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

Partial Share: Salad Mix, Spinach, Radishes, and Baby Bok Choy

Hello CSA members!

Did you know that it takes about 30 days minimum to grow a vegetable?And some of them can take over a hundred days to mature? Some of them can handle cold temps and even freezes, while others cannot be planted until the risk of frost is over? I bring this up because your CSA share will be a reflection of these basic facts….a journey, or sorts, through the Montana growing season. The CSA starts with the earliest frost tolerant greens, which were planted in high tunnels back when there was still snow on the ground. And even though it is still frosting at night, we already have over 3 acres of cool season crops planted out in the main field. As these crops have time to mature, the CSA will shift from greens, spinach, radishes, and turnips to things like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage , carrots, beets, and kale. Then as summer heat kicks in, we will shift into vegetables such as summer squash, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, carrots and corn, and finally as the days shorten and get cooler, we will return to greens, winter squash, onions, carrots and garlic. In this part of the country, it can often feel like too quick of a journey, but it’s pretty amazing the amount of diversity you can grow, even in Montana. That said, we will try to get you salad on a weekly basis, and due to popular demand….lots of carrots.

Early salad in the “no-till” high tunnel….seeded back in early April.

I should also mention that a Full share contains “on average” $25 worth of produce each week, and a partial is “$17” I say on average, because in the early weeks of the CSA when production is slow, your shares will be slightly under this amount. And later in the season, when the farm is bursting with food, we will exceed those numbers. But just know that we track it all carefully, and we assure you that you will get a good value.

In my last post, I mentioned the importance of keeping your produce fresh by protecting them from dehydration. So, you’ll want to make sure to put the radishes, turnips, and BBC in a bag or container in your fridge when you get home from CSA pickup.

And while I will try to offer up weekly menu ideas, I have to be open with you up front, and tell you there is basically only one tip you need. Get a well seasoned cast iron skillet. Buy some good cooking oils….perhaps avocado , coconut, or my new favorite, organic safflower oil from The Oil Barn in Big Sandy, Montana. Something organic with a high smoke point. Heat the pan, drizzle in some oil, and sauté or pan fry your veggies in it. It is the primary way I eat all my meals.

The Hakurei Turnips may intimidate you if you are not familiar with them, but i find they are best sliced into rounds, and browned in a cast iron pan on both sides. That said, they are very sweet (unlike the turnips you had as a kid), and they can be eaten raw in your salad if you prefer. If you don’t like raw radishes, sautés them in the cast iron pan as well..it mellows flavor a bit but still has great texture. And the Baby Bok Choy as well, perhaps with a lid on the pan to help it steam. Once the garlic is ready, it’s a great addition to this technique.

And one more tip to help you make the most of your share….eat the turnips and radish tops. Not necessarily as a salad, but they steam up well, or make a great pesto. Yep, radish tops blended with olive oil make a great topping for any meal. When it comes to the salad mix and spinach, I think they are at there best as simple salads. Excellent with a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of sea salt. Or, you can whip up some Glory Bowl dressing, which as become a staple in our kitchen for topping virtually any meal. I’d skip the vegetable oil in this recipe, and use olive oil instead.

And just a couple of quick announcements regarding the pickups. We have approval for parking on Tuesday across from the Library at depot park, so we’ll stick to the plan for members who chose the Whitefish Farmer’s Market pickup (4:30 to 6pm). And for all the Glacier shares, Sean from Wicked Good Produce tells me he should have the shares to the Discovery Center by noon on Thursday, so you can come and get them a bit earlier than you are used to. Because the center is not open for full hours of operation, we are going to put the shares on the outside table under the porch for now. Please be sure to come get your share, as no one will be around to put it in the fridge for you if you forget.

Well, that does it for Week #1. We hope you enjoy the fresh veggies, and we look forward to seeing all of you!