Of Grapes And Grape Leaves

grapes“If we get grape leaves,” a member asked me last week, “does that mean we will be getting grapes?” The answer is yes and no.

I grow Concord and Rutherford grapes as well as the native Fox grapes. The three grow well here and I don’t use commercial sprays of any kind. As a matter of fact, I haven’t used any spray in 18 years because I rely mostly on our biodiversity and cultural practices to ensure abundant crops. It is almost impossible to find a vineyard that doesn’t spray something for mold, mildew, fungus or the many other rots that affect grapes in our region.

But I don’t yet produce enough grapes to feed a crowd. Since, percentage-wise, we have far more native grapevines than cultured varieties there aren’t enough grapes to go around for the CSA. When we get our orchard and berries and vegetables to where we want them, I will again move more aggressively towards managing the grapevines here and perhaps we will have grapes to include in the shares.

You might be able to get a sample of our grapes this season, however. The Concords ripen in September and the Rutherfords a bit later. If you’re up on the farm for a volunteer day and the grapes are ripe, I’ll give you a taste.

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Nettles & Clover Blossoms & Dandelion Greens, Oh My!

red cloverNow that the first distribution is in the door, it’s time to try out some of the recipe choices for the week!  We often make homemade iced tea & lemonade at this time of year, and I recently found a recipe for Red Clover Lemonade.  For those of who selected them, you might want to give this a try with the Upper Meadows Farm Red Clover Blossoms.  Or, maybe you’d prefer the Red Clover Almond Biscuits. You can find the recipes by going to the Prodigal Gardens Web site, and selecting “Red Clover” in the Recipes section.

This Web site is full of information and other recipes for the veggies in this week’s distribution & others we may receive in the future.  There are lots of new ideas for the Upper Meadows Farm Dandelion Greens, Grape Leaves & Nettles.  I’m going to try the Nettles-Ricotta Pie (Surprise! It’s adapted from Mollie Katzen’s “Moosewood Cookbook”!) when we get some nettles.

Week 2 Distribution

I hope everyone is enjoying the veggies in their first share.

Here’s what’s coming at all you CSA Members this week:

  • Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale
  • Sorrel- Here’s an AWESOME sorrel dip recipe from Jeff Perry
  • Lambs Quarters– Lovely leafy green, often referred to as wild Spinach. Packed with Vitamins C and A, it’s great in everything from salad to soup.
  • Stuttgarter Onions- Sweet and mild yellow onions.
  • Stinging Nettles– Delicious when cooked, nettles contained natural antihistamines, and makes an amazing pesto.
  • Parsley
  • Grape Leaves
  • Cardoon

Extras this week: Clover Blossoms and Fresh Cut Flowers