Welcome to the 4th week of the spring CSA! State of the Garden Every year is different. This year we have plenty of kale and cabbage (the cabbage is just starting to come in) but some of our old friends have suffered from too much rain at exactly the wrong times. Our first two plantings (and part of the third) of lettuce washed away along with some of our topsoil before they even sprouted. On the other hand, the lacinato (AKA Tuscan) kale seems to love the rain and is thriving and, as of now, largely bug free! While picking today we noticed the first few tiny baby squash and cucumbers, so unless the squash bugs outpace us you can look forward to that soon. Also coming soon: leeks, beets, kohlrabi, and basil. And, for those who stick with us through the summer CSA, tomatoes, peppers, squash, chard, and other summertime joys. We are also keeping an eye on our fruits. We have figs, blueberries, pears, apples, and peaches–much of which is too young to produce. Our figs have done well in the past but are still recovering from near death in a big freeze during the 2014-2015 winter. The pear tree is loaded–look for pears in the late summer.
In the bags this week:
Spring onions: We planted lots of onions, because they have so many uses–they should continue for the rest of the CSA! Have you tried them grilled?
Garlic: As with the spring onions, we believe that there is no such thing as too much garlic. Garlic is one of the food plants that is also used medicinally by many people, and our own anecdotal experience is that eating garlic helps with general health. Pro tip: when roasting garlic, seal it in aluminum foil or a clay pot. The oxygen in the atmosphere tends to make garlic bitter–but if you roast it in an air-tight environment it will be sweet.
Lettuce (Green Bibb): Salad. Of course, salad. But maybe, just maybe, you want something different? Like lettuce soup–this recipe is from Emeril Lagasse. Lettuce was one of the casualties of the spring rains this year. We are trying to rush another planting into production … stay tuned to the blog to see how it goes.
Turnips: The last of the turnips for this spring. Try roasted turnips with buttered greens (Hint: throw in some radishes to spice up the flavor!) We are sending out two kinds of turnips: “purple top” makes the familiar round turnip but the leaves aren’t as plentiful. “Seven top” makes loads of leaves, but the root is fibrous and should be peeled and cooked thoroughly before you try to eat it.
Radishes: As with the turnips, this may be the last bunch. After the recent rain, some of the radishes are cracked; this just means that they expanded too fast as they took on moisture. Wash and eat as usual. If you make roasted turnips and greens, you can add these to the mix: cook them the same as turnips and they will add a spicy zip.
Cabbage (OR Lacinato Kale): Hey! This is new! The cabbage is starting to come in, but we counted today and we don’t yet have enough for all customers (we had enough for 3/4). Since the ones that are ready may not make it another week we are giving them out randomly and keeping track of who gets them. If you don’t have cabbage this week, you will get kale–and next week that will be reversed. NOTE: Wash the cabbage well! Cabbage heads form from loose leaves and tighten up as they ripen. No pesticides, but there is likely some garden grit inside each cabbage. What to do with cabbage? Slaw is great, but try stuffed cabbage for an adventure.
Herb fennel: This is great trimmed into tiny bits as an accent in a salad, over a soup (try it with the lettuce above), or even over vanilla ice cream. Fennel has a gentle licorice flavor that some people love even if they hate licorice. Herb fennel is a different variety of the plant that produces fennel bulbs.
Reminder: Please return your bag when we deliver new veggies each week. If you keep returning them, you will have two bags to keep at the end of the season. If we didn’t get a bag from you last week, you are getting your veggies in plastic this week–and that is not our preference!