Tag Archives: onions

Pinehold Gardens – CSA

Hi Everyone. Sorry I’ve been absent for the past few weeks – July ended up being ridiculously busy, and it completely got away from me. How is it possible an entire month can escape you?

But alas, the wait for the next post was worth it. Yesterday I had a chance to visit with Sandy and David at Pinehold Gardens – a little organic CSA farm located 15 minutes south of Downtown Milwaukee. While I’m not an official CSA member with their farm, I have been purchasing their produce over the past four – years. I started visiting their South Shore Farmer’s market stand a few years ago, then last year started visiting their road-side farmers stand located at….their farm. How convenient. It’s actually a 5 minute drive to their farm vs. the 20 minute rigamaroo drive to the South Shore Farmers Market. You have no idea how big of deal that is. Last weekend I ran to their farm stand at 9 am, stopped at the house to bag and store the produce, and was on the road at 9:30 am to photograph a wedding starting at 10 am. There’s no way I could do that if I had to run to South Shore.

So… with that, I’ve been eating their “Juicy Garlic” for the past few years. …and actually, David coined the term “Juicy Garlic” last July when I asked him if I should hang the garlic and let it cure. He said, “Nope.It’s perfect right now – I like my garlic juicy”. He wasn’t kidding. And they have baskets upon baskets of garlic in their storage shed. I have four heads hanging in my pot rack, and will be buying more this weekend.

With their fabulous garlic comes the best garlicscapes you’ve ever eaten. I have three pounds of garlicscape pesto in the freezer so I can have all winter long. I plan on adding to that batch next week, as one of my summer lunch staples is garlicscape pesto crostini topped with sliced cherry tomatoes and shaved caesar blend cheese. It’s so simple and SO good. …Hmmmm. Recipe to come. <<<

Wait! Did someone say “Tomatoes”? OH! Pinehold tomatoes. They are sweet juicy heavenly delights. You can’t find tomatoes like this anywhere else. Last year I started buying their Sungold cherry tomatoes, and my 18 month old got hooked on them. Now he LOVES tomatoes, and that makes a parent VERY happy. The problem with Sungold tomatoes is, the split easily. Which is why you won’t find these kinds of tomatoes in the grocery store. You either need to grow your own, which I’m trying this year. Or find a farmer who grows them, and buy directly from them. …Remember, get to know your farmers and learn where your food comes from.

This year I bought PHG’s larger red cherry tomatoes for the first time, and they’re equally delicious. I have 4 quarts on order for pick-up this Saturday. I can’t wait to make a fresh simple pasta sauce with these sweet tomatoes and their fresh garlic. It’s going to be fabulous.

My wife and I also became PHG winter squash junkies. We ate their Carnival, Delicata, Acorn, Buttercup, Fairy, and Butternut squash on a weekly basis well into March. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a week in December and January. Baked squash + butter + brown sugar is winter eating nirvana. It just warms the soul.

And did you know they have REAL free range chickens delivering the delicious multicolored eggs to their CSA members? No. You can’t eggs like this at the supermarket. Cagefree chickens just don’t have it this good. This little flock actually gets to eat organic produce all year round – and that translates to ridiculously rich delicious eggs. Another little kiddo favorite.

One of the best things I love about Pinehold Gardens is their commitment to sustainability. They harness the power of the sun with their solar panels, they don’t spray their produce with chemical pesticides, and they don’t spread chemical fertilizers on the ground. And that’s why Pinehold continually produces some of the best freshest produce you can find anywhere, and the Milwaukee area is so lucky to have David and Sandy.

Better yet – yes it gets even better – you can find their produce at local restaurants. And the one Sandy and David have built a wonderful Farmer to Chef relationship with is La Merenda. And ironically, that’s easily one my favorite restaurants in all of Wisconsin.

Here’s a little photo tour of their small organic farm
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Trust me, their garlic is MUCh bigger than this. 
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This is their giant solar panel
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Pinehold Gardens fields just after sunrise – their hoop houses off in the distance
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Seedlings ready for transplanting

Luscious fresh Kale, Rainbow Chard, Onions, and so much more…
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Hoop house Cukes 

…and those delicious juicy tomatoes…

The field tomatoes have quite a ways to go, but these hoop house cherry tomatoes are ripening well
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Freckled lettuce and endive

Winter squash – I so can’t wait for October…

The chickens have it so good. SO good…

Did I mention I photographed this entire day with manual focus lenses? …Even the chickens. OUCH!
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And here it is. The garlic. LOTS AND LOTS of garlic. 
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ARM = Armenian garlic. They also have Bavarian, Italian Red and other varieties. I’m partial to the Armenian.

And here’s the washing station so their CSA members get fresh clean produce
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If you’re on the fence about joining Pinehold Gardens CSA, you can always drive up and purchase their produce at their Saturday morning farm stand – what a great way to trial their wonderful product before you dive in. And even if you prefer to be a farmers market kinda buyer, I can’t recommend Pinehold Garden’s Saturday morning roadside stand enough.

Please visit their website for more info: Pinehold Gardens 

…I’ll see you there on Saturday.

Much love, happy eats, and I welcome comments,


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CSA Delivery: June 26, 2014

AHHHH! It’s Thursday night again, and we just took our third summer CSA delivery of the season.

We were also notified that our CSA will be skipping the July 3 delivery and tacking that delivery on to the end of the season (late October). I’m so COOL with that, as the fall items will store long into November.

While these boxes are pretty light right now, they’re still piling up in our fridge. Thank goodness last week’s lettuce is still as fresh and tender today as it was last week. …It’s all about good storage habits.


In today’s large share CSA Box:

Lettuce – Two varieties Spinach – still the most tender leaves you’ll ever taste
Red Russian Kale – A bigger helping this week
Bulb Fennel – with it’s giant green top
Baby Beets with green tops
Kohlrabi – with it’s green tops
Green Onions – so fresh and crisp
Fresh Herb – Mint – Big fragrant velvety leaves (see below)

CSA online order:
3 bunches of Lovage – my favorite herb from HighCross Farm
2 bunches of Sage with Sage Blossoms
2 pounds of spinach – it’s all gone for the summer
3 small heads of Grade B lettuce – undersized so they were a $1 each
2 dozen farm fresh free range eggs – they don’t get any better than this

Since we weren’t going to have a July 3 delivery, I stocked up on some essentials to carry us over until our July 10 delivery. The extra spinach from last week’s delivery as well as this week’s delivery will be pureed into my kiddo’s organic yogurt bowls with organic bananas and organic frozen strawberries. It’s a great way to make sure he’s eating his greens.

The beets in this week’s share are such a deep rich color. The first time I had them was last year, and they were amazing. …and I’m not a beet eater. Better yet, the greens are delicious in a pasta stir fry (recipe below). The most wonderful item in this week’s share is the fennel bulb. When I cut the green tops off for storage, the licorice aromatics that filled the kitchen were wonderful. My wife could smell it from 10 ft away, “What did you just cut? That smells like licorice”. Can’t wait to slice a little up in my farmer’s salad today.

Here are some more pics from this week’s share:


Check out these velvety mint leaves – click on the photo for a closer look.  _CJP1778


A big juicy wildly fresh Kohlrabi – An ode to Milwaukee’s German ancestry.
Those are hollow Lovage stalks to the right.


Here are the deep red beets with their delicious stems and greens.




And this is Lovage. It looks a LOT like Italian parsley, but it has a strong celeryesque flavor.
The stalks and leaves are both edible. I use the leaves in salads, and mince up the stalks for cooking in place of celery. If you like bloody marys, use the hollow stalk as a straw.

And here are those fabulous farm fresh free range eggs. These are the X-Large – and they’re HUGE! Another thing I love about the CSA is how much we recycle containers. This is a Roundy’s egg container. When we’re done using these egg containers, we return them to the farmer so they can reuse them for future egg orders. Some CSA farms, like Pinehold Gardens have multi-colored eggs: brown, white, yellow, and blue. …Never seen a blue egg until I picked up a dozen from Pinehold Gardens last winter.  _CJP1802

Julia Child once said:

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces
– just good food from fresh ingredients”.

We’ve been living this philosophy every since we joined our CSA. LOVE IT!

So. What did I make last night from our CSA pull? 

Sauteéd pasta with beet greens.
Again, I keep my Thursday cooking super easy because we usually don’t get a chance to sit down to eat until 8 PM, and it was no different last night. There is nothing fancy or complicated here. I think Julia would smile.



• Leftover Cooked Pasta from the night before, otherwise it’s too starchy to sauté.
• 1 lb of chicken breast – cubed kinda small
• 1 small red onion – finely chopped
• 1 bunch of beet greens (washed, torn into bite-sized piece, then and spun dry) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 6-8 small beet stems (washed and diced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 2 garlic chive stalks (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 5-6 sage leaves (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 3-4 sage blossoms (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 2-3 Lovage stalks (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• Small handful of Lovage leaves (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Kosher flake salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
• Shaved parmesan cheese


Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat until it begins to soften – season with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Add the cubed chicken breast, give it another drizzle of olive oil. When the chicken turns color, add the minced lovage stalks, sage and most of the garlic chives (not all of it). Reduce the heat, and let the chicken cook through – don’t burn the herbs. When the chicken is done, set aside.

In the same skillet, add a bit more olive oil and sauté the beet stems until they begin to soften a bit. Season with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside when they’re done.

Still using the same skillet, gently sauté the beet greens until they’re just beginning to wilt, and remove the skillet.Might need to add another touch of olive oil.

Add more olive oil and throw in the pasta and cook until it’s warmed and starts to brown. Add the cooked chicken, herbs, and beet greens. Toss, plate, top with shaved parm, another twist of fresh cracked black pepper and serve hot. Garnish with beet stems and remaining garlic chives.

A couple of notes:

If you don’t have beet greens, use whatever dark leafy green veggies you can find at the Farmer’s Market, or whatever you can find that’s organic in your local grocery store – hopefully it’ll be locally grown.

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, skip the chicken and cheese.

Substitute whatever fresh herbs you want. I used Sage because it pairs so well with poultry. The vibrant flavors of Lovage, Sage and Garlic Chives gave it a nice balance to the earthy flavor of the beet greens and stems. 

Thanks for reading – and please leave a comment.


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