Spring is for spinach

Though we enjoyed our winter CSA with The Root Cellar, we’re going with Eric and Joanna of Chert Hollow Farm for the growing season. The reasons? We like them personally, their produce rocks and, well, we thought it’d be interesting to try a more hard-core version of the CSA. Why “hard-core?” Because if a hailstorm wipes out their tomatoes, we don’t get tomatoes (mind you, they already have our money). So there’s risk involved. The Root Cellar is a good, entry-level CSA. I highly recommend it. Risk is minimized and the variety is great. We’re going to CSA grad school. Should be fun.

We’ve received three shares from Eric so far. All good stuff. Lots of herbs, green onions and – the purpose of this post – a cubic shit-ton of spinach. I’m okay with this because, unlike salad greens, you can cook spinach. And oh how we have been cooking spinach. It’s gone into vegetable gratins, warm salads (mmm, bacon) and as pictured above, the Thai dish pad see ew.

This stir-fry comes together in, I swear, about two minutes once you have your mise en place done (also easy). I borrowed the recipe from Chez Pim, but do recommend going ahead and throwing a couple tablespoons of brown sugar in at the end. I subbed out Chinese broccoli for two mega-handfuls of spinach, reduced the time the greens cook to about 20 seconds or so and went to town. Do take Pim’s advice and prepare this in batches of two servings at the most. I was able to perfect the seasoning in batch two.

Next: Spinach and Chard Gratin.




Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

6 thoughts

  1. I have a single share from Chert Hollow and even with the single share you are right about the spinach! I love it too. I’ve been using it in salads, chopped in omelets, and the other day I did a rough chop on some, threw it in boiling water for about 30 seconds just until it started to wilt, then drained it and threw it in freezer bags.

    The other night I made soup with Chert leeks, my diced ham and mushrooms, and lots of Eric’s thyme, tarragon and regular and garlic chives. I sweated all of that down, added a good dash of white wine, reduced that then added flour and dry mustard and stirred and cooked. Slowly added chicken stock and let it thicken. A good dollop of Weiler dairy cream and handfuls of spinach at the last minute. It was amazing.

  2. Great new unit of measurement there…luckily this week you only received 0.5 cst spinach.

    That topic actually illustrates the concept of CSA quite well; we gave you that much because of fear of the spinach bolting in the early spring heat, so harvested all of it rather than spreading it out over more weeks as intended. The spinach you got this week was the last bit of regrowth following that massive harvest, just as it was in fact starting to bolt. So that’s the end of it for a while; blame the weather as otherwise we could have stretched it longer. As you noted, true CSA requires a bit more investment from the member in terms of dealing with boom and bust but helps even out life for the farmer (though we still worry plenty about having enough product from week to week).

    One other note, which we’ve been meaning to write about for a long time on our blog but we keep getting distracted into other topics. Although I’m the primary listed author on our blog, and the face of the farm as the marketer/share deliverer/public-relations flack, Joanna and I are very much equals in the business and she often doesn’t get due credit for the work she does. She’s the primary vegetable planner/farmer and is really more directly responsible for the existence of the contents of your shares than I (especially with herbs). I handle most of the harvest, packing, & distribution, and the animals and infrastructure, but Joanna is the glue that keeps us together, especially when it comes to the programming and database management that keep the business organized. She also edits and/or contributes to just about everything I write, and most things posted under my name have at least been run by her first. It’s just that I’m more comfortable both writing and public speaking, so tend to be the public face of things. We speak with one voice from the farm, and are both equally involved. It’s quite natural for linguistic reasons to refer to us as “Eric” when talking about the farm and/or our online presence, but it doesn’t give Joanna the credit and recognition she deserves. Just a gentle request to use the plural when possible.

    Thanks for the good feedback on the shares.

  3. Yeah, I got sloppy in that post. While I personally know how much of a joint effort Chert Hollow is, my posts should also reflect that. Fair point.

  4. Your Thai dish looks amazing, Scott. Put that in the request bin for our next visit!? :)!

  5. You need to try spinach in a “green” smoothie. My wife makes them almost daily and they are great.

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