August 11, 2020 | Volume 11 | Week 10/B
CSA Week 10/B
Greetings!

By now, you may have noticed that each week's box always contains at least one member of the onion family, aka alliums. This week, find out why our farmer considers them TCG's Queen Crops.
ON-FARM STORE
HOURS:
Friday: 9am-2pm
Saturday: 9am-12pm
By appointment for pre-orders and pickups
Week 10/B
Pack List

Broccoli
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Melon
Onions: Ailsa Craig 
Peppers
Tomatoes
Potatoes: Amish Red

EOW will also receive:
Garlic
Radishes

**Pack list is subject to change due to harvest and weather conditions
Our Queen Crops
by Janet Gamble

Alliums are a genus of a wide range of plants including onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks, all of which we grow and often refer to as our “Queen Crop.” As many of you who have been long-time members of Turtle Creek know, they are one of my favorite crops to grow. Fortunately, the land in which I have grown these crops throughout the decades has always blessed me with amazing outcomes. 

There is no conclusion as to the origin of onions other than eastern Asia, specifically Iran and Pakistan. Humans were predominately nomadic (still are as people become displaced) and have moved these crops from region to region, continent to continent. 

Alliums are cultivated for food but have roots in also being used for their medicinal properties. More recent studies have proven the health benefits of garlic. When crushed, garlic and other alliums release a sulfur compound known as allicin which gives off the odor we associate with onions and garlic. Allicin has antibacterial properties, can lower cholesterol levels, clears mucus, and aids in respiratory conditions. Garlic’s nutritional properties include vitamins A and C, potassium, phosphorous, selenium, and a number of amino acids. No wonder this plant is incorporated into our daily eating.

The onion certainly is one of the most used staple ingredients in our cooking so the cultivation of onions is important and it’s a staple crop of most market growers. We start all our onions and shallots from seed in our greenhouse. It is the first thing planted in March. You may also plant from sets or little bulblets but we prefer to start from seed since we like certain varieties and prefer to use organic sources, if available.
Onions, shallots and garlic require curing at harvest which can be problematic as far as having the space to cure them. While garlic does well curing in the sun to help bleach the bulbs, onions--specifically yellow and white onions--prefer darker conditions to prevent bulbs turning green. Of course, Wisconsin can be humid and inevitably there are moisture problems in curing these crops without some risk of retaining too much moisture during high dew points and rainy spells.

We use our greenhouse with a shade cloth over the top to cure our onions along with fans blowing air to aid in the curing process. Some growers build dryers and blow forced hot air into drying chambers to “speed” cure their onions, providing a more controlled environment for the dry-down period.

After the onions and garlic are dry, the cleaning process begins. We remove the stems and loose skins and give them a polish if any soil remains on the skins. It’s a very labor intensive process without the mechanical tools that larger producers will have. Onions are not a high value crop unless you grow specialty shallots, cippolini, bottle onions, etc., so investing in this equipment means a choice between growing more or doing it by hand.
Garlic planting begins in the fall. After we sort our seed garlic from our sales garlic, we crack the bulbs and each clove is planted to make one bulb next season. We plant about 350 pounds of garlic. Garlic does well in well-composted soil and with plenty of phosphorous, which helps in the development of the bulb. After planting, we mulch the garlic with straw to keep the cloves from heaving in the spring when the frost moves its way towards the surface. Mulch also keeps the moisture in and helps with weed control.

Mid-June, the garlic throws its flowering scapes, which require removal so that the bulbs will continue to develop. Scapes have become a very marketable secondary crop, increasing the value of the garlic overall. Once the garlic begins to die back (around 30%) we pull it and begin the curing process.

Currently, our garlic and onions are curing or finished curing and the cleanup has begun. 

So why do these shiny orbs attract my attention? I ask myself that question all the time and discover new things that I like about them, I guess. I think they are beautiful, like jewels, especially the fresh green-top onions displayed on the market table. I like eating onions. They are easy to sell. They have become our initiation to the first tasks of spring. They are challenging. They are essential. They bring us good health.

Ah….the attributes of such a crop.
Sheet Pan Chicken & Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 LB chicken thighs with bone/skin
1½ T. olive oil, divided
1 LB potatoes, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
1 sweet pepper, green or red, chopped
1 c. chopped tomatoes
½ c. feta cheese for garnish, optional
1 lemon, divided

Marinade
1 small lemon, juiced (about 3 T. )
3 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. honey
½ t. dried oregano
½ t. dried rosemary, crushed

Method:
Combine marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Marinate at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine potatoes, onion, 1 T. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place on a parchment-lined pan. Nestle marinated chicken on the pan between the potatoes. Bake 30 minutes.

Toss peppers and tomatoes with remaining ½ T. olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Add to pan and bake an additional 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chicken reaches internal temperature of 165°F.

Squeeze fresh lemon over top and garnish with feta cheese to serve.

Servings: 4
Recipe adapted from: spendwithpennies.com
Melon & Berry Salad
Ingredients:
¾ c. orange yogurt
1½ t. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
¾ t. poppy seeds
½ t. grated orange zest
2 c. diced cantaloupe
1 c. fresh blueberries

Method:
In a small bowl, mix yogurt, lemon juice, poppy seeds and orange zest. To serve, divide cantaloupe and blueberries among 4 small dishes; top with yogurt dressing.

Servings: 4
Recipe adapted from: tasteofhome.com
Lentil-Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1½ t. whole-grain mustard
½ t. salt
2 T. sherry vinegar
6 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium cucumbers, chopped into ½" pieces
1 c. pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
¾ c. loosely packed fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 c. ricotta cheese

Method:
Combine lentils, garlic, and bay leaves in a large pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and remove garlic and bay leaves. Refrigerate until cold.

While lentils chill, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, salt, and vinegar. Drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly until dressing has emulsified.

Combine lentils, cucumbers, olives, and mint* in a large bowl. Pour over the vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat. Dot with ricotta just before serving.

*NOTE:
If you plan to eat the salad over several days, wait until before serving each day to add the mint.

Servings: 6-8
Recipe adapted from: thekitchn.com
Garlic-Parmesan Potatoes & Broccoli
Ingredients:
3 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Italian seasoning
¼ t. onion powder 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 c. broccoli chopped into bite-sized pieces
16 oz potatoes, in 1" chunks
¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan
2 T. chopped fresh parsley leaves

Method:
Preheat oven to 400° F. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, and onion powder; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut four sheets of foil, about 12" long. Divide broccoli and potatoes into 4 equal portions and add to center of each foil in a single layer. Fold up all 4 sides of each foil packet to form a container as you spoon garlic mixture over vegetables.

Fold sides of foil over vegetables, covering completely and sealing the packets closed.
Place foil packets in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 12-14 minutes.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan and parsley.

Servings: 4

Recipe adapted from damndelicious.net
Turtle Creek Gardens, LLC | 262-441-0520 |
Janet Gamble, Farm Manager: farmmanager@turtlecreekgardenscsa.com
Christi Lee, Newsletter Editor: newsletter@turtlecreekgardenscsa.com