In your share this week:
· Head Lettuce
· Red Ursa Kale
· Hakurei Turnips
What’s that Purple Thing?!
It’s called kohlrabi, and it’s as tasty as it is extraterrestrial-looking. The closest thing I can liken it to is broccoli stems – a sweetish, nutty-ish, tender, crunchy thing that you can eat raw or cooked. My favorite way to enjoy it: peeled and cut into sticks, then dipped. I like to make a homemade yogurt-curry dip for it (equal parts yogurt and mayo, with a good shake of the following herbs & spices, to taste: curry powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and dill weed), but anything will do. You can also sautee or steam it, just as you would broccoli.
You can also eat the leaves; they are similar to kale and collard greens. Here are some recipe ideas to get you started:
Next week you’ll see the greenish-white version – just as tender and yummy, but a little less flashy.
Storage: in a plastic bag in the fridge. Will hold for weeks and weeks if you cut the leaves off.
Strawberries and Rhubarb: A Match Made in Heaven
The strawberries are starting to ramp up, just in time to catch the tail end of rhubarb season. These two go together like nothing else in the dessert world – sweet and tangy in perfect harmony! Baked into a pie or a crisp - or sozzled down into a compote - then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…oh man.
You may not have enough of either to make a full pie this week, but I recently tried this quick, easy recipe from Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” and it sent us swooning. I didn’t have any mango (it’s not in season on the farm J), but it was great without it. If your strawberries even make it home from your pickup site, then give this one a try (over ice cream, of course!):
Rhubarb, Strawberry and Mango Compote
1 pound rhubarb, cut into ½” lengths
¾ c sugar
Scant 1/8th tsp ground cloves
grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
1 pint strawberries, sliced in half or quartered
1 mango, peeled and cut sliced into small pieces
Toss rhubarb with sugar, cloves and orange zest and juice, then put in a wide skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring now and then. As soon s rhubarb is tender – some pieces will have fallen apart while others are still whole – transfer it to a bowl and stir in the strawberries and mango. Toss gently, then cover and chill. As it cools, it’s red juices will be released.
Rhubarb stores in the fridge for weeks in plastic bag. The strawberries are best eaten within a few days. If you leave them on your counter, they will continue to ripen, redden and sweeten, up to a point. Good luck with the delayed gratification approach, especially if you have kids!
Red Ursa Kale
If you are a first-time CSA member, or a newcomer to eating locally and seasonally, then kale is somewhat of an initiation vegetable. We welcome you to the tribe this week. You’ll see three to four different varieties of kale over the next 7 months with us, all of them unique. Red Ursa is an heirloom variety that we love. It’s the first to be harvested in the spring, and we’ll still be eating from these plants through the winter and into next March.
Kale is a superfood, rich in vitamins A, C, B, and in calcium. It also has the highest protein content of all cultivated vegetables. Up until now, you may have only encountered kale as a garnish at the Pizza Hut salad bar (sad fact: Pizza Hut is the largest buyer of kale in the country, but only for salad bar décor). After eating Valley Flora kale this week, you might just find yourself forking the garnish onto your plate next time you’re at Pizza Hut. Go ahead. You’ll make us proud.
We eat kale a lot in our household, mostly steamed lightly and drizzled with olive oil, salt, and some tasty vinegar (balsamic, ume plum, or apple cider usually). It’s highly versatile though: you can sliver it up and make raw kale salad, cook it into your eggs and quiche, add it to your smoothies (another favorite way for us), toss it with pasta, add it to soup, layer it in lasagna instead of spinach, or whatever other preparation you can imagine. We store ours in a plastic bag in the fridge. When we’re ready to use it, we strip the leaves from the stems and go from there.
You might try this recipe, for something quick and light:
Sesame Kale Salad
1 bunch fresh kale
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp honey or other sweetener
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
dash of black or red pepper to taste
Strip kale leaves from stems. Chop stems and greens. Steam stems a couple minutes then add the greens and steam until just tender. Drain; let kale cool enough to handle it. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Place in a serving bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl; add to the greens. Mix, chill and serve.
Orphaned Produce Goes to Good Home
In case you are wondering what happens to any produce that goes unclaimed at your pickup site each week, there’s a happy answer: we donate all leftover food to local foodbanks after a 24 hour period at each pickup site. So not to worry, nothing goes to waste! (It also means that if you forget to pick up your produce in a given week, you have 24 hours to claim it before it’s donated).
We also donate a significant quantity of produce to foodbanks each week straight from the farm – leftovers, extras and seconds get packed up and donated to The Common Good in Port Orford, the Langlois Food Cupboard, and to ORCCA (Oregon Coast Community Alliance) who distributes the food up and down the coast.
The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…
No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:
· Head lettuce
· Braising Mix
· Fresh herbs
Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.
For recipes and ideas, check out these links:
Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites
Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient
A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients
A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient
A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes