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Thinking About Fiber…plus CSA & Markets for 5.19.2018

We’ve been thinking about Fiber this week. There was a mention on the local public radio station to a 2017 NPR article about research on the microbiome of a group of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania: the Hadza. To very briefly summarize: In this community of people eating no processed food, and mostly food that doesn’t even come from farms, the diversity of microbes in the gut is extremely higher than that of Westerners. “And that includes bacteria that are missing from American guts.”

Why does gut microbiome diversity matter? Because it’s linked with a long list of healthy experiences for us humans – or lack of disease. Obesity and diabetes as starters. But let’s get back to the details of the study.

One interesting part of the study shows that the gut microbes in the Hadza changed throughout the year based on their different seasonal diets. The times during the year in which they were eating more fiber were the times when gut microbe diversity was highest. This suggests that their high-fiber diet (up to 150 grams per day) not only allowed for this microbe diversity but also indicates that the microbiome is more plastic than permanent. Eating more dietary fiber may be feeding a greater diversity of gut bacteria.

What’s the best source of dietary fiber? Loads of produce! You can consume 150 grams of fiber by eating 50 bowls of Cheerios, according to the article, but that doesn’t sound like a balanced diet. Eating some fruit is good, but too much fruit is not good due to the sugar content in fruit. Eating a boatload of delicious vegetables, however, sounds like a great idea. We realized this week that we usually think about vegetable consumption, especially that of our young children that we are raising, in terms of vitamin and mineral intake. Those are vitally important, but it’s been interesting to think on our vegetable intake as fiber consumption to create a more diverse community of bacteria in our guts. This isn’t your usual dinnertime conversation, but this is the kind of vegetable farmers that we are! This stuff fascinates us, and we hope you’ve learned a little by reading along today.

Saturday’s Farm Share will most likely include:
Salad Mix (a big bag), a pair of Mini-Romaine Lettuces, Kale (either green or purple-stemmed), Radishes, Baby Turnips, Green Garlic (pictured above), Cucumbers, plus Cilantro and Arugula as optional additions.

On the horizon: Bulb onions will hopefully be ready next week, as well as Kohlrabi (we’ll explain what that is). Garlic Scapes are just beginning to show themselves. Beets are close to ready. Broccoli and Cabbage will be ready in June. Carrots are on the horizon, but we lost a lot of our first planting of carrots this spring. Tomatoes are fruiting well but won’t be ripe for another month or so. Summer squash will be ready in June, and Peppers are first ready for harvest in July. Plus many other vegetables are in process!

Vegetable Notes & Recipe Suggestions…also cataloged on our Recipe Page and see our Pinterest Page
Salad Mix – 
We encourage you to try different salad dressings to change things up a bit. We love Shiitake Mushroom salad dressing. You can buy a variety at the grocery store, pick up a locally made one by Haas Shrooms at a Richmond farmers’ market, or you can make your own.
Radishes – If you are up for a break from our two standard Radish recipes (shared in the past two weeks’ emails) you should make Pickled Radishes. It’s simple: Slice and soak in a solution of vinegar, sugar, and salt. From that recipe site: “Serve these pickled veggies in place of dill pickles on burgers or brats, on a relish tray or appetizer platter, or as a snack along with crackers and cheese. They also make an ideal gift when packaged in a canning jar.”
Kale – Kale is a versatile Super Food. Treat it like Spinach and enjoy in a raw salad, saute or stir fry, mix with eggs or tofu, include in a green smoothie, or make Kale Chips. Salads can range from Kale Salad with Apples & Feta Cheese to Kale and Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing to Coconut Rice, Tofu, & Kale to Kale with Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette (a Broadfork family favorite) to
Green Garlic – This is young, slightly milder garlic, also called “Spring Garlic.” We plant garlic in the fall and it is fully mature in June, but in May we get this baby version of garlic. You get the garlic flavor but without the papery skin. Use the base of the plant after trimming off the roots. (The roots and the dark green leaves are both wonderful to use to make Vegetable Stock. Start a gallon-size bag in your freezer in which you put these Stock Ingredients until your bag is full, then make stock. It’s so easy and delicious!) Use this garlic in any saute, stir fry, salad dressing, with any protein, etc. Or make this simple Green Garlic Pesto. If you are an adventurous cook, make Spring Tarte with Bacon, Green Garlic, & Gruyere.
Romaine Lettuces – We like growing Lettuce heads because it provides large, crunchy leaves that our Salad Mix lacks. These are our preference for Taco Salad with Loads of Toppings or Taco Salad-Super Simple Version (use meat or beans or tofu for the protein) and Taco Lettuce Boats. (Or any Lettuce Boats!)
Baby Turnips – We like Roasted Baby Turnips with Mustard Parsley Vinaigrette. Halve the recipe to serve 4 and use 1 bunch of our Turnips. This recipe is so easy and tasty. Or just eat them raw, dipped in hummus or on top of salad. Their sweetness will likely surprise you.

And this! The photo doesn’t do it justice, but we sliced our cucumber and radish and spring onion thinly, then tossed with rice vinegar (the kind with no sugar), dried dill, sea salt, and just the lightest touch of olive oil. It was phenomenal!

STORAGE TIPS – 
Head Lettuce – These will wilt if you don’t contain them in something in your fridge. Refrigerate it in a plastic bag or airtight container. If it does wilt, separate the leaves and soak in tepid water for a while until they re-hydrate.
Cucumbers – Keep refrigerated and dry in a container, perhaps with a towel to absorb any liquid as they “sweat.”
All Root Vegetables (Turnips, Radishes and Green Garlic this week) – Keep refrigerated in a sealed bag or container, ideally with roots and tops separated in different containers, to prevent tops and roots from getting wilty. Most tops can be prepared/cooked in some way. If you are at a loss for how to prepare the tops, include them in a batch of Vegetable Stock.  ***Hint: Re-using the bags our greens come in is a great way to store roots.
Bagged Greens – Keep refrigerated in the bag in which we pack them.

Our harvest for Saturday’s farmers’ markets will hopefully include: 
Rainbow Chard, Cilantro, Green Garlic, Garlic Scapes, Hearty Greens Mix, Curly Kale, Purple Kale, Tuscan Kale, maybe Kohlrabi, Lettuces, Microgreens, Parsley, Radishes, Salad Mix, Spinach, Spring Onions…plus our Organic Hearth Baked Bread (Sunny Greens, Whole Rye, Raisin, & Seed loaves for this weekend) and Tomato Chutney.
{Our farmstand is open Thurs & Friday with most of the above items…see here for updated inventory}

Anything remaining after CSA shares are distributed and our farm stand is shopped (plus the bread we bake Saturday morning)… we’ll bring on Saturday to the Brandermill Green Market or the Farmer’s Market @ St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the West End of Richmond. Keep an eye on what we have available via the online farmers’ markets: FallLineFarms.com and Local Roots Food Coop.

Enjoy ~
Janet, Dan, & the whole Broadfork crew

Want to follow along during the week, including Farm Stand updates? Visit us on Facebook or Instagram

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