Notes from the Farm
We have had a few weeks of varied weather; hail, rain, sunshine and frost. Last Sunday frost skimmed our fields thoroughly wiping out any basil and cucumbers we had planted outside and nipping tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and winter squash. Luckily most of the plants will pull through the damage and the rest we can replace.
While planting the squash we spied a killdeer nest tucked on one of the vegetable beds.
Leon had a fun time harvesting vegetables in the rain.
This Week’s Veggie Feast
Lots of greens, a repeat of poc choi, salad mix. New this week:
These mustard greens pack a little zip. They are best eaten raw in a salad or sandwich, or lightly braised/sautéed.
Swiss Chard Usage
Most greens need to be stemmed before cooking, as the stems are too tough to eat. Swiss chard is the exception. These rainbow-colored stems have a similar texture to celery and can be used as such. The light green, gently-lobed rutabaga greens can be treated like a mild mustard green. Added to a stir fry, cooked greens, or cooked with bacon, these greens will bring a nice mild bite to the dish.
Chard stems and leaves can be treated as two separate vegetables. The stems can be treated like celery and generally need to be cooked longer. Leaves can be versatile; doing well as a quick sauté, added to soups, savory tarts or braised. Using a knife or your hands, remove the leaf from the stem and cut separately.
The herb goes well with ground meats, poultry dishes, stuffing, and tomato sauce. Marjoram’s flavor can be delicate so it is best added towards the end of cooking so its essence does not dissipate.
Garlic scapes are the flower top off hardneck garlic. These are fairly young and later in the season you will get scapes that are more developed. They look like a long green pencil that smells of garlic. The entire scape is edible, but there can be a tough section at the base of the yellowish-white blossom that can use more cooking time. The green stems are most commonly cut into small pieces and cooked. Cut before the plant starts to fully flower, the scapes provide a mild fresh garlic flavor that is great added to any dish where you would use a garlic clove. The sugar content is a bit higher so fresh scapes are best added towards the end of cooking to avoid any burning or bitter flavor. The scapes need to be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and are best used fresh since they do not store like whole garlic bulbs. Garlic scapes are mild in flavor so you can add extra when substituting for garlic cloves. Scapes are a great addition to breakfast scrambles and stir fries.