Thursday, June 7, 2012

week 3

June 7, 2012 week 3
Lettuce     Broccoli    Swiss Chard    Fresh Garlic    Summer Squash
Baby Carrots    Green Onions    Catnip    Parsley   Sorrel   Arugula   Fennel

This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.” - Henry David Thoreau

We can't claim to have lived up to that quote in its fullest sense this past week, as we have exerted great effort to extract USE from our relationship with the living world (he's spot on that it's not convenient to attempt such a thing!), but we have sincerely enjoyed the change in the weather. It's as if we're finally having a Spring, now that it's nearly Summer. It was 47 degrees down in the hollow this morning. The ¾ inch of rain that fell a couple nights ago set our minds at ease.

Mulching and caging 150 tomato plants was much more comfortable in 85 degree weather than 95 degree. And the garlic came out of the ground with much greater ease with a little moisture to help it along. The days have been long and full of labor, but beautiful and filled with gratitude for the good work. The corn will not be early this year, but we can finally exhale and believe that there will be sweet corn this season. The aviary predation seems to have relented and the corn sprouts are tall enough to no longer be easy for a crow to pull up by the root. Interestingly, the best deterrent that we found is to hang old CDs by string off of long sticks pounded into the ground. The CDs dance and spin in the wind and the flashes of light and motion scare away the birds. It is an unusual sight, and we're glad that it works.

The summer squash are just beginning! Varieties this week are the classic yellow crookneck and sunburst pattypan. We're sampling a new pattypan this year. It's an heirloom called Pattison de Melange and it promises to be beautiful, if not abundant. There will be more varieties to come – yellows, whites and greens - as the season progresses.

The baby carrots are just a nice little nibble. Levon and Lulah enjoyed crunching them so much, we thought we'd share the joy. I've been thinking of cooking them whole, with an onion, some garlic, maybe a hunk of ginger and some potatoes, then pureeing the whole thing, greens and all, together for a creamy soup. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

By the way – if you are ever struggling about what to do with a vegetable that you've received in your basket, please don't hesitate to drop us a line. We'll try to help guide you toward something appropriately tasty. Your feedback about these baskets is always helpful to us. We want to provide a good service.

Clearly, this is the week of broccoli! Enjoy it – we'll be lucky if there's any left in the field next week. If you don't want to eat it all this week, just blanche it for 4 minutes, cool it fast, and pop it in a zip lock in the freezer. It’s wonderful a little al dente – don’t overcook it!

Eating seasonally is akin to raising children. There are distinct phases, each with its own special effect. Just when you think you never want to see Chard again, its gone, and won't return until Fall, or maybe even next Spring. Broccoli is a flower of the Spring and Fall. Tomatoes, in their most enjoyable form, are truly a seasonal fruit. We hope you will be creative and savor the tastes of each season of the garden as it passes.

Your herb bag this week is quite the mix. Four different tastes are represented in that little sack. The Arugula represents pungent tastes. This picking is SPICY. The heat of early spring is reflected in the taste of this salad herb. The fennel, on the other hand, is all sweetness. There will most likely be fennel bulbs coming some time later, but for now, use these feather fennel fronds in a salad, or dip them into dressing and eat them like celery. Parsley is technically a bitter tasting herb (though there are certainly much worse out there!), and sorrel is sour. These basic tastes each have different effects on our bodies, and in balance, each contribute to our well-being. We hope that is will be so for you.

 Catnip is not a usual taste in the American palate, but it is edible for us as well as our feline friends. Snip a few leaves into your salads to get a feeling for it. Some folks claim that it works well as a meat seasoning. We like it in an herbal tea – alongside lemon balm or chamomile and a taste of honey. It is a relative of mint, has a soothing and digestive effect, and is mild enough to be safe for children. The effects of catnip on humans are markedly different than what it does to cats!

Here's a nice Broccoli Salad for you from Simply in Season:
3 cups broccoli florets                        1 cup raisins
10 slices bacon, fried and crumbled, or ½ cup bacon bits
½ cup red onion, diced                       ½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup cheese, shredded (optional)
Mix together in a bowl. Set aside.

2 Tbsp sugar                                    1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
¾ cup plain yogurt or mayo
Combine sugar and vinegar and stir to dissolve. Stir in yogurt until well blended. Pour over the broccoli mixture and stir together.

And one more from Angelic Organics - Broccoli with Asian-Style Dressing 
 For variety, try adding matchstick-size strips of steamed carrots or daikon. Serves 2 to 4
1 medium head broccoli                          1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons peanut oil                         2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger                1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil              1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil (optional)
1. Separate the florets from the stalk; break into smaller florets. Cut the stalk into 1-inch lengths and then into matchstick-size strips.
2. Place the broccoli in a steamer basket set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water and cover. Steam for 5 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a bowl.
3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir until well combined. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and mix well.

Next week the first flush of green beans will arrive. Until then, be well and eat your veggies.
Best regards, Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon

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