Greetings Faithful Eaters!
Welcome again to the CSA! After a successful harvest last week, we are all ready to go again. It never ceases to amaze me how fast everything grows after a spring rain. You can almost hear the lettuces and root vegetables bursting forth. This time of year might be the busiest on the farm (although you might hear me say that several times this season…). It seems we need every last hour of extra daylight that the spring provides to get halfway finished with anything. Spring veggies are at their peak, the weeds are doing what weeds do best, and we are busy planting summer crops of corn, melons, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, okra and so on. Harvest. Weed. Water. Plant. Curse insects and deer. Repeat. The pace is relentless, but we are blessed with cool nights and perfect sunny days thus far. Even though it’s a little chilly outside tonight, I know that in a few short weeks, we’ll be swatting mosquitoes and praying for afternoon showers to cool us down as we work. But for now, we are thankful for the spring- and we eagerly embrace everything the season has to offer. We hope you’re able to enjoy it too! Here is what you can expect this week:
In the box
-1 pint strawberries
– 1 bunch mixed yellow and orange baby carrots
-1 bunch radishes
-1 head lettuce (red buttercrunch/green romaine)
-1 bag arugula
-1/2# baby greens (mix of russian and lacinato kale, chard, spinach and beet greens)
– 1 bunch Burge heirloom garlic scapes
-1/2 dozen eggs
News and Notes
Although this is week two of the program, about half of you will be picking up your groceries for the first time. For the first couple of weeks, we are going to stay for the whole pickup so we can meet you, and help you become familiar with the pickup process. Either myself or our farm apprentices Luca and Lauren will be at your pickup point to greet you. Don’t forget to bring a couple of grocery bags to bring your produce home with. If you forget you can take the box home, but please remember to return it when you pick up again. The pickup times for all locations are 4-7pm. If you have any questions concerning your pickup, please feel free to ask us or give me a call at 912.257.9865
. We look forward to meeting you!
As we noted in our CSA description, occasionally we will procure some produce from other local farmers to help fill in vacancies in our harvests. We also told you that in the spirit of transperency, we would let you know where these substitutions came from. This week, we noticed that some of our lettuce could benefit from an additional week of growth, so we are happy to have romaine heads from Sun Dog Farm
in Buckhead Georgia (country Buckhead, not city Buckhead) in a few of the boxes this week.
The eggs this week come from our “chickens on vacation”. After raising 40 chicks from two days old until laying age (close to six months) here on the farm, we decided to let fellow Burge employee Ricky Taylor take the girls to his place so that we could focus on the vegetables and the orchard this spring. We chose Ricky because he’s been around chickens since before he could talk, and he knows that a chicken that scratches the dirt for bugs and eats fresh grass all day will lay an egg that is truly worth eating.
Recipes and Ideas
Everything should be fairly familiar this week with the exception of the garlic scapes. A scape is the above-ground flower of the garlic plant, and our Burge Heirloom Garlic has a unique taste all it’s own. Simply trim the stems and place the scapes in a jar of water and the bloom should open, revealing a purple and white plume of flowers. Not only are they beautiful, they are delicious! You can use the flower buds just like garlic, or you can take the scape, stem and all and put it on the grill with your asparagus (mmm, garlicky asparagus…).
Recipes this week come from farm apprentices Luca and Lauren. Luca is from Parma, Italy and Lauren studied at the University of Gastronomic Sciences at Pollenzo, Italy. Not surprisingly, both recipes this week are Italian delicacies and both call for heavy doses of Parmigiano-Reggiano. After trying these dishes, one might be tempted to think that they were hired solely for their prowess in preparing delicious recipes for the farm manager to “test”, but I can assure you that they are incredibly hard-working, dedicated farmhands; they just happen to be excellent cooks…
Pasta Alla Carbonara- Serves 4
5 egg yolks
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (the real thing is expensive but well worth it in flavor!)
Parsley to taste- chopped finely
6-8 slices of bacon-cut into chunks
1 medium sized onion, red or white, thinly sliced or chopped (however you prefer)
1 Garlic Scape, using the inside as you would chopped garlic
½ cup cooking white wine
1 lb. Spaghetti or Bucatini (hollow pasta similar to Spaghetti)
Coarse sea salt for salting the water
In a large bowl mix together the egg yolks, Parmiggiano Reggiano, Black pepper, and parsley. Set aside.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
While you are waiting for the water to come to a boil, take a medium sized pan and cook the bacon until the fat is rendered off and it is no longer white. You do not need to use any oil as there is enough fat on the bacon to cook the onions and the scape. Take the bacon out of the pan and leave the leftover oil. Add the onions to the pan and cook until they are fully translucent and browning on the edges. Add in the scape and cook slightly. Pour in the white wine and stir to fully coat the onions in the oil and white wine liquid. Allow some minutes for the wine to evaporate a little but not enough to leave the onions without liquid. Reincorporate the bacon and cook everything until the oil and wine has slightly reduced in volume and the liquid has the appearance of oil rather than a liquid. Remove pan from heat.
Only once the water has come to a boil, add in two “palm-fulls” of salt. Taste the water and if it reminds you of the saltiness of the ocean then it is perfect!, if not than add more!!!
(HINT: In Italy, they do not add salt to the pasta sauce but rather to the water the pasta cooks in. Many Italians believe that this method evenly seasons the entire dish. It may seem like a lot of salt but not all of it is absorbed directly into the pasta.)
Cook the pasta “al dente” (slightly firm and definitely not mushy) and set some of the pasta water aside for later.
Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Pour the Oil mixture over the pasta and mix together to coat. Once the pasta has cooled for 1 minute, pour in the Egg Mixture mixing until consistent throughout.
*Pasta water- if the pasta seems too dry, you can pour in a little of the the pasta water but not so much to where the sauce is liquid. Carbonara is a cream-like sauce and thick in consistency.
Eat immediately and enjoy!
Asparagus Risotto- Serves 4
1/3 cup Olive oil
1 large white onion, minced or chopped in food processor
1 bunch of asparagus, fresh and tender, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ cup white wine
½ cup butter, unsalted
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
32oz./1 carton of liquid vegetable broth
2 ½ cups white rice (Arborio or Canaroli are the best for making risotto as they have higher starch content which makes for a creamier texture)
In small pot, heat the broth and add salt to taste. It should be saltier than you would have your dish be but not so salty that you can’t eat it.
In a deep NON STICK pot heat the olive oil. Add in onions and cook until translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil and onions. Add half of the asparagus (perhaps the tougher part taken from closer to the bottom of the stems). Stir once and then add in all of the wine. Let the wine evaporate completely until there is no liquid then begin adding the broth in small increments to the rice (about ½ a cup at a time).
It is important to stir frequently during the entire process so that the rice cooks evenly and all of the broth is absorbed by the rice. Once the rice has absorbed the first ½ cup of broth, pour in another ½ cup and repeat the process. Before the broth has fully absorbed the last ½ cup of broth, add in the last half of the asparagus. You should use all of the broth. If the rice is slightly undercooked but there is no more broth left, you can add water instead.
Take risotto off the heat and add in the butter, the Parmigiano, and black pepper. Mix well. Serve immediately and enjoy!