Week 8 TapRoot Farms 2014 CSA Newsletter

Welcome to Week 8!

The photo to the right was taken by Josh on the weekend: Red cabbage as far as the eye can see!  The farm crew is busy with transplanting and planting right now, especially with some warmer days lately. 


IMPORTANT NOTICES:


Week 4 Meat Share

Welcome to the fourth week of the 2014-2015 TapRoot meat share!

This week your share contains:

A whole Free Range Chicken from Longspell Point Farm.

1 pork steak (fresh or smoked) or 1 pork spare ribs from here at the farm.

1 lb pack of sage and onion sausages made with TapRoot pork by Helen at Salmontail River Farm. They are made with salt, pepper, low gluten rusk, sage, onion and TapRoot pork.

 

Cost breakdown of your share:

Whole chicken @ $5.35/lb, average weight 3.99lbs,                     $21.35

Pork Steak/Spare Ribs @ $5.00/lb average weight 1.59 lb,            $7.95

Sage & Onion Sausages @ $8.50/lb, 1lb pack                                $8.50

                                                                                        Total: $37.80

 

If you're thinking about barbequing any of this week's meat, you might be interested in a recent news story about marinating your meat in dark beer. According to a recent study, the vitamins in dark beers make barbequed meat healthier. Check out the details here.

Quick meat ideas:

Sausages are great cut up and added to pasta sauces. Fresh pork steaks are great cut into thin strips, then used in a stir fry.   

TapRoot Animal Update

The grass is growing! Which means that fences need to go up, be repaired, tightened, or moved. Up at Nathan and my place on Ross Creek Road, we pasture our sheep, free range chickens, and this year TapRoot's cattle. We are buying five beef cattle from Jackie and Stephen Rand who live just up the road. These five will live up at our place for the summer, helping to keep the pastures grazed. There is forty acres up there and with our 32 sheep it's hard to keep the grass under control. You want to keep the grass short, to keep your pastures producing their best. If they are left ungrazed, different types of grass may out compete others and we try to keep a good diversity of grass and legumes. Also if pastures aren't grazed, the next year the new grass will have a hard time growing through the foot of dead grass from the previous season. So, all that to say that it's a mutually beneficial relationship to have the cattle up on our pastures. And, not only do they keep the grass down, but they also fertilize the fields. Our pastures haven't been heavely grazed for a few years now, and where the chickens, sheep, and cattle were last year the new grass is so green and lush. It's lovely to see.

Our (Nathan and Justine's) sheep have just had lambs and it's very lively in the barn. We are keeping all the ewe's to grow our flock, and we sell the rams for meat in the fall after they have grazed all summer. So last year we only had one ram out of all the lambs so we didn't have much meat to sell. This year we got 8 ewe lambs and 8 ram lambs, so we will have lamb to go into the meat share this fall from our farm. This is a typical scene, moms laying down trying to rest, and ruminate, and the lambs crawling all over them like a jungle gym.

The sows are very close to farrowing (having piglets), Josh said he wouldn't be surprised if he went down to check and there were piglets born now. As of yet I haven't heard if he found some. So by next meat share, we will for sure have pictures of new little piglets tromping around the farm.

Our first flock of chickens are going to be ready this Friday, we'll be probably taking in 150 of the biggest ones, and leaving the other to grow a week or so more. So, we'll have our own chicken by next share.

Jocelyn has arrived on the farm this week, and will be taking over the meat shares when I leave on maternity leave in July. We've been having a great time working together and she's excited about taking on the meat share tasks.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about your meat shares you can e-mail me at Justine@taprootfarms.ca 

Have a fantastic few weeks and talk to you next time!


All about Stinging Nettle

This week you are getting a special treat in your share: Nettles!  If you're a seasoned TapRoot member, you'll remember these spring goodies from previous years.  If you are new to the CSA, please take a few minutes to read about these unique and delicious greens:

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) grow in swampy places and riparian corridors along streams throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. They resemble a mint, though they’re in their own botanical family (the Urticaceae). They’re easily identified by their pairs of deltoid (slightly triangular), dentate leaves (opposite-decussate in orientation), with fine spines covering the stems and leaves.

Apart from the slight fact that even the very young plants sting, nettles are a wonderful ingredient to use in soups, pasta dishes, frittatas—basically in any cooked dish where you would use young spinach. They’re certainly worth the slight challenge involved in picking them, for they are rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, flavonoids, histamine, and serotonin—all the great chemicals one needs to reenergize after a cold winter and to combat Spring allergies.

Make sure you always wear gloves when preparing raw nettles!  Check below (and on our Facebook page all week) for lots of recipes and ideas for how to use them!


Recipes

Three different versions of Nettle Soup:

Food for Vikings: Nettle Soup Recipe

Nettle Soup (Nasselsoppa) Recipe from member Monique

www.taprootfarms.ca

SPRING NETTLE SOUP RECIPE                              (902) 542-3277

info@taprootfarms.ca

Submitted by Cyndi Fendley Sweeney

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 TBSP olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 cups brown mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 1 bag TapRoot Farms Nettles: about 2 cups

  • 6-7 cups good quality vegetable or chicken stock

 

Optional: dash of thyme or nutmeg

 

Optional: 1 cup of cream or almond milk. (This adds a richness to the soup but is not necessary. If you are not using the cream, add a little more potato and stock, purely to make the soup stretch.)

Method:

In a large stock pot, ‘sweat’ the onion in the olive oil, covered with a lid over low heat for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil kettle. Carefully tear open the nettle bag (without touching the nettles) pour into a large bowl and cover with the freshly boiled water. Let sit for 2 -3 minutes.

This should remove all the stings from the nettle leaves. Drain, and pick out and discard any stems or hard pieces. Roughly chop.

Add garlic and mushrooms to the onion pot, return the lid and sweat for 5 minutes.

Add chopped potato and stock. Bring to a simmer, partly cover for 15 minutes.

Add nettles, simmer for 4 minutes. Puree the soup with a hand mixer or blender.

Stir in cream or almond milk if using. Salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

 

 

More Nettle Recipes:

Rustik Magazine: Nettle Pesto, Beer, and Vinegar

Nettle and Goat Cheese Tart

Nettle Pesto with Sundried Tomatoes

Simple Nettle Smoothie

Quinoa Pilaf with TapRoot Nettles

Sandra Winters' Favourite Asparagus Recipe

Asparagus Soup

Sesame Asparagus

Tired of turnip?  Don't turn up your nose!  Turn it into Turnip Spice Cake!


Notes on the Shares

This week's veggie share has two bagged greens (spinach and nettles) and two bunches of onion-family veggies: here's a couple tips in case you're not sure which is which (and mixing up raw nettles for spinach on your salad would be rather unpleasant!). 

The entirety of the green garlic can be used: the bottom white part, even up to the tender green part can be used in any recipe calling for garlic.  Green garlic has a milder, sweeter flavour than garlic cloves.  The top green part will add delicious garlic notes to your next batch of veggie or meat stock.  If you don't have a batch of stock on the go this week, you can throw the green tops in the freezer for addition to stock in the future!


Shares Deliveries: Sunday, May 18, 2014 - Saturday, May 24, 2014

50 Week Veggie Share 2014

Egg Share 2014

Fruit Share 2014

Meat Share 2014


On Friday night, the last four of our Jamaican seasonal workers/family arrived: Bobby (photo right), Cornelius, Wesley, and Ashley.  Welcome back guys!

Look forward to some exciting items to come in the next few weeks: dilly carrots, radishes, asian greens, green onions, and loads of leafy spring greens!

Have a great week,

--The TapRoot Team