Box 4–Garlic Harvest!

Good day to all,

What a relief it has been since the heat has broken!  I feel for our kin to the east and south but am grateful for our fortune to be out of it…for now at least!   Some of our plants love the heat (wow, the tomatoes are growing fast!) and others struggle.  Even some heat loving plants like green beans, zucchini and eggplant may abort their flowers in extreme and constant heat–less flowers of course mean a later or lower yield of fruit.  Our snap beans are still rolling out their baby beans but I’m sure we’ve lost some numbers in the first wave, none the less the first taste of snap beans will come to some in this box!

Our frustrations with broccoli and its kin continue as plants planned to harvest over the next few weeks have been freaking out from the heat and producing tiny useless heads–hopefully the whole planting won’t continue with this trend now that its cooled down.  I have a good feeling that the cole family karma will come around this fall, a much better time of year for these cool loving plants.   Until then, it may mean an more cole substitutes like kale and collards (like this week) where broccoli would have been.

Garlic curing in the shed (we have one row, the rest is Living Song’s garlic)
In other news, garlic came early for many across the state.  The land we rent is from a family who not only raise an enormous amount of garlic, but helped found the MN Garlic Festival.  Garlic gets planted in the fall as individual cloves, overwinters (vernalizes), comes up in early spring and is typically harvested mid to late July–the individual clove turning

Kevin with load of Garlic!

into a full bulb.  It all gets harvested at once and is either hung or put somewhere with good ventilation to cure.  In celebration of the harvest, we’ve included uncured, or green,

garlic in your box this week!  You’ll notice the difference just peeling it, the skin layers are still spongy and thick, unlike the thin papery layers of cured garlic.  The garlic itself will be juicier as well.  This particular variety is of the porcelain family, characterized by large cloves (anywhere from 2-5 per bulb) and a distinctly mild and creamy flavor with low spice heat.  Because of the low heat I tend to eat it raw or with minimal cooking in my dishes so that it retains a nice spice.

Also, a reminder about Festival of Farms this weekend.  This year we will be part of the on farm tours.  If you want to come see the farm and not get tricked into to working this is your chance!  There will be tours at 10am and 1pm on Saturday, all are welcome.

This weeks bounty:

Beets!
Carrots (mokum)
Green Garlic
Mint
Basil
Zucchini
Green Onions (sierra blanca or walla walla)
Collards (two-thirds only)
Napa Cabbage (full only)
Snap beans or Snap peas
 

Beets are like getting two vegetables in one!  You may notice the greens striking similarity to Swiss Chard, that’s because they are practically the same thing!  Although not bred to be as pretty or delicate as Swiss Chard, Beet greens are just as tasty and can be prepared in the same manner–steamed, sauteed or finely shredded raw.   I personally love beets roasted with a little thyme, especially if roasted with other root vegetables like carrots or rutabaga.  If you ever make zucchini bread, you may want to try substituting beets for sugar as a tasty sweetener to make your bread even healthier!

Full shares may be overwhelmed by the giant Napa Cabbages in their boxes this week.  Some people like to peal each leaf when preparing it for a meal, I personally just  lay it on its side and start cutting away at the top of the head, cutting into 1/2 to 1 inch strips.  More delicate than storage cabbage, Napa is perfect for a light and airy coleslaw and will cook down a surprising amount if made into a curry or stir fry.  It is also the cabbage that is traditionally used to make Korean Kim-Chi.

If you ever invite me to a summer potluck at your cabin, there is a 50% chance that I will bring this weeks recipe: raw carrot-mint-garlic salad, yum! Such an inconspicuous salad, every one is always surprised how flavorful it is.  If you also want to bring it (although it might be embarrassing if we show up with the same thing) you will need:

1-2 lbs of carrots 
2-3 cloves minced raw garlic
2 tsp of salt
1-2 Tbls olive oil
1/2 of a lemon
3 Tbls chopped mint
 

First, grate the carrots with a cheese grater, place into large bowl. Then mince you garlic (for those whose grandma didn’t show you this trick, to easily peel the clove, press down with flat side of knife blade and it will crush the clove and break loose most of the skin) and add to bowl.  This is the point when I inevitably decide the recipe does not call for enough garlic and add whatever is left of the bulb.  Chop up your mint and add liberally. Add your oil, salt, and squeeze your lemon into the bowl.  Mix it up!  Taste–is that salty enough?  Does it need more lemon?  Is there more garlic sitting around the house?  Can be served either at room temp or chilled.   It is a great salad to add lib with–add parsley, celery, maybe shred a little beet or zucchini in there, maybe toss in some olives, use up that almost empty bag of walnuts, the possibilities are endless!

 
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