Summertime Abundance

It must be summer! Our supply of storage potatoes and carrots is too low to allow us to send any more and the rhubarb is pretty much finished, but the new root veggies are coming into their own. We are sending your first summer carrots this week, and will most likely start in on the potatoes next week.

The highlight this week continues to be the peas. You each have a full pail of shelling peas, plus a heaping pail of mixed edible pod peas (Cascadia sugar snap and Oregon Giant snow peas) and a second heaping pail of Chinese Giant. The Chinese Giant look similar to Oregon Giant (only bigger), but taste quite different. We recommend steaming or stir-frying them for best flavour. To help you keep the peas straight, we have put the Chinese Giant in with the shelling peas and broad beans; the other edible pod peas are in a bag with a teaser of green beans. You can look forward to lots more beans next week!


We’ve got lots of greens this week as well. So what are they all? On the left of the photo are rutabaga (winter turnip) greens. These have a milder flavour than the summer turnip greens we sent earlier, and do not have the fuzzy texture when raw. To their right are perpetual spinach and Swiss chard. The chard has the large leaves with colourful (mostly red and yellow, but some white as well) stalks, whereas the spinach has green stems. Both of these are best lightly cooked, and can be eaten stems and all. Ideally, stems should be cooked a few minutes before adding the greens, as they take slightly more cooking.

Second from the right is the kale. We have several types of kale this year, as the curly kale we seeded turned out to be a mix of different varieties. All have deep green leaves and tougher stems that should be removed before eating. And on the right hand side of the photo are beet greens, which come attached to the beets in your order. For nicest texture, I recommend removing them from your beets as soon as you get home, and storing them separately in the refrigerator.

Rounding out this week’s veggies are new lettuce, a nice bundle of bunching onions (and onion thinnings), and your herb bag, featuring basil, parsley, coriander (cilantro), and dill.

We hope you are finding these quantities enough, but not too much. I found that I went through mine rather quickly last week. Not only did we have the whole family home, but we also hosted farm meeting and had family visiting for two days … but I had pretty much finished the veggies before the family arrived on Wednesday afternoon! Sunday’s supper consisted of boiled potatoes and beets, steamed shelling peas, carrot sticks, and the broad bean salad recipe I posted last week.

Monday morning Shawn supplemented some leftover soup with peas, mixed greens and herbs, dried beans, and noodles. We ate this with raw sugar snap peas on the side. For supper that night we had a big batch of beans and greens (recipe below) with cornbread (and I added green onions to the cornbread), more raw sugar snap peas, and carrot sticks.

Tuesday morning we had stewed rhubarb and strawberries for breakfast (4 cups diced rhubarb, 2 cups diced strawberries, 1/4 cup honey) along with fried eggs and roasted potatoes. (When I have leftover diced boiled potatoes from supper, I keep them in the cellar overnight then roast them in the oven while the rest of breakfast is cooking.) We had leftover soup for lunch, along with sugar snap peas and lettuce salad (with the last head of lettuce from the previous week’s order, green onions, and dill). For supper I made pizza with basil, cilantro, and green onions as toppings. By then, all that was left of our order were green onions, cilantro, and mint. The mint we made into tea over the following couple of days. The cilantro we had with a Mexican style soup, and the green onions went into salads and were served with burgers. We supplemented with more of just about everything!

This week may be more of a challenge though, as Shawn and the kids leave tomorrow morning for a 6-day holiday with his parents, leaving me on my own with a bountiful veggie order. Wish me luck!

Garlicky Beans and Greens

4 cups cooked dried beans

about 6 cups loosely packed mixed greens, rinsed and chopped

1 Tbsp oil

2-4 Tbsp minced garlic

a couple sprigs of summer savory

salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the garlic and summer savory for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the beans and heat until warmed through. Add the greens and stir until they are wilted but still bright green. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chopped green onions.

Plenty of Pods!!

This is the week when your veggie bags are less dominated by greens (though they’re still in there!) and more filled with a variety of pods. We started last week with the sugar snap peas (and shelling peas for our mid-week pick up date), and now we’ve got two types of edible pod peas and two varieties of shelling peas, plus some young broad beans. So which are which??

To help you out, we’ve kept the shelling peas in a separate bag from the edible pod peas. The two varieties of shelling peas are interchangeable as far as eating is concerned. Knight (on the left), has broader pods and is our earliest shelling pea. Homesteader, our main crop, has a rounder shape. We picked these for the first time this morning, and they are what you will see most of in the coming weeks.

shelling peas.jpg

As for the edible pod peas, we picked the last of the Sugar Anns (below right, our earliest pea) this morning and did a first run on the Oregon Giant (below left). These are more of a sugar pea, but are delightful in that they can get quite round and mature and still taste wonderful. In our family, these are most often eaten raw, but they are also wonderful lightly steamed or in a stir fry.

edible pod peas.jpg

The other pods this week are Windsor Broad beans. These are commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking, though less well known around here. We picked them a bit smaller than we have in the past and are curious to know which way you prefer them. Please let us know your thoughts! We will be eating ours tonight in a salad from Arab Cooking on a Saskatchewan Homestead.

broad beans

Broad Bean Salad

1 lb. shelled and cooked broad beans

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

4 Tbsp chopped green onions

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients well and serve.


Other new items this week include Swiss chard, perpetual spinach, basil, and purple basil (the latter two are pictured above). The purple basil is new this year, and has a delightful licorice/anise flavour. We’re curious to know what you think. Our green basil is later than usual this year, as it suffered a mild touch of frost about a month back and was looking pretty awful. Fortunately, it now appears to be on the path to recovery.

The Swiss chard and perpetual spinach are a bit tricky to tell apart, but can be used pretty much interchangeably (though my husband, who won’t normally eat Swiss chard, does like perpetual spinach. I think it has a milder flavour.) To help with the distinction, we only planted Bright Lights Swiss chard this year, so most of the stems are red, yellow, or purple. Both of these greens are best lightly cooked.

This week’s orders are rounded out by storage potatoes and carrots, baby beets (with greens), green onions (thinnings of our winter onions), rhubarb (the last for the season, unless anyone would like to request a little more), kale, parsley, summer savory, mint, dill, and coriander. Our second seeding of coriander is hitting its prime and will likely be bolting soon, so let me know if you would like extra next week.

So, how did my family enjoy last week’s order? Once again, it was an unusual week (I guess that’s how summer goes!), as Shawn and our younger son were in Saskatoon for the week, leaving just 3 of us home to enjoy the veggies. Monday evening we had a strawberry spinach salad with rhubarb dressing (recipe below), whole beet skillet (recipe below), potatoes (with dill on the side), and some of the Sugar Ann peas.

For lunch on Tuesday we ate leftover salad, some more peas, half of the radishes, and finely chopped dill with our biscuits and creamy cheese. Supper that night was Farm Meeting at Tom and Judy’s, so I didn’t cook.

Wednesday we drank mint tea (we make this most mornings by putting two sprigs of mint in our teapot, filling it with boiling water, and drinking throughout the day. If it’s very hot, we’ll make another pot at suppertime, as our water filter can’t keep up! I made Monday evening’s leftovers into a soup, which we ate for lunch, along with the rest of the peas and radishes. For supper, we ate about half the kale in a vegetable oven pancake (recipe below), which we ate along with carrot sticks, some shelling peas (not part of Monday’s order, but who can resist?!?), the last of the spinach salad, and a lettuce salad (with parsley, dill, and summer savory).

Thursday for lunch we had egg salad sandwiches with parsley and lettuce. I found the core of the lettuce was spoiling, so a lot went to the chickens. I hope you didn’t have too much spoiling lettuce on your hands! I guess the patch was further past its prime than we had realized. The chickens are enjoying it, and the second seeding should be ready for next week’s orders! For supper we had carrot sticks, potatoes, and refried beans with lettuce, green onions, salsa, and lots of cilantro.

Friday’s breakfast included roasted leftover potatoes, stewed rhubarb and strawberries (3 cups rhubarb, 3 cups strawberries, 1/4 cup honey), and fried eggs. We had leftover soup for lunch, and a supper stir fry of carrots, Oregon Giant peas, green onions, and the rest of the greens and herbs from Monday’s order, with rice and baked paneer on the side.

The leftovers were incorporated into soup for yesterday’s lunch, and for supper Shawn made a spaghetti squash casserole (made with a couple of our last remaining squash from last fall!) to take to a potluck supper.

Items left over: a few potatoes (still!), a head of lettuce, and a few pieces of rhubarb. Items we used more than the order of: carrots, peas, coriander.

Rhubarb dressing

Cook 2 cup chopped rhubarb with 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup vinegar (I used homemade strawberry vinegar) until soft. Drain in sieve and discard pulp (the chickens enjoyed mine!). To 6 Tbsp of this juice, add 3/4 cup oil (I used yogurt instead), 2-3 Tbsp grated onion, 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 tsp salt. Shake in a jar or whisk together.

Whole Beet Skillet

4-6 medium beets with fresh greens

Cut off greens, leaving about an inch of stem on the beets. Place the beets in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil 15-30 minutes, until tender. Drain and immerse in cold water, then slip off skins and slice. In the meantime, cut stems and leaves (separately). Saute stems in 1-2 Tbsp butter until tender. Add greens and saute until bright green and tender. Add sliced beets and heat through. Stir in 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1-2 tsp grated ginger root, and 1-2 tsp honey.

Vegetable Oven Pancake

While oven heats to 400, melt 1 Tbsp butter in a 9″ pie plate. Swirl pan to grease bottom and sides.

Steam 2/3 cup asparagus (or other veggies — I used a couple cups of kale this time) and place in bottom of pie pan.

Blend 3/4 cup milk, 2/3 cup flour, 2 eggs, and 1/4 tsp salt. Pour over veggies and bake until golden brown (20-25 minutes). Top with 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

These 3 recipes are all adapted from Simply in Season.


Buried in Greens?

First off, a cress update I’ve been meaning to post for a while: I got brave and added very finely chopped cress to my favourite potato salad recipe and it was fabulous! We enjoyed the salad so much I made it again for the Largo Farm summer party last Saturday. Speaking of which, a big thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the day with us. It was wonderful to spend the afternoon and evening with you. And what a potluck!!

My potato salad success inspired me to try cress in a black bean salad as well. Once again, I chopped it so finely that I couldn’t even tell that it was there … though I’m sure it added to the flavour. Too bad cress season is over.

Last week was a bit of an unusual week for us as the kids and I were in Saskatoon for two days, leaving Shawn on his own with the bags of greens, and as soon as three of us returned, Shawn headed out himself. This made using our lettuce a bit more of a challenge! I did make a big lettuce and herb salad for our church potluck on Sunday evening, and another for supper on Monday. Monday morning I made stewed rhubarb (the recipe I posted last week). I used the multiplier onions and summer savory in a Greek stew I made for supper. While we were away, Shawn made a big dish of pasta with asparagus, spinach, and beans. We were eating the leftovers for a couple of days after we got back.

For supper on Thursday, I used most of the remaining greens (primarily orach) to make greens with peanut sauce (recipe below). This dish is intended to be served over rice noodles, but I usually serve it over potatoes instead. I used the last of the orach in a frittata for Friday’s breakfast (recipe below). We were eating leftovers for the rest of the weekend, except for the two potlucks we attended, lettuce and herb salads in hand!

So what was left over from our order this week? A few potatoes, which we should have no trouble eating this week. What did we head out and pick more of? Lots and lots of herbs! I realized that when I make a lettuce salad, I tend to use about 2/3 lettuce and 1/3 herbs (parsley, dill, cilantro, arugula). We have been eating minced herbs (either dill or cilantro) with a homemade cream cheese on our bread at lunch and I tend to throw as much cilantro as I can into everything. Our soups also tend to be loaded with herbs, so we use lots! I’m curious to know which veggies others have a hard time with, and which ones you could use more of too.

This week’s order has some exciting new additions: Sugar Ann (sugar snap) peas and baby beets (with shelling peas and Oregon Giant snow peas coming soon)! We’ve still got storage potatoes and carrots (these may even last until the new ones are ready), and a second taste of radishes. Sadly, these ones are not quite as lovely as the first seeding; many have succumbed to root maggots. These pesky creatures have also decimated our summer turnips (hope you enjoyed the greens, as I’m afraid this is all you will see of the turnips) and are going after our kale as well. The kale in today’s orders was almost entirely salvage – plants that were damaged by the insects but not yet killed. Let’s hope the worms clear off soon!

Our other recent disappointment is that about three quarters of our zucchini plants got destroyed by heavy winds. Fortunately, it was still early enough to replant and the seedlings are coming up nicely. They should enjoy this heat! The tomatoes and peppers are certainly loving it. The peppers have been looking a little pale, but have become vibrant and healthy looking in the sun. No peppers for a while yet, but some of the plants are budding…

You will notice there are somewhat fewer greens in this week’s order (even with the beautiful beet greens that we included). The orach is finished for the season, and this week’s order includes the last of the “true” spinach. Next week we will start in on the perpetual spinach, which isn’t quite as nice for eating raw, but works very well for cooked spinach dishes. You are also receiving the last of the first seeding of lettuce. It’s not quite as lovely as it has been, but there are still a few good salads in there! Next week we hope to have some thinnings of the second seeding.

Herbs this week are dill, cilantro (coriander – volunteers are done and this is now our seeded row), parlsey, summer savory, and mint. The orders also include multiplier onions (which are getting bigger onions on them, and still have lovely green tops) and rhubarb. Bon appetit!

Peanut Sauce with Stir Fried Greens

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt

Whisk together. My recipe says to blend in 1/3 to 1/2 cup hot water, but I like it at full strength.

Place 6 cups washed and finely chopped greens (orach, kale, spinach etc) in a pot or skillet and cook (in the water that clings to their leaves) until just wilted. Add sauce to the greens and serve on cooked noodles or potatoes.

Greek Spinach Frittata

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium potato, cut into quarters and thinly sliced

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

4 cups rinsed, stemmed spinach (or green of choice, I used orach)

1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

4 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup grated feta or Swiss cheese

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the potatoes and onions covered, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes, until the onions have softened and the potatoes are partially tender. Stir in the spinach. When it wilts, add the dill, and salt and pepper if desired. Add the eggs and sprinkle on the cheese. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, until the eggs are set and golden on the bottom.

My First Summer Share

We decided to try a new experiment this summer: our family will receive a full vegetable share every week, just as many of our members do. The first couple pick-ups were so large (with the Saskatoon and Battlefords groups picking up on the same day) that we didn’t want to add another order to the mix. But last week our delivery days were separated, so we initiated the Sanford Beck family share.

There are several motivations behind this project. We know that it is often difficult for new members to incorporate a CSA share into their meal planning and thought that if we shared what we were doing with the vegetables, it might help. We are also never sure how much is enough, and how much is too much, in terms of order size and, recognizing that the answer will be different for every family, we wanted to see how the order size meshes with our own eating. And, being accustomed to simply eating what we want from the garden, I have to admit that there are some items we don’t normally eat. It seems a little backwards for me to be advising others on how to eat foods that I’m not eating myself, so I wanted to challenge myself to cook with these less favoured items.

Our weekly menu began with a potluck supper on Sunday night, to which we took a black bean salad (with coriander and spinach from the order) and a green salad (with half our lettuce and many herbs, both in the salad and in the yogurt-based dressing). Monday we had an Australian meat pie with steamed asparagus, carrot sticks, and the rest of Sunday’s salad. Tuesday the leftover bean salad and asparagus were made into soup for lunch. We hosted our weekly farm meeting that evening, so I made a big greens casserole (recipe below — I doubled it for the 9 of us), which used our full share of orach and turnip greens, mashed potatoes (our full order of potatoes, mashed with yogurt, dill, and green onions), and a salad that used up the rest of our lettuce. Wednesday morning I cooked up the rhubarb for breakfast fruit (my favourite recipe is 4 cups chopped rhubarb, 1/2 cup honey, 1 Tbsp tapioca, and 1 tsp cinnamon cooked until soft). Since then, we have helped ourselves to more lettuce and herbs.

So what is still sitting in the cellar five days after the order arrived? Cress. I’m going to need some help on this one. I put some in Sunday’s salad, but I find the flavour strong. Judy loves hers in potato salad. I couldn’t find a potato salad recipe that calls for cress, and am not so confident in experimenting with this potent green. I’ve got some books on greens on hold at the library — maybe they will provide some guidance!

This week’s order will look quite similar to the last one, with a few subtle seasonal shifts. Our first seeding of lettuce is at its peak, so we will be sending a full bag of lettuce with each full share. The second bag will contain a mixture of orach and spinach (most likely a new variety, Lorelei, that is slower to bolt). We will also start sending the multiplier onions (to use as green onions — I got a head start this week) and your herb bag will contain some kale thinnings, along with cress, sorrel, dill, coriander, parsley, and summer savory. And there will be 6 more stalks of rhubarb. (If anyone wants extra for preserving or a big batch of baking, let us know.) We will hold off on the turnip greens, but if anyone especially likes them, let us know and we will be happy to throw some in.

Chard Cheese Bake

1 lb. swiss chard or other cooking greens (I used a full order of orach and turnip greens for a double recipe)

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

1 cup grated cheese (Swiss or other, I used homemade mozza)

1 cup bread, cubed

1/2 cup green onions

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Place the washed and cut greens in a covered pot or skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted. Drain well and combine with remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 2 L baking dish and bake at 375 until set (25-30 minutes).

Summer Party Coming Right Up

Before I share the details of this week’s veggie order, I wanted to remind everyone about our annual summer party that is coming up next Saturday, June 24. Anyone interested in visiting the farm and spending some time with the farm community is most welcome to come out anytime after 2 p.m. Weather permitting, we will spend some time at the beach in the afternoon, followed by a potluck supper at 5 p.m. and evening bonfire. We hope that many of you (members, friends, neighbours, other curious people!) will be able to join us. Please let me know if you need a map.

As for the veggies, this week’s order features two new greens: turnip greens and cress.  Some people consider turnip greens a delicacy, so as our summer turnips are in need of thinning, we decided to send some along (on top of the asparagus and orach). Below you can see the row, with the newly thinned section on the left and the section awaiting thinning on Sunday on the right. Their slightly fuzzy texture disappears when they are cooked, so we highly recommend eating them steamed or stir-fried (or however you use cooked greens).

You are also receiving your first instalment of garden cress (pictured below). This is a green with some bite. It goes especially well with potato or egg salads, and can also add some tang to a lettuce salad.

Since the photo of sorrel somehow escaped from my last post, I have also added it below. This week’s orders also contain sorrel, but I still haven’t had a chance to try the rhubarb sorrel crisp!

Other items in this week’s order include storage potatoes and carrots, rhubarb, the last of the season’s asparagus, the last of our Bloomsdale spinach (but never fear, a slightly later variety, Lorelei, will be ready for next week), lettuce, coriander, dill, and the last of the bok choy. We decided to give the parsley and summer savory a chance to strengthen their roots this week, but they will return with your next order.

Sorrel Surprise

 We ended up adding one more new item to your herb bags this week: sorrel. This is an early spring green with a lemony tang to it. We’ve had a plant for a couple of years now and this spring we got a whole pile of volunteers. Some I transplanted into a row for future years’ harvests and some we are including with your order. I particularly like it chopped up fine in a salad but have also heard of it used in a French soup. I even have a rhubarb sorrel crisp recipe, but haven’t managed to try it yet. Maybe this week… And I can pass on the recipe if it’s any good!

Bring on the Sheep!

This week we welcomed five new additions to our farm family: two ewes and their three lambs. It has been nearly four years since there have been sheep on the farm and we are excited to welcome these ones to our home. They come to us via our friends Tyler and Dianne at Lazy Plum Farm near Shell Lake, who called a few weeks ago to let us know that they had more sheep than pasture and to offer us these Icelandic crosses. A carload of us went up on Wednesday to pick them up, and enjoyed a farm tour and fabulous supper with Tyler, Dianne, and neighbours. Dianne also offered us some fleece, and Judy has been spinning up a storm!

Throughout the week we have also been busy doing transplanting of the more conventional sort, and are delighted that all but five flats of our bedding plants are now snugly nestled into the garden. If it hadn’t rained today, we would have finished the lot, but our plants are happy for the moisture and we are happy for the rest.

Unfortunately, some of our cool-weather crops have not held up to the hot weather that allowed for this early transplanting. Sadly, the lovely radishes you enjoyed last week are no more. We will keep our fingers crossed for a nice second seeding, but I’m afraid that these ones are now pig food. The spinach, bok choy, coriander, and arugula are also beginning to bolt, so we will harvest generously this week. We know that some people have a strong aversion to coriander; if you would prefer not to receive any, please let us know and we would be happy to oblige.

This is the second year we have grown bok choy and are still figuring it out. Last year its early bolting surprised us. This year we were more prepared, but are still surprised by how small the plants are when they prepare to set seed. The flavour is lovely, so we’ll send out what we’ve got, and see if manure mulching and earlier thinning lead to larger plants next year. They taste great in a salad, stir fry, or soup.

Not a lot of arugula came up this year, so you will only be getting a tease — and a flea-beetle nibbled tease at that. We will save some of the plants for seed so that we can sow more abundantly next year. My favourite way to enjoy arugula is chopped up finely and mixed into a lettuce salad to give it a bit of zest.

We are also coming to the end of asparagus season, so be forewarned that next week will be your final asparagus until next spring! If all goes well, you will soon be compensated by the arrival of peas: our earliest variety is currently in bloom.

This week’s order is rounded out by storage potatoes and carrots, lettuce, parsley, orach, and rhubarb. If you would like larger quantities of rhubarb, please let us know and we would be happy to oblige.

I know orach is still unfamiliar to some of you, so here is one of my favourite ways to enjoy it:

Baked Orach, Beans, and Cheese

1 lb dried beans

2 1/4 lbs fresh orach

4 oz. feta cheese (I often substitute homemade paneer)

1 cup plain yogurt

4 green onions, chopped

1 cooking onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes or tomato juice

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

3/4 cup dry bread crumbs


Soak beans overnight, then cook in a large pot of water until tender. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Rinse orach, remove thick stems, coarsely chop, and transfer to a colander to drain.

Combine feta with yogurt, then mix in orach, green onions, onion, and dill. Mix well.

Spread half of the orach mixture over the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 pan. Spread an even layer of beans overtop, then remaining orach mixture. Spread Cheddar cheese and tomatoes over top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and spread an even layer of bread crumbs on top.

Bake at 350 for about 1 1/2 hours. Vegetables should be soft and their liquid almost evaporated. Let stand 15-20 minutes before serving.

The Season of Promise

Here on the farm, spring is the season of promise. The time when anything is possible. The time when we can dream big and imagine the perfect garden, no weeds, no potato beetles, no drought. Of course, we know that this perfect garden exists only in the land of dreams, that plenty of challenges will arise along the way. But it’s still fun to dream. And this year, so far, our dreams feel justified.

We’ve been gardening almost two months already and between last fall’s moisture and the early start this year, the gardens are looking fabulous. Our winter members have already benefitted from our abundant asparagus crop. With the start of the new season this week-end, our summer members will be enjoying the usual spring pleasures: rhubarb, more asparagus, and orach.

For those of you who are not familiar with orach, it is a relative of lamb’s quarters, but with larger leaves, and is our earliest spring green. The small leaves make a lovely salad, either on their own or mixed with other veggies (potatoes, asparagus) or dried beans. Larger leaves are better cooked, and can be used anywhere you would normally use cooked spinach or other cooking greens.

In addition to these staples of the first June order, we are also delighted to be able to share some of the abundance of last fall’s harvest (in the form of storage potatoes and a few carrots) and some exciting spring treats. We have the finest radishes and spinach that I have seen since moving to the farm four years ago. They are at their prime and we are delighted to be able to send them out to you this week! Amazingly, we also have a sneak peak at the lettuce that will be soon to come in greater quantities, and a few snippets of herbs. Ahh, the delights of spring!

Good Food, Good Company

Last week-end we had our first ever spring sign-up meeting in Saskatoon and it was well-worth the drive! Many thanks to our hosts, Maritza and Chabelo, and to all the members who were able to join us.

We very much enjoyed the chance to visit with you all, and to sample all the delicious winter veggie dishes you prepared. Tricia has shared her recipe for scalloped potatoes and carrots below, and if anyone else would like to pass their recipe along I would be happy to post it too.

Here on the farm, we continue to enjoy the delights of spring. Chives are up and thriving, and this weekend we had our first taste of asparagus. Yours will be on its way in the coming weeks, as soon as we have enough! The orach and rhubarb are coming along well for the beginning of the summer veggie season, our garlic looks fabulous, and radishes, lettuce, spinach, onions, dill, coriander, and peas are all peeking up to enjoy the sunshine. We’ve also got a lovely crop of volunteer sorrel next to the chives, alongside the one original plant, and are thinking of moving some of them into a row in hopes of expanding our selection of early greens next year.

In the greenhouse, we’ve got a lovely array of celery plants; some thriving young herbs: basil, purple basil (new this year!), summer savory, and parsley; and an ever-expanding number of pots of peppers and tomatoes. Lots to look forward to in the weeks and months to come!

In the meantime, this week you will be receiving your final major installment of winter veggies: potatoes, carrots, and beets. The carrot quantities will be somewhat down this month, and instead you will be receiving extra beets. Time for borscht and beet salad as we await the spring greens!

Tricia’s Late Winter Scalloped Potato and Carrot Crock-pot

This is a recipe detailing what I actually did for the dish that I shared at the potluck based on what I had on hand that needed to be used up.  That is usually how I cook, so feel free to substitute ingredients at will.  I am guessing at quantities since I am not much of a measurer.

4lbs yellow and white potatoes (well aged by May, not sure the variety names but it is whatever Largo sends through the winter.  I think I used about 5 of each)

       -Scrubbed and peeled, cut into thin slices about the size of a twoonie

1lb carrots (I think I used about 5)

        -Scrubbed and peeled, cut into thin slices about the size of a twoonie

1/4lb Yellow Onion (didn’t have any left so I bought these at the store. Used 2)

1tbsp bacon lard (I save my bacon fat, it is great for all kinds of cooking especially roue)

2tbsp pastry flour (I ran out of all purpose flour)

400ml can of Coconut Milk (Have way too many of these, they were on sale and I didn’t have much 3% milk.  This milk separates into cream and water, I added everything to the pot)

1/2 C Whipped Topping (Leftover from a strawberry shortcake earlier this week)

1/4 C 3% Milk (I wasn’t sure if the coconut milk would be too watery to thicken so I erred on the side of caution)

2 C Grated Medium Cheddar Cheese (used 3/4 of the block!)

1/2 C White Cheddar Cheese Curd (Poutine grade curd, this was the last of it.  Stringy when melted)

For this recipe I used a crockpot set to high for 6 hours.

Layer the base of the pot with overlapping potatoes of alternating colors. (white, yellow, white, yellow, etc)  Sprinkle layer with salt and pepper.  Add a layer of onions. Add a layer of carrots. 

It was at this point that I made the sauce.  The pot was getting thick with veggies and I was worried that the sauce would not filter through everything if I added it only to the top.  In a saucepan, melt lard and then add small quantities of flour while stirring until you get balls of dough.  Slowly add milk while stirring. (If you add too much liquid, the roue doesn’t dissolve and your sauce is chunky.)  Once all the milks are added, then put in the cheeses and heat until melted.

Back to the crockpot.  Spoon cheese sauce over the layers, probably about 1C or 1/3 of the sauce.  Repeat the layers.  Potato, onion, carrot, sauce, etc.  For my dish I had 3 layers.  Cover crockpot and leave to cook.  Enjoy with a large group of friends.

Signs of Spring

 The snow has pretty much melted, the mud is drying up, and the Dutch chives (above) are poking through the soil. Must be spring!!

We had a lovely spring sign-up meeting in the Battlefords on Sunday afternoon — with thanks to Jen and Andrew, our hosts, and all who were able to attend! It’s always energizing to hear of your enthusiasm for good vegetables, and exciting to hear your ideas for the coming season. Thanks to member requests and fellow gardeners’ rave reviews at Seedy Saturday events, we’re hoping to try a few new things this year: curly kale (provided we can find seed), a slower-to-bolt spinach (lorelei), and filet beans (comtesse de chamborg). We’re also going to give bok choy another go — with seed that we saved from last year’s plants, many of which bolted before we realized it was time to harvest them.

I can’t wait to get started! As soon as the greenhouse gets going for the season (this weekend, I believe) I will be in there starting our pepper plants — both Red Bell and Hot Hungarian Wax. Garlic will probably be going into the ground within the next couple weeks, after which we’ll get the tomatoes seeded in the greenhouse before heading to Saskatoon at the end of the month for our first-ever Saskatoon sign-up meeting. We can feel the busy season drawing near!

It will be a little while yet though before we are able to enjoy spring greens. In the meantime, let’s continue to make the most of those roots! This  month’s order is down the the bare bones: potatoes, carrots, and beets — with a few bonus heads of garlic thrown in, thanks to the wonderful garlic storage space we’ve been able to make use of at Judy’s sister Betty’s place up the hill.

Here is a salad recipe from Amy Jo Ehman’s Out of Old Saskatchewan Kitchens that is just perfect for this time of year:


2 potatoes

2 beets

2 carrots

2-3 pickles, chopped

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vinegar (optional)

salt and pepper

Boil potatoes, beets, and carrots until cooked. Drain, cool, and peel. Mix vegetables with pickles, onion, oil, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.