THE BEET : VOLUME 12, ISSUE 1
In this week’s BEET:
- Coffee Share Cancelled
- Bring Plastic Bags!
- Windflower Farm News -- Letter from Farmer Ted
- Farmer Ted’s Recipes (Sautéed Greens and Bok Choy)
- Caring for potted cilantro (in this week’s share)
CSA Pickup Today 5-7:30pm
PS 56 at Gates and Downing (enter on Downing)
Coffee Share Cancelled!
The coffee share with Brooklyn Roasting Company was cancelled this week due to low enrollment. Anyone who enrolled in the share should have already received a refund.
Bring Plastic Bags!
If you're like most of us, you have a giant pile of plastic bags in your kitchen that you're never going to use. Please bring them to the CSA pickup to add to our store of bags for your fellow CSA members, who from time to time forget to bring their own bags to the pickup.
News from Windflower Farm
Thank you for joining us for the 2013 growing season. Jan and I hope you enjoy your share of our harvest.
Your second vegetable share will contain green leaf lettuce, bok choy (see the recipe below), radishes, scallions or green onions, kale, Swiss chard (see recipe below), arugula and potted cilantro. It’s salad season! This week’s fruit will be strawberries.
I thought I’d start my weekly letters by giving you a sense of how our crops are faring. Rain has fallen here every day for nearly three weeks, giving us an astonishing 12 to 14 inches in that time. It’s been the wettest and coolest spring here in years, conditions that are excellent for some crops, and not particularly good for others. It’s been very frustrating. As we wait for the rains to stop, the sun to come out and the water to subside shares will consist of the cool-loving crops. But don’t be discouraged, the sun will shine and temperatures will warm, and soon we’ll be delivering warm-loving crops, too.
On my Sunday evening walk around the farm I found good news: our potatoes look beautiful – they love rainfall and cool temperatures. Tomorrow we’ll give them their second hilling, and soon they’ll begin setting tubers in earnest. Our early onions, leeks, scallions and garlic, too, look lovely, although they’ll need some hand weeding this week. The roots – the red and golden beets, the newest radishes, the sweet Japanese turnips and the young carrots - are all also coming along nicely. I wish we had more coming, but the rain has reduced our access to new fields. The forecast is for clearing weather, and we should have an opportunity to pull the seeder out of the barn later this week. Our greens are also happy with these conditions, and the improving weather should give us a chance to plant more. So, cool-loving crops are content, if a little weedy.
Good news also comes from a different category of vegetables – the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and cucumbers that are growing under the protective cover of plastic. These crops look healthy and have begun to bare their fruits, even though most won’t mature for another few weeks. Weather like this makes me wish we had more greenhouses and could grow all our warm-loving vegetables inside them. Farming in the Northeast in spring involves all kinds of uncertainty, and greenhouses are a way to mitigate the risk. Now for the bad news: most of our cucumbers and eggplants, and all of our squashes, chiles and sweet potatoes are growing in the out of doors. They are warm-loving crops and have not been happy in these conditions; they’ll be late to mature, and if wet conditions persist they may become diseased.
I’ll report on our crops again soon and, in the weeks ahead, I'll use this newsletter to introduce you to our farm team, describe our organic growing practices, share farm anecdotes and more.
Best regards, Ted
Sautéed Greens (including Swiss Chard) Recipe
1 pound Swiss chard or other greens, such as kale; 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; 3 minced garlic cloves; 1/4 cup finely chopped onion; fresh lemon juice
- Rinse greens. Drain and cut leaves and stems into 1/4"-1/2" strips and pieces.
- In a large skillet, heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add stems, garlic cloves, and onion and sauté until onion softens. Add the leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Sautéed Bok Choy Recipe
2 tablespoons vegetable oil; 2 medium garlic cloves, minced; 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (from 1/2-inch piece); 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes; 1 1/2 pounds bok choy (about 2 medium bunches), cleaned, ends trimmed, and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces; 1 tablespoon soy sauce; 1 tablespoon water; 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil; salt (optional).
1. In a large frying pan with a tightfitting lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds.
2. Add the bok choy and, using tongs, fold it into the garlic-ginger mixture until coated, about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and water, cover, and cook until steam accumulates, about 1 minute. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are just wilted, the stalks are just fork tender but still crisp, and most of the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and season with salt if desired.
Caring for Potted Cilantro
(from Balcony Container Gardening)
Cilantro grows to 20 inches tall and has tiny white flower clusters at the ends of stalks. Cilantro can be difficult to grow in kitchen gardens, especially in hotter areas. The trick is to plant cilantro in the balcony garden in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler.
Zone: Keep cilantro in cooler weather. If temperatures rise over 75 degrees, the cilantro will "bolt," meaning it will go to seed. Give it shade or bring it into an indoor garden on warm days to prevent bolting.
Misc. Info: You can harvest the cilantro leaves about three times before it starts going to seed. Young leaves are best, but wait until it has grown at least 6 inches all and harvest the outer leaves. To keep cilantro leaves fresh for several days, place them in a jar of water (just as you would place flowers in a vase) and put them in the fridge. All parts of this container plant, even the roots, are edible.