CSA Week 1

Hi folks and welcome to your first share notes!  Since we have a few new share types this year, I may switch up the format of the notes a bit.  For folks with the flex share, we’ll be listing the contents of the classic share below.  Your choices will vary, but this will give you a good idea of what’s new, what’s abundant, and what’s fading out as the season goes on.

In your CSA week 1:

Kohlrabi
Green Onion
Baby bok choy
Salad Mix
Kale
Cilantro

Full shares only:

Radish
Italian Parsley

Some shares only:

Sugar snap peas
Cucumber

So many delicious greens!  It has felt like summer and the farm is moving fast, but it’s still early for our coastal crops.  We’ve got lots of delicious fresh green vegetables, which really are my favorite kind.

This spring has been amazing.  The warm, dry weather has warmed up the soils faster than ever, allowing our crops to take off.  Our new field is now in its 3rd year of production and is really coming into its own.  It takes years to transition soil from perennial meadow to annual vegetables, and it’s finally starting to be consistently productive.  We’ve invested in additional greenhouse space and more heated surfaces for seed starting, and that’s paying off in earlier harvests.  But the lack of rain is worrying, for our fields and for the forests and wildlife surrounding us.  The river is extremely low for this time of year, and fire risk is a real worry.

But more about the vegetables! The salad is all in the new field, and it’s been productive and beautiful this spring.  We should have lots for you in these first few weeks (and throughout the summer). If you haven’t had our salad mix before, it’s a blend of baby lettuce, nutty greens like bok choy, and some spicy mustards.  Unlike salad mix you buy in the store, it keeps well for a week or more.  Just keep it in its plastic bag in the fridge and eat it by itself, with your favorite dressing, or in sandwiches or wraps.  In fact, keep store everything in today’s share (and more vegetables we give you) in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Baby bok choy has been especially abundant, and you have either a lovely head or a bag of loose leaves.  I would probably grill or stir fry it with soy sauce and ginger:  make sure to eat the succulent stems.  You could also eat it raw, try slicing it up and mixing it into a cold noodle dish.

Today’s kale is the first of many bunches to come: kale is a constant friend throughout the season.  We grow two types: red Russian has wide, frilly leaves with purple stems, and the Tuscan is dark blue green with bumpy texture.  I find the red Russian is more sweet and tender and better suited for salads and quicker cooking.  The Tuscan has a bit more body and holds up better in a soup or casserole, and its bumpy texture is great for catching sauce.  But both are versatile and can be used in all kinds of ways!

A new vegetable for many is kohlrabi: the funny looking bulb with big green leaves.  I love kohlrabi, and I usually slice it raw and eat it sprinkled with salt, dipped in hummus, or wrapped in a sushi roll.  It needs to be peeled and the tough bottom part cut off, the fleshy part of the bulb is the part you want.  Kohlrabi has a sweet flavor like a broccoli stem, and it’s crunchy and juicy.  If you don’t want to snack on it, you can include it in a stir fry, grill or roast it with olive oil and salt, or pickle it.

You can also use kohlrabi greens, they will be closer in texture to cabbage and benefit from slower cooking methods like braising.  You can also eat your radish greens, they could be stewed in with kohlrabi greens, or I more often throw them in a stir fry or cook them with rice.  I don’t like them raw so much because of their prickly texture.

  This week’s cilantro I think is the nicest we’ve ever grown.  I use the stems as well as the leaves.  Add cilantro to raw dishes or at the end of cooking to preserve its aromatic flavor.  Full shares also have Italian parsley, which looks a lot like cilantro.  If you’re not sure which is which, smell or taste them!  I prefer Italian parsley to the curly type: I think it is more tender and flavorful. It’s excellent in pasta dishes, salads, pesto, or tabouleh.  You can use the leaves and the stems.  Parsley is also particularly nutritious (as are turnip greens and bok choy), so eat it up.

Lots of crops are just on the verge but we don’t have quite enough for everyone.  We picked our peas for the first time today and included them in some shares, but there’s lots more coming!  They are now about 8 feet tall and completely covered in flowers and fruits.  These are sugar snaps, the kind you eat whole (no shelling).  They are extra sweet and one of our favorite crops.  Other crops coming soon are zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, and basil.  Carrots, unfortunately, will be a little late this year, don’t expect to see them in your share until later in July.  We were a little late getting them in because of April rains, and we our new variety is a bit slower than our old one (which was discontinued).  But we have lots planted and they’ll be worth the wait!


Savory Herb Salad Dressing

I always have some variation of this in my fridge.  This one is inspired by the flavors of chimichurri.  I make my salad dressing in a quart mason jar with an immersion blender, but you could also do it with a whisk or in a food processor.  If mixing by hand, chop the herbs finely!  I like this dressing on a salad with sharp cheese, pecans, and fresh or thawed blueberries.

Put in a wide mouth quart sized mason jar:

1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 green chili, seeded, or 1/2 tsp powdered green chili (optional)

Blend with the immersion blender until smooth and emulsified.  Stores for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Variations:
Pesto dressing: Replace the parsley and cilantro with 1/2 bunch of basil and replace the green chili with 2 Tbsp grated parmesan
Sage Caesar: Omit the chili, replace the parsley and cilantro with sage.  Add 2 Tbsp grated parmesan and a few anchovies.
Cilantro dressing: Replace the parsley with cilantro and replace half the lemon juice with lime.


Kohlrabi Pickle Chips

I like kohlrabi raw so much that I have yet to actually make anything with it that I like more. These easy pickles would maintain the appealing texture of kohlrabi, but dress it up a little. This recipe can also be used with cucumbers.

Peel and thinly slice:

1 ½ to 2 lb kohlrabi

            3 small onions

Mix together:

¼ cup pickling salt

            1 quart ice water

Pour this over the vegetables and soak them for 3 hours.

Drain them, rinse them, and place them in a bowl. Bring to a boil:

2 c vinegar

            2/3 c sugar

            1 Tbsp mustard seeds

            1 tsp celery seeds

            ¼ tsp turmeric

Cook for 3 minutes and pour it over the vegetables. Cool, cover, and refrigerate for 3 days.


Miso Soup with Kohlrabi, Greens, and Scallions

This is light and nutritious. I like barley (red) miso, but this would also be good with chickpea (white) miso. You can also add some fresh or dried seaweed to make the soup even healthier. Serves 2 to 4.

 

Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Add:

            ½ bunch scallions, chopped

Sautee 3 or 4 minutes, until the scallions begin to wilt, and add:

            1 kohlrabi bulb, diced (cut off the bottom bit first)

Sautee about 5 or 6 minutes, then add:

            4 cups water or vegetable stock

            2 cups greens, chopped (turnip greens, komatsuna, kale, radish greens, bok choy…)

 

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer a few minutes until the kohlrabi is tender. Remove from the heat.

 

Put about ¼ cup of the hot water into a mug and stir in 3 Tbsp red miso (or 4 if using white miso), until all the chunks have mixed into the water. Add this paste back into the soup, stir, and taste. Add a little more miso or water if necessary. Mix in ½ cup scallions, chopped, and serve.

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