Farm NewsLetter 04/02/07

Week of April 2nd, 2007

After this week there is only one more winter share pickup!! Have you signed up for your Summer Share yet? They’re going fast!!

Final Winter Share Pickup: SE Tues. April 17th or LkO Thurs April 19th

We are so excited for you all to meet our new farm apprentices! Sarah, Tigre and I spent the last month pouring over applications and interviewing lots of great folks from all over the country. The terrific response we had to our job posting just reaffirms for me how hungry people are out there to learn about sustainable urban farming. I’m thrilled we can offer the apprentice program and always hope that at least a few folks will go on to be farmers. At the very least we hope that by spending the summer with us the apprentices will develop a deeper understanding of what it really takes to make a small farm work. And of course have lots of fun at it too!

Karen Scherf grew up in Iowa on her grandparent’s farm where they raised beef and dairy cows and her grandma had a big garden. We are a much different kind of farm, but
Karen’s enthusiasm for the work was immediately apparent. She has held quite a few different kinds of jobs since leaving home, but has been increasingly drawn back toward farming and thinks that she would like eventually to have a farm of her own.

Kristin Pool grew up in foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Her family always had a big garden and she helped on her grandparent’s vineyard in the summers. As an undergraduate at UC Berkley she volunteered at a local urban farm and worked at the farmers market. Her interest in local food systems led her to Uganda to research issues of food insecurity, then also led her here to our urban farm.

Sally Kraynik’s organic farming career began as an undergraduate at Hampshire College where she helped with the schools CSA. She has pursued her interests in nutrition and education as far as India and Costa Rica, but now she’s back for more farming experience and hopes to someday be a successful small scale grower.

These brief intros to the new apprentices can only begin to scratch the surface of who they are and over the season at pickup and at work parties we hope you’ll get to know all of them better. The extended farm community is a big of who the 47th Ave Farm is so were counting on you all to help us welcome them into the farm family!!

Weather: Fair today, rain tomorrow… Spring in Oregon!
Your share this week may include:

Broccoli, Purple Sprouting What a treat this time of year to have these beautiful little broccoli heads! Stems and leaves are tasty too.
Chard The colors of the chard never cease to amaze me. Orange, red, pink striped stems are all so brilliant when they start to grow again after their winter hiatus. If you’re looking for new ways to use it, try my grandmothers chard bisque recipe on the website.
Collards Let’s just take a minute to appreciate what a workhorse these collards have been over the winter. Even now, as they start into the flowering/raab phase of their lifecycle we are still harvesting bins and bins of sweet leaves!
Kale, Winterbor Ditto for the kale! And they are still going strong…
Leeks, Blue Solaise This is a shorter sturdier more durable winter leek variety. The King Richards start to fade in March but these are still going strong. The bluish purple color on the leaves is so beautiful, and the white shanks have a nice mild allium flavorAnd use can even use the tops- they make great soup stock!
Parsley This beautiful Italian parsley was planted almost a year ago! I didn’t look so good over the winter, but has made some nice new growth in the last month. Yum!
Parsnips Sadly we are nearing the end of the parsnip season. The roots are starting to soften, but then cooked they are still quite tasty. Try them for breakfast! (recipe below)
Red Russian Kale Raab You may recognize the blue-grey leaves with their distinctive red veining. This is a beautiful and tasty kale and this time of the year it also produces a sweet stem and flower bud.
Collard Rapini At the last pickup we gave out the fat central shoots, and this week we’re picking the smaller tender side shoots. You can eat them leaves, stem and bud!

Broccoli Raab Sauteed
From shareholder Elizabeth Hamer
(this recipe scales down very well & is the most delicious thing ever!)

4 bunches (12-16 oz ea) broccoli raab or rapini, stems trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup raisins
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Working in batches, cook the raab in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 2 to 3 minutes per bunch. Transfer the raab to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the cooled raab and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over med heat. Add the garlic & red pepper flakes, and sauté until the garlic is golden, about 1 min. Reduce heat to med-low. Add the raab and toss to coat. Add the reserved cooking water & raisins, and cook until the raab is heated through and the stems are tender, about 4 minutes. Season with salt, to taste. Toss the mixture with toasted pine nuts, serve immediately.