Tuesday, May 21, 2013

CSA Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden! This week's box has a variety of lettuce and salad greens, red bok choy or mizuna, brassica and braising greens, spinach, parsnips, sunchokes, gobo (burdock), radishes, and the first of the asparagus!

Field Notes.  Sunday we had a bit of excitement.  Friends had invited us over to see lambs.  When we left there was a storm warning for Ellsworth.  As we neared our destination, there was a new storm warning on the radio for Balsam Lake, Turtle Lake, and Rice Lake.  We had left the greenhouses open, and both of us had visions of the house in the Wizard of Oz.  We got home and Ken shut greenhouses and we were glad to see rain, not such bad wind, and no hail.  We felt fortunate!  Hail reports scare me as much as fire scared the Straw Man in the Wizard Oz!  Entire crops can be shredded and devastated in no time.  

The rain was welcome after the dry windy weather we had been having, and the irrigation ponds rose to previous levels.

Ken has been planting, and is nearly on a par with where he is most years - in spite of the colder than usual spring we have had.  We do not put heat loving crops out until after May 18th - the latest date we have had under 20 degrees - a killing frost for those crops.  Weather reports look good - not too hot for the greens that like it cool and not too cool for the heat loving crops.  So far so good!  

Ken is also taking the hoopettes out of the garden.

From the Kitchen.  Asparagus!  One of the sure signs spring has arrived is the start of the asparagus season.  Asparagus is a perennial crop that needs weeding and feeding.  But its health benefits are great.  It clears the body of oxalic and uric acid; eat asparagus and you probably will never get kidney stones.  I started grilling asparagus a couple years ago and it is really tasty.  Rinse, trim bottom if it seems tough, brush with olive oil and either grill outside or in a cast iron skillet.  This seals the flavor inside rather than losing it when steamed.  Ken likes it topped with a drizzle of my home made mayonnaise.  My biggest asparagus cooking tip is don't overcook it.  Most bad asparagus experiences can be traced back to overcooking.

Parsnips were a great addition to Sunday dinner's roasted vegetables - some cut up onions, potatoes, and parsnips and sunchokes.  I clean the vegetables, toss in oil and thyme and roast after I take out the meat so I can use a higher oven temperature for a shorter time.  I toss every few minutes so the vegetables are coated with oil and herbs, don't stick and the outside starts to brown as the inside becomes tender.

Radishes make a nice accent in salad.  They also make a tasty salad on their own!  Last season I went to a potluck and had a great radish salad - Sliced radishes had been lightly salted to wilt, then a dressing with yogurt and chives was added.  It was great!   Early radishes with nice small tender tops have a bonus - the greens are great in salads or used to make a green goddess dressing in the blender!

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