Box 2

Second week, and things just keep getting better!  Salad ingredients are still ruling the garden, but more plants are starting to come into their own and will be producing soon including broccoli and zucchini. All the rain has made it difficult to get into the fields, but Kevin and I have good rain boots and don’t mind getting a little muddy.

I would like to add a quick note that I forgot to mention in the first newsletter about cleaning and storing:  All the produce is washed before it goes in your box, but should be cleaned again before you eat, especially for products like last week’s pac choi, which can’t fully be cleaned until you start disassembling it.   Most products store best if they are kept in plastic bags in the crisper.  We recommend reusing plastic bags from previous boxes for greens and other goods that aren’t wrapped in current boxes.  A little bit of moisture is desirable, but if your produce is too wet–especially salad greens– it will spoil quicker.  Washing and drying (with a  salad spinner or damping between a towel) once you get your box, and even prepping it so it is ready for immediate use, will give you the best storage life and make your produce more convenient.

Here’s the run down of the veggies for the week:

Full share:

Spinach

Kohlrabi

Lettuce mix

Strawberries (!)

Kale

Garlic Scapes

Lemon Balm

Thyme

Rainbow Chard

Half Share:

Spinach

Kohlrabi

Lettuce mix

Strawberries

Kale

Garlic Scapes

Lemon Balm

The Low Down:

Strawberries:  Because of all the moisture as of late, these beauties should be eaten sooner rather than later, as they are less prone to keep as long under these conditions (as if they stand a chance of staying around for more than a few days anyways).

Kholrabi: This little baby is part of the broccoli family (known as the brassicas).  Brassicas are pretty amazing, they are essentially one species that was artificially selected in various directions to become the forms we see today (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi).  Kohlrabi is actually a “modified” broccoli stem, made to bulb out and be less fibrous.  A sweetness and texture that reminds me of not-quite-ripe muskmelon, Kohlrabi is great chopped up into salads for a crunch, or eaten raw as a snack with a little salt on top.  Take off attached stalks and peel skin before eating.

Garlic Scapes: This is actually the flowering portion of a garlic plant.  They are broken off the plant so that more energy gets put into the garlic bulb instead of its flower.  But this stem is a delicious treat that carries the garlic flavor and can be used in its place.  It also can be used in a similar way as green onions or chives.  It works great for salads and can also be grilled whole.  We have a friend who gets ahold of scapes in a bulk quantities and purées them in her food processor into a paste (which is great on its own as a spread for sandwiches or crackers) and freezes thin cookie sheet size strips of them that can be broken off easily and added to soups or sauces throughout the year (spread out ¼ inch of scape puree on wax paper on a cookie sheet and freeze–can then be taken off sheet and layered in ziplock bags with wax paper between for easy access all year long).  If anyone wants a bulk portion of scapes to do this with let us know and we’ll make sure to drop extra ones off at your site next week.  Posted on the recipe page is a great scape pesto recipe (also great for freezing).  http://www.doriegreenspan.com/2009/06/i-seem-to-be-on.html

Kale: Kale is one of my absolute favorite greens.  Super hardy, great texture, awesome in almost any cooked dish.  During the winters I have it cooked with eggs almost every morning.  I also love eating it as “kale chips.”  Not really chips, but easy to make: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/03/baked-kale-chips/.  You can use this same idea to add a nice texture to other baked goods.  I like adding the raw kale to the top of roasted root vegetables or pizza or even lasagnas towards the end of their time in the oven.  They crisp well at any temperature, just keep in mind they’ll go a lot faster if you’re baking your dish at higher temps.  I like mine to be a little burnt on the edges to ensure a nice flaky texture.

Lemon Balm:  Just the smell alone makes it obvious how lemon balm got its name.  My favorite use is steeping in hot water with some honey for a tea.  Some people claim it is clarifying for the mind when drank.  You can steep the whole leaves and stem, no need for a tea bag.  Try a sprig (one stem with leaves) first and add more if not strong enough for your taste.  Also really good chopped up raw for salads or can be used in cooking as a mild herb.

Rainbow Chard:  This week only in the full shares (but should have it for everyone next week!).  Probably one of the flashiest greens you’ll ever meet, rainbow chard lives up to its colorful name.  A stunning addition raw to salads and excellent lightly sautéed, chard is part of the beet family carrying the sugary flavor that characterizes its kin.  Both stalk and leaf are great for eating and appealing to the eyes.

Coming up next week:

Rainbow Chard

Napa Cabbage

Hope you all enjoy!

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