Our newsletter from June 22:
Dear CSA members,
This week we have for you: ALL the lettuce! In seriousness, each winter I draw up painstaking planting schedules in order to try to get a diversity of crops coming to harvest each week throughout the growing season. It’s such a beautiful plan on paper, taking into account intricate crop rotations, days to maturity, and weather-dependent growth rates. And then the actual planting season happens and those plans go all to heck. What was supposed to happen this year is that our cut salad mix would come to maturity during the first couple of weeks of the season, followed by a couple of weeks of head lettuces, then the second planting of salad mix, then back to head lettuces. You know, so that you all wouldn’t get bored with the same salad week after week. What actually happened was a cold snap right after we seeded the first bed of salad mix which resulted in poor germination for it and great germination for the weeds around it. So we hoed that in and replanted, delaying the first salad mix harvest by a couple of weeks. Then, we got all this rain and warmth and the head lettuces put on an enormous growth spurt and started to bolt. So they aren’t going to keep in the field another week while we eat up the salad mix, which also won’t keep in the field because those plants are so close together they will start to crowd each other and bolt. Hence, all the lettuce.
This is one of those circumstances where eating from a CSA share can be a challenge. We talk a lot about “eating seasonally” these days, by which we generally mean eating strawberries in June, not January. But eating from a CSA is a different kind of seasonality—it means that your diet is influenced by how this current season is affecting our particular farm. In that way, you get to share in our struggles and successes. Farming sure has plenty of both! This past week, we’ve really been struggling with water—too much of it! We’ve had to abandon one of our gardens altogether—the squashes we planted there are drowned out and it’s too wet to even think about replanting. So, we’re ripping more of my beautiful plan all to heck and squeezing things in in other, drier areas.
The successes—well, these lettuces are beautiful! We hope you enjoy them. Cut salad greens have gotten really popular lately, but I think it’s hard to beat a great full-sized romaine or butterhead for flavor and crunch. John and I both like our salads simple, with a light dressing of oil and vinegar. Here are a couple of homemade salad dressing recipes that use herbs from today’s shares.
Lime Cilantro Dressing
Ingredients: 1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, with tougher stems removed (tender stems can be eaten); ½ cup lime juice (I used lemon, because that’s what I had and it was still pretty good); ½ cup good quality olive oil; 2-3 tablespoons honey, to taste; salt & pepper to taste. Optional: green onions, green garlic, or garlic scapes
Place cilantro leaves in a food processor and chop fine. Add onions or garlic here too, if you’re using them. Add lime juice and process a few seconds. Slowly pour in olive oil and process until well mixed. Add honey, salt, and pepper to your preferences, process, then dress your salad.
Dill Dressing from thekitchn.com
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill; 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard; 1/2 teaspoon minced shallot or onion; 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and salt until the salt dissolves. Add dill, mustard and shallot and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly, until dressing is smooth and emulsified. Pour dressing over salad and toss until all ingredients are evenly coated.
Those curly things in your shares are garlic scapes. They are the flower stalk of the garlic plant and can be used in pretty much anything you’d use garlic in: soups, stir-fries, salad dressings, hummus, pesto . . . or kale fritters. I’ve put this recipe in previous newsletters, but I want to share it again for new folks. These make really great leftovers for a quick breakfast or snack.
Corn & Kale Fritters
Ingredients: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour; 2 large eggs; 1/2 cup all-purpose flour; 2 T butter, melted; 1 cup cornmeal; 2 cups milk; 1 t paprika; 1 T olive oil; 2 t salt; 1 bunch kale; 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen and thawed). Optional: cilantro, dill, scallions, garlic (of any kind), onion
Chop your kale very finely or put it into through a food processor. If you are using scallions or fresh herbs, chop or process those and mix with the kale. Mix the flours, cornmeal, spices, and corn together, then mix in the kale in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, melted butter and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring gently until just mixed and set aside. (Optional step: heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet, add the onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add to batter. I’ve also used summer squash instead of corn and sautéd this lightly before adding to the batter. You can also use just kale without the other vegetables.)
Cover the bottom of a skillet with a thin layer of olive oil, and heat it over medium heat. Drop 1/4-cupfuls of batter into the hot pan and flatten them evenly into approximately 1/2-inch patties. Add more oil / butter as needed to prevent sticking. Cook each fritter until it begins to bubble, then flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes more until golden. Serve with salsa, sour cream, maple syrup, or butter or just eat plain.
Finally, from www.farmerdaves.net, another idea for cooking those turnips and radishes:
Roasted Radishes and Hakurei Turnips
Ingredients: Radishes; Hakurei Turnips; Onions or Leeks; Toasted sesame oil; Tamari or other soy sauce
Cut vegetables into approximately 1 inch pieces. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In baking pan large enough to fit all your vegetables, toss the vegetables with enough sesame oil and tamari to lightly coat everything. Spread out vegetables evenly on a baking pan. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until tender, stirring once or twice in between. Delicious!
I don’t know if this counts as a “success,” but it sure does fall into the “joys of farming” category—this past week we found five newly-hatched mergansers wandering around in the garden behind the house, trying to figure out how to get through the fence and down to momma on the pond. She must have nested in our cover crop of field peas!
Have a wonderful week! Amy & John