Monday, June 29, 2015

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This week's CSA box has salad and braising greens like lettuce and Romaine lettuce, kale or cabbage, carrots, radishes, green onions, garlic scapes, strawberries, and the start of cucumber, zucchini, and snap peas, basil, and probably the last of the asparagus.

Field Notes.  Although Ken is still planting and transplanting, he has also started mulching.  Mulch accomplishes many things: it reduces weed pressure, keeps the soil cool for microbial life, and as it breaks down, it adds organic to the soil.  

This is the time of year when Ken starts talking about canopy.  What he means by canopy is that the crops have enough size to shade the soil.  This also reduces weed pressure and keeps the soil cooler.

And speaking of weed pressure, Ken is wrapping up the bulk of weeding perennial crops like asparagus. He usually stops picking asparagus about the end of June and lets the plants grow and store energy for the next season.  He has weeded strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, and some annual crops like the onions.

Weekly he ties up tomatoes, and on the way back from the field today I spied these first tomatoes.  Soon they will be red and Ken will be harvesting.  The great, comfortable cool sleeping nights slow down the heat loving plants ripening, but the cool loving plants like the early cabbage is sweet and beautiful!

From the Kitchen.   I love to mix color, flavor, and texture in vegetable medleys.   Today I sliced green onions at an angle, cut carrots in ovals and had finely sliced cabbage.  I sauteed the onion, added the carrots and a bit of stock, then the cabbage.  I added some umeboshi vinegar and sesame oil.  Umeboshi is a Japanese pickled plum that adds three different flavors - salty, sweet and sour.  Another variation is to add turmeric to the saute oil and maybe a pinch of curry or cumin, and top with angle cut snap peas for a bright green color, OR an Asian variation with sesame oil, a sweet wine, miso or tamari, and some toasted sesame seeds.

These early summer cabbage are so sweet!  I like them in salads, or just cut in wedges and lightly steamed.  Sometimes I top with butter, salt and pepper.  Other times umeboshi paste.  Or cream and herbs.  It all depends on what else is in the meal.  I am always trying to mix and balance color and flavors - Beans with hot sauce and smoky paprika, rice with turmeric and green onions, cabbage and cream.  With a creamy venison Stroganoff  I would serve sour and spicy.  

Summer is here!  Basil is one the smells of summer - fresh and pungent.  Yest I add basil to tomato sauces, but also vegetables just before serving or grilled meat. 
The best way to store basil it to bag it and leave it out on the counter in the sealed bag.

'Til Next Week, Judith

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