Friday, May 27, 2011

week 1

Red Springs Family Farm
May 26, 2011 week 1

Lettuce Spinach Garlic Scapes
Baby beet greens Flowering Cilantro
Sorrel Oregano Green Onions
Dandelion Lacinato Kale Myrtle cowpeas

photo this week: Paul's view from the tractor as he mowed down the lush tall cover crop.

Welcome to the new season! Thank you for joining us.
We're so glad to get started. It was a long winter, but we were grateful for some down time to get to know our new boy Levon (LEE-von) and adjust to being a family of four.

Warning: There is quite a quantity of soil on your veggies this week. If you had been in our garden during last night’s storm, you’d be wet and muddy too. We’ve dashed off the worst of it, and hope you will use your rinse water to keep some houseplants alive – there are some wonderful organic soil nutrients in that dirt!

It's been hard NOT to talk about the weather this spring. We're certainly living in the drama of it all. We're grateful that the floods haven't been quite as bad as they could have been. The spinach has stayed alive and green long enough for a delivery. The jury is still out on whether the peas will be worth their row space, but everything else is holding up amazing well, all things considered. As it is each year in a garden, we can promise you there will be both some bumper crops, and some bumper flops (sorry, I'm a sucker for an easy rhyme). We just do our best to keep our hand on that plow and hold on. It’s pouring as I finish this newsletter – we’re grateful that there was a break in the rain while the harvest was happening.

Good news on the farm this season is that we have help. Branden is joining us to work and learn how we do things for the season. We’re excited to work with him, and hope you will enjoy his company at the market.

In your basket: Everything this week can be eaten raw! Black-Seeded Simpson and Deertongue lettuces. In the small herb bag you’ll find baby beet greens, a few sorrel leaves (bright green and lemony tasting) and some fresh oregano(actually wonderful in a salad, or chopped fresh into a dressing). The larger bag of greens can either be cooked or eaten in salad - spinach (rinse it twice cause it grows so close to the ground), kale (rainbow lacinato – thick meaty leaves, some have purple veins), and dandelion greens (parboil these if you want to cook them, they’re VERY bitter, and VERY good for you). Alongside, you have garlic scapes, green onions, and flowering cilantro.

Fresh Coriander (Cilantro) Chutney
1 bunch (¼ lb) fresh coriander leaves and stems ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup grated coconut (dried shredded is fine) ¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. Fresh ginger root, chopped 1 tsp. Honey
1 tsp. Sea salt ¼ tsp. Fresh ground black pepper

Blend lemon juice, water and fresh coriander until coriander is chopped. Add remaining ingredients and blend until it is like a paste. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Cowpeas are a good bean. Black eyed peas are the most famous cow pea, but we like these Myrtles. We sampled them from our favorite heirloom seed company several years ago and liked them well enough to save seed. They improve each year and provide us loads of beautiful buff beans. Cowpeas are quick to cook. We soak them and sprout them briefly before cooking, but you don't have to. You can have them for dinner after work if you put them on to soak in the morning before you leave the house. Change the water when you get home and cook them up. Throw in a garlic scape, some cumin, and maybe even a dash of hot pepper. Wait to salt them until the beans are tender. Then, if you want something flavorfull and simple, proceed with the recipe below...

Myrtle “Fool”
(adapted from a favorite Lebanese cookbook, which titles the original recipe: Breakfast Fava Beans)

Cooked recipe Myrtle Cowpeas
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil juice of two lemons
1 clove garlic or one scape, minced salt to taste
½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley (cilantro might be ok here)
garnishes: sliced tomato, sliced cucumber, fresh radishes, black olives, mint leaves

Mix olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Drain the beans and pour them into a serving bowl. Pour the olive oil mixture and chopped parsley over them and combine well. Arrange garnishes and enjoy.

Garlic scapes are the flowering heads of garlic plants. Garlic is planted in the Fall. It grows abit before the freezes come, then goes dormant. Come Spring, the plant rejuvenates and sends up this lovely curly-cue swan's head of a seed stalk. We cut it off while it's still tender to send the growing forces back down into the root (to make nicer bulbs under the ground), and these garlicky green tendrils are a result of that harvest. Come the end of June, we'll have nice fresh garlic to share. Until then – scapes are a treat. Use them as you would use fresh garlic, and if that stymies you, try thinking of them as Scallions, like this...

Scallion (or Scape) and Potato Patties (great for using up leftovers)
1 Tbsp. Butter 1 cup chopped scallions or garlic scapes
2 eggs 1 ½ cups cold mashed potatoes
¼ cup dried bread crumbs ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. The the foam subsides, add the scallions; sate until tender, 3-5 minutes.
2. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add sauteed scallions, mashed potatoes, bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
3. Place a baking pan in the oven and preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Shape the scallion and potato mixture into manageable patties. Saute the patties in the skillet turning them once, until they are golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked patties to the baking pan in the oven to keep them warm while you saute the next batch. Serve warm.

So fun to be back in the season with you! We’ll see you next week.
Enjoy your greens.

Your gardeners,
Paul, Coree, Lulah,and Levon

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