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News and Notes
from the Field

Posts Filtered by Month - June 2016 |
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June 26, 2016
Still Hot, Still Dry, But...
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
We did receive a tenth of an inch of rain at the farm on Tuesday evening, after a full day of transplanting lettuces, beans, summer squash, cucumbers, celeriac, chard, and leeks. It might have been enough moisture to quell some stress for us farmers and our plants for about twenty minutes and at least provide for a dramatic sunset amid steamy evaporation. Two weeks in a row now forecasters and their computer models have predicted rain on a Thursday and have been incorrect. Let's hope they don't make it three in a row this Tuesday because I want a day off from irrigating. Of course, what we truly need is an all day light rain soaker so the water can percolate down through the soil to the roots. What we'll actually probably receive is a downpour that departs as quickly as it dumps. Alas, most of the crops are happy and it has been a great season thus far, so ultimately there is nothing much to complain about. We're slowing moving away from some spring greens (very slowly) and will continue to see the arrival of traditional summer crops over the next few weeks. Rain dance anyone?
On the heels of strawberries come summer bearing red raspberries, albeit in much smaller quantities (1/2 pint).
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June 26, 2016
It's Summer
Expected Harvest
By Derek McGeehan
Harvest #7 (Week A) should include beets, carrots, lettuces, chard, summer squash, cucumbers, scallions, basil, radicchio, escarole, Italian dandelion, fennel, dill, parsley, and cilantro. Some items will be a choice. U-pick should include snap beans, herbs, raspberries, and flowers.
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June 26, 2016
Member ideas and suggestions
Member Ideas and Suggestions
By Linda Dansbury
I received 2 emails this past week from members - thank you to both Jackie Jacobs and Janine Lazur!
Janine sent me a storage tip for basil, the last part of which I had just read in a food magazine the day before she sent it to me. Many fresh herbs, in particular basil, do not like to be stored in the fridge. For years I have re-cut the stems and placed them in a glass or jar with water. Every few days the stems should be trimmed again and the water changed. The extra tip is to put a plastic bag over the basil to help keep it even longer. Janine picked her basil up from the farm on Monday and sent me pictures of how it looked on Saturday and it still looked beautiful.
Jackie sent me what she did to saute her veggies and make a delicious and simple dinner. Here is what she sent:
I chopped up the yellow and green squash (1 each), garlic scapes (2), a handful of snow peas, and about a 1/4 lb of cremini mushrooms and sautéed them in butter and olive oil with some salt and pepper. After a few minutes I added some chopped chard (4 leaves) and a small handful of basil. At the end I added a bit more olive oil and stirred it all into some linguini. I shredded Parmesan cheese on top. It was so good!
Jackie used this as a side dish, but can be a meal in itself - if you want to add protein, white beans or chick peas can be added to keep it a 1 pan meal. Also, switch the veggies in and out based on what we have - when you run out of peas, use the snap beans instead - but you may want to blanch them for a couple of minutes. Also, now that we have scallions, use them, adding them near or at the end of cooking.
Let me know how you enjoyed your harvest by emailing me at lindadansbury@comcast.net
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June 26, 2016
How I enjoyed my harvest this week
How I Enjoyed My Harvest
By Linda Dansbury
Another very busy week limited my cooking exciting dishes, but I did do some cooking, actually taking some things from my freezer from last year! Send me how you enjoyed your harvest at lindadansbury@comcast.net
Cilantro - had made batches of a tomatillo sauce last year and froze it so I made the chicken with tomatillo sauce and used my bunch of cilantro to add the fresh flavor at the end.
Scallions, squash - grilled them and served alongside grilled meat- one of our favorite things to do.
Peas, basil - grilled sausage from Ledemete Grass. While that was going, we prepared pasta and added Arugula Pesto that was in the freezer. Cooked pasta and added peas to pasta for the last minute. Mixed everything together and topped with a bit of olive oil and fresh basil leaves.
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June 26, 2016
New veggies info
Other News
By Linda Dansbury
The past couple of weeks have shown us some new veggies that you may not be very familiar with so here is a bit of info for scallions, dandelion greens and radicchio.
Scallions - everyone knows this delicious member of the allium family, which also includes onions and leeks. Store them in a plastic bag in the fridge, where they will keep for about a week. As I described a few weeks ago with the garlic scapes, scallions should not be cooked for long periods of time, because their delicate onion flavor will be lost. You may only know them to be used as a garnish or stir fried, but they are also delicious grilled - brush with olive oil prior to grilling and watch closely, turning every couple of minutes so they just get lightly charred. When making a saute like the one in this week's Member Ideas section, I would also add a scallion or 2 near the end of cooking to add the onion taste component to the dish.
Italian dandelion greens - this may be one of the most misunderstood greens we have at the farm. Dandelion is definitely bitter, but can be tamed and enjoyed by using it in some of the following ways: try the Garlic Braised Dandelion Greens with White Bean Puree that is on this site - beans have a great way of taming the bitterness of things like dandelion and broccoli raab. This recipe can be used with pretty much any cooking green we receive so even if you don't pick up the dandelion, you should try this dish - it is delicious. Another good recipe is the Dandelion Salad with Warm Hazelnut Vinaigrette. The nuts and oil also calm down the bitterness of these greens. Of course, dandelion greens can also be made into Dandelion and Pumpkin Seed Pesto - I found an interesting sounding one I will try - it uses green pumpkin seeds instead of nuts - the author says the toasty taste balances out the bitter greens and uses the pesto over pasta, as a sandwich spread or dip.
Radicchio - you probably see this in the grocery stores, and on some restaurant plates, but maybe you have never prepared it yourself? Again, it does have some bitterness. The simplest way to use it for me is to use a leaf or 2 in a mixed green salad - I then cut them into slivers and it adds a nice bite when combined with other more mild greens. I also love to grill it - cut the heads in half or quarters, depending on size, brush with olive oil and as I described with scallions, watch closely - you just want a light char. Remove from the grill, plate and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste - if you want, grate some parmesan cheese over and add a few toasted nuts of your choice. Or slice the grilled radicchio up and mix in with cooked pasta, adding the same things described as when served alone.
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June 19, 2016
Let's Irrigate
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
Strong and dry winds, a missed rain event, and mid-90 degree heat forces us to extract water from our well for plants' water needs once again. We try to rely on irrigation as a last resort and this is one of those times. No serious rain is in the 10-day forecast which means we'll probably be irrigating for a while. Our 300-feet deep well and 1.5 horsepower pump provides about 75 gallons per minute of water. A few years ago we installed 3000 feet of 3 inch underground pipe with about 12 multi-head risers to more easily access water and keep necessary water pipes out of the way. The underground pvc pipes also reduce friction and pressure loss compared to the 2 inch flexible flat tubes that we previously had to use to move water long distances. Still, setting up and moving around drip tape, sprinklers, the water cannon, and tubing as well as all of the necessary connecting equipment means less time for other jobs and/or no time or days off (which is rare anyway this time of year). Spending time setting up all of the infrastructure feels like lateral movement and not necessarily progress towards the end of the season, but observing satisfactory results from the addition of water and subsequent higher crop yields makes it worthwhile.
Gabe watches as our rotating 100+ feet diameter water cannon irrigates the soon-to-be u-pick field that includes snap beans, edamame, and annual herbs.
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June 19, 2016
Welcome Scallions, Basil
Expected Harvest
By Derek McGeehan
Harvest #6 (Week B) should include scallions, basil, carrots, beets, chard, kale, squash, cucumbers, garlic scapes, endive, escarole, cilantro, dill, butterhead, romaine, and mini lettuces. Some items will be a choice. U-pick should include perennial herbs, snow and snap peas, and strawberries.
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June 19, 2016
An Abundance of Peas!
Other News
By Linda Dansbury
I hope everyone got out to the field to do the U-Pick this week - the peas are at the perfect stage and there are so many that even this quantity goes quickly.
You may be wondering what to do with them all now that you have them. They are so sweet they can be eaten raw as a snack, either alone or dipped in your favorite dip or hummus or the Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip. Or, try the Orzo with Sugar Snaps and Dill - this one uses peas, scallions and dill, and I am always happy when a recipe incorporates multiple farm offerings. This site has several recipes for peas - both salads as well as hot dishes.
Both the sugar snaps and snow peas should be cooked for only 2 minutes so they keep their crunch. They can be steamed, boiled or stir fried - all methods work well, although I prefer steaming and stir frying over boiling.
Peas can be frozen with or without blanching them. Blanch for 1 minute and then plunge in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Drain, and then lay them out on towels to dry. Place on cookie sheets and place in freezer. Once frozen, place them in freezer bags or plastic container - don't forget to label and date them. If you skip blanching, remove the stem and string prior to freezing.
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June 19, 2016
How I enjoyed my harvest this week
How I Enjoyed My Harvest
By Linda Dansbury
This week I did have the chance to do some cooking and I hope you did as well. Please send me how you enjoyed your harvest at lindadansbury@comcast.net.
Romaine - we grilled last night so we did a grilled Caesar Salad - cut the Romaine into quarters, place on grill for only about 30 seconds, then turn and do another 30 seconds, do this until all sides are lightly charred. Chop up the lettuce into bite-size pieces and then top with your favorite Caesar Dressing recipe - I used to make it myself, but I found OPA dressing which is Greek yogurt based. We really like it so it saves on work and it is good for you!
Peas, garlic scapes, turnips, Swiss chard, cilantro - made a large stir fry which fed us for 2 nights
Lettuces, dill - prepared the dressing that Emily Mahoney had sent to me. It was delicious - it will be even better when the watermelon is local!
Swiss chard, kale, scapes - had one of my favorite weeknight meals. Chopped up an onion and sauteed in olive oil. Meanwhile, prepared the greens, removing tough stems and roughly chopping them. When onions were the way I like them, I tossed in the scapes and greens and when the greens were wilted I made "wells" in the pan, and then cracked an egg into each well. Cover with a lid and keep checking - cook only until the whites are barely set, so the yolk stays liquid. Carefully remove each egg and greens to plates, top with salt and pepper and herbs if you like and serve - the yolk makes a rich-tasting delicious sauce for the greens. Yum!
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June 12, 2016
The Next Phase
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
Summer is about to officially begin but we're already thinking about fall, oddly enough. This week in the greenhouse we seeded fall cabbages and beets which won't be mature until September and October and some will be stored to get us through the winter. As CSA farmers it feels like we live in the past, present, and future because we're always managing diverse crops with varying maturities while preparing fields for plantings weeks and months and years in advance. Spring crops are still rolling in, summer crops are about to start, fall crops are now being seeded and planted, and 2017 strawberry plants will go in the ground later this month. Years? Well, on Friday with the help of a workshift we transplanted asparagus plugs that were started from seed the first week of March. Before we were able to plant we had to meticulously scout for the eggs and larvae of the asparagus beetle and squish these critters with our fingers. These asparagus spears won't be harvested until 2018 or 2019. This part of the farm had been fallow since 2014 and was slowly transitioned to raised beds starting in March. It takes a long while to eradicate the grass species that slowly take over fallowed fields.
Potato plants are flowering and need another round of cultivating and hilling with the tractor. Gabe mingles.
Speaking of the blending and mixing of seasons, sweet potato slips as well as succession plantings of beans, lettuces, basil, dill, cilantro, and parsley were planted last week with tremendous help from farm members. One of the best aspects of a CSA farm is the involvement of the community to help the farm succeed which in turn feeds its members. This is an essential tenet of CSA but of course the CSA model is fluid like everything else and can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Personally, I love the CSA model because it benefits members and farmers equally well and is centered around growing healthy food, which feels good deep down in the bones and bellies of our bodies as well as somewhere in our minds.
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June 12, 2016
Carrots and their Greens
Expected Harvest
By Derek McGeehan
Harvest #5 (Week A) should include carrots with greens, beets with greens, romaine, butterhead, and mini lettuces, garlic scapes, endive, escarole, dill, cilantro, summer squash, kale, chard, baby kale, collards, kohlrabi, and Italian dandelion. Some items will be a choice. U-pick should include snow peas, strawberries, and herbs.
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June 12, 2016
New Crops
Other News
By Linda Dansbury
Last week brought us a new item that is a farm treasure - garlic scapes which is the flower stalk and bud from the garlic plant. If left on the plant, it will take most of the energy from the plant so the bulbs won't form. By harvesting the scapes, we essentially have an extra crop. Scapes keep in the fridge for at least when stored in a plastic bag. They can be chopped up and frozen, or made into Garlic Scape Pesto or Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip and eaten immediately or frozen. It is best eaten uncooked, but if you want to cook it, add it at the end of the cooking process because long term cooking diminishes the flavor of an already mild garlic flavor.
This week brings us the first of the summer squash. Anchor Run grows a lot of varieties of summer squash - they come in many different shapes, colors and sizes. If you only choose those you are familiar with, you are missing out. They are all interchangeable in recipes, but with simple preparation, such as grilling (my favorite), you can pick up subtle differences in flavor. With Father's Day coming up next Sunday, many of us will be grilling. Depending on the shape and size of the squash, cut it in a way that will give you slices that are about a half to 3/4 of an inch thick. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, and watch carefully so they don't burn. Turn a few times so each side cooks equally. This delicious veggie goes well with anything, from a part of an appetizer platter to a veggie side dish with a grilled protein. We also have many recipes on this site. Enjoy the harvest!!
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June 12, 2016
Member ideas and suggestions
Member Ideas and Suggestions
By Linda Dansbury
I request and welcome ideas and suggestions from members - our membership is made up of so many good cooks and knowledgeable people (even a few professional chefs!). It is great to share with all members how the harvests are being enjoyed - please send your ideas to me at lindadansbury@comcast.net.
Emily Mahoney sent me two of her recipes for using several veggies within one dish. Both are great in that her recipes promote ways to get children to eat the veggies - I appreciate this, because without young children at home, I don't often think that way. Thanks Emily! Below are her recipes and thoughts around them:
"I'm very excited for the CSA this year! I've been testing out all kinds of new recipes over the winter, and will share the best ones whenever we get crops that match the ingredients. One that I made recently is something I like to call 'salad nachos'."
Ingredients:
Turnips, sliced
Swiss Chard, stems separated and chopped
Onions, chopped
Any addition veggies you have on hand
Tortilla chips
Cheese
Salsa
Sour Cream
Saute the onions and swiss chard stems. Once soft, add swiss chard leaves (ripped into bite size pieces). Cook until the leaves have wilted down. (Add in any other veggies you want to use during this step - just add to the pan and cook with other items)
Slice the turnips. These will act as chips in the nachos, so thicker slicing is better. I supplement with regular tortilla chips as well for more stability. I have also used radishes, baked sweet potatoes, and baked beets as the "chip" before.
Layer the cooked veggies with the "chips" (turnips + tortilla) and shredded cheese. Nuke in microwave.
Top with salsa and sour cream.
Here is Emily's other recipe - I plan to make it this coming week.
A very refreshing salad. I combined one of the heads of lettuce with my endive, a 16 oz can of chickpeas, 3oz of crumbled feta cheese, and 1/4 of a watermelon roughly chopped. I made my own dressing, with the goal of using up as much of the dill I got last week as possible. Here's the recipe:
Creamy Avocado Dill Dressing
1 avocado
Dill (amount based on personal preference)
Mint (amount based on personal preference)
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup milk
Combine all in food processor. I just estimated the milk and kept adding more to get it to a consistency I liked. This would probably be good with garlic scapes or pea shoots in it as well.
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June 12, 2016
Now What?! Workshop Recap
Other News
By Gia
The Now What?! Workshop was attended by about 20 members! It was a great exchange of ideas and information. Judith, another Core Group member, was also present and helped to field questions (Thanks Judith!). We spoke about how to keep the produce fresh (Greens Bags, Rubbermaid FreshWorks and Produce Saver containers), separating the greens from the bulbs and storing them separately. We talked about different tools which make the veggie prep work easier. We feasted on a variety of Pistou (I usually make my Pesto without the nuts) – Garlic Scape Pistou, Kale Pistou Lite and Mizuna Pistou were all tried. Members also tasted ARF Week 3/4 Quiche (see the recipe below).
This year we spent some time talking about using a solar oven to cook. My (flat) Mango Banana Bread- baked on Friday in my solar oven – was enjoyed.
Food Dehydrators were also discussed, and Zucchini Chips (from last year’s bounty) were shared. Tomatoes and Zucchini were the stars of this discussion.
The Now What?! Workshop was so successful that I was asked if we would do something on a more regular basis! We will be planning workshops with more of a Member Idea Exchange theme. We will also be having a Member Share Fermenting Workshop. Stay tuned for more info on both of these! This workshop was the perfect example of the C in CSA – Community. Thank you to everyone who attended!
ARF Week 3/4 Quiche
Beet Greens, Kohlrabi Greens
• Chopped
• Steamed (about 5 to 15 minutes)
• Squeeze out liquid when cool
Mizuna – about 1 bunch
• Chopped,
• Sautéed
Kohlrabi Bulbs - about 3 medium bulbs
• Shredded or pureed
• Mix with 1 tsp salt
• Squeeze out moisture
Dehydrated tomatoes – 1 to 2 handfuls
Cilantro – ½ to 1 handful chopped
½ to 1 cup Shredded Mexican blend cheese
2/3 to 1 cup whole wheat flour
8 to 10 eggs
2/3 to 1 cup milk
1. Combine ingredients.
2. Pour into 8x8 greased casserole pan
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes
Experiment with the greens you use! Experiment with the type of cheese!
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June 12, 2016
Top of the carrots to ya!
Other News
By Linda Dansbury
My guess is most of you throw the carrot tops into your compost pile, or leave them at the farm for the same thing. Maybe you use them as one of the items to make vegetable stock, which is a really good use for them. But, you should make Carrot Top Pesto out of the tops you will be receiving over the next couple of weeks - it is delicious and nutritious. As with the turnips and beets, remove the greens from the carrots as soon as you get them home and store in the fridge in separate bags. To use the greens remove the thick, tough stems and put into veggie stock or compost pile - the thin fronds can be made into salads or made into Carrot Top Pesto. The carrot top pesto can be used like any other pesto - on pasta, added to chicken or tuna salad, as a topping for fish or meat, drizzled onto hard boiled eggs - the list goes on. Also, keep an open mind in making the pesto itself - use the recipe as a baseline, the nuts, cheese type, herbs and citrus can all be changed to what you like and have on hand. I have added the recipe for this week.
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June 5, 2016
In the Midst of the Busiest
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
Last week the quantity and pace of work seemed to double and our amazing crew responded in kind. Everything has been growing exponentially with the long days, heat, and little bit of rain. Weeds, crops, bugs, everything has recognized that it is truly safely late spring and is attempting to maximize activity during the brief months between frosts and cold. Our job is to stay on pace and to forever try to get ahead. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed and get behind on the job list. But, after walking the farm this morning while making our weekly job list, it feels like we're currently in a safe position. If the rain skips us today, or the storms are too severe for our liking, we may reevaluate. This time of year the job list is basically infinite, but with proper planning and prioritizing - which is aided by the experience of farming here for 8 seasons now - we're able to cope and hopefully mostly keep our cool.
What happens to those spring greens after they're cut? Like most living things they try to reproduce, and at least the mizuna, arugula, and broccoli raab pictured above attract beneficial insects and are nice to look at.
Soon we'll transition from a lot of planting to a lot of harvesting, crops like garlic, onions, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, that only go in the ground once but are harvested over extended periods of time. So far the season feels like a good one and hopefully it will stay that way. Give us ample rainfall, normal bug and disease pressure, few 90 degree days, no 90+ degree days, no hurricanes or tropical storms, and we'll make it through with robust yields of healthy organic crops. I'm excited that beets are here, carrots are close, garlic scapes are starting to show, and peas are ripening. What better way is there to spend one's time than around the immediate gratification derived from fresh and tasty food?
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June 5, 2016
Beets with Greens, Peas
Expected Harvest
By Derek McGeehan
Harvest #4 (Week B) should include beets, kohlrabi, kale, chard, romaine, butterhead, and mini lettuces, endive, escarole, Italian dandelion, dill, cilantro, baby kale, collards, mizuna, and mustard greens. Some items will be a choice. U-pick should include snow peas, strawberries, and perennial herbs.
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June 5, 2016
How I enjoyed my harvest this week
How I Enjoyed My Harvest
By Linda Dansbury
I missed a week's harvest due to travel and just picked up on Thursday so I haven't done a lot with my share yet. But here are a couple of things.
Swiss chard - I often use chard in place of spinach and saute it with garlic, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice at the end. I often add a few red pepper flakes in the beginning with the garlic for a little "zing".
Romaine lettuce - We were grilling so we gave the entire head of romaine a light char on all sides and made it into a Caesar salad.
Kale - some of the kale I put into a smoothie, and the rest I made into Kale Chips - this is a very, very popular recipe on this site - just make sure the kale is perfectly dry before you bake it because it won't crisp up if it is wet.
How do you enjoy your harvest? Please email me at lindadansbury@comcast.net.
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June 5, 2016
Salad Days
Other News
By Linda Dansbury
You may be wondering what to do with the vast quantity of lettuces you are receiving with your share right now. If you typically use the same salad dressing recipe every time you prepare a salad, you might get bored of the repetitiveness. Check out this website for a multitude of dressings and variations on vinaigrettes that will keep your tastebuds happy. There is a basic vinaigrette with a number of variations, balsamic vinaigrette, lemon-chive and it goes on and on. Just go to the website, click on "Members Page". Then select the tab that says "Search". In the pull down bar select "Recipes" and type in "dressing" or "salad" and you will see the listing.
I almost think of lettuces as the main vegetable in a meal and try to match the dressing with what we are having for dinner. For example, if we are having a meal that is comprised of Asian flavors, then my salad dressing will have sesame oil and/or tamari/soy sauce in it. With the start of peas, I will add peas either raw or flash boiled for 1-2 minutes. With a steak, I might make a Caesar salad. Experiment with different greens, veggies and combinations of flavors - fresh herbs add great pops of flavor to salad dressings. If you have a favorite way to prepare your salad greens, please email me at lindadansbury@comcast.net so I can share it with the rest of the members.
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June 5, 2016
Beets are here
Other News
By Linda Dansbury
Over the many years I have been writing for the farm, the public's knowledge and taste for various vegetables have truly evolved. In the beginning, most people really didn't know what to do with things like kale and chard. Now with juicing and smoothies being so popular, even if those greens are too much to prepare and eat as part of a meal, I often hear members say "Oh I will juice these greens". Or "My kids love smoothies with kale".
The same thing has happened with beets - most folks used to say that they didn't like beets, but now they are happy and excited when beets appear. I particularly like them early in the season when they are small and sweet. Beets are so nutritious and so much can be done with them. As with turnips, separate the greens from the beets and store separately. The greens can be used with other greens in stir fries and saute's and there are a couple of recipes on this site that incorporate both together, such as Roasted Beet and Beet Green Risotto and Roasted Beets and Beet Greens. If we receive beets without their greens, Swiss chard is a great substitution, because they are in the same family. Again, search this site for great ideas and recipes.
Beets keep a long time stored in the fridge or pickled, but again, at this time of year I actually like to use them quickly because they are sweeter. We love them roasted, sliced and mixed with greens in a beautiful salad with a Dijon mustard and tarragon dressing. Yummy!
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