In Your Share (May 15th edition)

Welcome to the first week of our 2017 Summer CSA share! I’ve been farming for over 20 years and this might be the soggiest season I’ve ever seen. Happily, our year-round farming schedule means we still have plenty of veggies in the share including overwintering cauliflower, Amish Butter popcorn and gorgeous green garlic – yum!

This week is when we welcome our members back to the farm to pickup veggies, but in fact we’ve been working behind the scenes for months to be ready for today. Like the homesteaders of years past, we’re always hedging our bets on the farm. By growing overwintering crops like cauliflower and garlic, by drying summer veggies like popcorn and peppers, we’re always sure to have something in the farm pantry ready to eat! Combine this with spring greens and it makes for a bountiful first summer share.

One way to think about the progression of spring veggies is to consider the trajectory of the growing plant. The seed germinates driving the primary root down into the soil. Then the cotyledon emerges stretching for the sky. After it sheds its seed coat, the true leaves emerge. Next, come secondary roots and above ground the stem elongates and more leaves are produced. For this reason, traditional spring veggies are often roots, shoots & leaves: microgreens, lettuce, herbs, radish, carrots, & beets are all variations on this same theme. Most plants need to produce a significant amount of vegetative growth before they are able to make flowers and fruits. This is why things like broccoli (flower buds) & tomatoes (technically a fruit) are usually harvested later in the season. Of course we turn this on it’s head by having a few things in the garden over the winter, but in general that is a pretty simple synopsis of springtime food.

Amazing recipes for everything in your First Share are available to members at Cook With What You Have. If you joined our Summer CSA you will find your password in the member email. Enjoy 24/7 access to recipe inspiration!

This week your share may include…

  • Overwintering Cauliflower: Such a lovely addition to the summer share! These are challenging to grow in some ways – baby transplants must must survive the heat, weeds and bugs of summer in August then the freezing cold of winter. The good news is that once they make it into spring they are ahead of most weeds, pests and diseases : ) It takes a special variety – and we’re always up for trying any new (and old) ones we can get our hands on. Happily this year they were quite successful so there should be plenty to enjoy!
  • Cayenne Peppers: These traditional dried peppers are spicy, but not insanely hot. This is the variety most often used for red pepper flakes and DIY flakes are easy – just make sure you wear gloves or wash your hands carefully after chopping all the peppers. You can also toss whole peppers into soups and stews – a simple way to add some spice to whatever you have on the stovetop or in the crockpot.
  • Green Garlic: No reason to wait for months to enjoy garlic when we can dig it now! The white part on the bottom that will eventually form the bulb is the most tender. Chop it up and sauté the same way you’d use regular garlic cloves. The upper green part isn’t as tender, but still has great garlic flavor. Cook it longer or use it to make soup stock.
  • Daikon Radish Microgreens: NEW! This is the first year we’ve grown these gourmet microgreens and we love their beautiful color and spicy fresh taste. Sprinkle them on salads, sandwiches or any dish that might benefit from a zippy bit of flavor. Nutrients are concentrated in these little greens so they’re very healthy in addition to being quite tasty. They are also very tender and very perishable so EAT THEM ASAP!!
  • Amish Butter Popcorn: Real popcorn with real flavor! We were first introduced to this variety by Ayers Creek Farm. Seed is now available from Uprising Seed and it is surprisingly versatile – can also be ground into polenta, cornbread or made into masa. Pop it on the cob in the microwave (in a brown paper bag, max 3 min) or take the kernels off the cop and pop it any way you choose.
  • Red Potatoes: Yum : )
  • Parsley: So nice to have some fresh herbs! Enjoy these little bunches of Italian parsley chopped raw or sautéed. If you are cooking them the finely chopped stems can be used too.
  • Cherry Tomato Plant: The gift that keeps on giving! We do not grow cherry tomatoes on the farm. These little delicacies are best eaten straight off the vine so we’re giving you a plant that you can grow in your backyard. That way you can nibble on cherry tomatoes whenever you want, all summer long!  The plants are easy to grow and happy in a pot on the patio or in the ground in the garden. They’ll grow in some shade, but produce more fruit if they have more sun. Choose from red, yellow or black fruited varieties.

Coming soon… Summer Sunshine!