I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I'm beyond ready for Spring. We may have not been suffering under crazy amounts of snow in the Seattle area, but as in most years, we are laboring under dark gray skies dumping waterfalls of rain. The little run-off ditch along our country road has turned itself into a raging river, moss is growing in places I didn't think it could grow, and we've seen avalanche dangers in the mountains that we haven't seen in years.
So when friend and Farmstr CEO Janelle Maiocco contacted me and asked me to feature some fresh spring greens that Farmstr was offering for sale, I jumped at the chance. If I can't get Spring outside, I'm going to do whatever I can to get it on my plate. This salad came immediately to mind and is the perfect foil for the tender, fresh pea shoots and sunflower greens I picked up at my local drop point today.
I've mentioned Farmstr here before but for those of you not in the know, Farmstr is the brain child and baby of Talk of Tomatoes, blogger and urban farmer Janelle Maiocco. Janelle, has a passion for bringing fresh, sustainable food direct from farmers to the public. Farmstr was born out of the idea that farmers and the public could be better served and supported by distributing produce through scheduled drop locations throughout the Seattle area on a weekly basis. Seattle Magazine recently featured Janelle, in a fantastic article explaining her purpose and plans and I strongly encourage you, if you're interested, to check it out here.
When I heard last month that Farmstr was growing and expanding service to the Eastside, Issaquah specifically, I was nothing short of ecstatic. The ability to get such gorgeous produce outside of the farmers market season, so close to home, is a dream come true. Selections of produce and meat change regularly with the seasons so there is always something new. The quality as you can expect is simply outstanding. If you live in the Issaquah area or any where in Western Washington please consider heading to the Farmstr website to check it out and see if there is a local drop point near you. You'll be glad you did.
While this salad is chock full of spring greens, winter Chioggia beets and citrus shine here with a boost from high protein farro, pomegranate arils, and goat cheese. Farro is my favorite grain at the moment but if you don't have access to it, you can certainly replace it with bulgur, couscous or lentils. No run of the mill dressing will work for this salad and in an effort to keep the dressing from overpowering all the goodness going on inside, I chose to make a light, orange blossom vinaigrette. Orange blossom water is available at middle eastern markets and can be increasingly found in some local natural markets. It's not absolutely necessary to the recipe, but it does add some of the most amazing, light flavor you'll experience.
Spring Greens, Farro, Beet and Citrus Salad
1 C. Farro
5 C. water
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb. mixed spring greens
3 baby (or small) beets, roasted, 1 quartered and 2 sliced thinly
1 C. pea shoots
1 C. sunflower sprouts
1/4 C. pomegranate arils
1 Blood orange, peeled (or supremed) and sliced
1 Navel orange , peeled (or supremed) and sliced
1/2 C. goat or feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 C. white balsamic vinegar
1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. orange blossom water
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a large saucepan combine the farro, water and salt, and bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, then cover the pot with a lid and turn heat to low. Cook 50-60 minutes until the farro is soft and chewy. Set aside and let farro come to room temperature.
Once cool, combine the farro with greens, beets, pea shoots, sprouts, arils, oranges and cheese on a platter.
In a small jar combine the vinegar, oil, orange blossom water, salt and pepper. Screw the lid onto the jar and shake until the ingredients are combined. Serve alongside salad.