good gardener always plants three seeds -- one for the grubs, one for
the weather, and one for himself."
- C. Collins from Zen Gardening
Whats in the box this week:
Red russian kale
(Remember, "Extra Fruit option" doesn't start until May!)
Sat. Jun 21 - Summer Solstice Celebration
4pm - 10pm
with Kuzanga Marimba!
Aug 8, 9, 10 - Childrens Mini Camp
Friday evening to noon Sunday
Sat. Sep 20 - Fall Equinox Celebration
3pm - 9pm
with the Banana Slug String Band!
Sat. Oct 26 Halloween Pumpkin Palooza
the Banana Slug String Band will play here too!
A telltale sign that each
of us must have inherited farmer genes somewhere along the line is how
we talk and relate to the weather on almost a daily basis. At last weekend's
farmers market, with wind and rain as our best customers, we all
contemplated how the weather might affect our crops and change our expectations
of what next week's harvest might yield. We love comparing the current
weather with that of past seasons, in search of some predictable pattern.
As farmers and gardeners, we've come to accept that the most predictable
aspect of weather is its unpredictability. I dont think Ive
ever heard a farmer say, "my, isnt this usual weather we're
having?" Weather is full of surprises. It holds our attention and
adds excitement to our work. We work with the elements because theyre
there, and because they are the basic building blocks of life. The weather
provides us with sunshine, water, and warmth; it keeps our farms alive
and growing, and it keeps us alive along with them. As I write this, the
fields are gleaming in the morning sunlight, and as I honor my connection
to this place I wonder what the story will be today... maybe, even after
all this rain, well be able to harvest and savor some nice juicy
red strawberries after all!! Tom
Crop of the Week
raab, also known as rapini, is more closely related to the turnip than
to broccoli, and is grown for its greens ('rapa' means 'turnip' in Italian).
It has bright green leaves and only medium-thick stalks (thinner than
regular broccoli), with tiny yellow or yellow-green flowerets. It is one
of the tastiest and most neglected members of the Brassica family, and
has a nutty and slightly bitter flavor all its own. Brassicas are very
popular. You'll find at least one of their members in each weekly share,
such as our popular Asian mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale,
kohlrabi or cabbage. Brassicas, when fresh or not overly cooked, are packed
with vitamin C, A, calcium, potassium and iron, and are purported to help
prevent cancer due to a special enzyme called sulforaphane.
Tips and Techniques for
Preparation and Storage
important to remember is that you really do need to spend a little time
with your goodies when you get them home. This is not pre-washed, pre-packaged
ready-to-eat stuff. It is vibrant and alive though, and fresher than anything
you'll get in the store, so it's well worth your time and trouble to prep.
In some cases, you can create your own 'ready-to-eat' veggies, so when
you come home late, a quick healthy meal is a snap. In any case, a little
preparation goes a long way towards making your goodies last the week
(or much longer, in some cases!). In past years I've talked about how
to store greens (see newsletters from weeks 6
of 2001, on our website), and strawberries (see Strawberry
tips and Ideas, in recipe database). But for the benefit of people
who feel a little overwhelmed by the weekly abundance of produce, I thought
I'd talk about how to prep and store each veggie that's in this week's
box. Who knows... maybe this will become a regular column? Debbie
Arugula, spinach and beet greens (also Asian/mustard greens). All
these are treated the same in my book. Put them in a sink or basin of
cool water & swish around to loosen dirt etc. If the spinach or arugula
leaves are still attached at the root, I hold them upside down under a
faucet spray to clean thoroughly then pinch off leaves and drop into a
salad spinner. Discard root ends, and any yellowed or damaged leaves.
Spin well (2 or 3 times) to remove as much water as possible. Lay leaves
on a clean cotton dishtowel ('floursack' towels work great) or paper towels,
layering if you have lots. Gently roll up leaves/towel like a jellyroll
and place in a plastic bag. Carefully squeeze out extra air and secure
with a twisty tie, then store in the fridge. They last at least a week
for me this way, sometimes 2 or 3 weeks if I use 'Evert-Fresh' bags (specially
designed to absorb and remove ethylene gas and filter out UV light
discussion on this in Week 7, 2001 newsletter on our website). Although
this seems a bit time consuming up front, it is SO satisfying when you
go to use your greens later in the week, as they are all wonderful, washed
and ready to eat! Note: the stems of all these greens are perfectly edible.
It is only a taste preference as to whether or
not you like to eat them.
Chard, kale, bok choi, broccoli raab, lettuce. Do not wash before
storing. If they have moisture on them, blot or shake as much of it off
as you can, and wrap in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag. Squeeze
out extra air and secure with a twisty; refrigerate. If the veggies are
not wet, skip the blot-and-wrap step. With lettuce, if outer leaves are
a little battered (lettuce is on the delicate side, so this can happen
pretty easily), remove and discard 'em before storing head as described
Beets. Cut greens off about 1" above the root. (Note: the
small, usually dark red leaves from over-wintered beets are edible but
pretty tough, however the beautiful dark-green-veined-with-red leaves
from spring plantings are well worth saving! I believe the beets we have
this week are over-wintered.) Anyway, after cutting off the tops, store
beets in a plastic bag in the fridge. They keep well for many weeks. No
need to wash/scrub at this stage, but if you want to it won't hurt anything.
Just be sure to dry them well before bag-ging them.
Cabbage. Simple. Store in a plastic bag in fridge. It should store
well for many weeks. You don't even have to bag cabbage if it's whole
-- you can just stick it in your crisper drawer. However once you cut
into it, I'd bag it.
Carrots. The most important thing to remember about storing your
fresh carrots is to remove the green tops. If you store your carrots with
tops attached, they will go limp and rubbery on you, because the greens
continue to draw (energy? water?) from the root. An easy way to remove
tops is to hold the carrots in one hand and the tops in the other and
twist! They pretty much all come off in a bunch. Like beets, you can pre-wash
or not as you prefer then store in a plastic bag in the fridge (again,
dry 'em off before you bag 'em).
Green garlic and young onions. Cut roots off right at the base,
and wipe off any dirt clinging to the stalk (sometimes I peel off the
outermost layer to do this). I also trim down excess greens, mostly so
they'll fit in a plastic bag. Bag and refrigerate. These guys'd probably
store okay un-bagged if you have a good crisper drawer.
Blue (or any) potatoes. This may be controversial. Everything I
read says not to store potatoes in the fridge, because supposedly the
starch in them changes to sugars. They say to 'store in a cool, dark place'
(who's got a root cellar these days?). Personally, I have al-ways stored
my potatoes in a crisper drawer in my fridge (they need ventilation though,
so if you keep 'em in their bag, don't tie it closed. Leave it open so
they can breathe). They've always lasted a long time and tasted just fine.
And when I've stored them in the cupboard, say, they start sprouting roots
on me before I use them up! So either way is fine I guess. You choose.
What's important is that you DON'T store potatoes and onions together!!
There is some sort of chemical incompatibility -- I believe the onions
offgas and cause the potatoes to prematurely rot. I keep my onions in
one crisper drawer along with my lettuces and such, and the potatoes,
beets, and other root veggies in the other drawer.
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
the newsletter editor.
Simple broccoli raab
3 different cookbooks agree that the bite of broccoli raab marries wonderfully
with lots of sweet garlic! Dean and DeLuca says, "simply sauté
7 or 8 smashed garlic cloves in a little olive oil, toss a bunch of washed
broccoli raab in the pot, cook over moder-ate heat 7 to 8 minutes, uncovered,
season well, and enjoy." Alice Waters (of Chez Panisse fame) sautés
onion over high heat to wilt and brown a bit, adds garlic, red pepper
flakes (to taste), salt, then the raab and a splash of water. Lower heat
and cook 'til tender, stirring and tossing frequently. Meanwhile she cooks
a pot of penne pasta. She tastes raab for seasoning, adding a generous
amount of olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar, then tosses with
the drained pasta and garnishes with grated fresh parmesan or romano cheese.
Pan browned blue potatoes
Blue potatoes are great for baking or pan browning, but not boiling! Although
perfectly edible when boiled, they are most unappealing in appearance,
turning greyish and falling apart. My favorite way to prepare blue potatoes
is to simply pan brown them. First scrub and cut out any bad spots, then
cut into small chunks/cubes. Pour a goodly amount of olive oil in a skillet
over medium heat and toss in potatoes, stirring and shaking pan to coat
them well with oil. Cover, and shake pan or lift and turn potatoes with
a spatula every few minutes, to brown evenly. In 10 to 15 minutes, you
should have nicely browned potatoes! Sprinkle with salt, and pepper too
if you like and eat! They are sweet and creamy with a crusty brown outside.
I encourage creativity here! We have lots of marvelous salad-makings:
spinach, lettuce, arugula, carrots, radishes, beets (sure! grate raw beets
into a salad, you bet!). A yummy tahini dressing is very versatile
blend a spoonful of tahini with some olive oil, whisk in some cider vinegar
and soy sauce, add a crushed clove of garlic, and a little grated fresh
ginger if you have it. Use your imagination in making dressings! I also
like lemon-soy-garlic-olive oil, or red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper,
oregano & oil.
for a link to a comprehensive listing of recipes from Live Earth Farm's
newsletters going back as far as our 1998 season! You can search for recipes
by key ingredient. Recipe site is updated weekly during the season.