Week 22, Final Distribution 2009

Individual Shares, Select 6

Radishes

Arugula

Hon Tsai Tai

Pears

Mixed Leaf Lettuce

Pak Choi

Baby Leaf Lettuce

Mizspoona

Stir-fry mix (baby Kale, Yokata-Na)

Pumpkins

EXTRAS: Hickory nuts, Green Wave mustard

Thank you all for participating this year in our CSA!

Please stock up on animal protein. We will have available for purchase, seafood, chicken, and beef all on a first-come, first-served basis. Place your order by clicking on the appropriate link.

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Week 21 Shares

Individual shares, select 6

Radishes

Pears

Mixed Baby Lettuce

Parsley

Dandelion/Chicory

Pumpkin

Pak Choi

Green Wave Mustard

Purple & Red Mustard

EXTRAS:
HICKORY NUTS
LETTUCE
CHIVES
GREEK OREGANO
BABY LETTUCE BUNCHES
SURPRISES!

Our Fall Crops

Mizuna

Mizuna

Fall means a lot of new crops in the field. We’ve got five kinds of lettuce planted, as well as endive and escarole. We’ve planted several kinds of mustard greens and Asian greens, including mizuna. In case you’ve never had that Japanese green before, it looks a lot like a delicate dandelion with its dog-toothed leaves, but its taste is closer to arugula. You’ll want to get some stir-fry recipes ready for the Asian greens, although they are equally good in salads. Epicurious has a few pages of recipes for Asian greens here.

We’ve got more cabbage growing, red, green and Savoy, and we’ve got high hopes for our shitake mushrooms.. We’ve got six different kinds of radishes, including some that pack a really powerful punch, as well as three kinds of turnips and a lot of sweet peppers. The Swiss chard is coming along nicely.

The winter squash may be a different matter. The deer seem to be treating the rows of squash as their personal salad bar this year, taking a bite or two every few feet as they move through the rows. We’re going to hope they decide they’re sated soon. The beets don’t appear to like this crazy weather year at all, though we may get some beet greens.

Speaking of weather, the temperatures have been dipping rapidly already up here: We’ve had a few nights close to 40. But we’re doing what we can to nurture our crops along. Everything that has been planted is under row covers, reusable fabric that protects the crops from cold and bugs. We’re also taking full advantage of the irrigation system we put in earlier this year.

But Mother Nature has to do her part, and bring us the daily sunshine that all these crops need. If you know a sun dance, do it now.

What’s Growing

You’ve read about all the potatoes, you’ve read about the cabbage, you’ve seen that tantalizing photo of the asparagus. But if you’re at all like me, you’ve been really impatient to hear about everything else that Leonard has planted this year. So last night, at the new member meeting in Verona, I finally got him to spill the beans–if you can pardon the pun. Yes, there will be stringbeans, four different kinds in fact. And snow peas and maybe some sugar snaps. But there’s more, much more, so gather your cookbooks and start planning.

Red Cabbage.

Red Cabbage.

There are five kinds of kale already in the field: Lacinato, Red Russian, White Russian, Siberian and Curly. Grab any one of them and some of Upper Meadows’ maple syrup and you’ve got the beginnings of this vegan dinner, or peruse the entries on kale in Mark Bittman’s blog for The New York Times. The stinging nettles are up and “beautiful”, Leonard says.

Little Laciento Kale.

Little Lacinato Kale.

Then there are collards, which I have to admit I have never tried. The Food Network’s “Dinner Impossible” guy has them paired with bacon, which sounds very promising.

Red and yellow onions are in, in rows that are several hundred feet long. More rows are being planted. Also scallions–red, white, and green–and four varieties of hardneck garlic.

Scallions.

Scallions.

Red Onions.

Red Onions.

Garlic.

Garlic.

Leonard then moved on to the hundreds of plants started in his two greenhouses. There are 11 different varieties of lettuce, 9 different sweet peppers, 5 types of hot peppers, 7 kinds of basil and 3 kinds of parsely. There are garlic chives and onion chives, and sorrel. In place of the partridge in a pear tree, there is one variety of eggplant.

Forellenschluss Lettuce.

Forellenschluss Lettuce.

There is broccoli and a few different colors of cauliflowers, including that crazy orange variety. My friend Ann had a great idea for those at the end of a post on her blog on the wild turkey that wound up in her living room. And 2 kinds of tomatillos. I’m thinking salsa, or maybe a sauce for some chicken enchiladas.

Cauliflower.

Cauliflower.

Megan, who lobbied for the expanse of Swiss chard that has been planted, told me that she did try to rein Leonard in on his tomato varieties. But he confessed last night that there are 23 different kinds growing in the greenhouses, ranging from cherries, to slicing and paste tomatoes. Some are in great quantities, like the Cherokee Purples (they make a killer tomato soup), and some, like the exotic Striped Green Zebras, in smaller amounts.

TONS of Tomatoes.

TONS of Tomatoes.

The greens category also includes what Leonard called “a full array of mustards”, arugula, Asian greens like Tatsoi, spinach and amaranth. If you have only ever had amaranth as a grain, you are in for a real treat with the leaves.

Chicory.

Chicory.

And more: The 5 kinds of zucchini and summer squash are being planted in waves in hopes that we will have them before, with and after our tomatoes. Leonard has got 4 kinds of cucumbers going, 3 of which will be pickling varieties. If you have never tried your hand at pickling, start with this recipe from Alton Brown, which is as easy as it gets. He has also started a small, white Lebanese squash, which sounds intriguing.

In the winter squash category, there are Turk’s Turban, Acorn and Spaghetti Squash, and several kinds of pumpkins, including my favorite for pie, the so-called Cheese Pumpkin.

What have I forgotten? Herbs! Thyme, 5 varieties of basil,summer savory, 2 or 3 sages, Greek and Italian oregano and majoram. Also several varieties of radishes, carrots, turnips and beets.

Leonard says that the beets don’t always return his love, and his caution is worth noting. Despite his best efforts–which this year include more fencing and irrigation in addition to the greenhouses–Mother Nature and predators can have their way with his plants. But with Leonard and everyone at Upper Meadows focused on bounty this year, I am very, very optimistic.

Our Cabbage Patch

 

Making sauer kraut (old school) slicer, tunker, and crock

Making sauer kraut (old school) slicer, tunker, and crock

If you zoom in on Megan’s greehouse photo from last week, you can see that the first plants sprouting were a cabbage variety called Fun Jen. Not a variety that you’re likely to find in your local supermarket, but as the name would indicate, a happy addition to the dinner table.

 

Fun Jen is one of 7 varieties of cabbage that I’ve started this year. Like Bok Choi, which I’m also growing, Fun Jen is originally from Asia.  I grow them to add to the spring and summer pantry with sweet tender flavor and loaded with vitamins. But don’t worry, we have plenty of other organic cabbages up our hapily dirty sleeves, including savoy and old reliable green cabbage. About the only kind you aren’t likely to find in your CSA share this year is red cabbage. They make smaller heads and are a bit more finicky.  I really prefer not to devote the field space to them here in zone 5, which is where Upper Meadows is located.      

Cabbage may have gotten a bad name in the American kitchen. About the only time most households see one whole is on St. Patrick’s Day, when it gets boiled to death. But cabbage is prized in much of the rest of the world because they are so high in vitamin C and keep well, pickled or not. Think delicious, sweet summer cole slaw! Scientists have also found that cabbages are high in glutamine, which can reduce inflammation.

As we get ready to harvest, we’ll have more recipes for you to use to enjoy all our different varieties of cabbage. We are looking forward to a bountiful crop this year and expect to hold a time honored Upper Meadows CSA tradition and have a group sauerkraut-making session.