A third of the way through the season! Wow! Where is all the time going? We’re really enjoying the boxes this week, as totally new crops are now ready and there’s more change happening in the boxes. Making their debut this week are Romano beans, Cabbage, Fennel and Collards.
We hope all of you are doing well with the sudden heat wave-after so much time in cooler temps it’s been a real challenge here on the farm to not wilt under the heat and humidity. Luckily for us Brandon took everyone out for ice cream after we unloaded the boxes at the Hungry Turtle Farmer’s Co-op warehouse. It looks like the rest of the week should be a little cooler.
A few cucurbit (squash and melon family) pictures from the week:
You’ll probably notice how much green is going on with the boxes this week-almost everything shares some shade of one of nature’s best colors. Green is a really important color, nutritionally, in vegetables, since it indicates the presence of some amazing, powerful, naturally occurring chemicals that are really good for us. These chemicals exist in the plants to help protect them from insects and disease, and are believed to aid those of us who eat them in fighting disease as well. Collards are credited with having strong anti-cancer properties, are incredibly high in Vitamins A (healthy skin and vision) and K (increases bone mass and limits neural damage in patients with Alzheimer’s ), and have lots of folates, which play a major role in preventing neural tube defects in fetuses. Go collards! Those beautiful Romano Beans are a good source of zea-xanthin, thought to aid in prevention of age-related macular degeneration. They’re also high in fiber and packed with minerals like iron and potassium. Broccoli is amazing–it’s loaded with phyto-nutrients that help protect from prostate, colon, pancreatic and breast cancers. It’s also quite rich in Vitamin C (anti-oxidants and immune system modulation) and folates.
Here’s what’s in the box this week:Cut lettuce (1/2# small and medium shares, 3/4# full shares) Fennel (1 portion per share. For some it means two slender heads and for some it’s one larger head) Collard Greens (1 regular bunch for smalls, 1 large bunch for medium and fulls) Broccoli (approximately 1 1/2# per share) Zucchini (2 for medium shares, 3 for full shares) Snap Beans: Green Romano or Yellow Haricot (1# medium, 1.25# fulls) Cucumbers (small shares) Red Express Cabbage (1 head per full share) Red zeppelin spring onions (1 bunch per full share)
Fennel–an often under-used vegetable, these lovely specimens are tender, delicate and have a pleasant mild anise flavor. The crunchy, slightly sweet bulb is eaten raw or cooked in a myriad of ways. One of the simplest ways to prepare fennel is to cut off the stalks and shave the bulb into paper thin slices, using a knife or a mandolin if you have one. See this basic video for more help on how to do this. We often toss the shaved fennel with our salad greens and add some feta cheese, sliced kale or other raw veggies we have around to make a great hot-weather lunch salad. Don’t forget to use the fronds and stalks as mentioned! Keeping this crop in a plastic bag will help keep it crisp.
Collards-another favorite around here! Store them in a plastic bag in the crisper when you get them home. We cook and eat them much like we would kale or spinach, namely by taking the leaf off the stem/rib and stacking the leaves on top of each other. We then roll the whole thing up like a Cuban cigar, and slice ribbons as thick or as thin as you’d like. We usually saute them in a very hot pan with a bit of olive oil and garlic, but there are so many great ways to cook them. Here’s a good video on how to chiffonade, just ignore the terrible music! See recipes below.
Broccoli is back again, looking as lovely as ever. Our partner farm in the crop swap, Turnip Rock, really knows what they’re doing when it comes to growing this brassica. Broccoli would also prefer to be stored in a plastic bag like everybody else. Hopefully you’ve been saving those lettuce bags!
Romano beans are making their first appearance! These fantastic, flattened beans are one of my favorites to cook and to pickle. I’m repeating my favorite romano bean recipe below. Most medium and full shares will receive Romano this week, a few might get an early tasting of the yellow french fillet bean Soleil in its place. We try not to put our beans into water before we give them to you so that they will last longer. Excess moisture can cause them to “rust” prematurely, giving them an undesirable appearance. Because of this you may notice that a number of the crumpled expired flowers have taken a ride with your beans. Simply rinse them off before using, if you want to wash the whole batch of beans, let them drain well and return them to their plastic bag with a folded paper towel or cloth to absorb any excess moisture.
Romano Beans with Serrano and Poached EggA favorite that Dad and I always cooked together when we were in Spain, one of the few places broad beans can be found in abundance: 2 1/2 cups romano beans, ends trimmed 3 T. extra virgin olive oil 2 small cloves garlic, chopped salt and pepper to taste 7 oz. serrano ham, diced 4 large eggs 1/2 tsp. white vinegar Cook the beans in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and plunge into ice water. Drain again once cool. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the garlic until it begins to brown. Add the beans and saute for a minute, then add the ham. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a simmer. Add the vinegar. Crack the eggs into a ramekin and slide them one at a time into the water. Cook for about 4 minutes, scoop out and drain on a towel. Divide the bean and ham mixture onto plates, topping each with an egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Fennel, Olive and Orange SaladThis would make a lovely little salad to top a piece of grilled chicken or fish, or just serve on that side with any meal for a fresh, crunchy, alternative side dish. 1 fennel bulb, shaved thin a handful of fennel fronds, chopped 2 oranges, peeled and segmented a handful of black olives-oil-cured would be awesome here! 2 T extra-virgin olive oil 2 T lemon juice red pepper flakes, to taste In a medium bowl whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Add the shaved fennel and toss to coat well. Add the oranges, olives, fennel fronds and as much red pepper flake as you’d like. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Spaghetti with Collards and Lemon2 T. olive oil 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin a pinch red pepper flakes 1 bunch collard greens, chiffonaded 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted grated zest of one lemon the juice of that lemon 12 oz. spaghetti-be adventurous! Try a farro, spelt, or whole-grain variety! The nutty taste and stronger flavor pair really well with the collards and lemon. Of course a traditional spaghetti will be delicious… 1/4 cup pecorino romano, grated salt and black pepper to taste 1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic and pepper flakes until tender. Add collards and cook until tender. Remove from heat and add pine nuts, lemon zest and lemon juice. 2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in well-salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and then drain. 3. Add the pasta to the skillet, tossing to coat. Add reserved water if needed to adjust consistency. Sprinkle with lemon zest and cheese, serve immediately.