CSA Farms Northwest Michigan
Ryan, Andrea and children

Ryan, Andrea and children

Romanesco Broccoli

Romanesco Broccoli

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Home > Gratefulness > A Few Letters to CSA Veggies Shares 2016



Week 3, Monday, June 27th:
Dear CSA Member,
First, Strawberry News, then CSA list, then sappy letter:

1st:  We are cresting the strawberry wave right at this point!  If you or someone you know wants a flat or two, now is the time.  Ideally, you'd get your flat this Tuesday - Saturday.  If you haven't communicated with us regarding your flat (when you'd like it this week), please do so now.  We don't want you to be disappointed or miss out.  We have a few extra and they are $46.00 (8 quarts) so please tell people you think may want organic strawberries.  Thanks!
We grow what you call "table fruit".  That means we chose varieties that are huge on flavor, not shelf life.  We pick them when ripe, not under-ripe.  You must REFRIGERATE upon arrival to your home (if they last the car ride), then eating or putting up within 2 days of receiving them.  This Monday batch tastes phenomenal.  They got just the right amount of sun and hardly any rain, which intensifies the flavor.  We're open all day Tuesday if you want to drive on over and get a flat of these beauties!  
2nd: Quick list of what CSA shares are getting this week, a note about last week's rhubarb, and some recipes:
 
  • ASPARAGUS, STRAWBERRIES, CILANTRO, GREENS MIX or SPINACH, LACEY LETTUCE HEAD or LETTUCE MIX, PRETTY PARSNIPS, GARLIC SCAPES, HAKURIE JAPANESE TURNIPS & OREGENO
  • All need to be refrigerated and protected from fridge air. You may hang oregeno in a sunny spot to dry instead.  
  • Note about rhubarb:  A customer called to let us know that her rhubarb looked bruised.  (Thank you for letting us know, so that we can correct the problem!)  Rhubarb needs to be picked with gloves on or it does, indeed, look bruised.  Somehow, that information didn't get transferred to that day's crew and I apologize.  The appearance of bruising does not affect taste or nutrition.  Also, Friday and Saturday shares did not get rhubarb... yet.  We substituted more strawberries as a consolation prize.  But Friday and Saturday shares will have rhubarb when it grows in again in two weeks! 
  • Garlic scapes and turnips last FOREVER.  Ok, months!  I'm not kidding. :-D  Just remove greens from turnips, (eat greens soon), and store roots in loose plastic.  Scapes are heartier except for the very tip, which yellows like grass.  I store these in my crisper drawer and use them for anything I need garlic for, just minced up real fine.  I have so many new members and garlic lovers that I have to re-share my favorite garlic scape pesto recipe.  Just remember to share liberally with loved ones as you will the "heavenly" scent of this fine garlic is not easy to mask. ;-)

1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

3 Tb.s fresh lemon or lime juice

¼ lb. garlic scapes (you have this amount in your shares this week)

½ cup olive oil

Salt to taste

Directions:  Puree scapes in olive oil in food processor until smooth.  Add cheese and juice to the mix, and puree again.  Add salt. 

  • Serve on bread, crackers, pasta or slices of turnips or radishes.
  • Tips:  Make and save for later by freezing portions in ice-cube tray! 
  • When basil comes in, you can thaw out some cubes, puree basil into the mix, and have a wonderful basil pesto!  Just modify amounts of the garlic scape pesto to basil leaves to suit your taste.
Sliced turnips, carrots, bread & crackers all taste great with this pesto.  I also use it as a rub on whitefish or chicken!

Another mini recipe:  Turnips and their greens marry well with Thai Peanut sauce.  Simply chop them, coat them and bake them at 350 for 20 minutes.  YUM.  You can buy the sauce or make your own with natural peanut butter, fresh pressed garlic, soy sauce and water to thin out the peanut butter to the consistency you want it.

3rd, Sappy Letter:
 
Sometimes my heart swells with this big, huge, overwhelming feeling of gratefulness.  You can't possibly know how blessed we feel to be in the position we are in.  We are doing exactly what we've dreamed about.  Yes, it can be crazy hard.  It's easy to romanticize the farm-life, so I've got to be honest here.  This stuff could eat us alive if we weren't passionate about what we were doing and deeply rooted in the belief that we're not farming in vain, nor alone.  By stuff I mean: not enough rain, too much rain, frost, the weeds, the bugs, equipment failure, frozen water lines, farm debt, sick or injured animals, poor germination, sometimes sleepless nights... and the WEATHER... (did I mention the weather?)
 
Obviously, we have an unstable business.  We grow a lot of things to mitigate risk, so that if a crop fails, we have lots of others to fall back on.  Obviously that costs more in all the different types of equipment we need.  And... every year, we get schooled.  EVERY YEAR.  Four years ago, we lost 90% of our garlic.  Two years ago, 85% of our strawberries, and we're just recovering from that.  This year sugar snap and snow peas.  They hardly germinated.  (Why?  That's never happened before!)  Another problem this year?  Death in our cattle.  We've lost three cows this year due to birthing issues, and calves too, which is really sad & disappointing.
 
It's kind of like a balancing act.  Fear can creep in if we let it.  Practicing our faith and trust that we are not alone, fights it off.  Beyond the all-encompassing beauty of the land, the animals, of hard little seeds becoming rooted, taking shape and producing beautiful, nutritious food... we think of you and our whole community's support... encouraging us to keep learning, striving to be better and celebrating all the things that do go well.  (Joy, the calf we almost lost, is walking, running and climbing up and down steps!  Our hay didn't get rained on, our strawberries are fabulous, our family is healthy, our Providence Farm team is fantastic, etc, etc...)
 
We're right in the center of the life of our farm-community: the land, the animals, and the people.  We've had many words of encouragement, blessings and gifts over the years from members. And, we have, thus far, been able to pay our loans, pay a fair wage to our employees, and pay our bills each year.  That is a BIG BIG deal.  Twenty years ago, a small farm like ours was almost unheard of.  And a lot of people, too many...lost their farms.  The thought was, "Get big or get out."  You are part of the movement to bring small, diverse & thriving farms back to the rural country-side.
 
Thank you, for being part of our endeavor to farm up here in northern Michigan.
Gratefully yours,
Andrea & Ryan Romeyn
   
           Joy, our "house cow" knows how to climb up and down our front porch steps and looks through the glass.  We have a "perma-smudge" on the window!
Week 2, June 20th:
Hey there!  Here is the list at the end of a great day.  The strawberries are in, and so are lots of square bales, (thank God, it didn't rain...) as it's also the beginning of our hay season.  Thanks to all who came to our kick-off CSA party.  We love sharing your farm with you.  Thanks for your enthusiasm.  It's fuel to help us in these crazy days of Summer.  That was super sweet.  For those that missed... we will have more events and I will share them as our ideas come to fruition.  If anyone took pictures at the party, please send them.  I didn't have a chance to capture it.  Thanks.
    
Week 2 CSA veggie shares are slated to get:
WAIT.  Ryan and I have to tell you something very very important.  Sometimes, your share may not have the same exact contents as we stated in our Monday night note to you.  
WHY?  For a few reasons.  For example, by Thursday, we did not have rosy radish for some shares.  That planting was done, and our next planting is too small.  So we substituted Hakurei Japanese Turnips.  Another reason contents may change during a week my be due to an unexpected turn of events, such as hail or bug damage.  It's the "nature of nature" that things don't come in and go out on a schedule.  Thank you for understanding and know that we will put something in it's place or give you more of something to make sure you are getting your value.
OK, here you go FOR REAL (as my 9 year old will say) this time:
  • The most delicious STRAWBERRIES (We never wash strawberries.  Do NOT wash them until you eat them.  We do NOT grow on plastic as these beautiful little sponges may absorb some plastic off-gassing.  That means they can be sandy.)
  •  Jewel-toned RHUBARB (Eat w/in the week or rinse, slice, pat dry and freeze for later.  I actually just made a decadent dessert with 5 cups frozen rhubarb from last year and no one exclaimed, "Is that freezer burn I'm tasting, or what?!?"  Our guest actually listened w/rapt attention as I shared the recipe:
Decadent Rhubarb Dessert:  Don't hate me for sharing this with you.  I actually just broke my NO WHEAT, NO SUGAR fast for one eensy, weensy piece.  Actually to be honest, it was MAN size, like HUNGRY MAN size.  
1.  Make a yellow cake.  I made the Betty Crocker recipe, but any yellow cake mix from the store will do.  
2.  Pour the batter into an un-greased 9 x 13 pan.  
3.  Evenly spread the *5 cups of sliced rhubarb onto the batter and shake the pan, to help it sink in.  
4.  Now sprinkle about two tablespoons granulated sugar on top of batter.  I have to be honest here.  The original recipe calls for two whole CUPS white sugar to be mixed with the sliced rhubarb prior to spreading it in the batter.  Trust me on this.  It is NOT necessary.  If you're doubting me right now, make it 4 Tablespoons sugar, but for the LOVE OF ____ , you do not need two cups of sugar!  
5.  Now pour two half-pints of heavy whipping cream (YES, two half-pints - you thought this was going to be somewhat healthy after my sugar rant, didn't you) over the whole thing and bake at 350 for an hour or until the "middle-doesn't-jiggle" if you know what I mean. ;-)
6. Serve with a generous amount of sliced strawberries on top.
 
* You could halve this entire recipe and make an 8 x 8 because A.  It's entirely possible to eat too much at one time & B. I don't think we have enough rhubarb to give CSA shares 5 cups worth.
  • GARLIC SCAPES  (the curly green things.  Mince fine and use in anything you would use garlic.  We grow an very fine and tasty porcelain garlic and these are the stems of each garlic bulb's flower.  We do not want it to flower.  If the garlic flowered, the bulb would be tiny instead of large. We do want to eat these wonderful tasting stems. They are milder than the cloves, but not by much!)

  • SPINACH  (It's not quite as sweet due to our hotter weather, but still fabulous and great in savory dishes.  I sauteed garlic scapes with sliced fresh mushrooms in Sue's (Boss Mouse Cheese) smoked butter until almost dry and browned.  Then I filled the skillet with a heaping pile of spinach and put about a tablespoon of organic shoyu (like soy) sauce in the dry skillet and stirred.  The spinach wilted nicely, but wasn't too wet.  Finished with shredded Parmesan cheese.  Eaten just as the Parm melted.  

  • RAINBOW SWISS CHARD  (You know, you could do the same exact thing with Swiss Chard or any greens for that matter, as I just told you to do with the spinach.  The point is GREENS ARE AWESOME.  Most of us don't get enough.  But without going into the all the details, we need the chlorophyll.  No joke.  It's healing, balancing, and extremely important to the body. It's packaged sunshine.  Think about that!  So do what you have to do, just EAT it, as someone name "Weird Al" once said.  Your cookbook, From Asparagus to Zucchini, has 3 pages of excellent recipes for Swiss Chard....  Try one and tell me what you think!  And remember, these recipes will work with kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, etc...

  • Hakurei JapaneseTURNIPS (Greens are edible, slightly peppery and surprise, SUPER nutritious.  Separate greens upon arrival, or your turnips will wilt.  Eat greens within 4-5 days.  Turnips themselves will last for a very long time.  I store them and separated greens in plastic, just like the Swiss chard.  I sliced them into "crackers" tonight for appetizers and Ryan mixed half sour creme and half Mezateca salsa from Osario's in Acme for the dip.  We LOVE these turnips and our "crackers" are loaded with vitamins and minerals to boot!
 
  • BEAUTIFUL Head of LETTUCE (We do wash the lettuce, but it's hard to get way in where the core meets the leaves, so there may be some sand tucked in there.)

  • ASPARAGUS (May be the end of the season for asparagus, so enjoy!)
Alright my friend, have a peaceful night and cool day tomorrow.  I shall continue to strive for great communication and earlier bedtimes.
Peace,
Andrea Romeyn
Co-owner with Ryan, Providence Organic Farm
 
Week 1, Monday, June 13th:
Hello!  Hope this evening is peaceful for you.  Strawberries are finally ripening, yeah!  They are coming next week, and should be in your veggie share for two - three weeks depending on the weather.  Definitely have them at our CSA potluck this Saturday.  Thanks to all who've RSVP'd.  Looks like 100 -120 people are coming so far.  (Just found out Ken and Ray are going to cooking up grilled fish tacos!)
 
IF you have pre-ordered a flat, expect calls in the next two weeks.  Strawberry flats are $46.00.  (If you ordered a flat only, and not a vegetable share, there is a $2.00 delivery fee, per delivery, not per flat.)
Here's the list of our first CSA contents: 
Remember that most of you already have or are getting From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce, which explains these vegetables, quick preparation methods, storage methods and also gives many recipes for each!  All of this week's veggies need to be in loose plastic bags (with cover closed) and refrigerated to keep the freshest the longest, except for the thyme.  You may hang this herb in a sunny spot to dry and use as needed.  Also, shallots may be placed in a paper bag in the fridge instead of plastic.
Purple OR Green Asparagus
Quick recipe? lightly brush with your choice olive oil or butter, season to taste with salt and pepper, then grill, broil or bake uncovered until "tender-crisp".  Love cheese?  Add shredded Parmesan near the end to melt on top. 
My favorite home-made recipe this season?  
A skillet omelet!  Easy, filling crowd pleaser without all that pesky "folding" of the omelet.  You can literally use any vegetables according to season.  I am loving asparagus right now so...
1. I slice (on an angle) 1 pound of asparagus into approximately 1/2 inch pieces and saute in the skillet on medium heat with olive oil, adding sliced mushrooms, next and crushed garlic and sea salt to taste toward the end.   
2. When the asparagus is still firm, but can be pierced by a fork (tender crisp), and the mushrooms are browned... 
3. I whisk 8 eggs with 2/3 cup Shetlers Half-n-half and pour on top of asparagus / mushroom mixture.  (I usually add a bit more sea salt and ground pepper here, UNLESS you have already cooked bacon slices to tuck in at this time, then just pepper.)
4. I then sprinkle half a cup (or more to your taste) shredded cheese into the egg mixure.  (I love Feta or Parmesan, depending on my mood.)  
-Turn your broiler on low-broil at this point.- 
5. Now take hand-torn spinach leaves and tuck under the still wet egg & cheese mixture on top of the skillet.
The bottom of your skillet omelet should be cooked.  Time to finish it under the low broil of your oven.
Insert skillet.  Watch carefully!  About 3-5 minutes later, you have the most beautiful and delicious looking creation ever and everyone is thank, thank, thanking you for being so generous and kind.  Warm, toasted, crunchy French sour dough bread with butter and home-made jam completely optional!  
Pretty Parsnips  You may julienne these (cut length wise), brush with a bit of olive oil or butter, and roast at 400 for 35-40 minutes.  Lightly season to taste.  (I use pink sea salt) 
Serve as is or drizzle a balsamic reduction and add a sprig of thyme to the dish.  To make balsamic vinegar reduction: bring a cup of balsamic vinegar to a low boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, about 20-30 minutes, until it has reduced by two-thirds.  Remove and let cool.  Transfer and store up to 1 month in an air-tight container.  Allow to come to room temp before using.
Lovely Lettuce Mix (triple-rinsed and spun dry so you don't have to)  We made our own custom blend of our favorite lettuces.  The obvious is to use this in salads, but I do put them in smoothies, use on sandwiches and make wilted lettuce dishes as well.  
Tender Spinach (triple-rinsed and spun dry so you don't have to)  Try this tender spinach raw.  You will be surprised at how it tastes and possibly use even use it raw this week in salads or smoothies.  I already mentioned using it in the skillet omelet, and it also makes a great side dish to accompany any savory meal.  Saute it lightly in a bit of olive oil, add crushed garlic and soy sauce.

Rosy Radish  The very first thing we did with ours when they came on was to make radish sandwiches.  Simple.  
Slice a baguette or crusty bread of some type.  Slather on the butter and/or mayo.  Add thin radish slices in between.  I will NOT pop a whole radish in my mouth.  I'm not that type of person, but I LOVE this.  I've been avoiding bread lately due to 1. A bread addiction, I'm sure you can't tell... and 2. The non-stop bloated feeling I carry around when I eat wheat... So the last time we did this, I sandwiched my radish slices very happily in Kerrygold cheese slices.  I'm a GENIUS (and am walking / running 4 miles a day to counteract my newfound cheese addiction.)   I hope you know I'm kidding!  

Bok Choy (close relative of Pok Choi & you can use recipes interchangeably.  Aren't you glad, because we all know what to do with Pok Choi, for goodness sake!)   
Ok so stir-fry is the obvious here.  Alone or with other veggies, bok choy is great sauteed with garlic and soy sauce over rice.  I also love it with chopped raw into salads with my homemade dressing:  Blend 1 cup real mayo with dill (fresh or dried), 1/2 lemon fresh-squeezed juice, finely chopped green onions, optional one clove crushed fresh garlic, 1/4 - 1/2 cup water to get the consistency you want, plus sea salt and pepper to taste.  Taste along the way to sea if it needs anything. At this point, I may add more lemon juice, etc...  
Shallots  How shall I explain a shallot? Shall I say it's special? Worth the effort? French? Mild? Yes, all of the above.  You shall smile at a roasted shallot and wish you had a whole plateful to yourself.  Pair with duck or goose...just kidding.  Make shallot butter?  Never mind.  You may like to highlight it though, instead of bury it in a dish.  I love it roasted or sauteed and paired with root vegetables, wilted greens, beef, chicken or pork.  (Butter really is good with shallots, but isn't it good with everything?)  
Thyme (Aromatic, potent herb accused of medicinal properties.)
Bonus Thank you gift:  Sweet Farm Bouquet :)
Next Week's list isn't compete yet, but it will include garlic scapes, strawberries, lettuce heads & Hakurei Japanese turnips among other items.
So my internet is inexplicably out of course and after trying to reboot the router 3 x's, and calling my 24/7 internet service to find that yes, my receiver is not working, I figured out how to use the "hotspot" on my iphone.  It worked if you got this!  All emails won't be this long, I promise.  Have a beautiful and blessed week.  And know that each box is a Hug for yourself and your family as it contains picked-that-day, fresh and nutritious for you food like no other!
With gratitude,
Andrea
This page last updated on 3/23/2017.