In your box:
–Strawberries or raspberries or sugar snap peas
This week we bid farewell to strawberries, after a great two-plus weeks of providing for us. We had a miserable crop last year and didn’t know what to expect from our aging plants this year, but they provided about 300 pints, all picked by Nina (who picked nearly all of them from the shelter of a mosquito-netting body suit!). Thanks to Nina for her excellent picking fingers! We’ll have a poor pea harvest this year, unfortunately, mostly due to the late spring and the July heat. Raspberries are just starting to ripen, so we are including them as well for a few people.
One new crop this week is Sage. A perennial herb, we planted this two years ago and expect harvests well into the future. There is a similar crop, White Sage, that is an annual and grown primarily for incense and decoration. This green sage is commonly used in stuffings and soups, but its leaves can be eaten raw in salads, omelets, marinades, and meat dishes. If you don’t have a use for it currently, it can be stored by removing the leaves from the stem and placing on cloth or paper in the shade until dry. The bunch itself can also be hung to dry, with the leaves removed afterward. Once dry, the leaves may be stored in an airtight container. Try dried sage as a tea or baked in dishes or soups.
Also, we have some “volunteer” Cilantro. For farms and gardeners, a “volunteer” crop is an unexpected, unplanted crop that volunteers for our plates without any labor involved—the best kind of farming! We had planted cilantro last year in a field that is currently fallow. When I went to mow down that field this year, I found a hundred square feet of cilantro happily growing! Cilantro eagerly produces seeds (which are the spice Coriander), so it’s no big surprise that they supported their next generation. It is lucky, though, since the cilantro we planted for this year was destroyed by June floods.
Like parsley and dill, cilantro is of the Umbelliferae family whose most famous child is the carrot. Its seeds are a mainstay in most kitchens and a common ingredient in Indian cooking, especially. The cilantro leaves of the plant are used in the cuisines of many cultures, including the popular “Chipotle/Qdoba” culture of North America, consisting of delicious dishes masquerading as Mexican cooking. It is believed that the genetic makeup of the eater determines how one will respond to cilantro. This herb contains a good deal of Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), a sulfur-based compound that tastes like rancid soap to some and nothing at all to others, depending on one’s genes. So if you love cilantro and your partner prefers licking out a dirty soap dish, the difference is all in the genes. Provided you don’t taste a stink bug when you eat it, try cilantro as a friendly addition to salsa, potato salad, a lettuce-based salad, or pasta.
We had hoped to have Kohlrabi available this week, but it’s a little on the small side yet and could use at least another week to reach full size. In its place we have the ubiqutous Kale. I know that kale isn’t a hit with everyone, but it’s growing really well in a spring when most crops aren’t. It’s also really easy to use and can go in several kinds of dishes. For past recipes we’ve posted that use kale, check out: https://foxandfawnfarm.com/tag/kale/
Coming soon: Zucchini, Cucumbers