Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Monday, April 11, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 1 -- Chard!

Roots Farm CSA Week 1: April 12

This Week:
-Swiss Chard
-Sweet Charlie Strawberries
-Sweet Onions (“Vidalia-type Yellow Granex) -Green Scallions-Astro Arugula
-Lettuce Mix-Herbs: Dill
Roots Newsletters . . . Welcome to the Roots Blog, home of our weekly CSA newsletter, workday announcements, and various farm musings. Newsletters generally upload on Monday or Tuesday of each week and include announcements of what you may find in your baskets this week, photos, recipes, farm news, events announcements, and more. RECIPES will always be at the end of the blog, so scroll down if that’s what you’re looking for. Otherwise, read on . . .

First CSA Pickup!
Well, here we are--our first week of CSA pickups for 2011--wow! Is it that time already? Well, it’s actually 2 weeks earlier for us than we’ve ever begun before. Thanks for joining us on this new adventure! And it has been an adventure so far. Mishaps in the greenhouse, mice in the germination chamber, and slow-growing days of short sunlight--all have cropped up for us this Spring and have been plentiful providers of learning opportunities if not of produce plants. But we’re prevailing. Nothing gets us to learn like pushing our limits and we’re learning what it takes to have food ready earlier and earlier into the Spring. Thankfully, the weather has been in our favor and things have really put on a growth spurt this last week. Those plants are moving and changing FAST! Which means more food for everyone today. Yay!

Summer CSA Sold Out!
Thanks for your help pointing folks in our direction. This past week we sold our final Summer CSA share. We may re-open to accepting members later in the summer when veggies are plentiful, but for now, our shares are all full. Anyone you know that’s interested can sign up for our WAITING LIST to get first notification of when we re-open. All they have to do is email us at and write “WAITING LIST” in the subject line. We’d love to have a long waiting list and the CSA always full, so keep spreading the word. Thanks again, folks!

Workday Success!
Our Saturday weekend workday went great! We had 15 people out here on the farm--transplanting, shovelling, shaping beds, applying compost, weeding, mulching, and fighting back the honeysuckle from our fenceline. It was an amazingly beautiful morning full of industrious folks. Followed by another round of Becky’s kale and scallion quiche and Sara’s carrot muffins. We’ll host another next month, so mark your calendars--Saturday, May 14th is the next one! Join us!

Farm News
Our new walk-in cooler is now operational--all we’ve got left to do is apply the finishing touches! It’ll be nice for us to have that much more cold space on hand. Last year, we maxed out our 5 refrigerators and were still shuffling things into coolers--not this year! This year, there’s enough cold space to walk in and look around, to be towered over by cool produce, to pack things with elbow space to spare in their boxes--yay! Exciting times.

In the field, the braising mix and kale are growing quickly now and will be ready soon--maybe even next week! The sweet onions are really bulbing up and taking on some size. Turnips will be coming out next week. And the heads of lettuce are filling out right on schedule. We’re seeding tomatoes and basil in the greenhouse, and arugula, beans, and corn in the fields. The pasture is one red wave of blooming crimson clover, and the strawberry plants are about to be another red wave of fruit.

Event: Conscious Movement, Conscious Food -- Wednesday, April 20th
Don’t forget! Next week Roots Farm is partnering with Sangha Yoga Studio and the Foundry Park Inn & Spa to bring you Conscious Movement, Conscious Food -- an evening of Hatha yoga and delicious local delights. Wednesday, April 20th! Give your body the deluxe treatment. Join Sangha Yoga Studio's founding director Meghan Burke for an ALL LEVELS HATHA YOGA CLASS in a twinkle-lit ballroom . . . stretching, breathing, detoxifying . . . from 6-7:15pm ($10). Followed by a delicious, 3 course vegetarian or vegan meal prepared by executive chef Martin Smetana of the Foundry Park Inn & Spa using produce supplied by your very own Roots Farm at 7:30pm ($15.95 + tax & gratiuity). You can reserve your space for either yoga, the dinner, or both by calling the Foundry Park Inn by April 18th: 706-410-1968. You’ve experienced our food in your kitchen--now see what a professional chef will create in his! Hope to have you with us!

Event: Old-Timey Seed Swap -- Saturday, April 30th
Here’s something you might be interested in--get ready for the 14th Annual Old-Timey Seed Swap. The Seed Swap is brought to you by FOLK and PLACE with help from The Center for Integrative Conservation Research (CICR) and UGA Anthropology Society. Join us on Saturday, April 30th from 1pm until the campfire dies at Grove Creek Farm (formerly Agrarian Connections Farm) in Crawford, GA, only fifteen minutes east of Athens.

Since 1996, the Old-Timey Seed Swap has been a place for folks to share stories, knowledge, music, and heirloom seeds in the spirit of preserving and reviving the South’s traditional agricultural ways.

Come enjoy kids’ activities, including games and face-painting, live foot-stompin’ music (bring your instruments for the evening fire-side jam!), and delicious local whole-hog BBQ. Browse the booths of local artisans and farmers, and don’t forget to bring seeds and plants to swap!

Locally produced food and drinks provided by PLACE, SlowFood Athens, and the Clamberskull Brew Collective. $5 food donation and $3 for drinks--or bring a side dish to share. Bring a chair/blanket to sit and a mug for drinks!

For directions visit

Featured Veggies . . .
Each week, I’ll feature a fruit or veggie that’s appearing in your baskets and provide some recipe ideas for how to use it. You can also check the recipes page of our website for links to five years worth of recipes, all listed by vegetable. Plus, we have copies of the cookbook From Asparagus to Zucchini for sale--it’s one of our favorites and was created for CSA members like yourselves! Ask us for a copy for your home!

Swiss Chard
Facts: Chard (Beta vulgaris) is a close relative of the beet that has been cultivated for its leaves instead of its roots. The leaves are big and tender and often substituted for spinach in recipes (which it’s also related to). Indigenous to the Mediterranean, chard is often referred to as Swiss chard due to its initial description by a Swiss botanist in the 16th century. Chard is high in vitamins A, E, and C, and minerals like iron and calcium.
Storage: Keep your chard in a closed plastic bag--air is your enemy and will cause this delicate green to wilt quite quickly (though you can revive it by soaking it in cold water for a while). Chard will keep for a week or more in good conditions. Cooking: Most often, folks like to de-stem chard and cook the stems for longer than the leaves. It’s a texture issue that I’ll leave to your personal preferences. You can use chard as you would any leafy green. Chard is good in salads, on sandwiches, in casseroles, stews, and more! Try it massaged! Bake it into lasagne! Either way, you’ll be seeing it often this year, so go ahead and begin experimenting to find your favorite recipe!


Massaged Chard
1 bunch chard, de-stemmed
1 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp molasses or honey
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

De-stem the chard and chop or julienne it into bite-size pieces. Place the chard in a large bowl or tupperware and drizzle the rest of the ingredients over it. Then, either massage the chard with your hands for 3-5 minutes or put the lid on and shake it vigorously in all directions. Taste and adjust for your flavor preferences. Serve warm or refrigerated. Makes 3-5 servings.

Chard & Arugula Salad with Strawberries

2 cups chard, large stems removed

2 cups arugula

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

Make the vinaigrette first. Add the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and salt to a salad bowl, then gradually add the oil while whisking until emulsified. Add the chard and arugula to the vinaigrette and toss gently. (If your greens are larger than baby sized, I recommend chopping them into bite-size pieces or ribbons.) When greens are lightly coated, transfer to salad plates, top with the strawberries, and finish with a generous grinding of pepper. Makes 8 servings.

Note: to easily create ribbons with your greens, try the chiffonade technique. Stack your greens in a pile, roll them up, then slice the roll thinly and voila! Beautiful delicate ribbons.

Chard Rolls Filled with Winter Vegetables

2 Tbsp olive oil

8 large chard leaves, stems removed and diced finely

1 onion, finely diced

3 carrots, finely diced

½ lb potatoes, finely diced

6-8 cups additional finely diced vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, parsley root, or celery root

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tsp chopped tarragon or ½ tsp dried

salt and freshly milled pepper

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 cup water or vegetable stock

1-2 Tbsp butter or vegetable oil

Put medium pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chard stems, onion, other root vegetables, garlic, and tarragon. Season with ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender, 20-25 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Plunge the chard leaves into water for 4 minutes, then set on a towel to drain. Cut away the thick part of the base of each leaf. Place the leaves, smooth side down, on the counter. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of filling just above the cut notch at the bottom of each leaf, then fold the sides over the filling and roll up the leaves. Keep the remaining filling in the skillet and set the rolls right on top of it. Add the water to the pan, do the leaves with butter or vegetable oil, and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve the rolls with the extra vegetables and their juices. Makes 4 servings. From Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone by Deborah Madison.

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