Monday, July 4, 2011

CSA week #5

It’s now July, but it seems like the summer groove has yet to kick in for us here at the farm. Apparently, a lot of people are feeling the same way. As we overheard one woman say this week, “I haven’t even ordered myself a Coolatta this summer. It just hasn’t felt hot enough.”

Along with a shortage of beating-hot summer rays, we’re still getting quite a bit of rain. So the ground is often wet. This makes it hard to get some critical tractor work done—to keep weeds at bay, hill potatoes, prep new beds for new plants, and plant seed and transplants from the greenhouse. Most plants don’t care for quite so much rain either. We’ve seen certain crops simply rot in the field recently.
That said, as you can see with this week’s share, it’s not all awash (pun intended).

The garlic has liked all this wet, relatively cool weather. If you’ve never had fresh garlic before, you’re in for a treat. Peel away the outer, fibrous layer, like you would cured garlic, and inside you’ll find the cluster of cloves—snappy crisp and moist.

And new crops are popping up—like this week’s kohlrabi. Last week’s CSA volunteers were so excited to see this, they literally noshed on some like apples, right in the field.

On Friday, the ground was dry enough—or the situation urgent enough--that Ken was able to get some beds prepped and plastic and irrigation tape laid down for a 2nd planting of melons and cucumbers. Our 6-year-old daughter was working with him all day and took a snapshot of this from the tractor’s closed cab (see pic). We thought it was a pretty good shot. She spent a lot of time working with her dad this last week, as some of you know, because our 3-year-old son was in and out of the hospital. Let’s just say it was a tricky, tiring week—worrying about and caring for him while trying to keep each day’s pressing farm work under wrap. We appreciate the well wishes we’ve received from members and the support we got from core group members in pulling together last week’s newsletter without any photos or letters or tips from the farm.

Share List for Week #5
2 purple kohlrabi
1 head fresh garlic
1 bunch young leeks
1 bunch parsley
6 1/3 ounces salad mix
1 bunch swiss chard
1 bok choy
1 bunch kale
1 bunch basil

LAST WEEK’S BROCCOLI- The farm apologizes to those who received broccoli with florets that began to turn brown last week. It was green when it was harvested, washed and stored in refrigeration on the truck. So we aren’t quite sure why it turned so quickly, but we were disappointed to see this change when it came time to distribute.

Kohlrabi is a type of cabbage that looks like a root vegetable but actually grows above ground. The variety in this week’s share is purple on the outside, white on the inside. If you’re used to green kohlrabi, purple tastes essentially the same.
Kohlrabi has a crisp, juicy texture and the earthy sweetness of a combination of broccoli and cabbage. Kohlrabi is delicious paired with fresh herbs like chives, cilantro or parsley, radishes, carrots and apples, as well as with seasonings like horseradish, sesame, ginger, and mustard. Slice it into batons and snack on it with a creamy dip or dressing in the afternoon or before serving dinner. Thinly sliced, it can also be added to a salad. A popular way to prepare kohlrabi is as a slaw.
Kohlrabi is also tasty sautéed or roasted (cut them into thin slices or bite-size wedges first) or added to a braise or stew. You can also boil the bulbs until tender and mash them.
Kohlrabi will hold in the refrigerator for at least a couple of weeks. So, don’t feel pressed to use it up this week. Save some for a summer picnic.

Recipe from the farm: Kohlrabi Slaw with Confetti Chard
Making “matchsticks” and “confetti” might sound tedious, but a chef’s knife makes easy work of this. To make the matchsticks, thinly slice the kohlrabi. Stack a few of the slices on top of one another and then slice into the sticks. For the chard, roll the leaves into cigar shapes and then very thinly slice across to make the confetti.

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 Tbs. walnut or other mild-tasting oil
2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks
1 purple kohlrabi bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks (2 cups)
1 cup of very thinly sliced chard leaves (see tip, above)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a small bowl whisk the vinegar, honey, mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt, and a pinch of pepper. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil until combined.
Put the kohlrabi, carrots, kale, and parsley in a medium bowl. Pour in the dressing and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

What do you do with your cooking greens?
Swiss chard and kale and similar cooking greens have this way of stumping people in terms of what to do with them. As the season progresses, we’ll try to offer new ideas. But if you have a surefire something you’d like to share with us—it doesn’t even have to be a recipe, maybe just an idea—please pass it on. The following recipe for crispy kale is a favorite with at Free Bird Farm (the only way their kids will go near this earthy-tasting green).

Crispy Kale
Serves four.
Roasting kale until it’s hatter crisp is one way to coax finicky eaters into enjoying this highly nutritious green. Children and adults alike eat them as if they’re chips. Serve as an appetizer, snack or with a meal.
Tip: To quickly remove the stem from a kale leaf, wrap your hand around the stem at the base of the leaf. Firmly hold the stem with your other hand as you run your wrapped hand up towards the leaf tip, quickly stripping the leafy portion from the stem. Discard or compost the stems.

1 bunch of kale from this week’s share, washed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Kosher salt

Heat the oven to 350° F. Meanwhile, strip the kale leaves from the stems (see tip, above). Tear the leaves into large, bite-size pieces. Thoroughly dry in a salad spinner. Transfer onto a clean kitchen towel and blot just to make sure the kale is dry.
Mound the kale on a heavy-duty, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and cider vinegar and toss with your hands to evenly coat the leaves. Bake in the oven, turning the leaves once they’ve begun to crisp, after about 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and continue to cook until crackly crisp but not browned, 8 to 12 more minutes. Do not let the leaves turn brown; they’ll taste burnt and bitter. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and serve.

Here’s what we gleaned from
“Don't throw those radish greens away. They are perfectly good food. Radish health benefits are many; they are a good source of vitamin C, folate and vitamin K (people with high blood pressure shouldn't overdo on the greens). They may also aid in digestion and help flush toxins from the body.

Whether you are growing cherry belle radishes in your garden, buying a bunch to make radish rose garnishes, or just enjoy the flavor in a salad, save those radish greens and cook up some of these easy, tasty recipes.”

Read more: How to Use Radish Greens |

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