In your share this week:
Baby Bok Choy
Full shares only:
Pea Shoots or Broccoli
It’s been a longer wait than usual but the CSA is finally here! This has been a difficult spring on the farm. The wet cold spring led to lots of problems and poor early production. We prioritized our summer crops by giving them the most productive ground, which will hopefully pay off in July and August but is hurting us now. However, growth is starting to pick up and we’ve got most of the farm planted and moving along. The first few weeks of CSA are always pretty light, but we’ll have lots of new crops coming as the season progresses.
I made sure to save an entire bed of our early greenhouse carrots for you, and you get the first of them today. Most of you have probably had our carrots, they are extremely sweet and flavorful. These early ones aren’t the best of the season, but they sure are fresh and tasty. They store best in a plastic bag in the fridge with the tops OFF (contrary to popular belief). You can eat the carrot tops if you wish; they have a grassy, carroty flavor and can be added to salad, made into pesto, or put in smoothies or soups. Most people (including me) compost them or feed them to a neighborhood chicken or guinea pig, but some folks love them!
The radishes are spicy and crisp. If you don’t like the heat, try stir frying or roasting them to mellow them out. Radish greens are also very nutritious and tasty. I prefer them cooked, since their raw texture doesn’t appeal to me. But I love adding them to a stir fry, noodle salad, or soup.
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 on sandwiches or wraps.
Everyone has a nice head of baby bok choy, which I would probably grill or stir fry 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. Most of the bok choy has started flowering, but don’t let that scare you. You can eat the flowering stalks and even the flowers. Sometimes the core of the stalk at the base of the plant is a bit tough, just try it and see. You can cut the leaves off if it doesn’t appeal.
You’re getting the first kale of the year, which is a constant friend throughout the season. We grow three types: red Russian (wide, frilly leaves with purple stems), Tuscan (dark blue green with bumpy texture), and curly (lighter green, heavily frilled leaves). All are good raw or cooked, made into juice or blended into smoothies, eaten as salad or dried into chips.
Full shares have either pea shoots or some of our volunteer greenhouse broccoli (a special treat!). Pea shoots have a mild, green pea flavor and are delicious raw or cooked. Sometimes the base of the stalk is fibrous, you can pick off the smaller tendrils and leaves if you don’t like it. Instead, you may have the first of our “Piracicaba” broccoli. This will look different than broccoli you are used to seeing in the stores because it is a non-heading type. This means that it makes a looser head and lots of side shoots, all of which in my opinion are much tastier than the standard hybrids. The stems especially make good eating, so use the whole thing! All full shares are lucky to get the first basil, which is finally taking off and should provide all of us with lots of pesto all summer. Store basil in a plastic bag on the counter (at room temperature). Use the leaves in pesto, salads, pastas, curries, or cocktails.
Raw Kale Salad
This recipe comes from former CSA member Michelle Dragoo, who got it from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark. I love kale raw, and Mike actually prefers it raw to cooked. If you can’t get pecorino, freshly grated Parmesan would be a reasonable substitute.
Trim and discard the bottom few inches off the stems of 1 bunch kale. Slice into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place in a large bowl.
Toast 2 thin slices crusty bread until golden brown on both sides and dry throughout. Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Or, use 2 handfuls premade bread crumbs.
Using a mortar and pestle or a knife, pound or mince into a paste:
½ clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add:
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with the bread crumbs, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.
Carrot and Radish Salad
I made this very simple salad as a finger food appetizer. It is particularly good with early spring radishes and carrots. It could easily be made with more or different vegetables, including salad turnips, kohlrabi, peppers, zucchini, beets, and more. I do not peel my carrots, as I never notice the skin to be unappetizing.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together:
1 bunch carrots, sliced into 2 x ¼ inch matchsticks
1 bunch radishes, quartered
Juice of ½ lime
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.
(To make a heartier meal, add farro or quinoa, olive oil, and extra salt. I also add walnuts and fresh sheeps cheese from Black Sheep Creamery, available at the Neskowin Farmers Market).