6-22-12 In your share this week:
Sage and oregano
The first CSA box is here! We’ve all waited a long time for this, and I hope you enjoy it. Your share this week is full of fresh, juicy spring vegetables including part of the first carrot harvest, from a greenhouse bed planted in the beginning of February. These carrots are excellent fresh eating. I never bother to peel them, as they are fine without. You are also getting the first of the broccoli. We harvest both central heads and side shoots, so you may get some that are smaller than you are used to. I love the broccoli stems, particularly on the side shoots. They’re extremely sweet and tender.
There are lots of greens this time of year, of course, and you’ve gotten a bag of our salad mix, a bunch of kale, and also a head of bok choy. Our kale is always tender a sweet, and very different animal from the curly (bor) kale you typically find in the store. It is great raw in salad, steamed, sautéed, cooked into chips, or added to just about anything you make. The stems are good to eat, but take a little longer to cook than the greens, so add them first to a dish. Our kale cooks much more quickly than bor kale, usually getting tender in 7 to 10 minutes.
Bok choy is another wonderful green, and extremely nutritious. Despite having almost negligent calories, it’s packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, and has more vitamin A than cabbage or cauliflower. I tend to prefer it cooked, but it can certainly be eaten raw. Mike and I grilled some over the weekend, and it came out great. The stems on bok choy are particularly succulent, but even more than kale take longer to cook than the green part of the leaf.
A new item today is a pot of pea shoots. These are for you to eat like sprouts: just break or cut off a shoot and pop it in your mouth for a lovely sweet pea flavor. They are great as a snack or in a salad, and can also be cooked. If you don’t use them right away, put them in a moderately sunny spot in your kitchen and water them every couple of days. They should regrow nicely at least once after you cut them.
The first few boxes of spring are always a bit light, but by mid-July we will be building up to full summer boxes. This reflects how things are on the farm: many crops are planted, but not much is ready to harvest yet. Most of what is ready are leaves, the first part of the plant to grow. As the season goes on, you’ll see more fruits, buds, and tubers that arrive after the plants have enough leaves to photosynthesize and feed the development of other parts of the plant. And what may be lacking in quantity early on is made up by that incomparable fresh spring flavor. The plants are full of rain and sun, and they are sweet, fresh, and juicy in a way only found in spring.