VOLUME VII, JOURNAL I JUNE 4, 2012 BLUE HERON FARM JOURNAL SO WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE FARM THIS WEEK? Here we are! The first week of CSA for the 2012 season is upon us. The spring season has been gracious to us – we have been constantly working on seeding, transplanting, weeding – each and everyday since the middle of April. Things are growing very quickly – it is amazing what suns does for plants, animals, people and your soul. Looking back to last year – all I have to say I am thankful for this amazing weather nature is giving us. With farming – you need to take what you get from mother nature- and I am glad she is being generous to us this spring. Compared to last year – we have many more crops in now – for example, last year we planted all of the brassica family transplants June 9th – this year they were in May 7th, and our growing amazing – deep green and lush. One thing that is keeping us on our toes this spring is weeds and the flea beetle pressure. It is amazing what a small little flea of a bug can do to plants but the transplants were young and vigorous when we put them in so they are fighting back 🙂 Many of the insects over wintered in the soil rather nicely since it was not too cold and the ground did not get covered with snow – so we will have to keep our eyes peeled for earlier bug threats..I will take some bugs over flooding any day:) We are starting the CSA shares this week because we do not want you to miss out on spinach. Adam and I get excited about food – especially food that grows on our farm. Spinach is one of those early greens in a warm to hot spring that can go by quickly. We plant it in early, cold spring – April – and pray that all those seeds germinate. Spinach can be tricky. There are many variables that can impede the growth of spinach – the weather, soil warmth, the plate on the push seeder, the kind of seed, water, sun, heat. This year the spinach is bodacious! I really mean it. It is so green and lush and you can tell that taproot is going down into the soil and pulling every bit of nutrition up into its leaves. Baby spinach is nice – but this spinach got curves – it is truly bodacious. I love the crinkle of it as it goes in my mouth. I love the buttery crunch that the leaves have. I love that while I am eating it, my body can feel all that greenness and photosynthesis and all that spring runaway train growth – my body yearns for it in the spring. Baby spinach is nice and delicate but its full grown version – I would take any day because it has flavor, it has body, it has all that spring time energy right there ready for me to devour and quench that green need after a long winter. Spinach is an energy food. “Health benefits of spinach are due to presence of minerals, vitamins, pigments and phytonutrient and minerals like minerals like potassium, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron and calciumIt is a source of vitamins like folate, niacin, vitamin A, B6, C and traces of rest of the vitamins. Other important elements, including thiamine and riboflavin, that are used in various reactions in our body are also found in spinach. Spinach is rich in pigments like beta carotene, lutein and xanthene and chlorophyllin etc” (www.organicfacts.net). Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked. Feel a bit overwhelmed with the spinach in your bag this week – you can always blanch it and freeze it for later. I think tonight we might be making Aloo Saag with ours. So with spinach being ready and almost other things being ready – it is hard for us to let you miss spinach vs coming and getting it now and only a few other veggies that are ready. You are part of our farm and we want to make sure that you get every single veggie that we produce at its peak ripeness. So we appreciate you coming out for this share this week. We are hoping to have a another pickup next week or we may have to skip a week in June and make it up at the other end. Things grow like crazy this time of year but not neccesarily on our timeframe. We missed this planting of arugula and bok choy. We had been cutting from it and then Bam! it bolted on us last week mid week which made us think we should have you all come and get this spinach:) before its gone. Don’t worry Arugula and bok choy will be back – they like the heat. Spinach on the other hand won’t be back until fall and even then it will be the baby spinach kind not this dark green bodacious kind:) We will let you know by the end of the week about pickups next week. Okay so the other things in your bag are getting jealous – so we are also having luscious lettuce mix, young garlic (you can use the whole thing including the greens, an herb plant and oh….cilantro – which after smelling it made my heart flutter and my knees weak. Poor cilantro has lovers and haters – no in between – and there has been research on this and it is a chromosomal thing in our bodies. I am glad I am one who loves it. That smell of greenness – oh my. Okay, I will stop there because I could go on about that like I did the spinach and I will spare you:) This journal we put out once a week and is available in paper form on Mondays and electronic form email and website the rest of the week. It is a place to get recipes, know what was going on with the farm, and Christine’s love affair/ramblings with the food we grow, the animals we caretake, the land we farm, and our kids:) If you have a recipe you would like to share or something for the journal – feel free to pass it along to us. We look forward to farming with you this season. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia, Jen, Mandy, Annie, Harley and Sophie WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: BODACIOUS SPINACH, LUSCIOUS LETTUCE, CILANTRO, GARLIC, HERB PLANT EGGS FOR SALE We have the pretty girls’ eggs for sale – these are free-range, certified organic chicken eggs that are brown, green and blue – with the brightest yellow/orange yolks you ever seen. The eggs are $5.00 a dozen. Recipes SPINACH PHYLLO PIZZA 1 1/2 pounds spinach (about 2 bunches), coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and drained 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm 7 sheets of phyllo (each about 17 by 12 inches), stacked between 2 sheets of wax paper and covered with a dampened kitchen towel 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan 1 teaspoon dried mint 1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion 2/3 cup finely crumbled Feta 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil In a kettle cook the spinach in the water clinging to the leaves, covered, over moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it is just wilted, refresh it under cold water, and let it drain well in a colander while making the phyllo crust. Preheat the oven to 400F. Brush a baking sheet lightly with some of the butter, put 1 sheet of the phyllo on the butter, the brush it lightly withy some of the remaining butter. Sprinkle the phyllo with 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan, put another sheet of the phyllo on top, and press it firmly so that it adheres to the bottom layer. Butter, sprinkle, and layer the remaining phyllo in the same manner, ending with a sheet of phyllo. Brush the top sheet lightly with the remaining butter and bake the crust in the middle of the oven for 5 minutes. Arrange the spinach evenly on the crust, leaving a 1-inch border all around, crumble the mint over it, and season the spinach with salt and pepper. Scatter the onion over the spinach, sprinkle the pizza with the Feta, and drizzle it with the oil. Bake the pizza in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, and with a pizza wheel or sharp knife cut it into squares. Serves 6 to 8 as an hors d’oeuvre. Gourmet May 1993 SESAME SPINACH WITH GINGER AND GARLIC 1 garlic clove 2 teaspoons sesame seeds 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh gingerroot 1 bunch trimmed fresh spinach Mince garlic and in a small dry skillet toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring, until golden. In a heavy 6-quart kettle heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook garlic and gingerroot, stirring, 30 seconds, or until fragrant and golden. Add spinach by handfuls, stirring, and cook until just wilted. Serve spinach sprinkled with sesame seeds. Gourmet September 1997 BLACK BEAN, SPINACH, AND MUSHROOM BURRITOS Gourmet January 1995 1 onion, chopped fine 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped fine 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 bunch spinach (about 1 pound), coarse stems discarded, washed well and spun dry 2 garlic cloves 1/4 cup water 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed well and drained 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 2 scallions, chopped fine 3/4 cup coarsely grated pepper Jack cheese (about 5 ounces) 1/2 cup canned mild enchilada sauce two 10-inch or four 8-inch flour tortillas Accompaniment: Sour cream In a heavy skillet cook onion and mushrooms in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until golden. Add spinach and garlic and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted, about 30 seconds. Stir in water, beans, lemon juice, scallions, pepper Jack, and salt to taste and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. In a small saucepan heat enchilada sauce. Heat a dry skillet (large enough to hold 1 tortilla) over moderately high heat until hot. In skillet heat tortillas, 1 at a time, turning frequently, 30 seconds, or until softened, and transfer to a work surface. Divide filling between tortillas and roll up burritos. Spoon sauce over burritos and serve with sour cream. Creamed Spinach, adapted from Too Many Tomatoes by Lois Landau et al 1 1/2 cups cooked spinach and or other greens 1/4 cup sour cream 2 Tablespoons horseradish, grated (I’d use the jarred stuff if that’s what you have!) 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg OR 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, depending on what your pantry, tastes and garden have S & P to taste Combine and heat. Easy! Fresh Spinach – just eat raw – or toss with scrambled eggs, on top of pizza under the cheese, add to anything – lasagna, pasta…you name it. Enjoy!