THE BEET: VOLUME 17; WEEK 4

 

FULL SHARE & GREEN HALF SHARE PICK UP TONIGHT

 

Pick up today: 5pm - 7:30pm at PS 56 on the corner of Gates and Downing


This Week's Share

  • Lettuces
  • Mustard mix
  • Swiss chard
  • Scallions
  • Garlic scapes
  • Kohlrabi
  • Choice of radishes or turnips
  • Zucchini
  • Collard greens
  • Maybe cucumbers!
  • Fruit: Yonder Farm’s strawberries

kawasaki sherpa.jpg

Letter from Windflower Farm

 

This week’s share contents. 

Your fourth share of the season will contain some of the usual suspects – lettuces, a mustard mix, Swiss chard, scallions, garlic scapes, kohlrabi and your choice of radishes or turnips. An easy way to use kohlrabi, turnips and radishes is to grate them onto your salad. We have a salad every day, and making it is made easier by grating all three of these root crops and placing them into containers to be used throughout the week. 

The dry weather here has delayed the development of our “early” broccoli, cabbage, beets and onions, but they will be coming along soon. Peppers and tomatoes are also sizing up and will be in shares by mid-July. In the meantime, zucchini got started last week and should be in everyone’s share this week. Cucumbers, which are just beginning, will be in some shares this week and nearly all next week. It’s my hope to include one or both of these last items in your shares for much of the remainder of the season.

You’ll also get collard greens this week. If you are from the South, you’ll know what to do with collards. Traditional recipes are available online. A less traditional way to make use of them is as a gluten-free substitute wrap or tortilla. We steam the collards and then wrap any number of things inside: rice and beans, vegetable omelets, curried chicken. Cooking varieties of greens can be preserved by blanching and freezing. Wash the greens, remove any woody stems and blanch in water. Blanch collards for three minutes and most other greens for two minutes. Drain, let cool, place in a freezer bag and freeze.

Your fruit will be Yonder Farm’s strawberries (our varieties have stopped bearing for the season). Pete’s cherries are coming soon, followed by our blueberries.       

What’s new on the farm? 

We received our first real rainfall in over a month! And we are all greatly relieved. I had made initial inquiries about having another irrigation well dug, and the estimate came in well outside our equipment budget for the year. Still, this weekend’s rain will barely get us through the week. Even our bigger pond is now perilously low. So, I think we’ll use the week to rework the budget.

Encounters with wildlife are a regular feature of life here on the farm. Just the other day, standing waist deep in our larger pond as I moved the irrigation inlet to deeper water, I was stared down by three large bullfrogs concerned with what I was doing to their pond, which is now several feet below normal. 

Perhaps the more interesting encounters have to do with moose, bears and coyotes, but smaller animals also get my attention. I have a small motorcycle – a Kawasaki Sherpa - that I use to scout crops and tend irrigation pumps and valves. I don’t have a license so I’m mostly limited to farm roads. Late Friday night, I was heading down the narrow ravine road a little faster than I should have when I spotted a skunk in the road. I was heading to the pond to shut down the irrigation pump. The skunk was going the same direction I was headed but well below me. The road was steep and gravelly, and I was not going to be able to stop in time. I did not want to be sprayed, nor did I want to hurt the skunk. A small pond was to my right, and a swamp to my left, so turning off the road wasn’t an option. There was nothing to do but hit the throttle. As I approached, I could see its tail stand straight up. Although I passed within inches, it somehow missed me. I made the mistake of telling Jan about when I failed to make a jump over the large irrigation pipe and took a header last week and she has threatened to hide the keys to the Sherpa, so I haven’t told her about this latest episode. 

The fun never ends here at Windflower Farm.

Have a great week, Ted


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Cooking with Kohlrabi  


If you've never come across Nigel Slater's "midweek dinner" series in the Guardian, it's well worth checking out. His recipes show how to turn a handful of simple ingredients into something special, and his conversational style allows lots of room for creativity. The formula is as follows: "the recipe," "the trick," and "the twist." Here's his take on kohlrabi. 

The recipe

Trim a large kohlrabi, removing any leaves, then slice very thinly. Warm a couple of tbsp of olive oil in a shallow pan, lower the slices of kohlrabi into the oil and cook over a low heat until soft. Try not to let the slices colour past the palest gold.

Transfer the kohlrabi to a warm serving plate then put 150g of small tomatoes in the hot pan and let them cook for 5 to 7 minutes until soft. Crush them with the back of a spoon as they cook, so their juice forms a loose dressing in the pan.

While the tomatoes are cooking, remove the leaves from a bunch of basil – you will need 10g of leaves – then put them into a blender with 5 tbsp of olive oil and process to a bright green, thickish dressing. Check the seasoning – it may need a grind of salt.

Spoon the tomatoes and their juices over the slices of kohlrabi, then pour the dressing over and serve immediately. Enough for 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish.
 

The trick

The basil oil and the juices from the tomatoes combine on the plate to form a loose dressing. You need some chewy, open-textured bread, such as sourdough, with which to mop them up. I tend to slice the kohlrabi thinly so it cooks quickly, browning it very lightly, as it tends to become a little bitter if overcooked.
 

The twist

The tomato and basil dressing will work with other vegetables, especially thin slices of cauliflower, fried or grilled until lightly crisp, or butternut squash, finely sliced and fried. It is also sensational with a flash-fired steak. You can make the sauce in the time it takes the steak to rest.