Author Archives: Matt Gordon

Week 9

I thought I’d go through the varieties of veggies in a little more detail this week, as you’ll be seeing a lot of these week after week, or every 2-3 weeks in some cases.

  • Beets – (variety is actually a diverse gene pool called “3 Root Grex” and has lots of orange roots and strong tops).  You’ll see beets probably every 2-4 weeks, usually alternating with carrots in between.
  • Kale – “Nash’s Green” – We try to put a braising green like kale, collards, or chard most weeks.
  • Lettuce – “Nevada” (wow this lettuce is so amazingly sweet and juicy even in the hot summer!) – As you know we try to have a head of lettuce for everyone each week.
  • Basil – 
  • Green beans – “Provider” (we may or may not have one more week of these, but either way, we’ll have the flat podded italian Romano green beans starting very soon, and they are delicious!)
  • New Potatoes – “Yukon Gold” – This is it for new potatoes! The rest of the potatoes will arrive in the fall starting early October.
  • Summer Squash – “light green zucchini=”Genovese”, dark green zucchini=”Mutabile”, and the patty pan is “Patisson Golden Marbre Scallop” – that’s a mouthful, and from local seed company adaptiveseeds.com.  Summer squash need to be constantly harvested so they’ll be in the share every week probably until late August or so.
  • Cucumbers – long smooth skinned = “Tasty Jade”, regular slicer = “Marketmore 76”, round light yellow = “Lemon”.  Like summer squash, cucumbers will also be in the share each week during the summer period.
  • Sweet Onions – “Walla Walla” – we’ll continue to give these out weekly until we are out, as they don’t store all that well.  Once they are gone you’ll start seeing garlic and other onions.

A note on summer kale and collards: They don’t really like the heat!  That is why they become more tough and leathery.  They require a longer cooking time to become tender then the succulent spring harvest of these crops.  I braised this week’s kale with some chicken broth, water, and salt for about 60 minutes before the stems were tender, and finished with a little apple cider vinegar.  I still find it tastes good if you prepare it well.  Curious what you all think…

This photo is from a few weeks ago when we harvested the Walla Walla onions out of the field to cure in the shade.  Note the use of Josh’s fancy farm hand cart.  More on this project of his can be found here: farmhandcarts.com

IMG_1294

This week we’ll be readying beds and planting fall successions of crops like kale, collards, and cabbage, as well as fall-only crops like radicchio and other chicories.  And we continue to plant lettuce though I believe this week is the last week we are seeding lettuce in the greenhouse start trays which will become the lettuce you will eat in October! We’re only a third of the way through the CSA harvest season, but in terms of the growing season I’d say we’re at least halfway through.  That’s because once fall hits, a lot of crops can “hold” well in the field without growing much or going bad in the cooler, shorter days of fall.  Also in the fall some of the produce you’ll see will be coming from storage and not directly from the field, having already been harvested earlier and cured to last in storage.  These are things like garlic, winter squash, and onions.

Enjoy these dog days of summer!  I know I am.  Here’s to bounty and good eating!

– Farmer Matt & the CNF crew.

Week 8

Lots of new crops coming in this week!  Carrots (finally!), green beans, new potatoes!

  • Carrots (“napoli” is our one and only carrot variety this year because we just love it!)
  • New Potatoes (“Yukon Gold” is this week’s variety – good for boiling, baking, roasting, mashing…)
  • Green Beans (“Provider”)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Summer Squash / Zucchini
  • Swiss Chard (Josh selected and saved seed of this rainbow variety “5 color silverbeet” that we’re using.  We’re also saving a new batch of seed with a new selection this year from last year’s overwintered plants.)
  • Italian turnip – these are more of a cooking turnip than a salad turnip and they are an experiment so let me know what you think.
  • Cucumbers – (“Tasty Jade” is the long one and “Marketmore” is the more standard length one)
  • Walla Walla sweet onions.  Their skins are more cured now so they shouldn’t need to go in the fridge.
  • Parsley

In the field we are continuing to trellis up our tomato and cucumbers so they don’t get out of hand.  When we get through one round of trellising it basically feels like we need to go back to the beginning and start the next round!  Everything just grows so fast this time of year.  I was pleasantly surprised to find some decent sized carrots in the troublesome first carrot planting we harvested from today.  I know my family will be happy to finally be eating our own carrots again.

We pulled the rest of the Walla Walla onions out of the beds they were in as their tops were fallen over indicating they were done growing (and the beds were getting weedy).  We placed them in a long narrow row in the shady grass for half a week to let the skins dry and cure a bit, and then today cut their tops and roots off for storage.  We’ll be metering them out over the next few weeks interspersed with garlic which we’ll be harvesting soon.

The rest of our onions have a ways to go yet and are usually harvested in August and September.  Mostly they look pretty good but there is one area where the onions have just not been growing at all.  They basically have stayed the same size since we put them in the ground in April.  Josh suggested it could by a “symphylan” issue, which is an insect that lives in organically-rich soil and feeds on plant roots.  I pulled up a few of the stunted plants today and the roots definitely looked like they could have been eaten.  If it is symphylans it will be the first I’ve ever noticed them at the farm, and it is a significant issue for organic growers.  There is not a whole lot of proven methods to deal with them, as far as I know, except perhaps planting potatoes in the area for a few years in a row and using bigger transplants that can outgrow their appetite.  For now, I will do some monitoring to assess if there are actually symphylans by putting out some cut potatoes on the ground as symphs are attracted to potatoes.

And now, for some info on potatoes and a recipe, from Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe

History

Potatoes are native to the mountainous Andes regions of Bolivia and Peru in South America, where they have been domesticated for over 7,000 years. The earliest wild potatoes were small, wrinkled, and extremely bitter, which challenged the native peoples to find ways to make these tubers edible. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers introduced the potato to Europe and other countries that they colonized.

Despite their obvious value as a potentially nutritious, easily cultivated sustenance crop, potatoes were not welcomed with open arms in most of Europe. In part this was due to a predictable resistance to strange, new foods and also because of the potato’s kinship to the deadly nightshade. Indeed, contact with the plant’s toxic leaves can produce skin rashes, and before advanced medical science proved otherwise, it was believed that potatoes could spread leprosy. The fact that one of Queen Elizabeth I’s chefs, inexperienced in the way of the potato, mistakenly cooked and served the poisonous leaves instead of the tubers for a royal banquet certainly did not help.

Even after confusion over which part of the plant to eat was cleared up, much of Europe regarded the tuber with disdain, calling it suitable only for lowly riffraff. However, many governments, wanting to take advantage of this economical food source, practically ordered their citizenry to eat these unfamiliar roots or devised ingenious psychological means to overcome public resistance to them.

By the 1800s, potatoes were being widely consumed across Europe. The degree to which humans can be dependent on a single food source was dramatically and tragically demonstrated during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845–49. A blight triggered by severe plant inbreeding caused a total crop failure, which (along with the forced exports of other foodstuffs from Ireland to England) led to the starvation of nearly a million people and a massive immigration of a million more Irish to American shores.

Ironically, despite the potato’s origins in the New World, it was the Scotch-Irish who brought potatoes to America. Today, Idaho is the top potato-growing state in the United States, which annually produces 45.6 billion pounds valued at over $2.6 billion.

Nutrition

Potatoes are unfairly maligned nutritionally, usually because of how they are prepared—deep-fried into french fries, made into potato chips, or mashed and adorned with plenty of high-fat toppings such as butter, cheese, bacon, and sour cream. Actually, potatoes by themselves are extremely healthful for you; they’re high in fiber, low in calories, and rich in vitamins C and B6, as well as copper, potassium (more than bananas), manganese, and tryptophan, all for just 132 calories per cup. In addition, researchers have recently identified compounds called kukoamines, which may help lower blood pressure. For maximum nutrients, leave the skins on your potatoes, where most of the tuber’s vitamins, minerals, and fiber reside.

Storage

New potatoes should be stored in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable crisper and used within 1 to 2 weeks.

Peppery Potato and Zucchini Packets on the Grill

Serves 4

  • 1½ pounds potatoes (about 6 medium), scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Heat the grill.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Divide the mixture among 4 pieces of aluminum foil, placing the mixture near one end. Fold in half to form a packet; then fold the edges to seal completely.
  3. Grill the packets 25 to 30 minutes, turning over once, until the potatoes are tender when pierced.

— Featherstone Farm, Rushford, Minnesota, as appears in Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe

Week 7

  • Fava beans
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Basil
  • Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Salad turnips
  • Radish
  • Two mini lettuce heads
  • Green onion

Fava beans are a bit of a labor of love in the kitchen, but they are worth it!  Please check the bottom of this post to find great preparation ideas from “Bounty From the Box – The CSA Farm Cookbook” on favas.  Also please check into the Cook With What You Have website for more great fava ideas including fava hummus, fava burgers, fava salads, and more!  We are just giving fava beans out this one time but hope we are giving out a large portion so you can do something fun with them.

In other news, zucchini and cucumber season has arrived!  Hooray!  You’ll probably be seeing these in your share every week until somewhere late August / early September.  Zucchini are great grilled, or raw they can be made into pencils for dipping (as can cukes of course), or try grating them (perhaps with other root veggies like turnips) and mixing with egg, flour, and oil and then frying to make “zucchini pancakes.”  If you have a spiralizer you can try zucchini pasta as well.

In the fields it definitely feels like we are moving from spring to summer.  There are a lot of spring crops that are finished (peas, broccoli, arugula, some of our salad greens…) which we are turning over either for fall crops or cover crops that enhance the soil.  We have a bunch of little starts in the greenhouse waiting to be transplanted out for fall: more kale, collards, cabbage, kohlrabi, swiss chard, lettuce, escarole, radicchio, … and more.  We will also soon be seeding some of our fall root crops directly into the ground that take a while to mature like beets, and carrots.  On that note, I’ll give a quick carrot update.  We almost decided to harvest carrots this week, but being that the first planting is pretty thin, we decided to wait to let them size up a bit more so you’ll get more carrot per carrot 🙂  Perhaps next week if they’ve grown significantly you’ll start seeing them.  New summer potatoes will also be coming to the shares soon.  So suffice it to say, lots of changes in your produce bags.  We try to keep the lettuce coming all year round, as well as some kind of cooking green and some kind of allium (garlic, onion, leek).

And now, for the big story on favas, courtesy of: “Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe”

FAVAS

History

Favas are one of the oldest foods for people; they originated in the Mediterranean, where local populations are known to have been eating them by 6000 BCE or earlier. The plants’ hardiness and delectable seeds made them especially popular throughout Mediterranean Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Favas were the original bean in the traditional Twelfth Night cake, the festivities during which some branches of Christianity mark the coming of the Epiphany. A single dried bean was baked into the cake, and whoever found the bean in his cake would rule the feast (or at least host the next Twelfth Night party).

Nutrition

Fava beans are incredibly nutritious; a 1-cup serving of shelled favas contains 187 calories, plus significant amounts of protein, folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6, thiamine, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese. Favas are one of the richest plant sources of potassium and dietary fiber, as well as certain phytonutrients. Interestingly, favas also contain levodopa, a precursor of brain neurochemicals that regulate body movement; as a result, some medical studies are being carried out to see if favas can be beneficial for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Storage

Because the bulky pods take up lots of room, you can shell the beans first. Either way, tightly wrap unwashed favas in a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator. Use within a few days; they are not the best keepers.

Trimming and Cleaning

Probably the main reason why fava beans have never really caught on in the American culinary scene is that they are extremely labor-intensive. The beans first need to be shelled; unzip the little string from the flower end of the pod downward and remove them. Then either boil them briefly (see the instructions below) or place them in a large mixing bowl and cover with boiling water. After the water has cooled enough to handle the beans, drain it off.

Now the work begins: Each bean has a thick skin that needs to be individually peeled. Very young favas can possibly be left unpeeled, but any bean more mature than that really must have these slightly bitter skins removed, otherwise chewing them is a fibrous, unpleasant task. To peel them, slit the wrinkled skin with the tip of a knife or pinch it with your fingernail, and gently slip it off the bean. As in the old days of shelling garden peas, this is a good job to do with friends, over drinks and convivial conversation; then enjoy the lovely gustatory rewards afterward.

Steaming and Boiling

For peeling, boil shelled favas in salted, boiling water for 30 seconds (any longer than that will render them a mushy mess when you try to peel them). Drain and remove the skins of each individual bean (see the Trimming and Cleaning instructions above). To continue cooking, steam the beans over rapidly boiling water for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on their size, or until tender. Or boil the shelled favas in several quarts of salted water until they turn just bright green and tender, 2 to 6 minutes.

Stir-Frying and Sautéing

Young favas are incredibly delicious stir-fried or quickly sautéed with light seasonings or other delicate vegetables. Sauté shelled and peeled beans for 7 to 10 minutes on medium-high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Be sure to add some liquid, such as melted butter, olive oil, or even water to the pan, or they will stick.

Serving Suggestions

• Favas are at their best when adorned very simply—olive oil, butter, garlic, lemon juice, or chile flakes.

• A sprinkling of cooked fava beans brightens veal, seafood, roasted poultry, and sautéed meats. Or drizzle a spoonful or two of the meat’s pan juices over the beans—yummy.

• Pair fresh favas with savory morel mushrooms; happily, they both appear at the same time in the spring.

• Toss favas into pasta dishes—their bright green color, nutty flavor, and creamy texture are a nice contrast with the noodles.

• Substitute rich, hearty favas for lima beans in succotash.

• Favas sprinkled with shavings of dense, rich cheeses like Parmesan, Asiago, and pecorino are a marriage made in heaven.

• Stir favas into frittatas, omelets, and other egg dishes for quick meals.

• Puree fava beans with cheese, pistachio nuts, garlic, and olive oil (in essence, a type of pesto); serve over thick slices of crusty artisan bread.

• Young favas are delicious stir-fried or quickly sautéed with light seasonings or other delicate spring vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, and mushrooms.

• The fresh, green flavor of fava beans makes a hummus that is different from the usual chickpea-based ones. Mix with sour cream or a little Greek yogurt, fresh lemon juice, and lots of fresh herbs.

Week 6

Week 6 is here!  Whew, that was a hot weekend! The farm survived the heat with little damage – maybe lost a few baby lettuce transplants due to an irrigation snafu, but most of them survived.  The plants are much happier with today’s mid-70’s temps though (not to mention the farmers!) Above about 90 degrees most plants just hunker down and just try not to lose too much moisture, kind of like most people I know.

In your share this week:

  • Yellow cabbage collards – These are an heirloom from North Carolina, a bit more tender and sweet than the normal varieties of collards we typically have.  If you want to read more here are a few links: here and here.  Collards are another braising green like kale or chard.
  • Broccoli!  Though our farm isn’t big enough to grow much broccoli (takes up a lot of space for what you get from it), we like to give it out once per season because so many folks like it so much.
  • Garlic Scapes – these are the flower stalks of hardneck garlic before the flower opens.  We pick them off to send more of the plant’s energy to making a large garlic bulb.  And, they are delicious!  Similar in flavor to the green garlic we had earlier – not as spicy/intense as cured garlic cloves.  Consider garlic scape pesto, maybe with the parsley, or hold on to them in the fridge until next week, when we will have fava beans, and make garlic scape/fava bean pesto!
  • Samantha red lettuce
  • Radishes
  • ‘hakurei’ salad turnips
  • Snap peas – Seems like our best year for peas ever so far!  We hope you’ve been enjoying them.
  • Parsley
  • Arugula
  • Green onions / Scallions

In the field we are desperately trying to catch up on trellising up our tomato plants.  We prune each plant to two main stalks and train each up a strand of twine by wrapping the twine around the stalk.  This involves taking off a lot of side branches that are not the two main ones we’ve chosen, as well as lower leaves to help with air flow and cultivation.  Tomatoes that are trellised and pruned typically have higher quality fruit and are easier to harvest.

From Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe

Broccoli with Baby White Turnip and Garlic Scapes Dressing

Serves 4

1 bunch baby white turnips
1 bunch garlic scapes, finely chopped
½ cup olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch sautéed broccoli, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Wash the turnips and cut off the leaves (chop them coarsely and reserve them for using later on in the recipe).

3. Place the scapes and turnips on a cookie sheet. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the turnips and scapes, and roast for 45 minutes. (If the scapes are browning faster than the turnips, remove them when they’re golden brown and continue roasting the turnips until soft.)

4. Once the turnips and scapes are roasted and cooled, place them in a blender with the remaining olive oil and turnip leaves. Blend to a smooth consistency, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve over the sautéed broccoli.

Week 5

Already it feels like the season is just flying by!  This week the peas are really in full production mode, we have the first full-size romaine lettuce, first taste of beets, radishes make a return, and more.  In the share:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Snow Peas
  • Walla Walla sweet onions
  • Beet green thinnings, with roots
  • Kale (Monday folks are getting “Nash’s Green Kale” while Thursday will have a different variety)
  • Hakurei salad turnips
  • Radishes – Most Monday folks got “pink beauty” while Thursday folks will get “D’avignon” (pictured)
  • Romaine lettuce

The snow peas could be good with the onions in a stir fry or saute, maybe with rice.  The braising greens this week are turnip greens, radish greens, beet greens, and kale.  The kale will take the longest of all to cook.  The other three are probably pretty tender and you could potentially mix them and cook them together.  These more tender greens would probably be cooked in 1-4 minutes of saute’ing or braising depending on how done you like your greens.

The beet bunch is mostly for the delicious greens at this point, which are very similar to chard but a bit more tender.  We direct seed our beets and need to thin them out in order for them to have enough room to grow larger roots.  We are sending the beet thinnings to the CSA members this week.  Since beets are going to be fairly common throughout the share and this is the first week of them in the share, I thought I’d include some info on beets from the “Bounty From the Box” cookbook at the bottom of this post.

Many of you have been asking, “When are the carrots going to be ready?”  Good question!  I’m just as eager as you all for farm-fresh carrots.  At this point I’m guessing about 3-4 weeks until the first carrots, but it’s a really rough guess.  Our first seedings had a rough time germinating in this spring’s spotty weather, so we had to re-seed them.  They are definitely later than hoped but now seem to be moving along.

We started tying up our cucumbers onto trellises in the field.  For this we’re using old fencing rolls and panels tied to T-posts.  The cuke vines get clipped onto the fencing with re-usable plastic clips and then weaved in and out as they grow up.

We hope you enjoy this week’s bounty!  -Matt & the CNF crew.

From Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe

Beets:

Beets are a bargain vegetable, because they are actually two in one: the delicious roots that everyone knows, and also the beet tops or greens, which are extremely nutritious and a wonderful spring treat. Unfortunately, too many adults dislike beets, having eaten (or been forced to eat) poorly prepared specimens as children.

Beets are biennials, meaning that they take two years to grow to maturity. In their first year they develop their familiar swollen roots, and during the second year they flower and seed.

Selection

Avoid beets that are overly large; they may be old and woody. The smaller beets are, the sweeter they tend to be. The roots should be firm, with no soft or flabby areas, and their tops (if attached) fresh and unwilted.

Storage

If you are lucky enough to acquire beets with their greens still attached, cut all but 2 inches of the greens and stems from the roots, so they do not pull moisture away from the roots. Store the unwashed greens in a separate perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable crisper, where they will keep for about 4 days.

The beetroots should be placed in the coldest place possible. Beets that are unwashed in the refrigerator vegetable crisper will keep for about 3 weeks. Beets also keep quite well in a basement, root cellar, or other place with the proper cool temperature and lack of humidity.

Trimming and Cleaning

Like spinach, beet greens must be very thoroughly washed and rinsed several times, as they usually harbor lots of sand and debris.

To clean the roots, scrub their necks gently with a soft vegetable brush to work off any clinging dirt, but be careful not to break the skin, which will cause them to “bleed.” Rinse under cold running water.

To prepare the greens, fill a big sink or bowl full of water, cut the leaves from the roots, and completely submerge them, swishing vigorously. Then rinse them under cold running water, and repeat if necessary. To dry, use a salad spinner or gently pat the leaves dry between a couple of clean dish towels.

Steaming and Boiling

Boiling cooks beets quickly, but it tends to leach out nutrients and some color (although red beets usually have plenty of pigment to spare).

To prevent bleeding in red beets when boiling, leave them whole with their root ends and 1 inch of stem attached. Boil for 25 to 30 minutes for small beets; 45 to 50 minutes for medium beets, or until they are tender. Test by piercing them with a knife. Once the beets are cool enough to touch, peel them by rubbing the skins, which should slide off like a glove.

Chioggia beets (the ones with concentric red and white circles) do not bleed. When cooked, their rings will turn orange or rose, or they may fade altogether.

Stir-Frying and Sautéing

Beet greens adapt well to stir-fries, but add them only during the last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking to preserve their vibrant color and fresh flavor.

Because the roots can be dense and fibrous, they should be parboiled before getting tossed into the wok. You can also julienne them (but cook them separately and add at the very end so they don’t bleed all over the rest of the ingredients). If the beets are thinly sliced, stir-fry them for only 2 to 4 minutes.

Beets headed for a sauté should also be thinly sliced (into ⅛- to ¼-inch rounds) and cooked on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

  • Because of their dense texture and sweet flavor, beets go best with rich meats like pork, beef brisket, duck, and ham, as well as oilier fish like salmon and swordfish.
  • Baking and oven-roasting are wonderful ways to accentuate the natural sweetness of beets, because these cooking methods caramelize their sugars.
  • Shred beets and carrots for an airy, colorful salad. Toss with raisins and some lemon juice, vinegar, or nut oil.
  • Beets can be juiced for beverages, but be sure to use this juice sparingly (or you will have a sugar high unlike any other).
  • Beet soup, or borscht, is a perennial Eastern European favorite. Top it with sour cream and serve with pork tenderloin, a green salad, and a dark bread like rye or pumpernickel.
  • Don’t forget beet greens—they are incredibly healthful and tasty when sautéed with garlic and a nice olive oil. Try them in stir-fries and soups, or eat them raw in salads. Older beet greens are more flavorful and slightly bitter, which make them a perfect foil for goat cheese, rich soups, stews, meats, and hearty sausages.
  • Beets have a special affinity for citrus. Sprinkle cooked beets with the grated zest or juice of lemons or oranges.
  • Bake whole beets along with new potatoes in the oven until tender. They are delicious with salt and pepper and served with steak or corned beef.

Complementary Herbs, Seasonings, and Foods

Allspice, apples, bacon, beef, brown sugar, butter, cheese, chestnuts, cilantro, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, cream, cucumber, curry, dill, eggs, fennel, hazelnuts, honey, horseradish, lamb, lemon, lemon basil, mustard, nutmeg, onions, oranges, parsley, pine nuts, pork, potatoes, pumpkin seeds, sherry vinegar, smoked fish, sour cream, tarragon, vinaigrette, walnuts, walnut oil, wine vinegars.

Week 4

In your share this week:

  • Rainbow Swiss Chard (looks so nice right now!)
  • ‘Samantha’ red lettuce
  • ‘Walla Walla’ sweet onions – great grilled, even the tops and bolting tops!
  • Kohlrabi – Here’s the oddball of the week that some of you may not be familiar with.  See the extensive notes at the bottom of this post on kohlrabi!  Basically: peel it, eat it.
  • Salad turnips
  • Peas (snow or snap)
  • Spinach – if you want to you can wash well and cut up the whole thing including the roots for cooking.

I want to let you all know about another great CSA cooking resource.  It’s a very extensive cookbook called “Bounty From the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook,” by Mi Ae Lipe.  You can order it here http://bountyfromthebox.com

I will occasionally include excerpts from this book in the blog posts, as in this great bit below about kohlrabi.

From Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe:

KOHLRABI:

A curious member of the cabbage family, kohlrabi is sometimes called cabbage turnip because its name consists of the German words kohl (cabbage) and rabi (turnip). Some botanists believe that kohlrabi is a hybrid of the two, whereas others maintain that it is actually a variant of mustard; its exact origins are rather mysterious.

The vegetable’s most distinguishing feature is its large, light green (or sometimes purple), globe-shaped swollen stem that grows above ground and is not a root, topped with turnip-like leaves. The plant is grown for this stem, which is crunchy, juicy, sweet, and quite delicately flavored, with a distinct cabbage taste, similar to broccoli stems or turnips.

Most people eat kohlrabi raw, peeling and slicing the vegetable into rounds and sprinkling it with a little salt. But kohlrabi is just as good cooked, braised, steamed, or shredded.

Storage

If their tops are intact, kohlrabi will keep refrigerated in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable crisper for up to 5 days. Detopped bulbs will last longer, keeping for up to 2 to 3 weeks (since the greens deteriorate faster than the roots).

Serving Suggestions

  • Boil and mash kohlrabis like potatoes, and serve with butter, salt and pepper, and other seasonings.
  • Combine cubes of kohlrabi with Granny Smith or Yellow Delicious apples and your favorite creamy, sweet or mustard dressing for an unusual, refreshing summer salad.
  • Make a cheesy casserole or gratin with kohlrabi instead of potatoes.
  • Try substituting kohlrabi for cabbage in a kohl-slaw.
  • Add sliced rounds of kohlrabi to the vegetable relish tray, and serve with your favorite dip.
  • Tiny whole kohlrabis or thinly sliced rounds are delicious pickled.
  • Prepare kohlrabis cream-style, and pair them with fried chicken and potato salad.
  • Roast kohlrabis with other vegetables like carrots, potatoes, turnips, and rutabagas.
  • Substitute kohlrabi for cauliflower in an Indian curry.
  • Hollow out kohlrabis and prepare like stuffed peppers, filling them with a mixture of ground meat and tomato, or whatever you desire, and baking them in the oven.
  • Shred kohlrabis and stir-fry or sauté in fresh herbs and butter.

Complementary Herbs, Seasonings, and Foods

Bacon, béchamel sauce, butter, caraway, chervil, chives, cinnamon, cream, cumin, curry, dill, garlic, ghee, ginger, hollandaise sauce, lemon, lemon thyme, marjoram, mustard, mustard oil, nutmeg, onion, parsley, pork, sausage, thyme, turmeric, vinaigrette dressing.

Week 3

Lots of greenery of various shades this week:

  • kale – “rainbow lacinato”
  • salad turnips – “hakurei” (remember you can eat the roots raw if you like, and the greens are lovely cooked, similar to mustard greens)
  • parsley
  • lettuce – one head of “Nevada” (green) and one mini head (various varieties)
  • arugula – we bunched it with the roots this time as an experiment wondering if it might keep better.
  • broccoli raab – just a small bunch this week
  • fennel
  • green onion

Fennel is probably the item this week that is confusing to many folks.  A few ideas: 1) fennel, arugula & citrus salad, 2) slice it thin and add it to a green salad, 3) pickle it, 4) grill it.  Also remember that as a CSA member you have access to the awesome Cook With What You Have recipe resource if you are ever stumped by a vegetable.

In the field we are getting our tomatoes strung up onto trellises using the double-leader method.  This basically means that we will prune each tomato plant to two main stalks, and train each of them up a string which is attached to a high horizontal top wire.  As they grow, we prune off other branches besides the main two in order to encourage more flowering & fruiting, and eventually to make harvest easier.

Other than trellising, we’re trying our best to keep up on the weeds of course.  Overall I’d say this is going well, though there are a few beds (carrots ….  ugh!)  that need some serious hand-weeding, which is so much more time-consuming than weeding upright with a hoe, as you can imagine.

Until next week, enjoy the flavors of spring,

Farmer Matt.