Box 5: Cukes and Zukes Forever

This week’s share

Hello hello,

Firstly, I’d like to thank all those members who came out for the festival of farms tour this past Saturday. Both Brandon and I thoroughly enjoyed showing people around the gardens while yapping away about food and plants. We certainly feel like we learned more from members and their feedback than they did from us! Note to members who have not been out to visit already: we think the farm is a great excuse to leave that sweltering urban heat island and take a weekend drive through the countryside. And no, we won’t put you to work, though if you do feel that weeding spirit move through you we certainly wouldn’t stop you from embracing it.

Good news out of Fowl City this week: the chickens are back at it! After many trials and experiments (and soup-stock threats), it seems that the mystery of the strange disappearance of eggs has been solved. Rock-star farmer Joel Salatin claims that you can significantly reduce the feed you give chickens when they are out on pasture because they can feed themselves well enough from it’s fruits (the grasses and bugs and whatnot) to continue production. While the chickens certainly did well enough on decreased feed to keep themselves active and healthy, we found that their egg production eventually began to decrease, nearly coming to a halt a couple of weeks ago. Since then they have been getting a bit more feed everyday, and they’re production is finally back on par.

This is why you’ve always got to harbor a healthy skepticism of what farmers from different regions recommend for your own, and why a farmer’s neighbours are some of his/her best resources. There are no silver bullets in farming, which is partially why it’s such an exciting profession. Instead of a reliable formula we have only loose guidelines, incomplete bodies of research, and a maddening array of anecdotal tips. Each region, microclimate, and soil type faces its own unique challenges, which is why experience working one piece of land over time is simply invaluable. And mistakes play a pivotal role in that learning process. Since each mistake is an opportunity for improvement we like to think of ourselves as getting better all the time!

On to the boxes, shall we? This week’s boxes include:

Napa Cabbage

Fennel

Lettuce or Cucumbers

Summer Squash

Sage

Chamomile (Full shares only)

Onions (walla wall)

Snap Beans

Swiss Chard

Kohlrabbi (Full share only)

Sorrel

 

*A note about chamomile and sage: anything that you don’t think you will get to use in the near future is best hung in an area that receives some ventilation and, once dried, can be stored for later use.

This week I would like to share a couple of recipe ideas.

Cucumber sorrel soup:

 fresh sorrel, stems discarded
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash of Tabasco sauce

1. Place cucumber, garlic, and stock in a medium saucepan. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer until cucumber is soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Coarsely chop the sorrel leaves, discarding the stems, and add some of them to the soup after it has cooled a bit. Love some aside for garnish.

3. Purée in a food processor until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Transfer soup to a bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Adjust seasoning again, if necessary, and serve garnished with the leftover sorrel.

Presto! A refreshing summer delight. This next recipe was given to us last season by a friend (it’s actually on our recipe page), but I thought it fitting to share again, only replacing snap peas with snap beans.

Avani’s Napa Cabbage Stir Fry- Indian Style

Napa cabbage (finely shredded)
Snap Beans
3-4 dried red chillies (broken)
4 tsp. oil
Mustard seeds
Salt, Turmeric and Chilli powder to taste

1) Heat the oil in a wok and add in the mustard seeds. Wait till they start cracking.

2) Add the salt, dried red chillies and the Turmeric. Mix them for about a minute.

3) Add the cabbage, mix it well with the spices and keep stirring until the cabbage becomes soft.

4) Now add the peas and the chilli powder. Mix well. Keep the wok covered and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes, until it is cooked to your desired level. Keep stirring at regular intervals to ensure that the cabbage does not get burnt.

5) Enjoy the bursts of flavor and the knowledge that we’re out here working to get you the freshest, most wholesome veggies that we possibly can!

Until next week!

Kevin

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