Spring, Better Late Than Never

I woke up this morning with a question in my head, one that has probably occurred lately to many of you in the habit growing or eating local produce on the Western Slope: Has mid-June become the new spring? Maybe I’m waxing nostalgic, but when I think back on my childhood in the Roaring Fork Valley, I could swear I remember things blooming in April and May, instead of laying dormant under cloud cover for two months, making seed germination an impossible dream anywhere but a greenhouse.

However cold and peculiar the spring so far has been, the last few weeks here in the North Fork Valley have brought little but sunshine, and at last, things are starting to grow! A glance into this produce box is ample evidence of that, and this week we bring you a smattering of spring’s finest offerings from across the valley. Your box today includes a mix of the following:

  • Turnips and radishes from Paonia’s Rain Crow Farm
  • Garlic scapes from Cobblestone Farm in Hotchkiss
  • Arugula from Jeff and Kaylee at Abundant Life
  • Eggs from The Living Farm in Paonia
  • Salad Mix from Scott at Small Potatoes Farm
  • Chevre from Basalt’s own Avalanche Cheese Company
  • Spinach from our own garden here at Fresh and Wyld
  • Asparagus from Nikos Garden in Montrose

In case you’re at a loss for what to do with these ingredients, below you’ll find three great recipes from our new chef, Caroline Glover.

The crazy spring weather has made bringing this box to you a bit of a trick for all of our farmers. Here in our garden, we’ve had to plant the tomatoes with their root ball angled sideways (!) to keep them out of the cold soil below, and have been battling an unusual profusion of flea beetles, along with the usual slate of other pests that all organic farmers contend with, like slugs and leaf-miner beetles. All of this has kept our farmer on his toes, scheming up organic ways to thwart the creatures, but his efforts seem to be paying off. In our garden, the chard and kale is growing taller by the day, the beets and turnips are plumping up, and, perhaps most exciting of all, the peas are beginning to form! All signs point to a productive summer season ahead.

We are still offering shares of our 16-week summer CSA! We’re looking for about 15 more members to join us for the summer season. Members get a heaping bag of local food delivered to their door weekly, from June 22nd until October 5th. Summer shares are $800, but if you’ve been a customer of ours in the past, we will allow you to pay as you go, with a charge of $50 per week. All summer, we bring you the best food our region’s farmers can produce, at an affordable price. Along with a cornucopia of other spring produce, next week’s box will feature the first peas of the season! We hope you’ll join us.

And whether the season we’re in is spring, summer, or some blend of the two, we hope the food we bring you helps you enjoy it.

Regards,

CSA Manager Nelson Harvey and The Fresh and Wyld Crew

THIS WEEK’S RECIPES

1.) Spinach and Chevre Quiche

Serves 4

In your spring box this week, you have three of the main ingredients for this easy quiche.

6 cups spinach, washed

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup Avalanche chevre

6 each eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups, cream

1/2 cup yellow onion, diced small

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly butter a 9 inch pie pan.

Heat oil in a non-stick saute pan and add onions, garlic and salt. Cook until tender.

Add washed spinach to saute pan and cook just until wilted.

Drain spinach mixture to rid of any excess water.

In a bowl combine chevre, eggs, cream, and spinach mixture- stir until fully mixed.

Pour mixture in pie pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let pie cool before serving.

* This is a crustless version, a homemade crust or store bought crust can be used as well. Just line the bottom of the pan with crust and bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. Then add spinach mixture and cook for 30 minutes.

2.) Rhubarb Vinaigrette

This is a nice tart vinaigrette that will serve well over mixed greens. We used it in our Friday night dinner this past week and finished the salad with candied curry sunflower seeds!

2 cups, rhubarb, chopped to 1/2 inch pieces

1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar

1/2 c water

1/2 c sugar

2 Tbsp mustard

3 cups grape seed oil

salt and pepper to taste

Place rhubarb, red wine vinegar, water, and sugar in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Let the liquid come to a boil and lower temperature to simmer for 10 minutes (rhubarb should be soft and sugar dissolved). Strain the liquid into a heat proof container, making sure to mash the rhubarb to get all of the flavor. Place the liquid in the fridge and allow to completely cool. Once the rhubarb vinegar has cooled, place vinegar and mustard in a bowl and slowly mix in grape seed oil. Once the dressing has emulsified, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy a summer salad!

3.) Arugula Pesto

A different way to incorporate arugula… can be frozen after being made or tossed on a cold pasta salad!

4 cups arugula, cleaned

2 cups Parmesan, grated

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup walnuts

2 cups olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Place arugula, Parmesan, garlic, walnuts and a small amount of salt in a food processor, give a few pulses to combine the ingredients. Slowly drizzle olive oil while blending previous ingredients to create a paste. Season finished pesto with salt and pepper, and refrigerate or freeze. (If kept warm for too long- the pesto may turn a dark color).

 

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