In your box:
–Head lettuce, “Grandpa Admire”
Happy summer solstice! Of course, this means that the we are already starting to lose daylight. Our days will start getting shorter and shorter until December, so basically summer is already over and winter is right around the corner. I don’t know why we just took the fleece sheets off our bed—it could start snowing any day now…. I also heard that the full moon this week was the “Strawberry Moon”–all too perfect since it coincides with our first harvest of strawberries. I’ll start a petition to call the next full moon either “Kohlrabi Moon” or “Komatsuna Moon.” Any takers?
This week brings the first harvest of loose-leaf salad mix, which is basically salad-in-a-bag. Just as with asparagus, our family tends to really over-do it with salad mix for about five consecutive weeks in spring. But just as we start to think that maybe we’ve had enough for a little while, mercifully, the crop passes maturity and we go for a long season without. We have lots more salad mix coming your way, so be sure to eat this up within the week so that your fridge is ready for more in the next few boxes.
Sadly, this looks to be the end of spring spinach already. We’ve received four inches of rain in the past five days here on the farm, which has left the fields a pretty muddy mess. Much of the spinach is in a low area of the field, and sitting in water for a few hours until the earth soaked it all in was more than the spinach bargained for. I will let the spinach grow for another week in hopes that it resurrects itself, but we might be done with spinach until the fall.
The rain has also been hard on the bok choy I’ve planted for the spring. I transplant two plantings, one green and one red, but both have developed mold issues and don’t look very appetizing. The smell of rotting bok choy is enough to catch your attention as you walk by…. Thankfully the second planting of komatsuna seems to be handling the wet conditions well and it should be ready for another harvest next week.
In place of the bok choy I hoped to have this week I’ll bring in the first offering of kale. These plants were totally decimated by the hard freeze we had on May 14th and 15th, when nighttime temperatures fell into the upper 20’s. The kale plants shed all their leaves and were left with a pathetic stalk. But before I could scurry to get another seeding in the greenhouse, the stalks sprouted brand-new leaves and within a week I couldn’t tell they’d been injured at all. To use it: kale can go into just about anything (lasagna, pizza topping, quiche, pasta) and add a huge kick of nutrition without dominating the taste of the meal. To prepare, simply cut the spine and discard. Slice the leaf into ribbons and steam for 4-5 minutes (don’t let it get too soggy) and bake it into any dish. You can also try it plain or with a little soy sauce. If you still can’t enjoy it, try coating it with oil and baking until it becomes crispy and you’ve made your own homemade kale chips.
The loose beaked curlicues are Garlic Scapes. Garlic is planted in mid-October and is our only crop that over-winters. At this point in its development, garlic is all about procreation. It grows these scapes out of the top of its stalk as its first reproductive option. The beaked ends will open to form bulbils (miniature cloves) and flowers for seed. By cutting off the scape, we block both of those outlets and force the garlic to emphasize its third-string option for reproduction: the familiar garlic bulb. Garlic that keeps its scape grows only small cloves, so by cutting them we get the ideal clove at garlic harvest (late July). So what do you do with it? The scape has all the taste of a clove, so simply dice it up and add to any dish calling for garlic. Or, for added fun, challenge your family to a scape-eating contest: the first to successfully eat a whole raw scape wins—or loses?
Please remember to return your empty boxes each week. We’re able to reuse them throughout the season and often for more than one growing year. Also, please note that our storefront delivery sites (Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Victoria, and Eden Prairie) do not have space to store your box overnight on your delivery day. If you are unable to pick it up by the morning of the next day, these sites will assume you’ve forgotten to pick up your box and will distribute it amongst their staff to avoid waste. Please let me know if you need other arrangements. Thanks for your understanding!