In your box:
- Head lettuce
- Red Onion
- Summer squash or zucchini
- Tat soi
I was a pretty miserable kid for all of middle school and high school. I hated school and the jarring change from summer break to the social pressures of school that did not make sense then, make less sense now, and may never be comprehensible. But fall always meant apple orchards and fresh apple cider. It’s only a small stretch to say that every positive memory from my adolescence took place at one of the cider mills just north of Detroit, where I grew up. I would go with family, with friends, with our church, and all alone if I couldn’t coerce anyone to go along. The liquid delight of pressed apples and the jubilee of really small donuts almost made up for the fresh rash of acne that always came with the first day of school, the locker combination I could never remember, and the existential crisis of finding the right table for lunch.
I’m not longer miserable (as much as I might gripe about the weather). I love my life. And, year by year, the cider mill experience is coming to me. We have planted 34 apple trees around our house, with plans for a couple dozen more still to come. Only five of them are bearing any fruit this year, but five more per year will reach bearing maturity in the years to come. And, best of all, last Christmas my in-laws presented me with our very own cider press! It’s maybe a year or two premature, but it will be ready to crush our first cup of cider goodness whenever our trees catch up to my nostalgia.
Apples will eventually be a part of our CSA, in probably three years. Right now, you would have to fight Nathan, our 18-month old, for a bite of the two-dozen apples we will harvest.
While we inch slowly closer to the end of the year (still five more boxes to go!), we’ll get a second shot at a lot of the great spring crops. Or, at least, a lot of the crops that we should have had in the spring if the weather had cooperated just a little bit…. The crops that usually do so well in the spring are fans of cooler weather, which we’re finally starting to enjoy. Meanwhile, the cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, and eggplant quickly wrap up their hard work this season as the weather cools and their fruits are slower to grow and ripen. The same can’t be said of the tomatoes this year, however—it looks like it will take an intervention from the United Nations to get them to slow down their production.
This week we welcome two delicious greens that fell victim to the June floods: tat soi and arugula. We have mizuna, bok choy, spinach, and salad mix waiting close behind.
Tat Soi is the green head vegetable with the long white stems and dark green spoon-leaves. I found one website that proclaimed it “the new spinach”! I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not… I apologize for the tiny holes in the leaves—usually we apply a floating row cover to keep the flea beetles off of the leaves. Row cover traps in heat, which we’ve had in abundance the last few weeks anyways, so we had to leave it off to keep them happy.
To use tat soi, cut off the root base but keep the stems attached to the leaves. Wash them well and add them to a stir-fry, wilt them and add to pasta, or chop into ribbons and add to a lasagna or hot dish. I don’t know that the elders of Lake Woebegone would approve of tat soi in a Minnesota hot dish, but I assure you it can be done!
Arugula is the spicy leafy green in a bag inside your box. If you like a little kick of flavor in your greens, enjoy it now—after our first frost, the spice of arugula fades and it has only the healthy taste of mizuna. Arugula can be wilted and used as a cooking green or smashed into pesto, but it’s at its finest raw in a salad. If its flavor is too intense, mix well with lettuce.
Don’t forget—our Harvest Festival is Saturday, September 28th, from 4pm until dark.