Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spring CSA Newsletter - Last one!

Well, this is the last week of the spring share. Thanks to all of you who signed up; we hope you enjoyed it! It was a good experiment for us. We really pushed ourselves to have as much produce ready as we could in May, and it was very challenging. But every year we try to grow a little earlier and a little later so we can get closer to year-round food.
Speaking of which, we planted all our winter squash last week and we should have a TON of it come August. Winter squash is great because it stores so easily for so long. You can just keep it on your kitchen counter for months! We’re growing butternut, spaghetti, acorn, buttercup, and sugar pumpkins. We also got our muskmelons out this week (cantaloupes, for you non-botanical types). Historically, they’ve been our most delicious crop. We’re hoping for a better yield than last year, which was just cucurbit-unfriendly.
The rain continues to bog us down. It’s created a huge gully in our new field, washing away some of our peppers and squash plants. We’re not sure how to fix this problem, except to mulch, mulch, mulch. Of course, mulching is one of those things that’s hard to do when you’re getting 3 to 5 inches of rain a week. And having a 5 month old is fairly time-consuming, so things like mulching and weeding tend to fall by the wayside. Hopefully we’ll have a streak of rain-free weather (though not a long one, we hope) and we’ll be able to get some things done!

This Week:

2 heads lettuce (Butterhead and green leaf)
Snap peas
Napa Cabbage
Lemon Balm

What to do with it:

Napa cabbage is new this week. It’s a versatile green, good for eating raw or cooking. It’s very mild and makes a nice addition to salad. It’s also a great green for steaming or sautéing. Since it’s a brassica (related to broccoli, cabbage, etc.), it’s also super healthy. It’s what’s used to make kimchee (Korean sauerkraut) as well. We made some this week, following Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions recipe. Basically you shred a whole head of Napa cabbage, and add minced garlic and ginger. She calls for carrots, but we used kohlrabi instead (about a cup grated), since that’s what we had. You add a little hot pepper, a few tablespoons whey, and about a tablespoon of salt. Then pound the whole mix with a mallet till the juices flow. Stuff into a quart-sized mason jar and let ferment for 3 days. Ours is fermenting now, so we can’t report on the result yet. But it was certainly delicious before it went into the jar!
Lemon balm is our favorite herb, and we only do one thing with it (besides using it for soap). We make lemon balm iced tea. Just throw the whole bunch into a large stock pot filled with water, and let simmer for an hour or so. Or bring it to a boil and then turn it off and let it sit for an afternoon (it’s not an exact science, and we have to work around not being in the kitchen all day). Add honey or sugar to taste, and serve over ice. It’s so refreshing on a hot day. Plus, it’s a very calming herb.
We frankly don’t get very creative with the snap peas. They’re just so good raw. They would probably make an excellent addition to stir fry, if they were just steamed slightly. They would be terribly sad if overcooked, so be careful. One of our market customers had plans to mix hers with dill, which sounded intriguing. They add a delicious crunch to salads, and you can just slice them into bite-sized chunks. Enjoy!

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