Thursday, April 25, 2013

Onions, Onions, Onions

Greetings Echollective followers!

Still pulling ourselves out of this post-monsoon sludge.  But it appears we have still been able to stay on top of things!

For those of you in the Spring 2013 CSA: we have some important updates!  CSA Pickups are changing next week as the Iowa City Farmer's Market begins downtown and becomes our new main pickup spot.  We need to know from all of you where and when works best for you to switch your pickups to.  Options are: 


-Saturdays, 7:30 AM-12:00 PM at the Iowa City Farmers' Market
-Wednesdays, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM at same above location
-Fridays, Around/After 5:30 PM at KirkwoodSchool for Children/Tim's Daycare

If you are a Spring CSA member please contact us A.S.A.P. (preferably before next Wednesday!) concerning which new pickup would work best for you.  We will no longer be having pick-ups at the Ginter house on Ginter Ave. in Iowa City.

Also, as a side note to all of you: We would like to improve/streamline our communication methods (especially between us farmers and you CSA members).  We would love to receive feedback on farm-to-member communication.  Which venue of communication works best for you?  Email?  Phone?  Facebook?  This Newsletter?  Have suggestions?  Please let us know in an email!

And without further ado....a CSA preview! 

 
-Garlic
-Salad Mix (new this week!!)
-Kale*
-Spinach*
-Turnips (Purple Top)
-Sprouts
-And possibly more!
 
*Due to weather complications, exaggerated wetness, and hence some pretty unwanted plant diseases, the quality (appearance-wise) is slightly compromised, while still tasting great.  There is some spottiness on our kales and spinaches.  We have talked with many of you and this does not appear to be a problem, but if we haven't talked to you and you may take an issue, please contact us A.S.A.P.!
 

Now that the rain has at least slowed down and the muck and mire has finally gone away.....we can finally actually do things outside!  We took advantage of the few nicer days here and there to get stuff done, and quickly get some plants in the ground.  What did we get in the ground?  Well....leeks.  Onions.  Asparagus.  More onions.  Potatoes.  Onions.  Onions.  Onions onions onions!

And today...we planted more onions.  Some of us have nothing but dreams about planting (and sometimes planting and eating them simultaneously) onions.  The onion planting is never-ending, but there's nothing like a nice reassuring rain at the end of the day to water them in.  Boy, watering has not been a worry at all so far this season!  Phew!  Last year, we missed the boat on our onion-planting and it was a real shame due to the drought, but not this year!  You will be getting leeks!  And onions!  And hey, onions are high in magnesium, a nutrient that most Americans don't get a whole lot of in their diet, surprisingly.
 
Also, shallots will be planted soon.  Basically, they are small onions.  Onion fever is not over.
 
Radishes, arugula, and bok choy are all getting big...and ready to eat soon!

Garlic's first greens are popping up in our mulched fields!  It appears as if all varieties seem to be doing something at least, although some are more behind than others.  We were a bit worried about them getting drowned in all this rain or nipped by the spotty frosts, but they seem to be doing ok....a little yellowed, but ok!  Speaking of, we still have heirloom garlic varieties available for sale at the New Pi Co-ops in individual baggies.  You can still get our Ukrainian, German, Korean, and Bogatyr varieties in plenty.  For more information on our garlic breeds, check out the column to the left and read our Echollective Garlic Varieties page!
 
This year's Echo piggies are settling in well....a little shaky from the cold and storms, but we have had plenty of delicious compost and veggie scraps to feed them.  Today they dined on a large dumping of kale leaves that have been tainted by sickness....they loved the stuff!  They have all been laying in a big pile in the hay on these sunny days, basking in the warmth of spring!

As our pick-up changes above bode, we will be at the Iowa City Farmer's Market next week.  Hope to see you there!


Recipes
 
Kale and Pink Grapefruit Salad (www.bonappetit.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups thinly sliced kale (center ribs and stems removed)
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

Preparation

  • Using a sharp knife, cut peel and white pith from grapefruit; discard. Working over a small bowl, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl. Squeeze juice from membranes into another small bowl; add any accumulated juices from bowl with segments (there should be about 1/4 cup juice total). Whisk oil into juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle 3 Tbsp. dressing over. Toss to combine and let stand for 10 minutes while kale wilts slightly. Toss once more, then arrange grapefruit segments and avocado slices over kale. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve.
The Best Baked Spinach Au-Gratin (www.smittenkitchen.com)

Serves 6
  • 3 pounds fresh spinach3 1/2 to 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup stock (your choice; Julia recommends beef) or cream (I used stock; it doesn’t *need* cream)
  • 3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fine, dry breadcrumbs

-Stem and wash your spinach (see Tips below) well but no need to spin or pat it dry. Place spinach in a large pot over high heat. Cook, covered, with just the water clinging to leaves, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes for baby spinach and 4 to 6 minutes for regular spinach. Transfer to a colander, immediately fill pot with cold water, transfer it back to the pot of cold water to shock it (stop the cooking) and drain again. Squeeze a small amount of the spinach at a time in your hands to extract as much water as possible. Chop the spinach coarsely. You should have about 3 cups of chopped spinach, or about 1 cup per pound.
-Wipe out pot then melt 2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat and stir in the spinach. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until all of the moisture from the spinach has boiled off — you’ll know you’re done when the spinach begins to stick to the pan.
-Lower the heat and sprinkle with flour and stir for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Add 2/3 of your stock or cream, a tiny bit at a time, scraping up any stuck spinach as you do. Once the liquid is added, simmer for another minute or two, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If you’re feeling especially indulgent, stir in one more tablespoon of butter. If needed, add all or part of remaining liquid. Season with salt (I found 1/2 teaspoon table salt about right) and pepper.
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a shallow 1-quart baking dish. Stir 1/2 cup cheese into the spinach and pour it into the baking dish. Mix the remaining cheese with breadcrumbs and sprinkle on spinach. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons remaining butter and pour it over the top. Bake until heated through and slightly brown on the top, about 30 minutes.
-Serve with steaks, chops, veal, chicken, broiled fish or, if you’re us, eggs, glorious eggs.

Do ahead: Spinach can be blanched and chopped several hours or a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Gratin can be fully assembled and 30 minutes before needed, placed in a preheated 375 degree oven to bake, then served.


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 Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!
 
 

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