Tuesday, July 10, 2012

CSA Newsletter

Broccoli plants a couple weeks ago
Greetings from the Garden!  This week's box has lettuce, radicchio, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, cucumbers, celery,  Chinese cabbage, carrots, turnips, green onions, and the first tomato, pepper, and basil.

Field notes.  The garden and field tour was last Sunday - thank you to all who came and participated.   Ken was really happy about the questions on how and why we grow the way we do and the discussions of food politics - local, seasonal, nutrient density, etc. People tell us that we are passionate about food, and it is great to see this spread to other people!

In the field Ken just planted more greens and has shifted out of spring and into summer mode.  As we say this season's farewell to the early crops like spinach, asparagus, peas, strawberries, we get excited about the first of the new summer crops.  And Ken starts his weekly pick of some vegetables, and twice a week pick of others like tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers.   And this week we have broccoli and cauliflower.

And Ken continues to cultivate.  One of his observations after the tour was he has shifted to work with the weeds.  He cultivates when and where necessary as crops start and as they grow and develop canopy, it is less pressing.  He has weeds in the walkways this year, and he moves before they set seed.  And he makes various preparations for the garden from weeds.  Weeds let him know if his soil is short in something - minerals, too acid, etc.

From the Kitchen.  So many new vegetables in the box this week.  This variety of cauliflower is delicate and delicious cooked or raw.  I steamed and tossed with a few pea pods and a vinaigrette dressing for the farm tour.  I like to steam vegetables, chill them in cold water, drain and toss with a dressing and chopped nuts.  I think of combinations of texture, shape and color.  This cauliflower would be great with chopped kale and green onions as well.

And speaking of salads, I made three for the garden and field tour.  In addition to the above, I made an Asian style salted salad of thinly sliced red turnip roots and tops rinsed, drained and tossed with a dressing of olive oil, tamari, a little powdered red pepper, honey, and toasted sesame seeds.

The best way to store basil - a sealed bag on the counter
And my favorite "cooked" salad was also a hit. Steam sliced carrots, add green onions for the last couple minutes, and then sliced kale.  Drain and save the cooking water.  Rinse the vegetables in cold water, drain.  I made a dressing of toasted pumpkin seeds (sunflower seeds are also good) umeboshi paste and about a cup of the cooking water run through a blender.  Umeboshi is a Japanese pickled plum available in health food or Asian food stores.  It adds fruitiness, sour, and saltiness.  I toss the drained vegetables with the dressing and serve.

Another celery.  At this point it is cool enough I will probably make one of Ken's favorites: cream of celery soup.  Saute some onion.  Add chopped celery and stock.  Simmer so celery is soft.  Ad salt and pepper as desired.  Run through a food mill and add cream or sour cream or yogurt before serving.  This soup is delicious hot or chilled.


  1. That's fascinating about what he can tell about the soil from the weeds. Can you elaborate on that?
    Thank you - love the education.

  2. When he attended a soil workshop years ago he was told weeds are the soil's engineers and bugs are the clean up crew - if the soil is poor, the plants struggle, and the bugs move in to clear out the sick and dying. Any given weed grows best under certain conditions. Sorrel grows well in acid soil. If there is a LOT of sorrel, the soil is probably too acid for many crops.