Spring Lettuce Mix
Garlic Scapes or Young Garlic
Spinach or New Potatoes
The 9th season of Tomten Farm’s CSA begins. Welcome to all of you returning and new. This year is obviously so different due to the pandemic, affecting all of our lives in a myriad of ways. The social landscape has been reconfigured and I’m sure throughout this season we will continue adapting and shifting in order to be social responsible while trying to go on with life, interact, exchange, and get you all food. We appreciate your patience and diligence in keeping up with details and adhering to all safety precautions. Over the past two months the biggest impact on the farm has been moving most sales and communications online as we all navigate through this. Needless to say this is extremely time consuming for us (no set admin hours, horrible internet, and a luddites approach to technology), so we apologize in advance if our weekly journal updates and recipe selections suffer a bit; but there is really only so much time in each week. With less time for discussion at pickups, we know this information is all the more needed right now. We encourage you to reach out with questions you may have and we will do our best to communicate online as much as we can. Even with the pandemic though we are so excited to begin the CSA and due to some cool, very unusual Spring like conditions we have some abundant, lovely and delicious Spring crops waiting to be eaten. The spinach is the best outdoor, May grown spinach we have had since our first season back in 2012.
This week’s share is one of my (Autumn’s) favorites of the year. You all are getting some crops we have tended through the whole winter (garlic and favas) or were planted in our tunnels at the beginning of the year (potatoes), so we can provide a balanced, not too green heavy start to the CSA. And the spinach, cilantro, and kale has just been loving this weather, up until the last two nights May frost, a first in our 9 years here. There is always something new and different with farming, keeping us on our toes and having fun, if slightly tired. Late March was a difficult time for us (as for everyone) and we got a bit behind on planting, so some things like mustard greens, swiss chard, and broccoli are a little behind; but hey in late March our market was cancelled and we were looking towards the next week or week after trying to get as much food out at that moment to people who were sheltering in place. We have also had some struggling quick crop successions, the ones we plant every 7-10 days for 6-8 weeks. Due to some crusty heavy clay soil (the allotted spring brassica plot this spring) and some heavy rains, we have had extremely irregular germination for some successions affecting the hakurei turnips, radishes, asian mix, yu choy, and arugula. This means over the next month you may not see some crops; but they will show up. Fingers crossed our first tomatoes and summer squash made it through the last two nights tucked under covers; as we were looking forward to late May squash (there were baby squashes already on the plants) and some June sungolds. The weather though is a constant in our face reminder that we have very little control and we can only tend and manage in the most observant, flexible, and responsible way we know how, treating the land with thanks for giving us the abundance it does. That’s farming.
Due to an unseasonably temperate winter, our garlic has developed past the tender green garlic stage which we like to give you all in your first share. Garlic is planted the first week of November, so the Winter and early Spring weather indicates how much green growth the garlic will get and then once there are enough degree days (a combination of day length and temperature) it will begin to bulb. So even though we have had a grey and cool spring, that one bought of 80 degrees last month initiated bulbing on the garlic. Once it begins to bulb, the scape (would eventually be the garlic flower) and cloves begin to form, so this has happened about 2 weeks earlier than expected. What this means for you, is the garlic will still have a sweeter, mild quality; but it will be slightly less tender. You can still use most of the plant, stalk and all, although some baby cloves are beginning to emerge and there may be a small core in the center of the bulbing section, which you can easily remove. As you go up past the tender stalks to the leaves, its still very delicious, although it probably needs to be minced and cooked a little longer, think of leek leaves or if you get some of the scapes, use the entire thing and use in everything, they are fabulous. The other really special treat in this week’s share is the fava beans, also known as broad beans. We grow a small amount each winter; seeding them in early November, covering with low tunnels (small metal hops covered in greenhouse plastic) through the coldest months, venting them regularly, and then feeding and weeding in early Spring. We are one of the only farms in this area growing these beans as they take a bit of management; but we love them so much. They will taker a little work on your behalf too and will yield only about 1 cup of beans total, so relish in this creamy, fatty seasonal bean, a true speciality. There are a myriad of delicious preparations: cooked with rice , or boiled and then pureed with olive oil as a bean dip, or sautéed with green garlic and chilies and added to pasta or as a side dish. We have included some recipe ideas to inspire delicious meals with this week’s share items. We are excited to begin this season with you all. Enjoy the share…Autumn and Brian
Racha’s Spinach Salad with Walnuts and Cilantro (Spanakit)
1/2 the recipe and substitute young garlic or garlic scapes
Kale with Green Garlic
use young garlic green tops and cook longer than suggested, 10 minutes before adding the kale
Garlic Scapes & Eggs
This recipe is terrific with garlic scapes, the flower bud that forms on certain types of garlic just before the bulb starts to bulge and divide into cloves.
1 cup chopped spring garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
salt & pepper
Saute the garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes or so, until soft and starting to brown. Add the cheese in an even layer and immediately crack the eggs on top. Fry the eggs over high, sprinkle with salt & pepper, then flip. The bottom should be a slightly charred mass of crispy, salty, garlicky goodness. Cook the yolks easy or hard as desired. Serves two for breakfast with toast and orange juice.
Smashed Fava Beans, Pecorino, and Mint on Toast Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden
This is a loose pesto of fava beans and mint, with plenty of olive oil. Use it as a pasta sauce or as a dip for vegetables, spoon it over crushed new potatoes, or spread some on toasted country bread.
1 ¼ lb Fava Beans in their pods
1 stalk green garlic roughly chopped
4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
salt & pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 – ½” thick slices bread
Shell the fava beans. Blanch beans for about 30 seconds in boiling salted water and then rinse well with very cold water. If desired, make a small slit on the bean, gently squeeze out two halves of the bean and peel off the membrane skin (it can be a little tough).
Put the green garlic and a pinch of salt into a food processor and pulse a few times. Add half the mint leaves and pulse a few more times so the garlic is fairly fine. Add the peeled favas and 1 Tbls olive oil and pulse again. Your goal is to bash up the favas but not completely puree them. You may need to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl between pulses.
Scrape the mixture into a bowl, season with some pepper, and stir in 1/8 cup grated pecorino cheese and the lemon juice, and adjust the consistency with olive oil so that its loose and luscious. Brush the bread on one side with olive oil and grill or broil until crisp. Arrange on plates, top with the fava mixture and the rest of the mint leaves, torn if their big, and finish with a nice shower of grated pecorino and a drizzle of oil.
Roz bel Ful Ahdar (Rice with Fava Beans) the New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
In Egypt this is prepared in the Spring, when fava beans are very young and tender. It is served hot as an accompaniment to meat, or cold with yogurt and a salad. Egyptians do not remove the skins of the beans.
1 pound fresh fava beans, shelled
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic or 1 green garlic stalk, minced white & greens
1 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 1/2 cups basmati or long-grain rice (wash)
2 ¼ cup water
Boil the beans in salted water for a few minutes, until they are tender, then drain. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan and fry the onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two. Then add the drained beans and sauté a little, stirring and turning them over. Add the rice, and stir until transparent. Add the salt, pepper, and chopped dill and pour in the water. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat, covered, for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.