Greetings from the Garden! This week's box has lettuce and salad greens, mizuna, mustard and braising greens, pea shoots, turnip thinning greens, parsnips, sunchokes, asparagus, dill, and the first baby beets.
Field Notes. It has been an unusual spring. After many years of warmer, dry weather and soil conditions, this year has been cooler and wet. This forces Ken to work with the weather. There are windows of opportunity and he seizes them to work the soil and plant. Many crops have been planted later than usual and some that are usually in the ground are not yet planted this year. For example beans like it warm and dry. If Ken had planted bean seeds on the usual date he plants them, this year the seed would have rotted in the soil.
But many crops are doing very well. Greens love cool and damp, and so does asparagus. Now is the time to order extra asparagus if you want to freeze or pickle it. I usually freeze some asparagus and make cream of asparagus soup in winter when we crave green food.
The hot weather plants in the greenhouses are moving slowly ahead. Even with monitoring and opening and closing, crops that love heat are later than usual. Good news is tomatoes are blooming. then they set fruit and when it ripens, we will be harvesting. Great to see the progress.
Ken has been planting. And planting. Last night he planted LOTS of brassicas - Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. Brassicas like this weather and if it continues they should do well.
From the Kitchen. The first beets are so delicious. Beets are one of the "bonus" vegetables - you get great greens and roots to eat. I separate the tops from roots. I use the tops in braising and salad mixes. I tend to use the smaller thinning tops in salad and the larger root tops in braising mixes. I boil the roots until the skins slip off and then I slip the skins and either serve at that time or put in the refrigerator for later use. One of Ken's current favorites is to warm some butter in a skillet, add some cracked fennel and then sliced, cooked beets. Beets are also a crucial component of borscht, and this time of year I often use any of the braising greens in place of the cabbage.
Turnip thinnings will add some zip to your life. Try them in salad and stir fry and braised. We like them as last minute soup additions, too. They are so nutritious at this stage of growth and are worth incorporating into your own greens recipes. Treat the roots like radishes. Some people call them salad turnips.
Dill is a nutritional powerhouse. I add it to fish - especially cold salmon salads. It is great with beets and in creamy salad dressings.
'Til Next Week!