IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK
Baby Romaine Lettuce // Store loosely in a plastic bag (ideally) or in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Keep unused leaves on the head. Use within a week, but likely will store up to two weeks.
Bok Choy (full shares only) // Store unwashed in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Use within a couple days for best texture. Greens will wilt relatively quickly. Stems will retain firmness a while longer.
Lacinato Kale // Lasts at least a week if kept moist. Kale doesn’t taste as good once it’s dried out. Keep it in the crisper drawer of your fridge or loosely in a plastic bag to seal in the moisture.
Spinach (full shares only) // Store in plastic bag in fridge. Plastic bag will help spinach retain moisture which keeps it fresh for longer. Try to use it within a week. If it gets limp or wilted, you can still use in recipes that call for cooked or wilted spinach.
Arugula (half shares only) // Store in plastic bag in fridge. Plastic bag will help arugula retain moisture which keeps it fresh for longer. Try to use it within a week. If it gets limp or wilted, you can still use in recipes that call for cooked or wilted greens.
Escarole // Escarole stores extremely well. Store it in a plastic bag in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
Asparagus // Of all your spring goodies this week, be sure to use the asparagus first! Asparagus has a short shelf life (less than a week). Keep it banded and up-right in about an inch of water for best long-term storage. Large mason jars work well for this. Don't bother with this step if you plan to use within a couple days.
Rhubarb // Store in your fridge and use within a week. Store in a plastic bag wrapped loosely in a damp paper towel for longest life.
Scallions // Store in the veggie drawer of your refrigerator and try to use within a week. If you use after a week, you can peel off the dry and/or “slimy” outer layer of the scallion.
Green Garlic (full shares only)// Green garlic is similar to a scallion or green onion and can be stored similarly. Place in the crisper drawer of your fridge and use within 5-7 days. For best storage, wrap bulbs (the white part) in a damp paper towel.
Garlic Scapes // Garlic scapes will last up to three weeks loosely wrapped in plastic in your fridge. They also freeze extremely well; just chop and freeze!
Basil (full shares only) // Very perishable. Store in a plastic bag in your fridge and try to use within the first couple days.
Hello and welcome to another week and another beautiful, bountiful box of greens! And for all you ever-other-week members receiving your first box this week: welcome to our farm!
We had lots of words of joy and gratitude in last week’s newsletter for members new and old as well as a message that there are no stupid questions, and emails and texts are appreciated whenever you have questions or confusion throughout the season. And though we only send our every-other-week (and flex) CSA members an email with a link to the newsletter on the weeks they are receiving a box, know that all our newsletters will be both shared within the private Facebook group and archived on our website (both here and here) should you want to read things from a week you didn’t receive a box or should you want to go back and find recipes shared a prior week.
This past week has been one heck of a wild ride. We began delivering veggies to a lot of our restaurant partners. We delivered our first CSA box which means we harvested a lot. We weeded pretty much everything we could before the impending rain (because once it rains those weeds will get bigger and we’ll have to do it all again; luckily, it’s “easy” if you can stay on top of the little buggers when they’re small). And we continued forward with our ambitious June planting schedule and somehow stayed on track.
In addition to the harvesting and delivering, the sending of emails filled with details about our first CSA box and the weeding, we managed to get 30 rows of vegetables planted. YES, THIRTY!
This weekend we were joined by my little cousin Jenny and although we have a stellar crew during the week (I’ll introduce them in the next newsletter!), we don’t have much help during the weekends and those days can be draining. Kyle and I love working together—it’s why we started a business together—but when we’re both running on empty, it’s easy to forget that fact and get beaten down by how slow tasks take with only two sets of hands. Jenny bought dance moves and music into the field and helped us complete our weekend list with such ease and joy.
And though we’ve spent the last several days with our nose to the grindstone, we celebrated all the hard work with rhubarb margaritas (recipe below), dozens of fresh salads, Salvatore’s pizza and a brunch trip to our favorite Cow & Quince. It’s in these times of crazy that we have to enjoy our produce and local food scene more than ever because if we aren’t enjoying the fruits of our labor than really, what is the point?! It feels good to fully embrace our bounty and we hope you all are doing the same <3
VEGGIE ID: Escarole ↑
Escarole is a leafy green that resembles lettuce (it has a band around it so that you know it's escarole and not lettuce) but is actually a member of the endive or chicory family. Chicories are bitter greens.
Though escarole can be eaten raw, we prefer to use it in cooked preparations because of that inherent bitterness. Escarole has a perfect texture for using in soups, pastas, or really any recipe that involves braising. Though it cooks quickly, escarole doesn't break down in hot liquids and remains silky and flavorful. The most classic use of escarole is in Italian Wedding Soup but I love it in pasta with sausage and white beans as listed below.
VEGGIE ID: Bok Choy ↑
Full shares receive bok choy again this week. For information on how to use reference last week's newsletter and for information on how to cut it up, check out this video made by CSA member Ben!
VEGGIE ID: Green garlic ↑
Doesn’t need much work! Just trim the ends and discard the dark green portion (much like you would a leek), then chop, slice or dice the white and pale green parts to use as you would use regular garlic. If there is a woody piece running down the center of the stalk (which is common this time of year), just remove it when you cut the stalk in half. I love it in salad dressings and other raw preparations that really let the flavors sing.
VEGGIE ID: garlic scapes ↓
An edible shoot that hard-neck garlic puts out in the spring. It is the plant trying to flower and reproduce and we have to cut this shoot off before it flowers so that the garlic puts energy into its bulb. Luckily, this shoot is edible and delicate and everything good about garlic in one little crunchy green ribbon. Munch on them raw, mince and put on your asparagus pizza (below), or use in salad dressing. The sky is the limit. If you love garlic, you will love these beauties.
IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK
You can expect 8-9 of these items in your box next week
KATHY'S RECIPE CORNER
Early on, Lauren's mom instilled in her a great love of cooking. She's always had a garden and knows what to do with abundant produce better than anyone. We hope you enjoy her classic Wisconsin preparations of summer abundance.
Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta
5 cups dry pasta of choice, I used rotini
1 – 1 ¼ pound (6) favorite Italian Sausage links
1 bunch scallions
1 green garlic or garlic scape
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
½ teaspoon crushed rosemary
¼ teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups half & half cream
½ - ¾ cup flavorful shredded cheese i.e. fontina, asiago, etc.
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
1 cup milk
4 cups or more lightly packed chopped hearty greens; escarole, kale, even spinach would work
- Cook pasta according to package or until al dente’.
- Meanwhile in a large skillet add a couple teaspoons olive oil and brown sausages well on both sides. Poke a few holes in the sausage with fork or knife tip. Add mushrooms, scallions and green garlic or garlic scapes and seasonings. Cover pan and saute for a few minutes until veggies are tender and sausage is almost cooked.
- Remove sausage to cutting board. Add flour to skillet and stir into veg juices. Cook a couple minutes. Add half & half, cook and stir until thickened. Stir in cheese. Slice sausage into bite size pieces and add to skillet. Add reserved pasta water and pasta, stir until combined.
- Stir in 1 milk and greens, stir to combine, cover and over very low temp, heat until greens are wilted.
Every week I'll share the links to some of my favorite recipes for the produce in your box from my own blog as well as my favorite bloggers and chefs. I am a master recipe substituter so be sure to read my notes before clicking through to see what vegetables I am swapping for others and how I adapt favorite recipes time and time again with whatever is in season! Though some of the recipes I share may look complicated, I also love sharing tips for streamlining or suggesting other preparation suggestions in the notes of the recipes.
Spring Harvest Grain Salad // Asparagus, Green Garlic or Garlic Scapes, Arugula, Spinach, Scallions, add Basil // I fell in love with grain salads last summer thanks to a beautiful Bon Appetit recipe that featured loads of herbs, steamed veggies, raw veggies and a tangy, sweet, salty dressing. I had never had such a variety of textures and flavors in one bowl of food. I’ve been experimenting with those elements every since. Since there aren’t many herbs in your box this week I used arugula and spinach as the “herbs”. You could easily add a whole lot more than I used here so make as instructed, taste and then add more greens if you desire. You could certainly also add the basil.
Vegetarian (with vegetarian broth), Vegan (if you sub olive oil for butter), Gluten-Free
Sausage, Greens & Beans Pasta // Escaorle, add Kale or Spinach if you want more greens // Though escarole is my favorite green for this pasta, be sure to bookmark for use throughout the summer whenever you have excess greens that need to be wilted down and made into dinner quickly. Sausage, greens, white beans and pasta is one of my all-time favorite combinations.
Rhubarb Margaritas // Rhubarb // These margaritas were quite the conversation starter on a recent WPR show and it's for good reason! I love a good rhubarb dessert, but every once and a while you just want to go in a different direction. Enjoy these rhubarb margaritas once you tire of rhubarb sweets. Also, try these with a dash of triple sec or Grand Marnier if you have some on hand.
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Grilled Bok Choy with Breadcrumbs, Lemon & Parmesan // Bok Choy, sub Basil for Parsley or leave off altogether // Still have bok choy from last week and now we're giving you more? Well don't distress, this recipes turns a head or two of bok choy into a super simple side dish on the grill. Throw on some grilled chicken or a steak and you have the easiest of weeknight meals.
Vegetarian, Vegan (if you leave off the parmesan)
Avocado Romaine Wedge Salad with Pickled Radish // Romaine, Scallions, Radishes from last week if you've got them (substitute sliced scallions in the same pickling liquid if you don't), add your Basil to the dressing if you don't have another use // The tiny heads of romaine in your box this week are a variety well-known for their crisp tender leaves and almost butter-head quality. They should be celebrated with very simple ingredients that allow the lettuce to take center stage. That's one of the reasons I love this salad. Avocado, scallions, sunflower seeds, pickled radish and a super simple dressing all enhance the lettuce without taking anything away from it.
Vegetarian, Vegan (with cashew cream), Gluten-Free
Shaved Asparagus Pizza // Asparagus, Scallions // I resisted sharing this recipe last week only because Wisconsin From Scratch's asparagus pizza includes an elegant arugula pesto that seemed more fitting for what was in your box last week, but this pizza right here is the real deal. Spring simplicity at its finest. It's a recipe we've got on repeat this time of year. We easily make it 2-3 times each season as soon as local asparagus is available. Also if you have never shaved asparagus before you are in for a real treat.
Vegetarian, Gluten-Free (with the right crust)
Mushroom & Lots of Green Quiche // Arugula, Spinach, Green Garlic, other Greens (as needed) // I make a ridiculous amount of quiche this time of year. It's partially because it's quick, easy and heats up well, but it's also because as much as a I love salads, I too get overwhelmed by fresh greens. This recipe for sheet-pan quiche originally created by Smitten Kitchen uses up to 9 cups of greens! I used a mixture of spinach, arugula and kale but you could just as easily use only spinach and arugula or even add in some of those bok choy greens (or even the greens from your radishes!).
Portabella, Escarole & Fennel Lasagna // Escarole, Green Garlic, add Spinach to greens, skip Fennel (or hold Escarole until next week when you'll be getting fennel) // I love this recipe. It's the first recipe I ever developed for lasagna with a white sauce that worked out. In the past it always wound up too runny or too thick (and not saucy enough) but this one is just right plus it's a great vehicle for all these spring greens while still making a very hearty meal. The first time I made it I did a mix of escarole and spinach and you can certainly do the same. Doubling the greens won't make much any difference at all so long as you cook them until they are wilted.
Almond Rhubarb Picnic Bars // Rhubarb // I rotate through favorite fruity dessert recipes throughout the seasons but this one has staying power pretty much all summer long. I don't know if it's the almond extract, the pretty pattern (that I certainly never get right), the custard-y filling or the buttery crumby crust, this recipe gets a 10 out of 10 every single time.
Vegan Ceasar with Smoky Nut Crumble // Romaine, or a combination of Romaine and Kale if you've got it, Sub Green Garlic or Garlic Scape for the garlic // It's hard for me not to give a Caesar recipe when we're giving these lovely heads of romaine (even though I know I already gave you last week). I didn't resist the temptation because this one has the added benefit of being vegan and totally different than any other Caesar you have ever had. Though I'm not vegan, the complex flavors of this dish seriously impressed me. I also learned while researching this recipe that capers are vegetarian and not creatures of the sea as I had always thought they were. They're pickled flower buds. Who knew? Warning: there are a lot of complex ingredients in this recipe (nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, cashew butter, vegan Worcestershire, capers) so keep that in mind as substitutions won't work especially well here. If you don't feel like shopping best to stick to the (non-vegan friendly) recipe from last week.
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free
A Kale Salad for Anyone who Thinks Kale Salads are Meh // Kale // I swear Bon Appetit named this recipe and not me, but still, are you all getting the hint that I want you to eat some salad this week? I too was not always a salad person. I understand how they can feel blah or uninspiring but I swear if you cut up an apple, add some cheese, some nuts and some lemon you will be impressed by the flavor of local greens. You too will fall in love with salad. I have enhanced this one with some quinoa in the past to make a full meal out of it or served it with pulled pork sandwiches. Both meals were perfect and light and just what I love about June flavors and the joy that comes from having fresh greens again. I also happen to love this salad in fall with roasted squash so expect to see it again.
Vegetarian, Vegan (if you skip the cheeses), Gluten-Free
Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Warm Chickpeas // Arugula // Beautiful arugula like the stuff in your box this week deserves to be celebrated. We have never harvested such beautiful tender, delicate leaves and so we therefore recommend you keep the preparation very simple. Topped with warm chickpeas, lemon and salt alongside a crisp blackened piece of chicken, this not only celebrates arugula but the start of summer grilling season. If a peppery salad isn't so appealing to you (though you really should give it a try!), arugula is also lovely on burgers or sandwiches of any kind. It can also be made into pesto and stored in the fridge or freezer for later use.