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DANDELION GREENS

04/17/14 — Farm

Dandelion greens in the field.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Dandelion greens in the field. Photo by Scott David Gordon

When most people think about a dandelion, they visualize its bright yellow flowering head or its later fluffy seeds waiting to be scattered by the wind.  Dandelion greens are the leaves of the plant, and they are packed with nutrition.  According the the USDA, dandelion greens have more nutritional value than spinach or broccoli.  Who knew that the plant that many just consider a weed could pack such a nutritional punch!  These greens are full of iron, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6 as well as potassium and manganese.  They also provide more protein per serving than spinach!  Add to this their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to boost digestion and you can see why dandelions are touted for their health benefits.

Dandelion greens have a very bold taste and therefore are often mixed with sweeter flavors or foods like cheese, milk and eggs (they're great in a fritata or omelet!).  Below are some recipes ideas for you to give a try.  Also, if you have a dandelion green recipe you would like to share, please email it to carrie@jbgorganic.com for inclusion in the blog.

10 Ways to Use Dandelion Greens from theKitchn

Braised Dandelion Greens from Food & Wine

MORE WAYS TO COOK CELERY ROOT!

04/17/14 — Farm

Just harvested celeriac/celery root.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Just harvested celeriac/celery root. Photo by Scott David Gordon

By Meredith Bethune

Celery root, also called celeriac, doesn’t have the most appetizing appearance. They’re usually knobby, hairy, and maybe even dirty when they arrive in your kitchen. They appear harsh, looking like they might be bitter in flavor. On the contrary, their flavor is actually much more subtle than celery stalks, the more well known incarnation of this plant.  Actually, people who dislike celery might find that they actually like celery root.  When you strip away the rough skin, you’re left with a delicate vegetable with a clean minerality.

The skin of celeriac is so thick that you’ll likely lose a quarter of the vegetable’s weight in trimmings. Peel it as you would an apple, and add the scraps to chicken or vegetable stocks. Like a good winter squash, celery keeps for weeks stored in the fridge, so it’s not commitment to keep one on hand for cooking inspiration.

Celery root remoulade is a classic French dish. It plays on common pairings for the vegetable like mustard, creamy ingredients, herbs, and lemon juice. Not only does celery take well to ingredients like citrus and vinegar, but the acid keeps the vegetable from discoloring after slicing. Walnuts, hazelnuts, and strong cheeses like Gruyere will bring out the vegetables natural nuttiness.  Celery root puree is commonly added to mashed potatoes and soups, and almost all of these dishes are improved by a garnish of crispy bacon lardons.

Creamy Curried Celery Root Soup from The New York Times

Celery Root Goat Cheese Agnolotti from Local Milk

Celery Root Remoulade from David Lebovitz

CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF APRIL 14TH

04/14/14 — Scott

140414_SDG195114 CSA Box Contents Week of April 14th

Large Box
Beet, Red
Broccoli
Carrot, Orange
Celery Root / Celeriac
Greens, Dandelion
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Salad Mix
Greens, Spinach
Herb, Cilantro
Herb, Dill
Kohlrabi, Purple
Lettuce, Red Leaf
Onion, Spring Yellow
Medium Box
Beet, Red
Broccoli
Carrot, Orange
Celery Root / Celeriac
Greens, Dandelion
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Salad Mix
Greens, Spinach
Herb, Cilantro
Onion, Spring Yellow
Small Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Dandelion
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Spinach
Lettuce, Red Leaf
Onion, Spring Yellow
Individual Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Salad Mix
Onion, Spring Yellow


 

FROM THE FARMER'S PERSPECTIVE

04/10/14 — Farm

Photo by Scott David Gordon Harvesting Cilantro.  Photo by Scott David Gordon

This past Monday, I was really caught off guard by that storm we had - it seemed to come out of nowhere!  Sheets of rain started pouring down coupled with high winds.  Then came the hail.  It bounced off our roof and into the vents of our house - we actually had hail on our carpet floor!  I think this was the most powerful storm I've experienced since moving out here to Hergotz Lane in 2006.  While it rained on Monday, we moved all of our trucks out of the lower-lying loading dock area because I was worried they might end up getting stuck in the mud.  Unfortunately, we also had a lot of transplants outside of the greenhouse "hardening off" and waiting to be transplanted.  Typically, we take the transplants out of the greenhouse to acclimate to the weather, or "harden", before planting them in the field.  Well, these little transplants were no match for the sudden hail - we lost 115 flats of basil, 9 flats of okra, 24 flats of watermelon, and about 20 flats of peppers.  Since each flat has 128 cells, that's a loss of over 20,000 transplants.  I hated losing these and all of the time and energy that went into growing them, but farming doesn't give you much time to dwell on setbacks.  The truth is, I don't like to complain.  I feel much better figuring out what to do next, and I don't think I could handle farming if I weren't able to move on pretty quickly.  Also, I know I have been very, very lucky so far not to have suffered a serious crop disaster.

The greenhouse in Denton after the storm The greenhouse in Denton after the storm

This is another reason I don't like to complain  - I know things could always be worse.  Take what happened out at our new backyard garden in Denton, TX this week.  There, storms really did some serious damage - the entire greenhouse was destroyed by wind and the majority of the crops were decimated by the golf ball sized hail. Here in Austin on Hergotz Lane, hail knocked down some our broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower plants and left holes in their leaves, but comparatively, the damage was minimal.  At River Road, the only crop that really suffered was the Romaine lettuce.  So, I feel incredibly lucky that our fields here were spared the destruction inflicted up in Denton.  Our farm manager, Ryan, will have to do what all farmers do when weather takes out their crops: salvage what he can and then replant.  Luckily, Ryan loves farming as much as me - you really have to if you are to survive these inevitable setbacks.

Photo by Scott David Gordon Rows of young Beets.  Photo by Scott David Gordon

I feel very grateful that our River Road fields still look great  - except for the fast growing weeds on our newly cultivated land!  The rain we've had has both spurred on this weed growth and made it too wet for us to cultivate.   As I said last week, it is amazing to see how quickly the onset of Spring transforms the fields.  To experience this incredible growth, we need rain, so I really can't complain about the weeds.  I asked our Harvest Manager, Vicente, what was different about our farm now compared to last Spring.  His immediate reply was that he and his crew no longer have anywhere to play soccer now that the entire farm is planted in vegetables and cover crops.  What was the soccer field is full of dandelion greens....  He also said there's a lot more work to be done, but experience has made the crew more able to handle it all.  Harvesting is hard work, and we are always looking for ways to make it physically easier for our staff.   This includes things like using bulk bins that can be fork-lifted or using a tractor to pull a trailer for easy in-field harvest loading.  As Vicente noted, we are learning from our experience.

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

CSA members - just a quick reminder from me about the free farm tour on Saturday, April 26th from 10am to 12pm at our River Road farm.  I know I have been going on and on about how fantastic the farm looks (despite the weeds!) - now, you need to come see if for yourself.  For the tour, we will be going on a 1.5 mile walk around part of the farm, so I recommend you wear comfortable shoes that can get muddy.  Also, you will have the option of participating in some hands-on activities, so I would wear clothes that can get dirty, too. These activities include harvesting your own carrots and being part of a "crop mob."   The crop mob is going to attack the weeds in our onion fields!   I hope you will head out and bring your whole family - I want you to see what your support as a CSA member has helped to create.   Plus, it's a fantastic way to get to know how and where your food is grown.  Hope you can make it on the 26th.  This is a free event for all CSA members, but it is helpful to us to know how many people are coming.  So, if you plan to attend, please register using this link.  Thank you!

Brenton leads a tour of JBG & leads people by rows of spinach. Last year, Brenton leads a tour of JBG by rows of spinach.

IMAGES FROM THE FARM

04/09/14 — Farm

Photo by Scott David Gordon Texas Prickly Poppy. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Spring is here - the evidence is in our fields!  Check out all of these beautiful images of blooming flowers captured by our photographer, Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon Purple Prairie Verbena. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Pink Evening Primrose. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

COOKING WITH CELERIAC

04/09/14 — Farm

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Don't let the appearance of the celery root (celeriac) in your CSA box scare you away - it's a surprisingly delicious vegetable with a taste that's been likened to a cross between celery and parsley with a slightly nutty flavor.  You just have to get beyond its less-than-appealing exterior! Celeriac has the texture of a potato and can be cooked in similar ways - mashed, pureed, roasted, fried, and in soups, salads, and gratins to name a few.  Native to the Mediterranean region and a member of the parsley family,  it has also been popular in Europe for a long time; in fact, the first record of celeriac as a food plant in France was back in 1623.   You can help the US catch up by checking out these recipe links below:

Celeriac Recipes: Purée, Mash, Salad And More from the Huffington Post

You Can't Judge A Celery Root By Its Looks from NPR

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO PLANT YOUR OWN GARDEN!

04/09/14 — Farm

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Just a reminder that our  Organic Transplant Sale is still going on - it's not to late to do your own Spring planting!  This Saturday, April 12, from 10am to 2pm, you can come select the plants you need from our Greenhouse at 9515 Hergotz Lane, Austin, TX 78742.

We will have a wide selection of certified organic transplants including tons of Heirloom, cherry, San Marzano, and large red tomatoes, tomatillos, sweet & hot peppers, onions, seed potatoes, eggplant, squash, zucchini, basil, kale, swiss chard, watermelon, lettuces, kale, broccoli, cabbage, okra, cauliflower and spinach.  See you this Saturday!
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