Greetings all. What a relief to have some cool nights and mild days after a week of hot, sticky weather! The gardens are really coming into form as many of the plants start hitting their “young adult” phase. Winter Squash are flush with flowers, some even have small immature fruit. The first of the tomatoes are starting to blush and we are working on our second layer of trellising. Meanwhile our daily tasks have transitioned from planting most of the time to weeding and harvesting most of the time. It’s so exciting this time of year to see much of spring’s labor turn to summer’s bounty!
We are not the only ones who like to see the fields full of food this time of year. There are many insects, bacteria, fungi, and other critters that find vegetables as tasty as we do. Some do more damage than others–and there are many who actually help us produce the food–but overall, everyone is just trying to put a little dinner on the table. Farming organically often means you accept a certain percentage of your crop
will be commandeered by the myriad of creatures of the world in an attempt to preserve a healthy, vibrant community of life in and around the fields. One of these creatures is the Cabbage Worm. These little guys are the larval stage of the Imported Cabbage Moth, a little white fluttery moth that dances about the broccoli patch. It’s baby caterpillars blend seamlessly into the green foliage background and spend their days gnawing large holes in the leaves to the point where one of these pint-sized nibblers can eat a whole adult plant, leaving nothing but stem and skeletons of leaves. Despite our control methods and active removal when harvesting and cleaning the veggies, occasionally you may find one of these little guys hitching a ride on your broccoli or cabbage. Fear not! They do not cause a safety risk to your food. Soaking your broccoli head in a bowl of salt water for 15-30 minutes before use will cause any of them to float to the surface as well. On that note,
The line up:Summer Squash Broccoli/Cauliflower Onions Collard Greens Snap Beans: Romano or Haricot Mix (Small and Full only) Cabbage: Early Jersey Wakefield (Medium and Full only) Thai Lemon Basil or Mint (Medium and Full only) Kohlrabi: Purple Vienna (Medium and Full only) Fava Beans (Full only)
Making its first appearance this season is the staple of the summer produce selection: zucchini! More generally known as summer squash, we grow several different varieties from the skinny slightly hooked multicolored zephyr to the round little striped piccolo. All of them taste similar and can be used in the same ways. Dice into small cubes and add to any sauteed veggie dish, cut lengthwise and marinate and grill along side your onions (cut in half with greens on), or turn into a great chilled soup with cream and fresh herbs. What an incredibly versatile veggie!
Small shares are receiving their first snap beans this week! Recently we made a sweet vinaigrette cold bean salad with bacon and onions that was quite delicious.
A little cabbage after Heather’s heart, Early Jersey Wakefield, is a neat little pointy green cabbage. Its characteristic pin head is unique to the Jersey cabbage family.
Kohlrabi: this little darling can be used fresh or cooked, many prefer slicing it as soon as they get it, sprinkle a little salt on top and eat as a refreshing snack. Often unknown to anyone under the age of 80, this often mis-understood vegetable is making a sweeping comeback thanks to CSA’s. We’ve added a few recipes below to help out.
Thai Lemon Basil has a sweet, fruity aroma and flavor. This basil goes places well beyond those visited by italian basil, winding its way into cold vegetable salads, exotic stir fries and turned into a simple syrup to add to both kid and adult drinks as in recipe section below.
Fava Beans: also known as broad beans, are a relic legume of the Old-World, reportedly the only bean eaten in Europe before discovering the vast pulses of the New-World. They are a fascinating, prehistoric creature that reveals itself as an elegant gem through it’s multistage shelling ceremony. We are growing them for the first time this year as part of our efforts to grow more of our own proteins and staples. Before you eat them, you will need to know how to properly shell them by clicking here. For a few more recipes click here. And for a little more history and background click here.
Cabbage and Kohlrabi Salad (from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty”)1 Kohlrabi 1/2 White Cabbage Large bunch of dill, roughly chopped 1 cup dried whole sour c herries Grated zest of 1 lemon 6 Tbls lemon juice 1/4 cup olive oil 1 garlic clove, crushed salt and pepper 2 cups alfalfa sprouts
Peel kohlrabi and cut into thick matchsticks that are about 1/4 inch wide and 2 inches long. Cut the cabbage into 1/4 inch thick strips. Put all ingredients, except alfalfa sprouts, in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to massage everything together for about a minute so the flavors mix and lemon can soften the cabbage and cherries. Let the salad sit for about 10 minutes.
Add most of the alfalfa sprouts and mix well again with your hands. Taste and adjust the seasoning; you need a fair amount of salt to conteract the lemon. Use your hands again to lift the salad out of the mixing bowl and into a serving bowl, leaving most of the juices behind. Garnish with the remaining sprouts and serve at once.
Thai Lemon Basil Lemonade
The simple syrup in this recipe can be used as a flavorful sweetener for a variety of drinks beyond lemonade including iced teas, mixed with club soda or tonic water, or adding a little twist to a favorite mixed drink.Lemon Basil Syrup 1/2 cup loose packed Lemon Basil leaves
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
1/2 Lemon Old Fashioned Lemonade 12 ounce Glass filled with Ice
1 tablespoon Lemon Basil Syrup (this is to your preference of sweetness)
Lemon Basil Simple Syrup Directions:Bring water in a saucepan to a boil; add sugar, lemon basil leaves and ½ lemon (without squeezing it) to the water and stir.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down and allow the mixture to remain at a simmering boil for about 5 minutes. Cool the mixture to room temperature.
Strain the basil leaves, and discard the lemon. You can refrigerate the lemon basil simple syrup in an airtight container.
This is for one 12 oz cup of lemonade, can be expanded to a pitcher by using 4-6 lemons.
Squeeze lemon juice from one fresh lemon into a glass filled with ice. Add some lemon basil syrup (this is to your preference to how sweet you like your lemonade) and fill the glass with water.
Stir or shake mixture well.
Garnish with lemon and Lemon Basil sprig.