Despite our early struggles with the weather, our fields are now almost full of green plants. Green and yellow snap beans, soybeans, and limas unfurl their first tender leaves. Tomato, pepper, cucumber, eggplant, melon, zucchini, and squash plants stretch their roots through the soil. Dill, basil, and rainbow chard grow taller each day. The recent cool nights have encouraged the salad greens and lettuce to continue to put their energies into growing leaves rather than shooting up a flower stalk (this is called “bolting” and makes the plant’s leaves tougher and less tasty), extending our harvest of these crops.
Unfortunately, our potatoes succumbed to the extreme wet weather we had in the week after we planted them. Since we’d seen only a few of their tops emerging from the soil, we dug into their row this week and found that they’d rotted in the wet soil. Next year we may try dusting them with an organically-approved sulfur before we plant them if the weather looks similarly rainy. If we have time in the next week, we may attempt to replant a few red potatoes for a late fall crop.
Though we can’t guarantee what will be in our CSA shares each week, we’d like to use this blog to give our CSA folks a heads-up on what might be coming their way. Over the next few weeks, CSA customers might expect to receive additional head lettuce, mixed salad greens, and spinach, as well as mustard greens, turnips, and strawberries. There may be some green onions in the mix as well, but since we’ve had trouble with onion maggots in the past, I won’t know for certain whether we can provide these until we harvest.
Some of these crops may be familiar in name only. I never ate turnips or mustard greens until I began growing them myself. Now they are two of my favorite crops and a regular part of my spring diet. The mustard greens add a great bite to both salads and sandwiches. They can be cooked as well. For a recipe for sauted mustard greens, check out http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mustard_greens/. And here, courtesy of Jane Brody’s Good Food Book, is my absolute favorite way to cook turnips:
Peppery Turnip Treat
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons honey (maple syrup is even better)
1 pound (or however many you have) turnips, diced
¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (optional)
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and honey over moderately low heat. Add the turnips and pepper. Cover the pan, and cook the turnips until they are tender, stirring them once, about 12 minutes (the turnips should brown lightly). Sprinkle with parsley.
My variation on this is to omit the parsley and instead coarsely chop the turnip leaves and to stir them into the pot during the last minute or two of cooking, sauteing them in the butter and honey mixture along with the roots. So yummy!