Friday, July 24, 2009

Newsletter Week #9

We forgot to bring in the garlic this week - sorry - we'll have it next week.

Red Springs Family Farm
July 23, 2009, Week #9

Vegetable medley:
Tomatoes Lettuce Green Beans
Patty Pan Squash Green Pepper Swiss Chard
Garlic New Potatoes
Herb bag: Basil/Purple Ruffles Parsley Fennel

Head’s up! If you ever get home to find that you are missing a crucial item from your basket, please let us know. If we still have it at the drop off, we can leave it at the store for you, or we will make it up to you next week. It’s not hard for us, in the midst of a rush, to miss a green pepper, a bulb of garlic, even a sack of herbs or chard. PLEASE – make sure you get what’s due!

This season is turning out so stunningly. We’re grateful for the rain and cool nights, for the blooming of cucumbers and heavy vines of tomatoes. We may have sweet corn next week. What a thrill.

Let us know what you think of fennel. It’s a new one for us – new to grow, and new to taste. A farmer we worked with on Maui grew it as a salad green, and we enjoyed that a great deal. Cut off the feathery leaves and store them separate for salad use. I enjoyed the fennel bulb roasted, buttery, lightly breaded, in Italy one summer, but have not experimented with it since. The unwashed bulb (stalks and leaves trimmed off) will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least a week. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and check the inner core. If it’s tough, remove the inner stem with a paring knife. The knife will guide you as to what is tough and what is tender. The long flowering stalks are usually tender and yummy, even if the bulb has gotten a little tough. Fennel should be washed carefully, because dirt can lodge between the layers of the bulb. Chop or mince the leaves.

Here’s a nice recipe, for BLT, or tuna fish sandwiches, as you like:

Fennel Mayonnaise, from The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson
2/3 cup mayonnaise 2 Tbsp. orange or lemon juice
4 tsp finely chopped fennel leaves 4 tsp very finely chopped fennel bulb
1 small clove garlic, minced
1. Mix mayonnaise and orange or lemon juice until smooth.
2. Add the fennel and garlic; mix thoroughly, store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

It’s time for tomato salads. Chop some basil leaves, a little fresh garlic, salt and pepper, oil and balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of feta cheese. Soooooooo goooooooooooooooood. We hope next week to give you a cucumber to add to the salad.

Our thanks to Long Hungry Creek Farm for the new potatoes. Like fresh garlic, fresh new potatoes are a rare taste in the world of supermarket produce. We hope you will savor them.

The deep dark purple leaves in your herb bag are a variety of basil – Purple Ruffles. Their licorice aroma and pungent taste are distinct from sweet basil. To make a gorgeous basil vinegar: fill a jar with half white wine vinegar, half cider vinegar, then stuff it with purple basil and let it steep for a week. Strain it and pour the resulting gorgeous magenta vinegar into a pretty bottle with a few sprigs of fresh basil. Lovely in red tomato sauce, carrot salad,

Short on time today, so we won’t linger… Have a great weekend!

Your gardeners,
Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

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