What's in Your Share This Week?
Crunchy Royale radishes
Baby Pac Choi
Broccolini (on rotation)
Lots of greens and spring food this week. Don’t be intimidated by the quantity of greenery – much of it will cook down if you don’t think you can go through the raw volume of it all. This week’s basket is a true reflection of eating seasonally during a wet, cold spring: all of the crops in your tote have done remarkably well with this soggy weather. What’s missing are the berries - which will hopefully be back in action next week with the help of the sun and some SOS gleaners this weekend – and the asparagus, which came on a month early and stopped a month early. I guess you can’t expect everything to line up perfectly when you’re at the mercy of the weather.
And though it may seem like you’re getting a lot of greens in the month of June, remember to enjoy them while they’re here. Their primetime is relatively fleeting before summer’s dry heat begins to favor the rest of the vegetable kingdom instead. Also remember that in the coming six months, your harvest baskets will follow the arc of the growing season. That means that these early shares in June are always lighter and less diverse than those of summer and fall. This week’s basket is the first installment towards a produce climax that will probably leave you begging for mercy come September. At least we hope so. Aprovecho!
How to Eat it, Cut it, Cook it, and Keep it:
- Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge. Don’t let it get too soggy!
- A Japanese specialty turnip that won the hearts of many a CSA member last year. White, sweet, and creamy all they way through – without a trace of that skunky, spicy turnip taste. We like to eat them raw – like apples! – but they’re also great cut up into salads (matchsticked or julienned is my favorite way) or lightly sautéed with other veggies.
- They store best without tops in a plastic bag. In fact, I kept a topless bag of hakureis in the fridge from October until May this past year – and they were still good until the bitter end. But don’t toss the tops – they are great stir-fried like mustard greens!
- For a quick and easy zingy salad using your turnips, radishes, chives & mizuna, try this recipe we invented this week. It went great as a side to homemade chicken enchiladas (made from Joe Pestana’s local pasture-raised chicken, frozen sweet corn from last season, frozen roasted peppers from last season, dried chiles from last fall, and home-canned tomato sauce from last summer – a dinner that came almost completely from the farm, via the freezer and pantry - YUM).
Crunchy Royale radishes
- Another favorite from last year – a sweet, not too spicy radish variety that gets as big as a beet without becoming pithy!
- Follow the same storage tips as with turnips. You can also eat radish greens – although they’re best cooked/sautéed in order to tame the spines on the leaves.
Baby Pac Choi
- A CSA member specifically asked for “baby” pac choi at the end of last season, after we returned from our culinary adventure in Thailand. Here you go – a succulent variety that steams, sautees, and can be eaten raw – anyway you like it. The slugs munched the outer leaves this spring – so feel free to either strip them down to the heart, or chop up those outer leaves and throw them into your stir-fry pan or soup pot. They still taste great, even if they look at little Swiss.
- Store in the fridge in a plastic bag. Like the lettuce, don’t let them get too soggy.
- To be honest, we had hoped to send out arugula this week, but it’s been growing too slowly with all this nasty weather. So it’s mizuna instead – which maybe is a good thing to help stretch your culinary imaginations right off the bat. Many people wonder what the bleep they’re supposed to do with mizuna. Let us know what you like to do with it on the recipe exchange. And if you’re at a total loss, here are a few clues: add it to your salad...use it as a bed of greens under a nice hunk of fish...throw it into stir-fry...eat it plain...dress it up with your favorite dressing...feed it to your guinea pig.
- One thing’s for sure, you want to keep it in the fridge in its plastic bag.
- Great garnish, you know what to do.
- Keep in the fridge in a plastic bag, or upright in a glass of water.
- Of course this vegetable should have the word “art” in its name – the greens and the purples and the symmetry and the total unlikelihood that these thistle buds would be edible – and yet, they are!
- Some of you got a pile of small ones; some of you got a couple of big ones. No matter what, our favorite way to choke them down is to steam them (about 45 minutes on the stovetop, or about 12 minutes in a pressure cooker) and then dip them lavishly in a homemade aioli. We mix up a couple spoonfuls of mayo or veganaise, add a splash of balsamic vinegar, a little spoonful of capers, and some fresh ground black pepper. Divine. If you got small ones, they are practically chokeless (the choke being that hairy part right before you get to the heart) – which means you can almost eat the whole thing from the bottom up, minus the tough tips of the outer leaves. One thing to beware of: artichoke stems can be extremely bitter, so don’t nibble too far down past the heart!
- They keep well in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to a couple weeks. But I doubt they’ll linger in your fridge that long…
- A sprouting version of broccoli that comes on earlier than those big hefty crowns you’ll be seeing later in June & July. This variety is called Happy Rich. It’s coming on in a staggered fashion, so we’ll be distributing a taste of it to each pick-up site on rotation in the next couple of weeks. When it does show up in your basket, I think you’ll be amazed at how tender and flavorful those lanky florettes are. We’ve been steaming them lightly and eating them with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and a little splash of cider vinegar. Uber-yum.
- Store in the fridge in a plastic bag.
On the Farm...
We're wet, but we're mucking through! The last two week's worth of plantings (corn, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, dill, cilantro, winter squash, peppers, summer squash, etc.) have been stalled by this weather, so we're chomping at the bit for the field to dry out so we can play some serious catch-up out there.
The one upshot of all this rain has been that the barn has never been tidier, the totes have never been scrubbed so clean, and we're almost done building our dry storage room that is designed to keep the autumn squash harvest cool, dry, rodent-proof, and happy for many months this winter!
OK, enough faking it - we really want the sun to shine. Think blazing sunny thoughts. It's time to hang up the raingear.