News from The Veggie Bin: March 8, 2012

What’s in the bin this week?

Local Bin:

Top row left to right: Romanesco cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green leaf lettuce, cilantro
Bottom row left to right: Red Swiss chard, strawberries, red potatoes, leeks, sweet onion, tomatoes on the vine

Organic Bin:

  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Red Swiss Chard
  • Strawberries
  • Leeks
  • Yellow squash
  • Sweet onion
  • Golden Roma tomatoes
  • Fingerling potatoes

Organic Fruit Bin:

  • Braeburn apples
  • Anjou pears
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi

Interested in receiving the organic or fruit bins? Simply send us an email at info@theveggiebin.com!

(green = organic produce; blue = certified organic, not locally sourced; plain text = traditional farming)

Want to learn more about the sourcing of each item?  Here’s a video which walks you through every item in the local box this week.

Warming up to Spring

We’re glad to see our customers getting comfortable with leafy dark greens, root veggies and strawberries, but change is on the way, folks! One of the beautiful things about being a part of a CSA is a connection to the seasons and the land. We’ve been side by side with farmers through this wild, weird winter marked by unseasonable warmth with a few nasty cold snaps.

We’ve learned interesting lessons about cauliflower changing colors according to temperature and the many ways farmers cope with freezes. But spring is on the way! In the coming weeks we’ll be moving away from the winter produce and toward berries, peaches, squash and zucchini. The Veggie Bin will be with you every step of the way with storage tips, recipes and preparation instructions. Our service doesn’t end when we put a bin on your porch. If you ever need help, we’re just a click away at info@theveggiebin.com or Facebook.

This week’s Veggie Unearthed: Leeks

Onions vs. Leeks — both are in your bin this week so, what’s the difference? The veggie on the left is a sweet onion. It has a big bulb at the bottom and is used exactly as you would use any onion. The veggie on the right is a leek, which is not as familiar to most folks. Read on for a complete leek education!

Your leeks came to us from KYV Farm, less than 30 miles from most of our customers’ homes.

This week’s Veggie Unearthed is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family, along with onions and garlic. It looks a lot like an overgrown green onion, forming a series of vertical layers rather than a bulb like an onion or garlic. Normally, we’d inform you of the historic origins of your veggie, but the leek has been around since the dawn of history. The ancient Egyptians dried it for stocking up their tombs, texts from Mesopotamia cite it as a major diet staple, it’s the national symbol of the country of Wales (Cymru) and Nero ate it often, believing it to be helpful to his voice.

The flavor of leeks will be more mild than an onion so it’s commonly used to add flavor to soups and stocks. It’s also excellent sliced into salads. Low in calories and high in Vitamin K, it’s a great addition to any dish needing a bit of flavor.

The aroma of leeks is delicious, but to protect your other food from the scent of the leeks, wrap them loosely in plastic before refrigerating. Wait to wash them until you’re ready to prep them for cooking. Properly stored they can last up to one week.

Leeks are grown by piling dirt up around the shoots to encourage the long, thin shape. Unfortunately, this means that they get very dirty, inside and out. To prep your leeks to be sliced or chopped, trim off the end and about a quarter inch of the base. Remove any outer leaves that look tough or ragged. Trim the leaves down to the part that is light green. The dark green parts can be washed and used as a flavoring in soups or stocks by tying them up and discarding them after cooking, but most folks just toss them out. Cut the leek down the middle and rinse thoroughly under running water, making sure to get between the layers. Drain on clean towels then slice or chop.

For a full preparation demonstration for both sliced and whole leeks, please watch this helpful video.

Leek Recipes

Need Veggie Tech Support? Visit us on Facebook to share recipes and tips with other Veggie Bin customers and ask any questions you might have about the contents of your bin. You can also email us at info@theveggiebin.com.

Recipes for This Week’s Bin

We want you to get the most out of your Veggie Bin. Utilize every tasty bite with some of these recipes which feature every item you’ll get this week.

Please feel free to share YOUR Veggie Bin creations on our Facebook page!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Please remember that you can re-use your Veggie Bin boxes. Just leave your empty boxes at your door or hand them off to our delivery folks to make yet another contribution to keeping your footprint small.

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