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January 15, 2018

This Week's Share

Wow! Nature never fails to amaze me. After the deep freeze, our spinach looked completely done. It has frozen solid and was floppy and unappetizing. But after a few days in the warmer not below freezing temperatures, it has fully rebounded and looks perfect again! Incredible. So there will be a double dose in the share this week, which is great, because if you're anything like me, you are starting to get hungry for salads. Around here, we're pretty die hard seasonal veggie eaters, so we hold out for as long as possible before buying a lettuce head from the grocery store. The spinach should make a gorgeous salad.

Although we are forever impressed with kale hardiness, it does not rebound as well from a deep freeze. However, we will pick it regardless because though the stems may not be crisp and a bit floppy, the leaves are very tender and quite sweet and tasty. It will also make a great salad since the leaves have been tenderized by the frost.

Recipe of the Week: 

Kale and cabbage salad

Ingredients: 
  • 4-6 medium leaves kale
  • 1/2 medium head cabbage (green)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (pecans, or slivered or sliced almonds)
  • Salt to taste (kosher)
  • Pepper to taste (freshly ground)

For the Dijon Mustard Dressing:

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (grainy, or more, to taste)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (good quality extra virgin)
Directions: 

Toast the nuts, if desired. Arrange the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake whole, chopped, or slivered nuts in a preheated 350 F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, checking and turning them frequently. Sliced almonds will take about half the time. Watch closely.
Cut the middle rib out of each kale leaf. Roll the leaves up into a tight roll and slice them chiffonade-style into thin strips. Put the strips of kale in a large bowl. You should have about 2 to 3 cups.

Cut the core out of the cabbage half and shred or chop the cabbage. Transfer the cabbage to the bowl with the kale.
Toss the chopped nuts with the kale and cabbage.

Prepare the Dressing

In a canning jar or bowl, combine the Dijon mustard, minced garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. Whisk or shake well. Add a dash of salt and some freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Dijon mustard vinaigrette over the salad. Toss the salad. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
Serve with the extra dressing on the side.

Credit: 
thespruce.com

Winter feeling like winter

greenhouse spinach
Wow! Our ultra hardy spinach looks amazing in the greenhouse.

Dear Friends,

We were as happy as could be when the cold snap finally abated. We certainly weren’t expecting the temperature to shoot up all the way to 50 but we sure will take it for a couple days. The snow melted away and were able to take advantage of our mini mud season and clean up the cow barn. Before we knew it, nights were back down into the single digits but it was nice while it lasted. The spinach, which was completely frozen two weeks ago, has rebounded nicely and will be returning to the share this week. We have been mostly having to heat our coolers to keep the roots from freezing but for the most part everything is storing really nicely. As we get deeper into winter I become more and more amazed at the ability of these crops to withstand cold, hold tight in storage and do their best to remain delicious long past the end of the growing season.

Two weeks where the day time highs never really reached 20 wasn’t something we had really had to deal with on the farm before. We have had the spinach freeze solid for a day or two, but usually we will get a break and it will thaw out fairly quickly. We really had no idea how the crop was going to handle being frozen for so long. We kept checking on it, day after day. Even on the sunnier days but it remained as frozen as could be. We hoped some warmer weather would come, and that when it did the spinach would bounce back. I can’t say that we were exactly feeling optimistic about it but there wasn’t really much we could do. Trying to heat tunnels to keep them above freezing is a losing battle. Greenhouses are terribly insulated structures that will burn through propane insanely fast when it’s cold and the cost/benefit analysis just doesn’t shake out.

Much to our delight and surprise, we went out to check the greenhouse Saturday morning and were greeted with beautiful, lush beds of spinach. We are pretty much in awe. Calling the spinach amazing might be an understatement. At this point I don’t think we will ever doubt the spinach again. I am not really sure how it all works inside those spinach leaves, and how exactly those cell walls remain intact after being frozen but however it works, we will certainly take it.

We knew the warmth wouldn’t last, and honestly at this time of year we probably don’t really want it to. So we’re back to the cold and back to winter feeling like winter.

Your Farmers

Max and Kerry

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