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Harvesting in January?!

Never did I ever imagine it! I thought harvesting in December was pretty good, but with our uncharacteristically mild winter, the black kale (and a few red kale) are still looking good! My husband Doug, the farm’s day to day manager says that many varieties of kale are good to -15C! No one said they were still growing at those temperatures, but keeping firm and healthy- that they can do. But why should you care if you are not a farming geek like me? Lol it’s the health benefits, baby! Kale is a powerhouse for delivering cancer-fighting power, especially eaten raw. Just one cup of raw kale will serve you up 200% of your daily vitamin A, 600% of your vitamin K, and over 100% of your daily value of vitamin C, along with being a good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese (see some details here). Hungry yet? If you are not a weirdo like me that snacks on raw kale while harvesting or cooking, however do you get the goodness of this crucifer into you? Lucky for you the flavour is much sweeter this time of year thanks to all the frost.

If you want to get the maximum benefits, try this Black Kale Salad. Not a dairy eater? No worries, this salad is great with nutritional yeast in place of the parmesan, or go fancy and try a vegan parmesan. You might need to go to a natural grocer for this specialty item. I hear Trish at the Bar Cafe in Uxbridge. You could also do almond slices instead of the croutons to make it gluten-free, or just do gluten free croutons. The real plus with this salad is it being yummy for days and not going mushy like lettuce does when dressed. You could prep this salad once and have it handy to complement multiple meals. A key with kale salads is to massage the kale. Sounds weird, but it softens it up and adds the flavour of the dressing to each bite. Another way to enjoy the kale raw is to put a couple leaves in your favourite smoothie. Whip it up good and reap the benefits.

Maybe raw kale seems scary to you (it can actually be quite good). Black kale also cooks up beautifully. Just remove the leaves from the stems and chop them finely, adding them to soups, pastas or stir fries. They add some colour and a fantastic nutrient boost. You can also try this Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Butternut Squash and Black Garlic. White beans also pair beautifully with kale in soups. I love how the kale keeps a little texture in soup instead of wilting away like spinach.

Looking for hearty soups to fill you up? Lots of ideas here. This one is Baba’s Borscht, which we shared in our last newsletter. You can still see the recipe at this link: http://mailchi.mp/df46b4e2b246/new-year-new-growth .

Another new to you item this week is purple top turnip. The ones we have for you this week grew big and beautiful, which actually makes them quite easy to work with. I simply cut mine in half and peeled the one half, cutting it into cubes. Then I peeled and cut about a pound of potatoes. I boiled them and mashed them together when tender, adding salt, pepper, vegan butter, and a little bit of garlic and coconut milk (you can use regular milk too). The kids enjoyed them as a more familiar menu item. Tip: don’t put in as much milk as you would with all potatoes as the turnip has more moisture of its own.

One more amazing Ontario item from our farm this week is Jerusalem Artichokes. The funny thing is, they are not really an artichoke at all but a tuber from the sunflower family. These roots that look a little like ginger grow all season long and are harvested after they bloom, in November. They are best cooked (easier to digest that way) and make a fabulous Cream of Jerusalem Artichoke Soup Recipe | . Otherwise, you can simply wash and slice them (no need to peel), and sauté them in butter or olive oil with a little garlic in a fry pan. They are tender-crisp when ready. They can also be roasted in the oven mixed with your other root veggies like carrots, beets, turnips, etc.

Here’s Your Full Veggie and Fruit Lineup for the Week:

Regular Organic Vegetable Shares

  • 4lbs Ontario organic russet potatoes
  • 2lbs Ontario organic rainbow carrots
  • 2lbs Zephyr Organics purple top turnip
  • 1lb Zephyr Organics Jerusalem artichokes
  • 1 Ontario/Zephyr Organics red cabbage
  • 2lbs Manitoba organic red onions
  • 1 Zephyr Organics bunch of black kale
  • 3 US Organic Romaine hearts

Family Sized Organic Vegetable Shares

  • 6lbs Ontario organic russet potatoes
  • 4lbs Ontario organic rainbow carrots
  • 2lbs Zephyr Organics purple top turnip
  • 1lb Zephyr Organics Jerusalem artichokes
  • 1 Ontario/Zephyr Organics red cabbage
  • 2lbs Manitoba organic red onions
  • 1 Zephyr Organics bunch of black kale
  • 3 US Organic Romaine hearts
  • 1 Ontario organic butternut squash

Fruit Shares

  • 3 organic red grapefruits
  • 2lbs giant satsuma mandarin oranges
  • 2lbs BC organic gala apples
  • 2lbs organic anjou pears
  • 1/2 pint organic blackberries

Hope you are inspired to enjoy all the local items the winter season brings us! Have a beautiful week!