Mendocino Organics Vegetable CSA – Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Greetings, adventurous eaters and members of Mendocino Organics CSA! We are happy to have you all join the farm this year. This is our second season with the Spring-Summer Vegetable CSA, and many of you are new to our farm this year. This growing season already started off quite differently than the year before – it has been an incredibly dry and warm early spring. Water is always precious here in the West, and we are fortunate to have water available for food agriculture.
In Your Share This Week
- Snap Peas or Young Turnips (depends on your pick-up site)
- Fava Beans
- Spring Onions
This is a typical early spring harvest. No tomatoes or watermelons yet, although it has been warm enough to crave them! In one or two weeks, the cooking greens will be ready to harvest. We were lucky with the fava beans, which were over-wintered at the 3WG Ranch in Potter Valley. They were hit badly by frost but bounced back in late winter. Fresh fava beans require some preparation, but the work is worth it. They are delicious just sauteed in butter or olive oil. First you pop the beans out of the pods. Your kids can help with this. They you parboil them for a couple minutes, just so that you can slip the beans out their hulls. The recipe below suggests using a knife, but we just use our thumbnail. CUESA is a great organization with loads of information about different Northern California local produce, along with recipes.
Throughout the season, we will include recipes in your weekly newsletter. You will also find useful Vegetable Tip Sheets, or Veggie Tip Sheets at your pick-up site. They include nutritional info, storage and preparation tips, suggested recipes, and some interesting factoids about your vegetables. Many of these come from Just Food NYC’s “Veggie Tip Sheets” booklet, along with other good reference books and cookbooks. Feel free to grab a copy for each of the vegetables, especially if you are unfamiliar with a particular crop.
The shallots were stored from last fall. Shallots are a sweet substitute for onions in your cooking. The radishes will spice up any salad. If you want to try something different with your lettuce, check out this suggestion from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express. We are just discovering Mark Bittman’s cookbooks, and this one is pretty good. It’s divided up by season, the recipes are so simple, and there’s a whole section at the beginning of the book about what to keep in your pantry and substitutes for different ingredients. It’s everything to make you feel like a confident cook, even with a busy schedule.
Seared Fish with Lettuce Leaves
Use anything sustainable, good, fresh, and firm.
Warm a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil (or use olive or peanut oil; something with flavor, in any case) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish chunks with salt and pepper and sear until just done. Wrap at the table in leaves of Boston or other tender lettuce, or grape leaves from a jar, garnished with lemon juice and fresh mint or lime juice and basil, mint, and/or cilantro.
A lot of the lettuce is maturing much earlier than usual due to the warm spring. We were able to get a January planting of broccoli in the ground, which should be ready to harvest in one to two weeks. Just like every spring, we are waging a war with the mice in the propagation greenhouse and the gophers in the garden (aka Coyote Field) at Heart Arrow Ranch. If you were unaware, we grow crops at three different locations. We have been growing early spring and greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers at Heart Arrow Ranch near Redwood Valley. We also lease 3WG Ranch in Potter Valley for main season vegetables, and we lease another smaller parcel also in Potter Valley for more veggies (potatoes and some melons this year).
The potatoes will be ready earlier than usual; they are looking very healthy and will get mounded with our cultivating tractor. With potatoes, you have to mound, or draw dirt up to the plant so that the potatoes – the roots – develop properly. We are growing five different kinds of potatoes this year, including our favorite to eat – German Butterball.
Until next week, eat well!
Adam & Paula