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How-to

Unpacking my Capay Farm Fresh To You Shipment

January 3, 2009

I talk frequently in this blog about what I’ve been making with my produce shipment which I began receiving in November, just before Thanksgiving. From the very first shipment I was impressed–I was given not only beautiful, organic produce grown locally which would allow it to last much longer and be eaten much fresher, but also a selection that reflected what I’d be needing for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Thoughtful.

This past Tuesday I received my shipment of the fortnight. It contained a gorgeous napa cabbage (which I have yet to make a salad with), collard greens, radicchio (unfortunately I still have 4 heads left from last shipments ridiculously large allotment, my only complaint), baby bok choy, butternut squash, baby lettuce heads, leeks, red norland potatoes, dino kale (with a lot of high protein bugs! no seriously, kind of an annoyance, but if i wanted pristine looking engineered veggies I’d go to the chain grocery store and eat pestisides instead of bugs), navel oranges and pinova apples.

The first night I sauteed simply the bok choy with chili flakes and garlic and we had it all by itself; another night I used some of the potatoes and the collards with some bacon to make a light meal before we headed out, last night I used a bit more of the Amsterdam Gouda (1 lb block that was given to us) in a scalloped potato dish with more of the potatoes, I boiled the kale and served it with poached eggs, and more.

Needless to say every other Tuesday evening is now spent washing, cutting, tearing and saving greens.

I finally invested in a salad spinner to cut down the time I spend on this, but it’s necessary to do it or most of the items will wilt and go bad before I have a chance to use them. We receive a full shipment but there are only two of us eating away at the box, so we have to make a serious effort to get our money’s worth, despite that it’s a great value ($29 delivered to my door for all of the above!).

For salad greens:

Seperate leaves, remove any bad parts. “Float” in cool water and agitate gently. Repeat if especially dirty in new water. Spin dry (a little moisture left is OK) , wrap in clean papertowels loosely and pack into plastic container, tupperware, or ziplock. Make sure no greens are touching the plastic directly–it will promote spoilage/bacterial growth and will make them go bad more quickly. I like to mix my lettuces at this point and make my own cleaned, ready to use salad mix.

For cooking greens:

Wash in similar manner to salad greens, checking leaves carefully for bugs and larvae. Once clean, remove stems and chop leaves to size you’d like to cook with if you know what you’ll do with them. Retaining some moisture on the leaves, wrap in papertowels and store similarly. Cooking greens (collards, kale, chard) will go dry quickly and become tough if they don’t have enough moisture. If this happens, they can still be used, but I’d recommend boiling or steaming them to restore some texture rather than sauteeing.

For leeks:

Chop any damaged green leaves off the top, leaving some of the firm green leaves (this goes against what most other sites will tell you, but as long as you throw the green part in the pan a bit before the white so they cook evenly, they’re just as delicious. If you hate them, cut them off and reserve them for making stock!). Split the leeks down the center so each is two long peices. Submerge in cool water in a bowl and agitate, especially paying attention to outer leaves and using your fingers to remove the dirt. Leeks are grown in sand and can be very gritty if you do not do this.

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