Here it is – the first Summer CSA Share! How nice that it actually looks and feels summery to be starting things off for the harvest season. This morning, I found myself eyeing up pants that I might cut into shorts – I am always aspiring for that 7-year-old scraped knee look.
Anyway, here we stand at the beginning of what I think will be a fantastic season. We have a rock star crew with Garrett, Sam and Tiff (from a few seasons back) returning, and a new face, Jane, who is not new to farming and is game for whatever we seem to throw at her. Of course Teri and Patricia and Dave are all back and in full swing planting for the CSA and keeping us organized in the pack shed. Now we’ll see less of Teri, since she’ll be running (sometimes literally) around delivering the shares on Mondays and Thursdays. Of course, with the harvest season we’ll see familiar faces of volunteers returning to help us a few different days a week. I’m excited to start this routine back up -it’s like going to summer camp, only with more lifting.
We had a full crew starting earlier than normal this season. Start times were a bit staggered, but not by much. Even though things have been off to a cool and wet start, the crew has been getting some good projects rolling. The barn roof has been replaced, and the inside cleared through in preparation to remove the side wall so we (i.e., Janaki) can park more tractors and implements in there. All of the carrots are being planted across the road this year. If they get water on them, they’ll like that sandier soil. Or that’s the idea. The deer of Wrenshall also seem to like it over there, and the crew has been in a race against the clock to get a deer fence up. Wooden posts are in at the corners, H braces made, T posts in progress… if nothing else the activity around there must be a turn off for a curious herd.
I am in my own race against the clock every day. Any time now, my project of 8 1/2 months will be joining me in the outside world. I’ll be missing almost an entire farm season, but starting my own season of sorts -and we’re delighted.
I am leaving the newsletter, and probably other projects I haven’t thought of yet, in the capable hands of Tiff. She’s a kick -you’ll all like her I’m sure.
As some of you know (hopefully) from seasons and newsletters past, we’re glad you’ve chosen to plan your meals and your time around getting our CSA share. Your investment in our farm makes the season, the hiring of the amazing crew, and all the projects for sustainability possible.
If you’re new to all of this, welcome! Thanks for seeking out a new way to get food onto your table. Sometimes aspects of getting a share can be daunting. If you’re new (or even not so new) and find yourself with questions about how to use things, or tricks about storage or how to put some things away, reach out and we can connect you with other members who are pros at using up a share. Personally, I just cook most things in butter and put an egg on top – but that’s not for everyone.
Thank you for slowing down some of your meals, and being outside norm of the constant “grab and go” way we treat food in this culture.
For the hall of famers and farmers crew,
In your share this week:
Greens Mix – Green Onions – Romaine and Bibb Lettuce – Pac Choi – Rhubarb – Spinach
Pac Choi with Ginger and Garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 8 cups chopped fresh pac choi
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- Ground black pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add bok choy and soy sauce cook 3 to 5 minutes, until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender. Season, to taste, with black pepper.
Rustic Rhubarb Tarts, from The Smitten Kitchen
- 1 cup corn flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 batch Rhubarb Vanilla Compote (recipe below)
In a food processor: Combine the dry ingredients in the work bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and pulse in short bursts, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add heavy cream and egg yolks and pulse until combined; it will look crumbly but it will become one mass when kneaded together.
In a stand mixer: Whisk the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, add the butter and turn the mixture speed to low (you’ll want to lock the top, so the mixture doesn’t fly about) and mix to break up the butter. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is as coarse as cornmeal. Add the heavy cream and egg yolks and mix until combined. The dough will look crumbly but when pinched between your fingers, it will come together.
By hand: The butter can also be blended into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, or you fingertips. The cream and egg yolks can be mixed into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon. You’ll likely want to turn the dough out onto a counter to gently knead it into one mass.
Shape the tarts: Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Lightly flour a work surface and using the heel of your hand, flatten the dough into a rough circle. Continue flattening until it is approximately 5 inches in diameter. Try to work quickly, so the dough doesn’t get too warm and soft, making it harder to handle. For more elegant edges, gently flatten the outer edge of the circle with your fingertips, making it thinner than the rest of the dough.
Spoon 3 tablespoons of the Rhubarb Vanilla Compote into the center of the dough. Fold the edge of the dough toward the compote and up, to create a ruffled edge; continue around the perimeter, letting the ruffles be their bad irregular selves. Slide a bench scraper or spatula under the tart and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough. Freeze the tarts on their tray for at least 1 hour or up to 2 weeks, wrapped tightly in plastic.
Bake the tarts: Preheat over to 375°F. Bake tarts, still frozen, for about 35 minutes or until the edges of the tarts are brown and the rhubarb is bubbling and thick. Serve warm or at room temperature. The tarts keep in an airtight container (or not, as I forgot to wrap mine and they were still awesome the next day) for up to 2 days.
Rhubarb Vanilla Compote
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (i.e. 15 tablespoons, if you want to drive yourself mad)
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Rinse the rhubarb stalks and trim the very ends. Cut them in half lengthwise (unless they’re very slim) and then on the diagonal into 3/4-inch chunks. Leaving the last 1 1/2 cups aside, put 3 cups of the rhubarb into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the brown sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pods and turn the heat to medium low. (You want to start at a low temperature to encourage the rhubarb to release its liquid. Unlike most compotes, this one adds no water.) Cook the rhubarb mixture, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is saucy. Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium, cooking an additional 15 to 17 minutes, or until the rhubarb is completely broken down and thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan. Discard your vanilla bean pods and add remaining rhubarb chunks to the compote. Pour the compote out onto a large plate to cool.