Turtle Farm CSA Pickup #2

Another week means another pickup from Turtle Farms CSA! If you missed pickup #1, check it out here.
So what wonderful produce did my box hold for me this week….
Garlic Scapes

The garlic scape is the stem from which the seed head of the garlic bulb is formed. As the bulb begins to grow and mature, the garlic stalks lengthen. As it grows, the garlic scape begins to curve. The scape has a great deal of flavor, although the stalk never reaches the same level of pungency as the bulb. Young garlic scapes are very tender. As the plant continues to mature, the garlic scape gradually begins to straighten, creating more support for the bulb. At this juncture, the garlic scape is much tougher and less appealing.

Pac Choy aka Bok Choy

It has dark green leaves and white celery-like stalks that have a mild, slightly peppery flavor. Both the greens and the stalks are popular in salads and the stalks are often used in stir-fry recipes. When selecting, look for a firm compact head with fresh leaves.
A good source of vitamin C and anti-oxidants, pak choy also provides some iron, folate and dietary fiber

Buying & storing
Choose pak choy with bright leaves and crisp, pale stems. Store in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for three days.
All parts of baby pak choy are edible. Wash, then slice as desired.
Cooking tips
Stir-fry with broccoli, chestnuts and soy sauce. Serve with steamed fish.
Stir through Asian noodle soups at the end of cooking.

A tasty vegetable that you can eat either raw or cooked.


It’s loaded with antioxidants, it’s a good source of fiber, and its high vitamin C content helps protect cells from free radicals that can damage the body and cause disease. Kohlrabi is also rich in essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.
A half-cup of kohlrabi offers 245 grams of potassium, 25 I.U. of vitamin A, 43.4 milligrams of vitamin C, 11.3 micrograms of folic acid, 16.8 mg of calcium and about 10 mg of choline. It’s a low-fat vegetable with only 19 calories in a half-cup serving that provides a healthy 23 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 1.5 grams of protein.
Kohlrabi tastes mildly like broccoli with just a hint of cabbage.
How to Prepare Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi stores well and can be refrigerated for up to a month. If using it raw in a salad, you can chop both the orb and the leaves and add to lettuce or other greens for a nutritious cold dish.
You can steam kohlrabi in a small amount of water, then lightly salt it to bring out its delicate flavor. Even the leaves can be steamed like spinach.
Diced or chopped kohlrabi makes a flavorful addition to any stir-fry. Lightly cooked, it will retain its crisp texture. Read more: Kohlrabi Nutrition Information eHow.com
Strawberries: Northeaster and Jewel

Radish: Cherry Belle and Pink Beauty

Edible Pansies
Lettuce: New Red Fire and Deer Tongue

So what did I do with my garlic scapes and bok choy….made stir fry!

Be sure to check out Tallgrass Grocery and help start the Coop here in West Des Moines! A great way to purchase organic and local foods!
Until next time…

look good, feel good, do good

So what did I make with all of my leafy greens…?

A big ol‘ salad of course! With all the goodness of being local and organic from Turtle Farms CSA.

J and I both loved the diversity of flavors from the different kinds of greens…some were peppery while others were sweet. It was nice to change it up from the basic spinach or romaine salad.

In fact, the sloppy Joe meat was local as well from Wallace Farms (yummy grass fed products).
How does Wallace Farms work? View this fun video:

(their jerky rocks!)


Until next time…

look good, feel good, do good

Turtle Farm CSA Pickup #1

Tuesday I received my first CSA pickup from Turtle Farms. For those who do not know what a Community Supported Agriculture groups (CSA) or Turtle Farms is…check out a previous post of mine here to learn more.

I choose to join a CSA to not only receive local and organic produce but to also expand my knowledge on different varieties of fruits and veggies. So as I learn so will you….

Trey likes to support locally grown foods!
In my box this week:
Cherry Belle and Pink Beauty Radishes
Asparagus “jersey giant” and “purple passion”
Purple asparagus is a similar in appearance and flavor to both white and green varieties as its original cultivar came from green asparagus. Its preferred sweetness is due to its twenty percent higher sugar content than other asparagus varieties.
Purple asparagus has high sugar and low fibre levels, unlike its green and white counterparts.
Purple asparagus will dull in color when cooked; coloring is only on the skin and will be removed when peeled. Chop purple, white and green asparagus, blanch and toss together with lemon and olive, then serve cold as a salad. Slowly braise asparagus in butter until browned and serve as a side dish. Grill spears of purple asparagus and serve with a dill sauce for an appetizer. Peel the bottom end of asparagus spears, blanch, then toss with a lemon-chive vinaigrette. Roast whole purple asparagus spears with roma tomatoes, then serve warm as a side. Purple asparagus will keep refrigerated for a week.
Green Garlic

Green garlic are young, short-season garlic plants that is harvested before it begins to form mature bulbs or cloves. Green garlic has clean, piquant garlic flavor and meaty, firm texture.
Unlike green onions, green garlic have flat green stems not round.
Nutritional Value
All varieties of garlic possess antibiotic properties to some forms of bacteria, viruses and intestinal parasites. Plants in the garlic family lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and may also be used a diuretic, an anti-inflammatory agent, an expectorant or a decongestant.
Green garlic is entirely edible, though the tops are often trimmed if too fiberous or woody. Pair green garlic with similar fresh, spring vegetables such as asparagus, morels, green herbs, peas, leeks and fiddlehead ferns. Braise or saute whole as a vegetable or use in pestos and sauces. Baby green garlic pairs well with seafood, pasta, eggs, lamb and potatoes.
Turnips “hakurei

Cooking Tips
The Hakurei turnip is a Japanese turnip that is truly best eaten raw. Its delicate flavor and crisp texture are perfect as is, and cooking tends to make it soggy. Just slice it, thick or thin as you prefer, and add it to salads, appetizer platters, or serve it on its own as a snack or side dish. You will not believe how delicious they are. The Hakurei turnips are also great for pickling, so long after CSA season is over you can continue to enjoy the fresh crisp of turnips. Also, never forget that all turnip greens are edible. They can be sautéed with some olive oil and onion for just a few minutes, being careful not to overcook them, and they will have a pleasant and slightly spicy flavor.
Storage Tips
With green tops removed, Hakurei turnips will keep in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for over a week.
Turnip roots are high in vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. The greens are high in vitamins A, C, and B vitamins, plus potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Roquette is a leafy vegetable with a peppery, spicy taste. It is most commonly used for salad greens, or cooked like spinach. It is also used it in soups, pastas and pestos.

Wrinkled Crinkled Cress:

Wrinkled Crinkle Cress is an annual with curly ruffled leaves. It is treasured for its sweet, spicy, tangy and peppery flavor that adds to any salad. Widely used in the baby lettuce trade for its unique flavor. High in vitamin C.

Edible Pansies:
Velvety-textured and offering a slightly sweet flavor similar to wintergreen, the pansy offers a fantastic array of vibrant colors. Having a broad color spectrum for an annual, pansies display their loveliness in yellow, white, red, orange, black, purple, pink, lavender, mahogany, blue, apricot and bronze. The flowers may be just a single color or have two or three colors.


Producing curly, narrow, fringed leaves frisee is a light green to lime-green color in color. The lacy leaves offer a mildly bitter flavor. The tender, white centers of this green are even less bitter in taste.
Nutritional Value
Dark leafy greens provide vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
Frisee is most often used in salads but may also be wilted or sauteed to mellow its bitterness. Toss chopped frisee with orange segments and pomegranate seeds, or radicchio and pears for a winter salad. Top frisee with lardons, vinaigrette and a poached egg. Saute frisee until wilted and combine with chopped walnuts and goat cheese. Frisee will keep, refrigerated, for one to two weeks.

Deer Tongue Lettuce:
Deer Tongue lettuce is a heirloom variety producing triangular, pointed leaves with thick midribs and a buttery texture. Forming loose, tender rosettes during its young stage, this variety has a mild, even bland flavor. Deer Tongue lettuce can be green or red.
Nutritional Value
Lettuce is good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Folate, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.
Baby Deer Tongue lettuce is used more for its appearance than its mild flavor–for salads, sandwiches, appetizers, garnish, and as a bed for presentations.
info found: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/


Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good

Buy Fresh, Buy Local- on KCCI news tonight at 5

I am blessed with another opportunity to spread the word on living a healthy lifestyle!
Today on KCCI Channel 8 News I will be discussing

“Buying Fresh, Buying Local”

This is a topic I am very passionate about so I am excited to highlight it today on my blog. Agenda:
  • Share a couple tasteful and seasonal recipes for using your purchased local produce.
  • Highlight some benefits to buying fresh and local.
  • Share how easy it is to find farm fresh, local foods.
  • Resources to learn more.

Heirloom Tomato, Basil, & Mozzarella Salad
from Simply Recipes


Heirloom tomatoes, sliced

fresh basil, leaves carefully chopped as not to bruise

fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

extra virgin olive oil

balsalmic wine vinegar

sea salt and fresh ground pepper


Assemble the salad with slices of tomatoes, basil leaves, and mozzarella slices. Sprinkle extra virgin olive oil over the salad. Add a dash of vinegar and a very light sprinkling of sea salt and pepper.

Other popular recipes I have posted using local produce:

Portobello Mushroom & Chicken Ragu

Wilson’s Apple Orchard

Rhubarb Crisp

Where does your food come from?

Apple Squash Soup

Benefits to buying fresh, buying local:
1. Helps strengthen the local economy – buying local foods helps support growers in Iowa, who are more likely to reinvest their revenue back into their own community. This builds and strengthens Iowa’s communities.

2. Protecting the environment – local foods travel on average 45-65 miles while most food items found in the supermarket travel around 1500 miles. The added travel supermarket produce goes through increases pollution from the extra transportation, distribution, and packaging.

3. Protecting your family’s health – You can get to know your local farmers and learn about their farming practices. This enable you to choose farmers who avoid or limit the use of pesticides, chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seeds.

Also, you get max health benefits from fresh produce. When a tomatoes is allowed to ripen on the vine it gains valuable nutrients. Local produce is typically harvested within a day of it being purchased, since it has such a short distance to travel to make it to your plate. This ‘on the vine’ ripening allows the produce to retain higher nutritional value than those harvested, handled, and transported thousands of miles. Basically, an increase in travel means a decrease in nutrients.

4. It just tastes better! No one from Iowa can deny the sweet goodness of peaches and cream corn purchased from a farm stand on the side of the road. I challenge all my readers to purchase some local produce this week and share their fine food moment with the rest of us.

So easy to buy local:

According to an economic analysis of Iowa’s farmers’ markets, in 2004 Iowa had around 160 farmers’ markets, the highest per capita in the nation. Full report: www.leopold.iastate.edu/research/marketingfiles/marketsrfswg.pdf

Another wards….there is no excuse to NOT find one near you. To find a market.

I visited the Valley Junction Farmers Market last week:

scrumptious blueberries and scrumptious things made with blueberries

Timber Ridge Flax-fed Cattle

Another way to buy local is through a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture group. I visited Turtle Farms located in Granger, IA last week to learn more.
“A CSA Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between growers and consumers that seeks to recognize the importance of healthy food and the manner in which it is grown. Consumers (or CSA members) share costs of supporting the farm, including the risks. In turn, members receive locally grown, fresh, wholesome food grown in a sustainable and responsible manner by a farmer that they know.” -from Turtle Farm’s website

Turtle Farms was one of the first CSA’s in Iowa. Angela (owner) and Ben (farm manager) are proud to grow all organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

you receive your “share” as a box of produce each week throughout the growing season

Angela and Ben gave J and I a tour

they grow everything from okra and bell peppers, to sweet potatoes and strawberries

getting ready to plant more veggies!

Other resources:
Find CSA’s at http://www.localharvest.org/

Take your family for a fun filled day at Picket Fence Creamery

Find local grassfed meat at http://www.eatwild.com/

Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh, Buy Local

Until next time…

look good, feel good, do good