We are well into summer, and with that comes hot hot heat, dips in the river, horse flies, and lots of great vegetables!
One of the best parts of July is that everything in the field is beginning to show its promise. Brandon and I walk the entire 5 acres several times a week, enjoying the company, the vegetables, noting how the health of the farm is, and recording milestones in the gardening year. This week was a big one-we saw (and subsequently ate) our first ripe tomato! There are tons of big beautiful green fruits on the plants, and in a few weeks you all should be getting at least cherry tomatoes in your boxes, with the full tomato bounty coming along soon. In other observations, the zucchini and summer squash are flowering and fruiting, the winter squash plants look fantastic, the corn is tasseling (we’re talking to you, Lindsey!) and the bell peppers and eggplants are getting much better after Brandon and Brian’s laborious and stinky application of kelp emulsion to foliar-feed the little guys. Sandy soil like ours, which is largely in its very first year of vegetable cultivation, has a fair amount of work to go to become ideal. Even though we’ve added lots of compost and minerals, sometimes the plants need a little boost directly to their systems through an application of goodies right on the leaves. All of this to say that things are looking great at Sleepy Root.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! We’ve settled on a date for the annual member party-September 8th. It’s a Sunday, it’s a potluck, and it’s an afternoon of fun and games on the farm. Come and join us, take tours, and most of all connect with your farmers-we’re so excited to meet you! RSVP at 812-774-2701 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The box this week is colorful and full, and we are really pleased with it. Here’s what you’re getting:Carrots Beans: either three-color Haricot or green Romano (medium and full only) Mizuna Onions Swiss Chard Thyme & Parsley Posies (small shares only) Broccoli or Cauliflower (small and full shares only) Cilantro (medium and full shares only) Cilantro Flowers (medium and full shares only) Napa Cabbage (full shares only)
The carrots were so fun to harvest-they were the first thing we planted when we moved to the new Sleepy Root and the ground was covered in feet of snow. Happily for us, we inherited a hoophouse allowing us to give you carrots now, even with the cold, wet and long spring.
The beans are either a mix of yellow, purple and green french beans, or Romano beans. It’s a toss-up as to which is favored around here. The haricot are really pretty (even though the purple ones lose their color upon cooking) and tasty. The Romano beans are so flavorful and tender, and the flat shape is really fun to eat! We’ve included a fantastic and simple sauce recipe that will go great with either.
Mizuna is a mustard green which has great aliases such as California Peppergrass or Spider Mustard. It’s a great thing to toss into a pot of brothy soup at the last minute, it’s good for stir-fries, and I really like it fresh, chopped up, with a light vinaigrette and crunchy peanuts.
The cilantro flowers taste great, but their real charm is that they can be an edible flower garnish for anything you’d like.
The napa cabbage is a beast! To cut, lay it on it’s side and slice off the stem end. Then stand it up and carefully cut it in half, down the center. Finally, lay the long, flat, cut side down on the counter and make slices crosswise as big or as large as you’d like. I’d highly recommend using it in the same manner as the mizuna salad recipe below, and if you want to get fancy toss that salad with cooked rice noodles and some cilantro. Add a protein like chicken or shrimp and you’ve got a great light summer meal…
This amazing herb sauce is North African in origin. It’s made in a blender, so it takes no time at all and keeps refrigerated for several days, if it lasts that long. My dear friends at Surdyk’s and I like to eat it on everything, and I mean everything! Dip raw vegetables into it, spread it on toasted baguette slices, pour it over grilled shrimp or fish, and most importantly, cover your gorgeous fresh beans with it! Cook them in boiling salted water until just crisp, and rinse in cool water to preserve their color. Then, top with this sauce. Easy-peasy!
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup parsely, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. coriander, ground
1/2 tsp. cumin, ground
1/2 tsp. black pepper, ground
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 cup extra virgen olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
kosher salt, to taste
Place parsley, cilantro, garlic and spices in a blender. Pulse to chop the herbs up a bit. It’s just fine if they are a bit chunky, it should be that way. With the blender running, slowly drizzle the oil until it’s incorporated. Stop, add lemon juice and salt to taste.
Swiss Chard saute with Greek yogurt
1 bunch swiss chard, stems separated from the leaves
1/3 cup extra virgen olive oil
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8 inch dice
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, canned is fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. mint, chopped
1 T. cilantro, chopped
1 T. lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Roughly chop the chard stems and leaves. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrots and caraway and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the carrots are beginning to get tender. Add the chard and chickpeas and cook for about another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Allow to cool for a few moments and taste, adjusting the seasoning as needed.
To serve, mix the yogurt with a drizzle of olive oil. Add a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Pile the vegetables on a platter and spoon the yogurt on top.
Mizuna Salad with Peanuts
1 bunch mizuna, cut into large pieces
1/2 cup chopped green onions (try using the greens off your onion bunches!)
1/4 cup salted peanuts
1/4 cup unrefined peanut oil
3 T. white vinegar
1 T. Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Combine mizuna, onion greens and peanuts in a large salad bowl. Combine peanut oil, vinegar, liquid aminos or soy sauce, sugar, pepper and salt in a jar; cover and shake to combine. Pour over the greens and toss to coat.