Field Notes. Last week's rain really melted the remaining snow and now that we have had a couple sunny days everything is green! In the hoopettes and tunnels the soil is dry.
Since the forecast is for a warm rain later in the week, Ken has opened the hoopettes. Ken plans to have the irrigation pump, connections and hoses in place later in the week for the high tunnels as well. We are monitoring temperature, sun intensity and opening and closing all the plastic accordingly. Now is the time of year we work to maximize heat gain, but avoid cooking the plants!
On a sad note we had some rodent damage over the winter. This is the first year in decades we have not had a working cat as part of the team and Ken believes it was voles, the bane of greenhouse growers, who got in and ate some fall planted greens and spring transplants he was hardening off before transplanting.
The good news is Ken and Oscar the dog caught two fat voles; Ken hopes there are no vole babies. The other good news is we have a farm kitten on the way.
The strawberries are blooming! I always fell both excitement ( I love strawberries) and trepidation (they are a challenge for an old broad to pick). Just like the expression, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch" I never get excited - truly excited - about strawberries until I am actually picking them - there could be any of several problems : frost damage, too much rain, too little rain, and so on. The early and short season fruit and vegetables do not have the buffer of the late season crops - those late raspberries always produce, but the early season ones need optimum temperature and rainfall, and so too, the strawberries. We wait and see!
From the Kitchen,. We are still in transition from over wintered food to all same day harvest. today's box has onions, shallots, potatoes, carrots, celeriac and beets from last fall and spring dug roots like parsnips, sun chokes and gobo as well. I appreciate this mix as it gives this cook a wider variety of vegetables to work with . For example I like to make curried parsnip soup with the fresh parsnips plus potatoes and celery root. I saute the potato onions or shallots with some curry powder, add stock and simmer diced celery root and potatoes and parsnips. Once everything is tender I run through a blender or processor or food mill and return to pan, heat, add cream , milk, yogurt or other dairy and serve with some green garnish - chives, chervil, chopped green onion tops.
I have often substituted the sun chokes for water chestnuts in a spinach dip. People in my book group kept commenting on how good it was! This is the season for that spinach dip with the sun chokes - and thes un chokes are a great crunchy addition to salads as well. I also like to fry them in an oil that will take hot heat and add garlic and tamari just before serving. once Ken made sun choke chips for a Boundary Waters canoe trip. I figured no one would eat them so I suggested he take them all. It was cold and the salty chips baked with oil were a real treat - one came home with him!
"Til Next Week,