Farm NewsLetter 04/03/06

The 47th Avenue/Luscher Farm Newsletter
For the week of April 3rd, 2006

Winter Farm Pickup Dates: SE: 4/4, 4/18 & LkO: 4/6, 4/20
First Summer Share Pickup Dates: SE May 16th & LkO May 18th

Summer shares are now available!
You can fill out a brochure at pickup or download one from the website at

The greenhouse is full of baby plants! We even had to build some additional tables outside to handle the overflow. The first broccoli is ready to transplant, and the kale and collards will be soon to follow. Leeks and onions are seeded early like the brassicas, but they are much slower growing. Most have germinated by now, but they’ll stay in their trays at least another month before they are big enough to transplant. We grow some varieties of onions from sets and buy in some leek and onions plants, but in order to get all the varieties we want, we have to grow a few from seed. This takes up a lot of precious space in the greenhouse this time of year, but these varieties are worth it! The King Richard Leeks are one or our favorites for their extremely long tender stalks, and the seed has not been commercially available for the last 2 years so we actually grew our own seed last year. We’re also growing 2 red onion varieties from seed this season: an Italian heirloom called Tropea and a storage onion called Redwing.
We are using our own compost as part of the potting soil this year for all the starts in the greenhouse. This is a very exciting development! We have been working through the kinks in our composting system for several years now, and finally have a consistently nutritious product that we’re very proud of. Mixing it with the potting soil we buy adds nutrients and some ecology to a basically sterile medium and helps the plants immensely. The source for most of the starting material in our composting system is organic veggies and straw. The majority of the veggies come from People’s Food Coop, but we also contribute some from the farm, and shareholders bring their household compost too. We have stopped putting garden weeds into the compost and now our end product is basically weed free. (Okay, occasionally some squash or tomatoes sprout from a batch.) The veggies undergo at least 3 heat cycles, then are finished in the worm bin. Those worms turn our chunky compost into something mighty fine and crumbly and beautiful. It’s possible that we may have enough of these worm castings to start selling some soon. We’ll keep you posted!

I have not been yet, but there is what look to be an amazing exhibit about farming at the Maryhill Museum called Sustaining Change on the American Farm: An Artist-Farmer Exchange. Four artists each from Oregon Idaho and Washington were paired with 12 regional farmers to make artworks about sustainability. Last growing season the artists visited the farms to gather information & inspiration. It runs March 15 through July 30, 2006. Maryhill Museum in Goldendale, Washington.

Thanks everyone for all your help!
The Weather: mild, with some beautiful sunbreaksJ

This week the share may include…

Sprouting Broccoli Both purple and white varieties are tasty & sweet. No prep work necessary on these cute tender shoots just steam them lightly for an easy side dish.
Collards They made it through the cold snap, and taste better than ever.
Red Russian Kale beautiful little leaves of Red Russian this week. Sauté onions, garlic and kale in olive oil then add a can of chickpeas or white beans and pour it over pasta. This is pure comfort food, aka Pasta e Fagioli!
Onions We should still have storage onions, but they didn’t last this year so we bought these in.
Parsnips Roasted, sautéed, in soups, stews, risotto… yum!
Raab Get ready for these sweeties! The brassicas are sending out their tender shoots and the long stems are just as tender as the tops. Treat them as you would asparagus or green beans.
Rosettes/Florettes These tender brassica greens are delicious sautéed or steamed
Salad Mix Finally those little seedlings in the greenhouse have started growing! Your salad this week has lettuce, arugula and a bit of spicy mustard greens in it.
Winterbor & Redbor Kale These hearty greens can hold up even if you cook them a little longer so they make a great addition to soups and stews. I often sauté or just wilt them with a little olive oil garlic and salt, then add a bit of water or stock and turn the heat down while I cook the rest of the meal. Leave it on low heat for 20 min or so, then kale will be perfectly tender when dinner is ready.

Coming Soon… Cauliflower, Salad Turnips & Mustard Greens

Sweet Hot Salad of Raab and Carrots
From Shareholder Amy Spring

I’m not a big fan of microwaving, but in this case, it preserves both vegetables’ deep color and nutrients as it speeds cooking. The honey and sweet sherry accents temper the bitter broccoli raab for a side dish that’s fast, fresh, pretty.

1 hearty bunch broccoli raab (1 pound plus)
About 1 pound fairly thin medium carrots (weighed without tops)
1 tablespoon sweet sherry or sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground hot pepper
2 tablespoons peanut or corn oil 1 tablespoon sesame oil

1. Cut a slice from broccoli raab base and taste to determine toughness. If fairly tender, trim only 1/2 inch or so from stalks; if tough, trim more. Without drying, spread in microwavable covered serving dish and cook for 2 minutes. Toss, then continue cooking until not quite done, 1 to 2 minutes more. Let cool.
2. Peel carrots. Place in microwavable dish and cover. Cook just until carrots lose their raw crunch but are not cooked through – 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Let cool.
3. In a small dish, mix sherry, vinegar, honey, salt and hot pepper to taste, stirring to blend. Add oils
4. Line up broccoli raab stems on cutting board. Cut apart from tops (the florets and leaves). Squeeze tops dry. Cut into very thin shreds; return to dish. Slice stems on a sharp angle to form long oblongs 1/8 inch thick; add to dish. Cut carrots the same way and add to dish. Toss with dressing. Season. Chill.