Month: October 2014

Recipe: Daikon, Beet, and Carrot Slaw

This week you’ll be receiving a new vegetable in your share:

fresh harvest daikon radish

Meet the daikon radish, the less attractive cousin of the lovely Valentine’s Day radish mix you’ve been receiving for the past few weeks.


Although the daikon doesn’t play a prominent role in American cuisine, it’s quite popular in Asian countries, such as China, Korea, Vietnam, and India, where the daikon is eaten pickled, stir-fried, and raw.  In Japan, daikon radishes are produced more than any other vegetable. 

daikon in the ground before harvest

In the United States, the daikon radish is used more commonly as a cover crop—or a crop used to protect and enrich the soil—than as an eaten commodity.  For instance, on August 1, we planted a cover crop mix of daikon radishes, oats, and Canadian field peas in the garlic area in order to prepare the soil for our October garlic planting. 

garlic field in the fall

As a cover crop, daikons are known for breaking soil compaction layers and scavenging nitrogen.  Truth be told, we (especially Dan) could talk for hours about the amazing abilities of the daikon as a cover crop, but I’m going to save that for another post and move along to helping you figure out how to eat this versatile root crop.

harvested veggies

This week, I combined the radish with two other veggies in your share to make Daikon, Beet, and Carrot Slaw, a delicious complementary side to a sandwich or wrap.

Begin by removing the greens from the daikon, beets, and carrots.  Set these aside for other recipes (beet greens and carrot tops for smoothies, daikon greens for stir-fry).

j veggies

Next, peel and julienne the daikon, beets, and carrots.  To julienne, begin by trimming the ends and sides of the vegetables to make four straight edges. 

j veggies on an angle

Next, cut each of the vegetables into 1/8-1/4 inch matchsticks.  Set aside the peels and scraps to use in soups and stocks (or bring them along for our goats Basil and Jasper next time you visit the farm!).

Combine the julienned daikon, beets, and carrots in a bowl.  Toss the vegetables with a dressing of sesame oil, vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, and sea salt.  Cover the bowl and set aside for at least a half hour before eating.

pork sandwich with beet carrot and radish salad

When ready to eat, garnish with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds, and pair with your favorite sandwich, such the pulled pork sandwich pictured above, made with pulled pork from DeMotte’s Bub’s BBQ—yum!  You can also serve the slaw on top of—what else?—a bed of greens.

For the printable of this recipe, scroll down.

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Daikon, Beet, and Carrot Slaw
Serves 2
A tasty raw slaw combining daikon radish, beets, and carrots.
Write a review
  1. 1 8-inch daikon radish, peeled and julienned
  2. 2 medium-sized red beets, peeled and julienned
  3. 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and julienned
  4. 1 tsp sesame oil
  5. 2 tsp vegetable oil
  6. 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  7. 1 tsp sea salt
  1. Combine the julienned daikon radish, beets, and carrots in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Thoroughly combine the sesame oil, vegetable oil, vinegar, and sea salt.
  3. Toss the dressing with the vegetables.
  4. Cover the bowl and set aside for a least a half hour before serving.
Perkins' Good Earth Farm

How to Plant Garlic

Spaghetti.  Roasted chicken.  Foccacia Bread.  Hummus.  Pizza.  Pesto.  Pretty-Much-Any-Roasted-Vegetable.  What do all these foods have in common?  None of them would be the same without garlic.


Instead of sharing a recipe this week, I’d like to show you how we grow garlic, a key cooking ingredient.  We grow hardneck garlic, or garlic that produces a flowering scape in the spring, as opposed to softneck garlic, which rarely flowers and is the garlic most commonly found in grocery stores.  Hardneck varieties have anywhere from 4-12 cloves, depending on the cultivar.  Each of these cloves has the capability to produce a new garlic bulb—that is, if you choose to plant the clove instead of eat it.

Garlic Planting Instructions

1. Consider Quantity

For hardneck garlic, 1 bulb planted yields anywhere from 5-8 new bulbs, depending on the number of cloves in the garlic variety.  To determine how much to plant, divide the amount you’d like to produce by 6.  For instance, if you’d like to yield 48 bulbs of garlic, you’d buy 8 bulbs to plant, or about 1 pound of seed garlic.

2. Consider Quality

People often ask if they can plant garlic they buy at the grocery store.  It’s a good question, but the answer is, “No!”  Seed garlic is graded at 2” diameter, because larger bulbs generally contain larger cloves.  When you plant large cloves, you yield large bulbs.  Also, store-bought eating garlic hasn’t been screened for diseases and may be susceptible to pests once planted.  We recommend purchasing seed garlic from a commercial garlic seed grower using organic growing methods, such as Perkins’ Good Earth Farm or Filaree Farm. 


3. Break the Bulbs Apart

A few days before planting, break the bulbs into individual cloves.  Twist the top off the bulb, peel away the outer skins (not the individual clove skins), and remove the cloves.  We call this “popping”, and because it’s quite time consuming, we think popping works best as a group activity. 

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This year a group of Taylor University students helped pop garlic during a field trip to our farm.  Thank you, Taylor!


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4. Soak the Cloves

12 hours before planting, we soak our garlic in a solution designed to give a nutrient boost and to prevent disease and insect carry over.

Seed Soak Recipe

1. At least 12 hours before planting, soak cloves in 

  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp fish seaweed fertilizer
  • 1 gallon water

2. Right before planting, dunk cloves in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 5 minutes.

3. Plant immediately.


5. Plant

Because of the amount of garlic we grow, we plant in the field behind our house.  A home gardener planting a small amount, however, might consider planting in a raised bed.  Either way, prepare rows 8-12 inches apart, and plant each clove 5-6 inches apart.  Cloves should be planted 3-4 inches deep here in Northwest Indiana because of the winter temperatures (in the south you could plant 1.5-2” deep).  Be sure to plant basal side down, as the roots grow from the base of the clove.  Cover the cloves with soil.


This year we had the opportunity to try planting in a new way, with a garlic cart.  This cart was funded by a SARE grant, and was developed by us and Purdue agricultural engineering students.  We’re still in the experimentation stage with the cart, but we’re hopeful it will make commercial hardneck garlic planting more efficient and easier on the body. Click here to see a video of Dan using the cart to cover the planted garlic. 

Dan and Dirk Planting

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6. Mulch

Mulch heavily (3-5 inches deep) with weed-free straw for weed and moisture control.  There’s no need to remove the straw in the spring, as the garlic is strong enough to push through the mulch. You can also use grass clippings, but you’ll need to put a new layer on in the spring. 


For more information on growing garlic, you are welcome to come visit us at our farm!  We also recommend reading Growing Great Garlic by Ron L. Engeland.  For recipe ideas, search for cookbooks from Gilroy’s Garlic Festival, such as this one we found at a used book store a few years ago.

Have you ever planted garlic before?  If so, how was your planting experience?  For those who prefer cooking to planting, what’s your favorite way to eat garlic?  I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section!

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

6 Ways to Eat Leafy Greens

Each week you, as a farm member, take home 5-8 different types of leafy greens:

  • Baby salad greens
  • Baby spinach
  • Mesclun mix
  • Beet greens
  • Radish greens
  • Carrot tops
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard

Fall Share You’re receiving enough leafy greens by now that you could probably eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I want to help you do just that.  Here are six ways you can eat your greens this week.

1. In a Sandwich

The boys and I had lunch at the park last week, and I brought the fixing for bologna sandwiches.  I made mine by lightly spreading mayonnaise over Wasa rye crisps, then adding two pieces of bologna and a generous layer of mustard greens.  If I’d thought to bring them along, I would have added green onions.  So delicious I had to make another.

2. As a Base

Tender baby salad greens, mesclun mix, and/or baby spinach work wonderfully as a base for fried rice.  I make Indonesian fried rice (Nasi Goreng) and place it directly from the hot wok onto a plate of greens, where the heat from the rice gently wilts the greens.  You can also use salad greens as a base for re-heated leftovers or stir-fry.

3. Sautéed or Steamed

This is the perfect option for cooking greens like Swiss chard, kale, and large spinach.  One of Dan’s favorite side dishes is lightly steamed Swiss chard sprinkled with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

4. As a Salad

This option almost goes without saying.  Try a savory salad with fresh herbs, green onions, peanuts, and a touch of sesame oil one day, and a sweet salad with apples, toasted walnuts, and gorgonzola the next.  By varying your toppings (cheese, nuts, beans, fruits, veggies, meat, dressing), the possibilities are endless.

5. In a Soup

You can add chopped cooking greens to many soups.  One of our favorites is Spicy Potato Sausage and Greens Soup (From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook), a delicious soup made with chicken broth and topped with a spoonful of cream.  You can also make soups where greens star as the main ingredient.  This past summer I tried a new recipe, Kale Potato Soup, from the cookbook Simply in Season (one of our beloved cookbooks!).  The kale—cooked and pureed—turned the soup completely green.  Before I showed it to my boys, I told them we were having a very special dish for dinner: HULK SOUP.  Dinner that night was full of loud outbursts as we all morphed into Hulk over and over again, but Harper and Asher cleaned out their bowls with no problem.

6. In a Smoothie

Every day Dan and I drink a quart of green smoothie, a beverage made up of 1/2 to 2/3 greens, and 1/2 to 1/3 fruit.  I started drinking green smoothies about a year ago, after Dan’s parents introduced me to Victoria Boutenko’s Greens for Life and Green Smoothie Revolution.  Since then I’ve experienced an increase in energy and a significant decrease in allergic reactions—I think of green smoothies as my daily dose of a super-vitamin.

If you’ve never made a green smoothie before, here are two important considerations:

  • Use a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Nutribullet. You can use a standard blender, but the greens may not blend well, resulting in an unpalatable drink.  Also, Boutenko describes how greens, which are high in cellulose, are more easily assimilated into the body when broken-down in a high-speed blender.
  • Rotate your greens for maximum nutritive benefits. Boutenko recommends rotating a variety of at least 7 greens.

For more information, read Boutenko’s “Guidelines for Green Smoothie Consumption for Optimal Health Benefits.” 

As I said at the beginning of this post, you’re getting enough greens to eat them for three meals a day—including breakfast.  This week I made a frittata with radish greens and beet greens, green onions, herbs, and potatoes.  Pair the frittata with a green smoothie, and you’re off to a great start to your day.

Potato Garlic Herbs

Begin by prepping the vegetables: chop the green onions, leafy greens of your choice, and herbs, and slice the potatoes.  I used fingerling potatoes in this recipe, sliced thinly so I didn’t have to cook them ahead of time.  If you don’t have fingerlings, use baby red or baby Yukon gold potatoes.

Once your veggies are ready, heat your skillet over medium heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil.  I used my cast iron skillet—if you don’t have cast iron make sure your frying pan is flameproof as this dish requires broiling for its finishing touch.

Green Onions

Add the chopped green onions and sauté for about three minutes, until they’re just browning around the edges.  Push the onions to the side of the skillet, then add the potatoes and spread them evenly over the base of the pan.  Let the potatoes sit for about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly beat 6 eggs.  Add ¼ cup milk (I used whole milk) and add a touch of salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Potatoes in Skillet

Flip the potatoes and let the other side sit for about four minutes.  The first side should be golden brown.  Once the potatoes are done, add the greens, garlic, and herbs and cook for another two minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

Preheat the broiler to high.  Spread the greens/potato/herb mixture evenly over the base of the skillet, then pour the eggs over the potato mixture.  Press the veggies under the eggs, then evenly sprinkle the cheese on top.

Frittata in Skillet

Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until the eggs are just beginning to set.  Then place the skillet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes (do not overbroil!) until the frittata is set and golden.

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You can serve the frittata hot, warm, or cold and cut into wedges.  If you’d like, serve with pancakes (I made gluten-free oatmeal pancakes) and a green smoothie made of spinach, beet greens, banana, and tropical frozen fruit mix.

Scroll down for the printables of the Potato, Green Onions, and Greens Frittata and the Every Day Green Smoothie.

How do you eat your greens?  I’d love to hear your ideas–leave me a comment and let me know!

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Frittata with Potatoes, Green Onions, and Greens
Serves 4
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 5 green onions, chopped
  3. 12 oz fingerling or baby potatoes, thinly sliced
  4. 2 cups chopped cooking greens (radish tops, kale, swiss chard, spinach, and/or beet greens)
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 4 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  7. 4 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
  8. 15 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  9. 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  10. ¼ cup milk
  11. 1 cup feta cheese, or other cheese
  12. Salt and pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet or flameproof frying pan.
  2. When oil is hot, add green onions and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the potatoes and cook for 4 minutes on each side, until potatoes are browned.
  4. Add greens, garlic, and herbs and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Spread the potato/greens/onion mixture evenly over the base of the skillet.
  6. Preheat broiler to high.
  7. Add milk to the beaten eggs and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the potato/greens/onion mixture.
  8. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top and press lightly into the eggs. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until the eggs are just beginning to set.
  9. Place skill under the broiler and cook the top for 1-2 minutes, until set and golden. Do not overbroil!
  10. Serve hot, warm, or cold, cut into wedges.
  1. I prefer feta cheese in this dish, but I made half with mozzarella to accommodate my children. Harper (age 6) liked the frittata with both types of cheese, but Asher (age 4) would only eat the mozzarella version.
Adapted from Potato, Red Onion, and Feta Frittata by Nicola Graimes
Adapted from Potato, Red Onion, and Feta Frittata by Nicola Graimes
Perkins' Good Earth Farm
Every Day Green Smoothie
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  1. 1 cup spinach
  2. 1 cup beet greens
  3. 1 cup frozen fruit mix
  4. 1/2 banana
  5. 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Place all ingredients in high speed blender and blend thoroughly.
  1. I used spinach and beet greens in this smoothie, but you can use any variety of greens: Swiss chard, lettuce, radish tops (for a spicier smoothie), carrot tops, mesclun, and so on.
Perkins' Good Earth Farm

Recipe: Wilted Mesclun with Sausage and Rice


I used to be suspicious of mesclun mix.  Dan would bring me all these strange-looking spiky greens and I would stare at them, thinking, Did you just bring me a basketful of weeds to eat?

But about two years ago, I decided it was time to give these greens a chance.  I crunched on a handful of mesclun, and I discovered that the spiciness of the mustard greens complemented the sweetness of the baby lettuce—in other words, once I tried it, I found that I liked it.


Mesclun is not the actual name of a salad green, but rather refers to a mix of greens.  We buy most of our seeds from High Mowing Seeds, an organic seed company located in Vermont.  Their mesclun mix contains a delicious combination of lettuce and mustards greens–and you don’t want to be missing out on mustard greens.  Mustard greens are high in vitamins A, C, E, and K, which means they strengthen your blood and bones (vitamin K) while also working as an antioxidant (vitamins A, C, and E).

Eaten raw, mesclun mix can liven up any salad.  The other day my in-laws tried mesclun with Italian dressing, gorgonzola cheese, sunflower seeds, and Trader Joe’s orange cranberries.  I enjoy the greens simply tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as the base for a hearty taco salad, or topped with hardboiled egg and green onions.

This past week I also tried mesclun cooked, wilting the greens and pairing them with sausage and rice.  Dan and I savored every bite of this delicious dish. 

To make Wilted Mesclun with Sausage and Rice, start by cooking the rice (I used brown basmati) and setting the oven to 200 degrees.

Chopping Mesclun

While the rice is cooking, chop up one small onion, two cloves of garlic, and about ½ lb. of mesclun mix.

When the rice has about 25 minutes cooking time left, heat up your skillet—I used my trusty cast iron skillet—over medium heat.  If not using cast iron, you may need to add a little oil to your frying pan.  Once the skillet is sizzling hot, add ½ pound of pork sausage links (6-8 links).  I bought the sausage used in this recipe from DeMotte’s local meat market, Yesteryears.  (A little aside: If you haven’t been to Yesteryears, I encourage you to check it out!  They carry a good meat selection, homemade cookies and apple slices, and Dutch imports like Leyden cheese, Nasi Goreng spice mix, and stroopwafels.  Okay, back to the recipe.)

Browned Sausages

Once the sausages are good and brown, wrap in foil and place them in the pre-heated oven to stay hot.

Cooking Onions (large)

Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the onion until browned and fragrant.

Mesclun Stage One with Garlic

Toss in the garlic and about half the greens. Let the greens sit for about 15 seconds, then stir them around for another 30 seconds or so until they’re wilted.  Throw in the rest of the greens, let them sit, give them a stir, and season with salt and pepper.

sausage and mesclun

Dress each plate with a large spoonful (or more!) of greens, 3-4 sausages, rice, and–if you like–a piece of crusty bread.  Enjoy!

For the printable of this recipe, scroll down to the bottom of the page.  For thoughts on serving this dish to children, continue reading.

Dan and I loved this dish, but our children did not share this sentiment.  Harper (age 6) tried the greens and while he tolerated them, he said they were not his favorite.  Asher (age 4) managed one bite and then covered his rice with shredded cheddar cheese.  Granted, this is only the experience of two children in one household, but let me just say I was glad we had another veggie side dish (acorn squash) to go with their rice.

 Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Wilted Mesclun with Sausage and Rice
Serves 2
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 1 cup brown basmati rice (or rice of your choice)
  2. ½ pound pork sausage links (6-8 links)
  3. 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  4. 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  5. ½ lb. mesclun mix, coarsely chopped (8 cups)
  6. Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  2. While rice is cooking, chop the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the mesclun. Set aside.
  3. When the rice has 20 minutes to go, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. (If not using cast iron, you may need to add some oil to the skillet). Add the sausage links to the skillet and cook, turning every 1-2 minutes for about 12 minutes, until brown on all sides. Make sure no pink remains in the meat.
  4. Wrap cooked sausages in foil and keep hot.
  5. Keep skillet at medium heat, and cook onion in the sausage drippings for about 5 minutes, or until the onions turn brown and fragrant.
  6. Add garlic and about half the mesclun. Turn heat to medium-high and cook mesclun for about 1 minute, until wilted. Add the rest of the mesclun and cook for another minute, until wilted.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve mesclun mixture over rice, with hot sausage links on the side.
  1. To vary this recipe, trying using a spicier sausage. Also, if you don't have brown basmati rice, use whatever rice you have on hand. Sometimes I make half brown and half white rice, and if I'm low on time, I'll make all white jasmine rice since it only takes 15-20 minutes.
Perkins' Good Earth Farm
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