This week your basket contains: potatoes, carrots, onions, cooking greens (turnip thinnings, collards, and cabbage), salad mix (arugula, bok choy, spinach, mustard greens, watercress, and miner’s lettuce), and microgreens.
While things are still progressing slowly, spring, and the crops that come with it, are getting closer. The fact that we have turnip thinnings in our cooking greens is an indication that there will be turnips in your basket soon. Also making progress are radishes and bok choy (both full size and baby bok choy). We also have kohlrabi, carrots, beets, potatoes (for new potatoes), spring cabbage, lettuce, and dill and cilantro all in the gardens or hoop houses growing and looking good.
In addition to a late spring making things a bit hard for us, it seems like we are combating a plague of mice. We have had mice eating the seeds out of our flats in the greenhouse before they even germinate, and also eating the small starts. We’ve been searching for and plugging up holes in the buildings that allow the mice to get in (and trapping, which is no fun). And we are not the only farmers facing this. This morning we heard that another local farmer had over 1,000 pepper starts eaten OVERNIGHT! While it is a pain for us, the silver lining of the mouse-pocalypse is that the predators (hawks, coyotes, bob cats and owls) will have plenty of food this spring!
Either, or both, the cooking greens and the salad mix could be used in the recipe below.
BRAISED LENTILS WITH GREENS AND BACON
1 ½ lb. greens
1 bay leaf
4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ c. French lentils
5-6 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. paprika
½ c. dry red or white wine
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
sugar to taste
sherry vinegar or lemon juice to taste
Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Remove greens from thick stems. Coarsely chop greens and finer stems. Finely chop the coarse stems and set aside. After rinsing leaves, add them to boiling water and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Immediately drain greens and transfer to a bowl of cold water. Once greens have cooled, squeeze firmly to remove excess liquid. Set aside. Meanwhile, add bay leaf to chicken stock and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils and simmer until tender, 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Cut bacon crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide pieces. Brown the bacon in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Transfer pieces to paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Discard all but 2-3 Tbsp. rendered fat; add stems, onion, carrot and large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook until vegetables begin to brown and stick to pan. Add paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic and toasted, about 1 minute. Add wine, thyme and large pinch of sugar; cook until liquid has evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Stir in lentils and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and cook until flavors have blended, about 20 minutes. Stir in cooked greens, adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, sugar and sherry vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with reserved bacon. From FOODAY.
EGGS are also available again. The hens are just starting to ramp up their laying, so we are allocating them as best we can. Our youngest hens (ie the baby chicks you saw on our pumpkin pick up weekend in October) should be starting to lay soon so our supply will improve. We have had to increase the price of eggs to $7.20 per doz ($3.60 for a ½ doz ; $1.80 for ¼ doz) to help cover the feed costs that have almost doubled in the past year. Just email to order.
GARDEN STARTS are also getting ready. You can purchase them for delivery with your veggies from our online store (PumpkinRidgeGardens.square.site). Right now we have limited quantities of cool weather crops available. We will update our stock as more items are ready, so check back often. Please note that the web site says that these starts are available for pick up, but WE WILL DELIVER THEM TO YOU unless you insist on coming to the farm for them!
FLOWERS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE. Starting with daffodils and tulips and moving through the spring and summer, Polly with be making beautiful mixed bouquets that can be delivered with your basket for $10. You can order occasionally or as a standing order. Just email to let us know!
Raab (the broccoli-like flower buds of cabbage family plants) is starting to produce. We’ll be handing it out in rotation as the supply increases. Remember that all of it is edible (leaves, stems, and buds) and should be prepared as you would broccoli.