Friday, January 13, 2012

Badger Rock Farm Veggie Share Newsletter - Week # 12

Your Weekly Farm Update

It is a landmark week....the season's very first red tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers are making an appearance in your share. Finally! The peppers and tomatoes are just beginning their turn towards ripeness, so there's not a huge abundance of them yet. But having enough to share with each of you this week gives reason to hope for the bounty that is to come. Enjoy!


Salad Mix – Including various lettuces, beet greens, sorrel, mint, dill, johnny-jump-up blooms and calendula petals.
Chard – It has turned into a regular battle with the grasshoppers, and now the blister beetles (one of my least favorite nemeses), for the chard leaves. Row cover fabric helps quite a bit, but I am always impressed at how a few (and sometimes more than a few) clever bugs can sneak underneath and still do their damage. Happily, there were enough (fairly) good-looking leaves to share with you this week.

Chicken & Chard Soup (courtesy of a favorite recipe from

-1 medium chicken, quartered
-1 bunch of chard, trimmed
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-2 medium onions, diced
-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & chopped
-1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
-4 cups chicken broth
-2 cups water
-1 tsp thyme
-1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
-juice of 1 lemon
-2-3 tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pan large enough for the quartered chicken to cover the bottom. Add the chicken skin-side down and cook on medium heat for approx 8 min. Turn over and cook for another 5 min. Remove chicken from the heat and set it aside. Shred the chard by cutting out the stems (you can save them for addition to a salad or another recipe), stacking the stem-less leaves and cutting them into thin 1/4-inch streps. In a 4-qt pot, cook the onion, garlic and jalapeno peppers over medium heat for approx 10 min, or until the onions are translucent (but not brown). Then add the thyme and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the broth, water, tomatoes and chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer gently for 15 min or until the chicken is cooked through and firm to the touch. Remove the chicken and set it aside to cool. Add the chard to the soup and simmer for another 10 min. Remove the chicken skins and cut chicken into bite-sized chunks. Return the meat to the soup, and the parsley and simmer for a couple more minutes. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

Red Rubin Basil – This purple basil tastes like its sweet, green relative, and can be used in any recipe that calls for regular sweet basil.

Cucumbers – This week's share contains a special addition. The smooth-skinned cucumbers are from my garden...the old standby pickling cukes. They are starting to come in but are a bit slow on the uptake. Mary Jane Beadle, who I share a booth with at the Billings farmer's market, had a great abundance of her Orient Express cucumbers (wrinkly skin) and asked if I would like to share them with you. She also does not use sprays, etc, so you can count on their non-toxicity, their quality and, of course, their deliciousness.

Tomatoes – Glacier tomatoes, with their slightly-larger than golf-ball size, were the first to turn red for me this year. You are getting the first of them! The larger tomato is an Opalka, grown from seed saved by my mother-in-law. There were some, but not an overwhelming amount of tomatoes or peppers, so they got combined into a goodie bag of the very first of these summer favorites. There will be more to come, as there are just loads of green tomatoes still on the vine. Can't wait!

Sweet Peppers – Included are green bell peppers and sweet banana peppers (long, thin and yellow).

Here is a recipe that uses your tomatoes, cucumber and peppers:

Veggie Salad with Balsamic Vinegar & Feta

-6 plum tomatoes, diced
-1 small cucumber - peeled, quartered lengthwise, and chopped
-1 green pepper, chopped
-3 green onions, chopped
-1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
-3 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
-salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

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