Monday, May 25, 2009

Spring CSA Newsletter

Passage Creek Farm CSA

Last week is best described as a week of loss. We had a raccoon get into the chicken coop, and (luckily) kill only one chicken before Todd found it. Thanks to Elliot, in fact, for fussing Saturday evening and causing Todd to take him for a walk outside. Otherwise we could have lost a lot more birds. Raccoons will kill just for the fun of it. We also had a heavy frost Monday night, and although we were able to get most of our stuff covered, we didn’t have enough covers to protect everything. So it looks like we lost about a third of our zinnias and a quarter of our tomatoes. Fortunately we had not put out the basil yet, because we surely would have lost it all, even with covers. It is definitely our most sensitive crop.
Our experiment in hired help is over. Joe went back to Northern Virginia this week and we were able to get a lot done while he was here. We also had our good friend Janice came out to help for a couple of days, so we really got some good weeding and planting done. It’s so nice to be able to see the onions again!
Things are looking good in the garden overall. The peas are coming on, and should be ready for harvest in about a week. The lettuce looks good and hasn’t started bolting yet, despite the hot weather. And we were able to pick some kohlrabi this week for the bags. The squash has been in the ground for about a week, and will probably be blooming soon. And the beans are happily emerging from the soil. Basil, parsley, okra and melons are headed out to the field this week. We’ll be busy!

This Week:

Salad mix

What to do with it:

Escarole is the thing that looks like a head of lettuce. It is actually a thick-leaved member of the chicory family. Some folks like to eat it raw, but we prefer it cooked. It doesn’t cook down quite as fast as Swiss chard, but you can treat it pretty much the same way. There are several recipes on our website that call for such a green, including the Italian bean soup and the cooked greens salad.

Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica family, which includes kale and broccoli. The leaves are generally not eaten, though they make a fine addition to soup stock. You can taste them for yourself and decide if you want to cook them as you would kale. They have a stronger flavor than kale leaves, so some people are put off. The bulbs are the juicy part. They are starchy like a potato but have a flavor more kin to broccoli. They can be sliced up raw as for crudités, sautéed till just tender with butter and onions, grated into a slaw, or cubed and added to soups or stews. There’s a celeriac remoulade recipe on our website that would accept kohlrabi as a substitute for the celeriac.

The rest of the items have appeared before in the bags. We prefer the scallions raw, since they’re so mild tasting that you don’t have to be to afraid of them. Just chop them into salad dressing or into a stir-fry (but at the end, so they don’t turn to mush). In fact, the kohlrabi, escarole, scallions and cilantro would all fit together nicely in a stir-fry. You could chop the kohlrabi into bite-sized pieces first and simmer it for a few minutes before throwing it into the wok, or just cook it for a bit longer than the rest of the ingredients. Add some garlic and soy sauce and serve over rice.

If you ever have recipes to share with us, please do so. We’d love to have more to share on our website.

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