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Seeing Green

Greetings, friends of the farm! I hope I was not the only one out on a walk to celebrate the glorious warmth of yesterday evening. Here in our cute little town people are placing teddy bears in their windows to give the kids something fun to do (count bears) and to give a sense of community togetherness, while being apart. Are they doing the same in your community? Our community has a little facebook page where we share such things- hopefully yours does too, or maybe now is the time to start one. In our greater town of Uxbridge, we have an amazing house displaying hearts made of Christmas lights, and also an incredible saxophone player livening up the sidewalk. There are some beautiful things happening as people get creative to keep our connections alive (and even build them). Our own church has been meeting via facebook live and zoom, which is a pretty easy to use but great video platform where you can interact with a whole bunch of people at once, while remaining safely distanced.

I thought you could use some serious pictures of things growing to lighten up your day! The greenhouses are very much alive right now, producing all sorts of varieties of veggies, fruits and herbs. The first set of cucumbers we planted are growing quickly after about a week, the mint is looking ready for harvest and the strawberries are starting to form. We just have a few plants in the greenhouse but have ordered lots more, in hopes of a good year for strawberries! Baby bokchoy seedlings have been planted from their seedling trays into the ground, and should be just weeks away from harvest. Winterized leeks and green onions will be ready soon too.

The hustle is on here as we are pretty lean on staff this time of year, but I am feeling ready for a busy week of packing and delivering vegetable and fruit boxes, and just in time. I injured my eye pretty badly 11 days ago and I’ve never been more grateful to be seeing well again without the pain and without the sunlight stabbing me in the eye! This week our winter veggie shares have doubled and our fruit shares have over tripled! I had to close down registration for this week but will see what I can open up again for the next delivery day.

This week’s baskets:

Vegetables:

  • 3lbs Manitoba or Zephyr organic potatoes, yellow flesh or russet
  • 2lbs Ontario organic sweet potatoes
  • 2lbs Ontario organic carrots
  • 2lbs Zephyr Organics red beets
  • 1lbs Zephyr Organics watermelon radish
  • 1/2lb Zephyr Organics loose leaf spinach (not factory washed- please soak in clean water 2 x and drain before use)
  • 1 Ontario organic cucumber
  • 1 head organic celery (US)- please note was stored in our farm warehouse for a few weeks for safety

Fruits

  • 2.5lbs organic bananas
  • 3lbs organic Canadian apples
  • 1lb organic kiwi
  • 1 organic watermelon or 2lbs d’anjou pears
  • 6 organic oranges or orange/grapfruit mix

Now for the Recipes!

I always like to tackle the items that I know I’ll have the most people asking to switch: the first one is beets.

Beets: Why bother with beets? First of all, we have an amazing year round supply of them from our farm, local and organic. This is because they have an amazing shelf life and can wait happily in your fridge for weeks or months in the right conditions. Please make sure they are in a ziplock bag or container so they don’t dry out (a couple air holes is best). Finally, for their nutrition: fibre, folate (not just for pregnant women…useful for all people with cells ;), manganese, potassium and iron. Get more nutrition facts here. If you want to keep your blood pressure healthy or even improve it or even improve your fitness, they are your ally.

Roasting is the best way to bring out the sweet and rich flavour. Try this simple roasted beet recipe. If you are shorter on time, I simply peel and boil them, often in combo with carrots. The kids have fun seeing how they turn the outside of the carrots pink, while the insides stay orange. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to convince the kids to try beets- now they are a fave. Preschoolers can be tough customers but at 4 plus years old you can encourage them with the healthy things beets do for their bodies or their is always offering a healthy dessert for giving it a try 🙂

I personally adore beets on salad. Just roast the beets as above and once cool, make sure they are peeled and slice them up to add to salad. I love them with the fresh spinach & goat cheese. Citrus fruits are a great addition, or try adding nuts, meat (like ham or chicken), or eggs to make this salad into a solid meal. Try this easy Spinach, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad, and enjoy with your favourite vinaigrette! No recipe needed, just wash the spinach thoroughly by soaking it in water in your sink or a large bowl, letting the grit/dirt fall to the bottom. Give it a swish in the water as you take it out into a colander. Then, rinse out your bowl, fill with water and repeat. Dry in a salad spinner and top with roasted beets, crumbled goat cheese (I just break up the goat cheese log with a fork) and top with orange slices with peels removed, and your favourite vinaigrette.

Option 3: Smoothie: Can’t Beet Pink Smoothie: This smoothie combines 2 cups frozen mango, 1 cup roasted beets, peeled, 1 1/4 cups vanilla yogurt, and juice of 3 oranges, blended smoothly. Lots of nutrients and and beautiful colour to take on the day 🙂

Option 4: If you really want to mask the taste of the beets, try Heartbeet Chocolate Cake, which also happens to be gluten-free!

Next Up: Watermelon Radish. You might not have even heard of it before, but it sure is a pretty and spicy addition to your table. I have a few simple ways to enjoy the fibre and Vitamin C boost with next to no sugar or carbs.

Option 1: Live for a little spicy kick? Peel and slice your watermelon radish and lightly salt for a colourful, nutritious snack or side. Zingy!

Option 2: Grate and add to tacos or taco salad. It adds beautiful colour, and we managed to get some into the kids this way 😉

Option 3: For those who don’t dig the zingy taste, cook it! In soups and stews, watermelon radish turns a pink as gentle as it’s newfound mild flavour. We enjoyed ours in chicken noodle soup, which has been often on our menu lately, not because we’re sick but because it’s the perfect follow-up to a roasted chicken dinner.

From our greenhouses to your table, stay well!