Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Remember all those weeks of rain this spring? Many of us remember it because after a long, robust winter, we were starved for sunlight and weren’t getting our spring fix. For the farm, it meant three consecutive weeks in which the ground was wet, too wet to prep seed beds and put seed and plants started in the greenhouse in the ground. That’s a lot of time. Ken is still playing catch up on that front. So many of the crops we planned for the first few weeks of the CSA season are behind schedule. As the beginning of a CSA season goes, greens abound.
This week’s farm picture features a new radish variety for us called French Breakfast. We sliced it up last night and tossed in a salad with arugula and some slivered green onion tops. The consensus was this elongated hot pink radish with a splash of white at its root end is terrific. If you’re not keen on radish, try it. It’s nothing like the heavy, hot radish you might find in your supermarket. That said, we can’t agree on how it tastes. French Breakfast is known to be a more mild variety of radish, and Ken said that’s how it tasted to him. I was surprised by how much zing it packed in a bite. Maybe the peppery taste of the arugula was bringing it out. You’ll have to let us know what you think: mild or spicy?
IN THIS WEEK'S SHARE:
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch French breakfast radish
½ pound spinach
6 ¼ ounces Salad Mix
5 1/2 ounces Arugula
Pac Choi or Escarole or Swiss Chard
1 head red leaf lettuce
IMPROVISING IN THE KITCHEN
It’s hard for the farm to plan how a CSA season will play out. We can plan, but Mother Nature is truly the one in charge. That’s not always easy for CSA members since there’s no guessing what’s going to come in a share from week to week. Heck, as this is being written Monday morning with the share halfway harvested, we still don’t know for sure quite yet what the final share is going to be. Sometimes it’s not until we start harvesting a specific crop that we know how much it will yield.
BUT if you’re a stickler for planning, especially when it comes to meals, here is an oxymoron to cook by:
Be prepared to wing it.
Stocking your kitchen with a handful of staples means you can spontaneously pull together dinner for at least a couple of nights after picking up your CSA share while you shop or look for recipes that help make use of some of the items you’re not so sure what to do with or want to save for a recipe you can follow over the weekend or for company.
At the farm, we don’t have a lot of food shopping options close by. (Come to the farm’s CSA Member Volunteer Day on June 26, and you’ll see what we mean.) So as the season nears and it gets too busy to travel to find certain groceries , we stock up too. Here’s a list of non-perishable items we keep in stock so we can mostly wing it from night to night using whatever veggies are coming in from the fields:
grains: rice (brown and white), whole wheat couscous, quinoa, barley, Israeli couscous, cornmeal for polenta...
noodles: a variety of pastas and two Asian noodles we particularly like.
Salad dressing basics: an assortment of vinegars, good quality extra-virgin olive oil and a more neutral oil like grapeseed or walnut oil
Salad extras: dried fruits and a variety of nuts and seeds
Beans: canned and dried
Canned and jarred goods, like capers, olives, artichoke hearts and even a jar or two of store-bought marinara sauce for those nights we are simply too exhausted to think up anything clever. We toss the cooked sauce with some pasta and then top with some sautéed greens from a week’s share with garlic or onions, pine nuts and parmigiano.
AND basic ingredients for making a stir fry sauce (a favorite way many members use up remaining CSA vegetables in on meal).
Understandably, not all CSA members have a lot of kitchen space to store this much stuff. Consider it food for thought. We still need to buy milk, and we are at weekend farmer’s markets, where we usually can get our good bread and cheese fix. But the above really carries us through the season.
Posted by Free Bird Farm at 7:01 PM