Today’s heavy rains were much needed on the farm, with recent heat wicking up even the slightest residual moisture in our soils. As we break into the month of May we want to remind our members of all the amazing produce coming your way in late spring and early summer: we’re already picking peaches, plums and nectarines on our trees on the farm and we expect an influx of melons, blueberries, sweet corn, and peppers soon!

For those members interested in receiving weekly distributions of flowers like sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons and bachelor buttons, the “Cut Flower Bouquet” is available as a subscription add-on item through your Farmigo account. The distribution window is very short, so if you’re interested, sign up now or email/call us for more info!

PICKLE PACK WEEK! Try pickling our green beans, cucumbers or watermelon radishes with our dill/dill flower mix!

In your share this week will be:

Green Beans: Try a zesty lemon sautee with these tender beans: Sauté beans, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in olive oil or butter (preferably clarified!) in a large skillet until beans are hot and cooked tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze lemon half over beans, and serve immediately.

Cucumbers: Our first crop of cukes for have come in for the season! I couldn’t be more thrilled to have my salad/raw snack staple back in my kitchen. Beyond the cool, tender-crisp flavor, cucumbers contain a high density of  phytonutrients that play a key role in providing key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits as well!

Mixed Summer Squash: Your squash medley may include any combination of cousa, zucchini, crookneck, or patty pan squash. These fruits are very tender and carry a relatively high water content which makes for easy cooking, whether thats baked, sauteed or grilled!

Curly Kale: Don’t listen to anybody that says healthy snacking can’t also be rich and satisfying: I’ve found the light. If you’ve never make kale “chips” before, you’re welcome in advance. Please do yourself a favor and try this very accessible, delicious recipe for parmesan-pepper kale chips. Follow the link HERE.

Red Romaine Lettuce: We’re picking from a new block that affords us to still pick small, young and tender heads. The red romaine has an amazing flavor profile that will spoil you for lettuces forever.

Red Onions: Red onions are most often used in salads, salsas, and other raw preparations for their color and relatively mild flavor. One of my personal favorite uses for red onions, perhaps other than lightly grilling them, would be a pickle! Follow the link to Simply Recipes here for an ingredient list and method breakdown. Remember to use your dill and dill flowers!

Watermelon Radishes: Watermelon Radishes pair well with fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, creamy based dressings, vinaigrettes, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, and  stir-fry noodles. Thinly slice them over a salad bed for an colorful plate that won’t fail to impress your friends! You can also pickle these guys with our red onions!

Dill/Dill Flowers (pickling mix): This annual herb belongs to the celery family Apiaceae. Chopped dill is an eclectic garnish for soups, a driving ingredient in dressings, enhances a sour cream baked potato, a cut of salmon and of course, a necessity in pickling! The flowers too bring a lot to the table in terms of flavor and aesthetic, these can be used as garnish for a salad or slaw and also in your pickling batch!

In your share this week will be:

Bok Choi: Here’s an excellent recipe from Yummly.com:

Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, including green ends
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound baby bok choy, rinsed, larger leaves separated from base, base trimmed but still present, holding the smaller leaves together
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped, roasted, salted cashews

Method

1 Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add onions, then garlic, then bok choy. Sprinkle with sesame oil and salt. Cover, and let the baby bok choy cook down for approximately 3 minutes. (Like spinach, when cooked, the bok choy will wilt a bit.)

2 Remove cover. Lower heat to low. Stir and let cook for a minute or two longer, until the bok choy is just cooked.

3 Gently mix in cashews.

Red Cabbage: Today I was able to sample some slaw made by a customer we vend to in Gainesville, the head chef there utilized our small, tender red cabbage heads and made an insanely good slaw. If you’re interested in trying your own, here’s an ingredient ratio list from Yummly that shouldn’t disappoint:

 

  • 1 head red cabbage (thinly sliced, about 4 cups sliced cabbage)
  • 2 medium carrot (coarsely grated, about 1 cup grated carrot)
  • 1/2 cup green onions (sliced)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (crushed in mortar and pestle or with a heavy rolling pin)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or light mayo, can use half plain yogurt and half mayo) ? Tasty tip
  • 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar (Splenda, or agave nectar, use Splenda or agave nectar for South Beach diet)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt (Vege-Sal, vegetable seasoned, or salt)
  • 1 tsp celery seed (optional)

 

Dill: If you haven’t yet done a pickling session this season, now’s the time before this season’s Dill runs its course! You can pickle our carrots, onions, radishes, etc!

Curly Kale: Follow the link here for an unbelievably tantalizing recipe from Serious Eats!

Red Romaine: The color, crunch and zest of a Red Romaine based salad are pretty difficult to top. Slice our Red Onions, Red Radishes, some strawberries, sprinkle in some Dill and you’ve got a salad starter kit!

Red Onions: These early Red Onions carry a comparable savory sweetness to the white “sweet onions”. Grill, roast or sautee them to showcase their color and flavor!

Snap Peas: Remember I mentioned some pickling earlier? How about some pickled peas! This recipe from The Kitchn will guide you through a very simple sweet pickling process here.

Red Radish: The sharp, biting flavor of red radish provides a juicy crispness that can boost a salad mix, a fish taco or a stir-fry!

Strawberries: There’s not much upselling we need to do with these guys. Once they fully color up, their sweetness will open up a whole range of options, from salad toppings to smoothies.

Potatoes: I found this awesome baby spring potatoe salad recipe from Skinnytase and tried it two night’s ago for dinner!

 

  • 4 cups baby red potatoes, cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
  • salt and fresh pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water until soft, approx 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.

While the potatoes are boiling, combine red onion, green pepper, mustard, olive oil, vinegar and mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and let the flavors marinade while the potatoes cook. Once the potatoes are done and cool, mix into the bowl and add scallions and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.

It’s been a very busy and rewarding plunge into the spring season: we’ve invested in a new irrigation rig, opened up all of our greenhouses, dealt with some vehicle breakdowns, and hired some wonderful new staff! We thank you all for your continued support and membership!

 

In your share this week will be:

Parsnips: This is a new crop for us on the farm! These roots can be sauteed or roasted. I’m including a link here for a parsnip puree that sounds fantastic, you can adjust the recipe ratios accordingly.

Carrots: These high natural sugar, high beta-carotene carrots typically don’t ever make it to the cooking stage in my kitchen. Eaten raw with hummus, juiced or pureed, this variety is pretty difficult to beat.

Easter Egg Radishes: The crisp flesh carries a mild pepperiness and is a great source of Vitamins A, C, potassium, zinc and dietary fiber. Include in a simple sautee with butter and salt OR try  chopping and adding them to tacos and sandwiches for satisfying crunch and radishy zing.

Collards: Stemming from the original classification as a colewart (wild cabbage plant), collard greens have a rich history of cultivation and processing by the ancient Greeks with evidence support at least 2,000 years of human use.

Arugula: Here is an excellent recipe for an arugula pesto that can serve as a side to meat, fish or dressed atop a bed of rice.

Kohlrabi: If you haven’t tried a kohlrabi based slaw yet this spring season, here’s the recipe to do it with.

Fennel: The fronds can be used in a salad, though the bulb, which is very firm and crunchy, is the real “meat” of the crop. It has a fresh anise/licorice flavor and is excellent as a slaw grilled/braised until tender

Strawberries: These beautiful berries fruits are excellent in salad mixes, in pastries or tarts, in your ice-cream, or as a vinaigrette base.

Sweet Onions: Sautee ’em, braise ’em, or slice raw into a salad!

 

 

Try Rob’s Carrot-Dill Massaged Kale Salad with Ginger, Citrus, Tempeh, and Strawberries!

CSA

 

In your share this week will be:

Baby Arugula: Its distinctive vibrant green color, lobed leaves and spicy leaves can grace pastas, pizzas, quiches, salads, seafood dishes and much more. Harvesting arugula consistently ensures the younger, more tender and flavorful leaves are the only ones that make it into your share. Stores best wrapped tightly in plastic and kept in the crisper in your refrigerator. If you find the pepper flavor a tad overwhelming, add arugula to a green smoothie/juicing regimen, or steam it slightly to neutralize the “kick”.

Red Russian Kale: The LA Times has a great little profile here for Red Russian Kale, including preparation and storage tips, plus recipe suggestions!

Watermelon Radish: Watermelon Radishes pair well with fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, creamy based dressings, vinaigrettes, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, and  stir-fry noodles.

Beets: A new crop on the farm for the season! Try this recipe here for a brown sugar glazed roasted root medley!

Bok Choi: This Chinese cabbage is best friends with finely minced garlic and freshly grated ginger or turmeric. Combine with a cooking oil of choice (sesame oil or ghee butter work great) over medium-high heat and cook until stalks and leaves are tender.

Dill: Fresh dill is the tangy kick to any pickling recipe, salad dressings, or seafood dish. If you have a back-stock of root crops like carrots, radishes or turnips in your fridge, try pickling them with dill!

Red Butter Lettuce: After one of our farm lunches, I’m hooked on this new bibb variety. These large, soft and incredibly tender leaves are awesome for wraps, sandwiches and can be added to soups for flavoring. Serve butter lettuce with an oil and vinegar dressing, chopped nuts, crumbled goat cheese and you’re well on your way to salad greatness.

Broccoli: The “Green Magic” variety we grow on the farm carries a very palpable natural sweetness and tenderness. Braise, steam, sautee or make a slaw! You really can’t go wrong!

Snow Peas: Crisp, tender and sweet, the pods are eaten whole with these, as opposed to the shelling peas we’ve also got coming in from the field. Here is an awesome glazed pea recipe with chopped scallions! (Scallions not in the box this week but we’ll have them at our markets)

In your share this week will be:

Tokyo Turnips: Tokyo turnips can be pickled, roasted, sautéed, or boiled in soups. You can use them as a garnish or serve them alongside poached or grilled whole fish or roasted meat. I shave raw turnips into my Romaine salads for an added tender, mild-spice. You can also steam or sautee the greens!

Mizuna: Mizuna has a mild and tangy flavor. Use mizuna as a bed or garnish for meat and fish. Mizuna has a bit of a peppery bite but is perhaps a bit more mild than something like arugula. Mizuna, which is a Japanese mustard, was traditionally pickled in Japan, and can certainly be enjoyed that way, as well as steamed or sauteed!

Kohlrabi: This turnip-cabbage hybrid  is incredibly tender and can be utilized in braises, soups, and sautees.The greens are delicious too and can be eaten raw in salad or sautéed or steamed like mustard greens. Try making fritters with the shredded bulb! Shred it and mix with an egg and a few tablespoons of flour or breadcrumbs. Heat oil or butter in a flat skillet, drop on small mounds, and flatten slightly with the back of your spatula. Turn after a few minutes, and serve when both sides are crispy.

Lacinato Kale: Cut into ribbons off the stem, blanch and sautee! Lacinato (also known as dino or Tuscan kale) is also wonderful in salads, just be sure to add some fresh squeezed lemon on top as the acidity helps to tenderize the  leaf.

Fennel: The fronds can be used in a salad, though the bulb, which is very firm and crunchy, is the real “meat” of the crop. It has a fresh anise/licorice flavor and is excellent as a slaw grilled/braised until tender.

Recipe for braised fennel from Epicurious:

    1. Cut off and discard stalks from fennel bulbs, reserving fronds. Chop 1 tablespoon fronds and discard remainder. Cut bulbs lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, leaving core intact.
    2. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown fennel slices well, turning over once, 3 to 4 minutes total.
    3. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle fennel with salt and pepper, then add broth and water. Cook, covered, until fennel is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with fennel fronds.

Snow Peas: Crisp, tender and sweet, the pods are eaten whole with these, as opposed to the shelling peas we’ve also got at our markets.

Red Leaf Lettuce: Here is an awesome simple recipe for a late winter/early spring salad that involves Red Leaf, beets (which should be coming in from our fields any day now) and oranges.

Sweet Onions: These guys are fantastic thinly sliced and served in salads or on top of sandwiches. They can range in color from white to yellow and often have a flattened or squashed appearance. Sweet onions tend to be more perishable and should be store in the refrigerator.

Collard Greens: In addition to its impressive nutrient content, collard greens are absolutely delicious! Heat unlocks the real treasure trove of nutrition in the broad leaves, making those vitamins and minerals above exponentially more available, while still packing a fiber punch to keep your gut happy and in working order. This hearty green can take the heat and has earned its rightful place in your kitchen. You can go the traditional route and cook it with meats, or use some less traditional methods like using aromatics (onions, carrots, celery, thyme parsley, etc.) when you cook them.

I just discovered this amazing recipe blog, Love & Lemons, courtesy of my mother in law’s Southern Living subscription. Jack and Jeanine have come up with some tasty recipes featuring lots of fresh produce, and they’re vegetarian friendly!

Kale Salad
http://www.loveandlemons.com/kale-salad-avocado-tahini-sauce/

Bok Choy
http://www.loveandlemons.com/easy-vegetarian-pho/

Mustard Greens

http://www.southernliving.com/food/southern-living-april-2016-recipes/miso-braised-mustard-greens-image

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 11.06.56 AM

In your share this week will be:

Arugula/Baby Mixed Lettuce: This tender blend of young, pre-washed and ready to use salad greens are the perfect base for any salad and may be included in morning smoothies for that missing green kick!

Bok Choi: This Chinese cabbage is best friends with finely minced garlic and freshly grated ginger or turmeric. Combine with a cooking oil of choice (sesame oil or ghee butter work great) over medium-high heat and cook until stalks and leaves are tender.

Green Cabbage: Coleslaw and sauerkraut are awesome, but there are hundreds of recipes that maximize the tenderness and versatility of quality grown cabbage. Serious Eats documented 18 of their favorite cabbage preparations, and they’re pretty tantalizing. Follow the link here.

Chard: A dark leafy green that is excellent for soups, sautees, and braises, and both the leaves and ribs can be utilized. Follow the link here for a great chard and onion sautee.

Cilantro: Already tried a salsa? I promise you there’s dozens of ways you’ve never thought of utilizing cilantro. Here’s an amazing compilation of preparation suggestions for your inner chef.

Calendula: Calendula is a well-known medicinal herb and uplifting ornamental garden plant that has been used therapeutically, ceremonially, and as a dye and food plant for centuries. Most commonly known as for its topical use as a tea or infused oil for wounds and skin trauma, the bright orange or yellow flower contains many important constituents and can be taken internally for a variety of ailments. You can use the petals in your cooking as well! Throw the flowers in your morning eggs and bake biscuits with them! Sprinkle on any salad to make a special presentation.

Strawberries: These beautiful berries fruits are excellent in salad mixes, in pastries or tarts, in your ice-cream, or as a vinaigrette base.

Black Radish: Though these are certainly our least mild varietal of radish we grow, any spice is neutralized by cooking, particularly roasting. The crisped peaks of the wedges of these roots are delightful contrasted by the softer, mellowed flesh inside. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, then peeled and chopped the root to equal-sized pieces. Coated lightly with olive oil, sea salt, and flakes of chili, they were roasted about 20 minutes, with one break to toss them around in the pan in between.

Daikon Radish: These bulbs carry a crisp, semi-sweet, slightly spicy flavor and can be shaved into stir-frys, pickled, or fermented in a Kimchi batch. (We have a new Kimchi batch of our own with Daikon included for sale at our farmers’ markets). For more info and tips on using daikon, follow the link here.

Red Russian Kale: You can  strip the leaves away from the stems (though these stems tenderize while cooked) and be sure to rinse the leaf pieces. Blanch the leaves in salted water, drain then sauté in most oils (olive oil is my favorite) or butter. Season with olives, garlic, chili flakes, cumin, caraway, fennel, anise, or toasted sesame oil. If you want a stronger flavor, braise Russian Red in a stock! Red Russian is also tender enough to use in kale salad, see the dressing recipe here.

 

FAW_Banner_2_0

 

National Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW) is a national week of action for students and community members to raise awareness about farm worker issues on their campuses and in their communities.

Every year, NFAW takes place during the week of Cesar Chavez’ birthday, March 31st, to honor his legacy as a leader of the farm worker movement.

NFAW is organized by  Student Action with Farm Workers together with farm worker unions and community organizations alike.

Farm work is necessary to feed us all, yet farm workers have been left out of most labor law protections that other types of workers enjoy such as the minimum wage and the right to organize. In relation to labor issues within our own state, The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has been working to raise awareness and improve conditions for workers in South Florida through the nationally recognized and lauded Fair Food Program and the  Penny-Per-Pound campaign (which many major retailers and fast food chains have agreed to, but so far Publix has refused to participate in). It is worthwhile to consider that paying one cent more per pound on tomatoes could yield a real quality of life difference for workers when they are paid by the pound, and a day’s work can consist of picking up to 2,000 pounds of tomatoes in a day. Shocking cases of modern day slavery have been prosecuted in court, including many in Florida.

Here at Frog Song, we’ve made a concerted investment in addressing these very serious, structural issues within our local and global food system by creating an alternative space. We do work long hours and most of our crew works six days per week – there is not much that is going to change about the “work” part of farm work. Yet there are many differences in how jobs are structured on our farm compared to the typical small-to-medium sized farm (we have technically reached the USDA’s definition of a medium-sized farm). At Frog Song Organics, we currently pay all part and full time staff above minimum wage. For all full time staff we provide five days of paid sick leave, four paid holidays, a life insurance policy and three hot, prepared meals for our crew each week which we eat together as “farm lunch.” In 2015 we added a paid vacation benefit. In 2016 we added a modest contribution towards health care coverage. In addition, we provide housing for our field crew who live on the farm as our neighbors. We also pay for workers compensation insurance, which is required by law, but is lacking on many farms especially those who depend on undocumented workers. While what we can offer may be modest compared to jobs in other industries, we are doing our best to continuously move forward in the right direction of appreciating and honoring our team.

We currently employ both full and part-time staff, from both the United States and Mexico. Several of our staff work with us through the the H2A guest worker visa program, which requires us to have: contracts with workers guaranteeing minimum hours and defines wages, inspections for housing and water supplies, and pay for round trip travel from Mexico. It is our goal to provide a good quality of life and meaningful work for everyone who works with us. We have continually worked to improve both the wages and benefits that we can offer as a start-up and small employer. We’ve come a long way from our beginnings working with family, friends and volunteers, to having paid apprentices/interns, to being able to provide full time, year-round work with paid sick leave, holidays, and health care coverage.

We hope you will visit some of these links and educate yourself and your family and friends on these important issues. Farm work is one of the original jobs most people have outsourced when it comes to daily living. Let’s not forget the hands that feed us, and give thanks and appreciation for everyone who handles our food at some point in it’s journey to our plates.

The spring season is just about in full blossom. We’ve had our first major flush of ripe strawberries, are watching our greenhouse melons stretch across the beds, and have begun transplanting flowers in the field in preparation for cut flower season. We’re about to have a wave of “first of the season” crops, and as we move deeper into Spring, we hope you’ll be as excited as we are about the diversity and vibrancy of crops rotating into the shares.

For our Gainesville members, we wanted to let you know we are attending the Haile/441 Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning this week and hope to continue frequenting there over the course of this season.

In your share this week will be:

Curly Kale: This frill leaved, sturdy brassica carries a mild flavor and will tenderize with added acidity (like fresh squeezed lemon) or by hand massaging. Cut away the central ribs of curly kale before you chop or shred the leaves. Our leaves are consistently picked young and tender and cook well braised, steamed, or included in soups. Here is a tantalizing recipe for a kale salad with watermelon radishes, which was in the share last weeks and will be on our market tables!

Kohlrabi: These “German Turnips” bulbs are incredibly tender and can be utilized in braises, soups, and sautees. Be sure to utilize the greens too! They’re delicious and can be eaten raw in salad if they’re young and tender, or sautéed or steamed like mustard greens.

French Breakfast Radish: Crisp with a mildly spicy flavor and stunning color display, these guys can be sauteed, pickled, steamed or sliced  raw into a salad. I’ve got to share with you my personal favorite preparation of these guys: a breakfast dish that calls for thinly sliced butter (ghee if you clarify butter yourself) sauteed radishes atop a poached egg with green onions and thyme (use the dill that’s in the share this week instead). Follow the link here.

Romaine Lettuce: Full of phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, green romaine is crisp in texture and carries a slightly mild flavor. Here is a great site detailing romaine’s wide range of health benefits.

Snow Peas: These edible pod peas are excellent raw, steamed or stir-fried. One awesome recipe comes from “The Kitchn” and calls for a quick sesame sautee here.

Strawberries: Yep, they’re here. First real flush of the season and we wanted to share them with you right away. If you’ll be able to hold off from eating them straight out of the bag before you get home, these fruits are excellent in salad mixes, in pastries or tarts, in your ice-cream, or as a vinaigrette base.

Dill: Try it sprinkled on potato salads, in homemade sauerkraut, in creamy salad dressings, with eggs or salmon.

Red Mustards: Eaten raw, the leaves serve a sinus-clearing punch akin to Dijon-style mustard. Washed and tossed in a salad, the peppery pungency tones down. Mature leaves are ideal for juicing, pickling, or for use in stir-fries and soups.

Squash Blossoms: (Family shares only this week) Squash blossoms are edible raw or they can be incorporated into a variety of recipes. You can stuff them, make fritters with them, or include them in soups. Here is an awesome recipe for quesadillas:

 

Squash Blossom Quesadillas

1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
10 squash blossoms
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 sprigs fresh epazote, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 flour tortillas
1/4 pound grated Mexican white cheese
Olive oil, butter or margarine, for cooking

1. Heat a large saute pan with a little oil and saute the onion, garlic, and the roasted poblano pepper for 5 minutes, until the onions have become translucent. Then, add the squash blossoms and deglaze with chicken stock. Add the epazote, and cook for another 5 minutes until squash blossoms have wilted. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.

2. To compose the quesadilla, lay two of the tortillas on a flat surface. Distribute the cheese equally on both tortillas. Then, spread 1/2 of the squash blossom filling over the cheese. Cover with the other tortillas, place on heated griddle or nonstick saute pan with a little olive oil, butter or margarine, and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. When golden brown on each side, remove and cut into quarters.

Source: Adapted from recipe demonstrated by Aaron Sanchez
of the Food Network’s show, Melting Pot.

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