This past Friday, June 21st at 11:55am, Earth hit the magical coordinates in relation to the sun that marks our first official day of summer. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and while it’s still a bit cooler than average for this time of year in Wisconsin, the long-lasting light and abundance of green sing “summertime”! We are overjoyed to finally start seeing flowers blooming here at Winnowburrow Farm. Our CSA members can order bouquets as add-ons as the season allows, but we also offer arrangements for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and “just because”!
While it’s still hard to fathom that it’s summer at all, the final days of June are already being accented by the occasional pop of early fireworks, a reminder of our upcoming national holiday. July 4th is fast approaching, the iconic summer holiday that conjures images of hot days at the beach, long weekends at the lake cabin, backyard BBQ’s and gatherings with friends and family. Don’t wait too long to plan your local food feast! Stock up on extras for your long-weekend celebrations! Farm-fresh eggs for your favorite deviled eggs, or egg salad recipe? Meat for grilling? Loads of greens for festive salads? Your local farmers will thank you and so will your taste buds!
What you’ll find this week in Local Choice CSA:
|Italian Seasoned Ground Pork|
|Herbs de Provence Chevre|
|Japanese Giant Mustard|
And now, Pat Lang from Hexagon Projects Farm has an early season update!
It isn’t news to anyone in Wisconsin that this May and June have been unusually cold, wet, and sunless. What does this mean for growers? Slow plant growth is common, especially in the case of maturing roots (beets) and fruits (strawberries, peas). The abundant moisture fuels grass growth, however, and we at Hexagon Projects & Farm have been battling quack grass, and weeds such as sedge, with a lot of our energy.
Quack grass is a perennial grass with aggressive roots that can travel significant distances underground to then produce new shoots. When chopped up, root segments will sprout, and this means that light tillage often causes dense grass growth that is even harder to manage. Aside from these exhausting qualities, quack is alleopathic, meaning it produces chemicals that suppress the germination of other seeds. Additionally, abundant quack grass provides habitat for and can attract cutworm, a type of caterpillar that causes devastating damage to food plants (in our case, popcorn, Swiss chard, tomatoes, and even dahlias. As we go about the business of planting, weeding, and harvesting, know that we are also engaged in this struggle with a particularly voracious weed and pests!
As for slow growth, the produce side of this season’s CSA shares has been somewhat weak. The scallion harvest is delayed over 2 weeks, and the snap pea harvest (Essence Homestead) has been expected but is still also delayed. Kohlrabi in shares last week and this week is very small, as well (though delicious). But growers know to never assume everything will go as planned. Creative solutions to the weed problem are in the works, and we look forward to the delayed harvests of the delicious items mentioned here, as well as much, much more!
This week’s meal plans are provided by Nick Rigger at Hexagon Projects Farm!
Omnivore Meal Plan: Lamb and Beef Meatballs with Arugula, Kohlrabi, and Strawberry Salad
Lamb & Beef Meatballs:
½ lb ground beef
½ lb ground lamb
½ cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 ½ tsp thyme
Optional Yogurt Topping:
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon dill
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients, being sure to mix well. Form mixture into 1-1½ ’’ meatballs. Place meatballs onto the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake about 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through. Or, alternatively, you can fry the meatballs in oil in a saucepan until they’re dark brown. Remove and place on a plate.
- If desired, mix together the ingredients for the yogurt sauce and drizzle over the meatballs right before serving.
Arugula, Kohlrabi, and Strawberry Salad:
Herbs de Provence Chevre
- Remove the leaves and peel the kohlrabi (save them for use as cooking greens!). Finely chop into sticks.
- Remove the leaves from the strawberries and halve or quarter, depending on size.
- Mix together arugula and salad mix and place on a plate, top with kohlrabi, strawberries, and sprinkle on goat cheese. Add your dressing of choice and serve alongside the meatballs.
Herbivore Meal Plan: Sweet and Savory Pancakes
2 ¼ cups flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups milk
4 tablespoons oil or melted butter
1 cup spinach
Oil for pan
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Whisk the eggs in a medium-size bowl. Whisk in the milk and melted butter and then pour the liquid mixture into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients. Gently mix together, be sure to not over-mix, as you want the batter to be lumpy.
- Cover a frying pan (or cast iron pan) with a thin layer of oil and heat over medium heat.
- Using a ladle or spoon, add batter to pan (a few tablespoons, or more or less depending on how large you like your pancakes) and cook until bubbles form on the surface, flip. Cook until the underside is golden brown and then place in a preheated 225 degree oven. Repeat until half the batter has been used.
- Finely chop the spinach and gently fold into the remaining pancake batter. Repeat the cooking process until the remaining batter has been used.
While the pancakes are cooking (as you wait for the bubbles to form) you can utilize the time to prepare the toppings. This is an opportunity to experiment with a few sweet and savory toppings to enjoy on your pancakes.
- Quarter or halve the strawberries and place in a small bowl.
- Thinly slice the radish and place in a small bowl with a sprinkle of sea salt on top.
- Chop broccoli into small pieces and cook lightly in a small pan with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Coarsely chop the arugula and place in a bowl.
Now that your toppings have been assembled you can place your pancakes on a plate and mix and match the toppings as you like to create a sweet and savory dish.
Digging deeper into nutrition with Johnne Smalley of Towering Heights Farm
Wild strawberries were abundant when the English colonists arrived in the early 1600’s. They are mentioned in several journals of both the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies. They were also an important part of the Native American diet. The annual “Strawberry Thanksgiving” was an important ceremony of the Iroquois, marking the spring harvest of the berries.
Our modern strawberries are the result of an accidental cross between the small, but delicious wild strawberry of the Eastern United States and a larger, hardier, but less tasty strawberry of the West Coast in the mid 1700’s. People liked this natural hybrid so much that it became the ancestor of most of the domesticated strawberries grown worldwide today.
As a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, strawberries can benefit your health in the following ways.
- IMPROVES IMMUNE FUNCTIONING. …
- LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE. …
- TREATS SYMPTOMS OF ARTHRITIS AND GOUT. …
- OFFERS PROTECTION AGAINST CANCER. …
- PROMOTES HEALTHY EYESIGHT. …
- REGULATES BLOOD SUGAR. …
- LOWERS RISK OF STROKE.
More than any other vegetable, broccoli has come to epitomize health. Its benefits are touted on television, in magazines, health bulletins and cookbooks. It lives up to its reputation when it is first harvested, but it respires very quickly after picking and loses most of its beneficial nutrients after a week’s time. Since it takes a week or more to arrive from California, Arizona, or Mexico where the majority of our broccoli is grown, most of us do not get to benefit from the many nutrients in fresh broccoli.
Local Choice provides fresh broccoli which has up to 80% more of the beneficial nutrients than broccoli from the supermarket.
Broccoli can be enjoyed both raw and cooked, but recent research shows that gentle steaming provides the most health benefits.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share to help us spread local food LOVE! Happy Solstice!