Farm NewsLetter 04/17/06

The 47th Avenue/Luscher Farm Newsletter
For the week of April 17th, 2006

A few Summer Shares are still available!
You can fill out a brochure at pickup or download one from the website at

First Summer Share Pickup Info
SE Portland: Tuesday May 16th, 5-7pm, 6632 SE 47th Ave
Lake Oswego: Thursday May 18th, 5-7pm, Luscher Farm, 125 Rosemont Ave

Hard to believe that another winter share in coming to a close! Every season has a character all its own, and this one was no exception. The fall was relatively mild and we had a bumper crop of winter squash. In December, rainfall was a little less then average, and we had beautiful carrots and greens through the month. Right around New Year the torrential rains began. January was the 4th wettest on record and set warm temperature records too. We had standing water in the barn and rivers running through our fields. Still, we managed to keep digging those Big Beets, parsnips, turnips and rutabagas out of the mud bog. Happily the deluge slowed in February, though that month threatened to set record cold temperatures. Lucky for us, it didn’t get down low enough to damage many crops. Collards, kale, sprouting broccoli and cauliflower were all at risk, but managed to pull through and have given us a bountiful harvest ever since. March was a little cooler than usual but we had enough dry days in a row to till a few fields and get them planted. We have little bitty peas, carrots, spinach, chard, lettuce, beets and brassicas coming up! April has been capricious as usual. We’ve seen sun, rain, hail, and sunshine again, all in the course of a single afternoon. The rainfall to date is right on the average, which we are especially appreciative of after last year- when it was double that. Winter veggies are always an adventure! Thanks so much for all you support and enthusiasm through the season.

Please fill out a WINTER SHARE SURVEY for us at pickup! We’ve included a harvest tally to help you remember what was in your basket al those many months ago. These surveys are our main tool for planning the next season’s share and we really appreciate your input!

Things are so far looking great for the summer share. We have more planted out in the fields than we did at this point last year. This is both because the weather has cooperated, and because we kept our fabulous (and now very experienced) farm team on over the winter. For these same reasons, we have also been able to keep the weeds under control. The crew has spent a lot of time flaming this winter, and on dry days we were able to do some hoeing too. As soon as we harvest your salad mix, we’re going to pull the lettuce out and fill the greenhouse with early season tomatoes! Peas are happily reaching for the sky, their little tendrils ready to climb the trellis’ we are setting up for then this week. And the propagation benches in the greenhouse are overflowing with plants growing up and heading out into the farm fields. Hope to see you all in May!

Thanks everyone for all your help!
The Weather: Chilly, Foggy, Rainy & even some Hail with the occasional bit of Sun shining through

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.
Cauliflower Baby white heads of the sweetest cauliflower you’ve ever tasted!
Collards They made it through the cold snap, and taste better than ever.
Green Garlic Just like a green onion or scallion except they have a mild garlic flavor.
Onions From our friends at Mustard Seed Farms
Parsnips Roasted, sautéed, in soups, stews, risotto… yum!
Hot Peppers A taste of the summer past, the promise of summer to come… Choose from hot Cayenne and even hotter Habaneros!
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.
Florettes These tender brassica greens are delicious sautéed or steamed
Lettuce Mix Finally those little seedlings in the greenhouse have started growing!
Kale Try these in the gratin below.

Coming Soon… The Summer Share!!

Winter Greens Gratin
adapted from Food Day recipe by Leather Storrs
6-8 servings

4 big bunches of winter greens (kale, collards, beet greens, chard, mustard greens, raab, florettes) stems removed, and roughly chopped
1 T salt
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 red peppers or 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 T olive oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c cream
optional: 1/21b bulk or link sausage, or 2 veggie burger patties, cut into 1/2” pieces
optional: 1/2 c feta cheese (parmesan or any goat cheese you have works too)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring large pot of water to boil, when reaches boil, add 1 T salt. When resumes boil, add chopped greens and cook 2 minutes. Drain greens and add to bowl of ice water, so they remain bright green. Squeeze water out of greens, chop finely, and squeeze water out again. There should be about 3 cups of greens.

In a large pan (preferably a cast iron skillet), sauté onions in olive oil 10 minutes, then add garlic and peppers and fry for a few more minutes; remove to a large bowl. If adding sausage, cook in pan, then add to onion mixture. Mix in cream and eggs to the onion mixture, and mix in cheese if desired. Put mixture into cast iron skillet (or 8×12 casserole dish if don’t have cast iron skillet) and bake 30 minutes, until top is starting to turn golden brown.