Dear City Dweller: Here’s Why You Should Grow Your Own Medicine Cabinet. Sincerely, An Herbalist and Farmer

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This article is an updated/revised version of a guest blog post originally published in now-defunct DIY urban gardening website, City Plantz, in February of 2018. Enjoy!

I didn’t stumble upon the health properties of plants—and growing them yourself— in the most obvious way you would think.

At first, my interest in growing plants was all about food: our crumbling food system, our need for more farmers and food growers, and—ultimately—our need to protect our food, health, nutrition, and autonomy by growing food ourselves to ensure that it’s healthy (yes, even in the city). All of this started in college in rural Minnesota, and led me down the path of organic agriculture that I still tread today: in my daily life, in my career, and everything I do on my farm of three years now, Jupiter Ridge LLC. It’s all culminated into a both rigorous and healing lifestyle.

It definitely isn’t news these days that the healthiest food comes in the form of fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables—and specifically vegetables you can grow yourself.

Dill Bouquet | Jupiter Ridge Farm

But as it turns out, there’s a lot more to ensuring your health from the plant world than just growing your own food, especially when growing herbs comes into the picture.

This article is going to be a combination of informative and updating, so let me get the updates out of the way.

For those who have followed my writings and this blog (new and old), you can probably see I haven’t written much over the years about anything, let alone herbalism (To you newcomers: welcome).

This mostly coincides with getting my farm Jupiter Ridge up and running here in Driftless Iowa (Northeast Iowa), an endeavor that has demanded an immense amount of time, money, labor, blood, sweat, tears, sacrifice, pain, healing, beauty, and transformation – so naturally, herbalist projects and everything else have been placed on the back burner.

On that note, too, I felt like I needed a separation period from the world of herbalism: its major figures, celebrities, and influencers; the culture around it and the narrow definitions of what herbalism is in these circles; the increasing patriarchal/cultural appropriation problems in herbalist scenes; and even other herbalists in general.

I won’t get into it too much (and in fact I’ve been mostly silent on the subject), but I stepped into the (for lack of a better word) “cult” following of herbalism and its little extended network in America in 2012, expecting to find “my” people only to find a network that had very little to do with healing and helping others. Instead I found a lot of ego, power, competition, and people claiming they could heal others when they seemed to be in desperate need of healing themselves.

The lesson I learned from this: I think healers in general, not just herbalists, are meant to walk solitary paths to do their work. Identity and purpose get lost in these echo chambers.

So I closed the door on herbalism and instead got my hands dirty with farming, and growing nutritious, diverse vegetables, mushrooms, and herbs for people for the past few years. A different sort of herbalism and work as an herbalist, all the while badly wishing I could redefine these words (herbalism, herbalist) that I feel sort of stuck with, but love the possibilities of what they could mean nonetheless, so I’ll continue using them.

Just some of the culinary herbs we grow at Jupiter Ridge Farm – basil, thyme, oregano, sage, Thai basil. | Photo: Will Lorentzen

Now that the farm is up, running, and established (selling healthy, sustainably grown, and nutritious vegetables, mushrooms, and culinary herbs to hundreds of people in the Dubuque area every Saturday – plus delivering diverse CSA shares with these same contents every Tuesday to members in Cedar Rapids and to a dozen eastern and northeastern Iowa restaurants, too!), life has been doing that funny thing of poking and prodding at me to get me back in touch with my roots and the true, foundational reasons I decided to do this whole thing in the first place.

Owing to a combination of both circumstance and some intention, what we are making off of the land and what we grow for eastern and northeastern Iowa is steadily representing a larger and larger (and more reliable) portion of our income, as other sources of income/side hustles loom less large.

Upon reading this article again, too, I’ve taken it upon myself that the best I can do is redefine what it means to be an herbalist with my current work – and this article puts it real nicely.

So as for the updates: I’m still an herbalist. I still write. I still use plants to help people as a farmer. I may come back around to using those wilder and more esoteric plants (like echinacea, goldenrod, or sumac) again as part of my daily work (and it does seem like life is pushing me in that direction again – and this may spring up in the form of truly awesome, effective, and unique herbal products!), but we shall see.

This article marks the beginning of the confluence of farming and herbalism in my life. The future looks interesting.

Don’t Just Grow Your Own Food: Grow Your Own Medicine

Homegrown foods have a higher likelihood of being more nutritious than any other type of food in the long run (I wrote a piece about this for Rodale’s Organic Life, which has since shut down. If you’d like to read the article I’d be happy to send you a copy, which outlines the science of why this is true, too). These vegetables and plants are at the very foundation of our health; when you think about it, they really are our best source of preventive medicine, in a way.

I learned all about this over a decade ago, which spurred me to become a farmer and establish a farm. Then I learned about growing herbs—for both culinary use and for healing—in addition to vegetables, and I felt like I blew a whole new story wide open.

Amid my post-college travels learning how to farm, I made the strange and unlikely jump: from farmer to herbalist. Today, I’ve managed to fashion myself into both.

Even now, I’m experiencing a renaissance of realization and coming back full-circle to my herbalist roots after throwing my all into the farming path head-on for the past three years. The most important realization of all: that by growing healthy vegetables, culinary herbs, and even medicinal mushrooms (like shiitake and lion’s mane), I haven’t strayed all that far from being an herbalist at all. Instead, I’m seeing the multitude of connections that can take place in the world of plant-based health in a whole new light.

Harvested Homegrown Ginger | Jupiter Ridge Farm

The ability to grow your own plants for both healthy food and medicine—or both food and medicine in one, if you really think about it—is empowering.

It saves money, doctor’s visits, and could even shape the way we view healthcare in the future. I’ve used certain herbs to successfully combat strep throat without any help from mainstream antibiotics. I’ve suggested herbs to others that have eliminated their lifelong acne issues, and I even use herbs today to holistically support my anxiety disorder and PTSD. Sure, these are anecdotal. But they’ve literally worked and I see them work even now on an almost daily basis (and for you more science-herbalist nerds, there’s a very scientific explanation for how all of these herbs work for these separate issues).

But most importantly: just because you live in a house or small apartment with very little money doesn’t mean this is something out of reach to you.

The truth is: it is in reach, more than you know.

If you can grow food in your domicile, you can certainly grow herbs. Together, these form the most preventive health medicine cabinet you could possibly have at your disposal.

Seeing the Connection: Plants as Healers, Whether Vegetables or Herbs

Why should you grow your own medicinal or culinary—or both medicinal and culinary—herbs in the first place?

Isn’t this something reserved for New Age hippies, lifestyle bloggers, witchy mamas, or your grandma?

My answer is best put as a story. I was in Ecuador during my organic agricultural internship when I was first struck by the world of herbalism.

I had an injured and infected foot. It was hard for me to walk.

 I was also in a foreign tropical country where a non-native’s susceptibility to infections was astronomically dangerous. To continue growing the healthy, nutritious food I was so hell-bent on learning about, I was told by locals I must rely on a completely different kind of plant.

They pointed just a few steps away from where I helped cultivate rows of healthy vegetables like kale to a tall, uncultivated plant with broad leaves—a plant called matico.

Kale Row | Iowa Herbalist
Rows of kale at Jupiter Ridge Farm.

Vegetables and Medicinal Herbs: Different Plants, Similar Purposes

Two very different plants, kale and matico.

But they both have a couple things in common: they can strengthen health and, as I would learn soon, matico could save your life (and kale too, though how it might do that for you deserves its very own article in and of itself).

I was instructed to use a medicinal preparation of matico’s leaves by the locals to fight this infection and still be able to walk between planted rows to get work done and continue my education—maybe even to keep my foot altogether..

The nearest hospital wasn’t for miles. There was no local pharmacy, no local clinic, no antibiotics: only plants and the native knowledge of the locals at my disposal.

Years later, I still have my foot—and all because of (well, mostly because of) a plant (a trip to the Ecuadorian beaches swimming and soaking in the salty ocean helped, too). I also found out later, to my shock, that matico isn’t as exotic as I thought. In fact, it’s very closely related to both black pepper (a culinary seasoning I wrote about in depth for Primal Herb here) and kava kava (a widely popular sedative herb from the Pacific), domesticated cultivated relatives that are—you guessed it—grown and produced by farmers.

Garlic Field | Iowa Herbalist
A farmer (My husband and partner, Will) overlooking a garlic field. Garlic is a vegetable, a flavorful spice, and a highly medicinal herb all in one.

It was in making these types of connections between nutritious and medicinal plants—and plants of all kinds, for that matter—that I decided to be an herbalist, and not just a farmer. I also realized how deeply interlinked these roles could be.

Growing Medicinal Herbs: Why Do It? Is it Really Worth it?

So, why grow medicinal plants, you might again ask?

Of course, my story above is extreme. If you think you might lose a foot, definitely wise up and go to a hospital if you can—take advantage of the fact that you’re not in the middle of a South American rainforest. And yet, living in the city— relying only on your apartment or home— can sure feel like surviving in a jungle these days.

So here’s my short answer: you should grow medicinal plants to be smart, self-sufficient, and frugal. But also because it’s a no-brainer.

I’ll risk sounding blunt here: especially in an urban setting and with little money, you’d be dumb not to. Ultimately, growing plants saves you money and possibly your health in the long run. Sure, you can also purchase medicinal in supplement form. But these extracts and capsules can be costly also—and, in some cases, less reliable.

If you’re not worried about losing a foot perse, there’s a lot more beyond foot-saving that herbs do. Some examples are:

  • Improving digestion
  • Soothing sunburns
  • Alleviating stress (or even anxiety and depression)
  • Protecting infected cuts
  • Pain relief

A lot of them make your food taste better as a bonus, too (here’s looking at you, culinary herbs, of which the majority of you are also secretly medicinal).

By the way, if you’re already growing vegetables or even fruits in your house or apartment: congratulations!

You’ve already got your own preventive medicine cabinet. Growing herbs will just expand it even more. In the process, you might save yourself money on doctor’s visits and depending on those costly over-the-counter drugs.

You may also pick up an enjoyable hobby in the meantime that beautifies your home or apartment in the process, too. So why wouldn’t it hurt?

Echinacea at Jupiter Ridge | Iowa Herbalist
Echinacea on Jupiter Ridge.

Culinary and Medicinal Herbs: What Can I Grow? What’s Possible?

 Of course, the theory of anything becomes a lot more complicated when put into practice. Newcomers to growing herbs (or even growing in general) might ask: is growing medicinal and culinary herbs indoors difficult?

In truth, some herbs with healing potential are not any different—or more difficult— to grow than anything else indoors.

If you’re wanting to break new ground and give growing medicinal herbs a try, here are the best to get your feet wet with (and your hands dirty with) for starters.

  • Aloe Vera. May need more sun than most others on this list, but otherwise requires very little water or much else. Leaves from aloe plants can be removed and the gel used for cuts, burns, sunburns, rashes, and wounds. The juice can be consumed for digestive issues and even certain disorders (I wrote for Healthline about aloe vera juice for IBS here).

  • Ginger. Ginger root is incredibly easy to grow indoors from a living rhizome. It also doesn’t need a lot of light as a canopy plant. It’s great for cramps, stomachaches, nausea, and boosting the immune system when dealing with colds. It also tastes great (Oh yeah – I also wrote about ginger for Healthline here and how it’s great for sore throats).

  • Lemon Balm. Great for culinary and medicinal uses. It also doesn’t need a lot of sunlight or water. Harvest sprigs to flavor meals that call for mint or lemon verbena. Or, make a tea from it for stomachaches or bouts of stress, anxiety, or depression.

  • Mint. Spearmint and peppermint are easy to grow indoors with low light in containers. They’re great for bellyaches and can also calm nerves a bit. Mint’s flavors are a must-have for teas and various dishes. A fresh leaf on a cut reduces risk of infection, and the essential oil is amazing pain relief (I use it for my TMJ). (Article on how to grow this herb specifically is coming up soon).

  • Parsley. Take a bite or a sprig of this culinary herb to freshen breath or when you have a stomachache. It is also known to help with seasonal allergies. It’s easy to grow in low light and doesn’t ask much of you and is also a delicious seasoning.

  • Thyme. This squat little mint-like plant doesn’t demand much space, or even too much light or water for that matter. It makes for an adorable ornament on a kitchen window. Thyme is also an excellent herb for immunity and the symptoms of colds and flu.
Aloe Vera | Adrian White, Iowa Herbalist
Aloe Vera.

Keep in mind that the cultivation and use of herbs for health shouldn’t replace common-sense mainstream health care or prescription medications. Talk to your doctor about using herbs, or if using herbs for health would be right for you.

If you’re truly intrigued by growing herbs, don’t feel like you need to stop at this list.

There’s plenty of others you can grow indoors, and which may also be enjoyably tackled by the more advanced or expert indoor grower.

Happy growing—and, ultimately happy, affordable health.

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 9

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Hello CSA Members!

We hope you’ve had a great week so far enjoying the peak of the season’s delicious produce from our farm!

Delivery will return back to the normal day and time this week: tomorrow (Tuesday)! Leave out your cooler and ice pack!

So, last week, you had a little taste of the abundance of fall flavors to come (with squash especially – our garlic and onions too). This week, it’s time to experience something a little different: some spring flavor!

This week your share will contain:

  • Spring Radishes
  • Arugula 
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Red Round and/or Heirloom Slicer Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Sweet Onion
  • Garlic
Spring Radishes | Jupiter Ridge LLC
Spring radish bunches – so yummy and crunchy.

When autumn rolls back around, all of the spring greens and other victuals available during the very beginning of the year have the opportunity to come back, too (like arugula and spring radishes, as in this share – though look forward to the comeback of some other spring produce!).

With the cooler weather, vegetables classically considered “spring” vegetables can also have their time to shine. We planted an abundance of spring vegetables going into the fall, but want to make sure you have a taste of them as soon as they are available – specifically our spring radishes and arugula!

In this share too, however, you’ll notice that summer produce certainly isn’t done for the year, either. Enjoy our first big purple eggplants (Italian type) and watch out for those habanero peppers (be very sparing with them – they are hot, hot, hot!)

That’s all for now folks – as always let us know if you have any questions about your share. Enjoy!

– jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Arugula! What Is It? | Explanation and Tips

For me personally, arugula (also called rocket or roquet/roquette), feels like a “standard” veggie (er, green) you’d find just about anywhere because we’ve been growing it for so long. We’ve gotten used to it, and the green is starting to pop up everywhere, even here in Iowa, if only gradually.

Arugula | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Arugula in closeup.

However, it still surprises me and takes me off guard a little bit when people see it at our farmers market stand and don’t know what it is, or they haven’t heard of it, OR (this one amuses me the most) they have heard of it…but they’re scared of it!

This is NOT to make you folks out there who have never heard of arugula feel bad about never having had it before (it’s OK – I’ve just taken it for granted as a vegetable farmer, and it’s not as common yet as I think it is). If anything, it’s just another one of those specialty veggies people need a proper introduction to so they can enjoy it and get to know it in the best way possible (and so they like it, because it’s a wonderful, wonderful green).

Yes, arugula can be sorta spicy. But here’s the thing: once you get it mixed into a salad with a cool salad dressing and other ingredients, the edge of that heat is taken off a little bit. You get more of a peppery-kale flavor, with the tenderness and texture of spinach (even better texture in my opinion).

Strawberries, mustard, fish, chicken, and steak are GREAT ingredients in an arugula salad. Very delicious with Parmesan (goat cheese, feta, or Bleu cheese are also all great candidates), tomatoes, and maybe a bit of basil, too.

Flavor still too spicy for you? Arugula goes GREAT in a smoothie with all sorts of fruit and yogurt ingredients. Give it a try if the “heat” is too unpleasant to you – you won’t taste it once it’s all blended up.

The BEST and MOST POPULAR way to enjoy arugula (which is very healthy, by the way – tons of iron, fiber, B vitamins, and lots more!): throw it on a pizza! It’s a very popular ingredient on pizzas all over the place (including at the Iowa pizza places we sell our produce to: Quarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery in Cedar Rapids, Park Farm Winery by Dubuque, and Luna Valley Farm‘s weekend wood-fired pizzas up in Decorah!) (Oh yeah: kids might like arugula on their pizza, too..just saying!)

Eggplants | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Arugula can also be a great extra ingredient in pesto, and can substitute spinach or other greens in many an Italian pasta recipe (after all, it IS an Italian green!) Got a nice Italian recipe for those eggplants this week, for example? Arugula can be a great addition even to an eggplant Parmesan dish as it melds well with other classic Italian ingredients and flavors.

I’m getting hungry as I’m writing this – so I’ll wrap this up!

Let us know if you have any questions about your share this week. Better yet, share your recipes with us! If you have one you’ve made with your CSA produce and that you’re eager to tell the world about, we’d be more than happy to share it on the website with your name.

Email Us At: jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Have a great week!

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 8

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Hello CSA Members!

Feels like fall is finally getting here. Temperatures are cooling down, the weeks ahead look rainier, and we’re starting to see the leaves turn – just a tiny bit!

As the weeks roll by, our produce offerings continue to change bit by bit, becoming more “autumnal.” However, our summer crops still aren’t ready to give up! You’ll definitely see that in this diverse share coming up.

Speaking of: delivery will be taking place Monday afternoon (tomorrow). Be sure to leave out your coolers with ice packs out then!

Here’s what you’ll be getting this week:

  • Carnival Squash (New!)
  • Red Round Slicing (or Heirloom) Tomatoes (Or Combo of Both!)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Green Kale Bunch
  • Genovese Basil Bunch
  • Norland (Red) Potatoes
  • Summer Squash (Zucchini, Patty Pan, or Crookneck – or Combo)
  • Red Onion
  • Sweet Onion
Squash Assortment | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Squashes Are Coming!!!

We’re gearing up for a very busy next few days, not only because of CSA delivery (and restaurant delivery). We’ll be attending Cobble Hill’s Farm Dinner this evening, and tomorrow following deliveries, you can find us (and our food!) at the 2nd Annual Feed Iowa First Charity Dinner!

Hope to see you there!

Carnival Squash | Explanation and Tips

Last week you got acorn squash – this week you’ll be getting carnival squash!

Carnival Squash | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Carnival squash about to be roasted.

Carnival squash is like acorn squash’s more colorful cousin. In fact, it technically IS an acorn squash (same species of plant and very similar varietal genetics) but with some key differences, as we have come to learn while growing it.

Number 1: Carnivals are definitely more decorative (obviously!). Unlike acorn squash, you can let this one be a beautiful fall centerpiece for a couple of weeks or so before you eat it, a dash of autumn color unlike the monochrome green acorn squash.

Number 2: Carnivals taste sweeter (at least to me) and their sweetness is a little more reminiscent of maple syrup. It’s less like the sweetness of delicata, kuri, or kabocha, with the more “sweet potatoe-y” sweetness (don’t know what those squash are? You’ll soon find out!)

With that said, you can prepare them much like an acorn squash – slice in half, remove seeds, and roasting is the best way (the skins aren’t edible, so skip eating those). Candied (or not candied) nuts, rice, dried berries, and a drizzling of maple syrup or honey on (or even stuffed into!) the squash really bring out its fall flavor.

Hope you love the share this week!

As always let us know if you have any questions.

– jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 7

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Greetings CSA Members!

Wow – can you believe we’re at week 7 already?

With a heavy share for you last week, we’re going a little light this week on our offerings – but your cooler will still be packed with plenty to enjoy and have fun with.

New item this week: Acorn Squash! That’s right, we’re finally starting to move into fall (a little bit) and this is only the first taste of what we’ll have to offer for fall flavors (meaning we have many more types of winter squash you’ll be able to enjoy in your future shares.)

This week’s share will include:

  • Red Round Slicing Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Baby Rainbow Carrots
  • Baby Rainbow Beets
  • Lacinato Kale Bunch
  • Acorn Squash
  • White (Kennebec) Potatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Sweet Onion
  • Garlic

A heads up about CSA deliveries next week! They will be taking place on Monday evening rather than on Tuesday evening. So make sure to leave your cooler with ice pack out then.

We will be attending the 2nd Annual Feed Iowa First that evening at Rodina in the Czech Village! We will also be collaborators, so the dishes featured during the dinner will feature the same produce you have been enjoying in your shares. Because of the event, we are tying in our restaurant and CSA deliveries into that day for convenience. 

Speaking of the dinner – there are still tickets available!

Wish to attend? Click this link here. It would be great to see you there, and to work with us to help a great nonprofit like Feed Iowa First (Read about what they do here!)

This amazing nonprofit gathers growers and farmers (including ourselves here at Jupiter Ridge Farm!) together to produce healthy food and get it to communities, institutions, and other populations in need.

Participating in this dinner is a great way to support them as directly as possible, and will feature dishes and beverages produced from the talents of chefs, beverage makers, brewers, and farmers – the best talents in the Cedar Rapids area! Last year’s event was delicious, amazing, and fun. Let us know if you can join us!

Acorn Squash: What Do I Do With It? | Explanation & Tips

Never had acorn squash before? Well, you’re in for a real treat!

Acorn Squash on Vine | Jupiter Ridge Farm

If you’ve ever roasted a butternut or spaghetti squash, acorn squash basically gets the same treatment when it comes to preparation. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and place them on a cookie sheet or pan (with a little water in pan if desired) and roast them up until they’re nice and soft.

Adding a little salt on top (black pepper, too) makes this squash enjoyable right on it’s very own. Or, you can scoop out the flesh (leave the skin aside – it’s not very edible) and blend it into soups or stews. Half-bake it and cube it up and it makes an excellent addition to stuffing! (A bit early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, we know.)

Did you know the acorn squash was actually developed here in the state of Iowa? And that it also goes by the name Des Moines squash? The acorn was officially introduced and debuted as a commercial cultivar in Iowa in 1913. However, all squash originate from the Americas – pumpkins, zucchinis, you name it.

As you enjoy acorn squash this week, you can be proud to be tasting and savoring produce that is as Iowan as it gets.

Wellness Spotlight On: Cucumbers

Something as green as a cucumber has got to be healthy. But what health benefits does it have, exactly?

Cucumbers | Jupiter Ridge Farm
Cucumbers in closeup.

People eat cucumbers most often as a condiment we know all too well: pickles. “Dill pickles” (cucumbers pickled with dill seeds or fronds) are delicious, but there’s something more to this pairing: both cucumbers and dill are known to be great for aiding digestion.

Whether you eat them raw or as pickles, cucumbers are also known to help regulate blood sugars a little bit. This makes them an excellent vegetable for people with diabetes!

Well, that’s all for now! It’s an amazing time for CSA members right now, being able to enjoy the last tasty vegetables of summer alongside some of the first hints of autumn produce.

We hope you love what’s in your share – and as always, let us know if you have any questions about anything!

– jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com –

Best,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 6

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Greetings CSA Members!

The share this week will feature some new additions (and the return of some tasty items you’ve enjoyed in the past) – we hope you enjoy them as much as our market customers did this past Saturday at Dubuque Farmers Market!

This week’s share will include:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Green Beans
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Green Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Onions
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers 

New this week: leeks and garlic! These veggies can also be used like culinary seasonings in and of themselves (especially garlic). We hope you enjoy the flavor they add to your recipes and meals this week. Enjoy!

Baby Leeks
Baby leeks being pulled from the field.

Leeks: Using Them | Explanation and Tips

We get a lot of farmers market customers in Dubuque asking us all about leeks. What are they? What should you use them in?

Leeks are a relative of onions and garlic, with a flavor more similarly resembling onions more than anything. Compared to onions, though, they have a gentler presence in recipes when it comes to taste. The part you want to use it mostly its white stem (which has the same texture and is chopped the same way as an onion bulb), though the green leafy top parts can be used, too. However, be prepared for the green parts to be a bit more fibrous (less like an onion bulb).

We recommend leeks in soups and stocks most of all. That seems to be where they shine the most  (especially in soups using potatoes – leek and potato soup is heavenly, so give them a try along with those fingerlings!)

But really, you can replace recipes calling for onion with a whole leek if you desire. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Leeks
Leeks!

Wellness Spotlight On: Garlic

Vegetable farmers love to grow garlic. People love to eat garlic (it tastes delicious – what would we be without it?) Herbalists also love garlic because it has dozens of health properties. 

In summary: everyone loves garlic.

But most notably of all, garlic is amazing for your health, there’s no way around it. When you eat it as a food or culinary herb, it’s great for your immune system, for reducing cancer risk, protecting heart health, regulating blood sugars, the whole she-bang.

One interesting thing about garlic: it can be a potent antibiotic. However, in order to tap into these antibiotic properties, you need to eat garlic raw!

A tall order, we know – but for those interested in trying their hand at it, raw cloves can help you knock out a cold or a flu if you want to try out a home herbal remedy that is widely known to help you when you’re sick (and is actually shown to be effective!). Placing cloves of garlic in a jar of honey is a great way to prepare for the winter – it helps preserve them and also make “popping” a raw clove for a cold or flu way more palatable (and still effective).

Oh yeah – garlic it can be great for sore throats, too (especially when combined with that honey).

Garlic

Lots of good stuff this week – and especially healthy stuff, too.

As always, feel free to let us know if you have any questions about how to use an item in your CSA share (or what it could be good for, health-wise!)

~ jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com ~

Yours,

Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm

Jupiter Ridge 2019 CSA | Week 5 Newsletter

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Hi CSA Members!

After a bit of a heavier share last week, we’ll be delivering a share that’s a bit more on the lighter side this time around – so you can catch your breath a little bit!

That’s not to say there won’t be plenty of variety to expect, or that you won’t be seeing some new items.

Important note: we will be delivering Tuesday evening (tomorrow) as usual again! So be sure to leave out your empty cooler and ice pack then so we can switch it out.

What to expect in this week’s share:

  • Sweet Peppers (One Red, One Orange)
  • Orange Carrots
  • Green Curly Kale Bunch
  • “Cabbettes” (Mini Cabbages!)
  • Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
  • Mixed Potato Medley (White, Red, Purple, & Fingerling Potatoes)
  • Green Beans
  • Parsley Bunch
  • Sage Bunch
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Sweet Onion
  • Shallot

New this week are our sweet peppers, which are mostly “Bull’s Horn” or “Corno di Toro” type peppers. This means they aren’t quite bell peppers, but taper to a point, much like a bull’s horn (thus the name). 

Though their shape is different, they are just as sweet– if not sweeter, even!– than bell peppers you would find at the grocery store. (When I harvest them, I just can’t resist eating at least one of them as I harvest. So sweet and good, they’re like candy.)

Adirondack Potatoes
Purple potatoes will be one of the items you’re getting this week – and yes, they stay purple after you cook them!

We’ll also have parsley, potatoes, and shallots featured in this share. We hope you enjoy the new items – some of them even taste good together in combination in certain recipes!

Cabbettes: What Are They? | Explanation and Tips

In this week’s share you’ll be getting mini-cabbages or “cabbettes” as they are sometimes called. You’ll notice that they are basically just very small cabbages (or, if you look at them a little differently, large Brussels sprouts).

Cabbettes

You might wonder how the heck something like a small cabbage like this would come about. So here’s a little info on how cabbage grow: after you harvest the single BIG head from a cabbage plant, it keeps growing. But it doesn’t grow another big single head again. Instead, it splits off and grows several small ones, and though they’re small, they’re still quite tasty.

Some cabbettes are small enough that you could even treat them like Brussels sprouts if you wanted. The ones you’re going to find in your share, however, are going to be a little larger than that!

What to do with them? Well, you can do all the same things you like to do with a large cabbage with these little guys. (Think of it more like “single-serving” cabbage).

Some more ideas: chop or grate cabbettes into a slaw-like salad that is less heavy on the cabbage, with vegetables like matchstick carrots or even ginger. (Yum!)

Sliced Cabbage

Or: slice these mini-cabbages in half and place them on the grill. Delicious! Also– if you’ve got a big cut of meat to roast, throwing one of these cabbages whole along with your carrots, potatoes, and other roasting veggies with the meat in the roasting pan/it’s juices makes for another tender veggie added into the mix.

We hope you enjoy them – and as always, let us know if you have any questions about them!

Email Us | jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Wellness Spotlight On: Blue Potatoes (What Makes Them Blue)

Did you know that unusual-colored produce– especially produce that is red, blue, or purple instead of its typical color– has that color because of antioxidants?

Red Kale
Red (purple) kale has its color due to higher antioxidant content, which gives red kale a different (and arguably more dense) nutrient profile than green kale.

This is definitely the case with the blue potatoes you’ll be getting in your share. The blue color in these potatoes are actually anthocyanins, antioxidants that are great for:

  • Boosting heart health
  • Increasing immunity
  • Helping protect the nervous system
  • Reducing diabetes risk
  • Reduce risk of obesity
  • Reducing risk of cancer

So on top of all the nutrition you’d expect in potatoes (fiber, carbohydrates, potassium, vitamins, etc.), keep in mind that blue potatoes are extra special not because of how they look, but because that stunning blue appearance means more health benefits!

Enjoy your veggies this week, and let us know if you have any questions! | jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Yours,
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm