WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Red Russian or curly kale
Walla Walla onion
Basil, Italian parsley, or cilantro
Green leaf lettuce
Romaine lettuce-large shares only
Shell peas-to everyone who did not get them last week
Beets-everyone should have had them once by now
Chard-half of you (chard will be on every other week rotation)
Hopefully you all weren’t kept up late into the wee hours by fireworks. Out here, it was non-stop explosions until 11:30, and then occasional kabooms and fizzles for the rest of the night. We were all so tired at the end of the day, though, that we slept right through it.
THE WEATHER: I am thoroughly enjoying this solid streak of sun and heat. The crops (and weeds) are really responding. On some levels, I feel like the spring put us behind, but it turns out many crops are right on time. The corn was knee high as of yesterday, peas are just about to be abundant, and I have even nibbled a few sungold tomatoes (sorry, I got all the ripe ones!) Potatoes and summer squash are coming soon. It can be a little warm to work in, but everyone manages to hide behind big hats and long dress shirts. We start the workday at 6:00 and try to be done by 2:30. It’s nice because the crew can actually get out and enjoy the rest of the day doing summery things.
WHAT OUR WORKDAY LOOKS LIKE: This time of year, we undertake wide variety of tasks. Any given day may include seeding, transplanting, irrigating, weeding, trellising, pruning, harvest, and most importantly, getting all this good food out into the community. We are also about to start the big garlic harvest. Unlike peas that you pick twice a week for a month or more, garlic is one of those crops that matures all at once and then is harvested and stored in the barn for future use. Left in the ground, the heads would split and they wouldn’t keep as long. Instead, we tie the garlic still on the stalk into bundles and hang it from the barn rafters. I’ll try to include a picture next week. It looks really cool to see it all hanging there. The upshot to the cold spring we had is that we were not plagued with the dreaded white mold that periodically wipes out as much as half of our garlic. There are no organic controls for said mold, so we do our best with crop rotation, good fertility, and crossed fingers to try and get as good a yield as we can.
We finally had enough surplus this week to send along a barter box to each pick up site. You can use it to trade out things from your share that you don’t like, for something that you do. Please don’t take from the box unless you put something in it. The barter box will be more diverse as the season wears on.
ABOUT THE VEG:
Garlic: The variety is called Music and it is VERY STRONG! A little goes a long way with this stuff. The cloves are huge, and since it is fresh, are easy to peel. Use less than you think you need, unless you fear vampires or appreciate a little extra personal space when out in public. Want a bus seat all to yourself? Eat this garlic.
Shell Peas: I think I failed to mention last week that shell peas are the ones you open and just eat the peas inside. You probably found that out quickly if you chomped down on the shell. We hope to have snow and snap peas soon. Shell peas are delicious raw or lightly steamed.
I feel like I could devote a whole newsletter to herbs, and we only grow five types! Throughout the season you will receive dill, cilantro, basil, Italian parsley, and rosemary. We will rotate these around the pickup sites each week and I’ll try to throw a few different ones in the barter box. As the herbs become more abundant we will give you two types each week.
Many people are intimidated by fresh herbs, but don’t be. They really liven up a dish. Sometimes I add them during the cooking process and other times sprinkle minced fresh herbs directly on my plate at the table.
Here are some suggestions on how to use each one:
Basil: anything Italian, Thai, or Indian. Add it while you are cooking and reserve some fresh to sprinkle on when serving. I love it fresh on a pizza right when it comes out of the oven or on a curry.
Italian parsley: Anything Italian or Mediterranean. Use it in tabouli, cold pasta salads, or potatoes. One of my favorite things to do with new potatoes is to steam them and then toss with melted garlic parsley butter. Parsley is also an amazing breath freshener and digestive aid. Bring some to work with your lunch and kiss that coffee-breath goodbye! Overdo it on that garlic I warned you about? This should help.
Cilantro: Anything Mexican, Thai, or Indian. Cilantro pesto is amazing and is great on potatoes or used as a sandwich spread.
Rosemary: Anything Italian. Essential in a good pot roast. Probably a potato’s best friend. I mean who can resist crispy oven roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic?
Dill: Anything Russian. (Borscht, anyone?) Also, great with fish, potatoes, in a salad or salad dressing
Just to drive it home, consider how changing up the herbs can completely transform any given vegetable. Take potatoes for example:
Rosemary-oven roasted potatoes with olive oil, salt, crushed garlic, and rosemary
Italian Parsley-melted garlic butter thing mentioned above over steamed potatoes.
Basil-make pesto and serve with steamed or fried potatoes
Cilantro-make pesto and serve with steam or fried potatoes, or use potatoes as an addition to burritos.
All the herbs should be kept in the fridge until you use them except for rosemary. Hang up what you don’t use and it’ll dry. Basil is super perishable and should be used within two days. Dill and cilantro are best kept with the stems in a jar with a little water and a plastic bag tented over the jar. Parsley is quite hardy and doesn’t need special attention. Throw it in a bag or Tupperware in the fridge and call it good.
French potato salad
Cilantro pesto-there are a million variations out there. I like to use walnuts or almonds as the nut. I’ll puree about a half cup of nuts, then add a clove of garlic, then 1 bunch cilantro (some stem is okay), salt to taste, a TBLS or 2 of olive oil (more if you want it creamier.) Adjust ingredients to suit your taste. You can add Parmesan as well.
I always post the most recent newsletter on our website and Facebook, so if you want to share it with others, you can direct them to either of those places.
Jen, Jim, and the Crew