We are right back to our ever-increasing bizarre weather. Just over the course of last weekend we had sun, rain, abnormal low temps, extreme high temps, and then more rain! Most of the crops are handling the stress of these yo-yo conditions very well so far, although it has caused a lot of the broccoli to come early.
We have been continuing with lots of maintenance on the farm: trellising tomatoes, more laying of straw mulch, and lots and lots of weeding. Brandon spent a good part of Saturday fine-tuning our cultivator attachment, and got a whopping 13 beds cultivated (weeded) in just under an hour and a half. If we were using people power for that job, it would have taken at least 16 hours! There will still always be a large amount of hand work to be done on a small scale family farm, but a careful choice of equipment and machinery can really make it better for the humans involved!
A special note: we are good friends with an organic herbalist who lives down the way, and she is also the mother of one of our farmer friends. We place her advertising card in our boxes a few times a year. This is one of the very rare “outside” advertising items we engage in, and it’s because we believe she offers a great product and a great service, and because she’s like family to us. You’ll find her card in your box this week. Thank you!
the crew mulching winter squash
What’s in the box:
Broccoli-1# small shares, 1 1/2# medium, and 2# full shares
Fennel-1 each for small shares, 2 each for medium and full shares
Beets-1 bunch each for all shares
Spicy Salad-1/2# for small shares, 3/4# for full shares, and 1# for full shares
Spicy Cress-about 2 ounces per share
Napa Cabbage-1 each for medium shares
Zucchini-2 each for full shares
Turnips-1 bunch each for full shares
Green Onions-1 bunch each for full shares
Red Cabbage-1 head for full shares
Spicy salad in the field (under row cover)
Spicy Salad A favorite of many members (and one of ours, too) spicy salad is our mix of mild mustard greens that can be used raw like lettuce or cooked. Awesome with eggs, on sandwiches, as a salad, and endless other combinations. The spice and flavor is made milder by cooking the greens.
Cress is a bold little number that can add a spicy zing to any dish. It has the heat of a mustard but with a deep sweetness. Treat as you would parsley and add it to salads or use it like you would cilantro or basil and toss it in a stir fry after cooking. It is also nice as a spice or garnish for soups and meats. You can even mix it in with your spicy salad to make it even spicier! It is very versatile despite being uncommon. Think of it as green, leafy horseradish!
Hakurei Salad Turnips Full shares are getting another round of turnips, this time the famed Japanese Hakurei Turnip. Said by some to be THE BEST TURNIP IN THE WORLD! Prized for their soft texture and sweet taste, they also seem to be a favorite turnip of bugs, for we have never been able to grow a crop without some bug damage. Peel away or cut out any damaged parts and enjoy–they are worth a little cosmetic defect.
Broccoli is still here and going strong! Are you ready to branch out past the perfectly acceptable steamed approach? Have you worked through a few of the recipes on the menu page? This new recipe for a broccoli orzo salad is pretty fun. It uses a broccoli pesto and broccoli florets, with the deep taste of pine nuts and the tang of creme fraiche. It’s on the menu at our house this week, we’ll see if we can get a picture of it before it’s gone!
Fennel is a favorite of Heather’s! Although it makes a very fine raw shaved salad with oranges or other citrus, caramelizing (just like you would an onion) is probably the most accessible way to eat this anise-scented vegetable. We have plans to smear some caramelized fennel on a pizza dough round, add some extra virgin olive oil and some fresh mozzarella, and grill some pizza this week! Yum! This New York Times recipe for fennel and green onion pizza looks pretty great, too. You could also try any of these recipes from Martha Stewart’s Fennel Tutorial.
If you were lucky enough to get Red Cabbage in your share this week (and if not this week you’ll get it very soon!) it would be hard to recommend anything other than a cool, crunchy slaw. If you’d like something a little different from the norm, try shredding your cabbage, tossing it with a basic red wine vinaigrette and then add any or all of the following: black olives, orange segments, shaved raw fennel, raisins, currants, almonds, pine nuts or walnuts. Let us know what you create!
Sneak peek for next week:
All the best from all of us,
Brandon, Heather, Maybelle, Frank, and the crew!