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Monday, April 11, 2011

Farm Fresh to You Citrus and Turnip Salad

I'm so grateful to live in Sacramento. (I say this even though Sacramento seems to be the extreme allergy capitol of the world.) We are plunk in the middle of farmlands on all sides. Flying into Sacramento, one descends over a gold and emerald mosaic. This time of year that mosaic includes the topaz of sky reflected off of wetlands. All this adds up to readily available yummy food.
Last weekend, my friend Paula and I visited Capay Organic, which is a family run farm in the Caypay Valley about 30 miles west of Sacramento. They provide our Farm Fresh to You CSA boxes. It was a beautiful day and our hosts were gracious and informative. We had an opportunity to learn about their cultivator. Maybe farmers already know about all this, but I thought it was ingenious. This same tractor lays down the seeds and can later be used to cut the weeds from between the rows. Instead of using chemical herbicides, they use this physical intervention to keep the weeks down. There were also lovely rows of beneficial flowers between the crops.
Guests were encouraged to harvest bok choy and turnips. The turnips were a revelation. I had never cooked turnips before they appeared in my box last year. I was grateful they sent a recipe for cooking both the root and the greens with apples and onions. It was delicious. It never occurred to me to eat turnips raw. One of the farmers was showing kids how the turnips grow and how to pull them up and she showed them how they can be washed off and munched on raw. They were pure white, sweet and earthy.
My turnip greens are awaiting their turn, washed and dried and in the refrigerator. The roots became this bright and crunchy salad. The oranges and grapefruits came from our friends Brian and Rosie who live in the country and have many fruit trees. The herbs are from my garden. The one ingredient which may not be readily available to the average reader is Meyer lemon and ginger marmalade. A tablespoon of any marmalade or a drizzle of honey will do.

Citrus and Turnip Salad
6 small spring turnips (reserve tops for another use)
1 grapefruit
2 oranges
1 tbsp. marmalade
1 tbsp. mixed chopped herbs (I used parsley, cilantro and mint)

Wash and thinly slice the turnips. Cut away the peel and pith from the citrus and cut out the segments. Squeeze the remaining membranes in your hand to extract any extra juice. Toss with the marmalade and herbs. Allow to chill for 15 minutes.

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