Hi CSA Members, Thank you again for sticking with us thru thick and thin this past winter. DC Eastern Market, Patriot’s Plaza and Petworth folks we are especially grateful for your flexibility with last week’s share changes. You will be receiving a different share this week, than our bi-weekly folks who are picking up their make-up final share this week. Some of you may also be picking up your makeup share this week and you will receive a separate email about that. When you get to the drop, you will be directed to the proper pickup list for your week.
RVA folks, please know that our store will be closed for Spring Cleaning after this weekend for a few weeks. We will reopen on Friday, May 8. We will have some volunteer work days, and would love your help in getting the store and farm ready for the summer season.
We have ramps for you this week, which is a sure sign that Spring is here to stay. All of NYC, DC and RVA have been on Foodie Ramp Watch, and all the fancy restaurants now have them on the menu. They are much treasured in folklore of mountain people, and are also part of Native American traditional spring diets along with foraging bitter greens such as dandelion, and are used for healing. Ramps are eagerly foraged by folks along the mountains from Appalachia to the Adirondacks and up into Quebec and Ontario where there is a ban on holding more than a few ramps at a time! Ramps are being cultivated now, in areas that will support them, so look for more ramps on the horizon in the coming years.
As a child, my dad would always collect the whole family and we would climb the mountain behind our house up into the woods to dig ramps. There is an art to the harvest, we usually use a spoon to carefully dig them out of the forest soil, and you need to be sure to leave plenty behind, that they will grow again the next year. Then mom would cook up a wonderful dinner, including baking powder biscuits, and dad, my brother and I would eat them raw, and stink up the whole house for days. Whenever I go home in the spring, we repeat this exercise.
Raw ramps are not for the faint of heart, they do have a very pungent smell. But cooked, they are an amazing culinary treat and much treasured by chefs and other foodies, and are especially delicious pickled – make sure to use the ramp pickle juice as well! Don’t waste any part of the precious ramp. As a child, Dad and his friends ate ramps (or leeks as they are called in the Adirondacks) on their way to the one room school. The teacher would then send the whole school home because of the stink! The teacher was my dad’s mom, so you can imagine the double trouble he got in later. Dad’s cousin wrote on Facebook this week, that eating ramps were good for 3 days off in the larger schools.
Your ramps are in shoot stage, very young still, and not as glorious looking as my harvest above, but delicious.. They will need to be carefully washed, as the mountain soil on them helps to preserve them until you are ready to prepare them. Gently shake the soil off, then trim the roots and remove any paper-like skin. Then thoroughly rinse the ramp bulb, stem and leaves, (these are mostly shoots so you may not have leaves.) All parts of the ramp can be consumed. You can treat it as you would a cultivated leek, but they cook quickly. I love them sautéed and included in a quiche, omelet, biscuits, grits, pasta or served with butter or hollandaise sauce. Try Braised with chicken, steak, bison or fish or add to other veggies for a flavorful entree. When ramps are in season, I cook them at every meal. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Here’s a great “ramp-up” on ramps from Epicurious that will get you started.
This is what will be in your weekly share this week:
- ramps – one of my favorite early spring foods. These were ethically foraged for us in the Blue Ridge Mts. Here’s another guide from the Huffington Post that offers more great recipes and suggestions.
- napa cabbage
- Pantry — your choice (some of you may have a hard time with this…they are both so good) Ernie’s Salsa — OMG so delicious!! You will choose from: red, pineapple, peach, black bean/corn, and Chesapeake shrimp. Ernie is a finance guy who dabbled in salsa for 25 years on the side. When he retired, he decided to invest his retirement into becoming a partner in a local food production company – now he helps other food entrepreneurs make their dreams come true, by helping them bring their secret recipes to the masses. This is Mark’s pick for you.
- OR Tokie’s Mixes – OMG so delicous!!! You will choose from: pancake/baking mix, brownies, blondies, and GF brownies, chocolate cake, white chocolate cake, and pancake/baking mix. These are ridiculously delicious..Tokie offers a few recipes on her website for cookies and other yummy things. Her mixes are made from quality ingredients, and taste like a gourmet dessert chef whipped them up. Don’t forget to lick the bowl and beaters (my favorite baking memory as a child.) Do not be deterred by the GF mixes — the cakes/brownies are amazing and nobody will know the difference. When Tokie demos these, she always bakes the GF mixes. If you are GF, you will find these to be the BEST GF mixes ever tried. Tokie is a good friend of ours, and when you eat Tokie’s, she donates a portion of her sales to our non-profit, BusFarm. This is my choice for you.
Goats R Us chorizo – these come to you from Robin and John Dodson who do goat cheeses for us. Their family farm is in Nottoway County, VA.
If anyone has a peanut allergy, we will have something you can swap out for the peanut butter. If you have any other swap requests, you can negotiate that with Mark upon pick up.
If for some reason you are unable to pickup your share, let me know.
Mark will have lots of goodies available for those of you who are looking to use up credit, including a whole bag of Sausage Craft.
We have moved the start date for Spring to Tuesday, May 5 for weeklies, and Tuesday, May 12 for bi-weeklies, both will now end 10/13. We have had a very late spring, and this will give the strawberries and asparagus time to be ready for you.
Please know that your credit will roll over to next season, and for those of you who have not yet joined, your membership will pull from your credit $$ before charging your credit card.
Thank you again for being such wonderful members. We enjoy you all so much.
Again, any changes or questions or concerns, please let me know.
I look forward to having most of you back in May. I hope you enjoy the ramps!