The drought continues to stunt our growth, but thanks to diligent watering, strategic replanting, and some help from our friends at Oleo Acres Farm, we have an almost full box this week. We’ll keep doing everything we can to make those boxes as full as they can be–without just giving you 15lbs of okra. (Though, if you really want extra okra you should let us know.) In this week’s box:
- Pears: These heirloom pears were planted by my grandparents, and their flavor is full of memories. We like to eat them like apples, but they are also great cooked. Try them roasted or even grilled (pear and shrimp kabobs?) to bring out the sweetness.
- Okra! Surprise! Ok; maybe it isn’t a surprise any more, but our Okra is thriving in the hot, dry summer. If you are looking for some other way to prepare it, why not take it back to its African roots with this African Okra Soup recipe?
- Peppers (hot and sweet): Our hot peppers love the heat; the bell peppers, not so much. We included one tiny bell pepper in the box this week–not enough for a meal, but enough to add to something else you cook. If you don’t eat that much hot food, you can use a needle and some heavy thread to string these together and hang them as a ristra for later (this works even better if you have a dehydrator, or a very low oven).
- Beans! Not exactly a bean feast, this is the small First Picking off our second, replanted, bean patch. Look for more green beans next week!
- Basil: Oh, basil! How do I love thee? In pesto, salsa, soup, salad, sauce, or just on a sandwich. (And, I’ll confess, sometimes just raw by itself.)
- Garlic: This is the last of the garlic; what we have left will be replanted in September for next year’s crop. The cured braid should keep for several months; just hang it somewhere cool and dry out of direct sunlight and pull a head loose when you need it.
- Lambs quarters (Chenopodium): And now for something completely different. This spinach relative is delicious cooked like spinach or raw in salads. It is also high in vitamin C and other essentials–even moreso than cultivated spinach. This is Chenopodium alba; close relatives of this plant were cultivated for seed by Native Americans along the East coast. Another relative is epazote, used as a seasoning in beans in Mexican cooking.
- Sweet potatoes: These are from our friends next door at Oleo Acres, and are the first of this year’s batch. If you like them, check out their farm-to-table dinner on September 15 (tickets on sale now) in conjunction with L’Ecole Culinare.
- Mustard greens: Also from Oleo Acres, these are fresh and delicious–an early taste of fall! Cook these like turnip greens, or just sautee them with a little garlic, salt, and pepper and add a touch of vinegar to finish them.