Dear CSA members and farm friends,
Welcome to week 7 of our 12 week fall and winter CSA season. I have got some cool stuff to talk about in the newsletter, but first want to communicate about this week's share and the pickup arrangements for Thanksgiving week. We have got lots of great veggies coming in right now, and the cooler nights and light frost that we experienced have really started to sweeten up the produce.
On the CSA line this week:
- Napa cabbage
- Romaine lettuce
- red or green leaf lettuce
- sweet potatoes
- curly kale (not pictured!)
For next week:
The Thanksgiving share is typically my favorite of the year, if you aren't able to pickup, please try and make arrangements for someone else to get your veggies. In the Thanksgiving share, we expect to have:
- sweet potatoes
- Dinosaur kale
- green leaf lettuce
- red butterhead lettuce
- Savoy leaf cabbage
- Watermelon radish
- flat leaf parsley
We will also have extras for sale thanksgiving week, if you are a CSA member and need something you think we may be growing, email and we will try and fill your request. *Thanksgiving week all shareholders will pick up on Tuesday!
We will not be selling Thanksgiving turkeys this year due to logistical and time constraints, but, if you are looking for a local turkey, we recommend reserving one from Zion Farm in Pontotoc: 662-419-1003.
Alright, there's the nitty gritty, now for some of the bigger picture.
Things on the national stage have been polarizing as of late. Maybe some good will come from the divisiveness. In the meantime, I believe that most real and significant change comes at the grassroots level.
In the seven years that I have been operating Native Son, I have been fortunate to see my vision of a relocalized food system begin to take shape and have been witness to the blessing of seeing and sharing the fruits of my labor on the farm. I believe that good food is a truly unifying force, something we can all rally behind that has the potential to improve the health, cultural, social and economic landscape of Mississippi. While there is a tremendous amount of work to be done, we are making real progress and there are a couple of exciting things happening that I would like to share.
Growing Healthy Waves is a program set up by Donna Loden that aims to bring "farm to table" to the Tupelo school system. Our future lies in the hands of the youth, and Growing Healthy Waves is working to educate kids on eating well through the use of school gardens and monthly taste tests with local produce.
Last week the farm crew and I joined in for lunch with the kids of Joyner school, helping to serve kale salads and telling them about our farm and veggies. They were amazed that the kale was grown less than a mile away from their school. Seeing the kids try the kale grown on Lumpkin Avenue—most of them liked it!— was a highlight of the week for me and really got me excited about the prospect (decidedly daunting) of relocalizing our school cafeterias. Can you imagine what our town would look like if every school got their food from local, sustainable farms that the students could visit and interact with?
The next really exciting thing happening is the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Networks Farm to Cafeteria Conference, food summit and agricultural revival taking place at the Ag and Forestry Museum in Jackson this Thursday through Saturday. Information can be found on our website: http://www.mssagnet.net.
There will be classes on fermentation, butchering, farm-to-school, organic production, economic development, etc. And the event culminates with a locally sourced dinner. The Food Summit is a great event for anyone interested in local foods, and it presents an opportunity for our farm crew to recharge our batteries, connecting with folks doing like-minded work, including many of our former interns and employees who are now operating their own farms in Mississippi and Louisiana.
It is an exciting time to be a part of the local food movement, and every one of ya’ll who subscribes to the CSA is playing a huge part. You are keeping our farm going strong! We strive to make the CSA a great value for the quality, quantity and diversity of the veggies, but what we are doing is about more than the produce. By supporting our farm you are helping us in our mission to grow new farmers, create community, educate children, donate veggies to the less fortunate and show that sustainable, local, community-oriented food production is a viable option in Mississippi.
Thanks for your help,
Will and farm crew
What Do I Do With…?
Dill is most often used in pickling, or with fish, in egg dishes, in cheese spreads, or on vegetables. Add a few sprinkles of fresh dill to omelets and lettuce salads. Store dry in a plastic bag lined with a paper towel. Check out 8 Recipes to Use Up a Bunch of Dill.
Remove leaves from stem and wash in cold water. Add a little ice to the water if lettuce has wilted on the way home from the market and needs perking up. Spin or pat dry. Wrap in paper towels and store in a large plastic bag in the crisper. The paper towels will soak up any excess moisture, and the plastic bag will keep the air from circulating too much. Remove immediately any leaves that become slimy. Should stay fresh for 7-to-10 days if stored properly.
Football shaped, with thick, crisp stems, and frilly leaves. Also called Chinese cabbage, it is milder and sweeter than Green Cabbage. Works well raw in salads, stuffed in dumplings, or my favorite—roasted. Does not keep as long as Green Cabbage, so store it in a plastic bag and try use it up within a week of harvest, before the outer leaves begin to wilt. Is your cabbage piling up? Try these 15 ways to eat it down.
Opinion varies widely on the proper way to store collards. To wash, or not to wash, before storing? To de-stem, or not to de-stem? I’ve done both, depending on how much time I have and how much space I have in the refrigerator. I’d love to hear your opinions on this. Either way, store in the fridge in a plastic container lined with paper towels for up to a week. Refrigerate in a plastic bag lined with paper towels. To prepare: strip leaves from the stems, and roughly chop the leaves. Here’s a basic primer for cooking any dark leafy green, whether it’s this week’s collards, last week’s Dinosaur kale, or the previous week’s Swiss chard.
Separate the roots from the stems, and store them separate plastic bags in the refrigerator. The leaves only keep a few days, but the beets should keep a couple of weeks. The roots can be steamed, boil, or (more often) roasted. They can also be grated and added raw to salads. Try adding the chopped leaves to whatever you make with your collards with week. Here’s one idea for beet greens.
Wash leaves, trim stems, and pat the leaves dry before using. Store in a closed plastic bag lined with paper towels in the fridge for a week or more. Use it in any and everything: soups, stews, salads, quiches, smoothies, braises. Curly kale makes superb kale chips.
Store in a cool dark pantry (not the fridge!), if possible, in a loosely covered paper bag to allow for circulation. Keeps about a month.