Week 7 of Winter/Spring from Valley Flora!

  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens
  • Pea Shoots
  • Yellow Onions
  • Painted Purple Potatoes
  • Spring Raab
  • Bulk Spinach
  • Tetsukabuto Winter Squash
  • Cebollitas 

Week 7 Produce Notes:

It was a fun week of harvest abundance at the farm: the purple sprouting broccoli at max production, spinach leaves the size of baby elephant ears, and our first harvest of "cebollitas." Cebollitas (little onions) are the green tops of our onion seedlings, which are currently sizing up in trays in our propagation greenhouse. We start all of our own onions from seed in early February and as they germinate and size up we have to give the seedlings periodic "haircuts" to encourage the plants to girth up ahead of transplanting. We've learned to save the green tops and put them to culinary use since they make a great substitute for chives or green onions. 

This week's motherlode of purple sprouting broccoli (aka "PSB" in farmer parlance) is worthy of center-of-the-plate attention. You can cook PSB the same way you would regular broccoli or broccolini. It will lose its vibrant purple color in the process, but the flavor is unbeatable. It's also mild and sweet enough to munch raw if you don't want to lose that vibrant purple hue (the stem in particular is oh-so-tender and sweet). Check out this diverse collection of purple sprouting broccoli recipes for inspiration.

Cauliflower: I got home late from the farm on Monday with no idea what I was making for dinner. I had a couple big heads of cauliflower that needed to be eaten so I did what I often do when I'm at a loss for a dinner idea but have produce staring me down in the fridge: I got online and searched "cauliflower recipes." I landed on this one: Kung Pao Cauliflower, and it was a hit. Quick, easy, tons of flavor, one single sheet pan to wash at the end of the night, perfect alongside a pot of rice. I didn't have any green onions on hand so I subbed thin-sliced leeks and roasted them with the cauliflower to crispy them up. Made for great leftovers the next day, too. I highly recommend, especially if you've got a cauliflower backlog.

Tetsukabuto Winter Squash: One of our favorite and longest-keeping squash, "Tetsu" is a cross between a butternut and a kabocha. They can be intimidating for some folks because of their tough-as-nails bumpy skin, but they are worth the effort ("tetsukabuto" translates to "steel helmet" in Japanese). The OSU winter vegetable project has created a great collection of videos on how to cook with lesser-known winter vegetables, including Tetsu: https://www.eatwintervegetables.com/videos

You can also find some delish recipes and videos for purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celeriac, radicchio and more on their site. Eat it up!

Mustard Greens: The variety that most of you are getting this week is a mild, lacy-leafed variety called "Ruby Streaks." If this is the vegetable that predictably ends up yellow and half-rotten in a slimy bag at the back of your fridge, I'd suggest cooking it up tonight alongside that Kung Pao cauliflower. In fact, the sauce for the cauliflower would work perfectly splashed over a pile of sauteed mustards (and I promise you, it will be a very small pile once it cooks down). You could also try this teriyaki-inspired recipe: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/218501/asian-inspired-mustard-greens/

Let the Planting Begin!

In spite of the near-relentless rain the past many months, the skies have afforded us enough of a window that we'll be starting our outdoor planting season on time this week. This first week of transplanting is a bit like boot-camp for farmers, with thousands and thousands of transplants staged in the greenhouse right now, ready to hit the soil. The way they get there, from greenhouse tray to fertile field, is human hands. We hand-transplant every last seedling on the farm, flat-backed, bent at the hips, leaning into our glutes. Even with our baseline fitness, we'll all be sore by this weekend, guaranteed. We'll be transplanting kale, collards, chard, head lettuce, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccolini, broccoli and pac choi. And by light of headlamp last night, I was able to get carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, arugula and spinach direct-seeded before the rain started. Spring is manic like this: rainy lulls followed by sunny weather sprints.

Good thing there are 12 hours and 50 minutes of daylight now, because there are times when we need every last second of it (and then some, courtesy of Petzl headlamps and an arsenal of rechargable triple A batteries :)...

CSA Shares Almost Sold Out, Sign Up Today!

We have a few spots left for the upcoming CSA season. Sign-ups are now open to the general public so spread the word! Remember, anyone with SNAP food benefits is eligible for Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) when they sign up for our CSA. That means they only pay half the cost of the CSA with SNAP and DUFB covers the other half. It's a great way to get a season of fresh produce from Valley Flora at a 50% discount.

Sign up on our website at https://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/valley-flora-harvest-basket!