Full Share: Salad mix, Spinach, Radishes, Baby Bok Choy, Microgreens, and Hakurei Salad Turnips

Partial Share: Salad mix, Spinach, Baby Bok Choy, and Hakurei Salad Turnips.

Hello CSA members!

Well, here we are. The first week of our journey through the Montana growing season. After a couple of 18 degree nights a few weeks back, followed up by this recent summer-like weather, it’s hard to predict what’s on tap for this year. Hauling irrigation pipe around in mid-May seems a bit much, but when I think of the moisture-induced plague of mosquitos that descended on the farm last spring, I think I’ll take warm and dry.

All of the food you will be receiving this season is grown on our farm, outside, in soil. With care. Certain crops are protected by row covers or high tunnel structures, but without supplemental heat, so they they are still very much at the mercy of the weather (did I mention we had two 18 degree nights recently?). The snow melted off our fields on April 3rd, most crops take at least 35 days to grow, and here we are in mid-May with fresh veggies! During the early part of the season, as the farm is just getting underway, the share size will be smaller than average, with only 5 items or so. As the season progresses, the shares will increase in both size and diversity of items. We track all this closely to ensure that you receive, across the season, the full value (plus some) of your share price. Our target is $25 per week for a full share, and $17 per week for a partial.

It’s true that Rebecca and I love working outside and growing good food. But, our primary motivation for our farm and this farm share is to supply, and in many cases, reintroduce, people to fresh, healthy, nutritious food. Our industrialized food system has taken us down a very unhealthy path of ease and convenience, and we’re doing our best to swing the pendulum back the other direction. At least in our community. So, we hope that you notice the difference in quality and taste. But before I dive into a deep discussion on the nutritive value of soil in our first week, lets go over some of the basic CSA info that you will need to make this journey enjoyable and stress-free for all parties.

The previous email I sent out detailed all of the pickup locations and times for this week, so I will not bore you with those details again. If you happened to miss it, you can always find all our newsletters on our website, twobearfarm.com, along the right hand side of the homepage.

The ground rules for this arrangement are fairly simple, and given the large number of farm customers, and the small number of us farmers, we try to limit the number of variables as much as possible.

Our promise to you is that we will do our best to grow you the highest quality food we can. And that we will harvest it each week and deliver to you at the selected location during the times stated. If we fail to do any of these, we will do our best to remedy the situation. And I will never tell you to boil a vegetable, ever. Especially not spinach.

Your sole responsibility is that you agree to come to your selected location, during the stated hours, and pickup your share. If you forget to pick up, it is your responsibility to call us by noon the following day to let us know you still want you share that week, and then come out to the farm and pick it up. If we do not hear from you by noon, we will repurpose your share, and you will forfeit your share for that week. However, if you know you cannot make a pickup, you can contact us 48 hours in advance and we can place a vacation hold on your share (2 holds allowed per season). You can also go online into your CSA account, where you signed up, and enter in the vacation holds yourself (our preferred method). In that case, we will provide you with a double-share the week you return. Please commit that past paragraph to your memory, because missed pickups are inconvenient for both you and us.

A few other items worth mentioning. We highly encourage you to bring a reusable cloth bag, or box, or cooler, to pickup your share. We try to use as few plastic bags as we can, and you are not allowed to take the reusable plastic box we package your share in each week home with you.

If you receive your share in Glacier, please recognize that all shares are labelled with last names. Please double check the name tag before taking your share. And if you don’t see your name, please do not take someone else’s share in it’s place. This creates serious confusion. The best thing to do in that situation is to call or email us, and we will figure out what the issue is.

Lastly, if you opted for Bear Bucks this season rather than a CSA share, you can only use your Bear Bucks when there is a Farmer’s Market. So for the next two weeks, there are no markets in Whitefish, but you could use your bucks at the Columbia Falls or Kalispell Markets.

OK, enough ground rules for now. Let’s talk cooking. This week share has some very tender spinach and salad mix that really are best in simple salads. Maybe mandolin some thin slices of radish on top? (Wear you protective glove, Lisa!). The baby bok choy is one of best looking batches ever, and it does well simply sautéed in a cast iron pan with a bit of avocado oil. Some folks really like to brush it with oil and lightly grill it on the BBQ. And we even tried a few micro greens for full shares, but I’m not sure I’m sold on that crop, so let’s consider it a fun experiment. But I think the real gem this week are the Hakurei salad turnips. I know, people think they hate turnips. I saw you turn up your lip. But these are not your average turnips. Every year this is one of the crops that people are skeptical of, but end up really enjoying.

Again, you will find my cooking technique to be pretty straight forward. Cast iron pan, heated with appropriate oil. Slice turnips about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (3-6mm for you science-types in the park), and lay in a single layer in pan. Add some chopped garlic or onion if you like. (Or dice up that Baby Bok Choy and add it to the mix.) Lightly brown on one side, then flip. Add a lid to help them steam a bit. You can even throw in the greens, or save those for a different dish. They should only take about 5 minutes to cook at most. Add a pinch of seal salt. All set.

The turnips are a sweet variety, and they can be eaten raw on a salad, so don’t worry about cooking them much. When in doubt, I would under-cook them. If your not down with the cast iron, oil, and sea salt mantra, here are a couple other ideas. This one makes use of the greens, but is also a saute (and it takes a little longer with the blanching).

Roasting is another excellent option that really brings out the flavor.

Or, there is this soufflé. Just kidding 🙂

Looking forward to seeing all of you at pickup!

Todd ( and the Two Bear Farm crew)