Farm NewsLetter 02/06/06

The 47th Avenue/Luscher Farm Newsletter
For the week of February 6th, 2006

Farm Pickup Dates:
SE: 2/7, 2/21, 3/7, 3/21, 4/4, 4/18
LkO: 2/9, 2/23, 3/9, 3/23, 4/6, 4/20

In this Newsletter:
From the Farm:
What’s in the Share
Collard Greens with 5 Spice Powder
Parsnip Galette

From the Farm…

It’s time to get started planting, at least in the greenhouse. Things hardly grow at all during the darkest months of the year, but as the days start to lengthen, and we get a bit of sunshine all that will change. This week at Zenger Farm we’re replanting the greenhouse with lettuce mix and the more tender greens. These should hopefully keep us in salad for the rest of the winter share. Our propagation bench in the greenhouse should start filling up soon too with leeks, onions, lettuce and early broccoli starts. We’ll seed these into trays this month and plant them out whenever we get a break in the weather mid-March.
At Luscher Farm we hope to fertilize all the winter brassicas this week. I usually try to do it about the time the crocus bloom, but we also need some sunshine. Getting the fertilizer to pour down the funnel is a lot easier when we can keep it dry! Giving the plants like kale, collards, cauliflower and broccoli a little boost this time of year should help them produce more leaves and bigger heads for us over the next few months. At Luscher Farm we also have garlic, fava beans and early peas coming up in the field. We really have to stay on top of the weeding this time of year or things will be smothered by chickweed. Our usual method of hoeing is not very effective in the mud, so we’ve been flaming the weeds using a backpack propane tank and wand whenever possible. This works especially well if we flame the beds right before the crops come up. Later we have to be very careful not to torch the tender seedlings.
Winter is also the time to get organized! At my house, we’ve made some progress on the shed behind the garage. The harvest bins and buckets are in ship shape and we have a new outdoor closet that may help us dry out all of the wet plastic gear that accompanies us this time of year. The dry well that drains the washing shed was cleaned out, and we’re experimenting with burlap in the bottom to keep the mud from clogging it. We also made great strides getting the compost back under control. The worm bin is operating at capacity and we hope to have some of it for sale soon. You can also bring your kitchen scraps to add to the hot compost piles if you’d like, just remember- no meat, bread or dairy.
At both farms we have some work to do inside the barns. The little red barn we use at Luscher Farm has been filling up with water during the worst of the rainstorms so we’re going to put a few dump truck loads of gravel in it and see if that helps. We also took down an old blackberry and barbed wire fencerow so that we could have a turnaround at the bottom of the driveway. This should make it a lot easier next summer when we’re loading and unloading all the veggies there. Still on the list is building some shelves and a tool bench so we have addition work space there. We also need to shore up the wires in the attic where we dry the onions and garlic. Last years crop was so heavy that it pulled some of the wires down. I think with a little heavier gauge wire we’ll be able to load them up and not worry a bit. Good thing we have a few weeks of winter left to work on the list…

Thanks everyone for all your help

The Weather: Cold Clear and Sunny!

In the share this week…

Purple Sprouting Broccoli This is a wilder member of the broccoli family with small heads tender purple heads that just keep on coming all winter. Leaves and stem are tasty too.
Brussel Sprouts They are off the stalks this time and ready to jump right into your bowl. Don’t cook them very long! They taste best when just barely boiled, steamed or sautéed.
Cabbage A winter staple around the world! Like most winter greens they get sweeter in the cold.
Cauliflower Wow! What a treat this time of year
Collards Try an asian twist to these tasty greens with the recipe below.
Leeks The delicate flavor of these alliums makes an exceptional complement to greens. They’re also good in soups with parsnips and the sweet winter squash.
Mustard Another one from the oh-so-versatile brassica family. Use these ruffled leaves for a spicy salad or tasty sauté.
Onions These flat yellow onions have withstood the winter well.
Parsnips Roasted, sautéed, in soups, stews, risotto… yum!
Potatoes From our friends at Mustard Seed Farms
Delicata Squash I believe, sadly, that this the last of it. Sure was good while it lasted.

Coming Soon… White Sprouting Broccoli

Soy Braised Collards with 5 Spice Powder
From Vegetables every Day, via Shareholder Andrea Nakayama

1/4 cup rice wine or sherry
3 Tbspn soy sauce
2 tspn sweetener
1/2 tspn five-spice powder
2-1/2 lbs collard greens, tough stems discarded, washed, shaken dry to remove excess water, and coursely chopped
rice vinegar

– Bring rice wine, soy sauce, sweetener, five-spice powder, and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a large casserole or Dutch oven. Add the damp greens. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring once or twice, until the greens are very tender, about 15 minutes.

– Remove the cover and simmer until the greens are no longer soupy, 3-4 minutes. Adjust the seasonings, adding rice vinegar to taste. Serve immediately.
Parsnip Galette
From Local Flavors, By Deborah Madison

1/2 lb (2-3) parsnips salt & pepper
4 cups mixed cooking greens
2 eggs
1 T all-purpose flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 T butter
1/2 cup chopped sage
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
sunflower or olive oil for frying

Heat a large pot of water for the greens. When it comes to a boil, add salt. Plunge in the greens and cook until tender, about 5 min. Drain, press out much of the moisture, then chop coarsely.

Peel parsnips then grate them. You should have about 2 cups. Beat the egg, then whisk in flour and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir in the parsnips, greens & cheese.

Melt butter in an 8” non-stick skillet. Add the sage and walnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until they smell toasty and good. Add them to the parsnip mixture.

Wipe out the skillet and add enough oil to coat lightly. When hot, add the parsnip mixture and pat it evenly into the pan. Reduce the heat to med-low and cook until golden, about 5 min. Slide the galette onto a plate, place the skillet over it, and, grasping both plate and skillet, flip them over. Cook the second side until golden and crisp, then slide the galette onto a counter, cut into pieces and serve.