sprout. Then we pull out the sprouts - called "slips" and plant them. We grew about 450 slips of our own, but it wasn’t nearly enough so we bought 750 more from Clay's Garden Center in Blackstone.

It turns out the most effective digging tool for planting sweet potato slips is a long, pointy stick. Luckily, there were many at hand. In a matter four hours, we had roughly 1,200 slips in the ground.

The neighbor’s dog surveyed our work dubiously. Now the field looked like a big pile of rubble with green sticks poking out the top. But lo and behold! The next day, the sticks were still green - a good sign.

I have been farming for four years, and it still surprises me when seeds actually sprout, and transplants actually grow. These beautiful transformations—seed to seedling, tuber to sprout, sprout to vine, forest to field—make farming the joy that it is. But you never quite know what you’re going to get. Everything is an experiment to some degree, some more predictable than others. And you are always pleasantly surprised when the crops actually grow, no matter how many times they have before.

So, will this woody patch yield thousands of sweet, fleshy tubers we desire? We’ll find out in September!

Amy


From the Garden - Weekly Members

 
Richard with Marissa (left) and Amy (right)

Richard deserves spacial thanks for the stress he carries every day. Amazingly, he hides it well behind his calm demeanor and great sense of humor, which everyone who knows him loves and appreciates. He was not sure whether we'd have enough broccoli this week, and I commented that the brassicas seemed to be having a difficult Spring. His reply illuminated again the burden he carries while also making me laugh. It's so "Richard" to say,  "Yeah, they've been through it all -- early heat, late cold snaps, dry weeks and deluges!" Despite it all, Richard, Amy and the rest of our team have put together another great box for you this week, including:

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Collards
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Swiss Chard

Wow! I hope you enjoy these gifts from our farmers and the earth.

Grab All Greens! - We all need more dark leafy greens. They are packed with vitamins and minerals and cleanse our colons. Look around and you may notice that they are non-existent at most meals, yet so essential to our health.

The fastest way to get greens into your body is to take the easy path and combine all of them - beets, kohlrabi, broccoli, collards and Swiss chard into a healthy stir-fry or smoothie.

Stir-fry is the perfect compliment to roasted vegetables (see Beets and Carrots below) and whatever protein dish you choose. Simply clean the greens, remove tough stems, and cook them like this: First, decide if you want any meat, such as bacon, and/or onion. These are optional and not necessary if you just want to eat great greens. If you do decide to use bacon or onion, cook these items first in about 2 tbsp of olive oil, or in the grease of the bacon. When the pan is hot and the onions and bacon are cooked, add minced garlic, stir briefly then add the greens you have prepared and 1/2 cup of water. Add a few sprinkles of reduced sodium Soy Sauce (preferably organic) and the same amount of vinegar (apple cider vinegar works best) and cook until wilted and tender. This is easy and gets all those greens out of your refrigerator and into your body!

Smoothies make the best breakfast or mid-day snack and its amazing how satisfying they are! Seriously, it's such an oxygen rush to my brain that I feel alert and unburdened. It's no wonder. Our bodies need loads of dark leafy greens, but they are impossible to find at most meals. Wash, spin or shake, remove tough stems and store all of your greens together in a Ziplock bag (I include a clean paper towel to absorb any extra moisture). Then you can pull them out a handful or two at a time to make smoothies. Here are 9 Green Smoothie Recipes that you'll actually enjoy. My favorite for beginners is the Tropical Smoothie

Beets and Carrots - Wash and then cut these beauties, skin on, into 1" cubes. Stir them in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until tender. I put parchment paper on the cookie sheet to make clean-up a breeze. You could also oil the pan before you spread the vegetables in a single layer on it. This dish is prettier if you stir the carrots in olive oil first, place them on one side of the pan, then stir the beets last and place them on the other side of the pan. Mixing them all together turns everything purple. Feel free to add all kinds of things to this roasted dish, including potatoes, onions, turnips, or any root. The  more the merrier! 

Broccoli - This very fresh broccoli is going to cook in a flash. Steaming it just until tender and not a minute more retains vitamins and flavor better than boiling it, and you don't need a steamer to do this. Just put enough water to cover your pot 1/4", bring it to a boil, and add broccoli. Cook for 1 minute or until tender. Broccoli is so versatile, you could also add it to your roasted beets and carrots dish, or blanch it and put it in a cold salad, such as this very popular Broccoli Salad recipe. 

Collards - Collard greens sweeten smoothies and stir-fry, so perhaps you already included them in your greens mixture (above).  But, there are so many great recipes for collards. Being the perfectionist that she is, Martha Stewart has the golden list of Collard Greens Recipes - everything from collards with raisins, collard green gumbo, collard greens with white beans, collards in spaghetti, collards with shrimp and grits, stuffed collard greens - goodness she (or should I say her high-paid staff) found them all! I hope you'll try them. Collards will be back in Fall. 

Dill - This herb compliments most things, especially fish, yogurt, eggs, pizza. But the classic is grilled salmon with dill sauce and broccoli on the side. Most dill sauces have too much mayonnaise for me, so I'm offering two recipes for you. One that is more traditional using mayonnaise and sour cream, and another that uses less mayo and a bit of plain yogurt. Fage is my favorite brand of plain yogurt for dill sauce. Traditional Salmon with Dill Sauce or Healthier Dill Sauce with Yogurt

Fennel - Fennel is a mild, sweet onion flavor with a bit of anise and licorice. It is absolutely awesome with seafood, on pizza, in couscous and or just roasted with your beets and carrots (above). Try this recipe for Couscous with Roasted Fennel. Or this Fish in Parchment with Fennel and Dill. This is the recipe that made me fall in love with fennel. Add a few cherry tomatoes in the paper if you can find good ones, and don't be embarrassed if you have to staple the parchment paper to get it to hold. I had a heck of a time getting it to stay closed. The stapler was my hero and I still use it! 

Lettuce and Kohlrabi - The perfect complement, simply clean and rehydrate the lettuce, tear it into pieces, peel and dice the Kohlrabi and throw it into a salad. It works with anything else you want to add to your salad, including nuts, berries, apples, tomatoes, carrots. You might also use your lettuce in the recipe below from CSA member Melissa Price. 

Onion - These bunching onions are also called scallions, these mild onions are great in stir-fry, roasted with roots, grilled or included in recipes. Here are Five Recipes that Feature Scallions, including baked potato soup, fried rice, scallion pancakes and more. 

Swiss Chard - Again, great in smoothies, salads and stir-fry because Swiss chard is sweet and tender. If you want to feature Swiss Chard, three recipes do it best: Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard, Warm Bacon Vinaigrette with Swiss Chard, and Golden Raisins with Pine Nuts and Swiss Chard. All three are included in this collection of Swiss Chard Recipes from Cooking Light

 


Protein Shares

Members with protein shares this week receive Pork Ribs and Hamburger. For your hamburger, add a bit of fennel and dill this week for a really fresh flavor. Here is a recipe for Ground Beef Wellington with Fennel. I'll probably just fold fennel into my burgers before cooking them, or roast fennel on the side.  Pork Ribs require a slow approach is best so I always use the crock pot. Here is a terrific recipe for Chinese Pork Ribs

 


Melissa Shares a Recipe
Member Melissa Price shares this recipe. In her words...

Dear Patti and our friends at Waverly,

I have found a wonderful recipe that I think you will enjoy.  It is super easy and uses any and all vegetables in the refrigerator.  Not to mention it satisfies my Chinese food cravings.  It is called spicy pork noodles and came from the penskeys spice catalog but is barely recognizable now.  

The basic recipe is fantastic and super tasty but the more veggies I add the better it gets.  So I double the sauce amounts.  

When using spicy pork, I cut the sriracha sauce in half.  I used left over sliced beef last night with the full amount of hot sauce with great success.  

The vegetables are so versatile, use as many or as few as you like.  The basic recipe uses spinach but last nights noodles included bok choy, carrots, kale, broccoli, green onions and garlic.   It's even better the day after... I love this recipe!
Next time the great experiment will be with whole grain rice...

SPICY PORK NOODLES
12 oz lo mein or linguine noodles
2 tsp oil
12 oz ground pork
3 T. Soy sauce
2 T. Balsamic vinegar
2 T. Sriracha sauce
10 oz baby spinach

Cook noodles as per box directions; brown pork.  Add whisked sauces, than add spinach and sauté for 2 minutes.  

I hope you enjoy!  
Melissa Price
"We are stardust; we are golden; we are billion year old carbon.  And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell - Woodstock


Thank you for supporting these young farmers as they grow the healthiest, freshest food around. We love hearing from you and hope you enjoy your box this week.  

Stuart and Patti Rosenberg, owners
Richard Hendley, gardener

Waverly Farms, LC
www.waverlyfarmsvirginia.com
214-914-0323