Sunday, June 24, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 19 June 2012 - Delivery #1

Watershed Farm CSA – 19 June 2012 – Delivery #1

Welcome to the 2012 Watershed Basket CSA,

Harvesting, picking and packing the first bag of the season is always an amazing experience. Here's a huge shout out to all those who helped get us to this point in the season. Ever since the snow was flying we have had some very dedicated and talented folks pass through our farm as WWOOFers, apprentices, work share members and more. Each of them contributed to the whole that now comes together in the weekly offering that you will find awaiting you each Tueday for the next 17 weeks. I am so pleased to have found Teri and Jon, our very capable farm-managers, who have given so much of themselves and do so with great humour and real joy. In the upcoming weeks you will hear from me as I occasionally add in my notes about farm events, introduce some of the dedicated team who help us with all that we do here and keep you abreast of all of our furry and feathered friends who share this farm with us. I will usually be the one doing the driving for the drop-offs and I look forward to meeting some of you as we cross paths along the way. We are also starting to plan our CSA FARM DAYS with the first one likely to be scheduled towards the end of July. That will offer us another opportunity to meet many of you and for all of you to see where your food is coming from.  For those of you who are eager to get your hands in the soil, there will be activities for young and old alike as well as lots of tasty food to enjoy.

And now I hand you over to Teri who is bursting with excitement (only slightly dampened by exhaustion) as she introduces you to your very first CSA bag of the season.

Happy eating,


Hi everyone!

I greet you with the joy that can only come from someone who truly loves what she does, as the lead up to today has been a long haul!  We've been planning for this since before we arrived in February; before some of you had even signed on!  For you this week we have a seasonal selection of gorgeous greens, some exciting spring vegetables, and a couple of delicious culinary herbs.  Our love and dedication for what we do is in every bit of the produce you are receiving this week, from seed to basket. 

Being part of a CSA is a truly special thing.  In exchange for your generosity early in the season and your flexibility (working with what we give you!), we pack up our freshest harvest for you each week, for 17 whole weeks!  If you do the math, the small share works out to around $20/week and the full is about $27 (and we'll always make sure the value of your basket meets or exceeds this amount).  But in reality, you receive much more: delivery to a nearby pick-up spot, recipes and email newsletters, an opportunity to cook with something new or different, and a chance to be a part of a farm and your community.  Please don't think of this as a grocery delivery service, it's really so much more about building community and connecting you with the food we are growing for you.

I'll get the administrative stuff out of the way before I tell you what you're going to find when you unpack that basket!

A reminder of the pick-up locations, and the times when your bags will be available (please see an email from me sent last Tuesday June 12 for your specific location):
Bridgewater, The Ark - 655 King Street, 9:00 - 3:30 pm
Lunenburg, Claussen-Walters - 6 King Street, 10:00 - 5:00
Mahone Bay, Mateus Bistro - 533 Main Street, 11:00 - 5:00
Chester, Chester Chiropractic Health Center - 4138 Hwy 3, 3:00 - 6:00
Halifax, Mid-East Food Centre - 2595 Agricola, 1:00 - 9:00
Halifax, Nurtured - 2571 Robie Street 1:00-5:00
On-farm pick-up - 768 Allen Frausel Road, Baker Settlement, 8:00 - 8:00

Please don't forget that we need cash or a cheque for $9, for the bags that you will be receiving your weekly deliveries in.  Please put this in an envelope with yor name on it when you return your first bag to pick up your second.

Egg Shares: Please return your used egg cartons via your bags.  Just think of it as farm inter-office mail!

Please let me know if you feel that anything is missing or not up to par in your basket.  Please also let me know if anything is particularly inspiring or exciting, too, and I will share it with our team!

One last thing about bags...  If you clean 1 each week, I don't have to clean 55: We appreciate if you return your bags clean and ready to go for next week.  Also, all the coloured ribbons and strings attached are our code for various things, so please leave them on for the season!

In your basket this week:
Swiss Chard - a truly delicious, healthful green.  With it I've included a very simple recipe, which is my favourite way to serve it.  If you're not working as hard as we are, you can substitute the oil and butter for broth or water.  Some people really enjoy it raw, and my Mom makes cabbage rolls with it (which I guess then become "swiss chard rolls"!). It's a bit meatier than spinach, but you can use it as a substitute for Popeye's fav.  I think a swiss chard lasagna would be delicious.  Have fun with this one!

Green Onions - beautiful, fresh, green onions are unbeatable and taken for granted.  As I write this newsletter, my hands are permeated with the sweet onion scent of these babies, from washing them earlier in the day.  Served in a salad, or with your radishes, they are delightful!  I know some (not me!) who love them so much, they dip them in salt and eat the whole thing!

Cilantro - If you haven't tried this herb, you're in for a new experience!  It is a sharp blast of flavour that goes well with spicy dishes like Mexican foods may also be familiar to you if you eat Thai food as it is commonly used in many of their dishes.  It's great in a salsa fresca (diced tomatoes, onion, peppers; lime and cilantro).  We make a delicious pesto from it when we have an abundance, and you should do some experimenting this week to find out how you like it best (I didn't used to like it, and now I enjoy it in small doses).  If you can't make use of all of it, you can chop it up and freeze it, which is my favourite (easy) way to preserve herbs.  Since most recipes call for just a little bit, you'll have the freshest taste that way (though you can only use it for cooking once frozen, as it does turn black when it freezes).  It's also worth noting that it is an enormously healthful herb rich in iron, magnesium and Vitamin C and A and is used in de-toxifiying the body, as an anti-inflammatory, reduces LDL cholesterol, offers relief of stomach gas and reduces nausea.

Salad Mix - Our salad mix is simply awesome right now.  You will recognize it as the bag with the range of different kinds of lettuce and little pretty flowers in it. Our mix changes as the season progresses but right now alongside the different lettuces such as red oak leaf, deer tongue, black-seeded simpson, red romaine you will find some exciting additions like claytonia (miner's lettuce, a succulent crunchy treat) and cress (a spicy, beautifully frilly green), and the lettuce itself is exactly what lettuce should be- shiny and satin, so beautiful it's almost hard to devour that salad (except you will... because it tastes as good as it looks!).  We don't profess to washing our salad mix so you should do so at your end. We find that when harvested at dawn before the heat of the day wilts the leaves and left unwashed, this mix should last in your fridge for the better part of a week though we hope you will eat it long before the week is up. Anyway, it's so gorgeous I can barely believe we are all responsible for growing it.  And I'm so proud that we are!  The small purple and yellow flowers (a.k.a. "Johnny-Jump-Ups") are edible too, and add a hint of minty flavour.

Stir-Fry Mix - This bag is a mixture of different asian greens like spicy mustards, bok choy, purple mizuna, red rain... most of which mean nothing to you, I realize.  Basically, they are healthy greens that you can cook or eat raw (if you're adventurous!), as they have flavours ranging from mild-cabbage to wow-spicy-mustard!  They're great chopped up in stews or soups, too. Chopped finely and then added to a pasta or rice salad these greens add some wonderful zest and you never get a sense of being overpowered by their bite. You can make double use of your recipe this week and substitute the Stir-Fry Mix for the Swiss Chard.  Raw, these greens stand up to a bold dressing, or hold their own with a mild one, so do some trials and see what you like.  Beware of the frilly green mustard, he packs a punch! As the season progresses you will see more of this mix and it will change to allow for it's stellar reputation as a "Meal-In-A-Bag" as we add snow peas or broccoli florets or other items that are well suited to join each other in a tasty and healthy dish.
In your stir-fry mix is a garlic scape, which is the first you'll see of our amazing garlic for the year.  The scape is how the garlic plant sends up its seed in the late spring, and we remove them to encourage the bulb to grow (and because they are delicious!).  It's a definite garlic flavour, a bit milder and sweeter than winter garlic.  You can use it with your stir-fry, or anywhere that you like garlic (we on the farm like it everywhere!).  You'll be seeing more of these in the weeks to come, they are truly a seasonal treat!

Oregano - We often opt for the dried version, but the fresh bundle in your basket this week is pungent and flavourful, reminscient of pizza and greek food and warm herb bread...  Mmmm!  If you're not able to creatively incorporate all of it into your dishes this week, hang it up to dry in a dust-free spot and you can use it until it's all gone!

Radishes - My favourite thing to grow, as they are the earliest root vegetable, and simply gorgeous to look at!  Ours are called "Easter Egg", and are a range of pinks, purples, white and reds.  Try grating them into your salad, or be traditional and just slice them.  These put the mild, boring grocery store radishes to shame-- I had one at lunch the other day and it was shockingly spicy!  Most of them are a reasonable spicy radish flavour, and they are also very juicy, which is a quality I didn't appreciate in a radish until now.  Goes well with goat cheese and those green onions in your basket!

Head Lettuce
- These beauties are our first outdoor head lettuce harvest of the season.  There's a range of different types, all of them shockingly gorgeous, and I worry about them fitting into the bags!

Kale - Ours is a mixture of different varieties, and kale is one of the most healthy greens (a "super-food"!), and not something to be afraid of!  I actually really like it raw, with a bit of oil and vinegar, which is best massaged into the torn-up leaves.  Throw some seeds or nuts on top and you have a "super-salad" (as opposed to a soup-or-salad-- which you can also do, as it's great in soups, too!).  Something else I LOVE is kale chips, which you can do in a dehydrator for maximum nutrition retention.  Sometimes I'm lazy and just bake mine in the oven: Tear kale leaves into bite-sized pieces, toss them in your favourite flavours with oil (I do cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt), and bake in the oven at 400 degrees spread out on a cookie sheet until they turn into the lightest, airiest "chips" you've ever had!  Save the stems and throw them in your next soup pot.

We hope you enjoy eating everything in your basket as much as we enjoyed growing it!

Teri Dillon

Watershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901
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