Notes from the Farm
You are probably wondering if we grow anything other than greens. This year we planted the potatoes and brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) a bit later to minimize frost damage. As it was, there were couple of late nights in early June covering tender peppers, tomatoes, basil and squashes and mulching potatoes as temperatures dropped below 32 degrees. All the veggies made it through the frost and are growing wildly in the heat.
We not only grow vegetables, but have a few medicinal herbs on the farm. The herbal salve is made from calendula, plantain and wildcrafted St. John’s wort. These herbs are nourishing and healing for the skin. You can apply it to cuts, abrasions and dry skin. An herbalist friend of mine says that anyone can become allergic to anything at anytime, so use it in small amounts as a trial. It is unscented, so guys can use it without smelling like they have raided their partners’ beauty products.
This week’s share includes more greens and some herbal hand salve. For the mix of greens this week, you will find more swiss chard, kale, salad mix, endive, spinach, a small bunch of fresh cilantro and a few bulbs of fresh garlic. Once the weather begins to turn hot, many of the greens go to seed, so this will be the last of the spinach until cooler fall weather arrives. We picked this batch of spinach last week because we were concerned that it might bolt, so it’s not quite as fresh as usual, but it will still be good to eat for a while.
This Week’s CSA
Fresh garlic, also known as green garlic, does have unique storage needs to maintain its freshness, so please take time to read the notes on garlic.
One way to tackle an abundance of greens this time of year is to freeze them for use in any winter dishes. You can find information on how best to prepare kale, spinach, or chard for freezing under using greens.
Fresh cilantro goes well with many styles of cuisine, including Thai, East Indian, Chinese, and Mexican. Native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, this herb quickly made its way around the world for both its culinary and medicinal benefits. Additional tips on the best way to store cilantro and ways to use in cooking can be found on the cilantro page, including a recipe for Braised Swiss Chard with Cilantro.
Native to Europe, west Asia, and parts of Africa, endive is closely related to chicory. Endive is very abundant in Italy so it goes well with many Italian dishes, especially Roman cuisine. The light green crinkly leaves will have a slight bitter flavor in its raw state, but that mellows with cooking. It is common to balance the natural bitterness of endive with something slightly sweet or fatty. Pork, bacon, olive oil, cream, butter, red pepper, vinegars, parmesan and swiss style cheese all pair well with this green.
It is hot out there, which makes turning on any inside heat source unappealing. In order to use up some of those greens in a nice side dish for your 4th of July gathering, try adding some massaged raw kale or chard to a pasta salad. The pasta for this salad can be cooked in the morning, rinsed under cold water, tossed lightly with olive oil and stored in the refrigerator until the salad is mixed. Along with cooked pasta and massaged raw kale, toss sliced red onion or shallot, artichoke hearts, red pepper, olives, shredded parmesan and your favorite vinaigrette. Be creative and add your favorite pasta salad ingredients or make an Italian vinaigrette with some of the thyme and oregano from the past weeks CSA shares.