Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CSA Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This box has lettuce and salad greens, beet thinnings, bok choy, kohlrabi, celery, Asian red turnips, carrots, snap peas, radishes, asparagus, green onions, and flat leaf parsley.

Field Notes.  Looking back I see I keep starting this section off with "Ken has been busy."  Spring and fall are the busiest times for farming.  Ken has been planting and cultivating.  After every rain he watches and once the soil is no longer sticky, he is out going over the entire garden and field with a triangle hoe.  He moves quickly and efficiently.  He say it is like voting in Chicago - "Do it early and do it often!"  The earlier he slices off the tiny weeds, the easier it is.  And he tends to fluff the top soil layer as he goes down the row. That fluffed soil is more receptive to taking in the next rain.
celery, green onions and radishes

It is also time to thin several crops - main season plantings of carrots, beets, parsnips, etc.  We had a dear friend who could not "kill" any of those overcrowded root crops.  As a result he always had small and spindly root crops.  Thinning is an on your knees type of job.  So Ken balances dancing down the row with a hoe and thinning.

Ken has also been spiffing up the place a bit for the garden and field tour on Sunday July 8th.  Please mark your calendars and let me know if you plan to attend so I have a general idea of how much food to prepare.

bok choy
From the Kitchen.  Summer crops!  Celery has arrived.  We eat celery raw, in stir fry and soups.  We dry the leaves on a sheet of newspaper on a flat surface away from a window so the sun does not fade the leaves, but in a spot with good airflow, so the leaves dry.

Bok choy is an early summer Asian vegetable.  It was the original ingredient in chop suey before celery.  I tend to separate leaves from stem so I can cook the chopped stem about a minute or two and then add the sliced leaves just before serving.  Bok choy is versatile and mild - I add to stir fry and soups.

Kohlrabi is another of what I call the "bonus vegetables." Both the leaves and swollen stem are delicious.  Ken likes the bulb sliced and salted or peeled, cubed and cooked.  It tastes a lot like broccoli stem.  Treat the leaves like the bok choy or cabbage or kale. I slice the leaves and store separately from the bulb. 

Turnips - another bonus vegetable.  Turnip greens are wonderful in braising mixes.  They are incredibly nutritious. Ken suggests you rinse the roots, slice thinly and salt - a beautiful addition to salads or eaten as a "quick pickle.".  This is a new variety for us.  Let us know what you think

Two weekends ago I convinced a cabin owner / regular vegetable customer to try beet thinnings in place of spinach in salad and cooked dishes.  It was a hard sell as his wife likes beet roots, but he does not.  This past weekend he came back requesting beet greens; he actually likes them better than spinach.  Try the beet greens in place of spinach - they are great.

1)  NEXT WEEK Harvest day and vegetable pick up moves from Wed July 4th to MONDAY July 2nd.  Enjoy the holiday!
2) The Keppers Annual Garden and Field tour is Sunday July 8th from 2 - 4 pm.  Tours and talk will be followed by some garden snacks.  RSVP is appreciated so I know how much food to prepare.

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