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Farm Share Week 10 (Aug 4-8, 2020)

After losing most of our first one, a new beet crop emerges looking beautiful. In a farm there is always new seed and with it, new hope.

2020- it’s been a wild ride, hasn’t it? When the year began we used to saunter around the grocery store without a care in the world, look forward to big events with 100s or even thousands of people, and wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing a mask in public…unless of course we were at a masquerade party. But here we are! I am not feeling too hard done by by all the changes and restrictions, though I miss freely interacting with others without worrying about the distance. I am mostly thankful- thankful that covid has not touched my little circle or visited the farm. We are still going to be cautious until the threat dissipates more, as we know that thousands rely on us for their food supply (in farm share and beyond) and many workers have travelled far from home to feed you all, and we need to return them home safe and sound.

This has to be the most challenging year I can recall since first heading up Farm Share, 11 years ago. Maybe the years of returning to work just a week or 2 post-partum, or harvesting and running a business while babywearing or nursing have grown a little fuzzy and maybe even nostalgic in my mind, but a variety have factors have all collided to make this one for the books! The insects, the weeds, seem worse than I have ever seen them, brought out by the drought and heat. In the same conditions, some crops have hobbled along and some have been lost altogether. This year feels like a fight- a fight for each crop. The cucumber beetle, the weeds, the swede midge bug, the raccoons, the drought…all threatening to steal all our sweat-borne efforts away, and the labour we have is less that we did on years where the conditions were more favourable. Each watering, each organic pest control measure, each and every weed removed for the third time from that same crop- all take precious time from a precious few of us. Entire crops have been lost- and we know that other farmers are in this same struggle too. But, we are passionate about what we do- passionate to bring forth bounty from the dusty land; passionate to feed your family well; passionate to make the most out of this thin hand we’ve been dealt, and thankful, so despite the losses and the struggle, beautiful crops are emerging. The baskets this week make me smile with their colour and variety. I am grateful, and I hope you are too.

Thank you to those of you who have been cheering us on. Other businesses closed for a while and had time to re-tool. Farmers carried on like every-day, but harder, as many of them were left short-handed. We are tired, but we are some of the most stubborn, determined folks you will ever meet. A customer brought her lovely family to see the chickens (socially distanced of course), and seeing her family’s wonder, curiosity, and appreciation buoyed me up for another week. Serving you, feeding you well, means so very much to us. We hope that these baskets bring you happiness and good health.

The most exciting addition this week is definitely watermelon. The variety in your veggie shares this week is yellow doll, and I think you’ll see when you open it up just where it gets that name! It should be a nice bright yellow colour on the inside. You be the judge- is it actually sweeter than red watermelon?

We also have some sweet corn for the whole shares (or are trying our dardnest to get to it before the raccoons). Apparently, raccoons prefer organic too. There is lots more nice sweet corn still ripening, so we are hoping for more in the coming weeks.

Whole Shares: romaine, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, green peppers, yellow doll watermelon, green beans, baby bokchoy, rainbow swiss chard, grape tomatoes, japanese eggplant, banana peppers (only a teeny hint spicy), mint, cilantro or onions, radish, sweet corn
Fruit Shares: massive Ontario organic watermelon, 5 pink crisp apples, 3 plums, 1/2 pint blackberries (US or local) or cherries, 3-4 organic avocadoes, organic red grapes
Handle your boxes with care people and carry it supporting the bottom- those watermelon are HEAVY!

Recipes

This week I did a remake of the Fajita Rice from last week, adding some of the new ingredients now available like banana pepper and fresh cilantro. It definitely took it to the next level! My daughter decided we should eat by candlelight, and it was late- but I indulged her. Sometimes you just gotta create some beauty and live a little, and kids totally get this. That’s something so cool about kids and why I need them around. They teach me a lot :).

Chicken Fajita Rice (Serves 4-5, depending on the size of the eaters 😉

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breast (I used our own organically fed chicken!) vegetarian option- use cooked black beans!
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (for sautéing)
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 1-2 banana peppers, diced (they are quite mild still- you can try a little nibble and see how much you want to use- your head will not blow off)
  • cooked rice (mine was leftover and made this meal nice and speedy)
  • approx 3 tomatoes or 1lb plus tomatoes, diced
  • taco seasoning mix
  • 3-4 tbsp. fresh cilantro
  • grated cheddar cheese (to serve)

Directions

  1. Cut chicken breast into small cubes and place in a large pan with olive oil. When almost cooked through, add green & banana peppers and sautee a couple minutes or until slightly softened. Add cooked rice and tomatoes, stirring for even cooking,
  2. Add taco seasoning mix and a little water if the juices from the tomatoes have evaporated
  3. Garnish the cilantro or mix in after cooking is complete. Top with cheddar cheese.
  4. Alternate serving idea: add above ingredients minus the green pepper and stuff right in a green pepper and bake…or….fill a soft tortilla and you have a burrito.

Watermelon Feta Salad

This one is traditionally done with red watermelon, but will also taste just as nice with your yellow one (or the large red ones in your fruit shares). You can also expect more watermelon this week, so this is a fun idea if you get bored of just snacking on watermelon on it’s own. Bonus, you also have a perfect place for your mint, whole share members 🙂 Find the recipe here.

Making a special trip just to get the last few bags of beans last week, and I was greeted by this vista! That’s rye growing in the field, to enrich the soil for future crops, the natural way. Look at those clouds!

That’s all folks. Here we are in August, my favourite month on the farm and in general. Hot days, cool nights…a whole lot growing. Enjoy!

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Farm Share 2020 Week 9 (July 28-Aug 1)

Hello from the farm! My favourite farmer (aka husband) and I celebrated 12 years of marriage this weekend. We have sure come a long way from those two starry-eyed lovebirds who thought the world was our oyster! Lol. Well, maybe it still is, but we had no idea how much work it was getting to the pearls. However, those pearls of our commitment to each other, walking with God, raising kids, and running and growing this farm- they have been so worth it! In a fashion in step with a busy 12 years so far, we dug up our backyard to fix a septic line, then I booted over to the farm to receive a new flock of young laying hens, and put ourselves together enough to spend an evening celebrating. We have much to be thankful for.

A nice full wagon teeming with eggplants, green peppers and tomatoes!

I do hope that this new bunch of laying hens sees our egg production go up enough to have a little extra to sell here and there, but I do plan to get through this week supplying all our egg share customers regularily, without any early morning visits to the hens to get just those last few eggs!

I am stoked to be offering our own roasting chickens, fed organically and kept on pasture from 4 weeks on. They are now available on our website and can be delivered with a farm share or be picked up from the farm store. Please note they are frozen and we need someone to be home to receive them or a cooler left out with plenty of ice packs.

A beautiful sight to my eyes! This year has been just wicked for pests. I hardly even knew about the cucumber beetle until this year as it has been making a mess of our cucumbers. After a couple applications of a clay powder spray, the cucumbers (and plants) are looking wonderful. Wahoo!

Now on to the veggies! This week the tomatoes are finally in plenty enough for everyone to get some. You may receive a typical beefsteak (red) tomato, a brandywine heirloom tomato (with green top and red bottom when ripe), campari tomatoes (small red tomatoes), or other heirloom varieties (one is yellow with green stripes when ready). The heirloom varieties are less hardy and tend to split more easily. The taste is truly worth any irritation! Tomatoes are best kept out of the fridge at room temperature, and are ready to enjoy when they turn from super firm and get a little softer, just like a regular tomato. We hope you enjoy tasting the amazing flavour of in season tomatoes and get a chance to taste test a couple varieties over the tomato season.

This week we also have some stunning eggplant! I could not resist putting it in all your boxes as it is just so beautiful. You might be a little reluctant to try eggplant, but it is so worth getting to know. First of all, it is best kept out of the fridge (ideally in a cooler space), but room temperature is ok too. The trick to cutting out any bitter taste is to peel, slice and then lightly salt the eggplant slices. I enjoy then baking the slices (a couple millimetres thick) spread out on a greased baking sheet at 425 degrees for about 8-10 mins or until tender. Then carefully remove them with a spatula and use as you would noodles in lasagna! Don’t forget the spinach…totally essential in lasagna in my opinion.

Recipes

Easy Fajita Chicken & Rice

If I can manage this on a Monday night (Mondays are my craziest day of the week), you can too!

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breast, cut into cubes or small chunks
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, for frying
  • 2 green peppers, cores removed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 roma tomatoes (or other tomatoes, diced)
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix (or make your own with chili powder, cumin, salt, etc.)
  • 1 1/4 cup dry parboiled rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water

Directions

I started by pouring the water into a medium saucepan along with the rice, and bringing it to a boil. Then I covered it and let it simmer until cooked (see package directions).

Meanwhile, I cut up my chicken and sauteed it in a wok in the olive oil. Once mostly cooked, I added the chopped green pepper and tomatoes and cooked until tender (around 5-7 minutes), adding the taco seasoning part way through. The juice from the tomatoes gives it some liquid to make a nice sauce.

I served the fajita mix on a bed of rice, garnishing it with cheddar cheese, a sprig of thyme and even offered my kiddos a little plain yogurt with it in case it was too spicy for them. I got lots of “thank you, mom”s, and “this is good!”s, and lots of empty plates…so I’m gonna call that a big win for a dinner where I was admittedly winging it. I hope you like this recipe as well!

Eggplant Parmesan

Try this classic recipe to make the most out of your eggplant. Tip: the eggplants in your shares are about 1-2lbs in size. If your eggplant seems a little small to fill your dish, try using your zucchini and breading it up along with the eggplant in the same way. Hopefully you still have fresh basil from your basil plant to add some extra flavour to this dish.

Ratatouille

Want a recipe for your eggplant that is low carb and also vegan? Try This Ratatouille Recipe: https://cookieandkate.com/best-ratatouille-recipe/

Baba Ghanouj

Have you tried Baba Ghanouj? Sounds kinda funky, but it is one amazingly delicious garlicky dip made of eggplant that you’ll want to have with everything. Bonus- also uses your garlic and parsley from your farm share.

Curly Endive Salad With Bacon and Poached Eggs

I don’t know what it is, but endive just pairs so nicely with eggs and bacon! Last time I had endive I simply sauteed it in the bacon fat after cooking some bacon and a couple fried eggs. If you want to take it to the next level, try this recipe.

Greens Hack (Think kale, swiss chard) from a fellow Farm Share member

She says: “I’ve really enjoyed trying a variety of greens I wouldn’t normally buy, and feel diversifying my diet has had a positive impact on my and my family’s health.  My kids are pretty picky eaters but I have found a ‘greens hack’ that works well.  I take the kale, chards and other ‘sturdy’ greens and turn them into chips. 
Basically, I remove the stems and tear the greens into small pieces.  Then I massage the following into the greens: olive oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt (I use Herbamare Herbed Sea Salt) and a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast flakes. The key is to work the oil and flavourings into the greens, making sure each piece is covered.   I lay them in a single layer on a parchment paper covered tray and cook them in an oven set around 250 to 275 degrees, until they are crispy.  If you can believe it, my boys literally fight over these veggie chips.  Admittedly, my hubby and I find them super addictive, too. 
Actually, I use the same technique/ingredients for making the veggie chips (as listed above) using the salad lettuces instead, except I don’t cook it.  I add some diced avocado and anchovies to the ‘dressed’ salad greens and call it my ‘Twisted Caesar Salad’.  I’m sure croutons would be a good addition but I try to avoid grains.  It’s quite tasty! “

Thank you for sharing, C.C.

Have a great hack for helping your family enjoy their veggies? Bring it on. I’d love your ideas via email or over facebook. Thanks for sharing your genius! 

In your Shares This Week:

Fruit Shares Get: 3 mangoes, 6 oranges, 1/2 pint blueberries or local blackberries, 7 plums, 1.5lbs cherries (a special treat, crazy expensive, but just had to spoil you this week). The blackberries will be ready for thurs-fridays deliveries- they are awaiting the rain and we can pick them. If you don’t get them this week, don’t worry, next week we should have more. Pray for rain!
Simply 6 Shares get: green peppers, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers
Half shares get: Shares get: green peppers, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers, parsley, zucchini, green kale, peas or alternate (not in picture)
Half shares get: Shares get: green peppers, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers, parsley, zucchini, green kale, sugar snap or snow peas, assorted lettuces (in short supply right now), green cabbage, broccoli, beets or surprise!, white onions, garlic, curly endive

So many ideas this week! Happy cooking! Stay cool and hope you all get a chance to dance in the rain 🙂

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Farm Share Week 8 (July 21-25)

Can you tell which one is a male chicken? (cock). It’s the one that looks like he’s bossing the ladies around. Don’t worry though, these chickens were super easy going and got along famously

Warning: vegetarians might want to skip this first paragraph :). Last week felt like a whole lot of crazy at least for me! I am now finished with the white rock chickens, and they are now in the freezer and ready for purchase. Loading the chickens up for their final journey, I found myself thanking them for the wholesome nutrition they would provide us. I’ve always held the whole process happily at arm’s length (like most of us), but now raising them, it’s gotten a lot more real. For me what matters most is how they are raised- I want to know that they’ve lead good lives, mostly outdoors, with space to move and peck about. I want to know that they have been cared for to the greatest extent and fed nutritious, organic feed. And having raised them myself, I have this confidence. They also took more time, money and energy that I could have imagined so it’s a relief to just have the one batch this year. In the mean time we have a small amount of roasting chickens for sale (soon to be on the website), mostly 4-5lbs in size.

On to the veggies! This week was full of surprises. I feel like I had all but given up on the carrots and beets. The drought had done a number on them, leaving them struggling for survival instead of vibrantly growing, but some recent rains must have saved the day. While they may be hidden in the weeds (I swear we weeded them each like 3 times!), we managed to get a good bunch of them for your shares this week. If the carrots in your bunch are a little small, they don’t need peeling! Just give them a little scrub and save yourself the trouble. As young and fresh carrots, their skins are much more tender.

Surprise # 2: I planned to check out the garlic, having been warned that they might be a little small…but wow, some really nice big ones! I had such fun with my fork harvesting them. It was so satisfying! When you get into growing things and get back to the soil, it’s amazing how enjoyable some of the garden tasks can be. The garlic in your far, shares is fresh from the garden and can be used as is. If you want to store it for more than about 3 weeks you may want to try curing it- basically a process of drying it out for longer term storage. Find out how to cure garlic here.

Green beans are finally here! (after me starting them down for weeks lol). These really are a low effort veggie. Try lightly steaming them till they turn an even brighter green and adding butter and a dash of salt. They are also delicious raw, if cooking them seems like way too much effort. Yum!

Another new item is fennel. This might be outside of your regular dinner rotation and could certainly shake things up with its crisp texture and unique flavour. Grab you fennel, sautee it with some garlic as in this RECIPE and you’ve got a tasty and different side that pairs beautifully with fish.

Tip: While proper storage of the veggies will make them last WAYYYY longer and help cut down your waste, many of our customers also tell us how much their dogs enjoy sharing their veggie baskets. Many dogs love items like bok choy and they are so good for them! So, find yourself a little overwhelmed with veggies? Maybe fido can help :). Here on the farm, the leaves that fall off lettuce or bokchoy as we trim it are used to make the chickens very happy and healthy. They always run over to me as I give them their veggie treats.

Grilling zucchini brings out all the flavour!

Recipe: Grilled Zucchini

I forgot just how delicious zucchini is grilled! We were cooking bbq chicken drumsicks on the barbecue. When almost cooked, we lightly tossed sliced zucchini in olive oil and spread it out on our grilling basket. Then we sprinked the slices of zucchini with salt and pepper and grilled until tender. Watch for burning on the underside as it cooks quite quickly! We paired it with white rice with butter, chopped fresh mint, and chopped fresh heirloom tomato for a satisfying summer meal. Bon apetit!

T wanted me to take this picture because he caught a chicken! These hens can really give a good chase when they escape 🙂

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Farm Share Week 7 (July 14-18, 2020)

We got rain!!! Off and on all weekend. It was glorious! Every farmer facing this drought is united in our NEED of rain. It was getting rather desperate for some crops, even with the irrigation. Just a little rain and you can see the plants that were looking slumpy and sad perk up again. The drought has brought with us a delay in some crops- beets and carrots are normally here by now, but they weren’t able to thrive and grow as well under the sweltering temperatures and lack of rain. The beans grown ever so slowly, and now are just days away from being ready! Not for this week’s farm share, sadly, but they will be out in full force for next week. The hot and dry weather seems to bring out the insects with a vengeance. We’re kept hopping trying to manage it all organically, and for the greenhouses, to do it all before the heat becomes too unbearable for the workers. I’ll tell you- they are tough!

The blackcurrants are finally ready this week and tasting nice and sweet (for a currant of course, they are a tart berry :). Why not try this easy but sophisticated sauce with duck or chicken? You can also try making an easy jam. Rhubarb pairs very well with it in jam to make it go a little farther. If you have an ice cream maker, why not try making Minted Blackcurrant Sorbet?

The biggest surprise this week was finding ripe tomatoes….what!? I cannot recall ever finding them this early before. Don’t be alarmed if your tomatoes look dark red and partially green. We grew some of the brandywine variety and they are this colouration when ripe. When you notice it turn from hard to softer, you know it is ready to eat. Their delicious juicy insides and thin skins make them both scrumptious and sensitive, so treat them with care and eat them asap! I just cored mine and made it into little slices to go with a throw-together dinner of chicken and fries. I love the veggies that don’t require any cooking on a busy night! We also have some little red campari tomatoes, and others will receive japanese eggplant. Have you wondered why your box as written on the blog on Monday is not 100 percent the same? I do my very best to anticipate and plan for your boxes each week. More often than not, the fields have other plans and I don’t get all of what I hoped for or maybe don’t have the quantities I thought I had (like the redcurrants last week). That’s when we do our best to substitute with a similar item. The nature of gardening/farming is that things don’t always go exactly as planned, and you learn to “roll with the punches”, and enjoy what is there while being patient for what is not yet. I hope that farm share gives you a chance to experience that a little, while making sure you always have something good, wholesome and beautiful to eat!

L-R green leaf lettuce, radish, green kale, spinach (or alternate), cucumbers, rainbow swiss chard, romaine lettuce, bok choy, sugar snap peas, blackcurrants, tomatoes or japanese eggplant, mint, green onions & zucchini (not pictured: dill)

Fruit Shares: 3 red grapefruit, 3 avocadoes, 6 red plums, 6 bosc pears, 3 mangoes (all organic)

Recipes

Sesame Ginger Bok Choy

Loading with iron, calciumphosphorous, and potassium, vitamins A, C, K and folate, bok choy deserves a place at your table. It’s wonderful in stir fries, like this simple Sesame Ginger Bok Choy. If your family (or you) is reluctant to try it, slices it up small and have it with rice, in noodle soup, or even hidden in spaghetti sauce or lasagna!

https://cookieandkate.com/15-delicious-kale-recipes/Not sure what to do with your Kale? It’s a nutritional powerhouse, and also super versatile. Here are 15 Delicious Kale Recipes to Pick from.

And for that Mint, how about a Cucumber Salad With Mint?

I make a simpler recipe all the time with just cucumbers, vinegar, salt and pepper. The mint makes it all the more flavourful. I don’t worry about taking the seeds out either- I’d rather not waste any of the goodness in the cucumber 🙂

And for the radishes, dill and green onions, how about some nice Creamy Potato Salad with Radishes, Lemon and Dill?

It’s simply dill-icious!

Wishing you beauty, health and happiness this week!

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Farm Share 2020 Week 6: July 7-11, 2020

Hello from the dusty fields of Zephyr Organics! The high heat and dryness continues and we find ourselves praying for rain often (while of course busting our butts to keep everything watered). We have many ways of keeping the plants rolling along, but eventually we will need to receive the rain itself. Even lightning has the function of adding nitrogen to the fields to help plants grow. So join us in praying for that rain! And maybe celebrate with us too when it comes. I think some dancing would be most appropriate :).

All this heat has ripened up the redcurrants to perfection. These tart little berries might not be your go-to snack, but they sure are worth getting to know for their immune-boosting, heart-healthy vitamins and minerals. They also offer a great source of fibre, iron, Vitamin K and are loaded with vitamin C that will enhance your skin. So what to do with them, you ask? I enjoy them raw with some dark chocolate or over some vanilla ice cream. These yogurt cakes look amazing- I can’t wait to try the currants in this recipe. 2 Other simple options are adding them to smoothies or adding some colour and flavour to salads.

Keeping it fresh. Does your produce last you a long time? Or is it looking kind of sad and wilty after a day or 2? A little know how can keep most items fresh for weeks- that’s right- WEEKS!
Here is a blog post you can have a look at: https://zephyrorganics.com/tips-for-keeping-veggies-fresh/

Your items are harvested for you very fresh, most items look wilty or start to spoil as they lose moisture. Most veggies prefer your crisper drawer and like to be kept in produce bags or containers (even a ziploc will do – I often leave one one end a little open for ventilation). Hope this helps! Also, root items that come with the greens (ie radish or beets) should be separated roots from greens. With radish you can just discard and beets they have nice cooking greens.  If you have produce looking a little tired, most items will perk up nicely in a cold water soak in the sink. 

Hope this helps! Keep your veggies cool, keep the moisture in, and they will be looking good for a while. I was pretty blown away when a farm share in the cooler all of 2 weeks old still looked pretty darned good! Our cooler is kept about 2 degrees Celsius and the closed environment of the farm share bin was well appreciated by the veggies. The only exception is the cucumber and zucchini don’t like it too wet. Hope this info helps you keep it fresh!

Whole Shares Week 6
Fruit Shares Week 6: 6 organic pink crips apples, 6 organic kiwis, 5 organic peaches, 6 organic oranges, 5 organic avocadoes

Half Shares

  • redcurrants
  • snow peas
  • sugar snap peas
  • 1lb cucumbers
  • 1lb zucchini* new!
  • green swiss chard
  • dandelion greens
  • red leaf lettuce
  • romaine lettuce
  • green onions

Whole Shares received all items above plus:

  • bunch radish
  • bunch oregano (herb)
  • head fennel (celery-like head with fragrant fronds)
  • head endive (flat lettuce-like green)
  • bunch leeks

Simply 6 Shares

  • sugar snap peas
  • snow peas
  • romaine lettuce
  • green onions
  • 1lb zucchini
  • 1lb cucumber

Another new item this week is dandelion greens. No, we didn’t just go picking around the weeds in our yard. This is a cultivated type of dandelion greens and a true nutritional superstar:

Compared to spinach, one of our present-day “superfoods,” dandelion leaves have eight times more antioxidants, two times more calcium, three times more Vitamin A, and five times more vitamin K and vitamin E (Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, pg. 23) Woah! Does that make you want to find a way to enjoy it? It does for me 🙂

Recipes

Enter Sauteed Dandelion Greens with Eggs, a quick and easy balanced meal for breakfast and beyond. The recipe recommends blanching the greens in salted boiling water to further reduce the bitterness.

One of your fellow customers knows what we call endive as escarole. She has 2 great ideas for us:

Trout and potato fry up and the other a pasta. I cooked tri-colored pasta, then in a fry pan sautéed a few tiny tomatoes in a little olive oil, added pepper and then added chopped escarole.I drained the pasta, and added the vegetables, then chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme and savoury) and added a bit of cubed Gouda and a bit of milk, and stirred it through on low heat until the milk was warm. Then I baked it in the oven at 350 F for about 45 minutes with a lid, removing the lid the last ten minutes or so. The result was delicious as the escarole had retained colour, texture and flavour  without the bitterness. I tried the dish again with onion and that was not as good as the onion masked the flavour of the escarole and herb. My second dish was one with trout- filet skin removed.(Frozen fillets from Costco). I baked it first with lemon and herb, and also baked a potato. Then stir fried it in a non stick pan with herbs and escarole, black pepper and some chopped tomato. Very tasty and again the escarole was flavourful and not bitter. 

Thanks for sharing the great ideas, Pauline!

Fresh Red Currant Yogurt Cakes:

A simple tasty way to enjoy your tart red berries. Check out the recipe here:

Stir fried snow peas, snap peas, rainbow swiss chard and sweet peppers cook up in a flash satueed in butter and flavoured with butter, maple syrup, salt and ginger. A colourful-flavourful side dish.

Happy Creating, Friends, and Stay cool!

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Farm Share Week 5 (June 30-July 4, 2020)

Well hello summer! There has been no doubt about what season we are in. Temperatures have been soaring here which means our Jamaican workers are finally comfortable ;). There have been some storm systems rolling by, but we only seem to catch a dusting here or there of rain. We could use a good day or 2 of all day rain, and keeping everything irrigated has been keeping us hopping! Even the sugar snap and snow peas needed a little extra help in the rain department, so we’ve got our big metal irrigation pipes and sprinklers out, which used to be the only type we had when I first started working for the Eng family. They are not nearly as efficient as the drip-line system and are very laboursome to move, but we need every bit of water we can get right now!

Today I found one of the chicks (now 5 weeks old and getting big), lying on it’s back with a leg up, looking half-dead. I was worried about this poor thing, whose bare belly looked like it was going to get burned in the sun. I righted the poor thing and got him drinking some water and he seemed ok again. There chicken tractors always have shade and lots of water, so do not fear. This silly feathered friend just needed a little help and I’m thankful I could come to his rescue.

I just took the one picture of your veggie shares this week thanks to a toddler on my hip who was none too happy after waking up from one of those accidental naps. Such is life and work in the pandemic, eh, parents?! I would encourage you in the words of my dear friend who watched my kids for most of the day to have grace with yourself. Don’t set the bar too high, friend! Even I, the veggie lady, have crazy days (ok that seems to be most of them!), and ended up serving store bought jamaican patties for supper, but then of course, salad always has my back when I have like zero time! washed the green leaf lettuce and added a little dressing and I knew I had something decent in my little ones’ bellies and mine, even if it’s not my ideal.

This week I was hoping for recurrants, zucchini and beets (and strawberries), but they are all a little slow in coming, and likely to show up in next weeks’ boxes. Just when I wondered what exactly to replace them with the rainbow swiss chard came to my rescue! We grow seeds with mixed colours of stems and plant them all together in rows. When I harvest, I take a few stalks of red, pink, yellow and white and tie them into a cute and colourful bunch. Here’s an easy way to prepare swiss chard by sauteeing with garlic and lemon flavours . If you are cooking for kids who are suspicious of new leafy greens, try chopping them finely and adding to pastas, stir fries, or spaghetti sauce. My parents are big swiss chard fans and all they need is some butter and a sprinkle of salt to devour the stuff! Another great idea is sauteeing and adding some cheese and herbs and stuffing chicken breasts. So delish!

What I am seeing in the field as I harvest rainbow swiss chard=gorgeous!!

Your Farm Shares this Week:

Half Shares:

  • sugar snap peas (make an awesome snack on their own or with dip)
  • snow peas (also great alone for snacking or in salads and stir fries- only cook for a couple mins for best results)
  • rhubarb (see rhubarb crisp recipes below)
  • radish
  • spinach
  • rainbow swiss chard (recipes below)
  • parsley (recipe below)
  • cucumber
  • green leaf lettuce (the best lettuce for burgers and tacos)
  • red leaf lettuce (adds beautiful colour to garden salads)

Simply Six Shares

  • sugar snap peas (make an awesome snack on their own or with dip)
  • snow peas (also great alone for snacking or in salads and stir fries- only cook for a couple mins for best results)
  • spinach
  • rainbow swiss chard (recipes below)
  • cucumber
  • red leaf lettuce (adds beautiful colour to garden salads)

Whole Shares: Same as half shares with the addition of:

  • chinese cabbage
  • green onions
  • endive (try a Dutch favourite, Stampot, or endive with mashed potatoes) I simply sauteed mine in bacon grease and had alongside my eggs. A nice way to get some greens in at breakfast 🙂
  • green kale- have you tried kale chips? I like to massage my kale with a little olive oil and top my pizza with it. It crisps up and makes kale chips on your pizza.
  • garlic chives

Fruit Shares

Fruit Shares this week: 2.5lbs bananas, 1/2 pint raspberries, 4 lemons, 2lbs grapes, 1 pint blueberries or avocadoes (all organic!)

Recipes

Since we are blessed with another crop of rhubarb, I am going to re-share this great keto recipes for rhubarb crisp shared by a customer. There are other ways to sweeten up rhubarb other than white sugar. Here is a traditional recipe for rhubarb crisp if you don’t have fancy stuff like xylitol in your cupboard. Are you doing pick your own strawberries? Strawberries and rhubarb are a match made in heaven. I wish we had our own strawberries to send you but our plants are not producing enough to share just yet. We are hoping our ever-bearing strawberries will kick it up a notch soon so you can enjoy them. In the mean time, I hope you can find some nice berries close to home. They have some chemical free ones in Leaskdale at Spring View Farms my farm share packer raves about if you are in the Uxbridge area. Just don’t plan to pick on Sunday as they are closed. Here is the Keto Rhubarb crisp recipe:

Keto Rhubarb Crisp

 
Here is a revised recipe from https://www.ketoconnect.net/rhubarb-crisp-recipe/(I love it because it is just rhubarb, so it’s nice and tangy)

Ingredients:CRUMBLE TOPPING:     
1 cup almond flour      
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
2 tbsp coconut sugar     
 2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp erythritol or xylitol
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter or coconut butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

RHUBARB FILLING:1/4 cup water2 tbsp chia seeds1 lb rhubarb (about 3-4 cups), cut into 1/2 inch pieces (fresh or thawed from frozen)2 tbsp erythritol 10 drops liquid steviaInstructions:

CRUMBLE TOPPING:For the topping, preheat oven to 275F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, shredded coconut, coconut sugar, chia seeds, pecans, erythritol sweetener, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter and vanilla.Add butter mixture to the almond flour mixture and use a pastry cutter or two knives to blend in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet and pat down with hands to flatten slightly.Bake 10 minutes, then gently stir. Bake another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool completely.RHUBARB FILLING:For the filling, preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine water and chia seeds and allow to soak for 5-7 minutes. Stir in rhubarb, erythritol sweetener, and stevia extract, tossing to coat.Spread rhubarb mixture into a 9×13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until mixture is bubbling and rhubarb is tender.Remove filling from oven and remove foil. Break cooled topping into pieces with your hand and place over filling to cover completely. Can be put back into oven at 300F for 5 minutes to warm topping. Serve warm. If desired, top with lightly sweetened whipped cream or coconut whip.
Enjoy. The whip cream really made this so delicious!

Tabouleh (middle-eastern salad featuring Parsley)

One more recipe for you. Wondering what to do with that big bunch of parsley? Tabouleh is a middle-Eastern salad filled with flavour and vitamins to keep you going all day. It also uses cucumber, mint and green onions but the whites of your leeks if you still have them, finely chopped would do the trick too. Get the recipe here. Serve with falafel if you want to go all out in delicious middle-eastern cuisine!

Ps- I love to see your creations and hear your ideas- and share them. If you have any ideas or new recipe finds you can post them on facebook or email myself and I will share it on the blog. We are in this good food journey together, all!

Wishing you a week of kindness and grace to yourself, that extends out toward others. It’s a beautiful thing!

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Farm Share Week 4 (June 23-27, 2020)

Enjoying exploring the wheat field
My son made a house using wheat and peas!
Hungry white rock chicks are now in week 4, feathering out, and on pasture full time!

It’s been hot, hot, hot here at the farm! While it is still super dry, we managed to get a little dusting of rain last night and a little dusting today. Every cloud I see I am cheering it on toward our farm to get some water for our fields. We wouldn’t be doing too well without irrigation! We use drip line irrigation for the most part, where lines run with water right at the root of the plant and let out tiny amounts of water continually out of tiny holes. Some crops like our snow peas, brand new this week, are not irrigated, so we rely on at least a little rain for them. They look lovely, and the sugar snap peas are soon to follow. They are on the plants and a decent size, but they need to plump out a little and get sweeter before we pick them. The kids had fun in the field with us picking (sort of- they were mostly playing and enjoying the available snack that the fields afforded us! In this picture there is a cover crop of wheat that we use to enrich the soil, and the pea plants in the foreground. Most vegetables take a lot of nitrogen out of the soil, and both grains and peas help bring the nitrogen back in, preparing the fields for future crops.

Asparagus is slowly down greatly and starting to go up to seed quickly. This time of year, the heads of the shoots open up and turn into branches of an almost fuzzy bluish tree. They look so cool when they are all grown up. Letting this process happen helps the plant stay healthy and get ready for next year’s season. The redcurrants are looking rosy and should be ready for picking next week. Some of the strawberry plants are starting now but growing very slowly! We have everbearing plants so even if we have to wait to get them started, we will get to enjoy them beyond the traditional berry season.

Whole shares week 4: Those curly green shoots on top of the leeks are garlic scapes (tops). Use them just like the cloves! The leafy green on the bottom right is endive. It looks like a lettuce but is flat rather than tall like the romaine and has a more bitter taste, best suited to cooked recipes.

Half shares this week:

  • 1lb cucumbers (1 large or 2 smaller)
  • 1 bunch radish
  • 1 pint snow peas
  • 1 bunch mint (see recipe below for a great salad using your first 4 items)
  • 1 Chinese cabbage (see recipe idea below)
  • 1 bunch green kale
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes (tops of the garlic plants, curly cylindrical herb)
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 head romaine
  • 1 head red leaf

Whole shares receive the above as well as:

  • extra snow peas
  • curly endive
  • 1lb baby bokchoy
  • 1 bunch leeks
  • 1 bunch asparagus

Simply 6 Shares:

  • 1 Chinese cabbage
  • 1lb cucumbers
  • 1 bunch radish
  • 1 head romaine
  • 1 bunch green kale
  • pint snow peas

Fruit Shares

  • 3 organic mangoes
  • 6 organic Anjou pears
  • 2lbs organic green grapes (US)
  • 3lbs organic bananas
  • 3 organic avocadoes

Recipes

Snow Pea, Cucumber, Radish & Mint Salad

I made the recipe found at this site excluding the dill and even forgot the feta cheese! I still ended up with a very delicious little salad. I used scissors to cut my snow peas and about 3/4 of my mint bunch (seriously made it so much easier!), chopped up 1 small cucumber and 5 radishes. Very refreshing and different!

Chinese Cabbage Salad

You can try the delicious stir fry recipe we shared last week (scroll down), chop it up and add it to your noodle soup, or make this delicious salad. Chopped peanuts or cashews go great with this salad if you don’t have pine nuts around (seriously, $$$!)

Garlic Scapes Pasta

You don’t have to wait for the garlic bulbs to form to enjoy the garlicky taste! Whether on pizza, pasta or in a stir fry, chop and enjoy your garlic tops (scapes). Try this easy pasta recipe.

Stewed Rhubarb with Yogurt

Is that bunch of rhubarb hanging out in your fridge looking a little sad? Give it a nice soak in cold water and chop it up. Then add to a frying pan with a little water and a couple tbsp. sugar. Stew until nice and soft. They add to your yogurt. Add fresh berries for some extra pizazz. Yummy both hot and cold!

Keto Rhubarb Crisp

 
Here is a revised recipe from https://www.ketoconnect.net/rhubarb-crisp-recipe/(I love it because it is just rhubarb, so it’s nice and tangy)

Ingredients:CRUMBLE TOPPING:     
1 cup almond flour      
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
2 tbsp coconut sugar     
 2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp erythritol or xylitol
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter or coconut butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

RHUBARB FILLING:1/4 cup water2 tbsp chia seeds1 lb rhubarb (about 3-4 cups), cut into 1/2 inch pieces (fresh or thawed from frozen)2 tbsp erythritol 10 drops liquid steviaInstructions:

CRUMBLE TOPPING:For the topping, preheat oven to 275F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, shredded coconut, coconut sugar, chia seeds, pecans, erythritol sweetener, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter and vanilla.Add butter mixture to the almond flour mixture and use a pastry cutter or two knives to blend in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet and pat down with hands to flatten slightly.Bake 10 minutes, then gently stir. Bake another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool completely.RHUBARB FILLING:For the filling, preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine water and chia seeds and allow to soak for 5-7 minutes. Stir in rhubarb, erythritol sweetener, and stevia extract, tossing to coat.Spread rhubarb mixture into a 9×13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until mixture is bubbling and rhubarb is tender.Remove filling from oven and remove foil. Break cooled topping into pieces with your hand and place over filling to cover completely. Can be put back into oven at 300F for 5 minutes to warm topping. Serve warm. If desired, top with lightly sweetened whipped cream or coconut whip.
Enjoy. The whip cream really made this so delicious!

Shared By Farm Share member Danielle

Hope all the colour and freshness makes you hungry for the good your body wants!

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Farm Share Week 3 (June 16-20, 2020)

Hello from the fields of Zephyr Organics! The middle of June has brought us cucumbers from the greenhouses! The kids were all excited and happy to discover all the beautiful cucumbers with us. As we harvest, we are weeding and lifting the vines up into the netting to offer them support. These vines can grow 10 feet in the air all the way to the top of the greenhouse, but for now, they are only about knee level.

While the sugar snap and snow peas are just flowering now (it may be 2 weeks yet) and the redcurrants are just starting to blush lightly, tomatoes are already growing on the vine. It is truly a strange year!

Due to some laying problems and losses, we have added some young ISA brown hens to our flock of laying hens. Thought they look almost identical, the eggs from the new hens are much darker and smaller. I bet you can tell which kind you receive in your egg shares this week!

In your Half Shares this Week:

  • Potted basil
  • bunch asparagus
  • bunch/bag spinach
  • Chinese cabbage
  • head green leaf lettuce
  • bunch radish
  • bunch leeks
  • 1lb baby bokchoy
  • 1lb cucumbers
  • 1 bunch kale

Simply 6 Shares

  • Potted basil
  • bunch asparagus
  • Chinese cabbage
  • head green leaf lettuce
  • bunch leeks
  • 1lb cucumbers

Whole Shares

  • Potted basil
  • bunch asparagus
  • bunch/bag spinach
  • Chinese cabbage
  • head green leaf lettuce
  • bunch radish
  • bunch leeks
  • 1lb baby bokchoy
  • 1lb cucumbers
  • 1 bunch kale
  • extra bunch spinach
  • bunch terragon (herb)
  • bunch garlic scapes
  • head Boston lettuce
  • head romaine

Fruit Shares

  • pint blueberries
  • 1lb strawberries
  • 6 Valencia oranges
  • 6 gala apples (BC)
  • 3 mangoes

Recipes

Chinese Cabbage, Bacon, Noodle Stir Fry

Makes a super easy lunch or even dinner.

Ingredients

  • approx. half Chinese cabbage, chopped finely
  • 4 slices bacon, cut with scissors into fine strips
  • 2 tbsp. soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • Chow mein noodles, 200g
  • Optional: add finely chopped leeks or garlic scapes for added flavour

Directions

In a large wok or frying pan, cut bacon into small strips and sautee until sizzling. Add finely chopped Chinese cabbage, and sautee until soft. Add soya sauce, rice vinegar, olive oil and sesame oil.

Boil water in a pot, add noodles and boil until lightly cooked. Add to wok and stir all together. Top with sautéed leeks for additional flavour. Enjoy!

Chicken with Tarragon Sauce

Up your cooking game with the addition of this savoury French herb in this creamy sauce. Pairs perfectly with roasted asparagus! Check out the recipe here.

10 Minute Lemon Garlic Sauteed Bok Choy

Wondering what to do with all that bok choy? It’s full of iron and loaded with vitamins, more than just about any other veggie, so there are lots of reasons to cook with bok choy. Enjoy it raw in a salad, add some flavour and taste to noodle soups, or try this simple side.

Quick, Spicy Leek and Shrimp Stir Fry

I love me some shrimp! Add in the mild, savoury goodness of leeks and you have yourself a fast and fine dinner. My only objection is where they say to discard the green parts of the leaves. Nonsense, all of the plant is useful and tasty (except for the roots). If you don’t use the greens of the leeks in this dish, try saving them to flavour soup stock. You can even freeze them for use later. No need to waste the goodness :). Try the recipe here. or just chop and add the leeks to anywhere you would use onions.

Enjoy the tastes of spring!

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Farm Share Week 2 (June 9-13, 2020)

Hello everyone! Week 2 of Farm Share is upon us with lots and lots of sunny skies. I find myself watching the forecast, hoping to see some serious rain! Most of our crops are on drop line irrigation but others like asparagus depend on the occasional rain! Thankfully they have nice deep root systems and are able to keep producing even in this dry, dry spring. I had some help in the asparagus field today! Some little helpers. Nothing makes me happier then when my little people decide they want to hang around and farm with me. Trust me, they are not willing helpers from dawn until dusk, but they have their moments that make me right proud, and this was one of them. Harvesting asparagus is both difficult and easy. Difficult because the most irritating bugs o the farm seem to all hang out there and you are constantly bending over to cut a new spear while moving up and down the many rows, and easy because the knife slices through the tender stalks with ease, and I always love the view from the top of the hill.

This week the cucumbers that survived those wicked May frosts are now like cute little pickles that will be ready in a few days. I was wise enough to let them grow nice and big (but not too big) and borrow from our Ontario organic greenhouse producers. We also purchased Ontario organic vine tomatoes this week while we wait for more vegetable options to become available.

The big surprise this week was the lettuce…I was checking them out just to see if I could cut out the doubles (when 2 seeds grow together) so the other lettuce plant in the pair could grow, and lo and behold we managed to harvest some proper lettuce heads for you! Lettuce is my fallback friend, ready in a moment when I’m exhausted and just need to make sure my kids are eating something decent! I made a salad with green leaf lettuce, raw spinach and sliced strawberries and topped it with a homemade dressing made of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and real maple syrup from Pefferlaw Creek farms. It was so simple but delicious!

In your Shares this Week:

Simply 6

  • bunched asparagus
  • bunched radish
  • 1/3lb spinach
  • head of romaine lettuce
  • approx. 1lb vine tomatoes (Ontario organic)
  • English cucumber (Ontario organic)

Half

  • bunched asparagus
  • bunched radish
  • 1/3lb spinach
  • head of romaine lettuce
  • approx. 1lb vine tomatoes (Ontario organic)
  • English cucumber (Ontario organic)
  • 1lb baby bokchoy
  • 1 bunch leeks
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1lb bunch rhubarb

Whole

  • bunched asparagus
  • bunched radish
  • 1/3lb spinach
  • head of romaine lettuce
  • approx. 1lb vine tomatoes (Ontario organic)
  • English cucumber (Ontario organic)
  • 1lb baby bokchoy
  • 1 bunch leeks
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1lb bunch rhubarb
  • 2nd bunch asparagus
  • 2nd bag spinach
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 bunch turnip greens
  • 1 head Chinese cabbage

Fruit

  • 1 honeydew melon (Mexico organic)
  • 6 granny smith apples (US organic)
  • 6 nectarines (US organic)
  • 1lb strawberries or 1/2 pint raspberries (US organic)
  • 2.5lbs bananas (Ecuador organic)

Recipes

Chicken Salad wraps with Chinese Cabbage crunch and radish flowers

I was gifted a can of flaked chicken, not something I often reach for, but it had me reminiscing of Sunday meals out at a diner in town that is long gone. Wish I could remember the name (in the Testa building). They used to have such lovely chicken salad. Chicken salad totally needs a crunch, but celery is so way out of season right now. I had just taken home a beautiful Chinese cabbage and thought, hey, that is crunchy too! So, I drained my can of chicken, chopped up 2 leaves of Chinese cabbage finely, added some garlic chives and mayonnaise, along with salt and pepper, and filled a sundried tomato wrap with it. So yummy! On the side, I decided to get all fancy and make a pretty radish flower with a blackberry centre. It definitely felt special but took all of 5 minutes to put together 🙂

Asparagus and Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

The ultimate solution on a lazy Sunday when you still want home cooked goodness, but without spending forever in the kitchen or doing a pile of dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends lightly trimmed with a knife (I just make a cut to freshen up the very end and if the knife doesn’t go through cleanly I cut a little higher up until it does)
  • 1lb chicken, cut into a few even pieces and seasoned to taste or smothered in your favourite sauce. I just sprinkled it with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder.
  • Potatoes and/or sweet potatoes, sliced thickly
  • a few tbsp. of live oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange chicken on one side of the pan and potato slices on the other. Sprinkle olive oil on top and toss the chicken and potatoesin the olive oil, keeping them on separate sides of the pan. Cook for 25 mins uncovered on the middle oven rack. Remove from oven and add asparagus to middle of pan, adding more olive oil to toss asparagus in. Lightly salt and put back in the over to bake 10-15 mins more until chicken is cooked and both potatoes and asparagus are tender. Voila! Super simple 🙂

Rhubarb Cake

Jannette (My mother in law and hard working farm lady/Oma) normally makes this each year for the open house. It’s so amazing and moist! Rhubarb definitely makes a fine cake! Check out the recipe she uses here. Not much into baking? Rhubarb is delicious simply stewed with water and sugar and enjoyed with yogurt or ice cream and makes a find crisp with or without berries.

Tangy Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Cilantro

Wondering what to do with your cilantro bunch? Cilantro is a staple in Mexican, Indian and Thai cuisines. So think fresh salads and salsas like this recipe or make fresh tomato salsa. Make your tacos or pad thai really shine with the addition of fresh cilantro! Too much all at once? You can always freeze the leaves in olive oil in ice cube trays for later use.

Spinach Lasagna

Basically the only lasagna if you ask me! A little more effort but the kids eat lots of spinach with zero complaints. ‘Nuff said 😉 Get the recipe here.

Happy Creating!

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Farm Share Week 1 (June 2-6, 2020)

Farm Share Begins! We’ve gone from winter to summer and then back to spring this May, and I am ready for a month of steady warm growing weather, please! I did my first even facebook live on Saturday, which you can check out here (there are 2 videos to see the whole tour)

Virtual Open House tour

Posted by Zephyr Organics- FarmShare on Saturday, May 30, 2020

Posted by Zephyr Organics- FarmShare on Saturday, May 30, 2020

As you can see by the tour, we have just recently planted most items. We lost the first 2 greenhouses of cucumbers due to the extreme cold (even in a greenhouse, cucumbers do not tolerate heavy frosts). Thankfully, the third one survived and is already flowering. Once they get going, they will be producing new cucumbers every day! There is thankfully always good ‘ol asparagus. The first spears came up a little early and were quickly frozen, but when the weather heated up again they got back to work and now there is plenty! Don’t fear the thicker stalks of our asparagus- they are actually quite tender. I don’t want to waste any of the goodness by breaking off the ends, I just trim the ends, and if it is easy to cut, it is tender. If it feels a little woody, cut off a little more. I think my favourite way to enjoy asparagus is simply tossed in olive oil, salted and roasted at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until tender. The roasted spears make an amazing appetizer on a cracker with creamy goat cheese and fresh herbs (like your chives).

I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking here:

Simply 6 Shares

Bunch of asparagus, bunch of radish, bunch of spinach, bunch of rhubarb, bunch of turnip greens (light green leafy green), potted grape tomato plant (perfect for growing in a container)

Half Shares:

2 bunches asparagus, bunch of radish, bunch of spinach, bunch of rhubarb, bunch of turnip greens, 1lb baby bokchoy, bunch of parsley, potted grape tomato plant, 1.5lbs red potatoes (Ontario Organic)

Whole Shares:

2 bunches asparagus, bunch of radish, 2 bunches of spinach, bunch of rhubarb, bunch of turnip greens, 1lb baby bokchoy, bunch of parsley, potted grape tomato plant, bunch dandelion greens, bunch onion chives, 1lb bok choy, 1.5lbs red potatoes (Ontario Organic), 1 cucumber (Ontario organic greenhouse)

Fruit Shares:

1 cantaloupe, 8 oranges, 3 mangos, 6 peaches, 1/2 pint blueberries

All are certified organic of course! We had to buy in potatoes and cucumbers with the limited options with this cold spring. I can’t remember a time when we had to do that before but these are extraordinary times. Rest assured they are still Ontario and organic.

*The leafy greens and herbs are best kept washed and then dried in Ziploc bags (or put a paper towel in with it if it’s still too wet)

*Radishes should be separated from their greens (also very tasty with a mildly spicy flavour) and kept washed and in a container in the fridge. Asparagus also should be kept in a Ziploc or container. Veggies get wilty as they dry out or get too warm. If you can trap the moisture in with them and keep them in the crisper drawer, they will last you much longer.

*Since it’s planting season, and your potatoes have not been sprayed with anything to prevent sprouting, they are best kept in the fridge

*You do not need a yard or garden to grow your grape tomato plant. They can be transplanted to a larger container with potting soil and grown indoors in a sunny spot. Don’t forget to keep the soil moist, but not sopping wet. Happy growing! If you and plants don’t have a good track record, it could also make a great gift to cheer up a neighbour.

Recipe Ideas:

Turnip Greens Salad with Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing

After a looong first day harvesting and packing your Farm Shares, my cooking ambitions were limited. We love having a nice light salad with burgers but alas the lettuce has just recently been planted and I am not even tempted to harvest it yet (way too tiny!). Turnip greens, despite their spicy sounding name, are actually quite a nice, mild and crunchy leafy green that make a lovely salad. I just called it “salad” and the kids ate it readily with their favourite salad dressing (raspberry vinaigrette- store bought sugar junk)…but hey, they are eating turnip greens here so I’ll call that a win. I went for a more sophisticated and much healthier Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing. I sliced up some radishes and cut up a mango for some extra texture, colour and flavour.

Need a new idea for spinach? My whole family loves Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast . You can modify the type of cheese to your dietary needs and taste preference, or add mushroom or fresh herbs. Enjoy!